Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Black Rock Grindhouse.... (I hope)

I am a Burning Man virgin..

Okay, I said it... Stop laughing already... I know.. I've lived in the Bay Area for over 8 years and I've never made the trek... Hell, at the rate I'm going, I'll likely be all kinds of a virgin all over again soon enough anyway, what with the whole lack of a social life and all...

But I digress (as usual)..

Actually, I never really thought of myself as Burning Man material.. I'm not really arty (even if I am the son of an "Artie").. I never did the whole rave or techno thing.. I'm not a hippie (even tho I can certainly begin to see the appeal lately).. I really don't do nudity (that would be me being nude, that is... I'm not fond of scaring children.. or nailing home any and all doubt a woman would have in possibly desiring me anytime soon..) So why the fuck am I doing this anyway..?

Well, two reasons... First, a good friend of mine who I doubt anyone would ever peg as a "Burning Man" person thinks I should ( And secondly:

Have you ever seen the movie A Boy and His Dog..? Please, if you haven't, you should... If for no other reason than to see a very young Don Johnson talking to a dog in the middle of a desert and extended scenes of Jason Robards in clown makeup.. Anyway, the movie is a post apocalyptic tale of, oddly enough, a boy and his dog.. More specifically, a guy in his late teens/early twenties desperate to get laid in a wasteland nearly devoid of human female life and his descended-from-genetically-manipulated-CIA-lab-animals dog, with whom he shares a psychic connection. Like I said, you really just have to see it. In the film, shortly after scoring a decent haul of canned goods, Vic (the aforementioned 'boy') and Blood (the dog) decide to cash some in to catch a movie.. A rare treat in the hell they live in. The 'theater' is some old furniture facing a makeshift screen upon which is projected old stag films by a dilapidated projector, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DESERT. Talk about the ultimate guerilla drive (okay, walk... maybe stumble) in.

So... that's what I'm trying to do... I'm about ready to pull my hair out trying to get everything together at last minute... After all, it's tough enough to pull off a 'technical tour-de-force', much less do it in the middle of an alkali desert prone to severe dust storms with nary a Fry's or a Radio Shack so much as a hundred or so miles away.. But I'm going to try.. I've already amassed a ridiculous amount of DVDs and digital rips for this lunatic venture.. FAR more than I could ever play over the course of *3 months* of 8-10 hour nights, much less just a week.. But what can I say... I like to have variety.

So if you're out on the playa (not that ANYONE is reading my misbegotten blog, so I've noticed) and you want to see me more than likely fail spectacularly at trying to pull this off, look out for the Black Rock Abortion Clinic around midcamp (5:30 or so) towards the center.. With luck I'll have about a 14 foot diagonal screen going on the side of a moving truck.. If I can get it to work and not blow up or anything, that is..


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ticket for 10 PM showing at Grand Lake: $9.50.. Popcorn, lemonade, etc.: $14.50, Watching Eli Roth shoot off Hitler's face: $PRICELESS!

Okay, okay... So there might be a slight spoiler there in the title.. But only if you read the whole frakkin' thing..

I just got back from seeing Inglorious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino's latest and, dare-I-say-it, MASTERPIECE homage to seventies/early eighties war exploitation films. Watching the movie, I couldn't help but make comparisons to The Dirty Dozen, The Big Red One, even to some extent Full Metal Jacket and Dr. Strangelove. Tarantino has become a master at recreating films he loves in his own image, and it's a striking coup-de-grace here.

I rue Wednesday night with a passion. On Wednesday, the Castro Theater in SF had a preview screening of the film WITH QT IN PERSON... Sadly I didn't find out about it until the tickets were all gone, so I missed the experience. Ah well, no matter. I still got a mighty Wurlitzer performance and a front row seat at the Grand Lake.. And this does go towards my depriving-San-Francisco-of-nearby-tourist-money fund (more about this in a later rant regarding the SFMTA DPT and their BULLSHIT hearings procedure over disputed parking tickets.. Actually, I have a lot of ranting to do, and soon.. But I'm trying to stick to the flick for the moment).

