Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Perfect

Posted here without permission, obviously:

AMANDA GUINZBURG
Split Scene


Every time Rosie O’Donnell would walk on stage during The View’s opening, she made a gesture of feigned shock that there were all these people wildly applauding for her. She would turn her hands upwards and furrow her brow in exaggerated confusion and then as she’d continue out towards the table (trailed by the other consistently waving co-hosts), her open Irish face would break into a bright wide smile. She was, it seemed from the very start, saying to everyone who watched: I am going to take you with me now, into the land of bright lights, quick touch-ups and major league pretend.

But doing that while still following the rest of the rules of network television proved ultimately an impossible balancing act for a woman who has remarkably balanced a great deal. Or rather a task whose compromises, not just of time away from her beloved family (a family, it can safely be said, she made a natural part of morning conversation despite the fact that it is unconventional by traditional — and it would seem now, in large part thanks to her — almost archaic standards) but of her fiercely held moral standards of what is right and what is real.

Television has taken almost every ounce of reality away from the very genre so named. We are all supposed to be in on the joke now — that everything we see is edited and manipulated to serve some larger narrative. To wit: the debauched kids on MTV’s Real World: The Moon! (Not really, but they’re seriously running out of places to house these drunken whores), the wrecked and weeping women riding away mascara-streaked in limousines after being dumped by the latest Bachelor, or the ever available desperados of afternoon talk shows. Jerry Springer is still perhaps the most extreme, and even he now has his own meta-show, The Springer Hustle where we see that guests are so heavily prepped by producers they’re actually told at what point to physically attack their cheating spouse (when the lie detector or DNA test comes back positive) or racist neighbor (when he or she inevitably and often gleefully uses the “n” word)

For Rosie what is real is synonymous with the truth and the truth is as precious a commodity as it is rare, at least in the realm of show business. On her heavily trafficked website, she often writes about things like feeding geese, befriending squirrels, baby birds hatching in a corner of her roof, her wife’s conservative family, her children’s small triumphs and the ordinary people she encounters’ various struggles to survive. She puts her money where her mouth is and consistently gives it away, threatening to fire her financial advisors should she ever wind up on a Richest Celeb list. But she’s also fully recognized and taken advantage of the national audience she regained by joining The View this year, speaking out and devoting whole hours to issues like depression, autism, and the devastating illnesses now ravaging the 9/11 first responders.

Then there is The War. Rosie has relentlessly, with unmistakable rage and palpable grief refused, despite Barbara Walter’s awkward discomfort with it, to stop speaking out about this criminal administration and the Iraq War it made up, dressed up, and sold to our nation. “WAKE UP, AMERICA!” Rosie has, for years now, commanded from within the sometimes-confusing typographical trenches of her blog. Despite the fact that the media’s manipulations drove her from the very show she reinvented, Rosie’s fights with Elisabeth Hasselbeck did nothing if they did not wake us up. They were riveting in their rawness and to the extent one side of them ever seemed prepped, Rosie made no attempt to hide her disgust with such executively borne machinations.

On what O’Donnell has since called Nuclear Wednesday, Hasselbeck made an analogy about a deadline for pulling out of the war and a timed football pass. Nothing could have articulated more clearly what Rosie seemed to find so anathema about this woman’s politics and ultimately her personal comportment. While Elisabeth appeared to almost relish the supposed gamesmanship of their political throw downs — going off to do sound bytes for the nightly “entertainment” show after Wednesday’s meltdown and assuring the public she wasn’t “mad” and that they would most definitely remain friends, they wore Rosie O’Donnell so far down you could literally see it in her eyes. They grew distant long before that eventual (and perhaps inevitable) d√©nouement.

Rosie said it was the split screen that was the final nail in her View coffin. It makes sense. The split screen implied that these feelings and ideas Rosie holds so dear and was trying, so very hard it seemed, to communicate to Elisabeth (but also to anyone who had ever twisted her words to serve their personal agenda) about truth and justice and loyalty and humanity could be turned into an empty gesture of celluloid commercialism: Selling Rosie as the worst and most dishonest caricature of herself, one side of a two dimensional screen. Kind of like what the government has done to our nation. Every day veracity is under siege in America as the current administration tries to warp what’s actually happening while the vast majority of our mainstream media remains complicit with their systematic airbrushing of the bloody facts.

