Mechanookie beginning March 8

February 22, 2012

On March 8th, Los Angeles based The Monolators will present a radio play via podcast entitled Mechanookie that was written by front man Eli Chartkoff.  The 6 episode series will feature new original music by the band and will culminate with a live performance on April 14th of both the play and the music at Hudson Backstage Theater in Hollywood. Tickets can be purchased for $10 at or

Before television killed the radio star, radio plays were a popular form of entertainment in the US during the 30’s and 40’s.  Since then most radio plays in the US have been throwbacks to the noir-detective style.  Mechanookie is not one of those.  Taking more of an influence from the UK where radio plays on BBC have found a modern audience (Mighty Boosh, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) Chartkoff developed Mechanookie to be a Science Fiction comedy show.

Mechanookie takes place in 3000 AD in the futuristic city of Magicopolis.  Two citizens, a dumpy robot named Mechanor and his famous roommate, The Magician, are in love with the same girl, an attractive cyborg named Robot Girl.  Robot Girl must choose between the two rivals for her affection all the while protecting her human sidekick, a teenager named School Girl, who is cursed with the possession of an extremely dangerous and desirable secret: The Secret of the Universe.

In 2004 Chartkoff, working as a freelance animator, was asked by a client to create a pair of 30 second “faux anime” cartoon clips that would become the basis for Mechanookie.  After having written a few radio plays while he was a student DJ at Cal Arts in the mid-late 90’s, he decided in 2009 to revisit the format with those clips as inspiration. “Mechanookie started off as a parody of Japanese ‘anime’ animation and there are still some elements to that style in the script.  But I quickly realized that the action scenes common to anime TV shows are difficult to pull off over the radio” explains Chartkoff.  Soon after, he and his wife (and band mate) Mary started watching melodrama romance movies and TV shows. “These films (Magnificent Obsession, Now, Voyager) and shows (Dynasty, Return to Eden) concentrated more on feelings, relationships and personal conflicts than things blowing up and were a lot funnier and more bizarre as well.  I figured out that they were a better fit for Mechanookie than anime was.  It took me a very long time to learn how to write dialogue that focused on character development instead of action, but after a lot of false starts, Mechanookie moved away from an anime parody to an homage of romantic melodrama”.

When it came time to produce music for the play, The Monolators decided that it would be a welcome change of pace to release new music via a radio play than the usual routine of putting out EP’s and LP’s so they decided that aside from the normal theme song and background music, they would end each episode with an original song…but sung by one of the characters.  The cast of Mechanookie includes many of Chartkoff’s college actor friends who starred in his early plays, like Gary Karp as the Magician, Jeanette Scherrer as Robot Girl and Ron Wingate as Mechanor.  It also features many friends from the LA music scene, including Heather Haywood (Summer Darling), Melissa Peckham (Hexham Heads), Geoff Geis (Pizza!), Tom Bogdon (Shirley Rolls), Jim Merson (Captain Ahab), Pauline Lay (Moses Campbell), Jim Saunders (The Hectors) and Ema Tuennermann (Ema And Her Lady Parts).

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One Response to Mechanookie beginning March 8

  1. Ripped from the headlines on February 23, 2012 at 11:03 am

    [...] News from Magicopolis—The Monolators’ radio play series begins on March [...]

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All 6 episodes performed at the Hudson Theatre.
Tickets will be held at Will Call.


With their unique blend of 50’s rock and 70’s punk and their increasingly talked about live performances; where drum sets are used as jumping platforms, food fights ensue and an occasional head bleeds, The Monolators have come a long way since their beginning in 2002 with Eli Chartkoff (vocals, guitar) his wife Mary (drums) and Ray Gurrola (guitar) releasing several EP’s and LP’s along the way including Don’t Dance, Silver Cities, Our Tears Have Wings and much more. They have been featured by LA Times and LA Weekly and have been played on KCRW, KXLU and the now defunct Indie103.1.