busblog

nothing in here is true

  1. Tuesday, May 7, 2019

    dear posterity 

    because nothing in here is true, it’s tough, sometimes, when looking back through this blog to figure out *exactly* what is going on in my life.

    so i will tell you that i am in excellent health, knock wood,

    i have a lovely girlfriend who lives with me and my two cats, Prince & Michael, here in East Hollywood

    i am surrounded by amazing friends, most of whom i have known from college or the various jobs ive had

    i am currently unemployed living on savings (always save for a rainy day, Cub fans)

    even though i have been super qualified for several jobs ive applied for, for some reason they haven’t made it past the first interview phase.

    i have two or three good possibilities out there. it’s gonna happen.  I should just clean my apartment and enjoy this time off but to be honest i am a bit worried, in part, because i couldn’t have been more perfect for some of these gigs.

    i have a friend who wrote me the other day to tell me that agism is real and he is feeling it too. but i dont believe thats the case for me. i have an amazing track record. the companies i work for almost always do well when im there. hell even the giants went to the playoffs the year i sold beer there.

    i truly believe that Hearts have been Hardened so that i would be available for the Perfect next gig, and this waiting game was so i would appreciate that job even more than i would have normally appreciated it.

    anyways posterity, right now there is this thing called Movie Pass that lets you go to the theater every day and see a movie for just $10 a month. most theaters participate in it. so today i saw the Aretha Franklin doc “Amazing Grace” at the NoHo 7.

    by 1972, aretha had nearly a dozen huge hits under her belt and even though she was raised by a famous detroit pastor and learned to sing in the church, she hadn’t recorded a gospel album since her debut when she was 14.

    she flew to Watts and knocked out Amazing Grace over two nights in what was a small movie theater that had recently been converted to a Baptist church. Sidney Pollock, a decade before he directed “Tootsie” was roaming around with a camera, two of the Rolling Stones were lurking in the back row (and eventually made their way up front) but all eyes were on the 29 year old Lady Soul.

    she was backed by three rows of gospel singers, a rhythm section, including a dude on congas, and her dad’s former musical director on piano.

    the story on how the film finally got released is epic on its own. apparently Pollock made a rookie mistake by not using the clapper between songs so they could sync the cameras with the audio, so the unedited footage sat and sat in the Warner Bros vaults until this dude mortgaged his house to buy the reels so he could edit them.

    once he did, Aretha fought him for 8 years to keep it from being seen.

    which is bizarre because when the double record was released in ’72, it was a smash hit. not just Aretha’s biggest album in her career, but the best selling gospel record of all time.

    why didn’t she want the movie out there?

    all these critics today are falling over themselves about how it’s one of the greatest music docs of all time. but they’re not being honest. it’s historic, no doubt. it’s a fine document of two nights in South Central LA when a legendary artist sang so well that her mentor had to sit down and cry in the middle of the title track.

    but it doesn’t tell the story.

    we don’t learn why she chose to leave her beloved Detroit to come to the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church for this record. why are the Stones there? where’s Keef? why are there so many empty seats? why does Aretha barely talk? who are these musicians? why these songs?

    something tells me the doc about the doc would be way more interesting, but seeing how tough it was to just release this, i doubt The Making Of would come around any time soon.

    i love music documentaries more than any other genre. you should have seen the smile on my face when it began. but halfway through i was struggling to stay awake. it was beautiful music but nothing was happening visually. i was bored – which is hard to do with such inspirational music.

    i gave it a B but listened to the record all night.

    amber and i took a long walk.

    shes a good girl.

    im lucky.

     

  2. Friday, May 3, 2019

    shout out to amber, our personal superstar 

    two years ago she was working at an easily forgettable hotel off ventura blvd.

    she was their front desk agent of the month one month.

    one day she texted me and said, i love these people but i gotta get out of here.

    and shared with me stories of one valley drama after another.

    i told her, the waldorff just opened in beverly hills, im sure theyd love all the skills you’ve learned there and elsewhere.

    she was all, LOL, doubt it, they’re really fancy, but ok i’ll try.

    and boom she was hired as a personal concierge.

    first they put her on the grueling overnight shift. she shined. helped some famous people that are household names, who loved her. and then they placed her in the early morning shift.

