Thursday, December 29, 2005

Coming Soon...

I know, I know... I owe you my final "award"... the Blogger Full Monty Line-Up. All I can say is, seemed like a fun idea at the time. But considering nobody has been asking about this, maybe if I just let it go noone will notice.

Did want to point out that my tiny experiment was a mild success - I had quadruple the traffic last week. Not sure if this was due to multiple postings on a daily basis, teasing it all by announcing the lineup a few days in advance, or that by giving out awards the winners were apt to link back to me, or a combination of all that. Regardless, I'm going to see if I can extend this experiment by giving all of January a theme.

January will be devoted to posts on how to break into the film industry, with some focus on becoming a director. While I can't speak from expertise on how get the brass ring of a studio deal or a million dollars to make your feature film, I think I can at least offer some degree of insight and tips. More importantly, I do think I can at least offer some solid ideas on how to get your foot in the door and start making connections.

While I've been thinking about writing about all this for some time now, I have to give credit to this post by the BankofKev for getting me more focused on the topic. My first post will address Kev's in more detail. In short, I think Kev's dismissal of the internet as a forum for new directors to be discovered as not only pointless, but wrong. More on this coming Monday.

Of course, I know the bulk of my readers are already in Hollywood with some degree of success, or have no interest whatsoever. So, I encourage any of the former to pipe in with suggestions and corrections. And for everyone else I'll still be posting whatever else I think about. However, if you've stumbled across this blog and you are one of the few who are hoping to make it the entertainment industry, drop me a line, email me for advice, and also feel free to give me suggestions or corrections.

For a kick start, I'd like to give a bonus TonyP to Pennsylvania filmmaker/musician JayV, a longtime loyal commenter who I've failed to show much love. He gets the "Most Neglected Blogger" award. He's one of the most supportive commenter/bloggers out there, so pay him a visit and give him a hello.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Innocent Bystander Shot iin Westwood Village

Innocent Bystander Is Shot, Badly Wounded in Westwood Restaurant - Los Angeles Times

The Habibi restaurant where this took place is literally across the street from the Mann Village theatre, the greatest single screen theatre in the US. Before moving to Hollywood and the opening of the Arclight, Westwood was where I spent most of my time. Home to the UCLA campus, for years Westwood has straddled the misnomers of rich shopping village or ghost town full of upscale shops, rows of empty store fronts, and countless vagrants. While the shooting isn't a shock, its the last thing Westwood Village needs.

As LA Observed points out, "It happened one block north of where student Karen Toshima was killed by gang crossfire in 1988, beginning the end of Westwood as L.A.'s hot spot for movie openings and weekend crowds."

No time left to make the donuts

Unless you grew up around a Dunkin' Donuts, you probably never get the joke when in the early morning people mutter, "Time to make the donuts", made infamous by actor Michael Vale in countless commercial spots for the donut chain.

Vale died Christmas Eve, perhaps ironically, of diabetes. - 'Time to make the doughnuts' actor dies - Dec 27, 2005

On a side note, two weeks ago Franklin Avenue speculated that Dunkin' Donuts may be returning to Southern California...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

from Metroblogging Los Angeles: Carping On The El Crapitan

Will Campbell at posts about his recent experience seeing Narnia for $22/seat at the El Capitan.

Looking for a Christmas Day tour through the magical land of Narnia, I ended up settling on the El Cap because it was the nearest theater in the area that offered online ticketing and reserved seating -- but that "VIP" option comes at a hefty premium. When the price came up on screen I mistakenly thought the $22 pricetag was for both seats. Hell no. At checkout I was about to be dinged for $44 plus a $2 per seat "service fee." That shit scared me so bad, I not only closed the browser window, but ran away from the computer like a litle girl... I ended up rationalizing it: Jesus' birthday does only come but once a year, and the price did include popcorn and a drink... But the drink was a 20-ounce screwtop and that free popcorn? Weak. Sure it came in a souvineer Narnia bucket, but it contained a super-stale kidsized portion to go with the kidsized seats we were forced to endure...

Read the whole piece here.

In short: the El Capitan blows.

I had the same exact experience seeing Finding Nemo a few years ago, although I didn't pay for the VIP seats. More of my experience in their comments section. Alas, I've kept to my vow of never returning.

