Friday, March 27, 2009

It's a Blog Vacation

Everyone settle down: I have an announcement to make. CWW will be traveling in the next week or so and I'm taking a break from the computer as well. Calm down! Calm down! Everything will be all right. Don't worry. I'll be back soon. Stay cool, cats (as Mick Jagger once said [at Altamont]).

It will be good to give my "mouse elbow" a rest and I might get a tan, which isn't that unusual in the Northwest, due to the proliferation of tanning salons in every strip mall. I mean a NATURAL tan, caused by a depleted ozone layer. That's what I'm talking about.

I will not disclose my whereabouts but here's a clue:

Another cryptic hint:

Meanwhile, I'm sure you'll find an abundance of entertainment options out there while I'm traipsing about. Ooh, look: Ang Lee directs "Taking Woodstock," based on a true story. Starring Dimetri Martin, Eugene Levy, Imelda Staunton, Emile Hirsch, and Liev Schreiber in a saucy blond wig. It's about hippies, music, mud and tripping while encountering all three. I might pay full price for this.

Have you ever taken acid and tried to eat breakfast? It looks kind of like this:

Where was I? Oh yes, a blog vacation. While I'm gone, enjoy these images of instruments made by children at my son's school. I'd love to play these in a band called Cattywampus.

Commercial break. This is our favorite commercial and it's not even a real commercial, making it even better.

Last and pretty much least, and probably completely inappropriately, here's some Apollonia 6. C'mon--it's Friday and Spring Break for Washington State. WHOOO!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sherry LaVars Captures Some Musical Moments

My friend Sherry is a photographer for the CCTimes and I'm always glad to see her work. But of course, I like seeing her even more because she's a great lady and one of my first friends from undergrad film school. Tangent: what makes a great friend? Honesty, humor and love. Back to our subject: that's Sher.

So Sherry photographed Lady GaGa at the Mezzanine in San Francisco last week. Sher and I are pretty old-school so we're baffled by the explosive emergence of this young upstart from NYC. What is her sudden appeal across the Internets? Is it the latex bodysuits? The bubble costume? The Warholian wigs? It sounds like standard dance fare from the mid-90s with techno elements thrown about. Maybe the young'uns just want to dance. Nothing wrong with that. Maybe it's the Liz Phair/David Bowie/Elton John-like piano ballads. (I'm making a "confused" face now). Whatever it is, she is HOT (at the moment). More power to her.

Lady GaGa at the Mezzanine, San Francisco, 2009. Photo by Sherry LaVars.

Then, as if that weren't exciting ENOUGH. Sherry caught some Chrissie Hynde moments at the Fillmore. Now, Chrissie Hynde's music has not thrilled me in many years, but I still find her voice powerful, hypnotic and amazing. I wish she'd get her hands on some really fantastic compositions because she is in a special singing class all by herself. Definitely one of the best voices in rock, since the dawn of time (that would be mid-1950s when it all started). She's a huge part of rock history, with her stint in England, hanging out with all the punks and her band The Pretenders and their terrible demise (and reunion, of sorts), her relationship with Ray Davies and beyond. Very, very cool lady. I would like to cook her a vegan dinner.

Chrissie Hynde at The Fillmore, San Francisco, 2009. Photo by Sherry LaVars.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

SXSW 2009 - Laurie Picks the Hits

Laurie did a smart thing. She saved her pennies and went to South by Southwest in what what was by all accounts "a good year" to do so. I've never been, though I could have made the effort in the past. I can only blame a sort of innate laziness when it comes to live-music events that I can't begin to explain (plus lack of funds, which is not worth explaining).

I've always lived vicariously through the reports of my friend and former band-mate Alan, who has made the annual trek most every year for as long as we can remember. When I next talk to Laurie, I expect a FULL account of her Austin exploits. Until then, enjoy her video picks from the SWSW YouTube Channel. Fabulous choices, Laurie! (Thanks for doing the leg work on this one.)

Loch Lomond - Blue Lead Fences (lovely harmonies from Portland)

Immaculate Machine - C'mon Sea Legs

Daniel Johnston - True Love Will Find You in the End

Red Fang - Prehistoric Dog (Humor! Does anyone remember laughter?)

