Monday, December 28, 2009

AMY WALLER: Giant Dick Eagle

Waller in action at Current Gallery, 2007

Oklahoma-born, Baltimore-bred Amy Waller is a true and naked frontier spirit, blessed with a swift mind carried by anti-establishment wings. As member of Lexie Mountain Boys, fearlessly adventuring into realms of expansive embarrassment experimentation remains her particular hallmark. As band costumer and seamstress, she is responsible for Petals the Party Dress, a gigantic pink maypole-cum-parachute dress machine requiring no less than 12 people to operate. As a resident of Austin TX since 2009, she is a pet-sitting pedicabber on a bicycle trip to Mexico with a plan to teach English in South America. She is vulgar yet adorable, and she likes to make her own fun.

What do you do? What are you doing the most lately?

I make people perform in situational plays.

How long have you done these things? How have the things changed?

Since my little sister was born. I made her dance while I played the piano. Made and directed plays and dances in the neighbors’ basement. Took over large scale productions of pep rallies in high school, getting away with a lot and casting people in different roles. The volleyball team was Ewoks in the Star Wars pep rally. I spent my entire night of my 16th birthday constructing a giant shark to eat the entire basketball team for the Jaws pep rally. The most memorable pep rally idea that I got away with (I have no idea why)? The premise was that the opposing team’s gym sock had been left in the locker room and rotted so much that it turned into a giant mutant gym sock. The cheerleaders were some how then a box of Cheer detergent that the sock was washed in and destroyed. I constructed a giant sock and cast Nathan Stambaugh as the sock. Aaron Huth, my best friend and creative rival, was casted as the wimpy gay runner who after running a bunch of laps around the gym ran into the gym locker room and was then attacked by the mutant sock. The sock comes out and of course looks like a giant condom, and then my best cheerleader friend Tiffany comes out to save him in the eagle mascot outfit but puts it on backwards and the tail ends up in front like a giant dick. So the giant dick eagle is fighting a giant condom at Harford Christian School. Luckily I did not get in trouble and they did not start harassing me until the end of my senior year, but did they think we staged this on purpose? Probably we were all in drama class together that year and had a great time.

Amy Harmon, left, and Waller in Bremen, Germany, 2009

Why do you do these things?

It makes me feel happy, and helps keep the imagination cooking. Luckily I haven't been in a situation where it’s been completely impossible not too.

When was That Moment in your life that told you you would become what you are?

I never had that moment. I would say if I started making films or working in plays I would say, oh okay looking back I've always been meant to do this, but I really feel like I enjoy doing things on such a low budget level that its a hobby that I've been lucky enough to always find people to collaborate with.

How has your life changed to accommodate That Moment's effect on you?
I don't know that my life has ever changed, but if I can talk most directly about our relationship. When I met you I knew we were going to be a band together. I remember reading the Friendster “roomate wanted” [post] and I think at that time we had already sung Marilyn Manson's "Tainted Love" at a Valentine’s Day party. And I knew when I moved in that it was going to happen. For some reason I pictured us like covering bible hymns and actually playing instruments. But I'm really glad the "Lexie Mountain Boys" project has turned out like it has.
Bob Weir's Rat Dog jamming beneath Waller's American Flag, made for the cover of Akron/ Family's 2009 album "Set 'Em Wild Set 'Em Free"

How has your work affected your life in return?
Well it’s made me pretty confused as to what I "should" be doing job/career wise but I think I'm slowly figuring it out. Your advice of "Yeah, but there are so many normal people to do normal stuff for you” has really been helpful. But I have found doing something that is sort of technical and dry does help the art come out in short of a rage.

How does your location affect what you do and who you are these days?
Yesterday my friend Grant and I wrote a script for "The Bonafied Gentleman," Austin's original male fantasy cooperative. Basically a strip-club run by insane feminists. The gist of my character is that I get up and say really sassy like a phone sex operator "I'm the ultimate enlightened male fantasy, I do whatever I want." There is going to be a lot of making boys do things that are "what I want to see" sort of like a tit for tat ridiculousness. Like straddle them but then eat a bag of cheetos and get offended if they are not turned on, but offended if they are. Just ridiculousness.

