Monday, January 19, 2009

Israel: I Just Can't Say FUCK YOU Enough

I've been swamped with work lately and too busy to venture near this resurrected blog for two weeks, but I need to leave a quick word after seeing something just jaw-dropping a few minutes ago while taking a much-needed work break.

Thanks to a link from a militantly pro-Israel news source called (sorry, not in the mood to link to these scumbags so google it yourself) I got to see a clip on youtube from Israel's "popular Eretz Nehederet comedy show satirizing foreign media coverage of the Gaza conflict."

Well, already I was intrigued. Was there really any foreign media covering this "conflict" (not "invasion", of course)? The last I heard foreign journalists were being kept out of the area and were protesting Israel for the right to report from the scene of the crime. Here's a piece describing the usual moral cowardice of the Jew York Times in castigating Israel while also claiming the moral high-ground.

Maybe Olmert gave them a phone call like he did President Bush -- but if so, he hasn't openly bragged about that one yet.

Anyway, here's a link to that youtube video I mentioned before:

Yeah, that's pretty funny stuff making fun of Palestinians getting killed and raped and having their land destroyed. But I guess as long as Jews are able to pass for white in the overall scheme of Middle Eastern politics, they won't be the ones being portrayed as swarthy, bearded men with turbans and huge noses in U.S. political cartoons like the kind that were popular just before we invaded Iraq.

Israel: the last bastion of good taste, politically pointed humor and high-handed moralism.

Seriously, I sincerely look forward to whatever comuppance gets dealt to the kind of people who mercilessly kill and destroy any defenseless people and then denies them the proper aid or respect to rebuild themselves.

Whether that be Israel or the United States -- both of which sit at the top of the heap of leading terrorist countries in the world today.

Okay, back to work....

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Fuck You, Israel -- Part 2

And so, as Israeli soldiers begin their cowardly full-scale land invasion into Gaza today, let me share with you some select media quotes -- this first one from Yahoo News (which was pushed from being headline news into relative obscurity by this evening due to far more important celebrity news that has since appeared):

The latest fighting came at the end of an ever-tightening blockade of the seaside territory, imposed after the violent Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007. The borders were virtually sealed in the last two months, leading to shortages of cooking gas and basic foodstuffs.

Israel says there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, noting that it has continued to allow supplies into the territory.

But the Israeli human rights group Gisha said Israeli airstrikes have left Gaza's water and sewage system on the verge of collapse. About one-third of the 1.4 million residents are cut off from the water supply and 75 percent of Gaza is currently without electricity, including the territory's largest hospital, Shifa, the report said. Shifa has backup generators.

Only the most debased group of scumbag criminals would deny the "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza after two months of pinching the most basic human needs supplies from being allowed in the area -- but I guess our standards of human living have been so debased by the excesses of what the U.S. military perpetrated in Iraq that I suppose letting the natives have a view of the sun and the moon (and little else) counts as an act of humanitarian aid.

Also, I'd like to point out that the "violent Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007" referred to in the previous piece I quoted was -- well, a reference to them being DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED by the Palestinian people for fuck's sake.

As the Washington Post on June 15th, 2007 so eloquently stated it:

The takeover this week of the Gaza Strip by the Hamas militant group dedicated to the elimination of Israel demonstrates how much that vision has failed to materialize, in part because of actions taken by the administration. The United States championed Israel's departure from the Gaza Strip as a first step toward peace and then pressed both Israelis and Palestinians to schedule legislative elections, which Hamas unexpectedly won. Now Hamas is the unchallenged power in Gaza.

Wow, sounds like offering the Palestinian people a radical alternative to the bullshit they had been recieving from the Bush adminisitration and Israel was a pretty nasty idea. And, like, oh-so violent and such. I mean, gosh -- how is anyone supposed to deal with an oppressed population that chooses a real alternative to the horrific lifestyles they've been forced to put up by their Apartheid-obsessed oppressors instead of kowtowing to a puppet dictator set-up by the United States?

From the very same article:

"There is no more Hamas-led government. It is gone," said a senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the administration must still consult with other members of the Quartet. He said that humanitarian aid will continue to Gaza, but that the dissolution of the Palestinian government is a singular moment that will allow the United States and its allies to create a "new model of engagement."

The evolving U.S. strategy would let the Hamas-run Gaza Strip fend for itself while attempting to bolster Abbas as a moderate leader who can actually govern and deliver peace with Israel. The senior administration official noted that Gaza has no territorial issues with Israel, since there are no Israelis in Gaza, so the Hamas entity there would have no stake in potential peace talks concerning the border on the West Bank.

So as always, if we want to know what's really going on in Israeli politics, we need to seek the truth from the past as anything related to the present political vomit being spewed by elected officials in Israel or the United States (Democrap or Republicunt) is simply a series of oft-stated and consistent lies.

