Saturday, January 31, 2009

Here's another cool Death's Daughter review by Harriet Klausner. That woman has more reviews under her belt than Mother Ginger has marshmallows under her skirt.


my new favorite family band

dad fag

look at some pics and dig the "family" resemblance

the shared night

feeling silly. i wrote this a long time ago, but it matches my mood this evening.

ah, juvenilia. don't it sing in its immaturity?

enjoy, as you are now the first person who has read this in a very long time. the mall, we drag mother behind us pulling her from store to store. The candy store, with its bright lights illuminating row upon row of mouth watering delights grabs our attention. We step across the line dividing the store from the mall’s walkway and like skittish mountain goats leap at each display.
When we have accrued enough sugary junk to coat our stomachs for the rest of the week, we dump our purchases onto the counter and wait for mother to pay. She fishes her wallet from the inner depths of her purse and produces a stiff twenty-dollar bill (candy’s expensive these days). And then we’re cartwheeling out of the store, our candy laden baggies stuffed into our sweaty hands.
The mall is thick with autumnal shoppers loaded down by red-lined merchandise, all the summer goodies priced to sell. The mall itself is like a great heaving beast blowing streams of hot air all around. You can get a direct blast if you know where to stand.
The shops have already started decorating for Christmas, even though Halloween is still weeks away. Fluffs of delicate white cotton line the giant shop windows, triple the size of me, and a jack-o-lantern sits next to the tobacco shop door.
We continue on, my little sister and I, leaving mother in our wake. One can sense the nervousness emanating from mother as she weaves in and out of the swarming mass trying to keep us in sight. She glances at the faces of the people she passes wondering which are good and which are evil; which of these benign people would grab her children and steal away with them into the cold night if given half the chance.
We spot the gaping mouth of the Hallmark store and dash inside. We pass the cards, calendars and knickknacks until we come to the back wall of the store where the Halloween paraphernalia is laid out for our perusal. Perched on long glass shelves and hanging from metallic hooks are little glass pumpkins, skeleton candles, All Hallows Eve pins and buttons, paper decorations of Frankenstein’s Monster, Count Dracula, and hatefully grinning jack-o-lanterns. Here and there are the odds and ends needed to really complete your Halloween costume: a devil’s tail, kitten’s ears, large rotting plastic teeth, skeleton rings and green safety sticks that glow when you crack them.
We pile our arms with this and that, then run to where mother is waiting by the front. She shakes her head at the assortment of junk, but let’s us have most of it anyway. My little sister insists on wearing her kitten ears out. She looks like a little feline with her lion’s mane of brown hair and glittering brown eyes. I half expect to see her start to lick her paws.
Back out into the swarm, pushing our way toward the doors and the cold that will instantly envelope us as we hit the parking lot. Mother keeps us close, shielding us from the biting fingers of Jack Frost with her own warm body.
In the car, the heat comes on and I slip into semi-consciousness, savoring the warmth on my feet. My sister chatters to mother revealing her happy purchases one by one then sharing the candy booty. I listen to the gentle lulling words from the front seat as I stare out the window. The brown headlight lit landscape fuzzes along with their words until I am basting in dreamland, thinking about nothing, letting the thoughts reign my unconscious as I relax into the warm seat. The night is all around us keening its dark song for the benefit of those who listen.
We start down the long hill toward our house and this brings me back to reality. I pull one of the packages into my lap and reflected in the upward curve of the window I see a flash of my red devil’s tail. I dig through the bag grasping my prize triumphantly. It’s made of shiny red fabric. I can feel the seam with my fingers and follow its lead to the top of the tail where the plastic band that encircles the wearer’s waist lies coiled. The childish urge to put the tail on right then in the car consumes me, but I wait until the car turns up the driveway and into the garage.
The garage door shuts behind us with a resounding thud and we are entrapped in darkness. Mother gets out and turns on the garage light, flooding the car with fluorescent sunlight. The tail seems to shimmer in my hand, so I hop out of the car and put it on.
My sister and I run into the house, through the large kitchen, down the long hallway and straight into the bathroom. We each clamber onto a sink to get a better look at our newly re-made selves. The kitten and the devil, each on a different sink admiring themselves in the two, long, white wicker encased mirrors hanging on the green bathroom wall. We can hear mother in the kitchen getting dinner ready, so we hop down again and run to show her.
The hallway is long, it seems longer for some reason tonight, as we skip and canter down its creamy length. We hit hardwood and slide in our stocking feet into the warmth of the kitchen. Mother stands at the Mexican tile island deveining chicken. The thick pearly blue veins lie discarded beside the cutting board. I grab a handful of the slippery things and proceed to chase the kitten around the room. She shrieks and runs around the oak table, jumps on the blue couch, then hides behind the folds of mother’s skirt. I try to penetrate the castle ramparts, but she is well protected. I lose interest in the game and drop the veins into the garbage disposal. The kitten squeals and comes back out to play.
We run from room to room flicking on all the lights until the darkness takes refuge in the corners. We feel safe in our house, all the doors and windows locked, the television on, the lights keeping guard, but it’s only a tenuous sheath that separates us from the rest of the world, from the impenetrable blackness of the shared night.
The kitchen begins to smell like chicken and stir-fried vegetables. It’s time for dinner and the devil and the kitten sit down to eat.

