Film. Illustrated Walking Maps. Signs.


The Complete STANLEY KUBRICK Exhibit at LACMA –

By Michael McVey, Skiffleboom

In March of 2013, I won a film competition in Boston and flew out to Hollywood, California to see my film screen at the Chinese Theatre. During my stay, I visited the Stanley Kubrick Exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or LACMA. As a filmmaker and a film enthusiast, I was completely awestruck.

From November 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013, LACMA visitors got a glimpse at the genius responsible for some of the finest films ever made. I documented the extraordinary collection of all things Kubrick. I transcribed the exhibit in its entirety, word for word. It was an illuminating process.

Now that the exhibit is closed, I am posting my efforts here to share with those of you who could not make the trip. While there is no experience akin to seeing it in person, I hope these photographs and transcriptions further the educational goals of this exhibit: film can be great art. Studying the masters helps us discover new ways to understand, new possibilities to explore.

This exhibition is organized by the Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, Christiane Kubrick and The Stanley Kubrick Archive at University of the Arts London, with the support of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Sony-Columbia Pictures Industries Inc., Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios Inc., Universal Studios Inc., and SK Film Archives LLC.

In Los Angeles, Stanley Kubrick is co-presented by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and has been generously supported by Steve Tisch. Additional funding has been provided by Warner Bros. Entertainment, Violet Spitzer-Lucas and the Spitzer Family Foundation. Image: Stanley Kubrick in the interior of the space ship “Discovery”, 2001: A Space Odyssey (2001: A Space Odyssey, GB/United States 1965-68) © Warner Bros. Entertainment.

48 Hour Film Project 2012: BEST FILM Winners (by City),

This is a list of all the full-length “Best Film” winners of the 48 HOUR FILM PROJECT, 2012 (as of April 24, 2013).   These city winners were screened at Filmapalooza March 7-10, 2013 at the official 48HFP Awards Weekend.  10 of the best films of the 2012 Tour will be screened at the Cannes Film Festival‘s Short Film Corner in 2013.

Please note:  Some filmmakers opt not to post their videos.  Several filmmakers enter their 48 Hour films into various film festivals—festivals whose rules prohibit sharing their films online.  Updates to can be left in the comments, full length films only.

Compiled by Michael McVey, (Boston 2012 Best Film Winner, 48HFP – “MANNA“)

