Category Archives: Film

“LAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI JUKES”— An Exploration of Fading Juke Joint Traditions


“Last Of The Mississippi Jukes”

An Exploration of Fading Juke Joint Traditions

Amos Lassen

Robert Mugge explores Mississippi juke joints, the often-dilapidated places where, early in 1900s, itinerant blues musicians played for plantation workers and others and created a powerful new music that made its way to Memphis, St. Louis, Chicago, Kansas City, Detroit, and elsewhere. Even as this music spread around the world, it changed (as could be expected) and it never lost its strong presence in the state where it was born. Today, the jukes have become increasingly scarce and this is why Mugge decided to make a new film about them. what was being lost.

The film focuses on Subway Lounge in Jackson, Mississippi, and  Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi (a newer and more commercial enterprise that drew on virtues of the more modest venues that inspired it). Ground Zero was begun by movie star Morgan Freeman and Clarksdale attorney (now mayor) Bill Luckett, in cooperation with former Blues Foundation executive director Howard Stovall. They took an empty Clarksdale building close by the Delta Blues Museum and decorated it with the standard design elements of jukes (Christmas tree lights, pool tables, catch-as-catch-can furniture, and an overall makeshift sensibility) to keep in the spirit of those traditional, ramshackle performance spaces that once were so popular. This was a valuable lesson as to what made those earlier venues so distinctive. 

At the time the film was made, Ground Zero was not yet offering much live musical performance but it eventually did as it soon would. Mugge brought in Memphis musician Alvin Youngblood Hart to perform for the evening of the filming and he was accompanied by local musicians Sam Carr and Anthony Sherrod. Mugge and co-producer David Hughes, a Mississippi-based musician and collector, also brought into the usual Subway Lounge talent Vasti Jackson, Bobby Rush, Eddie Cotton, Jesse Robinson, Lucille, Greg “Fingers” Taylor, Casey Phillips, Virgil Brawley, and actor and musician Chris Thomas King, all of whom had played the Subway in the past but, at present, were too busy with their own touring to make more than cursory appearances. Still, the Subway’s regular talent (including Patrice Moncell, Abdul Rasheed, Dennis Fountain, Pat Brown, Levon Lindsey, and J.T. Watkins), audience members, and owners show the heart of the Subway experience, and that is true for the film as well.

“A MONSTER CALLS”— A Boy, His Mother and a Monster


“A Monster Calls”

A Boy, His Mother and a Monster

Amos Lassen

Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) is a sullen, lonely and troubled boy. He has no friends, gets bullied at school, and is frequently lost in his own little fantasy world. Yet unlike most moody kids, there’s a method to and a reason for the way he behaves. Conor’s beloved mother (Felicity Jones) is dying. All of the various treatments she’s undergone have not worked. Even though Conor seems to be in denial about this, her health has declined to the point that Conor might have to go live with his dreaded grandmother (Sigourney Weaver).One night, Conor is visited by a monster (voiced by Liam Neeson), that wants to tell him three stories. The stories are to build to the fourth story wherein the truth will be revealed. This is all building towards a fourth and final story which will reveal “the truth.” The monster arrives in Conor’s room every night to tell him stories.


Life has not been good to Conor O’Malley with his mother having terminal cancer, his father (Toby Kebbell) not being part of his life. His grandmother

offers no consolation, and the kids at school tease him. The tree-shaped monster lets him know that he is going to tell him the three stories and then it is Conor’s turn to reciprocate with a story of his own. All of the monster’s stories offer a lesson about human nature and the consequences of one’s actions and the monster purposely leaves a mess behind every visit. When the time comes for Conor to tell his story, he must face some difficult truths that can no longer be ignored.


Every time the monster appears, it is something of Hunt, both in what he does and how he looks. Yet there is wisdom and it is for all of us who have been children and who are still children. “A Monster Calls”  brings fantasy and reality together for an exceptionally moving experience.

It starts quiet and then becomes loud when the ground falls away beneath Conor who reaches out for help but falls into a very large hole. (Lewis MacDougall) reaches out but the hand slips from his grasp, down into the giant hole in the earth.


