Friday, July 31, 2009

It's Official

In the mail today, I received the Kelsey Theatre's 2009-2010 Season brochure. Each year, the Kelsey's General Manager comes up with a theme for the season, based on the shows each various company will be presenting there (which honestly, is sometimes a stretch). Though this year, I think she hit the nail on the head, if you'll forgive me the cliche (and I know you will). Next season's theme is "Hooray for Hollywood," and it features shows that have gone on to become movies, or vice-versa.

The 8th Annual James Tolin Memorial Fundraiser show is listed, and therefore official. I may have mentioned it before, but next year's benefit show (I still haven't recovered from this year's) will be Del Shore's outrageous 1996 "Black Comedy About White Trash," Sordid Lives. For those unfamiliar, the story centers around a small-town family in Winters, TX who are gathering for the funeral of oldest sister, Peggy, who died after hitting her head on the sink because she had tripped over her lover's wooden legs on the way to the motel bathroom.

Shores directed the film version of his play, using much of the original cast, including the always awesome Beth Grant (one of JA's favorites, too) and the amazing Bonnie Bedelia, along with the underrated and very funny Delta Burke. Not to mention "Will and Grace" regular Leslie Jordan, Beau Bridges and Sandy Olsson herself, Ms. Olivia Newton-John. Here's the trailer:

The movie (like so many before) was then adapted into a short-lived series on Logo. It also featured Grant, Bedelia, Jordan and Newton-John. They were joined by Golden Girl Rue McClanahan and comedienne Caroline Rhea. It's exactly the kind of show that the JTMF is all about -outrageous, hilarious and LGBT-themed. I'll be directing again and already have much of the actors I want in my cast in mind (if you're reading this, you know who you are).
More, very anon.
PS - About 12 hours to new ink!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Times, They Are Changin'

Can you find your Uncle Prospero in this picture? The year was (yikes!) 1977. The show was Godspell at Woodrow Wilson High School in Levittown, PA. I was a a 15 year-old sophomore and already knew that the Theatre was going to be a permanent part of the rest of my life. The director was the brilliant Louis Volpe (the first adult to tell me upon graduation that being gay wasn't such a terrible thing). My then best friend, Todd Hartman, can be seen at the top of the pyramid, wearing the beret and pink shirt.

Thanks to Facebook, I've recently begun to reconnect with friends from those days. To be honest, most of the folks who've remained true friends were those I met in college and after - my darling Janet; my rock, K and my Dear D. A few others. Some of my high school classmates are long gone (the fellow in the yellow hardhat was gunned down in a senseless bar fight not too long after this picture was taken). Others were taken wherever the fates took them. I think of them more and more these days, especially now that my 30th HS reunion is coming up (yikes again!).

I'm not exactly sure what I intended to say with this post. I think time has been kind to me. I certainly like myself a lot more now, than I did then. And I certainly appreciate the difference that life experience has made in my artistic sensibilities. I've travelled the country since then, living in many places and doing theatre for many companies. I've acted, directed and designed for more shows than I care to remember (including a production of Godspell in which I played Jesus about fifteen years later). But there is something about this particular production that will always occupy a special place in my heart. Hell - maybe I'm just getting old.

By the way - In case you haven't guessed, I'm the one in the straw hat, all the way in the right corner of the photo. Damn, I was cute!

Moe, anon.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

ComicCon Nonsense

As much as I think I would love to someday attend the San Diego ComicCon, I am brought back to Earth by clips like the one below, and am reminded of the one fan convention my sister and I attended in New York in the 80's. It was the Fangoria Horror Convention, and while we were certainly entertained and enthralled to meet some of our horror icons (make-up FX genius Tom Savini and actor Michael Berryman among them), we were truly dismayed by the number of real weirdos in attendance.

Sci-Fi blog i09 posted this clip of the ComicCon fan costume contest "Project Geek Runway." As much as I love Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror movies, I just don't see myself spending the time, energy and money that these folks spend for a few minutes of glory in front of their fellow geeks.

That's not to say that everyone in attendance is a geek or a whacko (though Johnny Depp did reportedly attend, dressed as a squirrel). And I would love the chance to sit in on some of the discussion panels, if only to get a sneak peek at the many upcoming movies and TV shows that get previewed there. But I am happy to sit at my desk and watch from afar, without having to put up with some nerd in a lame Batman costume shoving his way past me to get to the DC Comics booth. Instead, I get to watch the "Heroes" Season 4 trailer from the comfort of my home all while avoiding the expense of traveling to CA and putting up with a bunch of freaks.*

*No offence intended toward those attending ComicCon or any actual circus freaks.

