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Mike Phelan O’Toole



Multi-Media Artist-Turned-Advocate Announces TV Home For Young Voices
And Own On-Stage Spoken Word Debut At ImprovBoston Theatre

(Boston, MA, 1/1/10) – Cable access show producer and local video
artist Mike Phelan O’Toole announces the culmination of several media
projects focused on personal voices and self-expression, including his
own on-stage debut as a spoken word artist at Cambridge, MA’s
ImprovBoston comedy theatre on January 7th, 2010 at 10PM, as part of
comedienne Jess Sutich’s “A Night of Oral (Tradition).”
This show features local personalities, stand-ups, poets and more,
relating true stories from their lives. ImprovBoston is located at 40
Prospect, St, Cambridge, MA
Visit ImprovBoston.com for tickets. Tickets are 7 dollars, and 5
dollars for students.

Through work in the cable access medium since the year 2001, O’Toole
has found the technical skills, family-like-circle, and most
importantly, the voice, and vision, to create and co-create several
ongoing media projects. He creates video, and performs humorous
monologue on friend Lawrence Hollie’s “Random Acts.” Something of a
throwback to MTV’s “Liquid Television,” this avant-garde variety
program invites other far-out artists to take the proverbial ball and
run with it, and continues to make people turn their heads, and
occasionally, scratch their heads.

2009 also saw O’Toole on-camera for the experimental creation of a TV
series called “Solipsist’s Dispatch.” This TV show, focuses on
O’Toole’s monologue and witty repartee exclusively. “Dispatch” is
something of the video version of a project O’Toole has been sharing
with receptive internet audiences since 2006; an audio diary in
podcast form, called “The Mike-OCast.” This features “Stories, rants,
jokey stuff, conversations with friends, and updates on what’s kicking
up in my camp, project-wise.”

With this, taking the stage, before a live audience, “finally makes
sense to really push for.” After honing his craft in by training in
improvisational comedy last year, and a handful of public speaking
under his belt, through his other works, and at a Cambridge art
gallery, O’Toole has been selected to perform at ImprovBoston’s
storytelling show, “A Night of Oral (Tradition)” on January 7th. “I’ve
been inspired by so much, and want to share and inspire other folks.
Listening and watching guys like George Carlin, Henry Rollins and
Spalding Grey, I always knew I wanted to take a swing at the “one man,
one mic” thing. I may tell a story regarding show-biz stuff, like the
nonsense being in flicks like “My Best Friend’s Girl” with Dane Cook,
or traveling to PA to be an extra in my favorite filmmaker Kevin
Smith’s movie “Zack and Miri,” or hit on more serious stuff, like my
feelings on the suicides that have happened in my hometown. Rant “N”
rave is my “Rock and roll,” so we shall see. Whatever medium I’m
working in, it’s always been about communicating to, and with, you;
giving my guts, as it were. There is this thing, and I’ve got to
exorcise it. With that, I hope others can get something from it. Thus,
I’m extremely excited about ImprovBoston and A Night of Oral, because
it’s as direct as it gets; a face-off with hungry eyes and waiting
ears.” Further speaking dates are to follow. The written word is also
close to O’Toole’s heart; a handmade book of poems, journal entries
and essays is in the works for a 2010 release, in addition to an audio
recording of collected writings.

On the cable access side, O’Toole is in pre-production on the helming
of a new local television program called “Raconteurionist,” which will
focus on young adults, with all ages welcome, telling their own
personal stories and expressing thoughts, with an overall emphasis on
the value of shared communication and the spoken word. With this,
after being contacted by Brookline Access Television, O’Toole is in
talks to share the value of his abstinence from alcohol and drug use,
in a series of specials focusing on substance abuse on the channel. As
an advocate of the “Straight Edge” movement, O’Toole is part of a mass
of countless other young people, who, through the punk rock music
subculture, have found unity in the decision to remain poison free “in
order to be a more effective revolutionary.”

With the O’Toole/Hollie artistic powerhouse in toe, freelance video
work with the Boston/Ireland band Midatlantic (formerly The Bleedin’
Bleedins) has proved beneficial for both creative troupes. The music
video created for the band’s song “Shine” saw major TV play in Ireland
at the end of ‘09. While releasing their album “The Longest Silence,”
O’Toole and Hollie shot and cut the band’s stop in at WAAF radio’s Bay
State Rock program, to both fan and show crew acclaim. Another
highlight from this collaboration has been the duo’s production of
live performance videos from Midatlantic opening for famed
Boston-originating band Letters To Cleo’s 2008 hometown reunion show
at The Paradise Rock Club. Former Midatlantic drummer and producer
Dave Franz calls the duo “A video-making hurricane.”

O’Toole is known to Boston area audiences and press as co-founder,
with fellow alternative video producer Lawrence Hollie, and lead
emcee, with Boston radio personality and community television legend
Quincy Brisco, of “Experimentally Ill”; a series of indie showcases
spotlighting eclectic low budget films, animation, music videos and
esoteric video art, which have taken place at Brookline’s historic
Coolidge Corner Theatre to enthusiastic acclaim. A new “Experimentally
ILL” is being planned for 2010, with The Somerville Theatre as a
venue, and multiple show times.

Hollie and O’Toole have also lent their support to fellow “multi-media
misfit” Allston filmmaker, graphic artist and author D.L. Polonsky, in
booking and publicizing his “Nonviolent Anarchy Film Festival.” The
“career retrospective” featured films made from childhood, to the
present, including work featuring O’Toole’s turn as an actor. The fest
toured from The Coolidge, to Providence, RI’s Cable Car Cinema, and
finally, on Mike Phelan O’Toole’s 23rd birthday, to Provincetown, MA’s
Art House Theatre. Emphasizing with Polonsky’s artistic bent, and
inspired by his visionary perseverance, O’Toole was onstage, by
Polonsky’s side, not as the director’s actor, by as a friend, opening
up the shows with caustic, witty banter, and leading question and
answer sessions with receptive attendees post-films.

A burgeoning indie film actor, O’Toole will star, with breakout
charactor actor Andy Macbain, and Lawrence Hollie, in D.L. Polonsky’s
quirky and insightful “12:54, Half A Dozen Of The Other.” O’Toole
plays a brilliant young inventor, forced to rethink his values, in
the midst of the current recession. The film is slated for local
theatrical release later this year.

“It’s all a love letter to small artists with big visions, and voices.
This has become a lineage;
we are different folks, finding each other through all this art.
The live energy and feedback of an audience always raises the stakes, of course.
I’ll see you in 2010!”

Mike Phelan O’Toole and Lawrence Hollie have been advocates of
collaborative media, and purveyors of unique video art, as producers/
hosts of the cable access show “Random Acts,” for eight years. They
are recipients of separate “Most Innovative” awards from The Alliance
For Community Media for their creative productions.


Visit the following links for some previous coverage on past
shows and events.



A brief writeup was also in the Boston Phoenix September 11th, 2008
issue – Arts + Music + Events, pg. 3