More picks from Laurie!
Brooke Wagonner
Tom Cary (from Málaga, Spain)
Laura Marling
The Love Me Nots

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thunderbirds Supermarionation Tuesday

"Thunderbirds" had it all: rockets, espionage, explosions, chemistry props, videcolor AND manly puppets (supermarionation)! I think it's safe to say: guy stuff. From that crazy, crazy year, 1965.

Lest we forget: "Stingray" (1964) with its themes of oceanic exploration, plus all the rockets and explosions and stuff.

"Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons" (1967-68)

"Joe 90" (1968) features a supercomputer called "BIG RAT" which programs Joe with all kinds of super information. A Joss Whedon production--kidding. It's actually all from the genius of Gerry Anderson and his former wife Sylvia.

The Andersons were also responsible for 70s-era classic "Space 1999," a sci-fi show featuring a cast of actors that somehow manages to recall the marionettes of the Anderson's past. How did they do it?

"Team America: World Police," Trey Parker and Matt Stone's marionette action extravaganza is one of the most elaborate (and brutal) satires in the history of film.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Rare Earth - "I Just Want to Celebrate"

I just heard this in an AT&T commercial, so I dredged it up from the past. Did you know these guys were white? I didn't. They fooled my ears. They were the first all-white band to have a hit on the Motown subsidiary (white-guy) label, also called "Rare Earth."

Covered by Metallica at the Bridge School Benefit, 2007. It doesn't get any whiter than that.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

CWW Dolls Are Here!

You might think I'm floundering during the recession; sending out an uninterrupted stream of resumes that never get answered (not even a rejection letter!), begging friends and family for tips, contacts, money; eating at home seven nights a week, as if I were back in San Francisco, working full time.

No, I have a sound, financial plan and a BIG announcement to make: Captive Wild Woman introduces my own line of fabulous dolls. I worked with the world's finest doll artists to design my own visions of doll collectibles. All priced affordably after I get the licensing agreements ironed out. So here they are, right off the production line (trademark pending). Start saving now, for these will surely be a wise investment.

Who loves dolls? That creepy older woman who lives down the street and never opens her blinds--sure. But no, really who LOVES dolls? Little girls. And little girls really love fairies, rainbows, ponies, unicorns, purple, pink and butterflies. Hence, the fantabulous Rainbow Uni-Fairy-Ponytopia Doll! All things girlish in one doll. Not intended for play, due to sharp objects.
Rainbow UniFairyPonytopia Doll

Nick Doll
What about the tween set? They're too OLD for dolls, right? Wrong! They want action figures. But not just any action figures will do. That's why I present, Nick and Norah Action Figures from the hip, happening film, "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist."

Nora Doll
Nick (Michael Cera) and Norah (Kat Dennings) find love, treachery, awkwardness, drunkeness, benevolent doormen, gay social support-system independent musicians (our next doll line!), Christmas-caroling drag queens (our third doll line!), and indie rock on the magical streets of Manhattan, or Brooklyn, or is it Toronto?, all in the span of one night! Celebrate their romantic, passive-aggressive adventures with these sensitive, misunderstood action figures (orange Yugo Dream Car sold separately).

Old Guy DollSometimes, we doll designers have to try something new, something fresh and different. We don't want to stagnate around here! So here's our newest, freshest offering: Old Guy Doll. Who wants to play or display a reminder of our later years and inevitable demise? What's the point of aging, you may ask? But wait! There's so much more to Old Guy than meets the eye.

What about his fabulous outfits? That's right--Old Guy can be dressed up in several engrossing ways. Witness for yourself his nearly miraculous versatility. You get more bang for your doll buck with Old Guy.

Perhaps you've got a hankerin' for alternate realities. Then the "Timothy Leary" ensemble is for you. Tune in, turn on, drop out with this baby-boomer special. A psychedelic jumpsuit, hat and dilated contacts will have you spinning in orbit for hours to come. Timothy Leary Doll

Maybe you're of a more conservative bent. We've got you covered with "Christian God" dress-up wear for Old Guy. Be in awe of him, pray to him, laugh, cry and prostate yourself. This Christian God doll is the life of the party and a symbol of all things miraculous and merciful.Christian God Doll

More down-to-Earth? How about our "Noam Chomsky" ensemble? Your Old Guy Doll is ready for intellectual action in his cardigan, over-sized forehead, wig, and professorial spectacles. Your IQ will go up just by adding him to your shopping cart.
Noam Chomsky Doll

Go See: Portland Women's Film Festival

The Portland Women's Film Festival (POW Fest) starts tonight! Tellingly, it's only running for the next three evenings, 3/19-3/21, and features a smattering of female-directed fare, but I say: Good show!