YouTube Playlist
Vimeo Album

Albuquerque: "Where Sheep May Safely Graze" by Trinidad Mustache

Albuquerque: “Where Sheep May Safely Graze” by Trinidad Mustache

Amsterdam: "Rauwtafel" by Tutti Crew

Amsterdam: “Rauwtafel” by Tutti Crew

Asheville: "Hickory Dickory Dock" by Out of State Bank

Asheville: “Hickory Dickory Dock” by Out of State Bank

Atlanta: "A Head Held High" by FUGO Studios

Atlanta: “A Head Held High” by FUGO Studios

Austin: "Don't Look at Me" by Out of State Bank

Austin: “Don’t Look at Me” by Out of State Bank

Baltimore: “Welcome To The Neighborhood” by Star Wipe Films

Baltimore: “Welcome To The Neighborhood” by Star Wipe Films

Barcelona: "Iron Man" by Los Churumbeles de Paca

Barcelona: “Iron Man” by Los Churumbeles de Paca

Belgium: "<3" by Sjoerd de Bont

Belgium: “<3” by Sjoerd de Bont

Berlin: "The Last City" by Tight Tonic

Berlin: “The Last City” by Tight Tonic

Boston: "Manna" by Skiffleboom

Boston: “Manna” by Skiffleboom

Brisbane: "The Fox & The Flightless Bird" by Team Rabriate

Brisbane: “The Fox & The Flightless Bird” by Team Rabriate

Buffalo: "Perdition" by Idle Entertainment

Buffalo: “Perdition” by Idle Entertainment

Cairo: "I'm Going to Space" by The Leaders

Cairo: “I’m Going to Space” by The Leaders

Chicago: "Module 47" by Back 40 Productions

Chicago: “Module 47” by Back 40 Productions

Columbus: "Last Call" by CineMache

Columbus: “Last Call” by CineMache

Dallas: "No Good Deed" by Bad and Classic Productions

Dallas: “No Good Deed” by Bad and Classic Productions

Delhi: "Pen Chor" by Q

Delhi: “Pen Chor” by Q

Denver: "Eleven 0 One" by Stranger Studios

Denver: “Eleven 0 One” by Stranger Studios

Des Moines: "The Last Airbander" by Slater Maxwell Productions

Des Moines: “The Last Airbander” by Slater Maxwell Productions

Detroit: "It Came from Zarnek" by Camp Super Rad Fire

Detroit: “It Came from Zarnek” by Camp Super Rad Fire

Dijon: "Pursuit" by CHapet Hill

Dijon: “Pursuit” by CHapet Hill

Dundee: "GoodNewsBurningFire: The Musical" by Little Earth Productions

Dundee: “GoodNewsBurningFire: The Musical” by Little Earth Productions

Edinburgh: "Coffin Up" by Dead Square

Edinburgh: “Coffin Up” by Dead Square

Fargo: "The Hardest Part" by Team Wilhelm Scream

Fargo: “The Hardest Part” by Team Wilhelm Scream

Geneva: "Sinister Games" by Grahal

Geneva: “Sinister Games” by Grahal

Glasgow: "Coast" by Uneffable

Glasgow: “Coast” by Uneffable

Granada: "Y yo Peor" by il Sceneggiatore

Granada: “Y yo Peor” by il Sceneggiatore

Greensboro: "Cake" by Amalgamated Filmworks

Greensboro: “Cake” by Amalgamated Filmworks

Hampton Roads: "Worst...Day...Ever!!!" by Synergy 757

Hampton Roads: “Worst…Day…Ever!!!” by Synergy 757

Houston: "Crackerjack" by Raven Films

Houston: “Crackerjack” by Raven Films

Hyderabad: “Anukokunda” by Vinoothna Geetha

Hyderabad: “Anukokunda” by Vinoothna Geetha

Indianapolis: "The Days Before" by Invisible Magnets

Indianapolis: “The Days Before” by Invisible Magnets

Inland Empire: "Dark Horizons" by Men of Low Moral Fiber

Inland Empire: “Dark Horizons” by Men of Low Moral Fiber

Istanbul: "Nevred" by Nevred

Istanbul: “Nevred” by Nevred

Jackson: "The Retirement Party" by Eye Suck

Jackson: “The Retirement Party” by Eye Suck

Jacksonville: "Nora" by Moses von Holland

Jacksonville: “Nora” by Moses von Holland

Johannesburg: "Beau Belle Cosmetics" by Team Pi R Squared

Johannesburg: “Beau Belle Cosmetics” by Team Pi R Squared

Kansas City: "Road Movie" by IZZO Productions

Kansas City: “Road Movie” by IZZO Productions

Kaohsiung: "Presence" by Mary Stewed Chicken Wings

Kaohsiung: “Presence” by Mary Stewed Chicken Wings

Kraków: "48h TV" by Kinomelina Studio

Kraków: “48h TV” by Kinomelina Studio

Kuala Lumpur: "Misi Y.B." by Splaspan

Kuala Lumpur: “Misi Y.B.” by Splaspan

Las Vegas: "Super Awesome Buddy Squad" Light Forge Studios

Las Vegas: “Super Awesome Buddy Squad” Light Forge Studios

Lisbon: "Os Indomáveis (The Unstoppables)" by GOLPE

Lisbon: “Os Indomáveis (The Unstoppables)” by GOLPE

Little Rock: “La Petite Mort” by BrickHut  [canwestartagain]

Little Rock: “La Petite Mort” by BrickHut [canwestartagain]

Los Angeles: "The Crossing" by B & C

Los Angeles: “The Crossing” by B & C

Louisville: "Phenomenal Johnson" by Team HiHo!

Louisville: “Phenomenal Johnson” by Team HiHo!

