My Recent Guests

For a few years now, I’ve been the go-to person for a lot of film and art people who come through Cleveland either to showcase work or film on location. Recently I got to hang out with film maker/artist Kevin Jerome Everson (I still have the pages of the NYT article from a few years back on him), and he’s a pretty fun guy. He’s up for a MacArthur Grant and I hope he gets it!

Watching “Spring Breakers” together on Saturday night was really interesting, because it had been so long since I’d watched a movie with other film people; the running commentary took me back to my days in the film/video department at Cal Arts. Speaking of Cal Arts, I also hosted Kevin’s 3 interns that were helping on a film he was working on that involved the Cleveland Water Department. One is a current student, the other two are about to enter the MFA program. So hey, I did right by my alma mater to bake gluten-free pasta and cookies, and suggest places for them to go dancing in the few moments they had to relax over the long weekend. Needless to say, my cat Tina was super excited about a big slumber party with lots of girls! It was a nice change of pace from having hosted bands for so many years, both here, and my old pad in Hollywood. Aside from being a film student, LNZ is also a talented rapper! Go check out her stuff…

Artists and Films: The Process

Here are some recent films that give a little look into the studios and thought process of artists.

As a fan of anything Americana, and signage in general, I’m excited about this movie “Sign Painters”  I may have to go get the book now.

I only saw one film during the Cleveland International Film Festival, and it was “Breaking the Frame”. I took the director out as much as I could for that afternoon, and here’s hoping she’ll be back to speak at Cleveland Institute of Art for another screening soon. Her insights and process into making this film just add to the experience. If you don’t know who Carolee Schneemann is, this is a great overview.


Also, the film I saw last year, “Beauty is Embarrassing” is now available on Netflix and streaming. If you haven’t seen it yet or know about Wayne White, it is pretty great. Funny guy. It will be especially interesting for those who ever watched “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse”.

And while we are at it, here is a little video of  “a painter that sometimes sings” Richard Butler of Psychedelic Furs talking about his newest work from his studio in Beacon, NY. I’ll admit I am still miffed that a friend and I wore ‘I ♥ Richard Butler’ t-shirts that I made — drew a picture of him and all — and he wouldn’t talk to us or anything after the show; this was during a solo tour and not many people came out for the gig. He ran out those back doors and into his tour bus as fast as he could! Modesty indeed! Well I guess I still like him, he has a Bruegel book on his bookshelf and he has a cat in his studio.

Eye Candy + a Movie

Hey! The movie myself + my art are in is finally getting released! It stars Michelle Monaghan, Stephen Dorff, and Willem Dafoe: http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/tomorrowyouregone/

The film is opening April 5th in select cities like L.A., Charlotte, Columbus, Dallas, Philly, Denver, Houston, Chicago, Miami, Kansas City, Detroit. And even though it was filmed in Cleveland, nope, we aren’t going to be able to get it here. I guess a road trip to Columbus is in order? It was partially because of Michelle Monaghan my work made it into the film, she loved it so much she and some of the crew bought pieces. I have to thank David Jacobson for throwing me in the film, and expanding what started as just a walk-on as I was killing time waiting for my husband to finish up at the office.

Many of the painting that were in this movie are also going to be in “EyeCandy” opening Saturday, March 30th at WWA Gallery in Culver City, CA. I will have 7 paintings in it, and many are from my book as well. You can view all the info and other amazing artists in the show here. I wish I could fly back to Los Angeles for the reception, oh well. If you attend it, send me pictures!

Fulvia

Lady Fulvia of Terra, 8×10″

NOLABound: the film

I’ll be flying down during the New Orleans Film Festival for the premier of this!

So if you are in NOLA in mid October come on out and watch me on the big screen with ‘Monica in Hawaii’ hair; I also get the sads because I feel disrespectful in the Lower 9th Ward being a looky-loo, and I act like a jackass in general (probably). That week should be fun because I’ll also be getting up to trouble with my husband, some of my NOLABound cohorts, and my family. I’m pretty excited this is taking place at the Joy Theater, because I walked past it almost everyday on my last trip down and was dying to know what the renovations looked like.

This documentary will also be available on DVD, stay tuned for details on that.

Why I Shouldn’t Join a Cult

I finally got around to watching Martha Marcy May Marlene a movie starring the non-troll Olsen sister about a girl who flees from a cult she’s been with for two years. John Hawkes did a fantastic job at the A-typical cult leader, and the usual proclamations of, “you are a leader and a teacher” and “you are either alive or dead, anything else is just existing” get use. Oh cults, you crazy kids!

