PRAISE “Bob"! – the fates have brought you into an encounter with J.R. “Bob” Dobbs through this instructional video barrage Kickstarter delivery device – the first step on your personal road to SLACK, an unsurpassable beatific experience.
AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM FILMMAKER ALEX COX
DID YOU US IN TEXAS MONTHLY ?!
PREVIOUSLY FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THIS FILM
The Church of the SubGenius has been called “the most aggressively preposterous theology the world has ever known!” But what is the Church? And who is J.R. "Bob" Dobbs? And why is his name always in quotes? And for nonbelievers, why has this strangely compelling parody religion, this long-running postmodern joke, caught the attention of such pop culture icons as Rachel Maddow, Nick Offerman, Jon Stewart, David Letterman, Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens), David Byrne, Robert Crumb, Richard Linklater, Alex Cox, Ken Kesey, Frank Zappa, Jonathan Demme, and Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh? And is it true that Tori Amos is also one of "Bob"’s chosen?
ARE WE CONTROLLED BY SECRET FORCES? ARE ALIEN MONSTERS BRINGING A STARTLING NEW WORLD? DO PEOPLE THINK YOU’RE STRANGE? DO YOU?
The Church of the SubGenius: The Early Years
“We tied together every occult, superstitious fringe belief you could think of…it was so much fun!”
– Ivan Stang, co-founder
Born into the suburban world of the 1950s, future founders of the Church of the SubGenius Reverend Ivan Stang (Douglass St. Clair Smith) and Dr. Philo Drummond (Steve Wilcox) come of age during the 1960s and 70s – a time of unprecedented social and political tumult. They experience the rise of a deafening consumer culture, the tarnishing of the "American Dream," the violence of the Vietnam War abroad, and the Kennedy assassinations and conspiracies that follow.
As youths they revel in the delights of stable families, monster movies, Science Fiction, super-8 moviemaking, dinosaur figures, comic books, and Rock 'n' Roll. As they grow older they witness the emergence of televangelism, the Jonestown Massacre, punk culture, and Reaganomics.
Despite both growing up in Texas, it was not until the mid 70s that Stang and Drummond meet and quickly forge a friendship over a shared love of comic books, Captain Beefheart, and UFO paperbacks. One not so particular eve in 1977, while bemoaning their lack of conventional “success” for two such intelligent, well read chaps, Stang remarks, “Well, we’re not exactly geniuses.” To which Drummond replies, “yeah, we’re sub-geniuses.”
And in that moment the Church of the SubGenius is born. It is not long after that J.R. "Bob" Dobbs reveals himself as the Church's iconic prophet and foremost patron of ineffable Slack. In fact, Stang and Drummond will later come to the realization that "Bob" has been planting evidence of his presence for them for the past twenty years!!!
THE SUBGENIUS DIASPORA
“There was that moment of realizing that this thing goes further than I ever imagined.”
– Puzzling Evidence (Doug Wellman)
In late 1979 Stang and Drummond, with the help of their wives, brainstorm what would become perhaps the single most significant marketing effort made at the inception of the Church of the SubGenius – the writing, design, printing, and distribution of Pamphlet #1. The doctrine of the Church quickly spreads, and the word of “Bob” and the teachings of JHVH-1 teach “time control” as a way to wrest “Slack” from the ‘Pinks’ and ‘Normals.’ The Church, it seems, has struck a nerve amidst the deadening consumer culture, the evisceration of basic social services, and the worship of wealth that occurred during the Reagan/Thatcher years.
As “Bob”’s pamphlet continues to travel the world, the emergent punk publishing scene and new wave comic writers seize on the humor and cultural critique of the Church's doctrine. In San Francisco it is fished out of a trashcan by cartoonist and artist Paul Mavrides, igniting a SubGenius cell that gives the movement some of its most enduring art and performances through LIES (Paul Mavrides), Dr. Howland Owl (Hal Robins), Puzzling Evidence (Doug Wellman), Janor Hypercleats and Pope Sternodox.
"Bob" captures the zetigeist of the day. Cartoonist Robert Crumb reprints Pamphlet #1 in the first issue of his comic Weirdo. A few years later Simon and Schuster publishes The Book of the SubGenius. Acclaimed film director and SubGenius Alex Cox channels Church mythology in Repo Man as the glowing, alien-owned Chevy Malibu soars high above Los Angeles with Otto (Emilio Estevez) and Miller (Tracy Walke) inside, their faces shining with Slack as Bud (Harry Dean Stanton) watches from below.
