Free Green Jello!

When Bill Manspeaker makes the scene, he really makes the scene.  While others are content to just hang out, Manspeaker and Green Jello are literally creating their own crazy, seemingly chaotic, scene.  “We are the Hollywood underground,” shout heralds announcing their take-over of the deadly boring, virus-infested land. Audience members chant in unison, “Green Jello Suxx,” but everyone knows that sucking can be fun.

For the last year, Green Jello have been performing LIVE from their headquarters each and every Saturday night, complete with live audience stumbling in from the street, and multi-camera direction from their home-brewed ensemble, including Jella Lugosi and others at the controls. Free entertainment, beer, drugs, are on tap from their not-so-secret lair on Hollywood Blvd, near my old neighborhood.  As the opening theme song plays, current members (of over 1,000 world-wide – check Guinness Book of World Records) parade out: Bill Manspeaker, the Punk Rock Pope and puppet master fronts; Linoleum Dynamite strolls out with guitar and funniest name; The Nihilist is there, and nowhere; here’s Hot Lips, powerful, multi-talented, sultry; and there’s Slim Jelly, frightening and yet strangely alluring, with a voice that can melt your heart or crush your skull.

Full Disclosure:

I remember hearing Green Jello’s 3 Little Pigs on the radio when it first came out.  KXLU took callers for two free tickets to see them; I phoned in and won!  Seeing them live at that time in Newport Beach, or somewhere down south, was a tremendous blast.  Over the following years and raising a family, I’d let the band slip from my attention, but when my son’s band, Rascal Stew, was contacted recently to open for Green Jello at the Whisky, we were blown away.  And the icing on the cake was Rascal Stew being asked to appear on GreenJelloVision.  The east coast has Saturday Night Live, but we have GreenJelloVision.  Watching them all play together (from my couch, via Youtube) was surreal. I savored the moment and was thankful that they had re-entered my orbit. Buckets of inspiration, perspiration, resuscitation, etc., has been gleaned.

GreenJelloVisionMusicTV #45 <—- Crash the scene!

Click the alien to enter GreenJelloVisionMusicTV

Green Jello was going to tour behind their NEW 2021-released record (on Cleopatra Records), Garbage Band Kids, but the damnable virus made the Whisky their only stop.  If there were justice in this world, we all might get tuned into this bludgeoning new recording from the ultimate power punk novelty crushers.  It’s an excellent record, among their best, and can be sampled on Youtube.  The Silence of the Squarepants song crosses generational gaps and opens new worlds to our impressionable youth. Check out their GreenJelloVisionMusicTV! Don’t fall asleep on ‘em!

Rascal Stew

Speaking of Rascal Stew, help yourself to some of the weirdest band in the valley.  Punk-flavored riffs and rhythms recall the minutemen, Anus the Menace, and more so Cal sounds.  They’re finishing up a more polished EP, “Son of A…,” from the Rascal Stewdio and should be kept an eye/ear on.  Borjon leads on vocals and guitar, Dylan and Ric trade off on drums and bass.  Keyboard when available.  Look for them to explode in the new year.  Have a little bit of this Rascal Stew, or have a LOT!

Rascal Stew on Bandcamp <—- click to get some stew.

Borjon Pasillas, Dylan Whisler, and Ric Ruiz of Rascal Stew.

Lastly, maybe late to the party, but I’m really loving Kanopy, an app used in conjunction with your library card.  Free movies via your Roku or other streaming device, up to ten a month, just by signing up with your library card.  Like Netflix for eggheads, Kanopy is full of quality movies, documentaries, educational lessons, etc. Check out Kanopy! And may we all learn and discover something new in this new year.


A Roku Halloween

As Halloween draws near, the time for watching spooky movies is here!  And whatever creepers you crave, Roku has them.  Getting a Roku player was one of the best decisions of my long, lazy, TV-watching career, and for fans of classic (and not-so-classic) horror movies, it’s a real treat this time of year.

From the silent era through contemporary hits and near misses, these free channels will provide you with countless nights of freaky frights.

