Thursday, April 29, 2010

Short-Film Winners from The Chicago International Film Festival

Short films worth watching on busy days. As listed on the snail-mail flyer I received from the 46th Chicago International Film Festival. No matter where I move, they always find me.

Skhizein - Directed by Jérémy Clapin (Silver Hugo - Best Animated Short Film)

Photograph of Jesus - Directed by Laurie Hill (Gold Plaque, Best Experimental Short Film)

Photograph of Jesus by Laurie Hill in association with the Getty Images Short & Sweet Film Challenge from Hulton Archive on Vimeo.

Cherry On The Cake (excerpt) - Directed by Hyebin Lee (Gold Plaque - Best Student Short Film)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Joan Rivers - A Piece of Work trailer

Here she is, comedy pioneer Joan Rivers. She's in her 70s. She's a workaholic. She has a library-sized card catalog of jokes in a built-in at her house. What's not to love?

Kathy Griffin loves Joan Rivers.

Joan Rivers is completely inappropriate most of the time and has been for more than 40 years.

Joan shares the spotlight with her co-star.

The very first guest on The Joan Rivers Show, 1986.

Joan spins her magic in 1982.

Joan Rivers - A Piece of Work is currently screening at festivals and will be the closing-night film at the SF International Film Festival on May 6 at the Castro Theatre (of course!). She's scheduled to be at the closing night party at 1015 Folsom (of course!) after the film.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Uptones - Laws n Sausage

I almost forgot--I made a video this week. I didn't forget the making of the video, but I forgot I could put it here for all of humanity to gape upon it. And so here it is. The Uptones are the premiere East Bay ska band par excellence. They and their label, Fun Fun Fun Recordings, will be putting out a digital EP any moment now, containing "Laws n Sausage" and more. That's right. Uptones.

Footage is from the Prelinger and Internet Archives. Hail to them. I might have mentioned The Uptones here once or twice.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Congratulations to Project Runway Winner and Vancouver, WA resident, Seth Aaron

I have to give a shout-out to Seth Aaron Henderson for winning a very tough reality show (I've never watched a season of Project Runway before--yikes, uptiiiight). All the critiques and cattiness of the fashion industry, multiplied ten-fold during a 7-week shoot in New York City. Some have complained that this season wasn't catty enough, what with all the hard-working contestants and their supportive models, but no doubt, the pressure of competing week after week with challenges like "Make a high-fashion outfit out of burlap (or hardware)," would take a toll on lesser mortals.

I was excited for this season because four people hailed from cities I've lived in or nearby: San Francisco (Jay--lose the scarfs, Jay), Oakland (Amy--love her), Portland (can't remember her--I just lived near Portland), and Seth Aaron from, I'm not kidding, Vancouver, WA. That's a suburb of Portland, across the Columbia River. True fact: Portlanders tend to hate Vancouverites.

I don't know if it's the differing tax laws (Vancouver residents cross the bridge to shop in Portland's sales-tax-free stores--wouldn't you?), or the perception that Vancouver is a conservative hellhole of epic boredom and SUVs. Although Vancouver majority-voted for Obama, recycles prodigiously, and has built an ongoing series of bike lanes and parks citywide--Portland remains smug in its eco-friendliness, dismissing Vancouver as a emissions-spewing, redneck enclave.

Well, no more! Seth Aaron is as whimsical and wacky as any Portlander could hope for. And even if you don't like his clothes (I do), you have to admit--he's extremely creative, talented and FAST at tailoring. His jackets are amazing. I hope he gets to design big theatrical productions of some sort. I would pay to see that.

Bonus: he seems incredibly nice and his family is adorable too. Hats off to you, Seth Aaron! I no longer live in Vancouver, but I was rooting for him the whole way. If only because: that's so strange. And I always root for that, especially if it's affable strange.

Let's visit Vancouver with Seth Aaron and his family.

