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DID YOU READ

Lou Adler on “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains”

Lou Adler on “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains” (photo)

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How did you decide to cast Lane?

I liked her in “A Little Romance,” which showed that she could act. She had a certain quality about her in the meetings that was tough and vulnerable at the same time, which is unusual for a 15-year-old. That was what we were looking for. We were looking for that vulnerability, but also somebody who could be very tough when she had to be. Diane seemed to have those qualities.

How tough was it convincing punk musicians to take part in a big studio film?

Surprisingly easy. When I look back at it — to be able to get two of the Sex Pistols, and Simonon from The Clash, they were just coming from the right environment from the music scene, to understand what we were trying to do within [the story’s fictional] groups. I look back and am sort of surprised that it was fairly easy to get them. I’d only done one film before that, so it’s not as if I was a director that they knew. Fee Waybill, who is really great in the film, he was an easy choice for that, because of the work that he did with the Tubes.

What compelled you to make a film about punk rock?

You know, I was making a movie about the music industry. Even though the film was probably originally written as a punk film, the film that I saw in it was much broader than that. It also took in the exploitation throughout the industry, and also the media. Those were the things that attracted me to the script.

It strikes me as particularly cynical about the industry.

I didn’t realize I was that cynical until I made the film.

So you didn’t set out to make a critique?

No. As I said, it was the second time I had ever directed a film. I was pretty much going on instinct and knowledge of the music business and knowledge of the different types of music groups. My interpretation of the script probably was a little softer than the script itself, but it was much more from an insider perspective, seeing those things happen from the inside. And not with a cynical attitude towards them, but just wanting a chance to explore them — or expose them. But I wasn’t trying to make a statement that it was wrong or right. I just wanted to show it.

How did your experiences working in the music business inform the film?

I think I was on both sides of it. I think I was probably one of those that exploited, and one of those that had seen exploitation. It was just the way the industry ran, and it’s not to say that it’s right or wrong. It’s like I said — I was probably a part of it. I produced and managed groups, and I probably did some of those things. That’s why they were easy for me to put on film. Or, at least, I was accused of doing some of those things.

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What was the music industry’s response?

I don’t think anybody knew I made the film. [laughs] I don’t think there’s been a comment until now. Really, the film was probably screened in a theater once, and then really late night cable. So the people that found it definitely weren’t the executives at record companies.

Did you always plan on ending the film with the Saints music video?

No. [laughs] And if you ask me today why I did it, I don’t know that I can answer the question except to say that I could have ended the film before that, and probably had a more subtle way of showing that the group had some success when it came over the boombox. But sitting around for a length of time, I just decided to really show it. It might have been that I had the idea of the Andrews Sisters. I don’t know. A lot of it is so far back, I don’t recall why I did that. But obviously, it was to show the success of the group. It was sort of tailored after The Go-Go’s, who were big by that time.

Do you feel any differently about the music industry today?

There’s a very thin line between promotion and exploitation. My son, Cisco Adler, is in a group called Shwayze, which is doing really well. And I’ve watched the label, Suretone, promote that group over a year before the release, which is today’s music business. There’s a thin line, but it is promotion. It’s how you do it. Who’s doing it and what their reasons are…the person that was doing it with the Stains also did it with the group before, and he shows that he would do it with a group in the future. He had no particular passion for the group. He had passion for exploitation. I think it’s different now, although I’m not that active in the music business anymore.

To what do you attribute the film’s enduring popularity?

I think we hit a nerve with girls, and some of the girls who became rock stars, Courtney Love and others like her, were real fans of the film. If somebody connected that [Courtney Love and the film], they became fans of the film. If they could see who Courtney Love was — what she was thinking about, how she acted, how she dressed, what her attitude was — we showed that attitude in the Stains film. And that must have hit a nerve. Because I heard back mostly from women. Although Jon Bon Jovi is a big fan — I think he has a Stains tattoo, in the same way that we use it in the film. But I think he also dated Diane Lane for a while.

[Photos: “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains,” Paramount Pictures, 1982]

“Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains” will be available on DVD on September 16th.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.