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April 28th, 2020:
Best in Show, Best in Series
A retrospective look at ROX Season 3 after 25 years by T Black
A character had developed for me, T Black Anarchist Clown. Exchanging my first name for an initial was an aesthetic of the program. Black came from a mistaken identity by one of the news outlets confusing my name for the head of the Indiana Film Commission who had given ROX two awards for an episode in which I appeared during the previous season. Since I fancied myself a radical from the life choices I was making, I donned the anarchist label, and I had been working “professionally” as a circus clown for a couple years.
Most of my work that season was as a segment producer and less of an ensemble player, which is what I had been previously. For the first six episodes I produced five solid Anarchy Diary segments working mostly with a girlfriend at the time and a fellow actor from the local theater scene. I produced one failure of a themed episode segment for ROX #63, and participated as an ensemble cast member in two other episode segments, Pumpkins (ROX #64) and Hempfest (ROX #66).
Then I disappeared completely from the show as an active contributor for the next ten episodes/weeks, two and a half months total. I had been offered an “opportunity” to be the sole roadie/driver for a local band, The Smears, though I think my real job was to keep an eye on the infidelities for their boyfriends who were all staying behind. There was a plan to shoot content and ship the tapes back for the show.
But on the morning of departure my girlfriend refused to let me take her camera, the one we’d been using for all the other content I was creating for the show, and I was screwed. I had no time or money to solve the problem. The tour itself was a disaster. Our weed was left behind at a gas station two days into it, the band immediately started fighting each other and turning to me to mediate, we weren’t making any money, the van broke down completely, of course, along the west coast, we barely escaped a blizzard and the band broke up on the eve of their most important final show of the tour with the headline act from their own label... but not before asking me what I thought they should do first. Really???
I came home more broke than when I left and deeply depressed. Their boyfriends, I think, blamed me for not controlling the situation better and causing the breakup. I was feeling so isolated at this point and the girlfriend still wouldn’t fuck me... I took a job at a local kennel with her because I was desperate for money and trying to make something, anything, positive happen with the relationship. This was the reason for my disappearance.
My return really captured my state of mind at the time. A very angry Anarchy Diary segment for my band’s song GUN. Some stock live performance segments with an added direct threat to all federal law enforcement officers. Was starting to have trouble getting the band together....
My next two contributions to the show were a part of the same episode, “Love on the ROX” (ROX #78). This was the episode that spotlighted how I was being torn apart inside.
We were each assigned a segment to highlight our romantic relationships. I decided to make the getting a tattoo in honor of the girlfriend a centerpiece of my segment along with an improvised poem. Everyone advised me against it, but I was so fucked in the head by then I convinced myself that maybe, just maybe this would prove myself to her and she would finally... make up her damned mind??? She hated my lifestyle, did not trust any of my friends, and withheld sexual relations from me... but every time I wanted to break up, she’d freak out, scream and cry. The guilt of having done that to her is what kept me from escaping all the way. Told you I was fucked in the head. (It just occurred to me right now, as I write these words: she kept thinking she could “bring me around” while I was thinking the same about her. Disastrous.)
I also contributed what would be the final Anarchy Diary segment to ROX. It was a performance art piece by a group I called Borgnine. The concept of Borgnine was formed a couple years earlier, before I even got involved with ROX, I think. The struggle was finding the right piece and venue for this group to perform. Borgnine was a “super group” of the Bloomington music, theater and video scenes. I don’t remember what I did to prepare everyone for the performance. I cast it, scheduled the location and brought the camera. Otherwise, it was an entirely improvised piece mocking the concept of love. This piece was the culmination of everything I had been trying to achieve as a performance artist and everything I had wanted to accomplish as a theater/video producer.
“The Potable Gourmet” (ROX #80): In this episode I am back in the role I’d been missing from since ROX #66, that of an ensemble cast member. As a performer, this was my finest. The camaraderie, the humor (gawd I had missed the humor), the stories, the one-liners, this episode took me from the darkness and into the light. Everyone was at the top of their game during this episode. No one could have learned how to do this at any improv workshop. This came purely from the relationships we had built with each other from the earliest episodes. We are on a roll.
“J&B Eat Garlic” (ROX #83) ties in to the very first contribution I ever made to ROX. My time in Bloomington also helped me finally shed the remnants of the Christian religion’s influence over my life, a difficult task having grown up a small-town country Hoosier boy. In this episode I burn the bible I had embraced during the peak of my adult Christian life while reciting scriptures about sin. Though technically labeled an Anarchy Diary segment, I have revisioned it as a sequel to the Erotic Video I presented in Season One, both shot and edited by B. The Erotic Video was a fetishized version of the ancient Christian/Jewish tradition of the washing of feet to the recitation of scripture condemning lust. See how one is a sequel to the other? A suitable last solo performance for our “final” season.
