Weekly Sounds of Strike Mix 9/27/2013

The weekly Sounds of Strike Mix is up for your listening pleasure. This week’s mix is seeped in a lot of electronics and synths, but there is still a healthy dose of distortion and guitar fuzziness to be had. Dig it here.



Interview with Richard Guerrero, the man behind “SubCCultured: the Rise of DIY Rock in Corpus Christi”

Richard Guerrero

One of the films the STRIKE crew is pretty excited to catch at the upcoming South Texas Underground Film Festival is SubCCultured: the Rise of DIY Rock in Corpus Christi, a documentary detailing the vibrant punk and metal scene of the sparkling city from 1985 to 1995. Here, STRIKE talks with Richard Guerrero, the filmmaker, as he details the ups and downs of the project, what fueled his desire to undertake it and what he has planned for the future.

Strike Magazine: First off, how long has this project been in the works, and how much research, info-gathering and compiling did you have to go through? Did you have any help?

Richard Guerrero: The project first began as a blog series for a live music blog that I launched in the last few months that I was employed by the Corpus Christi Caller-Times in  2006. After several months of collecting email responses to a questionnaire I wrote up about the late 80s hardcore/thrash scene from about 40 participants, I published the first installment of a five-part blog series called “Do It Yourself: The Rise of Hardcore Punk in Corpus Christi” in January 2007. The blog series was published in real time, meaning I published as the subsequent installments were written, and so the last chapter was published that summer. Here are the links:

DO IT YOURSELF: The Rise of Hardcore Punk in Corpus Christi, Part I:
DIY: The Rise of Hardcore Punk in Corpus Christi, Part Two (1 of 2 parts)
DIY Series: A scene comes alive, 1988-1989 (2 of 2):
DIY Hardcore Series: Stranded at the Crossroads:
DIY HARDCORE: Rebirth of White Noise cool:

I was pretty amazed at the amount of interest that the blog series generated. And I still had a handful of old VHS tapes of some of the bands that were referenced in the blog series. I should add that I am a big fan of documentaries so making one about the Corpus Christi underground music scene made sense.

Although I originally planned to focus on the hardcore/crossover scene, my conversations with music-makers and fans alike very quickly convinced me to broaden my focus to include the city’s metal scene. I missed the boat on a lot of the thrash bands from those years as I was pretty caught up in the punk music of the day but I quickly learned just how amazing some of those bands were and how determined some were to make a mark on the national thrash scene.

I began interviewing participants on weekends and vacation breaks in 2008 and to date, I’ve probably interviewed about 50 people for the documentary. It’s amazing that after just 20 years so many details can be lost and that turned out to be my biggest problem. So I had to keep looking for additional participants who could fill in the blanks for me when the details were too sketchy.

Strike Magazine: What were the most difficult parts of completing this project?

Richard Guerrero: The most difficult part of this project was finding the time to record interviews and then in post-production, making sure I had enough time to edit a whole sequence at a time. I’ve got a full-time job and a family and also try to stay active musically so this project was on the back-burner for a few years. But I never stopped working on it. And so here we are.

Outside HamlinThis doc has a pretty unusual history. In 2012, I at last felt that I had enough material to pull together a “Rough Cut Edit” so I announced a final cut-off date for participants who were dragging their feet on photos and videos. I got the House of Rock to agree to host a screening on Dec. 26 and told everyone that I would stop taking their videos/photos in mid-December. The truth is I think I was still getting emails three days before the RCE screening. I spent a full week pulling together the Rough Cut Edit and presented that version to an audience of about 300 on 12.26.

I think that was the catalyst for the participants who were still dragging their feet to get moving on sending those contributions in to me. The official edit, which will appear on DVD in December, will closely mirror the edit that I will present at the South Texas Underground Film Festival. But as this is a historical project, I reserve the right to keep editing as quality artifacts continue to surface. And believe me, I keep finding new items under rocks every so often. So it goes.

Strike Magazine: What drew you to undertake the project, and how did you know where to start?