Director J. A. Bayona, introduces us. Conor who with his ailing mother in a house that is filled with and mess. Let us say that the house is charmingly messy house but that is because of his mother’s dealing with cancer. Conor understands that should his mother die, there is the great possibility of moving in with his strict and fastidious grandmother.

Then the monster comes to visit and it is a terrifying sight, but tells brief animated stories. As the film moves forward, it becomes better and better. We see that it is actually a deeply moving meditation on the grieving process as seen through the eyes of a young boy. He often has conflicting emotions, so let me warn you to come to the film with something to wipe tears of your own emotions away. A lot of lessons are taught over the course of the film and are rendered without lecturing.


The film is based on a children’s book by Patrick Ness who based on an original idea by Siobhan Dowd whose idea for the story came when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She died before she could write the story so Ness took it on and also wrote the screenplay for this film version.

Lewis McDougall as Conor really shines and he is in almost every scene. He is able to convey every single emotion there is as he works from the absent father and the future without his mother. His grandmother provides no solace and neither do the kids at school. He’s not quite a boy and not yet a man as Ness tells us in his script. His performance is focused, heartbreaking and powerful.


Bayona’s direction is simplistic and realistic in approach when it comes to the scenes in England at his school and with mother and family and then it changes and becomes grand when he switches to the monster and the tales he tells over the course of the film. Bayona employs some amazing special effects and some really fine animated sequences too. I think that the film will be in the running for the Oscars this year; it is an outstanding piece of work and one not to be missed.

“INDIAN POINT”— Changing Things


“Indian Point”

Changing Things

Amos Lassen


Ivy Meerpool shows in “Indian Point” that the negativity us a result of complacency and it is up to humanity to change things. Her film looks at nuclear power. After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, Americans have become increasingly concerned about their own nuclear power stability, with many plants located near major metropolitan areas. One of those plants is Indian Point, which produces power for 6% of the population, mainly located in Manhattan and the surrounding New York area. Meerpool has three main agendas in the film— the lack of reliability regarding the Indian Point reactors, the inefficiency of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the long-term effects of nuclear run-off on local environments. The first and third points are blended well within the feature, as we look inside Indian Point, as well as its spent fuel pools and the local fish that have to deal radioactive elements. But the story within point two is where Meerpool focuses the most.



Employees at Indian Point discuss this life working with nuclear material and the head overseer of Indian Point calls it “my home. Everything else is my home away from home.” It’s hard to understand how these employees feel a kinship with a place where radioactive contamination can affect them so deeply.

We see footage of the reactors, ponds, and other working components that are juxtaposed with well-informed members arguing with the NRC about closing the plant down. The company that owns Indian Point maintains a great portion of power comes from them to fill New Yorkers’ homes with light, although it’s alleged those numbers are inflated. Meerpool interviews members with valid critiques of the plant. These people are not looking to outlaw nuclear energy. They simply want someone to tell them whether the reactor is running properly and what to do if something goes wrong. Since Indian Point is close to one of the largest, most densely packed locations in America, this is a valid concern.

The focus on Indian Point presents a compelling argument against nuclear power as it looks at the specific residents affected. Meerpool also looks at the NRC as a regulatory body and the downfall of former NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko. Jaczko’s resignation is among unfounded discrimination claims and even though he’s the one face of the NRC the viewer meets, his story distracts from the main narrative, especially when the film shifts to his return to the Fukushima plant that is worth a documentary of its own. 

We are given reasons for why the problems should be fixed. Even with frustration we feel with the film’s focus, we still understand why we should be worried about unchecked nuclear reactors in America.


What is new and revelatory in this documentary is the in-depth look at Indian Point. Viewers get “a choice between those who still support nuclear power as a safe and viable way of meeting the nation’s energy needs and activists who are working to shut down this money-making industry that is unsafe and a threat to citizens, the environment, and the planet”.

