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December 27, 2008

The Fabulous Z recently blogged about Christmas songs she hates. In addition, I spent about 8 hours in a car earlier this week bombarded by so much Christmas music my skull is now filled with bubble gum and candy cane crumbs. So, as you can imagine, I had plenty of time to analyze and make derisive comments about many of the songs. But one in particular stood out to me. Here is my analysis of "I'll Be Home For Christmas".

Here you have this guy, I assume singing to his parents, telling them, "I'll be home for Christmas, YOU CAN COUNT ON ME!" Then he goes on to list his demands: snow, mistletoe, presents under the tree. Which, I'm sure if his parents love him, they will provide to make their little son happy, possibly at no small expense to them if they are pensioners. Then, this pompous, demanding little jackass, who earlier assured us that we can count on him, goes on to say, yeah, "I'll be home for Christmas, IF ONLY IN MY DREAMS"! So he's not even really planning on coming home at all, is he? He makes his poor parents handle all kinds of preparations and dude isn't even really planning to visit in his corporeal body at all. Unbelievable! I hope he gets run over by a reindeer in his dreams.

In acting news, I recently did a Little Caesars radio commercial. If you hear a commercial with a stoned-sounding guy beginning the dialogue with, "Welcome to Pizza Posers", well, then that's me! I am also proud to say that I am a part of the Jacquie-penned, Louis Kerman-directed short film, The Guest Room. And, the AEG is lensing and Mark France is makeup-ing. We haven't worked with either in ages, so it will be good to once again be pushed and prodded by them. We shoot in January, and it will be my most dramatic role yet.

Well, on that note, I hope everyone had a Merry (and Joseph) Christmas and stay safe in 2009!

November 8, 2008

As always, it's been a busy couple of months for me. Working 12 hour days at my real job, finishing up Shadow of Crime, and gigging with Mad Rabbit.

The big news is that Mad Rabbit has earned a sponsorship from Zodiac vodka! What does this mean for us, you ask? Money for banners, shirts, business cards, pretty much anything on which you can put our logo (coming soon) and their logo. Plus we will have the opportunity to play many new bars at their promotional events, as we are the one and only band in Michigan sponsored by Zodiac. So we go from being a kick ass cover band that no one's heard of to a kick ass cover band with a cool logo and the cache of an up-and-coming vodka company. So make sure you ask for Zodiac brand vodka, wherever spirits are sold!

Besides that there was the Keep A Baby premiere in September, and the Harmless Thoughts premiere in October. Both were very well attended and elicited the right responses from the audience. Harmless Thoughts was especially impressive, given that it went from pre-production to premiere in no more than 9 months. Now both hit the festival circuit.

Finally, there's Shadow of Crime, which is pretty much wrapped except for one driving sequence that we need to do in our Corvette. With the top down. In November. So yeah, that shot might not happen. But everything else is done, and it too should become a fine piece of celluloid. Because that's what the director Rich is going to do: dump it to film when it's done. It's easier for him, as he works at a post-production house. Look for it in 2009.

Oh yeah, one more thing. For the second time in a year, I get to see one of my favorite bands, Jackopierce. They are at The Ark in Ann Arbor this Thursday, November 13, promoting their first new album in 12 years. Just thought I'd throw that plug out there. Jack and Cary are two cool dudes for whom I have much man love. Check them out if you are able!

That's all for now. Merry Thanksgiving, happy raking, and enjoy the final smells of autumn, O my children.

September 13, 2008

Oh, hello. I didn't see you there. Or more likely, you haven't seen (or heard) from me for quite some time. That's because I've been busy with all my stuff and haven't felt much like writing. Don't get me wrong: I've missed you terribly. But it's not like Jacquie doesn't keep you updated on our domestic escapades, such as Brompton getting sick, Brompton getting well, Brompton chasing squirrels, etc. However, it's a rainy Saturday and for once I have absolutely nothing to do today (I'm sure I'll find something, though), so I will start by blogging. Yippee.

We completed Cate Caldwell's short film Patterns last month. It was a great production with many fine and talented people. And the best part (aside from throwing the contents of a cremation urn all over our kitchen) is that Cate has already planned a wrap party! That's what I call post-production value.

Jacquie and I were blessed to be cast in a commercial for Comcast Chicago last month as well. We got to play husband and wife, along with our little daughter Bailey, so you know that was some real acting going on there. I mean, come on, us with a daughter? Yikes! We shot TV and print stuff, so if you live in Chicago, you may see our mugs on TV, busses and billboards. Please, if you must deface any of them, try to add some hair to me. That's all I axe of you.

