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Portland, Oregon's David Walker is a self-made movie maven. Bypassing the usual route to film scholarship, thirty-eight-year-old Walker became a professional writer by publishing a magazine dedicated to his own cinematic obsessions: the mighty, blaxploitation-centric BadAzz MoFo.

The slick, visually arresting, and always engaging publication specialized in reviews of vintage urban epics along the lines of Coonskin (1975), Car Wash (1976), and Mother, Jugs & Speed (1976), as well as sexually explicit comics with a blaxploitation vibe and scorching expos?on the order of "The Historic Rise and Dramatic Fall of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids."

The wit, passion, and voluminous knowledge displayed by Walker in the pages of BadAzz MoFo ultimately scored the publisher a gig as chief film critic at Oregon's premiere alternative weekly, Willamette Week, where he served for six years before recently resigning to pursue his own projects.

First up is bringing the print version of BadAzz MoFo (a.k.a. BAMF) out from hiatus. Walker also recently completed writing and directing a short film titled Black Santa's Revenge and is currently talking to Troma Films about potential collaborations.

Walker took time to talk with MrSkin.com about skinema, both contemporary and retro.

How did you come up with the idea for BadAzz MoFo?

Back around 1994, I decided to make a documentary about blaxploitation to explain the rich history surrounding both the films and its era. There was a time when I was watching about three [blaxploitation films] a day, and I started writing these crazy notes to myself. Those notes became the first reviews for my magazine.

I had spent a year working on the documentary, but it was going nowhere. And yet there was this sort of 'zine revolution going on. I was already reading stuff like Giant Robot, Psychotronic-it all just made sense to me-I realized I should start my own publication with these insane notes. Between the guys at Kinko's and my best friend, Von, I managed to get the first three issues of BAMF published for no money.

I sent those issues in digest-size to other publications that reviewed 'zines, and it became something of a hit in that world. I moved up to a full-size publication, and that really took off. I was in stores all over the world, but I sucked as a businessman. I couldn't sell ads to save my life. My main distributor went bankrupt owing me more than $4000, so I decided to get out before I lost more.

It's funny how a magazine devoted to pimps and prostitutes got your foot in the door at Willamette Week, a respectable, Pulitzer Prize-winning publication.

Yeah, it really did launch my career. Before BAMF I tried to land writing gigs, but no one took me seriously. The writing was too raw and straight from the heart. Now that I look back I think it all sucks ass, but people noticed it. Eventually I had met Caryn, the arts and culture editor. We sat down over dinner, and she offered me the job as screen editor.

The last BadAzz MoFo digest you released in the spring was pretty comprehensive. Do you ever run out of things to write about for future issues?

There's always some sort of new addition in the works. I have so much stuff I've written over the years-forget about magazines-I could fill books. It all comes down to money and time. I could post the stuff on the Internet, but I believe in the art of reading on the toilet, which the Internet is killing. I write for people who like to read while sitting on the crapper.

Who would you say is the queen of blaxploitation?

During the heyday, there was no woman finer than Pam Grier. (Picture: ) I won't lie. I sprouted wood over her many times in my youth. Foxy Brown (Picture: ) is the movie that really does it for me. Beyond her sex appeal, Pam was part of an era that really changed the way black women were portrayed on screen.

Female black sex symbols did not exist in Hollywood, Dorothy Dandridge being the exception. I'm not getting into issues of sexism and objectification, because Pam Grier liberated black women from the confines of the maid and the mammy roles they were formerly trapped in.

What other actresses are you fond of from that era?

Jeannie Bell (Picture: ) is fine as hell. T.N.T. Jackson (Picture: ) may have been a terrible movie, but she takes her clothes off. I swear I would poke one of my eyes out with her nipples. She has this scene where she is doing this kung fu in nothing but panties.

Brenda Sykes (Picture: ) also did it for me. I like Tamara Dobson in Cleopatra Jones, but she never got me horny. I also like Gloria Hendry, (Picture: ) but something about the fact that she double-crossed James Bond in Live and Let Die turns me off.

I met Rosanne Katon (Picture: ) years ago. She's so nice, I actually felt guilty about getting a boner from her pictures in Playboy. Give me a woman that looks like Katon, with a decent amount of intelligence and good hygiene, and I will marry her.

What about the sisters today?

There are no black actresses holding it down today like back in the '70s. In all fairness, there's no actor either. Let's face it: Will Smith is not Jim Brown. That said, blaxploitation isn't dead; it's just taken on a new look. There are a ton of direct-to-video "urban" action films, most of them starring rappers, and those are totally blaxploitation. We just call them something else.

Has your readership always appreciated your critiques?

Hell no. I got into it recently with some chick on the Internet. She was defending Boyz N the Hood (Picture: ) as some work of genius. A lot of people think that. I will concede that it is good, but it's nothing more than a rip-off of the 1975 film Cooley High. [Director] John Singleton steals nearly every great moment from that movie.

The only difference is that Garrett Morris starred as the caring teacher, and Singleton replaced him with a caring father, which was pretty original, because most black films didn't have strong father figures. Everything else came out of Cooley High, which, in turn, borrowed from American Graffiti. So fuck Singleton. Everything else he's made has sucked.

Tell us about Black Santa's Revenge.

It's a short film, but I call it my mini-epic. That's because most shorts are either student projects or art farty bullshit that makes you scratch your head and go "What the fuck was that?"

Black Santa's Revenge is straight-up exploitation, based on a short comic book I wrote and published in an issue of BadAzz a few years ago. It's complete with gratuitous nudity, senseless violence, a ton of profanity, but condensed into like twenty-five minutes. You don't have to fast-forward through the boring expository to get to the good stuff. All I did was pack the film with good stuff.

I got my main man Ken Foree to star in it. This is the best thing he's done. It's going to blow people away. By summertime, the film will make the festivals and the comic-book conventions, and there will be a DVD release to follow.

What are you developing with Troma?

Let's just hope it goes through. It's called Damaged Goods, an un-romantic comedy based on all the fucked-up relationships I've had over the years. People who see the movie will either laugh their asses off or get brutally offended. Or both.

What else can we expect from you in the near future?

Everything is up in the air. I have a few screenplays I'm messing with. A novel and a comic-book series too. I can write until I'm blue in the face, but I need to start selling some of this shit. People can keep up with what I'm doing by going to my MySpace page or BadAzzMofo.com. I have a ton of back issues just waiting to be purchased. Other than that, I'm just going to keep on keeping on.

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