Jezebel has a clip (#3) of the delightful and Internetedly famous scene where Seth Aaron gets Tim Gunn on the backyard trampoline for a brief cardio workout. Seth Aaron is now known for the phrase, "Papa Gunn's on the tramp!" Also: the whole family and Gunn play Pictionary (clip #2). VERY Vancouver in scope! Final Bryant Park fashion show video is here. Images are here.

He won! Awww...

Seth Aaron's playlist--blast-from-the-past 80s new wave and Goth. Nice.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Earth Day - Celebrate with the Late, Great George Carlin

He got grouchier over the years. It's like he was living in Portland, surrounded by smug bicyclists with a green agenda or something.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oh man, I forgot 420 Day!

Dude, I totally forgot it was 420 Day yesterday. I should have put it in my calendar, man. I always check my calendar for dentist appointments and school meetings and such. 420 should have been circled in red, man. Next time. Next time for sure.

What was I talking about?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Brady Bunch Home Decor - Greg's Groovy Pad

The Internet thinks it's so cool, but there's one thing it's sorely lacking: images of Greg's groovy home-office-turned-den-of-iniquity from the second-season Brady Bunch episode, "Our Son The Man." Why I think it's so important that this ridiculous set design be featured for all of posterity, I can't say. I never said I was logical in my thinking patterns.

I only know there's been times when I needed these images as reference for some project, and they didn't exist seemingly anywhere. So here they are with commentary. I don't know what else the Internet needs from me. I've done all I can for today.

And now...

So it's 1971 and Greg's in high school. He's outgrown his shared bedroom with its bunk beds, other brothers, wood paneling, and terrifying clown illustration. He needs his own space. Mike Brady isn't so sure. He's still trying to figure out how to get plaids and stripes to go together.

It's up to Carol to talk dad into letting Greg take over his home-office den so that their eldest son can have a little individualistic privacy. Where will Mike work on his architecture plans? Perhaps in the Brady carport. I always liked the screen above their bed. Almost Asian-inspired except it has a turquoise frame. Everything was framed in turquoise back then.

Mike reluctantly gives up his man cave for the greater good. Greg relishes the bong-hit possibilities.

Bunk beds are for losers.

Note: Mike is such an architectural genius, he was able to design a house with an upstairs (and attic--for another Greg episode) with no actual upstairs. And he created a housing plan that included a maid's quarters but had only two bedrooms, and a shared bathroom (with no toilet) for six kids. This geographical impossibility set up a built-in surreal factor as soon as the Bradys stepped into their new home and combined lives together.

Check out the Brady art collection throughout the house. It ranges from small-town crafts-fair landscapes to this completely insane abstract by the stairs. Perhaps this was painted by Mike's late wife, who is never mentioned throughout the entire series.

Here we go. Greg's apparently used his life's savings for a shopping trip to Urban Outfitters...oop, I mean Spencer's Gifts and now everything's outta sight.

Kind of...

I can't figure out what's up with all the wooden crates. I grew during the time of The Brady Bunch and none of us had wooden crates in our rooms. Is Greg planning on hosting a lot of cocktail parties and is in need of places to set drinks down? Where's the bean bag chair? Where's the Bruce Lee poster? There's no portable turntable although swingin' music plays throughout this scene.

The Brady Bunch always went for the broadest of comedy even if it made their characters look mentally challenged. I mean, Mike and Carol live in Southern California throughout the 60s. They've never seen a mobile or hippie decor? In this episode, they're strictly from squaresville.

Greg can't wait to try smoking nutmeg in his new room.


To go with his new image, Greg hits his dad up for more money for some smashing threads.

But his counter-culture vision doesn't jive with the atomic-tangerine and avocado Formica ways of his parents.

And most crushingly of all, nobody wants to hang out with a guy wearing a headband, fringed vest and flowered shirt, despite his hip lighting scheme.

The light dims as Greg realizes the ugly truth. In Sherwood Schwartz' world, it's hip to be square.

Mike and Carol, in their powder-blue polyester and safety-orange acrylic comfort zone, couldn't agree more.

Next week: Jan buys an ugly wig.

