Michael Phelan O'Toole

MEDIAted Catharsis From A Multi-Faceted Artist

Social Networks Ate My Blog

Dear reader,

have you joined the ranks of the Procrastination Nation? Become a mute in your quest to be voice of a generation? In the search for authenticity in the arts VS commerce game, you must rewrite how you play by your own rules. Thinking outside the box is important, so long as you don’t end up living in one. The power of the word became a Tweet: Shakspeare wrote a sonnet, now you tell us what you eat. Ansel Adams shot unique, while you take pictures of your feet.

I’ll be back here to share stories of tragedy and triumph, inspire where required and reboot and rewire my own solo stab in the dark at the artist’s journey – the Word is all I’ve got. It’s not too absurd that an isolated patient has a need to be heard. Patience is required when I’m trying to crack the code of technology – since age ten, the first was the word. I gotta transmit. Wether it is received, my hands are out of it, like my head. I’ll leave my blood in a book; read/red.

-Michael Phelan.

POEM: “Cali 4 Eye” – 4/14/2014

I came out of ovaries and since had a hard life
Like my eggs over easy.
Have it go on long if you like
You don’t need to please me.

Became an icon of a creative need to bleed –
decided to put a stop to it before I passed out.
Had to concede
to the ink in my veins.
A primal fear-instinct seeped into my brains.

The missing link was never clicked.
If I’m gonna trip, it may as well be on your lips.
If I’m gonna frequently fall, it may as well be in love.

Punk rock has been speaking to me –
the lonely, laughing boy –
but I hope it can manifest itself
into a woman.
Maybe she’ll have to be from the bars –
I don’t care,
as long as she can smear her genetic makeup into my scars.

Without internal drive, does it matter if we have ambition to drive cars?
Does it matter how we outside dress,
if inside we’re so depressed?
I confess – I feel fine.
Came here to have my eyes open, not keep blind
(To) have someone tie me up, so I can struggle, and unwind.




Weirdly Content prose – typed 9/20/12

On this higher-than, sweet-as-sugar, utter, gutter solitude – once in the company of a tattooed woman, injected with Television-christened attitude.
She brought the tits and the wits, and I brought the brooding. But tonight, cool and balmy evening, welcomes me home.
Key-in-lock safe house.
Brain-off, turn-on, hoping there’s a movie camera just around the corner of the hallway.

“I would like to be able to really talk to you – my honesty bellows out like a gaping sore. You are beautiful, and I am a constant confusion to myself.”

Suddenly, the chemicals in your brain begin to agree with the rest of you – And there are flashes of light to accompany this serentity. The music gets turned on, and so do you; as casually beatiful, and moreso, nude women appear out of thin air.
The cozy room; comfortably warm, and stocked with all your favorite books, could easily be floating on its own planet – but it is indeed a part of the same world, sharing the continuity with those ol’ bloodshot days, ripe with physical tension, and verbal accusations, cutting like shrapnel – like, if you breathed in the wrong direction, you were thought to be trying to steal The Others’ oxygen.
You take nothing but the brunt of their pain and weakness, and throw it away like a parking ticket. Finally free, you are. And like THAT, your life begins. Or begins again.
Blemish-free,you answer to nothing, and no one. While it’s true that no one owes you anything, you, in turn, owe them no explaination. You are off the grid, and they are in the skids.
If all their hatred and paranoia were not thrust toward you, and they actually had to turn it inward, they would have broken – shattered like a crazy-glued vase. but YOU – you took the bile – the bad stuff. Their stuff. You ate your vegtables, and now you’re strong.

‘Seems like they wanna put an end to this mighty bohemianism. ‘Till then, bleed it dry.

-Michael Phelan O’Toole

FOR PRESS: Video Artists Announce “Experimentally ILL 5,” D.I.Y. Indie Film Fest December Dates At Somervill e And Coolidge Corner Theater.

Manic Schematic P.R.

Michael Phelan O’Toole


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, 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.” concludes O’Toole.

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 CHOICE.”

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 film endeavors.”

For more on Experimentally Ill, please contact Michael Phelan O’Toole at, and visit

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.