Here's one reason why: women, though making great strides in nearly all aspects of filmmaking are seriously lagging behind when it comes to directing. Showcasing women directors highlights their achievements and gives us role models. The lack of women directors may be a consequence of sexism, but it may also be the result of women not wanting to direct. Hear me out: I've been working and studying filmmaking on and off for the past 20 years or so, and I haven't met that many women who want to direct.

That wasn't the case in my grad-school class, which was made up of a majority of women who wanted to direct (and write and produce and sometimes act--we were over-achievers for sure). But in general, on profit-making sets, the majority of women I've encountered were happy to be producing, assistant-directing, casting, script-supervising, editing, and so on (keep listing most every film job here, except for grip, gaffer and cinematographer--still all male-dominated).

You need a killer instinct to direct--sorry to say. You've got to tell everyone what to do or at least oversee it all. Until we get a huge influx of extremely bossy (it's possible to be politely bossy) women in the field, there's going to be a shortage. Feel free to protest my findings--they're very random and personal, but it's my theory and I'm sticking to it for now. In a few years time, this could all change, and I hope so because films will probably get very interesting and we definitely could use more of that. If you are are a woman who is obsessive, creative, energetic, compelling and interested in all aspects of technically driven storytelling, please consider applying for this job: film director.

Meanwhile, back at POW Fest, here's more reasons to be excited: Friday night's show features this year's Oscar-winning short documentary, "Smile Pinki," and the Oscar-nominated short doc, "The Final Inch" by Portland filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky, who will be at the fest, in person. I am excited because it's nearly impossible to see short docs in a theater, even Oscar-winning and nominated ones, so this is a treat.

"Smile Pinki" trailer - directed by Megan Mylan. The film is about a five-year-old Indian girl who is the recipient of cleft-lip surgery, provided by Smile Train and the impact this has on her life. Smile Train provides free cleft corrective surgery for children throughout the world.

A news story and discussion with "Smile Pinki" producer, Nandini Rajwade.

Also, Saturday night's feature will be "The Bigamist," directed by one of Hollywood's true mavericks, Ida Lupino. Lupino started out as a really good naturalistic actress, specializing in tough girls and hookers (the only roles offered to her). But she tired of always being told what to do, and while on suspension for turning down a film role, she decided to try directing.

Lupino formed a production company with her husband and hired herself out as a writer/director of low-budget, socially conscious films. This was back in the 50s and Lupino was covering taboo topics such as rape, bigamy, and unwed motherhood. Her constant theme throughout her independent films is how creepy and disrupted our lives can get when we cross paths with the wrong people. Her film, "The Hitch-Hiker" is a classic low-budget psychopathic thriller, featuring a villain who sleeps with one eye open.

"The Bigamist" teaser, featuring Lupino as Phyllis Martin, about to have a life-changing encounter on a tourist bus.

Besides directing hundreds of TV shows throughout the 60s (including "Alfred Hitchock Presents" and "Twilight Zone"), she also helmed one of my favorite films as a kid (I saw it on the "afternoon movie" many, many times), "The Trouble With Angels," starring Hayley Mills and Rosalind Russell. No doubt, being Catholic had something to do with it.

POW Fest, Portland - March 19-21 at The Hollywood Theatre, 7 p.m. Web site with schedule.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tiny Tim Chases Those Blues Away

When encountering tragic news, my first inclination is to cry, then reflect, then talk it out. The rest is up to time passing as life goes on. Nothing tragic has happened to me, at least not currently, but the news has really gotten me down this week. Just a lot of death, destruction, stupid decisions and moral outrage for seven days straight. These are desperate times for emotional well-being. The only salvation I can offer is: Tiny Tim.

If you're as old as I am, you may remember the media blitz that surrounded this true American original. In the groovy days of "Laugh-In" he was presented as kind of a hippie freak with his long hair and ukulele. But Tiny Tim was actually about something much more interesting. He was dedicated (OK, obsessed) with preserving lost musical history from the pre-electronic past. He researched songs that hadn't been heard for decades and he performed them for stoned audiences who thought he was one of them (he was actually a conservative, religious, scholarly guy).

