Your new movie The Joe
Show - in a few words, what is it about? And what can you tell us
about your character in it?
is a film about a lonely, anti-social cabdriver who
scrapes by, any way he can, but likes to write poetry and spoken word about
his experiences, which he performs at a local poetry reading. He may or
may not be a serial killer. The film follows his everyday life and
interactions as he reveals the dark details of his past through his
poetry. It is based on a one man show that came together in 2005,
literally a collection of poems strung together to form a loose narrative
about my life. It starts with some cab driving stories, delves into some
poems about hookers, then reveals some very painful details of my past
Joe Show is based on your poetry one man show, how much of that is
based on your actual life, and what are some of your (other) sources
for inspiration for your poetry?
The poetry is mostly
true to life, with little embellishment. Every poem, except for the first,
which is more abstract, is derived from an actual experience. The film's
plot line is much more fictional, and delves into Joe as a somewhat
separate character from myself, which is a weird dichotomy. I guess you
could say my writing is Bukowski-esque, but without being entirely
derivative of his style. It's raw, very emotional, and an accurate
depiction of my life 10-15 years ago. My life was pretty out of control,
especially with the hookers. I was sucked into this job that I hated, but
couldn't seem to pull away from it. I lived in cheap motels, rooming
houses, occasionally with my parents. I fucked A LOT of crack whores,
which is represented in the poems. I was depressed and irritated
constantly. But I would write these poems because I was inspired by
Bukowski and the Beats and really, really needed some sort of outlet to
keep from going completely insane. I was fortunate to find a poetry
reading and a group of performance artists here in Grand Rapids. It
garnered me a lot of notoriety, since I wrote all this crazy stuff with no
filter. That changed my life. A few years later I joined Super Happy
Funtime Burlesque, which is a nationally touring burlesque show with a
live band and an avant garde sensibility. But I never was a serial killer.
Not really. I would imagine some people thought I was. That part of the
storyline was Dan Falicki's concession to his producer, who wanted a
genre film. Otherwise, it's just a micro budget art house character study
How did the movie
actually happen, who had the idea to make your poetry into a feature film?
And who came up with the film's actual pot?
I was sitting
in the audience at a townhall meeting for a local Grand Rapids congressman when Dan texted me about the idea. I didn't think it was
going to work at all. I thought it was nuts. He got a little pissed at me,
actually. I was about to go on tour with Super Happy Funtime Burlesque,
and I didn't think I could memorize all that stuff again in that short of
a time frame. But I decided to quit second guessing myself and just jump
right in. And I am so glad I did. Dan came up with the plot and fed us up
quite a few lines, though there is a lot of improv in the film. The plot
was woven around my poems, and follows the initial structure of the one
man show. Dan tends to work fast and quick to meet the demands of
his producer, but we ended up slowing down the schedule for this one,
taking a little more time than he normally does. And I really didn't have
to memorize anything. Thank God!
in The Joe Show - what
did you draw upon to bring him to life, and how close is the movie's Joe
to the actual Joseph McIntosh?
I basically just had to
channel myself at my worst (and sometimes my best). And I had be that guy
from 10 to 15 years ago, my younger, more fucked-up self. I'm more social
than the guy in the movie. I do have friends and a social circle and a
life. Much has improved since then. But I'm still kind of bum. I'm still
desperately poor. I'm still dealing with mental illness. But I have more
of a handle on life now. Also, I haven't actually driven a taxi in many
years. I work part time at a med school as a lab monitor, babysitting
students while they slice up cadavers. This is much preferable, for me, to
cab driving. Very low stress.
What can you tell me
about your director Daniel E. Falicki, and what was your collaboration
I had worked with Dan quite a bit before the film, so
I found collaborating with him easy. I met Dan when I joined Super Happy
Funtime Burlesque. He was this guy who did these weird funny video based
skits at our shows. He joined the cast for while, but then left to pursue
his filmmaking ambitions. When I did the 2nd Joe Show at this black box
theater called Dog Story, he did the lighting and video. I was also in his
second movie, GR30K. I played Emperor Grugor and an entire
post-apocalyptic clone race called grugs. That was a lot of fun. But Dan
really admired The Joe Show and kept it on the back burner. The run at
Story was pretty much a financial failure, which was devastating to me. I
had mostly given up on it. But Dan talked me into giving it another try.
Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set
The poetry session was shot mostly in one day
at Dan's studio. I just went ahead and did the show, plowed right through
it, with a couple takes for each poem. The mood on that set was actually
pretty light and I was cracking alot of jokes between takes. I guess that
was necessary to ease the tensions that performing the poems build up.
