Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Dracula

I love good horror movies. I like campy ones too and I'd rather see a bad horror flick than a bad any other kind. Buckets of blood don't do it for me alone. I want it to make me look around corners and be jumpy for a while.

Some monsters never scared me, like Frankenstein, who I always believed got a bad break, and the Mummy moved so slowly, how did he ever catch anyone. But both those films were eerie and scared me even if the monsters didn't.
Lon Chaney's Wolfman was cool because although he seemed to always lose his shoes, he kept his shirt and pants on while darting around under the full moon. Maybe it was his man-creature thing that scared me. But the one that kept me up nights was always Dracula.

Nosferatu - 1922 Starring Max Schreck, Directed by F. W. Murnau. The first and the probably the best and certainly the eeriest. The Count was called Orlok not Dracula because they could not secure the rights to the novel.

Although, part of the film’s charm is due to the fact that it is the first
adaptation of the novel, thus free from any comparison and clich├ęs. Count Orlok is fearsomely tall, slender, pale, and bald. Instead of the typical vampire fangs now seen on every depiction of a vampire, his fangs are more like those of a rodent, right in the middle, and his ears are large and pointy like a bat’s. Max Schreck, who plays the part, plays it to perfection. His wide-eyed stares and inhuman posture make the look work.

The film, however, exceeds mostly in the visual department. In shooting the dank crypts of the film, director F.W. Murnau and expressionist cinematographer Fritz Wagner, photograph many startling images. It is not only Orloc’s movement, but the photography, lighting and the special effects that add so much to the visual element. When the driver is riding upon a carriage through a forest to Orloc’s estate, a negative of the picture is shown, creating an eerie, other worldly effect, and that is what the film is all about for me. It not only scare us, it creates an almost dreamlike mood, haunting us with its atmosphere and images.

Dracula - 1931 Bela Lugosi. This is the classic Dracula. Bela with his stiff but commanding hypnotic style is what we came for many years to think the Count was like. Lugosi was always eerie and spooky. Don't worry Bela, Ed Wood is coming to get you.



Horror of Dracula - 1958. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. This one goes astray of the Stoker novel but it works. It's more of a mystery than you'd expect with this well known story. Peter Cushing's Dr. Van Helsing and Lee as the Count are top notch, very different from Lugosi's deliberate characterization. Really scary and good story telling. Hammer Films made several other Dracula films with either Lee, Cushing or both during the 60's and early 70's.


Trivia- The set that was Dracula's castle in this movie is now a hotel in the Scottish Highlands and the internal decor is still very much the same.

On several occasions, Christopher Lee complained about the contact lenses he had to wear for the shock scenes. Not only they were quite painful, but he could not see a thing. While running towards the vampire woman for instance, he even ran too far past the camera on the first take.


Blackula - 1972 William Marshal, Denise Nicholas, Vonetta McGee. The Count starts out in Africa this time and ends up in Los Angeles. Stereotypical Blackploitaionisms and all, it is scary. Singer Ketty Lester (Love Letters) has a hospital scene that I remember scared me pretty good. William Marshall's voice and cape action makes it worth the time.



Nosferatu - 1979 Starring Klaus Kinski. He is now Count Dracula and still scariest looking and although I like the original better, this is a good one.

Dracula - 1979 Frank Langella, Lawrence Olivier, Donald Pleasance. Great cast and production. Langella is smooth, not my favorite Dracula but believably blood thirsty and worth the popcorn.



Love at First Bite - 1979 George Hamilton, Susan St. James, Richard Benjamin. The Count gets evicted from his Transylvania home and ends up in New York City. A fun romantic-comedy vampire flick. Party over here!

Bram Stokers Dracula - 1992 Gary Oldman, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. I saw this one yesterday. This Dracula's appearance goes back and forth between modern and Nosferatu. Dracula searches for his true love and finds her descendant. Sensual, scary and bloody but somewhat slow moving and obvious. "You'll be safe here". Yeah right.

Gary Oldman



Dracula 2000 - Jonny Lee Miller, Omar Epps and Jeri Ryan. The vampire gets locked in a castle/office complex. Ok, it's got Jeri Ryan.

Dracula: Pages From A Virgin Diary - 2002. Wei-Qiang Zhang, Tara Birtwhistle. An honest artsy attempt to tell the Dracula story thru ballet. Honest.

VLAD - 2003. Billy Zane. Four college students go to Romania in search of Drac's castle to research material for their theses. Nuff said.

