(L-R: Michael Phelan O’Toole, Lawrence Hollie, Quincy Brisco.)
Experimentally ILL Radio is currently an innovative arts & entertainment podcast (3 year old 100+ episode web talk show of audio & recently video) produced/hosted by award-winning filmmaker/writer/actor/spoken word artist Michael O’Toole, featuring long-form (2-3 hour) career profile interviews with New England area & internationally recognized countercultural artists, performers, filmmakers & creative thinkers of a wide discipline. It provides an alternative forum to document otherwise unheard life stories through intelligent & witty conversation pertaining to arts, humanities, interpretive sciences, mental health, creative process, overcoming obstacles & more, live out of a self-funded/self-taught home studio.
Read about some of the history of Experimentally ILL Radio and the story behind the Experimentally ILL Productions team!
In breaking news of Boston, MA’s “Experimentally ILL” film festival in
2008, Harry Vaughn of The Dig wrote “In a time when film festivals,
however indie-friendly they may appear to be, sell their souls to
audience pandering, Juno-toting, Fox Searchlight producers (read:
Patagonia-wearing Sundance hipsters), it’s a relief to stumble into
“Experimentally Ill,” a festival that actually dedicates itself to
promoting out-there artistic video & film endeavors.”
Metro Boston’s Sarah Shanfield wrote that “If you know Mike Phelan
O’Toole and Lawrence Hollie from TV, you know that they make
programming for community access that isn’t always accessible. And
The co-founders of Experimentally ILL have blazed quite a path for
themselves in the past few years, “screening movies that will leave
some disturbed, and others refreshed and invigorated,” as Harry Vaughn
last wrote in The Dig. A November, 2012 stop on the press tour in support of
their fifth film festival brought them to UNregular Radio’s “Citywide
them the way down the “UNregular” rabbit hole, turning the page on a
new chapter in
the “Experimentally ILL” legacy.
Pull the curtain back on this crew of irreverent artists and eccentrics who
brought you the locally lauded “Experimentally ILL” DIY film festival,
and a string of equally insightful and absurdist TV shows, as these
multimedia journeymen get personal, bringing their reputation for
avant-garde antics to live internet radio and podcasting.
Sharp-tongued, intelligent dialogue on pop culture, film, comics,
video games, technology, philosophy, local arts and more, along with
conversations of minutia set the tone for your newest countercultural
aural fixation, as the quick-witted Hollie and O’Toole, armed only
with their radio voices and fringe vision, crossed the (audio) streams!
UNregular Radio had been diagnosed ILL – “Experimentally ILL,” that
is! And “The Talking Cure” was just what the doctor ordered!
Originally broadcast live every Sunday from 4:30PM – 6:30PM EST on
UNregularRadio.com ‘s UNcensored Channel, your hosts, veteran
award-winning indie film producers and media personalities Mike
O’Toole (AKA Michael Phelan O’Toole) and Lawrence Hollie, flexed
their wit and wisdom, sharing “show biz” war stories, and
continueing in their tradition of utilizing media as a tent pole for
artistic expression and candid talk, while facilitating a
forum for the misfits, and a bastion for the esoteric, presenting a
truly “Experimental” alternative Arts and Entertainment audio experience.
A steadfast climb in show quality and creativity, coupled with the station’s move into the offices of alternative-daily newspaper DigBoston, soon saw the weekly program promoted to
one of the station’s flagship daily morning shows, featuring news, comedy, and even more guests in
the arts and entertainment scene, filling a long-suffering void of both professionalism and true artistry.
After earning their radio stripes in the Monday thru Friday “Experimentally ILL A.M.” grind, conflict with new station management
left the ILL crew no choice but to return to their D.I.Y. roots and build a podcast studio of their own, in which shows are now recorded, and hosed on ExperimentallyILL.com
Following this bold move, Experimentally ILL Radio continues, in the wake of several other staffers and programs being exiled or left with no choice but to depart from the radio station which they helped make a name, under the weight of the tyrannical hand of this new mighty management.