We who compulsively tuned into the video blog she began a few weeks ago with her quirky long time producer-cum-mustache artist and giant-turkey-wing-eating hair stylist saw that Rosie was clearly far more at ease back stage, behind closed doors with a face naked of all concealers, singing along to Amy Winehouse or Tina Turner and answering some of the thousands of questions she gets daily than she ever would be out on that carefully orchestrated studio set.

I am confident, however, that Rosie will return. Not to The View, but to the unmatched power that is television. She’ll don the necessary war paint and head out under the hot white lights and blinking audience signs. She may act more or less surprised that people still love her, despite and because of her rage. The fact is this: A steadfast quest to reveal what is really real requires Rosie stay out here, on the front lines of truth.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Grrgh

I'm so upset about the whole Rosie thing going on. I really shouldn't even by typing about it. Lots of love and light to Rosie for having the cajones to take on an institution of lies through its own media source. Of course it couldn't last, and the punishment was brutal. So classy of her to leave and not make a statement. Watched the View today for the last time. What a pack of lies.

I can't wait until technology and the audience reach the point where she can have her own real show online, and say whatever she feels. For now, I'll watch Jahero reruns on Rosie.com.



Purchase

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Blowing Wind

The highlight of the American Idol finale should not be me yelling (at the screen)at the bloated, leathered Bette Midler "Don't do it!" as she goes for the high "fly" note.

What a career killer. I can hear the pink bragade calling Vegas to refund their tickets as I type...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Float My Boat

Now how did Disney manage this publicity stunt?



Richest Shipwreck Treasure

As if the kids weren't already wetting their inner child jammies over seeing Depp as Jack again.

Mutant Swingers From Mars

From my friend Bill Cunningham at www.D2DVD.Blogspot.com:

http://headbangersblog.com/2007/05/10/movies-for-metalheads-sex-machine-white-slave-collection-swamp-zombies-a-secret-handshake-ghost/

Thank you all for taking a look at the link and please spread the word about Christopher Sharpe's cool little flick that's winning the hearts and minds of pulp moviegoers across the globe. I am proud to represent this movie (distributed worldwide by Anthem Pictures) as well as the upcoming scifi-horror-comedy MUTANT SWINGER FROM MARS featuring Jack White (of The White Stripes in his first movie role).

MUTANT SWINGER FROM MARS is writer-director Mike Kallio's love letter to Ed Wood, swing music and cinema cheese. You can watch the trailer on YouTube .

All rights to MSFM are currently available.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Girth and Nudity: A Pictorial Mission


The New York Times
By ABBY ELLIN
Published: May 13, 2007


BEFORE we begin, let’s get one thing out of the way: Yes, Leonard Nimoy is more than happy to do it — the Vulcan salute, the gesture that launched a thousand spaceships. He does so easily, effortlessly: palm outward, fingers extended, the index and middle finger smashed together, the ring finger and pinky touching, the thumb sticking out on its own.

ROLE MODELS Leonard Nimoy’s “Full Body Project” features nude obese women.
“People ask me all the time,” Mr. Nimoy said, carrying saucers of coffee and tea into his art-filled living room off Central Park West. He placed them next to galleys of his forthcoming photography book, which sat near a copy of “Carnal Knowing: Female Nakedness and Religious Meaning in the Christian West,” by Margaret R. Miles, and a folder of news clippings on obesity.

“You see what I have here, about the health guidelines for models?” he asked, pointing a long, tapered finger toward the file.

The basso profundo voice was unmistakable, his words occasionally clipped with his native Boston accent. “They now have to have at least a certain weight to qualify,” Mr. Nimoy added. He looked pleased. This is a subject that speaks to him.

He knows that he is an unlikely champion for the size-acceptance movement; body image is a topic he never really thought about before. But for the last eight years, Mr. Nimoy, who is 76 and an established photographer, has been snapping pictures of plus-size women in all their naked glory.

He has a show of photographs of obese women on view at the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, Mass., through June; a larger show at the gallery is scheduled to coincide with the November publication of his book on the subject, “The Full Body Project,” from Five Ties Publishing. The Louis Stern Fine Arts gallery in Los Angeles and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston have acquired a few images from the project. A few hang at the Bonni Benrubi Gallery in New York. (Their explicitness prevents the images from being reprinted here.)

