September 29, 2004

Shark Tale: A Little Bit Gay and A Little Bit Racist

Merce, Carlos, and I were some of the first people in line for the pre-screener of Shark Tale, or as it should be called: Gay Shark Tale. Jack Black's hilarious performance as a shark who's a little bit "different" was touching - as much as it could be in an over-the-top stereotyped blaxploitation animation flick. Jack's portrayal as a shark masquerading as "Sebastian, the dolphin" was well received from the collegiate crowd we joined at the theatre.

The obvious comparison to Finding Nemo lies in Shark Tale's almost complete failure to create a sense of depth and texture from the most important element of an underwater adventure: the water itself. Objects floated somewhat naturally, but everyone interacted in what looked like air. The confusing lighting (everything has faux-twilight 3-point studio lighting) and predictable pattern of air bubbles for every movement (big and small) was also annoying.

And you gotta question the film's racist casting. The "taxi" fish were Middle Eastern, the "car washing" workers were Mexican, the manager was painfully "white," the "mob" leader was Italian.

Renée Zellweger was a joy however, providing the most heart and just as much humor as fellow comedian Jack Black.

Spoiler Alert!
Catie Couric was perfectly cast as a ruthless reporter fish; Missy Elliott and Christina's cameos were worth the price of admission alone.

All in all, the movie made me laugh more than it bothered me how racist we still are as a country - if of course you can overlook the tragically strong influence of MC Hammer and Sir Mixalot in Will Smith's performance. See this movie because it's fun and gay, gay, gay; don't see this movie because you're looking for Ellen, Ellen, Ellen.

Hey, I'm a Cypress.

I got this e-mail today that can tell you what tree you are by your date of birth. Huh? Fear not, the message also tells you that it's "really cool and ... accurate." So here I am:

Aug 04 — Cypress Tree
Cypress Tree (Faithfulness) — strong, muscular, adaptable, takes what Life has to give but doesn’t necessarily like it, strives to be content, optimistic, wants to be financially independent, wants love and affection, hates loneliness, passionate lover which cannot be satisfied, faithful, quick-tempered at times, can be unruly and careless, loves to gain knowledge, needs to be needed.

I really like the "strong, muscular part." And the "passionate lover which cannot be satisfied" part. I did a little research with Google and found that all cypress trees grow quickly. Honestly, I'm a little disappointed that the e-mail didn't mention how hard my wood is.

How I Paid for College: A novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship, & Musical Theatre

Marc Acito has become my new favorite gay author. Yes, that means that porn start/writer Aiden Shaw has been bumped to number two on this list. (Now that I think about it, I've never even read anything by Aiden Shaw, but the fact that he's a hot porn star automatically makes him first on my list - until now.)

Marc Acito author of How I Paid for College: A novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship, & Musical Theatre and "The Gospel According to Marc."

Mr. Acito's story about pan-sexual high schoolers who's search for sex is only dwarfed by their creativity in mischief is just one reason to pick up this read. But I you could also read it to learn how to launder money, blackmail your senator, or just to find out why the heck there's a smiling buddha on the cover.

In the book, Edward's dad won't cough up the dough for a college education at Juliard. What's a poor bi-sexual to do? Get a job of course - oh maybe some blackmail and theft - it is $10,000 a year school for god's sake. But rather then tell you the story I'll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes.

I told my girls that when it came to having sex, stick with oral. No one ever got knocked up for giving a blow job.

Edward's thoughts:
One look at Doug and I'm harder than Calculus.

I cup my hand to my ear which is the International Recognized Signal for "I can hear you, you stupid cow."

The benefits of laziness are immediate.

Paula (the dramatic big girl/best friend):
Edward, lead us not to Penn Station but deliver us to E train.

Don't be so provincial.

A game the characters created in the story is called Creative Vandalism (CV for short). CV is a form of social disobedience but with flare. CV is dressing up in a priest's uniform and buying beer. Who in there right mind would card a man of god? It's brilliant. CV could also be dressing up park statues with risque clothing.

CV is only for artists, kids at heart, and fools. What would you do?

