Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's finally here!

Hooray!  It's Walton Goggins' birthday!  And as a present for all of us, here's an upshort.  Look at those legs . . . and that neck beard. 

But IMDB, being stupid, decided Tracy Morgan's birthday was more important, and alas, he makes the front birthday page.  Don't worry, Walt, they forgot Roland Emmerich too, and he directed the greatest holiday film of all time . . . Independence Day.  They also left out Claude Raines (Casablanca) and Roy Scheider (Jaws) too.

Today also would have been Brittany Murphy's birthday, had she not died tragically last Christmas

Thursday, October 28, 2010

RIP Lisa Blount

Lisa Blount, star of Chrystal and Randy and the Mob (and An Officer and a Gentleman, who knew?) and 1/3 of Ginny Mule productions (with her husband Ray McKinnon and Walton Goggins) died today at age 53.  Now as someone who fucking loves everything Ginny Mule put out, when Matthew called to tell me the news, I was really, really sad.  

In other news, Lindsey Lohan is still alive!!!  Life isn't fair sometimes.  It is, in the words of Tommy Weiseau, "Tearing me apart!"

Rest in Peace, Lisa.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I've been after my BFF, Matthew, to watch The Shield for months.  I love it so much that I want to share it with him.  I want to talk to him about it and the way it's written and try to deconstruct it down to the bones, the technique, the raw writing itself.  I want to know how these characters are so dispicable and yet loveable.  I want to know how to take the chances they did and how to get away with just about everything.

He finally sat down at started season one.  And he called me up after a few episodes and said, very gently, "I understand why you like Shane Vendrell so much."

"Because he's got great eyes and a hot ass?" I deflected.

"I wouldn't go that far," Matthew countered.  "You are Shane Vendrell.  You're Shane and I'm Vic."

I thought about that for a moment, wondering if I should take that as a compliment or an insult.  I know what happens to Shane.  I know all the awful, unspeakable things he does throughout the course of seven seasons.  But before I slammed down the phone, I realized what Matthew was really saying.

My God, I thought.  I am Shane Vendrell!

It's not just the tight jeans and the great ass and the pretty eyes and that I'm originally from Oklahoma City.  It's that I don't always think through what I'm doing.  I'm a kick-down-the-door, shoot first, apologize later kind of gal.  And Matthew plans carefully, thinks things through, ponders the options and the exits before he makes his move.

I wasn't always this way.  Much of my childhood was spent behind told to settle down, lower your voice, watch your language, you are not going out of the house dressed like that.  My first boyfriend squelshed all of my freedoms and passive-agressively dictated what I wore, what I said, who I hung out with, what I ate.  When we broke up, my loud mouth became a defense mechanism.  I had been silent for so long, and now I was going to say what I meant regardless of who it offended.  I vowed to use my powers for power, not just to be an anonymous troll on the internet.  I had opinions, and I was going to voice them without fear. 

And people got offended.  At graduate school, when I spoke out against the rape-as-cosmic-punishment violently prevelant in Liz Hand's vulgar reading from Generation Lost, I was told by some twenty-sided dicer who I wasn't even talking to, "oh, we've heard this before," as though I was speaking out of turn because I don't like it when writers use rape to punish their female characters for so-called transgressions.  How dare I speak out against this published writer?  How dare I, as a woman, have opinons that vary from the norm?

This doesn't just go for me shooting off my big mouth.  I've packed up and moved to places all but overnight, with no job lined up and take the first apartment I can find.  I gave my ex-boyfriend of seven years his ring back and jumped ship for an art student I'd known for a few months.  (We're still together).  I send out submissions when most of the writers I know cower at the thought of rejection.  I make up new recipes.  I wear what I feel like wearing.  I run away to Denver, Chicago, Florida, Indiana, NYC when I feel like it.  I keep moving, keep testing my boundries.  I've touched the electric fence a few times, but it never stops me.  I'm improv, I'm a firecracker, I'm fearless.  I have to be.      

By contrast, Matthew is an Art Of War kind of guy.  He plays a long game, he looks to see what can net him the most of what he wants.  He speaks carefully, arranges the chess pieces, aimes carefully and fires. I prefer to just light a match and walk away from the slow-motion explosion.  I try to think ahead, but I usually get only one or two moves before I act.  He's got his reasons, just like I've got mine.  And, like Vic and Shane, we compliment each other, we piss each other off, but ultimately, we're partners.  Sometimes we do things his way, sometimes we do things my way.  Sometimes his way works, sometimes mine does. 

At one point, when Vic is lying in a hospital bed, he says to Shane, his voice thick with morphine.  "When we retire, we're going to play golf everyday."

"I'd like that," Shane replies, his voice thick with tears. (no man can cry quite like Walton Goggins.  He makes it look manly)

Through it all, Matthew and I are partners.  We're family.  We're a team. Vic needs Shane to spring him to action the same way Shane needs Vic to help him plan ahead.  So maybe being Shane isn't such a bad thing.  Especially if it means I get to wear tight jeans.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Throwing Things at David Arquette--Fish in a Barrel Edition

Sorry I'm a little late to the David Arquette party, but I had to stop by the bakery.  You may be wondering, "Why all the hatin' on David Arquette, what did he ever do to you?"

He fucked up my BFF's movie.

