Category Archives: Busman’s Holiday

1000 Words: Movie Magic

I had a fun and informative chat with IU Cinema director Alicia Kozma yesterday afternoon. It was the first time I’ve recorded an edition of Big Talk in the WFHB studios since February 2020.

Kozma.

That time, I shot the breeze with the Busman’s Holiday boys, Lewis and Addison Rogers. Next thing any of us knew, the nation — hell, the entire world — was being shut down. So for some 27 months I’ve been recording Big Talk editions à la Marc Maron — in my garage. It took quite a few tries but I think I was able, eventually, to get a pretty decent sound quality even as I was squeezed in among the lawnmower, The Loved One’s hot rod, some old rolled-up carpeting, the washer and dryer, and tons of other clutter.

Lewis (L) & Addison Rogers.

I figured I’d venture out into the world yesterday so I reserved one of the station’s recording studios. It was a blast seeing the old community radio gang again — GM Jar Turner, news director Kade Young, and development director Brooke Turpin. The big news at the station is Kade cut off his extremely long pandemic hair and Jar has let his tresses grow down to his shoulder blades. Brooke’s mop remains stylishly trimmed.

As for me, well, I haven’t worried about the hair on the top of my head since the 1990s. That emanating from my ears and nose, though, must be controlled using Wahl machinery.

By the way, did you know the word glabrous means free from hair? Ironic, isn’t it? I mean, it’d be like the 45th President of the United States being surnamed Noble or Goode. Hair has sprouted in generous amounts from every corner and niche of my bod since I was an early teen. This even though my scalp became largely desolate starting in about 1981.

Glabrous.

Anyway, in researching Alicia Kozma, I learned about a woman named Stephanie Rothman. She’s one of Kozma’s fave producer/directors and was one of the very first female top executives in Hollywood.

Rothman was the first female winner of the Directors Guild of America fellowship while a student at the University of Southern California. Cult film director Roger Corman hired her as an assistant straight out of college. Stephanie worked in every possible position on Corman-produced movies with titles like Beach Ball, Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet, and Queen of Blood. Her stint with Corman was an invaluable apprenticeship where she learned every aspect of making a commercial movie. Corman eventually tabbed her to direct It’s a Bikini World.

Rothman.

This all came about in the 1960s when Hollywood saw women as good only for parading their breasts onscreen. Sure, there were female directors and/or producers — Ida Lupino comes to mind — but you could count them on one hand that’d suffered the loss of three fingers in a farm accident.

Lupino.

Rothman hated working on what was called the “exploitation” genre. Kozma defines exploitation films as those made on the barest of budgets, designed to make quick box office money at, say, drive-in theaters, and which featured plenty of jiggling female flesh and a whole hell of a lot of violence.

“I was never happy making exploitation movies,” Rothman said. But she did so because women directors were rarely hired or bankrolled a half century ago. The only job she could find was at an exploitation factory.

Corman.

Rothman did, though, inject a mote of enlightenment into the process. She directed the films Student Nurses and The Velvet Vampire for Corman. As long as the exploitation film formula demanded nudity to one degree or another, Rothman chose to have as many male actors shed their clothes as female actors. And as long as she had to include violent scenes in her movies, she strove to show the results of that violence, both physical and emotional. She also focused on female leads as more fully developed characters rather than simply unclad bodies prancing around the screen.

Kozma calls Rothman the “anti-Russ Meyer.”

A Russ Meyer Opus.

She split off to start her own production company, Dimension Pictures, with her husband, Charles S. Swartz. Rothman directed three Dimension films: Group Marriage, Terminal Island, and The Working Girls. She scripted Beyond Atlantis for Dimension as well. In all of them, she took an exploitation standby, unbridled male desire, and extended it to include that of her female characters. It may be hard to believe today, but the idea of a female movie character really wanting to engage in sex back then was utterly groundbreaking.

Still, Rothman remained unsatisfied with the whole exploitation thing. Even when she left Dimension in 1975 and hoped to make serious films, she couldn’t because Hollywood had typecast her as an exploitation director. She couldn’t win.

Alicia Kozma says she’d love to get Stephanie Rothman to make a personal appearance at the IU Cinema sooner rather than later. Rothman, who hasn’t worked on a film since 1978, is now 85 years old. She remains healthy and energetic, acc’d’g to Kozma. The IU Cinema director has her fingers crossed that Rothman may soon make her way to Bloomington.

