UFR: Underground Film Revolution
Emerging filmmakers show film and video at the Milky Way Lounge and Lanes in Jamaica Plain on the first Monday of every month.

Friday, August 22, 2003  

Truth Serum and the underground film revolution jointly present
plus a live musical performance featuring songs from the film!
9pm / $5 / 21+

Have you ever dreamed of writing a hit song? Ever belted out your very own heartfelt lyrics just a little too loudly in the shower, knowing deep down that YOU could be the next superstar?

Jamie Meltzer’s debut film, OFF THE CHARTS: The Song-Poem Story, recognizes and explores the strange underworld of the “song-poem” industry–a subculture in which “ordinary people” respond to ads in the back pages of magazines (”Send in Your Lyrics and Make $50,000 in royalties”), mail in their often bizarre poems to “music industry” execs who, for a fee, turn those poems into real recordings.

Like a warped fun-house mirror, the song-poem industry has run parallel to the mainstream business for close to a century. It is estimated that over 200,000 song-poems have been recorded since 1900! The genre’s durability is due to three core American desires: to get rich quick, to become famous, and to express our deepest feelings creatively. OFF THE CHARTS shares interviews with several song-poem writers (whose song subjects range from Jesus to genitalia, from politics to Elvis), jaded producers (also known as “song-sharks”), the musicians who set the words to music, and even a few of the growing number of zealous song-poem connoisseurs.

As filmmaker Meltzer says: “The beauty of song-poems is that they are a result of the intersection, or collision, of ordinary people’s expressions and the desires of musicians/businesses to make a quick buck, making the music as fast as they can, usually in one take. When those two forces combine, they create strangely compelling songs that are unlike anything you’ve ever heard.” Shocking, funny and heart-wrenching all at the same time, OFF THE CHARTS is a fascinating look at one of the strangest subcultures in our American landscape.

OFF THE CHARTS: The Song-Poem Story has previously aired on the PBS series, Independent Lens in February 2003. Visit www.pbs.org/independentlens/offthecharts/ for more film info.

Following the screening, two bands will perform some of the songs from the film, and then work with audience members to create new "song-poems" on the spot! So, bring your dreams of super-stardom and come prepared to make your lyrics into a real-live song...

Snoozer (Susie Ghahremani) is a one-woman-band from Providence, RI with a penchant for sleeping things off and writing pop songs about them later. On her records (self-released solo "Songs" CD of 4-track demos, her band Snuggletooth's "Slot Machine EP" and forthcoming solo record "Winter Stops All Sound" (on Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records) she plays the part of many: organist, bassist, guitarist, 8-part vocalist; Live, she will perform the feat of putting an army of Susies back into just one. For more info visit www.boygirlparty.com

The Weisstronauts are a twangy/surfy/psychedelic guitar-driven band from Boston. They're fronted by cult record producer Pete Weiss (Willard Grant Conspiracy, Charlie Chesterman, Two Dollar Pistols, Boris McCutcheon, Chris Brokaw, Don Lennon etc). The band has released two eclectic all-instrumental CD's (most recently "Featuring Spritely" on Stereorrific/Dren Records). The Weisstronauts play regularly in and around Boston and have completed several small tours up and down the East Coast.

For this show, The Weisstronauts are happy to have special guest George Hall (Seks Bomba, Dogzilla) joining them on guitar in lieu of usual guitarists Ken Lafler and Aaron Tap who are both on their respective summer vacations.

This month's film program will be on the first Thursday night of the month (not the usual Monday), September 4th at 9pm. The screening is presented jointly by Truth Serum and the underground film revolution (UFR). Truth Serum Productions prides itself on bringing Boston edgy entertainment and building community. More Truth Serum events can be found at www.truthserum.org.

The UFR program is currently an extension of THE VIDEO UNDERGROUND, an independent video rental store located at 389 Centre Street in Hyde Square, Jamaica Plain (617-522-4949) that seeks to support and promote independent filmmakers and create a diverse film/video selection for its customers. Please visit www.thevideounderground.com for info.

The Milky Way Lounge is located at 403-405 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain, downstairs from Bella Luna. It is accessible via public transportation (Perkins Street stop on the #39 Bus/Jackson Square stop on the Orange Line T). Please call 617.524.3740 for directions or other club information.

posted by evonne | 4:08 PM
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