Month: February 2005

(Felix and) Oscar

Somewhere back in the 1980’s, someone shanghai’d my Oscars® and turned them into a who-cares fest. At least, that’s all I can think after (half-)watching 3+ hours of Hollywood crapping all over the Kodak Theater last night.

For too long now, the only thing fun about the Academy Awards® has been the parties, and I think that sentiment goes double for those unfortunates sitting captive in the audience. Most of them look like they’d prefer gum surgery over being stuck in a big red candy box watching Josh Groban rip it up with Beyoncé. At least the periodontist offers high-quality intoxicants.

Do yourself a favor and quit trying to be hip. You can’t: the hip train has moved on; it no longer stops at network stations. Either move the whole shebang to HBO and let the freaks run the show or go back to the old-school faux glam that you do better than anyone.

But whatever you do, for chrissakes, 86 the “creative” award presentation. The humiliation of receiving an award at one’s seat is exceeded only by not receiving one on the stage with the rest of the nominees.

My vote? Pull the plug on the whole free-televised thing, put it back in a big restaurant, serve shitloads of booze and make it a pay-per-view event. The farther Oscar® gets away from his closed, dinner-and-booze-fiesta roots, the more he acts like Felix: precious, overly-organized and about as much fun as watching glittery, registered-trademark paint dry.


Book review: cheat

cheatIf the title wasn’t tipoff enough, the flirty glances between (married) Janey and (also married, but not to Janey) Davis on page four of Christine Norrie’s graphic novel pretty much give it away.

As the story opens, Janey and her workaholic husband, Marc, are moving into a new apartment secured for them by their attractive friends, Anna and Davis, who live in the building. It’s clear that the True Romance has gone out of Marc & Janey’s marriage; five years of living and working together (Marc writes travel books which Janey coordinates marketing and publicity for) have taken their toll.

Having sexy Davis within easy reach (heh heh) is too much temptation for the attention-starved Janey. She pushes Marc the rest of the way out the door, metaphorically speaking, encouraging him to take the solo research trips she used to resent him for taking…and then, in a moment of drunken weakness, finally and fatally (for her marriage, anyway) gives in to the crush she’s been nurturing.

Drawn and written in the over-the-top, sex-as-cautionary-tale style of the old romance comics, cheat feels breezy and disposable, the graphic novel equivalent of potato chips, but the glossy surface belies the gut-punch of the story’s close. Perhaps it’s because, dramatic design and impossibly pretty character drawings aside, the story behind cheat is small, sordid and true. Have I used the descriptor “Chekhovian” around here lately? I’ll do so again. That krazy, konsumptive kossack knew that the mundane often makes for the most poignant and true storytelling.

cheat is a strange, sad little tale that uses an odd medium to sneak up on your emotions from behind. And damned successfully, I’d say.

Old Anton would be proud…


UPDATE (12/3/08): In a shameless and transparent act of caving, I’ve been replacing book and DVD links with Amazon affiliate links throughout the site. I MAKE MONEY WHEN YOU CLICK ON THESE. Like, a full 1/4 cent or something. Whatever. I’m happy if you borrow it from a friend or the library, or buy it used (I like and alibris online) or, praise Jeebus!, from your local independent dead tree retailer. Seriously. The main thing is, read. Absorb. Enjoy. Pass it on.

Alive vs. living

Let me state right up front that I am not anti-television. The fact that I was cable-free for five years post-divorce had more to do with my crack-like addition to television than any moral stance against or disdain for the medium. I just assumed that if more than two and a half channels were viewable on my TV set, I’d do little else save watch it. The good news? I know myself really, really well. The bad news? I know myself really, really well.

Of course, I am now justifying my increased television viewing with my newfound desire to transform #1 & #2, the stage play (with music!) that I wrote with my partner, L.A. Jan, into a television series, a desire born out of a dream to tell our truth to the widest possible audience with the greatest possible efficiency. (When you’re perpetually zonked by chronic illness, you quickly attune yourself to the fine art of maximizing efficiency.)