So that's enough for tonight. As much as I abhor violence I can only hope that, with a nearly 100-to-1 kill ratio already established between Israeli citizens and Palestinian civilians, there will be a levelling out of deaths to sober-up the more aggressive, well-equipped and socially popular Jew-folk who commonly pass for white (and receive friendlier notices in the U.S. press). Because if more deaths on the Israeli side is what it takes to make them back the fuck off and become slightly more "human", than so be it for now (sad as it is to type that).

Here's a link to a BBC article that I'm sure no U.S. source will have the nerve to cover that has the audacity to question Israeli accounts of what is or isn't a "civilian" bombing decision:

If this is the kind of repression you support, I must ask you to please reconsider your stance. As I recently converted from Jew-Man to "Human", I would hope that seeing the horrific events occurring in the Middle East this last week should be enought to make you consider that Israel IS NOT the oppressed nation and, is in fact, the illegal and immoral transgressor.

And lest anyone think they've stumbled onto the wrong blog, I promise to get back to reviewing crap movies and discussing my tenuous links to modern exploitation cinema again sometime soon.

But for now, I simply must speak out against the scunts of Israel and the United States who support these kinds of genocidal operations against oppressed nations.

Scooter McCrae

Monday, December 29, 2008

Fuck You, Israel.

After following the news the last couple of days, I can no longer remain silent, as my silence would represent complicity with what I feel are the contemptuous acts of barbarism being committed by the state of Israel towards the Palestinian people and, by default, all intelligent, rational and free-thinking people around the world.

I’d been vocally disgusted with Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip the last month or so, denying the basic necessities of human life to the people trapped beneath the petty iron thumb of the Israeli military and the racist politicians who use these troops to enforce their Apartheid-era agendas.

If it were any other country in the world after World War II, we’d refer to these jackbooted Israeli scumbags as the ideological Nazi’s they so completely have become both in racist ideals and repugnant social acts – and I say so with full approval of the contradictory and embarrassing imagery such accusations would provide. Because as has become obvious to me the last couple of years, one of the things these Jews of Israel have learned from the Nazis of WWII, apparently, is how to rule your country with force while subjugating and crushing the will of those people who are deemed the dreaded “other”.

And as I watched the news today on Democracy Now while eating lunch at work, I felt nothing but rage clutching at me as I heard the stories of people close to what was happening speak and – even more enraging – listening to the mendacious politicians of both Israel and America trying to spin the facts to their advantage.

So today I’m going to share with you a number of quotes from two articles and a TV broadcast I saw today that not only point out what scumbags run the United States and Israel, but also to point out the very different ways in which the story has been reported between two news sources.

On Democracy Now, the most persuasively elegant commentary came from Ali Abunimah, founder of the Electronic Intifada website. His (slightly edited for space) comments now follow:

ALI ABUNIMAH: I want to say, Amy, first of all, that we have to go back to the Warsaw Ghetto or Guernica to find crimes in the modern era of the scale of the viciousness and of the deliberateness of what Israel is committing with the full support of the United States, not just the Bush administration, but apparently as well the incoming Obama administration. We have to recognize the complicity not just of the so-called international community, but also of the Arab regimes, Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak, the Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit of Egypt. Tzipi Livni, when she issued her threats against Gaza, was in Cairo in the biggest Arab capital, and Aboul Gheit stood next to her silently.

Mahmoud Abbas is not a bystander, the so-called president of the Palestinian Authority. For two years since the elections, which Hamas won, he and his coterie have been collaborating with Israel and the United States, first to overthrow the election result and then to besiege Gaza. We have talked before of the Palestinian Contras, funded and armed by the United States, which sought to overthrow Hamas in June 2007 and had the tables turned on them. And now this. The complicity of Mahmoud Abbas is very clear and must be clearly stated. He does not have the authority, moral or otherwise, to call together the Palestinian people for anything. He has gone over to the other side. He has joined the Israeli war against the Palestinian people, and I choose my words very carefully.

And let me say this, as well, Amy, that Israel is trying to produce and promote the fiction that it is engaged in a war with a so-called enemy entity. What Israel is doing is massacring a captive population. You heard—you said in the headlines how Nancy Pelosi, our so-called progressive, liberal, antiwar Speaker of the House, gave her full support to these crimes. Obama has done the same through a spokesman. And that will not change. The United Nations issued a weak statement aimed at covering the backsides, let me say, of those who issued it, not aimed at changing the situation.

And we also have to be clear that those who are accountable—Ehud Barak, his orders over the past few months to withhold insulin, chemotherapy drugs, dialysis supplies, all forms of medicine from the people of Gaza, were just as lethal and just as murderous as the orders to send in the bombers and warplanes to attack mosques, to attack universities. The Islamic University in Gaza is not a military site. It is a university with 18,000 students, 60 percent of them women. Last night, Israeli warplanes attacked a female dormitory in the Islamic University. This is what Israel is attacking. They attacked the fishing port. No food gets into Gaza. People can barely fish enough to sustain them, and Israel has attacked the fishing boats that sustains them. These are historic crimes, and we cannot be silent about them.

