Monday, September 19, 2005

New Film Threat piece up

In my ongoing responsibility to expose the filthy underbelly of fandom, I give you this piece about Flashback and Twisted Nightmare Weekends. In other news, Genghis Con Pa is still rolling along. Check out the brand-new updated site.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

New reviews and a big ol' gripe

Got a message yesterday that a film festival that requested The Resurrection Game, went through all this rigamarole about banner exchanges and cross-promotion, etc., has not only decided not to show the movie, and to not tell me they weren't showing it, but also never bothered putting up any of our banners on their site. After we had promoted their fest on three of ours.

Now, I'm glad I didn't waste the money on a submission fee to said festival, but if they had requested it, shouldn't they screen it? The same thing happened to us earlier in the year and in both cases, mysterious sets of "judges" were to blame for the final decision. Just a crappy thing to do to people, is all I'm saying.

In the meantime, the movie is getting terrific reviews, as evidenced at Cultcuts and Creature-Corner. In fact, I don't think we've gotten a negative review yet (critical, but not over-all negative). While that will probably change at some point, it indicates, at least to me, that we have a good movie on our hands.

So why are all these festivals asking for it, then dropping it at the last minute? It's not too long - they knew it was a feature! And if it is something like, "lack of nudity or gore", I'm gonna be really mad. Horror fans are always shouting about how they want something different and don't want to be "talked down to" by movies like House of Wax, yet the different stuff doesn't seem to catch a break. Maybe I'm wrong... maybe I've been defending "horror fans", when really actually I've been defending the hardcore fanatics: the guys who know their giallo from their hentai.

Not the regular hard-heads of Middle America who rent anything with bloody letters spelling out the title. The ones who seem to not only make up the majority of the "horror fans", but seem to be ruining it for the rest of us...

Shoddy promoters, horror kiddies, or harcore poseurs? Who's to blame here? Who let Cry_Wolf get made?

Friday, September 09, 2005

A cowboy pisses off the wenches!

So, the other day, I wrote about how I set out looking for things to piss me off, in a masochistic exercise in self-aggrivation. This past Sunday, I did the opposite, though accidentally.

Amy and I made the rash decision to head out to the PA Rennaissance Festival, which we've attended sporadically over the past few years, though we were religious about attending back in the days when Taso (Knightriders) Stavrakis and his company did the jousting and the dueling. The last four or five years haven't been that great, and for the most part, the comedians and acts are exactly the same, year after year.

But this weekend was pirate weekend! Charlie and his family were going. It was an opportunity to hang out with them... and a bunch of pirates! Really, who doesn't love pirates?

All the ads say things like "period costumes encouraged!" Charlie and I always joked that this year we'd go as a cowboy and a retro-50s spaceman (hey, they don't actually specify what period you should dress in! It's all implied, and being an American, I don't take too well to subtlety). Well, I upheld my end of the bargain.

I went as a cowboy.

Amy had on her peasant shirt, but skipped the flowing skirt due to the 80-degree weather. I, however, being of heartier stock, had jeans, boots, a leather vest, neckerchief, hat, and a holster (for water). I'd even borrowed a pair of Bill's spurs for good measure!

We got to the fairgrounds and opted to give blood in exchange for free tickets. It would go to helping out the Katrina victims and would also, well, you know, get us in free.

So there I was: a cowboy amongst a sea of pirates and similarly-overheated mideval types, wandering from hackneyed joust to baudy performances by "Wicked Wenches". When I ventured to yon establishment to purchase my customary turkey leg (sadly, they were out), I found myself being glared at by the beveredge wench.

"There weren't cowboys during the Renaissance," she said.

"There wasn't Diet Pepsi, either."

She didn't like that response, but sold me my drink anyway. However, I didn't get "Another five pounds for the queen, huzzuh!" like the guy in front of me did.

A little while later, I was admonished by a sword vendor: "Dude, you're in the wrong time period altogether."

"Yeah," I said, "I got here late."

I had to admit, I was enjoying being the anachronism, but I wasn't prepared for the actual pissed off looks I was getting from the workers. Even those pretending to be the King and Queen of the Fair seemed annoyed by my presence.