Lyon: "Les Dernières Marches (The Last Steps)" by Le Loups Blancs

Lyon: “Les Dernières Marches (The Last Steps)” by Le Loups Blancs

Machinima: "Crueler Heads Prevail" by Oblivious Films

Machinima: “Crueler Heads Prevail” by Oblivious Films

Madison: "Filling In" by Firmament Films

Madison: “Filling In” by Firmament Films

Madrid: "Lacrimal" by El Mono con Platillos

Madrid: “Lacrimal” by El Mono con Platillos

Malaga: "Los Pájaros" by AAOI

Malaga: “Los Pájaros” by AAOI

Melbourne: "The Anti-Social Network" by Ready to Roll

Melbourne: “The Anti-Social Network” by Ready to Roll

Memphis: "Dead Giveaway" by Hero Shot

Memphis: “Dead Giveaway” by Hero Shot

Miami: "Split" by Underlab Studios

Miami: “Split” by Underlab Studios

Milwaukee: "Until Death" by Flip Eleven Creative

Milwaukee: “Until Death” by Flip Eleven Creative

Minneapolis: "Coming Out" by Above-the-Line Entertainment

Minneapolis: “Coming Out” by Above-the-Line Entertainment

Nashville: "George" by Just a Little Bit Films

Nashville: “George” by Just a Little Bit Films

New Hampshire: "Coming of Age" by Purple Finch Moving Picture Society

New Hampshire: “Coming of Age” by Purple Finch Moving Picture Society

New Haven: "Kitty Carlson and the Hunt for the West Brookfield Creeper" by Password 123

New Haven: “Kitty Carlson and the Hunt for the West Brookfield Creeper” by Password 123

New Orleans: "The Adventures of Keith Flippen, Didgeridoo Player from the 3rd Dimension" by Zombie and the Brain

New Orleans: “The Adventures of Keith Flippen, Didgeridoo Player from the 3rd Dimension” by Zombie and the Brain