Which is a shame - aestheticaly (sp?), the El Capitan is a beautiful theatre, and on occasion even features a live organist before the show. But until they correct the $22 ticket price (a little less than half the cost of a full days admission to Disneyland) I'll continue to blacklist the theatre.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Best Blog Post of 2005(Offline Adventures 2005 Awards)

I'll admit that some of these awards were custom titled for the recipient (like Rex Adventure, below). But a couple challenged me a little, such as blogger who most inspired me to write.

The award I wished I'd never mentioned is this one, for Best Blog Post of 2005. A couple years ago, this would have easily gone to this post about a hot wing challenge written by MIA blogger Tyranny - but this year I've been more impressed with the writers as a whole than any particular post. Shane Nickerson's multi part series on That Time We Went to Florida was definitely a contender, and had there been an award for best multi-part he'd have won (except for being disqualified for never finishing the tale). Another multi-parter that almost made it was Jessica Stover's Episode III: Revenge of the Nerds, but as it reminds too much of the heartbreak I had watching the movie I had to relent. Simpleton is immediately disqualified, since I already awarded him Best Blogger... and I'd have a hard time picking between his many posts to choose the best one (this recent post, for example).

In short, this is a difficult award to give out. What makes it even more challenging is having to think back over a whole year of posts, and trying to think of which one stood out the most.

Alas, I have to cheat on two fronts. To begin with, this award is being split between two people. The second cheat is that one of the posts used no words at all.

So, here we go....

One TonyP for Best Blog Post of 2005 goes to AJ Gentile for proving that even a day at the DMV can be fun, if only you try:

I Am the Top Nerd At the DMV is a blog post, like Tyranny's, that I found myself telling my friends to check out, and repeating aloud at parties as though I was explaining a great movie scene. AJ may have other posts which are funnier, but this one was somehow both accessible and useful; it should be mandatory reading for anyone dreading a trip to the DMV.

The second TonyP for Best Blog Post of 2005 also happens to be the best Video Blog of 2005, if not the Best Use of Video in a Blog of All Time. I'd make additional titular suggestions, but its far too annoying even for me.

Naiahdot's post "No Words" is a follow up to this one written a couple days prior:

In a fairly random semantic coincidence, both the er doc and my new doctor used the same idiom about the thyroid issue, in regard to the pain that I’ve been experiencing. Either, they think that the growth is actually a lump of fish stuck to my thyroid, or the pain issue and the thyroid/other neck lumps have nothing to do with each other. It’s the latter. I’m certain; you’ll see...

Click to watch the Best Vlog Post of 2005 by Naihdot.

final awards to be given out later of Friday:

Blogger I'd Most Like to See Naked
(for the ladies) Fantasy Full Monty Male Bloggers Line Up (nominations now being accepted)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Best Los Angeles Themed Blog (Offline Adventures 2005 Awards)

Especially in the past year I've barely felt the need to read the LA Times, or any newspaper for that matter, as I've mostly turned to online sources for news. Especially in the case of local news and events, I've turned entirely to the blogosphere, even neglecting my old favorite LA Weekly. This isn't just due to my ready accessibility of the net so much as the fact that Los Angeles can boast a great number of fantastic blogs that keep people up to date on the city and its inhabitants in many different ways.

While I can't entitle it "Best Los Angeles Blog", is certainly the one I frequent most often. It combines informative posts about local rumors, as well as frequent sophmoric gripes about traffic, parking, and noisy neighbors. For a while I put the LAist neck and neck with, but in the past year it appears LAist has become less blog and more of a replacement for the Calendar section of the Times, focusing on lists of band dates, movie reviews, and advice columns that smack of corporate pandering than raw blogging (and I say this cautiously - I make my living off of corporate pandering).

Another favorite is the "open source", which allows and encourages anyone to submit a post. All posts are screened by site editor Mack Reed before posting, so while this keeps out ridiculous posts and spam, the delay means LAVoice lacks the ability to post about breaking news in "real time", which is its only drawback.

But the TonyP for Best Los Angeles Themed Blog goes to LA Observed, the most hard news oriented blog about Los Angeles. The highlight of LA Observed is the daily morning recap called "First Thing" using a variety of legitimate news sources and blogs to bullet point whats going on in the city. Best of all, Observed manages to make recaps of city council sessions interesting. Its a clean site that lacks the drama and bells and whistles of all the other local blogs, but it takes on the responsibility of being a true Los Angeles news source that is so lacking from even the professional writers he cites and links to. Bruce Feirstein from the New York Observer sums it up best (from LA Observed's sidebar): "In just a few postings a day, he gets to the flesh and blood of the city...It makes you feel as if you’re part of L.A., in the way the L.A. Times doesn’t."