    some days she stood at the front door for hours opening it and saying hi hi hi hi, other days she was on the phones, sometimes she was the bellperson carrying people’s bags, and some days she was rocking it at the front desk.

    she won best on her team a few months ago, in part because she signs people up for their rewards card, effortlessly upgrades people who want bigger and better, and is beloved by everyone from the housekeepers to the valets

    if you look on trip advisor the guests leave sweet comments about her.

    and when they return to the hotel they’ve been known to hug her

    she truly is that nice.

    but personal concierge isn’t lobby concierge, and that’s really where she shines because

    not long ago she was a lobby concierge at a different fancy hotel by the beach

    where she was the best at advising travelers and tourists and honeymooners and everyone

    about where to eat and what to do. helicopter tours? trips to catalina? nobu?

    she’s a native los angeleno which means she’s not just knowledgeable but more than helpful.

    so the other day she noticed that a different fancy hotel was looking for a lobby concierge

    and that hotel has a bunch of the top rated concierges in town.

    you can tell because when you’re awesome they give you this tough-to-get pin,

    The call it is getting your keys.

    if you saw the great Wes Anderson film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” they spoke of

    a Society of Crossed Keys, a secret, international collection of world class concierges

    who can book you a table at the toughest restaurant,

    get you tickets to the most sold out show,

    or perform impossible feats of service from behind a podium at the highest quality hotels around the world.

    in reality there truly is an international group of concierges who actually do attempt to meet every need they are asked

    and they too have a crossed key pin

    and the next hotel that amber will be working at has about 5-6 members of that club as concierges,

    who, i am certain, will take her under their wing and teach them their tricks

    and she will share with them all the secrets she knows.

    like, for example, where to get the best ramen they’ve ever had the pleasure of known – just 10 minutes from LAX.

    oh did i bury the lede? amber applied and was accepted and starts at the new place soon.

    it has been amazing to watch her rise up the ladder and literally have her dreams come true.

    when we first started dating this is all she talked about

    and here it is.

    reach for the stars dear friends, they want to hug you!

  3. Saturday, April 6, 2019

    ive seen a bunch of movies the four weeks 

    i have the amc theater subscription that lets you see three movies a week for $25 a month.

    it can be imax, 3d, premium theaters, anything, and it’s a good chunk of what’s out there.

    living in hollywood, theres 7 theaters within a 9.5 radius of me. over 70 different screens.

    but lets say you’re enjoying a few days out in palm springs or scottsdale and wanna see Gloria Bell

    well you can do that too

    i saw Us the same day i saw the Motley Crue thing on Netflix and it pained me to realize i liked the trashy hair metal bio pic better than the stylized mind trip masquerading as a horror flick.

    im told Us is better the second time, and i must say i feel the same way about The Dirt.

    another guilty pleasure was The Beach Bum which is utterly ridiculous but was beautiful to watch

    and i felt supercharged afterwards.

    arent movies supposed to be art?

    isn’t it interesting to watch your buttons get pushed and your feelings get futzed with

    while your senses are tingling, in my case, additionally due to the on-the-money soundtrack

    maybe im an easy audience but i also liked Alita: Battle Angel

    i wasn’t expecting much but i was more than impressed by the live action / animation sfx bruiser

    plus you have christoph waltz and mahersala ali – four oscars between them – in surprisingly intricate roles

    i dont know why i expected a james cameron / robert rodriguez movie to be bad, but im an idiot

    was not in the slightest bit scared during the remake of Pet Semetary, the story steven king says was the one story that freaked him out.

    is there something wrong with me? probably. i will cry in movies no problem but rarely am i scared.

    is it because ive seen it all? am i really a million years old?

    i thought it was a trudge through most of it, but i was stunned at how well the third act was.

    still i give it a D and feel totally alienated when i read good reviews about it

    Dumbo was another one that i had low expectations for and that Disney magic got me

    how do they do it?

    last night i saw Shazam in imax at citywalk

    you dont have to watch it on a giant screen but it sure looked good.

    i laughed i cried i cheered. this is my favorite movie of the year so far.

    it is everything you should want from a comic book superhero origin story

    whoever the dude is playing shazam couldnt have been more perfect

    dc has done an excellent job of putting b and c-list actors in leading roles for

    wonder woman, aquaman, and now shazam

    and because the movies are so well written and well made

    the movies become monsters and the stars become super famous.

    its money ball for movies.

