Michael Phelan O'Toole

MEDIAted Catharsis From A Multi-Faceted Artist


Michael O'Toole

I am http://www.MikeOToole.NET

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.


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

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.

NEWS: Spread the ILLness in 2012! Share this word with your filmmakin’ and film lovin’ friends, Boston!

Hey all – I co-program an experimental film fest out of Boston called EXPERIMENTALLY ILL – we are currently seeking unique short narrative digital film works for several dates of our next festival – we’re currently thinking April will be the screen dates, but it depends on you, our fellow artists delivering the assist. Works should be between 3 and 15 minutes if possible. There is a possibility we will screen longer works. We screen inside Somerville and Coolidge corner theatre’s screening rooms, in addition to alternative venues in the area. Visit to view past press clips and get more information. Thanks! We are asking a small submission fee of five dollars, but for those who would consider giving more, we are looking for supporters and sponsors – we will create an ad for you or your service and promote you on flyers and site, in addition to at the fest itself. Major sponsor prices are 50 to 100 dollars. Booking the theatres in which we screen costs some coin, and this is totally DIY – we are an artist collective putting together the show, and would love to be able to keep various costs down and continue our efforts, with your help. Email me at for details on getting your hard and soft media to us. Thanks.
– MikeO.

POEM: “Horror Horn” – 1/29/2012

“Horror Horn” – 1/29/2012

by Michael Phelan O’Toole.

Another spilled sand of time
A hand to rip out your spine
and sever the ties to wrists and binds
of previous devious behavior.
Nefarious activity
Nosferatu nailing a whore and a savior.
I’m cross up there, hanging out.
Lost in a stare, and banging doubt
into submission and on to sprout
spikes in your vocal chords.
Moan and shout a sworm of shrapnel.
More crap to shift through.

We are walking art,
eyes dripping black and heart swelling blue.
If your paint don’t pay the rent or keep you warm,
what else does it do?
Calm my head storm.

Sound the horror horn.
It’s all audio-visual porn,
until we’re dead and born,
red-faced and blind-bored.
Bones popping and ham-strung sore.
Hang yourself out a future window,
before you close a passed door.

That’s old and I’m too young to be told anymore
what’s been written and sung to a score for a decade and more.
Carved into headstones which mark skeletons’ homes.
Kids, way back is when we really lost it.
Why aren’t you on the loose,
instead of on a noose in my closet?


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


Thoughts on Art/Writing/Film by Mike Phelan O’Toole – 6/26/’11

I have no choice but to be an artist. When the art doesn’t come, I make art out of the lack of art. That right there seems to be a good definition of creativity – to make something out of nothing. To express depressed expression. Eh? Eh?
In writing, I have to feel like I am speaking to someone, at least a little – and when you feel like the world has turned its back on you – or rather, you have turned your back on the world – you feel like no one is there listening, so thusly, it makes it difficult to write – to
communicate. You isolate, or become more of an “internal” person.
That’s how I feel about it, anyway. You don’t. or I suppose, in my opinion, shouldn’t be writing if not to communicate – and that is a two-way street. Art can indeed exist as a product of individual expression, with no direct intent to share, but it is usually created as a reaction to something in the world, or internal world – the mind.
With that, it becomes a certain statement, whether the creator
realizes or intends it to be such.

With written or spoken word, it’s always a head-rush to be able
to turn a notion or idea on its head a bit. It is always interesting
when I whip something clever together, and people think that I have
taken or quoted it from somewhere else – assuming from a bigger piece
of media, like a song or a movie. This is because, all I see from
other young people, or the majority anyway, is this type of ripping
and quoting from other major-marketed sources. Worst yet, to us
literary types, often they do not even attribute the original source;
song lyrics sitting on a page – do they belong to them? What do they
mean in this content? The art of the word, or true individual
communication is lost, man. I want your unique thoughts to get in my
brain. Let me think about you for awhile, and try to figure it out,
not read a carbon copy of something else. With that, I’ll return the
favor. Give me an intellectual challenge, and I will give you an aural
orgasm. Let’s talk.