Monday, April 19, 2010

As Seen On TV wish list

I'm as susceptible to advertising as anyone. Just because I make fun of it all the time doesn't mean I want sale items any less than the average consumer. It's my legacy as a modern American.

On clearance, but still pricey. Almost completely worth it anyway. Golden Age of Country.

Plus Johnny Cash - The SUN Years. Want it.

It's time to GET DOWN with Sweet 70s Soul. Pure audio ecstasy.

It's a giant cupcake pan--like something out of Alice in Wonderland.

We already have this. It's one of Jackson's favorite "toys." Next time you're buying a gift for a mechanically minded kid--consider the Gopher. I really do use it to retrieve socks that fall between the washer and dryer. Billy Mays had my number.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Record Store Day is Saturday, April 17

No, you don't have to buy Happy Record Store Day! Hallmark cards for your favorite record-store employee, although I'm sure the greeting-card companies are working on that for next year. But do stop in to your local record store (do you have any of those around any more? I hope so) for a fabulous day of celebration of all things flat, grooved and vinyl. (I've been writing a lot of marketing articles lately--can you tell?)

There will be special releases, t-shirts and other fun-filled promotional items--like (gasp!) CDs at the 1400 participating record stores this year. Because I'm over 40, I'm a member of the record-store tribe from way back. The San Francisco Bay Area has always been a mother lode of great record stores and I get really sad when they go out of business. They were akin to libraries for me when I was growing up. They helped make me who I am. And the owners were always another breed entirely, especially the used-store owners. They tended to have a dusty, musty, "I've got some good ganja in the back" kind of vibe. Solid citizens--all of them.

And good news! According to NPR this morning, teenagers are buying records in...record numbers. Apparently they're grossed out by their parents co-opting their ear buds and MP3 players and they want something a little rougher around the edges to musically call their own. It's about time, kids. Welcome to the world of scratches, pops and getting up to play side 2! Enjoy the warmer ambiance that only a needle in a hardened petroleum product can make. And please, please, please, may this record-buying trend bring back record-sleeve creativity of yore. CD packaging is a scourge and a disappointment nearly always.

The official site of Record Store Day lists participating stores, events and quotes from musicians who set the record (ahem) straight.

Chris Frantz talks about how record stores save us from a homogeneous existence. And sadly, how the Talking Heads couldn't make it if they were starting out today.

"High Fidelity" attempts to capture the essence of record store culture. Not an easy thing to do. 'A' for effort.

Here's Robyn Hitchock:
Records used to mean vinyl, then cassettes, then cd's, and now downloads. Like currency, they got smaller and are now almost invisible. The record stores were a great network where music fans could listen to what was out there without necessarily having to buy it. But if they did, they came away with a black disc* embedded with grooves, mostly enshrined in a cardboard sleeve that contained vital additions to the music inside. These sacred objects (and their slightly less sacred descendants, the tape and the compact disc) were the closest you could get to the act itself: like portable shrines with holy relics.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Happy Tax Day - Celebrate with Iron Maiden

Keith the tax man says: You don't have to file today if you don't owe any money. If you do owe and you're not finished with your taxes, you can send a check for an estimated amount along with a request for an extension.

Meanwhile, here's some Iron Maiden. What are they going on about? Mostly humankind's doom and destruction. They have a way with melodic anger, which, when lyrically deciphered, always comes across as somewhat ridiculous in its overblown qualities. Kind of like soap opera for metal heads. The world would be a more mellow and boring place without Iron Maiden.

I like how these titles make a sort of tax-day haiku. Bear with me during this heavy metal moment. Plus April is National Poetry Month. Iron Maiden and federal tax law are inspiring.

Iron Maiden Tax Haiku
Run to the hills
The number of the beast
Wasted years
2 minutes to midnight

Stay strong, metal heads.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Float On Float Onnnnnnn

Cancer. And my name is Larry. And I like a woman that loves everything and everybody. And you know what ladies? If you feel that this is you. Then this is what I want you to do...

...Take my hand. Let me take you to Love Land. Let me show you how sweet it could be, sharing your love with Lar-eeee.

