Music Video of the Day: Volcano Girls by Veruca Salt (1997, dir. Nancy Bardawil & Paul Andresen)

Since I did Seether yesterday, I had to follow it up with Volcano Girls because of the Glass Onion style reference to Seether in this song.

This music video is exactly how I remember it from when I was a kid. By that, I mean it’s so mid-90s that it hurts. In my head, it fits right in with Only Happy When It Rains by Garbage, Machinehead by Bush, Peaches by The Presidents of the United States of America, and Don’t Speak by No Doubt. There seemed to be a polishing of of everything from the sound to the music videos to the appearance of the artists themselves.

They shot the music video at Essenay in Chicago, Illinois. Everything else is in the music video itself. The band is on bungee cords flying around for the majority of the video while fans are around them. You can read an interview with Post and Gordon about the song and video here. For me it’s a pure nostalgia trip back to a period when I was starting to regularly watch things like MTV and VH1.

The music video had two directors: Nancy Bardawil and Paul Andresen. According to the interview, Bardawil was a Chicago artist they liked, and she came up with the idea. Apparently it was rather rough, and resulted in some funny/dangerous things happening during all the bungee cord stuff. Bardawil has directed at least 30 music videos. Mainly she seems to be known for directing some of Goo Goo Dolls biggest hits like Iris, Slide, Dizzy, Black Balloon, and Broadway.

I’m not sure what role Paul Andresen had, but given that it was one of Bardawil’s first music videos, he was probably there largely to jump in when needed. Looking at his credits, I can see that many of his first music videos were also co-directed. He has done around 60 music videos.

They both have credits outside of music videos, but that seems to be the main part of their careers in film so far.

That’s all I can find on this one. Enjoy!

Kitty Litter: SEX KITTENS GO TO COLLEGE (Allied Artists 1960)

cracked rear viewer


Let’s get it out of the way right now- SEX KITTENS GO TO COLLEGE is bad. Real bad. Like mind-numbingly bad. Despite the presence of sex kittens Mamie Van Doren and Tuesday Weld, this movie is a smelly litter box in desperate need of cleaning. It’s an Albert Zugsmith extravaganza, so you know right off the bat it’s gonna be a stinker. Zugsmith had once been a producer at Universal, overseeing prestige films like WRITTEN ON THE WIND and TOUCH OF EVIL. But when he went into independent productions, Zugsmith chose to go the low-budget exploitation route and even though he managed to attract some well-known names, his little epics usually stunk to high heaven.


The movie revolves around the talents of Mamie Van Doren, a beautiful creature whose best assets weren’t her acting. She plays Dr. Mathilda West, a genius hired to take over the science department at Collins College. Thinko, a supercomputer/robot type thing…

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Music Video of the Day: Seether by Veruca Salt (1994, dir. Jeff Economy & Tim Rutili)

I wasn’t introduced to Veruca Salt till the album Eight Arms to Hold You with the single Volcano Girls. I would have started with that music video, but that’s like spotlighting The Beatles’ Glass Onion before I Am The Walrus. I picked up on Seether later on. I paid so little attention to lyrics back then that I didn’t notice that Volcano Girls said the Seether was Louise. Of all the places to discover this, it was from somebody in the old MMORPG Star Wars Galaxies who I ran into that was either named Veruca Salt or Seether.

Of course if I had run into Nina Gordon, then she might have beat the crap out of me. At least that’s my odd segue into the meaning of the song since it kind of ties into the music video.

According to Nina Gordon and Louise Post in an interview they did with in 2014, the song is based off of a violent fantasy that Nina had which disturbed her. The idea being that she was seething with anger and violence. The song evolved from that.

Over the years, and to this day, there is rampant speculation about it having to do with penis, vagina, anal sex, being a lesbian, and probably anything you can think of that sounds close enough. I’ve even read someone who paraphrased another interview from 1994 saying that is was Louise that had a temper issue from which the song sprang. A year later on the same forum someone jumped in saying that Nina gave an interview around 2014 for Spin magazine saying that is was about a friend who “got pregnant and failed at trying to give her self an abortion, and couldn’t afford to have it done professionally. So, there you go.” They seemed particularly confident since it was Gordon that wrote the song. After that you get endless guesses at the meaning of the song with quoted lyrics that apparently prove their case. I’ll take an interview the two of them gave as the final word on the matter.

But we aren’t here to talk about the song. It was just necessary to bring up a little about it seeing as the music video doesn’t really hint at any meaning besides the cats. They appear docile like a “lovely daughter”, but can have sudden bursts of anger such as the one that appears at the start of the music video. Anymore speculation is going down the Seether-hole. It all evolves out of an angry mental state and where Gordon and Louise were at that time in their life. I recommend reading the interview I linked to above. They do a better job than I could, and it’s from their own mouths.