“Pump Up The Volume” as you listen to what it’s like to really live in
“Wayne’s World.” Mike O’Toole and Lawrence Hollie co-host and produce
“Experimentally ILL Radio,” after creating innovative and provocative
content for community television and indie video for over a decade
now. The odd-couple friends are known as heralds of “The underground
cable access TV scene… Bursting with edgy creativity!,” as David
Wildman relayed in Time Out Boston last year, winning multiple
regional and national “Most Innovative” awards
from The Alliance For Community Media, and amassing a rogue’s gallery
of spotlight-hungry bohemians and a rolodex of creative visionaries, both
famous, and infamous – including the original radio show’s third, fourth and
“weird” artist/writer/filmmaker and
one-time film teacher to gore-auteur Eli Roth, “Allston’s Favorite
Son,” D.L. Polonsky, resident alt-girl philosopher Mary Beth Galia,
and I.T. guy Chris Kimball, who reminds us that, in the 21st century,
art and technology are never too far apart.
Occasional members of the show’s stable include
former Alt Rock-era “Toucher and Rich Show” radio personality, “Golden
Sounds Series” rock show emcee, and pro wrestling superstar Al Snow’s
Brisco, and “old school” cynic, Dave Young; the
only things bigger than his opinions are his smokin’ cigar and
Also, listen for cameo appearances by the crew from Mike’s storied old
A progressive five-year run as far-out film festival producers and
emcees landed these “Experimentals” in the pages of The Boston Globe,
The Phoenix, The Dig, Time Out Boston
and more, and earned them endorsement from the likes of Jonathan Katz
and Tom Snyder; the team who brought you Comedy Central’s “Dr. Katz,
Professional Therapist,” and Seinfeld/Cheers writer Tom Leopold.
Of the Experimentally ILL film fest crew, past festival sponsor and
art house filmmaker John Hartman, of avant-garde powerhouse Reel
Groovy Films, had this to
say, during a recent radio show episode:
“You guys are awesome! In my opinion, Boston would not be the same
without the fringe element that you present and the countercultural
representation that I sense with you guys – because, like you said,
there’s a lot of bureaucracy around the other festivals, and you guys
are really chill with your stuff and give a lot of people
a chance to express themselves, that other festivals just won’t do,
because of politics,
and I think it’s B.S. – so I love you guys!”
The “Experimentally ILL” team have been advocates of collaborative
media, and purveyors of unique video art, since 2001, being
producers/performers in the community television shows “Random Acts,”
an experimental variety program, and “Solipsist’s Dispatch,” O’Toole’s
award-winning solo spoken word program. They are also known for their
music video work with Boston/Ireland rock band All Echoes Return
(formerly Midatlantic), who opened for Letters To Cleo’s hometown
reunion show at The Paradise Rock Club in ‘08.
Of the duo’s work, former drummer/producer for Midatlantic, and the guy
who wrote the first book on Pro Tools home recording, David Franz,
wrote: “Mike & Lawrence – You guys are an unstoppable force. You’re a
video-making hurricane. Mother Nature pays its respects to you. Father
Time is like “These dudes defy me, but that’s cool.” Thank you.”
When not cracking the microphone as raconteurs on radio, recounting
heroic days of yore, O’Toole, Hollie and company continue to spread themselves
thin as videographers, video editors, comedians, actors, and
spoken-word artists. Their creative resume has consistently broadened!
The men of “ILL” have shared venues in local television,
film and stage. Now their homemade brand of whimsy extends to radio!
Their previous exploits as producers and performers
have brought them from humble beginnings at The Out Of The Blue Art
Gallery, to the historic Coolidge Corner Theatre, Somerville Theatre,
ImprovBoston, Art House Theatre, and more – this time it’s “theatre of
the mind,” as Mike and Lawrence’s talent for collaborative-storytelling
and clever commentary is stripped down to just that; a live, unrestricted
audio soapbox for free-associative storytelling, humorous non-sequiters,
poignant reviews, and other personal and topical discussion.
Experimentally ILL Radio also provides a home for groundbreaking indie
artists and established celebrities to promote their own projects and
be professionally interviewed. Experience a fresh perspective on your
old favorites, and a refreshing enthusiasm for newcomers!
In recent years, through other work, Mike and Lawrence have crossed
paths with the likes of such greats as filmmaker-turned-podcast king Kevin Smith
(“Silent Bob” of “Jay and Silent Bob”), punk-rock icon Henry Rollins,
Letters To Cleo singer Kay Hanley, Wes Anderson, Henry Winkler, Simon Pegg,
Christopher Walken, Dane Cook, Val Kilmer, Crispin Glover and more –
so you never know who’ll show up next!
Additionally, these communication kings bring with them a collection
of pop culture sound bytes, and over a decade of surreal and hysterical
original recorded audio ripped straight from their TV shows’ video
In keeping with their DIY ethic, inspired by the “punk” ethos,
“Experimentally ILL Radio” also boasts an ever-growing collection of
both well-known and local recordings of the hosts’ favorite punk,
rock, metal, comedy acts and soundtracks, played during breaks!
