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Advocating dirty books

Historic findings represent a road not taken

Among the exhibitors at last weekend's Vancouver Comic Arts Festival (May 21-22) was Robin Bougie, editor and publisher of Cinema Sewer, a film journal that enthusiastically champions exploitation, cult and adult movies. This weekend (May 27-29), he'll be in London, Ontario, participating in Shock Stock, the fan gathering that bills itself as "Canada's Horror and Exploitation Celebration." A comic artist and a movie historian, Bougie is at ease in both communities. Active since the early 1990s, he's established himself as an important gonzo journalist. Bougie chronicles marginal movie genres with a unique, personal style. His best work is a mixture of Robert Crumb and Hunter Thompson, with a major focus on the alternative entertainment industry that creates and markets pornography. An American pop culture phenomenon since the late 1960s, porn became an issue when technology and shifting social attitudes challenged established puritanical practice. The triple-X reality that emerged — one that Bougie continues to record — was the unintended consequence of the work of a remarkable individual named William B. Lockhart, a man called upon by his president to sort out "a matter of national concern." Born on this day (May 25) in 1906, Lockhart chaired the 18-person panel that produced the landmark document in the debate, The Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography (1970).


local news

Our Feature Film Fest: 20

Taking the picture show on the road

In Part 20 of a 20-part series, Reeling Back concludes The Greater Vancouver Book's Feature Film Festival, with restored notes on eleven features celebrating freedom and mobility, a final program that takes us On the Road Again.

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Learning from the best

Billy Wilder's master course in comedy

Globe-trotting author Matt Hughes, born on this day (May 27) in 1949, touched down in Vancouver earlier this month to attend the three-day Creative Ink Festival in Burnaby. We chatted over craft beers, and he told me that one of his favourite films is Billy Wilder's 1972 comedy Avanti!.


A diverse cinematic scene

Much to enjoy on screens off the site

The thirteenth item in Reeling Back's 38-part series on the cinema of Expo 86 looks at the movie fare available elsewhere in the city during the world's fair. Vancouver's International Film Festival was among the subjects covered in our feature called Expo 86 Off Site.


A generation of change

My Blog; Your Guide to What's New

A glance at today's headlines (March 30) confirms that the world is on its way to Hades in the proverbial handbasket. Rather than give in to the requisite despair, I prefer to accentuate the positive, and take heart from the many unexpected wonders that we've created during the last 20 years.



A DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES is the Internet address of Michael Walsh, a Canadian living in Vancouver, British Columbia.

I spent my working life as a newspaperman. While others covered the waterfront, I specialized in movies. As a film critic, I published my views in newspapers and magazines, on radio and television, at conferences, conventions and in the occasional courtroom. It was my good fortune to cover 30 of the most exciting, innovative years in screen history (1965-1995).
Retired, but not inactive, I've launched Reeling Back in in order to recall and, perhaps, make sense of it all. Eventually, it will grow into an archive of the nearly 6,000 films I've reviewed to date. Because everything old is news again, each posting will include a note connecting these particular movie memories to the here and now.

And, yes, I intend Reeling Back to offer new material, including web-log commentary, reviews of current pop culture and additions to my own "works in progress" — four book-length projects still in the notebook phase.

From Will Shakespeare to Marshall McLuhan to Joss Whedon, the great thinkers have all reminded us that we live in a world of wonders. In this small corner of cyberspace, I'd like to share some of the wonders that I have seen.