Monday, May 31, 2010

Hoarders (The Disney Version)

Good lord people. It's been over 4 months since I've blogged about Disney. FOUR MONTHS. How in the hell can that be?

This cannot stand.

When I played Lennie in "Of Mice and Men", as I started to develop my character, I found myself picking things up off the ground and stuffing them in my pockets. I would see a piece of straw. Into my pocket. A mouse? In my pocket. Pretty much anything. I decided that Lennie, if he had money, would just be a compulsive hoarder of goods (and not-so-goods)... Piling things up in his house and pissing George right-the-hell off.

The Tofu Muchacha has said I sort of have the same inclinations to some degree.. hopefully never to the extent of those poor people being capitalized upon on television, but you know... I like stuff. I'm a bit sentimental. I like to revisit things from my past from time to time.

I have often found myself day dreaming about what I'd do with a time machine. Obviously, I'd use it to make myself rich in some way. I've considered how I'd go about it... Would I buy up huge parcels of land, and then wait until the sprawl-binge of the 70s and 80s and sell it off for gigantic profit? Would I buy houses in affluent areas of Cincinnati for 15 thousand dollars each back in 1920 and sell them off one-by-one today for a million each? Would I acquire rare baseball cards and autographs and lock them away in a safe (to let them age naturally, but safely), uncover them all, and then have a big lucrative auction of my dozens of Babe Ruth signed baseballs and Jimmy Foxx signed bats and whatnot?

The answer to all of these is, of course, yes.

But... what would I keep? What obscure piece of history would I hoard for myself? My thoughts always comes back to Disney related memorabilia. I have these big elaborate fantasies about meeting a 21 year old Walt Disney and just quietly working for him at the Hyperion Studios or giving him a pep-talk after Pat Powers screwed him out of Oswald the Rabbit. So...

In honor of my hoarding tendencies, my elaborate Disney-related day dreams, and my lack of a Disney post for a good long while... I bring you...

5 Pieces of Disney History I'd want For My Very Own...
(assuming unlimited space and money... obviously).

1) The original multi-plane camera. (Pictured above)
I mean... it's a god-damned monstrosity of a thing. I'd obviously need to have like a whole room dedicated to Bertha. (That's what I'd name it.) I don't draw, really, so the odds of me actually using the thing are pretty much nil. That said... It's one of the most important developments in animation ever. Without it you wouldn't have Snow White or anything that came after it. I've discussed it before, but as a refresher... The multi-plane camera was a machine Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks invented to provide multiple layers in their animation. The first animation released that used the multi-plane camera was called The Old Mill. Anyway, it represented a huge visual leap in animation... taking it further away from amusement and closer to art. I'd LOVE to have that thing. Good ol' Bertha.

2) The original blue-print for Disneyland
Let me count the reasons this would be fucking awesome to have... 1) A blue print and a map are essentially the same thing, and I collect antique maps. 2) It would look amazing hanging in the Disney Room in my mansion. 3) Disneyland represented a quantum leap in family entertainment. The way people vacationed changed forever. The theme park was born. 3) The original blue print for Disneyland is the embodiment of the birth of my favorite place in the world. An honorable mention would be the original concept art for the park.

3) The original sound reel for Steamboat Willie
I started thinking that I'd want something from the early days of Mickey Mouse. A lot of folks would want an original print of Steamboat Willie, and who could blame them? Well... I've never been much of a traditionalist, and in college I did a ton of sound designs and scoring for the theatre productions. Creating a really good sound design is pretty cool... I'd venture to say that there's never been a cooler sound design than the original Steamboat Willie. Once again, Walt was on the forefront of the technology (my biggest argument against the people who resist change at Disney World). We all know the history of Steamboat Willie, and how it was the first animated film to have fully synced sound. Having the original sound reel would be killer.

4) The Tiki-Room Parrot in the above picture:
I am not like... a huge fan of The Enchanted Tiki Room or anything, but I do like it a lot. That's not really the point though. Walt Disney was a huge lover of technology and was kind of obsessed with toys and robotics and one of his favorite features of Disneyland was that it was a showcase for things like audio-animatronics and things like that. This particular Parrot is special, because Walt used it in a feature about the Tiki Room on his television show. Choose a reason I'd want it? Original animatronics from Disney. Direct connection to Walt Disney. Disneyland in its youth. It's more emblematic than specific to this piece.

5) Walt's drawing table from Hyperion/Laugh-o-Grams
What more could a person want? It's Walt's drawing table.... I mean.. He created Mickey Mouse. He created Oswald the Rabbit and Donald Duck and Goofy and Chip and Dale and a million other characters we've all grown up with. He created a dynasty of entertainment. He invented the modern theme park. He introduced depth and sound to animation. He's my hero. Any everything he did was all started at that drawing table. It'd be like the writing desk where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. It'd be like the easel Picasso used while painting Guernica.

Looking at my list, I can't help but note that all of these are historical pieces. Things instrumental in creating the Disney that I have come to love. Oh man... I could think about it all day..

What things from history would you want?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Well done Cincinnati. Well done.