New South Wales: "Resurrection" by The Starwipes

New South Wales: “Resurrection” by The Starwipes

Nijmegen: "Exorsister" by Thinkfish Media

Nijmegen: “Exorsister” by Thinkfish Media

Oklahoma City: "Living Dead with the Decays" by Option D Productions

Oklahoma City: “Living Dead with the Decays” by Option D Productions

Orlando: "Bottomless" by Startfest

Orlando: “Bottomless” by Startfest

Osaka: "Holiday" by Captain Movie

Osaka: “Holiday” by Captain Movie

Paducah: "TimmyVision" by Burning Bush Productions

Paducah: “TimmyVision” by Burning Bush Productions

Paris: "Le Dernier Role de Jacques Serres" by Equipe Avec Volontiers

Paris: “Le Dernier Role de Jacques Serres” by Equipe Avec Volontiers

Philadelphia: "Silent Treatment" by Thing Two

Philadelphia: “Silent Treatment” by Thing Two

Pittsburgh: "Letter Die: A Gamut Sibling Mystery" by Mike & Andy

Pittsburgh: “Letter Die: A Gamut Sibling Mystery” by Mike & Andy

Portland, Maine: "Shaggy & Lola" by Round Bale Pictures

Portland, Maine: “Shaggy & Lola” by Round Bale Pictures

Prague: "Hlavní Chod" by Láska

Prague: “Hlavní Chod” by Láska

Providence: "Relax" by Stand Up Films

Providence: “Relax” by Stand Up Films

Rotterdam: "Sorry" by Team Jeroen Houben

Rotterdam: “Sorry” by Team Jeroen Houben

Rome: "Abbiamo Tutta La Notte (We Have All Night)" by Diero Productions

Rome: “Abbiamo Tutta La Notte (We Have All Night)” by Diero Productions

St. Louis: "Imagined Slights" by Boxing Clever

St. Louis: “Imagined Slights” by Boxing Clever

Salt Lake City: "Tic" by Al Kessler Centennial Squadron

Salt Lake City: “Tic” by Al Kessler Centennial Squadron

San Antonio: "The Cow Jumped Over The Moon: The Musical" by Merky Water Films

San Antonio: “The Cow Jumped Over The Moon: The Musical” by Merky Water Films

San Francisco: "Always There" by Straight to DVD

San Francisco: “Always There” by Straight to DVD

San Jose "O'kane 1.0" by Fish Eye Films

San Jose “O’kane 1.0” by Fish Eye Films

Savannah: "American Sugar" by Pink Squirrel

Savannah: “American Sugar” by Pink Squirrel

Seattle: "The Vespa Vigilante" by Golden Doodle

Seattle: “The Vespa Vigilante” by Golden Doodle

Seville: "La Próxima Parada" by Entreleones

Seville: “La Próxima Parada” by Entreleones

Tampa-St. Petersburg: "F" by Klingon Tears

Tampa-St. Petersburg: “F” by Klingon Tears

Tel Aviv: "Everything is Alright" by Hebet

Tel Aviv: “Everything is Alright” by Hebet

Utrecht: "Broerloos" by Extra Strong Productions

Utrecht: “Broerloos” by Extra Strong Productions

Warsaw: "Ile stopni ma cieply Glos" by Sahimoto Pictures

Warsaw: “Ile stopni ma cieply Glos” by Sahimoto Pictures

Washington D.C.: "Advancing Age" by Big Honkin'

Washington D.C.: “Advancing Age” by Big Honkin’


Jean Pierre Melville, TCFTNFilm Podcast “THEY CAME FROM THE NORTH features a uniquely Canadian perspective on the career and canon of renowned filmmakers.  Released through and available on iTunes, the podcast is hosted by the diabolical Steve Power (Newfoundland), Jon Mercer (Newfoundland), Andrew Forbes (Ontario), and Gabriel Girard (Montreal).

Each week, these Canucks offer up a hearty discussion regarding the “Good,” the “Bad,” and the “Ugly” from each filmmaker’s body of work:

The “Good” selection is often a film held in the highest esteem, for quality and enjoyment.

The “Bad” selection is more middle of the road, though NOT NECESSARILY bad!  It can be a good film, but has some flaws that keep it from greatness.  It can also be a film that doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the canon.

Alain Delon in Le Samourai, TCFTN -, Michael McVeyThe “Ugly” selection is the true bad selection.  It is considered the lesser or least of the director’s films, and can be skewered Mystery Science Theater 3000 style (although in our opinion, Melville has NO “ugly” films).

For episode #28 of THEY CAME FROM THE NORTH (Podcast #1212 on DVD Verdict) the crew invited me as a special guest, and we had a grand time looking back on Jean-Pierre Melville’s oeuvre.  You can download the podcast here, but BEWARE!—this 2 hour discussion is for movie geeks only:

Join Gabriel, Andrew, and guest Michael McVey as they celebrate and denigrate the life’s work of director/writer Jean-Pierre Melville.  Le cercle rouge, Army of Shadows, Le Samouraï, Le Deuxieme Souffle, Magnet of Doom, Le Doulos, Léon Morin – Priest, Two Men in Manhattan, Bob le Flambeur, Les Enfants Terribles, Le silence de la mer  what’s not to love?

You can play along at home with IMDB and Youtube pages open, looking up the facts and clips as we go.  Here is the trailer to the cool, influential French noir classic LE SAMOURAI:

The WES CRAVEN Playlist at Skiffleboom’s Youtube

Leon Morin, Priest (Léon Morin, prêtre) - TCFTN,, Michael McVey 2013

48HFP Awards and “THE MAKING OF MANNA” Documentary by Skiffleboom [Best Film Winner – 2012 Boston 48 Hour Film Project]

“Good news everyone!”   Skiffleboom Productions’ entry into the 48 Hour Film Project, Boston 2012 made it all the way to the “Best of Boston” screening.  On June 20th, 2012, a selection of the “best” competing 48HFP films were screened at the Kendall Square Theatre, where the judge’s awards were announced.  Skiffleboom was awarded the following:

Audience Award, Screening “D”
Best Use of Genre 
Best Cinematography – Seth Wood
Best Actor – Elise Manning
Best Directing – Michael McVey
Best Film

Our team is very humbled—we thank everyone who helped make “Manna” possible.  Special thanks to 48HFP’s Boston Producer Ben Guaraldi and his team, the judges, and the 84 teams who successfully submitted films this year.  We greatly encourage you to explore the 2012 entries and discover for yourself the variety of filmmaking talent and taste of the greater Boston area.

