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FDL Movie Night Preview: It’s Witchcraft!

6:13 pm in Culture, Movie Night by Lisa Derrick


With the equinox nearly upon us and the mysterious rites of spring soon to make themselves felt, it’s time for magic and merriment. Join us Monday night as we discuss two documentaries about the development of one aspect of paganism, witchcraft. In one documentary we’ll learn how Gerald Gardner used history and mythology–and a bit of help from Aleister Crowley– to concoct a viable and valid faith, Wicca, and spawned a global movement. Oh yeah, he also helped repel Hilter…

In the other we’ll visit witches in their homes, see their sacred rites–and get gander at some groovy  1970s clothes and decor.

So let’s take a trip back through the halcyon days of yore and meet the folks who created a folk religion, one which has spawned thousands of books, is now (finally) recognized by the U.S. military, and may actually work as well as any other religion.

See you on the front page of at 5pm west coast time Monday. Remember to register (if you aren’t already–it’s the button on the upper left of the page) and log in. Type your questions and comments in the comment box and hit send. And refresh your page frequently to see replies.

FDL Movie Night Preview: Discussing the Reason for the Season

7:23 am in Culture by Lisa Derrick

Jesus, real or made up? No matter what you can’t deny his effect on civilization over the past 2,000 years. Tonight we’re going to be looking at aspects of the historical Jesus with James Rietveld, PhD. From virgin birth through the flight to Egypt, Paul’s Epistles and the Gospels, Dr. Rietveld beings knowledge, academic perspective, wit and enthusiasm to the discussion.

Curious about Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The DaVinci Code which purport that Jesus’ bloodline continued? What about idea that Jesus’s story was a massive propaganda scheme by Emperor Vespasian, as claimed by Joseph Atwill in Caesar’s Messiah? And who the heck was St Nicholas and how does he fit to Christmas?

Join us tonight on’s front page from 5pm to 6:30pm for lively discussion. Please  be respectful of each other and our wide and varied belief systems; remember the words of Hebrews 11:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

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FDL Movie Night Preview: John Barbour and The Garrison Tapes

8:16 am in Culture, Politics by Lisa Derrick

Who killed President John F. Kennedy? Alleged lone-gunman Lee Harvey Oswald stated he was

a patsy.

A patsy for whom?

Tonight from 5pm-6:30pm West Coast time, on the front page of, JP Sotille and I co-host FDL Movie Night with our guest, Emmy-award producer John Barbour, discussing his documentary The Garrison Tapes. Barbour produced The Garrison Tapes using his raw interview footage with the former New Orleans District Attorney who was the first person to publicly discuss in depth a conspiracy behind the murder of JFK. Barbour’s story about NBC’s manipulation and editing of this footage is astounding, and may make you never trust the media again.

If you haven’t read Sotille’s JFK Assassination Anniversary Primer and his JFK & Anti-Conspiracy Conspiracy here on Firedoglake, please give them your eyes. And be sure to watch The Garrison Tapes at the link above, as well Garrison’s 1967 NBC commentary on  the JFK assassination conspiracy above.

See you between 5pm and 6:30pm West Coast/8pm-9:30pm East Coast.

Preview: “I Am Divine” on FDL Movie Night Tonight Oct 28

1:19 pm in Culture by Lisa Derrick

Divine! The big, bold underground star who brought beauty and filth, anger, and outrageous humor to midnight movie screens! Divine and John Waters were responsible for so much of the attitude in pop culture and punk rock!

Divine, the star of Pink Flamingos and Hairspray broke down barriers and raised spirits, uniting  misfits and outcasts in a celebration of  all that is gloriously awful and sublimely ridiculous as he rose from a bullied teenager to cult star and international sensation.

I Am Divine chronicles the life of Divine from his Baltimore childhood as Harris Glenn Milstead through his years as John Waters’ muse and star, as he reaches his ultimate goal to achieve mainstream acceptance and global recognition. This is a movie about believing in yourself and  accepting yourself, two things Divine exuded and brought to his fans.

