Thursday, February 24, 2011

Insomniac Theater Presents: Dead Birds (2004)

If a movie as slow paced, poorly developed and predictable as Alex Turner's Dead Birds doesn't nod me off, it is time to start looking at chemical sleep aids.

Following the exhausted formula of a group of unlikeable characters in a spooky place being killed one at a time by a supernatural force, Dead Birds failed to deliver any pleasurable thrills.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What I watched last night: The Vagina Monologues

Myself and a group of friends went to see my wife perform in Miami University's Vagina Monologues. Profits from the production were donated to the Butler County Rape Crisis Center.

The Vagina Monologues is a theater piece derived from interviews with a wide range of women about sex, sexuality, and their genitals.   Vacillating between humorous and challenging, each vignette offered original (and graphic) insights into the most intimate parts of women's lives.

Adrienne's enacted I was there in the room, written by author Eve Ensler about witnessing the birth of her own grandchild.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Insomniac Theater Presents: Daughters of Darkness (1971)

When I was kid, before VCRs, there was no way to see the movies unless they played on television.  This was great for mainstream movies, but anything else was impossible.  Therefore, I had to use my imagination to create my version of a film by studying a few frames from a book or magazine about horror movies.  Harry Kümel's stylish vampire film, Daughter of Darkness was one of those tantalizing movies.  Every book on horror movies tantalized me with this images like the one to the right.

Olivia and I were able to watch Daughters of Darkness a few nights ago.   It is a beautiful and subtle film that re-watching brings more enjoyment and understanding.  I grabbed some screen captures to show some of the beautiful imagery from the film.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Good-bye, Tura Satana

If you say you like movies and don't know who Tura Satana was, you have been watching the wrong movies.  

I was trying to capture the voice of Varla, Tura Satana's signature character from Russ Meyer's 1965, girls gone wild masterpiece, Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!  but I am hopeless at recreating Varla's sassy, nihilisism.

Tura Satana was a strong, outspoken woman who approached life with a (literal) no holds barred attitude that she infused into her characters.  Varla, the homicidal, invective hurling, Go-Go dancer, was chaos personified.  She dished out the attitude she wouldn't take from anyone else and anyone who tried, did so at their own risk.  Both Kali the Destroyer and Kamakhyer, goddess of love, passion and desire, in one, she shook, shimmied, and cut down anyone or anything that got in her way.  Tura played the role with such gusto that Varla became an icon of American cinema.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Insomniac theater presents: Paranormal Activity 2

Large portions of both
films are in night vision
Possibly one of the most horrifying, real life moments in recent memory was Halloween weekend, 2009, while I was watching Paranormal Activity (2007, Oren Peli).  Liza, a friend, was visiting from out of town and staying in the extra bedroom in our house.  Everyone had gone to bed except me: I stayed up to watch the movie.  During one of the long, slow, blue and white scenes filmed from the surveillance cameras, and unobserved  by me, Liza came out of her room and started walking to the living room, I was so engrossed in watching the screen for any sign of whatever might happen that I jumped about a foot when I saw her moving towards me down the dark hallway.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Heavy Rotation on My iPod: The Cramps

I have been fascinated by The Cramps since 1982, when I heard their early single "Uranium Rock" from the International Record Syndicate's compilation album (that is right; two, 12 inch, grooved vinyl discs) that I picked up at the Sandusky Mall.  Also included were the first single by The Police, early music by Danny Elfman, in his old band Oingo Bongo, and a song by The Damned.  I can't remember what else was there, but there was plenty of history.

By then, The Cramps had been performing and recording over five years, having put out Psychedelic Jungle and the more polished Songs the Lord Taught Us.

There is plenty to say about The Cramps, their look, their style of dress, the stunningly beautiful female guitarist, their sound (a cross between rockabilly/roots rock and roll, punk rock, and classic psychedelic), but to me, they were just too much fun not to love.