Saturday, August 31, 2013

God's Angry Man

Dr. Gene Scott is mad as hell and (R.I.P.) he's not taking it any more!

Directed by Werner Herzog
(West Germany, 1981, 16mm, color, 45 minutes)
This is an amazing one of a kind documentary that probably could only have been made by Werner Herzog. - Documentary Heaven

I recently found this unusual film while boxing up my treasures in anticipation of an imminent move. I only have a crappy low-res black-and-white bootleg of this documentary (filmed at a theater screening - you can hear the 16mm film projector running!) about the indescribable televangelist Dr. Gene Scott (August 14, 1929-February 21, 2005), but am elated that a few discerning fans have uploaded it to the Internet, like the folks at the wonderful site Documentary Heaven (, where the 45-minute unreleased documentary can be watched in its entirety in six nine-minute segments.

Click here to watch God's Angry Man on Documentary Heaven's site.

God's Angry Man is also available online at YouTube, where someone named novoiluminismo has posted the German-language film version in its entirely (with Herzog himself providing his inimicable, soothingly Teutonic narration), as shown below:

God's Angry Man (43:45)

The film consists mainly of interviews with Scott and his parents and selected clips from his television show Festival of Faith; the highlight is undoubtedly the wind-up toy marching band Scott rechristened "The F.C.C. Monkey Band."

The F.C.C. Monkey Band
The more the merrier: The F.C.C. Monkey Band

From Documentary Heaven's capsule review:

This is a portrait of Dr Gene Scott a televangelist who ran into problems with the FCC in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s. Scott was eventually shut down, briefly, by the FCC. The documentary, which consists of little more than interviews with Scott and clips from his show [Festival of Faith], doesn’t really deal with the reasons why the FCC was after him, rather it tries simply to show a man on a mission trying to save people while battling his inner demons.

This is an amazing one of a kind documentary that probably could only have been made by Werner Herzog. Herzog isn’t interested in showing anything other than the man. There is no judgment as to what Scott is all about, there is just Scott talking to Herzog and to his audience. The result is a portrait of a man on a mission, who is doing what he feels to be right. The result is that you walk away from the film feeling that you’ve just met a real person and not a manufactured man of god.
Perhaps Herzog was drawn to Scott because of this "man on a mission, who is doing what he feels to be right" aesthetic, one eerily similar to that of Klaus Kinski's mad conquisdator character in Herzog's classic feature film Aquirre, the Wrath of God (1972).

San Francisco's answer to New York City's Spy Magazine was The Nose, and years ago they ran a terrific feature on the world's angriest televangelist (which I also stumbled across while packing!), as shown below.

See also:
Dr. Gene Scott - God's Angry Man tribute site (www.godsangryman); "He will not be forgotten by the saints  he made aware - God speed DOC!"

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

What Is and What Should Never Be

On June 19, 1987, Baltimore's City Paper celebrated its 10th anniversary of publishing with a giant special issue called "10 Years in Baltimore." One of the outstanding features, previously never archived on the Internet, was Michael Yockel's history of Baltimore's music club scene. It's a great reminder of "What Is and What Should Never Be." Along with John Strausbaugh, Yoke was one of CP's greatest writers ever. Fans can still enjoy his prose at the online site, Baltimore Fishbowl (

Following is the full scanned-in article; click on each page to enlarge it, then use the magnifying tool as needed to magnify the text to your taste.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Back Journals: "Gonzo" Screening, 2008 Maryland Film Festival

In the midst of life we are in death, and in in the midst of moving I am in near-death as I keep finding all sorts of scribblings, clippings, journals, zines, magazines and post-it notes that have - or at one time had - meaning to me. As a Material Boy in a Material World, I find it hard to part (such sweet sorrow it is!) with these things. My solution is to upload as much of my life as possible, so that some poor Web Editor of The Future is left to edit (or shit-can) my dubious presence on Earth after I shuffle off this mortal coil.

OK, here's one such item, a 2008 Journal I started and abandoned (mainly because I lost it until just now!). Under the first-page entry "MFF 2008 NOTES":  


ALEX GIBNEY, dir. of GONZO: THE LIFE AND WORK OF HUNTER S. THOMPSON documentary was cool and clever.

He intro'ed film with Thompson quote, "You bought the ticket, so enjoy the ride!"

Q&A: Woman asked why Hunter S. Thompson always wore shorts. "Do you know why he always wore shorts?" [Wow, the thought-provoking things viewers take away from documentaries; the mind boggles.] Laughter. Long pause from Gibney, after repeating the question, then a simple: "No."

McGovern anti-war quote during film about stopping wars that send ouryoung men to death got an auditorium-wide applause! Anti-Bush sentiments run high. Jimmy Buffett wished Hunter was still around to write against Bush - "We could use him now" - but, in effect, Bush killed him. Hunter was described as "depressed" after the 2004 election re-elected Bush. Killed himself in 2005.

Dumbest question of night: as usual from (loveable but no-flair-for-the-obvious) Charles Johnson. "Where did Dr. Thompson get his doctorate?" Gibney said he believed it was a joke and mentioned that he himself is a "Dr." from Universal Life Church.

Someone else asked why would anyone interview Pat Buchanan, the man who worked for Hunter's nemesis Nixon and who helped destroy Hunter's boy George McGovern. Gibney said Buchanan was a great interview - anyone not an idiot can see that. I mentioned afterward to him how much I enjoy Buchanan's wit (if not his politics), that he's cool enough to talk to Ali G [Sascha Baron Cohen's over-the-top hip-hop character] and always shines. Gibney said that Hunter would hang w/Pat and drink beer and Wild Turkey w/him, to Mrs. Buchanan's horror! I'd dink a beer and shot with Pat!

 I sat next to the most annoying woman. Middle-aged, I first noticed she wouldn't turn her cell phone off. Hid it under a shawl the first 15 minutes of movie. Then she systematically chewed her fingernails - all 10 of 'em! - throughout the movie (thank God it was only 2 hours, any more and she'd prolly move onto her toenails!). Then she would transfer her remnants to her left hand and delicately rub the detritus off like she was rubbing away the salt from pistachios or chips ontop the floor near my camera bag. TOTALLY DISGUSTING. She saw me staring at her - I was hoping to shame her, but she was well beyond shame, and I had to cup my head w/my right hand, like blinders, so I could escape her wretched, and most unfortunate, presence in the last good seat in the house in the front row." 

Related Links:
"My Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival Journal - Part 3" (Gibney's films reviewed)