What is (are) the Three(e) Geniuses? A Brief Hagiography of the Threee Geniuses
The Threee Geniuses has rightfully been dubbed “The most intentionally psychedelic television show on cable TV.” (LA Weekly) It utilizes no pre-production, no post-production—just pure, unadulterated production. The show is conceived, written, acted, shot, sound-mixed and edited live, in “real-time,” so that in less than 30 minutes, another complete, fully realized, mind-blowing video masterpiece of Total Television Freak-Out is spontaneously generated.
It all began humbly in May of 1996 when three geniuses—DAN KAPELOVITZ, JON SHERE and TIM (“Mr. X”) WILSON—decided to create a public access television show. Entering the TV studio with no idea of what to do—and without even a name for the show until mere seconds before air-time—they changed the entire course of Television History forever.
The public access technicians were stunned. They couldn’t handle such pure psychedelia, and the Threee Geniuses were actually banned from the studio for six months (although their banning probably had more to do with pepper spray being released during one particular, out-of-control taping than with any of the more mind-expanding aspects of the show). When they were finally allowed back into the studio, a new loophole in the cable company’s policy allowed—nay, encouraged—the 3 Geniuses to literally seize the means of production.
The cable company gave the public access producers an anti-ultimatum: They could either pay $50 for the “right” to use the company’s inept employees as their crew, or they could be their own crew and have their way with hundreds of thousands of dollars of analog video equipment, with no adult supervision for free. Obviously, the geniuses chose the latter. Not only did they not have to pay a penny to the evil cable company (whose employees constantly tried to thwart their vision), but much more importantly, the Threee Geniuses were finally allowed to have crew members as psychedelic as they were–the 3Gs themselves.
The geniuses simultaneously became the cameramen and the subject matter of the camera. The wall between behind-the-scenes and the scenes themselves was forever blurred. TV became Reality and Reality became Television, years before those two words were ever uttered in the same sentence. The geniuses pushed the equipment to the extreme. Mr. X (so mysterious that no one’s really sure if he ever attended a Threee Geniuses taping; or, for that matter, if he even truly exists) and BEAR turned the cameras on the other geniuses and on each other and pointed them directly into the monitors to create cosmic video-feedback vortices, while Shere and K-pelovitz rapidly and violently pounded the buttons on the massive analog switcher to produce the highest cuts-per-minute average of any show on television (many a non-epileptic has gone into epileptic convulsions from watching 3G, while rumors exist that at least one epileptic has actually been cured by viewing the show). The Three Geniuses even invented a top secret, never-before-used manual zooming technique that creates the ultimate in warped imagery.
The shows descend frequently into octuple exposure, “glitch-out,” or blow out the color spectrum far beyond the FCC allowances, often broadcasting illegal signals. Some episodes so exceed the technical conventions of video that they cannot even be recorded, much less digitized. The Geniuses 3 also created the first-ever 3-D public-access television show by taping a blue gel on one camera and a red gel on another, then putting the cameras next to each other and using the displaced double exposure to create the illusion of a “third dimension.”
The sound of the show is run through the cutting-edge of archaic audio gear by sonic surrealist Don Bolles (of Germs fame). Bolles’ live mixes usually included excerpts and edits from his world-infamous record and tape collection, comprising 1,000s of obscure albums from such out-of-the-way genres as Christian ventriloquism, privately pressed sound-effects records, field recordings, stereo demonstration records, found sounds and all sorts of other inexplicable random weirdness. Bolles then, using his hermetic technique known as “Hammer Imaging,” outputs the entire show, along with the cast’s otoacoustic emissions, back through his Revox A-77 Stereo 1/2 track open reel machine in order to create the ultimate in tape echo.
Adding to the auditory aural sonic soundscape, Kapelovitz injects the photo-theremin, which synesthesiacally emits sounds triggered by a strobe light, which itself is synethesically triggered by the sound waves emitted by the theremin. Miraculously, this paradoxical audio-visual loop configuration creates a consciousness-altering pattern of sporadic light/sound explosions. One TV critic compared the show’s sound to what one hears when “listening to one hand clapping backwards while shooting up large quantities of superglue.”
But the form of the show isn’t all that makes it psychedelicalistic. The Threee Geniuses’s “talent” roster is as mind-bending as its style. The show has featured such outré performers as STANGELYNE, the late, great transvestite bodybuilder with Tourette’s Syndrome, who flexes his steroid-produced muscles for all ofPublic Access TV Landia; haute couture cult fashion icon GO-GO GIDDLE PARTRIDGE, who literally and figuratively makes love to the camera; public access legend and long-hair fanatic FRANCINE DANCER, who cannot walk, but who can magically dance continuously for 30 minutes once the cameras start rolling; DAVID NKRUMAH UNGER LIEBE HART, irony-steeped anti-star of the “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” (the geniuses had him first, guys – sorry!—but feel free to keep him) and host of the Christian Science Church’s least favorite TV show, “The Jr. Christian Science Bible Lesson Show,” along with his puppets, DOUG THE DOG, ORANGEE THE CAT, MISTER GREY THE SPACE ALIEN, and Unger Hart’s alter ego, CHIP THE BLACK BOY. (The geniuses recorded, exclusive for this DVD, an audio commentary track featuring Unger Hart; however, they decided that the commentary track should be sold separately because everything on the DVD either speaks for itself or could never be described in any of your primitive Earth languages.)
Other guest stars include L.A. psychedelic music gurus SOLID EYE; THE CENTIMETERS; the short-lived but legendary psych–metal trio DEATHBRED; ANDY DICK; ALEX HAACKE (of legendary German industrialists EINSTURZENDE NEUBAUTEN); PETER “SLEAZY” CHRISTOPHERSON (of THROBBING GRISTLE, COIL, and PSYCHIC TV); ARIEL PINK (for whom the geniuses shot several videos live in real time, one of which is included herein as a bonus track), genius-savant plushophile and shoe fetishist artist BUNNY BOY and his stuffed-animal girlfriend BUNNY RABBIT; beautiful mutant THE GODDESS BUNNY; experimental filmmaker CAVEH ZAHEDI (“I Am a Sex Addict”); musician HOWIE PYRO (bassist for DANZIG and D GENERATION, and the last person to see Sid Vicious alive); Glitter-Rock Spacemen ZOLAR X; the late GIDGET GEIN; Alternative Super-Model LARVA; the theoretically possible future Mr. Jennifer Love Hewitt and serial killer survivor RONALD VAUGHAN; the late fearless wildman BRUCE SHAFFNER; extreme power lounger and hippie crip MIKEY SHAUINGER; DOUG (half superhero, half robot); OX (who never seems to know whether or not the show has begun or ended); porn starlet and pro-looting advocate KAREN CENTERFOLD; THE CHICKEN MAMBA MAN, and many, many more obscure celebrities and celebutantes. Threee Geniuses is also the only show on television to feature both BEAR and IMAGINARY BEAR.
Yes, dear friends, it’s true—at last, we can state unequivocally that the revolution has indeed been televised. And you likely missed it. But fear not, children, because now the revolution has also been digitized for your glistening and viewing pleasure. Dig, then, the newly reformatted analog video interdimensional time-travel sensation known to the masses as The Threee Geniuses. Experience now for yourself the birth, the death, the re-birth and, yes…“The Re-Death of Psychedelia.”
All Hail The Three Geniuses!!!
New Granada, California