September 28, 2004

Atticus West: The Movie

A common conversation starter for me is:

In the story that is my life, what's your theme song? What song is playing when you walk in the room to meet me?

Of course, as a Pop Culture Junkie my song changes every week. This week it's "Lose My Breath" by Destiny's Child.

My movie would start as I walk across my college campus. The beginning titles are designed by Imaginary Forces (the guys who did X-Men, Spiderman, Seven, Bicentennial Man, Dead Man on Campus, The Avengers; they were also the guys who did the introduction of Charmed and Ally McBeal). It's a lot like the music and attitude of Mean Girls with all the cool typography and camera movement of Daredevil.

I walk through campus in low-rise boot cut dark washed Diesel jeans. I have proportionately long legs so I perpetually thank the baby Lord Jesus for the low-rise fad. God knows I've invested in enough jeans to last me through my fifties - and by then I'll be so fuck'n happy to be stuck in my generation. All kids born in 2023 will laugh at me but they'll will be wearing leather pants from genetically superior cloned cows that start at their thighs and end at their knees - so fuck 'em; young bastards, put on some draws, a'ight?

But back to my movie: (que music) I'm wearing black 2xist briefs with my junk pointed towards my nuts; again, they are low-rise and I love them because they're nice and snug and they keeping my daily erections cleverly disguised and continually pointed down. Remember: low-rise jeans + boner peaking up and out of your pants = disaster.

I'm also wearing a soft-to-the-touch non-black/non-grey/non-white but merry colored t-shirt with a cleverly designed logo over my chest. The logo is a tasteful word or phrase that people will ask about or compliment on it's humor and originality.

Naturally, the camera catches the horny lingering glances from the boy-men on campus. Eight guys eye-flirt with me. The guys I pass are different from yesterday, I take different routes on campus constantly looking for short-cuts or new points of interest. In any case, the guys are usually shorter than me with small hands, blond with James Franco side-burns and usually nineteen years old.

I discreetly check them out in return but the real fun is searching for new sorority chic t-shirts on the gorgeous Greek girls. Every year their designs improve. My favorite this year is the tight-army green-boob-displaying number with white letters that reads "The Few, The Proud, The Theta." Brilliant.

I walk ironically into my office - I'm not a student after all. I'm the youngest full-time designer in my office. In fact I'm always the youngest, often times younger than the interns. I can't help that I'm so gifted in design or that I started college early. The credits would mostly end here, the really unimportant ones like "casting by Gina Lee" and "shot entirely on location in Arizona" continue to play until I put my black one-strap-over-the-shoulder bag under my desk.

My phone rings, I pick up, "Hi! This is Atticus!" I say.

End Scene.

8 Going On 30

When asked to imagine myself I picture myself as an eight year old boy. I just turned 24 and because I see myself as kid I'm saddened. I suddenly realize that the years are flying by unlike the eternity a year's time used to be. My friends and I will turn thirty soon; for our species we're "halfway to death."

The movie 13 going 30 starring Jennifer Gardner embraces my age bracket. As a small child, Jenna wishes to be "30, flirty, and thriving." In five years when I'm 30 I also wish to be flirty and thriving.

Graphic design as a career path is unlike the more traditional courses my siblings have chosen. They have degrees in pediatrics, accounting, statistics, engineering, and psychology. In time, they will garner massive amounts of money as is appropriate for the lives they have earned. It's possible to gather that kind of cash in my profession, one only needs connections, a strong portfolio, and talent. Thank god; I'm highly involved in graphic design professional organizations and I've earned numerous awards for my work.

The life as a doctor or an accountant wasn't suited for me, nor was I wired or motivated to become either of those things. As a child, I was placed in Chapter One Reading - a place phonetically challenged slow readers. Other children caught on to concepts faster than I. I hated getting sick, I was home sick the day my second grade class learned how to tell time on a clock with hands. I didn't really master that skill until 11th grade. To check out a zip drive and a mouse for art class I was forced to record the time off a wall clock that was displayed with two such hands.

