Feb. 26, 2005

(photo by Erika Heald)

Oranger & Flaming Lips Filmfest @ Noisepop

Last night I went to see my Oranger pals Mike Drake, Matt Harris, Patrick Main, Bob Reed, and special guest Alan Stewart (of RobotSpeak) perform their live original score to Dziga Vertov's silent-era experimental film -- Man With a Movie Camera at the historic Castro Theater.

Originally commissioned by the Los Angeles International Film Festival, Oranger's score incorporated everything from traditional Russian folk music to ubercool theramin solos...not to mention Oranger's usual brand of indie pop. I've been friends with these guys for quite awhile now, and I have to say, this was one of the best shows I've seen them do. It was fun to see Matt play the drums for a change of pace, and Patrick could kick Elton John's ass on the piano and theramin combined! The whole experience of watching a beautiful black and white silent film with the Oranger lads playing hauntingly beautiful music as the score was mystical, tingling and thoughtful. I was and still am in awe. Nick Tangborn is a genius for putting this show together for Noisepop. Bravo!

If that weren't enough, I stayed for the special screening of the new Flaming Lips documentary, The Fearless Freaks. We got to see it before those Austin hipsters at SXSW, so that was cool in itself. The director and the band's longtime pal Bradley Beesley was there to answer Q&A afterwards which was fun. He said besides us, only 3 other folks have seen it, so that was a special treat for him to show it to a real audience. Apparently, once the DVD is ready for retail it will have the original film we saw, and another disc full of outtakes and photos, plus commentary from Wayne! I'm not a huge Flaming Lips fan, but to tell you the truth, after seeing this documentary chronicling the 15 years this band has been rocking out, I am now. It was interesting to see how a band could stick together when they were barely making ends meet and one of their most talented members was killing himself with heroin. I was also completely won over by Wayne's love for his hometown where he still lives in Oklahoma City. And of course, I couldn't get enough of all the old Super 8 footage of the band members hanging out as kids -- especially the violent football gang they formed called the Fearless Freaks...hence the name of the film.

Also included in the Fearless Freaks documentary was footage about Wayne's epic DIY sci-fi flick he's making behind his house. It involves martians, a creepy baby and a lot of interesting props. Bradley said last night that he's still filming pieces of it just last week. Look out, George Lucas!

Feb. 24, 2005

Meet My New Virtual Boyfriend -- Isn't He Annoying?

Giving up on real boys, I recently decided to make the perfect boyfriend online from this handy site: http://tools.gurl.com/games/cyber_sweetie

Of course, after I answered a few key questions I ended up with Sid.
He's a hippie and he's freakin' annoying.

This is the first thing he said to me:
"Peace, Bonnie. May your cosmic willow tree grow and prosper.
I'm Sid. You've got such a well-balanced vibe, maybe you meditate?
I wish we could write together and I wish I could make you my special
wheatgrass and spirulina soy milk shake. It's amazing. Please come visit me often.
Your vibe is very calming."

Lame. I hate wheatgrass. And what kind of line is "May your cosmic willow tree grow and prosper," anyway? I mean he's cute for a cartoon. But he's boring, and fake sounding and I bet he uses those lame crystal rocks instead of real deodorant, so he probably smells like stale insense and BO.

And then he tries to win me over by saying:
"I wish I could make you a love bead necklace to celebrate our spiritual connection, Bonnie."

What spiritual connection? So far all you want me to do is drink your icky green health shakes. That's not exactly mind-altering love, now is it, Sid?

He keeps going thinking he's on a roll:
"Your eyes are such a rich shade of hazel. Do you eat low-sodium?"

I just ate a plate full of french fries when I MADE you, Sid. So no, I don't eat "low-sodium."

For a final try to woo me he says:
"Hey, Bonnie, I'm itching to get some fresh air.
Wish I could take you to a drum circle.
I wish we could play hackysack together."

So I broke up with him. He lost me at "drum circle." As if.

I can't believe my fake boyfriend is a bust. I suppose I'll stick to looking for the real thing. Eh.

Feb. 21, 2005

I'm Gonna Miss You, Hunter...

Hunter S. Thompson is dead...by his own hand.

I wish it didn't happen, but I understand. It seems suicide has always been on some level a "natural cause" of death for most great writers I've had respect for. If they don't shoot themselves, they OD or drink themselves to death.

I pursued journalism in high school because of this man. His take no prisoners approach to journalism opened up my eyes to what writing could be and accomplish. He made me think, laugh and want to move to Las Vegas.

It's really a shame. If there was anytime we needed your writing, it's now, Hunter.
You will be missed beyond my trite little paragraph of goodbye.

Feb. 16, 2005

Memories of My Sweet 16

Before I start right in, let's get one thing perfectly clear. I was never one of those girls who sat around scribbling in a lacy journal with my pink feather boa pen about all my requirements for the perfect Sweet 16 party. Those are the same girls who have their wedding planned out and a dress picked before they ever know how to use a tampon. I am not that girl. I was the girl who wanted to avoid having any kind of big shindig at all costs. I was shy around most people, and having braces for the time I was 13 until I just hit 18 didn't help.

