Bronx Filmmakers Celebrate Halloween, Pete Yorn and Brain Drain Industries Celebrate "Also, Roses," and We All Celebrate Giant Killer Pizzas from Italy
That's right, it's another edition of The Athenian Mercury!
Welcome back to the Athenian Mercury! This edition (Volume Six) outlines a Halloween screening with the Bronx Filmmakers’ Collective that contains two KHLOARIS productions (“Holy Wound” and “Encantado: The True Story of Lu’s Ghosts”), programmed by our good friend and collaborator Josafat Concepción (pictured below). The screeening also features work by some of KHLOARIS’s other good friends and collaborators, Twiggs Gorie and Dylan Mars Greenberg. I believe we’ll all be on hand to discuss the films.
Thanks for reading The Athenian Mercury (by KHLOARIS)! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Next up, Brain Drain Industries is back with a new video made for artist Pete Yorn and they’ll discuss the project in more length.
Finally, we have more fiction from our friend Giuseppe Ruffo in Italy. An excerpt from his Neapolitan Trilogy of Napoli horror, “Pizza Dreamer,” will stomp over the cities of your dreams.
As usual, please share this newsletter, and contribute.
-Kenneth Arcadian Pizza Chakra, Editor-in-Chief, The Athenian Mercury
A No Good Terrible Horrible Evening
The Bronx Filmmakers’ Collective’s Halloween Screening
The Bronx Filmmakers’ Collective is absolutely ashamed to invite you to spend with us A NO GOOD TERRIBLE HORRIBLE EVENING. A FREE screening of some of the most disturbing, horrible, and ridiculous movies made by NYC artists.
As part of its 10th anniversary, TBxF has been celebrating screenings in public and community spaces to showcase the vibrant underground film scene of the borough.
This is TBxF first public screening at their own space at the Bronx Arts Factory. A very special Halloween program showcasing short films by New York filmmakers. Teh screening is on Oct. 27, 2022, 7pm, at 240 E. 153rd St., Bronx, NY 10451.
Quoth programmer Josa Concepción:
“It’s a selection of disturbing short movies in different styles of filmmaking somehow representative of the Bronx. We also wanted to have representation of other NYC boroughs through the work of some of our favorite artists.”
Carlos Benítez, Cookies'N Screams - There's something in the basement.
Mark Cabaroy, Buzz Kills Action - The sleep of reason produces monsters.
Bryan Christian, Out of the Park - A survival thriller in apocalyptic near future.
Josafat Concepción, Holy Wound - Fighting patriarchy with witchcraft.
Zef Çota, The Smiler Suburban - Nightmares are for real.
Harry "Cappytann" Santiago, Funny the Way It IS - This BX mad-science comedy short won the BX Film 48 in 2021.
Larry "Legend" Spivey, Balance - A cautionary tale of the goods and bads of extramarital romance.
And guest NYC filmmakers:
Kenneth Filmer, Encantado: The True Story of Lu's Ghosts
Twiggs Gorie (film TBD, but we believe it’s a selection of her very short horror work)
Dylan Mars Greenberg, Night of the Day of the Tompkins Weed Monster
Attendees are encouraged to come in costume and bring their own beverages. Enchanted candy will be served.
Founded in 2012, The Bronx Filmmakers Collective (TBxF) is a non-profit community of filmmakers with a connection to the Bronx. We aim to further the education and development of our members through monthly meetings which have a rotating schedule that includes screening member rough cuts for feedback, hosting outside speakers on a variety of technical and artistic subjects, and offering member presentations in areas of specialized skills.
We seek to contribute to the vibrant Bronx arts community by encouraging and inspiring our members to create new work. We help to raise the profile of independent film in the Bronx by promoting our members' work at community screenings. As members of the Bronx community we seek to showcase the multitude of stories both narrative and documentary that make our borough unique. We believe it is important to show a more complex and nuanced picture of the Bronx than is typically found in the media.
