Archive for the ‘Celebrities’ Category

Stand back Che – Welcome to the era of ASSANGE!

There’s been a lot of chatter in the news, on social networks, regarding Ecuador’s decision to grant amnesty to Wikileak’s Julian Assange. Since yesterday’s refusal to kick Assange out of their embassy and into the hands of the British authorities, people are now planning vacations to Ecuador and buying Ecuadorian-made products to show their support for the South American republic. Who knew protecting a white guy could be so lucrative for a Hispanic country’s economy?

Get Your Facts Straight on Assange

Assange isn’t likely to be allowed clear passage to Equador… ever. Instead, he will probably be stuck in a tiny converted office with no windows on an air mattress eating take-out for years to come (provided they don’t get sick of him or Britain throws caution to the wind and raids the place).

So we thought, what if Assange went on an embassy ‘tour’ and used his infamy to improve the economy of struggling countries or ones that want to piss off Britain and the US? He could be smuggled out of the Ecuadorian embassy and sort of… embassy hop. Press releases could be issued; shirts designed; tour books printed; the merchandising possibilities are endless.

Obviously, the success of the tour is contingent upon being able to get him in and out of these embassies without being noticed and arrested. In order to ensure this is pulled off without a hitch, we’ve assembled a group of the brightest minds to come up with our Top Five smuggling options for:

The Great Assange Embassy Tour

  1. Ross Perot is still alive – send him in. He’s done it before, he can do it again.
  2. Hire the make-up team from The Iron Lady. Since his look is somewhat androgynous, it shouldn’t be too hard to make him look like Meryl Streep or Queen Elizabeth. Alternate plan: Hire the make-up team from Harry Potter. Since they’re probably still bitter about losing this year’s Academy Award to The Iron Lady‘s team, they may see this as a way to get revenge. 
  3. Bring in the narco tunnel makers. The recently uncovered tunnels by the Sinaloa drug cartel – which ran from Mexico to Phoenix – had lights, ventilation systems, a rail car and are considered “an extraordinary piece of engineering.” When the Embassy Tour is over, they can be used for other lucrative “import/export” businesses.
  4. Get the Misfits to help. This idea makes no sense whatsoever but since we love the show so much, we thought we’d smuggle in a plug.
  5. Use body modification. Forget all that Fakir Musafar nonsense – we’re talking even more extreme methods. Like putting him on a bananas-only diet (after a couple of months, he’ll be 150 pounds heavier); Or removing an appendage or two (they did it on nip/tuck). The narco tunnel makers probably know at least one or two hack-job plastic surgeons that could give Assange a complete (and permanent) physical transformation.

Keep updated on Assange: http://wikileaks.org/

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Venice Beach PissThere are a few surf-oriented web sites I like to check out on a regular basis – mostly for their surf reports, a scattering of surf-related news, vids, and such. For the most part they’re informational, some kinda generic, or ultimately catering to the business/contest-driven aspects of surf culture. But every so often you stumble upon greatness: the web site Random Thoughts of a Surf Forecaster (aka “Venice Surf Report”) is one of those.

For zine fans, this thing reminds me, in certain regards, of the handful of incisive punk zines of the day, like Cometbus, and even a dash of Ben Is Dead at our most street. In a mix of thousands of useless piece-o-shit blogs wasting web space, this is one example of the paperless ezine evolution that works. Not simply a daily updated surf report, this blog incorporates the atmosphere and environment that makes up the surf/culture of Venice Beach, California (thankfully he doesn’t get into the hippie stuff) – which means it includes the homeless men and women who, literally, call Venice Beach home.

Venice Beach boyo crewNicknamed the “boyos” (the female version dubbed “boyo toyos… though there have only been a few”) these guys are the ones you usually walk by, or step over, as you make your way to the Pier. But for some reason the author of Venice Surf Report, who goes by the name “Dogtown Surfer”, decided not to just walk by them on the way to the beach. He recognized they were a part of the whole experience. Well, maybe the interaction wasn’t so much egalitarian, as it “just kinda happened” as DTS explained to me in an email interview. And “once it did I decided to run with it, as I found it very very informative and was surprised by the life they lead.” But I had to ask him to get more specific, because as friendly as one can be on their best day, usually people don’t intermingle with the homeless to the depth this man has.

I knew I wanted to do something more that just the surf report and I guess the friendship grew out of me not really ever asking anything more than “what’s going on today” and every once in a while I was a source of beer money. It has definitely progressed past that point, but I would say the whole thing just came from me wanting to write, and write about something I thought was interesting and that I wanted to learn about…

His March 8th report “First Approach to Pier Homelessness” explains in more detail the method to the madness:

I finally resolved last night to make some real effort to get to meet some of the homeless down by the pier. So, to start off, I drank about a fifth of vodka, put on some old ratty clothes and hopped on the bike. A quick reconnoiter failed to turn up any gatherings but I did see one old guy all huddled up trying to stay warm. It seemed rather incongruous – one old guy with nothing, surrounded by hundreds of beer swilling, sushi eating yuppies – so I took a few pictures from behind. Plus, the dude looked like he was sleeping and I didn’t want to wake him. I wanted to give him a few bucks for using his likeness so I nudged him and told him I found three dollars on the ground right next to him, which he eagerly grabbed.

