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February 15th, 2006


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12:46 pm - no such thing as sacred cows, except for the cows you love
The Weekly Dig ran an article this week on the Sci-Fi Marathon, written by Dan Kimmel, a 25-year veteran and one of the regulars who reviews movies on a professional basis. However, the editorial job the Dig did on the piece so chagrined him that he said he would've asked to have his byline removed if he had seen the piece before it went to print.

He shared his final draft and his feelings about the edit on the 'thon bulletin board.

Now I understand this much: The original piece as Dan wrote it may have been a bit... well, what's the diplomatic word? Dry. A bit bookish, perhaps, and not in the casual snarky tone that the Dig sure does love. But that's no reason for the Dig to run the story after putting the "living in mom's basement" spin on it, inserting such phrases as "a relentless 24-hour marathon of profound geekery" and "a few hundred uber-nerds spend two days marinating in their own stench in a dark theater." (I did, however, love the random obscenity sprinkled throughout to keep the piece edgy, though, because I'm sure Dan really did mean to say "shitty movies" when he wrote "awful movies.")

Because while the "stinky nerd" stigma may be true (please oh please always bring a little soap and deodorant with you!) it's no reason to put that spin on the entire event. As another Marathon regular said, "it's thinking like this that cost us our home at the Coolidge." (The Marathon was unceremoniously ousted from the Coolidge Corner theater after a 15-year-run, when some on the board of directors decided the event was not attracting the "type of people the Coolidge wants to attract" or something. Sounds really strange coming from the theatre where, in previous events, I've met the likes of Ron Jeremy and Annie Sprinkle. But I digress.)

The best recent story about the event was in 2003 and written by someone for the Phoenix who took the time to actually attend the event, interview regulars and get a handle on just why folks might like to marinate in their own stench watch science fiction films for 24 hours straight. While the writer was initially apprehensive with the idea, he had a good time overall and that positivity and respectful tone carried through to the final article. (I'll also note I got a few good quotes in on that article too.)

Basically, the Phoenix article would give someone who didn't know about the event the feeling of "Ok, this is cool. Attended by crazy people, but cool. Perhaps they're my kind of crazy, too." It intrigues. The revisionist edit job given to the Dig article gives the impression of "Stinky nerds go here. Ha ha." It derides.

It should not be a surprise when Loren & Wally, two of Boston's Wacky Morning DJs, make "mom's basement" jokes out of the thing, since I can't remember when the last time a Wacky Morning DJ show actually made an effort to go beyond the obvious joke. But for a newspaper to do it, even when the paper is Boston's scrappy little college-paper-all-growed-up that is the Dig, it's still a bit surprising to me. And disappointing at best.

By the way, the final lineup for the event is as follows, in alphabetical order:

Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai (1984)
Android (1982)
The Crazies (1973)
Eight Legged Freaks (2002)
Fire Maidens from Outer Space (1956)
King Kong (1933)
Konga (1961)
The Last Man on Earth (1964)
The Naked Monster (2005)
Serenity (2005)
Steamboy (2004, 2005 U.S.)
The Tingler (1959)
12 Monkeys (1995)

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:androidqueen
Date:February 15th, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC)
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the boston sci-fi marathon is in *newton*? well that's obnoxious.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:February 15th, 2006 06:58 pm (UTC)
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We're a ragtag fugitive fleet. The Marathon started as "IT CAME FROM THE ORSON WELLES", a 24-hour event at the old Orson Welles Theater between Central and Harvard Square. The 'thon ran there until 1986, when the Welles burned down, and moved to the Somerville Theater for a few late-80s years. Then it was off to the Coolidge for 15 years. 2004 was at the Dedham Community Theatre, a okay venue with a great staff, but poor location and facilities that weren't really up to keeping up with two theatres full of sci-fi folks. Last year was back at the Somerville, but the organizer (a previous owner of the place) ran afoul with the Somerville's new management, whom he claims nickel-and-dimed him almost into the red. A shame, really, cause as far as this Davis Square citizen is concerned, that was the bestest location ever and I loved sitting up in the balcony.

So this year we're at the West Newton Cinema, a new place and while the location is poor, the staff seems very accommodating. Who knows where we'll be next year?
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:February 15th, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
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Gee, I know the manager of the Somerville Theatre, Ian Judge. He's a nice guy, and says he likes Garen Daly. I don't understand what happened here.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:February 15th, 2006 10:50 pm (UTC)
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Turns out Garen's beef is with FEI, the theatre's owners, not Ian Judge. Ian's awesome, and it's a shame he can't host us again this year.
[User Picture]
From:jadasc
Date:February 15th, 2006 06:49 pm (UTC)
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Um.
Yeah.
I'm gonna have to talk to Craig Kapilow about this the next time the 'Dig comes looking for an ad.
From:oakenguy
Date:February 15th, 2006 07:21 pm (UTC)
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Don't you mean, looking for the stinky dollars marinating in your dark pocket?
[User Picture]
From:modpixie
Date:February 15th, 2006 08:46 pm (UTC)
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dan kimmel was a professor of mine, and a right good one at that. i consider him a friendly acquaintence and i hate to see someone i like that much get the fuzzy end of the lollipop.
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From:rabswom
Date:February 15th, 2006 09:11 pm (UTC)
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Now I wanna go to the Marathon!

It's too far away! And I'm already going to Boston twice this year!

Mean!
From:lno
Date:February 15th, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC)
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The Last Man On Earth! I was ROBBED by that by a DVD set that included two copies of the first disc and none of the second!
[User Picture]
From:greenlily
Date:February 16th, 2006 03:58 pm (UTC)
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I'd heard that the Coolidge tossed us out because they'd taken to showing mass-market movies and couldn't deal with the loss of audience dollars attendant on yanking said m-mms over an (otherwise massively revenue-generating) holiday weekend. Has this been de-bunked?
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From:derspatchel
Date:February 16th, 2006 04:51 pm (UTC)
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That's very much true. The Coolidge doesn't want to lose that mass-market revenue for either a holiday weekend or a big film. I can understand that, but I also know a lot of things were said after SF-28, and one of 'em was that at least one person on the board of directors didn't think the audience was a good fit. Garen has said there's no hard feelings between the Marathon and the Coolidge, and that he'd gladly return if schedules permitted, so perhaps that opinion has passed. But the thought of it still kinda smarts.

I remember during the Coolidge years if you napped on the balcony landing during slow moments, you would often hear the counter staff downstairs snarking on the whole thing -- though honestly, if I were scheduled to work overnight selling popcorn and brewing endless pots of coffee for a buncha crazies, fearful with the knowledge that the bathrooms were a mess and people were sprawled out all over the theatre Jonestown-style, I'd get a bit snarky too around 3 AM.

We're lucky to get the West Newton, and I hope it's a good fit. Over the past year, ideas involving hotels and screening rooms were thrown about, which was a sad thought for a lotta regulars. That's a con environment. I wouldn't want to do a 24-hour marathon that way. (Movie theaters are special things, and it's not the Thon's fault that Boston's running out of 'em.)

It will be interesting to see what happens to the Fresh Pond Cinema now that it's in new hands who want to spruce it up and make it a second-run house of sorts. Perhaps they'll be amenable to nerd marinade if the West Newton doesn't turn out to be a good fit.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:February 16th, 2006 04:53 pm (UTC)
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Also, in case you didn't get enough of the phrase "a good fit" in that comment, here are a few more instances of it:

a good fit
a good fit
A Good Fit
a good fit
A GOOD FIT

thank you for your time.

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