Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Edgar Allan Poe - Bicentennial Events

Wednesday's heart doth skipped a beat having wondered if she possibly missed the tickets-on-sale date to any of the 2009 Bicentennial Events honoring one of her favorite writers, Edgar Allan Poe. The events in her deeply-focused mind feature John Astin, yes, the famous John Astin whom portrayed Gomez Addams in "The Addams Family" and whom has starred in one-man shows portraying Mr. Poe.

In her careful analysis of flight options from the West Coast to Baltimore, she notes that major inaugural events are occurring near this time, therefore, it may be difficult to cheaply fly to the ones taking place Jan. 17 and 18. Perhaps many other travelers are using those flights to get themselves as near to DC as possible.

Then, with much more curiosity and desire for honoring the much celebrated writer, she spies further down the events page that it states, "The major event after January will be the funeral for Edgar Allan Poe complete with a horse drawn hearse with period coffin and body. This promises to be the big event of the bicentennial. The date will be Saturday, October 10, 2009. Due to the high level of interest two services will be held." Most intriguing, but not surprising, "John Astin has shown great interest presiding over the funeral." Oui, mon amour, how does one not take great interest, indeed!?

Edgar Allan Poe will also be celebrated outside of Baltimore, mostly for the fact that he spent 13 years in Richmond, Virginia. Poe wrote in a letter, "I am a Virginian--at least I call myself one, for I have resided all my life, until within the last few years, in Richmond." The Poe Revealed 2009 events page has many offers of ways to celebrate Mr. Poe.

Other cities with events include, Philadelphia, Boston, Eagle, Wisconsin; possibly The Bronx, NY.

And there's an RSA Conference using Edgar Allan Poe as the theme of their event because Poe was interested in crytography.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Good Dick" is big screen-worthy

I saw Good Dick tonight. It's completely self-distributed and worthy of being seen in the theatres because you're not giving money to the big honchos running any studios. The story is refreshing especially for anyone completely disappointed in the "instant love shit" on the big screens nowadays; recycled stories year in and year out. In Good Dick you witness friends looking out for each other, a dark character escaping into her head, a good guy that wants to save her from herself, and nothing cliché about relationships, thank you.

Marianna Palka is the "Woman" whom also wrote and directed the film. Her whole persona emits "outcast," "can't deal with people," "hate anyone who pays her any attention," it is hopeless if they even breathe in her direction. She gives credit to the damaged people cast out from the everyday cliques, ridiculed as outsiders by the "in-crowd"; called rejects, losers, and pathetic. But the video store clerk relentlessly tries to get her to open up to him. He sees a real person and not someone weird as his friends call her. Any inch she lets him have only encourages him and it scares her; she bosses him around in return and calls him ugly. I felt for her because she was crying out for kindness but rejected every notion that he's good to her.

"Man" is played by Jason Ritter, son of the late, wonderful actor John Ritter. "Man" is truly faithful, loyal and takes the other path that is not of least resistance. We see a character, for a change, embrace selflessness.

Jason Ritter, holds his own, he doesn't need a famous last name to carry him. He's one of the most truthful actors that I have faith will not sell out, does not want the fame. I can count on one hand the genius actors not using publicity stunts to get themselves noticed. He spoke after the film with so much passion for "the work" and, in watching his character, you can feel that he loves the "Woman" and takes pride in his movie knowledge. He has some really comical moments that had the audience laughing at the pain he's enduring to show this woman how much he cares.

I asked the two actors who appeared for a Q&A what it was like working with the great Charles Durning and Marianna said that he decided to do the movie from reading the script. He told dirty jokes that they couldn't use in the movie, but funny jokes. Jason Ritter tried to see that line between off camera and when they call action; he said Charles Durning is seamless. He's in the frame of mind and ready when the director is ready. He used his own physicality to convey what he was saying and brought so much to this role to flesh out his character's wisdom. There's a history to this person just walking in off the street. His character says something memorable and validating to the whole "quest" that you've been on with the "Man."

The story's "Man" tells her, "I care about you," after she has just said something mean. He isn't chasing her to "win" her; he's standing by her and helping her to be a person again. I look at scenes like this and recall these conversations overheard in public and almost want to say to some woman, "Give me his number, if you're going to be so mean to him." Women are so high maintenance and I always think, no wonder men are just so burnt out that they remain bachelors because they just want to go from one woman to the next. The newness never gets old and is more fun than someone that takes them for granted a few months into the relationship. If they can notice the quiet people who are overlooked, see them as real people capable of loving them, maybe these guys would be less inclined to give up. Women, too. At the end of the screening, Ritter says, "You are not going to live forever and to live without knowing real love between you and someone else, you truly haven't lived."

I predict that this will not be the last we heard of Good Dick. I predict it willl do well with IFC's Independent Spirit Awards. In fact, it is rather curious that Marianna Palka said "Cassevetes" in describing what they're doing by self-producing, self-distributing the film.

Martin Starr is also another reason I wanted to see this film. I have a soft spot for all "Freaks and Geeks" stars because they were short-changed in having that series end way too soon. He played Bill Haverchuck so perfectly in that series. He looks so different all grown up and has a unique subtlety that makes everything he does appear natural.

If you go to the film's website, turn "Sound" to "OFF" so that you can play the trailer without the music that is on the website.

I can't go further without having to say that I cringed, when walking home, at hearing some people of the "TRL" generation right behind me refer to the last series John Ritter worked on with the wrong title (it was "8 Simple Rules... for Dating My Teenage Daughter"), and then, not even acknowledge "Three's Company". I power-walked away from these fools making me feel old.

On a side note, the screening didn't start out too well for me because I got up to use the bathroom, leaving a tent-like flyer on the seat to hold it for myself along with my notebook, popcorn and cup of water on the arm of the chair. It looked like it was all intentional on holding a seat. I do it often. I return and some people right from "The Hills", a yappy large group, arrived while I was away. They moved my stuff to the row in front of them--too close to the screen--taking my seat on top of four more. When I ask them if they moved my stuff and they told me in this unapologetic tone, "Oh, we thought someone left it there." I was looking on the floor to check at their feet for anything that fell and there was the flyer on the floor. Some girl asks, "Is there anything you left there?" Yeah, I friggin' marked my spot so I could come back to it... I didn't intentionally leave my stuff abandoned to never return to it. Oh, man, fucking idiots, typically all you get in San Francisco under 30 now, that feel entitled, act self-centered and don't give a shit about anyone. I moved across the aisle where I had to view the screen at an angle with the exit sign screaming into my eyes. Fortunately, the film was much better than anyone I loathed at the moment so I enjoyed it anyways.

Monday, November 10, 2008

video test

I'm testing the ability to upload a video I captured and edited in Quicktime from The Castro Theatre on October 18. The pre-show organ performance always closes with the tune "San Francisco" from the same-titled Clark Gable movie. I was using my Powershot Canon S330 video function.