Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween at the Flynn

Boob Tube

Below is a clip from an old episode (April 2005) of The Deadbeat Club in which we discuss the merits, or lack there of, of fun-n-trashy reality TV.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Do You Realize?

Do You Realize?
by the Flaming Lips

Do You Realize - that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize - we're floating in space
-Do You Realize - that happiness makes you cry
Do You Realize - that everyone you know someday will die
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round
Do You Realize - Oh - Oh - Oh
Do You Realize - that everyone you know
Someday will die -
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round
Do You Realize - that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Halloween Hijinx

Heather Chandler: Well, fuck me gently with a chainsaw. Do I look like Mother Theresa?

This blog has been too dismal of late and what with the endless days of rain, it was time for some Halloween party fun! Lani invited us to her friend Scott's party on Maple Street. We dressed as Raggedy Ann, Little Red Riding Hood and a bitchy Heather - guess who was who. OMG, did you, like, have a brain tumor for breakfast?

Heather Duke: "Veronica, why are you pulling my dick?"

It was nice to be out and about with the streets full of disguised, drunken people. At the party there was a HOT dance floor, a keg and a wild pack of dogs, one of which was Supergirl!

There were three levels and the patios were shielded from the cold by tarps. There was more Michael Jackson than you could shake a stick at, some early Madonna and even some Kelly Clarkson for the kids.

Veronica Sawyer: Dear Diary: Heather told me she teaches people "real life." She said, real life sucks losers dry. You want to fuck with the eagles, you have to learn to fly. I said, so, you teach people how to spread their wings and fly? She said, yes. I said, you're beautiful.

Also in attendance were a Man of War, traffic tape girls, Charlie's Angels, Borat (he took time out from his heavy promotional tour to be there!), Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffanys, a drunken knight of yore, a sexy pirate, a nun with pink hair, a Grecian princess, a scary Bandito, Little Bo Peep, a washed up surfer, a prisoner, a striking crow, a bottle of Heinz tomato ketchup, a Dungeon Master with his shirt peeking out of his zipper and of course, SATAN!

Veronica Sawyer: I say we just grow up, be adults and die.

Next we went downtown to hook up with a pirate and a jockey. The line at Metronome was too long so we satisfied ourselves with some delicious gravy fries while we met a serial killer, a cross dresser, a naughty nurse and a girl from Jersey.

On the drive home, a drunken sailor leapt onto our car hood and screamed at us like a crazy man, we screamed back. Ah Hallows Eve, how I love your chaos.

Veronica Sawyer: If you were happy every day of your life you wouldn't be a human being. You'd be a game-show host.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Granny's Funeral Montage

Below is a montage made up of photos from my trip to Iowa for my Grandmother Margaret's funeral. The trip was sort of like a dream - lots of raining, driving, smoking and musing. If it weren't for these pictures, I might wonder if it really happened.

While taking the creepy pictures of my grandmother's corpse, I was barely able to hold the camera steady 'cause I was shaking so badly. I kept expecting her to sit up and say, "Get that damn camera out of my face you hussy!"

Of course, even if my grandmother had been alive, she wouldn't have said that, she just would have given me a dirty look and gone about her business. Unlike me, granny never liked to cause a scene.

My father and I followed her hearse down the empty dirt roads which she trudged back and forth on as a girl. The "Driftless Area" of Iowa is littered with rugged hills, valleys and impressive vistas. The grass was very green, rain fell heavily and a thick mist coated the passing landscape. We listened to Peter Gabriel's Passion and soaked in the gray Edward Gorey-esque day.

When we finally came to the place that grandma will call home for all of eternity, it felt as though we had entered some sort of alternate dimension. Such a strange thing is death, and stranger still, there is Iowa and my grandma. Rest in peace Margaret and may your dreams be grand.

Elliott Montage

Elliott Smith was our Babe of the Month back in February of 2005. It was a sad episode dedicated to my poor dead dog Sheila and the victims of the tsunami. That was a crappy sad month and episode DBC11 was pretty dark as a result (it'll be replaying in December if you want to watch the whole thing).

"Trying to occupy space, what a fucking joke, what a fucking joke." - Elliott Smith

This is an Elliott montage with footage I shot in Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California - a place that brought me a lot of peace.

"What I used to be will pass away and then you'll see that all I want now is happiness for you and me. Happiness." - Elliott Smith


Oh Elliott, why did you have to go and off yourself? This is a live recording of one of his prettiest songs, "Say Yes." It is about hope and better days.

