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A Tale of Two Artistic Works: One Subsidized, One Not

The Movie Crimson sells for 1 cent.
A first edition of Mike Hudson’s Diary of Punk sells for as much as $1,000, which is far more than most living authors’ books are worth. This seminal work on a genre of music, (left) has captured the attention of both fans and the literati making the book a collector's item. Hudson’s songs have seen a
recent revival in anthology collections in the USA and Great Britain.
Brook D'Angelo had a role in the movie "Crimson, the Movie" portraying a character known as the "bar hag," and worked as second camera person for the film. She has a photography studio at the NACC, and was also the voice
talent for commercials criticizing Sam Fruscione. She sent this picture in response
to an article published in the Reporter about her and Fruscione.

The public funding of art has always been a controversial topic. Mayor Paul Dyster believes in it wholeheartedly, as his close involvement with the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center (NACC) and his funding of the Hard Rock Café concert series confirms..

But in the real world, art subsidized by the government rarely achieves any measure of success. And a comparison of two locally produced artistic works underscores this point.

In 2011, James Ventry, under NACC auspices, produced the film Crimson. He said the film cost $50,000 to make, and Ventry was awarded a $10,000 micro-incentive grant to help with production.

The movie’s plot, as summarized by Amazon, is fairly straightforward.

“After suffering a terrible beating washed up comic book artist Walter Levitte awakens in the hospital with near-total memory loss and severe nerve damage. His only recollections are those of his latest character Crimson. Believing he is the caped crusader Walter embarks on a vigilante tirade against his hometown's ruthless Irish Mafia,” the Amazon synopsis reads.

No professional or viewer reviews accompany the Crimson listing, and it receives no stars. DVD copies of the film are currently available new for one cent a copy on Amazon.

In March of 2008, Niagara Falls Reporter founding editor published a highly literate memoir of his years in the music business, Diary of a Punk. He took no public money to finance publication; it never even occurred to him.

Again, the book’s plot, as summarized by Amazon;

“Mike Hudson was founder and lead singer of [the[ legendary Cleveland punk band the Pagans. In a prose style reminiscent of Hunter Thompson and William Burroughs, Hudson paints a stark insider's portrait of a life lived outside society's boundaries. Hudson, co-author of last year's highly successful Niagara Falls Confidential, has turned out a classic rock and roll memoir that dishes the inside dope on the groundbreaking American punk rock movement and many of its top stars,” the synopsis reads.

Seven customer reviews averaging four and a half out of five stars accompany the listing.

And professional reviews include one by the famous rock critic Ira Robbins, who has written for Rolling Stone and the Village Voice, and was the founder of Trouser Press magazine.

“Riveting, rattling and detailed ... full of death-defying tales, angry Cleveland brio and self-inflected disasters,” Robbins wrote. “It's truly as punk as the band ever was.”

Diary of a Punk originally retailed for $19.95, but when the book officially went out of print last year, the price for a new copy immediately skyrocketed to $1,100.

This brought books out of the woodwork, and Diary of a Punk is currently available in different conditions, new and used, for between $49.99 and $551 on Amazon.

Two artistic works were produced in Niagara Falls, one under government auspices and the other a strictly private production. While the former can be had for one cent, the latter is valued at a minimum of $49.99.

Hudson’s new novel, Fame Whore, is due out in December. He is currently putting the finishing touches on a new album of recorded music entitled Hollywood High and continues to contribute to the Niagara Falls Reporter and other publications.

Ventry’s future as a Niagara Falls filmmaker is far less certain.




Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

OCT 29, 2013