I also shot an olde-timey baseball short film a couple of weeks ago. Got to wear an olde-timey uniform and swing an olde-timey wooden bat as well (and make contact--to the opposite field--with power)! I did it mostly to get unique material for my reel, but it sure was fun to lace 'em up again! You can check out a clip of it here - search for the "Rounding Third and Heading Home" video.

Next weekend sees the world premiere of Keep A Baby, the most hilarious childcare-kidnapping-caper-road-trip film of the summer. It's in Grand Rapids, so if you're out that way, please drop by. You will not be disappointed in this film, trust me. Premiere details below, from the mouth, er, keyboard of Mike the director:

Saturday, September 20th
Celebration Cinema North
2121 Celebration Dr. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
(At Knapp & East Beltline)

The Itinerary:
6:30 p.m. – doors open
7:00 p.m. – Mike to welcome/address crowd
7:05 p.m. – Movie start
8:55 p.m. – Event conclude

You can buy tickets at the theater, cheap $3 tickets for a quality flick. Still, let me know ahead if you are coming, and how many people you plan to bring. It's a 113 seat theater. Yes, we can fill that with cast, crew, friends, family. Also, That's right, it was upped one dollar. I'm sorry. But that's still freaking cheap. Cast still gets in free.

I also had one final, delightful day of pickups last month on Harmless Thoughts, Gary and Jon's cranial thriller. It was made more delightful due to the comedic and intimidating stylings of my scene partner, Mr. Mark C. Holden (official motto: if I were a less professional actor, I would tell you that you have a pretty mouth, sir). Always a joy to work with him. He played an abusive cop to my hapless, hopeless self. And word is that Gary and Jon will have the film ready to premiere in mid-October! How's that for turnaround? They could teach a thing or several to quite a few other filmmakers I know, who shall remain nameless (because I still want a copy of their completed work, whenever that may be).

I was recently cast in my first true SAG (deferred) film, Shadow of Crime, directed by Richard James. It's a mob movie, but don't judge just on that alone. The material is timely and there's actually some moments that, if it were not a mob movie, would be heartwarming. :) You try to put something heartwarming in that kinda movie, you might hafta whack a guy, off a guy, whack off a guy, what?

Um, sorry about that diversion. So, the best part of all, besides the possibility of a nice payday down the road, is that I get to carry multiple weapons, act tough and, get this, wear a black trenchcoat that floats out behind me whilst walking in SLOW MOTION! How frickin' cool is that going to look on my reel? Oh yeah, pretty frickin' cool, that's how frickin' cool.

Rich the director has a long and fairly storied history in the film production market around here. He's gotten distribution on a few films, has a nice rapport with his actors, and knows his equipment (he works for a production house by day). So I'm very pleased to be working with him on this project and meeting new people--a bunch of whom, coincidentally(?), also work with Jacquie in Tony & Tina's Wedding. Wait a minute. So, mob movie = Italian wedding? I may have to write a dissertation on that. Someday. Not now. I'm busy right now.

Oh yeah, I probably forgot to tell you that my band has changed its name from The Undone to Mad Rabbit. Yeah, we like it too. We've started a "Bunny Club" that the ladies can join. It has no real features as of yet, but how cool is it that we can say we have a Bunny Club with actual members! It really increases our street cred amongst our fellow area bands, let me tell you. Stay tuned to our MySpace page for upcoming dates. September is a little sparse due to my shooting schedule for Shadow of Crime, but it will pick back up very soon, we promise. And if you are an artist and want to take a crack at a new logo for our new name, please let me know. We needs new business cards and all sorts of other swag. Thank you.

June 19, 2008

It's been a busy month so far. I had headshots reshot (hopefully they will be ready soon!), I've had several voice over auditions and an audition for a Clint Eastwood movie, and a trip to St. Louis including an unscheduled appearance on NBC Nightly News! So yeah, good stuff.

Last weekend my friend Dennis and I took our annual "gay-cation" baseball weekend to St. Louis to see the gorgeous new Busch Stadium. I rank it #2 behind PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Dennis ranks it #1. Our accommodations were much better than last year in Baltimore (thanks Vicki) and the weather mostly cooperated. We saw two games, the Arch and the Anheuser-Busch brewery. However, no matter what the locals tell you, DO NOT depend on public transportation to get you anywhere. Our trip to the brewery on Sunday was a cluster-bleep, as we waited and waited for the bus which finally arrived on our outbound trip in time to carry us about 4 blocks, after we had walked for 1.5 miles in 90+ degree heat. Then after the tour we waited at the posted bus stop, only to learn that the busses run infrequently on Sundays. So we had to call a cab to get back to the hotel to pick up our bags and take us to the airport. All in all though, a very pleasant trip, with lots of good eating and drinking to be had.

