Would you rather spend the day at an art, history, or science museum?
This is like asking me, “Which one of your dogs would you keep if you had to give up two.” Well, rhetorical, since I’m down to none now, but meaning if I only ever could have ever had one of them, which one.
But… I’d prefer a museum that manages all three, and the closes I’ve ever come to that was the time that my greatest boss over, the late and great Dave Rogers, took us (meaning his digital team of nine) to LACMA to see the Stanley Kubrick Exhibit, on his dime and during work hours.
And it was all three — the history he researched to make his movies, and the art he created to help out his team, including tons of actual models, highlights being the Space Baby and scale models of the entire spaceship Discovery and the gimbaled set that created the famous rotating section; there were also cameras and lenses and explanations of how they worked and what they did, including the famous f/.07 Zeiss lens from NASA that he used to shoot Barry Lyndon by candlelight.
Barring that ideal combo, I’d take a science museum any day.
What have you created that you are most proud of?
Well, I’m kind of proud of my novel, The Rêves, that I’ve been serializing here on Saturday mornings, but since I haven’t quite finished it yet, I can’t say whether I’m totally proud or not.
But then there’s this: Strange Fruit. Duh… obvious plug. Part 1 was read back in August, and the video is still available online. It’s my intentionally epic, four-act, six hour tribute to plays like Angels in America that deals with racism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism in America in the 20th century, but which has only become more relevant today. Part 2 is being read… tomorrow, at 11 a.m. Pacific Time, and you can watch it on the LA Writers’ Center Facebook page or at Howlround. End plug.
When was the last time you immediately regretted something you said?
One of those moments when I had an “Oh shit, words do matter” bit of reverse l’esprit de l’escalier. In other words, rather than thinking of what I should have said after leaving, I thought about what I shouldn’t have said.
Short and sweet set-up: I saw an online request for extras for a music video that was very political and related to a recent case of police violence against a Black human (a few years ago already), so went down to a nearby park on a weekend morning and was one of the dozens of performers backing up the writer/director/performer.
It only took a couple of hours and multiple takes. In several of them, we were buzzed by a drone to get footage that was ultimately really impressive. Later that afternoon, we were all invited to come down to a photo studio to do some individual (or family/couple) shots on a seamless background.
Now, as I was leaving the morning shoot, I went over the woman responsible for the whole thing, and not even thinking I said, “Thank you so much. That was a ton of fun.”
That’s just something I’d say, mostly because my writer brain likes rhymes and whatnot. But after I left, I realized that our erstwhile producer/director/writer/performer was a bit on the short and rotund side, and my brain said, “Oh, fuck…” I literally could have said anything else; I could have expressed that in a shitload of ways that didn’t somehow bring in terms that could seem judgmental.
Or was I just overreacting? I don’t know. What I do know is that I came down for the individual shoot, did a few minutes in studio and left, and then in the final cut, I realized that I got like one shot from the studio stuff while a bunch of people were featured multiple times, and in the group shots, same thing — face in the crowd, nothing more.
Now, in reality, given the subject matter of the video, it was just more likely that me being an older white guy with resting bitch face didn’t quite fit the theme as well as all of the lovely BIPOC extras did, so it was probably just that. But, to this day, I still wonder: “Did she think I was calling her fat? Because FFS, I was absolutely not.”
What’s your favorite movie from each genre?
Oh, dear. That’s a long list, so I’m not going to link any of them because that would take forever, but you can search the ones that interest you. Here we go… in alphabetical order by genre.
Action: Die Hard
Adventure: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Blaxploitation: Dolemite Is My Name
Comedy: Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Crime: The Godfather
Dark Comedy: Serial Mom
Documentary: F for Fake
Epic: The Ten Commandments
Experimental: Holy Motors
Foreign Language: Y tu mamá también
Heist: A Fish Called Wanda
Historical Drama: The Lion in Winter
Horror: Theatre of Blood
Martial Arts: Kung-Fu Hustle
Mockumentary: All You Need Is Cash (TV film, but it counts)
Musical, Adapted: Cabaret
Musical, Original: Moulin Rouge
Mystery: Murder by Death (genre jumper)
Parody: Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Play Adaptation: Noises Off
Political Thriller: The Manchurian Candidate (original)
RomDram: Parting Glances (which gave us Steve Buscemi and Kathy Kinney, a fabulous twofer)
Science Fiction: Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: a Space Odyssey
Screwball Comedy: The Hudsucker Proxy
Slasher: Absolutely fucking none of the them
Space Opera: Star Wars (absolutely fucking all of them)
Splatter: See “Slasher”
Sports: Million Dollar Baby
Spy: Gold Finger
Superhero: Deadpool 2
Teen: American Pie
Thriller: North by Northwest
War: Full Metal Jacket
Western: Blazing Saddles
Zombie: Shuan of the Dead
Phew! Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments.</div>