Once again, my hometown city of Cincinnati has done me proud. Cincinnati... home of race riots, and Mapplethorpe protests, and possibly racially motivated killings by police. The place so out-of-touch Mark Twain once quipped that if the world ended, he wanted to be in Cincinnati, because it wouldn't happen here for another 20 years.

Once again I'm super pumped to be from such an enlightened place.

The world renowned political artist Shepard Fairey is here in town. There will be a retrospective of his 20 years of work at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, and as a part of his show, he's been installing some of his political murals around the Cincinnati area.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to see one of his more controversial pieces up close and personal when he installed it directly across the street from the theater where I was directing A Piece of My Heart...

So there it is.

Clearly Shepard Fairey is a flaming racist. Right? Clearly by posting this mural containing the word "OBEY" in a predominantly African American neighborhood, he's trying to subjugate black people. Right?

Apparently there were a number of people who would agree with the above statements, because almost immediately after the mural was completed on May 20th, there were loads of people in the neighborhood threatening to deface it or paint over it, because they feel discriminated against somehow.

Oh... then there were the white people who apparently walked by and assumed the artist was black. They threatened to paint over it too. Because they didn't want to be the victims of reverse racism.

(For the record, Shepard Fairey is a 40 year old white man.)

Now... I spent a pretty good amount of time taking in this particular mural... I've searched and searched for a single anti-black image. I've searched for a single anti-WHITE image.

What I did see was images of peace (note the guns with the flowers). I saw commentary on the power of propaganda. I saw an ironic statement about listening to the masses instead of trusting our own eyes.

I really dug it.

Sadly, it's no more. The above image is what you'd see today if you drove past. Some fucking ignorant idiot painted over it last night. They don't know who did it. It was just as easily a white person as a black person. Just as easily a man as a woman. One thing we do know is that the person who did it is far more close-minded and foolish than the artist they believe they are silencing.

When the Tofu Muchacha told me about the painting-over, I found myself profoundly sad. It's so typical of this fucking town to knee jerk to this level. Then I come to find out that it's the SECOND of his murals to be defaced in the area in the past 2 weeks. I mean... GOD DAMNIT.

Please people... before you make fools of yourself by "protecting" the populace from this supposed racism, maybe you should look up the statements of the artist.... I dunno... crazy.

Oh... it should also be mentioned that aside from this horribly racist, anti-black mural, Shepard Fairey is also the artist responsible for the Barack Obama "HOPE" posted. What a bigot! Am I right?

Anyway, I don't want to go on and on. I just want to congratulate my city for embarrassing itself... yet again.

Kudos Cincinnati.

PS... I haven't even gone into the whole part about how the defacing of the mural is, in itself, a crime... you know... since the mural was on private property, and it itself has value due to the artist being a hugely famous dude. So... not only did the idiots miss the point. Not only did they kill art. They also will probably go to jail for it. Good protesting folks!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It All Makes Sense

I remember when I was in high school... and college... and um.. after college, when the actions of women baffled me. Who am I kidding? I'm constantly baffled to this day.

For years, this question plagued me. Why do women play these crazy ass games? WHY? It's so cruel. Most of us men are hapless rubes when it comes to the wiles of the ladies. So... why do they torment us so?

Then, the other day the beautiful Tofu Muchacha showed me something that shed some (a little) light on all of the puzzles...

Seventeen God Damned Magazine.

She showed me an article in Seventeen God Damned Magazine called "50 Flirting Tips You Have to Try Now".

That is some fucked up shit, and yet it explains so, so much about why I was so confused by girls all the damned time. There are magazines teaching them to confuse us poor idiots.

Allow me to provide some of the most egregious examples...

Tip # 6: Master the bump-and-flatter. Run into a cute guy at a crowded party. Say, "Oh sorry- I become a total klutz around cute guys." Then just introduce yourself.

This is 2 of the 57 bajillion times the phrase "cute guy" shows up in this three page article. How shallow are girls encouraged to be? Also... is random klutziness really the best way to "break the ice". How very Bella Swanian.

Tip # 14: Ask him out "by accident". Text him "what r u up to tonite?". When he replies, say, "Sorry, that was for a friend - but yeah, what r u doing?". The tiny diss will make him work harder.

I can't get over how many ways this is fucked up. 1) Yes, please let's encourage more LOL-Speak. 2) Why in the hell can't a girl just ask the dude out "by purpose"? God forbid anyone just be honest. 3) I sure love it when I'm manipulated into "working harder" by being insulted. It was around here where I realized how truly jacked the world is.

Tip # 25: Make him nervous. Here's how: The first time a new crush texts you, write back, "Who is this?" When he explains, say "JK, how could I forget you??? :)" He'll be hooked!

First off, how is this anything other than just being a total bitch? It's not funny. It's not "cute". It's just plain mean. Second, the thing that makes me angriest is that it would totally work.

Tip # 28: Channel Whitney Port.

... ... That ... I mean... Damn. This is so appalling I have nothing else to say about it. For those of you unaware of who Whitney Port is, you're lucky. And apparently unable to achieve tip #28.