Speaking of drinking, we were in a bar right outside the stadium on Friday afternoon before the game (Paddy O's) when in walks an NBC cameradude and reporter lady. They were interviewing people about the proposed takeover of A-B by the Belgians. All I did was ask what they were discussing (hoping for baseball, because that's a subject I can speak long and eloquently about), and they stuck the mic in my face and asked me my thoughts on the beer subject. I gave some of my libertarian views, probably 3+ minutes worth, and that was that. I then promptly forgot all about it until Tuesday night when my uncle Dennis called me, astonished and impressed to have seen me on the news that night. They used my quip about "being invaded by the Belgians" and that was that. Does that mean I have to go SAG now that I was on national TV? :)

Besides all that, I did my pickup day on Harmless Thoughts the day before we left for St. Louis. We shot in downtown Utica and had a fine day of it. Got the mayor's permission and everything! None of that guerilla business. The trailer is now up on the site as well. I told you these guys are good and work fast and efficiently!

Next week it's back to Lansing to do reshoots and pickups for Keep A Baby. I got to see a lot of the movie when I was there earlier this month for ADR, and man, it looks great. Mike should be proud. I'm telling you, it could seriously be a little festival and/or cult darling.

Lastly, The Undone has a busy couple of months ahead. We've got at least six gigs scheduled at the various Hamlin Pubs, plus the possibility of a couple of weeknight acoustic shows. This Friday (6/20) we're at the Chesterfield location, and next Saturday (6/28) we're in Rochester. Come see us!

Oh yeah, don't forget about the Love & Plutonium screenings at the Origin's Gaming Convention in Columbus, Ohio, on June 25-29, 2008. Let us know if any of you are going, and take pictures!

May 30, 2008

So we shot (most of) Harmless Thoughts last week, and it was as efficient a set as I've ever been on. That's definitely a credit to Gary and Jon and the rest of the crew. I will work with them anytime. And I truly will: I still have a scene to shoot with them in June. And I will still be wearing this: I'm all about the tropics, baby! 37 year old geezers often are.

The same week we shot Harmless Thoughts, Jacquie and I had new headshots taken by our friend and celebrity photographer Rio. It was a good, calm experience, though I'm still waiting to see if it actually had any effect on my appearance. I will post some shots as soon as I have them. Jacquie's already seen a few of hers, and while she's judgmental about herself (as is to be expected), I think they look quite fetching.

Yesterday I was surprised by a call from my friend and agent at the iGroup, Tony. A voice over I had auditioned for many weeks ago had apparently come to fruition for yours truly. Can you say, "Hot dog!"? I can, but it wasn't part of the script, so I didn't. You see, voice over jobs are like that; they'll call you the day of and expect you to drop everything and go record. And since I'm a whore, and the pay was good, of course I did it. I read two spots for 3-Way Chevrolet in Bakersfield, CA (sort of national, baby!). They wanted extremely high energy and so I gave them all I had. The creative department was happy, the producer was happy, and so I was happy. Now comes the hoping. These spots are apparently part of a test/demo program, and if the people in Bakersfield like them and/or respond positively to them, then I could have a lot more work coming my way for dealerships across the country. Fingers crossed and garlic cloves ready, people!

Sunday I travel back to Lansing to do some ADR work for Keep A Baby. Mike also promises to show me as many edited scenes as I want to see. In addition, he seemingly has the remaining kids cast, and so that means I need to try to re-grow the facial hair I had last summer. Yeah, I know, good luck. But thankfully he's giving me a few weeks to attempt to look the same as I did a year ago. So we shoot those pick-ups, everyone finishes their ADR, and soon after, premiere baby!

May 20, 2008

In most ways I had a glorious trip to California last week. I got to spend a lot of time with Tony, Kris and Austin, sing a "special" brand of karaoke (Google "karaoke in Burbank" and see if you can figure it out), and actually spend some time in the sun. The training went well, too, I think. But you never know how well a training session went until the trainees actually attempt to put their new knowledge into practice. I'm expecting several phone calls and e-mails over the next couple of months.

My trip home was uneventful. I slept some on the plane and was home by 7:15 am on Saturday. After inspecting the yard to make sure all was in order (not really, but I fixed it on Sunday), I slept most of the day. Then I awoke for the Cold Dead Hands rough cut viewing. It was a rousing success, I thought, given all of the troubles Matt has had putting it together. It's a funny picture, but it needs more tense moments, which means that we need one more day of zombie pickups. The blooper reel was well worth the price of admission ($0) as well. We watched the film twice, as well as a couple other shorts that were requested. Then the AEG and Shirley spent the night, and we had a fine visit with them on Sunday, after which I tackled the aforementioned yard work. Hey, I'm an addict.