Sometimes when I think I might like to retire from radio, I simply remember I get to meet and chat with cool folks like Alicia Kozma. And learn about others like Stephanie Rothman. So I’ll stick with Big Talk for the foreseeable future.

(The podcast of my chat with Alicia Kozma will post later today at 6:00pm on the WFHB website. Podcasts of all previous Big Talks can be found here.)

Hot Air

Funny Freberg

If you love radio as much as I do, you’ve loved Stan Freberg.

Freberg

Stan Freberg

An advertising consultant and radio humorist, Freberg was dubbed the “father of the funny commercial” by Advertising Age. His radio satires inspired the likes of the Beatles’ Paul McCartney and author Stephen King. I enjoyed his syndicated oldies radio programs through the 2000s.

Freberg died last week. The announcement came yesterday. Here’s an audio clip from Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, a 1961 comedy album that Time magazine declared at the time the funniest ever made.

The Smart Party?

Pew Research told us yesterday about Murricans’ party affiliations. Here’s a quick, handy guide to who likes which party in this holy land, as repro’d in Digby’s Blog, a must read here at Pencil HQ:

Republicans hold a 49%-40% lead over the Democrats in leaned party identification among whites. The GOP’s advantage widens to 21 points among white men who have not completed college (54%-33%) and white southerners (55%-34%). The Democrats hold an 80%-11% advantage among blacks, lead by close to three-to-one among Asian-Americans (65%-23%) and by more than two-to-one among Hispanics (56%-26%). Women lean Democratic by 52%-36%…. Democrats lead by 22 points (57-35% in leaned party identification among adults with post-graduate degrees.

And we wonder why Republicans vilify academia and seem so godawful eager to cut school funding. In this weird day and age, smarts and Republicanism don’t go well together.

Busman’s Holiday News

Look for a new Busman’s Holiday disc coming this fall. Addison Rogers stopped by Table Number 1 at Soma Coffee this AM to fill in The Pencil on his and his bro’s latest opus.

Busman's Holiday

Lewis (L) & Addison Rogers

The two spent a couple of weeks last month in Montreal where they’re working with producer Mark Lawson on the recording. “We got the rough mixes out of the way, the more complicated ones,” Rogers says. “Then we’re probably going to get up there in May to wrap it up.”

The new disc will still feature the Busman sound we’ve grown to know and love but with a pinch of difference. “We’re going in a couple of different places, not too far,” Rogers says. “We’re thinking about the low end a little bit more this time — we’re adding some bass.”

The Rogers boys are contemplating setting up a crowdfunding campaign, à la Krista Detor, to finance the project. Stayed tuned here for more news on that front.

Gun Crazy

Funnyman Aaron Freeman notes that the National Rifle Association will institute a special safety policy for its annual firearms orgy this weekend in Nashville, Tennessee. Attendees will be forbidden — you guessed it! — from carrying guns.

Freeman

Aaron Freeman

Everybody from Ted Nugent to Sarah Palin as well as most of the putative GOP candidates for president in 2016 will speak at the bash, telling NRA members, natch, that gun-totin’ should be unimpeded everywhere on god’s green earth, save the hall in which they speak.

The NRA, of course, has been instrumental in getting states and communities to enact open-carry laws. Thanks to the NRA, a real Murrican can pack heat at his local Wal-Mart, saloon, or house of worship across much of this holy land.

Freeman offers some free advice for the NRA’s devoted gun-fondlers: “If you want to carry a working gun, you’ll have to go to church.”

Prisoners

Dig these two photo collections of the Japanese internment (read: concentration) camps that the US Gov’t set up during World War II:

Business Insider tells us about Ansel Adams’ photos of life inside the camps. Adams published a book of the pix in 1944 entitled Born Free and Equal: The Story of Loyal Japanese-Americans. Here’s one image:

Photo/Adams

Library of Congress/Ansel Adams

Adams’ images now are part of the collection at the Library of Congress.