A few people on set actually broke down in tears at a couple of them. The
rest of the film was shot guerrilla style whenever and wherever. And that
is my actual apartment in the film, though the hallway shots were done
elsewhere. The messiness was embellished. A little bit. And God, so many
hallway shots. I thought the movie was going to be just me walking through
hallways and opening doors.
A few words about audience and critical
reception so far?
It basically has no audience at the
moment. It is distributed by a company that specializes in micro-budget
genre films and they really have no idea what to do with it or how to
market it. It had a good reception at an art theater here in Grand Rapids,
but it has played nowhere else. This is quite possibly the world's most
obscure film. But it is on iTunes and should be on Hulu and
sometime in the future. I have no idea how it's been received or how many
people have seen it. It's a shame. It deserves to be seen. I wish it would
play festivals. I wish I had the resources and know how to promote it and
market it properly. Your kind review is the first I've seen.
Any future projects you'd like to
For the past 9 years, I have been a member of Super
Happy Funtime Burlesque. We travel the country, bringing a unique form of
live rock'n'roll tits'n'ass performance art to the country. That is my
current commitment and it is really really amazing. I really have no
writing projects planned, other than what I do with the show. I am a 330
lbs burlesque dancer. I also drive the tour bus across the country. I see
myself now as more of a performance artist than poet. My life is so
different than what it used to be.
What started you writing and performing your
poetry, actually, and what's a stage show of yours usually like?
to see me on stage now is to see me in a thong, doing comedy, some
singing, some awkward dancing, and giving lap dances in the audience and
causing general chaos. I have not actually performed my poetry for an
audience in a very long time, though I do a spoken word/comedy bit for the
show that is a mixture of American history and gay erotic fan fiction.
of your career highlights?
I've had highlights and
lowlights, sometimes in the space of the same performance. Touring the
country with the burlesque show several times has definitely been a
highlight. Winning a poetry slam in Chicago at the Green Mill was an early
highlight. Getting to collaborate with so many fantastic artists and
meeting so many different is a highlight. Just being on film and being
onstage and being as awesome as I can possibly be and growing as a
performer. There are so many things that I am extremely proud of. It's so
hard to narrow it down. I consider all of my life as an artwork. That may
sound ridiculously pretentious, but I really feel it to be true.
How would you describe
yourself as a writer, as a performer, and as an actor?
a poet at heart. And poets are very lazy. I like to be brief, but to be as
evocative as possible. Short but sweet. Also, I don't do as much of it as
I used to. As an actor and performer, well, I've come a long way. I feel
that I have an enormous presence on stage and film. I'm a natural at it,
but have a lot more refining to do. I'd love to do more acting and more of
a variety of it. I'd be a good character actor. I'm a good physical
comedian and I'm a really good scene stealer. I'm good at evoking subtle
emotions, as well as histrionics. I'd love to do a role where I step
outside myself completely. You know, real acting.
actors, whoever else who inspire you?
Writers who inspire
me includ Bukowski, William Burroughs, William Blake, Steven King, HP
Lovecraft, HL Menchin, Gore Vidal, Kurt Vonnegut, Sapphire, Hunter
Thompson, and tons of heavy metal lyrics. I like genre writing quite a
bit. I actually don't read much fiction anymore. Mostly, I'm reading
Too many great actors out there to narrow it down. I simply can't think of
one that is a primary influence. I like, 'Oh, it's that guy' type actors.
Recently, I liked Paul Giamatti in John Adams. But I also love how Steven
Dillane stole almost every scene as Thomas Jefferson. I love Peter Capaldi
in the Thick of it and Doctor
Who. I love actors who are totally focused,
totally absorbed, and totally believable as their characters. That's the
sort of thing I'd like to do more of.
Again, so hard to narrow down... Unforgiven,
Shawshank Redemption, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, Cobra
Verde, Modern Times, Limelight, all of Buster Keaton's silent short
subjects [Buster Keaton bio -
click here]. Those are the
ones I can watch over and over again. But I love big budget super hero
movies, Something Weird grind house type movies, and certain arthouse
films, and documentaries. I love Werner Herzog. I sometimes think that The Joe Show
is Dan's Herzog film, in a way. I like to think there is a big
difference between a 'movie' and a 'film'.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
hated the latest Godzilla movie. Bryan Cranston was the best thing about
that movie. He was scarier than the actual monsters. And there is soooooo
much to hate out there. Hard to narrow it down. Hurt to think about it. I
can't believe what passes for entertainment, sometimes.
movie's/your show's website, Facebook, whatever else?
actual website for the film. Here is the link to itunes:
And my Facebook page:
else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
this link to the burlesque show that I am in:
Also, I have a blog where I write about metal. A friend of mine does a
fantasy story and there are pics and a video. It's 'this thing of ours':
for the interview!
And thank you so much for paying
attention to me.