EXP-TV: FREAKTASTIC NEW VIDEO CHANNEL WILL RIP YOUR FACE OFF AND EAT YOUR BRAIN
By Richard Metzger
Source: Dangerous Minds
There are certain things you don’t know you’re missing in life until you’re exposed to them, right? EXP TV just might be one of those things. It’s got an aesthetic that hovers around the same territory as Everything is Terrible! and Vic Berger, it even reminds me of Mike Kelley’s stuff, but that’s only going to get you in the ballpark. Which is good enough, but you just have to click on the link and see for yourself. It’s a barrage of strange imagery and is really quite an inspired—not to say elaborate and work intensive—art project. And just in time for a pandemic. Bored with Netflix? Have enough Amazon Prime? Maxed out on HBO Max? You need to tune in, turn on and drop your jaw to the floor at what’s screening on EXP TV.
EXP TV the brainchild of Tom Fitzgerald, Marcus Herring, Taylor C. Rowley. I asked them a few questions via email.
What is EXP TV? What should someone expect to see when they get there?
EXP TV is a live TV channel broadcasting an endless stream of obscure media and video ephemera from our site at exptv.org. We stream 24/7.
The daytime programming is called “Video Breaks”—a video collage series featuring wild, rare, unpredictable, and ever-changing archival clips touching on every subject imaginable. Similar to how golden era MTV played music videos all day, daytime EXP TV streams non-stop, deep cut video clips filtered through our own distinct POV.
What treasures would reward the loyal Video Breaks viewer? Ventriloquist dummy sales demos, Filipino Pinocchios, LSD trip-induced talking hot dogs, Liberace’s recipe tips, French synth punk, primal scream therapy seminars, Deadhead parking lots, empty parking lots, Israeli sci-fi, scary animatronics, teenage girls’ homemade art films, Belgian hard techno dance instructions, Czech children’s films about UFOs, even Danzig reading from his book collection. And that’s all in just one hour!
We’ve been collecting obscure media for decades, but we’ve sorted through it all and cherry-picked the funny, the bizarre, the relevant, the irrelevant, the visually stunning, the interesting, the infamous, the good, the bad and the fugly. We’ve done all that so the viewers don’t have to. They get to kick back and experience the sweet spot without having to dig for rare stuff themselves or sit through an entire movie waiting for the cool part.
Our Nite Owl programming block features specialty themed video mixes and deep dives on everything under the sun: Bigfoot, underground 80s culture, Italo disco, cults, Halloween hijinks, pre-revolutionary Iranian pop culture, midnight movies, ‘ye ye’ promo films, Soviet sci-fi, reggae rarities, psychedelic animation and local news calamities. On any given night you could watch something like our Incredibly Strange Metal show followed by a conceptual video essay like Pixel Power—our exploration of early CGI art.
Aside from our unique tone and deep crate of video materials, one thing that really sets us apart in 2020 is our format. We are *not* on demand, we are *not* interactive—just like old TV! You can tune in anytime and something cool will be on.
That’s EXP TV in a nutshell. It’s funny, it’s art, it’s music, it’s infotainment, it’s free and it’s 24/7.
What does EXP stand for?
EXP stands for…experimental, expanded, experiential, expert, exploration, expressive, expounded, exposed, explained, expeditionary, unexpected, exponents, expatriot, expedited, expectorant, exposure, expelled, expendable, expensive, express, exploded, expired…EXP TV!
We have a little bumper on our Instagram @exp.tv that illustrates this
How much material did you have in the can, ready to go at launch?
We had been quietly working on the channel for over a year so we had quite a bit of material. When the pandemic hit, we decided to launch early as a beta so people could have an alternative to the big streaming channels – something totally different.
In this modern world of all these different streaming platforms, it feels like you spend more time deciding what to watch than you do actually watching something. We wanted to make something you could just turn on and leave on for hours—days even—and you’d be guaranteed to catch something interesting. We basically just made the channel we wanted to watch.
Right now, we have about 60 hours in rotation and we are regularly adding new material—new Video Breaks, new episodes of our ongoing series, and hatching entirely new concepts for shows. Stay tuned for Kung Fu Wizards coming soon!
Do you have themes? What are some of your more elaborate productions on the channel?
Our Nite Owl block has a roster of shows centered around specific themes. A few examples include…
Pixel Power – an homage to the early days of computer graphics.
Witches Brew – a tour through the history of witches on film.
Total News – a completely gonzo take on nightly news past and present.
Bollyweird – a huge compilation of the most “out there” Bollywood musical numbers.
Pomegranates – a survey of pre-revolutionary Iranian cinema, set to Persian psych music.
Underground USA – a continuing series archiving 80s alt culture.
Cosmonaut – our tribute to Soviet sci-fi.
Incredibly Strange Metal – exactly what it sounds like.
They Call Him Bigfoot – a search for Sasquatch in cinema.
Jamaica, No Problem – a crash course in Jamaican music culture.
The David Bowie Mixtape – The Thin White Duke’s glory years captured on film and video.
Our Star Wars Mixtape – Star Wars gone wild, gone weird, and gone wrong.
Cats – an exploration of cats in cinema and beyond.
Wow – a survey of psychedelic animation from around the world.
Mosaic – meditative compilation of short films from the world of fine art.
La Videotheque – French yeye music promo compilation.
Disco Odyssey – our series exploring the wild world of Italo disco and other dance music mutations.
And there’s so much more…
Where do you mostly find stuff? Or maybe, how do you search for it?
We have been collecting video materials for decades. Years of VHS tape-trading, pouring through mom and pop video stores (RIP), even the internet! It makes our day to stumble upon a Bulgarian sci-fi animation title we never heard of. We love our work! Like a hip hop dj/producer is looking for the perfect beat, we’re always searching for that perfect “clip”, that magic moment, that video gem.
What are some of your future plans for EXP TV?
The first priority is continuing to add more cool stuff to the site. We’re looking forward to the time when there’s hundreds of hours of free entertainment.
An unexpected but welcome side effect of our offbeat media expertise is that we’ve been getting work as creative consultants to dig up obscure clips and offer fresh takes on commercials and live events. Last year EXP TV was hired to program the Red Bull Music Film Festival in LA, and we brought in cool guests like Sun Ra Arkestra, Man Parrish, Lady Bunny, and Earth. Our mixtapes were the throughline of the fest. Some of our shows made it down to Austin Film Society and Music Box in Chicago. Having met as programmers at Cinefamily, our background is in public exhibition, but we’re interested in exploring new ways to subject the world to our perspective. We’ve been running the stream on Twitch and Periscope. Someday we want to take a bunch of old CRT TVs and use Raspberry Pi’s to make terrestrial TVs that you flip on and they only play EXP TV. We think that would be a fun gift for local galleries and bars.
We’re currently working on the EXP TV Apple TV app, but we wanna see EXP TV everywhere…we can see opportunities for our particular style of obscure video mixtapes as an HBO series or maybe even its own section on Netflix!
Tune in to EXP TV at http://exptv.org/