We started shooting Gary Bosek's Harmless Thoughts this week. My character is taking a trip to the tropics, so I get to wear a garish ensemble including Hawaiian shirt and Panama hat. And tomorrow Jacquie and I are having new headshots taken by our friend and celebrity photographer Rio. It's been about 7 years for me and over 10 for Jacquie since we last had headshots taken, so it's definitely time. All my wardrobe choices are picked out; unfortunately there are no queer eyes to tell me I'm making a huge mistake. Bummer for me.

Oh hey, great news! Through our partnership with, Love & Plutonium has been selected for an encore screening at the Origin's Gaming Convention in Columbus, Ohio, on June 25-29, 2008. Love & Plutonium will be screened at least four times, according to the latest schedule! If any of you gaming nerds are planning on attending this event, please let us know! We are also still waiting on the magic date of June 13 to hear if we've been accepted into the Feel Good Film Festival in Hollywood, California. Keep your fingers crossed!

A friendly reminder that The Undone will be at the Rochester Hills Hamlin Pub on May 23 and 24. Come and celebrate my birthday in style. And also kick off your holiday weekend, and watch the Pistons and Red Wings. But why must they both play on the same night? Stupid Gary Bettman!

Finally, what's with the stupid "Click it or ticket" crap? "We're only looking for one thing...", they say. So I can be driving down the road, snorting cocaine, doing 105 and joyfully firing my Ruger, and all they care about is if I'm wearing a seat belt? I mean, come on. How about focusing on some real problems, like scheduling playoff games on the same night? Seriously, on Monday, there was a lineup of seven cop cars in my office's parking lot, just waiting to peel out onto Squirrel Road and pull over some miscreant. Ridiculous.

The moral: Get tinted windows.

May 12, 2008

Jacquie and I had the pleasure of attending the Moving Media Film Festival at Wayne State on Saturday night. Mike Allore's The Next Step was accepted as an entry, and Jacquie wanted to see it for the first time. As it turned out, the film was much more than just accepted. In fact, it won "Best Of Show", and it definitely deserved to. I am very proud to have been a part of this project, and I'm guessing that this just foreshadows much bigger things to come, both for this short film and for Mike in general. Yee haw! I was part of a "Best Of Show" project, and Brompton hasn't even won "Best In Show" yet. So tell me who's better?

We had our audiobook narration audition tonight. Went well, as far as I could tell, but one never ever knows. I was as prepared as I could be, I do know that. Now we play the waiting game...Aw, the waiting game sucks, let's play Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Don't forget that your favorite band The Undone will be at the Rochester Hills Hamlin Pub on May 23 and 24. Come and celebrate my birthday in style.

Well, I'm off to California in the morning. Stay positive, I tell myself! Because upon my return, it's the viewing of the Cold Dead Hands rough cut. Screw you, red eye flight! I'm fighting zombies!

May 2, 2008

So in my last posting, many moons ago it was, I was touting a film festival at which Love & Plutonium and Weenie Roast Massacre were to be playing. Well, as it turned it, the whole evening was a fiasco from the word go. The feller what was running the festival did absolutely no press, the theater itself was nearly impossible to find amidst the bowling lanes and arcade games, and the screen was torn, tattered and held together in places by duct tape. Marvelous it wasn't. Love & Plutonium played, Weenie Roast didn't, and we skipped out before we were further sucked into the miasma of ineptitude. Jebby recapped the night as only he could, so instead of going into detail myself, I entreat you to read Jebby's blog on the events of the evening. Riveting!

Last night I had the absolute pleasure of viewing the premiere of The Next Step, Mike Allore's short film that we shot back in March. I think it is my best work, if I do say so myself, and it certainly is Mike's masterpiece. I can't wait to show it to people. And if life is fair, this short should be a festival darling. Here's hopin'!

There's finally a new trailer up for Keep A Baby. Mike Bartkowiak is hoping have it completed later this summer. It's another one I'm super anxious to see, and too could make some waves on the festival circuit. Yee haw.

Matt Pearson has a rough cut of Cold Dead Hands almost ready to go. We are planning on a cast and crew viewing later this month. Jacquie and I have already seen an earlier cut, and according to Matt, he's been getting pretty good reviews from the few people he's shown it to. And today he posted a new clip from the movie. Check it out.

Earlier this week I had the good fortune to record a voice over for a Flame Furnace radio commercial that will be airing all throughout May. I read with Sara Fouracre, the newest member of the 97.1 The Ticket morning show. We had a good time, and of course it's good to get paid for this work every once in a while. Keep your ears peeled this month and see if you can recognize my dulcet tones.

