Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Honorable Mentions for Favorite Albums of 2008

So after what, 3 years of having this blog, I’ve finally figured out how to write and format it so it actually comes out the right way. The following will be my “Honorable Mention” albums of 2008 and tomorrow will be my Top 10’s….but just 6-10. Awaaaaay we gooo…

HONORABLE MENTIONS FOR FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2008

These are all albums I loved and had an affect on me throughout the year. I have silly reasons why I loved them and even sillier reasons why they didn’t make my top 10. But, I did love these albums and bands so yeah. Also, they’re in no order

MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD “All Rebel Rockers.”
I hate weed, but I love a lot of reggae. Like, real earthy reggae that isn’t just pot smoking music. Most people forget that reggae was the background music to revolution! I also love Michael Franti and think he’s one of the best, bravest and most sincere musical artists of our time. This album is all reggae and I love it. More importantly, my one year old daughter loves it and the album will always have a place in my mind as one of the first ones she danced to. And sang to. “Ah whoa whoa whoa whoa oh…” Ah, already I’m sentimental. Check out one of my favorite songs of ’08 below…and if you have a kid, play this song for them and dance your asses off:



TODD SNIDER “Peace Queer”
I really like this album and lord knows I LOVE Todd, but it’s just too….quick and dirty for my tastes. It’s a really sly protest album and it was recorded (apparently) in 24 hours by Todd with producer Don Was. And…it sounds like it was recorded in 24 hours. There’s some GREAT songs on here and I like it…but it’s just kind of “meh” overall.

DR. DOG “Fate”
I loves me some Dr. Dog and this is their most accomplished record yet. The band songs like 60’s era Beach Boys with Daniel Johnson singing only better and I think with less crazy. Their last 2 albums were really, really great because to me, they sounded kinda messy and screwy and fun. “Fate” is a really solid, well produced album. In fact, if my crappy descriptions have intrigued you about this band. I think “Fate” is a good place to hear them fresh.

KANYE WEST “808’s and Heartbreaks”
I frigging hate it when people do their year end music picks and throw in some arbitrary and token hip hop album. So, I debated about doing this entry. But I gotta say…”808’s and Heartbreaks” is on par with “Rubber Soul” or “Pet Sounds” or even Wilco’s “Being There.” Kanye can do whatever the hell he wants and rather than hire the latest R&B cat to chime in, what he’s done is something that’s a complete 180 from anything he’s done before. This album sounds like spacier Bjork or something. It's fucking odd. Throughout the album Kanye sings through one of those obnoxious voice modulators that always keeps you in key, but he uses that like an instrument in that it doesn’t always sound perfect. He kind of…jams with the modulator. This is just a weird album that I find myself going back to and listening to on “random” and enjoying it. Well, I enjoy the fact he stepped up as an “artist” and went against the grain. Here's a good example of what I'm talking about in regards to him mixing things up:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWzlD7Lc6w8
(you cannot embed this clip for whatever reason)

OLD 97’S “ “Blame it on Gravity”
One of my all-time favorite bands has gone back to their original sound and made a killer Old 97’s album. But, I kind of misplaced it for a while and then found it and forgot about it. Everytime I play it, I love it…but somethings missing for me. I dunno what it is. I love this album and it’s as good an Old 97’s album as you’ll find, but it just didn’t grab me. Odd and sad, but true.


OKKERVIL RIVER“The Stand Ins”
Okkervil River is one of those bands that have been buzzed about, but I’ve always been resistant to for whatever reason. Yet, I grabbed their new one because a fellow filmmaker loves them and is doing a doc on them and damn, if Okkervil River isn’t a fine, insightful, mellow, witty, folky outfit. That being said, the only time I really listen to this album is when I’m on a flight somewhere. And as much as that happened lately, they just don’t seem to have any hold on me when I’m on the ground. Weird, huh? A great record though. Very soothing and interesting. I feel bad for not including them in my top 10. Sorry Okkervil River!

WEEZER “The Red Album”
As much as I loved this album for a solid month after it came out, it definitely wore out it’s welcome. It’s a great record and a fine Weezer album but as soon as the rock veneer wore off, I found myself constantly listening to the first two songs and the fast-forwarding to the cover song of The Bands “The Load” and then moving on. Although…best album cover of 2008 by far!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

As promised...

The first annual Petaluma Films Best Of List’s “Hey, This Album is Awesome…and Then I Never Listened to it Again!” Award goes to…



GUNS N ROSES Chinese Democracy

I’m a fairly big GnR fan but I’m no Axl apologist. Plenty of fucked up rockers (Ryan Adams, Paul Westerberg, Shane McGowan, Lily Allen, Michael McDonald (kidding)) manage to put out albums more often than Axl did. But admittedly, I was excited to hear the 14 years in the hopper “Chinese Democracy.” And, it doesn’t disappoint…if you like Guns n Roses at all. In fact, the album is epic and rocking and has a real….cinemagraphic feel to it. Sure, some of it sounds outdated and like early 90’s Nine Inch Nails, but overall….great album.

When I procured the album I listened to it for like, 2 days in a row and admired it. It’s too long, but still really good. Buckethead on guitar is pretty awesome in what I though would be a tough situation in that he can’t just crank out long solos upon long solos upon “Hey! Look! That guys got a KFC bucket on his head and he shreds!” solos. He plays nice with Tommy Stinson on bass and Axl. But after a good 2 days of digging “Chinese Democracy” I took it out of the CD player and really, it never came back. I never missed it. I see it in my CD stack and think of it like it was a drunk chick I made out with once at a bar. “Ohhh yeah. You. That was fun but never again.”

The winner of the first annual "Hey, This Album is Awesome…and Then I Never Listened to it Again!” Award can best be understood by watching this clip below from the 1:09 point (although the whole thing is funny).




Runner up goes to REM, “Accelerate”

Monday, December 29, 2008

ENGAGE LAUNCH: BEST OF 2008!!


Greetings Petaluma Films blog readers….all 4 of you! Because it was boring the hell out of me, I decided to stop the blogging about my extended trips. Instead…

It’s that time again where I go through my media mashed mind to dig up all the music, TV and movies I’ve digested this year to make my annual top ten list! This is always harder for me than it should be. The reason is, I want to be fair to myself as well as the artists by ranking my true favorites even though none of them will even see this list. I scrutinize my lists in my mind. While driving, before bed and even then I have a heckuva time. But I have finally beat my own mind in it’s silly little game and here’s how it’s going to work this year.

Since I’m still a teeny bit behind on my movies (not all the “biggies” come out here until like, now…and I can’t just drop everything and see 5 movies now, can I?) I’ll start off with music, then some TV stuff and then onto my favorite films of 2008. There’s also some new additions to my lists. For instance…this one:

FIRST ANNUAL “I JUST DON’T GET IT” ALBUM AWARD!

Normally this spot is reserved for “My Morning Jacket” who, try as I might and know I should like, I just don’t get. However their new album “Evil Urges” is actually pretty cool but, I just liked other stuff better both in my top 10 and honorable mentions. Sorry MMJ! I know you’re upset, but at least I’m starting to get you.

The winner of the first annual Petaluma Films blog album everyone is shitting bricks about this year that I got and just don’t get is...

TV ON THE RADIO, “Dear Science”

Everyone who knows me and even those who don’t but read my blog know I love music. I try to listen to everything even though my tastes tend to steer towards singer-songwriters, Americana and “Pop Experimental.” I read a few music blogs and some magazines and when they all jump on board with a band or album, I try to give it a listen. This year, “Dear, Science” by TV on the Radio was voted critics fave in both Rolling Stone and Spin. Countless blogs have lauded the album as well. So, I got it and…it’s o.k. It’s different and has some cool stuff but overall …I just don’t get it.

The album is listenable but the intentionally low-fi production leaves me cold and I feel like if the band got a producer who would, you know, allow us to hear what’s going on, that would make me warm up to this band more. It’s like eating a really yummy pizza with crazy, diverse ingredients but someone’s smoking a cig across from you and blowing smoke in your face (only, the album isn’t gross). I also had their last album “Return to Cookie Mountain” which, aside from being the best album title of the last 10 or so years, did nothing for me at all.

They even make kick ass music videos but still, I don't get why everyone's flipping out about the music.



Not liking TV on the Radio is a frustrating thing for me too. It’s like everyone’s going to this cool club or show and I’m left out. I even think lead singerTunde Adebimpe is awesome and was in one of my all-time favorite indie films “Jump Tomorrow”. But still…TV on the Radio…I don’t get it. At least I’m not being a contrarian because I have tried, repeatedly, to get into this album. But yeah…no dice.

