dominant/submissive

Denise RichardsAnyone who has a dog should (by now) know about Cesar Millan. The Dog Whisperer is a miracle to behold: vicious dogs bow their heads, yappers shut the f*ck up, leash yankers mellow out and follow lead. It’s astonishing.

Our pug, Bacci, is incredibly cute and unbelievably happy to see us whenever we return from any outing. He flips out, literally, and we’ve been happily reciprocating. In a recent episode, Cesar pointed out to Denise Richards (above), who also has a pug, that responding in kind to her cute little pup’s enthusiastic greeting is a signal that Denise is being submissive, not dominant. I most certainly don’t have a problem with this, but apparently it’s not what her dogs need. She changed, and it worked. We have since tried this ourselves, and Bacci seems that much more willing to follow our lead. As for Denise, well, I’ll just be over here imagining her as her old, submissive self. Yes, those were the days.

v for interesting

vI tend to agree with the LA Times that this pic had lots of smart things to say, but ultimately perhaps said a few too many of them, big ideas often vaguely at odds with each other, disjointed, or just plain foggy. But there were some very beautiful moments, and some very powerful ones. When all was said and done, it left me with the feeling that by virtue of simply not coming off as completely ridiculous, this movie might possibly become the bellweather of a new generation of outraged peacenicks (ala the late 60s), which would be strange and exciting and weird to witness… Wouldn’t it.

ta-da

star69Finally, star69 is ready for prime time. Close enough, at least (might be a few tweaks, after screening to cast & crew today). Whew. Finally got a break, had fun whipping in some music and whipping up some key art.

Delays included a deluge of work (handy, considering Tax Time is approaching), a ridiculous cough that escalated to near-epic proportions (alright, it was bronchitis)… Plus a disturbing revelation/confirmation regarding a “friend” of mine. ‘Nuff said. Upward and onward. Festivals await, around 4-5 I’m planning on sending to.

stripper

pepperA few years ago, I made my first short film. It involved a stripper, so or course I had to do research. Now, as anyone who has been to a strip club can tell you, most of these girls can’t dance. Taking off their clothes is the point, really, so who cares.

But one night at Jumbo’s (former workplace of Courtney Love), I met a dancer who was amazing. I mean, seriously, an amazing dancer. I asked her if she’d dance in my little movie, and she said sure. She did, and she was (of course) amazing. Later, I helped her out by videotaping a concert she’d choreographed for the teenaged Catholic schoolgirls she taught. I’m not kidding. Just wanted to help.

katemossRecently, I wondered what she was up to (I’d gotten a couple of emails in ’05, various performances I didn’t make it to), so I Googled her. Well, turns out I’m not the only one she impressed… Apparently, she was flown to New York to coach Kate Moss for a White Stripes video (directed by Sophia Coppola), to give Kate half a chance at looking cool/sexy as a pole dancer. Amazing dancer, and amazing teacher that she is, she made Kate look like a million bucks.

grace

I’ve been writing, lately. A lot, just not here… I’m doing the third, and (for now) final draft/rewrite of my first presentable feature-length screenplay. I’ve completed many, over the years, several of which “work,” but this is the first one I’m going to shop. Aggressively. I’m very excited about it. I’ll direct this one, if they let me. “They” being whomever might want to invest in a proper production. Oh, and I want Jena Malone, for the lead, please… Thanks. I wrote it with her in mind. So if you know her, or her agent, have ’em gimme a shout � she’s got first refusal.

jenaJena’s been busy lately, three pix currently in production. In one, she plays a character named “Grace” � which just so happens to be the central theme of my story (and would be the title, if it hadn’t already been so overused). It’s an ensemble piece that follows several characters in varying orbits around a spoiled, oversexed young woman with a self-destructive streak. When a foolish good deed backfires horribly, she is forced to deal with the dark secret driving her behavior. Surprisingly (for her), the relationships she’s formed (mostly thru casual sex) turn out to be anything but casual, and along with her estranged mom, provide the keys to her awakening, and ultimately, her survival. It’s, um, not exactly a comedy… Tho there are funny bits. And sexy bits (could be shot PG, R, or NC17), violent bits, tense bits and sweet/tender bits. So come on, Jena… Don’t make me come over there.

vicarious thrills

Went and played with my old bandmates tonight… Acoustic guitars and interesting facial hair, all ’round. Guys who might as well be my long lost brothers, now living lives very different from my own. It was great.

