Undergoing Maintenance

As you can probably tell, my blog is currently undergoing some down(ish) time to make things prettier.

YouTube Video Panic Attack! Lands $30 Million Movie Deal

So you put a video on YouTube and years later you score big-time with a sweet ass action movie with a possible (outside) shot at a Best Picture Oscar nomination. So is the case with Neill Blomkamp and his short film Alive in Joberg which lead to that bad ass flick known as District 9.

Not too effin' shabby, but even more impressive is independent filmmaker Fede Alvarez’s “Ataque de Panico” (Panic Attack), a 5 minute clip that shows the city of Montevideo, Uruguay being seized by giant CGI robots.

How'd he one-up the Disrtict 9 guys? By scoring a movie deal with Ghost House Pictures (responsible for vile tripe like Boogeyman and The Grudge while at the same time responsible for good vile tripe like Drag Me to Hell and 30 Days of Night) just a few days after posting his video on YouTube. For $30 million. For a short film that cost him around $300. A short film that's already had over 1.5 million views. That's how.

"I uploaded [Panic Attack!] on a Thursday and on Monday my inbox was totally full of e-mails from Hollywood studios," he told the BBC's Latin American service BBC Mundo.

Mr. Alvarez's film-to-be will boast a brand new story from scratch and be shot in Uruguay and Agentina. Oh, and Sam SpiderMan Raimi will produce.

And for reals, this short film is rockin'. It's like Ghostbusters II meets Cloverfield by way of Transformers thrown in for fun. Enjoy!

Precious Moments: an Accurate Depiction

I really love the movie Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. This parody reinforces doubts and condemnations that many have attributed to the movie's press and hype. Not entirely unfounded (I mean have you seen the trailer? It reads like a Spike Lee directed Hallmark Channel movie.), but the movie in my opinion really overcomes its possible badness with earnest direction, good writing, and fantastic (!) acting.

But still, this video is effing hilarious.

2 Shots from Wall-E Worth Discussing: Seurat, Sondheim, and Art

While in the process of compiling my list of the best movies of the 'aughts,' I had to take pause on certain occasions to further emphasize the brilliance that is Pixar's Wall-E.

This first shot comes at the end of the first act of the movie. It's almost identical to an earlier shot that shows Wall-E in his day to day activities working. It is also my favorite shot in the entire movie.

The shot the second time evokes isolation and, in context to the story, loneliness (subjects touched on in Sondheim's musical "Sunday in the Park with George."). Wall-E drops the trash bundle and existentially faces a revelation: since the discovery and loss of love, work is meaningless for the first time. Furthermore, since Wall-E's sole purpose was to work, existence itself is rendered meaningless.

Furthermore, the credit sequence drives home the ideas of creation, isolation, art, and science and their effects on humanity. These themes crossover into Geroges Seurat's pointillist painting "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" and more poignantly in Stephen Sondheim's "Sunday in the Park with George."

Wall-E's tribute to Georges Seurat's "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" in the closing credits (that conceptualize the progression of technology by referencing major eras in art history with the evolution of human society) also reflects themes explored in Stephen Sondheim's musical "Sunday in the Park ...with George," itself inspired from the original painting.

Seurat developed pointillism as a more scientific style to mimic technological progress when Impressionism had grown too mainstream and failed to address the changing industrial world or the populist leftist politics emerging with the rise of the modern middle class. While less political in concept, the film's subjects of science, art, creation, and human society (both historically and economically) run parallel with objectives in pointillism and ideas in Sondheim's modernist musical.

These two shots express major themes and ideas that are explored in the film itself. Now take the whole movie into context and you have yourself a helluva picture to contemplate.

ATAC Globes vs SA Current vs the Fabulous Actors Guild and Supporters (aka the FAGS)

Please take my humor in stride and disregard anything that might seem offensive. I promise the title will be my only attempt at contempt. ;-)

Finding motivation to write has always been a bit of struggle for me, particularly when it comes to this blog. If you peruse my past entries, you'll find major gaps in time between posts. This has less to do with laziness than with motivation.

After not visiting New York for more than a year, I found my entries to be devoid of any actual content that I thought wasn't already being said out in the blogosphere by more adept bloggers. So then I started posting more entries about the local theater scene here in South-Central Texas. When worked kicked in, it single-handedly affected not only my participation in productions, but my attendance as an audience member for dozens of shows. As a result, my blogging took a side step to work and sleep.

But nothing like an awards show and a newspaper article to bring blogging blood back into the gestating veins of an anxious theater queen...