I envied the gifted kids in class; they were cocky fast learners. But everyone reads slower out loud so if we had to follow along in text books I would read entire passages as other people read aloud. I hated surprises - like running into a word I didn't know or couldn't pronounce. And because I concentrated so hard on what I was reading I often neglected to think about or even remember what it was I had read.

These days I read hundreds of pages a week in books and magazines. My favorite books are trashy teen age or twenty something fantasies about pop-culture and sexuality. I read more graphic novels than actual novels and I feel no guilt whatsoever.

I'm not an Ivy League graduate; I have a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communications. I express image through strategically placed words, pictures, colors, papers, and texture. I make legible and easily digestible art for the masses and couldn't be happier. Or some shit like that.

Lindsay at the gym

The playlist at my gym (Pure Fitness) now includes Lindsay Lohan's "I decide." It also features Hilary Duff's "Fly." I guess if you're going to choose to put one on you might as well put the other. It's sorta like being politically bipartisan or maybe they started a new music contract through that soul-less company that produces out of date CDs like Now That's Pop Music! Either way, it's odd to hear Lindsay and Hilary smashed in-between Chingy and Missy Elliot tracks.

Since my new job requires me to us a PC as well as my trusty ol' Mac, I now have access to new music on AOL. Sadly, Lindsay's new song bites but Destiny's Child "Lose my Breath" has become my song of the week! And is it just me or does Darkchild put his name on everything he produces? I've heard his name at least a dozen times the past two years on songs by JLo, Britney, Brandy, Aaliyah, Destiny's Child, and even Tyra Banks.

Nip/Tuck and 8 bottles of wine

During a wine tasting party tonight, the topic of amazing television programming came up (as it tends to do around me). The two unanimous favorites of night were Nip/Tuck for favorite TV show and mystery bottle number 5 for best red wine. God only knows what the vintage was, and I'm too drunk to even remember it's name.

I was also happy to hear that lesbians, gay men and straight women all loved Julian McMahon's performance on Nip/Tuck. He's superficial, he's sleeps with everyone, he's so fucked up, and yet somehow, very lovable. I've adored him since his stint as a sexy demon named Cole on the WB's Charmed. Everyone had to, which probably explained how he managed to return to the show every season after the Power of Three killed him.

And of course we talked about sex. How can you not when you've had wine and a discussion around Nip/Tuck? I've always been a fast learner. I didn't have sex until I was 22 and by 24 I had finished my whore phase. Most people do it in six years and I did it in two!

I was a nerd as a kid — still am. Praise the Lord and the Lady! Happy Maybon everyone.

How I Paid for College : A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater and Playing with Boys

Scene from Merce and Atticus's trip to Las Vegas
Setting: Virgin Megastore

*at the magazine rack*
Atticus: Ok. We got Teen People and Us Weekly. We need more. We'll read these in like an hour and the drive back to Phoenix is like five times that.
Merce: We should get Alisa Valdes Rodriguez's new book!
Atticus: Oh my God I almost forgot! Playing with Boys! It's called Playing with Boys. I saw it at Borders back in Phoenix.
Merce: Or that other book.
Atticus: Yeah! What was it? How I Paid for College something or other?
Merce: There was a review of it in Out this month, remember? We can get the title 'n author from there.
Atticus: You're a genius ... find the title and I'll ask the girl at the desk where it would be.

*on the way to the counter*
Merce: I can't wait for Dirty Girls Social Club to come out in the theatre.
Atticus: Yeah! J-Lo bought the rights to the movie. It's gonna rock!
Merce: Ha, ha, ha. The full title of the other book is: How I Paid for College: A novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theatre. I'm going to love it.
Attiucs: Ya know, I worked in a library for two years. I can find anything with the dewy decimal system, but this store is not laid out the same way.
Merce: Um ... whatever kid.

*at the counter*
Girl Behind The Counter: Can I help you?
Atticus: Yeah. Where's your adult fiction section?
GBTC: *sneer*
Atticus: We're looking for this book, um what is it? Playing with Boys and eer ... How I Paid for College.
GBTC: Right. This way please.

*on the way to the book section*
Atticus: Hey Merce, there's the book we're looking for!
Merce: I know! Where's she taking us?

