Archive for May, 2003

News Rant

Here’s a few news stories/columns that once again illustrates the flagrant wickedness of, as Mike Malloy would say, the Bush crime family. Last year, a German politician got into hot water over comparing Hitler with Bush (to which my response was “Yeah, Hitler is the epitome of earthly evil, but at least he got elected.”) This past week, an article in the Canadian Courier Mail reports that the US is considering turning its bases in Guantanamo Bay into a death camp (link dead) complete with a kangaroo court and an execution chamber.

Meanwhile, Paul Krugman argues that Chimpie McCokespoon and his thugs are radicals bent on destroying the New Deal and social safety net (Social Security, Medicare, etc.) along with it with that obscenely large tax cut that the congress just passed. He writes, “But the people now running America aren’t conservatives: they’re radicals who want to do away with the social and economic system we have, and the fiscal crisis they are concocting may give them the excuse they need.” Yes, that’s right. The country is being sold out from underneath us and the democrats are once again asleep at the switch.

And finally (at least for now), Ted Rall in his weekly (another dead link) writes:

“We warned the Bush Administration that invading Iraq would destabilize the Middle East and spread radical anti-American Islamism. We told the American people that taking out Saddam Hussein without a viable government to replace him would open a vacuum for anarchy, civil war and a power grab by radical Iranian-backed Shiite clerics. Now the antiwar movement’s doomsday scenarios have been fulfilled so completely that military history scarcely mentions a more thoroughly botched endeavor–and we’ll be living with the fallout for years. ”

He then proceeds to paint a very grim picture of the state of the Middle East, where an all but name independent Kurdistan is run by guys that make the Taliban look moderate and who will certainly plunge Turkey (a NATO member, y’know) into a long and bloody civil war. Am I the only one who is waxing poetic for the days when the biggest news stories in the world concerned the president’s genitals?

These are the items want to consume

Hello all. It’s hot here and the days are long with the structuring element of school gone. I’m struggling to stay focused on re-editing my film but instead I’ll retreat to the air conditioned comfort of my favorite coffee shop and read the latest issue of The Believer — a sort of New York Review of Books for the OK Soda crowd.

Actually when I was buying said magazine at Santa Barbara this past weekend, I was in a very weird mood. Perhaps it was the free chai they were doling out, or maybe I had spend too long breathing mall air, or maybe it was residual bad vibes from my mentor’s critical sucker-punch at graduation, but I approached the counter in a strange trance-like state…

Me:These are the items in which want to consume.

Clerk: (after ringing them up): That will be $23.

M: This is the card in which I want to paid for the items I wish to consume.

C: Would you like a bag?

M: Yes, I would like a bag to carry the items I have consumed.

As I was walking away from the counter, in a post-consumption haze, a middle-aged woman dressed from head to toe in pink cut in front of me and proceeded to dawdle in a way that made it impossible to pass her. Before I could even think about what I was doing, I hissed at her like a threatened alley cat. As the startled woman stepped aside muttering “Sorry,” I zipped past her, realizing what I had done. Vaguely embarrassed, vaguely proud I quickly exited the store and told Ted who was waiting outside.

Crematrix

One way I’m keeping post-graduation ennui/angst away is seeing a mess of flicks. Two films I saw on concurrent days were box office blockbuster Matrix Reloaded and art film blockbuster Cremaster 3. Both films are epic spectacles with huge budgets, fantastic sets, and striking imagery. They also feature plot lines that are opaque and that require one to have seen the previous installments to get what was going on. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I found I was getting the two movies confused. So I made this easy-to-use table to help those in similar situations.

