Fred the Beachcomber


It’s been a while (my lil’ ones) since I have posted anything for ya to “chew on”… However, as our “EIC call for submissions” season opens, it’s time to reconnect and see how yer all doin’. I am sittin’ here in my office piled high with books, papers, memorabilia, hundreds of stickey notes (a wee homage to Baldwin), discs, VHS tape, film prints, etc—the nerve centre, world headquarters and control central for Experiments in Cinema.

Sadly, the room is so packed with stuff that only one person at a time can fit (some of you may have had the rare opportunity to take a tour of this experimental-hideaway). Above me, on a shelf, is Fred Flypopper as “Flip-Out” The Beachcomber. Fred is one of Big Daddy Ed Roth’s “Weirdo Monster” creations that the Revell/Monogram company produced as a plastic model kit in 1965. Our festival’s dear friend Jeff Hudson gave it to me to honor our 10th EIC festival this past April (I am still basking in the afterglow of our 10th anniversary—what great artists, films, performances, workshops, volunteers, special guest speakers, and fantastic audience members!).

Originally Fred had a little plastic hair-piece on his bald, brown head and instead of holding a piece of 16mm film (thanks for the celluloid, Beth!) he proudly sported a surf board. Some images of Fred included the plastic shark who seems to be “hangin’ ten” on Jeff’s model and some have additional star fish and other small sea creatures scurrying around in the sand by his feet. Fred emerged from the sick and visionary psyche of Ed Roth only three years after he first drew his iconic Rat Fink cartoon character. For Ed, Rat Fink (Google him if you are unfamiliar!) was the anti Mickey Mouse. At the time, Ed was living in Anaheim, California and he just got sick of seeing all the zombie-like tourists at Disneyland walking around with Mickey Mouse ears (now and again one simply must take a stand!).

In certain ways I’d like to think that Experiments in Cinema embodies some of the sensibilities of Roth’s imagination (growing up, I was not a child of the 60’s, rather I was a child of Roth… for me, all things revolved around Rat Fink—but more on that in another blog entry). Perhaps in some ways EIC is to many film festivals what Rat Fink was to Mickey Mouse—anti! I think you’ll “get my drift” knowing that last year we published our first Yearbook which was originally to be titled I Piss On Your Red Carpet. Ultimately the published collection of essays was titled Undependently Yours: Imagining A World Beyond The Red Carpet (copies are still available—be the first on your block to buy one!).”

Back to the matter at hand. As I revisit my misspent Rat Fink youth via Fred the Beachcomber, I am reminded that this is THE most magical time of the year for me. This fall, I have the privilege and honor to see what ya’ll been up to! As your submissions begin to arrive, I just can’t wait to start watching ‘em—it is ALWAYS a most inspiring experience—thanks in advance for the inspiration!

Long live undependent cinema (thanks for that expression Marc Moscoto!).

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