So I went into the Whaler for a quick beer as it looked like there was a comedy show going on…but all in all the comics were pretty lame…Knowing I couldn’t sit through that I made my way outside and what do I see? My buddy in the orange coat wide awake and full of piss and vinegar.

Thomas Venice Beach

Turns out his name is Thomas and he has been living at the pier for something like 20 years. My three bucks had immediately gone to a 40 oz. Colt 45 and it seemed to do wonders for him; what was a comatose old man 30 minutes ago was now an expansive and eager storyteller. Seeing as the Colt 45 had had such an effect I immediately bought him three more and a Heineken for myself. Even though I was a little too drunk to make much sense I explained what I wanted to do as far as using him as one of my correspondents at the pier and he was all for it. I left him knowing that I had found the right person indeed.

As proof of that, I saw Tom again this morning at 7:15 am (in the exact same spot where I left him at 10 pm last night) and as he sees me he calls out my name and starts telling the other two about our discussion last night. They were also eager to help, which is reassuring, but then I notice that Tom is holding what? Three Colt 45’s! I remarked at his discipline for saving them for the morning and he just shook his head and looked at me like I was the dumbest guy on the beach. “Son, these ain’t from last night; these’re my breakfast!”alcoholic rat

So beer plus boyo equals good stories. The amount of beer needed: unlimited supply. And the cast as it were, have all become important members of the daily reporting (including transient friends, weirdo locals, even alcoholic pets: rats, dogs, guinea pigs). On a smaller scale it’s something like Howard Stern’s Whack Pack. From blow-jobs to passin’ out in their piss – an endless adventure. And the coverage is accomplished with a balance of compassion, realism and virulence.

boyos on the beach veniceIt’s not really one of those jobs everyone is equipt for. Picturing myself doing the same “field reporting” I imagined I’d likely think twice before drinking a fifth of vodka, putting on old ratty clothes and hopping on my bike to talk story with some homeless guys in the middle of the night in Venice. So I asked him if he has ever found himself in a dangerous situation, to which he explained that at 6’5″ and 290 pounds he never really feels threatened (man, if I could be that big for a day!).

An interesting factoid about the author, “Dogtown Surfer” (who choses to keep his real name to himself due to occasional hate mail and a potential psychotic finding his home – though here’s a pict here of him and Victor), is that he only started surfing two years ago at 38 years of age, when he moved todogtown surfer and victor Venice Beach, California from Little Rock, Arkansas (originally from Greenwich, CT and NYC) in early ’05. He was doing a surf report for swellmagnet.com since late ’05 on a volunteer basis. But that all changed when the owner switched it to a pay site and started censoring him, which he explained with his first post entitled No More Bullshit:

To give you the full rundown on what started this, yesterday I wrote a Top Ten list on what Al Sharpton would do if he found out he really was related to Strom Thurmond, whose greatgrand-daddy apparently owned Shrpton’s great-granddaddy back in the days of slavery. The point was that Al would all of a sudden start doing white, redneck things like fire the “darky” that worked in his kitchen. Maybe not the funniest thing in the world but hey, I was trying to give the Swellmagnet readers something for their $$$ on a day when surf was questionable.

Anywho, some dude named Shane (who apparently does the silkscreening for the Swellmagnet t-shirts ) writes this rambling letter telling me I am going to ruin the site cause people will be offended and his future (is silk screening a future? Sounds more like a lack of one to me) is in the site and blah blah blah. So, I post his email on the site and my response calling him an illiterate retard. Oh, he did go out of his way to call Sharpton and Jesse Jackson “bags of shit” but apparently my racism was just so much more blatant.

Al Sharpton, Strom Thurmond…sounds like reasonable “flat condition” surf report material to me! Despite the brouhaha, he still does the surf report for them, a more typical one paragraph of conditions and picts, for which he now gets paid, but the creative stuff all goes to his blog. Thus Random Thoughts was born, with a smirk and a big fuck you, on February 27th, 2007.

And as promised from day one, and unlike most bloggers who start their site with such New Year’s resolution-type optimism, this guy posts almost every single day! The first thing a surfer wonders…especially when you work full time is…how do you have time for surf?!

