I was never into punk rock. To me, it was all about boys chopping off their pretty early-eighties locks for punk haircuts (and from there it was a downward slide to skinhead-dom) while they talked bad about The Go-Go’s and Prince, which meant they were talking bad about girls and blacks. So I did not know a thing about Fishbone until I read that Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone was playing at the Guild Cinema. After seeing the documentary, I wish I’d known about them back then. I’d have loved them. At least, I think I would have. Hindsight is golden; after all, I used to shut the door to my room when Mom played her Led Zeppelin records, and didn’t find myself rocking out to “Whole Lotta Love” until I was in my mid-twenties. But I digress.
Fishbone’s dense, layered, vibrant music is a blend of punk plus what I felt was missing from punk music: rhythm, melody, rise and fall. As narrator Laurence Fishburne said, “They brought the funk to the punk.” When I watched their live performances, a stunning juxtaposition of chaotic energy and tight orchestration, I was surprised they didn’t achieve bigger stardom. One fan who was interviewed for the film said that Fishbone’s music was too complex for the masses to latch onto; another fan said they were too stylistically diverse to be contained in a marketable niche. The segregated music industry that had no idea what to do with an African American punk band was a factor as well.
At the Q&A session that followed the film, the audience got to ask film director Chris Metzler about his experiences working on this film. One viewer commented that it seemed like bassist Norwood was the grounded sensible one to lead singer Angelo’s crazier self. Chris Metzler said that after getting to know them, he concluded that both of them were kind of crazy. They were just crazy in different ways, so they balanced each other out. (One telling quote in the film was by Angelo himself: “Norwood and I are kind of like a married couple that want to be divorced for a minute, but they can’t because they’re f***ing married. We got kids. That’s the music.”) In listening to and watching my fellow film viewers who knew of Fishbone from the beginning and followed their career, it struck me how intensely they adored the band and cared about the band members’ happiness and relationships with each other.
Oh, what it would have meant to me to know of Fishbone during their heyday in the mid-eighties, when I was starting to realize there were repercussions to being both black and white, that I neither fit into the white world nor the black world, but a blend of both. Come to think of it, this is how Gwen Stefani describes Fishbone.
But the time is now. Time to go find Fishbone on iTunes.
- Chris Metzler on his Fishbone Doc, Everyday Sunshine (blogs.sfweekly.com)
- ‘Everyday Sunshine’: Near-rise, fall of Fishbone (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Black Rock Biopic Hits Theaters (theroot.com)
- Movie Review | ‘Everyday Sunshine’: ‘Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone’ – Review (movies.nytimes.com)
Fall is coming. The days are getting shorter and I’m about to start watching way too much television. Following are the five premieres I am most excited about.
Sarah Michelle Gellar returns to television in a marked departure from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer role she made so famous 14 years ago. Here she plays a recovering drug addict, Bridget, who has witnessed a brutal murder and is being offered federal protection for her testimony. When her well-off twin sister Siobhan commits suicide, Bridget, in a moment of fear and desperation, takes on her sister’s identity. Bridget becomes embroiled in her twin’s life, which turns out to be even more twisted and dangerous than the one Bridget is trying to escape.
Why I’m Hooked: The intriguing Hitchcock-esque plot is wish-fulfillment gone awry in the worse possible way and explores the dichotomy between the façade we show the world vs. what’s going on in our own personal hell.
Bridget: “Tonight seemed so happy.”
Andrew: “That was an act.”
Parenthood—NBC, Season Premiere Tuesday, September 13, 10/9c
Adam: “I’m just so happy we’re having a baby. I thought we were done. I love you.”
Kristina: “You had a third beer, didn’t you?”
Yay! The Braverman family is back for a third season of raising kids, navigating heartbreak, following passions, coping with tragedy, and still finding the joy and the laughter in life’s big and little moments.
Why I’m Hooked: I actually want a bit of real life about real people in my escape from my real life. The dilemmas are on-point and relatable, the sibling rivalry/camaraderie is funny as hell, and Adam and Kristina’s teamwork, affectionate kidding, and loving acceptance is a refreshing portrayal of a happily married couple. This beautiful partnership is summed up perfectly when their teenage daughter asks Adam in frustration if he and Kristina have some sort of pact where they ignore each other’s flaws.