London’s Daily Mail tells us about Bill Manbo’s color pix of life in the camps. Manbo was a young Japanese-American photographer who was made to live at one of the camps, the lot of which housed more than 100,000 people during the war. Manbo published the book, Colors of Confinement. Here’s a taste:

Image/Manbo

Takao Bill Manbo, © 2012

Funny thing is, the Germans had hundreds, even thousands, of moles in the US during the war. And prior to hostilities breaking out, German-American Bunds existed in every big city. German treachery was such a worry that the Naval intelligence agency worked hand-in-glove with the New York City Mafia — in the person of Charley (Lucky) Luciano — to safeguard our east coast ports from sabotage and labor unrest. No such precautions were needed on the west coast.

Nevertheless, Americans of Japanese ancestry were rounded up while German-Americans enjoyed all the comforts of home for the duration.

Hot Air

Got A Quarter For A Cup Of Coffee?

Amid all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the installation (or, more accurately, re-installation) of downtown parking meters a year and a half ago, one hugely important factor goes undiscussed. That is, the city’s finances.

Oh sure, City Council-ites and outgoing Mayor Mark Kruzan might tell us how important it is to control the day-long parking habits of all those pampered IU students living downtown in mini-palaces their parents have gifted them. And others might point out that it’s now ever so much easier to find a parking space around Courthouse Square.

But the sine qua non of the meter decision was, pure and simple, dough. Bloomington’s raking it in on a daily basis at a dollar an hour per parking space. Lest you think Kruzan et al are sitting in their throne rooms showering themselves with hundreds of thousands of dollars in quarters, keep in mind that the city’s bank account just might be tapped out.

Panhandler

Can You Spare Two Bits?

The Pencil hears a whisper that the city might be unable to pay Monroe County its share of the million-dollar-plus emergency dispatch center software that’s been in use since September. Way back in the summer of 2013, the city and the county signed an interlocal agreement to purchase a maintenance policy from Spillman Technologies, Inc. The company would keep the dispatchers’ computer programs purring for ten years in exchange for a cool 1.2 mill.

The county and the city share a high-tech emergency dispatch operation atop the new $9.5 million Bloomington Transportation Center.

A source with intimate knowledge of the deal says that the city cried poor when payment came due. Acc’d’g to this person, the city and county now are hashing out a payment plan; in other words, Bloomington wants to borrow the scratch from Monroe County — scratch the city supposedly was good for when the interlocal agreement was signed.

The Herald Times reported earlier this week that some in the county don’t even like the looks of the prepay deal in the first place. Monroe County Council member Marty Hawk, for one, told the H-T a million bucks was pretty much a scary sum to commit to w/o even knowing how Spillman will perform.

Meanwhile, my source added that a financial whiz from one of the city’s departments recently has done an audit of the city’s tax/expenditure activities and essentially came away from the chore shaking her/his head sadly.

Two things:

  1. Think of how much worse our town’s financial picture might be without all those quarters. 
  2. Do Darryl Neher and John Hamilton realize what in the hell they’re trying so hard to get themselves into?

Sunshine? I’ve Heard Of It!

You know it’s spring when the city’s Farmers Market moves back outdoors. Well, it’s spring, at least acc’d’g to the calendar. The 2015 al fresco Market debuts a week from today, Saturday, April 4th, outside City Hall on North Morton Street.

And just to remind you what a kick the FM is, here’s some video footage of the Rogers boys’ band, Busman’s Holiday, shot by camera ace Duane Busick:

By the way, that brightness you see in the video? It’s called sunshine. I’ve got a ten-spot to bet that we’ll see some of that stuff next Saturday.

For more from Duane Busick, go to his YouTube page.

Go Dark

Hey, h/t to Linda Oblack for reminding us: Let’s all do Earth Hour tonight.

Turn off your lights, your devices, your mixers, your TV, your Hitachi wand, and any other thing powered by electricity from 8:30-9:30pm. Just a reminder of how much goddamned non-renewable energy we soak up every minute of every day.

Darkness

This Is What Darkness Looks Like

Suggestions for what to do while the juice is off:

  • Put together a jigsaw puzzle
  • Do a crossword
  • Read a book
  • Listen as the birds retire for the night
  • Talk to each other
  • Have sex (w/o the wand, natch)
  • Contemplate
  • Meditate
  • Exercise
  • Take a nap
  • Write a letter

Do something other than suck electrons out of a wall outlet.

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