Consider this the Official Announcement, containing stuff that's not in the Official Press Release. Roll out!
Tickets are on sale for ! Death 40-Feet Tall ! which is my first ever attempt at a stage production. It's a one-woman show taking place as a visiting production at ComedySportz LA, a fabulous venue that is ADA compliant and has a lovely patio along with has tons of street parking.
My show is one of the many offerings at the first-ever Hollywood Fringe Festival, which runs June 17-27 at theater venues throughout Hollywood. I encourage you to visit the Fringe homeport, click around, see what strikes your fancy and come out to see something! Truthfully, there is something for everyone on deck at at this festival, and I have been astounded at the variety of offerings and the diversity of the participants. When I'm not on stage doing my thing? I'll be sitting in the audiences for other people's shows with Much Enthusiasm. I can't wait!
When I first heard about this Fringe last year, my plan was to do the CCI thing and volunteer only. Through volunteering you help out and you get in for free, two things I love doing.
Then the thought eventually hit that the way the Fringe Overlords set this whole thing up, it's a wide open Welcome Mat! If you have something and you can pull it off? You are welcome to join in regardless of whatever credentials you do/don't have.
So I started putting together a show.*** For it, I commissioned Amos Kennedy, Jr. to do my posters, one example of which you see above. (Kennedy link one. Kennedy link two.***) No two posters Amos created are the same, and I love them all. I also commissioned John Boswell to compose two original songs for the show, and man are the tunes he came up with lovely. Both Amos and John hit it out of the park. I am thrilled and grateful.
My understanding is the Fringe Admin people have been working on making this festival Manifest for three years. I don't know what their pain has been like during that time, but mine has involved a shitload of writing and rewriting, an Everest-level learning curve, the mental difficulty of going back and forth between Creative and Admin, a lot of Bene Gesserit litany and two Complete And Total Emotional Meltdowns deftly handled by the CFE. Gotta say, that man has been like my personal M*A*S*H unit, only instead of bandages, he tends to fix things using combinations of chocolate, cabernet and sex, which is very effective, let me tell you.***
At more than one point I thought I'd just give up and simply walk away from the whole thing. But Molly, Goonan, the CFE, Grinder, Jane, Phil and John all stepped up out of the blue with encouraging words and advice. Essentially, in different ways, they all said Roll The Fuck Out.
Technically, I don't know what I'm doing. But I am bringing my best effort to this, my first stage outing, and if you come see it I hope you find it entertaining.
*** Venue contract obligates me to say my show is a visiting production to ComedySportz Theater. One thing I love about Amos? I explained the Contractually Obligated Language to him during our LA-to-Alabama exchanges, and he seamlessly incorporated that into the poster design.
*** I learned of Kennedy from writer/artist Eddie Campbell, who had to nudge me several times about the guy because at the time he first tried to tell me about him I was in Trauma over the death of Michael Jackson. Don't you judge me.
*** I didn't put that bit in that bit in the press release.
*** I've already changed it twice! But you wouldn't know that unless you've been around for a while. Heh.
See, promises were made to certain people not to repeat this year what I did last year. And I'm not gonna. But on the other hand I routinely use this space to stash links so I can easily find them later. That's my cover story for posting this. The rest of the Obsessive Tracking will occur off-site.
Blog's on autopilot for most of this month while I'm busy elsewhere, giving me an opportunity to clear out posts that have been held hostage in the drafts bin for one reason or another. Here's yet another post from the summer. -----
Sorry, Ms. Classy. I can feel your eyes bleeding from here. But on the other hand, how could I pass up sharing what is possibly the best quote of the year? I COULDN'T. I'm not sure if the quote above or the very last quote in the story is funniest of the year, but by linking I have saved it for Posterity.
Whether or not this is a productive use of my *entire* day depends on your definition of 'productive'. I'm happy not only because I figured out how to do something technical I've never done before, but now I have pictures to show to the nephew and end the Tone of Doubt that had been creeping in when talking about themovie and me being in it with the robots!
1. Kid is running down the street with the All Spark. Gets bounced off the Escalade "driven" by the brunettes. Meanwhile, I am clutching onto the pole for dear life.
2. Kid goes up into the air and back down again. Behind him I'm up and off (after first falling on my ass).
3. Death! 40 feet tall! Run!!
4. If you stop running Alpha 1 might have you killed!!!
Thus ends my Two Seconds Of Glory In The Transformers Movie! Now I'm going through trying to spot Kris & Joe. They were on set far longer than I. They've got to be visible somewhere.
Bonus! The move goes so fast there's a whole bunch of stuff you can't see on screen in the theater or even at home with a high-quality dvd player. Among items you spot only when going frame by frame on the computer:
The above shows up at 2:02:10, and you can see the guy holding the camera, too. He's wearing a blue shirt. I think his hair is brown, but even at frame-by-frame it's hard to tell. Here! Judge for yourself!
And we'll end with two of my favorite pictures taken during those two days of fleeing invisible robots.
Okay. Back to the Golliwogg thing. Aiming to have that up by mid-week.