First off, The Roku Channel has movies for kids and the family, as well as plenty for adult’s-eyes-only.  Look for the acclaimed Masters of Horror series that originally ran on Showtime.  Also available is John Carpenter’s popular Halloween from 1978 which set the stage for a plethora of copy cats.  Scream, Hellraiser are among other standard Halloween titles, but don’t miss the lesser-known gems like Universal Studios’ black and white chiller, Monster on the Campus, or the bizarre and hysterical, Blood Diner.

Tubi is one of the flagships of streaming channels available on Roku and Charles Band’s Full Moon features are overflowing there.  You’ll also find a few directed by the late, great Stuart Gordon (R.I.P.), including Re-Animator and Castle Freak, and his co-producer, Brian Yuzna’s own directorial efforts, Society, and Beyond Re-Animator. Other demented directors awaiting uncovering on Tubi are David Cronenberg and his body horrors, Rabid and Shivers, Brian Trenchard-Smith’s Dead-End Drive-In, and the surreal absurdities of Takashi Miike’s The Happiness of the Katakuris, among a mountain of other oddities.

Shout Factory TV is a fine digital portal for their offerings, and if you like your horror movies hosted, look to them for Mystery Science Theater 3000, and several episodes of Elvira’s Movie Macabre, among many other Japanese titles and several unnerving films of Werner Herzog, such as Even Dwarfs Started Small.

Although Horror Hotel is the name of an excellent public domain horror film starring Christopher Lee from 1960, the Horror Hotel channel available on Roku features a good variety of classic and lesser-seen films hosted by the eternally effervescent Lamia, Queen of the Dark.  Allow yourself to fall under her spell.

OSI74 is the channel for Mr. Lobo’s Cinema Insomnia and other hosted affairs, including the old public access cult favorites, The Hypnotic Eye program, and Church of the SubGenius de-programming videos.

Beta Max TV is another haven for horror hosts, the best of which just might be The Dungeon of Dr. Dreck.  And tune into Count Gore de Vol Presents, for a revolving, revolting platter of classic movies and daring shorts.

Mutant Sorority Pictures is most notable for foisting Lloyd Kaufman’s Troma monstrosities and releases upon us.  Warning!  Once seen, Tromeo and Juliette, Citizen Toxie, and Poultrygeist aren’t soon forgotten.

Pub D Hub is a channel containing public domain titles from A to Z and their horror and sci-fi collection is vast.  Look for additional public domain treasures at the Digital Drive-In and Film Rabbits channels, which also has a few Mexican movies including the outlandish Ship of Monsters, and more rare horror.  Frightpix has the popular Train to Busan and some Dario Argento, like Phenomena.  Also look there for the perennial favorite, director Jack Hill’s Spider Baby, starring Lon Chaney, Jr.  Sci-Fi Collection channel features the elusive turkey, The Flying Serpent, and Count Rockula’s Theater for the Insane, and many more public domain features and Japanese productions.

Peacock is NBC’s recently released channel and they present most of the classic Universal monster movies for free, but they’re the only channel I’ve mentioned that requires a registration process using an email and password. And watching some of your favorite monsters on Peacock may require a fee.  For example, Dracula is free to watch, but Frankenstein requires their Premium level.  Many classics are dwelling there, awaiting your plundering of their creaky graves, including The Brides of Dracula, and The Mummy’s Hand.

There’s still time to capture the Halloween spirit and explore your Roku for all sorts of weird tricks-or-treats.  Beware!  Take care…

The Beachcomber


The Beachcomber (1938), AKA Vessel of Wrath

Under Comedy, on Roku’s “PubDHub” channel, I found The Beachcomber, starring Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester, real life husband and wife.  Lanchester is most widely known from The Bride of Frankenstein and the most famous monster role of Laughton’s career was The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939).  Curious to see their work together, I took a seat with this oldie but goodie.  Or, at least, oldie but not baddie.  It is based on Somerset Maugham’s short story, The Vessel of Wrath.