I'm in love with the world through the eyes of a girl
who's still around the morning after
we broke up a month ago and i grew up i didn't know
i'd be around the morning after
it's always been wait and see
a happy day and then you pay
and feel like shit the morning after
but now i feel changed around and instead of falling down
i'm standing up the morning after
situations get fucked up and turned around sooner or later
i could be another fool or an exception to the rule
you tell me the morning after
crooked spin can't come to rest
i'm damaged bad at best
she'll decide what she wants
i'll probably be the last to know
no one says until it shows see how it is
they want you or they don't
say yes
i'm in love with the world through the eyes of a girl
who's still around the morning after

So pretty and tortured and eloquent and sad. Sigh...gives you chills...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Scrawny Boney Bits

Things are pretty, graceful, rich, elegant, handsome, but, until they speak to the imagination, not yet beautiful.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.
- Albert Einstein

Beauty is an experience, nothing else. It is not a fixed pattern or an arrangement of features. It is something felt, a glow or a communicated sense of fineness. What ails us is that our sense of beauty is so bruised and blunted, we miss all the best.
- D. H. Lawrence

YouTube user Sick of Models made this cool video to the song, "I'm So Sick of Models" which she/he posted as a video response to my Celeb Ump Watch video:

There are a lot of cool vids on YouTube about body image and consumer culture's manipulation and fakery of beauty (see one example here). Again, nice to see YouTube used as a tool for "good," even if there are also tons of vids made by anorexic girls talking about how fat they are. Ah well, what are you gonna do?

Beauty and sadness always go together. Nature thought beauty too rich to go forth Upon the earth without a meet alloy.
- George MacDonald

The absence of flaw in beauty is itself a flaw.
- Havelock Ellis ["Impressions and Comments" (1914)]

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they're still beautiful.
- Alice Walker

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Running Wild!

Please to enjoy Eva, Travis and Keith runnin' wild at Oakland's Mountain View Cemetery to the hip shakin' tunes of Les Paul and Mary Ford. This is part of a hopefully soon-to-be-edited short film about the Black Dahlia.

"Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness."
- Robertson Davies

Pretty But Vacant

"If [Coppola's Marie Antoinette] does drop larger hints, they have less to do with the vanished culture of Versailles than with the fretful stasis of our own. The movie's approach to the world beyond, to everything that one doesn't know or wouldn't care to buy, is like the look on Kristen Dunst's face: a beautiful blankness, forever on the brink of drifting, with a smile, into sleep." - Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

When I was younger, I prided myself on being "real." I thought my overly emotional, artistic personality which made crying, smiling and feeling come so easily was a sign of my superior sensitivity. Over time, this cockiness has been replaced with a realization that feeling things intensely is not really all it is cracked up to be. Perhaps Sofia Coppola is on to something, perhaps feeling less is where it is at. I mean, why bother to struggle with things, that is just, like, so tacky.

I make no bones about my dislike of Sofia (see video full o'hate here). I found The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation to be beautiful but empty (although I have to hand it to Bill Murray - he gave me something real to munch on).

But maybe, more than anything, I am just jealous of people like Sofia who can take their emotions, bottle them up and bury them deep down inside their perfectly coiffed selves. This sounds far preferable to my mood of late which can be likened to having your heart tenderly massaged by a cheese grater. Maybe Sofia and her too-cool-for-school ilk are onto something?

"Coppola films Versailles with a flat acceptance, quickening at times into eager montage, and declares, in her notes on the film, that she sought to capture her heroine's "inner experience." Her what? This is like a manicurist claiming to capture the inner experience of your pinkie." - Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

I tried to go into Marie Antoinette with an open mind, hers is a story that I find scintillating. I love the book it was based on, Antonia Fraser's Marie Antoinette: The Journey. I am fascinated with the time period and even enjoyed a trip to Versailles when I was 17.

I recall that cold, sunny winter afternoon well, when I stood in the magnificently gold-coated, marble-floored court yard (which also shows up in the film) and soaked up the grandeur of Versailles.

It is impossible not to get emotional as you come face to face with so much oppulence and beauty. Such an excess of decadence and immensity overwhelm the senses and blind the eye until they combine and turn to mud: hyper-manicured and pointy gardens, magnetic and powerful sculptures, detailed wallpaper, embroidered bedsheets, gold encrusted hallways, magnificent chandeliers, tree-lined pathways, and startlingly entrancing vistas everyway you turn.

It is almost too much, I don't blame Sofia for getting overwhelmed and churning out such an underwhelming film.

I still have my journal entry from that day. It is sad and melancholic (ahh, the joys of being an overly dramatic teen/30-something). For all that intense beauty and oppulence, I recall feeling very much alone. And the loneliness mixed with the massiveness of Versailles was overwhelming.

If nothing else, this pretty movie made me think of that day and sparked a brief, almost faded, moment of sentiment.