  4. Tuesday, April 2, 2019

    i had a good day, praise God 

    i dont know how much free will we have. but heres my guess.

    when i was a kid they had electric slot cars that you could get from the sears catalogue for like $50-$60

    which was a lot of money in those days. a house cost a nickel.

    the thing about these slot cars were you could go fast but if you took it too hard around the corners they would fly off into the dining room and you had to go get em and put em back

    i think God sees us fly off sometimes and he’ll put us back when he sees fit

    or maybe not at all if he’s tired with your triflin ass.

    for a week i was nervous about today and i thought i was gonna spiral off in a way

    that would have me inconvenienced, lets say, for the rest of the year.

    but that wasnt the case at all.

    my weird little whip around the corner was fun, oddly.

    and afterwards i picked up the pretty girl. drove her home.

    she wanted to work on this thing shes doing. so i went back to burbank

    and watched Dumbo in iMax and it was good.

    so thank you Lord!

  5. Monday, April 1, 2019

    took amber to see “the beach bum” last night 

    she hadn’t seen any of Harmony Korine’s films (Gummo, Spring Breakers, Julien Donkey Boy) but i had and loved him.

    i love how free his characters are, how complicated he makes them. equal parts disgusting and wild, selfish and unconscious. do they have feelings? do feelings limit us? are morals important? should we push tuba players into the sea? should we kill cats and sell them to the grocer? is drinking and driving bad?

    he pushes all the buttons about sex drugs and rock in this one. friendship. marriage. even crossdressing. it’s a wild journey through the vessel of oscar winner matthew mcconaughey who goes through ups and downs, but the low points dont effect them the same way it would you and i. which is inspirational to a point, but unbelievable. this is a man who can be homeless, live among the poorest, and then ride in a giant yacht with snoop dogg and have exactly the same experiences.

    isnt that what we should all aspire for? isn’t that how life should be?

    harmony’s extremes have always included neon colors and boozing and guns and drugs and music (an excellent array here from The Cure to Jimmy Buffet to many sounds of the 70s) and random topless women.

    it can be startling to endure 90 minutes of debauchery from a character who you are trying to determine if you like or not. he is a poet. or at least he thinks he is. his agent, played poorly by the usually talented jonah hill, thinks he’s a great writer. in fact everyone including the judge who is deciding whether or not to send him to jail thinks he’s hugely talented. but is he? (yes) and is that enough to let him get away with acting like a spoiled brat? (maybe)

    when the film was over and people were still in their seats, Amber, who is also a free spirit, said, loudly, THAT WAS THE WORST MOVIE I’VE EVER SEEN.

    as we walked out, we passed a group. from it emerged a voice that said THAT SUCKED. I HATED IT. it was a mom with a huge scowl on her face. WE WASTED SO MUCH MONEY AND TIME ON THAT! she marched away from the group. I tried to console her by saying amber agreed with her. but that didn’t turn her frown upside-down. she clomped her way into the ladies room, her wildly dressed daughters trying to catch up behind.

    Well, I liked it. I told them. They said, we did too.

    I said, I couldn’t wait to see it.

    SAME! they said.

    I asked, have you seen Gummo.

    They said OMG YES!

    then amber said, oh so i guess I’m the mom and you relate to the hot young chicks. Nothing has changed.

     

  6. Friday, March 29, 2019

    RIP Agnès 

    I’m someone who likes to learn. You won’t last long in social media / tech / digital unless you are willing to continue to study trends and new platforms and fresh approaches and things you’ve never seen before.

    While at the Academy I learned so much about filmmakers I had never heard of. One of them was Agnès Varda who died today at 90.

    But I learned about her in such a weird way. She and the artist JR (no periods) were nominated for directing the documentary feature “Faces Places” and at the nominees luncheon he brought a cardboard likeness of her as she could not attend.

    He posed with the likeness, he had other nominees hold it… it was a spectacle but in the sweetest sense because clearly all these filmmakers knew who Agnès was and they loved it and her.

    One day something crazy happened at our building. Like there was a fire alarm that kept malfunctioning or something and they sent us home. But across the street they were showing Faces Places, so I took the opportunity to see the film – and it was so lovely.

    I immediately could see why it was nominated. And I could also see that JR was more than just a freaky dude being weird at the fancy luncheon – he’s a true artist and precisely the type of person you would want to partner with if you are also an artist like Agnès.

