"What I like about being interviewed by Gerry Fialka is that he stimulated cells that were dormant, that were hiding, that were lazy. His questions inspire fresh answers." -- Paul Krassner, writer, stand-up comedian, publisher of The Realist
"My experience in Gerry Fialka's MESS series was a scintillating discussion of history, culture, philosophy, sociology and the creative process. His questions and ideas transcend the accepted, traditional limitations of 'the interview.' " - Brad Schreiber, author, producer, screenwriter, journalist
"Fialka's interview with me was an invigorating, pleasurable, philosophical, specific, awakening journey." - Harry Northup, actor and poet
"Fialka's interview was a joy, a challenge and a wonderful adventure. It is phenomenal what he does." - Songwriter, author Paul Zollo
"My interview with Gerry Fialka was a challenging experience. Heavy duty. Very different from any interview I've done... deeper, philosophical." - Skip Blumberg, experimental video pioneer
"Fialka's was the funniest interview I have ever had. He has developed a very wise way of triggering thoughts in the interviewee--or at least in me. He didn't ask any of the questions I always hate to be asked. It was good talking with him" - Leighton Pierce, Dean, School of Art and Design, Pratt Institute, now at Cal Arts
"Fialka's interview had me buzzing inside with thoughts and memories that his engaging questions set in motion. Super stimulation." - Filmmaker Larry Gottheim
"I thank Gerry Fialka so much. I really enjoyed his interview with me, especially his unjaded joie de vivre, hearty laugh, and endless pursuit of knowledge sparked by social curiosity." - Filmmaker Phil Solomon.
"Fialka is a damn good interviewer. His questions are sometimes so precise that it tickles and sometimes so grand and thought provoking that one feels on the edge of a new spiritual awareness." - Lynne Sachs, award-winning filmmaker
"Gerry Fialka is a master interviewer. Working out of his natural sympathies and his erudition, Gerry cannily and cheerfully guides his interviewees along a path of Socratic inquiry that goes far deeper than the average Q & A and possibly deeper than the interviewee thought himself/herself capable of going. With Gerry at the helm, the journey really is about the destination and not just the journeying." - Fred Worden
"Fialka's interview with me was an incredibly insightful conversation. I enjoyed it immensely." - Theo Anthony, Filmmaker
"Fialka's was the most intelligent interview I was ever involved with" - Filmmaker/author Jay Weidner, who is featured in the Sundance hitRoom 237 about Stanley Kubrick
"Gerry Fialka comes up with some dynamite questions that never occurred to me, and he has an astonishing memory for quotations. I appreciate his great work. " - Author Kristine McKenna
“I had such a great time at Gerry Fialka’s MESS Interview Series! Such provocative and unexpected questions; it was a delightful exercise for my mind. I thank him for his generosity of spirit and positive affirmations during the interview process; he made it really easy!“ -Poet/Author Terry Wolverton
"I had so much fun. I don't think I've ever heard such wonderful questions." - Author Janet Fitch
"Fialka's interviews are more gratifying than one could imagine, exploring ideas that don't normally get discussed. With his MESS (Media Ecology Soul Salon) series, a cumulative effect emerges as each progressive interview builds upon and enhances the previous ones. His diligent efforts examine the impulses that motivate people. The secret to good conversation lies in the questions, and Fialka's questions are an art form." - William McNally, Activist/Author
"My interview with Fialka was both a rollicking journey into the heart of deep thought and some sort of hard core, cosmic tennis match. He uses quotes to spur new thought more than old thought. It was truly 'far out.' I am grateful." - Fred Dewey, writer, teacher, editor/publisher, former director of Beyond Baroque
" I was so honored to be selected for an afternoon of stimulating and rollicking conversation with you! It's rare to have an opportunity to communicate for any length of time these days. What a gift you give to your interviewees of your bright, probing and convivial interaction. You've created a simultaneously celebratory and profound happening unlike anything else anywhere. What a splendid combo of fun and intelligence you possess! Your creativity enlivens our community enormously, and I truly appreciate you. " - Poet Linda Albertano to Gerry
"Talking with Gerry is like an amazing whimsical journey back in time through your earliest visions and reasonings concerning what you are doing now, and why you began doing it as an artist, and human being. It's a true gift: an innerview, not an interview. " - Jeff Mosier, entertainer, banjo player
"...Fialka is a true cultural Patriot, on the front lines of diversity, thought and reflection!..." - Mark Grasso,
Producer/British Academy of Film and Television Arts-member
"Gerry Fialka is a meteor shower in the contemporary media arts discourse. I am SO happy that he writes for OtherZine. He's blowing my mind." - Craig Baldwin, who has published many Fialka essays on his online film magazine OtherZine since 2009
GERRY FIALKA, film curator, writer, lecturer, probe artist and paramedia-ecologist has conducted interactive workshops at Cal Arts, UCLA, MIT, USC, San Francisco's Yerba Buena Art Center, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Culver City High School, Massey University (New Zealand), and more. His public interview series MESS has included the likes of Mike Kelley, Alexis Smith, Abraham Polonsky, Mary Woronov, Paul Krassner, Ann Magnuson, Heather Woodbury, Norman Klein, Chris Kraus, P. Adams Sitney, Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, Kristine McKenna, John Sinclair, Van Dyke Parks, Orson Bean, George Herms, Doug Harvey, Janet Fitch, Jon Rappoport, Brad Schreiber, Simon Forti, Rudy Perez, Barry Smolin, SA Griffin, Bruce Bickford, Stan Warnow, Rip Cronk, Marina Goldovskaya, Harry Northup, John French, Jon Alloway, Bill Daniel, Phil Proctor, Ed Holmes (aka Bishop Joey), Marcy Winograd, Greg Burk, Kirk Silsbee among many others. Fialka's interviews have been published in books by Mike Kelley and Sylvere Lotringer. His William Pope.L interview is published in the magazine ARTILLERY Jan'08 issue. Fialka's MESS retrieves the original 1970 MESS (McLuhan Emergency Strategy Seminar) with McLuhan, Buckminster Fuller, and Ted Carpenter (They Become What They Behold) all of whom stressed that breakdowns can be breakthroughs.
