Dream Out Loud – A Documentary Journey / A Subterranean Odyssey

Dream Out Louddream1

My name is Don Alex. I am a 53 year old man, with a very charismatic and lovable 13 year old Black Lab named Mitzi. I am best known as the creator of a website called  “Subterranean Cinema” that I first published in early 2001, which gained a solid worldwide reputation for making several rare screenplays available to the general public for the very first time, including two different drafts of Jerry Lewis’ “The Day the Clown Cried”, John Belushi’s “Noble Rot”, Andy Kaufman’s “The Tony Clifton Story”, and Rospo Pallenberg’s unproduced adaption of Stephen King’s “The Stand”. I also created a tribute documentary called “The Passion of Andy Kaufman” which has a substantial cult following among his fans on the internet, and several “short films” based upon the music of Richard Patrick (Filter, Army of Anyone, Nine Inch Nails), which he artistically  admired to such an extent that I am now given “VIP” status at Filter concerts that I attend.

Mitzi was my mom’s last dog. In my final phone conversation with her just before her death in 2011, she asked me to keep Mitzi with me no matter what, that she would “open doors” for me. I promised her that I would, and I have gone through several very difficult years since then, through times that would have been much easier if I had put Mitzi up for adoption, but I have kept my word, and Mitzi has indeed “opened doors” and enriched my life with her presence in it. Mom was 100% correct and prescient. The two of us now have a bond as close as any parent/child on the planet, and I wouldnt give her up for anything. I have since survived through three heart attacks (due to my former love of fried foods), and I am now carrying around six stents in me because of them. Two years ago, I was additionally diagnosed with degenerative arthritis in my knees, and told by a doctor that it will get progressively worse over time, until at some point when I will have great difficulty in walking very far, and I might even end up in a wheelchair eventually. I am starting to reach the early stages of that diagnosis now, and I have a very noticeable limp on especially painful days. Ironically, early last year, Mitzi was diagnosed with early hip displacia that will also get worse over time, and the signs of that are becoming increasingly visible in her own walk. We make quite a sympathetic pair as we limp our way together through our daily life, and we gain many very devoted and loyal friends and fans wherever we travel. Until they read this, most of them have no idea that there is much more to our journey than they are aware of.


Early last year, while enduring the despair of an especially painful bout of homelessness, and realizing that our mutual traveling days are nearing an end, due to our shared mobility issues, and because it has been a passionate lifelong dream of mine to create a real documentary film that will have a positive influence on the lives of others, an idea occurred to me: to embark on a final epic “twilight” journey that I will film, with us traveling down the western coastal highways in a van, from the Canadian border (filmed at Dawn) to the Mexican border (filmed at Dusk), and ending with us peering over into Mexico at “magic hour”. Enroute, I will document the stories of the various people that we will meet, the incredible images that we will see, and the events that we will witness. I will visit the town of my birth (Napa, CA) and trace my childhood years there, where the first seeds of my movie obsession were planted in my mind by my late older brother, Milton, who took me to see films that were far in advance of my years, including “Deliverance” on it’s opening night in 1972. I will even attempt to locate Francis Coppola at his winery near Calistoga, where I plan to discuss the deep impact that “Apocalypse Now” had on my love of cinema (and my longtime urge to create my own films), and to have him pet Mitzi on camera. I will visit historic cinematic locations, including many that are located in Hollywood. I will “Dream Out Loud”, and that will be the name of the film (which originates from lyrics written by Bono, the lead singer of my favorite band, U2). But our journey will just be part of the story. The film will also touch on cinema, music, the current world situation, politics, religion, racism, the legalization of marijuana and gay marriage, homelessness, hopefulness, love, death, the meaning of life, and how to live it to the fullest extent possible. At various points during it’s running time, it will trigger every kind of emotion in the viewer, and it will be visually experimental and surreal in a way that has rarely been attempted since the 60s. It wont be your typical “Lassie” type story by any means, it will be much deeper and more profound than that. Some scenes will be “simulated” and filmed with multiple cameras, however they will all be shot in real locations and situations with real people, not “actors”. However, there also might be a gag” in homage to prankster Andy Kaufman hidden someplace in it …

