Weekend Updates 

The hills are alive with the aroma du Troma

The hills are alive with the aroma du Troma

The last time Lloyd Kaufman was in town, he drove at least two offended people out of the Belcourt and managed to leave the rest of the full house either aghast or agape with appalled laughter. As his Yale classmate President George W. Bush would say, "Mission accomplished." As co-founder of Troma Studios, the world's chief cinematic supplier of squirm-inducing bad taste, Kaufman brought the world such classics as Class of Nuke 'Em High, Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid and Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD—movies full of atomic squirrels, mutant cocks, jiggling jugs and buckets of every bodily fluid imaginable.

In a less uptight world, these would be honored at the Oscars way before the likes of Gladiator. But Kaufman—who started his career working on "legit" Hollywood fare such as Rocky and Saturday Night Fever—will have to content himself with late-night cable notoriety and a fan base that extends from horny loners and insomniac stoners to Quentin Tarantino, Gaspar Noe and the Cinematheque Française. And with another appearance this weekend in Nashville, as featured guest of the Music City Con, a convention this Saturday and Sunday devoted to horror movies, anime and comics.

Kaufman will appear 1 p.m. Saturday at the convention site, the Nashville State Fairgrounds, to discuss his movies and his background as a tenacious indie distributor. Please ask "Lloyd von Kaufman" about his "Dogpile 95" movement and its first release, Tales from the Crapper. Later, at 9:30 p.m., he'll host a "Troma Night" at the Belcourt, including a screening of Troma's calling card, the 1985 superhero spoof The Toxic Avenger. Live rampages by Troma superstars such as Toxie the radioactive janitor and Sgt. Kabukiman are not out of the question.

Kaufman's presentation caps a weekend of screenings and panels at the second annual convention. At noon Saturday, actors Cindy Morgan (Caddyshack) and Jackson Bostwick (Shazam!), both new Nashville residents, will introduce a showing of the 1982 cult sensation Tron and discuss their roles afterward. Nashville filmmaker George Demick will host a 2 p.m. screening of his feature Demon Night, to be followed at 4 by Nosferatu. In addition, there are scheduled appearances by Verne "Mini-Me" Troyer, scream queen Debbie Rochon, horror host Dr. Gangrene, authors Randy Fox, Jeff Thompson and Jonathan Lampley, and the cable-access superhero known as "Thong Girl."

The Goon creator Eric Powell, a comic-book artist and native Tennessean who's drawn for Dark Horse and Marvel, toplines the convention's comics guests. Admission is $5. For more information, call sponsor Outer Limits Comics at 855-1500 or see www.musiccityconventions.com for a full schedule and list of guests.

♦ And now for something really scary: Representatives of the Bush and Kerry campaigns will settle each other's hash at a Family-Friendly Presidential Candidates Forum 3 p.m. Sunday at the Gordon Jewish Community Center, 801 Percy Warner Blvd. As opposed to the sex, violence, and obscenity-filled licentiousness of the TV debates, this one is suitable for all ages: the politically curious ages 12 and up are specifically encouraged to show up and ask questions. Panelists will be Bob Tuke, financial officer for the John Kerry campaign in Tennessee and the state director of Veterans for Kerry; and Michael Lebovitz, national Jewish outreach coordinator for President George W. Bush's campaign. WSMV anchor Demetria Kalodimos moderates. The event is free and open to the public; for more information, call Avi Poster at 831-0681.

♦ One of those fabled rock albums that affects thousands more than it actually sells, Mercury Rev's 1998 LP Deserter's Songs crested a wave of orchestral, ambitious conceptual pop, even if it never got the same attention as the records that bassist/co-founder Dave Fridmann produced for The Flaming Lips. Going out on a high note, keyboardist Adam Snyder left shortly after touring to support the record to concentrate on his solo career. He begins a week of Nashville shows with a scheduled stop Monday at 12th & Porter (best to call ahead about that one), Wednesday at Family Wash, then the following Sunday at the Bluebird. See his web site, www.adamsnyder.com, for more information.

♦ The HBO series Project Greenlight 2 picked Nashville filmmaker Steven Bussell's short "Broken Sunday" as one of 50 finalists among 5,000 entries. Alas, it wasn't chosen, so Bussell never got the chance to screw his friends, throw ego tantrums, lose control of a project and make a horse's ass of himself on national TV. Instead, Bussell made the seven short films that constitute "Neopolitan," screening 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Belcourt. Cast and crew will be on hand for the films, some of which were made with an assist from LifeWay Christian Resources' "Fuel" project: among the featured Nashville performers are Steve Flanigan, Janet Ivey and Lon Gary. The screening is free and open to the public.

♦ In honor of its upcoming DVD release, the Rolling Stones' Rock 'n' Roll Circus gets a special screening 7:30 p.m. Monday at Regal's Opry Mills 20 megaplex. Filmed in 1968, the all-star big-top show features performances by the Stones, The Who, Marianne Faithfull, Yoko Ono, Taj Mahal, Jethro Tull, and the notorious Dirty Mac—the supergroup made up of John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell from the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Keith Richards (on bass). See this month's issue of Mojo for a lively account of the affair.

♦ The documentary Freedom Machines, broadcast nationally on the excellent PBS series P.O.V., offers a look at the ways new technologies have liberated people who were once thought disabled. Nashville Public Television hosts a special screening of the film 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the NPT offices on Rains Avenue, attended by two of the movie's subjects: Middle Tennessee disability-rights activist Floyd Stewart and gospel-radio host Bonita Dearmond, who recalls the low expectations she faced as a blind woman in the 1970s before the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act. Held in conjunction with National Disability Month, the screening is free and open to the public.

Jim Ridley

♦ The documentary Freedom Machines, broadcast nationally on the excellent PBS series P.O.V., offers a look at the ways new technologies have liberated people who were once thought disabled. Nashville Public Television hosts a special screening of the film 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the NPT offices on Rains Avenue, attended by two of the movie's subjects: Middle Tennessee disability-rights activist Floyd Stewart and gospel-radio host Bonita Dearmond, who recalls the low expectations she faced as a blind woman in the 1970s before the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act. Held in conjunction with National Disability Month, the screening is free and open to the public.

Jim Ridley

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