Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The World is Just Awesome

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Flowers in the Cellar

Read about the strange case of Josef F:

"An Austrian engineer has confessed to fathering seven children by raping his own daughter and keeping them captive in the cellar."

Sounds like a sick V.C. Andrews novel.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Darger Redux

In case you missed it, there was this interesting article on Henry Darger in the Times.

"Darger’s art has a breadth of technical, formal, narrative and symbolic imagination rarely encountered in today’s professional art world."

It's the narrative aspect that intrigues me the most. Man left behind some evocative bloody work.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Saint of Killers.

Hey... you.

Yeah, YOU.

Looking for someone to kill God or the Devil, don't know who to call?

You might want to try the Saint of Killers.

He's pretty much what you'd call unkillable.

(You're welcome.)

Trying a "semi-weekly work-together" thing today, in Williamsburg. See what I can get done, you feel me?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Up the Down Shaft

"In New York City, home to fifty-eight thousand elevators, there are eleven billion elevator trips a year—thirty million every day..."

Attend the tale of Nicholas White... a man who got trapped in a McGraw-Hill elevator for 41 fucking hours...
At a certain point, he decided to open the doors. He pried them apart and held them open with his foot. He was presented with a cinder-block wall on which, perfectly centered, were scrawled three “13”s—one in chalk, one in red paint, one in black. It was a dispiriting sight. He concluded that he must be on the thirteenth floor, and that, this being an express elevator, there was no egress from the shaft anywhere for many stories up or down.
I've got no bleeding idea what I would've done. What's most shocking is that he managed to keep it together for that stretch of time.

I would've lost it completely.
Helplessness may exacerbate claustrophobia. In the old system—board elevator, press button—you have an illusion of control; elevator manufacturers have sought to trick the passengers into thinking they’re driving the conveyance. In most elevators, at least in any built or installed since the early nineties, the door-close button doesn’t work. It is there mainly to make you think it works.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


You're all going to die.

Every. Last. Bleeding. One of you.

In some decidedly unpleasant manners.

Not a threat.

Not a warning.

Rather, consider this a blessing. N'est-ce pas?


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

30 Helens Agree

I do love The Kids in the Hall. Since I discovered them during their HBO run, way back in the day.

I want to know what became of the "It's a Fact!" girl that I was once so horribly, horribly fond of.

From the wikipedia:
"It's a Fact!" featured a young red-haired girl who would pop up in the forest and reveal a piece of information, then people who she mentioned would appear behind her doing something relevant to her fact. She would end by saying, "It's a fact!" and then run off. The running was filmed in stop-animated "fast-motion," reminiscent of programs on the then-exploding Nickelodeon network.
Wikipedia really manages to sell the humor, don't they?

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Squid and the Whale

From writer/director Noah Baumbach's brilliant, heartbreaking The Squid and the Whale:
When I was around 6, my mom and I -- she and I ducked out of Julie Glynn's birthday party to watch "Robin Hood" together on our tv. I liked Errol Flynn. And I was glad that she let me leave the party early to watch the movie. She and I loved that movie. It's like... it's like we were pals then, and we'd do things together. We'd look at the knight armor at the Met. The scary fish at the Natural History Museum...

I was always afraid of the squid and the whale fighting. I could only look at it with my hands in front of my face.

When we'd get home, after my bath, she'd go through all the different things we saw that day at the museum. And we'd get to the squid and the whale and she'd describe it for me. Which... it was still scary... but it was less scary...
A profound and moving portrait of a dysfunctional family in mid-80s Brooklyn, trying to get on in the wake of a divorce.

I can still hear the sound of my parents arguing through the thin walls. These extended yelling matches in a foreign language we didn't understand. Doubly foreign because we probably wouldn't have understood it even without the language barrier.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I don't touch the stuff, but to all my cannabis-culture brothers and sisters:


Let's smoke responsibly, boys and girls.

Friday, April 18, 2008

San Andreas Drifter

When I was in Los Angeles for a few days last summer, I tried getting around by hopping taxi cabs.

It blew.

Next time I'm in L.A., I'm going to be driving.

I've been driving through the streets of Fake-L.A. in "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" to acclimate to the lay of the land.

Ought to be fine. I really don't see what the big deal is.

Really. You shouldn't be afraid.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Revisited 1991's The Fisher King recently—Terry Gilliam directing a Richard LaGravenese script.

Despite some mixed critical reception at the time of its release, I loved this movie when I saw it in theaters. Readily forgave it for any flaws. I was a mad hatter for Gilliam since 81's TIME BANDITS. This was the first movie he was directing without having written the script.

But watching it again... there's so much great shit in there, the flaws seem magnified.

One scene seems like such a glaring misstep that I'm sure other people have written about it...

Homeless misfit Parry (Robin Williams) has been quietly pining after mousy office-worker Lydia (Amanda Plummer) for ages, not having the spine to talk to her. Jack (Jeff Bridges) and Anne (Mercedes Ruehl) manage to manipulate a meeting between the two, resulting in a lovely awkward-meet scene in Anne's video store.