And we have to continue this nonsense that there’s fault on both sides. We have a captive occupied population. 80 percent of the people in the Gaza Strip are refugees. 750,000 of them are children. Where else in the world can these crimes be committed while the world looks on, while our elected politicians in Congress, Democrats and Republicans, sit there applauding, when you see the shameful statement of Howard Berman, the Democrat chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, giving his full support to Israel? People have to stand up to this. We cannot sit on our hands anymore and say change is coming. Change is not coming unless we create it.

Okay, back to me with a brief comment before continuing. While watching Fox News (Channel 5 in NYC) during dinner (are you beginning to get the impression I only listen to the news while eating?) the story of this Middle East “fighting” was reported with the misleading fact that “over 300 people have been killed so far.” So besides the fact that no mention at all was made of the over 1400 people who have also been injured (many probably fatally), Fox News took great pains to NOT mention that it was over 300 PALESTINIANS who had been killed so far, giving the overall impression that perhaps these numbers were a tally of the fatalities so far suffered by both sides.

In addition, they referred to a solidarity-with-Palestine rally going on at the United Nations this evening as an “Anti-Israel” rally, once again demonstrating the tried-and-true Americanism of the soon to be thankfully departed Bush administration – if you’re not with us, you’re against us. Of the placards of the protesters bobbing in the background of many of the shots, I saw no “Anti-Israel” slogans or accusations; only calls for mercy. And no person they spoke to offered any “Anti-Israel” sentiments either. Only the voice-over of the reporter, far from the actual event and safe in the voice-over booth of the news organization, had the cowardice to safely say the words there instead of saying it at the event he was so dutifully covering.

Fuck you, Fox News.

Here’s some more salient points from Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, an independent Palestinian lawmaker and activist.

DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Well, let me explain one very specific point. Israel is very proud, with the complicity of some Arab regimes and some of the people in the Palestinian Authority, about what’s going on. But I want to remind you that what is happening in Gaza and in the West Bank is nothing but also a slaughter of democracy. We have, as Palestinians—we, the civil society in Palestine, we, the Palestinian democratic forces, jointly with many others—managed to have the best democratic experience ever in the Arab world. Everybody knows that, and President Carter reported it when we had the last elections. And I think this complicity of some certain Arab sides are specifically because they don’t want this democracy to happen. They don’t want this democracy to survive. And if Israel is very proud to be in alliance with dictatorships, then that reveals how democratic Israel itself is.

Israel has been claiming that it’s the only democracy and so on, but why is it slaughtering Palestinian democracy? They did that in 1976, when we had elections for the first time for our municipalities, and within one year, because they didn’t like the elected people, they either bombarded them or deported them or arrested them. And now, after 2006 elections, they are putting forty-five members of our parliament in jail. One of the leaders, one of the members of parliament, is not Hamas. His name is Ahmed Saadat. He’s from the left, from the secular democratic left. He was just sentenced to thirty years in jail, just because he is the secretary-general of a Palestinian organization. It’s amazing how the world is silent about this slaughter of democracy. And if Israel is happy with being in alliance with some dictator, then it is the one that is losing.

The main question here, that I want to come back to some myths that Israel is spreading. They keep stressing that they are attacking Hamas. This is not on Hamas; this is on the whole Palestinian population. They claim that they ended occupation in Gaza. This is not true. They never ended occupation in Gaza. They continue to occupy Gaza. Now they’re changing the form of occupation again, and they’re threatening to complete the invasion again and destroying people’s lives. Third, they claim that it was the Palestinians who broke the ceasefire. This is false. This is incorrect. Israel broke the ceasefire. And now the party that is refusing to have ceasefire is Barak, the Defense Minister of Israel, and he’s the one who is refusing to allow ceasefire to happen again.

I forgot to mention earlier that as part of the Fox News broadcast I saw they took great pains to interview the Israeli envoy at the United Nations for comment. All he had to offer was a burnt missile casing sitting on a table in his office. “Can you imagine sitting at home with your family and watching television when suddenly this comes crashing through your roof?”

Hmmm. Well, I’d imagine that situation has gotta suck on either sides of the Gaza Strip (or West Bank, the area he was referring to). But as the Israeli home would probably remain standing – oh, and unlike the blockades cutting off Gaza from the rest of the world, at least this family HAD electricity (and food, and running water, etc.) – I have to say my sympathy was slightly diminished despite the best efforts of him and the reporter to make me feel otherwise.

Fuck you, Fox News.

And yes, need we be reminded that Hamas WAS actually democratically elected to lead. Just like Al Gore was back in 2000, but when the shadow people who actually run this country don’t like election results from anywhere around the world (and even here at home, as we learned), they’ll find a way to make things come round to how they see things.