Now, I wasn't actually making fun of anyone. I wasn't even pretending to be a real cowboy - just a guy dressed like a cowboy. But I didn't take into consideration that people who travel with these fairs take not only the fair, but themselves, very seriously. So... okay. The bar wenches can refer to themselves as the incredibly demeaning term "bar wenches", and spill out of their wonderfully- to poorly-made bodices, and the "knights" can wander around with their codpieces outthrust, but woe unto you that steps into the realm of fantasy with any sense of irony about you! This is no place for whimsy!

It's like any cliquish gathering, I suppose. Horror fans don't like it when non-horror fans show up. Anime fans don't like people to scoff at them at their own convention. Gamers don't like being shaken down for their lunch money at their own gigs. So I guess my showing up in American Western garb was psychologically depantsing a lot of the Renaissancers.

Which, I suppose, begs the question: why did I go in the first place?

To be perfectly honest, I was in a silly mood. I'm not afforded a lot of opportunities to dress like a cowboy, and I wasn't about to pass this one up. I wasn't there to actually piss people off, but, on the other hand, I'm not sorry it happened. I knew I looked ridiculous, but I wasn't implying that anyone else was. I just wanted to have a little fun. That I wound up having fun at your expense, little miss "no cowboys during the Renaissance", only added to my enjoyment.

Geez, folks. You're saying "thee" and "thou" and selling pretzels on sticks and wearing wool in the middle of summer. Give a cowboy a break!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Searching for comforting rage

With all that's going on in the world these days, I shouldn't force myself to go looking for things to upset me.

I woke up, read the paper, and was gripped with absolute enimity. New Orleans is underwater, thousands upon thousands of people have been left with nothing, countless people dead or injured... and there's looting going on. Not people panicked for clean water or medicine, but folks raiding stores and ruined homes for appliances and clothing, to sell to the victims at high prices, and then justify to reporters and police that they "deserve" the things they stole! And now there's a shoot-to-kill order in Louisiana to prevent such things (to which I say, "Bravo and aim for the brain!")

Because, as a society, there are always new levels of low to plumb. Whatever the horrors we face on a daily basis, there is always someone around the corner waiting to exploit your tragedy for their gain.

Look at the gasoline situation. Because oil rigs were damaged, because there is a coup going on in Nigeria, the price of gasoline - a necessary and vital evil in this society - has skyrocketed over $1.50 more per gallon over the past two weeks. Most of those "in charge" will say that is because the price of a barrel rose because of these problems, etc. But tell me - look me in the eye and tell me - that the oil companies are NOT benefitting from these higher prices. Tell me that there are execs who are not sitting back, puffing on a cigar and hoping that the world-wide misery lasts forever. Tell me that, then tell me another one.

(And hey, all you hard-line conservatives out there who voted our current administration into office, I want you to fix things. You did this. I didn't vote for things to go this way. My guy didn't make it to the White House (but... but... things might still be this bad if HE had been in office... right? Yeah, sure...). So I'm holding all you Red Staters responsible for the current situation in the world today. We are the single most-hated country in the world (sure, we sneer at Luxemborg, but they're not ruining anyone's lives), our "liberation" of Iraq was a land-grab excuse that backfired on us all, we're mocked, scorned, abused and are both directly and in-directly responsible for world-wide famine. Don't throw your fucking flag in my face, don't tell me that if I don't like it I should leave - where is there to go? - don't whistle Dixie, piss on my head and tell me it's raining. Don't blame the war (we started it - yes we did! Don't quote 9/11 at me, either!), don't blame the hurricane, don't blame the Democrats or Republicans (neither party is the real culprit - the current administration is made up of something different entirely), don't blame Pat Robertson and his cry for assassination, in fact, don't blame anyone at all but yourselves. You pulled that lever - you prolonged this agony. Now go and do something about it. If my guy had won on my vote and things were still this bad, I'd be out doing something, trust me. But this ain't MY fault and I'm not footing the bill for it. If you voted Red and you're bitching about the high price of gas, point the finger at yourself. Fuck you - fix this!)

So with all that - and an ongoing family crisis, and friends of mine in severe pain caused by others - what do I do?

I look up Citizen Kane on Netflix to read the bad reviews.

There are reviews that give this movie a single star for its efforts. People bandy about "boring", "predictable", "disappointing", etc.

And there it was: the familiar rage.