Here is a documentary I put together on the making of “Manna”

… This is a comprehensive look into our team’s approach to filmmaking under the 48-hour deadline, and provides some first-hand information and techniques for aspiring 48HFP participants.

“Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn. My God, do you learn.” 
― C.S. Lewis 

Michael McVey,
Listen to Michael McVey speak about the 48 Hour Film Project on WGBH, with Edgar B. Herwick III and Mark Green on BOSTON PUBLIC RADIO:

and watch some of Mike’s favorites from Boston’s 2012 48HFP:

“Manna” by Skiffleboom, “Best Film” Winner of 2012 Boston 48 Hour Film Project, 48hfp

Here is Skiffleboom Productions‘ entry into the 48 Hour Film Project, Boston 2012.

The 48 Hour Film Project is a wild and sleepless weekend in which teams make a movie—write, shoot, edit and score it—in just 48 hours.  We started Friday, 7pm on May 18, 2012, and finished Sunday at 7pm, May 20th.  The competition is screened at the Kendall Cinema in Cambridge and the films are judged by both panel and audience.  Winners progress to regionals.

Manna by Skiffleboom Productions, 48 Hour Film Project Boston 2012

It was some of the most fun I’ve ever had.  I’ll be making movies for the rest of my life.

Genre – Science Fiction
Line – You’re making a big mistake.
Character: Ivana Wright, interior decorator
Prop – Chocolate

Directed by Michael McVey
Written by Kristen Hamill & Michael McVey
Director of Photography – Seth Wood
Composer – Robby Candido
Editors – Kristen Hamill & Michael McVey
Production Sound Mixer – Kellen Sutherland

Q & A: Manna Premiere at Kendall Theater, Cambridge MA, Skiffleboom. Left to right: Michael McVey (director, writer, editor), Kristen Hamill (writer, editor), Robby Candido (composer), and Seth Wood (cinematographer).  Photo by Stefan Malner.

Starring – Elise Manning
Valerie Roberts
Neal Cutler
Jason Dornhoffer
Terry Murtaugh

Denise McIsaac
Katie Haynes
Joseph Vinueza
Uriah Barker
Steven Heim
Stephen Fischetti
Whitney Owens
Bronwyn Cooke
Nate Betts

Special Thanks to
Evelyn Schwager
Margalit Rosenblatt
Emily Lipscomb
Karen Hamill & Dave Hope

Michael McVey,

Cast and Crew photo – Skiffleboom Productions. 48 Hour Film Project Boston 2012.

Harvard Square Hotel Commercial []

Harvard Square Hotel Video, Skiffleboom

Here is a commercial I made for Harvard University.  Original music and everything.  The Hotel recently reopened and I got to screen this video for all the brass from Cambridge and the University.  Shot on a Canon 5DmkIII.

Michael McVey,

BNI Commonwealth Video Referrals by Michael McVey

Michael McVey’s BNI Commonwealth Videos, Skiffleboom

I belong to a business networking group called BNI Commonwealth chapter in Massachusetts.  Occasionally, I get together with friendlies and make fun commercials (members only).  They’ve become quite a hit, and have netted my sign company some terrific business, well worth the time and effort.  Here are some of my favorites from the past year…

UNITED WORLDWIDE, Private Car Service
Jason Dornhoffer & Terry Murtaugh

Carole Bellew

SANTINI SISTERS, Mortgage Lending
Lindsay & Lesley Santini

You can see more at the BNI Commonwealth Youtube.

Michael McVey,

Stop Motion Word Animation []

By Michael McVey,

I find these refrigerator word magnets incredibly addicting:

I thought this up one early April evening, after playing with the magnets for hours.  I enlisted HARDCORE AWESOME PHOTOGRAPHER Seth Wood to shoot the magnet animation, using a trusty Canon 5D Mark II.   We used individual photographs shot over three separate nights — over 2,880 photos in total. I edited in Final Cut Pro at 24 frames per second.

We wanted to keep the lighting consistent during the shoot, to get the smoothest motion.    Since my kitchen has many windows, a daytime kitchen takeover to set up cameras and lighting would have been too much effort.  It was easier for us to shoot at night, from 10PM to 4:30AM (followed by 3 hours sleep… and then our day jobs!).

