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Cinematic Titanic coming to Milwaukee

December 4, 2009 - Nikki Younk
I just kept lucking out with good concerts coming to the Midwest this year. In music, I’ve seen alt-country singer Neko Case and indie rockers Deerhunter in Milwaukee; indie rock band Animal Collective in Royal Oak; and British rock legends Manic Street Preachers in Chicago. Good, good times, but expensive.

I’ve got a whole different type of show lined up already for next year. Not a band, but a touring group that makes fun of bad movies. It’s Cinematic Titanic!

Perhaps CT needs an introduction to the general population, so here goes...

In my last post, I alluded to my interest in the greatest tv show ever—Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K). The interest is really more of an obsession. I love that show.

MST3K was a 90s show about a mild-mannered human (Joel Robinson* or Mike Nelson) and his robot friends (Tom Servo and Crow) who were forced by mad scientists (Dr. Forrester and TV’s Frank or Pearl, Bobo, and Brain Guy) to live on a satellite and watch ridiculous B-movies. To keep their sanity, the human and his ‘bots would make fun of the films as they played.

Sadly, the series ended in 1999 and repeats were cancelled in 2002. However, MST3K creators have not quit their craft.

One (almost) half of the show’s alumni, led by Mike Nelson, currently produce Rifftrax, downloadable audio files of heckling that can be synched up to their respective movies. It’s exactly like MST3K, but without the characters’ shadows superimposed on the screen.

I’d recommend watching movies like Twilight or Battlefield Earth along with Rifftrax. They turn the dramas into laugh-out-loud comedies. Perhaps the best Rifftrax I’ve heard so far are for two of the worst films ever made—The Room and Troll 2. Each of these movies deserves a blog post of its own. Stay tuned.

The other (almost) half, led by Joel, currently tour as Cinematic Titanic, which is basically a live version of MST3K or Rifftrax. Audience members watch the film in a movie theater as the CT cast makes fun of it...LIVE.

Doesn’t that sound like fun? CT will be in Milwaukee on Feb. 20 for your viewing and listening pleasure.

The MST3K shtick isn’t for everyone. If it’s not for you, perhaps you need to get a sense of humor.

*To the observant poster from my last blog—Yes, Joel Hodgson created the series, but his character on the show was named Joel Robinson. Supposedly in homage to Will Robinson from Lost in Space. Nice catch.


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