Indian Point is a 50-year-old three-unit nuclear power plant station located 35 miles from New York City. Its operating license expired in 2013. The company that owns it has promised to deal with this oversight. In interviews with managers and employees who claim to take their jobs very seriously, we hear about the cooling of the reactor and other technological aspects of the nuclear power process and they try to make a case that the safety of the public is what concern them most. By the end of the documentary, the NRC without the moral vision and suggested reforms of Jaczko, comes across as a defender of the status quo and moneyed interests.

“OKINAWA: THE AFTERBURN”— Anger Against U.S. Basis


“Okinawa: The Afterburn”

Anger Against U.S. Bases

Amos Lassen

The issue of the large U.S. military presence in Okinawa is divisive, deeply rooted and very difficult to understand. Anti-base protests have been going on for decades, and while locals elsewhere in the developed world may have been unhappy with the bases in their vicinity, the Okinawans stand out for the tenacity and, ferocity of their opposition. What keeps them going?


John Junkerman’s documentary “Okinawa: The Afterburn” (“Okinawa: Urizun no Ame”) does an excellent job explaining this presence. Junkerman is former Okinawa resident who has lived in Japan for nearly four decades and is on the side of the protesters yet he presents both sides without strident editorializing. Doing his research, he has found archival footage and living witnesses to Okinawa’s troubled history and these shed light on why Okinawans continue to resist the bases 70 years after the Battle of Okinawa began on April 1, 1945.

The film begins with an account of that battle, accompanied by interviews with elderly survivors (Japanese, Okinawans and Americans) who are able to articulate their feelings.

One survivor of the battle is former Okinawa governor and anti-base activist Masahide Ota is a survivor and former governor of Okinawa. He, long with others, feels that the battle still is continuing today. is Masa Inafuku served as a 17-year-old student nurse at the height of fighting and she says that battle continues but has been futile. Kamado Chibana was 26 when 83 civilians hiding in a cave with her committed group suicide rather than surrender to the Americans even though there were assurances from Japanese-fluent soldiers that they wouldn’t be harmed.


The film follows the story of these survivors and the generations that come after them and we see that Okinawa became a key launch pad for U.S. wars in Asia and the Middle East. In the 1960s, local activists campaigned for the reversion of Okinawa to Japan from the U.S., who was then ruling the island as a military protectorate. “Eiko Asato, a writer who was a teenage activist at the time, says that Japan didn’t fight wars, had no nuclear weapons and its economy was booming.”

After Okinawa was returned to Japan in 1972, locals soon realized that the bases would remain as would the problems that go along with this and with the support of the then ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s support. The film’s focus in on the sexual violence perpetrated by U.S. soldiers on Okinawan women and others in the military, both male and female. Witnesses from both sides testify, including a former soldier who was involved in a highly publicized 1995 group rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl.

The film concludes with an overview of ongoing disputes, including the protests over the construction of a new U.S. base in Nago’s Henoko district and we see how hard it is to come to a definite conclusion on the seventy-year-old presence of the United States in Okinawa. The “afterburn” of the title refers to the long struggle while the title of the Japanese version of the film “Urizun no Ame,” is translated to mean “the rains that herald spring” as it to say that those rains will usher in a season of hope. The film explores the roots of Okinawa’s resistance and its vision for the future.


Junkerman’s history with Okinawa goes back to the mid-1970s and his film makes it clear that Japan is still occupied. Today, the US military occupies nearly 20 percent of the island, accounting for 75 percent of its military presence in Japan. Junkerman lived on Okinawa in the mid-1970s, and was struck by “the pervasive and abiding rejection of war among the Okinawa people, and by how incongruous and violent the American military presence on the island was. Over the decades that followed, he found it troubling that Okinawa was forced to continue to endure this incompatibility and that this is largely a consequence of the ignorance of the American public. He felt that it was his responsibility to make a film that would penetrate the ongoing apathy of America regarding her presence in Japan.

“AMONG THE BELIEVERS”— Children and Radical Islam


“Among the Believers”

Children and Radical Islam

Amos Lassen

Mohammed Naqvi and Hemal Trivedi’s “Among the Believers” is an unsettling and eye opening exploration into the spread of the radical Islamic school Red Mosque in Pakistan where legions of children to devote their lives to jihad, or holy war.