Richard Guerrero: I started my journalism career as a zine writer when I was in high school. Gerald Alvarez had a zine called “Blood and Guts” and so I contributed a few reviews to that before he decided to hand the editor job over to me. I think I published one or two issues before I called it quits. We were both in The Krayons, a crossover band that quickly went punk, and we stayed pretty busy doing that. I’m also a bit of an archivist so I had some of the old fliers and zines from that era. And then there were the VHS tapes of old shows that I had collected. So all of that source material was reason enough to consider the project even if I was missing more than half of the materials produced during that fertile period. Since I pretty much experienced the entire era referenced in the blog series and the movie, I used my own experiences as a starting point but asked participants to give their recollections or share what they remember hearing about a specific event or band. I was amazed at how different some of those recollections were compared to my own.

Strike Magazine: Who is covered in the documentary? For those of us who were not born yet or were just wee ones in the time period covered, what sort of insight does the documentary give on the scene at that time? What were you hoping to capture, and do you think that was achieved?

Richard Guerrero: The bands and individuals that make up this documentary represent a pretty large cross section of active bands playing self-written material for audiences in Corpus Christi in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The movie makes the point that this was the beginning of the underground music scene in Corpus Christi. Prior to this scene, there was just a handful of acts making very different types of noise in obscurity in a hostile climate that favored cover bands or blues combos. So some of the metal bands include Final Assault, Devastation and Anialator; on the crossover/hardcore side, there’s Angkor Wat, Subversion, DMZ, Joywax and my band The Krayons as well as Brutal Poverty. The ’90s are well represented too with representatives from Loser, Right Turn Clyde and The Wrong Crowd setting the story straight.

In terms of what I was hoping to capture, I think I got about 95 percent of all that I remember from that time. Of course there were a few bands that I wasn’t able to include in the main feature but if you pick up the DVD, there will be additional content that might mention some of those bands.

Strike Magazine: What is your personal experience with the subject of the documentary?richardband

Richard Guerrero: As I’ve said, I was pretty much there for most of this timeline. I first began playing live with a rock band in 1984 and co-formed The Krayons in ’87, which ran until 1995. So the timeline of the documentary is purposely meant to mirror my experience. I view this as an eyewitness journalism project in which I build on my experience and cross-check it with others to tell a more thorough story.

Strike Magazine: Was there anything you had to cut or that you wish you could have included but couldn’t find any information on?

Richard Guerrero: I will say that I was really heartbroken that I could not find any local photos of Milwaukee punk act Die Kreuzen’s one gig here in ’86 nor the video of San Francisco punkcore trio Jawbreaker playing a house show here in 1990. My pal Luciano De La Cruz shot a video at the JB gig and I saw it once so I know it exists. But now it’s MIA and so I had to make the movie without those elements.

If you saw the Rough Cut Edit, you might remember the Disco Kickers segment or the Basic Language sequence. Well I had to make some tough editing calls and so those two sequences do not appear in the final edit. They will appear as bonus features on the DVD though. I also had to keep info on The Hershey Squirts to a bare minimum since most of those guys moved on to other projects. And I do wish I had more photos and video of Brutal Poverty. I lucked into a seriously poor quality clip from their debut gig at the Galvan Ballroom in February 1988 but wish I had a better copy of it as well as later footage. Brutal Poverty played until the late 90s and so it’s a shame I wasn’t able to score something from their club days but I asked and no one spoke up. Oh well.

Strike Magazine: What has the reception been like from the screenings you’ve had for the documentary thus far?

Richard Guerrero: So I’ve had two screenings for the Rough Cut Edit. The first one was very well attended — 300 paying customers at the House of Rock — and so there was lots of support and praise for my efforts as well as honest criticism as to what the project lacked. Hopefully, I’ve addressed some of those concerns in the final film. The second screening took place  at Zeros Hard Rock Club on a Sunday afternoon in February and while it was modestly attended, I got some really great feedback at that event as well. Most people know that I had zero budget for this project and bought everything as I needed it. Aside from a borrowed camcorder or two and borrowed video editing software, I bought everything as I went so I always warned my participants that the production value was going to be modest. Hopefully everyone will remember that when they watch the movie!