My BFF wrote the movie Slingshot.  I read the original draft, and a lot of the novel.  It was good stuff.  And then Arquette had to come along and fuck it all up.  He wouldn't come back for reshoots because he had to go to a baby shower, which, by the way, REAL men don't attend.  He rewrote a bunch of stuff.  And he was just a general bag of douche, which, frankly, he doesn't have the power to be.  You made Eight Legged Freaks, David.  And last I checked, that didn't win an Oscar, so you don't have an excuse to swat a fly, let alone be a dick.

And now it comes out that he is splitting from only connection to the Hollywood scene, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective star Courtney Cox (teehee).  He's done.  He has nothing to offer anyone.  He's a terrible actor who isn't good looking and who probably couldn't pick up rejects from Rock of Love.

The only upside is that if that he hadn't ruined the movie, my BFF would be in Hollywood instead of close to me, and we wouldn't have gone to grad school together and I wouldn't have a blog, which would be a drag.

So because I'm childish, and because I like to kick a man when he's down, today we're throwing:


That'll teach you to fuck up my BFF's movie, you pot-smoking, skank-banging, fashionless douche-bearded fat-headed sweathog!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Favorite Actor

Have I told you how beautiful you are
just like a movie star

The 6ths, "Just Like a Movie Star"

(No, Walton Goggins' birthday isn't until November 10th)

Happy Birthday to my real favorite actor, who doesn't get nearly as much press in this blog as he should, is my BFF/writing partner Matthew Quinn Martin.  Aside from being the only reason to watch the first season of Fringe and looking suspiciously like Jeff Goldblum, Matthew is an awesome writer and easily one of my favorite people in the entire universe.  Yes, even more than Walton Goggins.

Happy Birthday Matthew.  I trust it'll be a good one.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

TV Withdrawl

. . . So Ian and I finished The Shield. I didn’t cry as everyone expected me to, probably because I knew it wasn’t going to end well. I sat and thought about it for a few minutes, finished my beer (Gritty’s IPA) and got on Amazon to order Season One.

Pictured: The Greatest Movie Ever

That was a few weeks ago. In the meantime, Ian and I have been trying to find a new show to fill the void and so far, nothing’s working. It’s like trying to quit heroin. I sat through not one, but two additional second-run showings of Predators, two nights in a row, just to get my Walton Goggins fix. We watched Chrystal, (Does Billy Bob Thorton have more than one expression? Does he ever do anything other than stand with his head slightly cocked, looking puzzled/deep? I don’t care if he hung out with Warren Zevon, I’m not buying his “genius” for another damn minute). We watched Randy and the Mob. We watched The Accountant. I considered watching Saving Grace for my Kenneth Johnson fix, but Ian stopped me before I hurt myself and those around me.

Fuck You, Fuckers
We thought The Wire would be good. We liked Homicide (the book and the show) and recognized a lot of the cast from Homicide and Oz, but by the second episode, we didn’t know a single character’s name, or what was going on other than that the writers felt liberated to use the word “fuck” in every fucking other fucking word. James fucking Ellroy fucking does this too, and it fucking annoys the fuck out of me. See how it bogs down the sentence? I get it, The Wire ran on HBO and I get it, people curse. I think “fuck” is one of the greatest words in the English language. But if you use it too much, the meaning gets lost—not just of the word, but of the whole sentiment you’re trying to convey. Vic Mackey never dropped a single f-bomb and you knew that he meant business. Meanwhile, Cop ____ on The Wire says it every other word, and I still feel like a kitten could kick his ass.

We sent that back and got Sons of Anarchy, which was written by The Shield co-producer Kurt Sutter and ran on FX. Jay Karns had a short run of the cast, and Dutch-Boy was Ian’s Shane, so he was all tingly about that. And Ron Pearlman as a biker dude? Awesome. How could this possibly suck?

Sons of Anarchy is a soap opera with motorcycles. All they do is stand around talking about the jobs they’re going to pull—running guns to the 1-9ers (Shield shout-out!) and then generic-looking dirty-blonde biker-protagonist mopes around because his baby-momma did a bunch of drugs and now he’s got this preemie baby and I think he is either or used to bang the lady doctor with the tramp stamp and he is sad because he doesn’t want to do bad biker stuff anymore. Yawn.

Not JK Simmons
Also, I kept thinking Ron Pearlman was JK Simmons, and then I was
Not Ron Pearlman
disappointed when I realized that it was just Ron Pearlman, who may be awesome but has too dry a screen presence to convey any sort of tension.

We barely even made it to the Jay Karns episodes, and I didn’t get to see Kenneth Johnson all covered in grease.

Mike brought over Burn Notice, which is, for now (until Justified comes out on DVD) filling the void. It’s a PI show, which I can dig, and I like the narrative voice. Bruce Campbell is pretty great. It’s clever without being quirky, even if the girl is driving me crazy. She’s ugly as sin and unforgivably annoying. We’re also trying our hand at Doctor Who and The Commish, so wish us luck.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

RIP Glenn Shadix

My clock radio went off today at 6:20am to REM's "It's the End of the World as We Know it."    There was a fire alarm in my office building at 7:30am. 

And then I read that Glenn Shadix, who played horrible interior designer Otho in Beetlejuice and the Mayor of Halloweentown in The Nightmare Before Christmas, passed away after a fall

This was the worst part of my day.  Not only are those two of my favorite movies, (Beetlejuice is a sick-day favorite of mine) but I always liked picking Glenn Shadix out in other parts, such as his stint on the otherwise unwatchable Carnivale.

