Welcome to Offbeat Cinema! We come to you from the Hungry Ear Coffee House, located somewhere in downtown Buffalo, New York.
It is a mad pad, Daddio!
Offbeat Cinema is a two-hour hosted movie show that airs on television stations across North America. Offbeat Cinema promises to show you “the movies that must be shown” – the good, the bad and the foreign (in their original languages, of course!)
Join your beatnik hosts, the ever-edgy Maxwell Truth, the dark and mysterious Zelda and Bird the painter as they discuss the feature movie, introduce whacked-out guests and National music acts while guzzling espresso and talk film all night long.
How far out can you get?
Check out our “Watch Us Now” page and dig some of our favorite clips and images from the beatnik universe of Offbeat Cinema.
Offbeat Cinema began as a diversion from the flood of late night infomercials that seemed to consume the available airwaves of television’s last cool frontier: late night!
Once a hip haven for insomniacs, second shifters, beatniks and kids who would sneak back to the TV when their parents were solidly in dreamland, late night television had become a vast wasteland of hucksters hawking everything from cooling systems to spray-on hair in a can.
That all changed on October 31, 1993 when WKBW-TV (the ABC affiliate in Buffalo, NY) began showing Offbeat Cinema. The beatnik vibe and cult movie thing caught on, Daddio! Now Offbeat Cinema is shown throughout North America on the RTV and TUFF-TV Networks along with a series of independent stations.
The show is filmed in the Hungry Ear Coffee House, a whacked-out poetry basement located somewhere in downtown Buffalo, NY. The Hungry Ear Coffee House is a mad pad, Dad… and the kind of place where Boris Karloff could sit with Ed Wood and discuss the transcendence of the ego and how that applies to Moe Howard getting a cream pie in the face. A comfortable pad where former Beatle Pete Best could sit with the Goo Goo Dolls and discuss the merits of 3D giant insect fear films. I think you get the picture…
Since the very first show, Offbeat Cinema has remained true to its pledge to bring the movies that must be shown – the good, the bad and the foreign (in their original language, of course!) Like, Man… how far out can you get?
Your chance to enter the twilight world of the American hipster and learn about the hep cats who bring you Offbeat Cinema.
THE MYSTERIOUS ZELDA
Portrayed by actress Constance McEwen Caldwell, adds some beauty and poise to the coffeehouse. This veteran of the theatre stage joined the cast of OBC in 1996 and ever since she has been a patient mediator between Maxwell’s “methodical madness” and Bird’s “flighty get rich quick schemes”.
However do not let the cool calm exterior fool you. Behind those shades is a chick that is spirited and fervid. Especially when it comes to film noir and choosing the proper coffee to consume while you radiate in the glow of a black and white cathode ray tube. Heed Zelda’s advice and you will soon realize that Godzilla was simply trying to make the world a better place.
Played by comic “Airborne Eddy”, Dobosiewicz began sharing his vibe though music, magic and mirth. He has appeared on Comedy Central, A&E's Evening at the Improv, ESPN, and the BBC. Eventually he came to the realization that there was one M missing so he dialed M for movies and opened the doors of the "Hungry Ear", a place open to hipsters everywhere, a place where the movies that must be shown can be seen.
Maxwell remains passionate and intense about everything he does including screening films like Roger Corman's Bucket of Blood or his musical performances with the Denizens of the Dark all the while keeping the Hungry Ear Coffeehouse alive with great banter, hypnotic music, riveting poetry, irreverent humor and the occasional illusion.
Although at times his words may seem caustic, listen closely, as he speaks the “truth”.
BIRD THE PAINTER
An interpretation from Tony Billoni. This art and entertainment innovator sees Bird in many ways as an exaggerated extension of himself. Given that he has immersed himself in the arts culture for decades and grew up with the likes of Vincent Gallo and Marc Freeland, it is a logical step for Bird to symbolize the stereotypical beatnik artist by tapping into all the characters that he has encountered through his experiences in the abstract ambience of the arts. For Bird, there are no bad films, only misguided actors.
Creator and head writer James Gillan has won many national awards for creative excellence through his advertising agency in Buffalo, NY. He states, "Offbeat Cinema was created to provide a forum for films that are not regularly shown on television - and in many cases - are not readily available, even on DVD. There is an enormous cache of films out there that an entire generation grew up watching that are otherwise unavailable. We wanted to create a program reminiscent of the hosted late night film shows of the 1960s and 1970s - the kind of show that made you beg your parents to let you stay up late to watch. Where else can you watch Teenagers from Outer Space and a week later watch Bergman's Seventh Seal in its original language version?"
Offbeat Cinema is produced by television executive John DiSciullo of WBBZ-TV in Buffalo. Mr. DiSciullo is responsible for making all “the parts” of Offbeat Cinema come together. “We wanted Offbeat Cinema to be interactive with our viewers, and it is. We receive hundreds of pieces of fan mail from across the United States and Canada. We get it all – requests for films, original beat poetry, philosophic ramblings and we love it all! Putting the show together each week is a real labor of love.”
And a very special shout out to Mat, Liz, Todd, Kathy, Lorraine, Patty, Lou, Eric, Steve, Paul, Bill, Donovan, the June Taylor Dancers, Nelson Riddle and his Orchestra, and the hundreds of cool cats and chicks over the years that helped us all to "keep watching the skies"!
Alien on My Jacket
R U a Boy? Or R U a Girl?
If you have a question, a comment, a poem, an extra saw buck, or a movie request write us at:
4545 Transit Road
Williamsville, NY 14221
Many of your letters are beautiful missives from the street reflecting deep artistic expressions but most of the letters we get are thinly disguised cries for help and need to be sealed in plastic and turned over to the postal inspector.
Or... you can contact us at:
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"Man… like, this is commercialism."