Music by Chris Thomas King and Colin Linden – “John Law Burned Down the Liquor Sto’.”

Michael McVey


Michael McVey

Dancing magnetics by artist David Durlach of TechnoFrolics, featured at 11 Miller Street during Somerville Open Studios, April 30, 2011, Somerville, MA.

Music: “Smalltown Boy” by Bronski Beat.

Michael McVey

Torrid Love Affair with the Somerville Open Studios, from

Mike McVey’s Sign-A-Rama Commercials PART I []

By Michael McVey,

The Sign-A-Rama Cambridge Video Collection, Sept 2010 – April 2011 (Michelle Weitzel’s photography exhibit can be found in a previous post).

Buzz Lightyear: How to Make a Sign

That’s right, Space Rangers. Buzz shows you how to make the Greatest Sign of All Time. Filmed on location at Sign-A-Rama Cambridge in front of a live studio audience. (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Miss Massachusetts 2010: Loren Galler Rabinowitz

The beautiful and brilliant Loren Rabinowitz gives her TOTALLY UNBIASED OPINION of Sign-A-Rama Cambridge’s signs and banners before heading off to the 2011 Miss America Pagent. (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Neal “Lightning” Cutler Installs a Wall Sign

Sign expert Neal “Lightning” Cutler installs a wall sign. Neal Cutler is the owner of Sign-A-Rama Cambridge. (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Deluxe Pop-Up Banners

Deluxe Pop-Up Banners are handy little things, great for travel, showrooms, tradeshows. (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

(Face)ets: Pakistan and Yemen – Photography by Michelle Weitzel

By Michael McVey,

I would say that one of the most interesting jobs I got at my sign shop, Sign-A-Rama Cambridge, was from Harvard University student Michelle Wietzel.  She and her husband Billy traveled extensively throughout Pakistan and Yemen, and Michelle brought her camera.  Throughout their journeys, Michelle took some fantastic pictures.  In 2010, the Harvard Neighbors Gallery (Loeb House) exhibited a selection of Michelle’s photography, which I was asked to print.

It was a very fun job, and a welcome break from the monotony of corporate branding.  At the show, Michelle and Billy gave me a running commentary on the images, sharing stories from their travels.  Since I always carry my trusty camera with me, I got quite a bit of it on video.  Flash forward to late February 2011, when I had a spare weekend for a quick edit and… voilà!  A brief little video scraped together (more like salvaged) from the ever growing backlog!

Hopefully this diverts/informs a few dozen internet viewers, Harvard Neighbors Gallery gets some free PR, Michelle and Billy Weitzel get a video keepsake, and Sign-A-Rama Cambridge gets to show off their printing capabilities.  Everybody wins!  Except for my carpal tunnel.  Maybe some Qat will help.

88 Questions with Ellen Page []

“88 Questions with Ariadne” By Michael McVey,

Audience surrogate ELLEN PAGE asks a lot of questions in INCEPTION… Here’s a video of all 88.

Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains), from the Album “The Suburbs”

By Michael McVey,

This is a video edit I made of the Arcade Fire’s Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains), from their album “The Suburbs.”
I came home from work late last night, caught a new episode of Mad Men at midnight, then stayed up til morning making this.  I don’t know what it is about that show that gets me going.  The whole things took about nine hours from start to upload, plus a little nap.

A youtube user named StocktoSong loves this album too – StocktoSong also made an Arcade Fire video from the original 1957 Suburba Prelinger footage.  It’s interesting to compare and contrast how we both used the footage.  We are reworking digitally something edited by hand half a century ago.

The original ephemeral film:
1957’s “In the Suburbs” is a thoughtfully made advertising sales promo film extolling 1950s suburbanites as citizens and consumers.  It was produced by On Film, Inc., and sponsored by Redbook Magazine.  It can be viewed at

Visit Arcade Fire

Secrets of the Harvard Map Revealed!!! from

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

By Michael McVey,

I draw and maintain illustrated walking maps throughout New York and Massachusetts.
This Harvard Map was completed in 2009.  Most of the tourists don’t pick up on it, but there are some hidden secrets scattered all over the map!
You can pick up your own copy at Harvard Square, watch tour videos here, and take the Hahvahd Tour at

“The COMBOVER: How to Buy Beer” –

Here is the Full Version of The COMBOVER (ad free).  Enjoy!

