Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Glamour and the Squalor (2015) NewFest 2015

Seattle DJ Marco Collins broke Nirvana, Beck, Garbage and Weezer. He also was played early Eddie Vedder when he was with Bad Radio. He was the kingmaker at 107.7 The End which was so powerful that it could increase the sale of a record from 5000 units to 100,00.  But addiction and a changing music industry derailed his career.

This is a great portrait of a man who changed music by his choices and thus changed popular culture. The ultimate outsider, he was a gay kid who didn't fit in, who didn't want to play sports, was frequently beat up and found comfort in music and the radio. Believing his mother when she told him he could do anything he wanted he left home at 18 and began a long career in radio that gave us many legends of rock and alternative music.

Marco's story is one that speaks to more than just the gay kid, but to anyone who ever felt as though they were an outsider. Watching Marco tell his story I found that many thing hit very close to home as I saw myself within some of the stories he told about growing up. I was moved when he talked abut being the kid sitting alone in their room listening to the radio because it was a story that some of my friends  told me about when they were growing up and their only friends were the voice from the airwaves. I love that Marco said that when ever he is on the radio he was always talking to that kid. Say what you will about Marco's story, his attempts to connect with that one kid speaks volumes about his understanding of himself and his audience.

More celebration than a roast, the film mirrors Marco's attitude of "this is my life, warts and all." Yes we hear of the bad things that happened, but we don't dwell on the darkness since Marco is trying to make good things happen and get back on top. While on some level I would have liked a bit more explanation of some of the lows (and even some of the highs), I completely understand that to do so would make this another film entirely. This isn't a Behind the Music tell all,  but rather a portrait of this really cool guy you want to sit down and have a beer with...well not a beer but a cup of coffee.

I should also point out that the film is a great portrait of the now disappeared days of radio when big corporations didn't control the airwaves and radio was more  than just playing commercials.

THE GLAMOUR AND THE SQUALOR plays Sunday the 25th at 10:15 pm and is must see for anyone who has ever felt that they are an outsider or for anyone who wants to know the story of the guy who broke one of their favorite bands. For tickets and more information go here.

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