Harmon & Waller prepare for a rare live stage appearance with Akron/Family somewhere in fucking Texas

What do you think of the future?

I'm a huge fan of the future, and could not be more happy to be living in the era that we are in, and also could not be more pleased with my generation most specifically the "class of 2000". I do find it interesting that when we met America was sort of at the height of having the dumbest of things, and it’s been really crazy how fast its taken a dive.

What do you feel you have in common with David Lee Roth?

Well in all honesty. I find that when I go out I am not entertained unless being some sort of a hole. An evening ago I danced topless all night just to see what would happen with the frat dudes. One dude approached me and said you are "crazy wild bitch, lets go right now me and you lets get our fuck on. " I was laughing hysterically the whole time. I figured he was about 19. Roseanna my roomate then came to save me as he was grabbing my hair. He said "okay, you two my house. I want to see one of you gagging on my balls and another one on my dick." I got to work on the stripper character so I said, "okay, okay whip it out, whip it out. Let me see this pathetic thing." It came out and then Roseanna poured a beer on it. He got angry and of course was yelling. "That went too far, that went too far." I looked at him and I said "really?" And he was in the same minute said "okay, I guess it was funny."


Sunday, December 27, 2009

JEREMY HARRIS: Thru Earth With Time

Jeremy Harris occasionally lives in Providence RI and has been making music as Lazy Magnet, a bent-out-of-shape pop/electronic-noise project, since age 16, either as a soloist or leader of group entity. Lately he's been wrangling a project called "Adventure Hippies", wherein friends who donated money towards his return to the US from France are paired up for musical collaboration. Jeremy is extremely prolific and dedicated to his craft of complete immersion and possession. Like many great men, he was once a dishwasher.

What do you do? What are you doing the most lately?
- reading every philip k dick book post-"man in the high castle"
- playing a korg poly 800 and a roland tr 505 thru a boss DM2 delay pedal
- writing fiction to come to terms with a life of failure
- walking 19 blocks to wilson hall in nashville, tennessee and participating in psyc
h studies for 10 dollars an hour
- experimenting with having sex with people i'm not attached to romantically

How long have you done these things? How have the things changed?
a couple weeks...
- i finish and start diffrent titles.. this week: a maze of death and counter-clockwise world
- tapes of jams are being reworked into new songs for the next lazy magnet album due out on corleone records
- the latest story is taking shape as a play to be performed next month in nashville and an animation collab with jo dery
- slowly making the money i need to pay back the people who bailed me out after last european tour tanked financially
- i'm not into it... so i stopped

Why do you do these things? No, really, why? How does it make you feel? What's it like when you are unable to do these things?
- this particular writers voice is a welcome friend in an otherwise lonely universe. try as i might i cant finish any other writers books that i start....
- i want to top my last record. "to exist in the fullness of possesion and at the height of power"
- jo asked me to write a story about something specific.. in the process of trying to articulate free-associative ideas i recognized somethings about the last year that i hadnt thought all the way though until that moment.. and so decided that writing could be usefull.

- since i was kicked out of my moms house on my 18th birthday i've been poor. i need money to survive. it's nice to walk. i dont own a bike since moving back from paris

Lazy Magnet live 2008, photo by Kevin Pelrine

When was That Moment in your life that told you you would become what you are?
... it has something to do with listening to iron maiden really loud when my parents would leave the house when i was 7 or 8... and thrashing around my living room like an extra in an anthrax video...
... and the part of the woodstock soundtrack where the guy is yelling at the crowd to spell "fuck" -- i used to listen to that over and over again when my parents werent home...
... and maybe watching a video of myself playing drums with fingerless leath
er gloves on when i was 11...
... and playing tapes of my own home recorded music for friends in their cars and feeling like i was special.. an outstanding, special person and that i had a special talent that deserved attention.. from my self as well as from others

How has your life changed to accommodate That Moment's effect on you?
- i've always followed my own star

How has your work affected your life in return?
- i've remained poor..

- i have made many friends..
- i've created things that i feel reflect my essential being and nature to a primitive and basic degree...