Those who grew up moving their TV antenna to get better reception will understand my willingness to watch the soft, fuzzy edges of this old video copy.   But the big, beautiful eyes of Elsa Lanchester, as Martha Jones, keep us riveted to her.  Both actors keep this island picture afloat, but their characters aren’t very appealing.  She’s a busy body Christian missionary who deplores strong drink and he’s a beach bum and a selfish drunk to boot.  The couple’s acting and scenes together are the highlight of this one.


To its credit, Beachcombers uses the island’s indigenous people as actors as well, using their native language in multiple scenes.  As was the way with many stories and movies of its time, its stance on colonialism and its oblivious disrespect for the native people is evident, though Laughton’s character, Ginger Ted, does challenge some of those assumptions, however modestly and hypocritically.

At its climax though is a harrowing showdown over vaccinations.  The clashing cultures and religious practices of the missionaries and the traditional beliefs of the islanders come to a head on a frightful night in the jungle.  Moody lighting, deep shadows, and ratcheting tension supply fans of classic horror films a taste of that flavor, but this is finally more of a screwball comedy with some lessons tossed in.

The film moves along and ends as you might expect but both characters, under their creators’ capable portrayals, become more likable.  He bends her ways slightly and she does the same to his.  One of Laughton’s best lines, delivered almost under his breath, “One more peep out of you, my girl, and I’ll spank you, ‘til you can’t sit down,” leaves Miss Jones wide-eyed but silent. All this leads to an expectedly satisfying ending.

I later found a copy of this movie on YouTube of about the same quality but one that has subtitles provided by the Closed Caption Media.  Subtitles may be slightly visually obtrusive but helpful, as the sound is also a bit muddy.  The Beachcombers is worth watching for fans of the actors, and it receives three stars in Maltin’s Classic Film Guide.

What to Watch – NHK Grand Sumo

Tochinoshin grapples opponent.

When in doubt, re-scan!  Antenna television viewers in the L.A. area may want to re-scan their set for updates.  Recently, the Decades TV Network, which was at 2-2, moved to channel 54-2, KAZA-TV.

Channel 2-2 now is listed as KCBS-SD.  Its schedule includes titles such as: “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”; “Medium”; “Cold Case”; “The Closer”, and similar fare.  This isn’t exactly what I’m after, but I’m sure it will be popular with a large audience.

Decades is worth tracking down on 54-2.  When the urbane and witty Dick Cavett is interviewing a powerhouse of entertainment or politics on one of his old shows, it’s often, at that moment, the best thing on TV.  Decades also broadcasts vintage sitcoms and “The Best of the Ed Sullivan Show”, which is also often the best thing on!  Their name comes from their timeline retro news program, “Through the Decades”, that established the Decades Network.

Another station I find myself tuned to is NHK – World, on channel 28-3.  NHK is Japan’s public TV broadcasting corporation and is publicly owned.  NHK has the most beautiful and serene television productions on air.  They’re intelligently written and finely photographed and edited programs.  Narrators’ voices are soothing and their pacing is relaxed as each show is educational and interesting.  Programs such as: “Dining with the Chef”; “Cycle Around Japan”; “Haiku Masters”; “imagine-nation”, are among my favorites.  And if I happen to flip by NHK when Carley Gomez is giving her weather report on “NHK Newsline”, I’m transfixed.  But it’s the Grand Sumo that has intrigued me and grown on me over time.

“Grand Sumo Highlights” (and “Previews”) quickly brings the viewer up to speed with brief descriptions and gets into the action right away.  Two competitors are shown in close-ups with their names below and their battle begins.  Each takes only handful of moments and it’s on to the next.  These are captivating to the new-comer and the devoted, with ancient rituals enacted and a regimented, ceremonial performance enlivening the competitions. The programs close with the quick “Sumo-pedia”, which teaches beginning Sumo viewers  the basics of the rituals, history, and action of the honorable art of Sumo wrestling.

Live coverage of the Grand Sumo September Tournament broadcasts on Sept. 9th and 16th, from 17:10 JST.  Learn the wrestlers!  Vote for your favorite!