Pete Yorn’s “Also, Roses”
On Making the New Video
By Brain Drain Industries
Pete consistently keeps churning out classic, timeless albums 20+ years into his career and his new LP "Hawaii" is no exception. The timing just ended up being right to give one of his new songs the Brain Drain Video treatment. Pete really gave me total creative freedom to just pick a song and have fun with it. Right away, the melodic yet reflective mood of "Also, Roses" took me back to those early R.E.M. / 10,000 Maniacs videos I grew up with, that sense of wonder, innocence and wanderlust through an adult perspective with gained experience. That became my general visual starting point. Also, the collage style of one of Pete's (and mine) favorite bands, "Guided by Voices" was something that informed the multi-layered aesthetic. KHLOARIS came through like they always do, contributing some great Vector lines and a dynamic exploding rose FX. I was interested in combining digital textures with the nostalgic analog footage almost as if a computer rendering a rose was being informed by these moving memories. Capturing that 1970s/80s action sports /outdoor lifestyle vibe as a way to visually interpret the emotional theme of the song gave me some fun footage to experiment with and helped add visual levity. I remember being obsessed with that teen BMX movie "Rad" as a kid and loved my plastic Jai Alai set, so it definitely was a fun trip down memory lane making this video.
"I found out about Ian Kennedy (aka Brain Drain Industries) because he and my wife went to high school together. I dug the videos he's made, so we agreed he should do one for this new album. I was impressed by how much he cares. He cares a lot. I think it shows.
I gave Ian a few songs to listen to. He said he was drawn to this one right away. I think it was the line ‘ever since I killed nostalgia’.
I love the video because it captures the tone of the song so well. There are some really sweet moments, and it has a dog sneezing in it.
It's something that feels new but also makes me nostalgic for the days of my youth."
EXCERPTS FROM PASTE MAGAZINE INTERVIEW, JUNE 2022
" So the record itself has nothing to do with literal Hawaii. And in fact, I will tell you that the album cover is a pool—it’s not even in Hawaii. It’s in the San Fernando Valley, and there are glitches in the top of it, because those are the glitches in The Matrix. An island is seen as an escape, but it can also be a prison and feel very isolating. Hawaii has this archetype in our mind of this perfect place. But ultimately, wherever you go, you’re stuck with yourself, you know? So it’s this idea that, wherever you are, if you could find this peace that lives within, then you can actually have a good, purposeful existence, and you don’t have to go to Hawaii, if you know what I mean. The other thing about Hawaii itself that I think is interesting is, it's also the most isolated island chain in the world. So there’s this idea of escape there, but there’s this dark loneliness potential, too."
"All these characters in the songs, they’re all dealing with some sort of struggle, whether it’s isolation, whether it’s coming to terms with their past, feeling wronged by something, or just figuring out how to move around in this world that we live in today, which is very confusing—are they mad at the world, or just mad at themselves? There’s a lot of different stuff in there, along with letting go of how powerful nostalgia is. And I do know that goes into a lot of my songs, and how it can also become a fucking trap, where you just get stuck, too mired in nostalgia. So you need to drop off a little bit of that to be free to move on. Because it’s okay to celebrate things that you love and where you come from, but it can also be a double-edged sword where you get scared of change, you know? And change is inevitable, as we all know. "
New Fiction from Italy
By Giuseppe Ruffo
As is well known, the famous pizza Margherita was born in Naples. It is the story of a humble boy, who with a stroke of ingenuity manages to compose a delicacy and excellence exported all over the world. The Grand Master, with simple, local products, such as tomato, mozzarella, basil, oil, and cheese, managed to create a perfect and irresistible composition to satisfy the request of a special customer: no one less than the king's wife, Queen Margaret.
Vinny was one of the direct descendants of that revolutionary master. Unfortunately, unlike his distant relative, he could not make ends meet, remaining a simple do-all. Vinny could not even adapt to modern times, those of Social Media and Influencers.
The Pizzaioli of that period had become real stars; you found them everywhere, in newspapers, and on TV. They were also called into question to solve political problems, in some cases replacing the representatives of the institutions.