More, anon.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Stupidest Movie of the Year

When I was a kid, G.I. Joe was a 12" tall, fully posable doll with flocked hair and "Kung-Fu" grip. He came with all kinds of accessories like Jeeps and rifles and was even sold in "Adventure Packs" Joe was big enough to date Barbie (though in my house, he was more likely to dump her for Ken, much to my younger sister's bewilderment). Joe's enemies were whoever the U.S. was at war with at the time. And if we weren't at war, he was out digging up mummies and rescuing people from dangerous situations.
Nowadays, G.I. Joe is a tiny, 3" piece of plastic. He's less posable and has even more accessories. They even have different names. G.I. Joe is no longer a character, but a group of mercenaries fighting an evil, Bond-like organization called "C.O.B.R.A." (an acronym which I am sure stands for something, though I have no idea what).
In two weeks, the geniuses who run Hollywood are releasing the latest in toy-inspired movies: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. I just caught the latest trailer over at i09 and I have to ask, does anyone else think this is going to be the dumbest big-budget movie ever? Bad enough we now have two Transformers movies. Now this drek:
What saddens me most is that the target audience for this movie (boys 14 to 21) will eat it up and it will make gazillions of dollars, thereby ensuring an inevitable and even stupider sequel. Gah! No wonder I haven't been to the movies much this summer.
More, anon.

Monday, July 27, 2009


There's a whole lot of buzz at ComicCon over Disney's sequel to their 1982 computer-game movie Tron, Tron Legacy.

Here's the thing: What I most remember about Tron was that seeing it in a theatre gave me a headache. Honestly. I don't know if it was the effects, the plot or the acting. I just know that I had a horrible headache and I was actually nauseous for several hours afterwards.

As with most of Disney's live-action movies, Tron Legacy will be in digital 3-D, which I can only imagine will serve to heighten the headache-nausea factor. Add that to an implausibly stupid plot and you have one puke-tastic movie.

Now I know there are many fans of the original movie out there. And I have seen it several times on TV without experiencing the same effects. But I can't help but wonder if the sequel will induce the same reaction as the original did, 27 years ago (Oh God - I am really showing my age, aren't I?).

In any event, this teaser trailer for the new movie was just released. I'll leave you to form your own opinions. And Tron lovers, please don't inundate me with hate mail - I just calls 'em as I sees as I sees 'em. Here's' the trailer (via):

In other news, from the London Daily Mail comes this bizarre and rather sad tid-bit about Michael Jackson's nose. Is it me, or have we become way too obsessed with celebrities and their all-too-human frailties? I think if we all spent more time thinking about our own lives and how we impact the lives of others, we wouldn't care about whether Jacko had a prosthetic nose or how many African orphans Angelina and Madonna adopt.

More, anon.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Horrors Yet to Come

I'm never afraid to admit that I love a good horror movie. Sadly, truly good horror movies are few and far between. And while Sam Raimi's brilliant and terrifying Drag Me to Hell didn't perform at the box office as well as it deserved to, I'll still be plunking down my hard-earned cash in the hope that some one else has made a horror movie that won't bore me to tears; make me laugh at its inanity or insult my intelligence with a bad script, bad acting and even worse special effects.

To a jaded horror fan like myself, a horror movie has to be particularly good to get to me. The aforementioned Drag Me to Hell is one of the few recent horror movies that actually managed to scare me. Neil Marshall's claustrophobic 2005 movie The Descent managed to provide a jolt or two. And the original Saw, while not actually scary, was able to shock and surprise me with a twist ending I honestly didn't see coming.