Larry Cunningham wasn't the smoothest, but he was definitely the most memorable. My life is complete thanks to embedding from YouTube.

The Floaters - 1977

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sarah Palin Network brings on the LOLs

I was in bed, reading an intellectual highbrow novel, when I felt the urge to turn on the TV, just in time to catch this. That's network-TV jackpot, especially given the lack of laughs from SNL in the past few years. Sorry, SNL--you don't do it for me any more. But Tina Fey has my heart. Always.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Add "Wow" Factor with Today's Hottest Lawn Ornaments

Forget garden gnomes. Today's outdoor spaces require a contemporary touch when it comes to lawn ornamentation. Add pizazz, wow-factor, and a bit of zowie to your yard with these fabulous lawn ornaments. Available exclusively (once permissions and trademarks are cleared) from CWW Decor.

What's Lady Gaga doing amongst your dahlia border? Perhaps hiding from the paparazzi? Or spending time in quiet contemplation after a bad romance? Whatever she's up to, she adds some serious avant-garde cred to your borders and beds. Made from quality resin and high-impact plastic, the Lady Gaga Lawn Ornament is here to entertain you for years to come.

Has your Zen garden got you a little too centered with the universe? For a dose of true earthiness, consider placing "The Boss" lawn ornament within. Next time you meditate, he'll be there to keep you in line. This plywood and fiberboard cut-out is coated with a clear acrylic lacquer so it won't warp, fade or harbor carpenter ants. The perfect boss!

Can I take your order sir? (or ma'am). This fast-food worker never asks for a raise and he serves as a reminder that you're never too far from a quick meal at the drive-through. Humorous lawn ornament fits in any large shrub, hollow tree, or wood shed. A modern tribute to our modern world.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Debbie Gibson - Electric Youth

This was playing in Safeway the other day while I was gathering supplies for my household of illness. So dramatic was Ms. Gibson's delivery that I could barely focus on the task of choosing calming, soothing herbal teas. I kept wanting the full-on "Morning is Upon Us" caffeinated beverages and "Choco-Chi-Spice-Ginseng" blends. One of pop's more operatic moments, with electric drums.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Isn't baseball a wonderful sport?

Keith wrote down some baseball wisdom from Jackson tonight. Jackson got an Easter egg hunt (indoors, due to constant rain), a Red Sox win, and Spring Break, all at the same time, so he was feeling gregarious this evening. I really want him to start his own baseball commentary show. Since he's eight years old, does that make me a stage mother?

Keith's wrote it down:

We were sitting on the couch watching the 9th inning of the game, and Jackson said, "Isn't baseball a wonderful sport? It's my favorite. I like it a little better than Wii baseball because it's more sophisticated."

Then, lying down in bed with the lights out, he said, "I'm really proud of the Red Sox."

Then he got chattier: "I could say 'park' and you probably think I mean a park with a playground. But I'm talking about AT&T Park. I could say 'field' and you might think I'm talking about a field you run around in. But I really mean a baseball field, like Safeco Field. It might have fake grass or real grass. I could say 'roof' and you might think of a roof on a house, but I'm thinking about teams that play under a roof. Like Tampa."

Neil Diamond made a surprise visit to Fenway Park tonight to lead the traditional 8th inning sing-along to Sweet Caroline. Sox fans: They have baseball traditions that can only be compared to a Catholic Mass for reverence and emotional intensity.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Happy Easter (obviously)

I'm sure everyone and their mother posts this at one time or another for Easter celebration. I'm just following the legions. Enjoy the festivities or ignore them. But do not ignore the Reese's Peanut Butter Egg. That is too good to pass up.

A truly holy undertaking.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

At Last! My Screenplay Has Been Optioned!

The workshops, writer's groups, extra-long coffee breaks, overpriced seminars and the entire grad-school experience, have finally paid off. I got my screenplay adaptation optioned and now I can watch the hyper-efficient big-budget filmmaking process unfold before my eyes. Next: dream casting. What do you think? I hope all my dreams come true!

Valley of the Dolls dream cast