So, who's up for a senance?

RIP. Glenn Shadix.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

 I've been trying to figure out what it is about Scott Pilgram vs. The World that makes me want to, if I may quote Lucille Bluth, set myself on fire. 

But today, I have finally had a breakthrough.  It's not just the incessant pop culture references or the choked irony or the transparent pandering to late 20-somethings who need to put down the fucking cheetos and move out of Mom's basement and get a life, seriously, or the continued presence of Michael Cera, who said he would retire at 21 and held up the Arrested Development movie because he was sick of playing George Michael except that he continues to play George Michael in absolutely every single movie he's in because he's a lousy actor and probably a douchebag.

Like this asshole
It's because Scott Pilgram is an amalgamation of everything that is horrible in the modern 20-something white male.  You've got two breeds--one that is emo-tastic and wimpy and sensitive enough to make Morrissey look like Clint Eastwood.   No longer locked into a poet shirt to show off his artistic soul, he now has his choice of ironic/pun teeshirts from places like threadless or snorg.  He wants to play board games in the park by candlelight on a first date.  He doesn't drink and cannot believe that such a beautiful soul such as you would stoop to joining the louts at a brewpub and having one of their awesome IPAs. He likes everyone because hate is an angry word and should you even dare express your dislike of something, he will quickly shut you down before your negativity ruins your romantic evening.  He will tenderly caress your shoulders, dropping his hand to the small of your back and holding it there, even if your husband is standing ten feet away and you are giving him looks like please come over here and help me.  And he will probably cry . . . a lot.  Think Zach Braff.

The other horrible type is the video-game playing, Jason-Statham-worshipping maroon who thinks that he could totally be a hitman because he's awesome at Halo and that would be, like, a totally great job.  Never mind that hitmen are generally hired to take out spouses for the insurance money and rarely get to kill "bad guys," these idiots believe that violence solves everything, from parking tickets to getting stiffed a McNugget.  Because in their world, violence does solve everything--you need to get from one level to the next?  Kill a bunch of anonymous thugs. 

They have tee-shirts too

Violence is funny to them.  It's a part of their everyday virtual life, despite the fact that most of them have never been confronted with actual violence outside of maybe this time that they were at a bar, and this guy knocked into them, and they like, totally shoved him back and he's like "you wanna take this outside" and then the bouncer came and broke it up but they totally would have kicked his ass.

And look, I'm okay with violence in media.  I just got back from seeing The Expendables (it was everything a $6 matinee should be) and my favorite show is The Shield . . . but the difference is that nobody is Vic Mackey or Rambo . . . they imagine themselves to be, but they're not, plain and simple, and deep down, they know this.  They pretend to aspire to want to be Bruce Willis, but after about ten minutes of driving home really fast from Burger King, almost totally running a red light because you are badass! it's back to microwaving some pizza rolls and watching reruns of Lost.

But Scott Pilgram combines the irritating wimpiness of Michael Cera with the awful arrogance of your hyper-violent mama's boy into one package reeking of Axe body spray and stale Doritoes.  All 27 year old guys think they're every character Michael Cera has ever played.  They think no one understands them and that they don't have to ever work or attempt anything because they deserve great things (namely, babes) simply by blessing the universe with their slimy presence.  Now you've added a level of violence that they understand--the consequence-free violence of video games--and you've created an attitude that pits violence against rejection.  Clerk being rude to you at the grocery store?  Tell her how fat she is and that maybe she should just kill herself.  Joker626 says that Green Day sold out years ago?  Write back you are stupid and your mother should have aborted you with a coat hanger you piece of shit.  Indie girl won't give you the time of day?  Slug her, the bitch deserves it.  You think I'm joking?  I've heard this from guys I consider well-educated. 

It's not their fault, really.  This vile attitude is rapidly on it's way to being socially acceptable.  We've got a coddled generation spoiled by the anonymity of the internet and the absence of male role models.  Michael Cera gets the hot girl by being a sniveling piece of garbage.  Why wouldn't the boy next door be the same way?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An open letter to Walton Goggins

Dear Walton,
 I didn't mean it.  I'm going to love you forever.

An open letter to Jeff Goldblum

Dear Jeff,

Your leaving Law and Order: Criminal Intent is simply not acceptable.  You wooed me once again as Det. Zachary Nichols, stealing the spotlight off my former love for Vince D'onfrio, you charmed me away from Det. Elliot Stabler, whom I have lusted after since I was about 21.  But I feel I have been dumped, Mr. Goldblum, and rather unceremoniously.

You may be thinking, "Ah, yes, but you, yes, you are in love with another man!  Yes, this, ah, Walton Goggins has stolen you away from me!  How can my skinny slacks compare with his boot cut jeans!"  And yes, while I do have mad love for Detective Vendrell, this does not change the fact that it was you who I loved first. . . you in Independence Day, you in Earth Girls Are Easy, you in Vibes.  I loved you in The Fly and Transylvania 6-500 and I would have loved in you Raines if it ever came out on DVD.

How can Walton Goggins compare to that?  With PredatorsRandy and the Mob?  My love for him is strong, yes, but it is brief and I assure you will fade with his absence.  Also, I think he's about to be brutally murdered by Vic, so I want to distance myself from Shane before he breaks my heart.

