This is public access TV at it's best: things that could never, ever be shown on a commercial channel, not because of their offensiveness, but because of their strangeness. The basic show format is relatively simple: video cutups and homemade films are mixed with soundbites from all over (Radio Moscow to classic TV) and intercut with live footage. All of the live actors wear latex monster masks at all times, making for anonymity as well as a certain difficulty in understanding anything that's being said. Finally, cute little public service and inspirational messages fill the gaps between the films and the live stuff. The whole is blatantly confusing, non-commercial, and occasionally enlightening.
The music features included are lower end of the food chain productions which could give most live performance shows a run for their money. If I were a band and I were on tour, I'd try to get a date in Dayton just for the chance of Big Beef capturing me live. The camera, sound and cuts are real pro; and they shoot bands of very different styles. The performers range from Dayton to Los Angeles, including The Raging Mantras, The Electric Ferrets, The Tommyknockers and Bob Daggitt (who is the closest thing to Tiny Tim I've seen in ages).
He calls it The Eat More Carp Show. It sounds like a show about cooking or maybe eating. But it isn't.
The Eat More Carp Show, which airs on various cable access stations in various forms around the country, is the creation of Andy Valeri. He is the director, producer and one of the stars of the program, which is made up of old film clips, movies, war footage and locally produced skits that were made by Valeri and his friends. He also gets videos from people who want to see their work on TV.
Valeri says he spends hours editing the tapes. "There have been times when I just finished editing minutes before the show was to go on the air"... The show usually opens with an appearance by someone wearing a mask that somewhat resembles a carp's head. "Because of the craziness of the show, however, nobody wants to take credit or blame for being the person behind the mask", said Valeri. One example of the craziness is the time Admiral Ackbar (star of The Eat More Carp Show) signed off the show while sitting on a toilet. Asked if he was the main person behind the mask of Admiral Ackbar, Valeri swears he's not. Valeri isn't bothered by the fact that all viewers might not like his show. But "I'm open to all comments and suggestions," he says.
The Eat More Carp Show often pokes fun at different things in the world. Sometimes Valeri even finds himself poking fun at the local television stations. For example, The Eat More Carp Show has it's own "Travelscope To Hell" (a take off on Ted Ryan's "Travelscope" on WHIO-TV, Channel 7) and it's own "Word Of The Day". "Eat More Carp is a pretty stupid show, but it's all based on nonsense", says Valeri. "People just don't know how to laugh at themselves."
Valeri has some regular help on the shows - his wife Sharon, his friends Dave Hughes and Steve Palumbo, his brother Jimmy Valeri and a variety of close friends. Valeri tries to use all of the film that people send him, and he promises not to edit them too much if he decides to use them. "This is a great opportunity for someone to do whatever he wants and have it aired on TV," he says.
Ever get annoyed by those public access stations as you're channel surfing? Now in a noteworthy effort to compile the best of the worst of Ohio public access trash is Andy Valeri and Big Beef Productions (which also brought us "Klark Kent: UFO Expert"). Let's say we gave some video equipment and an 8mm silent moving picture camera to a group of shy, eccentric college dorm buddies (who have lots of spare time) and told them that they could have their own TV show -- providing they could come up with an hour of program material each week . . . the result would likely be something like The Eat More Carp Show.
Although it is much more complex and intricate than that, it's the general "feeling" one gets from viewing the show. "Admiral Ackbar" (an anonymous 20-ish male) is the show's host and secures his anonymity by wearing a latex mask fashioned after the Star Wars character... Several of the works are offered by the Big Beef crew, a varied and cooperative effort supplied by Steve Bognar, Dave Mezera, Andy Valeri and others. Where else can you see shorts like, "The Adventures of Esther Slorb", a homemade film featuring a plethora of syncopated human robotic movements put to silly music? How about, "Apronman Meets the Star Patrol from Planet X", where three space aliens crash-land on Earth and wreak havok on stupid humans, destroy whole cities (in an animated sequence) and only one man can stop them . . . a wimpish super-hero-wannabe wearing an apron. More silliness. Don't miss the Dragnet/Naked City-inspired "Drag Queen", or the bunch of comedic public service announcements.