Dr. Howl and Puzzling Evidence conduct legendary “Devivals,” radio shows (More than an Hour, Less than a Show), and introduce the word of "Bob" to Burning Man. The Stark Fist of Removal newsletter, The Hour of Slack podcast, an MTV special, and countless cassette tapes, posters, comics, videos, websites, and Facebook groups perpetuate the word of "Bob."
By the turn of the century, publications as powerful as TIME Magazine begin to get the SubGenius joke when “Bob” is voted ‘Fraud of the Century” by readers of its online poll. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, the “Free Party” constituents of Brighton in Great Britain voted “Bob” Dobbs as an M.P. to the House of Commons three times.
Today, “Bob”’s hucksterism and the wisdom of JHVH-1 is apparent in all fifty states and a multitude of countries across the globe!
Another early SubGenius of Texas, David Boone (late husband of Slacking Towards Bethlehem director Sandy K. Boone), documents the rise of the SubGenius in his 1980 film, Invasion of the Aluminum People, which is lauded by Academy Award winning director Jonathan Demme. This is one of the first known recorded instances of the transmission of SLACK.
GIVE TO THIS KICKSTARTER NOW AND ACHIEVE SALVATION – OR TRIPLE YOUR MONEY BACK!!!!!!
Only with your support can our intrepid group of award-winning filmmakers dare to make this film. By giving us your hard earned cash, we can make this dream a reality, and breach all Earthly human, political, and cultural barriers with the searing nonhuman truth of the Word of "Bob," J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, that LIVING GOD WHO WALKS THIS PLANET EARTH IN HUCKSTER'S SHOES.
To date, we’ve travelled over 8,000 miles and interviewed 15 SubGenius in four cities, sharing the so-called "reality" that SubGenii are forced to share with humans. We’ve only just begun to uncover many of the SubGenius’ most guarded secrets. The SubGenii are finally willing to go public and tell the TRUTH.
This is YOUR chance to get in on the ground floor of a huge, globally important cult. You will then attract all the $$$, pleasure spacecraft, and SHEER POWER OVER OTHERS that go with high-ranking support of the Church and this documentary!
But most important, you can smite your enemies, achieve TIME CONTROL and attain SLACK.
REMEMBERING SAINT MARGARET
Since we began production on our film, a beloved avatar of the early SubGenius tribe, Margaret Moser, passed away on August 25 of this year. One of the nation’s top music journalists and music scene nurturers, Reverend Reverend Doctor Doctor Archdoctor Saint Margaret Moser even had a photo of J.R. “Bob” Dobbs on her Austin Chronicle business card. She said it helped her connect with her interview subjects, many of whom were already members of the Church themselves.
In her interview with us, she spoke about the pleasure, “the great release, to have all this nutty stuff in your head and find like minded people to express it with.” But most notably she sang a song written by her own hand, "Oh, Life's a Bowl of Cherries with "Bob" Dobbs." Saint Moser's life epitomized the way that membership in the Church accelerated the discovery of true friendships, experimentations, creative collisions, and rebellion through art, music, and comedy against dehumanization in any form.
WHY THIS FILM?
Why not this film? Pull the wool over your own eyes and help us make a movie! The Church of the SubGenius is the underground movement that has galvanized the imaginative, the artistic, the nerdy, even the deranged – to examine the simmering dystopia in their culture, and do absolutely nothing about it... except, maybe, poke fun at it all. The Church of the SubGenius is taking over the universe. The sooner you learn about it, the better off you’ll be.
Now more than ever we feel that the story of the Church of the SubGenius needs to be told. There's a core of ideas within the SubGenius ethos – of fighting oppression with humor, community and creativity, of using absurdity as a nonviolent weapon, giving time, permission and priority to expression, creation, and zaniness with friends – that we think has great value we believe these ideas are necessary in today's world and that our film about the SubGenius is the perfect way to invoke them.
Amongst all the spaceships, frop, pipes, eye-bludgeoning graphics, bulldada, yeti ancestors, (and yes, ‘macho spoutings’), we hope you will fund this film so you can join our merry band of pranksters on the culture-jam of the century! It’s going to be a lot of fun!!!
So please, give to our film, get our cool merch, show up at screenings, and talk to us in every way possible. We will have our third nostril open at all times.
