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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014

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In Arts & Entertainment

Rock and Roller Remote Controller celebrates the release of it's first season on DVD Saturday.

Locally produced punk variety show releases DVD


Locally produced rock 'n' roll variety show "Rock and Roller Remote Controller" celebrates the release of its first season on DVD this weekend.

Until now the show, equal parts "Pee-Wee's Playhouse," "Hee Haw" and Riverwest basement show, has only been available on the Internet.

Hatched in an MATC television production class by friends and classmates Cole Juntila and Karen Deau, "Rock and Roller Remote Controller" has garnered national attention for its humorous skits and kitschy videos for local and touring bands.

"Me and Karen were at MATC for television production and our final project for our first year was to create a 30-minute TV show. After a bunch of spit balling of ideas between the both of us we came up with this idea ... of having four bands, one of them being a touring band, kind of set up like a show would be here in Milwaukee."

With their friend Chris "Tabman" Conard playing the show's hilarious magic-remote-control-wielding host, and with help from Deua's husband Steve Deau, and friend Mitch Rasque, the duo set about shooting the first episode.

"We are all from the basement show, punk rock scene so we are all very familiar with bands and things of that nature, so we ... just kind of winged it from the first one. And since then we have added a lot more people. We have added a studio, a whole crew and hopefully a bit of a fan-base because we have fun making it and hopefully people enjoy it," Juntila said.

The first three episodes have featured appearances from local standouts like Jaill, The Sugar Stems and Goodnight Loving as well as national acts like Detroit's Terrible Twos and Alabama's Thomas Function.

The show's delightfully tacky sets and tongue-in-cheek humor are as much an extension of the friends' personalities as their influences.

"We always say that we are inspired by 'Wayne's World,' which is funny because it's not really a real show. Things like that that are just really goofy," said Juntila, "All of us have a really silly sense of humor. Things that you would normally be like 'That's really stupid,' we just kind of laugh at and go with it. It seems to be working for us so far."

The group has had plenty of help from friends, who often show up to be extras in the videos or who've pitched in on set construction as was the case in crafting the giant paper mache mouth The Sugar Stems play inside in Episode 2, Karen said.

"We had to have a few paper mache parties to try and get it all paper mached because one person could never do that in the amount of time we had," she said.

Deau and Juntila said they are already well into production for the show's next season.

"Basically we are in full force of shooting episode four, and we have plots up until about Episode Six which is when we would like to basically call that our season," said Deau, "So right now we are just going to keep going."

Saturday's DVD release party kicks off at 7 p.m. at Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery, 901 W. Juneau Ave., with screenings of the show's second and third episode and performances from The Sugar Stems, The Spectras, International Date Lines, and Trent Fox and the Tenants.

Admission is $5.


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