— The Year 2000 —

Two under-age teens from upstate New York devise a radical new way to buy beer…


The Combover – by Michael McVey,

“The Combover”  is a short documentary by and about two underage teenagers who discover a crack in the system – they discover a way to buy beer.  I made this with my friend Justin in the year 2000.  We were both 19 at the time, bored out of our minds.  There wasn’t much for us to do in our hometown of Warwick, New York.  Warwick is a beautiful, rural place.  It is the Shire to New York City’s Gondor, and <insert New Jersey city here>’s Mordor.  But we were restless teenagers trying hard to get beer.  We concocted the combover idea one night in Justin’s basement.

We were mulling about, and Justin asked me to shave his head bald.  I suggested we mess around with it first, since we’re going to shave it all off anyway.  There were lot of possibilities with long hair.  Mohawk?  Mullet?  The “Krusty the Klown” look?  “A COMBOVER!”   We laughed so damn hard our sides hurt.  The combover has got to be the most RIDICULOUS hairstyle of all time, we had to do it.  It dawned on us that the combover is the perfect misdirection for buying beer.  The question became this:  Would a cashier believe a kid-trying-to-look-older-trying-to-look-younger as a man-trying-to-look-younger?  Would pity blind the gawkers?

I’ve always been a filmmaker, and I wanted to make it a movie.  I got the camcorder my parents gave me in high school, a SONY Handycam Video 8 XR with 180x Digital Zoom.  Battle plan ready, I proceeded to cut Justin’s hair, giving birth to a healthy 7 1/2 lb. combover in his parent’s bathroom.  I’ll never forget how Mrs. Kipp freaked when she saw what I had done to her son’s head, or how hard we laughed afterwards.  It is an All-Time Top Five Laugh for me.

After finding the appropriate wardrobe and accessories (superfluous pipe, check, Mike’s glasses, check), we worked on getting into character.  How would a 38-year-old man with a comb-over behave?  Naturally, he would be a somewhat pathetic, trying to hold onto his fading youth.  He would certainly not like being denied his only comfort in an otherwise lonely existence – that sweet, numbing booze.  Whether we got it or not became irrelevant.   We were buzzed from the adrenaline of making a film.

What up Korea!

Towards the end of the night, we decided that one more denial would send Uncle Earl into a rage.  We already had all the beer we needed, and we didn’t want our video to become redundant.  We needed some drama.  And when that denial came, Justin snapped in a spectacularly hilarious fashion.  Dick move?  Sure.  Funny?  You bet.  But I suppose it’s a rorschach blot.  Places where drinking laws are similarly Draconian will get the joke.  America: the country where a teenager can be sent to war to kill and be killed, but doesn’t have the right to drink until three years after enlisting.  Yeah, that makes sense.  I withheld this video from public view for years; only a handful of people ever saw it.  Now that a decade has past, “The Combover” is finally ready to see the light of day, thanks to New York Statute of Limitations Laws.

I love New York.

This  video remains unchanged from the original in-camera edit 10 years ago.  When I shot this back in 2000, I really didn’t know any way to edit VHS tapes.  I edited simultaneously with shooting, all in-camera.  I could review the footage and rewind the tape to find the right cue, or exit point.  It was definitely fun to shoot.  I particularly love the music in the car.  It made us bolder, and gave the shoot a sense of rhythm and time.   The album:  Pee Wee Ellis’ “Twelve and More Blues,” with Bruce Cox on drums and Dwayne Dolphin on bass.  A great album but hard to find, recorded in Köln, Germany – Minor Records, 1993.  And again for all you knuckleheads out there, please don’t drink and drive – this is a documentary, not a mandate.

***”My original post of “The Combover” has copyright claims levied against it by predatory ad revenue businesses.  They claim 30 seconds of background source music overheard in a supermarket gives them the right to put advertising on my video.  I am trying to keep this video advertisement free.  This version of “The Combover” is edited, removing said source music and audio of heard in the supermarket scene from 2:25 – 3:02.***