These women are not hiding beneath muumuus or waving from the bottom of the Grand Canyon à la Carnie Wilson in early Wilson Phillips videos. They are fleshy and proud, celebrating their girth, reveling in it. It is, Mr. Nimoy says, a direct response to the pressure women face to conform to a Size 2.

“The average American woman, according to articles I’ve read, weighs 25 percent more than the models who are showing the clothes they are being sold,” Mr. Nimoy said, his breathing slightly labored by allergies and a mild case of emphysema. “So, most women will not be able to look like those models. But they’re being presented with clothes, cosmetics, surgery, diet pills, diet programs, therapy, with the idea that they can aspire to look like those people. It’s a big, big industry. Billions of dollars. And the cruelest part of it is that these women are being told, ‘You don’t look right.’ ”

Mr. Nimoy, who divides his time among homes in New York and Los Angeles and on Lake Tahoe, in California, admits that before he began this project, it had never occurred to him that beauty might be culture driven, that a fat body in Africa is treated quite differently from one in the United States. “In some cultures their weight is a sign of affluence: their husbands can afford to feed them well,” he noted.

His enlightenment came about eight years ago, when he had been showing pictures from his Shekhina series — sensual, provocative images of naked women in religious Jewish wear — at a lecture in Nevada. Afterward, a 250-pound woman approached him and asked if he wanted to take pictures of her, a different body type. He agreed, and she came to the studio at his Tahoe house. She arrived with all sorts of clothes and props, “as if she were playing a farmer’s wife in a butter commercial,” he said.

His wife, Susan, who was assisting him, said, “No, we want to shoot nude.” So the model removed her clothing and lay down on the table. At first Mr. Nimoy was very nervous, he said.

“The nudity wasn’t the problem,” he said, “but I’d never worked with that kind of a figure before. I didn’t quite know how to treat her. I didn’t want to do her some kind of injustice. I was concerned that I would present this person within the envelope of an art form.”

But soon he relaxed into it, lulled by the clicking of the camera and the woman’s comfort with her body. He placed some of the shots in various exhibitions, and they invariably garnered the most attention. “People always wanted to know: ‘Who is she? How did you come to shoot her? Why? Where? What was it all about?’ ”

He decided to pursue the subject further and was led to Heather MacAllister, the founder and artistic director of Big Burlesque and the Fat Bottom Revue, a troupe of plus-size female performers in San Francisco. Ms. MacAllister died in February of ovarian cancer, but something she said to Mr. Nimoy in one of their first meetings struck a chord. “ ‘Any time a fat person gets on a stage to perform and is not the butt of a joke — that’s a political statement,’ ” he recalled. “I thought that was profound.”

Initially, he was interested in replicating Herb Ritts’s popular image of a group of nude supermodels clustered together on the floor, and a Helmut Newton diptych of women clothed and then unclothed in the identical pose. Ms. MacAllister and some of her friends agreed to be his subjects. He then posed the women to simulate Matisse’s “Dance” and Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase.”

The responses have ranged from joy to horror. One formerly obese woman said the photos terrified her; she said they recalled a picture she kept in her wallet as a reminder of her former self. Other women have thanked Richard Michelson, the Northampton gallery owner, for displaying the images, and even asked if Mr. Nimoy wanted to photograph them.

“I am actually amazed at how little negative reaction there has been,” said Mr. Michelson. “I attribute this in part to the gallery setting, and the fact that Northampton, Massachusetts, is perhaps the most liberal city in the most liberal state in the nation.”

“We do overhear some reductive ‘Is Nimoy into fat chicks’ comments when the gallery room is first entered,” he continued, “but in fact the fun nature of the work and the quality seem to shut people up by the time they leave. I’ve had a few crank e-mails with snide remarks, but not a one from gallery visitors.”

The Big Fat Blog, a Web site devoted to fat acceptance, wrote about Mr. Nimoy’s photographs in 2005. A woman calling herself Nellicat wrote in response: “I’m 5’5" and weigh between 130 and 135. But I don’t feel as comfortable in my own skin as I should. I look at those women strutting, posing, laughing, and I feel real envy towards them. There they are, posing for a man (!) knowing that the whole world will be able to see them naked (!!) and they are LOVING it. Oh, to be that free! To be that comfortable and beautiful in your body — I truly envy them.”