Runner up goes to Kings of Leon, “Only by the Night”

Tomorrow (or the next day) another new feature entitled “Hey, This Album is Awesome…and Then I Never Listened to it Again!” as well as my honorable mentions. Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

San Francisco.

So the trip home was, you guessed it, uneventful. My ass hurt from sitting and we all kind of dozed in and out of sleep on the bus. However I think this is a good time to let folks know why I do what I do with the band on things like these sorts of trips. I’m not “needed,” that’s for damn sure.

I’ve “managed” five a.m. for jeez, like 10 years. I’ve seen them go through so many changes and so many times where I (and they) thought it was all over only to see something keep them going. I’m not the greatest manager. My expertise lies in the Sonoma County region and somewhat beyond. I also am not good because I take rejection very personally when it comes to them. Be it a club that blows us off or a band talking shit, I don’t let it roll off my back. I file it away and await the day for retribution. Those days of payback rarely come.

Managing-or booking more like- a band is an exercise in frustration as well. The first band I managed was an 11 piece funk and soul outfit so that was a real trial by fire. Trying to get 11 free spirits together for a show is nucking futs. Five a.m. are much easier to corral and I think they’ve missed like, one gig in 10+ years which is amazing. No, the tough part of managing them is trying to kick down these doors only to have them be locked solid or slammed back in my face. I’ve seen more bands and clubs come and go in this area than most readers of this blog can name thriving bands and clubs. But we keep on persevering and there’s something to be said for that. I believe five a.m. is a great band and that the guys should be able to make a living playing music. Damn it.

My point that I’m getting to is that when the band gets a great gig or a big break that I had a hand in, I like to be there to see the fruits of my labor (or whatever) come to fruition. Such was the case with the Sister Hazel tour. I’m always scouring newspapers and the internet for bigger bands that are touring through so I can try and get five a.m. on the bill. There’s several classes of clubs here and probably everywhere and you would think that after 10 years in an area, the A-list clubs might cut the band a break but that’s never the case. The big, A-list clubs won’t book you unless you have a big draw. But the other clubs that will book you don’t really draw anybody because everyone seeing live music goes to the big clubs. For instance…if you have the choice to pay $8 to see 4 bands you’ve never heard of (and 3 of the 4 are guaranteed to suck) in a dingy bar or nightclub OR pay say $12 to see a big touring act with a hit song you might have heard…which would you take?

To me it feels like this scene in “Boogie Nights” where Dirk and Reed Rothchild are trying to get their demo’s back from the studio (only we aren’t coked out)





If these clubs would just give us a chance to play in front of a crowd that paid to see music, these people would like us and we could build a draw. Instead, we get relegated to meat markets and shitholes that will be closed within the year and thus mean nothing to an A-venue booking agent.

So again, back to my point. I’ve been trying to book five a.m. at The Independent for like, 4 years. Finally we got on tour with a band headlining there, so we got our chance. Oh, that’s the other thing. Most big bands that tour bring an opening band so local bands get squeezed out Nation-wide. It’s a fun business I tell ya.

The show in San Francisco was outstanding and we all saw a lot of familiar faces. I got drunk and then got home, slept 4 hours and woke up to be with my daughter. Very nice, but very weird feeling. Next stop, L.A.!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Portland.

So slightly buzzed and already road-weary, I headed to Portland, Oregon with the band at about 11:00 p.m. It was a short trip that ended up at some friend of some band members wife’s friends mansion. Yeah, a mansion. I slept on some big ass couch next to a clock that made a charming jingle every hour. I felt how Desmond on “Lost” must have felt when he got awakened every few hours. The other thing was, I’m a really poor sleeper (drunk or not) and after being awakened 4-5 hours in a row by some music box thing, I came to the realization….I had no idea where I was.

I knew the place was nice and was in the mountains, but it you asked me to find it again on my own, I’d have better luck finding D.B. Cooper in the Oregon hills. I’ve come to realize recently that I am really pretty anal about a lot of things and sleeping at a strangers house is one of them. I mean, jeez. What if they have some crazy teenage son who wasn’t expecting us and found me in the living room? What if the man of the house sleepwalks or hears me snoring and beats me with a 9-iron? What if the lady of the house sleeps naked and comes in to shut off that annoying clock? The list goes on and on in my head (and gets much darker as well) and pretty soon, I’m totally awake.

So after lying around terrified for 4-5 hours, the rest of the band got up. Turns out the people were at work and we were alone. Plus, they left us like 5 pounds of bacon! I looked at how much that bacon must have cost and it was like, $6.00!! Holy shit! Oregon’s lack of a tax kicks ass!

So after eating bacon and eggs, we sat around. Dum de dum. It was boring. I like to see new towns, the guys like to sit around. Which is fine, they need to be rested and focused for the show. But I get antsy and I love new places. So around 2:00 or so, we headed into town to find the Aladdin Theater where the show was to take place.

The theater was cool! Apparently it’s claim to fame is that “Deep Throat” showed there for like, 15 years straight! When told of this I said “sooo….you’re saying don’t sit in the chairs?” My old Petaluma buddy Brennan came down and had some beers and food then pretty soon, the show was on. The band was great but I think this was the low point of the tour.

The place was all seated for one and for two we were just in and out. Seattle was fun because we could catch our breath and see the Sister Hazel show. Portland was set-up, eat dinner, play, load-up hit the road. Between that and the day spent lounging around, it was almost like Portland didn’t happen. Plus we discovered that the problem with leaving right after an opening set is, you don’t sell merchandise or CD’s for shit. Ah well. We had a long drive to Yreka (again) and then another 6-7 hours drive to San Francisco. We loaded up and left Portland, vowing to come back soon.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Seattle.



My adventures started off in Seattle, WA. Well, technically they started in Santa Rosa where we drove 5 hours to Yreka, CA and passed out at Trent’s dads house. We awoke the next day and drove a good 10 hours to Seattle, but not before semi-breaking down just before Ashland, OR which was a convenient place for a breakdown for two reasons. One, Trent’s brother lives there so we quickly pulled off the road into his family’s driveway. Nothing like a big fattie 20 passenger airporter van arriving unannounced, huh? It was his nieces birthday party too so we hoped the problem wasn’t major because otherwise, Jed (our drummer) would eat all the cake.

The other convenient thing was, our new bass player Jason is a crackerjack auto mechanic. We recently got the brakes did and they were smelling funny and making a weird noise so Jason yanked off the tires and had a look-see. Turns out there was some grated metal crap rubbing and stinking. Basically, it was nothing so off we went.

As I mentioned in one of the other blogs, traveling with a band is remarkably similar to the Bon Jovi song “Dead or Alive.” We just frigging drove all day. It was uneventful and boring. We got into Seattle around midnight and desperately wanted some food and adult beverages. Who knew Seattle shut-down on Monday nights around midnight? We finally found this amazing singles night Mexican food place that had the best appetizers I’ve ever had. Fancy crap too but it was ½ off after midnight. Score! After eating and sucking down some drinks we went back to the hotel and conked out. I had to share a room with Jed because we both snore. Fine by me because last time I shared a room with other band members I woke up refreshed but covered in pillows and shoes that had been thrown at me throughout the night.



The next day me and Steve (our roadie) got out a little early and wandered around. We went to the base of the Space Needle then headed out to lunch. From there a bunch of us bummed around together and watched Jason get his head shaved by a nice Asian lady in a hair salon. Then we found this terrific guitar shop called Emerald City Guitars. Although I don’t play, I’m a total sucker for awesome guitars and this place was chock full of awesome. Our guitarist hammer even got to play a $250,000+ Fender Strat! Dude. Unbelieveable. If you look at the site you can see the store owner Jay holding them up. Neat.

From there we headed over to The Showbox for our first night opening for Sister Hazel. It’s no secret I love beer and they had 16 oz Pabst Blue Ribbons in cans. Plus, I was antsy to cut loose after being cooped up in the bus all day. I think we all were so we got a little buzzed. The guys played an awesome show and the crowd ate it up. I was really proud of them and proud to be a part of it. We also stayed and watched Sister Hazel who, aside from that monster hit (that I will refrain from talking about lest it re-enter my head for a month straight), I didn’t know much about. They were really, really good and put on a tight show. Plus, their fans are freeking rabid. They love them some Sister Hazel. After the show we loaded up and made the short drive to Portland, OR where we drove up in the hills and stayed at some huge ass mansion!

Here's five a.m. playing a brand new song at The Showbox

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Traveling Man

I'm pretty sure I neglected to mention that DRAG KING got into a film festival called "Big Easy Shorts Festival" that took place last weekend in New Orleans. I headed out there last Thursday (11/13) and on the plane out, man, I knew this was it for me for a while. I am physically beat down, emotionally drained from the back and forth of family to film, real job to job I wish I had, real life to regular reality. It's rough. All my sick days are gone at work and my vacation days are few. Was it worth it, hell yeah. I think so at least. Let me explain...