I am strictly a PM surfer during the week. I have to work NY hours ’cause of my job so I hit the pier at Sunrise, take a few pics, talk to the boyos, drive to downtown LA and hit my desk by 6:50 or so. I then post the pics and write for maybe 10-15 minutes. Which means I am home by 3:45 or so, so can surf the blown out, crappy PM conditions we have here in Venice 99.999% of the time (yes, that is bitterness you are detecting). So, the report takes slight precedence over the job in the am on the weekdays, but on the weekend if it’s good, and even if it’s not, you will find me in the water. That’s why the weekend reports tend to focus on the surf exclusively. Plus, I get the feeling people read the blog primarily as a 5 minute distraction at work.

respect my peepsThe dichotomy between the rich and the poor is never so apparent as it is in the beach areas of Southern California. Where the rich are…so rich. And the poor are…the poorest. On top of that, Los Angeles is strewn with the famous as well. A place where you could easily run into one tv or movie star a day depending on your route and modus operandi. I recall as one of my favorite features in Ben Is Dead Magazine, when my sister, who was living on the streets of Hollywood at the time, compiled a piece of her spare change experiences with celebrities; who would give her the cash, and who would give her b.s. excuses. It’s always a tell-tale sign, how they react with the real world, to how real in fact they are (or aren’t). So, of course, when you mix celebrity with drunken bums, it has to evolve into something absolutely humorous. Especially when you’ve got Dogtown Surfer ready and waiting with his unexpected camera and truth-capturing pen. And certainly when these guys decide to indulge in a beer…Henry Hill

“Hey Matt, guess who this is?” asks Tommy.
“Henry Hill.”
The Henry Hill? The one you keep talking about?”
“Fucking right I’m the real Henry Hill, ya asshole!” Henry says.

Recognizing his voice from the Howard Stern Show, Matt (just out of the surf, runs home to get his camera) catches some shots of the ex-mobster from Goodfellas. But, what may seem like good fun at the time, sometimes ends up in threats. Like the sweet note from Henry’s girlfriend once they discovered the event exposed in a YouTube video.

TAKE THIS SHIT DOWN ill get henrys lawyers to sue you this isnt cool at all at least get him with good drunks not these scumbags

How dare she imply the boyos aren’t good drunks!

Minnie Driver HobOlympicsOr when, to everyone’s surprise, Minnie Driver showed up to watch the HobOlympics (well, actually she was coincidentally cruisin’ Venice Beach Pier on her bike and when they very politely asked for a picture, she got one whiff of the boyos and totally dissed them).

What’s a HobOlympics, you ask? When I read he was organizing a HobOlympics I got excited, thinking they were going to get the hobo’s on surfboards. I mean, some of the local guys at our beaches start drinking after their first session (meaning, by 9am) and their second sesh is completely DUI. You certainly don’t want to get too close, but otherwise it’sHobolympics t-shirts completely comical. But surely the homeless of Venice Beach with no surf experience might not survive even the manini So. Cal summer shore break. No, this HobOlympics was an athletic competition that included the “Snipe Hunt”, “Chug-of-War”…I think they were too fucked up to do much more….

This small excerpt should give you an idea of the atmosphere [note: this is after the winner of the Chug-of-War couldn’t quite hold it down]:

Randy was despondent. Not only was he not going to win the beer chugging contest and the $10 first prize, he had just wasted an entire Hurricane!chug-o-lug venice pier
“Matt, do I still win?”
“Well, I don’t know Randy. This was the chug of war, not the vomit competition. You think that was worth ten dollars?”
“Yes. Yes, I do.”
“Well, I don’t, and since I run the games my word is final.”
“It was not worth ten dollars – it was worth twenty! That was the coolest thing I have EVER seen. Here, take a $20.”
His eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas as he saw me pull the twenty out of my wallet. I would have taken a picture of him holding it up but I was still pretty much laughing at the memory of him puking his guts out, egged on by the motley crew that is the boyos, while Mom and Dad stroll the pier, trying to have a relaxing Saturday only to see a crew of the roughest looking characters this side of prison chuckling at someone blowing chow big time.

How many Surf Report readers showed up to cheer them on? Seven. Hey, that’s pretty good…they even had special t-shirts made for the event. Really, this guy has a large readership (300-600 per day) considering his blog is pretty fresh. But then again, if only we all had our own batch of boyos doing publicity…for the low low cost of a few beers! But I wondered, does he ever feel as if he’s taking advantage of these guys?

No, everything I do is strictly voluntary and there are one or two who have asked not to have their picture taken or be included and I respect that.

venice boyos

And on the the other end, does he ever think he might be able to help get these guys off the street (approx. 90% of whom are vets)?

Nope. Without exception they are there because they want to be. They all know how and where to get into treatment if they want and one of them, Dave, actually did go about a month ago. I help them by buying them beer when they can’t afford it and every Sunday night I cook a big, cheap dinner, like spaghetti, and pack it up and bring it down to them

Has your site, and your “contributions” helped them?