Given that dream, logic would dictate that, in addition to re-familiarizing myself with the medium as a consumer, I’d also be angling to learn the business from the inside out: i.e., getting a staff job on an existing television show. Any television show.

Only I’m not. And neither is Jan. And if we were on the fence about it before, which maybe I was, since, let’s face it, TV is a really well-paying gig and I really understand the freedom that money provides, all it took was one day in the Quaalude of a sitcom spec-writing class we’re taking to convince me that writing on someone else’s show is not something I can pursue with the laser-like focus one needs to in order to obtain such a cush gig.

Again, please understand: I am no TV snob. I both love my TV, free, basic and premium, and I fully recognize and honor the very real skills required to write for a pre-existing show. I can even understand how it might be fun…sometimes. After all, in addition to fat residual checks, you’re surrounded by smart, funny people all day and usually, there’s really good lunch. It’s a lot like advertising used to be back in the 1980’s, only you’re writing the stuff in between the commercials instead of the commercials themselves.

But it’s just not me; I was in advertising (which I fell into and then fell asleep in) and that wasn’t me, either. Writing copy and shooting commercials, even great copy and terrific commercials, felt like a simulacrum of the life I was supposed to lead, like being alive, versus really living.

If I fell into it, if I was plucked from amongst millions, if the smoked glass window of the limo rolled down and a long, well-manicured finger pointed at me me me to be lifted from obscurity to the high-profile, well-heeled life of a sitcom writer, well, hell, yeah, I’d do it. For a while, anyway. I may be crazy, but I’m not nuts.

But as for what I’ll hurl myself into? What I’ll go out on a limb for, contort myself for, put away childish things for? I’m afraid that for me, I’m looking at the big, nasty enchilada: my Truth. And it’s all, in this case, the creation of my own work, saleable or not, or nothing. You’re in or you’re out. Live free or die.

Because that soporific sitcom spec-writing class? It now follows hard on the heels of a pilot-writing class, the most kick-ass, off-the-charts-caffeinated class it’s been my pleasure to take for a long, long time. Same teacher, same room, totally different vibe. We’re a ragtag crew, this small mess of us with dreams of disseminating our dreams, but we are plugged into the juice and we will not take “no” for an answer. And man, oh, man, is that ever exciting to be around.

Will we all make it? Doubtful. Will any of us make it? Hard to say. The odds are certainly against us; each of us, I’m sure, has had no end of helpful advisors telling us that our time would be better spent traversing the traditional routes. But that’s not for us: the few…the proud…the insane. Keep your overhead low and your sights sky-high.

I may never again know what it’s like to stay in a great hotel or sign a mortgage stub or even order off a menu with impunity. I may be forever relegated to a boho lifestyle of purloined treats consumed off the premises with fellow losers.

But it’s okay. Because I’ve been alive and done those things.

And believe me, living is better…


Searches, we get searchesâ„¢: Project Runway edition

searchesThe numbers don’t lie.

You can write all you want about life, truth and the pursuit of happiness, the peoples, they just wants their “Project Runway“:

  1. Project Runway (Yahoo), project runway (MSN), etc. ad nauseum
  2. project runway “vanessa article” (Yahoo),“bravo project runway” vanessa (Google), etc. ad nauseum
  3. kara saun fashion week (MSN)
  4. music on project runway (Yahoo)
  5. banana republic project runway (Yahoo)
  6. “project runway” mario (Yahoo)
  7. rent video of any episode of project runway (Google)
  8. naked project runway (Yahoo)
  9. what time is project runway on tonight (Yahoo)

Okay, so 99% of you don’t give a crap about my startling insights into the human condition. I can take a hint. I can go for the quick buck (and I’m absolutely speaking metaphorically, here, this is so not a lucrative venture).

