Laughoholics Anon.

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From gorillas to human beans to Rototron Cornbobbers to bondage faeries, metro Detroit is about to see a couple local movie productions get their place in the sun. Whether they burn or tan remains to be seen.

Watch comic book-store clerks go to the dogs in the feature-length film Zeitgeist, presented by Pitbull Filmworks this Saturday, April 5, at the ZeitGeist Gallery and Performance Venue in Detroit. The film is written, directed by Christopher Dinnan, who stars as Timmy, a financially frustrated, recently jilted, behind-the-counter working Joe who thinks too much. It’s the perfect film for all those carnally starved guys out there into “Shazam” and “Star Trek” (any generation), who have wet dreams about Greek goddesses whisking them away to an orgiastic paradise with rivers of Budweiser and no trace of ex-girlfriends.

Timmy and his buddies are mini-mall vigilantes, protecting handicapped spots from the capable and bestowing otherwise unobtainable gifts (porn comics) on the needy (the underaged and undersexed). But mostly, they bitch and moan about Timmy’s ex, Lisa (Alicia Beweritz), who never gave back the engagement ring he bought her, while spouting lucid-to-warped philosophies that always seem to spiral back to one orifice or another.

Because Zeitgeist is not the best (or the worst) production and is sometimes tough to follow, it’s a flick primarily and primally for those who just don’t get enough T, A (female and male), the F word and talk about the big M.

A few days later, and a bit farther southwest, you can experience a different local and climactic sensation (and I quote): “Sargasm (sär-”ga-z&m) n. Literally an explosion of wit, irony, and a guy in a gorilla costume. Its beholder is left gasping for air as a direct result of uncontrollable outbursts of laughter resulting from the rapid succession of uproarious episodes. See AnonyMous.”

Sargasm will be shown Thursday, April 10, at the historic Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. And although there’s no guarantee you’ll experience a sargasm while watching the film, chances are you’ll leave giggling, gurgling and wanting more, more, more of the 45 minutes of awkward moments, cell-phone psycho killers, A“Maize”ing infomercials, embezzling (oh, sure they’re cute) squirrels, all held together by a gorilla gone bad.

AnonyMous, founded by Sargasm’s director Joe Hawley, is a gaggle of University of Michigan students ranging in majors from film to business to political science to biology. Hawley says of his film, “Think of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ only funny.” It’s that, as well as a motley comic-explosive reaction to all the overdramatized misinformation, ludicrous horror, advertising conspiracies and sensationalized news bombarding our senses every new-millennium second.

Part of the appeal is Sargasm’s high-tech production quality, a must according to Hawley, who didn’t want the film to be overlooked because of poor packaging or be forced to find an audience willing to look past its faults to the humor. What really makes this film fly is the chemistry of AnonyMous, who approach each anarchic sequence with an infectious vital energy, an adorable attitude and jollies that range anywhere from ridiculously clever to “Wow, that was stupid!”

Ricky Lax, member of AnonyMous and mastermind behind the Rototron Cornbobber infomercial, just walked into the Michigan Theater with the film, and the managers agreed to show it in a regular time slot, which is a testament to Sargasm’s appeal. Pretty good for a bunch of guys who admit they didn’t know what they were doing, but just kept doing it as they went along.

“We had a basic script for it, but the end product turned out nothing like we’d planned. We didn’t know where or how it was gonna be shown.”

Sargasm is like the Jackass of laughs, poking fun at the cookie-cutter goods dished out to us everyday as entertainment — as in the faux-film trailer “Dubba.” All the action, intonations, sweat, screams and critics’ pull quotes are there, only it’s up to you to fill in the words.

AnonyMous will definitely crank out another film next school year. Whether it’s another free-form comedy concoction, a group of short films or a dramatic something else is still cooking. In the meantime, go have yourself a nice, steamy Sargasm. Penetrate, rotate and enjoy!


See Zeitgeist Saturday, April 5, 9 p.m., at ZeitGeist Gallery and Performance Venue (2661 Michigan Ave., Detroit). Call 313-965-9192. See Sargasm Thursday, April 10, 7 p.m., at the Michigan Theater (603 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor). Call 734-668-8480.

Anita Schmaltz checks out the wide world of performance for the Metro Times. E-mail [email protected]
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