But you, Jeff, you have broken my heart.  You left without a goodbye.  Even Eric Bogosian gave us a death sequence.  But you are gone, off to someplace else . . . and I am gone into another man's arms . . .

After all, there's always Justified.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

As I mentioned awhile ago, my friend Eeon asked me to give the speech from Independence Day at his wedding.  I wasn't sure he actually wanted me to go through with it until his beautiful blushing bride hugged me in the recieving line and whispered, "You're going to give the speech, right?"

Of course.  And I did.

Congrats to the happy couple.  I have never been so happy for two people in my entire life.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

So I finally saw Predators . . . .

. . . . my BFF Matthew was kind enough to go with me to see Predators, perhaps hoping (rather foolishly) that seeing Walton Goggins as a death-row rapist in a prison jumpsuit would somehow cure me of my love for him.

He could not have been more wrong if he tried.

I've been in Maine for just over a week, and I cannot cannot CANNOT stop thinking about Walton Goggins.  Maybe it's because one of the guys in my writing program looks like him.  Maybe I'm obsessed and need mental help.  But more than likely, it's because I miss watching The Shield with my boyfriend, Ian.  So when I think "Walton Goggins," I'm really thinking "Ian."  We saw AvP 2 on our 2-year anniversery, so it's always held kind of a special place in our relationship.

But anyway, back to Walton Goggins.  Predators was a collossal failure on all levels except the "Walton Goggins saying things that are awesome."  More than once during a faculty reading one has leaned over to the other and whispered, "when this residency is done, I am going to do so much cocaine," leaving the other one snorting and trying not to laugh out loud.

And once Walton Goggins met his inevitable fate, well, the movie may as well have been over for me.  And yet, I found myself wanting to watch it over and over again, like some sort of security blanket.  I go through these sorts of movie phases--when my ex-best-friend Catch was in London. I watched the "Big Fat Kill" section of Sin City over and over and over and over.  When I was living in Brooklyn and was lonely and miserable, I watched Sideways and thought of Mike.  When I was in Brewster pining for Ian behind my then-boyfriend's back, I watched the daffodil scene in Big Fish.  I don't know what it was about Predators that made me so actively long for another viewing.

But don't let my sentimentality and my love of Walton Goggins distract you from the fact that this movie sucked.

. . . . but even a WG-free screen had more redeeming value than the trailer for Scott Pilgram vs. The World

This is going to be simultaniously the best and the worst movie ever made in the history of anything.  It's a checklist of nerd fantasies in which the nerd gets to be the hero.  We have:
1) Michael Cera
2) Moderatly hot indie chick
3) Michael Cera plays in a band (sure he does)
4) Video Game sound effects
5) "Evil" ex-boyfriends
6) Matrix-style camera work
7) Jason Schwartzman

On the other hand, it also has Michael Cera getting punched in the face.

Michael Cera needs to stop.  He just needs to go to college and become a vet or do something other than play the exact same rube over and over.  It's sort of like that episode of Arrested Development where he takes the "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day" joke too far.  I'm sick of George-Michael and I'm sick of this generation that think that some mopey-eyed dope is what a girl wants in a guy.  I don't want to date some overgrown manchild who thinks that I will be impressed when he plays "Message in a Bottle" for me on Guitar Hero.  Amd I'm utterly disgusted by this need to "save" a girl from her "evil" ex-boyfriends.  I've dated plenty of jerks.  Mail me some pizza rolls and I'll give you their names and addresses.  But I'm not wowed by some desparate John Cusack wanna-be, and I certainly don't want to pay ten bucks to see one one the screen.

What all women want, what we really want is Walton Goggins yelling "Die, space faggot, die!"

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ugly Men I Have Loved

On this, the eve of both my final graduate school residency, my friend Eeon's wedding and, most importantly, the release of Predators, it is time I confess what everyone has known for months.

I am so in love with Walton Goggins.

I love his femmy eyes.  I love his woodchuck teeth.  I love his receeding hairline and his southern accent and his boot cut jeans.  The man's got the nicest pants I've ever seen, even beating out Jeff Goldblum's skinny slacks on Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

Ian and I have been devouring The Shield. We just finished season five, and things are getting rough.  I sobbed during the finale.  It was not good, but for whatever reason, I just couldn't stay mad at Shane.  And I know things aren't going to end well for him, because it's The Shield, and nothing ends well for anybody.

By all logic, I should have had the crush on Dutch Boy, because he looks like Homicide's Det. Bayliss, who I was secretly in love with back in the day.

Or Lem, who looks like Trigun's Vash the Stampede.

Okay, that's cheating, because I did have a crush on Lem, but anyone who's watched The Shield knows that that's a love that ends pretty badly.

But there was just something about Shane that struck me.  Maybe it was because there's an ernestly about Shane, a real divide between wanting to do right by Vic and the team and wanting to do right by Shane.  He's the most complex character on the show, and I'm drawn to that.  Plus, as I said before, the man wears a pair of blue jeans like you can't believe.

Walton Goggins is just one more in a long list of ugly celebrities I've had the hots for, which includes babes like Benicio del Toro in Sin City, Adrien Brody (who's also in Predators) and Tom Waits in Down By Law.  In my defense, Tom Waits has an absolutely breathtaking heinie.  Watch the scene where the cops frisk him and check that thing out.  It's really something special.