*at the book section*
GBTC: Here you go.
Atticus: Something's not right here...
Merce: ?
GBTC: You said adult fiction didn't you?
Atticus: OH MY GOD THIS THE PORN SECTION! There was never PORN at the library!
GBTC: I'm so sorry. But when you said "adult" I just kinda figured you wanted books byPlayboy.
Atticus: And erotica? (*to Merce*) Don't we look gay?
Merce: I think we do.
Atticus: It's not like we can hide it.
Merce: I know!
Attiucs: Thanks for helping us, but we saw the book back there when you were walking us over to your porn.
Merce: Thanks! Have a great day.
GBTC: You, too.
Merce and Atticus: Thanks!
*Merce and Atticus skip arm in arm away from the big boob section*

Jack and Bobby

Actor Matt Long of Jack and Bobby has officially stole my heart away from Chad Michael Murray.

Jack and Bobby premiered tonight. The story is of two brothers raised by a single authoritative woman. One boy will become the 51 President of the United States, but which one?

At first I thought it would be Jack (played by Matt Long). He's the popular cute older jock brother. Bobby's the weirdo misfit controlled by his mother. The trailer gave away the ending as to whom would become the President. Bobby asked Jack "Will I ever be cool ... Will I be cool if I hang out with you?" No, Jack replied.

But I changed my mind after seeing that trailer. I was right with my new theory, but saddened with the other surprise. We learned tonight that Jack will die before Bobby becomes our 51 President.

I love the characters already. I know what it's like to be Bobby, I grew up as a geek motived by my father to remain that way and proud of it. But I also know what it's like to be Jack. Jack's the guy I've always wanted to date and so he's the guy I've tried to become. (And on a less serious note: black hair, sideburns, and a square jaw line always made me weak. It's a flaw in me, and I'm ashamed to admit it. Those blue eyes of his aren't to shabby either.)

But perhaps it's because I'm not Jack that I really like him so much. I know it's soon, maybe too soon to feel so connected to both characters. But exactly 30 minutes into the show I felt the beginnings of a tear forming. So, yeah I'm hooked. I hate you WB.

Watch Jack and Bobby (and the whore) on the WB at 8/9pm.

Jennifer Coolidge on Joey

The best thing about the Friend's spin-off show Joey will be: Jennifer. Mega blond Jennifer Coolidge appears as Joey's agent. Rejoice!

Must List by Atticus

This fall marks a return to the classics. Although classics never die, one tends to forget about such things in the constant search for the "now" and "what's next." Here are some helpful hints on what's in and what's out this season, use the tips below to make yourself a little better (i.e. a little more like me).

Take a course in gymnastics this year. You've always wanted to do a back handspring and there are plenty of gyms out there that offer classes for adults, especially out of shape adults.

Shoes designs from the '70s are a safe back to school choice. There are 703 choices of Puma sneakers for sale on Amazon. Odds are good there will be a color combination just right for you. Just please - please - remember to match your shoes with your shorts, not your shirt.

If you own one of those fancy Nike I'm-a-bag-but-I'm-really-a-purse contraptions, please burn it. For those of you who may be tempted to buy one, don't let the practical nature of such a bag influence your dignity. They're a nasty hybrid - much like capri - that should never have been invented. Five years from now when you see a picture of yourself wearing one you'll cry and destroy the photo. So save yourself the pain and humiliation.

That goes for wearing the collar up on your polo.

Yes, I know they boys are wearing shirts like that in the Abercrombie stores, but you're not one of them. They're evil and stupid, can't help shoppers, and rely on their own shallow physical beauty way too much.

But feel free to shop there; if you're going to buy a pair of shorts or a polo that'll last for three years by all means spend the cash there. Just don't expect them to have sizes other than large in the color you want. Those are purchased by the employees before they hit the shelves. And don't buy something that a million people own. Make your own outfits with items from various stores or buy from exceptionally rare and well tailored labels.

Have fun shopping this fall and remember: color is your friend. Get lots of it and try not to wear kaki, black and white all the time.

September 05, 2004

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas ... except this post

this is an audio post - click to play