I'll skip how discovering this joyous news came about, save to say the guy who revealed this to me pointed out that if I were not so stubborn and used the full capacity of my computer, I would have discovered this weeks and weeks and weeks ago. The movie moves too fast to spot this in the theater or on a regular dvd player. It has to be done on computer.
Here's what you do to see Me in the Transformers movie!
Put your dvd into the computer. Go to Chapter 20 (the climactic battle sequence). Click 'play'.
At 2:02:03, hit the 'slow motion' button, and slow it down to 1/4 speed. The kid is running down the street with the cube, and is just being hit by the Escalade.
When the kid bounces off the Escalade and into the air, move your cursor over the 'step' button.
When he hits the ground and blue sparks and a fog come out of the cube, hit the step button. Keep clicking until you get to 2:02:05. The kid is just starting to get up, while behind him on the sidewalk, the guy with the X-Box is about to fall down.
Focus your attention on the light pole at the left of the screen.
You will see a woman with a black shirt/dress, silver belt, grey pants and black high-heel boots pop up and haul ass down the sidewalk. You only see her from the back and side.
THAT'S ME! I run right past the X-Box guy and in front of the homeless guy. I'm running behind a guy in black pants and a dark greenish dress shirt.
I am on screen from 2:02:05 through 2:02:07!! TWO SECONDS OF GLORY!
Just realized that at *exactly* 2:02:03 you can see my arms clutching the light pole for dear life, and you can see the very top of my head.
Because it doesn't look like I have the purse when running, this take is the one where I jumped up, promptly fell over because my legs were cramped and scrambled on my knees until I finally managed to get up and run. I dropped my purse during all that and just left it there. One of the other extras behind me grabbed it and handed it back when we were all down the sidewalk a little bit trying to recover.
Screen cap as soon as we can figure out how to that.
This post was started on Nov. 2, with the intent of posting on Nov. 8. I got about halfway through, got busy elsewhere, hit 'save as draft' and didn't get back to it. (There are more than a few draft posts like that in the hopper.) But this week four people who do not know each other each brought up the TF dvd, reminding me that I meant to ramble about it. So I went fishing through the draft posts and here is the completed part 2 of that first TF dvd post. I blame society.
Did I say November? Well, that's just a couple of days away. Certain people, knowing that I'm not really responding to email during this month, have resorted to a string of ! show us the pictures ! texts in an attempt to wear me down. They won. There will be revenge. Text messages annoy me. Probably has something to do with my age bracket.
If you went to get the dvd from the Target inside that ridiculous mall they built at the corner of LaBrea & Santa Monica, you got to spend quality time with an 18-foot tall Bumblebee out in the courtyard!
It was lunch hour on release day when I zipped down there. No, I could not wait for a used one to show up at Amoeba, which is my usual dvd approach. Too bad that day I wasn't wearing my OMG This Is The Best Shirt EVER Shirt (which I'm not sure I can talk about here without getting someone in trouble, which is why I haven't mentioned it. Let's just say that for the first month I practically lived in that shirt, showing it off. Now I wear it at least once weekly. THANK YOU again. I have a shirt-related anecdote I might share down the road. Adults for the most part don't notice. Little boys FREAK OUT when they realize what they're looking at.)
Anywho, straight back to the dvd section, where there was a pile of other fully grown people heaped around the Transformers endcap. Two Target worker bees nearby, one of them baffled, both of them apparently unaware that we could hear them talking:
Worker Bee #1: "I didn't think we'd get swamped until school let out." Worker Bee #2: "That's not who they made this for."
The clutch of us fully grown people standing there with our transforming dvd boxes in hand bust out laughing.
Outside in the courtyard, people passing by in cars shouted ! BUMBLEBEE !, as did people getting off the bus. Again, it's middle of the day so we're talking adults - all ethnics, all (first glance) economic strata, about 75/25 male/female breakdown. A guy in a Porche took the corner with his arm out the window, cameraphone held high, huge grin on his face. I was like, white or not, if there were a cop around his ass would totally be pulled over for what he did when he spotted Bumblebee. He's a couple of tons and 18 feet-tall, but depending on the direction you're coming from you don't immediately notice him standing there. The direction this guy was coming from, he didn't see the robot until the last minute.
Walking through what has got to be one of the most poorly designed underground parking lots on the planet, many high signs from people going and coming. Folks leaving with dvds in hand getting the yeah, baby from folks heading up the escalators. It was fun, and extremely unusual for this town.
My god. The money they're going to make off this movie...on top of the money they already made off this movie. As a fan/consumer I don't care about the numbers, but as a person interested in things beyond my personal experience, I can't help but to wonder what that must feel like.
Second data bit: Bay seemed not to understand why people in the theaters cheered when Bumblebee went from the old Camaro to the new. Considering the source, that's just funny. I'll repeat what a friend who is not at all interested in Transformers or anything geek said when she went to see the movie - this is the most thrilling car commercial I've ever seen in my life.