Jeremy at WFMU going live for Jason Sigal's Talk's Cheap

What do you think of the future?
- totally, totally psyched ... i want the chip in me.. technological telepathy thru wifi mind meld... 4 d cube slice thru earth with time

What's the best thing about David Lee Roth? What's your favorite thing about him? Least favorite?
- i love diamond dave.. absolutely.
- the cover to eat em and smile rules..
- the video for just a gigolo was really important to me when i was young..
- the fact that he secretly financed a punk club in los angeles in the early 80s rules.. and his reasons for keeping it secret.. um, rule... i wonder if he has an autobiography.. most likely.. little richards autobiography is great...

David Lee Roth's totally bonkers and uncontrolled rant disguised as an autobiography is called Crazy From The Heat.
It raises questions about his sexuality in ways you may not expect.

The Lazy Magnet set on WFMU is really great. Here are other places:
Lazy Magnet on Myspace
Corleone Records

Monday, December 21, 2009

IRENE MOON: What Seemed Simpler

The unbelievably prolific Irene Moon currently resides in the North Carolina home where she grew up, amidst collections of rescued ferns, elf homes, rare pottery, toy horses and devil's-head jugs. Her theatrical and musical output exhibits an equally bewildering array of influence (from a lifelong passion for insects to stark allegories of the subconscious,) characterized by blend of dark humor and childlike enthusiasm.

What do you do? What are you doing the most lately?
I inhabit universities. I am an entomologist…I study insects. I program web content. I facilitate free dispersal of biological information. I create music that is theatrical in nature. I create recordings and release them. I build things.

How long have you done these things?

Insects—all my life

Music—since about 1996 or 97

Why do you do them? How does it make you feel?
Mostly I do it because its fun. When it is no longer fun than I guess Ill move on to something else.

Irene performing Conjur Auk at the Midway Cafe, Jamaica Plain MA. Photo by Bill T. Miller, 2005

When was That Moment in your life that told you you would become what you are? What happened?
That moment happened a few times…moments of choice between what seemed like a harder path and what seemed simpler.

My first year in collage a lot gelled for me. I was taking courses in zoology along with design school classes. I was discussing with my advisor about how I wanted to get a merged degree, one involving the design of organisms. He said I couldn’t do that, so I quit that university, hitch-hiked to Athens GA, got a job in the Entomology Department, accepted to art school and started performing musical scientific slide show lectures.

The moment happened again after graduating from art school I decided that if I wanted to do science related art I needed to actually work in science. To experience it, not just imagine the experience. So I left Athens and got my masters degree in the Entomology Department at the University of Kentucky.

How has your life changed or not changed to accommodate that moment's effect on you?
My work is all I think about and I am sure I'll die early because of it. Personal and family relationships have suffered. I only own music gear and a few pillows I really like.

Auk Theatre press photo

How has your work affected your life in return?
I can talk about how much I love Black Sabbath for hours without getting bored. My favorite thing in the world to do is listen to ELO while programming. I am pretty good at giving a lecture, scientific or musical.

The best thing is the number of friends I have made. People of similar drive both in music and entomology who have a creative and strong desire to uncover some hidden truth.

What does David Lee Roth mean to you?
Everything. I even have a Van Halen velcro wallet.

Incredibly thorough Irene Moon websightings:

Irene Moon Wikipedia page

Saturday, December 19, 2009

TOM BORAM: Swimming Up the Spirit Vacuum

Baltimore's Tom Boram: social worker and respectable neighborhood husband by day, freakbeat multi-instrumentalist when the sun goes down. As one-third of space-prance trio Leprechaun Catering with Jason Willett & Dan Breen, one-half of foodsperimental snazz excursion SNACKS with Dan Breen, or some mysterious fraction of two ingenious, oppositely purposed cover bands (The Louie Louise and Baltimore Afrobeat Society), Tom is a highly inventive performer and cultural participant. The editor of the Baltimore City Paper once called him a "crazy straw." He wears stripes, smokes pipes, and lives in Waverly with his wife, artist Jackie Milad.

What do you do? What are you doing the most lately?

