Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Gayest Site You'll See This Week.

I got home rather late this evening and when I finally got around to checking my email, a very curious thing awaited me - a link to HomoShame, a sort of gay version of PeopleOfWalmart.

HomoShame is all about all the reasons straight people are afraid of us. And also why some of us hate each other.

As far as I am concerned, you can
let your freak flag fly, as long as you are not impinging on anyone else's right to fly his or her own freak flag. And don't go forcing your freak flag on those that don't want it. Accepting the differences is what it's important, not forcing the other unthinking, uncaring jerk into agreeing with your view. As my often (though unintentionally) sage mother would say "That's why they make chocolate and vanilla."

Still, there are those in the community who are ashamed of our more outrageous brothers and sisters. More insidious than the homophobia of the uninformed, is the LGBT community's own internal homophobia.

As many of you know, there are many sub-groups covered under the "LGBT" label, and I won't take up time going into them here (there are books and websites - go look it up). And from time to time, various factions of those sub-groups have been treated (to use Dustin Lance Black's phrase) "less-than" by members of their own community. I suppose the point of this rant is, we can't fight amongst ourselves if we want to convince "them"* that we have a right to be who we are and love who we love without judgment, hatred or violence.

Honestly, I didn't intend for this post to become what it did. I thought I was going to put up some pictures and talk about how outrageous we can be and how funny it is. But then I started reading the authors' captions and realized what was really going on. Yes, some of the stuff is very funny. But it's also very telling.

*No, I'm not saying the Pope is the devil - just that he's stupid, antiquated and out-of-touch with reality.

More, anon.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Geekiest Thing You'll See This Week

This is a picture of a young person named "Pickle." Or, at least, someone called "Pickle." As it happens, I actually went to high school (and performed on stage) with a kid who was nick-named "Pickle."
The "Pickle" in this picture is not my high school friend. I have no idea where either of these "Pickles" are, but if you were called "Pickle" in high school, went to Woodrow Wilson and was in Bye, Bye Birdie and Godspell there, look me up on Facebook. And, like a great "Simpsons" episode, this opening actually has very little to do with the brunt of this post (I love that word. "Brunt." So butch!).

Anyhoo... This is really more about the fact that the Pickle in this picture is apparently a huge Star Wars fan and he (I think it's a he - I can't imagine a girl being called "Pickle." That wouldn't be appropriate at all, would it?) is simply the first amusing result I found on Google Images for "Star Wars fan."

So then, this post is really about two very special kinds of geeks (both of which I am proud to call myself). So watch this video, and then come back for the discussion. 'We'll tawk; we'll have cawfee. No big whoop.'

As I said, this advertisement appeals to two very specific (though often over-lapping) kinds of fanboys. First, and most obviously, it is aimed at Star Wars geeks. My friend Dan is a massive Star Wars and Star Trek geek. Whenever I come across Geek News, I email it to him (this time I'm emailing a link to this post - Hi Danny! Love ya!). Personally, while I like both franchises, there's a special place in my heart for the original Star Wars trilogy. I was in high school (ah - a link to the opening paragraphs - genius!) when the first movie came out. Having grown up on American Sci-Fi from the 50's and 60's and Japanese Sci-Fi from the 60's and 70's, I expected little more than an action-oriented version of The Green Slime. Needless to say, like for everyone else seeing that movie on a big screen for the first time, Star Wars was a revelatory experience. I imagine audiences seeing the original King Kong felt much the same way. So yes, I fall in to the first category, though not as deeply as some.

The second Geek Squad is comprised of fans obsessed with film scores and soundtracks. Of the nearly 700 CDs in my collection, the vast majority of them are films scores and/or soundtracks. From the obscure (Forbidden Zone) to the seminal (A Clockwork Orange); the abstract (Howard Shore's glorious scores for The Fly and The Cell) to the iconic (Bernard Herrman's Psycho), and just about every thing in-between. It is here that I really let my freak flag fly. there are few films without scores, but many films that would have been dismal failures wihout them. That rhythmic bass from Jaws; the 'screaming violins' from Psycho; Darth Vader's March from Star Wars... iconic notes from today's modern classical composers; as integral to those films' successes as the script, direction, camera-work, lighting, costumes, scenery and performances.

Man, I really am a movie geek, aren't I? sigh...
More, anon.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Indonesian Chainsaw Massacre?

Oh, the delicious stuff that's out there...

Before I talk about the two upcoming movies this post is really about, I just want to let everyone know that new cities have just been announced to hold screenings of Paranormal Activity and Philadelphia is one of them. I will pass on info (dates, theaters, cities) ASAP.