Though most people think of performers as naturally more unabashed than the rest of us, Ms. MacAllister said it is sometimes difficult for them, too. “We get scared and struggle w/self-acceptance and self-love just like you,” she posted on the blog at the time. “Just want you to know that ‘freedom is not free’; the freedom you see us enjoying is the result of constant hard work and eternal vigilance against the ‘tyranny of slenderness.’ ”

Mr. Nimoy was born in Boston to Russian Jews; he speaks and reads Yiddish. He began acting at 8, but his big break came at 17, when he was cast as Ralphie in a Boston production of Clifford Odets’s “Awake and Sing.” In 1966, he landed a gig on a little television show called “Star Trek,” which ran for only three seasons but would resonate for decades. He spent two seasons on “Mission Impossible” and in 1971 went to U.C.L.A. to study photography. He didn’t graduate, but he has a master’s in education and an honorary doctorate from Antioch College. He hasn’t acted since 1990, choosing to devote himself to art collecting, voiceover work and various philanthropic endeavors, including an artists’ foundation he and his wife run.

Most people know him as Mr. Spock, the terminally rational Vulcan with the famous hand signal. (The signal, which he said was his design, is actually rooted in Judaism. It represents the Hebrew letter “shin,” the first letter in the word Shaddai, which means God.)

In 2002, he published a book of photographs entitled “The Shekhina Project.” Shekhina is the feminine aspect of God; the photographs are sensual, erotic images of women draped in phylacteries, religious garments typically worn by Jewish males. The pictures were very controversial within the Jewish community: some people objected to the nudity, while others were offended by women in traditionally male garb. On the latter point, Mr. Nimoy said that he was not the first to put forth the idea. “There are historical writings of famous Jewish women, daughters of rabbis, who have done that,” he said.

He expects his second book to provoke an equally strong reaction, though he hopes the audience will gain a new perspective on the issue and learn something.

As for whether people will think he has a fetish, he said he can’t help that. “I just have no way of dealing with that,” he said with a laugh. “People will think what they’re going to think. I understand that.”

And what of his own attitude toward fat women?

“I do think they’re beautiful,” he said. “They’re full-bodied, full-blooded human beings.”

He doesn’t necessarily find them sexually attractive. “But I do think they’re beautiful.”

Blooker Award!

Congratulations to Brian for another cool award for Mom's Cancer!

http://pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/2007/05/16/moms-cancer-wins-blooker/#respond

Friday, May 04, 2007

Don't forget

This Saturday is Free Comic Day! Take yourself and/or a kid to your local store...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hey Cinderella

Ah, we heart Carlos Carrasco.

Just working on beefing up a scene of his in "Pistoleras," and felt the urge to share some work of his from the cult hit "Blood in, Blood Out." Don't worry boys, it cuts out right before he demands some chun chun. Popeye is one scary mofo.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

"Vehemently opposed to the corrupt and oppressive Empire"


Multiple Geekogasms.

First of all, look at Tony Stark's threads. They cast Robert Downey Jr., then Stan Winston designs this shell. Rock it hard, boys. High, high hopes for Iron Man.

Next up, you ask? Oh, nothing big. Just rumors from Scully about a FREAKING X-FILES MOVIE. Oh. My. God. Miss Gillian, do not tease us bards who have waited to sing of this day. The Fox lawsuit has settled, last I heard, so Carter and Co, gear up! Yes, we know you were right about the government conspiracies, bees dying and all of it, all along. Now let's see what Carter has to say about Bush.

Third, Sideshow Collectibles is rocking us again with a lovely Princess Leia in battle mode. I really really really like their description of her. Sometimes when I wonder how the eff I am who/what I am, I need a reminder...

Fourth, in the REBEL ALLIANCE zone...Rage Against the Machine's reunion performance at Coachella was Earth-shattering. We need them. We need them come to us now at the turn of the tide...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

All kinds of wrongness

For your enjoyment. We love it anyway.


The disturbment quotient is upped if you've seen "Death Proof."