MATRIX CREMASTER 3
Features a protagonist called “The One” Features a protagonist called “The Apprentice”
Features a bad guy who is an architect Features a bad guy who is an architect
Features a key scene that takes place in an art deco restaurant high up in a skyscraper Features a key scene that takes place in an art deco restaurant high up in a skyscraper
Features a bunch of goons in suits harkening back to the 1950s Features a bunch of goons in suits harkening back to the 1940s
Features an a couple bad guys in white who can go through walls Features Richard Serra (who plays a bad guy) dressed in black who throws molten vaseline at a wall
Features an epic car chase scene Features an epic demolition derby in the lobby of the Chrysler Building
Protagonist wear a cool black clothes Protagonist wears a cool pink kilt
Features an extended rave scene Features an extended mosh pit scene
Features 100 Hugo Weaving clones in shades Features 100 Dancing girls in sheep outfits
Protagonist has a portal hole in the back of his head Protagonist has ambiguous gentialia which looks remarkably like the portal hole in the back of Neo’s head
Protagonist can fly Protagonist can shit teeth out of his distended asshole
About a half hour too long About a half hour too long

Graduation

Well, I’ve graduated. I’m done except for my thesis film which remains an albatross slung around my neck. I’ll think of more overwrought metaphors later…

Anyway, Ted came down and videotaped much of the ceremony, which was held in a large courtyard. There were African dancers, massive puppets, some weirdo painted in red, and a least one guy strutting around in speedos and a Mexican wrestling mask. We were told to wait in a nearby hallway where we made teary-eyed promises to keep in touch and we drank cheap beer. This was taken as me and my cohorts were being lead to our seats.

The speakers spoke. I and most of my friends paid more attention to each other and to the hipflasks of cheap whiskey being passed back and forth. It was a very relaxed affair. I got up, walked around a bit. Talked to some of my non-graduating CalArtians. Talked to my mentor who informed me that she suddenly thought that my thesis should be cut by half. If I hadn’t indulged in some of that cheap whiskey, I would have been furious. Not only does that suggestion indicate that she didn’t understand the intent of the piece (and as such has been less than truthful with me for a better part of a year) but her timing shows a real lack of tact. But fortunately, I was three-sheets to the wind at the time.

Later on stage, a fight broke out between Spiderman and a cowboy with another Mexican wrestling mask. Spiderman quickly vanished his opponent and the head of the department shoved them both off stage. By the time I got on stage, sporting my friend Jeff’s secret service shades. The Dean made it clear that there was no time for me dedicate my degree to Dick Cheney and the corporate thugs at Halliburton.

I was given a daisy and a class photo in a binder that looks like it should have a degree. (I’m assuming my degree will be mailed to me.) As I got off stage, someone sprayed that disgusting chemical party string stuff at my forehead.

Friendster

I’m strung out on the latest digital addiction called Friendster. You can see who your friends’ friends are and your friends’ friends’ friends and etc and etc. If I were to get really hot and heavy into it, I’d suppose that I’d start making friends with some of my friends’ friends’ friends, but at this point my natural reserve — as such — is holding sway.

In other news, yesterday after the Cal Arts Showcase screening, Betzy Bromberg, the head of the Film and Video department came up to me and said, “Jon, I hear you had a really great party last friday.” Yes, you know it was a bitchin’ time when the faculty are taking about it. Afterwards, we all went to the Prince in Koreatown and regaled my cohorts (whether they wanted to be regaled or not) about my ill-fated drinking contest with a group of Russians back in ’98.

The Wild Beautiful People Premiere Party

After some ugly words from this blog’s more passionate readers, I’ve decided to actually update this thing and I’ll pledge to update this more regularly in the future. Well, in my world Beautiful People, my thesis film that I’ve been slaving away at for an entire year (literally, I started shooting the thing a year from this Friday) is finished. And not unlike sending a child off to college or putting a beloved pet to sleep, I feel a bit empty about the whole thing. Of course, I’ve been making up for that by binge drinking pretty much every day since last Wednesday. I’m graduating, and my art school cohorts are too. The economy sucks, we are all up to our ears in debt, what are you going to do but drink.

My premiere last weekend went great. Everyone seemed to dig the film. But then again, I think that most of the people in the audience was drunk. I was. I got so nervous as the lights went now that it took me three beers just to keep from running out of the theater. That night we went to the Rendevouz, the local dive bar in town. More drinking ensued as did a remarkable amount of kissing. I probably shouldn’t go into details (to protect the guilty) but a week later and that party is still the talk of Cal Arts.


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