Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
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!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
*No offence intended toward those attending ComicCon or any actual circus freaks.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
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.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
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.
SPOILER ALERT OVER
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:
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
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:
I'm done for today. If you haven't already done so, please rate my screenplay...
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.
(a regular goofy post to follow, later... )
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Zombies of Mass Destruction:
Silent Night, Zombie Night:
Monday, July 20, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Where the Wild Things Are
And here are some links to a few more whose embedding has been disabled:
Hope to see you there, sitting in the dark with me.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
I'm not posting more than these few sentences today. Hope your weather is as gorgoeous as it is here!
Friday, July 17, 2009
Transcendental Vampire (get it Dental?):
And the one that started it all... Tight Squeeze:
I'm not done; I'll be back later for a regular post.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
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:
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?
WTF?!?!? Update: More insanely silly Jackodolia here.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
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!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
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.