Speaking of voice work, Jacquie and I will soon be auditioning for audiobook narration. Man would that be a cool gig! We both have our audition pieces and demo CDs ready to go. And then of course, this week I'm told that I need to go to California that same week for work. But there's no way I'm missing this audition, so I just have to leave super early the next day. I get to spend four days in southern California, but being holed up in an air-conditioned office in the heart of Hollywood training software developers is not as glamorous as it sounds. Trust me. At least I'll be able to hang with my Curious Jack cohort Tony, as well as Kris and Austin. Hopefully I get a convertible too. :) But man, I hate LAX.

Later this month we'll be shooting Gary Bosek's feature film Harmless Thoughts. And in June we start fight training for Cat Caldwell's short film Patterns. Gotta hone those fighting skillz, or at least learn to take a punch. I am married after all.

In addition, I've recently had a couple of interesting opportunities come my way. Lord willing, I may be able to disclose more one day soon. Suffice it to say that I need prayers for wisdom and guidance!

Finally, my band The Undone has a new drummer and we are starting to play regularly again. We've duly impressed the various Hamlin Pubs and are getting into their rotations. So if you are free May 23 and/or May 24, come on out and see us at the Hamlin Pub in Rochester Hills (Hamlin & Rochester). We've brought the costumes back and are wackier and rockier than ever! Plus, you'll need to bring me my birthday present(s).

Be good, lovers.

March 30, 2008

As mentioned previously, LCE has submitted their many films to a new local "film festival". And we've just learned that two of your favorite indie films, Love & Plutonium and Weenie Roast Massacre, will be playing in a double feature on Saturday, April 12, on the first day of the "festival". Here are the details:

Saturday, April 12
Premier Center Bowling
33151 23 Mile Rd.
Chesterfield, MI 48047
Doors open at 6 pm
Movies start at 7 pm
$10 for all movies
Food and cash bar available

There were many people who could not make it out for the Weenie Roast premiere back in November, and now's your chance. Also, we haven't seen Love & Plutonium on the big screen in a few years, so why not see how well it's stood the test of time! Jebby and I hope to see you there.

Love (and Plutonium),

March 25, 2008

I was in Texas for the third year in a row for St. Patrick's Day. Yes, it was a return engagement for Carnalea, the pseudo-Irish band for whom I play drums. It's now a family affair since my brother married Katie, as my three Held-in-laws are my band mates, along with Curious Jack stalwart Tony Wynn. This year Jacquie got to tag along to lovely Spring, Texas, and The Stadium bar. We had fine weather (compared to Michigan) until the day we left, when we (barely) departed under high winds and a tornado watch. Yippee. Anyway, the shows were fun, the performances decent, and the drinking extraordinary! All in all, not a bad way to spend a long weekend.

We shot Mike Allore's The Next Step last Saturday and Monday. Mike went all out for his 5 minute film, and I think it will definitely impress you, the viewer. He shot on a Canon XLH1 with a 35mm lens adapter. The difference in depth of field over a standard DV lens is just amazing. The footage looked unbelievable on the video monitor, and that's even with me in frame! I might have wet my pants a time or two. (Whether that's related or not, well, I'm still not sure.) Anyway, he also rented a dolly and track, and hired a real Hollywood stunt man, Bob Marrocco. It was a blast. In order, I 1) had a coffee cup bash me on the head; 2) was thrown headfirst through a wall; 3) was catapulted over a table (onto a fancy stunt guy porta pit - very soft and very dusty); and 4) was hurtled along the floor into the legs of a passing waiter who showered me with cold pasta. All in all, it was rather invigorating. Bob told some great stories and is just an all-around amazing guy. And now hopefully I will have some cool stunts to add to my reel! We have one final shot to get whenever we get a police uniform or a real policeman, and then Mike can work his magic.

We had a viewing of Gary Bosek's short film, One Minute Past Seven, last Saturday as well. Unfortunately for me, shooting on The Next Step went long and I had to miss my own party! Fortunately Jacquie was there to play host and serve up her scrumptious queso dip (lots of leftovers for yours truly). Apparently the viewing went very well and it looked and sounded great on the new basement theater entertainment system. So we've got that going for us.

Sunday saw me up extremely early once again, this time to make breakfast for the Lutheran hordes at my church. My aforementioned sister-in-law Katie and I were in charge, due to my brother being in Mexico on a mission trip with the rest of the teens, who otherwise would be cooking the breakfast themselves. And though I was on my feet again for a good eight hours straight, I had fun flipping flapjacks and makin' bacon. Then it was home for a nap. I awoke as Jacquie was leaving for another Brainstormers tour and saw her off before heading over to Katie's house for a Priskorn/Held family Easter gathering. We viewed everyone's photos from the trip to Texas and drank plenty of liquids. We even had to resort to canned beer after the kegerator ran dry. Oh the humanity!