Strike Magazine: Are you satisfied with the completed work?

bandRichard Guerrero: Am I satisfied with my movie? Honestly, I’ll say that I’m happy with the movie I was able to make given the extreme conditions I was working under. As a mostly one-man show, I can own up to numerous dead mic problems that immediately rendered an interview dead in the water. So while my movie might have been a bit different had I had professional monitoring levels and metering for light throughout the whole process, I was able to fill in enough of the blanks by asking somebody else the same question.

Strike Magazine: With the DVD release at the STUFF screening, are there any other developments you have planned for the film in the future?

Richard Guerrero: I probably should have said this earlier but the project is a benefit for TFC Rehearsal Studios. My brother Roger opened TFC Rehearsal as an extension of his DIY record label, Twenty First Century Records, in 2010 so it’s a logical extension of the DIY principle that is expressed throughout the movie. So following the STUFF screening, we will create a FINAL edit for DVD and make them available in December. We hope to cram a ton of extra content on the DVD and what we cannot fit on the DVD will show up on a YouTube channel that I will build over time. So the work continues.SubPoster

In closing, I’d like to thank all of the participants, the bands who are featured in the project and all of the supporting individuals who sent in photos, video and gave me access to their personal collections. I hope I was able to do right by all who were featured. And I would like to also acknowledge the work of numerous uncredited videographers and photographers who took the time to document the moment. Without your work, we would not have been able to create this movie. Thanks.

You can catch SubCCultured: the Rise of DIY Rock in Corpus Christi (1985-1995) at the South Texas Underground Film Festival on October 5th, 12:45 PM with the screening location at the House of Rock.

For more information on the screening, visit: facebook.com/events/556257257774930/

For more information on the documentary, visit: facebook.com/subCCultureddocumentary

Art as Resistance: The Street of the Eyes of Freedom

by Raul Alonzo

The uprising in Egypt has defied all preconceived notions that the power of popular protest had been marginalized and that the great revolutions of yesteryear were simply motifs of a historical narrative. Like wildfire, the 2011 Egyptian Revolution ignited following the ouster of Ben Ali in Tunisia, in one of the defining flares of what has been called the Arab Spring.

As people took to the streets to demand an end to the rule of President Hosni Mubarak, who had maintained control of the country with the blessings of the U.S. government since 1981, the aspirations for liberation that materialized began to coalesce into a defining cultural expression. With the growth of street protest, came a growth in street art as graffiti artists emblazoned walls with images of social commentary, jarring depictions of those in power and memorials to those martyred during the uprisings.

An egyptian man waves a flag as military police run towards him, shooting
An Egyptian man waves a flag as military police run towards him, shooting

A Culture of Resistance

In these months of post-revolutionary Egypt (or second-wave revolutionary Egypt in the words of many of it’s participants) a renaissance has grown amidst feelings of jubilation. Festivals celebrating the goals of the revolution, like El Fan Midan, draw crowds to witness innovators in visual art, music, poetry and prose. Anti-government sentiment runs strong through political literature and music – such as the artists of the Shaabi genre, a sort of Egyptian hip hop that emerged from the slums and took root as a favorite amongst the country’s youth.

The outburst of such a cultural display can be interpreted as the effects of pent-up desires, conditioned by years of repression under the 31-year State of Emergency, finally being loosed. Much of this was first encapsulated in the graffiti that began appearing during the January 25th Uprising.

According to Waleed Rashed, writing for Smithsonian:

“Graffiti was a rare sight until two years ago, when artists began documenting the crimes of our regime. The artists – some acting on their own, others as part of an artistic collective – remind those who take political stands that nothing escapes the eyes and ears of our people.”

Some of the artists that define the growth of this new movement include Sad Panda, Ganzeer, El Zeft, Nazeer and Keizer – sharing commonalities with other street artists from around the world, such as Bansky and Shephard Fairey, with a distinct style embodied by the concerns of working class Egyptians.

As part of the uprising was facilitated by the utilization of social networking (that is, until the government shut off the Internet), artists have utilized the web to forward the ongoing revolution. Ganzeer founded the website cairostreetart.com where users can tag sightings of new work on a map of Cairo. Along with El Teneen, Ganzeer also established the blog magazine “The Rolling Bulb,” which combines the revolutionary art movement with street journalism. The WordPress blog Suzee in the City gathers graffiti works from a number of artists in one location.