The music video was shot in front of the Randolph Street Gallery in Chicago, Illinois. It was founded in 1979 and closed in 1998. It was an alternative exhibition space. They created a place for artists who normally wouldn’t receive support from the already established places. It makes sense that a new alt-rock band formed in Chicago would celebrate that place by filming there. It also fits especially with Veruca Salt seeing as the place was founded by two women named Tish Miller and Sarah Schwartz.

The music video was directed by Jeff Economy and Tim Rutili. Them seem to have only done a few music videos and almost always worked together. They were also producers, editors, and cinematographers on the music video.

Jeff Economy has continued working to this day–most notably as a camera operator for 72 episodes of Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Tim Rutili also is still around and mainly works on music for film and television.

Carolyn Macartney also worked on shooting the music video. I can only find one other music video credit for her. I can find numerous credits for her on IMDb–mainly for short films.

Jim Powers was the video commissioner. I can’t be sure if he is on IMDb seeing as there are many Jim Powers on there including a very prolific porn director who currently has 788 directing credits since 1993. That would be hilarious if it was him, but I highly doubt it. There is one other one, but he seems have largely worked as a production manager, so I don’t think it’s him. He is probably either one of those people I rarely find credits for that worked for the record company, or who is buried among the other Jim Powers without any credits that jump out at me as being the right person.

Katie MacGuire was the online editor. She did a couple of music videos.

Mellissa Manzagol was the colorist. She too seems to have worked only on the couple of music videos that many of these people did. Unlike Katie MacGuire or narrowing down exactly which Jim Powers was the one I was looking for, I was able to find Manzagol. Her profile comes complete with a bio written by her that seems to indicate she probably worked on more than just a couple of music videos.


Music Video of the Day: Basket Case by Green Day (1994, dir. Mike Kohr)

This is another one of those music videos I am obligated to do because it so famous. Or at least the song is so famous that I don’t have much choice.

Along with Smells Like Teen Spirit, this is one of those songs that was so overplayed that I got sick of it as a kid. It actually took me awhile before I bothered watching the music video for it. There isn’t much story to it, but there is a little background on it.

At the insistence of the band, they filmed the music video in an actual mental institution that was known as Agnews Developmental Center in Santa Clara, California. It has a bit of a dark history being the site of the greatest loss of life in the Santa Clara Valley during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. According to the Daily Palo Alto at the time:

“The position of the people in Agnews is critical; a number of insane persons having escaped from the demolished asylum, are running at random about the country.”

According to Wikipedia, 117 patients and staff were killed there during the quake.

The music video of course has references to One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975).

It was originally filmed in black and white, then bassist Mike Dirnt colorized it, which gives the music video that surreal look. It reminds me of the way you see light when your eyes are dilated, which fits with the bit in the song about wondering if the anxiety that Billie Joe Armstrong was under at the time–later diagnosed as having a panic disorder–was just insanity, or the cause of drugs.

It’s interesting to me that this song and Silent All These Years by Tori Amos both start off by asking the audience whether they have the time to spare to hear what they have to say. This is particularly interesting considering the director would go on to make a Tori Amos video. He would also later direct Just A Girl by No Doubt.

If I had to guess about the patients who still appear black and white, and are wearing the same color mask, then I would say it’s a reference to how people tend to view mental illness as a black and white issue. You’re either sane or insane without much middle ground. The masks all looking the same would be the grouping of anyone insane into one pot such as the very mental institution they were filming within likely did, or at least the perception people have of such places. Agnews Developmental Center was once known as “The Great Asylum for the Insane”.

You can also think of them as ghosts of the people who died there so many years ago, or lived out their lives there. According to the band, when they entered the place they found old patient files, deep scratches in the walls, and dental molds scattered around the place. My best guess is those people in the music video are the ghosts of people who left those remains behind.

I like how it ends with the gate closing as if to say that visitation hours are over.

The music video was directed by Mike Kohr. He made 9 music videos for Green Day, but has done at least 60 music videos so far. He appears to still be working in music videos today having done This Is Where We Go for Snow Angel in 2013.

Adam Beckman shot the music video. He appears to have only worked on 7 music videos. He has done some work outside of music videos over the years including shooting 12 episodes of This American Life as well as films.

There is one in particular that jumped out at me, which might explain why he was chosen to shoot this music video. In 1987 he was an additional camera assistant on a movie called Doom Asylum that has this plot summary on IMDb:

“A demented coroner uses autopsy equipment to kill off the teenagers who trespass on the long-abandoned asylum he inhabits. Filmed on location in an actual abandoned asylum.”


Law & Order In The Internet Archive: Crime Fighter

I have just returned from another exploration of the old MSDOS games stored at the Internet Archive and I think I may have found one of the most addictive games ever programmed.  Without further ado, let’s play Crime Fighter (1993, Peter Steffen)!