So, what's in store for Horror fans in the months ahead? Below is a brief sampling of what I can only hope will better than most of the schlock that passes for horror these days. In no particular order (and with minimal comments), here are a few that just might be worth checking out:

The underrated Brittany Murphy and indie darling Thora Birch star in this film about a screenwriter who secludes herself in an old mansion in order to meet her next deadline:

Val Kilmer stars as a research scientist investigating the effects of global warming in the Arctic. What they find, is a prehistoric parasite which may signal the end of mankind:

Based on a Korean horror film, Jesse Bradford (Swimfan) stars in this psychological thriller about an ex-con who moves into his recently deceased mother's apartment, only to find some weird stuff happening there:

This Scottish indie take on the zombie genre certainly looks interesting:

Shauna Macdonald returns as Sarah, the only survivor (depending on which version you saw) of Neil Marshall's 2005 terrific underground cannibal flick. Forced to return to the hellish caves in search of the rest of her missing spelunking pals, Sarah accompanies a rescue team unprepared for what awaits them below:

On one of the worst dates of my life, I saw the first Final Destination movie. I tried to ignore the jackass jocks in the audience who made fun of my date (admittedly, not someone I would normally be seen with), but the movie was so stupid, I could only think about how much I wanted to leave. The franchise has only gotten sillier, since. Now comes the fourth (and hopefully last) in the series, The Final Destination. This time, Death comes stalking in 3D:

OK - so what movies (Horror or otherwise) are you looking forward to seeing in what's left of 2009? I'm dying to know. You know I love to hear from you, so leave me a comment.

More, anon.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

TV Review: "Torchwood: Children of Earth"

I just finished watching all five episodes of the BBC mini-series "Torchwood: Children of Earth" and while I thought it included some of the best ensemble acting ever and featured some of the most heart-wrenchingly human writing in the history of Science Fiction television, I am officially pissed off at series creator Russell T. Davies.

I've talked a little about "Torchwood" before. I love its humor and freshness. I love its frank sexuality, where no one is limited by gender, race or even age (and sometimes even terrestrialism). A spin-off the BBC's long-lived and much-loved "Doctor Who" (created in the 60's and revived by Davies in 2005), "Torchwood" is geared toward adults, while still maintaining the wow-factor geekiness upon which Sci-Fi fans of all ages thrive.

This year, rather than the usual 13 episode season, "Torchwood" ran as a 5 night miniseries, "Children of the Earth." I DVR'd them all and watched them today as part of my own private marathon.

The premise, in a nutshell: At 8;40 GMT, every child on Earth stops and stands or sits still, staring blankly without acknowledging any stimuli at all. Then suddenly, it's over and they go back to being themselves. But at 10:30, they all stop again, only this time speaking in unison: "We. We are. We are coming." Stunned and frightened, people demand answers.

Captain Jack Harkness and the remaining members of his Torchwood team (Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones) are trying to piece together what's happening when their facility is compromised and destroyed, with the aim of killing all of them. Now fugitives on the run, the three (and Gwen's devoted husband, Rhys) must find out who wants them dead, while trying to keep an alien race from simply taking 10% of the world's children to another world for less-than-noble reasons. The subsequent story involves political whitewashing; familial dysfunction; espionage; betrayal and redemption; love; loss and the indomitable Human Spirit.

While the plots of the first two seasons (mostly the first) may have bordered on silly and sometimes seemed soap-opera-ish, "Children of Earth" plays more like a hard-line Sci-Fi drama, complete with political criticism and a strong condemnation of Big-Brother style government. Like all great drama, "Children of Earth" isn't afraid to take a look at the ugly side of the Human Condition. Expertly acted by John Barrowman; Eve Myles; Gareth David-Lloyd and Kai Owen, COE takes on parents' worst fears, lovers' worst pain and children's worst nightmares, surrounds them with questions no one should ever have to ask and delivers the only conclusion it can, no matter how much it may pain both the characters or the audience. This isn't your father's "Doctor Who," kids.


The following paragraph, while not divulging specific information, may contain references which those who have not yet watched the miniseries may not want to read.

I have followed "Torchwood" from the beginning and find myself thoroughly invested in the show, so I must admit that I hope "Children of Earth" isn't its end. I imagine it will come back next year, though (like "Desperate Housewives") I think it will pick up again several years in the future. Two and a half seasons are most definitely NOT enough, Mr. Davies, and the fans demand (and deserve) more. If they're smart, they'll do a feature film leading up to the season.


As always with "Torchwood," I laughed, cried, got angry and felt relief, then cried some more. Superb writing, excellent acting and better-than-average SFX continue to help make "Torchwood" one of the best Sci-Fi programs ever. **** (Four out of For Stars).

Here's the Official Trailer:

More, anon.


