Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lasers, Longswords, and Lipstick Guns

Welcome our third Guest Blogger, Michael J. Epstein of The Motion Sick, Neutral Uke Hotel, The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library, and Do Not Foresake Me Oh My Darling. I'm out of breath.

Epstein is a man who wears a mustache well and never gets sick of the same joke. Epstein has a fantastic sense of humor, knows what he likes and like many of us, loves pop culture. We here at GLG support our artists and all their unique personalities and talents. For his stint as a Guest Blogger, Epstein has chose to write a monthly blog post about retro sci-fi movies, b-movies and barbarians. Maybe he'll find out why every sci-fi movie in the '60s and '70s thought everyone in the future wore white and had acrylic furniture. And now... Lasers, Longswords, and Lipstick Guns

An Ode to Barbarella - An Angel in Love

"Hello fearless licorice lovers! For years, I've done my very best to mask my 'unpopular' interests to prevent their prominence from overtaking my songwriting. It has been nigh impossible to stop a mention from sneaking out here and there. Now, these years of suppression must end before I explode! Welcome to Lasers, Longswords, and Lipstick Guns; an opportunity for me to implore you to see the very best and/or the very worst sci-fi (lasers), barbarian (longswords), and spy (lipstick guns) movies and perhaps even tie in ways that they've influenced my music or style."

"I feel obligated to start with one of my favorite movies of all time, 1968's Barbarella. The film is absolutely the cream of the crop of sci-fi camp. It's bubbling with the sexual revolution of the '60s, plus lava lamps, shag carpets, and every nerd's favorite: a zero gravity striptease. The props are bizarre, the characters absurd, and the settings are extremely imaginative. Perhaps the best element of the entire movie is its absolutely brilliant sound design. Both the original music composed and recorded for the soundtrack and the sound effects really carry the movie through the silliness. The actors, particularly Jane Fonda, take every moment totally seriously and really sell the absurd snapshot of the '60s very effectively. Heck, the movie contains carnivorous dolls, a musical instrument that produces deadly orgasms, a blind angel, and a death ray. If you haven’t, why haven't you seen it yet?!?!?!

Barbarella even ties in with some musical endeavors of mine. Several years ago, when I was working on odd, ambient pieces under the name Entropical Utopia, I took lots of samples of the dialogue and the sound effects from Barbarella. My favorite song from that time period, ‘An Angel Has No Memory,’ takes advantage of the strange final line of the film. Other favorite voice samples included; 'It will be the end, the apocalypse' and 'You who have chosen to die, be welcome! To terminate the bitterness of life, you are entitled to select from three exciting and surprising forms of death.' Really, I loved using any old sound bite about the 'positronic ray' and how its victims are 'de-minimalized to the fourth level.'

The movie also has influenced some of my more current work. When preparing for our first Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling photo shoot, my partner Sophia gave the make-up artist a photo of Jane Fonda as Barbarella for reference. Sophia mentioned this in a recent interview she did about her fashion choices for New Brahmin . In a twist of fate Sophia's mention of Barbarella sparked an anonymous fan to create a Facebook page encouraging the producers to cast Sophia in the pending remake of the film!

My favorite song from the film's soundtrack is ‘Love, Love, Love Drags Me Down.’ My second favorite is ‘An Angel in Love.'"

Each Wednesday (well, you know how musicians are, so maybe every other Wednesday....) the GLG blog will treat you to a Guest Blogger pulled from our creative group of artists who have a lot to say. All the time.


  1. Just when you think you know someone, they post "Entropical Utopia" and throw off your entire world view!

  2. I just can't wait to start listening to the Barbarella soundtrack..... it's really, really long though.

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