What I'm gonna do for my own edification and just to portray the insanity of my last few months is, list where I went and why. Then throughout the week, I'm going to go back over each trips highlights and lowlights and add some thoughts. I need to get back into the blogging swing and also recheck my intentions for each trip and this is a good way. I do better when I write than when I sit and pick at myself in my mind.

Before I start all that though, we WON best doc short at the Big Easy Shorts Festival which was such a trip! I didn't think we were gonna win squat then we won that and a very cool steadi-cam which John and I can seriously use.


I wrote a blog over at Film Threat about it to tide you over till I make my way back to that trip. It was an excellent time, I made some great new friends and it was extra cool to finally win something and at the last fest of our journey to boot. That being said, here is the "Where in the World is Don R. Lewis/Petaluma Films" version 2008.

September 7, 2008 I set sail with the band I manage, five a.m., for a Northwest Tour with the band Sister Hazel. We left at like, 9:00 p.m. on a Sunday night and drove about 5 hours to Yreka, CA where we crashed out then drove all day on Monday, September 8 to Seattle, WA. That was a good 10-12 hour drive in a sort of airport shuttle type vehicle, packed with all my friends and hoping to finally get a much needed boost in our portfolio.

September 9, 2008 I was in Seattle for the first night of five a.m. and Sister Hazel. I really like Seattle but as is par for the course, we didn't get to see much of the city.

September 10, 2008 Portland, OR. My first trip there and again, way too short. Nice easy drive the night before though which was a nice break from the road. The band opened for Sister Hazel at the Aladdin Theater which was awesome.

September 11, 2008 San Francisco, CA where the band finally got to play the Independent. I got drunk and went home to sleep in my bed while the rest of the band scattered around and prepared to leave for L.A. the next day. I spend Friday mornings with my kid so I went home Thursday and planned to meet the band in L.A. Saturday.

September 13, 2008 I drive to L.A. (6 hours) to see the band at the motherfucking House of Blues on Sunset Blvd.!! I was going to stay with a friend but that fell through so I stayed at a hotel on the Strip which was cool but cost money. Not cool and the start of spending outside my means.

September 14, 2008 I drive home from L.A. Urgh. 6 hours again. I make that drive waaaay too much.

From there the band went on to San Diego but I had stuff to do so passed on that one. Great tour and a great opportunity overall though. Whew though....too...much....driving.

September 26-28 2008 Helllllo Birmingham, Alabama! "Drag King" was selected to play the Sidewalk Film Festival and I had a monumental time!

October 16-22 Austin, Texas. TheAustin Film Festival! My favorite city selected "Drag King" to play and I had an awesome time as usual!

October 31-November 3Los Angeles, CA again but for film related stuff...AFI L.A. Fest which I covered for Film Threat. I drove again.....12 hours in total. Ack.

November 13-17 New Orleans, LA and we're back where I started this thing.

That's alotta travel and I'm so glad I have supportive people in my life (Trent, Erica, Story, parents, grandparents, sisters, editors) who allow me to do this stuff. Now, I'm not going anywhere for a long, long time. Unless someone realllly wants me to.....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yep.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Hope

I try not to be too serious or political on here. Hell, the same is true for me in life. But today, I really am completely consumed by this election and hoping, praying for an Obama victory. About a month ago I became a man without political affiliation. The Republican party I signed on for was not one of hate, inequality,fascism, corporate whoredom and destruction of the constitution. It wasn't supposed to be the party of ignorant bullies or those who seek to divide. I simply want less governing and more freedom from the government in my life.

This 2008 Republican party, dating back to the 2000 Republican party is not a true Republican party by definition. Bush and now McCain have given the party a bad name and rather than revolt against these freaks, Republicans have drank the kool-aid and will support whoever is trotted out. No matter how war mongering, power hungry and misguided they are.

So,
I'm an independent voter now. I refuse to join the Democratic party because for one, they have to prove to me they aren't pussies who sit back like whiners going "Heyyy...that's not fair!" ala John Kerry and Al Gore when they were robbed in their perspective election. The Reid/Pelosi House and Congress ma-hooty make me sick with their ineffectiveness. What happened to the lawsuits and investigations they promised us?? What happened to making a change?? They dropped the ball completely.

However, through all my confusion and negativity, I can say honestly and proudly I believe in Barack Obama and Joe Biden. I believe they're really going to try and right this ship and make a change. I believe so strongly in them and what they have the potential to do for this country that if they don't win, I will simply be lost. I will be infuriated and disgusted too, but the lost feeling I'll have will be
stronger.

Since we had our daughter, my wife is on my health plan and I take home less than $1000 every 2 weeks now. Obama will change that but my vote for him is more than that. Since Bush has been in office, there's been 2 classes of people on the map: the poor, and the wealthy. The middle class has been forgotten and abandoned. If you don't believe me, seriously ask yourself if you were better off now or 8 years ago. Then try to imagine how things can possibly ever get better with John McCain
as President? He agrees with everything Bush has done and Bush has fucked us. Repeatedly. In the butt with malice and no lube.

That's a fact, it's not hyperbole or some lefty talking point.

I truly believe in what Obama and Biden are trying to do and are capable of doing given the chance. Please America, lets set aside blind party partisanship and vote for the RIGHT PERSON for a change. Literally, for a change.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Runnin' round...

So last week (or so) I was in Austin showing my short film DRAG KING at the Austin Film Festival. About 2 weeks before that, I was in Birmingham at the Sidewalk Film Fest doing the same thing. Both trips were excellent and I didn't behave like a sailor on shore leave. I worked it. Met friends, hooked up new projects. Networked. I did drink, but didn't get wasted.

Well, one day in Austin I did. They has $2 beers and it was a football Sunday followed by game 7 of the American League playoffs. I sat at SXSW Film Threat standard "Champions" for 7 hours. And the Jets lost! To the RAIDERS!! Ugh.

Anyway, I was back for a week and in about an hour, I'm driving to L.A. to cover the AFI L.A. Film Fest for Film Threat. That means, my film's not playing and I get to watch all kinds of cool stuff and review it. Plus, I get to go to L.A...a city I adore. It's my #3 fave behind Austin and New Orleans.

Oh, did I mention I'm going to New Orleans in 2 weeks to show DRAG KING? Yeah. I am.

My point is, man...I'm busy. And it's tough stuff! With the baby, school, the band, my wife, my dog, Film Threat, my movie(s) and the kind of existential through point of my life-looking for a career in da movies-I'm getting burnt out. But right now is key for me to push hard and start getting my films out there and securing new film projects. Which, I'm doing and that feels good. I think it does anyway.

Well, gotta feed the kid and finish packing.

You can follow me on Twitter which is basically shorter blog type entries that are easy to fire off on the go. That link is here:
http://twitter.com/petalumaFilms/

Toodles.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Did you know beer makes you smarter??

It made Bud...wiser!!

But seriously, this is good stuff:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New old short docs

As I prepare to head off to Austin Thursday for the Austin Film Festival (more on that later), I finally got around to uploading some of my older work to YouTube. For your viewing plesaure I give you...

GEOCACHING: HIGH TECH TREASURE HUNTING


and

CALISTOGA JAN


Both were done for a very rudimentary video class I had but they're o.k. Not real quality like my newest endeavors...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Vote 4 B.S.

My good buddy Thom Butler posted this clip on his sometimes great (and by sometimes, I mean when he finds time to do it!) blog Quicksilver Amusements and dammit, Bruce Springsteen is who I want to be President. Or like...advisor. It's been noted here what a fan I am and how he really kind of saved my life. But here he is again just making some sense. And then playing the guitar.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Oh, haven't you heard?

Right after I saw that Andy Samberg clip, I caught the new episode of FAMILY GUY and I shit you not, I laughed so hard I hurt myself in the first 5 mins. Then, I posted this and then youtube or someone yanked it. Now it's back and I just watched it 5 times in a row and still cracked up much, much too hard every time.

In honor...

....of the absolute worst movie of the year dropping on DVD Tuesday, I give you this:


That's right folks, THE HAPPENING hits netflix and your local video store this Tuesday and it's simply a must-see!! Don't believe this crap that Shyamalan's saying he meant for it to be this big Hollywood "B-Movie," THE HAPPENING is total garbage and you have to see it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More traveling news...

I leave TOMORROW for Birmingham Alabama!! Whee-haw! I actually am really excited. I've never been there and am anxious to check it out. Plus I heard the film festival is outstanding. Here's the scoop...