(There is an updated version of Crime Fighter that can be downloaded from here.  This review is solely for the version that can be found on the Internet Archive.)


Crime Fighter is a game where you attempt to become the top boss of a small city’s criminal underworld.  When I started the game, this is the first thing I saw:


Got it?  This is an educational game!


You are one of the four gangsters mentioned above.  The other gangsters are your friends and loved ones, assuming you can convince them to play the game with you.  I could not.


Fear the Citizen Kanes!


After naming my gang, I was randomly assigned some stats.   I am more brutal than smart and I’m also as weak as a little kitten.  I’ll be running that city in no time.


Rules?  Who needs rules?  I never read the rules.  I can figure this game out on my own.  What I can’t figure out is which of the two options I’ve selected.  Since I’m using the arrow keys to make my selection, it’s not easy to tell which option I’ve highlighted.  Have I selected no?  The only way to know for sure is to press enter.

crime-fighter-7‘I guess I must have selected yes because there’s the rules.

After all of that, it was finally time to get this game started.  At the start of each turn, you see this:


I looked at my six choices.  I was not ready to quit the game and, since I was playing a single-player game, there was no next player.   Run through the town sounded like fun but I wasn’t here to have fun.  I was here to become the top ganglord in the city!  The best way to do that?  Get rid of all the other gangs.

I selected gang war.


That didn’t work.   Apparently, you can only have a gang war if you are actually playing with other people.  That was good news for the Citizen Kanes, though.  With no other gangs around, the city belonged to us.  I guess that made me the winner, right?

Seeing as how I was the city’s new criminal overlord, I decided it was time to run through the city.


Where should I visit first?  I knew I was only allowed 25 moves before the turn ended so my options were limited.  I decided to pay a visit to the building with the H on the rooftop.


That explains the H.  I decided to enter the hotel.


“Give me all your money!”


What happened next occurred so quickly that I did not get a chance to capture a screenshot.  Four gangsters showed up with baseball bats and beat me down.  It was not the greatest moment in the history of the Citizen Kanes.

Things only got worse.


Bribing the police was the right thing to do but now I was down 1500 DMs.  I was not sure how much money I had left so, when I was transported back to the city map with 15 moves left in the turn, I decided to visit the bank.



Coming back at night seemed like a good and simple way to make some money!


Who needs instructions?  How difficult can it be?


Again, I pushed the wrong button and I got the instructions anyway.


What the Hell am I supposed to do with that?  Can I see those instructions again?

Too late.  The alarm went off.  It’s a good thing that I can always just bribe the police.


Did I push the wrong button again?


Yes, I did.

This is when I discovered is that, while you can keep backing up from them for as long as you want to, there is no way to escape the police.  You have to fight them.  That’s a problem when they have guns and you do not.



That did not work out.  I guess I’m dead now.


No, I’m not dead.  But I am in prison for 1 month, which amounts to four game turns.  If I had been playing with another player, this would have given them time to steal all of my territory while I was in jail.  Luckily, since I was playing a single player game, being in jail did not hurt me one way or the other.

After I was released, I found myself back here:


This time, I decided not to go to the bank or the hotel.  Instead, I went down to the bottom of the map and visited the subway station.




I learned my lesson the last time!  I bribed the cops and they let me go.


Where to now?  It looks like there might be a gun shop above the subway station.



Eddie, I like the way you think.  Show me your weapons.


Hand grenades might be helpful but let’s take a look at that pistol first.


Thanks for nothing, Eddie.

If I can’t afford a gun, maybe I can steal one.  And who has more guns than police?  As I started to make my way to the police station at the top of the map, this suddenly happened:



Thanks, officer!


Here’s the police station!  Let’s see if I can trick a flatfoot out of his piece.


Sorry, stealing a gun is not an option.  If I wanted a weapon, I was going to have to find the money to pay for it.  But how could I steal the money if I didn’t have a gun?


Is that a casino down at the bottom of the map?  My prayers have been answered!



Blackjack has always been my game and I am not a bad poker player either.  But I needed money quickly and that meant betting it all one turn of the roulette wheel.



To recap: After playing the game for fifteen minutes, I have spent a month in jail, I do not have a gun, and I am now broke.  The Citizen Kanes have seen better days.

Maybe I should just go rob that big shopping mall.




Money transport in the evening?  That sounds like an easy score!


How difficult can that be?


I just have to wait for that one guard to move before I move down.  There he goes!  This is so easy, I can’t believe I did not try it earlier…


This is probably not going to end well.


No, it did not end well.  Not only was I captured but I did not have any money to offer the police.  I ended up spending another 4 game turns in jail.  When I was released, I looked back on what I had accomplished after playing the game for 30 minutes and it became clear that I really only had one option.



I may not have done so well on my first try but Crime Fighter is an addictive game and I look forward to playing it again in the future!  msdos_crime_fighter_1993