"Checkmate" by El Teneen
“Checkmate” by El Teneen

Some examples of the captivating nature of the work can be found in such pieces as El Teneen’s “Checkmate,” in which all the pawns reside on one side of a red-and-white chessboard with the king toppled across from them. Keizer, who dedicates his time fully to producing street art, is known for incorporating aspects of pop culture and including English phrases reserved for the purpose of “[attacking] the upper echelons of society.”

To come upon a large ant silhouette on any of the walls in Cairo is to encounter the work of Keizer. As he says of the ants on his website:

“The ant symbolizes the forgotten ones, the silenced, the nameless, those marginalized by capitalism. They are the working class, the common people, the colony that struggles and sacrifices blindly for the queen ant and her monarchy. Ants are devoted, dedicated workers. They cooperate, organize, delegate, and put themselves first in the line of danger and duty. Under-appreciated and ruled, they receive and expect no reward for their efforts, toil and struggle…”

Wall dedicated to the martyrs of the Revolution found on Muhammad Mahmoud Street.
Wall dedicated to the martyrs of the Revolution found on Muhammad Mahmoud Street.

But apart from the guerilla street art on the walls that bear witness to the ongoing revolutionary process, elaborate and complex murals also appear: glorifying in vivid coloring and divine symbolism the passing of martyrs and the immortalization of the battles seen on the streets of Egypt.

A point of coalescence for this new artistic movement was Muhammad Mahmoud street, where one of the most violent clashes between the security forces and protesters would occur.

The Battle of Muhammad Mahmoud

Leading directly into Tahrir Square, Muhammad Mahmoud street is like a conduit feeding lifeblood into the heart of revolution.

anti mubarak

November of 2011 saw some of the most violent street clashes since the uprising earlier that January. Since then, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), an unelected body of 21 military officials headed by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, had taken power after Mubarak stepped down.

Beginning as a peaceful sit-in by the families of those killed or injured in the uprising, the Muhammad Mahmoud sit-ins expanded after security forces engaged in heavy-handed tactics, that eventually drew more and more protesters.

Dust filled the air, along with the loud cracks of the SCAF guns. Shouts were raised as fleeing protesters came upon the bleeding bodies of their comrades, holding them up and invoking the cries of God and liberty. Police sirens sounded off the walls of the nearby American University buildings as triumphant shouts were raised by protesters hurling bricks and debris at the security forces.

Protesters organized their own medical units, with injured comrades brought back from the battle line on the backs of motorcycle “cavalry.” A BBC story found that some had reported people coughing up blood and collapsing from the intense amount of tear gas being pumped into the air. Cairo, that day, was truly a war zone.

eye sniper victim
Street art depicting a victim of SCAF snipers that targeted the eyes of protesters.

One of the more brutal tactics undertaken by the security forces was that of the eye snipers. On many of the wall murals found around Muhammad Mahmoud are the grim faces of men and women donning an eye patch or bandage. These are the faces of those who had their eyes blinded by the rubber bullets of security force snipers.

And to accompany them, are the faces of many of the over 40 people killed in the clashes with the security forces that day, as well as those from the beginning of the uprising. People from all walks of life: lifted up into the heavens through the imagery painted by their peers. They line the streets, their portraits in hues of green and blue – their faces fixed in peaceful, jovial, expressions. Immortalized how their loved ones and comrades remember them.

Muhammad Mahmoud, in the aftermath of these clashes, saw it’s walls adorned with many representations of this type of imagery – a sort of hall of collective recollection. All Egyptians remember the days of fiercest fighting, and many found at Muhammad Mahmoud today are eager to share their stories.

Mural depicting incarcerated protester, Sambo.
Mural depicting incarcerated protester, Sambo.

An Invocation on the Walls

Art as a form of remembrance, art as a form of resistance. Art as liberated expression. All such forms are found on the walls throughout revolutionary Egypt. And as the people move into the next phases of the process, the art serves as a reminder of just how far they have come. As Rashed noted:

“People singing revolutionary slogans come and go, but the graffiti remains and keeps our spirit alive.”