As promised, here’s a little bit of perspective from Yahoo News I read earlier today. Here’s the jaw-dropping opening sentence to the piece, credited to Deb Riechmann (no, I’m not making that up):

The White House, calling Monday for a lasting cease-fire in the Mideast, backed Israel's deadly air attacks on the Gaza Strip and said the Islamic militant group ruling there had shown its "true colors as a terrorist organization."

Pot, I’d like you to meet the kettle. Kettle, I’d like you to meet….

Seriously; isn’t that just the most amazing opening sentence? Because if ANYBODY around here knows the true colors of a terrorist organization it’s Bush and his Bushettes.


Gordon Duguid, a spokesperson for Condoleeza Rice added this knee-slapper to the general frenzy of comments:

"We are encouraging all the nations in the region to take an active part in rebuilding the cease-fire so that we can return to the relative calm that was enjoyed in the region over the past six months."

I’m assuming by “relative calm” he means the stranglehold on the Palestinians who’ve been without proper food, medical treatment or other basic human necessities the last two months. Because as far as I know, that’s the best way to keep dem uppity desert folks “calm”.

Now here’s an interesting development that I hadn’t anticipated. When I sent the link to this piece of Yahoo News to some folks earlier today I cut-and-pasted a few money quotes from it that I thought were so unbelievable that they had to be highlighted.

But as I’ve now gone back to check the piece to gather up my quotes for this posting, my favorite line has since been removed.

Thankfully, for posterity and as a blow against whatever Winston Smith character made the change to the article over the course of the last eight hours, I will now present that quote to you, oh lucky reader, preserved by my prescient e-mail japery.

White House spokesperson Gordon Johndroe had this to say (this is the part that is still available in the article):

Asked if the administration believes it permissible for Israel to launch attacks in Gaza, Johndroe said: "The United States understands that Israel needs to take actions to defend itself."

Here, however, is the very next line from the piece that has since been expunged by some smart little editor type who has probably since been promoted for his due diligence (or, even more unbelievably, realized that Hamas really WASN’T the one that broke the cease fire).

Asked why Hamas broke the cease-fire, "You know, it's hard for me to get into the minds of terrorists ... so it's impossible for me to answer."

I again need to emphatically state that I HAVE NOT made up this quote. It’s as real as Israel – and just as stupid and dangerous as any desert dweller of any stripe with high-powered weaponry and an unshakeable belief in the righteous power of their one-true-god.

Alright, that’s almost enough for tonight.


I now feel the need to make myself clear about something that’s been bothering me all day since listening to this news.

I can now no longer allow myself to be associated in any way, shape or form in a historical, ideological or religious way to the hideous Israeli scumbags and their Jewish supporters who “bravely” yell their support from the United States (put yer money where your mouths are and go live in that parched battleground you fucking cowards).

So I now renounce all things Jewish and divest myself from the religion, the culture and the mindset.

I will henceforth no longer refer to myself as Jewish or be bound to the social or religious beliefs of this foul, racist breed.

Fuck you, Israel.

Okay, now that is enough for tonight.

Thanks for taking a look, if you made it this far….

Scooter McCrae

Saturday, December 27, 2008

In Our Rags Of Light

Goodbye, 2008.

I'll remember you as the year in which I got my first full-time job since working at Rainbow Media (ie: Cablevision), the final months of which the next great depression to sweep across the world began (or was at least finally acknowledged by the media) and, of course, the year in which the loudest outcry against tyranny was delivered via a pair of shoes launched at G. W. Bush at a press conference he had no right being at in the first place.

Fuck you, G. W. There's nothing I would have enjoyed more than seeing you leave office with the literal black eye you've symbollically inflicted on America for the last eight years. Hopefully the next shoe tosser will be blessed with better aim.

Hello, 2009.

Looking forward to attempting posting to this blog on a more regular basis. Looks like my last entry was around May 2006. I'll see if I can manage to wrestle my thoughts down onto the ether once a week instead of once every two years.

One more distraction from all the work I've been doing? I hope not. If anything, I'm hoping that having this sacred little place where I can gather my thoughts, organize them into semi-coherent sentences and share them with whomever is bored enough to visit this secret blog will help keep me on the path towards the goals I've set for myself this year.

As of right now, the stated goals are:

1.) Finish writing a script for the first time in like, let's see now.... five years or so?

2.) Finish editing, scoring and doing whatever else needs to be done to reconstitute my senior thesis film from college ("dB") into a viewable, stand-alone film (and yes, I can say "film" because it was shot on 16mm celluloid).

3.) Create an entire CD of modular music that I can hand out to people by next holiday season (not that anyone will actually want to listen to it, mind you...).

4.) Do my first live, solo "music" performance with my modular equipment in a public space (to be determined). Because it's no fun masturbating alone.

5.) Related to the above, also reunite my bandmates from Geek Messiah to do our first public performance as a group for the first time in over 20 years. Because all of us masturbating in front of other people would be tons of fun!

6.) Get back to creating Mondo Modular episodes for youtube. The goal this year: eight new episodes. I have no idea as to why that many episodes and especially no idea as to what the point is in doing them in the first place (besides the fact that they're fun to do).

