There will be hell toupée in D.C.

Fellow citizens will be hanging on every moment (or steering completely clear) of today’s inauguration at 11:30 a.m. CST when Mr. Make America Great Again pledges to do what a president of the United States of America is tasked with doing. Contradicting his own words, paving inroads for corporate influence to flood Capitol Hill, and belittling women and persons of color at will are three of his many previous behaviors that cannot continue. The incoming cabinet, populated by creatures of regressive habits, also seems hell bent on divisive doctrine instead of truly encouraging American unity. We must guard against the potential ill effects of their decisions and protect neighbors who may become more vulnerable than before due to gender, skin color, religion, medical needs, or financial insecurity. While imperfect, the tenure of outgoing President Barack Obama at least left us feeling more human and vital in the fight for cultural discussion and social progress with a stabilized economy in place; we will have to work even harder at it under this new rule.

There is no better time than now to speculate cheekily as to how our thin-skinned President-Elect of Paranoia operates within that thick skull. We could only think of one video that might illustrate our misgivings and equally lend itself to C-U Blogfidential inclusion, an older parody about hero worship and consumerism and artificial weaves, oh my! Vancouver-based humorist Ken Hegan is a contributor to the Canadian Broadcasting Network, an established travel columnist, and senior copy writer at the Blast Radius firm. Hegan also makes the occasional film short such as WILLIAM SHATNER LENT ME HIS HAIRPIECE: AN UNTRUE STORY (1996), starring himself as an overzealous fan who desires the perks bestowed on Montréal’s favorite stargazing son, William Shatner, played by Gary Jones (STARGATE SG-1). They meet and agree to place atop Hegan’s cranium the catalyst of Shatner’s glory – his toupée, stored on a Hamlet prop where it makes dead-of-night calls to seal all those deals – for two weeks. Hegan realizes the piece is a decoy and steals the real (non-“Bones”) McCoy. Chaos ensues!

We could not find an official stream of HAIRPIECE to embed for you, dearly distressed, so we turn to a remnant from the Nineties underground that once spread its roots across this great land! Scott Huffines and Tom Warner of the Baltimore, MD, alternative shop Atomic Books produced a micro-budget mélange titled ATOMIC TV, airing on local cable access for a decade and filled with outsider delights. Luckily, the gang has finally migrated ATOMIC TV episodes to the World Wide Web including an unnumbered show from 1999, “Not a Repeat,” in which HAIRPIECE appears; skip to the 42:15 mark where an animated Warner introduces the 13-minute-long opus. Our host also mentions its appearance in 1997 at the first annual MicroCineFest, an awesome stop on the indie film circuit of yore organized by the great Skizz Cyzyk to the delight of Charm City denizens and lo-fi moviemakers. That same fall season, HAIRPIECE played the second night of the inaugural Freaky Film Festival on Sunday, November 2, in Urbana’s Channing-Murray Foundation, hereby connecting Hegan’s farce to the home front.

Shot-on-video silliness aside, this laser blast from the past came to mind for a single reason. If we substitute in our minds the president-elect for Shatner, his misdirected voters for Hegan, and any one of his orange herring promises for the toupée, HAIRPIECE’s panic doesn’t seem all that removed from skittish public discourse a la Donald J. Trump, does it? As much as our cynical selves tend to demonize politicians for subsisting on double- and non-speak to avoid making claims or promises they can’t back up, Trump has managed to lay down next-level verbal waste during the debates with Hillary Rodham Clinton, in the professional news media, and on social platforms – a sad trend that may continue well beyond today, Friday, January 20, unless his advisors reign him in – while still being picked by the Electoral College after losing the popular vote. (In a telling press conference bit, Shatner nonchalantly blathers to reporters – “…blah blah blah, the Enterprise, blah blah blah blah” – after “[forgetting] what had made him a star” per the droll Hegan narration.) We can’t escape a feeling that policies put forth by his administration will compromise greatly our democracy, security, and international standing.

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. Remember that a Megalomaniac-in-Chief alone does not a United States presidency make! Start your watch with the 115th Congress on down; learn who represents whom, why they’re in office, what they’ve done, and what they plan to do for the American people including yourself.

p.s.2 The concerned masses of America will be making their voices heard today and tomorrow in various ways, including the potentially historic Women’s March on Washington. A local chapter organized by CUBlog friend Chelsea Rennert has bussed to our nation’s capital so they can participate, while a related procession will begin tomorrow, Saturday, January 21, 11 a.m., at the gazebo in Champaign’s West Side Park and then venture downtown for a rally. Go walk in unity, listen, and be heard!

p.s.3 Toronto lifestyle magazine Zoomer published a Ken Hegan interview with William Shatner in 2011 on the occasion of the actor’s 80th birthday. It was republished on-line a year ago.

p.s.4 C-U Blogfidential confidant Marty McKee would have things to say about some of our recent topics. He often refers to the iconic STAR TREK and T.J. HOOKER star as the Greatest Actor Who Ever Lived. He also considers RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK as the Greatest Movie Ever Made, which we’re more inclined to believe despite how the first postscript reads in our Brew & View article; humble editor did not mind the film picks for “Midnight Flashback Film Festivalper se but the sponsors’ concession to go full-on mainstream in contrast to what came before. McKee even was the first to introduce us to the Death Riders Motorcycle Thrill Show as seen in the documentary DEATH RIDERS. If you like his taste, you will love his long-running review Weblog called Johnny LaRue’s Crane Shot.

p.s.5 Cashiers du Cinemart editor Mike White and his crew at The Projection Booth podcast will release an “Inauguration Special” today covering what some consider Shatner’s finest hour, THE INTRUDER (1962), a low-budget social conflict thriller about a charismatic segregationist who turns the residents of a small Southern town against each other. Needless to say, this Roger Corman production rankled nerves and lost money after several thwarted attempts to get it made and distributed.

p.s.6 As 2017 continues, we will be making references to 1997 as a pivotal year in Champaign-Urbana film arts and, by extension, our Confidential lifestyle. Expect us to memorialize the Freaky Film Festival on its 20th anniversary later in the fall. We freakin’ mean it!

p.s.7 Let’s look back even farther and conclude with a fresh case study of “This Will Never Happen Again in the C-U!” Today’s evidence is a Daily Illini advertisement placed by members of the Krannert Center Student Association at the end of the 1970-71 school year, promoting a finals distraction dubbed “The All-Night Once-in-Lifetime Atomic Movie Orgy.” Given its unique location and mystery itinerary, we’d certainly be all over an event like this if still 20 years old and capable of staying awake through 3:30 a.m. in a public space. We now shed tears for the modern University of Illinois student body with no clue as to all these unorthodox film pleasures that were cooked up and devoured with glee by their predecessors. Snif.

p.s.8 You know what dries these weeping eyes, folks? Godzilla movies raiding CUBlog again! Can you spot the two appearances by arch-monster King Ghidrah that are absolutely coincidental?

[Updated 1/17/19, 7 p.m. CST]

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