He was a living jukebox of turn-of-the-century composition and his mania for performing was not only endearing, but kind of heroic. It takes a brave person to be absolutely himself, even if that self is waaaay outside the norm. And to dedicate himself to a craft that was so far in the past, that it was almost ghostly in form. So here's to you, Tiny Tim. Thanks for the memories.

On the Uncle Floyd Show

Someone in Australia gave Tiny Tim his own TV special. Here he performs Living In the Sunlight in his trademark falsetto.

A duet with himself.

His big hit, played for smirks.

This scene in Raymond Burr's "Ironside" show, pays tribute (albeit in thick-headed TV form) to Tiny Tim's early stage performances in NYC.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day is for Dancing

Hey all you Irish people--get your dance on with Michael Flatley Lord of the Dance. And that goes for all you would-be Irish people, admirers of Irish people, and people who live near Irish people, who haven't officially been introduced, but have been meaning to go over and say "hi."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

East of Eden - 1955

I finally saw Elia Kazan's "East of Eden" this week, in the laziest, least cinematic way possible. No, I didn't watch it on an iPhone (good God!)--I saw it on my little TV, then on the computer to make these screen shots. Mr. Kazan would grumble at this. He was a theatrical/cinematic guy through and through and although he had never worked in CinemaScope before this film, he did a fine job of filling in that skinny rectangle from end to end.

And, as usual, he pulled really engrossing performances out of his talented cast. His big discovery was James Dean, of course. This is Dean's first film, and definitely his best. James Dean IS "East of Eden." You can't look away from his sensitive, tortured, yet mischievous and gracefully physical Cal Trask. Dean launches himself around the sets like a dancer, contorting in emotional confusion, leaping forward with his arms stretched wide, dancing like a buffoon in a bean patch, hanging onto a door frame for dear life while being dragged through a whorehouse. And it's all in the pursuit of his one desire: his father's love.

I never saw this film, although I'm a big "East of Eden" freak. I've read it four or five times. I always go back to the book every few years. I'm fascinated with the story of Cathy/Kate, who's such a finely etched portrait of a sociopath. She tears apart everyone decent in the novel, and even attempts to ruin her fellow sociopaths as well. She's ruthless, conniving, conscious-less, and pretty much pure evil personified.

The movie does away with all that--just tosses it out the window like a balled-up Kleenex, and focuses on the not-as-interesting parable of Cal trying to grab his father's attention--forget love; it ain't happening in this film. In Kazan's adaptation, Cal's father Adam is a real jerk wad, instead of a passionless emotional wreck, and as played by Jo Van Fleet, Kate is a tough dame and hard-as-nails businesswoman, practically a feminist.

Kazan wants us to "feel" for these people, but their central conflict, involving abandonment, homicidal rage, controlling behavior and emotional repression, doesn't add up to all the heavy drama we're supposed to be engaged in here. Even Steinbeck didn't know where his novel was going and had trouble ending it. So why make a film about the ending? Because of Dean: timeless, troubled, beautiful, annoying, charismatic James Dean. He almost makes the plot ring true.

Julie Harris is on hand as his brother's girl, who secretly is falling for Cal. They're both very modern-looking people, playing turn-of-the-century characters, but they work their method-acting charm and Kazan thoughtfully includes Burl Ives as the well-cast "voice of reason," and some really beautiful steam-engine shots as well. And now:

James Dean in East of Eden

-The 1981 TV miniseries followed the novel much more closely and Jane Seymour plays a horribly manipulative and wicked Cathy. Her performance made me want to read the book. So it's all her fault that I suffer from "East of Eden" OCD. And I see the 3-disc DVDwas just released LAST WEEK. Hooray for happy coincidences.

-Apparently a new film is in pre-production for 2010! Start mentally compiling your dream casts now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Surrealism Lives!

A celebrity

The color blue

Automatic writing
The blue pencil lies on the scrap piece of paper, full of freelance hours spent working on a visual-effects Web site for the past several nights. The recession continues to hit hard, especially for residents of the Northwest. We wait for Spring, wondering when the sun will emerge. Sometimes it emerges ten times a day; sometimes not much at all. Some days are cloudy with snow showers. Yesterday it snowed, rained, sleeted and hailed. The sun emerged four times. We wondered if a rainbow could form under those conditions. We did not spy a rainbow.

A bug

A fish on a bicycle

What not to do with a dead whale.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Brick - "Dazz" 1976

Two nights ago during an unusually restful slumber I dreamt about a young woman who was telling me about her pet bird. "He loves disco," she said. "All forms of disco."