7.) Oh, what the heck -- maybe it's time to make another movie. Hopefully from that script I'm gonna try and finish before the summer begins (ie: by the end of May).

8.) Cure cancer. Look, if there's gonna be any unfinished business for me by the end of the year, I've got to have at least one impossible goal to make the others more obtainable, right?

Okay, that's enough for now. Time to actually get to work on some of these goals, dammit!

(yeah, I'm starting a few days early; I'll need every bit of help I can get....)

Happy Holidays,

S. J. McCrae

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Our Heroes Live Where You And I Have Only Been

Excuse that header for mangling a beautiful Leonard Cohen lyric a bit.

And sorry for having been so long away from this poor, lonely blog. Life has kept me busy and even though there were times I wanted to jump onto the computer just to take care of this joyful task, I found that after being in front of the screen for eight hours of work, the idea of relaxing to write a new entry seemed a bit, well....

Nonetheless, as life would have it, despite the incredible length of time between the last post and this latest, they are both inextricably linked by the presence of one common character.

Besides me, of course.

And that would be the one and only, George A. Romero.

This past weekend I ended up as a cameraperson for the MONSTERS HD network again, this time out in Cherry HIll, New Jersey. As a local crew had already been hired to videotape all the events in the main room (speakers like Charles Band, Tony Todd, the incredible Lance Henrikson, and a HELLRAISER Cenobite reunion with Doug Bradley and writer Peter Atkins, amongst others), I was simply there to shoot the rest of the show -- stuff like the dealers room, interviews with willing celebrities in the autograph room (Ricou Browning, the CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON himself was the only one willing and a very nice gentleman), and even 42nd Street Pete doing the auction to benefit children with autism.

Needless to say, over the course of the two days I was there, this was not exactly a back-breaking amount of work.

I was driven up on Saturday morning by damn good friend Mike Gingold, managing editor of FANGORIA magazine, and was joined in the car by director Mike Mendez, who directed the kick-ass THE CONVENT (among other films) and is an all-around nice guy. We hit some seriously screwed-up traffic in that annex of Hell known as New Jersey, but it was a fun trip as we all get along quite well (even if we rarely agree on what a good film is -- but that is another post).

When I got to the show I set-up my equipment at the MONSTERS HD table and waited around for something to shoot. And kept on waiting for hours, doing nothing but taking a few quick walks around the dealer's room.

Did manage to bump into a few friends along the way. First up was Paige Davis, the lovely, practical and tough-as-nails dame who's V.P. of Sales and Marketing at E.I Entertainment. Her no-bullshit attitude about the stuff she's working on and what other people are doing always makes her a pleasure to talk to -- and she knows her way around a bar like I wish most people did.

Pleasantly surprised to also bump into Mike Watt and Amy Lynn Best as well. I've been e-mailing back and forth with Mike as I recently scored a short film he and Amy did (HIGH STAKES) and I'll be working on a vampire movie they are shooting right now (in fact, they had to drive 5 hours back home Saturday night for a Sunday morning shoot!). They are both so much fun to hang out with and Amy is very easy on the eyes (and Mike's a cutie, too!) so we were just jumping around like little school kids, so happy were we all to unexpectedly bump into each other at the show.

Mike Mendez and I choked down the hotel food for lunch (dear god... WHY did I go for the buffet?!??!) and I continued trying to look busy while doing nothing -- which reminded me of what I used to do when I worked my corporate job at Rainbow Media (the parent company of MONSTERS HD). Somehow I felt like I was back at the old job, and it really depressed the hell out of me. Pity I couldn't really drown my sorrows in drink while working.

At the end of the day, we got that Ricou Browning interview; all three minutes of it, standing in front of his autograph table.

And that was it for shooting that day.

On a side not, Dave Sehring and I walked around the autograph room to try and see who else mght be interested in being interviewed (if not that day, then at a later date) for the network. Ashley Laurence from HELLRAISER 1 and 2 was one of the people he asked, and I have to say that seeing her up-close and in-person was a bit of a shock to me, as she was stunningly beautiful. I never thought she was a particularly interesting performer or thought twice about how she looked, but I'm now wondering if she's just been poorly photographed on film or just taken roles that haven't shown her off to best advantage. A very pleasant surprise.

Eileen Dietz, from THE EXORCIST, seemed like a nice, chatty character who was hawking her latest projects -- certainly nothing wrong with that.

Doug Bradley, on the other hand, came off as a sententious prick -- just a complete and total asshole, who took the paperwork that Dave offered him and then turned away from us (mid-sentence) and made himself busy with fiddling his paperwork and cleaning his cuticles, never making eye-contact with Dave as he contined to politely finish his spiel.