dutchgirlAfterward, the tip jar — a nice touch — was packed with bills. I refused my cut, but Jon (the one still most active, touring, etc.) insisted on stuffing a few bucks in my hand when he heard we were headed to Del Taco. “For your damn burrito, at least!” Jon couldn’t make it; he had his twentysomething girlfriend from Amsterdam with him, and, well, you know. They just got back from Mexico that day, and were headed to Vegas the next morning…

guitarMy Macho Combo Burrito With Fries (regular post-gig munch, back when) was awesome. But chatting was awesomer. Craig � quite possibly the sweetest guy I’ve ever known � blew me away when he told of playing his guitar at home, and having his 17-year-old daughter wander in, grab her guitar (she plays in two bands), and join him. He also described taking her to see McCartney (our pal Rusty plays with him), and how excited she was. That was when I realized (and blurted) that what he’d just described is the main (only?) reason I ever really wanted kids… To have that experience. And now, he’d provided it for me, vicariously, at least. And I guess that’s at least partly what old friends like these are for.

cut!

star69Okay, so finally I’ve come up with a cut of my short film that I’m happy with. It only took me a few weeks to get up to speed with the fact that about half of it had to go (!).

The script was originally 15 pages long; the first assembly edit (as written) was 14 + minutes long. Problem was, it got boring — right when it should’ve been getting good. See, I had this vision of a dark, subtle interplay between two strangers, building to a connection, a “moment” that (hopefully) carried some emotional wallop. And, I thought it would take a while to get there � to earn it (I hate it when things suddenly shift in movies, and people suddenly do and say things that feel like too much, too soon).

But it doesn’t take nearly as long as I suspected. No, it actually only takes about 8 1/2 minutes for this particular bit of weirdness to manifest. Soon, it will have music, polish, and a screening! Then, I’ll get to see what everyone else thinks…

vic

Back when I first played in a band, everybody called me “Vic.” I never really noticed, until my wife pointed out how funny it sounds to her, when I see old pals. Anyway, now it looks like Vic is going to make an appearance.

My old pal John wrote to tell me that our friend Jon (the other guitarist/songwriter in our band, back then) is playing a show next week and said he’ll bring an extra acoustic for me if I wanna come down and join. John (drums) is making a vacation of it, bringing a light percussion rig, spending a few days away from his home town (Anchorage, with endless night — or is it day? — and now, a volcano). I gulped, then asked if I could maybe bring an electric and play quietly? See, my fingers are kinda tender, ’cause, well, I’m not actually playing a lot these days… Cool, whatever, Jon says. Puss.

guitarNow I hear Craig (bass) and Billy (vocals) are coming, as well. So all of a sudden, it’s a reunion of my first band. And here I am, the only one that’s been letting his fingers go soft. See, these guys have ALL been playing regularly, either touring the world (Jon, one tour with John) or jammin’ regularly around town (Craig, Billy). So I’m practicing. Plus, I used it as an excuse to buy that nifty little Fender acoustic/electric in the pic. That way, hopefully, no one will expect much in the way of rippin’ solos. Or maybe if I drink enough, “Vic” can take a break, and “Louie” can make an appearance. You don’t want to hear about Louie.

bad son

elvisYesterday was my mom’s birthday. I completely spaced out on it, until it was too late to call. Augh. There’s a specific time to catch her on the phone these days. Her living arrangement is “assisted,” basically a decent hotel with medical staff. She’s away from her room, hanging out with others most of the day, then goes to bed early. That’s when to call; after she’s in, but before bed. About a thirty-minute window.

bowieShe’s been diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s. I consider us fortunate, after hearing a close friend’s horror stories about his dad. Our mom is still basically upbeat, still remembers us, and is in great physical shape, for 83 (84?). Just, she’ll ask the same question over and over, make outlandish pronouncements now and then, that sort of thing. But she still has her easy laugh. I’ll call later today, at the appropriate time — I promise. Plan our weekend visit. You’d think I’d remember the date… I noted, long ago, that her birthday is on the same as David Bowie’s, and Elvis Presley’s… I always found this somehow significant, and very cool; she always found it amusing.

oh, happy new year

insomniaDecember did not go well for me. My cat asploded his knee, needed surgery. He was fine, then he chewed his stitiches off. The vet said he had to wear The Collar. My cat is such a cool, well-behaved little guy, I couldn’t imagine doing this. I tried, and he promptly careened into the wall. Then fell over. Enough. I would not put him through this; I would, instead, sleep on the sofa with him, and keep an eye on him, 24/7, until the crisis passed. No, really. I did.

Good God. I mean, it worked, I suppose… Caught him, a few times, starting to lick, and stopped him. After a few chilly, mostly sleepless nights, I returned to bed. But by then, I’d developed a bad cough. No cold, no fever, just a relentless hack that kept me from sleeping, kicked up a weird sciatica pain thing, and has generally made my life miserable… {cough, cough}. But I’m getting better. Sleeping, at least, lately. BTW, my cat promptly bit off the last two stitches his first night alone. I guess he knows best, ’cause at his two-week follow-up, the doctor’s description for his healing was “remarkable.” Here, here. Let’s wish the same for me, shall we?