I don’t know. They get recognized constantly, the cops read it and I think have taken a little more empathy with them, even to the point where Bowser, the asshole cop of the month, went out of his way to explain that he doesn’t really give a shit what they do but that he is tired of getting calls about them. Of course, five minutes later he broke Kenny’s umbrella, so I don’t know how sincere he was. I guess the only thing I can say for sure is they find the site very funny, they really enjoy reading about themselves and if it makes them laugh then great.

Part of the adventure with the boyos is the cops. And it’s an endless game of boyos “drinking in public” and the cops wasting their time harassing and writing them tickets. As Dogtown explains:

The problem with the tickets is not the ticket itself, it’s the fact that if the cop runs your (real) name you get busted as you haven’t paid the last 23 tickets the cops have given you. None of the boyos have ID so it’s like a game they all play; the boyos pretend they’re going to pay the ticket and the cop pretends you’re telling him the truth when you give him your name and personal information.boyo and cops

Attitude is a big part of making this work, though, so no mouth or attitude to the cops. It’s all “yes, sir – no, sir”.

victor cops venice

Here’s Victor being lectured by the rookie and looking very contrite and serious as he signs and accepts his ticket.

He takes the thing, sits down and gives me this look like “Oh shit, I better hurry down to City Hall and pay my fine!”

victor smirk venice beach

What do you think the chances are this one gets paid?

How does he think the cops should deal with them? Should they ignore them/their drinking in public?

I think it is outrageous the amount of resources and time and money that goes into hassling these guys who are essentially harmless and who have nowhere else to go anyways. Let’s face it, kick them off the pier and where do they go? Somebody’s alleyway or carport or wherever and then they become one guys big problem rather than everyone’s slight inconvenience.boyo hobolympics venice pier

And if you were “in charge”, what would you do?

Like some of the cops do – see it, let them know the threat is there, treat them with a little respect and then generally the boyos do whatever those cops ask. There is one female officer in particular who never writes tickets, always stops by to see how they are when she is on duty, and they know when she is, they go out of their way to behave.

Considering how indiscreet and unobtrusive the author is not, he’s pretty much kept under the radar while behind the camera. Despite hanging out and drinking brewski’s with the boyos on occasion, printing shots of the officers in action, running “Asshole Cop of the Month” (which I believe evolved into “Cool Cop of the Month” to inspire a little more positive effects), he hasn’t gotten written up or hassled. Okay, maybe hassled a little bit. Like that time when he wouldn’t stop taking photos even when the cop told him to: “What the hell did I just tell you about taking pictures? You moving around and I don’t know if you have a gun or what you reaching for; just sit there and don’t move!” Of course, they love to pick on the homeless, and the homeless often respond amiably; they don’t want to be the brunt of the pig’s aggression. But sometimes the cops see that as a sign of weakness, and they go into predator mode. But when they threw Dogtown Surfer into the mix with the boyos and tried to treat him with the same lack of respect, he would have none of it: “Hey, dude, I’ll sit here and be quiet while you do your little investigation if it makes you happy, but I’m not doing anything wrong or illegal so don’t treat me like a fucking criminal. I run a website that 30,000 people a day look at and you so much as touch me or my camera and I will Rodney King your ass so fast you won’t know what hit you.” Okay, he made up the last line later, ’cause often our best comebacks are the ones we figure out hours after the scenario has already played itself out.homeless clean beach venice

Yeah, the meat of the site is not simply surf and shenanigans. DTS reports on litter at the beach (and how it’s the homeless guys who are always cleaning up after the beach slobs), serious issues involving some of the crew, how to’s for using the bike path (anyone who’s been to Venice knows how idiotic tourists can be), driving while putting on mascara (what about driving while taking photos?), and info on subprime and hedge funds (huh?). Well, fact is DTS is a bond trader…and every once in a while you might get a good financial tip. Personally, for the past few years while all has seemed hunky-dorey and my own friends have mentioned the attraction of buying houses with ridiculous adjustable rate loans, I have been warning them about the upcoming crashes and flashback wiffs of ’70s high interest to come….graph adjustable rate mortgage

So I asked his take on what’s happening to the economy?

Going to get a hell of a lot worse before it gets better. We haven’t seen a credit / liquidity crunch in a real long time in this country and I don’t think anyone is prepared for just how ugly it could get. …This mess was created by mortgage writers that were able to separate themselves from the fallout of loans that blew up, investment banks that were willing to buy this shitty paper and homeowners that were stupid enough to put their house on the line so they could buy a new car or travel to Europe. Everyone who is going to feel pain is partly to blame. Not a bad time to be sitting on cash or Treasuries, frankly. Get that credit repaired, pay off your debt and hopefully get back in at the bottom.

What do his co-workers think of the site?

Most everyone I work with reads and enjoys it.

And his wife? Though he’s mentioned numerous occasions how she puts up with it, or how the boyos are an excuse to getting away from her now and again, his new Venice Beach lifestyle doesn’t seem to mesh with hers. He wouldn’t be the first surfer boy who’s lost a relationship over his calling. Last time I spoke with him he said they were getting divorced.