Join us tonight as we discuss I Am Divine with director Jeffrey Schwarz, on the front page of from 8pm to 9:30pm Eastern time, 5pm to 6:30pm West Coast time. Please make sure you are logged in (To sign up, and get your password mailed to you, click the “register button on the upper left side of your screen.)

At 5pm West Coast time, hop on–if you don’t see the I Am Divine post, refresh your brower, time is relative and everyone’s clocks are a little different. Type your questions and comments in [comment sin!] the comment box, and hit send comment. Read the rest of this entry →

Preview: FDL Movie Night “Families are Forever”

10:57 am in Uncategorized by Lisa Derrick

Tonight’s movie, Families are Forever follows a typical California Mormon family as they discover their oldest son, 13-year old Jordan, is gay. Determined to not loose their son but wanting to let him be himself, while still staying true to their faith, Wendy Montgomery turns first to LDS literature which she finds archaic and inapplicable to Jordan. As Jordan grows more and more withdrawn, quietly contemplating suicide, Wendy searches through medical and psychological literature and discovers the Family Acceptance Project which helps diverse families understand how to support their LGBT children, as well as training health and mental health providers to understand the critical role of families in supporting their LGBT children.

The Family Acceptance Project’s research shows for the first time how these family accepting and rejecting behaviors affect an LGBT young person’s health and mental health, including risk for suicide, substance abuse, HIV, self-esteem, etc.. These attitudes and behaviors also affect the whole family.

Tonight’s guests, Families are Forever director Vivian Kleiman and Caitlin Ryan from Family Acceptance Project will be discussing both Jordan’s story and the Family Acceptance Project on the front page of at 5pm West Coast time. To participate, please register beforehand (button on left side at top of page–registration is free)  and log in. See you tere!

Movie Night Preview: “Robert Williams Mr Bitchin”

2:17 pm in Art, Culture by Lisa Derrick

Big and bold, yet refined and precise–these are the hallmarks of Robert Williams, the breakthrough  painter whose works shifted the  direction of contemporary art. Monday’s movie, Robert Williams, Mr Bitchin takes us through the painter’s life, with stops along the way to (re) discover the Piltdown Man, King Farouk, hot rods, hippies, sexy women, censorship and the origins of the universe.

Growing up on his family’s ranch, Williams had an idyllic childhood, except he didn’t like driving cattle or riding horses, or the conservative upbringing that stifled his rebellious spirit. When his parents divorced, he and his mom were nearly homeless in New Mexico, and his mom left him in the care of a female lieutenant in the Air Force and the lieutenant’s girlfriend. Williams was exposed to a more liberal lifestyle, and when the time came, he moved to Los Angeles to study art.

Robert Williams Mr Bitchin takes us on a trip through the artist’s life and through America’s changing subcultures, exploring how Williams’ work both reflects and changed culture. Musicians like jazz genius Artie Shaw and rock ‘n’ rollers Axl Rose and Blondie weigh in on Williams’ talent and the controversies he created, while Williams’ wife, artist Suzanne  Williams, reveals an inspirational, grounding force.

This is a smart documentary about one the greatest living American painters and thinkers, and we hope you’ll join producer/co-director Nancye Ferguson and director Mary Reese on the front page of Monday at 5pm to discuss Williams, his work, and the film Robert Williams, Mr Bitchin.

SHARKNADO! Preview of Monday’s Movie Night

11:51 am in Uncategorized by Lisa Derrick



Sharknado, the SyFy Channel’s hit movie is the subject of this Monday’s Movie Night at 5pm West Coast Time. 8pm East Coast Time. We have screenwriter Thunder Levin, director Anthony C. Ferrante, and actor Robbie Rist (who doesn’t get killed by a shark!) as our guests.

The highly anticipated climate-change-fueled drama starring Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, John Heard, and Robbie Rist is from The Asylum, a film studio specializing in the best B movies since Roger Corman rocked API.  The Asylum was behind Two-Headed Shark Attack which we had on Movie Night last summer. The Asylum are the masters of the sharxploitation genre!