So when I started watching "My Super Sweet 16" on MTV, I first thought it was a joke. Perhaps it would be as epic as "Strangers with Candy" or something I could openly mock like "Laguna Beach." Nope, it was much much much more horrifying than I could ever imagine.

MTV describes the show as "My Super Sweet 16 takes you behind the scenes as teens prep for the party to end all parties. Will jealous siblings, stressed out parents and school rivals get in the way? Step into a world that isn't always as sweet as it seems."

Actually it is exactly what it seems. It's spoiled little rich kids whining to their rich parents that they want Beyonce to sing Happy Birthday to them as they gorge themselves at a personal nacho bar while wearing nothing but Dior and Gucci and being the total envy of every other rich kid in school they hate.

It's like watching really rich people who have everything cry because they didn't get everything. It's worse than watching people eat bugs on "Fear Factor" or staring at Trump's hair. And yet, I watch. I sit and often exclaim, "Oh no, she didn't!" but I still can't peel my eyes away. I'm not sure why this kind of show intrigues me. My Super Sweet 16 birthday party which took place in the '80s (gasp) involved a lot less cash and a lot more camp.

I didn't want to have a 16th birthday party. The day before my birthday I had just gotten my braces tightened. For those of you horrible model types out there who were born with perfect chompers, this may be a bit of a mystery. When you get big clunky old school braces on your hillbilly teeth like I did, you have to get the wires tightened every few months for the metal monstrosity to work its magic. Oh, and for an extra sad visual I slept with a headgear on too -- sexy! At any rate, with a splitting headache from my brace tightening also comes the painful realization that you can't eat solid food for a week. It would feel about the same as if you had all your teeth pulled out and put back in but in slightly the wrong place and then someone forced you to eat Grapenuts. Get the picture? So I wasn't in the partying mood.

But my mom felt as though it would be a groundbreaking moment in any young girl's life and she decided to throw me a pizza party anyway. Now if you can imagine, I was head to toe Goth...actually back then we (meaning me) were called Death Rockers. Goth and Hot Topic hadn't been invented yet. So it was me and my black RIT dye in high school. You can see a glorious photo here to set the scene.

My mom proceeded to invite all my skater boy pals, my borderline bi fashion friends, and of course my punk rocker pals to meet us at Chuck E. Cheese pizza for my party. Now I'm sure we scared every family in this place as much as they horrified me. Any of you who are not familiar with this establishment may need an explanation. It's partly an arcade with video games and skeeball, but also a pizza place with an animatronic rock band of animals playing drums, guitar and I think some horns to really creepy music, and of course the mascot Chuck E. Cheese... a mouse with a bowler hat who just wants you to eat, eat, eat! That day the place was filled with toddlers cracked up cheap birthday sheetcake and pepperoni pizza. It's definitely the under-10 party destination. As we walked in mohawks and all, we looked like a cross between The Addams Family and a lost troupe of circus freaks. The kids stared, the parents gasped and my friends rolled their eyes in disapproval. I was in hell.

But my mom, God bless her, was there to have fun. And so once she dolled out our video game tokens and ordered the pizza and pitchers of root beer, and gave me a few painkillers for my teeth, we ran around the place creeping out the "normal" families as we fought over the Ms. Pac-man game. I think the entire event cost my mom around $60. And she has blackmail photos of me looking like a vampire being hugged by a weird guy dressed in the Chuck E. Cheese mascot outfit. So I assume those images must be priceless, especially since I would have paid anything to have them burned and buried. I do remember winning a Duran Duran button thanks to my expert skeeball playing. And no one complained when the pizza arrived. Though I do remember my pal Jen screaming at the animatronic band to play "God Save the Queen." Other than that, it was a pretty basic affair. No Gucci. No new Porsche. No Beyonce singing with the Chuck E. Cheese band. Just me, my pals, my mom and a really bizarre story to tell later on in a blog.

Feb. 14, 2005

Yet to Have a Real Valentine's Day...

Contrary to my sarcastic personna, I am very much a flowers and chocolates kind of girl. Unfortunately, the only people who have gotten the message are my parents. Every Valentine's Day from when I was old enough to eat chocolate until I went to college, my mom would greet my brother and I every Valentine's Day morning with a TV tray for each of us covered in pink icing cupcakes with red hots on top. We also got a card, chocolate and some sort of plushy teddy bear or rabbit or something. So as a result, my expectations for Valentine's gifts from everyone I dated later on in life were unreasonably high.

My first real boyfriend in college, whom I dated for about 2 years took me out to dinner and said he loved me for the first time for the first Valentine's Day, and then the second he made me an inedible but thoughtful dinner. After that I dated a string of musicians who "couldn't be bothered with a commercial holiday created by greeting card companies." Not that I expected gifts from them. I was the Sugar Mama in those relationships, and so I brushed it off as being a modern kind of gal who didn't need simple trinkets of affection to understand what was what.

