Good News and Bad News

John Pierson's 'Spike Mike Reloaded'

John Pierson will be at BookPeople on Thursday,  April 29, 7pm.
John Pierson will be at BookPeople on Thursday, April 29, 7pm.

"Say what you will – maybe it ain't the Seventies reborn – but the cultural impact of independent cinema has been kind of spectacular."

So says John Pierson, who, let's mince neither words nor pies here, knows what the fuck he speaks of. The longtime New York-based indie agent provocateur, producer, gadfly, and author of the seminal Spike, Mike, Slackers and Dykes was the first to vaunt Spike Lee, Kevin Smith, Michael Moore, and some guy named Linklater, among scads more of the Nineties-era cinematic revolutionaries whose low- and no-budget cinematic outbursts coalesced into something of a golden age of indie film that continues – more or less – through today.

"And I think there's also the fact that – and this is both a plus and a minus," continues Pierson via phone from Westchester, N.Y., "but also indisputable at this point is that it's been a primary supplier of new talent to Hollywood. But then again, that's something some people feared, too. But generally speaking that's been a big bonus."

John Pierson will be at BookPeople on Thursday, April 29, 7pm.
John Pierson will be at BookPeople on Thursday, April 29, 7pm.

So, now Ben Affleck is considered a bonus? Color me fearful.

"Well, you've got Ang Lee doing The Hulk as well. Or Jim Fall directing The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Or, the weirdest one of all, Cheryl Dunye making My Baby's Daddy. I mean, is there any weirder Sundance-type-turned-commercial-director than that? Are there any other black, lesbian filmmakers out there lining up to do films like that?"

Pierson will be in Austin on Thursday, April 29, 7pm, at BookPeople, promoting his new, expanded edition of Spike, Mike ... retitled as Spike Mike Reloaded (Miramax, $12.95; "I managed to get Michael Moore's face on the cover, which ought to help us sell a few more"), which brings the volume up to date and also acts as somewhat of a calmative to Peter Biskind's recent history-cum-screed Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film. He'll also be the focus of an Austin Film Society evening consisting of indie film chat and clips from his celebrated Split Screen television show, including the infamous "Chris Walken's Cooking Show." Consider the pasta to be ... very bad indeed.

Did we mention Pierson and his family spent the past 18 months living in Fiji, where, in a grand social experiment that sounds suspiciously like an extremely clever vacation, he screened Hollywood films of all stripes for the native islanders at a 1950s theatre called the 180 Meridian? And then had Steve James document the whole thing on film, with Kevin Smith on board as producer? Honestly, the lengths some people will go to catch a showing of the Three Stooges' classic short "Some More of Samoa."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More John Pierson
<i>Split Screen</i> and Nineties Indie Film
Split Screen and Nineties Indie Film
AFS celebrates John Pierson’s seminal IFC show

Richard Whittaker, June 9, 2017

Aural Education
Aural Education
John Pierson's Master Class airs on KUT

Kimberley Jones, July 30, 2010

More Screens
Austin Artist Brings Gamera to Vibrant Life in a New Box Set
Austin Artist Brings Gamera to Vibrant Life in a New Box Set
Matt Frank builds the perfect monster

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 28, 2020

SXSW Film
SXSW Film Reviews: 'Plus One'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Ashley Moreno, March 15, 2013

More by Marc Savlov
The Marksman
Liam Neeson is the action man again in this border thriller

Jan. 15, 2021

Beautiful Something Left Behind
The hard path to healing when kids suffer a death in the family

Jan. 8, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

John Pierson, Spike, Mike Reloaded, Miramax, BookPeople

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle