Saturday, January 31, 2009

That ol' black magic pubic hair

I'm finishing the collossus task of finishing THE COMMUNE's applications to twenty-five film festivals. (Think back to college applications with essays and photos and press kits and something annoyingly different required for EACH ONE with a $100 check and the ability to snuff out the dreams and financial futures of myself, 40 crew members and all our investors.)

And as I collate, staple, gather, fold, lick, stuff, I find my sister's labrador's fur EVERYWHERE. Stuck inside a DVD cover. Glued to the submission envelopes. Hidden inside a peechee.

I wonder...will my short black hair inclusions be seen as thoughtful dedication to my craft?

Shoutout Journalista

Charles Yoakum and I were written about in the same The Comics Journal Weblog entry. Pretty cool.

Everyone has fears about creating their art. Those who rise to professional career levels are the ones who have the balls to work DESPITE the fears, instead of letting bitching becoming their fulltime job. Period.

Get up, Trinity.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Stuart G. Bennett in Jake Barsha's EUGENE

Caught the new horror flick EUGENE at, of all places, the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Maybe not the ideal place for it to world premiere considering the blue tint in the hair of the average festival-attender. Though the older crowd graciously sat through the gore, then skedaddled before the Q and A.

EUGENE was incredibly intense and absolutely gorgeous-looking. Actor Stuart G. Bennett was sympathetic while playing a lonely, possibly antisocial person on the edge of society trying and failing to fit in and make a connection. It reminded me of MAY, in that it was a character study of a fringe person who was relatable to the audience and made us root for him...right up until the bloody end where the movie felt a lot like A SIMPLE PLAN. A high-quality content freshman effort; well-worth your time and money and not at all like the typical cheap American indy film. It's playing in February at both the San Francisco International Film Festival, and at New Filmmakers New York. Definitely try to catch it.

The gist of the plot is that Eugene lives alone, keeps reaching out to people and getting rejected. Sort of the thesis of CRASH...that we're all alone and self-absorbed aholes in LA unless we violently crash into each other...but with horror results.

We see Eugene in his house, in his volunteer job mucking out horse stalls in exchange for jumping lessons (an amazing scene), on an incredibly awkward date where the object of his affection asks him if maybe he isn't actually gay and doesn't know it yet...Like MAY, these are painful encounters that have a hyper-stylized directing and lighting feel to them that is almost satirical.

Meanwhile, we see a young straight Hollywood couple stuck in poverty, drugs and hustling. Actually, they are the only flaw in the movie...They are not up to the calibre of the movie or Bennett's performance...better actors and some scene trims of the couple would have elevated this film to five star status.

When Eugene decides to explore whether or not he is gay, he picks up the male part of the couple and can't go through with it...plunging him into even darker isolation. The hustler returns home to his girlfriend and they continue to fight about his heroin use, their prostitution, her toddler, to the point that we wonder if they're going to break up or actually move to NYC like she wants.

At the stables, Eugene makes a bad choice totally born out of his personality traits, and accidentally kills a horse he loves. The stable owner berates him and fires him. Back alone again at his creepy house, Eugene phones his only friend, his grandmother, and we learn a startling secret I don't want to spoil, because it's so well done and heartbreaking. Rejected now by everyone, he snaps and begins building something very sinister in his garage.

With Eugene and the couple at their low points, their worlds collide and Eugene hires them both to come home with him. They get there and make up, having sex in the bathroom with Eugene watching and feeling more alone and confused and asexual than ever. Totally cut off from society. Until he invites them both into the garage to show them what he's been working on and paid them to use...and fans of both horror and psychological thrillers will NOT be disappointed. Nice twist, a comment on society, AND gore.

The festival program billed EUGENE as a "disturbing pyschological thriller", but that's open to's no SAW, but it gets intensely violent at the end. Again, MAY is the best comparison, which should be enough of a ringing endorsement for most gorehounds. To sum up: great script, amazing directing/camera, fresh sets (The LA valley you don't usually see, and cool use of horses), great lead, mediocre supporting actors, solid music, fun well-acted cameo by bassist Zander of THE CIRCLE JERKS. It's a really well done, solid movie. I would totally see it again.

The Q & A was the usual, thankfully with no Hollywood types quizzing about budget, equipment, etc. Stuart G. Bennett was told by one older gentleman that he is going to be a big star, and I have to agree. He had amazing reaction shots and looks great onscreen. No news about what's up next for writer/director Jake Barsha, but they have already been contacted by a bunch of distributors. It was the only American film in competition for the New Visions Award.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

3 am Poll

Can you love someone who doesn't make you laugh?

My friend I'm chatting with (halfway across the world in the Czech Republic...don't you love the internet?) insists you can't. It's a law of physics, and one of their personal truths.

I don't agree. I think you can fall in love with and become hopelessly bonded to someone who makes you cum, regardless of personality traits like humor...for women, it's biological destiny. Oxytocin. Providing and protecting is primitive and vital, and part of expressing that caring and dominance is sexual.

I submit that men grow to love the women they are physically attracted to, and women can never love a man who doesn't make them cum. Biologically impossible to bond to them sexually.

Of course this brings up up the semantics of love, but let's not argue that know I mean Love.

So...that's what we think at 3 am. What about you? And are you male or female, and does it make a difference?

CLARIFICATION: LOVE. Not sex. As in, "He was the great love of my life, but I don't remember him ever making me laugh..."

First opinion: then it wasn't I love.
Rebbutal: BS.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Not that any of you care...

But Nip/Tuck outraged its outrageous self last night. 24 episodes left for this crazy-ass series, and it's going out with a gang-bang. Fucking amazing. Seriously. I've written it before, I'll write it again...most jaw-dropping ballsy writing on television. Shame on you for not gaping at it in wonder.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Artichoke Chicken recipe

A favorite from my childhood. Until tonight, hadn't had it in years.

4-6 Chicken breasts
2 6 oz jars marinated artichoke hearts. Drain top off so dish won't be greasy.
1 can Campbells soup: Cream of Mushroom
1 can Campbells soup: Cream of Chicken

Brown chicken in butter and oil, lightly salt.
Add soup and artichoke hearts. Cover. Cook 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with rice.

For smaller amount, mom would use 1 jar of artichoke hearts and one can cream of mushroom.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


My brilliant, talented friend Kate Martin had a guest role on CRIMINAL MINDS episode 12 "Soul Mates." Check out part of her performance at 5 minutes 28 seconds in. She's the blonde wife being interviewed.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Attention red-light shoppers...

Two films are now available via Netflix's FREE Instant Watch feature:

CONVENTIONEERS, which I was an Associate Producer on, and
MIRACLE MILE, in my top 10 of all time, written and directed by my pal Steve De Jarnatt.


Stallone at 62

I was just thinking I should hit the gym...

More death

Ah, you know the tailspin death news sends me into...sigh.

Big bro posted a great anecdote via Mark Evanier's site about Ricardo Montalban. Love it. What a great man. Gentleman. Shining example and sparkly soul.

You've all bought an advance copy of my Big Bro's new book already, right? Uh-huh.

The other recent death I've been meaning to post about is sci-fi Forrest Ackerman's, the great writer/editor/pioneer/activist/gentleman/mentor.

Uncle 4E had a crush on me. The first time I met him was at his tiny museum-like house in the slums of East LA that he nicknamed the Ackerminimansion after he lost his real Ackermansion. Because that's the kind of amazing, positive person he was.

Forry made up a love poem about my beauty and soul (!) in Esperanto (!!), natch. I have the whole thing on tape; I'm sitting on his lap while he says it to me (He insisted, and I refuse a 91-year-old legend nothing).

I'm afraid the videotape and photos are in storage somewhere, which just makes me feel ill. Hopefully I shall find them soon and share them, and translate his poem. He proudly took me around his pad, and showed me pictures of his wife, whom I reminded him of, and shared the awful awful story of her murder and his subsequent loneliness, because that's what strangers do. Share their grief and secrets with me.

Forry was a dear man; still bright and full of wordplay, and very lonely and in the poor house. His tiny house and lonely twin bed made me cry out of the unfairness of it all. Where were all his bigshot Hollywood friends when he went broke?

He really wanted me to come back sometime soon for tea and more stories, which I promised to do and never did. Mostly because I saw him a few weeks later at his birthday bash when I gave him a framed photo of us and I felt embarrassed he didn't recognize me. Though admittedly, I shouldn't have expected him to... I was out of context, and he was overstimulated and exhausted. Still, I never reached out again, and I should have. Odds are that even if he didn't remember me, he would have enjoyed my company again and found it a good diversion from loneliness and old age. And really, that was all that mattered.

Uncle 4E, you are missed...thank you and forgive me.

UPDATE: I'm psychic. Totally unrelated, just received this email.

According to their website, the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS) will hold a memorial for decades-long LASFS member, Forrest J. Ackerman.

Memorial scheduled for 1pm, Saturday, January 24th, at the LASFS clubhouse, 15153 Burbank Boulevard (west of Lankershim Boulevard, east of the Hollywood Freeway)in North Hollywood.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Who gives a rat's ass about this corrupt, political popularlity contest?? Really??

Okay, fine.

I'm rooting for Tomei, Wall-E. Wish Ledger and Downey weren't up against each other. Ditto for In Bruges and Wall-E. Happy for Jenkins, Leigh, Van Sant and Herzog, natch. The rest? Meh.

Here's who was snubbed.

Oh, and who the H is stalking me from Huntington Park? I've been wanting to say that awhile.

Flirty Girls

If you're sick of replaying your Sheila Kelly DVDs, these Canucks look like they have the right idea. Although seriously, don't let anyone ever convince you pole installation is quick and easy and won't require a serious patch job when you there's all that mental harm you cause to the man you talk into installling and later removing the this case, my long-suffering Alex P. Keaton-type brother. Poor Bri puts up with a lot...

The Curious Case of Forest Gump

Because celluloid plagiarism is funny.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Commune on CBS news

A big thank you to the amazing actor Stuart G. Bennett for talking about his starring role in THE COMMUNE on CBS News! Stuart is the lead actor and Executive Producer of EUGENE, a psychological thriller that had its world premier at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Upcoming screenings include the San Francisco Independent Film Festival and the New Filmmakers New York festival.

Congrats Stuart! You deserve to be a big star!

"Eugene (USA) - Marking its world premiere, Jake Barsha's feature debut is a brilliantly disturbing psychological thriller about a lonely bachelor who befriends a young hustler and his girlfriend, with disastrous results for all involved. Strong performances - Stuart Bennett in the lead role is particularly fine - support Eugene's taut script and beautiful camerawork."
- Palm Springs International Film Society

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

At Last

Wow, that fourth dance they just did was SMOKIN' hot. We might have a presidential baby in nine months.

So nice to have a vibrant, sexy, happy couple in office. Welcome back to Camelot!

Geo Caching and Inauguration

A guest just told me about this amazing global treasure hunt game. He and his wife have already found 200 treasures around the world, the last two in St. John and Hawaii. But there are local urban caches as well.

I'm so in! And rrrrr matey, I'm going to talk like a pirate while I hunt...

Oh yeah, and the Inauguration? Minus the off-putting secular blessing (Guess some concessions had to be made; would love to read a Salon-type analysis of that) and rambling poet after, was crying like a baby.

How adorable was Joe Biden? He was so excited and happy. The platform looked just like it should. The vampire rich whiteys gone after their Darth Vader Death Star march, and genuinely happy recognizable relatable people of all colors and ages there representing the real America.

How cute were the girls?? And that he asked his eldest Malia Ann if he did good, and she approved. I love that story; that Malia didn't realize that there had never been a black President (THAT'S what our next generation will grow up I'm tearing up again). And when she discovered that, she told him then his speech better be really good. :) So he asked if he'd gotten her approval afterwards. Couldn't see what she said, but we saw him wait for her reaction, smile gratefully and say thanks. Awwwww... You know, you can't fake mutual adoration.

And check out this story.

Yea Americans!!!! Good for us. It's about time we lived up to our potential. Now let's keep going and overturn Prop 8 and get healthcare for everyone and a Secretary of the Arts...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Beat it out, bitch

I'm going to share a little screenwriting secret tip with you because, as the incomparable Robert McKee scolds in his seminal Story seminar, NOT ONE OF YOU WILL DO IT.

What, pray tell, is the secret to storytelling?

Beat it out, bitch.

Or the verbage I commonly employ, "I'm Beating out ______ (fill in movie title)."

It's no accident that PISTOLERAS is my best script. I studied over fifty spaghetti westerns while writing it. The draft that won two contests was my seventeenth and had been workshopped twice with actors and audience.

I'm now on lucky Draft Eighteen. Even if I don't have to rewrite it for casting and locations (HIGHLY UNLIKELY), the twentyfirst through twentyfifthish drafts will be written with Todd in the editing room over six months of sweat (assuming THE COMMUNE is any indication).

Some easy-street lotto ticket, eh?

As Bill Cunningham admonishes you all: DO. THE. WORK.

I'm currently outlining a broad comedy I'm going to begin writing in my mentor's class next week. I can't say what the title or premise is, because she's convinced I could sell it as a pitch in a room tomorrow. But I will tell you...

In the last week during my sick time, I've watched twelve genius comedies and beat them all out. I have over forty pages of single-spaced notes on them: reversals, C plots, blindsides, inciting incidents. Favorite lines. Image systems. Transitions. Every film's blueprint, diagramed and analyzed by me.

That is how you write a great script. It's no different than immersing yourself in a foreign language. Drown in focused celluloid until it infuses every cell of your body and you know your sub-genre's quirks backwards and upside down in the fourth dimension.

Stop bitching. Beat it out. Do the work.

Simple as that.