Friday, July 24, 2009

A Hodgepodge of Emotion

This is a weird weekend coming up for yours truly. Last weekend was my birthday. Next weekday, my dear D and I are getting our new ink. This weekend, I have nothing planned. I may see a movie, though to be honest, not living in NYC or LA anymore, there are very few movies at the local multiplex that have me chomping at the bit right now. There are plenty coming up, but right now... meh.

So, today I surfed and surfed for stuff to talk about. Of course, ComicCon is going on 3000 miles away, so there's that. The good folks at i09 have posted this trailer for the new Denzel Washington post-apocalyptic tale, The Book of Eli:

The folks at i09 said it looks like "I Am Legend done right." To me it looks more like The Road Warrior meets The Road via Virtuosity. I'll reserve my full opinion until I actually see the movie, though it certainly has a promising cast.
Then, JA over at MyNewPlaidPants had to go and post these clips from the late, great "Pushing Daisies," featuring the ever-so-talented and endearingly adorable Kristen Chenowith singing torch songs about unrequited love - the very topic which has had me blue of late. Needless to say, Ms. C's versions of both these songs are hilarious, touching and devastating all at once:

Hopelessly Devoted

Eternal Flame

And finally, on an optimistically upbeat note, here is the latest music video from Playing for Change, an organization in whose cause I firmly believe:

Mystery Train

That's a whole lotta stuff... Now please excuse me while I go cry myself to sleep...
More, anon.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Random Funny Video

I stumbled upon this today while surfing the 'net and just thought it was silly and fun. Enjoy.

More, anon.

Dinner with Friends

Not a lot to talk about tonight. I'm not at ComicCon (sigh) and haven't seen any movies lately. I'm saving "Torchwood" to watch as a marathon on Saturday, so I can't even talk about that.
But I did have a lovely reunion dinner with two friends from the production of "Love! Valour! Compassion!" in which I played Arthur 11 years ago. Good food (if you ever find yourself in Somerset, NJ, I highly recommend Sophie's Bistro for casual French dining), good wine and good company; a couple of laughs and a bit of nostalgia. Delicious!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Gayest Thing You'll See This Week (Movie Edition)

So, there's this movie coming out (you should excuse the pun) called The Big Gay Musical. It stars no one you've ever heard of and is probably guaranteed to send Republicans, Mormons, the Pope and members of the Westboro Baptist Church into fits of apoplexy. Below is the teaser trailer for the movie, featuring Village Voice columnist Michael Musto. As with many such projects, it could be hilarious, daring and racy or just plain stupid. I'll let you decide:

In only slightly less gayer movie news, here's a link to a teaser trailer for Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (via). I can only hope it's a Burton hit, rather than a Burton miss.

I'm done for today. If you haven't already done so, please rate my screenplay...

More, anon.


Rate My Screenplay

And give me a hand... My anti-war, zom-com screenplay Army of the Dead has recently moved into the Top 5 Highest ranked scripts on ScriptBuddy. Good, but obviously I want more (don't we all?).

If you create a FREE account with them, you can rate the script and help move it up to #1 (highest-rated scripts get the most reads from industry users).

ScriptBuddy is a on-line screenwriting software service which allows users to rate each others' works and lets industry professionals know about new screenplays. They don't send emails, they don't sell their subscriber list and they will never share your info with anyone (unless you post a screenplay, of course). I've been using the service for three years now and love it.

Even if you don't want to read it, you can still rate it (but you just might get a laugh or two out of it).

I thank you in advance for your time and kindness.

More, anon.

(a regular goofy post to follow, later... )

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


As regular readers must know by now, I have an... um... okay... obsession... with zombies. And this still from the latest by zombie master, George A. Romero's now officially titled next film Survival of the Dead (via) proves that zombies are here to stay. In fact, there are probably dozens of zombie movies slated to screen in 2009, alone. Indeed, I've even written my own zombie movie screenplay (currently listed as #5 in the Top 5 Screenplays on - help a brother out and rate it so it sells).
Anyway, there are lots of zombie movies slated for release this year. Some I've posted about before; others are new to me. All of them look like loads of fun for horror fans.
So, in no particular order, below you will find the trailers for the zombie movies to which I am most looking forward to seeing in the coming months (some of them are even gay).
Just a warning, many of these trailers contain disturbing images that are not appropriate for younger viewers or those of a sensitive nature.