Fialka has also interviewed Grace Lee Boggs, Ondi Timoner, Timothy A. Carey, George Clinton, Colonel Bruce Hampton, Ben Watson, Tom Gunning, Mac Rebennack (aka Dr John), Martha Colburn, tENTATIVELY a cONVENIENCE, Bill Brand, Pip Chodorov, Craig Baldwin, DJ Spooky, ruth weiss, MA Littler, Jesse Malmed, Nina Fonoroff, Gregorio Rocha, BILL MORRISON, MARK PAULINE, STEVEN CERIO, DAVID GATTEN, VERONIKA KRAUSAS, John Smith, James Harris, Phil Solomon, GENE YOUNGBLOOD, WINSTON SMITH, DAVID ARSON, ALEX MACKENZIE, HASKELL WEXLER, PAUL CRONIN , JOHANNA DRUCKER, JEFF MOSIER, PAUL KRASSNER, JEREMY KAGAN, CARL STONE, ROY ZIMMERMAN, HENRY SCHIPPER, GORDON WINIEMKO, CARL STONE, ROGER STEFFENS, PAUL ZOLLO, NAOMI UMAN, SKIP BLUMBERG, JACK EPPS JR, Theo Anthony, David Ehrenstein and many more.
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MESS (Media Ecology Soul Salon), produced by Gerry Fialka since 1997, is based on Marshall McLuhan's insight: "If you don't study the effects of technology, you become its slave." And by "technology" McLuhan was referring to anything humans invent, from language to computers, from philosophy to books, from toothpicks to bulldozers. In dialogues with modern thinkers, MESS provides a forum for probing both the form and the content of media, and for comprehensively surveying-its services and disservices, avoiding bias or point of view. MESS is percept-plunder for the recent future.
In his book "I, Fellini," Federico Fellini wrote, "I don't mind speaking autobiographically because I reveal less of myself talking about my real life than I do if I talk about the layer underneath, the one of my fantasies, dreams and imagination." MESS peers into the portals of discovering this layer. MESS seeks what lies beyond this layer.
Participants -- including writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians and activists -- are the early radar systems and rear-view mirrors detecting how major transformations in technology affect us. As we live in a MESS-age, this interactive series shakes people out of their regular agendas and reality tunnels. MESS promotes mapmakers who search for new lands and new data. MESS seeks meticulous understanding of every thing we see, hear , feel, taste, and smell, passionately needling the somnambulists and proving that learning can and must be fun. As McLuhan asked, "How are you to argue with people who insist on sticking their heads in the in visible teeth of technology, calling the whole thing freedom?" "Technologies are not mere exterior ads," said Walter Ong, "but also interior transformations of consciousness." And, in his book Immediatism, Hakim Bey observed, "Simply to meet face-to-face is already an action against the forces that oppress us by isolation, by loneliness, by the trance of media." "If it works, it's obsolete." -- McLuhan. "Another fine MESS." - Random Lengths News.
