Hell up in Harlem: Sleazegrinder and Mr. Greenwood, in a production still from 13 Ways To Deal Coke.
In OTD's office, alongside the portraits of Paul Wall and Devendra Banhart and Madonna and Pharrell hangs a Polaroid of the great Harlem Greenwood taken by the inimitable prose stylist and mastadonian stoner rocker Tim Catz. The photo was taken on the 4th of July, 1996, on Holman Street in Lower Allston, and in it Harlem is wearing a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, a pair of flowerly boxers, and nothing else. He's standing on a beat-up linoleum kitchen floor, framed by cheap paneling, and is taking a deep swig from a bottle of whiskey. He is, I'm trying to say, in his motherfucking element. He also bears a striking resemblance to this guy, but that's beside the point.
Harlem (not his real name) is the only semi-permanent member and chief agent provocateur of a "musical" "group" called Coke Dealer, which for several years passed itself off as an avant-garde noise band -- though with no permanent membership, no songs, and a reputation for direct physical confrontation with the audience and for trashing whatever venue was stupid enough to book them, it was more like an excuse to take lots of drugs and fuck shit up. Our favorite Coke Dealer shows: the one where Harlem kicked everyone's drinks off their tables and then saran-wrapped himself to the support beam at O'Briens. And the one where they turned Jacque's -- the theater district tranny bar, and thus a metaphorical sausage party -- into a literal sausage party by dousing the audience in rancid meat and, later, after the meat had begun to sweat, in several pound-bags of confectioners sugar.
Plans for a Coke Dealer documentary have been floating around for almost a decade now, and for a while back in the day (1997? 1998?) there were a couple of video cameras at every disasterous show. But it took Sleazegrinder -- the Thucydides of contemporary slop culture's porn/skeez-metal/powerviolence axis -- to actually get on with it. That Sleazy's film, 13 Ways To Deal Coke, has a loose script and much bad acting should not deter viewers from apprehending it as the motherfucking truth -- or, ok, if not the literal motherfucking truth, than at least its inbred/retarded cousin, "reality." It is also a heartbreaking melodrama. Well, more like a comedy, actually, but the kind that makes you want to sit right down and cry.
We have as yet seen only as much of the film as you will see below, but it's about three minutes more than we'll ever need to see again -- uh, we mean, it's obviously a contemporary masterpiece. It stars Harlem Greenwood as himself, only now he has a masturbating clown for a drug supplier and a driver-slash-press-flack who thinks he's a vampire. (The clown part is totally on the level, but in real life the guy who thinks he's a vampire is just some dude in another band, he doesn't really drive much. This is what the poets call "artistic license.") We can think of no higher praise than to say that 13 Ways To Deal Coke must eventually be seen as an amalgam of the three best films ever made: Shakes the Clown, The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years, and Troma's classic Cannibal! The Musical. "So far the budget has swollen to a whopping $450," Sleazegrinder emailed us last month, in a rare spare minute between directing a 13 Ways shoot and conducting an interview with under-regarded proto-stoner geniuses Cactus for Classic Rock magazine. "We may be looking at a $5,000 movie when we're done. Big time!"
WATCH: 13 Ways To Deal Coke (trailer, via YouTube):