The murals found on Muhammad Mahmoud serve not simply as a form of remembrance for the over 840 martyrs who died during the first wave of the revolution (which now stands closer to over 2000), but as a means to inspire the people to continue on with their protests. A popular chant echoed by those seeking justice for their comrades declares “we will get their rights, or we will die as they have.”

And, as such, the imagery of the artwork injects itself into the lives of thousands every day in Cairo. The murals lie right across the street from the Mogamma, the main administrative building in the capitol, and form a corner of Tahrir Square with their depictions painted along the wall surrounding the American University of Cairo campus. One of the main exits from the Sadat Metro Station opens up right next to the murals, themselves. Across the street from them are also many western fast food restaurants, including McDonalds and Pizza Hut, so they are plainly visible to American tourists as well. Thousands of people from all walks of life behold the art daily.

tank vs. bike - ganzeer

Several attempts have been undertaken to remove the graffiti and murals by the SCAF, but each time only proves futile as people, not simply those denoted artists like El Teneen and Keizer, but ordinary people continue to turn to street art to document their collective historical strides.

The SCAF will try to jail these people, like when Ganzeer was arrested with two others setting up posters ahead of protests. “People forget that the streets belong to the people,” Ganzeer said in a Christian Science Monitor interview. “They think that they’re some kind of official government-controlled entity. I think it’s important to remind people that they’re not.”

In the days after Mubarak’s removal, the SCAF set up roadblocks on several streets leading into Tahrir, including Mohamed Mahmoud. Large concrete bricks towered over the streets, disrupting the daily traffic of the citizens.

Like the setting of a silent overnight snow, the following day many of the roadblocks were covered with the markings of graffiti artists. Some were brief memorials to the fallen (“R.I.P. Anas”) while others were more complex, such as the large yellow smiley painted across the length of the roadblock on Qasr al-Aini Street or the wall of the Sheikh Reihan Street roadblock, which was painted in a way to make it appear that the road continued on beyond it.

As it stands now, the task for many is to deepen the gains of the Revolution and further the break with the remnants of the old regime. In recent months this has continued to galvanize revolutionary youth movements, like with the Tamarrud – a campaign to gather signatures for a document expressing the Egyptian people’s lack of confidence in the presidency of Mohamed Morsi and a call for early presidential elections.

The urgency of such actions is to further the momentum of the people, on the paths created by the sacrifices of those martyrs found on the walls of Muhammad Mahmoud. Without the conscious action of the people, the effects of the counterrevolution will seek to head off such gains.

Anti Mubarak graffiti
Anti Mubarak graffiti

When the SCAF sought to repaint the walls of Muhammad Mahmoud in preparation for the celebrations of the January 25 uprising, a day later the walls were again adorned with graffiti, the mutilated faces of those who had lost their eyes, and the faces of those martyred. An inscription read shaaria uyuun al-hurriyyah the “street of the eyes of freedom.”

expect resistance - keizer

The message was clear, and asserted plainly: it is the people who will win the revolution.

This installment of the Art as Resistance series originally appeared in Strike Magazine # 4.

Raul Alonzo is a writer and aspiring journalist from Corpus Christ, TX. His work has appeared in issues 2 and 3 of the local left publication Volume, Red Wedge Magazine, Socialistworker.org, and the Delmar College Foghorn, where he served as managing editor. Raul is a member of the Corpus Christi branch of the International Socialist Organization.

An Interview with STUFF

stuff directors
Mariella Sonam Perez and Robert Perez, Founders of STUFF

With the second annual South Texas Underground Film Festival (STUFF) kicking off in early October, we here at Strike have taken the opportunity to chat with the founders and organizers of the event. In this interview founders Mariella Sonam Perez and Robert Perez talk about the meaning of STUF, the film festival and the development of the medium in South Texas.

Strike Magazine:  How did South Texas Underground Film come to be?

stuff 2013Mariella Sonam Perez:  We kept seeing the politics and were tired of hearing from other organizations that not only our films but other films and visual pieces didn’t have substance. It felt like other organizations, not all, wanted to see things that would make money. That’s not what this is about. This is about expression and being creative first. STUF was created so that filmmakers and video artists could have a place to screen their work without people ripping apart what they have created. We wanted to do things year round. You don’t learn something by doing it once a year. We wanted to learn from, and work with, other filmmakers and artists.