Third data bit: One can say you were creating "any city," but there's only one city with the Griffith Observatory, and tons of people all over the planet know what it looks like. Not to mention the clearly identified signs reading 'Wilshire'. And the that stadium built in the ravine that was once a vibrant Latino community. And, you know? Only one Hoover Dam! (okay, true, a lot of people might not know exactly where the dam is, so he's on point with that, but even those folks are probably aware that it takes longer to drive from LA to the Hoover Dam than is implied in the film, Autobot or not. Though the disconnect of intent vs. execution isn't as strong here as it is with King Kong, it is there a little bit in Bay's commentary.
Don't think I've put the full thoughts on the Kong remake on this or the other site, so unless you know me and have endured this conversation, this point might not make any sense. If you want to guess at what I'm talking about, get the superdeluxe 3-disc edition,*** listen to the commentary - paying particular attention to the few parts where Jackson talks about race stuff - and then watch the "Return to Skull Island" mini-documentary, which confirmed and expanded on what I thought I saw the first time I watched this movie. It's pretty clear that Jackson's *intent* in regards to the racial messaging in Kong did not at all in any way shape or form make it onto the screen, and as of the day he recorded the commentary anyway, he's completely unaware of this. My assumption that he decided not to address the race stuff in his remake was completely obliterated when I listened to the 3-disc commentary track and watched that mini-documentary.
On the other hand, what he did with the ever so gorgeous Hayes, one of the lead secondary characters, and what he dropped in among the background characters in NYC (particularly in the vaudeville sequences) made up for the deficiency. He went into it Aware on a racial level. He just didn't notice that he came out of it widely missing that mark he (possibly) thought he had hit.
Then again I could be equivocating when it comes to Jackson's Kong remake, not unlike what those Whedon fans do when folks point out the glaring racial weaknesses in that guy's entire oeuvre.
The difference is Jackson remade a work from the 30s. Whedon was working with the world of now and the near future. Neither of which are, or should be, quite so Caucasian.
Fourth data bit: Douglas was absolutely right that they had Jazz fighting in Capoeira. In one of the extra bits they showed stunt guys hired to help the computer people work out the fights throwing down, and one of them was using Capoeira.
Fifth data bit: Back when the movie came out an acquaintance immersed in low-rider culture told me he didn't think the paint job on Optimus was done by anybody in Hollywood. To me Optimus is pretty and shiny, but beyond that I didn't see what he was talking about. Plus, big huge Hollywood movie, so Hollywood guy did it, yeah? Damn if it didn't turn out he was absolutely correct. In the director's commentary Bay talks about the paint job on Optimus, and how he told his production team "I don't want a white guy touching this truck." He had a cholo brought in to decorate Optimus. (Though I must point out that his use of the term "cholo" as relates to the man he brought in from Mexico to paint Optimus doesn't quite fit the general current use of that term.) This acquaintance of mine spotted that instantly, where I bet it flew over the heads of 99% of the viewing audience just as it did mine. Behold the glory of Geekery.
Not a dvd-related data bit, but it hit me after I went to see the latest version of Blade Runner ... Those chunks of tile missing from the wall in the 2nd Street tunnel 25 years ago in Blade Runner? Still missing DECADES LATER when Bumblebee drives through that same tunnel and morphs from the old Camaro to the bitchin' pretty new Camaro! Your local transportation department at work.
Anywho, good dvd, though not at the level of the Criterion Armageddon. My fave part is going through all the transformations at 1/8th speed, which takes a while, but at 2 a.m. you've got nothing but time and a bottle of Whaler's. It looks like every single piece in the vehicle forms *truly* goes somewhere when becoming a robot. Wowie. I am in awe of the visual effects team. What a job they did.
So! You texting bastards, here are your picts. Unfortunately I was never able to get back there at night to see how they had him lit. This ridiculous mall has one of those overly-done electronic billboards on the side where they were showing clips from the movie. At night, I bet it looked cool.
This will have to hold through next week, I think. Busy elsewhere.
Perhaps it's just me, but the fact that BB's tags are now expired is giggle-worthy.
In the one above, that's the transforming Optimus that comes with the dvd, with BB in the courtyard below. The two dvds are mounted on his back. Dunno why I didn't think to take a picture of the back.
*** Yeah. I have every single version of the Kong dvd because I am that pathetic. I love that movie (old & new), especially the part where he starts beating the shit out of New York City. Also, the Monkey vs. Dinosaur sequence in the Jackson remake is damn near perfect. For a good chunk of the USA population of A Certain Age, it's just not Thanksgiving without Kong.
Update! If you are reading this via a feed, I changed the picture later this night.
I was going to zip down to Amoeba tonight after I get off of work to pick up the dvd. But our building manager went to get one this morning on his way in because the kids have been going aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh since the release date was announced, and to save his sanity it was best to get it early so they'd have it when they get home from school.
What did I learn from the building manager? The two-set at Target ACTUALLY TRANSFORMS!! He just showed it to me. It's a larger version of the Target gift cards they had as a tie-in back when the movie was released.
So now it looks like I'm going to go to Target. At lunch hour. Because I am indeed that pathetic. What if they run out by the time I get off work??? OPTIMUS WOULD NEVER FORGIVE ME.
Update! (later this night) I'll explain this lunch hour picture, and share far more pictures than you probably care about, in November.