Recap of a pretty spectacular few weeks.
Friday the 13th brings delicious catfish
Let’s go back a few weeks to Saturday the 14th. That was the day I learned that I owe Harry Manfredini* a fuck-ton of money for torturing my sister at bedtime when we were kids. I think he said it was a nickle for every Ah ah ah ah Ch ch ch ch I have ever uttered, totaling, as I said, a fuck-ton. I also learned that I would be terrible at scoring a film.
Then I ate fried catfish later that day and watched Les Blank films about Mardi Gras. And forgot all about how much money I owed people for being a smart-ass kid.
Throughout the day I made new friends and became more than just a face in the crowd at AFS events. I was reignited with the passion that brought me to Austin in the first place.
The next week was filled with work and woe. Alzheimer’s never rests. After a jam packed work week I hopped a plane and flew home for some much needed family time. It was the recharge that my heart-battery was needing. The hugs from my nieces fit just right.
Upon returning to Austin I realized for the first time that Austin feels more like home than Cincinnati does.
Dinner with Danger Gods
Last Friday I attended an event where four veteran stuntmen** sat around telling stories. I don’t think I stopped smiling for three days. I think my favorite story of the night was Chuck Bail’s telling of frog rustling in South America. Or maybe it was Bud Cardos telling us about this weird, scrawny guy named Charles Manson who came over to fix a car and ended up getting thrown off the set for being a jackass.
These men are true superheroes and their stories are pure gold. All of them are more than stuntmen, actors and directors who have worked with some of film’s most notorious personalities, beautiful starlets, and the toughest cowboys ever on the big screen. Again, I used it as learning tool to become a better storyteller and screenwriter. It was an honor to have been witness to a dying breed of movie men. There will always be a need for stunts in movies, but men of this era are slipping away from us. The stoic cowboys of old Hollywood are becoming a thing of the past. And I am one of the lucky ones to have touched history, if even for a brief evening with these danger gods.
Zombie Toes & Legends
Tom Savini is a legend, period. I had the privilege of meeting him on Monday night at a moviemaker dialogue hosted by AFS. He is warm, funny, and a total bad ass.
I hadn’t intended on giving him one of my zombie toes. For whatever reason it did not occur to me that he would appreciate my weird hobby that gets me through writer’s block. During the dialogue he mentioned something that has always been a peeve of mine in the movies, the lack of realistic anatomical portrayals of death. I am a nurse, I see death a lot. It doesn’t look like what you see in the movies or on TV. Which made me think of my zombie toes, that I happened to have in my purse. I purposely do not put any red blood on them because zombies are dead flesh, therefore would not have oxygenated blood coming from inside. Tom made me feel vindicated in my choice to keep with physiological correctness over sensationalized gore. So I walked up and handed him a toe. Told him that I make them with as much realism as you can get from a clay rendering of a fictional dead thing. He loved it. So much so that he told me he was going to wear it to the Machete Kills screening the next night. And he did wear it. Unfortunately, the chain I had on it didn’t fit around his bad-ass neck, so he wore it dangling from his belt the whole night. This, my friends, is my proudest zombie toe achievement. Robert Rodriguez may have one of the first ones ever made, but he doesn’t come close to having the zombie-cred that Tom Savini sports. This awesomeness came close to rivaling the eating of chocolate from Neil Gaiman’s pocket. I want all of my encounters with talented people to be this bizarre and wonderful.
And now for the amazing night of Machete. Yes, you’ve heard me ramble on about Robert Rodriguez in many posts last year when I was struck by the creative firestorm that he ignited at El Mariachi. Which in many ways was the impetus for my moving to Austin. Not for him, the creative part. Perverts.
Anyway, back to Machete Kills. All I’m going to say about the movie is it lives up to the craziness of the first Machete movie. Honestly, it was so full of disjointed fun that it was a bit like watching one of my dreams on screen. (Look up at least one of my dreams in my Public Dream Journal for reference.)
Don’t forget that Savini was wearing my zombie toe dangling from his pants this whole night. My mind is still blown.
After the movie I headed over to the after party. Where I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Rodriguez a bit more. In fact, he took a picture of my chest. Well, the El Rey Pulpo I was wearing that I made just for the event (pictured at the top of this post). I loved how he was more interested in the artistic process of making it than anything else. He barely noticed that the throwing knives looked like lobster claws. Which he better put into a movie. Deadly, silver lobster claws would be an amazingly unexpected weapon. Very James Bond villain. Screw that, I’m going to put the damn lobster claws in my own movie. If I ever figure out how to make one, that is.
I gave away a few more zombie toes to awesome people who lit up when I mentioned zombies and toes. Making people happy for no reason is what I live for. And tonight my mission was accomplished.
*Harry Manfredini is the amazingly vivacious film composer who scored Friday the 13th and about a million other films and television shows.
Just in case you forgot, because I sure did, I still believe in magic.