Around this time last year, my filmmaking partner and Press Democrat A&E guy John Beck finished putting footage together on our newest film called "Drag King." The 8 minute gem is a day at the races in Lakeport, CA but this isn't just any race. Oh no blog readers. John and I (along with intrepid camera folks Cali Knight and Thom Butler) captured the "Fiberglass 500" which is a race unlike any other.

Participants attach old "unusable" boats to the back of their race/demolition derby/sacrificial lamb car and drag their boat around the racetrack in an attempt to smash and destroy other peoples boats. It's truly amazing and ridiculous and I'm really happy with the way it turned out.

Since John and I can barely make it through any given film shoot with our minds and cameras in tact, we hired local editing Goddess Wendy Allen to put the beast together. Then I somehow managed to convince local garage rock God Robert Malta of HugeLarge to contribute a song. So impressed was Malta (or, so bribed by yours truly) he even contributed some original music to the film with the help of his pal (and Tom Waits sound guru) Karl Derfler. Heck, I even got one of my favorite bands, Ohio's own Two Cow Garage to throw a song on there. All in all, it was a real community effort and I love the film.

I've heard nothing but outstanding things about Sidewalk and I found out a few friends of mine have films there as well. So, it's going to be amazing I think. They even put together a little webpage for my film which you can see here:

http://sidewalk. bside. com/2008/films/dragking_sidewalk2008

I'll be blogging my trip on Film Threat and you can read along here:

http://www. filmthreat. com/blog/

I also started a twitter account and feel kind of insecure about it (as in, who the heck cares what I'm doing at any given moment) but knowing how busy festivals can be, twitter might be the only way I keep friends and family informed as to what I'm doing. If you're so inclined, you can follow me at:

http://twitter. com/PetalumaFilms

So that's my big news and I'm really excited! There will definitely be more info on the Austin Film Festival soon but right now, I gotta make some flyers for my screening!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The lonnng and winding road....

As some of you may know, five a.m. (the band I manage) has gotten the opportunity to open for SISTER HAZEL on their west coast tour! Last Sunday night at 9, we drove 5.5 hours to Yreka and stayed the night at Trents dads. Bright and early-ish Monday, we drove 10 hours to Seattle where the tour started. We stayed in a hotel and hung around Seattle before checking into "The Showbox" where the gig was.



We were all champing at the bit to play after 15+ hours in the bus (it's a 15 passenger airporter style bus...not like, a luxury liner...just so you know) and it was a really, really great show. To be honest, we all like Sister Hazel but had NO clue what kind of draw they would have. Turns out...it's big. And the fans are SUPER cool. They were all really attentive and seemed to dig the band. Yay! You really can't ask for much more when playing a new city. Plus, The Showbox is an AWESOME venue.







After the show and many beers (they serve Olympia in CANS there as well as Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys!) we drove to Portland where we stayed the night in this frigging huge mansion that one of the guys in the bands wife knows the people who own it. If that makes sense. That drive wasn't bad...only 3 hours. But it was really weird waking up in a mansion and you have no clue where you are. Seriously, I didn't know where I was, aside from Oregon. It felt like a weird drunken bender than landed me in rehab. I woke up in a nice and pretty place with 4 lbs of bacon waiting for us. We ventured down to the Aladdin Theater in Portland later on and set up. The Aladdin apparently has a claim to fame in that DEEP THROAT played there for 14 years straight. Gross! At this point, we've driven about 19 hours and played 45 minutes. Sounds lame, but that's the job.

Honestly, and don't laugh (well, you can) I can really see what Jon Bon Jovi is on about in "Wanted Dead or Alive." Having been on the road a mere 3 days and I was lost. Tired, sore, out of place...out of time. Focused on getting the guys to the gig on time and ready to play. Very different from regular day-to-day life. Although we never got far enough away to need to tell the day by the bottle that we drink, it was still all very...weird.

So Portland was another killer show. Five a.m. has really got their shit going on. Seriously. They were tight and fun and polished and again, people watched, danced and bought CD's. Unfortunately we had to bolt immediately after the gig to go to Yreka which was again, 5.5 hours away. It was a bummer because in Seattle, the longer we stayed, the more new fans wandered over and bought a CD, got an autograph, etc. It was neat. And, we could use the money. But our well being and rest was more important so we split Portland at about 9:30 and our bass player Jason cranked us into Yreka in 5 hours flat!

Slept in a bed (I forgot to mention, due to my newfound fat-assedness, I snore now. So, I had to sleep with Jed our drummer, the other snorer, in the living room on some couch. Well, he was on the floor and I was pretty uncomfortable on the couch.) and got up early to drive HOME to San Francisco, another 5 hours. Wheee! Time -vs- playing numbers at this point are as follows: Driven 28 or so hours, played 90 minutes. Ouch.

Again, I was in a haze. I had brought some books and a notebook to entertain myself (and you know, maybe write something? Since that's what I do. Or, did) but mostly napped uncomfortably, screwed around with the guys and stared out the window. I gotta admit, I love driving. I can just zone out and almost meditate. But still, my ass, back and neck hurt, my schedule for eating/sleeping/bathrooming was destroyed and I missed my wife, dog and baby (not in that order). We got to SF around 4:30 and loaded in.

I was psyched for the guys to play The Independent because it's a great SF venue. And, we've never played there. I think we put on a good show and saw alot of fans. I even managed to finagle a ride home with frequent blog commenter LJ...which was awesome. I was dying to spend a night at home and plus, I got to get drunk at the show! Mostly free beer in the dressing room but I still managed a fat bar tab. I was so happy to be home I was buying everybody drinks. We got back to Petaluma around 1:00 a.m. as we stayed to watch Sister Hazel put on another great show. And it was another packed house. Awesome. Plus, we were all in a weird malaise or mood early on and were worried the show would suck...but as soon as they hit the stage, it was on.

The next morning it was my turn to watch the baby at 7:30 a.m. So...after driving 30 hours through 3 states and waking up after 6 hours, it was time to be a dad. In all honesty, it was awesome. My wife went to work and me and my daughter hung out and then she took a 90 minute nap! whatta sweetie. I promptly konked out as well. Friday night we chilled and watched MAD MEN (best episode of the year so far....maybe ever for the show IMHO) and I passed out at 11:00.

Woke up at 7:30, got in the car....drove to L.A. where I write to you from now. I got a hotel on the Sunset Strip! I was going to stay with a friend but he had a change of plans. Plus, the guys are staying at our percussionists in-laws (which is a nice house and they're super nice) but I need to leave tomorrow and the band will carry on to close out the tour just outside San Diego.

I'm tired, but super stoked! The band is playing House of Blues on Sunset!! Anyone who grew up in the 80's came to know the strip as the place for bands. Sure, they were shitty, drunk hair bands, but those early influences stick with you. I'm drinking a beer now, gonna hop in the shower and then walk 3/4 of a mile to the show. I couldn't be more proud of the band for kicking so much ass this week. And, there were no arguments or crappy times. We only kinda sorta broke down once too!! I'm looking forward to a great night in my 3rd favorite city, L.A.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Filipino Dangerous

So now, after my Journey issue, I see this:



**Hint: there's a tiny Filipino guy who sounds exactly like Rick Astley...they even trade off lyrics and you can't tell who's singing. WTF is up in the Philippines?? We're all about to be taken over I suspect...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Any way you want it.



I hate cover bands. I simply refuse to pay money to see them and I feel like they kill local music scenes. Why the hell would you pay $20 and more to see a band play hits from another band?? Well, people do and around here, they do it in droves. It hurts my soul. I also *kinda* refuse to see bands which are limping around, touring with like, one or two original members. Like, I saw STYX last March but after the whole Dennis deYoung/VH1 Behind the Music fiasco, I can see why Dennis deYoung isn't in the band. Dude's a complete megalomaniacal douche bag. But the rest of the band is there and they're great! Anyway, I do have a point.

I love Journey. Steve Perry Journey that is. I feel like that lil feller was dealt a raw deal when an injury forced him to not be in the band any more. I have flatly refused to see them tour without Steve Perry. In fact, Jonathan Cain lives in town and I used to see him frequently but never said anything because man, I'm pissed at the way they dealt with Perry. Getting into an argument with him won't solve anything. Probably.

Anyway, the local classic rock station started playing a brand new Journey song with this new lead singer. Apparently they found this 40ish year old Fillipino guy who sounds exactly like Steve Perry. I had heard this news and was skeptical, but when I heard the single I was like....damn. That's pretty frigging good. Like, so good it was like Journey never left and was still a viable band. But, my allegiance to Steve Perry was stronger. I would enjoy the song when it came on the radio, but would not buy the album. I would also be hesitant to see them live. Hesitant.