I entered Love & Plutonium in another film festival last week. The Feel Good Film Festival seems right up our alley. I'll keep you posted if there's anything to keep you posted about. Also, I submitted a DVD to a guy in Detroit who is starting up his own ongoing film festival. Supposedly he's going to begin showing all sorts of indie films at a theater in Chesterfield Township every Saturday starting in April. More details on that too as they become available. Jebby also sent the guy Arbor Daze and Weenie Roast Massacre. Viva LCE!

Got the Literally premiere next Monday, March 31, and hopefully the last day of Cold Dead Hands pickups on April 5. I love it when things actually get completed. It's much more rewarding that way!

And finally, new photos have been posted to the Screen, Band and Candid pages. Feel free to laugh it up!

March 3, 2008

It’s been a busy month since I last rapped at ya. Not much in the way of entertainment -- one day of Cold Dead Hands pickups and a band gig. Most of my time has been spent in the office working, at home working, or in bed thinking about work. For those who don’t know, I develop software for a company that services the motion picture industry. We are working on software for theaters that have implemented our digital cinema hardware - that is, projecting movies from a hard drive rather than from a film reel. Anyway, there is a big convention in Las Vegas next week, ShoWest, and we are coding our a$$es off in order to produce a viable demo to display at the show. Now, until recently I have been as sick and tired of being a software developer as I have ever been in my life. And though I've been working long hours for the last month and a half, I at least feel a little bit of ownership with this project. The problem with writing the type of software I write is that there is little to no feedback on the end result. That's why I enjoy being an actor - the feedback. You actually feel like you accomplish something, like the job you perform actually serves a purpose and gives you a feeling of fulfillment. Writing software doesn't do that. Being an actor has probably soured my feelings on my "real" job because of that. And even though I make dang good money at my "real" job, very very good, in the end it doesn't matter to me because I get no sense of fulfillment by performing my job. However, getting this demo ready has actually made me feel a little better about software, because I know what I am working on will be seen by thousands of convention-goers, and possibly lead to a big payday for our company (and hopefully a little bonus payday for me)! So I guess my point is, it's never too late for renewal, no matter how long you've been performing the same (seemingly) meaningless task. Got it?

Hopefully after the convention, work-related things may slow down a bit. But entertainment-related things will definitely pick up starting Easter weekend. I am shooting a short film with Mike Allore, a guy I worked with on a student project last year. It's called The Next Step. We'll be doing some motion tracking stunts and some other cool effects. That same evening, we've got a viewing of Gary Bosek's short, One Minute Past Seven, in our newly finished basement with its freshly stocked bar (more on that later). Easter Sunday will see me up bright and way too early, in order to take my position as short order cook for my church's Easter breakfast. It's actually something that the teen group puts on every year -- my brother is the Youth Minister. But as always seems to happen lately, he's taking most of his teens to Mexico for a servant event, leaving his new wife and his big brother to run things. It will be a long, long morning, but it really is quite fun. I can't believe it's already been two years since I left the bacon on the griddle too long and smoked out the 8:00 am service. Good times!

Back to movies: Literally, a short Jacquie and I worked on last summer with Marty Shea and Ian Bonner (of 21 Carbs fame) is having its premiere on Monday, March 31 at the Emagine Theatre in Novi! I love premieres! Cold Dead Hands will hopefully have its final shoot(s) in April, Terra starts back up in April, Bosek's new feature shoots in May, and Cate Caldwell's short, Patterns, starts shooting in June. And rumor has it that Keep A Baby will be ready for viewing in June as well. I cannot wait to see that one, I think it has some real festival potential. In addition to all that, Jacquie and I still have a pile of shorts we want to shoot, along with ideas for at least 3 features rolling around our cavernous skulls. But working on other people's projects just seems to be the path of least resistance for us now, given our dang real work schedules.

So, now to elaborate on the freshly stocked bar thing. Those who know me know that I drink beer and pretty much nothing else (when it comes to alcohol, smarty-pantses). Oh, I'll cop to the occasional Bloody Mary, but that's pretty much it in the realm of hard liquor. I went through a vodka martini phase about 11 years ago, a single malt scotch phase about 10 years ago, and had tequila forced on me by my boss at my first software job about 16 years ago. I can still stomach martinis and scotch, but tequila is out. I'm cringing involuntarily just typing this. Jacquie pretty much sticks to Chambord and the occasional Amaretto sour. So, since we've got a finished basement now, and are having our first real gathering on March 22 to watch Bosek's short film, we figured we had better make sure we've got a decently stocked bar. We already had 4 bottles of vodka (all gifts, I think), 1 1/2 bottles of blended scotch, some various Puckers and about 20 mL of rum left in a 20 year old bottle. Plus a dozen (gifted) bottles of wine. So yesterday, feeling very much like adults, albeit ones clueless about liquor, we took my crib notes printed from a Google search of "how to stock a bar" and headed to a local purveyor of fine spirits. The list claimed that vodka, gin, rum and whiskey were staples of any bar. Tequila is too, but I made the executive decision that if anyone wants to shotgun tequila in my house, they can bring it themselves. We bought a dark rum and a London gin, some pre-mixed Kahlua White Russians, some Bloody Mary mix, a bottle of Amaretto and a bottle of sour mix. Oh my, how grown up we felt. Now of course, there's no telling if any of this stuff will every actually get opened (especially the gin), but we now have enough liquor to fill up two cabinets in our bar! And since it was a lazy Sunday™, I mixed us up some Amaretto sours and we sat downstairs and enjoyed Reno 911: Miami on the big screen. All in all, it was a good day!