I guess I can say "I do this, I do this too, I do this..." but I don't want to be a buffet. Maybe I might like buffets, but I don't want to operate one. I'm trying to make a big weird casserole or build a genius sex kitten out of spare parts like in "Weird Science". I don't want to offer my peas, my banana pudding or my sex kittens in separate containers. I think I'm a "musician" by default because I'm only about 50% auto didactic with music compared to 90-100% with everything else I regularly engage in. I mean, for someone playing music as long as I have, I'm far from virtuosic, and I barely register as practiced, but it's my lens and the springboard for everything else I do.

Lately I've been making a (relatively) ambitious film with my Snacks constituent Dan Breen. We're co-starring, co-directing, co-scoring, co-editing, co-sound-designing, co-art-designing, co-gripping, co-gophering, co-hatchetmen etc etc. I'm not as interested lately in playing "music" at "shows". I'd rather commit my energy to the aesthetic and technical yoga required to completing this single project that yolks all or most of my interests and philosophies.

How long have you done these things? How have the things changed?
Well that's the thing. If I'm a "musician", I've been playing piano as long as I can remember anything. I'm 35 years old. I sang in church choirs, played trombone in my childhood. I've been playing guitar for 22 years. Guitars and 12-tone keyboards pianos feel as much a part of my body as my ass. But, for all my conventional instrumental background I spend as much, if not more time making "music" with knobby, buttony, patch-cabley machines...and, God help me, computers. I strive constantly for the sensation of being self-taught, so I've been seeking electronics and esoteric instruments to keep me padded in a state of relative naive discovery in spite of my long music background. In my film, or performance, theatre, dance, foodie forays, I do it for better or worse without tuition.

I just got back from Europe, and after having a lot of conversations with experimental musicians there, I see even more clearly how the "classical" sense of music/art informs everything there, including much the "avant garde". Generalizing, I think that in Europe artists/musicians hold to the classic model of "virtuoso", one who specializes and refines their most obvious talent as a career. America, being a bastard young of Europe has a good bit of this same mentality but is slightly more permissive to mutants, and to rich sensibilites that come housed in less "baked" technical constructions - what Euros term "art brut".

What's changed in me is that technology (both current and obsolete) and multi-media platforms have allowed me to express my "music"-filtered but non-music ideas. I would need a very unusually formatted band or concert to even want to see live music these days. I like elements of drama, or theatre, or sculpture, or absurdity to creep into live music performance. Cross platform creating is very interesting to me now hence all the jabber about buffet vs casserole.

L to R: Tom Boram, Dan Breen. Photo courtesy Tom, 2009.

Why do you do these things? What's it like when you are unable to do these things?
There is a strange combination of pleasure and spiritual growth made possible through art doing. When I feel myself growing I'm satisfied that the universe is dynamic and exciting. When I feel pleasure I'm satisfied that the universe rewards effort and consideration. When I'm not growing, obviously I'm very depressed and feel on the fritz with creation. The total lack of a single creative outlet would result in suicide. God forbid this very unlikely possibility.

When was That Moment in your life that told you you would become what you are?
When I was 19, and on a break from college, I set out one night from my parent's house in the woods outside of Bmore on about 3 grams of psilocybin mushrooms. It was cold and clear, but the past week's 18 inches of snow were still on the ground. I soon realized that I was going to trip in a far more profound way than i ever had, in spite of tons of psychedelic trips. I went into my first ever "white out". Being alone without friends to ground me, I completely recessed into my mind - all sense of ego, proportion and orientation completely erased.

I went through a death experience, living a micro lifetime with no identity in a place where form can be anything it wants and change at any rate it wants. I was in this state for hours. As I was starting to come down i got the impression that I was a fetus, being born into a "new" person. A bit like the star chamber sequence in 2001, where the fetus hovers above the earth, after having its soul chewed up and fractalized by unbelievable technology. Eventually, my psilocybin paralysis wore off enough for me make an active decision, and I pulled my "embryonic sack" apart to discover that I was in fact in my bed. I had somehow gotten back up to my room from out in the snow, took off all my clothes and climbed into bed. I was amazed - I had been merely my familiar young adult self all night, tripping and naked crouching like a fetus in a blanket womb, not a dead mind swimming up the spirit vacuum into someone's uterus.