So I can't help but feel an enormous sense of Jewboy pride, in a way.. I'd already been crowned as best Walter Sobchak in San Franciso (sic) at last month's Lebowskifest, and the angry Jewish warrior spirit has just been refueled by this awesome fucking flick. Hell, I didn't even know that was what this movie was about right up until last Saturday when I happened to watch the previous night's Real Time with Bill Maher. Bill's first guest was Brad Pitt who plays tough-as-petrified-dinosaur-shit Lieutenant Aldo Raine in the film. HBO presented his introductory scene in the film (used largely in the trailers for the film which I *had* already seen) in it's raw and uncut form. For some odd reason (hmm), all the trailers I'd seen for IB had Brad Pitt's line as "I need me eight soldiers. Eight Jewish American soldiers." Every trailer I'd seen up till that point was "Eight American soldiers"... Hmm.. So I guess even Bob and Harvey *Weinstein* figured the thought of Jews with GUNS might scare the shit out of the midwest..? Okay, so that irks me a bit, but c'est la vie..

So finally, REAL premise in mind, I started *truly* looking forward to seeing the flick. Eli Roth, known in his own right for having written and directed horror films such as Cabin Fever, Hostel, and Hostel 2 (not to mention the totally hilarious and awesome "Thanksgiving" fake horror trailer for Tarantino/Rodriguez's Grindhouse double bill) has become the Semitic Joe Piscopo for his role having bulked up 35 lbs of pure muscle to play Donny Donowitz (which already has some Tarantinites wondering if there's a connection to cokehead "Coming Home in a Body Bag" producer Lee Donowitz from the Tarantino-authored True Romance), also known to terrified Nazi soldiers as "The Jew Bear". He gets the opportunity to take out his Aryan-hatred Louisville-slugger style on at least one non-cooperative noncommissioned officer that we get to see in the flick.. As well as playing the character, from what I understand, Eli also directed the film-within-a-film that serves as the backdrop for IB's unfucking-spectaculo-ultraviolent-believable climax.

Okay... adrenaline winding down a little here... Can't sign off without mentioning a few other standout performances, of which there are MANY.. The character Hugo Stiglitz, former enlisted German soldier who turns on his own due to his Jewish heritage.. The almost-lovable "Jew Hunter" Col. Landa who is just so conniving and despicable, but carries it all off with a sort of Sherlock Holmes-Monk-Columbo-Hercule Poirot air.. Shosanna Dreyfuss/Emanuelle Mimieux who watched as her entire family was machine-gunned to death by Landa and his SS minions and gets the chance to take her revenge on a theater-full of Nazi high party members with a big pile of nitrate film.. Oh, speaking of which, was I the only person to notice QT's use of The Entity's ghost-raping music during that flashback sequence??

Anyway, there's so much going on.. Brad Pitt is fucking great.. I still haven't seen a lot of his "safer" performances (Thelma and Louise, Benjamin Button), but you have got to love this guy's crazy (Fight Club, Twelve Monkeys) and range (Snatch, Burn After Reading)..

Total props to uncredited vocal credits also have to go to both Samuel L. Jackson as the infrequent narrator and to Harvey Keitel in an OSS officer's radio voiceover role. And there's also the credited Zoe Bell for pulling off some major stunt sequences as well.. And kudos for having one of the shortest and most concise credits of a film in recent memory. Sometimes I feel a little weird hanging out for the full credits of the flicks I love, but it was a comfortably brief experience this time around..

And I really need to look up that Bowie song now...

Fuck, what a flick... go see it.


PS: FUCK!!! I almost forgot... MAJOR damn props to Mike Myers for his cameo in this film. Apparently when asked about it on Wednesday, QT said he sees Mike Myers as the "Peter Sellers" of our time.. And I'm inclined to agree..

This almost (**ALMOST**) makes up for The Love Guru, Mike...


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tranny FILTH!!! (or... How I happened to catch Pink Flamingos at Peaches Christ's Midnight Mass)

Man, I really need to do something about my life... I think I've gotten my sleep rhythm nearly completely reversed, yet again.. I woke up from a fitful 6 hour nap at 8:00 tonight (last night?) and realized there really wasn't much I'd be able to do with my 'day', as it were. But lo and behold, I check the Midnight Mass website ( and Pink Flamingos was actually NOT yet sold out!

Fast forward to a few hours later. Sadly, I got in late and missed the opening act, but I did arrive just in time to witness the Filthiest Person in SF showdown. Watched a tranny drink a beer that she'd previously soaked a supposedly sweaty straight man's sock in (clearly an audience plant if I ever did see one), a young lady dressed up like Selma Blair's character in A Dirty Shame eat what turned out to be fake poo from a giftwrapped box, a shall we say plump tranny attempt to perform "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables before being cut off (sadly Jamie Farr and a gong were not involved), several rather attractive younger women toss apparently real used tampons and sanitary napkins into the audience (I only hope Johnny Rotten doesn't sue), and the coup-de-grace (and winner of the event) was Lois Denominator's performance of a Captain and Tenille song culminating in the rectal insertion of several live mice.. Yes, indeed, no one was to top that one, although one of the tranny judges rimming a poor young straight dude onstage prior to the onset of horrors was also placed into the running..

And with that, on to the film. I'd never seen Pink Flamingos before. Shocked? Well, you should be. I thought I'd seen many fucked up flicks in my day, but clearly this is one that had scooted under my radar for far too long (as was last night's midnight show of "Get Crazy" at the Castro Theater, but I'll discuss that some other time). Well, there's no shortage of disappointment in the viewing of what was considered the most disgusting film of it's time (1972, hey that's *MY* time too!) which still lives up to and trumps those same standards here in the jaded days of 2009.

Chicken fucking (and, as a consequence, dying), incestual tranny fellatio, and dogshit chewing aside, the movie's goddamned funny. And every time I saw the character of Crackers show up, I couldn't help but think to myself just how perfect for the role Brad Pitt would be. And so, of course, I've formulated a plan:

Stage 1: Already done! Have another John Waters film turned into an award-winning broadway musical and then have that musical used as the basis for a "remake" of the original film with highly credited Hollywood actors.

Stage 2: On the basis of the phenominal success of the Hairspray musical and remake, write a musical version of Pink Flamingos and get it just as renowned and award winning. Anyone care to be the George to my obviously Ira Gershwin?

Stage 3: A Hollywood remake of Pink Flamingos starring John Travolta in the Divine role, since he's clearly going to be typecast from here on out. Secure Brad Pitt for the part of Crackers Johnson and VOILA!: John Travolta sucking Brad Pitt's cock in what is sure to be an award-winning moment, if nowhere else than at the MTV Movie Awards!

Well, it's just an idea... For now.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Funny People.... I'm wondering if anyone has ever called *me* "Shmyra"... (Reposted from my Myspace blog)

So I just got home from taking myself out on a date... I don't know if I'm going to get lucky yet, but the night is still young...

Anyway, I went to PF Chang's and had what Californians have described as crappy fake Chinese food, but what I as a New Yorker find to be one of the closest things I can find to "New York Chinese food" as I can find in the Bay Area.. But I'll get into a rambling discussion on what a real eggroll is some other night... Let's get to the movie, shall we?

Funny People has been markedly maligned since it's release. Most people who went to it expected the next Forty Year Old Virgin, or Knocked up... But it was not what those flicks were at all.. In the past, Judd Apatow has created zany, wacky, fucked up comedies with shitloads (literally?) of dick, fart, blowjob, and pothead jokes each with a certain core of heart and reality at their center. In Funny People, that heart takes center stage. Yes, there's some wackiness, there's some zaniness (is that a word?), but it's the drama and tragedy of the human condition that is brought to the fore. My only complaint might be that there wasn't really enough scenes with the triumvirate of LA roomies (Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Jason Schwartzman) that really made for some more of those classic Apator moments...

Then again, when I think of classic Apatow, I think back to the heady days of Freaks & Geeks... One of those fine moments in television history when people just didn't fucking get it.. No wonder we're stuck with "American Idol" and "So you think you can dance" and whatever the fuck those assholes high on coke (and cock?) think up next down in the smoggy 'Wood...

Anyway... I don't think I've ever been to a movie that spoke to me... Literally.. Don't get scared.. I'm not saying it was like my dog telling me to go out and dismember people.. He was actually an awesome standard poodle who once stood up to a fucking pickup truck, left a dent in it, and trotted happily away.. I'd like to think that if he had shoulders, he would have shrugged them. Sadly he wasn't so lucky when it came to bladder cancer (rest in peace, Kelev).. But when you have a name as rare as "Ira", you can't go to a flick that constantly has Adam Sandler barking orders at you and not think maybe you should run out to the refreshment stand and get the man a diet coke.. Yes, not since the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers has a character named Ira had such an impact in a film ("He looks like my Uncle Ira.. He sounds like my Uncle Ira.. But I'm telling you, THAT'S NOT MY UNCLE IRA!!").. Okay, maybe in When Harry Met Sally ("Someday you're going to find yourself singing 'Surrey with a Fringe on Top' IN FRONT OF IRA!!")..

Okay, okay... So I'm biased.. But there was more going on in this flick than the constant reiteration of my somewhat unique name.. In case you hadn't heard yet, the film centers around two characters. Adam Sandler essentially plays himself: an altogether too-well-known comedic actor who has done a lot of extremely silly comedies. Albeit, the comparison stops there. George Simmons, the Adam Sandler character, is a womanizer who lives alone in a huge mansion on the coast, whereas from what I understand Adam Sandler is a family man. He finds out he has Acute Myelocytic Leukemia and is, in all likelihood, going to die. (They should have had a little more medical advice on the flick tho.. Right at the beginning he's told he has a hemoglobin of 7 and he was looking FAR too healthy for someone with a crit hovering right around 20%). So he decides to keep the news to himself and in search of some kind of reconnection with his youth, he throws himself back into standup comedy. He arrives on an Improv on a Wednesday night and that's where he meets Ira Wright, a young struggling comedian played by a newly svelte Seth Rogen. Ira is bumped from his slot to make way for the celebrity talent and is forced to follow, but Simmons act is so incredibly dark and depressing that he can't help but use at least half of his time ripping him a new asshole. They meet outside the club where Simmons nearly runs him down in his Escalade pickup (yes, that about sums up the character in many ways), but later finds himself calling Ira up to ask him for help writing some new material.

And so the 'unlikely friendship' is forged.. After some initial success at a Myspace (fuck, I am writing this on a Myspace blog aren't I? I'm such a fucking sellout..) corporate event, George hires Ira as an assistant as well as to help him with new material as he tries to revitalize his standup career. As such, Ira is the first person to learn of George's illness.

I don't want to go too much more into the plot of the flick as it unwinds over the course of over 2 hours and manages to wander a little, but I think it did a damned good job of staying somewhat real. There are a lot of celebrity cameos of primarily standup comedians playing themselves (Dave Attell and Sarah Silverman come to mind immediately) as well as one of the funniest scenes ever committed to celluloid involving Ray Romano and Eminem.

Things got a little too personal for me at one point, however. When Ira finally convinces George to go public with his illness, he looks up an old flame (played by Leslie Mann) who has since gotten married and has two children by her largely absentee businessman husband (played by Eric Bana). Spoilers may lurk her, so please don't fucking blame me when you find out the chick from the Crying Game was sporting trunk.. When she finds out that he's got leukemia, she flies in to LA to see him and there's a somewhat heartwrenching scene (there's actually a lot of these in the movie... a lot of awkward scenes, a lot of heartwrenching scenes.. still thinking this should have been marketed as Judd Apatow's next Forty Year Old Virgin??) where they confront their past and reconcile.

This is the personal bit.. Back in 1998-1999, I had kind of a shitty year.. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in December and spent nearly the entire next year getting biweekly chemotherapy followed by nearly a month and a half getting radiation treatments in a manner that would have made Bruce (or David, if you're more a fan of the tv show) Banner cringe. A couple of months into my chemo, I reached out to an ex via email that I was, shall we say, severely estranged from. We happened to be living in the same town at the time, but I hadn't seen her in at least 2 years. Anyway, I mentioned in my note that I had been diagnosed with cancer and that I just wanted to let her know.. In all honesty, I really didn't expect a response at all (yes, it was *that* bad). She actually replied within a day or two and this was followed by a brief email exchange that then ended rather abruptly. For five years, I had no fucking clue what the fuck had happened... what had set her off to the extent that she ended up signing off by calling me a 'psycho ex boyfriend' (I believe that was her term) and to never contact her again..

It came to me late late at night while driving back from somewhere out in the Valley (that's the Central Valley, southland people... not everything is taking place in San Fernando... except for some very vanilla porn, learn a thing or two from the Armory, shitheads!) during my old job (RIP).. I'm pretty sure I was merging on to the 205 from the 5 south when it hit me. You see, this ex of mine had lost her father to cancer shortly prior to my coming into the picture. She had to watch him waste away from a horrible illness and here I was coming along years after our rather ugly breakup telling her I had a similar condition.. I finally put the pieces of the puzzle together.. In her penultimate email to me (not the last one where she had the more colorful language), she'd suggested meeting up sometime for coffee and catching up.. Now I'd been through some real serious shit with this woman.. and honestly, I wasn't really ready to just jump into seeing her again.. And I said so.. I'm not really sure how I put it.. I'm assuming the way I just did, as I was being honest.. What, I found myself thinking all these years later, if her wanting to see me was some kind of test..? To see if I was really sick? And it hit me... Hard. This woman actually thought that I would make this shit up just so I could play my way back into her life?? After I'd known what she'd gone through with her father???? GRRRRRRR... Fuck.. That anyone would ever do such a thing is morally reprehensible at least, and likely deserving of a painful tearing off of a scrotum at best.

I never did get to tell her, of course.. To this day, I imagine she still thinks that I would really have done that to anyone, much less her... Eh, fuck it dude (let's go bowling).. Life goes on.. But it does still irk me a tad...

Why this digression into my own fucked up sordid personal life, anyway..? Oh, right... Because in the movie, after George and his ex have their reconciliation, a visit to the doctor reveals that the experimental 'Canadian' medication he was placed on has actually worked and he is one of the lucky 8% of people who have experienced near complete remission from the treatment. So thus ensues some wackiness where George hooks up with his ex (tho apparently he only gets to go down on her and never actually gets it wet, that sounds sadly familiar.. no, really, I don't mind it all that much.. but anyway), her husband shows up back early from his business trip to China, and much wackiness ensues.

Apparently I've missed out on the opportunity to capture the "" email address from the movie (Damn you, Apatow!), but I have recently acquired "" (I'm just so fucking witty, aren't I?).. So if anyone wants to ever yell at me over anything I've ranted about in this most recent (yet infrequent) bout of blogging, feel free to try it out... And if I remember to check it, I'll be sure to be properly berated.

Anyway, Apatow, congratulations on making what I thought was, for the most part, an excellent film.. Everyone who had issues with it should really give it a second chance when it comes to DVD and try to just not compare it to his earlier comedy 'megahits'. I really think they might find a few more positives to experience from it with that mindset.

And, of course, it doesn't hurt if you happened to be named Ira...

Ira E...