And remember, as one famous SubGenius said, “since the main message is ‘think for yourself,’ the last thing you should be doing is believing all we’re telling you. We make it up as we go along.”
WHAT WILL THE FUNDS BE USED FOR?
With this funding, we can complete the remaining interviews, edit the film, animate key sequences, and all other post-production work necessary to bring this ridiculous story to the masses.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Let ‘Bob’ into your savings.
Kickstarter is ALL-OR-NOTHING – If we don’t meet our $199,999.99 goal, we won’t receive ANY of the funding. Don't let The Conspiracy win! We need to get this story out into the world before it all comes to an end.
Tomorrow is obsolete.
SHUT UP PINK BOY AND PLEDGE EARLY! – Be the ultimate slacker and slack off on slacking. The earlier you pledge, the more likely others are to contribute.
Instant answers to everything!
Don’t wallow in submission. Reveal the Church of the SubGenius Documentary to your slackless friends through social media, and watch as their Pink minds become wonderful, abnormal soups of mush. Just how we like it.
Blasted by knowledge
SHUT UP OR STAND UP BY SHARING OUR FILM ON SOCIAL MEDIA! – How can you direct your friends to our Kickstarter? Write your own post linking our Kickstarter at bit.ly/SlackOn, or, for the slack-est among you use one of our pre-written posts below –
Twitter: Praise "Bob"! I have the SLACK it takes to give all my money to this new film. Do YOU? Don't wallow in submission any longer! bit.ly/SlackOn
Facebook: Praise "Bob"! I have the SLACK it takes to give all my money to this new film. Do YOU? The Church of the SubGenius is the subject of a new documentary I am supporting – check it out! But beware, you might pull the wool over your own eyes in the process. bit.ly/SlackOn
To THANK YOU for backing our documentary we have a great selection of classic favorites -- and more. But this campaign also offers some extremely unique items. So dive in. Look around. Scroll your way to bliss!
Partnering with Paul Mavrides, we will have an original film poster by one of the great artists and cartoonists living today. NO KIDDING! This is going to be something you don’t want to miss. And we also already received --- shhhhhhh! – some amazing, crazy, stuff – memorabilia, illustrations, artwork -- from the archives of some celebrity and anonymous SubGenius alike. Stay tuned. This is the stuff that will never, ever make its way to Ebay.
Items marked as “limited” are truly one of a kind items created specifically for this campaign as a unique offering to thank you for becoming part of the team. From a “Bob” toaster that will help you begin your day with edible Slack to real life film credits in our finished film, we hope you embrace “Bob”’s rule of thumb that “too much is always better than not enough.
PAUL MAVRIDES ORIGINAL ART
We know what you're thinking. FINE ARTS? SUBGENIUS? How much frop are you smoking? Paul Mavrides is one of the originators and sustainers of the SubGenius aesthetic, and he is also a major artist whose work shows at Fine Art galleries and whose graphic design is sought after by companies like Apple. Writing about Paul for a recent show at the Steven Wolfe Fine Arts Gallery in San Francisco, art critic Mark Van Proyers said that SubGenius output is a key influence "on much of the art production of the 1990s... and the mythomaniacal clip-art orgies that Mavrides concocted for several of the highly entertaining “SubGenious” books still seem to sustain a spot-on freshness…."
NEW REWARDS GENEROUSLY DONATED BY LOUIS BLACK, FROM HIS PERSONAL COLLECTION
ANNOUNCING NEW REWARDS FROM COMIC BOOK ARTIST CULLY HAMNER. AND WE'RE KINDA GEEKING OUT OVER IT!
MORE COOL CRAP FROM SubGenius DR. PHILO DRUMMOND! Signed by KRK RYDEN
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
SANDY K BOONE | Director / Producer
Sandy K. Boone began making films in Austin in the 1980s with her late husband, filmmaker David Boone, whose Texas cult classic Invasion of the Aluminum People was presented by director Jonathan Demme at the Collective for Living Cinema in 1981 in New York. Three decades later, Boone and Black produced a restoration of the film as part of Jonathan Demme: Made in Texas – Six Films From Austin, which premiered at SXSW in 2015. At that screening, Richard Linklater told how seeing Invasion, and another of the MIT films at an art gallery screening in Houston inspired him to move to Austin.