I asked Dave what he thought of Bradley's reaction, and he smartly surmised that he was probably reacting to the fact that I was standing there with a camcorder and a microphone and he thought I might be surreptitiously taping him as we spoke. As I had done my best to make sure I was visibly pointing my camera AWAY from him and had the microphone down at my side, I had hoped it indicated to people that I was NOT trying to pull a fast one by taping them without permission.

But what David said made a certain amount of sense, and I felt bad at the moment if I had caused any Bradley any discomfort.

Onwards and upwards.

In order to feel as if I'd earned an honest day's wages, I hung around for the Lance Henrikson and Cenobite reunion events in the main ballroom so I could help the other camera crew clean-up their equipment.

And then, afterwards, I would go crash the party in Romero's room on the sixth floor.

More on that in a moment, of course.

First, I just want to mention what a fantastic stage presence Lance Henrikson has. Funny stories well-told, and not afraid to be honest about the films and the people he's worked with, at the same time being a gentleman about it and allowing listeners to read between the lines based on his lyrical inflection and choice of words.

The Cenobite reunion was esoteric fun for HELLRAISER geeks (of which I'm not particularly one), and since everyone was British they all had a cheeky sense of humor I found very entertaining. Doug Bradley was the complete opposite of the person I encountered at his table, which made me rethink my labeling him a prick.

Fast forward through cleaning-up and wondering whether or not I was too tired to hit the party.

I didn't know what room number the party was in, but as luck would have it, as soon as I got off the elevator there was an open door to a suite filled with people. And being the kind of guy I am occasionally, I just casually walked in like I was supposed to be there and hoped I had entered the right room.

A quick scan of the crowd and I saw both my Mikes talking to George Romero in the corner -- bingo!

George was absolutely trashed and in very good spirits holding court in the corner of the room. Over the course of the two hours in which I was there, I never once saw him get up from that chair. As elated as I was to be sharing drinks and listening to stories from THE MAN, I made sure on two separate instances to give up my seat and circle the room to give other people the same chance I had to partake of his presence.

I ended up having the most fruitful conversation with Uncle George about music. I wondered what he listened to in his spare time to relax, and he said classical music was what he enjoyed most. As I've always thought his films have had great soundtracks (even the ones with library tracks that he chose), we ended up talking about the process a bit.

At first he seemed a bit mystified, but I reminded him that, like Kubrick, he seemed to be a guy who had no trouble finding already existing music to repurpose for his own filmic uses (ie: the music library cues that make up NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE CRAZIES and quite a bit of DAWN OF THE DEAD). George indicated that he liked the control that came from finding already created music instead of the crap-shoot of hoping that an untried composer might supply something as good.

When I asked him about why he hadn't worked with Donald Rubinstein since KNIGHTRIDERS, he praised his music and said it all had to do with studio choices and not him -- the studios preferred established composers they had heard of or worked with before.

When I mentioned how much I liked the John Harrison score for CREEPSHOW, Romero was quick to add how much he liked the DAY OF THE DEAD score as well. He also told me about how for the CREEPSHOW sessions Harrison had actually brought his Prophet 10 keyboard into the mixing studio so they could add little stings or sound effects to the film as they went along during the mixing process, creating not only music but ambient sounds on the fly.

I love Goblin, but I think their score for DAWN OF THE DEAD has some real crap in it (though of course there is also one or two absolutely classical pieces in the film by them as well) -- and apparently, Uncle George agrees, which is why he chose to use their music so sparingly in his edit of the film. Some of the best library music cues I've ever heard make up the rest of the score (chosen by Romero, of course).

Feeling comfortable enough to talk about anything with the group at this point, George tactfully answered even the most pointed questions about people he's worked with or major studio bullshit with honesty and ablomb, though he would preface such comments with the admonition "This isn't for publication, but..." -- so out of respect for him and his comments, I'm afraid I will not post everything he spoke about here.

Doug Bradley was also at the party. I thought about what Dave had said earlier about him thinking that maybe I was shooting him on the sly and making him uncomfortable.

And so, screwing my courage to the sticking place (Shakespeare's MACBETH, by way of my 11th Grade English teacher Mrs. Townsend) I walked up to Mr. Bradley when there was a break in his conversations and introduced myself. I mentioned the circumstances of our meeting a few hours earlier and offered my sincerest and humblest apologies if I had in any way made him uncomfortable, etc.

He had no idea what I was talking about and had no recollection whatsoever of David or I. He then waved me away from his almighty presence.

Doug Bradley, you are a stuck-up cunt, wherever you are.

Monday, April 03, 2006

"Lighting? You Call This Lighting?!?"

I spent this entire past weekend shooting video interviews and events at the Big Apple Comic Convention for the esteemed folks at the MONSTERS HD network, the only uncut and commercially uninterrupted horror movie network in existence on the DISH satellite network. Yeah, there are a lot of other pretenders to the throne out there trying to start-up (The Horror Channel, anyone?), but none have yet gone to air and MONSTERS HD is the one to beat. Good luck to the rest of 'em -- they're going to need it.

