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Jason Roe, DVD Don 

Thursday, Jan 8 2004
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Photo by Max S. Gerber

In a sparsely furnished Silver Lake bedroom sits a loaded 17-inch G4 Mac atop the small wood desk of Jason Roe. He’s a modern-day Richie Cunningham who looks like he would be more comfortable on a skateboard than co-editing and designing an edgy national DVD zine, Remote, which features music videos, video art and short documentaries.

The second issue, which hit independent-music-store racks in August, included music by Felix the House Cat, Fat Truckers and Soft Pink Truth and a documentary on Detroit’s ghetto tech (the first issue, which came out in October 2002, had a limited distribution). In its third edition, which will be celebrated with a release party at Cinespace on January 27, is a short film called The Nagel Incident about two girls who kidnap another woman to turn her into a Nagel print, as well as a Kevin Shields video by Sofia Coppola and music videos featuring Kid Koala and Pepe Deluxe. Remote caters to those between 18 and 35, says Roe, who are “culturally aware, interested in new technology, new mediums and savvy on how culture is marketed back to them.”

Alternative artistry is nothing new to the Maryland native, who owned two hardcore-punk record labels while still a teenager and went on to found the underground music and political magazines Kill the Robot and Strange Fruit while living in San Francisco. After a short stint in New York as a graphic designer, Roe made his way to L.A. and was soon promoting clubs such as Black Arts at the Echo and Booty Blaster at Catch One. With the help of New York–based DJ Kevin McHugh and London-based art director Ted Young-Ing, he started the free quarterly DVD zine (www.remoteondvd.com) — which Roe notes is already at a circulation of 10,000.

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“We aren’t about record-label marketing plans,” says Roe. “We are about showing things fresh and new. Whatever hasn’t been beat to death. If it is clichéd there is no point.”

Reach the writer at cpelisek@laweekly.com

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