Needless to say, Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette was beautiful. I knew it would be. Amazing set design, costumes, hair and make-up and haunting sound design. The music was perfect, the montages were spectacular, Kristen Dunst's heaving bosom was lovely - all this and I felt nary a thing the entire movie (save for that spark of a memory I mentioned earlier).

In fact, I recall thinking, "How much longer can this thing stretch on? They haven't even had sex yet?! I will die of boredom...oooh goody, another montage sequence!"

"The one, transfixing virtue of "Marie Antoinette" is its unembarrassed devotion to the superficial. There is no morality at play here, no agony other than boredom, and, until the last half hour, not a shred of political sense." - Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

Where Fraser's book was rich with details and intimate moments of Antoinette's rich life, Coppola's film skimmed the surface so quickly I think I got rug burn. It was a pretty ride but, nonetheless, I felt not a thing the entire journey.

Good actors such as Steve Coogan, Molly Shannon, Judy Davis, Jason Schwartzman, Shirley Henderson, Rip Torn and Asia Argento were frittered away. They hung like stiff costumes in the background of a museum, impressive and nice to look at, but empty and meaningless all the same.

Kristen Dunst tried admirably to convey some emotion but, as usual, her sunny valley girl personality (sort of fitting for Marie Antoinette in a strange sort of way) shone through and it was impossible to buy her one sad, crying fit. Sure, the King sleeps night after night with this hot little number and doesn't get around to tapping that shit till 7 years later, yeah right, I buy that Kristen. It isn't her fault she is sizzling!

Perhaps it all boils down to the fact that, despite my better judgement, I am an emotion junky and this movie felt like a long, painful withdrawl from a beloved drug. What a waste of actors, what a waste of beauty and good music.

"Is the movie somehow contending that the Queen was, with her gang of cronies and her witless overspends, the Paris Hilton of the late eighteenth century? ... On the other hand, I spent long periods of "Marie Antoinette" under the growing illusion that it was actually made by Paris Hilton...Snuff is snorted like coke. There are hilarious attempts at landscape, but the fountains and parterres of Versailles are grabbed by the camera and pasted into the action, as if the whole thing were being shot on a cell phone and sent to friends." - Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

All that said, I admit that Sofia did an admirable job with this movie. She had to cover a lot of ground and there were some nice moments when the 80s new wave soundtrack faded out and the sound of wind chimes could be heard (at the coronation) and of course, the beautiful shots of Kristen Dunst frolicking in Antoinette's meadow which were reminiscent of a similar scene in The Virgin Suicides.

Sofia has an artistic eye which I admire. She manages to stay calm, cool and collected in the face of a dramatic, highly emotionally charged episode in French history. I envy her cool detachment, I wish I had a hefty dose of it myself these days.

I was also disappointed by this film because I find the plot of Marie Antoinette's life to be so interesting and this movie's plot to be so uninteresting. It would be nice to see another director take on this subject matter and perhaps give less time to the fabulous montages, costumes and the excess of Versailles and more time to the dramatic end which left Marie Antoinette's family and court violently beheaded.

This is a tale full of fun gorey details, melodrama, suffering and pain! Maybe this film could be like a Part Two to Coppola's Marie Antoinette, perhaps like a VHI: Driven or an E! True Hollywood Story. It could be called, "Marie Antoinette: Some Heavy Shit Man."

There is a lot of dirt and grime in Marie Antoinette's story to be examined once you peel back the pretty layers of chiffon and bon bons (why so many cakes and sweets Sofia?). And being the emotional vampire that I am, I for one, would like to watch this Part 2 of Marie Antoinette's life.

The lonely time she spent in prison where she had to watch her best friend's decapitated head being paraded outside her window for her delight. The agony of having her young children ripped from her side and slowly turned against her. Her humiliating trial in court during which the revolutionaries dragged her character through the mud and convicted her as a child molester after convincing her son to testify against his own mother. And yet, through it all, Marie Antoinette remained a pretty level-headed Queen.

They did their best to beat her down and kill her spirit. They stripped her of all that was dear to her, tortured her for months and then tied her hands behind her back and made her ride in a rickety old carriage on her long journey to the guillitoine as angry mobs hurled insults in her wake. And even still, she had nothing but kind words as she apologized to the executioner for stepping on his foot. Even in the end, Marie Antoinette was a lady, if only we could all be so lucky:

She stepped lightly down from the cart and stared up at the guillotine. The priest who had accompanied her whispered, "This is the moment, Madame, to arm yourself with courage."

Marie Antoinette turned to look at him and smiled, "Courage? The moment when my troubles are going to end is not the moment when my courage is going to fail me." Legend states that her last words were, "Monsieur, I ask your pardon. I did not do it on purpose," spoken after she had stepped on the executioner's foot.