Zombies of Mass Destruction:

Dead Snow:


Silent Night, Zombie Night:

And finally, the big budget Zom-Com which combines two of my favorite things (Zombies and Theme Parks) in one film, Zombieland:

So, if you love me as much I love ya'll, please visit and rate my screenplay. I can't promise anyone a role, but I can promise my undying love and thanks.
More, anon.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Gayest Thing(s) You'll See This Week

Okay - it's been a while since I've posted a "Gayest Thing" item. So, here we have two video clips that may or may not qualify. I'll let you decide.

First, I'm very happy to report that "Torchwood," the BBC's oh-so-gay-friendly Sci-Fi series is finally back with a 5 episode miniseries entitled "Children of Earth." Who cares what the plot is. Openly gay American actor John Barrowman stars as Captain Jack Harkness, an immortal time-traveller who heads up a secret British organization dedicated to saving England (and the world) from creatures, entities and beings who manage to slip through a rift in the time-space continuum which just happens to be located in Wales. Harkness is sort of an omni-sexual being whose past, present and future are all intertwined. Recently, Jack and Torchwood's "go-to" guy Ianto (pronounced "Yanto"), played by Gareth David-Lloyd, have become full-on lovers in the much-delayed and much-anticipated season 3 mini-series "Children of Earth"
Original "Queer as Folk" creator and "Doctor Who" rejuvenator, Russell Davies spun the show off from "Doctor Who" and in doing so, created television's first gay-friendly Sci-Fi show (and introduced U.S. audiences to gorgeous Mark Harmon-ish actor, Barrowman). Original, funny, smart and sexy, "Torchwood" is most defintely one of my favorite Sci-Fi shows.
Below is the trailer for the season three miniseries:

And just because, here (via) is a new mash-up video of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Rick Astley's (go on - I dare you to tell me he isn't gay) "Never Gonna Give You Up." If this isn't gay, my name is Minnie Pearl!

More, anon.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Yesterday was my birthday, and I got lots of great movie-related stuff: book versions of "The Dark Knight: Year One" and "The Hellbound Heart" (both from my dear D); a gigantic Jack Skellington mug from my sister and a copy of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" from my sweet friend, Megan. But only my sister was wise enough to send me an AMC gift card. Honestly, I'm a cheap date. A movie, a couple of drinks and an Uno flatbread pizza - I'm yours.
And while the summer may be waning (it is mid-July, afterall), there are still tons of movies scheduled for release this year that have me very excited to spend several hours in a darkened cinema.
In no particular order, here they are (and forgive me if I've posted one or two before):





Where the Wild Things Are


Skeleton Crew


Case 39

And here are some links to a few more whose embedding has been disabled:

The Box


The Road

Hope to see you there, sitting in the dark with me.

More, anon.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

It's My Birthday and I'll Blog If I Want to

I'm going out tonight with friends in Center City (Philly) and will probably be home too late to post, so...

I'm not posting more than these few sentences today. Hope your weather is as gorgoeous as it is here!

More, anon.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Transcendental Vampires?

I know I have posted about VampireCon before. It seems the allure of eternal youth and sex without consequence is just too delicious for some people to ignore. This actually worries me.
Vampirism is the ultimate form of bodily fluid transmission. The "vampire" drinks your blood and thus consumes whatever viruses, bacteria and diseases which lurk there. Supposedly in return, the vampire imparts eternal youth and extraordinary powers to his/her victim.
In Anne Rice's "Vampire Chronicles," the 'gift' also imparts a sense of soulessness, doom and regret. Who the hell wants that?
Worst of all, there are real folks out there who can't seem to be able to seperate reality from fanstay, and fancy themselves as "real" vampires. They sleep in coffins, wear nothing but black and and sometimes actually consume human blood. I dated two guys who thought they were vampires, and while it was a little sexy at first, it turned creepy real fast (especially when one actually bit my thigh and drew blood - Yes, I immediatley got tested).
So why is this ancient mythos still so prominent amid modern scientfic proof that there really is no such thing? Well, there are folks out there who actually suffer from a mental disorder called Clinical Vampirism. Cinical vampires believe that by ingesting the blood of other humans, they are imbued with power, youth and eternal life. It also makes me so glad that I live in the real world where I know such things are impossible.
Still, "vampires" have carved a niche for themsleves in modern society, and are finally getting the convention they so rightly deserve. Here are four ads for the up-coming VampireCon in San Diego. I can only hope that when the pics from this convention are posted, I don't see anyone I know there.