The film largely focuses on radical Islamic extremists, much of which is tied to ISIS. While there is not much to the documentary that any reasonably-informed citizen does not already know, the directors seem to know that well and as they look at these ideas, they bring in the human element behind it asking the question who are those that are being affected by this and this is what makes this film so unique. We see what has rarely been seen before and we see it the plight of radical extremists through sympathetic eyes and ears to the plight of radical extremists.

Much of the film follows Maulana Aziz, a man is filled with charm and causes fear. Aziz is the leader of the Red Mosque and his quest to create an “Islamic utopia”. We see him not just as a villain but as a real person as well. When Aziz discusses the high death count of his students, he seems genuinely mournful. He is devoted enough to his cause to continue doing what he believes, but there is a pause and a hesitation to his words that color him in fascinating ways

Children at the DIL charter school in northern Punjab. Photographer: Mohammed Ali Naqvi

Children at the DIL charter school in northern Punjab.
Photographer: Mohammed Ali Naqvi


In the film’s opening moments (which are quite strong), we are introduced to Aziz and a world that most of us know nothing about. To the children that we see here, this is the only world that they know. We see a young boy delivering a sermon early in the film that declares hatred as he screams, “Death to America” with fiery and terrifying passion. The documentary digs deep into the children of the Red Mosque, and how the organization brainwashes them.

We get a glimpse into the world of radical Islam in a documentary that dares to ask us to sympathize with it. That’s a daunting task, but the filmmakers find plenty of material to explore to allow them to do it. It’s not an easy watch, but it’s an important look at one of the most controversial organizations in recent world history.


The Pakistani children in the film are real, and at the center of the War on Terrorism. Aziz’s seminary and others modeled on it are proponents of fundamentalist Islamic Shariah law, advocating no tolerance for outsiders. Former students are in the Taliban. Aziz’s advisory activist, Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, is an equally strong presence; during a lecture, his presentation includes images from a Red Mosque kindergarten-level primer. One slide is of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers.  We are presented with the multifaceted conflicts that we have not been familiar with and that means emphasizing that Pakistanis, regardless of religious practice, have indeed suffered. A 2007 government-sanctioned attack on the Red Mosque killed 150 students and members of Aziz’s family, and in 2014, the Taliban murdered 132 children in the Public Army School in Peshawar. Aziz’s comments defending the attack led to his house arrest. 

The film follows two teenagers, Talha, a student at the Red Mosque seminary and Zarina, who now attends a regular school, having broken away. Talha’s father regrets the decision enrolling him. The sound is sensitively muted during their conversation, but Talha’s hard stare reveals he will never return home. Zarina now loves school and it is a happy escape from her parents’ talk of arranging her marriage. At here new school, there is close supervision for religious and safety reasons. Yet they are encouraged to play, which is in sharp contrast to the militancy of extremism at the seminary.  


Talha and Zarina’s stories will continue after the closing credits. Through the film, they will be known outside their communities for their part in and conflict with these sharp ideological battles and we see the sadness of their own and so many other Pakistani childhoods. 

9/11 certainly changed the world. Because there is fear and ignorance we quickly label but never rush to understand. “Among the Believers” is a riveting documentary that takes the audience inside the infamous Red Mosques and into the mind of Abdul Aziz Ghazi, ISIS supporter, Taliban ally, and teacher of the jihadist movement. Acting as “dean” Aziz takes children from poor Pakistani families under the guise that he will house, clothe and educate their children for them. What’s really going on is the indoctrination of young members of a society that doesn’t know any better. These children “study” the Quran from sunrise until 9pm everyday. Not until they are deemed worthy do they even understand the verses they are forced to memorize and chant. Religion does funny things to people and, no matter which religion, extremists are out there.


This documentary is balanced with open-minded Muslims living in the surrounding neighborhoods of the Islamic seminaries. Advocates like Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, speak out in public platforms, such as mass media outlets and lectures. The majority of Pakistan’s population is vehemently against the imposition of Shariah law throughout the country and the question is how fight religion.