Cut to last weekend when I went to WalMart to indulge my new hobby: Mighty Muggs. Normally I don't shop at WalMart, but I really wanted a Han Solo and Chewbacca Mighty Mugg but ended up walking out with Dr. Henry Jones Sr...which I didn't know existed. I was in the midst of a smallish road trip and before I pulled in looking for toys I was lamenting I don't have any "Greatest Hits" albums from bands I love. So, I looked for a Journey's Greatest Hits.

I found the J's and right up front was a double album of greatest hits for like, $11.99. Sweet! I grabbed it and looked at it and saw something that upset me, but then really created a conundrum for me and my aforementioned hate of fake bands. Apparently Journey got back together, sans Steve Perry and with the Filipino guy Arnel Pineda...and re-recorded all their songs.

Dude. Duuuude. How must Steve Perry feel right now? I mean sure, he gets a songwriting credit and some publishing money (I think) but that's just brutal. He doesn't want to be in the band anymore, or can't. So they find a guy who sounds just like him and re-record the hits and release it and carry on without him. Man, the music bizz is harsh!! My issue is...this new guy is really great (if you like Journey) and I almost....allllmost bought that new album. But I didn't and bought the old Greatest Hits and dammit if Journey isn't, person for person, one of the best bands ever. But now I'm leaning towards buying the new one and really leaning (hell, I will) seeing them in concert if they come out.

Even writing that feels wrong. Like I'm going against what I believe. Am I a sell out? Does Steve Perry care about me or anyone who loves Journey? I mean, it's a 6 person band (or 5?) and that's ONE person and now he sounds like the other person. Ugh. Where does it end??

Monday, September 01, 2008

Douche sandwich



Have I mentioned how much I really hate people these days? If not, "hey...I really hate people these days!" Not just across the board...but mainly these thug looking guys with their droopy pants and tattoos. I swear, I feel like an old man complaining about "kids these days" but it's entirely irksome. When I see these thuggy looking guys I just roll my eyes and laugh. They all look the same! All of you. It's awful.

The other day I was running late for work so I stopped by Subway to get a sammich. As I crossed the parking lot, some douchey looking thug was doing that thug stroll..where they're zombie like and...half-limp and kind of ramble along. Usually holding up their pants as they go. So I see this guy and his girl and I hold the door for them to go in cuz in this time of thuggery, I'm still polite. The guy then proceeds to order probably the nastiest looking/sounding sandwich I've ever seen/heard.

Hot pastrami
on italian
american cheese
cucumber, tomato, onion, jalapenos, lettuce, pepperoncini
bacon
GUACAMOLE
Salt, pepper
oil AND vinegar

Normally I don't eavesdrop on peoples orders (cuz it bugs me when people do that to me), but the guy was right in front of me and I sort of couldn't help but overhear. Oh, he also kept his sunglasses on the whole time. So, I get up there and order my normal sandwich but the whole time I'm trying to imagine this douche eating this crap sandwich. What must his girlfriend think? How does one's palette become so warped? How do you figure out that these are the flavors you want and then act on these feelings?? It was disturbing. But, the guy was a douchebag so I chalked it up to that. But still...all I kept thinking was, "man, I'm glad I don't have to eat that."

So I get in my car and crack open the bag and I saw a tomato on my sandwich. WTF? I hate tomatoes! And I watched the sandwich artist build my sandwich...there were no tomatoes. I opened it further and guess what I found? The douche sandwich. Utterly shocking. And no, I didn't try it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Son. Of. A. Bitch.

I've have the distinct feeling of being robbed the more I look at this:
http://www.trutv.com/shows/stringers/index.html

Seriously....my stomach is a mess right now. Even their logline seems "eerily familiar." Ugh.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cool...but way creepy!

Just yesterday I was thinking about how much we Bay Area folk take the beauty of our surroundings for granted. Specifically, the Golden Gate Bridge. For us in the North Bay, it's merely a traffic snarled, $5 pain in the ass whenever we want to get into the City. But it really is pretty cool and pretty beautiful. I'm sure New Yorkers look at the Statue of Liberty and think "damn tourist trap." So today I saw this and it made me think of those thoughts:




While that clip is totally cool, it fugging scared the crap outta me for some reason. It just seemed "too real" and made me realize why so many films, especially of cities getting destroyed, take place in New York and L.A. Those cities have way more people who can relate to their favorite street or view getting destroyed and it's scary. For me, seeing all that Star Wars stuff set in SF at angles and places I recognized, made it seem way more real. Couple that with the home video aspect and I was really feeling uncomfortable a few times. Anyway, pretty neat...hope you enjoy!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Rad.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Higher learning.



Since I'm almost done with my Masters Degree in Cinema studies (just gotta write my thesis and take one last jump-through-our-hoop class) I've been actively searching for a nice 'n easy teaching gig to ease me into a new career without having to quit my real job. There's not alot right now and I haven't been looking *that* hard since I'm technically not qualified yet. But one "local" school caught my eye and I emailed the person in charge to see if I might stand a chance to teach an "Intro to Film _____" class 2 days a week.

To be honest, the commute would have been a drag and it seemed kind of last minute of them to post it and I was frankly baffled at the section they had it under. But, whatever. It's an entry level thing, so I emailed and asked. And got no reply for over a week.

So the other day I followed up and said "look, I don't want to waste my or your time applying if I'm not qualified so let me know if I should bother." I mean, I said it more professionally than that, then name dropped Chris Gore and Roger Ebert as supporters (I keed).

Today I got a response! Yay! Here's what it said. From a college. A real college people pay money to go to and learn. They sent this email:

Hi Don,

Thanks for your email; unfortunately, I will the Theatre position late last week.

Have a good day,

_________

That was it, cut and pasted to the tee. Wow.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Like watching a dog play piano.



For as big a pop culture/music/movie nerd as I am, I'm realllly bad about TV shows. For instance, I've NEVER seen an episode of THE SOPRANOS or ever THE WIRE. I've never seen ANY popular sitcom on ABC or CBS (the only current sitcom I like is THE OFFICE) and I simply do not like 30 ROCK. Overall, I'm just not that into TV. However, last spring I did dive heavily into DEADWOOD and it's awesome and now that we have on-demand, the wife and I have been headlong into MAD MEN on AMC and it's freeking awesome.

We're trying to do the whole first season before Sunday nights season 2 premiere and it's been a real pleasure watching 2-3 episodes a night. For those who have no clue what the show is about, dig...

MAD MEN is about ad execs in Manhattan in 1960. There's a whole slew of them: misogynistic, arrogant, slick pricks who think their shit doesn't stink and that they can do anything they want. And, they do. The show is centered on Don Draper who's played by Jon Hamm and his character is incredible. He's the shining star of his ad agency, yet he's hiding so much, you're never sure what's going on in his mind. I don't want to give too much away as you all need to see the show, but his past is hazy and vague (to say the least). While he's almost always calm, cool and put together on the outside, the machinations in his mind play out with some of the best camera work, directing, writing and acting you're ever gonna see on TV.

In fact every character is extremely well rounded and developed and you're never quite sure what's going to happen next. But the star is Hamm. He's the kind of actor in this character where you just go, "dude...who IS this guy? He's charismatic and witty and handsome. Then dark, brooding, conniving and sad. Then, you look at his IMDB page and he's like, a nobody so far. He's done some bit parts and some roles in comedy shows...but overall, not much. If you want to catch a guy breaking big, watch Jon Hamm now. Also-mark my words- he'll be like David Caruso and make some shitty choices in movies and never be any bigger then MAD MEN. Hate to be a dick, but it's gonna happen. But dude, look at this guy...he's got it dialed for this show:



Also outstanding on the show is Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell-the quintessential youngster who will stop at nothing to move up the ranks, january Jones as Draper's wife Betsy (hint: smoking hott) and John Slattery as Drapers drunk ass boss Roger. Oh! There's also a smoking hot redhead on the show named Christina Hendricks who is not only really good, she's really sexy. But the thing I like best is how careful the directors and producers are to make things look *right*. Be it the 1960's set design and lingo and language, it always seems spot-on. There's also some amazing nods to Hitchcock, Wilder and other favorite directors that make me smile everytime.

So to summarize: hot chicks, arrogant guys who booze and smoke incessantly and plot lines that are never, ever going where you think they are. It's just an awesome show.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It never ends

So after getting back from vacation I've been fuilly swamped. We bought a small house back in P-Town (that's Petaluma for all you who don't know)so we've been trying to move and it's not easy. The new pad is VERY small and we have a ton of crap. Well, I have a ton of small, knicky-knacky stuff that I like having around. But it's been packed up and in our garage at the rental and now, our new place has an office for me (read: a closet on the patio) so I want to get the stuff I want to add to the decor.