Take shorts offered by viewers, clips from music performances from the '60s, some recent music by Cage and The Electric Ferrers, some stock newsreel footage and extras who also wear masks, then throw it all in the editing blender and set to puree.
The result: The Monkees without a budget!
Imagine a full two hours of stuff you are guaranteed unlikely to find anywhere else in the universe, all for $8 from: Big Beef Productions, P.O. Box 303 WBB, Dayton, OH 45409.
The Eat More Carp Show comes from the nice people at Big Beef Productions. The first show starts off with a kooky cartoon called "Car Troubles", followed by a 60;'s flashback with a handpuppet singing "Helter Skelter"! There is also an alien host for this show. Lots of stock footage of freaks, go-go girls, etc... There are some punk/art bands (which Savage Film Group actor Frank Vassallo dug).
The short films are great! A running joke is the "Chipper" series. Chipper (a mummyheaded boy mannaquin) has many adventures: "Chipper Goes To Vietnam" (gets blown up), "Chipper Joins The NFL" (football knocks him down), "Chipper Goes Record Shopping" (Chipper in hippie clothes stands outside the store and gets weird looks), etc...
Next, it's "Jerk Of The Week"! One episode features the real Gen. William Westmoreland who puts his foot in his mouth and shows the world what an asshole he really is. Next, more short films, such as "DragQueen" (a twisted take-off of "Dragnet". You've got to see it to believe it!). Also, don't miss "The Adventures Of Dead Rabbit"! You hear the cool 007 theme while seeing close-ups of bunny roadkill! Nuff said. Hilarious.
Other stuff includes some funny preachers doing kooky things and putting their feet in their mouths (what else is new?). One holy boy makes kooky noises and funny faces when he explains how God made the earth! You've got to see it. To check out these fine shows send $8 payable to "Big Beef Productions" (2 shows per tape).
This is what public cable television is supposed to be. Very strange and no point to be made whatsoever. Pure fun. Home movies, live bands, fish masks... this video has it all. It's even better if you watch it while standing on your head.
These are yet two more fun, odd and off the wall episodes of Dayton's strangest show. There are plenty of flashes of cryptic old freaky fellows spewing on about hellfire and other such twisted Christian flavor, performances by bands and skits by the ever lovable fish-headed host. This is Monty Python for the next century.
I remember happening upon this show on Dayton cable television when I'd get to spend time at my grandparent's house back in the late 80's. I remember some weird shit from that show. Well, it's just as odd now. There's a certain feel of naive soul-barred, stream-of-consciousness in much of this. It visually does what Skinny Puppy did with their music; surreal sampled universe (doesn't that sound pretentious?). There's a lot of TV preachers spliced in to ironic effect.
Andy Valeri is no ordinary television producer and The Eat More Carp Show is no ordinary television show.
Valeri, a native of Dayton who graduated from Penn State in 1985, earned a degree in film, and has been producing at the Miami Valley Cable Council since 1986. It was there that The Eat More Carp Show was created. The program features Valeri's college films, old television programs and submissions from other video artists. "Whatever comes to mind", said Valeri. He devoted all of 1987 to producing the weekly program, eventually learning how to circulate and promote the show to other public access stations across the country.
The show offers opportunities to potential video producers who want to do more than just cover "Holiday At Home" parades. As Valeri puts it, the show is a "big democracy wall on video. Just splatter whatever you want on it," he said. The Eat More Carp Show ran on many different access stations credited to "Big Beef Productions," a long-running joke of Valeri and his friends. To this day, all of Valeri's films, television shows and music productions carry the "Big Beef" name.
Work slowed on The Eat More Carp Show as Valeri became more involved in music video production. These became the focus of the show and led to Valeri's use of his videos on stage to accompany live music. But The Eat More Carp Show goes on, although it's appearance may have changed. Valeri is currently involved in helping produce and promote a few Dayton-based groups. He has also recorded live shows and also produces a few audio releases as well.