My adoration for ugly dudes does not manifest itself in my real life.  Ian looks like Ewan McGregor.  My friend Matthew, the second hottest guy I know, looks like Jeff Goldblum, unless he's wearing his other glasses and then he looks like Morrissey. 

But on film, ugliness carries a raw sexuality.  There are a million petty boys, but to find a man with Benicio del Toro's lips or Walton Goggins' eyes or Tom Waits butt is a real gem.  They captivate me and I can't look away.
Also, Shane once said, "Eatin' ain't cheatin'" which just about made me faint dead away.  The man knows what the ladies like.

Of course, my friend Eeon, not thinking ahead, planned his wedding for the day Predators opens.  I think he's letting me give Bill Pullman's speech from Independence Day to make up for this grevious error.  I forgive him.  I'm a generous girl.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thoughts from Last Vestige Records

An impromptu stop at Last Vestige Records netted me two major treasures--Warren Zevon's Sentimental Hygine LP (my favorite Zevon album) and Bob and Doug MacKenzie's Great White North LP.  I just watched Strange Brew again recently and have been on a real B&D kick, hosers . . . also had a great urge for bacon.

But while I was there, I noticed that Johnny Depp was watching me with his stupid orange hair and his idiotic purple top hat from the cover of the Almost Alice compilation soundtrack.  I'm not going to justify him with a picture. 

Depp and I had a bad breakup a few years ago, when I wanted him to go back to that "acting" thing he did in Edward Scissorhands and Benny and Joon, and he preferred to halfway nuke his Fear and Loathing bit like a bachelor's TV dinner and chew on the wads of cash that Disney threw at him. 

I was having a perfectly awesome Last Vestige experience and figured now was as good a time as any to ruin it.  Avril Lavigne?  The All-American Rejects? 

Apparently falling down the rabbit hole landed Alice in Wonderland circa 2002.  And apparently, Tim Burton is still in high school and still hasn't lost his virginity.

Remember when Danny Elfman used to be sole music man for Burton?  What, is he no longer a genius and Owl City has to cover for him? 

Elfman gave us the Beetlejuice theme, which, according to my friend Sterling, is "a brass section's wet dream."  Elfman wrote "The Ice Dance" which, if I ever get married, will be my processional.  And he wrote and sang a hefty chunk of the fantabulous score for The Nightmare Before Christmas, my all-time favorite film.  Apparently he wasn't awesome enough for that either, because they got a bunch of pop star assholes to cover that too.  Danny Elfman or Fall Out Boy?  If you chose the latter, well, you're an asshole too.

Okay, so he did the score, but seriously, the man who wrote "Insanity" doesn't need any help from weenies who wrote "Hey There Delilah." 

Elfman is a vocal virtuoso . . . his voice is beautiful and haunting and savage all at once, one of those great rock voices that works just as well snarling out, "I'd love to take your satin dolls and tear them all to shreds/I'd love to mess your pretty hair, I'd love to see you dead" as when he sings, "and if we don't try too hard/we might start falling in love."  He is delicate and brutal, he makes his performance look and sound so effortless. 

This compared to Pete Wentz, who sounds like he forgot to remove his noseplugs after his mom picked up from swimming lessons.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

RIP Dennis Hopper

. . . and Gary Coleman, while we're at it.  Chill out in Heaven, guys.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Saddest Songs In the World, PT 2

This week's entry: "My Waltzing Days Are Over" by the Innocence Mission.

I think I got dumped to this song.

It was given to me on the 3rd in a series of mixes by a guy who'd previously given me songs like Matthew Sweet's "Winona" ("would you be my little movie star/would you be my long-lost girl?") and Stevie Wonder's "Knocks Me Off My Feet" ("there's something about your love/that makes me weak") I had, in turn, responded with Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" and The Magnetic Fields, "I'm Tongue-Tied."  This went on for about two years until just after New Years in 2007, when he presented me with the 3rd CD, this time, minus the "love" next to his name.

There were two songs that said the dreaded words of every lover--"we can't keep doing this."  Billy Bragg's "A Lover Sings" was a mournful lament to the sex we never had.  The other, of course, was "My Waltzing Days are Over."

I am no fool, I have no romantic notions
In my head
at my age
I'm content to watch

If you haven't figured it out, he was a little bit older than me.  I was his Manic Pixie Dream Girl.  We drank black coffee and talked about Raymond Chandler novels and traded vintage paperbacks.  He was the first person to tell me I was smart.  To a 22-year old just out of a bad relationship, that was a hundred times better than even the most flowery "I love you."

And it didn't end quickly either.  It ended slowly as both of us descended into our our age-respective misery.  I didn't get into grad school.  He didn't get tenure (which my mother said was my fault).  We were both stuck in this miserable dying town and couldn't unite in our misery--so it became rubber bullets we shot off each other, bouncing back off the kevlar coldness we'd girded ourselves with.

I got it.  We didn't have anything that could save either of us; he wasn't going to leave his wife and I didn't want him to.  It was something beyond love or sex, it was just a connection . . . two lonely, frustrated romantics reaching out for each other.  But waltzes have to end sometime, and, as the Wallflowers said, "It takes two to tango, but boy, it's one to let go."

