Thursday, March 29, 2012
Though the parallel shouldn’t be taken too literally, Lady Elaine Fairchilde was Rogers in drag, his own version of Devine. Like Devine, she could be abrasive, she could be loud, she could be a mischief maker. She was Rogers' vehicle to express this side of himself, but like Devine, it was an affectionate portrayal. Just as Rogers loved each and every one of the characters in his Neighborhood of Make Believe for their individuality, Waters loved each and every one of the characters in his films for the very same reason. The only truly unsympathetic characters in Waters' films were authority figures, or those who caused shame in others. While Roger’s taught you not to be ashamed of who you are, so did Waters. He exaggerated and satirized shame, and showed the absurdity of the people responsible for imposing that shame.
Both Waters and Rogers approaches were (and in the case of Waters, continue to be) largely uncompromising. Rogers approach in many ways was as much gorilla theatre as Waters. The sets are simple and spare, some of the performances by the cast could be amateurish and unpolished. Like Waters dialogue, sometimes Rogers songs are a little blunt, and hit the mark a little too square on the head. This uncompromising approach was also an evolving one. In the early years, before Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, Rogers incorporated religious songs into his repertoire, and initially, when he was asked to exclude them, he refused. Later he accepted that the addition of these songs could narrow his audience. In Waters earliest films he didn’t always behave in the most responsible, or humane (I think some of you might know what I’m talking about) way he could have. In more recent years Waters' has explained that he's no longer as angry as he once was. But I don’t want to take this parallel too far. I’ll just end by saying that both men have had an enormous impact on our acceptance of diversity and individuality, and the world is a better place because of them.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
What has been great about my relationship with Reg over the years is that slowly she's begun to love my nerdish enthusiasms. Superhero movies, Doctor Who, and more recently, zombies. It all started with Shaun of the Dead. I couldn't get Reg to watch a horror movie of any kind, until Shaun of the Dead. We had watched the BBC series, Spaced, which she loved, and I told her that Shaun of the Dead had much of the same cast and was made by the same people. Not only did she love Shaun of the Dead, but she said she wanted to see a real zombie movie. So we went through the canon: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Return of the Living Dead, and newer ones like 28 Days Later. I knew I had fully corrupted her when I warned her that there was a zombie birth scene in the remake of Dawn of the Dead, and she said, "we have to see that."And we did. And she thought it was great. Now The Walking Dead has just ended its second season, and she's starved for good zombie entertainment. If you're in a similar boat, here are a few recommendations.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Here it is! My first audiobook. Or at least, audio short story. It's about 13 minutes long. Since I listen to a lot of audiobooks, I'm a big admirer of a good reader, and I find that authors aren't always the best readers of their own work. I'm sure there are readers out there who are a lot better than I am (I've heard them!) but I did my best to make it entertaining. Some of my favorites are Susan Bennett, Lee Adams, Robert Forster, Jennifer Wiltsie, Jonathan Davis, and Neil Gaiman, and of course David Sedaris are great readers of their own books.
You can listen to it below, or you can download it directly, here. You're free to download it, or share it. And of course, you can read the story the old fashioned way here.
Klesmer Vampires Steal Christmas
I made it on the free Mac program, Garage Band, and it required a good bit of editing. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you don't mind my silly voices! Also, I hope I got the Jewish stuff right. I stumbled on the word "hebrew" for some reason, and I'm aware that observant Jews can eat chicken and cheese together, but "Jewish nachos" with whitefish just sounded funnier. Otherwise, forgive any errors. I didn't do a ton of research. The whole thing is a big experiment, so please let me know what you think! Comments are very welcome on this one.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
This story was inspired by a particularly amazing klesmer band I saw in college, whose name, unfortunately, is lost to me. Of course it's also inspired by the "war on Christmas" propaganda that was popular for a while on Fox News. I'm also particulary fond of contemporary Jewish culture, and the little ways that reform Jews use to get around some of the more stringent traditions without rocking the boat too much. Christmas is simply unavoidable. Kids want the same stuff their friends get. Parents want to please their kids, and unfortunately, kids aren't always as generous.
You may also notice that my protagonist is twelve, but I don't pretend that he's completely innocent, or that he's not sexually curious. The "girls are icky" stage usually ends for boys at about nine or earlier, but for some reason contemporary YA fiction for younger readers still refuses to acknowledge this. When I was in grade school, we used to go to this roller rink called "Roller King", and I was always attracted to the girls with braces. At the time I thought braces made them look more mature, since it usually meant they were older and starting to develop. Teenagers were hot. Even when I was nine. But acknowledging this reality unfortunately causes parents to get nervous. So I wrote this story without regard for market. I was having such a good time that I wrote the first draft in one sitting, and polished it up the next day, which happened to be this morning. I hope you enjoyed it.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Moebius Owns Science Fiction in Hollywood
You may not realize it, but just about every science fiction movie in hollywood since Blade Runner has been inspired by Moebius in some way. Including Blade Runner. I don't mean to downplay the contribution of Syd Mead, who may well be just an influential, and who did design much of the look of Blade Runner, but first there was a story by Moebius called "The Long Tomorrow" that looked like this:
The recent Sequel to Tron not only borrowed everything from the original, but it missed the point. They took Moebius' elegant simplicity and turned it into, well, Blade Runner.
The French Avant Garde director, Jodorowsky, gathered together some of the best designers and illustrators of his time in the late 70s, with the intention of making a film based Frank Herbert's Dune. It fell through, but this is how it might have looked with Moebius' costume designs:
Friday, March 09, 2012
Wednesday, March 07, 2012