30 December 2006
My parents flat-out refused to let my sister or I watch anything rated "R" until we were into our teens, and even then, it was only under the watchful eye of one or both parents. Sneaking a peek at an "R" rated film without parental supervision was quite a treat, believe me! It sure beat the pants off of watching "Revenge of the Nerds" with dad or "Rocky Horror Picture Show" with mom.
Well one summer my sister Rachelle and I were dropped off to stay with our Grandparents in Arkansas for a week or two, along with our older cousin Kyle. That was a life-changing summer, for that was the first time I had ever really watched horror movies. Kyle was really into horror at the time. He was into King and Koontz, and introduced me to the wonders of chainsaws and ritualistic death cults. Yay!
The two movies I remember the most are The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Children of the Corn. Probably because they were both set in very rural areas, and we were staying out in the boonies ourselves. I've been fascinated by the genre ever since, but I've never really considered myself a "fan."
It took me quite a while to get around to Friday the 13th (parts 1 and 2) I'm sad to say. I considered (especially after Scream and The Ring that there was absolutely no way a couple of movies made in the late 70s and early 80s could possible be gripping or even scary. Boy howdy was I wrong!
Friday the 13th is a far better movie than it has any right to be. I'm not going to belabor it, but the film is low-budget, and it shows. The kills are, for the most part, very well staged and executed. Pun intended. And I admit it, I jumped a couple of times.
Friday the 13th: Part Two is to the first part what The Godfather II is to The Godfather. More of what worked, only better. F13th2 had me on the edge of the seat practically the whole time. The pacing was incredible! I couldn't believe it when the movie ended, it just flew past. And the kills really hurt! Damn.
Anyway, I'm doing research for a little horror project I've been invited to write on, and I just wanted to take the time to thank my cousin Kyle for forcing Chelley and me, Clockwork Orange style, to watch an endless stream of horror movies all those years ago.
28 December 2006
"Modesty is a virtue that can never thrive in public. . . . A man must be his own trumpeteer, he must write or dictate paragraphs of praise in the newspapers, he must dress, have a retinue, and equipage, he must ostentatiously publish to the world his own writings with his name, and must write even some panegyrics upon them . . . and must perpetuate his fame."
-- Benjamin Franklin
retinue: an entourage
equipage: a horse and carriage
panegyrics: elaborate public praise
It has occured to me that there must be an actual technique of fame. A recipe that, when followed, would result in broad public acclaim. Fame for the sake of fame. This technique, when coupled with actual talent and productivity would result in superstardom. This is the sort of thing one does not discuss for fear of being unseemly. One must not seem arrogant or egotistic, even if one is.
All I know is, if I could divine this technique and put it in written form, I'd make a mint selling it.
23 December 2006
Pamela and I caught the late show at Mann's Chinese in Hollywood, along with a very diverse group ranging from old timers to a punk band. Every race and age bracket, couples, groups, single people ... every person present was part of a celebration.
If you bemoaned the Star Wars prequel, if you cringed when you found out Superman had a bastard son, and if you've been aching for a return to the way film makers made movies back in the 70s, when film makers gave a damn about story and character ... if you have longed for a movie that's both popcorn friendly and inspirational GO SEE THIS FILM.
Stallone has proven himself to be a very sensative and approachable movie star over the past two weeks with the Q & A he took part in on www.aintitcool.com. In Rocky Balboa we see that he hasn't been blowing smoke up our ass. He respects the audience and gives us a film that is a love letter to his fans as much as it is an homage to the film that put him on the map.
His performance as the Italian Stallion is as pitch perfect as it was in the first two films. Stallone is doing the kind of work in this movie that Brando should've been doing at this age. This is the Rocky who took Adrian ice skating, who keeps pet turtles, and who doesn't back down from setting a yahoo straight. At his core, Rocky is a fragile soul inside the body of a behemoth. Here it goes: Stallone deserves an Oscar nom for this work. He won't get it, but he deserves it. Stallone is playing a Greek god! He is taking on a character of mythic proportions, and he succeeds in his task. He is so fully plugged into this role that the Sylvester Stallone of countless action films disappears and is replaced by that slugger we all knew once upon a time.