Anyway... I came across a trailer today that was quite intriguing. A Fantasy Fest favorite, the Indonesian (?!!) horror movie Darah will be released in the U.S. as Macabre (not nearly as interesting a title, and one already used by the King of the Gimmicks, William Castle).

Watch the trailer and tell me if you don't notice similarities between Darah and a certain '70's classic directed by Poltergeist's Tobe Hooper. Hmmm...

A group of travelers pick up a young woman in need of a ride, who leads them to house filled with homicidal maniac cannibals who methodically cut them up with a chainsaw. I don't know that I have ever seen any Indonesian films (in fact, I am almost certain I haven't), though I have seen trailers for foreign rip-offs (see previous post). Regardless, the trailer makes me want to see it.

Earlier in the day, I came upon this truly disturbing and inexplicable clip from a movie I can't even believe exists, The Human Centipede (via):

The worst part about this for me, is the (for lack of a better word) "eating poop" factor. I am gagging just writing about it and apologize to all of you for not warning you in advance. The fact that a production company put out good money to make this movie makes me think the world has gone completely bonkers. Why, why, why would someone write this script and why, why, WHY would someone actually pay to produce it?

Maybe this explain why that exists:

Low-budget horror at it worst, folks. Wait... Bruce Dern and Pat Priest were in that movie? Damn! He was up-and-coming... she must have been down-and-out.

On a side-note, my sister was really freaked out by this movie when she was a kid, and even the singing of it's bizarre, ballady theme song "It's Incredible," would be enough to send her shrieking into her room (and remind me to tell you about the Don't Be Afraid of the Dark trick I played on her, some time...).

More, anon.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Private Post

This post is not really private. How can it be? There is no such thing as privacy in the blogosphere (indeed, even in cyberspace, itself). Google has all of our personal information and Microsoft owns our souls.

Every now and then I come across something which pertains to not only myself, but to one or two specific individuals among my circle of friends and acquaintances. The video embedded below is a prime example.

My dear, insane and brilliant and oh-so-very-gay fellow blogger Stephen Rader is a massive comic book geek. And when I find weird, outrageous or just effed-up Superhero stuff, I usually send it to him without always sharing with the rest of you. And my dear D, in addition to being as big a movie geek as I am and a brilliant young actor, is oh-so-very-Italian. How appropriate then, is it to dedicate this particular post and video to the two of them? Ladies and germs (via) comes Italian Spiderman:

I have no idea if this is a real trailer or a spoof. If it's the latter, then it is brilliant. If it's the former... then Uwe Boll and Paul W.S. Anderson are cinematic geniuses. My personal Spidey Sense says: "Be afraid. be very afraid."

More, anon.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Review: "Pandorum"

I think I may have mentioned that I am a big Genre Queen (and proud of it). Surprisingly, I know more gay horror fans than straight ones. And nothing says "Fun" to me, more than a big, dark, tension-filled ride through the carnival Spook House, which is exactly what Pandorum is.

In the distant future, Earth's resources are strained beyond the breaking point and desperate search for an Earth-like planet is underway. When one is finally discovered and proven to have vegetation, the Elysium is sent along with 60,000 passengers on a one-way journey to colonize the planet Taris. X-men III and "Six Feet Under" alum Ben Foster plays Bower, a mechanical engineer and part of the gigantic starship's flight crew, who is abruptly awakened from hyper-sleep, which has resulted in temporary memory-loss. The ship is dark and he is apparently alone. As he slowly begins to regain his memory, he awakens his C.O., Lt. Payton (Dennis Quaid). With Payton guiding him via radio, Bower sets out to re-set the ship's reactor so power can be restored and the bridge accessed. Bower soon discovers he and Payton are not alone. Eventually joined by a Vietnamese agriculturist (Cung Le) , a geneticist (Antje Traue) and a madman (Eddie Rouse) who has been awake longer than of them, Bower makes his way through the ship's bowels. Oh yeah - there are intelligent, flesh-eating monsters stalking them the whole way. And did I mention that someone may or may not be suffering from a severe case of "Pandorum?" The title refers to the slang for what is essentially "space-madness" (a Sci-Fi version of Cabin Fever). Is it Bower, Payton or Gallo (Twilight's Cam Gigandet), the young flight officer Payton discovers cowering in the coils of the ship's ventilation system? It could be anyone - or no one. We are left to discover just what went wrong aboard the Elysium along with the characters, none of whom are even sure how long they've been away from home.

