Welcome Gentle Readers

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, March 01, 2009

Jug Bands, Killer Puppets, and Aural Pleasures

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.

I must give a congratulatory shout out to good buddy, Tracey Wilson for her new play, The Good Negro and for the wonderful write-up in the New York Times. Well done!

Surprise in a jug

I was surprised last week at the archive. That’s an extremely hard thing to do these days, especially while I’m in Los Angeles. I mean, the day we moved into our first place in Venice, a guy on a unicycle wearing a pink Spandex unitard and a little cape rode by yelling ‘I’m Pink Man.’ Turns out he wasn’t the actual Pink Man who operates out of San Francisco. This specimen was a local Venice denizen trying to horn in on the franchise. But you get the point. It’s not that I thought that the librarians where I work wouldn’t or couldn’t sing. They struck me as either the Peter, Paul and Mary type singers or closeted Headbangers. I really wasn’t expecting a jug band. They didn’t have washboards, but they did have mandolins and a slide whistle. There was much in the way of knee slapping. I was very surprised as the Librarian at the center of it all (he’s a cross between Grizzly Adams and Santa Claus) hardly every speaks. See him belting out a jaunty tune was quite a surprise. As were the jugs.

There isn’t much noise at work. Loud conversations are rare. But work at the Archive has been, for the most part, very interesting and satisfying. Right now, I’m digitzing a special collection of very old (we’re talking pre-Mayflower voyage old) books on trade from the big players of those days (England, France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands). I believe I can read the term Table of Contents in 8 languages. What good is that? Who knows? The fate of the world may turn on my finding a table of contents in Sanskrit. I haven’t scanned the oldest documents at the Archive. We have a center working on the Dead Sea Scrolls. I know the London Center scanned the Book of the Dead. I don’t think anything other-worldly happened to them afterward. During last week’s conference call, no one from that center was chanting about Imhotep. Jon thinks it’s because no one READ the Book of the Dead when it was scanned. That must be it. Horror movies are never wrong about these things. Where was I? Oh yes, old tomes. I think the funniest thing I discovered were civil codes from the 1600s carefully laying out when it was permissible for passengers on a ship to sue the shipping line if they fall victim to pirates. Since I have found evidence that these laws were still in international law books as late as the 1920s, I doubt they were ever repealed. Thus, survivors of the Somali pirate attacks could hire one of attorneys who appear on daytime TV ads, to go after the careless ship owners who were in dangerous waters and not in a convoy. This is the stuff that goes through my head while at work.

Boys Day Out
Jon, my DP and my lead from Blood Oath were out making another short without me. I was flat on my back for the weekend with my uncooperative back. This was the first project Jon has worked without me, but they did well. They were working on an episode for a Webisode called 15%. The series is a twisted comedy about the strange life of a talent manager. This episode, Betty, features a diva puppet from a hit TV show and the drama she drags the manager and his wife through when her operator decides to quit. Yep, Betty, the puppet is wielding a knife. When we were asked to work on the script, Ralph told us he wanted Adult Swim kind of humor. Mission accomplished. The series should start running on Myspace and other venues in a few weeks.

Aural Pleasures

We picked up the sound mix for Blood Oath. It’s just the dialogue tracks, no music added yet. I listened to them to make sure that they were clean. Our shoot location was basically a cavernous corrugated metal box. We had howling winds, rattling the walls, huge trucks thundering past at any given moment and the occasional train roaring across the back of the building. We were assured that current software could isolate the soft voices of my leading men, but I had to be sure. I was very happy to find that not only were the voices clear, but the performances were everything I was hoping for. Rik’s voice was always soft and sexy, but the emotional range ran from authoritative to uncertain to playful. I could tell when he was in physical pain as easily as I could hear him teasing. Just lovely. Vincent’s voice was a different kind of soft, but with a great deal of emotional range as well. His was concerned, uncertain, angry, relieved and playful in turns. I like to listen to an actor’s performance even during auditions. I’ll close my eyes or look at my notes so that their facial expressions aren’t distracting me. I’ll do the same thing during rehearsals. If I can hear the character in the voices without looking at them, I know they have them completely. I really could hear their personalities in those tracks. It was very exciting.

Post continues on Blood Oath. Meanwhile, we have a major meeting on a studio lot, no less, about a number of our projects (we have a whole lot of irons in that fire). I love going to that lot. It means I have to bake some cookies. I have an old friend toiling there on a new series. I would be remiss if I didn’t stop by with a bag of treats. Stay tuned.

The Sublime and the Ridiculous
Warnings: Spoiler’s from CSI: Miami

This season of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations has been an interesting mixed bag of journeys and one scandalous clip show. The title of the clip show was Food P-rn (the word rhymes with corn) and it featured snippets that they didn’t have room for or were truncated in the original episodes. The framing sequence is Bourdain in a dimly lit theater saying the naughtiest things about his favorite foods. I really enjoyed this twisted episode not because of how appropriate Bourdain looked in such a place or how funny he was in the linking sequences. I have long associated sensuality with an appreciation for food. Some of the sexiest people I know are a pleasure watching when they enjoy a meal. I’m not talking about my actor buds. They are very sexy to be sure, but most of them eat like Hoover vacuums. I think because they’re always hungry. The most surprising thing about the episode was that the foods he found most sensual and appealing were very simple meals with the most basic of ingredients. Of course, there was a lot of time devoted to all manner of pork products. But Bourdain was orgasmic over a bowl of noodles made with home made stock and vegetables fresh from the farmer’s market. Even the most extravagant dish was basically a poached egg in a fondue-like sauce of French cheese. It was the black truffles that made it extravagant. My favorite line from the show involved cheese: Soft, runny, punget. May lead to groin throbbing, heaving d├ęcolletage. Lipitor. This season, Bourdain has revealed an obsession for meats in tubes (hot dogs, sausages and other things I’ve never heard of) and admitted to liking KFC mac n’ cheese. Jon won’t even eat that, and he loves all things mac n’ cheese. The most interesting restaurant he’s visited this year was Le Veau D’Or in New York City. It is a French restaurant frozen in time at 1937. They still give table side carving service and the menu was sold when Bourdain first went there over 20 years ago, yet he adore everything. I, who have been trying to master the basic roast chicken in his cookbook, would like to go there to sample one he considered perfection. His show is still the best travel show (and food show) on TV. Catch it!

I have surprised many by my lack of ranting at the antics on CSI: Miami. It’s not they’ve improved in any way whatsoever. It’s just that there has been so many other things to blog about. And maybe I was tired of yelling. This season, the skewering of the laws of the land continues. For some reason Eric Delko is in danger of being deported. His birth certificated was forged. Thus, he wasn’t born here. However, he is still Cuban. There have been three episodes about how Cubans that make it to land without being caught are allowed to stay in the country. Even if the law is wrong, I would think they’d follow their own continuity. The Russian mobsters are back, and, of course, they’ve got the lab team in their sights. Whey should they be concerned with the FBI, or ICE or the DEA? There is a crime lab lead by a Lieutenant on a municipal police force after them. They have to retaliate. And then there is Puff Daddy, the lawyer. He’s doing a two episode guest stint as a defense attorney. The team doesn’t know whether or not he’s crooked or an aggressive advocate for his clients. I don’t know why he’s there. I think we’re on a road with that show that can only end in spandex and capes. If the show picks up more irony about its own silliness, I’m willing to go there with them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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