Because, really, it had begun to dissipate a tad. I turned the page of the paper and saw just how many people were rallying to help the flood victims down south. Because as loathesome as a civilization as we Americans can be, we do chip in for a crisis. We dig deep when it hits home hard. We put aside being our ugly, Capitalist selves, as a whole, and help out others who are hit with tragedy. We did it for the Tsunami victims, too, so it's not just empathy for the home-grown. Looters be damned - you're all scum and you know it - the rest of the country is heeding the call.

And the gas will eventually come back down to something we'll all consider reasonable, though we'll never see a $1 in front of that decimal ever again. We won't; trust me. But it'll happen. And we'll all start to wise up and clamor for hydrogen fuel cells, which will someday turn Big Oil into Big Hydrogen. And the circle of life - in this case, the snake eating its own tail, for that is our civilization - will go on.

After my umbrage had subsided, and I started to see the good in the world, I just HAD to sabotage myself. I had to go looking for trouble. And stupidity. And arrogance. And yes, there is such a thing as a wrong opinion. And being contrary for the pure sake of things.

But for fuck's sake, there was a review on there that actually used the age-old, Internet message board battle-whine: "It's the worst movie I've ever seen!"

And they were talking about Citizen fucking Kane!

You know what the worst movie they'd ever seen before that was?

The Godfather, Part II.

And that's when my old friend outrage showed up, bags in hand, ready to stay. I had him pull up a chair, and we played "Live, live, die," the rest of the afternoon.

Because these are the clowns upon whose backs we're riding upon. These are the looters in cyberspace. They're ransacking our culture, rather than our goods. They're dumbing down our society and poisoning our collective subconcious with their asinine spoutings. I don't know that there's enough yang out there to counter this yin. I really don't.

And just as they were out to upset people, there I was, feeding into it, begging to be upset. I walked into the trap clearly marked "Trap: Do Not Walk". I did it to myself. Because I wanted to be outraged. I want to know that there are wolves at the door, even if I have to go out and leave a trail of M&M's for the wolves to follow. This is my disease. I was the guy at Roarke's Drift calling up neighboring villages and asking them to send more Zulus.

It's me. I've come to the conclusion that I can't bear to see the forest for the trees. I have to look at the garbage littering the beauty. I have to see what I know I'm up against, even if I have to use binoculars and a road map.

I'm not seeing the generosity; I'm seeing the parasites. I wasn't seeing the five-star ratings; I was looking for the one-stars.

And if I don't stop doing this to myself, I'm going to go mad.

And the only comfort I'll have, as I rest the gun barrel between my teeth, is that I was right all along.

And dammit, that's hardly a comfort!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Ever-reliable IMDB

I'd like to thank whoever screwed up my IMDB listing. Yes, it was very nice of you to want to help. However, if you're such a fan of the bassist Mike Watt, why don't you know that he and I are not the same person?

If you're such a fan of his, why couldn't you look at the listing - just glance at it - and realize that the frontman for The Minutemen was NOT in Gladiator Eroticus and did NOT write and direct The Resurrection Game?

Yes, I realize that this is the fault of the IMDB for making it very easy for the average keyboard jockey to make updates to any page they wish to. Shame on them for asking for assistance.

But, seriously dude? You're an idiot. And a terrible fan.

For one thing, look at the top of my listing where it mentions my age.


Watt the bassist was in his 20s when he fronted The Minutemen. Shouldn't that tell you something if you're such a fan?

Further down, where it lists my biography, and it mentions the slew of magazines I wrote for - Cinefantastique, Femme Fatales, Film Threat, etc... Are any of these listed in Watt's Hoot Page? Hmm, Captain Fan?

Now, there are a ton of people far less cool than one of the greatest living bassists for me to be confused with. I'm flattered by the confusion, really. I'm sure Mr. Watt is less-so. On the other hand, he probably doesn't get the miscommunique that often. The last time I spoke to him on the Film Threat boards, he had gotten a single email asking him if he were the FT writer, so he told me I could be THE Mike Watt, and he'd be THE OTHER Mike Watt, because, as a bassist, he was comfortable with being in the background.

That was very nice of him.

I don't take umbrage at the mistake. I take umbrage at the fact that you spent a great deal of time messing with something I'd spent a great deal of time putting up. Yes, in the great scheme of things, it's the IMDB, and matters not in this world of high gas prices and wholesale overseas slaughter. But, again, you're obviously a great fan of this man.

So, again, why didn't you know that I'm not him?

Go pick on Bruce Campbell... he's really Glen Campbell, the singer. Or didn't you know that?