People think I'm always trying to be a child because I keep lots of childish things around. Wind-up toys, fast food figures, posters, action figures, models, etc. Truth be told, that stuff makes me feel comfortable and inspired to work. I don't know why, but it does. I want my office to be a place where I can actually get off my ass and get back to work on some things I want to pursue.

Plus I have tons of books I need to keep handy for school (and for more inspiration) and a bunch of equipment. The dirty little secret is, we never really unpacked from the last move. So, we're having a garage sale this weekend and need to prepare plus, clean the old house and in order to do that, we kind of need to unpack, pick through and repack. Then UNPACK this time. Fun stuff.

I frigging HATE moving so I've been bitchy. But we're getting settled and soon I hope to get back to the blog and 3-4 reviews, etc. Just wanted to do a lil update....

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Primitive as can be.

I just got home from 6 days in lovely Lake Tahoe with my family. It's pretty much our first family vacation since the baby arrived and although I'm not much for hanging out pool or lakeside, I was excited to just get away. Normally when I travel, I bring the laptop but this time, I didn't. I wanted to get away from "interacting" on the internet for a week and see what it was like. By interacting, I mean my habit of websurfing and chiming in on several film related blogs and message boards. None of that for a week. Nada.

I did have my iPhone so I could get email and check the main pages on Film Threat, ESPN and some sites that aggregate movie news. Other than that, I was Robinson Crusoe on Wi-Fi Island. Wanna know what I missed out on? Not a f-ing thing. I swear, I've been home and settled for 3 hours and have now checked all my regular sites and realized I missed NOTHING. Seriously. Not a thing. After the first 2 days where I had to remind myself I couldn't go tune out on the net, I was fine.

Instead over the course of the vacation I swam once and drank alot of beer. I also read a 600 page book (Stephen King's "Duma Key"...more on that some other time) and slept intermittently throughout the day. The one drawback of the house was that there was 3 kids counting mine and they were all up early. Somehow the house had absolutely nothing between the floor boards upstairs and the ceiling downstairs. It was frigging loud. Plus I was placed in a single bed the first 3 nights then a single air-bed the last 4. Nighttime sleeping wasn't happening.

Plus I had tons of crazy dreams which always happens when I get creatively backed up. My mind starts letting out these insane plots and dreams like the pressure gauge on a steamer. While I enjoyed the dreams, I realize I need to get to work on something again. I also realized I am incredibly...lazy. I wasn't always and I refuse to let the "I have a kid now" excuse slip in because that's not an excuse or even a reason. I'm just downright lazy and I don't know why. Ever since I took that monster load of classes, worked, commuted and awaited the baby, I've been toast. But dude, that was like, 6 months ago. It is now officially time to get my ass in gear. I have a new screenplay I want to write and an adaptation of a short story I want to make a film out of. Plus, there's an awesome idea for a new five a.m. video just sitting there.

Time to get to work.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Busy X5

CineVegas was a blast! Saw some good films, had a ton of fun and didn't see daylight for 5 days. Then as soon as I got back, it's been non-stop work. But today is June 26 which means 8 more days till the 4th of July which is one of my favorite get up and go Ike Reilly songs so...take it, Ike!

8 More Days Till The 4th of July

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

This Thursday...

I'll be going to CineVegas. I expect it will be alot like this:


Last year, it looked like this:
http://www.filmthreat.com/index.php?section=videos&Id=1147&play=2

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bubble living.

Here's some quick, random highlights about being a kid in the 70's. I'm talking personal ones, not like....bell bottoms and tupperware and pop culture.

1. Riding in the back of my parents truck everywhere.

2. My dad taking me for short rides on his motorcycle...sans helmets.

3. The day I grew the balls to climb up the high-dive at the local pool and not go back down because I was too scared. I jumped. It was awesome.

I'm sure there's others, but I saw something today that reminded me of these things and of a point I wanted to make.

So, this nice lady was attending a baseball game at Dodger Stadium and when Todd Helton (from the visiting Rockies) swung his bat, it hit a ball and shattered. The bat went into the stands and hit her in the jaw. Ouch. Bummer. So now some yayhoo at Yahoo is jumping on board with what has thus far just been scuttlebutt about banning maple bats. Oh yeah, Helton's bat was maple which alot of players are using now because it "feels harder." O.kaaaaay. Anyway, here's the guys article here and it features just sad photos of the lady with her jaw bandaged up:



What bugs me (amongst other things) is how up in arms the writer and the ladies attorney are that the Dodgers won't cover her medical bills. People...right on your ticket it says if you get hurt from a bat or ball, the stadium and club aren't liable. They also announce it at the beginning of the game. I mean, the Dodger organization is total scum (go Giants!) but the whole injury by bat and ball is covered and they are totally right in saying "uhh...pay attention and duck next time." Again, not to be cold...buuut....as fast as MLB is you have plenty of time to duck/put up hands/push a guy in front of you/etc if something flies off the field. Go to a hockey game and track a puck when it leaves the ice. That's fast. Baseball-if you're actually watching the game-allots time for you to move if something comes your way. Or, catch it. You gotta be paying attention though. (Hint. Hint.)

I had an argument earlier this baseball season because all the base coaches in Major League Baseball have to wear silly helmets now because a coach...ONE COACH...one coach in how many years...got cracked in the head with a foul ball and died. So now everyone has to wear a helmet. Sure, it will keep them safer but I thought America was the land of freedom and choice? Well, I feel that a bunch of sorry sack liberals have done their best to ruin that in the name of "safety" and "equal opportunity" and "my best interests."

I don't mean to draw a line in the sand but I feel like it's the lefties who get on the "equal rights" bandwagon and ruin a somewhat harmful activity for everyone. Like...my mentions above of high dives, pick up truck beds and helmet free motorcycle rides. I mean really. Can't people make up their own minds on if they want to wear a helmet or ride in the back of a truck? Shouldn't every kid/teen decide "yes. I want to climb the high dive ladder before everyone in the public pool, gain all eyes on me...and JUMP." Some people don't dig that and that's totally, totally fine. But what happened to options?? What happened to choices?? I know it's weird reading a rant that doesn't accuse the right-wing of something, but I feel like the right wing are submissive to "the law" and just take whatever they're told to do and do it. "Vote Bush?" O.K...don't beat me. "Wear a helmet even though you'd rather just be dead if you crash your hog at 80 MPH? O.K...just don't ticket me." It just fees to me (and I could be wrong) that most changed laws or new ideas about keeping us "safe" come from injured liberals looking to make a buck. Conservatives just kinda "take it" but liberals wanna get paid and ruin it for everyone.

I guess from working with kids my whole life, I'm sensitive to the fact that most every adult has to have things "their" way. Like...if a field trip is scheduled and their kid is in summer school, I should reschedule the entire trip. Never mind the other 50 signed up kids who aren't in summer school...just you and your kid should be adjusted for, right?

Wrong.

In closing, when I was in high school some freaky girl who had a boyfriend who was a 30 year old biker (I'm NOT kidding) did a whole thing in our "speech" class about how it's un-American to make people wear seatbelts. At the time, we all railed against her but now, I think she's right. When does "for your own good" become fascism? When it's deemed "too" pornographic? The movies are TOO violent? Strange religious sects are too stange? Strong alcohol makes weak people do stupid stuff??

This whole potential banning of maple bats plus all the other "helpful" things our government has done just worries me to no end. Aren't we allowed to be free because our freedom allows us and helps us make the right choices for ourselves and our families? Do we need our hands held? I say...no. Bring back the high dives and summer nights riding in the bed of a pickup truck!!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

My March song.

March is probably my favorite month...next to October. I've always loved October cuz the weather here's always superb. Plus, it's my bday and Story's bday too...plus Halloween. But March is so fresh and sunny, yet rainy. plus, I get to go to SXSW every year.

Before I headed out to SXSW, I had some much chronicled Steve Poltz shows around here and I got both his new albums about a month before I headed to Austin. His song "Rains" reminds me of my daughter...plus, it's a way cool song. One night when I wouldn't leave Steve and his band alone at SXSW, I finally had the nerve to tell Poltzy that that song is about my daughter (which is a cheeeesy ass thing to say and I should know better, but I was drunk, tired and really missing my family) on my way out of their showcase. He stopped when I said it (and if you can get Steve Poltz to stop...for anything...you've accomplished something) and he said, "It is. It is about your daughter." But he said it in a way that was both funny and serious. Like, we both knew it wasn't but maybe I needed to hear that it was...or something. I dunno. I love that guy.