There is only one hiccup in the entire film for me ... and awkward cut between two scenes that needs something transitional between them. But that's it.
I could go on and on, but just go see it!
"You or nobody ain't never gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit... it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward... how much you can take, and keep moving forward. If you know what you're worth, go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit." -- Rocky Balboa
22 December 2006
2002 is the year. Pamela and I have moved to Los Angeles, and the quality of Saturday morning entertainment is declining to all new lows. One morning I put pen to paper and sketch out an idea for the sort of place I wish had been around when I was a kid:
* "Rump Revised" refers to a college production of "Rumpelstiltskin Revised" written and directed by noted playwright and academic hermit Allen Partridge. The show had no budget, and we literally scoured the Humanities building for materials. The set was designed by Garrick "I'm too sexy for this contest" Pass to look like coral. The costumes were designed by Andrew Rhodes and his work took him to Washington D.C. to compete at the national level of ACTF. C.J. Ellis did the prop and graphic design. He built a fantastic creature head that made my puppet designs for the show look like fabric and foam covered crap. Pamela did make-up. Oh! Rodney Fadely did sound -- fantastic found music from the library's collection of vinyl. I know I'm missing something. Who did the lights? Was it Brumbelow?
An alternative to the "boob tube!" All ages 0 - 12, parents, grandparents. (not necessarily for teens.) An indoors amusement park/carnival. Safe, clean, bright, friendly atmosphere.
Live theatre (improv., chapter plays, etc.) Puppetry Healthy breakfast available Hands-on crafts Classic cartoons - cool new cartoons (on FILM)
City Museum-esque space. FUN-FUN-FUN for the whole family. Inexpensive and always a NEW experience (encourage repeat visits.) Open Saturdays 9 am -2 pm and Sundays 9 am -2 pm.
Part of the funding can come from major corporations who would love a chance to get new products into the hands of "test audiences." Saturday Mornings provides survey data (good work for 'struggling' actors) to these corporations. Not to mention corporate sponsorship of attractions (Disney World style.)
Saturday Morning would be a great place to employ a variety of artists in a real "Rump Revised"* type atmosphere. Controlled creative chaos.
Should be located in a centralized, easy-to-get-to area near a major residential area. We want to develop REGULARS. This is THE place to bring your kids!
Make the theatre space independently accessible so it can be rented out.
Building would ideally be a boring facade jazzed up with sculpture, paint, etc.
Indoor playground: EVER CHANGING MAZE. Habitrail style. Rearranged every few weeks! Multi-level.
Entry and common areas FILLED with BIG music. Classical and movie soundtracks. Awe-inspiring.
Could have a carnival atmosphere or area with a fun darkride (non -threatening to little kids.)
Dark ride should be interactive, but in a charming low-tech sort of way. Give the kids a way to take out their frustrations on archetypical fears (the Bully, the Mean Adult, the Boogey-man, etc.)
Anyway, Al took off the leash and let us run wild. There was very little design consistency over all, and the show was a potpourri of cast-offs and leftovers. But the finished product was wild and crazy and wonderfully aesthetic. Sort of like the original Muppet Show. By "'Rump Revised'-type atmosphere" I am referring to and environment that creates a sort of free-wheeling, unabashedly whimsical orgy of creativity and fun. The City Museum in St. Louis accomplishes this sort of thing.
I hope you've enjoyed this foray into the Idea Graveyard. Who knows what we may encounter next?
21 December 2006
READY TO CHOKE MY CHICKEN
[Hmm ... that title doesn't sound right. Oh well, at least it'll bring in some hits from Google.]
