A Muff Dozen?


Apparently the reaction time of some birds is measurably quicker when they are flying as part of a flock, as opposed to solo. Same goes for guys in flock, if you’ve seen the documentary about Annabel Chong having sex with 250 guys in 10 hours. That’s an average of 144 seconds per guy, quite a brisk reaction time. Square root of 144 is 12 – exactly the number of totally fascinating people on the screen at MUFF – the 2003 Melbourne Underground Film Festival. If you can’t make the festival – check muff.com.au for a bird’s eye view.

One – Jay Katz and Miss Death
Actually one person with two very distinct and charming personalities. Proudly based in Sydney, they have nonetheless been lured South to present a program of 16mm film and video that displays the manipulation of the media from the beginning of Television in the 20th century up to the recent Iraqi war. Also known for the’Sounds of Seduction’ extravaganzas, the infamous Mu-Meson band, seminal experimenters SPK, and nurturing a crazy archive of long-forgotten films, records and other forms of media you wouldn’t recognise.

Two – Craig Baldwin
Bunkers down in San Francisco, below a cinema so the story goes, and crafts together crazy cut n paste cinematic offerings that if you must thread them together, offer a ‘found footage’ attack on the power structures of today. Sonic Outlaws tackled copyright, Tribulation 99 – conspiracy theories from the big bang through to the end of the world, and his most recent Spectres of the Spectrum – bumrushed the airwaves show.

Three – Peter Conheim
Apart from being in Negativland, champions of funny politicised sampling, Peter’s also co-directed a movie – Value Added Cinema – which reveals 3 decades worth of ‘product placements’ in Hollywood movies. Mega-stars slugging their way through so much soft-drink and fast-food it’d feed a small country.

Four – Karen Carpenter – google.com
She struggled through her fame with anorexia, a story later told with the use of barbie dolls by filmmaker Todd Haynes. The film was blocked by Richard Carpenter, but screens anyway at muff.

Five – Richard Metzger
Who John Safran might have been, had he taken more acid and grown up amidst NY’s art-underworld. Founded the Disinfo web portal into weird culture, later expanded it to a BBC series of fascinating interviews with truly strange characters such as Genesis P. Orridge of Throbbing Gristle fame, Robert Anton Wilson who wrote the Illuminatus trilogy, Grant Morrison who scribes ‘The Invisibles’, and ritualistic artist Joe Coleman etc etc. Sells it pretty hard, but they’re a pretty kooky bunch. A DVD of the series is available on their site.

Sex – Asia Argento ( all over google )
I’m sure it mustn’t escape the muff team that their fest is skimpy on female directors. The number of them that is, not what they’re wearing. Asia presumably doesn’t wear much in ‘Scarlet Diva’ – her self-directed debut of ‘sex, drugs and perversion’.

Seven – Barry 7 ( ADD N TO (XXX)
Rumours a while back said Massive Attack were doing a soundtrack for the world’s first zero-gravity porno. Never heard more about that, but sex and music promotion are obvious bedfellows. Barry 7 is a band member of the delightfully wonky strains of Add N to (X), and has extended himself to directorial duties : a 32 minute promo video for their single ‘plug me in’, which features two American porn stars and the ADD N TO (X) fucking machine.

Eight – Shepard Fairey
Shepard Fairey created Obey Giant and the Giant Has A Posse imagery. And a video – “Attention Deficiency Disorder” – by and about graffiti artist + other stencil artists, and combining skateboarding, parody of consumer culture, animation, graffiti and riots.

Nine – David Irving ( google the boy )
Notably claimed the Nazi gas chambers at Auschwitz in World War II were ficticious, and has been banned from Australia for his beliefs. Muff disagree with his beliefs, but argue they are going to show his film ( and live phone chat after ) because freedom of speech has to include ‘unpopular’ speech.

Ten – Bam Margera ( google the boy )
Famous for his ‘Jackass’ stunts, pranks and general prattiness, and now CKY: CAMP KILL YOURSELF, which promises more of almost exactly the same.

Eleven – Shannon Young
Aussie director of ‘Razor Eaters’ – a gang who videotape their crimes, and gradually grab the allegiance of the public by targetting members of society we might believe deserve to suffer a little.

And a Muff Dozen >> Reverend Billy
Reverend Billy, a.k.a. Bill Talen, is an actor/performance artist whose work combines the ideas of social and political change with the means of theatre arts to counteract a media-laden culture. As the minister of the Church of Stop Shopping in NYC, he invades ‘cultural dead zones’ such as Starbucks and Disney to protest creeping consumerism, child labor, and manipulative advertising.

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