Adam replies, “Yes, it’s called marriage.”
Nikita—CW, Season Premiere Friday, September 23, 8/7c
Michael: “Someone has to undo what’s been done.”
Nikita: “What we’ve done.”
Reformed political assassin Nikita has joined forces and is on the run with her lover and former adversary, Michael. Her student and partner on the inside, Alex, has turned against her and is now her greatest enemy. The secret killing organization Division is now being headed by the very scary interrogator Amanda. Season 2 is about to get interesting.
Why I’m Hooked: Tight, thrilling plots about redemption and moral duality executed by forces to be reckoned with. Then there is Nikita herself, whose combination of empathy and single-minded drive to right her past wrongs are in stark contrast to the tough, ruthless killer that made her so valuable to Division to begin with.
Amanda: “It’s too late to save yourself. But there may be time to save others.”
Nikita: “Right now, I’d be wondering about who’s going to save you.”
The Good Wife—CBS, Season Premiere Sunday, September 25, 9/8c
Will: “It’s always the good girls with the deep dark secrets.”
Alicia: “Because we’re catching up.”
Season 3 of this legal and political drama begins the morning after lawyer Alicia Florrick has finally consummated a long-simmering attraction with her years-smitten boss, Will Gardner. She is planning to divorce her husband, State’s Attorney Peter Florrick, since finding out he had a one night stand with her best friend, the law firm’s enigmatic and bad-ass investigator, Kalinda Sharma. Complicating matters is that Peter’s campaign manager, Eli Gold, has set up shop at Alicia’s law firm, making it even more difficult for Alicia to extricate herself from her husband’s personal and political sphere.
Why I’m Hooked: The wife standing silently by her famously sex-scandal cheating husband has her own story to tell, and her own life to rebuild. That story is smart, funny, dramatic, and played out by a cast of complex characters with even more complicated interrelationships that are delightful to watch.
Kalinda: “You ought to try it sometime.”
Alicia: “Flipping someone off?”
Kalinda: “It’s good for the soul.”
Once Upon a Time—ABC, Series Premiere Sunday, October 23, 8/7c
Emma: “Why doesn’t everybody just leave?”
Henry: “They can’t. If they try, bad things happen.”
Writers from Lost craft this new series where fairy tales and curses are real and the survival of our world hinges upon restoring the mythic realm we talk about but don’t really believe exists. Emma Swan’s life is about to change when the son she gave up ten years ago finds her and asks for her help. He insists that she is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, and that only she can undo the Evil Queen’s curse that has frozen Emma’s parents in time and banished the possibility of a happy ending for all of eternity.
Why I’m Hooked: An unconventional hero, a bail bonds collector who has spent her life taking care of herself, must answer the call of a frightened little boy. She is the one who must save the traditional fairy tale land because hope in and of itself is what fuels the human spirit.
Snow White/Mary Margaret: “Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing.”
- Fall TV Lineup: 10 Shows Worth Watching (huffingtonpost.com)
- Get Ready For The Premiere of ‘The Good Wife,’ in September on CBS (dishtvblog.com)
August 18–21, 2011, various venues in Nob Hill and Downtown Albuquerque
I kicked off my Saturday at the 3rd Annual Albuquerque Film Festival at 10:00 AM, when I met my friends at the KiMo Theater to see a couple of local films. I wrapped up around 2:00 a.m. Sunday at the Hyatt Regency, when the smiling waiter cleared our empty drink glasses off our table, hinting that it was time to leave. It was like I was twenty-nine again. Here are some of my highlights from the festival, in chronological order.
1. Not OnBoard. Written and directed by Belle Allen, Mean Mug Films.
“Not to worry. I’ve been trained to handle things like this. Hold, please!” –Wilma, played by Dia Gaitirira.
Watching the big screen and being able to say “I know her!” is pretty freaking cool. Three of my friends had roles in this locally produced ten-minute short about a business man (Allan Gaitirira) who gets lost while driving a rental car and uses the OnBoard assistance program, with hilarious results.