And besides losing a wife and making the transitional move to sunny So. Cal, how has surfing changed him?

So much for the better. I live to surf now, basically, have made so many cool friends and know that no matter what, whenever I meet a fellow surfer, that I have more in common with him/her than I do with my own brother. It’s a club that money can’t get you into, you know?

* * * * *

waves at the pier

Yeah, despite the oft cocky attitude, DTS isn’t scared to express his sentimental side. What exposes it best might be an excerpt from piece he wrote for a contest on Surfline, about what got him into surfing:

Thirty eight.

That’s how old I was when I first grabbed the 8 ft piece of orange fiberglass, which, at the time, I thought was just an old surfboard. Having earlier wriggled into a brand new wetsuit that fit my chunky 6’5” frame I headed to the beach, board in hand, firm in my resolve to finally do what I had always wanted to: surf.

It wasn’t until much later that I learned that what I had grabbed that day was not just a surfboard, it was a ticket of admission to a sport – no, a lifestyle – that would be more challenging than anything I had ever tried, something that would test the limits of my endurance and patience, pushing me to extremes I did not know I had inside me.

Venice PierBut they say that you don’t choose surfing, it chooses you, and by the time the first month was over I knew I was hooked forever. Just the thought of moving back to the godawful state in the Deep South from where I had come was enough to set me off for days, causing fights with my wife and family, all of them worth it as I found a way to stay in California.

Because eventually that day came – the day when I got up on that board, made a bottom turn and moved across the water propelled by nothing more than my desire and a 3 ft. swell generated thousands of miles away by a storm I would never see or feel. What I would feel, though, was the immense and humbling power of the ocean in head high beach break… Even as I write this the memory of that day, and that wave, puts a smile on my face that leads my co-workers to, most likely, question my sanity.

Like I said, you don’t choose surfing, it chooses you and my life is far, far better since I finally picked up the board, paddled out and answered that call.

* * * * *

Yeah, every surfer can relate.

So if you’re ever down by the Pier, checking out the surf, don’t forget to stop by and give a shout out to the boyos, or better yet, buy them a beer, or even better yet, a malt liquor, something with High Gravity; who knows the misadventures you may find yourself involved in. And if you can’t make it, indulge in a visit to venicesurfreport.com, with your morning coffee, and enjoy some of the day’s highlights of the Venice Beach boyos and some random thoughts of a surf forecaster….

addendum: RIP Dogtown Surfer. no doubt you are missed.

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john cusack 1408Well, there are at least a good handful of reasons why John Cusack is still a hottie. But do we really know specifically what these reasons are? What is it about John Cusack that’s so damn appealing?

One thing I love about John is, like a good boyfriend, you can count on him. That despite the character he is portraying –whatever character it may be– there’s always an essence of that comfortingly familiar Cusack angst. Sure, that can be considered a bad quality for an actor, but not for John. And in actuality, he’s like a great surfer, who you don’t think is as good as he is, because he’s so casual about it -it comes so natural- that he makes even the most difficult maneuvers seem easy.

cusack cuteThat still doesn’t explain away his sex appeal. Cusack is our generation’s anti-hero, anti-celeb, anti-sex-god. And unlike other actors that reasonably or not are considered for the role -Clooney, Pitt, Penn- he doesn’t need to advertise it. I went out to dinner last night, and even the guys in our party (all straight) concurred. Frankly, I was surprised; to what extent men are equally a sucker for Cusack’s charms. When I threw it out there that if you dissect him, piece by piece (his kinda thin, strangely shaped lips, his new wave eyebrows, his grungy lanky stance), that John Cusack is not a very attractive man, well, I was met with fierce opposition. One guy actually seemed to be offended by my comment, challenging me with his response of “He’s attractive. What are you talking about? Come’on, you know he’s good looking!” Okay, okay, yes, he’s cute – I mean, I’m bringing up the topic in the first place. I’m just not certain why! Why is Cusack still such a hottie?!? cusack hottie

In his new movie, 1408, co-staring Samuel L. Jackson (whom you might hesitate to trust as incentive to potentially wasting two hours on a horror flick), Cusack displays his lasez-fair brilliance, practically without you noticing. The whole movie lies foremostly in his lap. In actuality, a movie like this could have easily gone the way of a plane full of snakes. Not everyone knows how to interpret King’s masterful play with suspense, and not every director gets King’s humor; as easily 1408 is perfection it could just as easily have gone cliché. And a scary movie that gets blessed with a leading actor who can convince the audience to be realistically horrified by an unrealistic scenario is gold. In the scene when John is holding his dead daughter, reassuring her he will not let go, that they will be together forever, just before she turns into a pile of rocky ash, you have to pretend you’re rubbing your eyes because you’re tired, not because John Cusack is actually making you cry. He’s a cynic like you’re a cynic, he’s a punk like you’re a punk, he’s always a little bit at odds with the world in a non-conformist way that isn’t too proud or self-righteous. Just like you, he doesn’t want to believe, and you seem to bond with him in that regard, from his very first moment on screen…in every movie he is in. (And note, I saw the movie with my mom, and though she couldn’t relate so much with the horror flick, she sure did feel the same way as I did about John!).