Special credit to 1947 Project as the coolest local blog, as they blog about LA news, with an emphasis on crimes and misdemeanors, from the same day back in 1947... the year the Black Dahlia was murdered.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Blogger I Dreamt Most About This Year (Offline Adventures 2005 Awards)

Sometime last year I posted about having a naughty dream involving recently engaged blogger Bunny McIntosh. It was a one night stand - I've never dreamed about her again. Which is highly unfortunate, for me anyway.

Anyway, this award would probably be better titled "Blogger I Had the Naughtiest Dream About", but I don't want to creep out the recipient. Since she appeared in more than one dream of mine, I custom fit the title. I should also add that she's welcome in my dreams anytime.

The night I had my scandalous encounter with her was after reading a blog posting (another candidate for best blog post of 2005) detailing her first kiss. That, combined with some pics of her, gave me one of the sexiest dreams I'd had in a while. Of course, I never told my girlfriend about this, and fortunately she never reads this blog (so don't tell), so I can reveal this here.

The details at this point are sketchy, but feel free to make stuff up on your own. It involved being on a couch at a party, and leading elsewhere with less clothes. And yes, lots of making out...

The TonyP for Blogger I Dreamt Most About This Year/Blogger I Had the Naughtiest Dream About goes to Blood and Guts blogger Helena Lazaro, who continues to so aptly spill her blood and guts of breakups, lost loves, and fantasies to a captivated readership. I even think her mom reads the blog, poor lady. I may read the blogs from lots of gorgeous girls, but for some reason Helena is the only one to have crept in and seduced me in a dream. And for that alone she deserves mention. She's also a killer writer.

Oh, yeah... the blog posting was from her two parter called Johnny Rockstar (part one, part two)... but this post is also worth reading...

Coming the rest of this week...

Sexiest Blogger
Best Los Angeles Themed Blog

Hottest "Buzznetter"
Best Blog Post of 2005

Blogger I'd Most Like to See Naked
(for the ladies) Fantasy Full Monty Male Bloggers Line Up (nominations now being accepted)

Blogger Who Most Inspired Me To Write (Offline Adventures 2005 Awards)

Yep, I'm gonna hold off an extra hour or so before posting the salcious award for "Blogger I Dreamt Most About This Year". On the bright side, the winner of this category can be assured they didn't win this one.

I'd also like to give an accolade to the "Blogfather" himself, Tony Pierce, by giving the Offline Adventures Award a name, and that name is The TonyP ("the Tony" award is already taken but some other awards group).

Originally, I was going to make this a dual prize for both Shane Nickerson and AJ Gentile, who deserve many accolades in their own right, but not this one.

Shane continues to post well thought, interesting posts on a daily basis, often anecdotes from his youth and college years. The consisteny and quality is amazing. After he becomes a huge famous actor he should consider becoming a creative writing teacher. (ironically, as I post this Nickerson is on a montg long sabattical from blogging.)

"Newcomer" AJ Gentile reminds me of a more sarcastic, yet white collar version of Hunter S. Thompson - I'd compare him to Martin Mull but AJ a bit more colorful and interesting and, lets face it, nobody knows who Martin Mull is. AJ is also a candidate for "Best Post of 2005" which will be announced on Thursday.

So, in retrospect, if I was to make an award for Blogger Who I Most Aspired to Write Like, it would go to those two crazy kids.

The award I'm handing out right now more realistically should go to the Blogger who actually did inspire and cause me to write - although, in this case, it wasn't to write more blog posts, but more comments on someone elses blog...

The award for Blogger Who Most Inspired Me To Write this year goes to that tattoo crazy, right winger Reverse_Vampyr. "RV" is one of the few writers with an often conservative slant who I can actually listen to - his posted opinions aren't based on following the GOP/Fox News talking points. Instead, RV regularly posts an original approach and reasoning. RV also has a regular Wednesday post called the Midweek Peek, which is a shameless excuse to post a photo of one cleavage baring woman or another - and I love him for it. While RV denies subscribing to any party line, one glance at his blog will make it clear he has no love for "liberals" as a whole, which often results on my posting a scathing critique, and posting often. Reverse_Vampyr is worthy of spending the time to debate and respect. That's why he's received Offline Adventure's TonyP for Blogger Who Most Inspired Me To Write.

Monday, December 19, 2005

2005 Offline Adventures Blog Awards This Week!

I know this is late notice, but in a little experiment to see how much original and return traffic I can drive to this blog I present a week long series of dubious honors!

