Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mixtape #3: Cafe Flesh

Move Over, Bambi by Guy Mondo, collage on card

I used to be a regular patron of the local repertory and art house movie theaters here until they started going under due to competition from the multiplexes, cable TV and home video. People no longer had to wait for a favorite vintage or foreign film to occasionally be scheduled for small screens anymore. Many of those theaters fell victim to developers when the owners could no longer afford to stay in their buildings. Long gone are my favorite movie houses like RKO Keiths, The Town, The Ontario, the Circle Theater chain, The Georgetown, The Key and The Biograph. 
      A few of these theaters tried to draw in audiences with special midnight showings of cult films. The KeyThe Rocky Horror Picture Show for several years while ran late shows of The Georgetown had moderate success with Bob Guccione's attempt at high-brow porn, Caligula. The Biograph also ran cult movies and annually hosted the Spike and Mike animation festivals which spawned the likes of Ren & Stimpy and Beavis and Butthead.
     One of the movies to make the midnight rounds at The Biograph was Cafe Flesh, an unlikely combination of dialog that references 1940's gangster-movie slang, deadpan acting, minimalist chiaroscuro sets and lighting, Red Scare atomic paranoia all wrapped in a surprisingly accessible Avant-garde package. The big surprise here, though, is that this is a porn film! It was written by CSI: Las Vegas scriptwriter Jerry Stahl who's life of addiction was was the subject of the film Permanent Midnight. Cafe Flesh's plot (yes, it does have one!) involves a future where 99% of the population has been rendered incapable of having sex without becoming violently ill. To assuage their stifled libidos, the remaining 1% are required by law to perform sex acts for their benefit. One of the venues for these shows is Cafe Flesh where a smarmy MC taunts the audience while introducing the performances that border on the surreal. The soundtrack was written and performed by Mitchell Froom (ex-husband of singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega).
     As much as I like Froom's original score I figured I could give the film a different ambience with music from my collection. The result was a tape I played in my Walkman on my bus ride to work on a regular basis. Tracks in BLUE are bits of dialog from the movie.

The Tracks:
Welcome to Cafe Flesh
Hungry So Angry - Medium Medium
All That I Wanted - Belfegore
Sensoria - Cabaret Voltaire
The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight - Dominatrix
Pleasure is a widow maker...
Contort Yourself - James White and The Contortions
Need is the destination
Hot Doggy - Colourbox
Ask the Angels - Patti Smith
The skull in the cage
Faith Healer - The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
Max outs Angel
No apologies
The Uh-Oh Squad - Robert Ellis Orrall
She's in Parties - Bauhaus
Angel's debut
Angel Face - Shock
Lie Back, Let Me Do Everything - Rough Trade
Max is back on top (my turn to laugh)
Duel - Propaganda
Revenge - Ministry
Moms, Max and the Poem
Let Me Cry - Yello
Uh-oh, trouble in Paradise   
Big Time - Peter Gabriel
Imagination - Belouis Some
The legendary Johnny Rico
Talk to Me - I Am Siam
Will's Mood - Doug E. Fresh
Intro - Skafish