And if you happen to love that you're up at four am watching TRADING PLACES? That your life rocks that your work was to watch and do book reports on four films that day? So much the better.

Great day

I'm still a little weak/vulnerable from the last day of having the bird flu or whatever dang thing I picked up from you public germ spreaders (Stay home when you're sick! The baby Jesus cries when you sneeze on me!).

But WOW what an inspiring, hope-filled day it's been. We've had CNN on as we prep for our Inauguration Party tomorrow. Lots of yummy dips and snacks and champagne will take the place of any formal dinner. I'm psyched. And ready for bed, with red white and blue dreams dancing in my head.

We can do it, kids! We can unite and overcome and make the world spin with hope.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Bachelor chose Melissa

Please boycott this horrible, horrible, Degrading To All Humans show. And if you NEED to know who the douchebag du jour chose, a genius canuck did all the detecting for you. Jason is engaged to Melissa. Yes. The one who looks EXACTLY like Deanna. I give it four months.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Indy 103.1 and Jonesy gone!!!!!?????? NOOOOOOOO

Oh my god. This fucking world of our.

Me in high school

Not kidding. I messed with my principal and teachers that way.

At graduation, I gave out my dad's surgical gloves to my clique to use at the big moment when we shook the principal's hand. By the time I got up there, several of my friends had already been through with the ol' latex shake. He just shook his head at me. Of course he knew it was me. Miss Subversive.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

30 Rock

Liz Lemon: I like your tie.
Sexy Peter Dinklage: And I like aggressive women with a nerdy vibe. Why don't we grab some coffee and explore this?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Congrats to Brea Grant

Brea Grant (Daphne on HEROES, Sophie in PISTOELRAS) was written about today on Mediabistro / Fishbowl LA for her Best Celebrity Blogger nomination in the Weblog awards. Go vote for her up until the 13th!

Deep Thoughts

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every
time we fall."

~ Confucius

Monday, January 05, 2009

Three sexiest words a man can say

3 out of 3 women last night agreed. It's: "I'm in charge."

Unflappable Flacco.

Cesar Milan.

Ohhhh alpha male. We will follow you through the gates of hell, but you've got to lead us.

Prefab houses in Slovenia

Received an email from a guy friend saying this one was sooo me.

You too can "develope your own personal stile!" We're all moving!

Congatulations to Senator Al Franken

Well done, sir. Smart, caring guy with a lot of heart.

He was a very nice man to Brenda and me. I feel pleased.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

On Lis Fies's mind


"Son of Rambow" - Adorable and brilliant. The boys are so impossible not to fall in love with, a pedophile could use it as defense in court. You must rent.

"The Wrestler" - Perfect.

"Towelhead" - Wow. Painfully honest. Great.

"What Did I Just Watch?" - Yup. That's the film industry.


"The Seven Addictions and Five Professions of Anita Berber" by Mel Gordon Fascinating biography of Weimar Berlin's Priestess of Depravity, the Lindsay Lohan of 1922. Great subject matter. But I wish the author had spent more time creating a cohesive narrative and organizing the facts than working on his prose. Lot of big adjectives, not a lot of structure or conclusions.

"Wishful Drinking" by Carrie Fisher
Made me cry for all the wrong reasons. I saw the show the book was based on two years ago and thought it was sad but cathartic. This book has half the material the show covered, because the author has since had electroshock therapy and doesn't remember huge chunks of her life. So sad. They must have recorded one of the shows; why not just transcribe it? And who's the quack who gave this wonderful woman who relies on her wit electroshcok therapy? For fuck's sake universe, lay off Fisher. She's a wonderful person who has had enough.

"Engulfed in Flames" by David Sedaris
Brilliant and laugh out loud funny, as always. Could've lived without the last 70 pages about him quitting smoking and all the drinking and drugs he used to do. Felt a little half-baked, sad and confessional without his trademark quirky insight into the situation.

"Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith" by Anne Lamott
Likable, funny chick. Great prose. The Christian content made my gums hurt.


"Flight of the Conchords" Season 1/Season 2 Episode 1
Can't believe I was missing out on this one. Insightful fun a la mellow Monty Python goofsters. Can't decide which one of them I want to throw a leg over. Both at once? Sublime.

"True Blood"
Thoroughly enjoyable, moody, vampire fun.

"South Park"
The Indiana Jones was raped episode and the Obama/Ocean's 11 episode were genius.

Upcoming TV I Could Just Pee About:

"Battlestar Galactica" final half season, whatever we're on
"Big Love" season 3
"Flight of the Conchords" season 2
new "Gossip Girl" focusing on Chuck Bass. Meow.
new "Leverage". Go Rogers!

It's a good month to have cable. Happy 2009.