LOUIS BLACK | Executive Producer
Louis Black co-founded The Austin Chronicle, where he was editor for more than three decades, SXSW, where he is a director, and was a founding Board Member of the Austin Film Society. He has written extensively on film, music and politics. Executive producer of Be Here to Love Me, A Film About Townes Van Zandt, he was a producer on the Peabody Award Winning The Order of Myths. Working with Mark Rance he produced a reissue of Eagle Pennell's The Whole Shootin' Match.
BLACK AND BOONE now closely collaborate on all projects. They were deeply involved in crafting, structuring and shaping the documentary Richard Linklater – dream is destiny, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and was the initial screening of PBS's American Masters 2017 Fall season. They worked as Executive Producers on Keith Maitland's critically acclaimed Tower and Karen Skloss' The Honor Farm, which premiered at SXSW. They are executive producers on The Newspaperman and Road Angel, both still in production. Blaze, written and directed by Ethan Hawke, on which they worked, is scheduled for a 2018 release. Their next project to be released is Eggshells, a reissue of Tobe Hooper’s first film from 1969.
MICHELLE RANDOLPH FAIRES | Producer
Michelle Randolph Faires began her career in independent film by supporting area film-related non-profit organizations before moving into production. She worked with Austin Film Festival as the Festival & Conference Hospitality Coordinator for two years before joining the staff full-time as the Outreach and Community Coordinator. Additionally, she supported aGLIFF, as the Volunteer Coordinator and Festival Manager, later serving a full three year term on the Board of Directors. After moving into the production world, she produced her first short, followed by a feature length documentary on the legendary Broken Spoke dancehall, Honky Tonk Heaven. The film premiered at SXSW 2016 and earned an Audience Award. Michelle has been a part of the funding and producing teams for film projects The Newspaperman, Leslie and Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George's Creators, as well as PBS-KLRU series Standup Empire, a series showcasing the expansive comedy scene in Austin, Texas.
LAUREN SANDERS | Editor
Lauren Sanders is an editor and post-production supervisor with experience on a wide range of commercial and film projects. After working as senior editor at Arts+Labor for 6 years, she collaborated extensively with clients like GSD&M and C3. Her most recent film credits include post-supervisor on 2017's comedy, Ripped, co-writer and editor on the documentary The Jones Family Will Make a Way, and assistant editor and co-composer on Clay Liford's Slash. She also is credited as post-production supervisor and assistant editor on Kat Candler’s Hellion, an official selection of both the Sundance and SXSW film festivals. Lauren is a graduate of the Radio-Television-Film program at the University of Texas at Austin.
DAVID LAYTON | Director of Photography
David Layton is an Austin-based filmmaker with a passion for cinematography and documentary film. He began his career as a newspaper reporter, but honed his technical skills working in the camera department on notable documentary features such as The Unforeseen, Be Here to Love Me, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, You’re Gonna Miss Me, Nuclear Family, Troop 1500, and Letter From Waco. He was cinematographer on two recent PBS documentaries, By the River of Babylon: An Elegy for South Louisiana and Through the Repellant Fence: A Land Art Film. Most recently, David shot the feature documentary Richard Linklater – dream is destiny and is directing/producing The Newspaperman about legendary Philadelphia Inquirer editor Gene Roberts.
IVAN STANG | Consultant
Ivan Stang is a writer, filmmaker, radio broadcaster/personality, as well as one of the founders of the Church of the SubGenius. As a filmmaker, Stang has done animation work and editing for films such as Arise!: The SubGenius Video, a “spoof” documentary for the Church of the SubGenius, and animation work for MTV and music video shorts. He is most notable for writing The Book of the SubGenius, and other SubGenius literature. Stang hosts the hour-long radio broadcast "The Hour of Slack," produced partially by WCSB at Cleveland State University and syndicated across North America. He remains an active SubGenii, continuing his work with the Church and appearing at X-Day, the SubGenius celebration held every year in Ohio, where Stang resides.
A POEM WRITTEN BY THE FILMMAKERS
Risks and challenges
We are very close to completion of this documentary. Once completed, the film will be submitted to festivals as well as seek worldwide distribution. We are confident that this film tells the extraordinary history of this unorthodox religion in a way that will be satisfying to J.R. “Bob” Dobbs’ fan base. We are committed to capturing a rare look inside the creation and preservation of this phenomenon. That being said, we cannot guarantee mass distribution of the film. But, we believe wholeheartedly in this project; we are determined to share this film with as many people as possible for hope of a SLACK REVOLUTION.
– DOBBS APPROVED –Learn about accountability on Kickstarter