Monday, January 19, 2009


Needtovent is pleased to announce the domestic DVD release of PALO PINTO GOLD today, January 20, 2009. For those of us involved in the making of this lighthearted Western film it is just as much a "Super Tuesday" as it is for the millions attending the inauguration festivities in and around Washington, D.C.

We are also quite excited about our festival premiere this past weekend where PALO PINTO GOLD won "Best Western" and "Best Director" at the Trail Dance Film Festival. Although Trail Dance is only in its third year, it was recently named by Movie Maker Magazine "one of the 25 Top Film Festivals in North America."

Yes, these past few days have been quite rewarding...

For those of you unfamiliar with PALO PINTO GOLD, here's a brief description which appears on the back of the DVD package:

A newspaper reporter (Rodney Lay) seeks the real story behind the biggest gunfight in Texas history. Two old men (Roy Clark and Mel Tillis) are more than willing to tell him what they know -- just as long as their thirst is quenched. Seems the 1880s in the Lone Star State was a dangerous time because of men like the shady Shane Stocksteal (Glynn Praesel), a man so slick, so sleazy he can make a "fart smell like a fifty-cent tulip." But thanks to a dedicated Texas Ranger (Trent Willmon) and a beautiful, but spunky farm girl (Joanna Goode), the bad guys bite the dust, the good guys prevail, law and order is restored, justice is served and the hero gets the girl. So saddle up friends and neighbors for some "Rootin' Tootin' Shootin' Two-Gun Fun." (Dr. Bruce, Quality Broadcasting)

(Kinky Friedman and Producer Robert A. Nowotny on the set of PALO PINTO GOLD)

Since we helped produce PALO PINTO GOLD we did not think it was kosher to review it on our website -- tempted as we were. However, we can report that Bob Polunski (Primetime Newspapers) called PALO PINTO GOLD "Delightul...a Western, just like they used to make 'em." And with a MPAA Rating of PG-13, Rodney Hayden (Honky-Tonk Performer Par Excellence) declared, "It's like a Disney Western!"

You can find DVDs at Blockbuster, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Target,, and HEB. So why not get a copy and see what all the fuss is about? As Governor Kinky Friedman says, "Why the hell not?"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


(Ashley Byrne, PETA Campaign Coordinator, Takes The Stage To Announce A Major New Public Relations Endeavor)

Yes, there are many among us who belive that the organization known as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (aka PETA) is a bit wacky, but the latest announcement of a campaign to have us refer to fish as sea kittens is nothing short of being absurd.

Yes, "Sea Kittens" is the new term now being used by PETA for the creatures they assume are in dire need of an image makeover.

According to Ms. Byrne, PETA believes that by renaming "fish" compassionate people who would never dream of hurting a dog or a cat might extend that sympathy to a dapper young snapper, or should I say sea kitten?

Byrne went on to say that rebranding fish as sea kittens was obvious.

"Fish not only have the same ability to feel pain as a dog or a cat, but they also communicate with one another. They have complex social interactions; they form bonds; they express affection by gently rubbing against one another."

The PETA campaign boasts a colorful, interactive Web site aimed at children and their parents. It offers sea kitten bedtime stories and a design-your-own sea kitten in hopes it will build compassion in families.

As a final argument for this new campaign, Ms. Byrne stated, "Most parents would never dream of spending a weekend torturing kittens for fun with their families, but hooking a sea kitten through the mouth and dragging her through the water is the same as hooking a kitten through the mouth and dragging her behind your car."

So far PETA has only promoted the campaign in North Carolina, but plans to take it nationwide soon.

You know, I don't think that we at are the only ones who think PETA is stupid.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Welcome to today's Texas Hill Country. What was once considered the most desirable area to live in the Lone Star State has, indeed, become PARADISE LOST thanks to the explosive, uncontrolled and malignant growth of subdivisions on virtually every hilltop and hillside to accomodate the tens of thousands of HillBillyBobs arriving every year.

There's plenty of money to be made by the bulimic builders and the rapacious realtors who have raped the landscape for personal profit, aided, of course, by the concupiscent Chamber of Commerce who still has the temerity to describe the area as "a majestic wonderland blessed with rolling ranges of countless peaks and valleys."

Oh yes, the Chamber also claims a "reliable" water supply. Please note they didn't use the word "abundant." This is the only honest statement ever made by this ostentatious organization -- with continued, unfettered growth the one thing we can all count on to be "reliable" is that the demand for water will far surpass the availability.

Talk about getting one's just deserts...

Friday, January 09, 2009


In this stylish, independently-financed film noir, Screenwriter Stacia Crawford brings to the screen an intriguing tale of predatory deceit, revenge and murder set in the Golden Era of Hollywood when studio moguls controlled the lives of everyone working under their iron-clad contracts. And speaking of moguls, Crawford's script is filled with more twists and turns than those caused by the moguls carved on the legendary Exhibition Ski Run at Sun Valley.

At first glance, the well-crafted, complex story in STRAIGHT FORWARD concerns a successful screenwriter and his aging movie star wife who are having trouble conceiving a child of their own. Together they conceive (pun intended) a plan to hold a series of open auditions to find an unknown actor to become the lead in their next motion picture project. However, acting ability is of no consequence to this couple as they are actually looking for a downtrodden loner with no family and no friends who the aging starlet can seduce and then dispense with -- permanently. A young film executive, the son of the studio head, and his personal assistant are the only others who are in on this deadly deception. Unfortunately, the young loner they end up choosing has ambitious plans of his own, and he may be aided by an accomplice -- someone with drive, determination and a dangerous hidden agenda as well.

