Allan Fish Online Film Festival 2017

Today, Thursday, May 11th Wonders in the Dark will be hosting a 16 day Allan Fish Online Film Festival (Allan Fish OFF), of which I am a part of. The rules are simple; each day will see a new chairman host the festivities and select a film that is available to be watched by anyone, online for free from a popular streaming site (youtube, vimeo, dailymotion, etc.). The host for that day will decide how the film they chose will be presented; an essay, a sparse teaser introduction, or ‘other’ (the creativity seen on the blogosphere for film commentary knows no bounds as we all know). Thus, conceivably the film festival could be nearly real; people anywhere on the globe watching the same film, at roundabout the same time. It’s named in honor of our dear friend and film scholar Allan Fish, whose birthday was May 11th, and will be an annual event from this day forward. He found so many of his treasured Obscuro’s doing just what we’re setting out to do with this Festival, so it seemed the most fitting way to remember him. More information on the festival can be found here, with the first post here.


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Happy 70th Birthday, Iggy Pop

There is a rather appropriate scene in Seinfeld where Kramer bets he can use his knowledge of George’s considerable vices to guess what his ATM password is. Kramer surmises that when one picks such a code we always, ‘return to our dark masters’; the things that pray at our weaknesses, and ultimately give us our ultimate guilty pleasures. Kramer correctly identifies that George’s ‘dark master’ is the ‘cocoa bean’ and that something chocolate derived will result in a correct guess of his password (which ends up being ‘Bosco’, the chocolate syrup brand). Thinking that this month was completely open, I decided that I—after three mixes where I used girl group pop, vintage garage, early R&B drinking songs, Prog, hip pop, post-punk etcetera to varying degrees—would return to my ‘dark master’, the thing that gives me perhaps the greatest joy in popular music: the big fat groove riff. Something I largely haven’t touched in my mixes up to this point. Continue reading

2016 Chicago International Film Festival Poster

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From here on out I’m attempting to create a poster for every CIFF poster competition that runs during late winter/early spring. Since I just received the notice for the 2017 (due sometime in May) I thought it’d be interesting to post the one I did, and submitted, last year. I didn’t win, but I made it to the final rounds, before ultimately loosing to an Alfred Hitchcock inspired design.  Continue reading

Get Higher Baby and Never Come Down

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With this month being the triple themed smorgasbord that it was (Valentines Day, Black History Month, and LGBT Awareness Month), I tried to come up with an idea that used all these in some way, and still flow in a coherent, seamless way. Thus, I envisioned a dance mix (what could be as romantic on a Valentine’s Day?) with a more or less continuous heavy bass line running through it using African American artists predominately, but also many overtly political ones of several different nationalities as well (of mixed gender and sexuality throughout). Featuring a wide ranging mélange of genres (from raunchy hip hop to feminist post-punk dub to 70’s English prog rock to suedehead Mod), I wanted to show how all this is cut from the same cloth. In a world like ours currently, dance floor unity Trumps all (and many of the songs feature appropriate lyrical content for anyone interested in reading between the lines). So to all my soul brothers and sisters, I present my February mix: Get Higher Baby and Never Come Down.

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Letter to Mommy and Daddy

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Today I’m able to release my next mix titled Letter to Mommy and Daddy, just ahead of another one that is coming at the end of February. It’s a somewhat ambitious idea in concept (mixing two very different pop ideas: noise/shoegaze with deep, classic 60’s Soul) and execution (it’s bookended with kaleidoscopic sound collages and noise blasts), so I hope you all like it. There is some stereo stuff going on, so I’d recommend listening with headphones on.

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Songs I Love: ‘I Can’t Work No Longer’ (A)/’Tomorrow is a Better Day’ (B)

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Often rabid record collectors will find their recollections on music highjacked by a discussion on their all-time favorite 45s. The sides that can be endlessly spun and always provide that same rush afforded the first listen often don’t so much produce conversation, as they do intense love letters from one individual to another, that if not reciprocated will stop everything dead in their tracks. But then, even on top of those are the 45’s, are those that provide that exhilaration twice, once on the A and once on the B side. Imagine the shock when one of my absolute stunners, the Okeh career of Billy Butler, produces several such dual slabs of magic, with only barely ever denting the charts.

But it was the one hit he did have: Okeh release 7221, a #6 in 1966, that is the point of todays discussion. Continue reading