I forgot that years ago I blogged about my weird fascination with cults; not to mention my grandmother may or may not have formed a half-assed version of one (we think it was just an excuse for her to boss people around), and I may or may not have been approached to join them a few times, by older men who thought they could control me due to my age — ha! Anyways, here’s a list of reasons why you should never recruit me, and why I would last about 5 minutes in a cult:

  • I hate acoustic folk music
  • I don’t like being told what to do
  • In general, I have issues with authority
  • I don’t like sharing
  • If you try to starve me, after a few days you can bet your ass I won’t get weakened — I’ll knock your teeth out instead
  • I hate farming, and gardening, and nature
  • I can’t do manual labor except maybe chop wood and tile a bathroom; everything else I’m too crippled for
  • Only chores I can do are vacuuming, dishes, and making cocktails. I can’t even iron properly!
  • I hate bunk beds
  • If you try to drug me, chances are I’m just going to enjoy it
  • Put me in pioneer era dresses? Yeah, that’s not going to work for me
  • I’ll secretly judge and know I’m prettier than all the other women, and then I’ll turn them all against each other because it will be entertaining. That’s what happens when you take TV and internet from me!
  • I’d have no issue sleeping with different men if they were hot, and thus would breed lots of resentment amongst the followers
  • What do you mean I can’t order my Dermalogica moisturizer online?! I NEED IT!
  • Babies scare the crap out of me and you don’t want me in charge of their care
  • I’m a nihilst, so have fun with that
  • I hit back
  • I also know how to use firearms, you wouldn’t want to test that
  • If you live out on a compound in the middle of nowhere, I’ll just assume you failed at life and didn’t pass the GED

So you see? The only way a cult could ever keep me is the plain fact that I can’t run away physically. That’s it, really. So rather than join a cult, I’m renting a condo; and believe me when I say a condo board is sort of like a controlling cult leader except way more bossy and annoying! But at least I don’t have to farm or make babies for the cause, instead I get an indoor pool, private beach, happy hour specials, and dry cleaning service. That’s way better, don’t you think? There is only one acceptable reason why anyone should move to a compound out in the country: to start a kitten farm! Because KITTENS!

Snaps from the Set

I forgot to post some of these photos from the film I was in for 5 seconds this summer (depends what gets included). I was just happy to get my own prison cell/trailor dressing room. And all the Starbucks and Diet Coke I wanted!

Sadly I do not have any of me in hair and make up where I’m outfitted in a black slip and look like a piece of white trash. The first day when I waltzed onto the set to collect my artwork that was rented (and later purchased by various cast and crew, yay!) I got cast on the spot, and the part was quickly expanded. I guess my hair color sealed it. First, they had me dress as plain ole me: Motorhead t-shirt and leopard print skirt, with a cane. I play 3 different characters, that are all versions of myself. Kind of funny. Here’s me and one of the other people cast on the spot for a scene at a classic car lot…

I tell you, nothing curtails eating like being told you’ll be in your underwear — without the help of Spanx — in a Hollywood production the next day. Finding wardrobe that fit me was a challenge in that all the other actresses were a size 0-2, and I’m a 12! It was funny to be handed things to try out that I couldn’t even get over my shoulders. In the end we found something nice that made me look like a weird darker version of Elizabeth Taylor in Butterfield 8. In any event, I got to cuss a lot and ad lib lines on top of what I rehearsed with my on-screen husband. Here I am with him, and my real husband…

This is going to look really cool when it is done, a sort of gritty noir, Boot Tracks. The most surreal moments for me were hitting Stephen Dorff in the head with a blunt instrument, and my husband and I sitting there having pasta dinner with Willem Dafoe, just chatting — you know, like you do. Wanted to tell him how he saved Boondock Saints, but I figure he got fawned over enough by everyone else.

The casting and production people were very adamant that I go and sign up with SAG now that I am eligible, and pursue acting as a real thing. Not because I’m such an awesome actress but as one person said, “despite your weight, you look amazing on camera even when you’re supposed to look like a mess, people will cast you for your face alone”. I’m going to see a local agency that I heard was good, but aside from that, I don’t know what’s more heartbreaking: being an actress or an artist! I think if I don’t take it seriously as a career, and do it for fun, I’ll be okay.

I’m Just the Decoration

I was going through some old films and videos recently, trying hard to transfer all my beautiful Super8 footage — alas the seizure inducing flicker it emits is too much without a projector anymore. I came across a lot of old films that other students at CalArts had made of me. I was the go-to female protagonist that was really meant for decoration and eye candy; the focal point that did just about everything except talk. Some of these films made rounds at the festivals, and some were just meant for assignments or reels.