I've been avoiding Disembodied Animal Head Theatre as if it were a tofu sundae. My last attempt at shooting an episode was a couple of weeks ago. The changes I made to Tex (i.e. giving him wings and arm rods) suck and the new set piece (Tex's arm chair) is a bigger pain in the ass than trying to improvise two sides of dialogue shot a half-hour apart.
The new 'Heads are wicked awesome, and I can't wait to shoot the actual "disembodied animal head theatre" segments, but this stupid show hinges on a working rubber chicken. I wanted to start over from the beginning with Tex, build a completely NEW Tex puppet but ... get this ... I couldn't find a rubber chicken that met up with my exacting standards for how Tex should look! That's right. I now consider myself a rubber chicken connoisseur.
During my last shoot, I was moments away from hurling the offending rod puppet across the room when my lovely wife swiped him away and made funny for the camera. She lightened the mood enough for me to struggle through a couple more takes, and then I threw in the towel for the day.
I need to dissasemble what I've done so far and rebuild the damned thing. I don't relish this because I AM A LOUSY PUPPET BUILDER.
On the bright side, Pamela and I went to the Conservatory of Puppetry Arts open house on Sunday and had a great time. I bought a couple of little puppets. If I get around to it, Ill shoot some pix or video to share 'em with the world. Or at least the fourteen of you who read this.
I have a couple of other things/possible gigs in the works, but don't want to "jinx" them by going into too much detail here. We have all seen what 'going into too much detail' has done for The Felties. Ha ha. Heh. Meh.
18 December 2006
just add andrewIt may come as no surprise that I'm an "okay" guitar player. I'm "okay" at a lot of things. For instance, puppetry. As a creative generalist, I am able to adapt and evolve as necessary to fulfill the demands placed before me. I NetFlixed the "House of Blues: Blues Guitar Level 1" dvd because 1) rock guitar decended from blues guitar and 2) it was the only one of two discs that covered lead techniques. It arrived, I popped it in, and decided right away to buy the disc.
John McCarthy is a good guitar teacher. He moves at a quick enough pace that I'm not bored to tears, and he gets to the meat of the matter pretty damn quick. The first of five chapters covers the basics of blues lead, the pentatonic scale ("penta" = five, "tonic" = note.) Learning the pentatonic scale is like blowing on a blues harp for the first time. You realize that you can't play a sour note with this thing.
I always figured lead guitar would come down to something like this. "Learn this scale. Play around with it."
Pamela and I were at Target last night, and we went back to Electronics to see if they had any Brian Bell (of Weezer) or Paul Stanley(of Kiss) guitars left. Not to buy, necessarily. I just can't get over the novelty of signature guitars for sale at a national retail chain.
I think it's great that Target is selling instruments. Guitars, basses ... even a drum kit! Music has always been a folk art. It's only in the last fifty or sixty years that folks have been priced out of buying decent instruments.
Walking down the aisle past the Fender, Washburn, and Gibson made "off-brands" we find the "HOB Blues Guitar" book and DVD on sale for $25! Score!
So to sum up: John McCarthy, Target, the House of Blues, and affordable instruments = w00+!
08 December 2006
Here's an idea that dates all the way back to December of 1997. Actually, it dates back to the Spring of '97 when I started working weekends at Oaklawn, the horse racing track in Hot Springs. Like so many ideas, it percolated for quite a while before I wrote it down. After college, I transferred over to the "Tote" department (basically the I.T. area in a racetrack, responsible for the servers that calculate odds.) I refer to a "Bob" below. That would be my old co-worker Bob Jackson, a great guy and big time NASCAR fan. So here it is, just in time for Christmas:
Vampire Movie IdeaI can't find the notes, but I had this great idea for a gag where one of the young adults is chased down by vampire horses.
There was a vampire special on the Discovery Channel, and I told Bob this idea, so I figured I might as well put to paper this old chestnut of an idea which has been roasting in the recesses of my mildly disturbed mind since my college days, shooting the ol' crapola with Brad McClelland regarding matters at the same time cinematic and macabre. And so ... imagine a deserted racetrack -- present day.