Robin Williams plays this scene nicely, as does the great Amanda Plummer. Two emotionally-crippled people trying to make a connection. Terrific.

Next scene, Mercedes is feeding Robin... and suddenly, Robin Williams is no longer in character. He's in goofy Robin Williams mode. He gapes at Mercedes's cleavage with horndog eyes and suddenly makes a big, showy speech about how he wants to fuck her right there on the kitchen table.

IT MAKES NO SENSE. For this character who could barely talk to a woman in the previous scene. Even as a joke, it's incongruous that this emotionally crippled man would be able to express himself in this manner.

There are a number of missteps like this throughout the film. Large and small. Perhaps the original script was leaner and meaner. The great things in the movie keep it from failing, but it feels like there's a far greater movie buried in there.

I wonder if the musical theater people have tried to adapt the sucker, actually. Seems like it would lend itself to that kind of thing. For good or ill...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


By all means, Ron Shelton's WHITE MEN CAN'T JUMP shouldn't be a good movie. Certainly shouldn't be a movie that I like. I fucking hate sports.

The brilliance of Shelton is that he's a strong enough storyteller to make a sports-hater like me truly appreciate what he loves about sports. The skill, the movement, the romance. He gets into the heads of the players. Crafts characters and stories that cross over.

But WHITE MEN, specifically, is one batshit movie!

It's got a silly title. Has the superficial appearance of a cheap buddy comedy. It's got about a dozen different endings, including a freaking JEOPARDY! sequence.

But there is so much going on in the movie...

You just have to watch that first scene through. See how it twists your expectations of what the movie's going to be. That first scene, where Woody and Wesley's character meet for the first time, oddly almost plays out like a small stage-play. Throughout the movie, it's constantly changing. Defying your expectations until you are watching a full-blown JEOPARDY! sequence and wondering, Why is this movie called WHITE MEN CAN'T JUMP?

It doesn't even have a happy ending.

I bloody love how crazy the movie is. Watched it recently and had no idea where the fuck it was going. Popular movies should be this interesting.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rod Monsters of the 4th Dimension

Caught an episode of The History Channel's MonsterQuest the other day that focused on mysterious flying creatures that had supposedly been showing up in film and video for years.

Simply named:


The show explored some fascinating theories on the nature of these strange creatures, including the idea that they exist in a "4th Dimension" and only flit briefly into our pedestrian 3rd Dimension.

Surprisingly, before the show was over, they essentially prove that "rods" are just video artifacts. Owing their visual presence to the limitations of most video-capture technology.

Debunking rods.

Bit of a shame how utterly mundane the explanation turns out to be. I rather like the 4th dimension idea...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Prom Nacht

The Prom Night remake managed to score the number one spot @ the box office this past weekend!

I don't know anyone involved in making it. Don't know anything about the development process that produced it. Didn't see it. Don't know if it's any good.

But I am pleased when a horror movie manages to catch the top spot at the box office.

The immediate prejudice is that it's a dreaded "PG-13 horror movie". A PG-13 rating is a signal to the hardcore horror fans that this is a movie that will pull its punches. It diminishes the concern/anticipation that you will see anything *too* intense.

I really hope my project won't have to shoot for a PG-13. For the language alone, I hope we can make an R-rated movie.

Thankfully, the stage-play can remain what I want it to be. Working on a long-delayed revision of it and I am pleased with the NC-17 language.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Primer Fan

Cold. Complex. Geeky as all get out.

I love Shane Carruth's Primer.

I'm glad it's developed its own cult following. May not do it for everyone, but I find it strangely riveting. Told with thrilling economy. A time-travel movie that's relentlessly unsentimental. "Donnie Darko" may be sexier and more accessible for more people, but I'd rather watch PRIMER.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Chinese Democracy 2008

Massive, unapologetic fan of Guns N' Roses.

Old GNR. New GNR. I know it's sacrilege, but I don't care.

I never got to see the original lineup, but I've seen "GNR 2.0" about 3 times—once with Buckethead—and they fucking rock.

A report from NME says that GNR have finally finished their long-awaited "Chinese Democracy" album and it's been turned into Geffen.

Apparently, there may even be a reality TV show to support the release of the album.

Of course, I've been waiting for this album for way too long to get my hopes up over anything. There's no way the album is going to live up to anyone's expectations. The delays have turned the album into an epic running gag and critics will probably shred it.


I just want to get mine.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

End Uwe Boll

By now, the word must be out that Uwe Boll will quit making movies if a million people sign an online petition.

A lot of people haven't even SEEN an Uwe Boll movie.

I've seen an Uwe Boll movie.

He is a rotten filmmaker.

But worse than that are these big, defensive self-promotions:

Fist fights with internet writers...

His feud with WIRED over their review of his latest movie...

And HERE he responds to this new online petition to get him to stop making movies. In his signature angry-broken-English, he uses the opportunity to take inexplicable potshots at more popular people in the industry.

You can sign the petition HERE. It's a drop in the bucket and he *probably* won't stop making movies even if that petition reaches a mill, but it's worth a try. Somebody needs to clip Uwe's wings.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Sending My Love Down the Well

Everybody remember that baby what fell down that well years ago?

