By Benjamin Leatherman
“Say! Do you like television? Cause I got a deal for you!”
If you happen to be channel surfing sometime after midnight this coming Saturday night, and the image of a guy getting electrocuted hits your television screen, don’t panic. (And whatever you do, don’t change the channel).
Your boob tube hasn’t been tuned to an all-night marathon of Max X or anything, but rather the première episode of Television Noir. The bizarre brainchild of downtown Phoenix art scenesters Mike Red and Stephen Strange, the program is weekly “multimedia variety show” that’s like watching YouTube from another dimension.
As I wrote in this week’s issue of the Phoenix New Times, the 30-minute wacky-fest debuts Saturday night (technically Sunday morning) at 12:30 a.m. on KAZT (COX Channel 13) and is filled with a rogue’s gallery of unusual characters played by both Red and Strange. It includes pugnacious puppets, homosexually-repressed cowboys, gator rasslers, and kung fu-fighting rock ninjas, artist interviews, a music video, and one of the two hosts dies. And that’s just the first episode. (Click here for a slideshow of some of the characters of Television Noir).
As I noted in my piece of the show, Strange and Red are using the show to pimp the Valley’s creative scene as much as possible every week with artist in-studio interviews with local painters and whatnot. The music and videos of local bands will also be woven throughout each episode’s soundtrack. For instance, the debut show prominently utilizes “The Ghost of Mingus Mountain” by jazz group Sonorous. It’s not much of a stretch considering Mike Red is the band’s trombone player, but it’s a start at least (and besides, I can’t think of a more fitting theme song for this show than that spooky-sounding tune).
Here’s a sneak preview of what’s in store each and every week on the show:
And here’s a little interview we did with Red and Strange which may help decipher the previous video (well, at least we think it does):