Articles by Sherilyn Connelly

Sherilyn Connelly's first computer was an Atari 400. She worked in video stores back when they were relevant, and since then has produced shows for both public access television and pirate radio, featured at dozens of spoken word events, and acted in stage productions based on unlicensed material. Her writing has been published in Girlfriends, Morbid Curiosity, and anthologies by Suspect Thoughts and Manic D Press. She co-hosts Bad Movie Night at The Dark Room in San Francisco.

Some Links May Be NSFW: The 2008 GayVN Awards

GayVN Header.My friend Melissa Gira Grant and I recently attended GayVN Awards, the biggest gay porn industry awards show. Both of our tickets had been gratis through our office jobs, hers as a consultant at the St. James Infirmary (an occupational safety and health clinic for sex workers) and mine as a webmonkey for NakedSword (a hardcore streaming gay porn website). It’s one of those weird, neat little perks of my place of employment, which is otherwise an office job like most any other.

We’ve got health insurance and mysterious 401K paperwork and a sign above the kitchen sink asking people to please wash their damn dishes and cliques and birthday cards passed around and we go on the occasional “team-building” outdoor excursion or out for lunch around the holidays. Except, you know, our raison d’etre is pornography, so we can use dirty words in office emails and it’s perfectly okay to put up pictures of naked hunks if one is so inclined. Best of both worlds.

(Sidenote: my new favorite adjective is “hunky.” It’s often used in movie blurbs, as well as episode synopses for our webcast The Tim & Roma Show, i.e. “Tim and Roma are joined by hunky Jason Adonis…” I have no idea why, but it makes me laugh every single time.)

Sometimes we need to de-porn the office for a sensitive visitor (like one of our “straight” web design clients, or the boss’s nephew), and even though the relaxed corporate culture allows me to decorate my workspace like the gloomy, media-saturated teenager I’ve never stopped being, there’s no nudity on my walls. Three (count ’em, three) Marilyn Manson posters, sure, magazine covers from Bizarre and Fetish and Skin Two as well as one-sheet movie posters for both Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me and Cronenberg’s Crash, both of which are among the most sexually outré films of the nineties, but no porn. Because, really, that would just be tacky.

Melissa’s actual day job is writing for Valleywag, and in addition to Medialoper I write for the Eros Zine (or at least I did, until it folded this week). Our post-modern ironic-yet-sex-positive credentials were solid. Granted, to get in the door all that mattered was that we had our tickets in hand. Like David Cross said, indie hipster cred won’t buy you a house in the country, and at a hundred bucks for regular tickets (and two hundred for my “industry” ticket), we wouldn’t have been there if our bill wasn’t footed.

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Going to Church: Rifftrax Live at the Castro Theater

Plan 9 From Outer Space.

I first heard about Mystery Science Theater 3000 from friends in ’91 and thought it sounded interesting, but I didn’t have the wherewithal to track it down. Then one Friday night after closing the Video Zone my friend and coworker Mark and I were flipping through channels, as was the custom in those days. we came across a b&w monster movie with silhouetted chairs and figures along the bottom of the screen. I said: “Is this what I think it is?” The movie was Gamera, and while it was never my favorite episode of MST3K, it will always be the one closest to my heart. You never forget your first. I was immediately a fan, and I taped every episode.

The show was canceled in 1999 after a decade, and I figured that was that. It saddened me, of course, especially because I held the heretical belief that the show hit its stride when it moved to the Sci-Fi channel in 1997. I always preferred Mike Nelson to Joel Hodgson, I liked the new direction Bill Corbett took Crow, I found Pearl and Professor Bobo and Brain Guy a lot funnier than Dr. Forrester and TV’s Frank, and…yeah. As I say, heretical.

Still, there’s a lot to be said for quitting while you’re ahead. Or, as the case may be, being abandoned by your network while you’re ahead. Besides, I still had several hundred hours of MST3K on tape should I ever need a fix, many of which I hadn’t watched since the waning days of Bush 41’s administration, so they wouldn’t feel stale. It’s not like I remember any of the jokes from Crash of the Moons or Tormented, though I do know Manos, The Hands of Fate and Mitchell by heart at this point, and woe to anyone dating me who thinks they won’t be subjected to Hobgoblins.

