So this week's been fun. Lots of new experiences and new avenues to explore. It starts with A NEW CAR! Actually an old new car. I found the 1999 Civic EX of my dreams. It's white so Greg calls it a marshmallow on wheels. Maybe after Christmas I'll trick it out a bit with some neon and a big spoiler on the back. Maybe just a new steering wheel cover. Speaking of Christmas, this car IS my christmas present since I paid a little more than i hoped but i really don't want to tinker with it too much. It still needs a couple new tires and maybe a transmission hose replacement but i'm going to wait for a little bit on those. I still have to pay those pesky Union dues not to mention Christmas is still coming. Most of my list is done. Still need to pick up some gift cards.
Thursday was the Dreamworks premiere of Renaissance. A French production of a CG MoCap Film Noir Sin City-esque Detective whodunnit involving Progeria and a Parisian dystopian future of overgrown BladeRunner cities and omnicorporate control. It was cool. It actually was the movie that I had rolling in my head that I wanted to make. Funny how ideas float from brain to brain and the amount of factors needed to get them to gel. Maybe I need to read more. The story held up for the entire span but the style is what needs getting used to. If you've ever read the Sin City comics, it looks just like that in 3D form. Black. and White. Your eye has to adjust to the amount of negative space and the jarring effect that so much black has to create a recognizable shape. The style is more harsh-lighting rather than a black-and-white movie. Some very good camera work that doesn't overdo it even in the action/chase scenes. This movie got ZERO play in the states. I thought it welcome diversion from the happy talking animals of the past summer and a different change of pace from the Monster House Polar Express MoCap. Definitely NOT for children.
Friday was the KFP team screening of Curse of the Golden Flower/Christmas Crew Party. Curse of the Golden Cleavage was full of Tan Dynasty palace intrigue and not enough KungFu like I think everyone thought we were going to see. "Empress cheats on Emperor with Number One son from previous marriage. Emperor proscribes "medicine" for the Empress which will make her crazy. Empress tells HER number one son about the medicine and son vows vengeance. Empress finds out about poison through spy who is Emperor's long-lost-thought-dead first wife. Number one son has been shtupping daughter of unknown mom and palace doctor. Emperor banishes family then sends ninjas to kill family. Mom and Daughter escape slaughter. Back to Palace. Unknown mom is revealed to Number One son. Daughter screams and runs. Mom and daughter and #1 son killed by ninjas. Number Two Son launches coup with 10,000 chrysanthemum soldiers. Emperor has 100,000 palace guard. Slaughter 2. #2 son lives. Brought before Emperor at family feast. You may live if you administer medicine to mother every day. #2 son kills self. Mother dashed medicine to the table. End Credits." An Art Director's dream of a movie but if I had to live in that neon palace everyday with all the courtesans and attendants and protocol, I'd kill somebody too. The director had to have hired the entire province to be extras in this movie. Mind-boggling amount of production. Followed by the KFP party and a crew shirt. Followed by my first Union party. If I'm paying $3000 to join this club I'm getting some free booze. And a tshirt and a book by Tom Sito. Not knowing who he was I didn't get it signed. But I did run into a couple familiar faces there. Mario D'Anna, the big Ragu himself, was discovered among the living and animating new TV series's. The best of luck to him and his crew. I missed him. He's funny. Gonna try to get him out to DWA for a walkaround. Also ran into Shannon Pytlak and her husband from DNA animation. Not having a whole lot of contact with her at the studio I was surprised she remembered my name. Sadly i could not reciprocate. I am terrible with names. But I got through it and made a new friend. Glad to see some expatriates doing so well.
So Saturday. Geez long post. After working on our cars and feeling manly, Rafe and I go out to see Apocalypto at the Harmony Gold Theater on Sunset. We get there a little early so we step down the street to the Horse and the Carriage bar. Behind the bar is hot, tall, healthy, built, stacked, blonde Melissa in a tight T-shirt labeled Organic. We had come to the right place. We ordered Margaritas but I couldn't actually taste any tequila. I only recognize crap like Cuervo i guess. So Melissa's breasts suggests a taste-test. OK. Three shots apiece later, we vote for Sauza over Patron. Sorry Johan. Then have a last beer chaser. $80 later, we discover that Rafael is a lightweight. We stumble down to the theater ready to enjoy Mel Gibson's latest historical gorefest giggling like fools. redundant i know. Rafe can't last 30 minutes into the movie. After chasing him around the block and a last glimpse of Melissa and her friends, we get into the car while Rafe drunk-dials a couple buds. I get lost on Sunset thinking IHOP is in the opposite direction. It is now 9:30 and Sunset looks deserted. ?? It was back the other way. Over pancakes Rafe explains his lessons of life and bemoans his wife's inconsistencies and misses her and leaves it up to God. He really needed those drinks. I snapped a great pic of Rafe outside the IHOP in the rain but was buzzed enough to forget to save the Pic !
And then it was Sunday. Special screeing of Charlotte's Web at the Paramount Studios theater on Melrose hosted by the VES at 11am. It was wonderful. A beautiful adaptaion of the classic book by E.B. White. Those digital spiders and pigs and lifting music got me a little dewy-eyed I'll admit. I read that book a thousand time as a kid. I loved the animated cartoon: Oh, wow, Look at him now. Zuckerman's Famous Pig. If you don't cry when Charlotte dies, you have no soul and I pity you. Q and A with the VFX guys followed. Greg got some face time with some ex-compatriots. Back home, Rafe finished with his car fixing and replaced the seal on his head gasket. He now hopes that one washer landed in the oil pan and not down one of the cylinders. Rafe's wife called and he had to put her on speaker cuz his hands were covered in sealant goo. She wasn't pleased with that. But I couldn't stick around cuz I had new family to meet. Our extended fam has been extended with the addition of the Caponigri's by way of South Bend, IN via Florence, Italy. Lisa is a distant cousin that we share a great-grandfather with, i think. Daughter Felicia is a budding actress with bit parts in Ocean's 13 and The Search for Caravaggio. Brother Nick is Autistic and very artistic with his collection of Robot Monsters and landscaspe paintings. And Brother Guido is a 13 yr old football fan and gamer. Mom Lisa has a home catalog business specializing in Italian goodie baskets. Granddad Alessandro was very interested in my computer animation stories. Cousin Rob has retired and is hitting the road in a new RV with a young man named Aaron Brown from Dallas who knows Nick LaBarba, my sister's not-yet fiancee! Way too small world. So getting back home, everyone's still up to tell me the news. Apparently we are no longer Straight, Gay and Undecided by way of no progeny. Rafe's wife is pregnant. Now it all makes sense. She doesn't realize she's crazy. A wonderful blessed event bringing reality crashing back home. Congratulations to Rafael and Love.