So for the rest of 2016 and into the early part of 2017, I took a “dry run” journey through Nevada and California, and we wound up near the Mojave Desert (right in the middle of “Joshua Tree” country), where by complete chance, we happened across a rather  infamous underground director, Jon Aes-Nihil (“Aesthetic Nihilism”), best known for creating “Manson Family Movies”, and as an intimate associate and creative colleague of John Waters, Kenneth Anger, and Nikolas Schreck, and Zeena LaVey (daughter of Anton). He took me to visit Hollywood, for an unforgettable nighttime cruise down Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards (which I filmed). Unfortunately, around this same time, medical issues reared up and forced me to return back to Idaho for some tests and treatment, and I am currently residing in Boise. I really love this city, and I plan to return back here after completing the coastal journey, and to make it the permanent home for me and my old road partner as I edit the film into it’s eventual final cut. I am now feeling somewhat healthier, and I am more determined than ever to carry out my original “border to border” plan, but my window of opportunity to achieve that goal is running out fast. Basically, it’s now or never.  So, on June 1st, with three handpicked road partners (and an extra canine companion for Mitzi), we will depart from Blaine, Washington, due south!


I will accomplish my goal, and I will create this film, no matter what it takes. It has now become my obsession, and my life’s most important work, and failure to complete it will not be an option. I am not interested in personal financial profit from this journey / film in any way, and it isnt an excuse for a “free vacation”. While I certainly cant deny that I do hope the film ends up making back enough money (from a theatrical or DVD release) to allow Mitzi and me to have a real Home for ourselves again, I would choose to donate most of any eventual financial proceeds that I would personally recieve from it to 1) pet-related organizations and shelters, and 2) homeless-related organizations and shelters. I only want the ability to create a classic, meaningful work of audiovisual art that I am 100% sure of my ability to accomplish. We are about to embark on a truly great adventure together, something that has never been attempted (or imagined) before, onscreen or off, and I want to invite everyone to live it with us. I want to inspire people with the fact that they also have it within their power to make their own Dreams come true on their own terms, no matter how bad their current life situation is, and I know that this film will have real potential to do that. In that way, Mitzi and I will then “live forever”, in Dreams, in Images, on Film, long after our mortal shells fade into the eternal Twilight.

That will be more than enough to satisfy me.



Dream Out Loud

Dream Out Loud – Facebook

Posted in Don Alex | 2 Comments

Film as a Subversive Art – Amos Vogel


About a decade ago, for my original “Subterranean Cinema” site, I created an internet version of the classic Amos Vogel book, “Film as a Subversive Art”. Ive located a site online with a PDF version of my adaption! It is also available thru Bittorrent, but you can download it directly here.


Posted in Screenplays | Leave a comment

Subterranean Book of Film Lists


I was born in 1963, and in addition to being a film fan for most of that span of time, I have also been a list fan. I loved “The Book of Lists” (and it’s sequels) in the 70s and 80s, and I have had a set of “Best Film” lists that I created for every year going back to 1960, which I have updated when I have seen new films and added them, changed my mind about older films that I used to think were good (and vice versa on older ones that I used to think were bad), etc. Now, I have put those lists online on two websites, “Letterboxd” and “Mubi”, and I have also put them “into print”, in PDF format, for easy reading. This is the “Subterranean Book of Film Lists”. Hope you enjoy it!  🙂

COMING SOON – an updated version going back to the year 1900!

