Back in the 80s and 90s, way before the internet was helping break new artists into the mainstream, there was the radio DJ. The power of the radio DJ in the music world was immeasurable and unmatched, and that is no more indicative than in the story of Marco Collins. Collins was an integral part in breaking the revolutionary grunge movement in the early 1990s. On his Seattle radio station, he was the first person to play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the radio, helping break Nirvana, and arguably starting the biggest trend in music in the last 25 years. Having broken bands such as Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and countless other grunge and alternative bands in his heyday, Marco Collins became a hero and a celebrity of the grunge era. However, with this praise and notoriety he received came a lot of the negative effects of fame.
The Glamour & the Squalor takes an incredibly intimate and unique look at Collins’ life and career, as well as the music landscape in the 1990s. The intense passion that Marco had for the world of music and finding new bands was absolutely amazing, and an extremely important part of that era of music. The reverence that so many artists have for him is really indicative of the impact he had on so many artists. Collins has always been working incredibly hard to be right on the ground floor of whatever the next big thing in music. There aren’t many people that know the music world better than him; when he talks, everyone better listen. Whether it be Weezer, Death Cab for Cutie, The Chemical Brothers, or numerous other groups, his track record of knowing what’s up more than speaks for itself. However, it quickly becomes apparent music has been his sanctuary from other parts of his life for a long time. The film paints a very sad picture of the life he’s lived as a homosexual man, and the pain, ridicule and discrimination. These struggles in his life led to vices and addictions in his life, such as alcoholism and cocaine addiction. This film displays the ups and downs of his life in such an artistic and intimate way that it gives you the realization that is imperative to have for this movie: Marco Collins is a human being. He is a human being with issues just like everyone else has, and this film perfectly gives you the empathy to feel for him and everything that he’s gone through.
This film is absolute perfection, plain and simple. It has something for everyone, not just music lovers. This film excellently captures the life of a human being who has lived an incredible life. Literally every aspect of this film is executed perfectly. I completely recommend this film to anyone and everyone who wants to see something amazing. It’ll amaze you, make you laugh, make you cry, and give you hope. This film could act as an inspiration for so many people. Go see it.
If you’re interested in seeing The Glamour & The Squalor, there are two more showings of it at the Milwaukee Film Festival. It will be showing at the Avalon Theater at 9:15 p.m. on Friday, Oct 2, and at the Oriental Theater at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, Oct 4.