As you know, I already spontaneously awarded Simpleton "Offline Adventure's Best Blogger of 2005", but there are a number of other blogs that deserve some recognition, and, as you'll figure out soon enough, I'm simply looking for a reason to post some pictures of boobies. Apologies to any underage readers, or at least their parents.

It may be safe to say that most of these awards will be given out to bloggers already in my blogroll (at left), but some surprises await. And feel free to send me suggestions - I'm not entirely decided on all the winners, and my vote can be bought. I'm cheap.

So, with no further ado, the categories are:

Blogger I Dreamt Most About This Year (scandalous confession awaits!)
Blogger Who Most Inspired Me To Write (before procrastination set in)

Sexiest Blogger
Best Los Angeles Themed Blog

Hottest "Buzznetter"
Best Blog Post of 2005

Blogger I'd Most Like to See Naked
(for the ladies) Fantasy Full Monty Male Bloggers Line Up (nominations now being accepted)

On a sidenote, big thanks to some recent commenters who've stopped by with a kind word: Dan at Gone Mild, who I think is the only person that liked my short "Magic Wand"... Paul from the CCC who was trying to outwit Thai Transvestites... now-celebrity blogger Peggy Archer who was also intrigued by the trannies... scandalous Susan Natalie who confessed here that she's a coffee snob, but confessed elsewhere that she failed at a career in porn... and the infamous RadioHumper, who's equally a fan of the amazing Simpleton...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Arclight jumping the shark?

Saw Kong last night, which is not the point of this post... but in brief: easily one hour two long, a structural mess, but some outstanding actions sequences made it worthwhile.

Now, onto my newest critique of the Arclight. I point this out not to dissuade anyone from heading over to what I still feel is the greatest theatre ever (the Mann Village remains the greatest) so much as an open complaint letter.

Here's what happened: I'd purchased my tickets weeks ago for the midnight screening of Kong at the Arclight Cinerama Dome. The show filled up very quickly. I think it could be said that almost all of the people who purchased tickets for the event are frequent Arclight patrons.

I wanted to arrive 30 minutes early to allow time for concessions. Besides, since I was going with a group of friends if we had some time to kill and chat, I didn't think anyone would mind.

Alas, the concession line alone did take about twenty minutes. Completely unnecessary. It appeared they had an undertrained holiday staff on deck that night for a sold out show.

Thats gripe #1. Its petty, boring, and since I knew it would happen can't complain too much. Whatever. Now for #2:

On our way into our seats we see there's a line. The ushers are telling people how to find their seats, causing a backup. As I pointed out, most of the people attending that night have been to the Arclight before. Additionally, they've already seen their seat locations online or when they bought their tickets. So, another five minutes killed, waiting for everyone to be told what people at every other screening can usually figure out on their own. While I understand that its nice to have ushers on hand to help people who appear lost or have a question, I saw most people were genuinely annoyed with being directed to their seats.

Again, who cares.

#3. For the last few years, when freelancing has been particularly slow I've always considered working at the Arclight, but only if I could "present" the show. Before every screening an Arclight usher walks in front of the audience, asks everyone to turn off their cel phones, lets everyone know that they'll be standing by to make sure picture and sound quality are okay, and occassionally to mention any upcoming Arclight events. Some of these guys are brief, some guys are hilarious. But when they're longwinded and just plain annoying, thats when I figure I could do the job as well. So, the usher comes out before Kong and gives the 'ol "Welcome Ladies and Gentleman" in a deep, game show emcee voice, before introducing himself as not only an usher, but one of the guys who started Whoop-dee-do. He also said he had a special message from Peter Jackson just for us (golly!)... after droning on about how exciting his website is, he finally shared with us the message -- that he said was straight from Peter Jacksons mouth to our ears (even though it was typed via internet chat, and repeated by this schmo)... and the messages was "Enjoy the movie!" It may as well have been, "Enjoy your Ovaltine." Nothing that the audience benefited from, such as "I shagged Naomi Watts during the shoot" or "my next project will be 'The Hobbit'". And then to end things on a low note, he finished by saying "And without further ado, here's King Kong!" Which was followed by about ten minutes of trailers for upcoming movies... and then King Kong hit the screen.

