Thursday, 30 May 2013

If I was a Wishman!

Doris Wishman is one of cinema's most outré outsider artists. The Queen of the nudie-cutie. The Knave of the Roughies. The anonymous director of hard-core porn such as Satan was a Lady. The hooded figure of Death behind A Night to Dismember.

She's in a league with Roger Corman, Russ Meyer and Ed Wood. She's an artist who's influenced John Waters and Quentin Tarantino. She's probably never made a watchable film, but she had a 40 year career and released over 30 movies. All low budget/no budget.

Producer, Director, Writer, Editor, ADR artiste... She performed so many roles on each one of her films that she had to invent cockamamie pseudonyms to make it seem like she had a crew. When in reality she had a nudist camp and its habitués, a fading burlesque performer as a star, and C. Davis Smith as her cameraman.

If you like Ed Wood and love Russ Meyer you will be astounded by the films of Doris Wishman.

 Doris Wishman's career began with a perfect storm – she was widowed just as a court ruled that any film depicting nudity at a nudist camp was not obscene. I devote this post solely to her masterpiece...

That's the title. It's the plot. It's the story. It describes exactly what the film looks like. The actual 67 minutes of celluloid are redundant. A wealthy private scientist builds his own rocket with the help of his dedicated assistant, and they fly to the moon. The moon looks exactly like Coral Castle, Florida, and is inhabited by a race of amazonian moon woman who communicate psychopathically. Which is to say, via pipe-cleaner bobble head antennae. Wearing nothing but their bikini bottoms. 

The Astro-men are briefly imprisoned, let themselves out of jail, and, to use a 1930s term “make love” to the nude on the moon women (which is to say, talk their heads off about love without any physical contact whatsoever). They then steal all the moon gold and rocketship back to earth.

Only to come to, from a dream. Hey, they never left the earth at all. But the wealthy private scientist suddenly notices his secretary is beautiful. And we are wincing at this last, cheesy device – she is, of course, the nude on the moon amazon queen. Love was waiting here on earth all along.

It is Wishman's ability to fill one hour with mise-en-scene of topless women doing, basically, topless pilates while everyone's speech is out of sync with their lips that is absolutely fascinating. She is a supreme minimalist. No sound recording, no special effects, no clothes, no real actors. And yet a film emerges.

Wishman's nudie cutie period lasted 8 films made between 1959 and 1964. Each was filmed at a nudist camp. Except Nude on the Moon. So she had to lie about that (She must have been quite believable – Coral Castle is a very particular locale)

The Memphis King of B-Movies, Superstarlet A.D. Producer/Director John Michael McCarthy, had this to say about Doris Wishman...

"My starlet wife Dawn Ashcraft and I actually met Doris Wishman at the 1998 New York Underground Film Festival and had our picture made with her. Later we all went out to eat and we talked about our mutual friendship with David F. Friedman.

"I am sitting here in my smoking jacket (and I don't even smoke) thinking about my two mothers (one adopted and dead, the other biological and alive, on this, the night before Mothers Day, Now I'm wondering what if Doris Wishman had been my mother. If I am the bastard son of Elvis Presley, then goddammit, doesn't it make sense that Doris Wishman is my mother? I have to admit BAD GIRLS GO TO HELL and DOUBLE AGENT 73 are my favorite DW films. My starlet wife and I talked with her about a number of things at a private dinner during our snowy visit to the New York Underground Film Fest in March of 1998 (we screened THE SORE LOSERS). Doris got a kick out of the fact that Dawn was calling in sick everyday (back in Memphis) so her boss wouldn't know she was in NY. Doris told me she and David F Friedman (who had appeared in SORE LOSERS as "God") were good friends back in the day and to tell him hello (and I did). I once read a review on my TEENAGE TUPELO where a reviewer claimed that Hugh B. Brooks (Johnny Tu-Note) had also appeared in NUDE ON THE MOON. At first I thought this was the stupidest mistake someone "in the know" could make. Then I realized I had been paid the greatest compliment on Earth - or the Moon. We miss you, Doris."

For more on John Michael McCarthy (JMM) visit where you can
  • Sign up and download JMM's new doc Native Son
  • Follow the progress of JMM's new feature Cigarette Girl
  • And coming soon- JMM's newest doc Destroy Memphis (The Man Without A Drive-In tour)

John Michael McCarthy handout photo

And while you're here, why not watch Superstarlet A.D.

    Monday, 20 May 2013

    Top Ten reasons to love Memorial Day!

    1. The heat is on!
    2. Black jeans go in the laundry hamper – linen shorts go on
    3. It smells beautiful
    4. Barbecue, baby!
    5. Stuff is rising out of the soil. Much of it will be flowers
    6. The vegetables are coming up. The chives are already in seed!
    7. The neighbors you hate are at the cottage
    8. Vitamin D
    9. You don't have to go in to work
    10. Our dear friend Muffy (Meredith Shaw to you) is on the radio!

    Monday, 13 May 2013

    Top Ten Tips - How to Write a LinkedIn Recommendation

    1) Be very choosy in selecting what you say. The people I recommend are people that I respect in the industry.

    2) Don't simply promote the person you're recommending. Give the business-oriented results of what that person brings to the table.

    "They're the best Ruby programmer you know." Nice. Exactly how many Ruby programmers do you know? And while you're at it, why are you recommending Ruby programmers at all?

    Remember your recommendation holds up a mirror to YOU! Not only the person you're recommending.

    3) Put another way, your recommendation has to showcase the business or professional value of the subject. You are endorsing a professional.

    4) Be succinct, but not brief. "I would recommend Al Gore as a keynote speaker any time". Well, if it was Al Gore, then d'uh. However, if it's Dan Legault, Joel Gordon or Howie Gold, why would you make that recommendation?  Obviously because they're witty, insightful, or "wrote the book" on the subject.

    Put another way - S-p-e-l-l i-t o-u-t

    5) Remember that recruiters and HR hiring managers are reading the recommendations section. So do your friend a favor and say something that moves them into the line to get a job.

    6) Don't use buzzwords. In 5 years I may not want to be known as "a thought leader who speaks with an authentic voice in social space". Although today, I do. And am. Hence this blogpost.

    7) Don't focus on a specific application- highlight the knowledge base of skills the person has. Remember - companies hire mindsets. They can train skills.

    8) Remember the social channel. It's LinkedIn. Yes, we have all had epic experiences of road warrior behavior at DevCon's around the world. LinkedIn is not the place to memorialize them.

    9) Use The Rule of Threes! There are three parts to the rule of threes. Use all three of them. Wonder what the rule of threes involve? Refer to the late Dr MLK. (Hint - I have a Dream!)

    10) Remember that not everyone believes your LinkedIn recommendation is genuine. Obviously with a quid-pro-quo system, you recommend me, I recommend you. And guess what?! We both think the other person is great. In my case, I shun reciprocal recommendations.

    And there you are. You just gave your friend a recommendation that got them a great new job. They owe you a drink.

    As do you, I!

    Wednesday, 1 May 2013

    Zombie Awareness Month

    According to our ghoulfriend at The Zombie Awareness Society, May is Zombie Awareness Month.  They've prepared a cool infographic titled "Outbreak Map" to show all the documented Zombie outbreaks since 300 AD

    And our friends at Modern Zombie have prepared their cool infographic Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse.

    And in case you think this isn't all serious stuff, here's the Centers for Disease Control and Preparation "Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response" "Zombie Preparedness" Press Release.

    Here's wishing you a Zombie Awareness Month that's a "no-brainer!"