Classic Movies on Free TV!

Cable cutters!  Missing your good, old classic movies?  Do not despair; free classic movies are on the air.

If you’re like me, you love not paying for cable TV or satellite anymore, but kind of miss Turner Classic Movies.  There are several options on broadcast television and more elsewhere.

On local Los Angeles 28-1, “KCET Must See Movies” comes on Fridays at 9 pm with an encore presentation on Saturday afternoons at 4:00 pm.  That the show is hosted is a nice touch in keeping with TV history, and Pete Hammond does a fine job.  I just caught the end of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, “Suspicion,” and recently re-watched “The Thin Man.”


Movies! TV Network, in the L.A. area, is on 13-3 and regularly shows MGM properties.  Of particular interest is their Sunday night series called Sunday Night Noir.  Two sometimes classic and occasionally lesser known film noirs are shared back-to-back starting at 5 pm Pacific time.  “Dangerous Crossing” was a recent and entertaining showing.

Light TV  is a quasi-recent addition to the line-up in the L.A. area and it broadcasts family-oriented fare.  Their website uses the words “good” and “wholesome” to describe their content.  At this time I noticed that “Inspector Clouseau” with the wonderful Alan Arkin was just wrapping up.  I recently watched the timely “12 Angry Men” on Light TV and appreciated having it available (for free).  You can find many good movies and TV shows on Light.

Don’t forget your local library!  We’re lucky here to have several to choose from and we visit semi-regularly to pick up books and DVDs.  “My Man Godfrey” and “The Kennel Murder Case” were rented a couple of weeks ago to continue my wife’s William Powell theme.  We’re thankful for the easily accessible collection at our library!  Check ’em out!

L.A. Antenna TV Users Re-scan June 19th

Using an antenna for TV reception in the southern California area?  Re-scan your TV to properly align with PBS channels 50-1 and 50-2.  For more information look here.


Remember, the fine TV station FNX, First Nation Experience, has re-located as of late April to channel 24-2, under PBS station KVCR, part of the Empire Network, Riverside, San Bernardino, California.

FNX plays content related to the native peoples of many lands.  One of my favorite programs is the genuinely funny and thoughtful stop-motion animation called Wapos Bay.  The detail that goes into the animation, backgrounds, and the story-telling itself, is ambitious and completely successful.


Mike Vernon Plays Tribute to Link Wray



Mike Vernon will be leading a Link Wray tribute at Viva Rancho Cantina in Burbank on Sunday, June 3rd, from 3:00 to 6:00 pm.  The show’s free, all ages, and the Cantina is a fine place to relax and have food and drinks.

Treasured in the LA music scene is the guitar-led attack of Mike Vernon’s 3 Balls of Fire.  It’s easy to see and hear how Burnin’ Mike Vernon got his nickname.  His playing style is a raw, blazing force of nature that sears your ears with a high-voltage, Hendrix-like moody intensity.  Having played Spanish classical guitar and also jazz, blues, and western music out of Texas, Vernon’s repertoire goes deep and is heard throughout his set.  Surf sound permeates the mix and the whole swirling inferno reminds me a little of the cross-over cowpunk bands of the ‘80s, but there is a more sophisticated approach to the performance and the 3 Balls fire can smolder and glow when the mood and beautiful melody strikes.

Mike Vernon has played alongside legends and their legendary status may have rubbed off on him.  Nokie Edwards of The Ventures, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Freddie King, and the late Link Wray count among the many big names he’s played with and Sunday’s tribute to Wray is a yearly remembrance of his friend.  More than a baker’s dozen of other friends will join in the 13th annual 13 Guitar Rumble.

Here’s a sample of 3 Balls of Fire playing Link Wray’s “Switchblade.”