    The year before the Academy saluted her with an Honorary Oscar. Angelina Jolie presented it to her and danced with her on the stage. I hope that today she is dancing with all the other film legends who, I am sure, are welcoming her with open arms.

     

  7. Thursday, March 21, 2019

    poor junebug 

    saw alita: battle angel today, not bad, was expecting it to be disappointing but

    james cameron is a technical wizard and his ability to make live action actors interact with CGI is worth the price of admission alone.

    and then robert rodriguez, who is no slouch, directed it beautifully.

    people give disney and pixar a hard time but when you see other studios try, you notice what they get wrong.

    if this was disney there would have been a deeper theme to the tale, a true moral.

    here it seemed like it was trying to tell a story but there really wasnt anything there. i think thats why no ones talking about it.

    mahershala ali, who at first you think how’d you end up here, has to do some insane acting and pulls it off wonderfully.

    i would have loved to seen what other actors did while auditioning for that role.

     

  8. Saturday, February 23, 2019

    looking forward to the live action shorts tomorrow 

    Went to the movies tonight as my last chance to see a nominated film before the Oscars. I saw they were screening all the nominated Live Action Shorts, so I went. Mama mia, what an intense experience.

    4 of the 5 nominees are about kids in grave peril and the other is about a sweet old French-Canadian lady on her death bed. So: tearful to say the least.

    The two though that really stood out for me were “Skin” which is about hate crimes based in racism, and “Detainment” where two kids are accused of killing a 2 year old.

    Walking out of the theater I was giving the edge to “Skin” because it was told slightly better, but the performance of 11-year-old Ely Solan in “Detainment” is tremendous and when I got home I watched the trailer just to see him do it again.

    If there was a Juvenile Oscar like they had back in the day, this kid would have walked away with it. Not just because he can bring the waterworks but because the script was based on the interrogation transcripts, so this lad embodied history and spit it out as if it was truly happening to him.

    But, alas, there’s controversy about this film. Turns out the parents of the victim are super pissed that they weren’t consulted, and feel like this 30 minute short humanizes the pair. Apparently there was a petition created once the film got on the short list and once it got nominated people, like me, started paying attention. Now a quarter million people are demanding that the director or the branch or whoever has the power can get it pulled from contention. But what up n coming director wants to work on something and then give up right before crossing the finish line?

    Which is why I bring it to your attention. It’s a totally compelling movie of a super tragic incident and young Ely is such a natural in this role as an child being drilled by cops into slowly telling this grisly tale. Merely for acting sake it’s worth watching.

    Also it’s a weird little lesson in perspective. From this side of the pond it’s one of the best short movies of the year, and from that side it’s, I guess, a skeleton in the closet that very few want exposed and retold.

    So it will be very interesting to see, if it wins, what backlash, if any, will come from the UK onto the director when he brings the statuette home. I’ll also be curious how this affects his career as a director. Will he have to move to America? Change his name? Become an Uber driver?

    All of the UK will be watching that oft-overlooked category extremely closely.

  9. Monday, January 14, 2019

    saw Free Solo 

    in school they taught us the secret to writing a good story

    introduce a totally lovable character, then fuck their lives over and see what happens. if they pull it off, great. if they die, then thats a tragedy. either is fine.

    either is fine.

    so here they make us fall in love with this totally unique person. he happens to be a mountain climber.

    and the thing he loves to do the most is climb without ropes.

    one false move and he dies.

    at the academy you will meet some people who are obsessed with watching movies. one of those people worked on the same floor as me.

    and i noticed that he was going to see this movie again because he loved it

    and he was seeing it in IMAX, because it’s made by National Geographic

    because mountain climbing is beautiful, apparently

    and even though i think this movie would be emotional and beautiful and terrifying no matter where you see it

    im so glad i saw it on imax.

    for 2018 movies theres two movies ive given an A+ to:

    isle of dogs
    and now
    free solo

  10. Friday, January 11, 2019

    ive been watching lots of movies 

    some i had seen before some i hadnt. in just the last seven days ive seen

    the big lebowski
    greenberg
    confessions of a dangerous mind
    devil in a blue dress
    500 days of summer
    and a doc on jerry lewis, who i learned bought his first big house in pacific palisades