Strike Magazine:  How long has STUF been operating in South Texas?

Mariella:  We’ve been around since July of 2010. We started with our first filmmaking challenge in December of 2010. It was a Horror Film Challenge. In May of 2011 we had the Sisterhood in Film and Music during ArtWalk. Later in 2011 we held Corpus Christi’s first LGBT film festival. We’ve done Basic DIY filmmaking workshops with the AutismSpectrumResourceCenter for the kiddos. After putting in a lot of hard work, we decided that we should put on STUFF, which would combine Underground, Sisterhood and LGBT cinema.

Strike Magazine:  What are the aims and goals of STUF?

stuff lbgtMariella:  The goal for STUF is to give a chance for aspiring filmmakers to learn through ‘hands on’ participation, to network and eventually work with fellow artists.

Strike Magazine:  Why is it important for filmmakers to maintain aesthetic and creative independence?

Mariella:  This is so important because this is how artists find their voices and style. I know I don’t want to see cookie cutter projects or revamping of things that I’ve seen before. I truly believe that the underground is where the heart and soul and substance of art is at. The perspectives on story telling and self expression are amazing. In the words of Bjork, “DECLARE YOUR INDEPENDENCE!”

Strike Magazine:  How does STUF go about creating a space for that kind of expression?

stuff artwalkMariella:  I would say that STUF goes about creating a space for independent expression by not censoring. We let people know that the films are not rated and they don’t have to watch them if they feel they might get offended easily. We show films and video pieces that have things to say. You may not like everything that we show. But that’s ok, because the festival is about artist finding their audiences. We provide a public platform. That is not to say that there isn’t something for everyone. I recommend going through the program, watching the trailers that are available online and reading their descriptions. It is a great way to figure out what you would like to see.

Strike Magazine:  How has the film medium developed in the last several years in South Texas?

Rob: To answer honestly there are a lot of strides being made in Corpus Christi filmmaking. But I think people are in a seasonal frame of mind. They make short films once a year. There are some filmmakers breaking away from that trend. There are a few exceptions that have been making features and shorts on a regular basis. We need something more to have a deeper impact. Several years ago, San Antonio, I feel, was in that state of mind but as their film festival’s developed, you started to see more homegrown features being produced. Now you see a celebration of feature films, a  celebration of a variety of films within their community. It’s awesome.

Strike Magazine:  American cinema seems to be often dominated by corporate interests and the big budget blockbusters that flood the market each year. Do you think this trend is detrimental to film as an artistic medium?

Mariella:  No, because this makes artists like us to go out and create new movements, like French New Wave, to counter the glut of American Cinema. Big budget blockbusters are made because that is what makes the money. When it’s about money you lose something because the people with the money have control of what is being made. I’m not saying, I don’t like those movies. The Blockbusters are like having a name brand. People like name brands. It makes it harder for the smaller films to be seen. This is why we need festivals. Festivals help the smaller films find an audience.

Stuff 2012Strike Magazine: This will be the second year for the film festival in Corpus Christi. What was the experience of organizing STUFF 2012 like?

Mariella Perez: STUFF 2012 was very exciting to plan. There were plenty of times when we didn’t know how things were going to get done because we had very little funding. Everything up to that point was out of pocket. We, to this day, rely on volunteers and people who are passionate about the arts. We’ve been fortunate to have made great friendships and partnerships with Art Center of Corpus Christi, Film ExChange, Del Mar Culinary and now RealmsCon. We feel that when you align yourselves with other people and organizations who have similar goals in mind and who mutually respect each other (especially respect between artists) things only grow and become better. If we are partnered with people and entities it’s because its something positive for the artists. This year we were also able to get a grant from the Corpus Christi Arts and Cultural Commission to help us pay for some things that we need as a festival.

stuff 2013 2Strike Magazine:  STUFF 2013 is set to kick off in early October. What can participants expect this year?