My first exposure to the Alamo Theatre Arts Council's Globe Awards was in the Fall of 2007. Urinetown the Musical was the first show I was cast in in San Antonio (is that proper grammar?). The production was in May/June of 2007 at the bar-excellence Sheldon Vexler Theater directed by the phenomenal Ken Frazier (I'll see you at his and Tammy's Halloween party!). Globe award 'nominations' <---*note the air quotes* were announced in the Summer and Urinetown was among the honorees. I was ecstatic! Up to this point in my acting 'career,' (note the air quotes again) Urinetown was the best production I had ever had the privilege to be a part of (I still feel this way today) and for it to be recognized by the elusive Globe Awards was reason enough for me to go batty with glee. We were then asked to perform at the ceremony and my elation went through the roof! The Globe Awards must know what they're talking about - Urinetown was a kick ass show. Of course I was a bit biased, but clearly if it was nominated by the ATAC Globe Awards, I wasn't the only person who thought so. Right?

The competitive spirit within me ignited. "So, we were nominated for Best Musical? How about acting noms? I'm sure Ken got a nom for directing, right?" My questions were met with uneasy complacency. To my perplexed revelation, our show wasn't nominated for anything. As a matter of fact, no shows were nominated per se for any awards. The Globes had a different way of recognizing excellence in the local theater scene. Awards are based off of a point system that ATAC judges use to rate different categories for each production. An average score of 8 (out of 10) constitutes a Globe honor. There are no limits on the number of possible honorees. And the shows I thought to be nominated were in fact shows that are already winners. For what categories? Category winners are announced at the ceremony.


An usual setup to say the least. But it's a system. The Obies do it. So be it.

And then the problems start. If you've ever been involved in the San Antonio theater community, you've heard the complaints. You've seen the snubbed shows. You're aware of the flaws. It doesn't take a Pulitzer-winning journalist to discover the cloud of animosity and irreverence that such large numbers in the community adhere to the aura of the Globes.

Thomas Jenkins of the San Antonio Current recently brought up those boiling issues in an article dated this past Wednesday, October 14. Jenkins' writing is pulsating with a tone of passion; he is clearly a lover of theater and of the city of San Antonio. He writes with confidence and backs his opinions on shows with well thought out and intelligent reviews. Whether or not you agree with his taste is irrelevant (as is the case with any good critic). His article, titled "Another gold star! How to make the Globes more like the Tonys, less like school attendance awards" is a piece that is getting all sorts of theater queens (this is a term of endearment) hot. Just read the comments section.

Among the comments you'll find personal attacks, a call to arms, demands for reform, supporters of change, defenders of the process, and satirists/wannabe-comedians supplying ongoing commentary... it's like the 2008 Presidential debate on health care and their associated political campaigns filtered through an episode of Fox's Glee, or at least through the hearts of a bunch of Sondheim-ites. I have to admit the humor I find in it, but I can't deny the overwhelming response it is receiving from the community. Every comment seems to be coming from a place of passion (no matter how ill-advised some of them are), which is more than can be said for any actual Globe award ceremony in the past decade.

What's my opinion? It's less a matter of opinion and more one of taste. I prefer award shows that offer a single winner among a small group of nominees that were voted on by peers or critics or press or fans or those few bloggers out there. The ATAC Globes are what they are and have been for years. Their website clearly states their guidelines, rules, eligibility requirements... heck, it even gives the names of the ever changing roster of judges who vote. I don't know when it was decided that the Globes were gonna be San Antonio's answer to Austin's B. Iden Payne awards or New York's Tonys, but who ever said that this was the case in the first place? We have to realize that it's the community itself that put the awards in such high regard in the first place. Now that a significant portion of the community feels disenchanted with the Globes, it's a matter of focusing energies on a second awards show that meets the demands of those detractors (if a 'better' awards show is indeed what the community wants).

Is a second awards show the answer to the Globes? Maybe. Maybe not. But I do love what Stephanie Elbel (multiple ATAC Globe winner and B. Iden Payne award recipient and friend) has to say in the comments about perhaps focusing on other issues that affect the San Antonio theater community (getting people to actually attend live theatre, making San Antonio an equity theatre community, paying [contributing] artists [...] more than a mere stipend...).

Now that's not an answer to the issue of the Globes as a barometer of excellence for San Antonio theater, but I don't think that's an issue that's on the forefront of Stephanie's mind.

Is it on yours? And if so, what do you think?


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