giant robots fighting god

Johnny Robo vs. The Morena Club: The People You Know
Peter Tatara - August 11, 2006

The Morena Club (1319 Morena Blvd / San Diego, CA 92110) is holding an event, The King of All Bots, on Saturday, August 19. The shindig, beginning at 9 PM, will be the first in a series attempting to infuse anime and gamer pop culture into the club scene. What's on tap for this very first unfashionably fashionable sock hop?

DJ Jive Alive will be spinning some records -- hip-hop, down tempo, rock, and probably random SNES MIDIs, local artists Ty Hunter and Lena Low will build and destroy an art installation I hear is a robot made out of Christmas lights, speakers, subwoofers, and assorted other audio equipment, and, of course, Peter Tatara's Johnny Robo will be playing on the club's plasma screens. What the fuck?

In 2004, during my last year in college, I got hung up on the idea of going out in a blaze of glory. Instead of stealing a case of fetal pigs from the science building, digging a Burmese tiger trap into the campus quad, or writing my name in excrement atop the dean's Mazda, I -- being a pussy and a nerd -- wanted to make a movie. And I did. With the help of some darling people who I took complete advantage of, I made a mini-series revolving around guys (and girls) in cardboard and aluminum foil beating the shit out of each other set to Euro trance called Johnny Robo.

Where can you watch Johnny Robo? Well, after plans of selling it on DVD went nowhere, I put the thing online, and from the ashes of its stillborn shiny discs has come a great digital phoenix. While no one wanted to pay for Johnny Robo, since being made downloadable for free (first at, then, and now, this display of amateurish cinematic stupidity's become a bona fide C-list World Wide Web superstar. While not even on the same astrolabe as the Star Wars Kid or Numa Numa Dance, Johnny Robo's, none the less, gathering a (small) cabal of radical fans the world over. Expanding from a showing on local TV in Ithaca, NY, the mini-series has been featured on geek websites including,, and (with the last calling Johnny Robo "the best US-based Tokusatsu show EVER!"), been invited to screen at a film festival in Brazil, and actually gotten the attention of dweebs in the country that invented giant robots -- Japan.

Don't believe me? Try the links below...

There's also some Dutch site whose link escapes me.

Further, some fan -- not me -- even added it to Wikipedia...

While that's all great, and I'm sure gives Tatara a boner every time he visits Wikipedia, what's it got to do with anything really? And why's this soliloquy subtitled The People You Know? Well, because Johnny Robo couldn't have been made with all the afore-mentioned darling people who I took complete advantage of, and also because Johnny Robo's continued "success" is largely the result of more great people I know. You know DJ Jive? Well, I do. If Johnny Demon ever gets off the ground, he's on the shortlist to do the music. Also, he went to school with me. And, for good measure, his website's Isn't this nepotism? Could be, but rather than getting yourself all upset over the grease that makes the world work, how about you get yourself over to The Morena Club for the first ever King of All Bots?

Tell Jive Alive that Peter Tatara sent ya.

Lastly, here's a nicely-oversized version of the King of All Bots flyer, suitable for framing on your wall, Xbox, fridge, or bedroom door.

About | Archive