Crowdfunding again. But why?
When I was thirteen, I purchased “The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film” from a local bookstore. The book changed my life. I lived in a town of roughly 1,500 where the only storefront was a Tastee Freeze. My parents were divorcing, my world was rocking on its axis, and the book thrust me into a place where I could escape the sad state of affairs that was my existence. I learned that people were not carbon copies of each other, and it was okay to be different. I rabidly sought out the unusual films that were not typically available in the Southwest corner of the Ozarks.
My mind opened, it was not about to be closed again. I am 100% confident that Michael J. Weldon’s book about outlandishly bizarre movies like John Water’s Pink Flamingos and Russ Meyer’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls made my understanding of other cultures, sexual preference, and alternative lifestyles expand and be more accepting. These people were now my heroes, and I saw nothing wrong with them. Instead, I believed the reverse to be true. How could you not love Divine, Russ Meyer, Hugo Haas, Ed Wood, John Waters, and Andy Warhol? They were amazing.
That’s right. I’m saying The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film made a small town, midwestern boy tolerant…in the mid-80’s. A time when the “N”-word was not only used regularly but did not even make one flinch.
The Psychotronic Documentary follows and is told by, author and critic Michael J. Weldon, from his childhood in Cleveland during the birth of Punk rock to his early years in the East Village where he first started his fanzine, Psychotronic TV. It was in the offices of the Village Voice where he would spend his time after office hours to print his materials on the publications copy equipment.
The film explores more than just how Michael J. Weldon published a compendium of movie analysis, interviews, and opinions in his psychotronic publications that included two books, a fanzine, and a two-decade-long magazine. It is also about the artists around him who went on to incredible careers of their own like the late Mike Vraney who started his company, Something Weird within Michael’s Psychotronic store in New York. And it is about those inspired to follow their passion by Michael J. Weldon’s writings including Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead and comedian/performer Patton Oswalt. As Colson wrote in his piece for the New Yorker, “A Psychotronic Childhood,”:
“By now you know that we sometimes take an unexpected road to find our voices. Weldon’s book (The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film) was proof that even the most unlikely idea had a chance. If these movies existed, then surely whatever measly story was bubbling in my brain was not so preposterous. ”
To give to The Psychotronic, click here.