I was happy that I had not been dead, but I felt invigorated that I had felt so vividly the sensation of dying.

Set of GASA. Doppelganger club's house band.
L to R: Spoon Popkin, a lion, Virginia Warwick, April Camlin.
Lower left-hand corner features Tom & Eric Franklin's forehead. Photo by Lex, 2009

How has your life changed to accommodate That Moment's effect on you?

It made me realize the importance of growth and evolution. For a person to not actively pursue their total reality is a real shame. The things inside of us are unspeakably fantastic and terrifying.

How has your work affected your life in return?
My creativity is to my life what the word "fart" is to the "thing" fart.

How does your location affect what you do and who you are these days?
I'm a born and bred Baltimorean. I find Baltimore to be an interesting yoga. It's pretty pleasant, it has history and character(s). It's also brutal, bleak and capable of lending up some serious ignoramuses from across its demographic carousel. Occasionally it feels incredibly provincial and too small, lacking diversity. I enjoy the love/hate I feel towards Baltimore, though. You really need to be intimate with a thing to see a depth of variety, the wonder and the loathing. This is a great meditation for me, seeing the duality of my home. It's a fine place, to be sure, with a discriminating artist scene to keep things fresh and it can inspire with the occasional display of the truly bizarre. I met my delightful wife Jackie in Baltimore, so it's given me some great gifts.

SNACKS @ True Vine, 2005. Dan Breen is on the right there, amplifying a pretzel slurpee. Photo by Lex

What do you think of the future?
I'm glad that America is sliding off, 'cause i think that will allow more alien cultural and technological things to influence and morph the "western" mainstream. I look forward to learning much from the junk/pop imports that will flood the waning "First World" from Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America, as well as the genuine innovations that will come nestled amongst these pop land mines. I'm not dystopian or utopian. I view technology as a continuum - pretending to make life easier while keeping it more or less at the same amount of inconvenience, but succeeding at least in creating new contexts. For me and for creative people generally, I think new ideas and formats are always exciting, and new ideas will be aplenty, exponentially dividing. On the down side, abominations will not restrain themselves from trampling decency aboard new technology. Also, the obsolescence of once new and/or great movements and/or technology is always sad.

See David Bowie's "Oh You Pretty things" for an approximation of my feelings about the future. The future is the present, but splintered and origami'd.

Tom, after SNACKS set, karaokeing "Jump". Or "Panama." L to R: Jake Freeman, Tom, Reba. Photo by Lex, 2005

What has David Lee Roth meant in your life?
David Lee Roth is completely utopian 80s magic. The video for "Jump" signified millennial joy to my 10 year old brain. Clearly a video whose production costs were far disproportionate to the amount made by the song it represented --- just a bunch of strangely attired California nouveau rich, top lit, dancing around like hyenas and pretending to play a Van Halen song. But I think the meaninglessness and shiny hubris of that song and video is iconic. MTV was naive joy and cardboard futurism in 1984 and that vid played big on the hour throughout.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

ROBERT RYAN: Baphomet & Shangri La

"Love is All", Robert Ryan

I first met Robert "Bink" Ryan when he set up a show for Crazy Dreams Band in his one-room studio slash gallery slash third floor walkup off one of Asbury Park's Cookman Street. His walls were covered in gorgeous framed works in a metaphysical-flash style and a third of one wall was entirely given over to a monochromatic cosmos mural by Daniel Higgs. Nobody at the party seemed particularly interested in our music, but Bink's fridge seemed to grow beer and everyone was pretty nice. The next day, I walked miles in a freak hailstorm to Robert's tattoo shop one town away where I received a rainbow ice cup and my clothing was dried in a laundry room filled with Chihuahua figurines. Asbury Park, New Jersey is sort of a magical wasteland in itself, and now Bink lives in the neighboring village of Ocean Grove, a plot of mansions and cottages on Methodist-owned land that closes its gates at midnight. He spearheads the musical entity Harmonize Most High and continues to execute dazzling works of art for flesh and paper.