Borrowing heavily from other genre films of the same ilk, Pandorum was probably pitched as "Alien meets The Descent meets Event Horizon." The script by Travis Malloy, while derivative, is original enough and structured in a way that balances the exposition with the action sequences quite nicely (the exposition is given in gradual doses as Bower and Payton slowly regain more and more of their memories). Both Foster and Quaid give solid performances, with Quaid showing more depth than he usually does on film and Foster showing just enough of his sculpted torso to please both the ladies and us sodomites (did I actually just use that word?). The supporting cast is fine and German director Christian Alvart keeps the tension high and the pace moving along nicely (I, unlike some critics I've read, did not find the second act dull in the least). My only real complaint is a common one and something I really hate: the editing in the fight scenes seems to have been done using a weed-whacker instead of an actual editing bay. It was almost like they were going for the Guinness record of "Most Cuts in a Two-Minute Sequence."

A fun (if predictable), Sci-Fi Horror flick, Pandorum will please genre fans with it's balance of gore, violence, tension and whiz-bang special effects (both D and I "oohed" over the laser-razor and I wouldn't mind having a non-lethal sonic wrist-cannon for those times I find myself in a dark and creepy place). The monsters are nothing we haven't seen before, with the exception of their children, who are just as nasty as their parents. I would hardly describe Pandorum as great movie, but it is a solid and entertaining 108 minutes of mystery, chills, suspense and madness. Rated "R" for Horrific Violence and Gore. *** (Three Out of Four Stars)

Next week, I'll be reviewing Zombieland, a film I've been drooling to see for months, now (trailer NSFW).

More, anon.

Friday, September 25, 2009


When Premiere was still a printed monthly, playwright Paul Rudnick was a regular columnist, writing as a Midtown Jewish New York housewife by the name of Libby Gelman Waxner. The column ("If You Ask Me") was usually hilarious and Libby (i.e. Rudnick) was crushing on Dennis Quaid big time. That crush on Quaid has been shared by yours truly ever since Breaking Away. Well, crush isn't exactly the right word... It's probably more like In Massive Lust With... I'm not sure what film this picture is from, but I am sure you can all understand that Massive Lust. I probably watched Innerspace 200 times just to see the scene where he loses his towel in the middle of the street.Woof!

And unlike many Hollywood hotties who lose their appeal as they age, Dennis just seems to get better and better. His IMDB page lists his age as 55. Fifty-five years-old and he is just as hot as ever. As Libby once wrote, "...starring Dennis Quaid... Dennis, Dennis, Dennis, Dennis Dennis... Oh. Sorry. I got carried away there."

My dear D and I have a matinee man-date tomorrow to see Pandorum, his latest film co-starring the burgeoning hotness that is Ben Foster. It's gotten middling reviews, but I really don't care. Few genre films get great reviews, anyway. It's Sci-Fi/Horror/Action and has two hot guys in the leads. What more can a Genre Queen ask for? Watch the trailer below and see if you don't agree with how hot Dennis still is:

Tomorrow is our final Saturday performance of A View From the Bridge, and there's a party after. But I also have to get up early (for me, anyway) to work the one Saturday I am required to work each year, so I have no idea if I'll be posting my review before Sunday, but post it I will.

More, anon.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Miss '70's Blaxploitation Horror

No idea what prompted this post. I suppose it's all those Children of the 70's gifts my high school Facebook friends have been sending me, lately. Or, maybe it was just running across the first trailer below, completely by accident.

Many cineasts refer to the 1970's as Hollywood's "Second Golden Age." And admittedly, a lot of great films came out of that decade. Patton; The French Connection; The Sting; The Paper Chase; Young Frankenstein; Cabaret; Alien... the list goes on and on. Fueled by the eradication of the Hayes Code and the unprecedented social unrest brought on by Vietnam and the Hippie movement, filmmakers found themselves free to experiment and create edgier, grittier films with social messages and even pornographic films were household names (Deep Throat; The Devil in Miss Jones; Behind the Green Door).

Horror movies were very big in the '70's. Britain's Hammer Studios was in its heyday, pumping out Dracula movies starring Christopher Lee and AIP was making comedic horror gems like The Abominable Dr. Phibes. The demented H.G. Lewis was still making his godawful (though highly entertaining) drive-in gorefests, while directors like Tobe Hooper and Wes Craven were cutting their very sharp teeth on movies like The Hills Have Eyes and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And of course, there was what many (though not yours truly), consider to be the scariest movie of all time, 1973's The Exorcist.