Transcendental Vampire (get it Dental?):

Skin Deep:

Costume Party:

And the one that started it all... Tight Squeeze:

All the more reason to love Zombies. At least they have no passion for anything but flesh.

More, anon.

An Afternoon Quickie

Playing for Change has posted anew video on thier site, featuring Grandpa Eliott singing "God Bless America" at a ball game. It's a sweet, powerful version. Hope this works:

I'm not done; I'll be back later for a regular post.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Favorite Movie

Since this is the start of my long birthday weekend, I thought I'd talk about something I've never posted before - my favorite movie of all time, Bringing Up Baby. This 1938 Howard Hawks classic was a massive bomb when it was first released. Apparently, America wasn't quite ready for absurd comedy in 1938. Since then it has been recognized as one of Hawks' best films and an exemplar of the 30's "Screwball Comedies." These films often starred hot Hollywood stars and centered around improbable characters caught up in improbable situations. usually ending in romance.
For many years, I tried composing a list of my Top Ten Movies of All Time, an ultimately fultile task, as I love many different movies at any given time. I did, however, notice one constant. No matter how many lists I made, Bringing Up Baby was on every single one of them (albeit, in various positions), leading me to the obvious conclusion that it was my favorite movie.
Bringing Up Baby stars the incomparable Katherine Hepburn as Susan Vance, a zany Connecticut heiress smitten with archaeologist David Huxley (a very sexy Cary Grant). Despite the fact that David is engaged, Susan decides he is the man for her and pursues him with proto-feminist zeal. The poor befuddled sap that he is, David ends up following Susan to her aunt's Connecticut estate, where Susan's aunt's dog promptly steals the fossilized bone David needs to complete the skeleton of the dinosaur he is currently building for the museum for which he works. Much mayhem ensues:

Add to this madcap situation a Brazlian leopard named 'Baby;' a vicious leopard which has escaped from the circus; a daft psychiatrist; a looney big-game hunter; an over-zealous Police Chief and a rich dowager, and you have a near-perfect comedy. In one of the movie's funniest scenes, Susan has managed to get David's clothes off and left him with no choice but to wear a frilly peignor, prompting Grant to utter one of Queer Cinema's most infamous and ironic lines: "I've gone gay, all of a sudden!"

Only later, as almost everyone has been arrested (long story) or at least gathered at the local police station, do they realize there are actually two leopards in play:

Baby features hilarious performances from character actors Charles Ruggles, Barry Fitzgerald and May Robson along with its outrageous plot, snappy dialogue, ridiculous slapstick and then state-of-the-art special effects. It also nearly ruined Hepburn's career.
As I still try to convince my dear D that Rocky is NOT the best movie ever, I must admit that Bringing Up Baby is not, as well (I won't even go there - for now). But it's my favorite, and while it isn't perect by any means, it always manages to make me laugh, no matter how many times I've seen it.
More from the soon-to-be Birthday Boy, anon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Some days I struggle to come up with something to write about. Other days, things fall right into my lap in a a perfect alignment of topic. Today was such a day. And so today's perfect alignment topic has to be: WTF?!?!?

Above is a picture of a special high-protein pizza made in a pizza shop in Okinawa. Look closely. Hmm... crust, tomato, spiders, cheese, basil... whoa... WTF?!?!? SPIDERS?!?!? (Wait... give me a few seconds to get that "I-just-walked-into-a-web" feeling off my skin... BRB). There, that's better. According to JapanProbe, the shop also makes a beetle pizza. WTF?!?!?

Okay... so I've recovered from a rather revolting subject there, right? Well, not quite. I don't know from what language the Asian characters are in this video, but what's being shot sure looks like something out a Japanese monster flick:

Seriously... WTF?!?!? I'm sure it's probably some sort of rare, exotic beetle or something. Certainly nothing to be alarmed about. Certainly nothing alien.

And speaking of alien creatures, the video below has been going around. I tried to embed it when I first saw it, but couldn't. A new version must have been put on YouTube since. It claims to be a sighting of a new species, but is clearly the work of Special Effects Artists for some Japanese movie or TV show.

