Billy Nayer Show, Be My Baby Daddy

It happened well over a decade ago, but the memory is crystal: my best bud Gooby Herms, fellow purveyor of All That Is Wackadoo, leaped up from the threadbare couch bellowing “holy crap, you’ve never seen the Billy Nayer Show?!” With a table top drum roll, he popped his scuzzy bootleg of The Ketchup and Mustard Man into the VCR and pressed play. My jaw hit the floor… repeatedly. I’ve been an idolator at the shrine of BNS ever since.

When bandleader Cory McAbee and company released The American Astronaut in 2001, I knew the world was in for it:

Space travel has become a dirty way of life dominated by derelicts, grease monkeys, and hard-boiled interplanetary traders such as Samuel Curtis… this sci-fi, musical-western uses flinty black and white photography, rugged Lo-Fi sets and the spirit of the final frontier. We follow Curtis on his Homeric journey to provide the all-female planet of Venus with a suitable male, while pursued by an enigmatic killer, Professor Hess. The film features music by The Billy Nayer Show and some of the most original rock n’ roll scenes ever committed to film.

This film is the best example short of Buñuel’s Simon of the Desert of how much a full length narrative film can benefit from budget restrictions and vigilant unorthodoxy. The cinematographer (listed as one W. Mott Hupfel III) is one of the lesser known geniuses of the medium; I have never seen a movie shot on 35mm look quite so perfect, in scene after impossibly beautiful scene.

The musical portions of The American Astronaut (provided by the BNS, naturally) are surreal to say the least, often catching the viewer off guard:

Actually, the whole movie is guaranteed to make even the most jaded of post modern indie curmudgeons do a spit take. Rarely, if ever, has a 21st century film so gracefully towed the line between wry, stylistic self awareness and genuine emotional content. If you have yet to experience the fruits of their labors, consider this my own “holy crap” clarion call to rent or buy some Billy Nayer Show as soon as possible.

9 Responses to “Billy Nayer Show, Be My Baby Daddy”

  1. Jerem Morrow Says:

    David Lynch doesn’t own all ze real estate! Great stuff.

  2. nadyalev Says:

    I have to watch this right now! Actually, I really love the music in the trailer for the American Astronaut. I want to seeeeee!

  3. joshua Says:

    mer, kicking ass, taking names.

  4. Gooby Says:

    Ah, Samuel Curtis… Dropping such beautiful phrases into my colloquial lexicon, like some sort of of mulberry staining bird turd, as “Is it just me, or do my balls itch?” and “Aren’t you afraid of the Yetis in Rio?”

  5. zoetica Says:

    I think I’m inlove.

  6. Matt Says:

    Brilliant timing – watched The American Astronaut for the first time just a week ago after a friend from work (Covent Garden, Royal Opera House no less) made the same double-take and demanded I watched it.

    I’ve been texting him the phrase “What did your father teach you? What did your father teach you? What did your father teach you?” all week.

  7. foxtongue Says:

    He taught me to hate the sunflower.

    I was just discussing this with Mike today, actually. I told him my American Astronaut stories, like how I told Ravi Shankar to watch it at a house-party once. It warms my heart to know that’s going to get back to Cory.

    Originally (hilariously enough) it was shown to me by someone who wanted to get in my pants, (which says a terrible lot about everyone involved, really), and recently, that friend and I were at a film screening, trying to convince a director friend that he needed to see it too:

    Me: I refuse to tell you anything about it, except that it’s so good that he used it as an aphrodisiac!
    Director: Did it work?
    Him: We can’t even remember, that’s how good it was. All we remember is how much the movie kicked serious ass.

  8. Meredith Yayanos Says:

    I wonder if Ravi Shankar actually ever did watch it. If so, what on earth did he think??

  9. Jhayne Says:

    One of my brain cells has devoted itself to keeping a mental note to ask if I ever get the chance to see him again.