The '70's were also when African-American filmmakers really found their voices, making films that spoke to Black urban audiences in a way they had never been able to, before. Films like Shaft; Superfly and Cleopatra Jones packed theaters with audiences hungry to see life portrayed as they lived perceived it to be. 20 years later, the term "Blaxpolitation" would be coined to describe these movies, though the filmmakers of the time certainly never thought of them in that way. The natural progression toward Blaxpolitation Horror was inevitable.

Released just one year after William Friedkin's The Exorcist, Abby is often referred to as "The Blaxorcist," though I think it probably owes more than a nod of debt to the early zombie films of the 30's and 40's.

And just the year before, "Dracula's soul brother," Blacula was released:

Blacula was soon followed by Blackenstein:

And then there's the 1974 Voodoo Zombie thriller Sugar Hill:

And let's not forget the Rosey Grier/Ray Milland "shocker," The Thing with Two Heads:

Ah, the good old days. I miss 'em! And oh, how I wish the tagline at the top of the Blackula poster read: "Bloodsuckah!" Anyone else long for those bygone days of cheap, ridiculous and exploitative horror movies?

More, anon.

The Gayest Baby You'll See This Week

No idea what the baby's gender is - I just fell in love with this video it when I saw it. Please enjoy All the Single Babies:


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Being Italian

So I'm playing an Italian lawyer in Brooklyn in 1957. If you're a regular reader, you know what a struggle the role has been for me. I'm not Italian, nor a lawyer nor was I even alive in 1957. Now, at least 3 of my best friends (K, Janet and my dear D) are Italian. None of them are from Brooklyn, nor were they alive in 1957, either.

So, I have to invent what being an Italian lawyer from Brooklyn in 1957 is. At least in the context of this particular play.

Everyone I know who has seen the show has told me how much they liked it and how good they thought I was. What they don't know is... it's all fake. It's a con. Purely technical acting without actually feeling a thing. And that's something I don't often (or like to) do.

Tonight was what was supposed to be our pickup rehearsal between weekend performances. As it happened, the professor who is teaching this play at the college where we're doing it was unable to attend any of the regularly scheduled performances, so the speed-through we were supposed to have, instead became a full-on dress rehearsal for his benefit. There were a few other folks in the house (my friend Walter, among them), so in the end, I didn't mind it as much as I thought I would. But I was still tired and cranky after wearing a suit and tie on the most humid late-September night I can remember in a long time.

I got home, took out my contacts; set my dishwasher to run and plopped down in front of my computer to visit my usual sites, when lo and behold, the hilarious and ballsy Stephen Rader had a post in which he linked the trailer for Rob Marshall's movie version of the musical Nine, itself based on the Fellini film 8 1/2. I love the show and love the trailer for film (I also loved Marshall's version of Chicago). But it's the song they have chosen for the trailer that really hit me. I think I should take its advice and just "Be Italian."

While it's hardly the first I've seen this trailer (I've posted it at least twice before), it's the first time I've seen it since starting work on this show. This weekend's audiences may see a slightly different Italian lawyer from Brooklyn than last weekend's audiences saw. Ah, the power of music! Thank you, Mr. Rader. Love ya!

More, anon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fallen Heroes

What happened here? Three seasons ago, NBC's "Heroes" was a sensational, fresh and exciting series featuring a mostly gorgeous cast of talented folks under the eye of series creator Tim Kring. It was about average, everyday folks who suddenly find themselves imbued with extraordinary powers. There was the Perky Cheerleader; the Hot Male Nurse; the Sexy Stoic Senator; the Japanese Business Drone and the Online Stripper. Each had discovered they had special abilities. The Cheerleader couldn't die; the Senator could fly; the Drone could bend the Space/Time Continuum. They were all connected in some mysterious way ("Save the Cheerleader; Save the World") and audiences (myself included) ate it up.

Then in season 2, it all went to hell.

But, like a good middle-aged fanboy, I stuck with it. It had to get better, I thought. They'll get their groove back, I was sure. But they didn't. Season 3 was only slightly better (and better still when head-writer Bryan Fuller returned after the premature cancellation of his brilliant "Pushing Daisies" on a rival network). And last night was the premiere of Season 4. And even though Part 1 was written by Kring, I still miss the excitement of Season 1. Yes, they introduced a whole new set of characters (including a a group of carnies led by "Prison Break" alum, Robert Knepper) and the original characters are trying to get back to a sense of normalcy in their lives, which could make for some interesting conflict. But, alas, it was not meant to be. The two hour premiere was dull at best; silly at worst (Hiro and Ando reduced to rescuing kittens for little girls?).