Mariella:  There are so many great things planned for this year. First, we have selected films and video art pieces that people will enjoy. This material will challenge the viewer  to look at things differently and hopefully people will discover and appreciate non-mainstream work. We are fortunate to have Del Mar Culinary(DMC) choose STUFF to host their annual Tea Party. Their Tea Party is their mid-term. The students will be graded not only on taste and aesthetics of the pastries but also the presentation of the Tea Party itself. Chef Jessica and Chef Randy from DMC have also created the menu and will be cooking our Welcome BBQ. Also on Opening night we will be having the Inaugural PubCrawl where participants will be playing STUFF instead of BINGO and prizes will be given away as well as great drink specials. We will close every night with an After Party. Mixers will also take place everyday from 5:30-6:30. The parties and mixers are really cool opportunities to get to know filmmakers, artists and musicians. This is where lifelong friendships are made as well.

STUFF filmmakers/organizers with 2012 award winner Niko Kostet
STUFF filmmakers/organizers with 2012 award winner Niko Kostet

For more information visit southtexasundergroundfilm.org

The Fix 9/19/2013

The Fix is in! The Strike editors bring you another weekly roundup of interesting little tid- bits from the world wide web: an extensive history resource site, an little known, odd artist/poet/madman from Illinois, an early Peruvian punk band and some unsettling sculptural work by a South Korean artist. Enjoy!

History is a weapon

Beatriz:  This site has an incredible load of papers, books and other stuff available for free. If only I had found this site sooner.


Mike:  I came across this story in Red Wedge Magazine and it just too crazy to ignore. Was Calvin Williams insane? A Satanist? or what? You be the judge.

The poems in this anthology, though derived from earlier work by another author, are remarkably good….

“The following poems by Calvin Williams are the first in a series based on Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology, published in 1915. Master’s poetic anthology consisted of epitaphs of the dead citizens of a small town in Central Illinois. His poems undermined idyllic notions of small town American life. Calvin Williams’ anthology takes the style and structure of Master’s Spoon River Anthology and applies them to a series of fictional characters in Southern Illinois in the wake of an  unspecified disaster.”

Red Wedge Magazine

‘Directly in front of Tucker’s exhibit, Adam Turl of Carbondale and Husni Ashiku of Polo had a table with a mound of dirt on it, little envelopes with quotations from The Church of the Morning Star and a willingness to talk about what they want to do, including a documentary on artist Calvin Williams from Solomon, who Turl described as a faith healer, painter and sculptor.

Turl and Ashiku met Williams recently at PK’s pub and learned of the artist’s personal philosophy that revolves around “everything is upside down” Turl said.

‘“He’s a character. We need access to him. He’s been standoffish,” Turl said about the desire to do a documentary about Williams.’

Excerpted from The Southern Illinoisian

Who is Calvin Williams? Well, it’s complicated but this is what’s known:

“Calvin Williams was born in 1976 in Solomon, Il. to the Rev. Charles Montgomery Williams. Calvin’s mother died in childbirth. Rev. Williams was both a strict and corrupt man–according to Calvin. After the death of Calvin’s three sisters his relationship with his father turned bitter and acrimonious.

In a strange incident–again, according to Calvin, his father attempted to drown him in the Mississippi River. Calvin described this as a key element in his life. He survived, he claimed, by embracing the darkness of the waters. After this traumatic event, Calvin left home and went into the woods near Fountain Bluff, Illinois, a site he selected because of its association with Native American rock art. It was there that Calvin began to develop his own theology in opposition to the conservative Christianity of his father.

Allegedly Calvin acquired healing powers and those that he healed came to follow him as a messianic figure. Some years later his followers formed the “Church of the Morning Star.” The church was named for the star that appeared the morning and represented Lucifer’s fall from heaven after leading a rebellion against God.”

Los Saicos

Raul:  Los Saicos were a short-lived proto-punk band active in Peru between 1965-66 that only released six singles before they stopped making music. Though they experienced a surge in popularity within Peru at the time, it has only been in recent years that they have garnered a wider following as many music publications have come to dub them the forefathers of punk rock. Their stripped down, raw, surf and garage-rock influenced style, complete with harshly screamed lyrics dealing with themes of destruction, certainly put them in the realm of other proto-punk originators like the Stooges and MC5, as well as directly link them to modern bands carrying on the same tradition, like the Black Lips. Here, Noisey produced a short, 13-minute, documentary on the band chronicling their short-lived career and their new-found fame.