God, I miss him.  I miss having that connection with somebody.  I hate that it had to end like that, drift off for no reason other than that it just didn't work.  Bad timing, misalignment, whatever.  He broke my heart because he let someone else give his explaination, and it's beautiful and haunting and perfect, but they aren't his words.  And he's out there somewhere, maybe he found a new Manic Pixie Dream Girl, maybe he's miserable, I don't know.  But what I wouldn't give to sit across an IHOP table with him one more time, share one more endless pot of coffee, have him play one more song for me. 

"My Waltzing Days are Over" is sort of indie so I don't have a video or anything to put with it.  Instead, here  is a picture of Robert Clohessy in Oz, who sort of looks like the guy who gave me this song.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Boys On Film . . . And In Real Life

Congrats to my best-guy-friend-from-college/arch nemesis Mike Nassberg, whose review of Kike Like Me has been nominated for an award from the The Syracuse Press Club.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Celebrity Fantasies Special Birthday Edition: Ewan McGregor

In honor of Ewan's birthday, I dedicate this post to him.

. . .  so I have this fantasy that Ewan McGregor and his beautiful wife and his perfect children ask Ian and I out to dinner, and we go to this really nice place for sushi.  And we're all laughing, and his kids are perfectly behaved, and his accent is adorable and for once someone's wife doesn't think I'm totally after her husband (I get that a lot).  And when dinner is finished, he picks up the check.

He drops his wife and kids back at the hotel and Ian back at our hotel, and we get his motorcycle and he even got me a helmet with a bunch of cool voodoo/rockabilly designs on it.  He and I are going to see The Police play at Madison Square Garden, and we have front row seats, and Ewan is wearing a really awesome striped sweater that he has to keep rolling the sleeves up off his hands.  Oh, and he's wearing skinny jeans, not like emo skinny jeans, just a nice, slim, well-fitting pair.  And the Police are playing all my favorite songs, and it turns out that Sting and Ewan are pals so he gets to go up on stage and sing "Can't Stand Losing You" and "Walking on the Moon," the latter which he dedicates to me.  And afterwards I get to meet Sting and Stewart Copland, and that's cool, and then Ewan and I go to the Sunflower diner and drink coffee and laugh until, like, 2 in the morning, and then we get back on his motorcycle and he drops me off at my hotel and gives me a kiss on the cheek.  "We should do this again sometime," he says, in that awesome accent.  

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dennis Hopper, Friend to Dinosaurs

Dennis Hopper received his Star on the Walk of Fame on Friday, and pictures from the event show him gaunt, in a wheelchair, and close to death from cancer. Such a sad end to a man who terrified the ever loving bejeezus out of me as a kid.

Dennis Hopper is, in a way, responsible for my idiotic affection for dinosaurs. Now granted, most 8 year olds know more about dinosaurs that I do; my knowledge is limited to that dinosaurs are cool. I’ve read Jurassic Park something like twenty million times. I probably don’t have to tell you why I watch the movie.

And whenever my BFF/writing partner Matthew and I go to a conference, we try to find someplace with dinosaurs we can look at. Wells Dinosaur Haven has been our favorite so far.

But back to Dennis Hopper. To me, Hopper will always be Koopa from Super Mario Bros. You’re laughing. Go ahead, laugh. But my reasoning is this—awful as it was, Super Mario Bros. was the first movie I was allowed to see by myself at the single-screen movie theater up the street from house. I was 8, and it has been imprinted on my mind ever since.

Hopper gnaws his way through scenery like a homeless Seth Rogan in a dipsty dumpster, spitting hunks of cardboard and plywood with every over-wrought line of dialogue. But right at the end, when Mario and Luigi think they’ve de-evolved him, he jumps OUT of this giant bucket to bite their faces off. I was sitting forward in my seat and I jumped back so hard that Trista, whose mother also let her go to the movies un-chaperoned, laughed out loud. It was the first real cinematic reaction I remember having, and the adrenaline rush was intoxicating. It was then that movies went from being something to watch to something to experience.

I’ve seen Easy Rider. I’ve seen Blue Velvet. They were great, but Super Mario Bros. directly impacted how I relate to the cinema experience; the thrill I get when the trailers begin, the way I chain-chomp a package of candy cigarettes, the exact way I sit forward in my seat at the tensest moment. My prayers go out to Dennis Hopper, as well as an all-too-belated thanks.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Guys and Dolls

The first record I ever fell in love with was Warren Zevon’s Excitable Boy

But the second album I fell in love with was the soundtrack to the 1992 revival cast of Guys and Dolls. I was at my friend Erin’s house and her dad, who was conducting the show at the local college, played the tape for us. This began a love affair with musical theater that lasted up until college, when I lost my virginity and didn’t have to be a theater nerd anymore.

I kid, I kid. But all jokes aside, most of the theater I loved as a high schooler has fallen into the category of adolescent mistakes—Phantom of the Opera, Rent, Les Miserables, all those other wanker musicals. Only two musicals have stood the test of time, and Guys and Dolls is number one. (The other is Little Shop of Horrors). Hearing JK Simmons cheerfully snarl out the title number still sends gleeful shivers down my spine. This has almost nothing to do with the fact that over six seasons of Oz, I’ve seen the JK 1) Carving a swastika into Lee Turgeson’s ass, 2) Getting a blow job. 3) In the nude. The full nude.  Talk about having your childhood raped . . . literally.

