Nine Billion and One

Antiwar clips reel strikes back; vintage porno at midnight.

Ungrateful dead: Last time we checked with Dr. Pete Livingston of Richmond about his efforts to publicly screen his narrated antiwar clips reel, Over Nine Billion Dead Served, he was being threatened with lawsuits by Sony/Columbia, Fox, and Universal — ostensibly for using copyrighted material without permission, but most likely for taking major studios to task for their portrayals of death, dying, and killing in such megapopular films as Twister and the Indy Jones and Star Wars series. He returned the favor by suing them under the Fair Use Doctrine — arguing that as an educational effort, Over Nine Billion Dead Served is exempt from copyright laws. Sony formally dropped its objection in February, and Warner Bros. proposed a settlement last week. Now Livingston is going after Disney, LucasFilm, MGM/UA, Le Studio Canal +, and Paramount on the same grounds. But he’s ready to call off the hostilities, on his terms. “The studios can declare peace one at a time, all together, or talk this antiwar film dispute out peacefully in court,” he declares. “I’m anxious, but lucky and appreciative that conflicts within the US have thus far not used the conflict-resolution methods illustrated in Independence Day.” On his way to give a deposition, Livingston sounded feisty: “I’m going to try to make a movie about trying to make the movie. It’ll be called Unfair Use at Any Speed. After all, how many times can they bankrupt me?” For more information, visit

In your face: Midnight movies started in the late ’60s-early ’70s to cater to stoned college students who didn’t mind seeing King of Hearts or Fritz the Cat for the tenth time for 99 cents. Nothing much has changed since then except the price. In the Bay Area, Landmark Theatres runs midnight shows at several of its San Francisco houses and also at the Act 1 and 2 in Berkeley. According to Landmark spokesman Steve Indig, midnight shows are coordinated jointly between the circuit’s booking department in Los Angeles and ambitious local managers. The late-night screenings give fledgling programmers a chance to do their own thing, catering it to the taste of the local audience. The Act’s current Saturday midnight series is a typical mish-mash of comedies and actioners like Spaceballs and Donnie Darko, but also a couple of vintage X-rated titles, Lollipop Girls in 3-D (starring John Holmes), playing March 22; and on March 29, Wildcat Women, a softcore 1977 blaxploitationer (aka Black Lolita) starring Yolanda Love as a Pam Grier-style female avenger. Act manager Dan Cofer sees ’70s porn as a campy fad for a young crowd, and he’s surprised by its success — he turned away two hundred people for Disco Dolls in 3-D last fall — as well as by the fact that no one in uptight Berkeley has complained. Says Cofer: “We haven’t had the slightest rumble of disapproval from any quarter. Maybe the politically correct types are all in bed by midnight on a Saturday.”

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