Tip # 33: Catch his Eye-pod. (It seriously says that). Walk up to the hottest guy at The Apple Store and say "My friend just got that and loves it. Are you getting one too?" Guys love to talk about technology.

I wonder if this would work in reverse. Could a dude go up to a woman in the Fredericks of Hollywood store and say "My friend just got that and loves it. Are you getting one too?"... I mean... don't all women like to talk about underpants?

Tip # 46. Don't focus on him 100%. When he's talking to you, be totally genuinely interested. But when he's talking to anyone else, ignore him. Guys LIKE to work for your attention.

I mean... Halfway in, I was in complete agreement. Being genuinely interested IS a good tip. Then all of a sudden they're telling the girls to intentionally ignore the guy because guys LIKE that. Not only is it weird, but it's not true. You know what guys like (or you know... PEOPLE)? When the person they're with pay attention to what they're talking about.

Oh... I should mention that they also feature tips directly from men that are equally as troubling...

The illustrious Brody Jenner provides perhaps the most upsetting and fucked up advice of all:

Tip # 19: When you're texting, don't respond to every single thing a guy says. Leave some questions hanging. He'll be more interested in the conversation if he has to chase it a little.

I guess this tip makes sense coming from a vapid mimbo who might not be able to sustain interesting conversation without employing these fucked up games.... but seriously dude... way to back up your bros. Why in the hell would you tell them that? WHY? You're helping NOBODY.

So... As I was saying... It all makes sense. I now understand why I never got a single full breath of air during any date in high school. I now understand why I hung up from every phone call with a girl from the time i was 13 to the time I was 20 without a single clue of what the hell just happened. I now understand why I constantly felt like I was about to fall flat on my ass with every girl I talked to.

Seventeen God Damned Magazine.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Because I'm Wearing White Pants

Once again, here I am late at night, being alternately appalled and amused and creeped out by television commercials.


Did you know that it's now totally cool to advertise vibrators during prime time? Apparently it is. Trojan is now spouting about their "finger massagers" and they have all kinds of super enlightened ladies talking about how amazing their lives have become after they find their ways to the "finger massager". It's weird.

This reminds me... I've been wanting to ask this for a while.. I don't know if anyone else listens to the radio anymore, but there are these ads for The Lion's Den or something like that, and they offer "a special gift so sensual we can't even talk about it".

What could this possibly be? I am fascinated. First, what is so sensual that it can't be discussed on the radio? What an odd choice of words... They're not saying "so graphic" or "so anally" or "so orgasmic". They say "So sensual"... Aren't we talking candles and massagers and oils and stuff? I mean... just tell us. I want to know. If, after all this wondering, it turned out to be a pocket kama sutra or something, I'd be effing pissed.


I continue to be amused by the Kotex ads that basically make a whole commercial out of the stupid and manipulative commercials of other tampon brands. I particularly love the line "You'll buy Kotex tampons because I'm wearing white pants and have great hair. It's hilarious every time.

Yes... I'm vaguely obsessed (can someone be "vaguely obsessed"?) with tampon commercials. They are CRAZY. They always feature women doing all kinds of fun things, and dancing around, and wearing weird stuff. I think that's why I love these Kotex commercials so much, because they totally just put all of the silly things right out there for all the world to see, and then comment on it.


Taco Bell is creeping me the fuck out. The whole "Is Denise there" commercial series, I think, is trying to be funny, implying that these dumbasses think that cute Taco Bell employees would have any interest in giving them some secret deal. Instead, because this "Denise" character is played (in only the first commercial...she doesn't appear in the other one) by a cute, teenagery girl, and the idiots are played by middle-aged idiots who just come across as mentally retarded creepos.

KFC. What in the hell are you playing at? I mean, for god's sake have a shred of decency. You're making a bacon and cheese sandwich with FRIED CHICKEN SERVING AS THE BUN. I... I just... How can you possibly justify this. I'm pretty sure Dr. Atkins just had to change his underpants, because there can be no positives otherwise derived from this unholy abomination of meat and grease. Honestly, it's just disgusting. Also, I want one.

Oh... some updates...

-- As of 1 hour ago, I'm a vegetarian, until August 1st at the earliest. It's going to be difficult, but worth it (in the end).

-- There has been positive progress on the issues I discussed in my hope blog on Monday night. Nothing concrete as yet. You'll all be the first(s) to know. Right now, I'm going to be an optimist and say 51%.

-- Lastly, I'd like to conduct an informal poll...

Earlier today, after we finished taking the Tofu Muchacha's blog photos, we were walking back to my car at Mt. Airy Forest. There was a group of people gathered in the area, and they were sort of loitering all around my car. Including a lady who had her water bottle sitting on my trunk, and another 2 dudes leaning/sitting on the side of the car. As we walk closer, they take note of us coming, but don't move away. As I realize they're not moving, I say "Can I help you guys?" and when they just look at me quizzically, I say "My car's not a table."

1) I admit that I was grumpy.
2) I admit that they likely didn't realize what they were doing.
3) No damage was done to the car.
4) I will readily admit that I wasn't especially friendly in my tone.

So the poll..
Was I out of line?
Yes, but it's complicated
No, but it's complicated free polls