Monday, October 30, 2006

I Love Halloween

My family went with us to a Halloween party at our church on Sunday night. Nope, University church is not one of those "Halloween is evil" churches. Yes, eons ago Hallows Eve was a celebration to ward off dark things preceding All Saints Day.

I am not trivializing anyone's beliefs and I realize some cultures have carried the original ancient Celtic meaning thru the years, and that's fine. But for most folks Halloween is simply a harmless expression of fun, creativity, booooo and a big sugar high. Nothing evil. Monica says it's about taking lemons and making lemonade.

Anyway, Nolen and Aisha and little Nolen Jr. (NJ), and Marcellus joined our friends James and Marilyn and little Betty (who officially became our God child at a beautiful baptism ceremony Sunday morning) for a fun Halloween party.

Monica and I went as spider women, which was really sweat shirts that I attached some stretchy white webbing and spiders to. Spiders in our hair and some black nail polish and there ya go. Nolen and Aisha theatened to go as Flava Flav and one of
his ummm girls. It would be an easy costume.. a viking hat and a big stupid clock pendant. But, no amount of makeup could transform Nolen into a Flava lookalike. Has anyone seen that VH1 show with despicable Flav and women who actually let him touch them? YUCK! I watched the Flava and Brigette Nielsen affair..it was so weird I couldn't stop. But now OMG!

NJ (age 2) is a lion this year. My sister made his costume from scratch. She crocheted a variegated brown and blond yarn mane, attached a tail to some khakis, and a fur dickey and shoe coverings for paws. CUTE!
But wearing that mane NJ looked more like Tina Turner. Of course, I immediately wanted to go with that. NJ is quite a dancer and a Big ham. Little fishnet stockings....it would've been hysterical. Maybe next year.
Marcellus was a good looking (store bought) Batman. So of course, (after all that needle work) when NJ saw Batman, he said "don't want lion, want Batman"!

The party was fun, lots of scary and sweet costumes including Marie Antoinette (Batman really liked her) and our little Betty Bumble Bee. My favorite though was adult chuch member Diane as Dorothy complete of course with ruby slippers, basket and Toto. She looked adorable.

So after playing a murder game that required a lot of theatrical dying, Ann Marie (Rev. Coleman) blessed the food and all the various witches and monsters and sweet peas. I told a joke that got me ridiculed something awful along with taking pictures with my slr camera that actually uses FILM. Do you have to take it to Walgreens? You can't see your pictures first? Do you still have a pager too? Do you take your clothes down to the creek and beat them with a rock? Are you still listening to 8 tracks? Moni tried to defend me but they turned on her.
It is wonderful to be with family and friends. I feel so loved. : )
Happy Halloween!

For some great spOOky movie pictures check Alexandra's site.

The joke is below. Thanks Stephen!



A man is walking home alone late one foggy Halloween night, when behind him he hears:


BUMP...



BUMP..



BUMP...




Walking faster, he looks back and through the fog he makes out the image of an upright casket banging its way down the middle of the street toward him.



BUMP...




BUMP...




BUMP...





Terrified, the man begins to run toward his home, the casket bouncing quickly behind him




FASTER...



FASTER...




BUMP...




BUMP...




BUMP...



He runs up to his door, fumbles with his keys, opens the door, rushes in, slams and locks the door behind him.
However, the casket crashes through his door, with the lid of the casket clapping


Clappity-BUMP...



Clappity-BUMP...


Clappity-BUMP...


On his heels as the terrified man runs.



Rushing upstairs to the bathroom, he locks himself in. His heart is pounding; his head is reeling; his breath is coming in sobbing gasps.



With a loud CRASH the casket breaks down the door.









Bumping and clapping toward him.





The man screams and reaches for something, anything, but all he can find is a bottle of cough syrup!
Desperate, he throws the cough syrup at the casket...




And,














(hopefully you're ready for this!!!)

The coffin stops........

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Saturday Morning Cartoons



OK. It's Saturday morning and I sometimes still miss my cartoons. A bowl of cereal and a host of toons that you could only see on Saturday Morning. It was a ritual for kids growing up in the 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's. Those ummm kids, still like cartoons and sugary cereal to start their weekend, dammit!

In the 50's, 60's and 70's there weren't that many channels to chose from and all the kids watched the same shows. There was something warm and fuzzy about that.
In the 80's, cartoons were revitalized by the Smurfs.

Then, the 90's and the beginning of the end. Congress passed the Children's Television Act that required Federal monitoring and X amount of educational content. (Yeah, I guess that's a good thing or maybe it just messed up a good thing). Exclusive Saturday morning toons became meaningless with use of the VCR, video games and cable stations that show cartoons 24/7.