WTF?!?!? That was cool.! I can't wait to see it in context. Anyone know what it's actually from? Next:

From The Museum of Hoaxes comes this exquisitely timely tale about a family in Brazil who found the miraculous face of Michael Jackson on the bottom of their greasy roasting pan. WTF?!?!? I've blogged about the phenomena of pareidolia before. It fascinates me, because I've always loved looking up at the clouds to see what beasties floated above our heads. It just kills me that people take this so seriously. I mean, come on. Really? Michael Jackson just happened to appear in your unwashed cookware? Puh-lease! I'd be more likely to believe an image of Farrah in a jar of hair gel (like how I snuck a half-naked Joe Namath in there?). Anyway, the clever folks at TMOH are referring to this image as "Jackodolia."

And last, but not least, a WTF?!?!? trailer for the upcoming South African Sci-Fi movie District 9. It gets it's WTF?!?!? rating not for weirdness, but for awesomeness, as in: "WTF!? This could be a really cool movie!" Enjoy:

WTF?!?!? did you do today?

More, anon.


WTF?!?!? Update: More insanely silly Jackodolia here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My Next Project

No, not with this company or cast (how cool would that be?), but with Shakespeare '70, the company for whom I directed The Skin of Our Teeth last fall. Still, some cool folks with whom I'll always be happy to play. I'll be playing Alfieri, Eddie Carbone's
lawyer and family friend. Alfieri is sort of the play's Greek Chorus, narrating events for the audience and commenting on situation.
I just got my script tonight. I haven't read the play in many years, and while I know it's a tragedy about family loyalty and social honor, I don't remember many of the details.
My rock, K, is directing, and my dear D and I get to appear in a play together for the first time. And Janet and I are in a play together again, a rare and happy thing (though we have yet to find the perfect vehicle for 'just us'). Nicole, my "Chicklet" and "Jane," is also on hand, as well as my friends Pat and Mike (both in "Skin..."), so it's a bit like old home week.
I haven't acted since February of '08 when I played Rick in Larry Shue's hilariously silly American farce, The Nerd, which also happened to be directed by K (though for a different company) and starred Pat. This role couldn't be more different (or the play, for that matter). So tonight most of the cast (we still don't have an Eddie) got together for a nosh, a drink or two and the handing out of scripts. I love being part of a hand-picked cast, and working with folks I know so well. You build a chemistry and an understanding of each others' processes and it all works toward something that only those who've been there can understand.
More details about this production of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge can be found here.
Ironically, I'm hoping a role in a somber piece like "View..." will help me over the last lingering vestiges of my recent depression. Digging my teeth into a character so unlike myself will be so therapeutic...
More, anon.

Monday, July 13, 2009

One, Two, Freddy's Light in the Shoes...

This is a picture of the Nike Freddy Kruger sneaker. Why anyone over the age of 14 would want this shoe, is beyond me. Of course, the shoe is only there because of this post's title. JA over at MyNewPlaidPants (welcome home, JA!) has posted this link to an article on StalePopcorn about the absurdist nature of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge. Mostly, the author talks about the movie's overtly homoerotic tones. I don't know why the author equates "gay' with "absurd," but most of the rest of his arguments are pretty solid. And the movie is pretty freakin' gay:

As I read the piece, I couldn't help but think of openly gay director David Decoteau and his basically soft core gay horror movies. And in particular, The Brotherhood series, which now number 6. Take a look at this trailer for Brotherhood II: Young Warlocks, and see if you can tell what I'm talking about:

Brotherhood V: Alumni

Or this one for Brotherhood V: Alumni

Honestly, does it get more overt than that? TwitMagazine recently had this to say about DeCoteau. Personally, I think his films are dreadful. Stupid, badly acted and cheaply made, DeCoteau's voyeuristic movies put the 'dirty' in "Dirty Old Man." Sadly, horror (almost more than any other genre) is subject to formulaic story-telling and stereotypical characters, which means that LGBT characters in mainstream horror films are simply faceless victims played for laughs, or sexual objects meant for the masturbatory fantasies of middle-aged gay geek virgins (with apologies to those middle-aged gay geek virgins out there).

Personally, I want a horror movie in which the gay characters are strong and effective heroes. A slasher movie where the "last girl" is the "last boy." What's that? Really? There is such a film? Oh yeah, right. Well, almost. While it's far from perfect, we need more gay horror films like Hellbent the 2004 gay slasher film starring Psycho Beach Party's Andrew Levitas. Hellbent writer/director Paul Etheredge tries just a bit too hard, and what could have been a truly effective thriller becomes something more akin to "Gay Sexploitation" than "Gay Horror." Here's the trailer (don't watch this one, Janet):

The problem is getting a still fiercely homophobic Hollywood to embrace the queer writers, directors and actors who provide them with their hand-kneaded, high-fiber, high-protein, whole-grain vegan bread and their non-dairy, low-cholesterol, amino-acid-enhanced 'butter-like' spread. The solution, as always, is through being heard. Squawk loud enough and long enough, and someone will listen.