Memorable Moment: Seeing my peeps bring their characters to life. My fellow movie-viewer said to me, “Your friend made a really good hooker.” (Played by Sandi Kay.)
2. This Ain’t No Chick Flick Panel. Sponsored by New Mexico Women in Film.
“A pretty face might get you in the door, but it won’t keep you there.”–Trish Lopez, Director, NM Filmmakers Program, New Mexico Film Office.
A panel of women, ranging from actors, directors, producers, and agents, shared their experiences and answered questions about making it in the film industry. They also discussed the challenges faced by women in the movie business, such as the scarcity of high quality acting parts for women, the importance of a huge Friday night opening, and the persistence of the double standard—the same personality trait will be perceived as leadership in a man, and bitchiness in a woman. It is more important than ever that women support each other, and own their positions.
Memorable Moment: Taking this advice to heart: ignore the naysayers. Persevere. Believe. Do it.
3. Take Me Home. Written, produced, and directed by Sam Jaeger of Parenthood.
“I have no idea how we got here.” “That’s impressive. What with you driving the car and all.”—Claire and Thom, played by Amber and Sam Jaeger.
In this “romantic comedy plus more,” Claire suspects her husband is cheating, learns her father has had a heart attack, hops into a cab, and tells Thom to just drive. Which he does. It’s a cross-country journey with family drama, disasters, lots of laughs, and two lost souls who change each other for the better. Take Me Home is now among my top three Road Trip flicks. I can’t wait for it to come out on DVD.
Memorable Moment: Learning that men love love stories, too. When I told Sam I appreciated how the romance developed over the course of the movie, he replied, “I’m a fan of the slow burn.”
4. Reservoir Dogs. Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino.
“You shoot me in a dream you better wake up and apologize.”—Mr. White, played by Harvey Keitel.
I had put off seeing this movie because everyone talked about the disturbing violence. I finally got that out of the way. I’d really rather remember Michael Madsen as Susan Sarandon’s boyfriend Jimmy in Thelma & Louise. Sure, the acting and storytelling were superb in Reservoir Dogs, but I still complained to my friends about how gruesome it was.
Memorable Moment: Realizing I’ll never to able to listen to “Stuck in the Middle With You” the same way ever, ever again.
5. The After Party. Hosted by AFF at the Hyatt Regency
“Somebody tell me it’s not snowing. Please tell me those aren’t snow flakes on my head right now!”–Belle Allen, writer, director, and producer.
The Not OnBoard gang cracked me up with the-making-of, behind-the-scenes stories: filming during a freak winter storm and sub-zero temperatures, props that didn’t work getting hurled through the air, crew members accidentally walking through the perfect shot, and APD cruisers roaring through the set in pursuit of a suspect.
Memorable Moment: Finding out that success in a creative endeavor is also about pushing through the panic. On filming her debut short, Allen said, “I didn’t eat during [the four-day shoot]. Just chain-smoked. With lots of vomiting.”
Dear Warner Bros.:
Here are five reasons to make a Veronica Mars movie.
1. Loveable, flawed heroine
“You don’t want to date me. I’m a train wreck.” VM # 1.19.
Who wouldn’t want to date the cute, smart, funny Veronica Mars? Sure, she’ll break up with a guy and then turn around and ask him for a favor, but only in the interest of seeing justice served. As guy pal Wallace said, underneath the tough exterior, she’s a marshmallow.
2. Audience appeal
“This face. Right here. My over the moon face.” VM # 2.17.
Veronica was sarcastically referring to an upcoming Sadie Hawkins dance that she would be attending solo, but 22,000+ fans are dead serious in their enthusiasm to see a Veronica Mars movie and 168,000+ people listed Veronica Mars as one of their favorite shows on Facebook.
3. Someone to write the script
“Garden State was never a book.”
“It wasn’t? Whoops. So much for that paper.” VM # 3.10.
Veronica Mars creator and writer Rob Thomas said he is ready to write the Veronica Mars movie as soon as Warner Bros. gives the green light.
