Rock Out With Your VCR Out @ The Grand Illusion

A found footage frenzy 📼

📸: Getty Images

Thursday, January 19th •7:30 pm

The Grand Illusion Cinema is pulling something out of its vaults: Rock Out With Your VCR Out: A Music Video Freakout, from back in the ’10s. (The 2010s.) 

“Way back in 2011,” Brian Alter told The Ticket, “Spenser Hoyt (who managed and programmed at the GI in the late ‘90s and ‘00s and worked at Scarecrow) and I decided to edit a mashup of crazy Christmas clips from Scarecrow’s VHS collection called VHSXMAS. We had the requirement that it be stuff that was only available on VHS and from Scarecrow. That idea spiraled into about 13 more themed montages of tapes, stuff spanning from sports to drugs to cheap action films to sex to music.”

The first show was done pretty quickly—”the workflow was that Spenser would get a little tipsy in his basement” and “pull from his knowledge of goofy, dated shit”—but they soon found themselves in a steady pattern.

“The more we did,” Alter explained, “the better they got, and we eventually saw the original movie mashup, Joe Dante’s The Movie Orgy, and cribbed from it when we could. Rock Out With Your VCR Out was probably one of the last shows we did, and I think it is one of the most well-made of them.”

What kinds of music videos can we look forward to? Alter has the goods.

“Comedy duo Barnes & Barnes’ (of the song Fish Heads fame) music video has a bunch of trick shots and features a young Bill Paxton. Experimental New Wave group the Flying Lizards have a video in which they are physically turned upside down while performing. ‘Rockit’-era Herbie Hancock shows up for an amazingly funky and tight live performance, complete with the bizarre, animated mannequins from the music video. But plenty of jokes are in there, too, and Marky Mark, a very obnoxious 1980s Ted Nugent, and others deliver comedy gold along the way.”

(Full disclosure: Grand Illusion is 100% run by volunteers, and I am one of them.)


Marcus Gorman

Marcus Gorman is a Seattle-based playwright and film programmer. He once raised money for a synagogue by marathoning 15 Adam Sandler movies in one weekend. You can find him on Instagram and Twitter @marcus_gorman.