Personally, I blame the Accountants. They've taken over the studios and turned them into sequel/re-boot/recycling machines, based on business models rather than creative content. Creative, original voices are stifled by whatever is projected to make the most money. That's not to say that Hollywood hasn't always been about the money. Of course it has. And sequels have been around since the invention of the story. Some (though only a handful) Hollywood remakes are even better than their originals. But look at this week's Top 10 money makers. Seriously? OK - I must admit that I HAVE TO see Bruno. But the rest of those films? With the possible exception of The Hangover (starring the insanely hot Bradley Cooper), I'd rather be at the dentist.

Alright. Now I'm ranting about movies. What the hell is wrong with me? I guess I just need to see more stuff like the amazing Moon. Go see it!

More, anon.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Review: "Moon"

In Moon director Duncan Jones has created something I thought was long-gone; a thought-provoking, intelligent and entertaining Science Fiction film that doesn't rely on lasers, ridiculously loud explosions and millions of dollars worth of CGI to keep your attention. Starring Sam Rockwell (pictured) and the voice of Kevin Spacey, Moon hearkens back to movies like Silent Running and Alien, where the real bad guys were (prophetically) the giant corporations which run the world.

Rockwell is Sam Bell, an astronaut and sole human crew-member of a mining outpost on the far side of the moon, which has been found to contain a safe, cheap and limitless energy supply, solving all of Earth's ecological problems. Sam's three-year contract is coming to a close, and he's looking forward to going home to see his wife, Tess (Dominique McElligott) and their daughter, Eve. He sends recorded messages back and forth, which can take several days to reach home, because the satellite is broken and live-feed communications are down. The only other crew member is Gerty (Spacey), a multi-unit robotic computer that can perform every task from haircuts and meal prep to maintenance and medical procedures. Think HAL meets MOTHER meets The Holo-Doctor meets Flo-Bee.

Sam is completely over it and counting the days until he goes home. He spends his time sending payloads home, watching TV from the 60's and working on an elaborate and faithful wood carved model of his hometown. He has just two weeks left, when a problem arises with one of the mining robots and he has to go out and fix it. But Sam's begun to hallucinate. He thinks he sees someone standing beside the giant machine and has an accident, causing a complete shutdown and the practical destruction of his pressurized rover. As debris continues to fall on the vehicle, Sam manages to get on his helmet before blacking out. He awakens in sickbay with no memory of the accident (nor scars, bruises or the bandage that covered his recently scalded hand), which makes us suspicious when Sam asks "How long have I been out?" and Gerty answers "Not long." When a wobbly Sam gets out of bed against orders, he catches Gerty in what sounds like an impossible live feed conversation with the Company. Tricking Gerty into letting him outside, Sam goes to investigate the stalled robot and comes across the crushed vehicle with a badly injured man (who looks an awful lot like him), inside. Needless to say, he finds this a bit of a mind f**k. No spoilers here, but the real story is not in the reason why there are two Sams, but how they deal with it and the ethical implications of their simultaneous existences. And how they eventually conspire to fight back.

Rockwell, who is always so good in supporting roles (The Green Mile; Galaxy Quest) is revelatory as two versions of the same man, with most of the same memories. At first, they are violent and angry with one another, but as they both realize what has been perpetrated against them, their commonality takes over and they form an odd, brother-like bond. While spare and relatively action-free, Jones manages to keep the pace moving along nicely. We get a good sense of Sam's loneliness early on and exposition is handled in concisely brief images, short recorded messages and snatches of dream sequences. Nathan Parker's screenplay (from a story by Jones) is smart, funny, weird and touching, all while raising questions about everything from bio-ethics and artificial intelligence to the effects of long-term isolation and the need to validate one's own existence. Heady stuff, indeed. But well-handled and beautifully acted. So far, my pick for the best movie of 2009. Moon is almost certain to land on my Top Ten list in December. **** (Four Stars)

Oh - and on a completely unrelated note, I have finally named my parakeet: Skye.

More, anon.