Then comes “A Virtual Vacation” (ROX #84). This episode is my favorite one of the whole series. Absolute favorite, number one. A playful ensemble piece framed by a simple journey, going back home. There is plenty of social commentary but without all the serious conflict and anger that peppered previous issues. It is the most melancholy episode of the series because we learned that you can’t ever really go back. What was there is gone and the growth and changes that are happening all around can’t really be controlled or stopped. Not beyond what you can do in your own personal life anyways. The buzzards are always circling to pick up the pieces and the clouds keep floating by unable to be captured in hand or by time... Though the next episode was our launch into the future, this episode was the “final one” in my eyes.
ROX #85: This was to be the episode that launched ourselves into the dotcom boom, not unlike “Baked” which launched us into international notoriety. We had gone analogue(ly) global, now we were hoping to go digitally global. I see us... me... struggling to explain what was happening or going to happen when I couldn’t really grasp it myself. There was still a love/hate, trust/suspicion to the whole idea. I just couldn’t make up my mind how I felt about it. I had just gotten the hang of public access, I was quite lost when it came to internet access. I didn’t know the first thing about operating a computer and was completely lost when I attempted a class in HTML programming. Now, I embrace Facebook and file sharing and YouTube and can navigate my way around the web at lightning speed down never-ending rabbit holes. All the things I imagined we would be doing with ROX right out of the gate... but in 1995 it was more like HELLO... Hello... hello... h e l l o... h... e... l... l... o... and worse, though I grasped the potential that punk rock for the information age might have with Qernie’s soundbite-sized repertoire, the band was falling apart. The final appearance on ROX was the song F.U.C.K. It included an intro segment with Qernie, some live performance footage and some random F.U. stock footage I had shot between seasons one and two. The guitarist refused to contribute to the music video and any further performances. He was one of the former Smear’s boyfriends and was still angry with me.
Season Three (S03) sums up everything I had endured and everything I had hoped to achieve as a creative being in Bloomington, Indiana. I had come to Bloomington to do exactly that in 1990. When I got laid off of my “career job,” I had the choice of developing more marketable skills or developing my creative potential. I knew Bloomington was the place to be if I really wanted to cultivate that creativity and the timing was perfect. B-ton was going through a renaissance on all fronts as a community. I am so grateful I made that choice at that time in my life.
But... what came after S03? A return to the “same shit” show. I made a huge mistake believing an external reward was on the way for my/our efforts. When what we thought might be coming didn’t, it sent me spiraling back into deep depression. I had turned what really had become my career-validating, life-crowning achievement into a failure by societies standards. The “business failure” overshadowed the creative victories. Those social norms and goals and expectations had been burned deep into my psyche and I let them ruin what had been the greatest time in my life...
Until ROX #100.
I really hope that episode and this anniversary encourages us to keep at it. Especially now that we have, and more fully understand, the amazing technological tools we were completely clueless about, unable to adapt to use, and which frankly hadn’t quite been perfected yet... back when we became the first television show on the internet.
March 13th, 2020:
ROX internet 25
Join us for an evening of frustration, inebriation and invective. It's 25 years since we went global! The ROX video crew is ready to party online, and we're pulling our all the stops to deliver an experience of endless buffering and technical glitches like you've never seen before.
Tue, April 21, 2020
October 7th, 2019:
TBlack, aka 臺灣Terry (Taiwan Terry), has taken leave of his senses and gone daily with his YouTube vlogging efforts. Check him out and be sure to subscribe to this madness.