“Among The Believers” is, as I have already said, sometimes difficult to watch, but  it is an important film. Aziz’s His weapon is his expanding network of Islamic seminaries for children as young as four. The film makes us angry while we watch this remarkable piece of work.

“VAMPYRES”— A Remake of the 1974 Classic



A Remake of the 1974 Classic

Amos Lassen

 “Vampyres” directed by Victor Matellano might be considered a re-imagining of Jose Ramon Larraz’s film of the same title (1974) but I cannot help but wonder why Matellano decided to do this. raises one question, before, during, and after viewing. Many of us know the story in the original film, two polymorphously perverse ‘vampire’ women, Fran and Miriam, go after and prey on passing travelers, and there is one unlucky named Ted that they keep for their own pleasure. The older film made up for what it lacked in plot by relying on atmosphere. It was a daring film back then in the way that it showed sexual passion and lots of blood. I did read that Larraz endorsed this remake before he died in 2013 yet this decision seems very strange to me. I wonder if Larraz knew that the new film would contain the same dialogue as his original.


Taking over for Marianne Morris and Anulka Dziubinska in the original movie, our vampires in the new film are played by Marta Flitch and Almudena Leon. Neither are given very much to do, and although both are happy enough to disrobe, it seems almost uncharitable to comment that only one of them seems particularly ‘into it’ when it comes to the girl on girl scenes. There is a lack of eroticism or presence and this is probably due miscasting. (Interesting that vampires also get boob jobs.


The rest of the cast is made up of a mix of Spanish and English actors, and there is a lot of dubbing taking place that makes the actors seem to be insincere about what they say. The other cast members were once promising and some were of yesteryear. Now here is an interesting fact; Larraz’s original film was made in the UK by a Spaniard while the remake is made by a Spaniard in Spain but pretending that it is taking place in the UK. Yet, there is no attempt to disguise that fact that it was filmed near Madrid, and the vampires’ hideout, is now a townhouse.


Now others may find the eroticism to be, shall we say, erotic. It is indeed raw and sado-masochistic and there is a lot of bloody and gore. The story is set in a stately English manor inhabited by two older lesbian vampires and with their only cohabitant, Ted, a man who imprisoned in the basement. When three campers enter their world and try to see the dark secrets there, the results are blood-curdling. The cinematography is impressive as are the special effects especially the makeup.


This is an exploitation film and therefore there is kissing and sex and blood. Throats are slit, faces are bitten, and arms are gashed. We see violence, cruelty and flesh. This is quite a disturbing film that is not for everyone. You may not be able to tell from what I have already written but I really like this film. It goes on my list of guilty pleasures and replaces “Vampyros Lesbos” which had been there for years.


 As I said earlier the story has moved from the English countryside to Spain and from a location filled with cemeteries and empty mansions to a very European-looking detached house in Spain. I felt that this hurts the atmosphere of the film and taken away some of the spookiness. As for the plot, it stays fairly closely to the original but then the story is simple anyway. Two bisexual vampire women (although they are never referred to as vampires) roam the countryside looking for victims to seduce and then feed upon. Some campers (three instead of two this time) pitch their tent near to the abandoned house where the beautiful vampire women bring back men for sex and murder, and soon become enchanted by the goings on in the old house. The ending is slightly different in this one and does fit a little more with the plot but this film and the sex.


There is a lot of blood and boobs but little substance but who cares? We came to see blood. Fran and the younger Miriam live on a classic and magnificent estate and not only live together, but also share men and women equally. Ted who had had sex with Fran in the woods had no idea that he was going to become a sex slave. The main element next to the vampirism is the homoeroticism of the two main characters.

I am a sucker for vampire movies and perhaps that makes me more critical. The film opens with nudity and a lesbian sex scene and there is a lot of nudity throughout the film. I knew I wanted to like this movie and that is why I am so critical of it. It is quite a fascinating film to look at and its visuals are very, very good.