Subterranean Book of Film Lists

Subterranean Cinema – Letterboxd

Subterranean Cinema – Mubi

Posted in Don Alex | Leave a comment

Subterranean Cinema – Online


Here is a complete list of my current websites and social media pages:

Subterranean Cinema – https://subcin.wordpress.com
Filter – http://filterband.wordpress.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/subterraneancinema
Twitter – http://twitter.com/subcin
Google Plus – https://plus.google.com/+DonAlex63
MySpace – https://myspace.com/subterraneancinema
Ello – https://ello.co/subterraneancinema
LinkedIn – http://lnkd.in/b5UBhpX
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/donalex/
IMDB – http://www.imdb.com/user/ur11256735/
Mubi – https://mubi.com/users/223328/
Letterboxd – http://letterboxd.com/donalex/
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/cinemavirtualis
List Challenges – http://www.listchallenges.com/profile/178022

Subterranean Cinema – the FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Subterranean-Cinema/339729282317?fref=nf

Subterranean Cinema – the FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/10150111986745063/

Posted in Updates | 1 Comment

Seven Beauties / Swept Away – English dubbed


These are very rare English dubbed prints of Lina Wertmuller’s Italian masterpieces, “Seven Beauties” and “Swept Away”.

“Seven Beauties” is about an Italian everyman (Giancarlo Giannini) who deserts the army during World War II and is captured by the Germans and sent to a concentration camp, where he is willing to do anything necessary in order to survive, including having sexual relations with the grotesquely obese and hatefully sadistic female commandant. Through flashbacks, we learn about his family of seven unattractive sisters, his accidental murder of one sister’s lover, his imprisonment in an insane asylum, his rape of a mental patient, and his volunteering to be a soldier to escape confinement, only to find himself in an even worse predicament than before. This was the first film to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Director by a female. It was also nominated for Best Actor, Screenplay, and Foreign Film.

“Swept Away” is about a wealthy woman (Mariangela Melato) whose yachting vacation with friends in the Mediterranean Sea takes an unexpected turn when she and one of the boat’s crew members (Giancarlo Giannini) are separated from the others and they become stranded on a deserted island. The woman’s capitalist beliefs and the man’s communist convictions clash, but during their struggle to survive their situation, their social roles are reversed. This film was remade into a terrible 2002 film starring Madonna and Adriano Giannini (Giancarlo’s son). That version is a travesty!

Some people dislike dubbed films, but I first saw both of these films in the late 70s on PBS, and I love these versions. I dont know if the voice in both of these versions was acted out by Giannini or someone else, but it is endearing.

Posted in Videos | Leave a comment

Rolling Thunder – Paul Schrader – screenplay


Rolling Thunder (1977) is a cult classic, directed by John Flynn, and starring William Devane (Charles Rane) and Tommy Lee Jones (Johnny Vohden) as two POWs who return home after seven years of horrific captivity in a Vietnamese prison camp. When Rane’s wife and child are murdered by a group of thugs in a home invasion robbery (which also costs him one of his hands that he has replaced with a steel hook), he tracks them down and, with the help of Vohden, he goes on a murderous rampage of revenge against them in a seedy Mexican brothel.

The screenplay was originally written by Paul Schrader, with a violent ending obviously influenced by the final scenes of “Taxi Driver” (in fact, Travis Bickle makes a tongue-in-cheek cameo appearance in the script, watching a porno film at a drive in!) Intended as a “metaphor for the American racism in Vietnam”, the Schrader version was about (in the author’s words) “a Texas trash racist who had become a war hero without ever having fired a gun”, and it ended not only with Rane killing dozens of Mexicans (guilty and innocent), but also with Rane’s death. These elements were changed by the filmmakers and screenwriter Heywood Gould, without participation by Schrader, and he disapproved of the final film. Quentin Tarantino has said that “Rolling Thunder” is his alltime favorite movie, to the extent that he named a distribution company after it.

Should they have used Schrader’s version? Read this and decide for yourself.

Rolling Thunder


Posted in Screenplays | Leave a comment

El Topo – A Book of the Film


This is a PDF version of the web adaption that I created for my original “Subterranean Cinema” website, with the complete text of the book + all images contained in it.  I located this PDF on a very obscure Russian website, with a server so bad that it was barely downloadable. So, I am very glad to be making it easily available to everyone again!

Included at the end of it is my transcription of a 1970 Penthouse interview with Jodorowsky. His footnoted interpretations of the film are sprinkled throughout the narrative, and are in brackets and red print. Enjoy!

El Topo – A Book of the Film

Posted in Screenplays | Leave a comment