I will admit - I'll keep watching. And I'll keep hoping the show gets better. It's been reported that Claire (the Cheerleader) may dabble in a lesbian relationship* (though I'd much prefer Peter or Nathan dabbling in same-sex play date), and the carnival angle may well be just what the show needs. Seriously, if Darth Maul himself can't lift the show out of it's slump, nothing can. But I fear it has been irreparably damaged and will devolve into a silly, boring mess by May. I think this may well be "Heroes" last season. And honestly, if it continues its messy, downward spiral, I won't be sad to see it go.

*Here's the start of that hot mess:

More, anon.

P.S. - I am secretly thrilled that someone was savvy enough to name the carnival's tattooed lady Lydia. Groucho is smiling.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Gayest Thing You'll See This Week

It's been a while since one of these...

I can honestly say that I really hate most of today's pop music. I don't know if that means I'm getting old, or that popular music has degenerated into pure crap. I'd like to think it's the latter, because most for most of my life, I have rarely been a fan of most pop music.

And while I know who most of today's pop artists are, I have rarely heard any of their stuff. I never play the radio... DJ's are mostly morons and most of what they play amounts to what I consider "musical pablum;" easy to swallow, but low in intellectual nutrition. Does that make me a snob? Maybe. But I honestly don't care. No, I'm not against a great guitar riff or a terrifically danceable beat. Like so-called "popcorn movies," a truly great pop song can excite and energize. Though I usually prefer music that makes you think (hence my current adoration of Grizzly Bear), a great pop song can make me dance, sing and shout with the best of them. Unfortunately, these days, great pop songs seem few and far-between.

Like many recording artists today, I know of Shakira, but couldn't name one of her songs of you held a gun to my head. But after this, I will always know she recorded "She Wolf." Ladies and germs, I give you "He Wolf," undeniably the gayest thing you'll see this week (via - among others):

More, anon.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Review: "Jennifer's Body"

I have to admit, I went in to Jennifer's Body with rather low expectations. First off, there's director Karyn Kusama, whose 2000 feature debut Girlfight was pretty good. But her 2005 follow-up, a live-action version of the old MTV animated short Aeon Flux starring the beautiful Charlize Theron, was quite frankly, awful. Then there is the screenwriter Diablo Cody, whose feature film debut was a critical darling, but which I despised (more on that, another time). Finally, the title role was being played by Megan Fox, an actress best known for her physical attributes rather than her ability to act. So in my mind, the movie had three strikes, right off the bat (you should excuse the baseball analogies... cause here's the only reason I'd ever actually go to a baseball game). Anyway, I was pretty sure it was going to suck, which is why my companion (I love you, Matty!) and I went to the 11 AM show - it was only $6.

Jennifer Check (Fox) is a popular and hot cheerleader at her high school in a small town named for its weird waterfall which ends in a reported bottomless pit. Whatever is thrown into the swirling vortex at the bottom of the falls (red rubber balls, sacrificial knives) never returns or comes out anywhere else. She is best friends since the sandbox with Anita "Needy" Lesnicky (Amanda Seyfried), a mousy little gal with limp hair and nerdy glasses, who has an adorably nerdy boyfriend, Chip (Johnny Simmons) who is always being abandoned as Needy obeys Jennifer's every whim. At the outset, we already know that Jennifer is a man eater because she refers to hot guys as being "salty" and advises Needy to use her breasts to get whatever she wants from a boy. When a band with the unlikely name of Low Shoulder comes o play the only bar in town, Jennifer declares the lead singer (The O.C.'s Adam Brody) salty, Needy tags along to the show. A fire breaks out, many are killed and Jennifer is whisked away in the band's van, much to Needy's consternation. Needless to say, things go downhill from there. Jennifer soon returns to Needy's, covered in blood and puking green-black bile all over the linoleum floor of Needy's kitchen.

As you know from the trailers, Jennifer is possessed by a hungry demon (the result of botched human sacrifice on the part of the so-desperate-they'll-sell-their-souls band); a Succubus who seduces and then eats her prey which, in this case, is boys. It is up to Needy to figure out what's going on and how to stop the fiend that her best friend has become. Pretty standard stuff for a horror plot, no? But surprisingly, Cody and Kusama pull it off quite well, owing it entirely the film's cast, all of whom "get" the genre's humor and play it up for all it's worth. They is plenty of Cody's quirky dialog (I am now particularly enamored of the word "freak-tarded") and plenty of teenage sexual angst (Women's, Gender and Sexual Studies professors will have a field day with this one). Cody taps into teen sexuality in a completely different way than she did in Juno, without the oh-so annoying characters and godawful soundtrack.