“It’s the idea that hell is a state of mind filled with the demons and conflicts you bring with you from your past,” Cusack says. “It’s not like a slasher film, where you’re running away from something or you have to face some monster. Room 1408 is some version of purgatory, where all your problems are waiting right there for you.”

better off dead cusackInstead of the promise of hope found in a repeating day, á la Groundhog’s Day, 50 First Dates, even the new (torturous yet decently accomplished TV show) Day Break, where the idea of being able to correct one’s mistakes and take advantage of second chances exists, 1408 showcases the potential nightmare of repeating one’s most horrible day -compounded by reliving the feelings of the worst events of one’s life- over and over again. The weight of the idea of it is enough – thank god. There are a few of those M. Shyamalan twists, though even the most unchallenged minds in the audience are used to those by now, come to expect them, and enjoy trying to guess what they might be.high fidelity

Even when appearing in shitty movies, at least we get to watch him; John Cusack can make virtually any film character likable or enjoyable. At 41 –as of a few days ago (happy birthday)– Cusack had appeared in over 50 movies. (My only point of contention, and I’m a stickler when it comes to this, is that I wish he never appeared in a Woody Allen film post-Soon Yi; but that’s another matter for another moment.) He’s had a self-conscious touch of jaded as of day one, a sort of anarchistic sneer that keeps the best of us from conforming to the lowest common denominator. john cusack astrologyHis private life has not been sold out in exchange for false-idol self-worship. His comment that “celebrity is the worst thing that can happen to an actor” is easy to make from the outside looking in, but impossible for most tabloid-driven love-hungry ego’s to see. On marriage (and while deterring notions of his unmarried-self possibly being gay because his name appeared on the cover of the SF Chronicle’s “Pink Pages” – sorry boys, he was supporting “Gay Pride” not being gay!) Cusack responded in The Guardian,

Would he like to get married? Put it another way. In his fantasy, is he married? ‘I’m not as interested in being married as in coming to some sort of clarity about the whole thing.’ Which sounds a bit constipated, but then, as he says, it’s not an easy subject. Complicated, in fact. ‘Don’t you think?’ Is he one of those men who falls in love all the time. ‘Not at all. I’ve been in love maybe two or three times in my life.’ A leaver? ‘No, so far they have been mutual leavings.’ Kids? ‘Yeah. That’d be good. But I’d want to be with someone I could stay with long enough for the kids to grow up.’ Maybe you’ve got to stop thinking so much, I say. ‘Yes,’ he says. ‘But that’s complicated, too, isn’t it?’

Yes John, it is complicated. But maybe we can help….

p.s. Please note the El Porto surf scenes where the -kinda retarded- surf accident that initiated the set-up of events into the dark side takes place. Does John surf?

Yeah, I’ve actually done a little bit, but I’m not a big surfer. Water’s kinda scary, especially those big waves. I actually have friends who do it, and I go out with them. I’m not a big surfer.

Again John, (forget Laird, forget Minnie) maybe we can help… xo

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GIDGETYou know, before Gidget came out in the late ’50s, there were supposedly only 5,000 surfers in the world. With that and the beach blanket bingo era to follow, by 1962 it’s been estimated a whopping 100,000 took to the waves. Today how many might there be? Millions?

My first bit of interest in surfing came in the form of a Flipside Magazine (hi Al, miss you) borrowed from some high-school surf punks as well as paddling out being my only other option besides waiting for hours on the beach gossiping with my girlfriends while our boyfriends surfed (yuck!). Yet, I will never deny the inner girly-tomboy inspiration acquired from the Gidget character, especially Sally Field’s TV version. Heck, the first spot I ever surfed (or got tossed around by waves at) as a teenie-bopper was Malibu and every once in a while I’ll disturb myself by unconsciously verbalizing words like “Toodles.”

But do we really need another major motion picture about the subject? After Blue Crush, can the water get any more crowded? (hmm, interesting to note, some of the most popular surf movies in history are about women – whassup with that?) How many more over-commercialized surf flicks does the universe need created by non-surfers in Hollywood trying to cash in?surf’s up

“Okay. I get it. This is where you tell me that “locals rule”, and that Yuppie insects like me shouldn’t be surfing the break, right?”

Capitalizing on the public’s love of computer animation and cute animals (Lilo & Stitch, Happy Feet, March of the Penguins) and promoted happily by certainly well-paid surf industry powerhouses (Kelly Slater and Rob Machado who provided lead voices), the consumer public is supposed to embrace Surf’s Up! as the movie to take the kids to this summer. But this animated feature that “goes behind the scenes of the high-octane world of competitive penguin surfing” and is based on the concept that (move over dolphins) “penguins invented surfing”… is not the new surf movie I’m talking about.