Elyveth:  Choi Xoo Ang is an emerging mixed media artist based out of Seoul, South Korea who creates figurative sculptures out of clay and resin that examines human rights, society’s pathological state, and sex and gender politics among other themes.


An Interview with Finnish Filmmaker Niko Kostet

With the South Texas Underground Film Festival (STUFF) 2013 set to kick off in early October, we revisit Strike #2 and this brief interview with STUFF “Up and Coming Filmmaker” award winner Niko Kostet.

niko kostet

(Finnish Filmmaker Niko Kostet at STUFF 2012)

By Julia Arredondo

While collectively contemplating the name change of their local filmmaking support group, South Texas Underground Film continues to struggle with active community input. Perhaps the term ‘underground’ scares people away or challenges Corpus Christi’s fascination with mainstream culture; whatever the case be, it’s due time Corpus
Christi steps up to the plate.

Specializing in alternative cinema and film shorts from around the country and giving local film curious movers and shakers opportunities to produce multiple features,
South Texas Underground Film ceases to gain stamina and prepares for the 2013
South Texas Underground Film Festival.

Although local turnout at the 2012 STUF Festival was sparse, those who did enjoy a week of international films and free beer were blown away. Bringing in national and
international filmmakers and boosting Corpus Christi’s status as a filmmaking destination, South Texas Underground Film gained international media attention whilst remaining virtually unheard of within Corpus Christi.

To attest to the success of the 2012 STUFF, Finnish filmmaker and winner of the
2012 STUFF Up and Coming Filmmaker Award, Niko Kostet relays his experience at
the festival and reflects on his time in South Texas. Having featured his film
‘Christian Dreadful” about an ex-choirboy rockstar attempting to save his fans
from eternal damnation by the hands of his antichrist manager, Kostet found a
supportive venue for screening his film and plans to continue screening future
releases in Corpus Christi.

STUFF 2012 Mixer

(STUFF 2012 mixer)


Julia Arredondo: Give us an overview of your
experience at the STUF Festival.

Niko Kostet: STUFF was a film festival for filmmakers by filmmakers. There were a lot
of interesting panels and workshops and the festival was planned very well.
Everything was close by and they had a great variety of films from different
cultures and countries from all over the world. Everybody was treated like a
movie star plus the after parties rocked.

STUFF Screening

(Screening space at STUFF 2012)

JA: Have you gained attention as a filmmaker due to winning a STUFF award?

NK: Oh yes! Since we arrived back home, the local press has been very interested, and we just got two big screenings for Christmas at the new local art center called Logomo. It’s going to be an awesome event here in Turku, with all the cast and crew getting together and celebrating our award winning movie! I also met a bunch of filmmakers from all over the world, and they are very interested in coming to Finland. It is very rare that a Finnish feature gets to go abroad and our movie is a low budget feature, but it still got awarded and that means a whole lot.

Niko Pyro

(Niko and crew on the set of his new film “Pyro” that will debut at STUFF 2014)

JA: Do you have plans to attend the 2013 STUF Festival?

NK: I promised the STUF crew that I’d collect the best of Finnish independent and underground films from the past year and showcase them at STUFF 2013. Hopefully, the Finnish filmmakers will join me there. My next feature, “Pyro”, won’t be released until 2014 but we would be delighted to have our US premiere be at STUFF with all the cast and crew present. It would rock the house for sure!

For more information about STUFF’s upcoming events, STUFF volunteer opportunities and how to get involved visit www.southtexasundergroundfilm.com

Julia Arredondo is a sub-cultural enthusiast with an uncanny ear for rhythm. Arredondo divides herself amongst various career paths including professional printmaking, editorial writing, and doing the supernatural boogie woogie. For excerpts from her zines and travel adventures, visit www.viceversapress.com

Niko Kostet is a filmmaker living and working in Finland. He is the winner of the STUFF 2012 “Up and Coming Filmmaker Award”. His film “Christian Dreadful” premiered at STUFF 2012.