What do you do?

I make paintings and tattoos and try to work on music as much as the painting and tattooing will allow for me to do.

What are you doing the most lately?

I feel like I have been traveling a lot lately and studying. I have been working with plant medicines and working on my posture and breathing. Of the aforementioned things I feel like tattooing has been occupying a big spot because that's what pays the bills.

How long have you done these things?

Tattooing for 14 years.
Painting for about 16 and playing music for about 23 years.

How have the things changed?
Well I feel like its always expanding
and contracting. Its always growing I'm always purging expelling all the bullshit that attaches itself to you on these paths. Earthly snares and such.

Why do you do these things?

For the Love

How does it make you feel?
Like my hero Sun Ra said "Music can be
your greatest ambassador or your worst nemesis."

What's it like when you are unable to do these things?

I feel like I
imagine a worried mother must feel like.

When was That Moment in your life that told you you would become what you are?
When I was young I used to live in an old house that belonged to Eugene O'Neal's widow and daughter, Agnes and Una. They lived there after Una divorced Charlie Chaplin. One night my cousin and I were playing in the yard and we both saw what we thought was Eugene O' Neal's
ghost walk past us. At that moment my mind was open to anything. I was Eleven.

How has your life changed to accommodate That Moment's effect on you?
Well I figured out right away that I wasn't taking the easy way out. To see ghosts and UFOs and consume LSD or live in Hare Krishna temple might be hard to explain to your friends and loved ones yet is still worth the experience.

How has your work affected your life in return?

I could be the poster
child for what you should or what you shouldn't do with your life. It all depends on who you ask. Tattooing has shaped me as well as destroyed me, like my psychic baphomet. Music on the other hand is my Shangri La and painting might be the strongest of my personal connections.

How does your location affect what you do and who you are these days?
As you know I live between "Gods square mile" Ocean Grove & "The city by the Sea" Asbury Park. I feel as though I'm very lucky to work with some of the greatest people I know, I live four blocks from the beach and I play Frisbee with my dog almost every morning. The music scene here is so backwards and the art scene pretty much sucks despite the fact some of the best illustrators and painters I know live within 10 minutes of here. We all just exist outside our locale and I think there is something to be said about that.

What do you think of the future?

I think its an oblong oblivion.

What has David Lee Roth meant in your life?
He is like my favorite rock roll trickster. Giant Surfboards, Samurai Swords, Assless Pants, High Kicks, Monster Trucks! The guy is a Titan guarding the temple of Rock and Roll but then he gets busted buying dime bags of downtown julie brown ( middle school jersey weed slang) in Washington square park? This was a task I mastered in the 10th grade. He really is mystifying. I spent a whole summer surfing and watching the "Just a Gigolo "and "California Girls" videos on what felt like a perpetual loop.

Do you have anything you'd like to ask me?
I would like your advice on my retirement idea. Dig it! A small shack, One man (or woman) in a hazmat suit and a dogbowl on his head. He makes burritos named after the famous songs of one of the most important rock and roll bands of our generation DE EVOLUTION BURRITO! Customer: " I would like one Mongoloid with medium salsa please and can I get cheese on that? Burritista: "Yes sir we can whip it." Customer : "Oh then whip it good"

All images courtesy Robert Ryan.

Robert Ryan works at Electric Tattoo
314 Main St. Bradley Beach NJ 07720
p: 732- 988-8882

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

ERIC ALLEN HATCH: Separate Violent Accidents

photos courtesy Eric Allen Hatch, shown here behaving allegorically

Eric Allen Hatch was an original member of the Red Room. Which sort of makes him partway responsible (along with many other unsung and semi-sung heroes) for Baltimore's Cultural Landscape in The Naughties today because, musically speaking, The Red Room opened the floodgates for modern experimentalists and improvisers to enter Baltimore, and thus for Baltimore to enter them. He was part of the trickle that opened out, decades later, into a rich, rank, silty delta of radical. More recently, his
Free First Thursdays Film Series (Oct 2006 - Aug 2008) at the Baltimore Museum of Art was "a mixture of truly adventurous films ... focusing particularly on the visionary film explosion of the 1960s and '70s", with a programming emphasis on the rarely-screened. These days he programs the Maryland Film Festival, ever hot on the trail of helping out the city he calls home by watching movies all day and being nice.

