May 9, 2010

Fancy and weird

Through my multifarious media connections, I recently found this on my desk: a DVD from Fancy magazine, collecting two hours of rare and bizarre, largely music-related clips from the Jolly Roger DV Archive. Boiled down: Fancy is a zine of bizarre art and culture, and it was hyping a show/party at the Delancy a couple of weeks ago. They screen a lot of these bizarre videos at their events, and while I've never been to a Fancy gathering before, I've attended plenty of weird New York shit in my time, and there always seems to be a projector displaying something thought lost to the mists of time.

(BTW, Fancy is holding another event, Conquest of the Planet Fancy, on June 5, also at the Delancey. Download the monkey mask and get in free!)

Some highlights:

— The trailer for the 1968 sleazoid motorcycle movie She-Devils on Wheels, directed by cine-crap legend Herschell Gordon Lewis. This may be the single lowest-quality movie preview not by John Waters I've ever seen; the title card is a shaky video camera trained on a vinyl poster. As for the film's plot, the title gives you a good idea.

— The intro for the mid-'60s superhero Hanna-Barbera cartoon The Impossibles. I remember reruns of this when I was young, but seeing it as an adult makes me realize just how cutting-edge and weird Hanna-Barbera could be. The mainstream was only tepidly embracing young culture and style, but here, the leading kids'-cartoon merchants were throwing themselves in full force. Hard to believe they'd water things down to Smurfs level by the time I was their target demo:

—The preview for the legendary 1966 (camp) Batman rip-off film Rat Pfink a Boo Boo. I'd heard about this movie for decades, but never seen a clip before; it was from Ray Dennis Steckler, the decidedly nongenius behind the wonderfully awful The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!? Apparently, Rat Pfink suffered from far more than the flaws obvious in this clip (couldn't find the trailer); easily the best Wikipedia entry I've read in days.

— A whole ton of early promo videos. Collections like this remind you that music videos did not begin with MTV; bands were doing promo clips decades before, and with some frequency by the mid-'70s. And back in those days, when camera-readiness was not considered a prerequisite of musical fame, it wasn't uncommon to see singers who were visibly uncomfortable being videotaped, and video concepts that were embarrassingly amateurish. But some acts got it; this clip from 1979—L.A. punk band the Dickies covering the Banana Splits theme—shows remarkable confidence:

The Vandellas (in the Supremes mold, but great in their own right), not so much; they're too self-conscious. But the clip's great nonetheless: clever, excellent song, and those girls are having so much fun:

— A really odd British Woolworth add from Christmas, circa 1985. Wait—that girl wants an Iggy Pop record? (Commercial starts at 0:32.)

Lots, lots more. This is the kind of DVD you watch while eating Entenmann's Cookies, if you catch my drift.