If you're in Rochester this Saturday, March 8, come out and see The Undone at Jox Sports Bar (University and Main). We go on at 10 pm and we have a new drummer who is quite phenomenal. Hope to see you there. And if not, see you on a set somewhere soon!

January 27, 2008

Jacquie and I just returned from a weekend in Chicago. We had a particularly fine time, all up until the very end. Details on that will follow. One of my favorite bands of all time, Jackopierce, was playing in Chicago this weekend. Since they "broke up" in 1998, they have been playing a small number of shows every couple of years, and Chicago is as close as they come to us. So when I found out they were playing, we booked the weekend. We found a hotel, the Belden-Stratford, which was situated a mere four blocks from both the music venue (Park West) and one of our favorite restaurants, Geja's Cafe (a fondue joint). Actually an apartment building with about 60 rooms reserved as hotel rooms, it was priced and located right, so we booked it. The only downside, as at most places in Chicago, was that parking would cost over $30 a day. Ouch. Anyway, as time went on, we discovered several internet sites with both good and bad reviews of the place. You never know who's telling the truth or who just got up on the wrong side of the bed, so we were a little wary, but we kept our reservation.

From the time that we arrived on Thursday afternoon, things couldn't have been better. The staff, who some reviews claimed were disinterested and/or basically useless, were in fact very friendly and helpful. Our room was great, with a view of the Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory, and our car, which we managed to park on the street for $0 a day -- a real coup, or so we thought. We'd peek out at the car once in a while to make sure that it was still there, and we were warmed heartily each time.

So, we dined at the hotel restaurant on Thursday night - Mon Ami Gabi, a French place. Despite that, the food was passable and the fries/frites were very good. Friday, we spent the bulk of the day visiting the conservatory and zoo across the street. We basically had both places to ourselves, and enjoyed seeing all the beasts of the water, earth and air, though Jacquie could have done without the spiders, especially since they were not actually in an enclosure, per se, but a sign claimed that the spiders would stay within their open area because they were well-fed and comfortable there. Still, would it have killed them to add the standard plexiglass barrier, Jacquie moaned? That night, after a frigid four block walk, we had dinner at the aforementioned Geja's, a fine meal that left us both satiated and smelling thickly of Sterno and cooking oil. Even our coats, which spent the duration of the meal in the coatroom at the front of the restaurant, did not escape the stench. Weird.

On Saturday we took a cab into the city to do a little shopping and eating. We had absolutely nothing planned and so we were able to really relax and enjoy our time together, which is quite rare for us -- having time together, that is, not enjoying it. Hopefully you're following me here. Anyway, we had lunch at Pizzeria Uno -- I think we both still prefer a $5 Little Caesar's pie over Chicago style -- and headed back to the hotel to rest and prepare for Jackopierce.

We got to the venue, Park West, about 15 minutes before doors opened, and we spent the time talking to a family from Iowa. The matriarch of the family, Jo, has seen the band more often than I have! It's interesting to hear the stories of how people "got into" a band, especially one that's flown so far under the radar like JP. We got front row center seats, next to our Iowan friends, and settled in. After the opening act, Creede Williams, the JP boys arrived and slammed out about 90 minutes of fun and frivolity. Sitting right in front allowed me to banter with them in between a few songs, plus grab the set list (later autographed by Cary Pierce) and a guitar pick. I am such a geek. You might even say that I am gay for Cary and Jack. It wouldn't be true, but it would be close. You see, I've followed them for years and my friend Nate and I used to perform many of their songs when we would play out acoustically. They were big influences on us and our harmonizing. Mock if you must, but I do not care!