Jessica McClure.

A.K.A., "Baby Jessica".

I was watching VH1's "I Love the 80s: 3D"—which is a fucking addictive waste of time—and the celebreality people started riffing on Baby Jessica.

Curious what she grew up to look like, I searched her on the old GOOGLE and stumbled on this:

This is NOT Baby Jessica!

This is a fake article that lad-rag STUFF ran in 2004. Note, the article refers to her as "Jessica McClain".

You can viddy the real grown up "Baby Jessica" (now Jessica Morales) right here:

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Story of the Vivian Girls

"In The Realms of the Unreal, innocence lives in the constant shadow of danger..."

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Henry Darger was a janitor. Quiet and reclusive, with no family and no social life. When he died in 1973, his landlords went about cleaning out his apartment and discovered a 15,000+ page manuscript (typewritten, single-spaced) entitled:

"The Story of the Vivian Girls,
in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal,
of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm,
Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion"

Jessica Yu fashioned a beautiful documentary called "In the Realms of the Unreal" a few years ago, that I've just discovered.

A description of Darger's magnum opus, clipped from his informational website:
The story recounts the wars between nations on an enormous and unnamed planet, of which Earth is a moon. The confict is provoked by the Glandelinians, who practice child enslavement. After hundreds of ferocious battles, the good Christian nation of Abbiennia forces the 'haughty' Glandelinians to give up their barbarous ways. The heroines of Darger's history are the seven Vivian sisters, Abbiennian princesses. They are aided in their struggles by a panoply of heroes, who are sometimes the author's alter-egos. The battles are full of vivid incident: charging armies, ominous captures, alarms and explosions, the appearances of demons and dragons.
As far as I know, no one's attempted to publish the entire manuscript.

In addition to the text, he created mixed media illustrations, creating makeshift canvases out of butcher paper, drawing on BOTH SIDES of the paper.

The last article on a Hollywood movie version of Darger's life. I'm a bit more intrigued by the actual fiction he crafted. A body spends a lifetime creating a fully-illustrated, 15,000+ page war fantasy, there's got to be some juicy material in there.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Don't Feed the Plants

Caught The Ruins tonight. Scott B. Smith does a smart adaptation of his own novel, which I thought was great.

I was surprised at the amount of gore they managed to retain, especially considering it's a big studio movie. It's a bit relentless and humorless—and as such I can see how some critics turned up their noses to it...

But I also think it's prejudiced snobbery. Many critics are just predisposed to laying the hate on horror movies. And to be fair, there are a lot of bad horror movies out there worthy of hate-laying.

That said, it's a tricky genre and you've got to appreciate a piece of work that plays with the conventions.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Aristocrats

When I was growing up, when there weren't a thousand channels to choose from, years before the internet changed the game, there was Siskel & Ebert.

I loved watching their show. Didn't always agree with either of them, sure. But these were two men who were clearly passionate about movies. They discussed them seriously. Tried to champion smaller films that might've gotten lost otherwise. For a kid who was excessively into movies, their show said,

It's okay.

It's okay to be THIS into movies.

It's okay to want to argue over them.

They're worth that.

Siskel died back in '99. Ebert's health's been rocky for a while now, and he's officially not returning to the show that he and Siskel started.

Just as well, since the show was really over once Siskel was out of the picture. It was their volatile chemistry that infused the show with conflict and life. Kids today may have a hard time appreciating their significance. Their success was the perfect alignment of pop culture with technology and time. They existed at the right time.

Praise YOU TUBE, I really like this profane, uncensored clip of them shooting one of their promos back in the day:

It's the essence of why they worked so well together, on that show. The bickering was clearly not just an act. But partway through the clip, they actually start to bond. That tenuous working relationship really kept things alive. These were NOT altogether pleasant men. But they were real.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Lower Nobility

Look! I got another mention:


Must be a sign, right...?


Friday, April 04, 2008

Lust for Cake

A video by my friend Jon Stuyvesant. Of Milk Products.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


fuckHoly shit, it's April. Time for a dusting. Slight revision of my blog template and I'm troubleshooting, so pardon a bit of technical babel...

Uploading pics directly to BLOGGER, selecting "LARGE" as the size you'd like to display, the max size the pics will display seems to be 400px. Click on the lovely Lynda Carter above and you'll get a larger rendering of the image, but the max size BLOGGER will display the image in the actual context of the blog seems to be 400 pixels.

Though I've jiggered with the template and expanded the widths of the columns, I can't seem to break the "400px" barrier. (In terms of pics uploaded directly to BLOGGER.)

If they come from elsewhere, like this version (width=500px), it's not a problem.

But the whole beauty of BLOGGER is ease-of-use. One-stop shop. With all the customizations I can make to the template, it annoys me that I can't customize the maximum width of displayed photos. (Unless I'm missing something.)

From the BLOGGER help bin:
"Images on our servers that are over a certain size (400px) have referrer restrictions, meaning that they will not be displayed on servers other than and However, by default, images display as thumbnails of less than 400px within posts, and simply link to the full-size image."

Of course, this entire ordeal came about because fucking HULU videos are too damn wide...