I enjoy just letting a’ rip onstage or in front of the camera, or a
microphone and rambling a string of thoughts together into a barb-wire
of rusty wit and fragmented opinion. In the case of using a more
intricate medium to communicate something, film has always been my
love interest; the undying crush I could never seem to properly ask
out on a date – the girl next door that I just couldn’t get to third
base with. The one that got way. Sure, we might’ve hooked up a couple
of times, in the form of my acting in a few things, or taking some
classes, watching and analyzing movies in papers, shooting music
videos, or drooling on the computer keyboard after having fallen
asleep mid-editing session – but created a start-finish
dyed-in–the-wool film? Not yet. Nothing I’d be proud to fling up on
an art house screen, anyway.

The resources of community television, or cable access, have
been something of a crutch in recent years, in that, while it remains
our greatest alley in getting projects off the ground, and helped us
launch our greatest achievements, in the form of said videos, and our
film festival, EXPERIMENTALLY ILL, it also has kept us sleeping
soundly in the less-than-four-star bed of “Access” – of which has
given us our whole world, in terms of friends, coworkers, and a great
jumping-off point for more. Despite the sandbox of toys Community
Media stations provide, a whole lotta cherry pickin’ must be done in
order to find a large sect of people actually willing to create
something different. I’ve been fortunate to know a few of those types,
and we took those folks and their short films on a local ride through
a few Boston-area indie fim theaters with Experimentally ILL –
embracing the DIY ethic and a bit of punk-rock aesthetic, to the tune
of some sweet press and audience praise. On paper, I am still a
staunch advocate of Public Access Television itself, in George C.
Stoney and Red Burns’ original “Hey, how’s it going’?”
set-up-a-TV-on-a-street-corner concept – but Michael The Arch Angel’s
gotta spread his wings and try to fly sometime.
It’s important for me to not over-think things too much, and just splatter some art up on the e-canvas here. Fortune favors the bold.
Thanks for reading this.

Boston, MA, USA.

PROSE POEM: “Quest?” – 6/23/2011

Two leather-clad, spike-wristed desperadoes walk up to the gate, kick it in, dodge a few flashing light effects, and swiftly slay the dragon that is self-doubt. I am still on this search for meaning, bending words, lines, and catch-phrases at will, in order to express beautifully fragmented thoughts – spray painting them up against the sugar-glass moonlight. There is nothing like the head-rush of hitting the stage and throwing caution to the wind – words flowing out like a freshly slashed jugular vein. This is my morse code – dots, hyphens, and dashes on the page. Or is it dashes to the stage? Another day, another hourglass figure to touch – sands flowing out of it, as she grinds into my broken in soul. I tagged this up for you. I wander, and wonder… Are you out there, and do you have a voice like mine? Intellectual stagnation leads to the quest for adventure. I rip off layers of literature, and sling it across the planet. What else am I gonna do? I’m a kid playing with clay…

– Written by MIKE PHELAN O’TOOLE. Copyright 2011.

Letter Of Recommendation from Communications Prof. Karen Lauffer for Michael Phelan O’Toole

January 23, 2007

To Whom It May Concern:

It is my pleasure to provide a letter of recommendation for Mr. Michael O’Toole. I have known Mr. O’Toole as one of his professors at MassBay Community College, where he completed my Introduction to Communication course (Spring 2006). I feel that I have come to know Mr. O’Toole very well through his work in this course and the many discussions and activities related thereto, as well as the communication I have had with him since that class concluded.

When Mr. O’Toole took my aforementioned course, he was consistently well-prepared and actively participatory. Mr. O’Toole’s pleasant demeanor and genuine character have been clearly evident in all of my dealings with him. Further, Mr. O’Toole stands out as an individual with an extraordinary level of genuine, innate creativity and initiative. Through our many discussions about his work in public access cable television, Mr. O’Toole’s authentic enthusiasm and propensity for media and the performing arts became clearly evident.

Michael O’Toole is an intelligent, well-educated, and well-rounded individual. He is an avid learner who, based on my experience, puts great effort into whatever he does, demonstrating diligence and conscientiousness in his approach to all tasks. Mr. O’Toole is a clear-thinking and articulate individual who communicates equally well in both verbal and written form, consistently exuding confidence and earned credibility. He has demonstrated well-honed public speaking, presentation, leadership, and team-building skills, as well as exemplary levels of cooperation and flexibility. Through his coursework, Mr. O’Toole has proven himself to be a dedicated scholar who consistently meets and exceeds requirements and expectations.

I am confident that Mr. O’Toole is an ideal candidate for your program. I recommend Mr. Michael O’Toole to you without hesitation.

If any additional information is required, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kindest regards,

Karen J. Lauffer, M.A.T.
Adjunct Professor
Communication Studies