I found some of these images from a film shot at my parents house in Dana Point. I must be about 19 or 20? I forget what or who this was for, but I think it was footage meant to later be distorted and used as a film within a film. These were shot by Jerome Dunn aka Jerry the Priest, I think. What I do remember was having to do all my own hair, make-up, and the clothes belong to my mom…

except the leopard dress, I made that….

leoprad

couch9

dressfeet

rest

dress

tabel too

Well, revisiting all these films must have invoked something in the air, because I’m about to be a SAG paid actress — for one major film at least. I don’t want to give too many details because the production is happening as we speak, but it has been a surreal time. Not only are several of my paintings featured in the film, and not only did the talent buy a few pieces, but I was cast on the spot for some minor bits and pieces. It all happened because the lead actress feel in love with a portrait of mine (the one on my blog banner, actually) that appears on the menus at The Velvet Tango Room. So, I showed up on set to collect my artwork after they filmed it, I was wearing a Motorhead t-shirt and leopard skirt, and before I knew it, I was doing a scene and having a close-up over and over and over and over again. I guess my hair color and the cane sealed the deal.

Now I am being fitted for costume, and I get to have a little speaking part. I had done extra work a lot from college up through my early 20’s — I can’t count how many shoots I’ve done, but a fair number. This is more exciting because I actually have to talk and scream and, well, do stuff! That said, I am being reminded what hard work it can actually be, and a scene you spent 7 hours on can get cut in post-production just like that. I have been pushed to be an actress by family and friends for a long time, it was never something I was super ambitious about, but maybe I should just embrace it? We’ll see how it goes!

A Joan Crawford Problem

Most people who know me, they are aware of this problem — addiction really. My husband discovered how bad it could get sometimes, and he’s learned to cope. I have a Joan Crawford problem.

I don’t know when it began or why. I don’t even think I had seen many of her movies, but I do remember being a kid walking in to the infamous wire hanger scene as my mom was watching “Mommie Dearest” one night. I sat down totally dumbstruck, “mom, what are you watching!?” and I wanted to know all I could about this crazy woman as possible. Now I know a lot of people say the whole “Mommie Dearest” thing is the embellishments of a bitter daughter, and a lot of people say Joan was no where near the monster she is portrayed to be in the book and movie (even her own 2 youngest daughters), but if you’ve ever read anything Joan has written, you know that it isn’t that far off the mark. There are lots of crazy and eccentric actresses — why Joan for me? I really don’t know. A mix of fascination with her ambition, the quest for perfection, the sense of duty she had to her profession, a long career, and the fact she could hide her crazy in public situations…well, mostly. Perhaps it is because she is so unlike me that I study her in order to understand and be entertained all at once? I don’t have much of an opinion on her acting ability, and she could look a bit odd at times, but dangit, she’s still my Joanie for one reason or another.

I’ve seen all of her movies, I have just about every book on her (and am eyeballing this one right now), I paid way too much for an out-of-print paperback she wrote, I have a cigarette case with a picture of her on it, and I even got myself a Joan Crawford paper doll book!

It’s a good thing I don’t have a collector mentality paired with lots of disposable income, because it would be a lot worse than it is now. Autographed photos? You bet! A Barbie doll made to look like her? Oh man! Personal possesions auctioned off? Gimmeh! But no it hasn’t gotten that bad; I think I’ve kept it under control all things considered.  There’s only one movie in my collection: “Humoresque”. Which is really good, and it’s the only movie of hers besides “Rain” my husband actually likes! He won’t allow photos or posters of her anywhere in our apartment, though.

Calling myself an authority on all things Joan might be a tad much, but if there were ever a museum dedicated to her, I’d make a pretty awesome docent. I also take into account her cleaning tips, packing tips, and even some beauty tips! I often ask myself, “what would JC do?” and am not referring to the other JC if you know what I mean. Joan says that if you are about to go out on date the least you can do is douche; it’s the decent and courteous thing to do after all! You see? She’s full of gems!

There are several movies Joan did that are pretty close to her own neurotic, controlling and clean-freak personality. “Torch Song”, “Harriet Craig” and even “Queen Bee”. All of them are terrible but in a wonderful soap opera kind of way. Despite these being good vehicles for fabulous over-the-top drama and entertainment, my dream is to one day do a stage production of “Mommie Dearest” since I know every single line (and often apply them to real life situations!). Maybe with a cast of only 4? I think it could work. Who’s with me? Who wants to fund it? I get to be Faye Dunaway FYI.

joan30s

Some people watch football or garden. I choose to dedicate my free time to reading about or looking at picture books of Joan Crawford. It’s a thing.