"this is me and my friend evan 16 years ago"

What do you do? What are you doing the most lately?
I’m a film programmer; my year-round day job is with Maryland Film Festival. I sort through hundreds of entries from filmmakers to select films for our festival in May, and travel to other film festivals over the course of the year (like SXSW, New York Asian, and Toronto International) in the hopes of luring gems back to Baltimore.

Prior to this I founded, programmed, and hosted the Free First Thursdays Film Series at the Baltimore Museum of Art (which ran from ’06 through ’08 and favored ‘60s and ‘70s world cinema).

Some people also know me as a former music and film critic for City Paper, and/or as a former manager of the Charles Village Video Americain.

Back in the day I used to DJ around town. In case you missed out on that, spend an evening listening to “Push It,” “It’s Tricky,” “The Humpty Dance,” and “Me So Horny” in a continuous loop, and it’ll be just like you were there.

Most often in my waking life I am listening to music (5-10 hours a day), watching movies (1-4 features a day), walking (3-10 miles a day), record shopping (all my $$$), or reading (data fluctuates wildly).

l to r: Eric Allen Hatch, Scott Braid, Skyzz Cyzyk, John Waters

How long have you done these things?
The BMA series launched almost 4 years ago (R.I.P.); I started working for MD Film Fest full time in January 2007. Before that, I’d done a spot of programming here or there (see “Moments,” below).

Why do you do them? How does it make you feel?
It makes me feel great to connect positively with other people, and one way to do this is through my cultural tastes.

"this is me playing dr dude"

When was That Moment in your life that told you you would become what you are? What happened?
Lots of slow-burn, lowercase-“m” moments: curating a 16mm film night at the Red Room nearly a decade ago; working as a member of the MicroCineFest screening committee under Skizz Cyzyk (one of Baltimore’s real cultural heroes); discovering the work of favorite directors like RW Fassbinder, Frederick Wiseman, and Claire Denis; attending double features at the Orpheum and the Satyajit Ray retrospective circa ’96 at the Charles; watching an average of 3 movies a day, 365 days a year from 1998-2004.

How has your life changed or not changed to accommodate that moment's effect on you?
With both film programming and critical writing, my life has become about connecting other people’s artistic accomplishments with audiences. My life’s goal had previously always been to find a way to make a living, however meager, via writing fiction (or maybe screenplays). In the long-term, I’ll have to figure out if that dream has been scrapped or just put on hold.

How has your work affected your life in return?
I have enormous amounts of free time in the summer and absolutely no free time from late February through early May. I get to New York more often and I’ve gotten to know Toronto fairly well. I drink a lot of coffee at Red Emma’s. I’ve met a lot of filmmakers, most of whom are really cool (with a couple of douches in the mix).

What do you dream about constantly?
Launching a gatefold-cover, 180-gram vinyl record label devoted to new Baltimore music; programming and managing a restored single-screen movie theater such as the Parkway on North Avenue or the Playhouse on 25th Street; living in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco; becoming a Hollywood script doctor to raise money for any/all of the above; making a living as a novelist in Baltimore or even New York City; experiencing a Baltimore City with a subway system as extensive as DC’s Metro.

"this is me when a monkey visited the film fest office"

Some true, little-known facts about you?
  • Both of my grandfathers lost pinky fingers in separate violent accidents, decades apart.
  • A friend of the family named her child Eric Hatch Kim after me, shortly before the entire family was deported.
  • I was reared without a television from birth until, fortuitously, the month “Twin Peaks” was first broadcast.
  • My middle-school English teacher took a letter grade off a paper for my use of the phrase “Tom Sawyer was raised…”, and asked to see me after class – at which point she angrily shouted at me, “Human beings are REARED; livestock is raised.”
What advice would you give David Lee Roth if he was in the midst of an existential crisis and he came to you and only you for help?
He’s only a name to me, but my gut says move to Baltimore and start a band with Lexie. In general I am happy to listen to people’s problems.