“E.M.O. Clown”. – Blog/Prose – 10/11/12

Sometimes I have these feelings – they are such “teenage” feelings.
Going to turn 26 in a few weeks and still feel a variant of 16 years
old. I made a lot of mistakes, but as some folks have shared with me,
self-guilt is something to fight. Bad feelings? Bad moment? The moment
will pass, as moments do. Life is a series of moments. I have done a
lot of really cool, positive things as well – many that were once only
future-dreams of mine. They become a reality because I got together
with the right folks, and was in that right place, at that right
time… Or maybe the stars simply aligned. Still, though, I feel it is
not enough – it is not exactly what I wanted, or what I know we/I can
manifest – but life has that way of throwing you curveballs. I guess
rolling with the punches is all you can do, and if you’re able to find
a balance there, you’ve got to give yourself credit. Depression and
other nonsense running in my family, it can be a rough ride at times.
I am in a certain state of solitude now though, like I have not seen
in years, in my own apartment. Still, stuff has a way of wearing on me
at times, and with that, I feel a certain chunk of where I’ve been, or
who I’ve been with has been an alternative path, for better or worse,
in order to find a way to be both productive, creative and functional,
while occasionally having to deal with unstable circumstances. It’s
been like running away to join the circus… I have a stack of DVDs,
videotapes, photos and press clippings to show for it, but is that
really me? I don’t want to be this charactor all the time. Turn it off
for and a minute and let’s drink some tea together – October weather,
I find so romantic. Can’t we just chill out? Can’t we be real, and
relaxed. That imaginary audience nonsense is finally overwith. I’ve
had real audiences and though they are interesting to communicate
with, it’s a one-sided affair, really. What are you doing and how is
your world? I am not alone, and neither are you. Perhaps we had more
friends around us when we were kids, but we can find eachother here,
if only through the wires. I am a clown in a circus, gladly
entertaining you… But I am still self-concious of my big red nose
and floppy shoes. More than anything, I’m a comedian who wants to be
taken seriously. I’m a hearing-impaired alien who wants to be
understood. -T.S.E.

Full Print Scan (Amalgam of Experimentally ILL 4 “Reel Alternative” Boston Globe Piece!

<a href=”” title=”reel alternatives- AMALGAM by, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”536″ height=”640″ alt=”reel alternatives- AMALGAM”></a>

Print Scan of Experimentally ILL 4 “Reel Alternative” Boston Globe Piece!

reel alternatives- AMALGAM

POEM: “Blood, Read” – 3/7/2012 by Michael Phelan O’Toole (DRAFT)

I decaffienated all of my hatred

now there’s no high to slitting a low vein;

a metaphor for uncontrolled words on paper.
Call it “Hate read.”
“Why, why, why?”
The pain is linked, like a chain.
I kept pulling at my t-shirt thread…
Bleeding from the eye of a hurricane,
I cauterizred the wounds,
by pursuing the good news of
dispensing with the old;
daze covered in mold.
It’s all relative how many relatives’ blood cells run cold.
You wouldn’t believe what I was told…
With this 20-something teen angst, I say thanks.
The nerve of me for having a nervous system in a suicidal town.
A breakdown into the pieces of me.
A puzzle cut into the shape of anxiety,
screaming for justice like Van Gogh.
A cinematic chase up the steeple.
I wish they would blow, half of these people.
On the skin, this raw, sick look,
orphaned and in pursuit of creative flight,
like a comic book…
In darkness dwells the light of my writers lamp.
An approved moral code stamped on my spine,
a scar that marks a line of time.
Lines of demarkation are carved on Cloud 9.
A mental vacation. 
I kick the hornet’s nest and the hive mind.
Intelligence that justifys life itself.
Why are we here if not to beat ignorance with Orion’s belt?
A horror-punk’ed up tribute to what it was I once felt.
A blank slate,
thick to penetrate your eyes and ears!
Decapitate doubts and fears.
This is blood read –
pierce a hole with pen, and pull the thought right out of my head,
placed on the page.
Pace the rage.
Zen masterbation instead of being cuffed to a tramp
All about concentration, in this depraved camp.
Breaking my own bones that cause the cramp.
A paralyzed man who seeks to throw off his clan like a coat
so he can dance, dance, dance! 
That’s all she wrote.



All written content © 2012, Michael Phelan O’Toole, All rights reserved.



VIDEO: “C.A.P.O.” by All Echoes Return – The 1867 Studio Sessions (2012) – Video by Mike Phelan O’Toole

Here’s our latest video for ALL ECHOES RETURN (ex-Midatlantic).
View it here, at and
-Mike Phelan O’Toole.

C.A.P.O. by All Echoes Return.
The 1867 Studio Sessions.
Video Produced & Directed by
Mike Phelan O’Toole & Lawrence Hollie
Video Editor:
Mike Phelan O’Toole
“A” Camera (B&W): Lawrence Hollie
“B” Camera (Colors): Mike Phelan O’Toole

An Experimentally ILL Video Production

Thanks to engineer Chris McLaughlin of 1867 Recording Studio
Video Content © 2012, Michael Phelan O’Toole
& Lawrence Hollie.
All rights reserved.
Video for use in “All Echoes Return” free web-based exhibition and in promotion of live band performance booking.
Not for public commercial exhibition or sale without prior written consent.

Audio recording & song composition (“C.A.P.O.”)
© 2012, All Echoes Return.
All rights reserved.

Music used with permission.