Still, I seek the love like any lost and lonely blogger. Plus, there’s that Virgo motto: “To love is to serve.”

So here’s the quick rundown for you:

  1. Skip the searches, guys and gals. The juiciest, best-written stuff on PR is right on the Bravo website. Select any episode and then go to Tim’s Take for Parsons overlord Tim Gunn’s super-fab, ultra-bitchy, ever-insightful spin on the events in question. He makes Michael Musto look like a piker. Rock the fuck on, dude.
  2. Here’s the 411 on Vanessa: los-ah! She’s such a los-ah, she even said so herself! And, as we all saw on the penultimate episode, she’s an alcoholic los-ah, to boot! If you are interested in the
    bisection of los-ahs and alcohol, may I suggest this article on Imposter Syndrome? May I also suggest that if you suffer from Imposter Syndrome, you learn to keep your trap shut.
  3. Kara Saun should win “PR”. Hell, she’s so good she should win “Survivor,” “The Bachelorette” and “Last Comic Standing,” too. The hell with it. Give her an Oscar, too. Just give her everything.
  4. Dude, who gives a crap about the music on “PR?” That track from the Banana Republic ad is the shit. I might go see Chris Pierce at one of his upcoming L.A. gigs. But the crap they play on the show? Sheesh. You need to get out more and stuff.
  5. Banana Republic sponsors PR. They are the high-end arm of the GAP and Old Navy. So while there’s a whole lotta savvy marketing going down, I don’t know that they’re the last word in fashion.
  6. Mario!? Dude, that’s like digging Ringo when you’ve got John, Paul and George to crush on.
  7. You cannot rent videos of any episode of PR yet, dumbass. They’re still airing new episodes.
  8. Frankly, I’m thinking “spin-off.” But in case the Bravo brain trust isn’t with me on this, I gotcher naked couture here.
  9. Two words: Ya-hoo!

Thanks for reading. See you all on the other side of the “PR” finish line!


Project Life, by “Project Runway” Part IV

model-yWe’re over the hump on hump day, but those Project Runway/Life Lessons just keep on comin‘…

Thanks to all my Wednesday-only readers who have found me via Google, Yahoo!, Technorati and MSN searches. Just so you know, what I know about fashion would fit in my bra, which, were it to be used for the odd alternate purpose of stowing nuts for winter, wouldn’t hold enough to keep an anorexic squirrel alive for 48 hours after the freeze. (And frankly, given how often I even wear one, I might as well donate it to some alternate cause.)

Lesson 12: Make it Fit!

You think foo-foo is the answer? You obfuscator, you! Don’t you know that any fool with a MasterCard and a high-speed connection can pile on the frippery?

Real men, or, in this case, women, cut fierce. And Kara Saun is 100% fierce in the fit department. Hear the praise her exquisitely cut wedding sheath earns from stern Parsons overlord, Tim Gunn:

I feel about Kara Saun’s work the same way that I feel about the work of Coco Chanel; that is, when you see it you think, “This is exactly what the fashion world has been waiting for!” You can’t predict it. You can’t anticipate it. You simply respond to what is.

Lesson 13: Remember Whose Name is on the Label

Okay, show of hands: who blows rent money to buy couture from the House of Hacque?

I thought so. Contradicting one’s inner voice is a recipe for one giant cheese ball of confusion. I’d rather be Austin and go down in glorious, chiffon-draped flames than wishy-wash my way out by caving to the whims of a sixteen-year-old girl’s idea of fashion. Know what you stand for and then get on your freakin’ feet and off your damned can already. Sheesh.

Lesson 14: Sell Yourself!

The meek may inherit the earth, but only after it’s been picked clean of anything good by the self-promoters. Don’t hide your light under a bushel (ooo…that’s TWO biblical references, I love it when TV and god intersect). Be like Austin: throw on a velvet cape, rock those YSL specs and work the room!

And if you’re not naturally flamboyant and/or gregarious, fake it ‘til you make it. It’s called acting, sugar-face!