“You’re sayin’ the FBI’s gonna pay me to learn to surf?”

point break two

Point Break screenwriter Peter Iliff has found the only way to get a director’s credit is to write a script with his directing job tagged onto the contract. To the casual dismay of Point Break fanatics, this means a Point Break 2. In this 20-years-later scenario we will see (so far as it’s been reported) Bodhi indeed not dead, and has been instead playing bad boy and surfing, no doubt, hurricanes in the Asian Pacific (can’t you just picture him doing tow-ins with Laird). Patrick Swayze, with star power draining accordingly over time, doesn’t have a lot of other projects lined-up and is tentatively committed to this one. But there will be no “Johnny Utah” (and no James Cameron producing) – the flick will be funded and filmed in Asia and star a largely Asian cast. And the new lead character is supposed to be a ex-pro surfer turned Navy Seal tracking down a “criminal gang” and star a new Keanu. As reported in Variety:

It is really important that this film stands on its own two feet and we will be looking for a young male action star at the same stage in his career as Keanu (Reeves) was….

“Young, dumb and full of cum”

While you’re waiting for Point Break 2 to come out, you might be able to experience the ultimate ride “Point Break Live!” (a play based on the movie which I believe originated in Seattle many years ago, but has been showing as recently as a few weeks ago in New York). A new Keanu is picked every time, and the message on their MySpace better explains the qualities one must possess to play such a role like the dynamic Reeves:

To represent Keanu Reeves, an actor must be untrained and unrehearsed. He must be pushed from place to place by production assistants. He must read his lines (not seen until the play’s in progress) from cue cards. Only thus can that irresistible Reeves vacancy be emulated.

kalani robbOh, my. Well, in my personal opinion, if they’re going to make this work, I think they should hire retired pro goofy-footer Kalani Robb, as he’s always seemed to me a cuter Keanu. Plus he won’t need to be trained how to surf, has an Asian-Hawaiian look (like Keanu), and the absolute worse case scenario can act as well as Keanu… and I love him. Oh Rob, remember that day you were jogging down the beach with your dog..and I had my dog… and you barely paid any attention to me… sigh… and then that time, out in the water, at Pupukea, you were so mellow letting me catch as many waves as I wanted..even though you probably didn’t even notice I was there… what, oh, you did notice me…you wanna go grab some sushi…well, sure… mmm…. Oh, sorry, daydreaming again…. Rob even has a filmography and likely an Actor’s Guild card and, ah, shoots, he’s staring in a surf/horror movie coming out this year called Pipeline (“the water is filled with limbs…”). Well, out of all the surf movies coming soon to a theater near me, that’s one I’ll go see.

“Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.”

Now the question is, will Point Break fans flock to the potentially B-grade flick in hopes the writing might include genius one-liners like the ones weaved throughout the original. Or should we avoid the movie and preserve our imagination. That we don’t know if Bodhi died or somehow survived the huge waves at “Bell’s Beach” – and is possibly out there, somewhere, bullying for truth and the human spirit and manifesting the adequate funding required to live the ultimate surfer lifestyle (of course, today one would have to rob a lot more banks to stay afloat as a beach bum with a healthy quiver). Though there is little controversy about the matter, maybe people are just afraid to admit to their caring either way about the film’s legacy. One reviewer did go on the record, “Sounds like an all-around bad idea to me.” Yeah, “Part Two”‘s have the power to be such a bummer, dude.

“If you want the ultimate rush, you gotta be willing to pay the ultimate price….”

As far as more surf movies go, we can only hope for the best. Often the pure essence is only found in the well-produced small, independent variety, made by people who live to surf, and surf to live. Do all surf movies have the potential to increase the number of surfers in the water? Sure, very likely. Then again, we can all be greedy over the waves. But when you see the look on the face of a kid who just rode a wave for the first time in his or her life, you don’t mind so much. We know aloha is part of sharing it with the rest of the world. And perhaps the future core of conservation and environmental consciousness will be inspired by the fresh generation of groms who connect with the ocean and have a deep desire to keep it healthy (maybe throw in a few engineers to make some successfully breaking artificial reefs to satisfy the growing surfer communities – and encourage growing sea life). So, ultimately, I don’t mind the flux of surf movies – but if filmmakers are throwing so much money at it my only request is that they please make some that are really good too.

“Surfing’s the source man… it’ll change your life, swear to God.”

