My Own Private Z Channel

One of the greatest experience of my entire life was as a subscriber (or at least my parents' were) of Z Channel, the greatest pay cable movie channel EVER.

We were glued to that channel throughout the early and mid-1980s and would fight over the monthly guide to read the snarky (and this is before we knew what the hell snarky was) movie descriptions written by a gal and a guy who, even though I can't remember there names, had a profound effect on my writing style.

Stuck at home in Northeast L.A. during endless boring and otherwise pointless summers I was able to travel all over the world and into some pretty kinky situations, all without having to wash off my liberally daubed on Clearasil. I was able to experience the brutal life of a Sardinian shepherd who pursues his eduction despite his sadistic father's opposition. And Black Emanuelle? Well, I supposed it could have been some sort of relationship primer if I ever found myself working as a photographer in Africa and having to negotiate a complicated sexual landscape as well as the natural terrain.

They also featured animated shorts and spoofy films like De Düva: The Dove with the brilliant Madeline Kahn doing her Ingmar Bergman best where everyone is trying to cheat death. Then there was that one "cartoon" about a lovely lambskin rug that arrives at the home of some hard scrabble Irish folks. It's the best thing in the house and the mother (who really has nothing to live for) and daughter baby the thing only to find out it was delivered to their house by mistake.

That kind of stuff marks a person. Especially if you watch it again and again. Despite having I don't want to know how many channel as my eyeball's disposal, I still wish that someone would revive Z Channel (and the monthly guide) but until then I'll do my best to recreate the experience through, yes, Netflix. Even though I've seen most the movies in my queue, I can't wait to see them again.

What I'll be watching:
Ran
My Life in Pink
Indochine
Rushmore
Infernal Affairs
Pride & Prejudice (The BBC mini-series)
Being John Malkovich

And there's more to come...Prime Suspect anyone?

Oh, I'm taking a blog sabbatical for the next couple of week, but I'll be back with loads of pictures from my birthday and other wanderings.

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