Thursday, April 24, 2008

A man breathes into a saxophone

Yesterday, while I walked to my favorite coffee shop in this little upstate NY town, it began to drizzle. As I passed in front of the computer repair place, a skinny guy with white hair and a white beard, and holding a beat-up saxophone, stepped out. He stood in the shelter of the recessed door and started to play. It sounded great - smooth and mellow. When I reached the coffee shop a few doors down, instead of going right in, I stood under the awning, looked out at the increasing rain, and listened to the music a while.
I saw the guy the next day and complimented him on his playing, but it turned out that not everyone appreciated it. He had been playing one door down from a little diner, and apparently the owner came out and asked him to stop. "I don't want to hear your saxophone in my diner," she said. "I don't want to smell your meatloaf on the sidewalk," he shot back. So, she called the cops. Oh, well. At least I got to hear it.
While I was in the rain listening to the music, I suddenly felt like I was in a movie. An old detective movie, of course. This sensation is common now, but just think, none of the ancient Greeks felt like they were in a movie, ever.
Since I don't have any appropriate pictures, I leave you with the following album cover and the following question: Did they give much thought to the alignment of the bass sax mouthpiece?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I read recently in Variety that Tom Cruise and United Artists have hired Ronald Moore (Battlestar Galactica!) to create a big-screen sci-fi trilogy for Cruise. Three big-screen sci-fi movies by Ron Moore? Yay! Starring Tom Cruise? Um....

This news got me thinking about Tom Cruise movies, which alone make up the following category: Movies I Like Starring Actors I Don't. It's nothing personal - I just don't like Cruise - his acting, his voice, his teeth, etc. But, man, he's been in a lot of good movies, a few of them just outstanding. He's starred in a some solid sci-fi, too, like Vanilla Sky, Minority Report, and War of the Worlds. In the top-notch movie Magnolia, he plays a slimy misogynist bastard, and he is just great at that role, but he usually plays a guy you're supposed to like, and I just don't. (Come to think of it, he was a believable bastard in Collateral, too.)

It seems to me that Cruise movies are good in spite of him, not because of him. But he keeps getting the parts, so I'll keep watching. It's kind of like following a pig to the truffles.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Melting, melting

Two of my arteest friends blogged this week about the spring thaw, which we are finally enjoying here in upstate NY. I'm just going to pass these on:
Dave Huth made a video called Long Time Coming (click on the picture on the bottom half of the page on Huth's page), and Nicole Maynard painted a painting called Thaw. You should check these out, if you haven't already.

Flowers courtesy of the universe and my back yard

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mistah Crushah!

I while ago I posted about a childhood memory of taping Star Trek with a cassette recorder. I was inspired to write that down after reading some good essays by Wil Wheaton in his new book The Happiest Days of Our Lives. These are entertaining and sometimes poignant stories about growing up a geek and being a grown-up geek. The best thing about these stories is that they are generally hopeful and happy, even when he relates sad memories. Happiest Days is currently available only through Wheaton's blog. It's a rather slim volume for the $20 price, but I liked it a lot. You can experience his writing with little investment, though, by checking out Dancing Barefoot or Just a Geek, both available for peanuts on AbeBooks. Of course, you can also find his essays in a library or on his blog for zero dollars and zero cents.
The Sci-Fi Pie author as a young geek
For those of you who don't know, Wil Wheaton got famous as the wiz-kid Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Since then, he's been writing books and blogs, acting in a few movies/TV shows, playing Celebrity Poker, and living life with his family like the rest of us.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

More Dreams with Sharp Teeth

I went to NYC to see the New York premier of Dreams with Sharp Teeth, a film about Harlan Ellison, which I’ve already yapped about here and below. I’m not going to bore you with a review or preview or whatever. If anything I've already said about the movie interests you, see it when you get the chance. You won’t be disappointed.

At one point in the movie, Ellison is shown signing a script for a fan, who then says, “Awesome!” Ellison rebukes him, telling him that earthquakes and Michelangelo are awesome, not his signature. Wrong. I’d say the signed script is pretty awesome. The movie Dreams with Sharp Teeth: Awesome. The fact that writers Peter David, Josh Olson, and Norman Spinrad, among others, were in the audience: Awesomer. The on-stage, hour-long chat between director Erik Nelson and Harlan Ellison himself: AWESOMEST.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Tanks Hoots

Thanks to Dave Huth, graphic artist and shaper of many media, for making me a nice header for my blog! His vblog movies are a real treat - funny, interesting, meaningful, and other sorts of good.

I’m geeking out. I discovered that Dreams with Sharp Teeth, a movie about Harlan Ellison that I mentioned a few posts ago, is premiering in NYC, and Ellison will be there. The movie’s being presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center on Tuesday, April 8th at 7pm. I plan on traveling about 7 hours to see the movie and coming back the next day.

Now, I realize that this is a fairly idiotic thing to do. It’s made more sensible, though, by the fact that my nice friends Rob and Kathy are going to the movie with me and putting me up afterwards. I look forward to seeing them, and their hospitality saves me many monies. I'll also give myself a few hours to kick around the city. These considerations bring the endeavor into the realm of “almost normal,” I think. Thanks, guys, and see you in a couple days!