Finally, Sunday morning arrived and it was time for us to check out and head home, back to the hell that is our work lives. We turned in our keys, thanked Krystal and the staff for a great stay, and headed across the street to where our car had been parked for the last three days. Within view of our room, I remind you. And free. Such a bargain. As we loaded up the car I started it up to warm her up after three days in the cold. All of a sudden Jacquie's car started sounding like a freakin' Harley Davidson revving at 6000 RPM. It sure didn't sound like that when we parked it on Thursday, I assure you. In fact, Jacquie had just had over $400 of maintenance on the car right before our trip. So, what the bark was going on? I walked around the car, bent down, inspected the tailpipe. Looked fine. Walked further around to the passenger side, bent down, bent down lower, holy crap, what the #$%^&? The fricking catalytic converter was missing. Chopped out cleanly with a hacksaw, leaving a two foot gap in the exhaust system. Completely flabbergasted, we looked at each other, disbelieving, trying to figure out what to do, and what kind of freak would hunker down in the single degree temperatures, roll around in dirt and slush and muck with a hacksaw and make off with a hunk of metal. Eventually, we turned off the "hog" and headed back to the front desk, where we explained our situation. Krystal was stunned and began searching the yellow pages for any repair shops open on Sunday. Willie, the doorman, confided to me that ours is not the first catalytic converter to be excised on the street right in front of the hotel and conservatory and god-blessed zoo. In fact, it has happened several times a year. Apparently, there's gold in the carbon monoxide-soaked aluminum or something. Thieves apparently can get up to $80 for a particularly good converter (BMW? Cadillac?). Anyway, Krystal finally found us a shop that was open and was only about 15 minutes away. And they claimed they could get us in right away and fix it in 40 minutes. Thanking the Belden-Stratford good guys profusely again, we motored on over to Velazquez Motors, wincing each time I hit the accelerator. We got in almost immediately and were barely there 30 minutes before one of the many Velazquezes took us back into the garage to inspect their handiwork. Looked good to me, all nice and shiny, so we paid up, thanked the good V-Men, thanked the Lord in Heaven for watching over us, and headed home. Which is where we are now. Safe. Car intact. And awaiting the return of the Brompton -- Monday afternoon after Jacquie's Brainstormer shows.

Moral of the blog: When given a choice, always opt for a plain aluminum catalytic converter rather than one of those gold-plated spinner jobs. Trust us: Lesson learned! Also, carry a gun.

January 13, 2008

Happy New Year, my good friends. I know I'm late, but tough. I've been busy. I always dread the end-of-year cleanup of my file cabinet, the preparations for tax season, and all that rot. That's why I support the FairTax! No tax forms, no withholding, it could be beautiful. But enough about money...

Let's talk about money! As some of you may know, our basement has been finished now for a couple of months. Well, on New Year's Day, we made like Bono and spent thousands of dollars. No, not on gilded wrap-around shades, but on theater-style furniture and kick-butt home electronix. Soon, so very soon now, we will actually be able to entertain our fine friends in our basement. Perhaps even kick off the annual Priskorn Film Festival. We'll let you know when it's ready.

This Tuesday sees the premiere of One Minute Past Seven, a sci-fi short Jacquie and I shot in November. It will be screened amongst five other sci-fi shorts produced by Gary Bosek and Bosek Productions. The event, titled "The Other Universe", will take place on Tuesday, January 15, at 7:30 pm at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak. Tickets are $10. Click here to view the flyer.

"Your favorite band"™ The Undone is back in the swing of things this Saturday, January 19. We return to Jox Sports Bar & Grill in downtown Rochester with new lights, new equipment, and a new (temporary) drummer. Yes, our long-time drummer Erick has decided to leave the band so he can have a little more free time with his young son. We will be courting a new permanent drummer in the coming weeks. Anyway, we would definitely appreciate your support at Jox on the 19th - a strong showing could help us get into the Hamlin Pub as well. So come on out and show how much you love us!

We had a long day of shooting pickups yesterday for Cold Dead Hands, about 11 hours worth. Louis and Cat were awesome enough to come out and assist Matt and myself as the skeleton crew. It was a productive day, I think, but I haven't been so tired in quite a while. It was fun, though, especially since my niece (in-law) Jordan came out to play a creepy girl who managed to escape the zeds whilst eating lots of candy. I think she had a fun time and definitely made us laugh more than once. Even playing creepy she is super-cute!

I recently completed a short film script that actually began as more of a writing project. While getting my hair cut one evening, the stylist and I were talking, and she mentioned that she and "the girls" had plenty of funny stories that should be made into a movie. Thus inspired, I went home and cranked out a 23-page script about a creep who dates three stylists at one time and gets caught red-handed, with hilarity then ensuing. If I can come up with a hair salon that will let us shoot there, we may shoot it this spring. So if you own a salon or know someone who does, and who would be willing to let an independent film be shot there, please let me know!

Here's to 2008, good people. Let's make our mark! And not just in our undershorts!

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