Surprisingly, Fox proves that she actually can act, though it will take another movie that isn't Transformers or another Horror movie to convince me she has any real range. Here she is alternately sexy, funny, bitchy and downright terrifying. Simmons is goofy and cute in the Justin Long role of Needy's disbelieving boyfriend. Terribly underused are the always amazing Amy Sedaris ("Strangers with Candy") as Needy's Mom and Cynthia Stevenson ("Dead Like Me") as Chip's Mom. And in the film's funniest role. the always brilliant J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man; "The Closer") is Mr. Wroblesky, a teacher who is more upset by the tragic incidents than any of the students. Wearing what well may be the funniest wig in the history of cinema, speaking in an outrageous hilarious deadpan Midwestern accent and sporting a... well, I won't ruin that joke for you. Needless to say, out of about a dozen or so in attendance, my friend and I were the only ones who laughed (and we laughed long and hard).

But more than any other performer, Jennifer's Body belongs to Ms. Seyfried. The Mama Mia and "Big Love" star not only has the best character arc, going from timid follower to mad avenger; she plays the role honestly, without relying on the tricks some other actress might have used. You can't help but root for from the very beginning, before the real story even starts to unfold.

I must admit that I was quite pleased to find my misgivings were unwarranted. Cody, Kusama and company have delivered almost everything a horror fan wants from a movie: gore, humor, originality and a genuine fright or two. Is it as good as this summer's best horror movie, Drag Me to Hell? Not by a long shot. Is it better than every other horror movie not directed by Sam Raimi this summer? Most assuredly. *** (Three Stars). Rated "R" by the MPAA for Language, Horrific Violence, Gore and Sexual Situations.


Psychologist Karl Jung is credited with coining the term Synchronicity to describe a seeming random series of events that are related in enough ways as to appear to be part of a pattern. Jung is also father to the Jungian Archetype.

I notice Synchronicity in my own life all the time. Sometimes it's big and obvious, sometimes it's small and almost escapes detection. It almost always amuses me when it happens, because (for me, at least) it rarely happens surround unpleasant circumstances or events.

So what does any of that have to do with anything. Well, in my last post, I mentioned the old 70's game show The Gong Show, starring alleged spy Chuck Barris. And not too long ago (again, I'm too lazy to look it up and link to it right now) I referenced Danny Elfman's The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, which was later shortened to simply Oingo Boingo

Once again, I hadn't planned on posting tonight (it's very late, now), but I took a quick look at my YouTube recommendations and this was waiting for me, like a big Sychronistic musical kiss from the past:

I will admit to all that my sister and I adored The Gong Show when we were kids (which explains my fascination with America's Got Talent and hers for American Idol). I probably saw every episode on its first-airing. But I'll be damned if I remember seeing that particular episode. Yay to the late Bill Bixby for recognizing innovative and entertaining new talent, though.

BTW - Speaking of America's Got Talent, the astonishing Barbara Padilla was robbed! A beautiful lady with an astounding voice (and who will be far a bigger star than the actual winner), Ms. Padilla's voice literally brought me to tears every time she performed. A cancer survivor and suburban mom with no formal training, Barbara Padilla is an exceptionally talented woman with the voice of an angel. Her extraordinary performance of Ave Maria is below:

So, do you think Synchronicity is merely coincidence, or is it simply...

Or maybe I'm just feeling nostalgic for a simpler (or at least differently complicated) time in my life. Or perhaps I'm just mad as a hatter and no one has noticed yet. If you have, don't tell anyone else, okay?

"They're all crazy in 'ere, 'cept you an' me. An' sometimes I 'as me doubts about you."

More, anon.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Grossest Thing You'll See this Week

I owe you an apology in advance. I wasn't going to post tonight - I've been trying to catch up on other things, and then there is the show I'm in. But then, I came across this:

Good Lord! Is this what the Internet has brought us to? I expect the Information Age will in the future be known as the Too Much Information Age. I didn't need to see this exceptionally fat man's titties (nor did you, for that matter), but there they are; on display for the whole world to see and judge. Apparently, Chuck Barris was ahead of his time. The Internet is the new Gong Show, with any manner of whackadoo displaying his or her talents online for the whole world to see and judge. And judge we will. Because the rest of us are perfect Tens who never do anything embarrassing or distasteful in public.