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Carefree BritneyI have always had this weird fascination with how quickly celebrities could grow their hair out. Perhaps it has something to do with my kinky curls and the length that seems to get lost in spirals. The only way my hair looks as long as it is, is when it’s wet. Following short hair trends or visiting grandma who thought you’d look so cute in a pixie cut, meant years and years of emotional maneuvering through the awkward phases. So growing up watching all of these female starlets cut their hair short and then within a year -snap- they have a lovely flowing mane has irked me to no end. Sure I was naive about hair extensions, but that wasn’t the point.

There are many theories as to why Britney shaved her hair off in the first place, and all seem as if they could hold some potential truth: hair represents one’s past and it is cleansing and freeing to remove the weight of that burden • she was trying to be shocking – otherwise she would have done it at home • she was crying out for help – ergo the revolving door to the rehab clinic • she was making a statement that she is independent and ultimately no one was in control of her life but herself • It was a reaction to the news that a family friend had died of cancer • She was having some serious hair issues, possibly linked with one or more of the following: stress, poor diet, having children, drugs/medicines or alcohol use, chemicals from bleaching and coloring, damage from hair-extensions, alopecia or simply bad genes. Over a year ago headlines were already declaring “Britney is Going Bald.” That’s a hard thing to deal with as a blond, long-haired, pop-princess. Maybe as hard as it is for some men who begin to lose their hair before their time; it feels good to take it off themselves, rather than having it slowly disappear before their eyes. Like fame.

If I shaved my head bald it would take forever to grow back. If hair grows six inches a year, and you add in a curl that makes every six inches really equal three, it would take twice as long for me to grow out my hair than most people. In five years for example, my hair, when dry, will look just 15 inches long. On a humid day it could seem exceedingly shorter. As my curly-haired compatriots know, only when the hair gets past the shoulders and holds enough weight will it even move beyond the “fro”. But since curly hair with a tendency to frizz needs split ends cut often…well, it seems a never-ending battle.

No one is too shy to give their input about the matter, even if the input is simply: You go girl! or Leave her alone! But some celebrities weren’t scared to be honest about Brit’s new do. 50 Cent seemed a little perturbed by the whole thing: “Counseling man, drug counseling. That wasn’t right man, why did she do that?” Others wondered why she would just leave all her hair at the salon for the owner to snatch up and auction off. eBay was having none-of-it after one too many Britney hair auctions went up the same day, so the salon owners created their own site and supposedly sold the locks for somewhere just over a million bucks. Which even had Brit’s diehard fans –posting on teenie bopper sites that encourage “no negativity towards Britney”– calling her a “selfish cow” for not donating to Locks of Love. That’s a little cruel. But why didn’t she?

No one would want my hair. It’s okay. I know it. I mean sure, you get all kinds of straight-haired people telling you, “Oh, I love your hair. I always wished I had curly hair since I was a kid.” You want to believe them. But you know, if they ever had to really deal with it… My hair is so thick I used to have to shave the underside in the back, just so it would stop dreading and be somewhat manageable. I was young when I did it; emotional, self-absorbed…and I didn’t think about donating it to Locks of Love either.

Anyway I wonder, how long it will be before Britney has hair again? Does hair somehow grow more quickly when you are a celebrity? Will she jump right back into bleaching and hair extensions? On the betting sites there are all kinds of strange odds for Britney’s future. Odds she may not even know about…. Do these people see something she doesn’t? Rehab timetables, custody of children, and even a futures market – who’s the next baby’s daddy? I think the more interesting gamble is whether or not Britney will have real(ish) long hair by, say…June 2007. Can someone spot me $100 for that bet? Come on, I’ll split the kitty!

I’m trying to grow my bangs out. My hairdresser (okay, I’ve been to a hairdresser three times in ten years) made some comment about bangs as if I should have grown out of them by now – like they’re pre-teen or something. Whatever. I’ve been cutting my hair myself since I was a teenager, so I won’t have to cry when I leave the hairdresser. And if there is a perk to curly hair, you don’t have to cut it straight! I only once went to a super fancy-pants trendy Beverly Hills salon, thinking they were the highest paid experts and would know how to fix me; like a celebrity-in-waiting whom they could reinvent into beautiful – this was going to be my curly hair make-over. We were having our I Hate Brenda Newsletter (a slightly smarmy dig at Shannen Doherty – I mean Brenda Walsh) bash at the Park Plaza Hotel and all I wanted were ribbons. My hair to curl like ribbons…like the black girls get. When your hair is somewhere between black and white though no one seems to totally relate. Anyway, the lady started talking on the phone and bleached half of my head – I mean the top to halfway down (please don’t ask me why, I don’t know). I actually had to come back the next day to get it fixed and even paid the $200+ for the mess. No ribbons.

She just can’t win, can she? Supportive, dedicated, hopeful perhaps…but what would it really take for Britney’s fans to fall in love with her all over again? Likely she would have to be 17, dating Justin Timberlake, have a hot sexy video, claim she was a virgin…and have beautiful long blond hair.

As for me, I gotta go do a deep conditioning. Where’s my hair pick?! xo

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