“HOMO SAPIENS”— Dilapidation and Decay


“Homo Sapiens”

Dilapidation and Decay

Amos Lassen

In Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s “Homo Sapiens”, we see 94 minutes’ worth of destroyed, decayed, and looted environments. There are no humans in this world and there is no narrative, we simply see only the traces of our violence and neglect. We see earth as a planet as if it has abandoned by people who made sure to ransack it on their way out to other planets and galaxies. There are deserted Japanese-style rooms filled with hundreds of stacked books; wrecked movie theaters with film projectors that are rotting; bars that are filled with mold and moss; flooded auditoriums; and dilapidated hospitals, corporate offices, prisons cells, and bowling alleys.


Instead of surveying landscape, Geyrhalter gives us an exercise endurance not because of the film’s pacing, but due to the filmmaker’s refusal to offer any sense of orientation (we do not know where we are in terms of location) or progress. What at first seems to be an examination of the deterioration of one single village becomes an inspection of the four corners of the world. The most beautiful moments are made up of birds flying indoors, sometimes coming in and out of structures as if playing a game of hide-and-go-seek with the camera. These creatures are the only things that breathe, and that actually move on the planet that seems to be rotting away. Human creations crumble and the birds seem to mourn as they play with the camera.


In this film without people, the camera focuses on the remnants of civilization— this is an anthropological investigation into the modern world that shows us the infrastructure of society. We feel that we are entering different spaces and being present for whatever small environmental changes (wind, rain) happen.


With no music, no dialogue, no people and no mankind, we see still-life portraits of abandoned structures, with each shot typically lasting fifteen to twenty seconds. It seems to be science fiction as it studies a seemingly post-industrial and post-apocalyptic planet abandoned by humans.


Geyrhalter has not filmed any abandoned private residences here; he’s more concerned with giving glimpses of the remains of once-valued social structures—of which there is a vast selection.


The film spends time on the two sorts of structures whose ruins have developed the most fervent followings: old movie theaters and shopping malls. Indeed, it’s interesting that the most melancholic, disquieting images are those of discarded places of entertainment and leisure: theme parks, playgrounds, bowling alleys, and discotheques. “The documentary is as much a portrait of shifts in mass amusement activities and the fleeting nature of leisure fads as it is a study of declining industries and societal neglect”.


We see entire towns that have been left to rot, as well as some large, mysterious structures whose original functions are not always apparent. Little camera movement and the duration of the shots allow us to see details that surely otherwise would have escaped notice (cascading leaves blown by the wind, dust particles in a beam of bright sunlight, raindrops forming small puddles).As the film nears it close, it moves further and further away from human life.

“ONE NATION FROM TRUMP”— On the Trump Train


“One Nation Under Trump”

On the Trump Train

Amos Lassen

Are we ready for a balanced examination of Donald Trump, the most talked about presidential candidate in history? Personally I am not but because I was asked to review this new documentary, I am going to tell you what I think of it and you probably also see what I think about Trump. The film wastes no time jumping into what it calls, “the unstoppable Donald Trump revolution”.


We get both the high and low points of the Trump’s improbable rise, from early speaking engagements to explosive televised debates to galvanizing speeches and public media feuds to, finally, securing the presidential nomination We are taken aboard the Trump Train from the very beginning and get an unflinching look at what may be the most important political figure of the 21st century. (How I hate calling Trump important).

Now this is not much of a documentary since it is just an hour of clips from Trump interviews and speeches. There is some voice over and the film reaches the end, the voice doesn’t match with what is on screen. The film is not insightful and is just simply a propaganda piece. We see no opposing views.


The film actually makes Trump look worse than he is. There is no continuity and there was no editor. Nothing holds together and it’s just Trump with his fake tan and terrible hair telling us that he is wonderful. We see and hear his fear mongering and agenda of hate. He comes across as a

“rancorous power hungry lunatic as someone who can’t fit the pieces together very well”. Like its subject, it is completely idiotic with a bunch of useless video clips. If there is a redeeming aspect of this film it is that it shows a disgusting presidential campaign that will go down in history as a shameful reflection of a country’s hatred and anger.