death and the duchess (that's me)

sometimes I lie in bed waiting for sleep to come and the bastard gets held up a few houses down the block. probably some snot nosed kid with a fear of the dark, holding my guy up and keeping me tossing and turning like a pig on a spit. not a very pleasant image, nor a very pleasant experience, thankyouverymuch.

anyway, tonight is a night like many others: the kid is getting all the undivided attention and I'm stuck on the spit. so i says to myself that now would be the perfect time to ruminate on some fun stuff..not. because said "fun stuff" is anything but.

death is always lurking somewhere in my brain, ready to engage me in a little game of chess...a game that I already know the outcome to. i am not ingmar bergman patiently doling out the story while I draw out the encounter. i have absolutely no control in the matter. i can't block death out of my brain. i am its willing captive as i mull over the thought that one day everyone and everything I know will one day cease to exist. there will not be a soul or rock or stream left that knew i was here, fighting the good fight. there's lots of life passing before my eyes, but they are not my life images. no, they belong to everyone i love. i see their death played out like a revue on the back of my eyelids and it scares the shit outta me.

so i get up and write this post to clear my brain.

this makes me remember the first time i realized that everyone (myself) included was going to die.

I went to a private elementary school. must've been second grade. at oldest, third. i was in music class. xylophones everywhere. we were singing a song and damned if i remember what it was. the "ants went marching" keeps sticking in my craw, so maybe that was it. i remember looking around the room, at the teacher and the other kids and realizing, my heart in my throat, that they were all dead...well, they were all doomed to die. then that sent me into apoplexies of terror...if they were gonna die then my parents were gonna die, too. and then the clincher, the thing that just nailed me to my spot on the linoleum:

i was gonna die, too.

i found myself removed from the world around me, sucked into another dimension where i was the omnipotent observer, i was the one with the secret. i was apart. I was a part. of it all.

I went through the rest of the day like a zombie, lost in this weird dimension, separated from everyone and everything i loved.

I had a piano lesson that afternoon after school and my friends Maudie and Jessica came with me somehow. they and their family were staying with us, something to do with a crazy sewage leak at their house (they moved from that house with the wooded backyard and the stream way down in the back where i once got bitten by a baby mole that died). I got through the lesson then went to the bathroom.

and lost it.

locked myself in the institutional metal stall somewhere in the heart of Samford University and couldn't stop the dry heaves and sobs that I had held inside me since that damned music class. (god, the xylophones) my friends found me and somehow coaxed me out to the car where my mother was waiting.

i don't remember if i told anyone what was wrong. i honestly don't remember.

but my nights have not been the same since

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Luminous Playhouse

Anne Garland is a genius at capturing atmosphere. Atmosphere as I define it is: the aching feeling you get down deep in your bones when you see or hear something that makes you remember you are alive.