There are still plenty of cartoon shows around. They can be accessed all during the week, multiple times a day. Most of these new characters are funny looking, you ever notice that? I asked my 8 year old nephew why were all his people so ugly? He said, "ugly, what do you mean"?

See what I mean. There's something wrong here.

But, I think I feel sad for these kids who'll never feel that unity with all the other kids in the USA, watching Mighty Mouse, Underdog, Top Cat, Flintstones, Bugs and Daffy, Fat Albert, Scooby Doo...or even Ninja Turtles, Proud Family, Pokemon, or that ugly trio Ed, Edd n Eddy.
I know I can try to find the smart and funny Sponge Bob or Power Puff Girls or Recess, or tune in to Nickelodeon, but it's not the same.

Rootin' Tootin' Nuptial


Dustin found this unbelievable gem also. This is an actual groom's cake at a real wedding in Texas...where else. And she still married him. Best Wishes.

What Color RED are you?

I got this from my wonderful, beautiful, brilliant cousin Dustin. She has a very cool blog and I will be adding her link soon. This is surprisingly pretty accurate.



You Are Apple Red

You're never one to take life too seriously, and because of it, you're a ton of fun.
And although you have a great sense of humor, you are never superficial.
Deep and caring, you do like to get to the core of people - to understand them well.
However, any probing you do is light hearted and fun, sometimes causing people to misjudge you.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Dancin' Fool

I saw this guy on Ellen. We had a ball watching him do his history of dance.
I hope Google does not mess up UTube. I love it, but you know they always have screw up a good thing. Just regular folks like this guy are good things.


VOTE FOR JOSH!


Joshua Klipp's music is sho nuff movin' in the right direction, UP! His history making song Little Girl has made the Gay.com Rock Out Chart and Josh will have a feature story going up later today that includes a *VOTE for this Song* feature. It's only this weekend (through Monday) so please give your support to this talented artist.

Josh's music is also available on iTunes, search Joshua Klipp. Preview here.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Cute Little White Guy


He is JOSHUA!

He's got some new tunes out that are already getting radio play across the country. And even though his EP is titled Patience, you don't need any because you can check them out right here.
Josh is my friend Glenn's son. Glenn is the musical director of University Church and a fantastic man and musician himself. Yep, the apple doesn't fall far.. you know. It's true.

Uh Huh, Josh is cute and he's talented and smart and nice and... he's all that and more! Lots more!

Joshua Klipp is an attorney. He attended Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco on a full merit scholarship and graduated in the top ten percent of his class.

A dancer- he teaches hip-hop dance and directs Freeplay, a hip-hop dance
company that performs all over the San Francisco Bay area benefitting other local organiztions.

A community organizer, Josh sits on the Board of Directors of Youth Speaks,
the nation's premier youth poetry and spoken word organization.

Photographer- Josh provides quality promo work for Bay area artists and
organizations.

Role model-as a Transgendered male, Joshua is breaking ground and blazing trails in the music business. Even with a loving, supportive family, growing up Trans must be tumulturous and actually going through transition has to be physically and emotionally wonderful and scary. It is important to have visible role models, especially in this community where visibilty in the mainstream is almost non-existent. Role models who as "Little Richard" would say, have been where you're going, are going through what you're going through, are making it or have made it and can put it out there where you can see it. Woooooo!
Joshua Klipp is certainly a source of pride and encouragement to his community.

Josh's dance track Little Girl is special. It is a song he wrote to honor not only his personal journey but "the struggle, survival and hope of trans people". Little Girl features, and this is the first time anything like this has ever been done, Josh's pre and post transition voices. That along with the song itself, is just too cool.
Little girl. Close your eyes and dream of a new world.

December Snow, well first of all Mr. Klipp, people in Chicago do not like to be reminded of snow any sooner than neccesary, even if it is a beautiful romantic slow jam. You are indeed a one man boy band.

Time We Don't Have To Waste, love the harmony and the up beat. Monica and I had a great time stepping to this one.

Temporary Insanity is the bonus cut not on the EP but you can get a download. This hip-hop cut shows that Joshua covers everything. This one features San Francisco Trans rap artist Katastrophe. Yeah baby!

I was impressed by Josh's musical influences which range from Ella Fitzgerald to D'Angelo. I definately hear some Brian McKnight vibes going on. Josh credits his dad for his varied exposure to different artists and genres. I certainly credit his dad for his cute little white guyness too. Good luck Josh! Go get 'em!


Read more about Joshua Klipp and buy his EP here, yall. Go! Now! Get it!