WOLFSBANE PARK. Deserted since 1957. It seems that too many horses dropped dead, having had their blood drained. It is now the nocturnal home of the role-playing game "VAMPYRE WARS." Young adults don costumes and play out a drama of two warring vampire factions and the innocent mortals who become "recruits." It's all fun and games.
But tonight -- an old psychopath breaks out of the local insane asylum. He is a former horse trainer out to rid Wolfsbane of its vampires.
Those young adults who would stop the horse trainer's carnage don't realize until it is too late -- WOLFBANE'S VAMPIRES ARE THEIR HOSTS! And the young adults are supper.
Now that I'm thinking about it, I recall the conversation that led to this idea. McClelland and I were tossing around ideas for a horror movie, and he told me about the time he attended one of these huge-ass vampire LARPs ("Live Action Role-Playing Game") that took place in an old abandoned shopping mall.
At the time I wrote this, I was in a band with my brother-in-law Brett, and we had written this sweet-ass song "Dying" (Pamela co-wrote the lyrics.) I thought it'd be killer to have live bands playing during the "game" and had this whole scene figured out using "Dying" as the backdrop:
"Dying", of course, in the Shakespearean sense. Nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say - no - more. So yes, it would be playing behind a vampire sex scene. ROCK!
music by Brett McWilliams
lyrics by Andrew Moore and Pamela Moore
Well it seems your sweet breath
Delivers up sweet death
Lay me down in my tomb
Lovely spectre of doom
You stole my consciousness
And you shattered my soul
Opened up your gates of hell
And you swallowed me whole
Bask in the afterglow
Red hot coals of desire
Can you feel my lava flow
Add your fuel to my pyre ... take me higher
Why don't I make these crappy movies? Hell, I'd pay to see 'em!
05 December 2006
Here's just a taste:
However, one thing that is not discussed often enough is just how much people enjoy having their personal space violated in favor of your convenience. In order to alleviate this issue, please refer to this list of suggestions below which will ensure that you will be fully entertaining and endearing to your coworkers in a cubicle environment.
The food thing is right on. I used to have a coworker who'd bring hardboiled eggs and tuna fish to work. What's so wrong with that, you ask? We didn't have a refrigerator for her to keep them in. Mmmm. Room temperature eggs and fish.
Also, people who use their speaker phone to keep redialing a busy number. You know, there's really no need to keep dialing back. "It's been half a second ... maybe they're off the line!"
Fortunately, my experience in that type of office is limited. Unfortunately, I'm very familiar with working for someone in their home office. I'd like to see J.C.'s take on that!
Sly Stallone 2.0
Over at Aint it Cool News, Sylvester Stallone is answering fan questions in a no-holds-barred fight to the finish.
So far he's fielding a wide range of questions from the potentially embarrasing (questions about "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!" and his mother's invention of "rumpology") to the unabashedly geeky (Is he going to be in Tarantino's "Inglorious Bastards," how does he justify Rocky Jr.'s inconsistent age from film to film, etc.)
I highly recommend you check out this very candid Q & A series. It started on December 1st, and will run up to December 20th.
Stallone really gets it. He's promoting his new film, but he's doing it according to the new rules of PR. He's communicating directly to his audience, being open and honest, and not shying away from "icky" questions that any sensible press agent would shun.
As a result, I believe Rocky Balboa is going to be a Box Office K-O. I had already planned on going to see it ... Now I'm excited about it. Pamela's excited about it. The thing is, Stallone is a real guy. A bit boastful, but certainly aware of his own shortcomings. He talks about such flops as Oscar and Get Carter with a healthy sense of humor, for instance:
It [Staying Alive] was definitely a lot better than my version of GET CARTER, which caused many people to run out and perform self-inflicted lobotomies.
Great series. Check it out!