There’s an exuberance in the music itself that transcends the actor’s own voices, from “Runyonland” (the overture) to the reprise of “Guys and Dolls.” It’s the kind of music that reminds you how wonderful musical theater really can be when in the hands of professionals, not a bunch of idiots and D-list actors (I’m looking at you, Ashlee Simpson). They just don’t write them like this anymore. “I’ve Never Been In Love Before” is one of the most beautiful love songs ever written, and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” has done more to save my soul than a whole hymnal. I still harbor a fantasy from childhood about performing “Marry the Man Today” in a talent show—to uproarious applause, of course.

I met Nathan Lane, very briefly, in 2001. My friend Ann and I snuck into a Christie’s Auction for a chance to make cocktail party chatter with the two leads of The Producers. Matthew Broderick is a charmer even if his wife is an utter cunt. And short, too. I could totally take her.

We only got to talk to Nathan Lane for a minute, but he was kind and polite, with a little sadness behind his eyes. In another circumstance, I might have asked him to sign my CD.

Ian and I flew to London to see Ewan McGregor perform in the show as Skye Masterson, which marked two things: 1) The most insane thing I’ve ever done to attract a man’s attention (it failed—next time, Ewan!) and 2) The first time I’d actually seen the show. In all those years of hearing Nathan Lane belt out “Sue Me,” I’d never actually seen a production of Guys and Dolls. I actually started to weep when Ewan sang “My Time of Day” in front of the glowing white painted moon. They never put out a cast recording, and I can no longer listen to Peter Galligher sing Skye’s part—I don’t want to ever erase Ewan’s voice from my mind.

Most albums from childhood don’t stand the test of time, but Guys and Dolls continues to enchant me. It can cheer up even the worst day, and revive my energy better than a cup of coffee. Even if I have seen Benny Southstreet in the buff.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Celebrity Fantasies: David Arquette

I have this fantasy that I’m walking down St. Mark’s place towards Jas Mart to buy some of those little pink rice flour cakes that taste like clouds and I see David Arquette (pictured, left) walking on the opposite side, heading towards the Astor Place subway station. He’s got a large bag from Trash and Vaudville and I can only assume it’s filled with striped pants. I have a large, mostly-full Orange Julius, which I heft it at him.

I also, apparently, am a professional shot-putter because it hits him square between the shoulder blades, splattering all over his blue orange Hawaiian shirt and dripping down his green checkered pants. He turns to see who threw an Orange Julius at him. I wait until he spots me to yell, “You suck, David Arquette!” He starts to cry, drops his bag and runs away. Turns out the bag is just filled with some empty Keystone Light cans that he was probably returning for the deposit.

The next day his picture is on Perez Hilton with big white teardrops drawn on his cheek and a dong sketched in his mouth. I imagine it’s the most fame David Arquette will ever know.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Saddest Songs in the World: Part 1

Sad songs are kind of my thing. I’m an ex-goth and a Morrissey junkie. But I’m not talking teenage melodrama, I mean the kind of songs that rip your heart out of your chest and heft it into traffic. . . . this will be an ongoing, randomly updated segment in the column, so feel free to post your own in the comments section.

This week's entry: “Time to Pretend” MGMT

Songs don’t get any sadder than this. They just don’t. MGMT has managed to create a lush electronic wasteland where the narrators are so tragically aware of the choices they’ve deliberatly made, that the only thing left to do with their spent lives is OD. Bummer.

It’s the bridge that kills me every time:

I miss my sister, miss my father
Miss my dog and my home
Yeah, I miss the boredom
And the freedom
And the time spent alone

These are the things we forget about as we grow up. This is the end of innocence, right here.  But it's delicatly handled, simply shrugged off as, "well, live and learn."  There's no self-grandizing nostalgia, just the very simple admission that maybe hanging out in Paris, shooting drugs and banging models isn't what life is all about.

And it’s the most depressing, most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life. Morrissey has never written a single line that conveys as much melancholy as “Time to Pretend,” let alone a whole song.

It's also got a really bizarre music video

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Boys on Film Oscar Special!

. . . So the Oscars are tonight, and I could not give less of a fig about them. The Oscars usually disappoint me, because no one I ever like is nominated and if by chance they are nominated, they never win. This has happened to Mickey Rourke, Danny Elfman and Sting more times than I can count.

That, and I don’t have a TV. Or internet. I live in a more-or-less blissfully Oscar-free universe. Sunday night my beloved Ian and I will probably be munching on popcorn drenched in butter and coconut oil (a trade secret I owe to my darling friend/sister-wife to Stephen Colbert, Jenny) and continuing our six-part Star Wars Rifftrax series with our friend Chris, who remains our friend despite the fact that we made him sit through The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones in one weekend. Thank Heaven for Mike Nelson and Plinkett Films:

But, of course, this has made me think about the movies I’ve seen this year, and although it was better than the abysmal showings of 2008, that’s still no excuse. I really liked Duplicity, because Clive Owen is a fox and he looks good in a suit. 9 would have been better as a silent film, but there’s no denying that the puppetry was beyond gorgeous, and bonus points for a Danny Elfman theme. Public Enemies might be the worst, most boring film ever starring a formerly good actor now hamming it up so he can be on action figures and keep pretending to be independent.  Ian is still tortured by memories of Transformers 2 but has fond recollections of The Men Who Stare at Goats. Sherlock Holmes was terrible on plot but excellent on use of the RDj. The only good thing about 2012 was that I got to loudly mock the lineup of Twilight fans waiting for the midnight showing of New Moon.