Lesson 15: Keep it Original

U gots 2 B U. It’s one thing to pay homage (i.e., steal the right way); it’s quite another to abdicate originality and play copycat. In addition to being crushingly boring (and unethical, despite Tim’s lenient take on the issue), it’s a waste of good, old-fashioned DNA. You got your own map for a reason; quit looking over your neighbor’s shoulder at hers!

Lesson 16: Lead by Example

This challenge had two designers heading up teams of three where each contributed one “look” to a “collection”. Theme? “For the year 2055.” Source materials? Low-end Village vintage shop. As if.

*****VENOM ALERT: Just so we’re all clear on this, I thought everyone sucked ass in this challenge. Imitation of Christ, you ain’t; I’ve seen better deconstructions on Jennifer Beals in Flashdance. END VENOM ALERT.*****

Still, Kevin, Team Leader #1, got the boot because ****SWEARING ALERT**** his design sucked the most ass. If you’re in charge, your contribution to the team should suck the least amount of ass. So if you are a boss, please do not suck ass. ****END SWEARING ALERT.****


Okay, my babies. Last PR tonight! Last set of Life Lessons to follow…



Searches, we get searchesâ„¢

searchesWherein I list varous searches that brought various wayward souls to communicatrix-dot-com, most often fruitlessly, and endeavor to provide fruit (or something like that):

“powerpoint ella fitzgerald” (Google)

As a dead jazz vocalist, Ella Fitzgerald does not use PowerPoint. Additionally, given the timing of her exit and PowerPoint’s entry, I am fairly certain that even while alive, Miss Fitzgerald did not have access to Microsoft’s now-ubiquitous program for the creation of her jazz presentations.

Perhaps she used transparencies and an overhead projector, although with her background in improv, I see her as more of a free-flowing, white-board kind of gal (no pun intended!)

“hanro camel toe” (Google)

Alas, Hanro’s celebrated 1992 line of undergarments, developed to capture the hillbilly/rocker demographic, has been discontinued.

For other fine Hanro products, try here or here.

For superior, post-millenial camel toe, I highly recommend this pair of Joie jeans after eating too many cookies.

“phoning it in” acting definition (Google)

Michael Caine in everything after The Man Who Would Be King (excluding Hannah & Her Sisters, Little Voice and The Cider House Rules).

Daniel Chu copywriter (Google)

According to Creativity, as of September 10, 2003, Mr. Chu was a senior creative at TBWA Chiat Day NY, where he was partly responsible for a “flashy production, with fresh-faced leads” shilling Joe Boxer and K-Mart “with flavor and soul, hitting the target’s pop cultural buttons with uncontrived authenticity.”

Color me sold!


Don’t slap women. In fact, don’t slap anyone. Actually, I take that back, go slap yourself, you sick fuck.

butt doctor (Yahoo)

An M.D. who gets paid insane amounts of money to stick a camera up one’s ass. Occasionally, a surgical specialist who withholds Crohn’s diagnosis from patient and then, seven months later, helpfully visits patient in hospital to sketch new rectum he is going to build her while trying to keep from licking his lips at the prospect; in such cases, the “butt doctor” is also a “butt hole.” (NOTE: if you live in the Los Angeles area and are looking for a “butt doctor,” please feel free to e-mail me for an un-recommendation.)

daises recipe (Yahoo)

As “daises” (sic) are rather malodorous flowers, I am surprised to find them sought after as an ingredient. Perhaps this lone searcher was researching high-end cow snacks.

“pictures of lesbian lover xxx rate” (MSN)

Sadly, I lost all of mine in a recent kitchen fire. But I can help you with…

Wart“plantar’s wart photo” (Yahoo)

As you can see, a mere two years after the only pedicure I’ve ever had, mine’s almost gone! Hooray for Efudex! Hooray for the Solingen precision callus remover! Hooray for Dr. Brian P. Mekelburg!

