Kaleidoscope of Pierogis

In this week’s game, we used Kaleidoscope by Jackson Tegu to create an incoherent foreign art film about ridiculously happy people trapped in a tower with plates full of pierogis. A friend of ours had recommended we see it, saying “It’s like Towering Inferno with the fire taken out and replaced with euphoria as seen through the lens of pierogism.”

Our story begins with a young man with long hair on one side and a shaven head on the other sitting on top of a building, knitting a long piece of fabric that hangs over the tower’s ledge. He seems lost in thought and his name, we think, is Javas. A waitress brings him a cup of coffee with the cosmos floating inside it. Then Javas goes downstairs to the newsstand outside the building, where we meet Luthor the newsagent. They have a very portentous conversation that seems entirely irrelevant to the rest of the film. Javas returns to the coffee shop upstairs and interacts with people there. As he does, we see knitted items everywhere: a dog collar tag, socks, keychains, a tea cozy. We spend much of the rest of the film looking for more knitted items.

Kaleidoscope print out with swirling colors and film strip on it sit on a table. An index card with the pitch for a movie lies atop it.

Afterward, there is a long scene in which we follow a young woman, Simone, as she returns from work to the same tower. We see her taking a subway, getting on a busy walking down the street and petting a lovable stray dog. Everywhere she goes, we see the same woman playing a guitar on the street, busking with the guitar case open. When she arrives at the tower, she stops at the newsstand, where we notice that Luthor seems to charge people different amounts for the same item depending on who they are. The younger you are, the more you seem to pay. The scene ends with Simone arriving in her apartment, going into her kitchen, and making pierogis. Pierogis appear with her throughout the film.

There is a long sequence in which Javas leads people down the stairs and out of the building. Along the way, on one of the landings, a man in a night shirt and top hat rocks on a child’s hobby-horse, and tips his hat to the people as they pass. The evacuation is interspersed with scenes of Luthor at his newsstand. First, he’s bopping his head to the music of street guitar lady, the only time in the movie when he seemed to be enjoying himself. Then, he angrily rejects a cup of coffee brought to him by Simone, demanding she bring him another. Finally, when the people come pouring out of the building and begin their herky-jerky dancing, he becomes angry and stomps off, leaving the picture not to return. Perhaps it’s a commentary on the World Trade Center attacks.

What follows this is a short scene with street guitar lady that is shot in garish, vibrant colors rather than the more sedate palette of the rest of the picture. In this scene, she meets a child and gives him a quarter. The child runs off to the pier and drops a fishing line into the water, pulling a wind-up toy up from the ocean. Then we jump cut to one of those crane/claw games in an arcade full of similar wind-up toys.

The film ends with a shadow moving toward a door, the camera taking on the viewpoint of the person casting the shadow. The person reaches past a plate of pierogis to open the door and step into a porcelain bathroom. We see someone in a pair of rubber boots walk across the bathroom and step into the tub. We never see their face or body, just their legs and the boots. They turn on the water in the tub and the bathroom begins to rapidly fill with water but only the bathroom. The inside of the tub and the person inside stay completely dry. As the bathroom fills with water, “Fin.” appears on the screen.

The movie is sometimes known as Pierogis for Javas because that was the name the producers had selected for the anticipated major U.S. release that never materialized, but the literal translation of its Armenian title is Ecstatic Dregs. You can sometimes find it online from file-sharing sites under the title AirGodsMessenger.

Kaleidoscopic Action Passion

IMG_4862To ease the tension, we turned to Jackson Tegu’s Kaleidoscope hack of Microscope to create a German action film about teenage angst. Our friend pitched it to us as “like Die Hard with haute couture added but directed by John Hughes”.

First we explored the story of Clarissa Cabbage, a fourteen year-old Asian-German about to celebrate her quinceañera. She started as part of the tailoring training montage and the party dress montage but the bulk of her story was revealed during the extended quinceañera party itself, during which a police car careered through the backyard fence, the party court whipped out automatic weapons from under their dresses and engaged the cops, Jason Statham showed up on a moped to help Clarissa escape, and it was revealed that he was her long-lost twin from the future.

Next we learned more about this twin, Jack Froot, who had been sent back in time at the age of five in order to be the right age to help her at her quinceañera. He reveals his backstory though monologue and flashbacks, how he had sent himself back in time and was the tailoring master who was training Clarissa earlier in the film. The two of them sat in the clinic for what seemed like hours waiting for the DNA tests to come back confirming that “now they are family,” and Statham attempts to sell being emotionally touched by the reunion discredits the movies attempt at ending with an uplifting life lesson. But who is that mysterious man in the fedora watching them in those montages?

Turns out he is the films villain, Hans Selengretl. At first it seemed like he was a hat fiend determined to make the world shabby by putting fedoras on everyone, even if they are already wearing other headgear! But slowly it became clear that Hans was also a time traveller who came to the past to enact revenge against Jack for the death of his beloved Clarissa. He and Jack exchange banter over the radio while Jack was waiting on the DNA results, he shows up at the party and fights alongside the police, and he faces Jack in a showdown near the end of the film.

Strangely, the fourth character, Sew Tantie, was completely overshadowed despite being played by Meryl Streep. Sew died mowing down Hans’s horde of minions with her sewing machine gun to clear a path for Jack to take down Hans in that epic finale.

The film was called “A Stitch in Time” in the original German but is known more popularly as “Fifteen Timelines” or “Tailor Krauts” by the fans.

Kaleidoscopic Supers of the Baltic

Tonight was our last night at Modern Myths. We will be continuing to meet on a weekly basis at Clarkson’s Corner in Scarsdale. See the new Meetup event for details.

We had two tables tonight, one trying out Bluebeard’s Bride, the PBTA feminine horror game from Whitney “Strix” Beltrán, Marissa Kelly, and Sarah Richardson. At the other table, we created a very bad movie using Kaleidoscope by Jackson Tegu. Our film was a Ukrainian super hero movie starring Mary Sue and her paramour Death Mask, who joined forces to stop Evil Man. In the end Mary Sue dumped Death Mask and married a Menorah.

Twin Kaleidoscopes

Ten story gamers came together tonight to remember these crazy films they had seen (or pretended to) together using Jackson Tegu’s Kaleidoscope. Hours of ridiculous, over-the-top tabletalk ensued across two tables. Many colorful index cards were injured in the making of these films.