To participate in our live online discussion on, please make sure you are registered on (it’s free!). Log in to Firedoglake at 5pm West Coast time, 8pm Eastern Monday, and if you don’t see the Sharknado headline refresh your browser (command R). Click on the Sharknado headline and you’ll see the post about this cinematic masterpiece, with space for comments down below. Type your question in the comments and hit send. If you are replying to a specific comment, hit the reply button at the end of the comment, and type your response, then hit send.

To see new questions, replies and comments, refresh your browser every couple minutes.

Sharknado. Monday Movie Night. Enough said.

FDL Movie Night Preview: Remembering Ray Harryhausen

8:33 am in Uncategorized by Lisa Derrick

Special effects genius Ray Harryhausen changed the way we make and watch movies. His split screen technology married stop action animation with live actors–remember Jason and the Argonauts? The 7th Voyage of Sinbad? The original Clash of the Titans? Tonight at 5pm west coast time on the frontpage of, we’ll be discussing his many movies.  Curious about Harryhausen and his creatures? Check out this documentary:

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FDL Movie Night Preview and Saturday Art: Eric Minh Swenson

12:49 pm in Art by Lisa Derrick

Eric Minh Swenson with Mana producers Couwenberg and Campognone

On Monday, May 20th, FDL Movie Night interviews director/photographer Eric Minh Swenson about his work chronicling art and artists in Southern California.  Swenson has gained unprecedented access to artists, collectors, curators, gallerists, and art world denizens from San Diego to Ventura. His photos and interviews are revealing portraits of both the Southland and the artistic impulses–shaped by the area’s geography, climate, history, and cultures–that express themselves here. His growing body of work–over 200 short film about Southern California art to date, and thousands of photos– is unique, far ranging and in depth. The art scene in any city has yet to be documented this extensively.

The short documentaries Swenson creates are fluid and evocative, pieces of art themselves. This summer, he begins work on Mana, his ambitious feature-length documentary about a group of Southern California artists, produced by Andi Campognone, curator at Lancaster’s Museum of Art and History, and artist Alex Couwenberg, whose doc is shown below.

Join us Monday at 5pm West Coast time on the front page of Read the rest of this entry →

FDL Movie Night Preview: Beam Aboard for Star Trek Discussion with David Gerrold

10:40 pm in Uncategorized by Lisa Derrick


Star Trek is awesome. I remember the first episode I ever saw–I must have been about 7, and my mom always sent me to bed before it came on, but that night she fell asleep on the couch and I got to watch as a pointy eared guy and his captain somehow ended up on modern day Earth trying to catch a mad scientist and his lady friend who would turn into a black cat.  A few years later, the entire series was in reruns, and every night at 6pm, before I Love Lucy, there would be an hour of aliens, be it children who developed weird blue spots as they turned into “grups,” Greek gods forsaken by their worshipers, android women chanting

Harcourt Fenton Mudd

amazing costumes, epic fisticuffs, and of course tribbles. Reading the book, The Trouble with Tribbles, by tonight’s Movie Night guest, David Gerrold gave me, at whatever age I was when it was published, a background into television production and excited me beyond measure about writing as a career. Gerrold wrote the script for The Trouble with Tribbles on spec; it was produced and became one of the most popular episodes ever.  And Star Trek, through eleven films, four lives series (weirdly, my ex-husband has appeared on all four, and is a Star Trek trading card!), an animated series, and ongoing conventions around the world (as well as web series Star Trek Phase 2, for which Gerrold penned a two-part episode) has shaped  our world by boldly going where no man has gone before.

Please join us Monday, March 25 form 5pm-6:30pm west coast time on the front page of to talk Trek and sci-fi with one of the greats, David Gerrold.

(FYI: All of the Star Trek series are free this month on Hulu!)

NOTE: To participate in Movie Night by asking questions, please make sure you are logged in. If you don’t have a log-in, register using the red button up top. It’s fast and free! At 5pm west coast time, sign in to, Type in your questions or comments, hit the “send” button, and please refresh your browser every minute or so to see new questions and responses. To reply to a question, hit the “reply” button. Thanks!

Side note: I don’t mind the IRS making a training video based on Star Trek. WHat I mind is that it sucks.