Finally, #4: I logged onto the Arclight site, always a technical disaster, to see if any other special screenings had been announced when I saw a message that, fortunately, doesn't pertain to me. It reads:

If you purchased (King Kong) tickets prior to 12/6 for a Dome show Wednesday through Sunday, 12/14 -12/18, note that due to the film's length, several show times have been changed. For each of the days, the 12noon show has been moved to 11am, the 3:30pm show to 3:00pm and the 10:30pm to 10:55pm. Your tickets and seat assignments have NOT changed (and the 7pm show time has not changed). Please just arrive according to the new show schedule and your original tickets will be honored.

I wonder how many people are showing up today, one hour after start time, who didn't get this update? Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.


On a happier note, I should point out that on Monday night I was able to see a screening of "Good Night, and Good Luck" at the Arclight with a Q&A afterwards with some of the cast and crew, including George Clooney, David Straitharn, and Frank Vangella. It was free. On the way I strolled past Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez as they were about to enter a press screening for "Hostel" produced by QT. And next Monday and Tuesday I'll be seeing "The New World" and "Munich"... free again, with Q&As after.

What? Huh? What?

According to Sploid! - no more journalism than, say, Drudge Report - last weeks shooting by US Air Marshalls of a man they suspected had a bomb is incredibly suspect:

...undercover agents pumped five bullets into U.S. citizen Rigoberto Alpizar, who had just had an emotional argument with his wife and wanted to get off the plane while it was still parked at the jetway... Then the air marshals methodically terrorized every passenger remaining on the jet -- especially the children -- sticking loaded guns in their faces... Alpizar not only didn't have a bomb, he never even claimed to have a bomb. Worse, his wife pleaded with the sky marshals, telling them her husband suffered from emotional problems and needed medication...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Cleaner Dogs

A little over a year ago I asked my friend Al Kramer to read a few lines for the short, "How To Vote". I ended up using him as the bookends. If you've seen it, you may have believed Al was Tony Pierce, Age 110. In actuality, Al is a sprite 92 years old, and still quite interested in pop culture and the world at large.

After the shoot, Al gave me a dog he made out of pipe cleaners, a token he often gives to people who have either meant something to him, or he simply believed would appreciate the gift. Since then, I've talked with Al enough to know he has an incredible amount of life experiences to share (as a working actor in Hollywood, to travelling with the circus, and hanging out with Marlon Brando, as well as sharing birthday parties with Grace Kelly).

I decided to take a stab at documentary style filmmaking with my latest short, and asked Al if I could interview him about his "Cleaner Dogs." He agreed. While I may not have captured it completely, the story begins when he was 14, and continues to this day.

The resulting short is far from complete, let alone perfect, but I still thought my handful of readers might appreciate what I've been working on for the past few days.

Cleaner Dogs
6.9mb, WMV

Monday, December 12, 2005

Now that Governor Schwarzenegger has denied clemency for convicted gang killer Tookie Williams, word in the press is that there may be some rioting in protest. At least from the sanctity of my local Starbucks full of more than a dozen white folks, like myself, everything appears calm... maybe because we're all placated by the equally white iPods that isolate us from the outside world. Of course, there could be a few people listening to 2Pac in our midst, sleeper cells of rioters waiting for a signal before they storm the counter and start looting the cranberry bliss bars and holiday blend bags of coffee.

I can't say its a shame that Tookie Williams is going to be executed. What is a shame is the continued use of executions in this country, considering the inexcusably high rate of death row criminals who are found to have been wrongly prosecuted. This is a topic death penalty proponents always dismiss and ignore - they don't want to admit that a few dead innocents is worth being able to exact vengeance on others. While some people certainly don't deserve to live, the fear of the death penalty is not a deterrant - people who are desperate to kill will do so, whether they believe they could be sent to prison or the electric chair (or gas chamber, or whatever). If anything, the only benefit of the death penalty is as a threat to coerce testimonies from accomplices after the fact... and closure for the victims families. But in no way does revenge make up for state sponsored murder of people who could be, and have been, innocent.

Now, I must pay attention to the most gorgeous MILF I've ever seen who's just sat one table ahead of me. She looks ready to riot.

Best Blogger of 2005

Perhaps best blogger ever.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Politically Correct Fox News Selling "Holiday" Ornaments

Hammer of Truth ? Ironic: Fox News Sells “Holiday Tree” Ornaments

The same network that claims "the left" is attempting to attack Christianity by taking the word Christmas out of the Holiday season, was up until recently selling "Holiday Ornaments"... they've since renamed their items as being "Christmas Ornaments".


Principal Places Video Camera In School Bathroom To Watch Little Boys

I kid not.

Once again reminding me that youngsters have every reason to distrust their elders.