This has atmosphere.


(or as danielle says: miao.)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

art vs. commerce


So, there is something that I go around and around about in my head–and it can easily be pigeon-holed into a one, non-sentence logline:

art vs. commerce

I want to be an artist, but I also want to eat. The years I spent deciding between toilet paper and food were not pretty, and, luckily, I haven't had to answer that question out loud in quite a while (but I still play the "what if" version of the home game in my head). Still, I struggle between doing art because it moves me and taking jobs because I need to pay my bills. I HAVE made some choices for purely financial reasons (and while I don't regret a one) there are a couple of acting jobs out there that make me turn red with embarrassment when someone tells me they caught them late at night on the Sci Fi Channel–please, God, hopefully late at night when everyone is asleep and my grandma can't see them, yipes!

With that said, I want to talk about something I did for art's sake. Something that makes me really happy when I think about it because the process of getting it made involved a lot of my friends and was just a blast to do. It wasn't about making any money (who makes money in independent film?), but about doing something that I believed in with a really talented group of people backing me up throughout the process.

What the hell, may you ask, am I talking about? I'm talking about DRONES–the best little movie in Texas, for God's sake! Okay, The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas allusion is totally unfounded because we shot the film in Baton Rouge, LA not Texas, but c'mon who doesn't love themselves a little Dolly Parton every now and then? (Well, you might not, but then who the heck says there's any accountin' for taste.)

We shot Drones in 14 days with a budget that wouldn't even begin to keep the pope in shoes for a month. Of course, it was utter insanity–and there WERE a couple of freak outs on my part–but, all in all, I have to say that it was one of the best experiences of my life.

Adam, my co-director, and I spent a good chunk of the summer '08 in Baton Rouge rustling the troops and sticking OMNILINK (our fake company) stickers onto every available surface of our built for shooting office set. There was copious amounts of Kane's chicken eaten (and yes, I am a lapsed vegetarian–wow, that has been bothering me for like three years. Sheez, I don't feel like such a hypocrite anymore. I haven't really had the online presence and ability to correct that factoid until now–thanks Hal at BuzzBuilderz for making me internet savvy!) and Perrier consumed. I lost three pounds in prep and gained four as I consumed every fried delectible Louisiana had to offer once we started shooting. Which means that I can truly say I gained something–other than experience–on the film. (PS: that was a very awkward joke, so no pointing and giggling at it.)

Wow, I've really overblogged here. I guess I better wrap it up, right, Pete? (Uhm, that's a movie "in joke" that only Adam and me and Jonathan and James Urbaniak would really get.) So, keep your fingers, noses and toeses crossed that someone out there in festival land falls in love with it as much as I have. Then I can stop beating myself over the head with this endless art vs. commerce argument, the art side finally having been validated!

Here's hoping that art beats the crap out of commerce where it really the nuts! (Okay, sorry, another non-analogous allusion, but darn it I just couldn't help myself! Take pity on me.)

From one nut to another. Over and out.

Common Rotation - Wasted Words

Here's a lil something to wet your whistle. We made this video in the wilds of Kotlik, AK last february. Enjoy! Mclovin' the Super 8!

my first blog post

Howdy to all! This is my first blog post (as you can see in the title section) and I am kind of excited about it.  I think that having a place to vent and babble is a very positive thing, so thanks for watching (you voyeurs, you) and I will be updating this thingamahouky in a quasi-timely manner.  I am also hoping that the more I blog and twitter and just cruise the internet, the more people will find about all the cool stuff I'm up to like (shameless promotion)!  Tally-ho for now :)