And from a Trump supporter who saw this film:

“My Yahoo handle is StocktonRob. I am a 68 year old Nam vet and a Republican. Trump is an honest man, albeit not perfect as he willingly admits. This excellent examination of Trump in his many interviews and rallies and meetings with Americans gives an overall view of a man who is very likely to beat Crooked Lyin Hillary in November. There did not need to be any opposing views in this documentary because it is dealing strictly with “the phenomenon of Trump” as a Republican presidential candidate and that is exactly what is examined. There is an unbridled enthusiasm at Trump rallies and within the Republican Party for this man who has put to one side his incredible business career in an effort to be elected U.S. President so he can use the same negotiating skills that have made him so successful in business in the international and national arenas of politics. I highly recommend this video to all Americans so they can see through the lies of the left and the mainstream media. (totally liberal) in the U.S. Stockton Rob”.



“The Tubes – Live At German Television: The Musikladen Concert 1981”

For the First Time on DVD

Amos Lassen

Here is the “phantastic” concert of The Tubes as they present their album “Completion Backward Principle” in Germany in 1981. The concert was completely filmed and shows Fee Waybill, Roger Steen, Bill Spooner, Rick Anderson, Vince Welnick, Michael Cotton and Prairie Prince in top form. The concert is a show with many scenes lots of dancers.


In April, 1981 Musikladen director Mike Leckebusch had the idea to have the Tubes do a live concert and so he offered the band (Fee Waybill, Bill Spooner, Roger Steen, Vince Welnick, The Prairie Prince, Rick Anderson and Michael Cotton) the chance to present their new album ‘The Completion Backward Principle’ live on TV. The band took the chance and added dancers and extras and the show was taped on April 24, 1981 when it went on stage and was broadcast some weeks later in several other countries aside from Germany. The album became the band’s most successful album and now we can see and enjoy the entire concert.


In the early 70s, The Tubes were much more than just a band, they were an event. Their music was eclectic and drew on punk, progressive music, R & B, hard rock and independent musical styles. The band is from San Francisco and includes two guitarists Roger Steen and Bill Spooner that two keyboardists Vince Welnick and Michael Cotton, bassist Rick Anderson and drummer Prairie Prince and all of them are accomplished musicians of the time. The Tubes also had Fee Waybill, a true frontman and passionate singer who just also could fully develop his acting skills in the Tubes.


Below is the track List:

Intro Part 1


A Matter of Pride

TV is King

Think About Me

Talk to Ya Later

Sports Fans


Mr. Hate


Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman


Mondo Bondage

Intro Part 2

Don’t Want to Wait Anymore

Power Tools

Business Dance

Don’t Slow Down

Sushi Girl

Tubes World Fair

Let’s Make Some Noise


“THEO WHO LIVED”— An Inside Look at Terror


“Theo Who Lived”

An Inside Look at Terror

Amos Lassen

David Schisgall’s documentary “Theo Who Lived” is the story of American journalist Theo Padnos, who was kidnapped in Syria and held by the Nusra Front (the Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda)  for twenty-two months.


In 2012, journalist Theo Padnos entered Syria to report on the country’s civil war but was kidnapped by Al Qaeda’s branch in Syria soon after his arrival. He speaks Arabic fluently this causing him to be thought of as working for the CIA. He suffered brutal torture for months as he went to interrogation sessions. Because he was so much at home in the language of his captors, he eventually found a personal engagement with those that held him prisoner. Interestingly enough, this plus his openness, allowed him to become, by the time of his release, twenty-two months later, a confidante of Al-Qaeda’s top commander in Syria.


In this documentary, Theo Padnos returns to the to the Middle East and as he retraces the physical and emotional steps of his journey, shares his memories. He shows us what went on in his mind as he created a fantasy world that he used as means of mental escape. He was forced to deal with betrayal among others who were imprisoned with him, forced unlikely friendships, and tried to escape but was unable to do so. His personal resilience is what shines here alongside of the grace he exhibited in dealing with his situation. He lived staring into the face of hate and unlike other journalists from the west was able to survive and be released.


The film will open at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas in NYC on October 7 and at the Laemmle Monica Film Center in LA on October 21.