I then dated a bit of a play from my dotcom job who happened to be on another date with someone else, by date I mean just having sex with, and so that Valentine's Day was spent in a less than romantic night alone watching old Cary Grant films wondering why I couldn't manage to land any romantic lads left in San Francisco -- who were still interested in girls.

After another run of bad musician boyfriends, I landed what I thought was a pretty decent guy. And he was. He actually did the flowers, and the candy -- even before Valentine's Day. After dating for almost a year, he booked a room at the kitschy Madonna Inn -- a place Elvis would have loved -- and we got the Valentine's Day room. Our relationship was passed the Honeymoon stage at this point, but I was still charmed by the fact that he would make such a romantic gesture. The next year, he'd already been seeing someone and was waiting for our two-year anniversary (a month after Valentine's Day) to break the news and break up with me. I was in denial, as much as a girl can be when she knows her life is about to turn upside down... so that Valentine's Day dinner was a bit of a bust to say the least.

Granted, I have been the single girl for many many many Valentine's Days. So today really isn't much of a shock to the system. I'm pretty happy with my life, my friends, career and so on. But when I think back at all the times I was in an a relationship and Valentine's Day was crap, I wonder to myself if it was those damned pink icing cupcakes that set my standards way too high, or if I've just been dating the wrong kind of guys all along?

This Valentine's Day, it's drinks with my best gal pal. And for that, I could care less if I see Cupid and his crooked arrows.

Feb. 12, 2005

Make Your Own Valentines!

I'm not a big fan of Cupid. That fat little kid pisses me off to no end. He seems to be missing when I choose to fall head over Oxfords for the wrong guy. He's on a really long coffee break when I go on first dates. And sometimes he takes year-long vacations when I need him the most. So Valentine's Day ranks right up there with Tax Day for me.

But I'm not killjoy, and I honestly love those cool kids' valentines you'd pass around in elementary school. So for the Kids Section on starwars.com this year, I showed the younglings how to make their own cards using potato stamps. I sat in my office until 10pm carving the Rebel symbol into a potato. I'm pretty sure the janitors at the Ranch now refer to me as "Crazy Potato Girl." It was so worth it!

Click here to find out how to Make Star Wars Valentines.

Feb. 11, 2005

Slackersville --> Population 1 = Me!

Okay, that's a bit misleading. I'm not a total slacker. I mean, I work my ass off at Lucasfilm. Many of the news articles and features you read on starwars.com are by me. And I've been creating new content for the Kids section too. But I haven't been doing much writing for my side work -- my freelance clips. I was writing quite regularly for magazines like Organic Gardening and BUST. But as soon as I got the Lucasfilm gig, I started to concentrate all my free time on starwars.com. That's not a bad thing considering that I love my job and really want to excel at it. But I also don't want to lose my chops as a freelance journalist.

On another side note, I'm midway through a screenplay that I've been working on the weekends. I meet with a writers support group every Wednesday night, which is proving to be beyond helpful. Having other people hear your writing and then give real suggestions is amazing. I wish I had thought of doing that before. I think I can get this screenplay done by the end of the year too...maybe as soon as this summer. And I'm excited about that alone since I've never completed a screenplay before. I don't want to go on and on about it here in case someone from Miramax reads my blog (hardy har har) but the main plotline is this 30-something single girl who decides to turn her bad luck with dating men into a business. That's all I'm saying.

And for those of you wondering what the hell happened to my vampire novel -- it's about 1/16th of the way done. I got burned out on it, and decided to take a break from working on the scenes that seemed to be giving me the most trouble. Now I'm ready to tackle it once again. So you may see some chapters popping up on my blog on Backwash.com -- so stay tuned.

That brings me to my slacker reference. A lot of people link to this little blog of mine. But because I come home around 9pm every night and am exhausted, the last thing I want to do is sit right back down at a computer and type away about the hamster wheel slowly turning in my head. And since I also like to pepper my writing with photos that I take, that takes extra time to mess around with Photoshop, resize all the images, upload them and blah blah blah. And that's why this blog seems to update in spurts as opposed to my usual daily ponderings that many of you have grown accustomed to reading. Well never fear. I have a backup plan of sorts. I now keep a DAILY blog on LiveJournal. It's called Grrl Still Kickin' and I have to say I'm quite addicted to it. I love the sense of community on that site, and I've already made quite a few "for life" pals there. Heck, I may even find the man I end up getting hitched to on that blog site! (hint hint). At any rate, if you're twiddling your thumbs waiting for me to get in gear on the Bonnie Blog, you can always get a quick fix on Grrl Still Kickin'.

So even though I may sound productive, I feel like a slacker. My freelance work is nil. My novel isn't even 1/3 of the way done. My other column at Backwash.com -- Grrl Gets the Goods -- is updated once a month, if I'm lucky. And I haven't ruled the world yet! What the heck!? In conclusion, I need to start kicking ass instead of sitting on it.

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