And no, I'm not just saying this because they paid my meal ticket for three days. I spent six years of my life working for their parent company (Rainbow Media) and I spent almost every single moment of those six years biting the hand that fed me the whole time I was there working in that intellectual charnel house for shit networks like AMC (when they were still a great network back in 1999) and WE (Women's Entertainment, which despite the many wonderful people working for it will simply never be a great network).

But MONSTERS HD is a great network.

Anyway, one of my all-time-great cinematic heroes George A. Romero (king of all things zombie related) was there and I was very excited about shooting his Q & A and hopefully even spending some time with him (alas, this dreamily hoped-for latter aspect did not come to pass).

On Saturday, poor nice-guy George was dragged down from the convention floor to the grand ballroom of the Penn Plaza hotel and plopped down into a chair to watch the parade of folks who had made costumes for themselves for a competition in which the grand prize was brunch with Mr. Romero himself. Asked to judge the contestants, George politely declined and said he was just an observer. And I have to say, as the weekend went on and I saw the number of bizarre social indignities the poor man was put through, I became very impressed with the polite ease with which he handled himself in the most trying of social situations.

In fact, to digress for a moment, it reminds me now of the most uncomfortable thing I witnessed the entire weekend -- the grand introduction of George Romero and comic book legend (and now film director) Frank Miller over a hastily catered lunch in the Gold Ballroom at the back of the hotel.

Not that there was any animosity between these two genre giants -- but it was one of the most uncomfortable 'cold' introductions between two people who's only connection to one another was through genre fame. Watching the two of them shake hands as their respective handlers pushed them at one another as the cameras whirred (and I, guiltily, was forced to partake in shooting this moment as well -- though I backed off and cut my camera as soon as I saw how socially uncomfortable things were getting) was vaguely nauseating.

It was like watching two people being pushed at one another by mutual friends who knew they would just get along famously (some nightmarish high school or family gathering flashback could easily be inserted here about now), and to their credit they were both polite and struggling to keep the conversation flowing for the sake of all the witnesses of this tragic social crime. But alas, the body language of two great talents gave away the deception to anyone within 100 feet who had a brain commected to their eye sockets.

Which reminded me of the time I witnessed Talking Heads frontman David Byrne being similarly forced upon Dario Argento at a SUSPIRIA screening about 10 or 15 years ago at the Film Forum. But that, as Mako in CONAN THE BARBARIAN might say, is a story for another time....

So back to the costume ball so I can explain the quote that begins this fevered blog entry.

As the costume contest ended and a winner was chosen by the audience, the MC told all the contestants that they could have their picture taken with Mr. Romero for their efforts -- which seemed like a pretty nice consolation prize to me. Heck, if I didn't have to work the cameras I would have torn off all my clothes and tried to go as Ed Begley the Invisible Man segment of AMAZON WOMEN OF THE MOON. Brunch with George would have been worth the public humiliation for me, and probably would have been no worse than the humiliation I feel at any public screenings of my movie works (about which I feel similarly naked in public).

So they asked George and the contestants to step off to one side of the stage into the lighting I had set-up to shoot the stage events so they could get some good pictures.

And I want to make this clear by quoting the MC (almost verbatim): "Okay, George, please step into the lighting over here so everyone can take their picture with you."

And then George replied (you already know what's coming, right?) in a loud, playfully obnoxious voice that boomed through the auditorium: "Lighting? You call this lighting?"

Which made a number of people around me laugh. Including the guy standing right next to me who worked for the Big Apple Convention. He turned to me, saw the look of shocked disbelief on my face, and commented: "George Romero just made fun of your lighting set-up."


And quickly, without thinking, I turned to the guy (who's deadpan obvious delivery somehow made the whole situation that much more hilarious in an out-of-body experience kind of way) and responded: "Yeah, I learned everything I know about lighting from Michael Gornick."

The poor fellow looked at me blankly and walked away. He didn't get it.

Maybe you didn't either.

Michael Gornick is a cinematographer of debatable talents who shot almost all of George Romero's feature films up until (and including) DAY OF THE DEAD.

And even though I was insulting his work by comparing it to mine, I have to admit to having a soft-spot in my heart for this technician who seems incapable of deciding what the given aspect ratio is for any particular film he is shooting. Try for example watching Romero's MARTIN or DAWN OF THE DEAD and see if you can figure out if Gornick was composing for a square 1:33 frame or a widescreen 1:85 frame, because I promise you that his compositional choices are so inconsistent from one shot to another in (sometimes in the very same scene) that your head will spin.

And yet.....

And yet I LOVE those early collaborations between Gornick and Romero. So I guess there's something to be said for the art that can be created from seemingly artless chaos.

Nonetheless, George A. Romero insulted my lighting and hopefully I've learned something from it.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Fa Love Pa

In case anyone was wondering why it’s taken me more than a week to update this blog, I can assure you it had nothing to do with any angry 9/11 relatives having attacked my home or destroyed the website server. I think they have plenty of other things to occupy their time than to swat at minor annoyances like me.