So, here's the video for Steve Poltz and the Cynics' Song "Rains." I hope you like goofballs and hamsters:



FYI...."Street Fighters Face" is my favorite song off the new record and here's Poltz doing that one as well as my third favorite song on the album:

http://www.kpbs.org/blogs2/index.php/culturelust/comments/steve_poltz/

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mmm hmm.

Keith Olberman is a bad ass and he's totally right here. Hillary is out of control and must go!!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Chasing away the blahs.

I've been in a kind of funk of late. The home front is good but work has been cloyingly busy and there's just not many films out that I'm excited to see. Well, IRON MAN was awesome but I certainly wasn't excited to see it. Not like I am for the new Indiana Jones movie. I'm REALLY excited for that one.

Last week we went to Disneyland and it was so-so. I didn't get to go on nearly enough rides and I was broke (which is always a major contributer to my shitty moods) so I couldn't buy tons of awful food nor could I buy the multitude of Disney paraphernalia I usually walk out of there with. But then I got an email saying I had been quoted in the movie trailer for BAGHEAD! That made me happy.

Baghead - Theatrical Trailer


It's not that I feel the need to show off or that I get some kind of ego boost from getting quoted, it's actually more basic than that. I just feel like NO ONE READS WHAT I WRITE. Not here, I love you guys. I mean, out there with Film Threat. Day after day I see bloggers and critics higher up on the food chain routinely blow off Film Threat and it's frustrating. Or they will run a series of articles or blogs that echo my sentiments and they don't include me. I take what I do there pretty seriously and I'm not 19 year old fanboy with a broken spell check and a prematurely cynical attitude. I'm a filmmaker and I have 2 different writing degrees (a BA in screenwriting and an AA in Journalism) plus I'm like 90% done with my Masters in Cinema Study. This ain't my first rodeo. I guess my beer drinking, goofball antics on the festival circuit leave me outside the realm of hipster douchebag festival junkies. I get that, but it's still annoying.

So having been quoted on movie trailers before, it was just a nice little vindication or pat on the back to have my quote (and it's a brilliant one if I do say so myself....not) used in the BAGHEAD trailer. I really loved that movie. However this morning I got an email from Mark at Film Threat who alerted me that Roger Ebert is a fan of mine. Holy Shit!

Here's where he mentions me...


and below is what I wrote on Film Threats message board where they had already seen the quote...

Wow. That seriously made my day.

Say what you want to about Ebert, but the man (and Siskel) are singlehandedly the reason I love film so much. When I was a kid, we lived in way, way rural central California and the only movie theater in town got movies like, a year after their release. This was pre-VCR (I'm old) and we couldn't have afforded one anyway.

But "At the Movies" was on channel 9, one of the 4 channels we got and I could sort of live vicariously through Siskel and Ebert. Their show kept me going until we moved somewhere closer to civilization.

Plus, it sometimes feels like you're writing reviews that head off into a void so it's nice to know someone reads what you write.


Thanks, Roger! You really did make my day. Hell, my month really.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

the fog of commuting.

I had to go to San Francisco yesterday and this morning and as I've said before, it ain't no cake walk. Luckily yesterday I could leave at 9:00 and (supposedly) miss all the traffic. As luck would have it, I got some latent commuter hell about 10 miles out of SF. Just as I was about to have a little snit, the local AAA (read: doesn't play a bunch of mainstream crap) station KFOG was doing their "10 at 10" program where they play 10 songs from a given year. I like to try and guess what year and it's distracting for at least 5 minutes. So, I put it on KFOG and the Gin Blossoms "Hey Jealousy" is on. Nice. I always liked that song and I thought to myself, "man, this must be what, 1996? 97?" So I sat there listening and then...traffic stopped at a dead halt. grrr. then, "Hey Jealousy" ended and I heard the familiar piano strains of my go-to karaoke song, "Easy (Like Sunday Morning)" by the Commodores. "Wait a second," I said, "Gin Blossoms and Commodores were decades apart." Then it hit me...hard.

It was probably my ALL TIME favorite band FAITH NO MORE doing "Easy!!" Holy shit!! Not only does FNM rule all, their version of "Easy" is, well, easily one of if not the best cover song ever done. So, I was stoked as could be.

Then today I have a class and it's always a drag getting there. I leave the house between 6:30 and 7:00 and barely make it the 40 miles to SF for my 9:00 class. Today was no different but as I came out of the tunnel that leads to the Golden Gate Bridge, I looked right and saw what was most simply the coolest fog crawl I've seen in a while. I always get a happy/elated feeling when I approach SF, it's just gorgeous. But sometimes something catches my eye and makes me get all giddy. Well, that happened this morning.

OH! I should add, I was listening to a live Wilco CD and they were playing their outstanding live version of "Via Chicago" which has all these cacophonous sounds like a Chicago subway passing at different intervals in the song. As I approached the bridge, Wilco was just getting to the noisy part and the blue skies were being engulfed by fog. I couldn't get my iPhone camera going fast enough to capture the fog creeping down the hillside. It always reminds me of fuzzy mold. But I got it out in time to hit the bridge and here's the progression I saw...



This one below isn't a "bad" shot (per se), the entire tower is lost in fog



Tower 2...and if you could read my mind you'd hear me say, "Jeez, I wish I hadn't watched THE MIST last week..."





Pretty cool.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Unsafe adventures.



So, last night I was hanging out at home, drinking beer and playing ROCK BAND all by my lonesome. My wife and child were at her moms so it was just me and the dog. At about 9:00, I made the decision to get out of the house and see one of my favorite local bands, HugeLarge. They were playing downtown at this great new pub called Toad in the Hole which is maybe 4 miles from my house. It was kinda rainy so walking was out and I never drive if I've been drinking. So, I called a cab. I hung up from them at 9:05 and they said it would be 15 minutes. Half an hour later, my sweet ride showed up.

I jumped in and immediately noticed the driver had a co-pilot and I assumed it was his son. The person in the passenger seat looked small and was wearing a ball cap over their eyes. I say "take me to Toad in the Hole" and as we pull away, the passenger turns around and I'm greeted by a chick with some serious meeth. Meeth are the hi-larious catch phrase for meth head teeth. Meth+teeth=meeth. Anywho, she seemed nice enough and off we went. My driver was really funny and boisterous and his voice sounded exactly like Seth Rogen's which I found especially funny as I saw HORTON HEARS A WHO Thursday and Rogen voices the mouse. So I was laughing on the inside and enjoying the ride. Then I realized, we were basically circling my block. After we passed my house for the second time and continued on in the wrong direction I said, "dude. Where are you going?" The chick started laughing and then he did too. "I dunno man...I got turned around." I said, "I'm not really drunk yet so if you're trying to bump the fare by going the long way...." He cut me off.

"No dude, no...nothing like that." Then the girl started cackling and grabbed his arm. "Dude," he says. "I'm a caregiver during the day for a neighbor who has cancer and when I was over at his house around 6, I accidentally ate one of his pot cookies." Uhhhh. Yeah. Actually, what the cabbie said was "I accidentally took a bite of a pot cookie and it's got me totally messed up. I took a nap afterwards and woke up like, an hour ago and couldn't figure out where I was. Then the company called me and told me to get downtown to work so here I am."

I said, "so wait, you took a bite of a pot cookie, it jacked you all up and now you're my sober ride?" More cackling from Methy McMeth Head. "Well, dude," Taxi Seth Rogen says, "It was actually a hash cookie and I haven't smoked pot or anything like that in 10 years so it really did a number on me." He then (and I'm not kidding) ran a red light. Fuck. "What do I do here?" I'm thinking. It's too far to get out and walk in either direction (home or to the pub) and we're driving slowly and I'm seat belted. "Don't worry Freddy, I'll help you" said the meth head. "Fuck," I said.

So I decide to just shut up and close my eyes and hope for the best. He didn't *really* seem wasted, just not at the top of his game. Then the cabbie and the methy started talking about how they first met and she said it was when her boyfriend stole the cabbie's roommates credit card and they laughed and I wondered, how do things like this always happen to me? I swear, the strangest stuff happens only to me and although I kind of love it, it is rather shocking how often it happens. Anyway...

I then started mulling this whole story over in my head. For one, no one ever takes "a bite" of a cookie unless they're an 8 year old or unless it's a really huge cookie. Normally, you just eat the whole thing. Second, isn't it rather rude to go to your cancer stricken friends house and raid his cookies? Then I started thinking, if the dude has cancer and has some cookies...I mean, we live in California. I would automatically assume they were pot cookies, or at least ask first. And then lastly I wondered how and why this chick was even in the cab at all.