October 2nd, 2019:
Game Plan for #5
J&B on the ROX ?FORMAT? [average 2 minutes/segment] Episode 5: RUM & COKE special TITLE "J & B on the ROX" 1. DISC: Intro: a serious show providing a solemn service to the community‑‑an educational program‑‑glorifying responsible use of alcohol ‑‑this week's focus: RUM & COKE 2. FEAT: Drink #1 SPICED RUM & COLA 1¼ Capt Morgan Spiced Rum 3 oz cola lemon or lime twist ice 3. DISC: Vocab word Assiduous done with constant and careful attention diligent; perservering Are we in fact assiduous?‑‑let's explore etymology from Latin ad sedere, to sit "to rest the weight of the body upon the buttocks and the back of the thighs, as in a chair" because when you sit down to do something it shows you're serious‑‑we're serious‑‑we're sitting down‑‑ we sit down a lot (both on and off the show) because we're serious people 4. FEAT: How we sit down Joe sits down Bart sits down 5. DISC: Compare and contrast the above (briefly) ‑‑continuing with our theme of edification, point out that one meaning of the word "butt" is that it's a measure for wine or beer equivalent to two hogsheads or 126 gallons ‑‑speaking of alcohol, let us have another drink 6. FEAT: Drink #2 CUBA LIBRE (Free Cuba) Juice ½ lime‑‑drop rind in glass 2 cubes of ice 2 oz rum ½ tsp Grenadine (variation) fill glass w/cola & stir 7. DISC: a high‑minded program raising the level of cultural literacy in Bloomington‑‑introduce Rum and Coke (a play by Keith Reddin about the Bay of Pigs ‑‑one of America's finest moments)‑‑a brief reading to whet the viewer's appetite‑‑speaking of the arts here's a video 8. FEAT: Art Video 9. DISC: Continuing this Arts & Culture segment, we salute Peggy McLerran (?) for bringing clogging to Indiana ‑‑sit back down and compliment ourselves on having promoted the arts most assiduously even while standing up‑‑but now we are sitting again, "resting our weight upon our buttocks"‑‑other terms for buttocks‑‑distinction between rectum and buttocks‑‑ other terms for rectum‑‑"bunghole," which of course originally refers to a hole in a keg thru which liquor can be poured in or drawn out‑‑another drink 10. FEAT: Drink #3 COCORHUM COLA ice 1½ Cocorhum fill w/cola garnish w/lime slice 11. DISC: Seemingly we are drawn to the topic of buttocks again and again‑‑but moving around to the front of the pelvis... 12. FEAT: Special Guest JIM KNOWLTON Penises of the Animal Kingdom 13. DISC: So now we've discussed penises and buttocks‑‑ how do these two themes fit together? If you would like to explain this, write to us‑‑address 14. FEAT: Yes, a serious show, providing a solemn educational service to the community‑‑expanding horizons‑‑ introducing people to new things‑‑welcome to Coprophagia Corner Show and briefly discuss picture 15. DISC: Closer: we've come at last to the end of the program ‑‑This is J&B on the ROX‑‑oh, and send us a bottle of J&B‑‑or write to us‑‑address‑‑bye CREDITS
September 4th, 2019:
Game Plan for #99
FRAME Intro - segue to first drink of series
April 8th, 2019:
Jenny B's Passing
March 21st, 2019:
We are offering the domain rox.com for sale. Interested parties should contact Dave Evanson, Senior Broker at Sedo. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
ROX fans, don't worry. We're not selling any content. (Would anyone really pay for our content? It is to laugh.) If we sell the rox.com domain name, we'll move this content to a new address.
January 7th, 2019:
Get Hundred with Us
YouTube has a new premiere feature, and we're going to give it a go with our newest episode.
ROX #100 will premiere on YouTube at 11PM EST on Tuesday, the 15th of January, 2019. It's our old timeslot from back in the day!
What this means is that you can tune in and watch with us no matter where you are. J will be watching from Missoula, Montana. Editor B and Xy will be watching from New Orleans. TBlack will be in Taiwan. Yes, we are geographically distributed, but let's see if technology can bring us together like the true “global village idiots” that we are.
Our watch party won't be complete without you! Please join us for live chat during the show. Your obnoxious comments will be preserved for all future plays of the video... subject to some lawyers in some corporate offices somewhere, I'm sure.
If you'd like to mix along with J at home, here are the necessary ingredients:
• Bushmills Black Bush Blended Irish Whiskey
• Venom Black Mamba Energy Drink
• AriZona Sweet Tea
You'll also need a dirty old glass, some ice, and of course your fingers if you plan to employ the famous ROX finger technique.
We don't do product endorsements, at least not without being paid, so you can substitute any old whiskey, any old energy drink, and any old sweet tea. Brand names are not important. What's important is an overwhelming desire to get shitface drunk.
Okay, but how can you join this great party on the interwebs? Simply go to the premiere watch page and set a reminder. You might as well subscribe to Editor B's YouTube channel while you're there.
You can just go to YouTube.com, and search for “rox episode number one hundred” or “Editor B.”
Or, you could try this URL:
#100: Episode Number One Hundred
#39: Coping with the Shock
Now in production::
#101: Everything You Never Wanted to Know About ROX (And Were Desperately Hoping to Avoid Learning)
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