There were really only two films that stood out to me this year. Films that broke beyond the typical stock fare and acted as more than just a Raisenettes delivery service.

District 9:
For starters, District 9 had an awesome ad campaign. I am not a fan of propaganda, Shia LaPouf screaming in my face that I HAVE TO GO SEE THIS MOVIE AAAAAAA!!!!!!! But when movie posters make me feel like I am part of the experience, as District 9’s “Human’s Only” bus/bathroom/bench campaign did, I’m much more compelled to find out what else might be sitting on my bench beside me if not for the warning label.

I really can’t describe what I liked in District 9 except that it was compelling, I wasn’t on the lookout for actors I knew, and that little baby prawn was sort of cute. It was a great, albeit simple, allegory for racism and apartheid, sort of Cry Freedom meets The Fly, without being heavy handed. Just a good, solid film that left me satisfied at the end. That doesn’t happen very often.

The Princess and the Frog

I cannot say enough good things about this film. I liked it so much that I went back and saw it the next day. I grew up in the second golden age of Disney, that lush watercolor Ashman/Menkin era of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Before Belle and Jasmine and Ariel were reduced to teaching about sharing, back when our Princesses could be pig-headed and well-read and, yes, beautiful. Then Disney upgraded to CGI, stripped out all the chorus numbers and began cranking out lukewarm, soulless turds (this excludes, of course, Lilo and Stitch, which was a work of art). They have finally come to their senses, went back to watercolor musicals, and created something lovely. A strong woman who works hard to meet her goals (a far cry from wishing a Fairy Godmother would do all the work for you) a daffy prince who finally mans up and some great, scary scenes of villainous voodoo.

Kids aren’t stupid. They’re not as scared as we try to make them be, eschewing all villains and upsetting images from our reboots of Strawberry Shortcake (gluten-free, of course) and making everything about learning to be friends. We’re creating a generation of apron-clinging wusses who can’t function in the real world out there, and The Princess and the Frog is going to toughen those little brats up. Trust me, they’ll thank you later.

My only beef was with the music. Randy Newman is no Howard Ashman. He’s just too Randy Newman like, he’s too cutsey. Ashman’s lyrics were little narratives in themselves, they progressed the scene rather than taking time out to sing a song and then going back to their business. They were filled with witty wordplay and words like “expectorate,” all set against these enormous dizzying Menkin scores. The only real memorable song in Princess is Keith David singing “Friends on the Other Side” but even that gets weak at the end.

Okay, so it’s no Beauty and the Beast, but it’s a good turn in that direction. And combined with District 9, there a chance that filmmaking might turn back to where the movies are about stories, not just retreads of warmed-over Oscar-bait, animated toys and painful “quirk” disguised as plot.

Oh hell, who the am I kidding? At least there’s always Netflix. And Rifftrax. Enjoy the Oscars!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Boys on Film . . .naked ones

Male nudity, once heavily frowned upon in film, is becoming more and more acceptable.  This needs to stop.  Not because it's indecent, but because it's usually perpetrated by people who are gross, like Kevin Bacon or Jason Seigel, and can permenantly damage the fragile, budding sexuality of young people.  My first actual experience with male nudity (I grew up in a house with all sisters) was seeing Geoffrey Rush in Quills.  Mr. Rush is a handsome man, but I do not want to see his area.  The same goes for you, JK Simmons.  We'll make an exception for Chris Meloni.

That being said, I must take this time to praise the two most beautiful naked men Hollywood has ever offered us.  If you have ever doubted the existance of God, these two will prove that not only does He exist, but man is truly made in His great image.  And the fact that these two actors star in films bearing the name Adam cannot be a coincidence.

I'm talking, of course, about Ewan McGregor and Jeff Goldblum.

In Young Adam, Ewan is just lying there on the bed, smoking a cigarette, lovely cock dangling against his alabaster thigh, pillowed on a tuft of red-gold public hair.  It might be the most beautiful thing in existance.  It is the Holy Grail of wangs.  And there's an odd unsexiness too it, not the repulsion one might get if seeing, say, Jack Black in the buff but just simply a "huh, wow, there's Ewan McGregor's lightsaber.  Hmm."  The casualness of it makes it almost more real and, to my mind, more titilating.  He is proud of his cock, as well he should be, and he is content to just lay in bed and smoke all day.  Fine by me, except for the smoking part, I'm allergic.  Maybe we could eat cadbury eggs instead.

In Adam, Resurrected, Jeff Goldblum opens the film, literally, with a shot of his buttocks as peered through the keyhole.  Pushing sixty, Goldblum has a nicer bum than I've seen on some guys my age.  It's firm, it's round, it's well lifted.  No cellulite, no wrinkles, no evidence of sagging.  Really, quite lovely, artistic even.  He stays clothed for the rest of the film, but please, don't let that stop you.  And let's not forget that Jeff bares it all, from a side shot, in both The Fly and my favorite, Earth Girls Are Easy.

So enough with the joke nudity, and enough with ugly guys baring it all to prove that they can.  We get it, Seth Rogan, you don't care what you look like.  Well, frankly, we don't either.