And besides, the truth of the matter is even more unbelievable to anyone who has known me for any reasonable length of time.

Because last week I spent four lovely days in Cancun, Mexico, eating and drinking till I could neither walk straight nor think clearly. It was a smorgasbord of earthly delights laid bare at my feet for the picking, and so did I pick. Often.

Which explains (I hope) the above photo taken on March 15th, 2006, when I spent the day at a water called Xel-Ha (pronounced schell-hah) and jumped into the tank with this cute critter. Needless to say, it was well worth the time-share tour I took the previous day to get the free ticket to get into this place.

I never even would have considered doing such a thing in the past, but I was accosted by a very nice guy right off the airplane in Mexico (Jesus) who promised me a free ticket to whichever park I wanted in a brochure he was waving around if I just took a tour of a time-share he was trying to generate tourist visitors for.

A precious moment before shrugging off the whole thing and moving on to start imbibing at the all-inclusive resort I was booked at, I noticed a tiny image of someone in the water with a dolphin. Below the photo it said: SWIM WITH DOLPHINS!

Hmmm. Suddenly a time-share was starting to sound mighty interesting.

So I signed on with the promise of a ticket to the necessary amusement park after my tour the following morning. Five minutes off the plane and I saved $75.00 on the entrance fee to a tourist trap and had a plan to swim with dolphins. Pretty sweet deal.

Right about now I guess I should say something about how swimming with a dolphin has always been one of my lifelong dreams, but to be honest, I have to say that as much as I love these beautiful sea creatures, it had never even occurred to me that such a thing would be possible (much less financially affordable!) for a guy like me – so the thought was not even one that I had ever entertained.

But like having a lifetime flashing before your eyes during a moment of crisis in which you suddenly realize the images you are seeing are someone else’s life, I knew then and there that I had in fact ALWAYS wanted to be in the water and touching a gentle, intelligent dolphin. It was just that until this particular moment, I never knew that before.

When I finally got to Xel-Ha, the first thing I did was try and buy a ticket for the dolphin experience (yes, it was separate from the general admission). At which point I was told that it had been sold out for the day.

It would be no understatement to say that my heart sank to the bottoms of my feet. Damn near wanted to cry when I heard that.

The guy at the cashier was very nice, though, and told me to come back again after noon and maybe there would be a cancellation I could take advantage of.

Cancellation? Who the hell would give up their chance to SWIM WITH A DOLPHIN?!?

I went to the top of the park, got a big ol’ inner tube and floated down the water for an hour or two, going down the river like Martin Sheen in APOCALYPSE NOW -- except that with all the scuba divers, fellow floaters, people diving off the mountain side into the water and noise in general, this felt much more dangerous.

When I went back to check for tickets, I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that there was no chance of any dolphin interactivity happening today. I had my fun in the water, though, so I chalked it up to experience; next time, get advance tickets.

But unbelievably (yeah, right – you’ve already seen the photo!), if I wanted to go there were tickets available RIGHT NOW, so I’d have to forego lunch and IMMEDIATELY turn around and go to the orientation area.

Needless to say, lunch waited an hour.

Got shown a brief movie, put on a life jacket, and got into the water with a small group of people (there were four groups of ten altogether, and each group had two dolphins to interact with). Got 45 solid minutes of quality time with the critters and I could not have been happier.

Felt an instant affinity with them and made sure to stroke their bellies every time they swam by me – which made them shift to one side just a little bit to raise one eye above the water’s surface so we could make contact. They seemed to enjoy that. I also stroked them just underneath where it seemed their chin should be. My cats love being touched there, and I was surprised to see that the dolphins similarly enjoyed this.

As we all stood to one side on a platform in the water, they gravitated towards me and I slid my hands along the underside of their “nose”, which didn’t seem to bother them a bit despite what we had been told. In fact, doing this drew one dolphin even closer to me for some more. I was shocked that, despite being told how much they love children, they were practically ignoring the cute little girl in our group and spending quite a bit of time over with me. Lucky bastard me, eh?

Their flesh is like soft, living plastic with undulating muscles underneath. Beneath the wetness you can feel areas of tender lard where you wouldn’t expect it surrounded by turgid cartilage that gives solid shape to the area around it. This was most obvious in the strength of their incredible tails.

We splashed each other with water, they swam around our group at top-speed to demonstrate how they protect people from sharks, and they even pushed every single one of us into an almost upright position from the bottoms of our feet from one side of the pool to the other.

Beware the ides of March, indeed!

So there you have it. I wish I had something witty or conclusive to add, but all I can tell you is that if you ever get the chance to do something like this, DO IT.

And lest you think I’ve turned over some kind of New Age leaf after this mind-blowing experience, come back in a few days and I’ll post some thoughts about the third anniversary of our invasion of Iraq that’ll take the dumbfucks in control to task.

Ya’ see? It’s still me.