Oh, and they have a dancing “Goth Robot ” …on loan.
Get “ILL,” as this artist collective builds a Boston-based DIY,
experimental radio show from the UNDERground, UP.
Where there’s an ILL, there’s a way – so be part of the Experiment!
Only on http://ExperimentallyILL.com for podcasts of all the latest episodes,
on demand, and news on other “ILL” projects!
Finally, the kind of ILLness you’ll actually WANT to catch!
Check out our fifth film festival’s 2012 press release below, to get an idea of what our ILL film fests are all about. An artist collective builds this Boston-based DIY, experimental film festival from the UNDERground, UP. As seen in The Boston Globe.
Manic Schematic P.R.
Michael Phelan O’Toole
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Video Artists Announce “Experimentally ILL 5,” D.I.Y.
Indie Film Fest December Dates At Somerville And Coolidge Corner Theater.
(Boston, MA, 11/1/2012) – Local award-winning cable access show
producers-turned-indie filmmakers Michael Phelan O’Toole
(AKA Mike O’Toole of Needham) and Lawrence Hollie (of his van)
announce the fifth
installment of their “Experimentally Ill” film festival; a series of
two-hour movie screenings of eclectic low budget short films,
animation, and esoteric video art, taking place on December 5, 6, 7,
and 13th, in the Boston area.
The 2012 D.I.Y. festival, dubbed “Experimentally ILL FIVE-ever,” kicks
off December 5th at the historic Somerville Theater, followed by a
second show, at Brookline Access Television’s theatre on December 6th.
The filmmakers return to The Somerville Theatre on December 7th,
before closing out the four show series the following week, with a
screening at Brookline’s famous Coolidge Corner Theater on December 13th.
All screenings are from 7PM to 9PM. All tickets are $10.00, and are
first come, first serve, unless otherwise noted.
Seating is limited, so plan to arrive early. This is an independently
produced event, put on by the Experimentally ILL production team,
within the theaters’ screening rooms. This year’s festival is
dedicated to the memory of the late Dawn Reger, an arts-lover, local
performer and friend of the producers.
Experimentally ILL 5 is sponsored by
friends at ExplosionBus.com, home of the new animated webseries from
the team behind Comedy Central’s cult-hit “Dr. Katz: Professional
Therapist:” comic Jonathan Katz and producer Tom Snyder. Explosion Bus
episodes will screen at the festival, in addition to a pending lineup
of other shorts. “Explosion
Bus” sees Katz and Cheers/Seinfeld writer Tom Leopold star as “two
pathetic men who create a traveling talent show.” On that theme,
Experimentally ILL producers O’Toole and Hollie are “two pathetic men
who create… A film festival.”
Caustic wit meets intense bark, as each screening will be emceed by
punk poet, spoken word artist and improv comic Mike O’Toole,
and Quincy Brisco, former WBCN-era “Toucher and Rich Show” radio
personality, in addition to featuring guests, like fringe filmmaker
John Hartman’s dancing Goth Robot and documentarian Rod Webber’s
larger-than-life cohort, ex-WWE wrestler-turned politician Dougie “Tiny
The Terrible” Tunstall. The events will exhibit off-beat films by
Hollie, O’Toole and a motley crew of other innovative indie
“Most people assume the next Quentin Tarantino will emerge from the
lofty trappings of Sundance, Cannes, or any number of prestigious film
festivals. …There are new filmmakers on the local scene hoping to
find cinematic success without having to rub shoulders with Robert
Redford,” as David Wildman wrote of “Experimentally ILL” in The Boston
Globe last year.
O’Toole and Hollie’s film festival evolved out of a desire from the
duo to reward quality creative efforts that may be overlooked by more
pretentious “festival” outlets, “This is Experimentally ILL Five-ever,
because, this is our fifth fest, but the ethos of what we’re doing
shall go on forever. It’s a very D.I.Y. approach, and, to me, a
“filmic” answer to punk rock. We aim to break the mold, gather a
community of artists, and maybe help change the model of how film is
interpreted,” says Michael Phelan O’Toole. “This is a love letter to small works
with big visions, and those misfits we’ve met along the way. The
energy of the audience raises the stakes. There’s nothing like someone
shaking your hand and saying they dug the show, versus clicking the
“Like” button on Facebook. It’s 2012! The end is near! See
nontraditional films in a traditional theatre, while you still can.”