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"Gerry Fialka's MESS series is a unique opportunity to meet special artists in a unique, intimate and revealing setting. His intelligence and dedication to research leads to a stimulating and highly interactive interview that is both entertaining and amazingly enlightening." - Phil Proctor of the "Firesign Theatre"
"Gerry Fialka is very special, well prepared and ready to take risks - I learned about my self! My kind of interviewer. " -Martin Perlich, author THE ART OF THE INTERVIEW
"Gerry Fialka is willing to enter in new discussions even if they go against his current views. Fialka's multilayered delivery of ideas encourages the search for new questions and new paradigms that extend beyond. He is well-informed, off-beat and articulate - one of the most fascinating people I've met." - Keith Jeffries, Ascalon Films
"What a great interview Fialka conducted with me. He made it so easy. There used to be people on TV who conducted interviews in depth, though few as good as Fialka. Tom Snyder was the last." - Orson Bean
"Fialka is a Zen master of media shuffling your mind with McLuhanisms, and stacking the deck with fresh insights into our culture." - David Selsky, Independent Film Programmer & author of 'Worlds of Silence'
"Like an eye-exam of flashing dots, my answers to Gerry Fialka's insightful questions worked like an i-exam catapulting me into my many faceted stories." - ruth weiss
"Gerry Fialka is a wonderful host, able to create a joyful relaxing and concentrated atmosphere. During the Q&A he showed himself as a very eloquent critic asking deep and serious questions- always with humor, knowledge and full of energy." - Ine Poppe, Professor at the Willem de Kooning Art Academy, Amsterdam
"I am very impressed by Gerry Fialka's energy in bringing together groups of people to think about ideas. That is very much in the McLuhan spirit, to create and foster interdisciplinary, living, educational projects in which people can talk about ideas. [Fialka] creates forums that bring together a plurality of critical perspectives into one multivalent conversation. " - Janine Marchessault, author of MARSHALL McLUHAN:COSMIC MEDIA.
"When I participated in Fialka's MESS, he created a unique through-space kind of meditation. This collective free high fires up the ability/consciousness of not judging. It makes a gap between saying and meaning leaving a lot of room for interpretation. Really amazing event." - Marc Herbst, editor-Journal of Aesthetics and Protest.
"Fialka's MESS interview series is a fascinating evening with stimulating questions and approaches. I surely enjoyed the depth of the arena and a chance to pontificate on questions of the spirit in a relaxed scenario and free speech surrounding." - Lady Lord Buckley
"Gerry’s interview with me was like hypnotherapy without the snapping of the fingers to bring you back. I really felt good after that." - Lucky Otis, grandson of Johnny Otis and son of Shuggie Otis & the GTO’s Miss Mercy
“Gerry Fialka has built up an important body of work in his decades of interviews. My challenge to him is: get a book deal, already.” - Tibby Rothman, Feature Writer LA Weekly, Founder/Editor VenicePaper
"Gerry Fialka's interview with me at Experiments In Cinema 2011 Film Festival was a highlight. He is my new favorite person. He is writing a book on Avant Garde Film & The Ann Arbor Film Festival. He is such a trip! Totally brilliant and passionate about everything about human existence it seems, but in particular media theory, media art, media activism. He asked me all sorts of great questions." - Julie Perini, filmmaker, writer and teacher
"Gerry interviewed me. I've given talks all over the world and none of them touched what happened in that interview. For 2 hours and 45 minutes, the spontaneous river rolled on. At the end of every outpouring, Gerry turned the page with a new question, and the new page was just as exciting as the last one. I guess I've been waiting for an interview like that all my life. Gerry Fialka is the world champion of interviewers, it's not even close" - Jon Rappoport, author & journalist.
"Being interviewed by Gerry Fialka was a real high point in my film career. His questions are wacky, discursive, cosmic, probing, thought provoking and, yes, experimental and avant garde. I left brimming with a renewed passion for the wide world of film and ideas. Gerry's enthusiasm and restless intellect are contagious." - Mark Street, award-winning filmmaker
“Fialka’s questions are challenging and thought provoking. These questions rattled me for days.” -Mary Jordan, filmmaker of Jack Smith documentary
"I am inspired and excited that Gerry Fialka, who holds an affinity for the Ann Arbor Film Festival, is writing a history of it. Having attended two of his 2008 AAFF workshops, I can testify he is intimate with experimental cinema and media philosophy, and is deeply dedicated to the exploration of new knowledge. " - Leslie Raymond, Professor of Art & New Media, University of Texas.
"Gerry Fialka is the Studs Terkel of Venice, California - nurturing active participation for common ground." - Michele Raven, Writer/Producer
"Gerry Fialka is one of the most giving impresarios that ever landed in Venice, California. He continues to fulfill Venice founder Abbott Kinney's dream of Chautauqua's influence on people. Fialka is the glue of the Venicessance. " - Jeffrey Solomon, Historian, Venicebeachwalkingtours.com
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"The confusion is not my invention...It is all around us and our only chance is to let it in. The only chance of renovation is to open our eyes and see the mess." -Samuel Beckett.
"It's crazy how you can get yourself in a mess sometimes and not even be able to think about it with any sense and yet not be able to think about anything else. " - Stanley Kubrick.
“I think art is about tidying up, really. To tidy up, you’ve got to make a mess.” - Martin Sharp.
"Ain't this boogie a mess" - Frank Zappa.
GERRY FIALKA's articles-
Fall 2011 - McLuhan's City As Classroom Flips Into All-At-Onceness As Classroom
Spring 2011 - McLuhan & WikiLeaks: 'Hoedown' and 'Hendiadys'
"We must invent a NEW METAPHOR, restructure our thoughts and feelings. The new media are not bridges between man and nature: they are nature." - McLuhan