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This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Disco Memorials, Unexpected Dilemmas, and Dancing Mutants

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

Additonal warning: Old fogey talking about modern music and copious amounts od Disco.

Accidental Memorial

The friends of Harry Kenney who live out here have been trying to coordinate a memorial gathering in the weeks since his death. It hasn’t been easy. I thought we should have dancing as Harry liked to cut a rug. Mind, he wasn’t exactly good at most forms of dancing, but he had great enthusiasm. A high school chum and I taught him the basics of the Hustle, the bump, the Freak, and that line dance (for the clip, you have to watch past john Travolta in his underwear) from Saturday Night Fever. You know, the basics of Disco. Incidentally, I was given my only conduct dermit in High School for reviewing Satruday Night Fever. It was an immorality demerit. Ah, if they only knew. Where was I? Dancing, right. There used to be several ‘Disco Nights’ in this part of LA. I discovered that those nights – and in some cases – those places are no more. It was disconcerting. The big new dance club in West Hollywood touts every kind of dance music except that which you can dance to. Sorry, young-uns. The stuff playing today is good for bouncing up and down which is about all you can handle. I know very few under 30 that can actually dance. I’ll talk about one of them later.

We decided to have a dinner in Harry’s honor. He loved food as much as he loved music and had become quite the foodie over the years. He and I used to follow the PBS chefs in the days before The Food Network (and after). We got to meet Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet, before the scandal. And when we were at loose ends, dating wise, we ate at a lot of restaurants in Philly, New Jersey and New York City. Food is a good choice for the memorial which is still in the planning stages, but I must admit to being disappointed about the lack of dancing. Then, a week after the Blood Oath shoot, we met with Matty Ferraro and a friend of his to have a beer or two at a small tavern near us. It’s a tiny place that only serves a fine selection of beers and wines. It’s really tiny, but has a full sized pool table and about 8 large screen TVs. You really can watch some sports in that bar from any angle of the room. That night, the booths had been moved out to make room for a DJ. Have I said this place was small? So we find ourselves crammed around a small, tall table next to the DJ. I wasn’t exactly happy about that as we were having a conversation in shouts, but then he started playing music I recognized. Matty and I were dancing on our bar stools. I requested Staying Alive. I knew that it probably was a re-mix with who knew what, but I had to try. Turns out it was a re-mix from Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion and one that I liked. We had a lovely chair dance and a toast to Harry. Dancing in that small space could have caused bodily harm. And seeing how I have been injured dancing with Harry (note, hold onto your partner when trying a dip.), he would have understood. I think he would have appreciated the thought.

There is a very nice video tribute to him on Youtube here.

Unexpected Dilemmas

Having been in LA for more than 15 years and having been involved in the film biz for about that long, there shouldn’t be any problems that come as an absolute surprise. Yet, there I was, minding my own business on my sofa last week, when a most unexpected problem arose. It is in conjunction with the tributes to Harry. You see, in the late 80s, John Stein and I were in an Irish pub. I believe it was Moriarity’s on Walnut Street. We were doing what geeks do in an Irish Pubs, drinking beer and talking about Star Trek. Particularly, we were talking about the Mirror, Mirror episode and how there was no lawlessness in Star Trek: The Next Generation. That discussion and my ongoing obsession with pirates lead to noodling out the concept for The Privateers on the back of a placemat. In the development of the series, Harry got involved and contributed a great deal. However, the idea for the name of the lead pirate, Captain Aran Dravyk, was John Stein’s. It was a tribute to Sir Francis Drake, also known as the Dragon. That was where the word Dravyk came from. Well, when the idea fell to the wayside after initial interest (first as an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and later as potential first series on the Sci-Fi Channel), Harry used the name for his e-mail address. And that was the name he used in his career in adult website content. Now, there is a proposal for an award in that industry called The Dravyk. Well, The Privateers is no longer dormant. We’re shopping it about to make a very expensive feature film. While Hollywood is hardly innocent of Adult entertainment (it’s largely here), this sort of association could be problematic. Harry really wanted to see the project made, so this was quite a dilemma. Fortunately, it became clear that Harry was known by his own name as much as his handle in recent years. I think that an award with his name would be a far better tribute, and that solution would calm Ralph’s agita.

Blood Oath Developments

Post has been slow going. We have some equipment to acquire and some software to upgrade. Additionally, Jon has to figure out where all the Manga comic panels will be scattered through the live action. Meanwhile, I’ve been working on the character drawings and developing the pilot script and series bible. This is where the readers of the Soldier’s books get to have their way, so to speak. For cinematic reasons and to fill up a lot of air-time, I have to show Rik and Vincent prior to Vincent’s disappearance. The entire conspiracy will be covered in the front half of the pilot. Thus, the audience will get Rik and Vincent as they were before becoming a couple (Rik’s arrogance and Vincent’s temper). The audience will also experience Rik’s downward spiral after Vincent disappears. The audience will also meet Falcon Squad in full measure during the pilot. That sounds like a lot to cover, but a script that long is the equivalent of half of one of the novels. It’s a lot of time to fill. We have some idea of who some of the characters will be, but nothing is definite until I do a full breakdown of regular and recurring characters. We figure that the majority of the cast will be relative unknowns with a few TV star names (preferably from Science Fiction) in the mix. I have no one in mind for these parts (Dr. Auerbach, Gen Braun, Colonel Heisler, Percival Owens), but I’m open to suggestions. Meanwhile, I’m further defining my lead characters to fit the strengths of the leading men. Lance has a playfulness that I really hadn’t written into Rik but I must use with this actor. He can go from aloof and distant (while getting into his part) to suddenly warm and disarming. Matty is quite playful as well. There were serious moments during different scenes where he teased Rik or touched him playfully in a way he hadn’t blocked in rehearsal, but it looked good on screen. Aside from that, I discovered that Matty can dance. That young, lean body looks very good moving to a beat. I figure that Vincent will be dancing while cooking. The music can be real or in his head. And I figure that Rik would really enjoy just watching him move. I’m certain that the leads will bring more of themselves to their characters after the first draft of the script is written. I can’t wait to see what that will be.

Next Time: Craig returns. Find out why Phil may end up suing him, Anthony Bourdain and a word that rhymes with corn, and why the hell was Puff Daddy on CSI: Miami playing a defense attorney??!! I would have written more, but I really got distracted by the disco videos.

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