The ensemble cast is uniformally excellent. Kristen Vermilyea does a superb job playing Eileen, the aging movie star. She also shares producing credit with Ms. Crawford who portrays Maggie, the young secretary who is much more complex than what appears on the surface. Lev Gorn's performance as the screenwriter is solid, as is Gabe Fazio's in the role of the licentious loner. Rounding out the cast are Tony Luke, Jr. as the sheriff (think Buford T. Justice does noir) and Jennifer McCabe, whose frenetic performance as the crafty, crazy neighbor steals most of the scenes she's in.

STRAIGHT FORWARD is Director Jason Noto's feature film debut. He does an admirable job and has since gone on to directing two additional feature-length motion pictures; a just reward for a job well done. Assisting Noto in effectively capturing this time period with extremely limited resources is Sean Duhame. Mr. Duhame is credited as both the Production Designer and the Art Director and he, too, has gone on to additional projects including considerably larger budgeted films such as 21 and THE PINK PANTHER 2.

The past few years have been extremely hard on everyone operating in the low-budget, independent arena. According to the New York Times, the Sundance Film Festival, originally established to be the showcase for small, independent productions, now receives over 2,600 feature film submissions each year. Of this number, only around 120 -- fewer than five percent -- are selected for screening. And of these, maybe ten will be picked up for any kind of theatrical distribution. The hard, cold truth is that these numbers just scratch the surface. For example, most distributors receive somewhere between 40 and 100 completed feature films per month to evaluate for possible acquisition. Generally speaking, two or three might be lucky enough (at best) to be acquired for limited DVD distribution. Accordingly, it is an extremely noteworty accomplishment for any low-budget, independent project to secure distribution of any kind.

Needtovent salutes the cast and crew of STRAIGHT FORWARD in producing an entertaining, well-produced feature film that is a terrific example of what can be accomplished when every single penny matters. And a big salute, also, to distributors like Echelon Studios who continue to keep the independent spirit alive so audiences can "see what films are made of when they are not made of money." (Quote from Worldfest-Houston)

(STRAIGHT FORWARD can be purchased from Echelon Studios and Singa Home Entertainment. To order a DVD go to

Thursday, January 08, 2009


(They say a man's home is his castle. This is mine...)

One definition of a "B Movie" is that when a door slams, the walls tremble. Well, it's one thing to see a "B Movie," another to appear in one as an actor, and yet another to actually produce one. I've done all of these to one extent or another, but I also now find myself living in a "B Movie" -- literally.

Let me explain ---

In 1960, Roger Corman brought to the motion picture screen in marvelous CinemaScope a truly chilling cinematic experience -- THE HOUSE OF USHER, Edgar Allan Poe's overwhelming tale of evil, decadence and torment. There is no external monster or villain in this stylish, supernatural horror story, rather it is the house itself that possess such cadaverous gloom and depravity that it is literally collapsing under the weight of Satanic, self-destructive forces left behind by the evilness of those who built it.

Which brings me to the Nowotny Homestead located at Latitude 29 50' 56" N, Longitude 90 27' 07" W. You see, I, too, live in a home that is literally falling apart thanks to a totally disreputable builder whose shameful, slovenly and slipshod construction work leaves me just as cataclysmically condemned as Roderick Usher (Vincent Price in one of his best performances).

You may be surprised to learn that the construction company involved wasn't Kaufman & Broad. Nor was it Pulte or David Weekly or Centex or even the dreaded D. R. Horton hombres. Let's just say that the Satanic, self-destructive forces left behind by the evilness of the "builder" responsible for my crumbling cardboard castle was just an ordinary Joe.

Terrifying fear beyond human comprehension prohibits me from naming names, but here's a hint: If you ever see a concrete driveway being reinforced with dental floss instead of rebar, or if you run across interior walls painted thinner than (you guessed it) a Republican's lips, or if you happen to notice a stucco exterior with more exposed cracks than a plumber's convention, I'll bet a breakfast taco that the buckaroo in charge is the same bumbling bozo responsible for my abysmal abode.

Bring out the catafalque and the coffin -- like Mr. Price, my days are doomed thanks to "The Ungodly...The Evil...HOUSE OF USHER" (Comal County Version).

Sunday, January 04, 2009

What's Uglier Than A Bob Stoops Hickey?

"The Kunsthaus Graz sits among the renaissance apartment buildings of the old city, contrasting them without threatening to destroy them -- hence its nickname, "The Friendly Alien." (Reprinted from an Official Austrian Tourist Guidebook)

You gotta be kidding...

This contemporary art museum was built in the Austrian city of Graz in 2003. The entire staff at Needtovent can't help but believe that the residents living nearby are constantly reminded of the Tagline for THE BLOB -- "It crawls... It creeps... It eats you alive!"

Clearly architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier have brought to the land of schnitzel, schnapps and strudel what director Irwin S. Yearworth, Jr. brought to rural Pennsylvania. Gott im Himmel -- are zoning laws verboten among Hitler's children?

(We wonder what Steve McQueen thinks...)