But at least we don't put it online for everyone who has an ISP to see. Yeesh!

More, anon.

Friday, September 18, 2009

And Still Another Quick One

Having now listened to the astonishing "Yellow House" for the second time, I have added the entire Grizzly Bear catalog to my Amazon Wish List. I've been trying for days to come up with a way to describe their unique musical style.

Obviously influenced by the Beatles and 70's "Art Rock" bands like Genesis (before Phil Collins ruined them); Yes and Pink Floyd, Grizzly Bear might best be described as "New Age Folk Rock ala Cirque du Soleil via John Lennon with Rick Wakeman on Keyboards. " Does that make any sense at all? I suppose to Grizzly Bear fans, it might. Still, it seems lacking somehow. How can one describe one of the most unique sounds in modern music? Like I said, it's been a long time since I've become so completely enamored of a band...

Anyway - Bridge opened well, I suppose. The house was small, but appreciative and the poor guy playing "Eddie" nearly amputated his thumb on stage, performing business (cutting an apple) he's been doing for weeks without incident. I am starting to enjoy myself, and find great pleasure in talking like (you should pardon the expression) a 'Brooklyn Guido.' I've even gotten myself a 1950's Flattop haircut and I now look like your high school's football Coach (Drop an' gimme twenny!).

I'm seeing Jennifer's Body Sunday morning (AMC has cheap tickets for shows before noon), and my review will follow, anon.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Another Quickie

This is actually opening night of A View from the Bridge if you look at the time. Since I haven't been to bed yet, it's still Wednesday for me.

Tonight's dress rehearsal went really well. The show is not perfect, nor will it ever be (what show is?), but I'm finally comfortable in Alfieri's skin. This was a toughie, folks; no two words about it. I also realized that I've never played a character that was so specific in ethnicity before (except, perhaps, Claudius in Hamlet), which adds yet another layer to explore. I know I'm going to end up being sad that there wasn't more time for me to play.

Anyway, that's not what this post is about. It's about a movie that had some really positive festival buzz, called Paranormal Activity. It's one of those hand-held POV movies about a couple documenting the goings-on in their supposedly haunted house. Of course, one of my Top Ten Horror Movies is a ghost movie (The Haunting). From everything I've read and seen, it looks like Paranormal Activity may well be as good or even better than The Haunting. And the more I read and see about the movie, the sadder I am that's it's limited release on September 25th is not in a theatre anywhere reasonably near where I live. At least I get to share the extra-creepy trailers with you:

Visit the Paranormal Activity site and "demand" that it be shown in your area.

More, after we open.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Short Ramble

A View from the Bridge has it's preview night this Thursday and officially opens on Friday. As you may have surmised from my previous posts, this has not been a fun or easy process for your Uncle Prospero. Acting for me is usually one of life's joys. On occasion, I have found myself cast in a show that for one reason or another, I simply do not like. When that happens, it's either because I disagree with the director's vision; the director's vision while plausible, simply doesn't work or the play itself is to blame. In this case, it's the latter. This particular piece, while once relevant, just doesn't connect for me. That's not to say it's a bad play. There's a reason why it is still being done 50 years later. It's why, as my mother would say, "they make chocolate and vanilla. " I simply have no mechanism with which to connect myself to the characters or the situation.

And as much as I may whine and carry on, it's been worth it, if only to spend time with many people I love. I have rarely been so challenged by a role, and finally think I've found the character. One rehearsal left... if I only weren't so damned tired...

More, anon.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Just Because I Can

And because they always make me feel better, no matter what:

More, maybe-not-so-anon

"...and then I wasn't so excited..."

This is not a post about bashing Kanye West. There are plenty of people out there doing that already, and even if he is an ego maniacal asshole who completely deserves the bashing he's getting both online and the "legitimate" press (which he totally is and does), this post is rather about an unassuming young, beautiful C/W singer who was more surprised than anyone by her win at the VMAs.

19 year-old Taylor Swift had won Best Female Video for her song "You Belong with Me." Imagine the excitement and joy, at 19, you would have felt upon winning what has become a pop-culturally iconic award, only to have some dickhead, who exists only to promote himself and his own agenda, jump up and snatch your joy away by proclaiming that someone else's work was better than that for which you had just won a pop-culturally iconic award. Ms. Swift has been quoted as saying "At first I was excited because I won the award. Then I was excited that Kanye West was on the stage... then I wasn't so exited..."

Today, at my age, I would have punched that jerk in the nose (or at least not relinquished the mike). At 19, I would have had a very similar reaction to Ms. Swift's.