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What a Swell Party This Is: Three Moustache Rides at the Castro Theater

Castro Marquee.The Midnites for Maniacs series at the Castro Theater in San Francisco aims to “emphasize dismissed, underrated and forgotten films,” usually in the form of double or triple features. Not all the movies are dismissed, underrated and/or forgotten, but I’m the first to admit that not all the movies we do at Bad Movie Night are necessarily bad, either. (Though some, like Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights, are so horrifyingly bad as to defy any sort of rational description.) Though they frequently unearth genuine obscurities like Skatetown, U.S.A or Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, for what’s probably is a combination of practical and nostalgic reasons the movies tend to be teen or horror movies from the early eighties. Which is cool, and I got to see a 70mm print of Tron because of Midnites for Maniacs, so it gets nothing but the love from me.

This sort of show is always more fun when grouped into themes, and tonight’s was Burt Reynolds: At Long Last Love, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and Smokey and the Bandit. I was mostly there to see At Long Last Love, legendary among film buffs as one of the most critically reviled films ever made, mortally wounding director Peter Bogdanovich’s career. Whether or not it was one of the worst movies ever in addition to being the most hated made was difficult to say, since few people saw it during its brief theatrical run, it’s never been released on video, and it only played on teevee a few times.

For better or worse, its reputation was kept alive by the Brothers Medved kicking it when it was already down in their insufferable books The Golden Turkey Awards and The Fifty Worst Movies Ever Made (the latter of which was directly though unintentionally responsible for the (re)discovery of Ed Wood in the early eighties). As lost films go, it’s only slightly less mysterious than The Day the Clown Cried. More people have seen At Long Last Love than The Day the Clown Cried, but that isn’t saying much.

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Remaster and Servant (On Not Quite Seeing Star Trek: The Menagerie in the Theater)

the menagerie posterYeah, I’m Paramount’s bitch. Or would I be CBS’s bitch, since they own Star Trek now? Hell, I’d like to think that on some corporate DNA level I’m still Desilu’s bitch.

From the moment I saw it on startrek.com, I knew I was going to the big theatrical screening of the remastered version of the two-part Original Series episode “The Menagerie.” To the uninitiated, what’s unique about that particular episode is that much of it is a diegetic flashback to the original series pilot “The Cage,” which featured a different cast of characters except for Spock.

I was momentarily deterred by the fact that the closest showing was at the horrible googolplex in Emeryville. As I’ve expounded on in the past, I hate those places, and if I have to deal with one I’d prefer it at least be in town. But, no. Evidently the Evil Ex-Sony Metreon and the AMC 16 (originally called the AMC 1000 in reference to its location at 1000 Van Ness but renamed a few years back because people wondered where the other nine hundred and eighty-four screens were) didn’t want to lose out any valuable showings of Bee Movie, so I had no choice but to leave the City and County of San Francisco. No choice, you understand. This was something I simply had to do. The opportunity to see an episode of the original Star Trek projected, from the season when the cinematography mattered, to get a close look at details that would be lost otherwise? Oh my yes. I anticipated spending much of the time studying the backgrounds and corners of the screen, much like I’d done in the past with The Motion Picture.

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Making Us All That Much More Stupid: Bad Movie Night at The Dark Room

BMN @ TDROh, we piss people off.

The schedule for the next few months is posted on flyers outside the theater, and on December 15, we’re doing It’s a Wonderful Life. There was already some internal conflict about it, and some anonymous wag wrote on one of the flyers: “It’s not a bad movie, you S.O.B.s!!!” With three lines under S.O.B.s, so we’ll know they mean business.

Yeah, some people don’t like Bad Movie Night so much.

Me, I do. It’s my baby. I didn’t create the show—that honor goes to Jim Fourniadis and Ty McKenzie—but I was there on the first night: Red Dawn, March 27, 2005. Coincidentally, I broke up with my girlfriend of seven years earlier that afternoon. As a result I almost didn’t go to the show at all, but I was looking forward to it, and the point of the breakup had been (among other things) so I could go do the stuff I wanted, and Bad Movie Night was very much the stuff I wanted to do. I became a frequent co-host, eventually weaseling working my up to de facto curator. It’s still the most fun thing I do on a regular basis.

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