"Does he like the Dazz Band?" I wanted to know.

"He LOVES the Dazz Band," she enthused.

Whereupon I thought, I HAVE to meet this bird.

Typically my dream logic was anything but, since I really meant Dazz, the song, by the Atlanta-based band Brick, and not the actual Dazz Band, although they're keen as well. It made no never mind because she knew what I meant and when you hear this song again (or maybe for the first time, all you young 'uns), you'll know what I meant too. Any bird that loves this song should be invited to your next party.

Dazz was a fusion of disco and jazz and went over really well (not so well-received was the follow-up, Dusic, although it has its moments). No one wanted to fuse disco and funk and call it Dunk, but that's essentially what we have here. And it features a killer flute solo, which is a sentence I've never been able to write before.

Snowball, the famous dancing bird of Northwest Indiana.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Recession Busters: Recycled Art Show

Recycled art is HOT. Jackson's school held a show this week, sponsored by Waste Connections, and prizes were given for several categories. Jackson got third place for kindergarten/first grade artistic achievement. Other prizes were for older kids who created "most recycled items in a piece" and "best invention." Then we got to see "Wall-E" which is all about garbage (and a disturbing loss of muscle tone). It was a memorable night.

He won a $20 gift card to Burgerville, which didn't exactly thrill him since he eats barely anything (not just at Burgerville--at any place, including home) but Keith and I were THRILLED. This month Burgerville is featuring rosemary chicken sandwiches and rosemary shoe-string potatoes. I'm patiently awaiting the seasonal blackberry shakes to come back to officially herald the season known around here as "blessed Summer."

This was a plastic cookie jar that he made into a bank (thanks to the magic of paper mâché and colorful macaroni)--to save all our coins for when the market finally climbs out of its black hole.

- Olympia Dumpster Divers - recycled art in Olympia, the Pacific Northwest, the USA and around the world
- Seattle ReStore Recycled Art & Fashion Show submission guidelines. Due March 17th.
- Haute Trash Fashion Show submission guidelines. Due March 24th.
- Cracked Pots just had a show of recycled garden art at McMenamins Grand Lodge today. Next show is scheduled for July 21-22 at McMenamins Edgefield.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Easter is Coming! Hippity-Hop to the Dollar Tree

As if. I took these photos two weeks ago when it was still February. I guess you can never be prepared enough for the resurrection of Christ. I admit, I bought some dye and plastic eggs that look like baseballs (Easter and sports can mix). My kid really loves coloring eggs and plotting egg hunts around the CWW grounds. It doesn't have to be religious, OK? Sometimes a purple egg is simply a purple egg. And I do appreciate a good jelly bean.

What can you get for your dollar at Dollar Tree? Let's check in, shall we? In the order of most spiritual, to least.

Nothing says "religious fervor" like "Hear My Prayer" chocolate praying hands. Will you bite off the wrist or the fingers first? Will you feel like a cannibal with a sweet-tooth? Lord knows...chocolate praying hands candy

Hey, Christ is arisen! Here's a chocolate cross to celebrate. Comes in white chocolate too. White chocolate is not chocolate by a long shot. It should be called something entirely new, like "hardened vanillan." A hardened vanillan crucifix! Why...thank you.chocolate crucifex

He is risen! It says so, right on this egg. Fill with your favorite jelly bean-flavors and ponder the gift of eternal life as represented by South-Park Jesus here.South Park Jesus egg

Let's check out the entire display of Inspiration Eggs. This would make a great door-prize at your next gathering, provided your guests were either very Christian, or ironically not very Christian at all. Either way, greatness for one dollar.Inspiration Eggs

What have we here? Sweet Quenchers Powder Candy, in carrot form. My brain's going in all different directions with this one. Is it a quencher, a candy, a powder, a vegetable, a container, or all five at once? Ka-boom! (my thought processes just blew.)Sweet Quenchers

QUAX, the yummy ducky. Say it ten times, fast. Isn't that fun? Hollow milk flavored. Dollar Tree is so completely on acid this month.QUAX the yummy ducky

You can never have enough Marshmallow Peeps®. According to the Peeps Web site, there's now new chocolate-mousse flavored marshmallow bunnies. Ka-BOOM! (There goes my brain again.)Marshmallow Peeps at Dollar Tree

Dollar Tree is the official store of recession busters everywhere.