Co-Impresario Lawrence Hollie emphasizes the duo’s view of the
importance of producing alternative media, and D.I.Y. events, by
adding “Counter programming your way. Be the other. Be part of THE
Indeed, Sarah Shanfield, of Metro Boston, in breaking news of the
first Experimentally ILL, wrote that “If you know Mike O’Toole
and Lawrence Hollie from TV, you know that they make programming for
community access that isn’t always accessible. And hilariously so.”
In dissecting the film fests’ enduring ethos, Harry Vaughn of The Dig
wrote, “In a time when film festivals, however indie-friendly they may
appear to be, sell their souls to audience pandering, Juno-toting, Fox
Searchlight producers (read: Patagonia-wearing Sundance hipsters),
it’s a relief to stumble into “Experimentally Ill,” a festival that
actually dedicates itself to promoting out-there artistic video and
For more on Experimentally Ill, please contact Michael Phelan O’Toole at
firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit ExperimentallyILL.com.
Currently films slated for screening include Dan Lucal’s “Parking
Spot,” starring A.J. 8, “Dance of The Clones,” starring Andy Macbain,
Mike Messier’s “Wrestling With Sanity” trilogy, “Banana King”
freak-show excerpts, James “Perfect Jimmy” Bernardinelli’s “Tim &
Eric”-style pieces, Mick Cusimano’s gorilla-suited “Monkey Do, Monkey
Don’t,” Rod Webber’s “My Utopia” cartoons, and “Quantum Schizoid,” a
spoken word meditation, starring Dougie “Tiny The Terrible” Tunstall,
and many more.
While the complete film lineups are still pending, this year’s festival
boasts proud official sponsors, whose shorts will also be featured,
including “Explosion Bus” episodes never-before seen on the big
screen, psychedelic shorts from the “Reel Groovy Films” team,
currently making the festival rounds with their grind-house epic
“Planet Diva,” in addition to the work of writer/director Dom Portalla
of Door Eleven Productions, who brings his latest short, “Nicky.”
Thanks to these official sponsors and additional contributers,
“Experimentally ILL 5” is able to expand on the ambition of “screening
movies that will leave some disturbed, and others refreshed and
invigorated,” as Harry Vaughn last wrote.
Both Hollie and O’Toole are known as heralds of “The underground cable
access TV scene… Bursting with edgy creativity!,” as David Wildman
relayed in Time Out Boston last year, as recipients of separate “Most
Innovative” awards from The Alliance For Community Media’s video
festivals. They have been advocates of collaborative media, and
purveyors of unique video art, since 2001, being producers/performers
in the community television shows “Random Acts,” an experimental
variety program, and “Solipsist’s Dispatch,” O’Toole’s award-winning
solo spoken word program. They are also known for their music video
work with Boston/Ireland rock band All Echoes Return (ex-Midatlantic),
who opened for Letters To Cleo’s hometown reunion show at The
Paradise Rock Club in ‘08.
The previous editions of “Experimentally ILL” have been featured in
The Boston Globe, Time Out Boston, Metro Boston, Boston Phoenix, The
Dig and The Needham Times, among other print and web publications.
Mike Phelan O’Toole: Co-Founder/Co-Programmer, Webmaster, Public Relations Practitioner, Copywriter, Spokesman, Co-Onstage Festival Emcee, Video Artist/Filmmaker, Actor/Media Personality, Graphic Design (Conceptual & Supplemental).
Lawrence Hollie: Co-Founder/Co-Programmer, Video Editor, Festival Booking and Finance, Video Artist/Filmmaker.
Quincy Brisco: Co-Onstage Festival Emcee, Media Personality, Spirit Bunny.
Mick Cusimano: Festival Print Promotions, Filmmaker.
D.L. Polonsky: Festival Print Promotions, Filmmaker.
James Bernardinelli: Main Festival/Web Graphic Design.
Robert W. Lee: Festival After-Party, Event Planner, Behind-The-Scenes Photo/Video.
Judy Johnson: Official Festival/Publicity Photographer.
“To be great is to go on. To go on is to go far. To go far is to return.” -Taoist proverb
“I kept waiting for it to happen. But that ol’ Indie spirit, it don’t wait forever. Sooner or later, Indie spirit rolls up the sleeves and says “s’cool – we’ll just do it ourselves.” -Kevin Smith, on DIY/self-distribution
“Don’t hate the media, become the media.” -Jello Biafra
“The medium is the message.” -Marshall McLuhan