Thanks to all this attention, the managers of the pizzerias were able to derive greedy profits, while Vinny, a direct descendant of the inventor of pizza Margherita, was increasingly derided, bullied, subjected to grueling shifts, unpaid overtime; all clearly not declared to the tax authorities.
Vinny often fell asleep during the double shifts and the little break time he had available. He used both for lunch and to prepare the famous pasta for pizzas.
One day Vinny turned on the mixer and by mistake, and given his exhausted fatigue, he used more yeast than usual. At some point, something strange happened. While waiting, the boy lay down on one of the work tables, while the mixer continued to knead the different kilos of dough for the pizzas, and the boy fell asleep.
The noise of the machine blade was constant, the mixer continued to rotate, for minutes, hours, days ...
Suddenly the pizza dough began to overflow and come out of the machine, thus increasing its volume dramatically. With an impressive speed, the dough occupied all the spaces of the pizzeria structure.
Fortunately, he managed to escape in time. The paste was so compressed, that at one point it exploded outside the room. It looked like a scene from that old movie The Blob, but instead of the unidentified material, a huge mass of water, salt, flour, and yeast came out of the room.
The dough for the pizzas — in contact with the open air — began to transform, reaching a disproportionate dimension compared to the size of the city center. The mass composed mainly of flour, completed its transformation, becoming a giant Margherita pizza, with face and limbs such as arms, legs, hands, and feet.
The huge pizza also had eye sockets formed by slices of mozzarella, a basil-shaped nose, and a mouth created thanks to a slit, a cut created during its growth. Initially, no one could understand how this heap of flour managed to grow out of all proportions. Later it was possible to denote that every time someone pronounced the phrase “in Naples, there is the best pizza in the world,” the heap continued to grow and increase in size.
So to counter that being, police forces, the army, and helicopters were engaged, but no one could stop this huge monster.
Giant Pizza walked clumsily, step by step destroying a part of the ancient inhabited city center, and at one point it headed towards the Gulf of Naples.
Another twist was about to happen in this strange story: suddenly another very strange creature arrived from the Posillipo Hill. The famous Godzilla.
A brutal battle began between the two: a succession of punches, shoves, and somersaults. Everything was thrown: street lamps, cars, mopeds — but fortunately not buses — as there was not even a shadow of them in the city.
Godzilla was about to get the better of Giant Pizza, but at some point, another twist happened that changed the cards on the table. From a distance, from the sea, from the Sorrento Peninsula, at exactly the height of the Lattari Mountains, a Giant Ziti appeared and went to the rescue of the Giant Pizza. I know that even that type of pasta had undergone the same transformation process: that is when someone repeated the phrase “in Naples, we have the best pasta in the world,” the type of pasta grew out of all proportion.
Even the Giant Ziti had a face and limbs. He was just slimmer, and he was keen on his silhouette.
The two farinaceous creatures implemented a brilliant plan to eliminate Godzilla.
The animal was attracted near the only skyscraper in the city center: the famous Jolly Hotel. The Giant Pizza came face to face with Godzilla. Meanwhile, the Ziti lay down behind the skyscraper, and the Giant Pizza gave him a strong push, so that the Godzilla fell, tripping over the skyscraper. The monster hit its head during the fall and died instantly.
The skin of the body of this huge creature was reused as leather, in fact. Belts, bags, and shoes were produced and sold in the city market of Poggioreale.
The Pizza and the Giant Ziti over time petrified and then turned into fine powders that joined the harmless powders discharged daily from transport and cruise ships present in the port of the city of Naples. Virtually everything returned to as before, or almost.
Vinny opened his eyes and at a certain point, and he realized that it had only been a dream. Unfortunately, the imagination and the dream had not been a good omen to make him escape from his squalid daily routine.
(Editor’s note: Giuseppe provided us with an alternate version of this story that takes place in NYC, which seems appropriate given The Atheninan Mercury’s NYC headquarters, but we opted for the original, set in pizza’s legendary home. We did, however, use the idea of a giant slice of pizza attacking NYC for the original art we created to accompany the story.)
Thanks for reading The Athenian Mercury (by KHLOARIS)! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.