Communicatrix (Google)

Congratulations, little stalker fans, you’ve made it to the right place. More information about me than you can shake a stick at. But just for the record, it’s “communicatrix” with a lowercase “c”…e.e. cummings-style!

That’s all for now. And remember: you can find anything you want on the internets if you look hard enough…and it’s all true!!!


UPDATE: In my rush to get the news out, I neglected to include the promised wart photo. It’s been added, although it should be noted that it is more of a “previous site of wart” or “ex-wart” than wart, at least, it is according to my dermatologist, Dr. Brian P. Mekelburg (who, btw, said that I’d had “the most impressive progress” on my wart of any of his patients! I WIN AGAIN!!!).

More about me(me)

Being a bossy, self-involved chick who’s all about the unsolicited 411, I’m way lovin’ this this meme from Jon Strande, of 100 Bloggers fame (which reminds me, I must get my butt in gear).

  • What do you do? – Current (commercial) actress. Former (and, for rare clients, current) copywriter. Budding designer. Aspiring communicatrix (a pundit-like position I imagine will fuse all of these, way, shape or form, TBD).
  • What are the challenges? – Keeping my head from exploding.
  • How do you overcome them? – By excluding from my life that which is neither useful nor beautiful.
  • What is a typical day like? – No such thing, really, allthough a “median” day might include an audition, some writing, a bit of design work and, hopefully, some form of head-clearing stuff: a walk, a trip to the gym, a lie-down…
  • How do you manage information? (Email, Blogs, etc)TypePad hosts my blog, love that UI! I like Entourage for my main email and use gmail and Yahoo! accounts for public interface. I swear by the bucket method of brain emptying/information collection that David Allen outlines in the most excellent Getting Things Done; my Palm and the lined notebook(s) I always carry with me are my main buckets. I use NewsFire for my RSS feeds locally and Bloglines on the road. I am a geek; I make no apologies for this…
  • What are your 3 or 5 favorite books
    The Artist’s Way – life change ain’t easy, but it’s always worth it
    Factotum – Buk is my go-to guy when I’m feeling blue
    The Razor’s Edge – I gave my crappy honors thesis novella the same title out of undying undergrad lust for Maugham
    Bread and Jam for Frances – if you’ve got a kid, go buy it; if you don’t, go buy it anyway
    Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life – whether or not you believe in feng shui, you must admit that to focus intention on something changes it…and I got two checks for $10,000 each when I focused on my kitchen/prosperity bagua
  • What are your favorite web sites/blogs? I’m always happy when I see updates to the feeds from Gawker, michaelnobbs-dot-com and Crossroads Dispatches. I wish 2Blowhards had a feed.
  • What tools/technology do you use? – PowerMac G5 (mostly Photoshop, Quark XPress, Final Draft and MS Word), G4 PowerBook
  • What’s your favorite quote? – “Every valuable human being must be a radical and a rebel for what he must aim at is to make things better than they are.” , Niels Bohr
  • What is your “secret to success”? – You don’t have to be the brightest kid on the block if you’re willing to work ten times harder than the one who is.
  • What are your greatest accomplishments? Personal? Professional? – Learning to live in the present.
  • What are your hobbies? Or, how do you break the monotony and stay energized? – After too many years of tedium, I’m happy to report that there is no monotony in my life. But when I need a break, I bust out the guitar, the sketchbook (this is a new one, for which I owe a debt of gratitude to Michael and Brenton), take a long walk or unplug and curl up with a book. The thing that energizes me most is connecting with kindred spirits, a long talk with one of my gals, a birthday party for which fifty of my closest friends come out on a school night, being in the loving arms of a brilliant cast in a genius piece of art.

Grab the Q’s, add your own A’s (on your own blog, if you fancy, or in the comments if you don’t). Don’t forget to trackback me and Jon if you’re a bloggin’ baby.

In other words, share the love. In case you hadn’t heard, it’s the answer…