Found Footage Festival: a sneak preview

Found Footage Festival curators Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher share five odd videos from their vast collection ahead of their tour this March

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© Erik Ljung

Cult New York video-based comedy night the Found Footage Festival returns to London later this month after a wildly successful run last year. Curated by Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, the gig showcases the strangest, funniest, most bizarre VHS tapes they’ve found at car-boot sales and thrift stores across the USA. Of course, the best clips are saved for the live shows but, as a taster, Joe and Nick have shared five of their favourites clips. Prepare to be sucked into their strange world…

When Irish Eyes are Smiling

‘We found a video a while back called “Sing Along with Frank Woehrle”, in which a moustached man in a cowboy hat sings old standards with the lyrics on screen so you can sing along. Turns out, the tape was part of a series of 20 videos, and we had to have them all. We called up the company that made them (which was, miraculously, still in business) and they agreed to sell the whole set for $160. Way overpriced, you might think, but we reckon it was worth it. This one is just in time for St Patrick’s Day. May the luck of the “Irsh” be with you.’

Something’s Happening

‘This tape arrived in our mailbox without a note or an explanation: it was simply labeled “Something’s Happening”. We popped it in the VCR immediately and saw an old cable access show from Oakland, California, starring a man named Arthur Bloom. He explains his miracle cure for “extracting death from the mouth”. As you’ll see in this particular episode, something is definitely happening.’

Blessercize

‘Jesus and exercise go together like leg warmers and leotards. That’s the case made by Marie Chapian, the perky host of “Blessercize”, at least when the obnoxious soundtrack isn’t drowning her out.’

At Home with English

‘People always accuse Americans of butchering the English language, and they’re mostly right, but not when it comes to Greg Thompson, the star of this English instructional TV show from Austin, Texas. No matter what’s happening in each implausible scenario, his enunciation is perfect.’

Grooming and Bathing Your Cat

‘The full title of this video is actually “Grooming and Bathing Your Cat, Vol. 1”, which implies that pet expert Bob Soloman’s cat bathing tips cannot be contained on just one tape! If anyone has a lead on Vol. 2, we’d really appreciate it.’

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