And then there's poor Beyonce Knowles - obviously both flattered and embarrassed - who did the only thing she could and demonstrated the true meaning of "class" when upon winning an award of her own, called Taylor Swift out to finish her speech. Beyonce continues to prove that beauty, talent and graciousness always wins the day. You can see sweet Taylor Swift's adorable, award-winning video here. Beyonce's video may have been hot and oh-so-parodiable, but Swift's video was charming, funny, romantic and fairly universal.

In other news... I had a sort of breakthrough tonight (well, technically last night). I think I may finally have found this character's voice. The rest should soon fall in place. I thank my director, who allowed me to figure it out on my own. I may still really dislike the play, but I think I finally figured out how to play the role in a way that will satisfy everyone - even me. Whew! Talk about cutting it close! We open this Thursday night...

More, anon (very anon, actually)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Compassionate Liberal Christians Really Do Exist!

This is probably old news, already and I seem to actually remember hearing a similar story last year. But, it's Sunday and I thought it a good day to run this post.

It seems that a group of five Metropolitan Community Churches in the Dallas/Fort Worth area have set up billboards that say things like "Jesus Affirmed a Gay Couple" and "Naomi loved Ruth as Adam loved Eve," with appropriate Bible passages to back up their statements. The coalition is and their question, both on the billboards and online is "WJD?" (Would Jesus Discriminate?).

I think we can all agree that the loving, rational, compassionate Lord the Christian faiths would have us believe in, would in fact, not discriminate. He would open His arms and welcome all to His table and bless everyone there, regardless of who else they loved. The Jesus portrayed in the New Testament, at least as I interpret it (and yes, I have actually read it, before you open your mouths about that), love was the whole point. There is only one emotion as powerful as love folks, and that's hate. And that's the eternal struggle for all of us - whether it's Good Vs Evil; Sin Vs Virtue; Yin-yang or Saints Vs Dragons. It's all the same. Because if "God" (or whatever term you may use to describe the Creator(s) of your faith's particular dogma) truly loves us, then can He/She/It/They ever want any more for us than to love one another just as much? The test isn't what you believe. The test is in the love in your heart. Love Vs Hate. I'm glad that Love seems to be slowly starting to win again.

Of course my own opinions about about Organized Religion can probably best be found in the clips below:

I had a bad day and needed to laugh.

The show opens Thursday. I'm still unhappy with what I'm doing and still struggling with lines; especially the shorter, repetitive ones, but in some of the monologues, too, which have odd non-sequiters (for me, at least) and opinions with which in my heart, I do not agree. I suppose therein lies the challenge of successfully playing this role. Ay, me. 3 rehearsals left... I'm waiting for my muse to hit me in the head and help me connect in some way to this show and this role. Ugh!

More, anon

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Solomon Kane (and Other Fall Films)

Best known as the creator of Conan the Barbarian, 1920's pulp fiction author Robert E. Howard also created the characters Red Sonja and Solomon Kane.

Solomon Kane is a 17th century Puritan who has been touched by evil and now travels the world putting a stop to it. He is a self-damned superhero fighting supernatural forces in a time when people still believed. Now, Solomon Kane has gotten his own movie adaptation, with a rather impressive cast.

The movie is directed by Michael J. Bassett (whose previous two films I've never heard of), but it features some top-notch talent, including James Purfoy ("Rome" and "The Philanthropist"); Pete Postlethwaite (In the Name of the Father: Darkwater); Max Von Sydow (The Exorcist; Minority Report) and Alice Krige.

I'm not familiar enough with the material to know how true this movie will be to its source, but the effects are pretty cool and there is a definitely a creepy air about it. It certainly can't be any worse than Van Helsing (but then, so few films are) though I suspect that the folks involved wouldn't do just about any old craptacular movie. Then again, Ben Kingsley is in an Uwe Boll movie... yikes! Now, I'm worried... Still, the trailer kicks ass:

September and October will find me at the movies quite a bit, I hope. Next week is the hotly anticipated horror movie Jennifer's Body from Juno scribe, Diablo Cody and Girl Fight director Karen Kusama. Also next week is Splice, a Sci-Fi thriller with Adrian Brody and Dawn of the Dead's Sarah Polley.

Then the 25th brings us Pandorum, Surrogates and The Crazies all at once (and in the order of my desire to see them).:

And then October 2nd is the movie I've most wanted to see this year: Zombieland (big surprise there, eh?):

A Texas church's surprisingly positive take on the gay marriage, anon.