I just tried to put it all out of my mind and relax and sure enough, soon we made it to the destination and the cabbie said, "dude, I'm really sorry about that....I'll knock 1/2 off your fare." Sweet! So I started to get out and he gave me his card. "When you're ready to go home, gimmie a call." Then the methy said, "Hey man, be careful...don't drink too much." I had about 1000 retorts in my mind (like, "hey, I won't, don't snort too much meth!" or also, "hey, thanks...try not to lose any more teeth tonight!") that made their way to my lips before I decided to just walk away.

HugeLarge was amazing as always and after their set, I walked over to Russian River Brewing. About 1/4 of the way there, I pulled a muscle in my calf and started limping badly. Then these 2 guys started walking in front of me and talking about a drug deal they were going to make in an hour. One of them had 1/2 a pound of weed on him and some E, he said. I kept limping along and finally said, "guys, you know I can hear you, right?" They just laughed. When I decided to call a cab to go home (about 15 minutes later) I did not call the cabbie from earlier or even the same cab company because I know, I KNOW I would have got the same guy.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

All grows up.



I love my dog Igby so much, it's borderline creepy. He makes me so happy when I see him and he's been a very, very good dog in terms of the baby. Except now, he wants to be extra protective of her and Erica so he barks at anyone that comes near our house. Not cool, especially since we live across the street from a huge park.

He's an odd dog. He's incredibly clumsy and constantly falls off the couch and the bed. Once we were walking him downtown in Petaluma and he fell off the curb. When animals fall, it's hysterical. Ever see a bird fall or hit a window? Frigging classic. Once Igby fell off the couch when he went to lean against me and I had moved and that wasn't funny. It was really sad and I felt a twinge in my heart.

Anyway, the point of this isn't to get all creepy and touchy-feely about my dog. It's to point out the above photo. Up until about 2 weeks ago, whenever Igby peed he would squat down like a girl dog. It was actually kind of embarrasing when other male dogs and their owners were around. Like, if we were at the dog park or the beach and he would squat down. I would just kind of look around uncomfortably and hope he finished before some other male dog saw him. But whatever, he's my boy and I love him regardless. Still, kinda sissy.

But the other day he and I were going for a walk and he stopped at a pole and lifted his leg!! And peed for a really, really long time. Like, a minute and a half. Now he lifts his leg and pees all the time. I'm so proud of him!

As you probably realized about 3 paragraphs ago, this is one freeking odd blog entry. What the hell is wrong with me? Yet, I'll post it anyway because it took a whole 5 minutes of my time and, I am proud of my boy. Way to lift that leg, Igby!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Random ramblings post Austin

Man, I've been back just under a week and feel like I can't get caught up at home/work/school/sleep or with my new video projects. It feels like I don't even know where to start so I kind of....don't do anything unless it's pressing. Here's some random stuff from Austin though to get me moving...and keep you entertained....maybe.

I was super stoked to be staying the first part of the film festival at the Courtyard Marriott. I first stayed there 2 years ago when I went to the Austin Film Festival and it's central location coupled with a sports bar called Champions featuring $2 "Mystery Beers" (they won't tell you what the beer is....but it's $2) made it a perfect hang for me. Plus, they have one of those little bar machines that has games and trivia. No better way to start your night then frittering away $5 on the game while sipping $2 beers. So, after I checked in (a day ahead of my Film Threat compadres) I took a shower and hit the bar.

Oh yeah, one more thing. I spent so much time on the video machine (or, no one else did...ever) that my high scores have been up there 2 years running. It's silly, but I thought that was cool. Anyway, I got down there and the same bartender who has been there for 2 years seemed to recognize me but...no video machine. They took it out!! NOOooo! It ruined my whole plan so I started bitching about it. Not like "seriously," more like....grousing about it. By the time I checked out 5 days later, the machine was back. My scores were gone, but still...squeaky wheel, etc.
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I had a great time at, what I think, is the best film festival in the world in terms of fun and quality of films. But man, I was beat down tired the whole time. I came into the trip kinda sick and didn't really slow down until the Film Threat crew left. But as I read all these other peoples blogs and festival coverage, it seems like everyone was exhausted throughout the whole fest. Weird.
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One night I was walking home, kinda drunk. I never really got wasted in Austin, but this night was as close as it got. It may have been the night I saw STYX at the rodeo. As I crossed the street near my hotel, I heard spray-paint. I got around the corner and 3 guys were totally tagging this big wall. Now, I freeking HATE graffiti. It's so rude and classless and ugly. I don't mean the spraypainted "art" out there....I mean, the tagging. I often imagine I catch a local tagger and hold him down while I spray paint MY name all over his face. So naturally, when I saw these 3 guys I was infuriated. I stood there not 10 feet from them and they didn't even see me. I was so close I could smell the spraypaint.

I thought about yelling but there was 3 of them and 1 drunk of me. Then I thought about calling the cops but last year, I got harassed by a cop for being drunk (at what is possibly the biggest collection of drunk people outside of a St. Patty's Day parade in New York) so I nixed that idea. What did I do? I walked away. Lame.
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One of the movies I loved at SXSW was "Woodpecker." You can read my review here. It's about this kind of....off kilter guy named Jonny who gets sent to Arkansas to try and spot this very rare woodpecker. The film is a hybrid between real documentary and like, staged parts featuring Jonny. Anyway, loved the movie. Cut to the last "official" night of the fest and I'm walking down the street and who should I see but Jonny. We start talking and I give him a copy of my new movie, DRAG KING. Then as we start to part company, I realize I had a burning question I had been meaning to ask.

At one point in the movie, Jonny becomes so obsessed with the woodpecker, he gets a makeover and a tattoo of the bird. Yet the movie is so good at mixing up truth and fiction, I wasn't sure it was real so I asked. Here's your answer.




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After the film festival, the music kicked in straight away for me. this is like, the only chance to get to see the bands I really like since they hardly ever come out to California. The first night/last night of film there was a big ole Americana party called "This is American Music" featuring 2 Cow Garage, The Drams, Glossary, Grand Champeen and The Drams all rotating onto the stage, doing each others songs and having a blast. It was a totally cool show and a perfect way to kick off the music.

From there...days and shows get fuzzy.

The next day I saw Steve Poltz somewhere...I can't remember where. Hmm. His backing band The Truckee Brothers are fricking badass and I've become buddies with their road manager Chris. A cool guy even though he's a St. Louis Cardinals fan. So I told him to come down and see The Old 97's that night and to my surprise, him and Patrick from the Truckee Brothers showed up as I was about 9 beers deep. We hung out and as Patrick, a good looking rocker type is prone to do, he got some girls to come over. We all hung out and it turns out one of the girls really likes the Old 97's which was cool. In fact, I think this one girl really liked Poltz or the Truckee Brothers too, but I'm not sure.

Anyway, the Old 97's were great and as we were all joking around, I asked one of the girls if it would be possible for us to get a ride home. She agreed since she hadn't been drinking. Well, about 15 minutes later Patcrick and Chris were gone and about 5 minutes after that, the Old 97's were done and I was about a mile from home and still wanting a ride home. So, the nice Texas girls agreed. They were then treated to Donny the drunk who likes to repeat himself and ask obsequious questions and be annoying. Plus, the girl went the wrong way towards my hotel extending their time with me an extra 7-9 minutes.

By the time they dropped me off a simple "dude, get out was the last thing I heard. Now, if I had been home for this, I would have spent days feeling secretly embarrassed and foolish but hell, I was on vacation, there's like, 50,000 people here and I'll never see that girl again. Plus, I thought it was funny in general. One minute you're schmoozing cool rock guys, the next you get stuck with their not-cool drunk friend. Classic!

So the next day I got up and headed to my favorite bar in Austin, The Ginger Man. Poltz and the Truckee Bros were playing there at 4:00. Perfect! I got there and got a nice hefeweizen to start the day and settled into the 90 degree weather in the back patio. Poltz was awesome as usual and since they had a cool seeming show just outside of downtown at Marias Tacos, I hitched a ride over there with them. Marias Tacos was soo cool!! Just a basic taco joint with a rad back patio for music. It was awesome to see the Truckee Bros play their own set, then Poltz joined them.

By this time, I was beat and the place was packed. I really just wanted to sit down. Suddenly a seat opened up right by a fan and one of those cool air misting things! YAY!! I plopped down and as I did, I looked next to me....and the girl who gave me a ride home the night before was sitting there. Frigging classic! We both laughed and then I said, "hey, can you give me a ride back to my hotel" and she said "no."

O.K.....that's all for now. I'mn verbally un-constipated now. Thanks for reading!