4. Star power
“Did anyone ever tell you you look like a feisty young Barbara Eden?” VM # 3.17.
Not only is the lead actress Kristen Bell ready and willing to take the part, she has said she would finance the film.
5. Universal themes
Friendship – “What did you ever do before you met me?”
“Ever see the first ten minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey? It was a lot like that.” VM # 1.18.
Justice – “Man had good taste. Let’s honor him by putting his killer behind bars.” VM # 3.13.
Death – “Just thinking if I was going to get drunk and shoot myself, I’d probably drink the good stuff first.” VM # 3.10.
LoVe – “I thought our story was epic, you know? You and me . . . Spanning years and continents. Lives ruined. Bloodshed. Epic.” VM # 2.20.
If this isn’t enough to convince you, release the film rights to creator Rob Thomas and lead actress Kristen Bell so that they can make the movie instead.
VM # 1.19. “Hot Dogs.” Veronica Mars: The Complete First Season. Warner Bros. 2005. DVD.
VM # 2.17. “Plan B.” Veronica Mars: The Complete Second Season. Warner Bros. 2006. DVD.
VM # 3.10. “Show Me the Monkey.” Veronica Mars: The Complete Third Season. Warner Bros. 2007. DVD.
VM # 3.17. “Debasement Tapes.” Veronica Mars: The Complete Third Season. Warner Bros. 2007. DVD.
VM # 1.1. “Pilot.” Veronica Mars: The Complete First Season. Warner Bros. 2004. DVD.
VM # 1.22. “Leave It to Beaver.” Veronica Mars: The Complete First Season. Warner Bros. 2005. DVD.
VM # 1.18. “Weapons of Class Destruction.” Veronica Mars: The Complete First Season. Warner Bros. 2005. DVD.
VM # 3.13. “Postgame Mortem.” Veronica Mars: The Complete Third Season. Warner Bros. 2007. DVD.
VM # 2.20. “Look Who’s Stalking.” Veronica Mars: The Complete Second Season. Warner Bros. 2006. DVD.
VM # 1.4. “The Wrath of Con.” Veronica Mars: The Complete First Season. Warner Bros. 2004. DVD.
What’s Halloween without a party, and what’s a party without killer music? In compiling my playlist, I realized there is no shortage of songs about darkness, doom, depression, and despair. Imagine that. Fortunately, there is still room for a little magic. Some random tracks from my playlist.
I’m So Afraid – Fleetwood Mac. No spooks or demons needed to get to this condition. All it takes is one’s own loneliness, which is infinite, unchanging, and terrifying.
The Green Manalishi – Judas Priest. The devil is beside you, is at your door, is in your bed. Who else torments and tortures well into adulthood but that one person you thought was your lover? Two pronged crown, indeed.
Still Life – Iron Maiden. Leftover teenage angst is tapped in this creepy suicide pact tale. Or maybe it’s the fluent, haunting opening guitar solo emulating a mysterious pool’s rippling surface that keeps luring me back.
I Put a Spell on You – Nina Simone. Other excellent covers have been made of this song (Creedence Clearwater Revival, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins), but something about Simone’s rendering sinks in and stays with you. When the High Priestess says “you’re mine,” you’d better believe it.
(Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult. Funny title for an ode to everlasting love. Maybe not. Looking for and finding your one and only is an acceptance of need. Anyone you need can leave you, and will one day die. Same goes for you. Fearful stuff. But, God, the alternative: life without love. That’s the real horror.
Witch Doctor – David Seville. What with all the darkness and despair, you gotta throw in some lightness and fun. Besides, behind the squeaky, perky walla-walla is the same story—resorting to a wicked scheme to try to get someone to love you back and end your misery.
Thriller – Michael Jackson. Anything that makes someone with pretty girl issues want to dress up like a tattered, rotting, sunken-eyed zombie, brings a diverse group of people to the park on a weeknight to practice the shuffle-ha-slide during a lightning storm, and gathers an even more diverse of over 200 to perform the dance at Tiguex Park simultaneously with the rest of the globe for Thrill the World, is pure magic.