3 Balls of Fire Youtube channel

Visit the 3 Balls of Fire website, and you’ll find a link for their side band, The M-Squad.  If there could be anything cooler (or hotter) than 3 Balls, it’s M-Squad.  Basically, the same guys (all kickass, by the way) with possible additional percussion and rhythm section players, The M-Squad plays what they call Crime Jazz.  It’s got that beautiful sixties surf-y sounding guitars and melodies that you’ve heard in TV shows and movies.  Their name comes from a TV show from the late ’50s and, like 3 Balls, they play both covers and original compositions.  Enchanting sounds of spies vs. spaghetti westerns and exotica surf lounge is complemented by bongos, keyboard, and occasional horns among other jazzy accoutrements.  It’s classy and cool in a way that 3 Balls just touches on.

Put both bands on your radar and keep track of Viva Rancho Cantina’s schedule.  Two bands can play simultaneously at Viva Rancho Cantina venue.  Start by seeing the Link Wray tribute this Sunday at 3:00.

Horror Hosts Invade L.A. Airwaves!

20180510_155307Lamia on Horror Hotel, and more

I felt like a kid again, for a little while anyway.  Staying up until midnight to watch an old, black and white horror movie on broadcast TV took me back to my childhood.  I’d seen Bela Lugosi in The Devil Bat many times before, but it was the program’s hostess, Lamia, presenting it on the Horror Hotel show that I really wanted to see.

Continuing in the tradition of those old horror hosts and hostesses — those local TV personalities who would introduce a scary movie on weekend nights — Lamia, Queen of the Dark, ushers us into her realm of classic horror.

Rescan your TV*

A new scan for TV channels brought the Horror Hotel program to my attention.  After scanning, (as recommended be done April 23, 2018), I discovered that Retro-TV is now on channel 63-3 (in the Los Angeles area).  I looked up Retro-TV online and found their schedule and learned about Horror Hotel.  (Retro-TV L.A. schedule, pdf)

As the original vampire, Lamia has been there from the start and she’s seen a lot. (And, at her age, Lamia looks amazing!)  Indeed, it’s the history and stories behind the films that are served up.  Imagine Lamia as the beautiful, fanged, Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies for monsters, and you’ve got it.  She knows her movies inside and out, guts and all, and delivers an onslaught of information and trivia.  (Lamia’s scary mythological history is here.)

Revealed on is the fact that the brainchild of the Horror Hotel empire is creature feature fan, Ray Szuch.  He got the production rolling with the Int’l Horror Hotel Film Festival and Convention out of northeast Ohio.  His fellow producer, Kristina Michelle, works on a variety of TV productions and also writes and appears as our knowledgeable and tasteful vampiric hostess.

You can watch directly from the Horror Hotel website — Watch the Show!

Three Nights of Horror Hosts!

So, if you’re a fan of the old monster movies, sci-fi, and similar oddities, you can watch them all weekend now on free, broadcast television.

Retro-TV also carries Offbeat Cinema, hosted by a troupe of beatniks and showing a similar slew of kooky, spooky entertainment.

Friday, at midnight (technically the beginning of Saturday morning): Horror Hotel, starring Lamia, Queen of the Dark, on Retro-TV (63-3).

Saturday at 8:00: Svengoolie on Me-TV (56-3); Saturday at 10:00: Offbeat Cinema on Retro-TV (63-3); Saturday, midnight: Horror Hotel on Retro (63-3).  (Horror Hotel will go back to one night a week for a while and should then return to its regular schedule.)

Sunday: Now that Mystery Science Theater 3000 has taken a break, tune in to Retro-TV (63-3) where they show the refined Who Dun It Theatre at 10:00.

I’ll return to the topic of horror movie hosts and post some future entries highlighting the wildest.  A big thank you to Horror Hotel for their inspiration!

*Scan your TV for new channels or locations with help from this guide.

Cheap-os and Cable-cutters, Watch This!


ohtvThanks for stopping by!  Welcome to this journal of suggestions for what to watch & check out online, on TV, and around town.  For those who like both classic movies as well as the latest releases viewed at bargain matinees, this is a spot where you can get recommendations on what to watch (inexpensively) in this dizzying age of overload.   Continue reading “Cheap-os and Cable-cutters, Watch This!”