Friday Bloody FridayBy D. R. Haney
January 05, 2010
When I was about to publish my novel, Banned for Life, I had a number of exchanges with Jonathan Evison, whose counsel I sought with regard to promotion, among other matters. He was aware of certain aspects of my past, and he advised me to be forthcoming about them, since to do otherwise, he said, would amount to breaking faith with readers.
Jonathan is a wise man, but I regarded Banned as my child, and so wanted to shield it from the sins of its father. I imagined dismissive reviews based less on the book and more on my rap sheet, as well as sneering remarks posted on message boards. Paranoia? But I’ve been the target of such remarks, and I wanted to give Banned a running start before falling on my sword.
Now, I figure, the time has come. Banned has barely been noticed since it appeared more than six months ago, and I’ve tested the waters with friends made since, and none have responded as feared.
So ready the rotting fruit, as St. Francis of Assisi might have said before stripping in public, and cue the flashback ripple effect, or anyway a row of asterisks.
A little over twenty years ago, I was an actor living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. There weren’t many actors living in Williamsburg at the time, but I considered myself an unusual case: a hip kid (I would never have copped to being a “hipster”), as opposed to my colleagues, who overwhelmingly struck me as squares. The most happening neighborhood in New York was the Lower East Side, and that’s where I was usually found, raising hell with the likes of my friend Morphine, whose nickname owed (I forget how) to his slamdancing days at punk clubs such as A7. I studied with Mira Rostova, a creased but still-beautiful Russian who’d famously coached Montgomery Clift, and did a lot of fringe theater—a far-out staging of Richard II, for instance, in which the actors, cast in multiple roles, carried leather masks to designate which role was being played. You would have to ask the director why we carried the masks instead of wearing them. I never did understand.
One spring night, recovering at home after dropping acid with Morphine, I got a call from a movie director who wanted to know if I could fly immediately to L.A. to star in a Roger Corman movie. I’d appeared in one of the director’s student shorts at NYU, and Corman had given him carte blanche in the casting department. The movie, I was told, had no screenplay, even though production was slated to begin in a couple of days. Corman, the legendary, so-called King of the Bs, was known for rushing projects into production in order to make use of standing sets at his converted-lumberyard studio. No screenplay? Take the weekend to write one and report to the set first thing Monday.
Well, of course I boarded a plane for L.A., where I was met at the airport by a production assistant whose car promptly broke down on the freeway. A symbol of things to come? Yes, it would seem. This was obviously before cell phones, so we hiked till we found a pay phone, after which another production assistant drove us to Roger Corman’s office. I had seen Corman interviewed many times on television, and knew he’d launched, among others, Jack Nicholson and Robert DeNiro. And I hoped to be next. I resolved to have as much input as possible in the way my part was written.
Here I’d like to note that I was a serious, if uncredentialed, student of literature. I read so much, in fact, that one of my exes used to complain that I spent all my money on booze and books, which inconveniently couldn’t be bought at the same locations. At any rate, I left Roger’s office for a Mexican restaurant with the director and the screenwriter, and within a few hours I’d arranged to have the screenwriter fired. He was too plodding, too conventional, and none of his ideas jibed with mine. The director and I collaborated on the screenplay together—or we did before I took over the writing alone. It helped, of course, that Roger liked me. I was told by one of his assistants that I put him in mind of himself as a young man. I was certainly ambitious, as my ruthless behavior indicates.
One day, between takes on the set, Roger announced that he wanted me to write another screenplay for him. I wasn’t interested. I wanted to establish myself as an actor, not a writer, and people have a terrible way of insisting that you’re one thing or the other. Renaissance men are anachronistic. We live, and have for some time, in an age of specialization.
But people told me I was being foolish. This was a great opportunity, they said. I had a chance to earn my keep by writing movies—a chance denied so many others. I decided to go forward, thinking I could create more parts for myself, not realizing that most directors would cast anyone but the writer. An old Hollywood saying applies: A screenwriter on a set is like a whore sticking around for breakfast.
So I remained in L.A. after production wrapped and took an apartment on Beachwood Drive, in the shadow of the Hollywood sign. My driver’s license had lapsed while I was living in New York, so I walked everywhere; and since I couldn’t yet afford a phone, I would head numerous times daily to a pay phone outside the Beachwood Market. And it was there, on that corner, on that phone, that I learned that someone at Paramount, based on fast-traveling reports of my work at Corman, wanted to hear my ideas for the latest Friday the 13th sequel.
If I was a snob about books—and I was: no guilty pleasures—I was equally snobby about films. In New York I haunted the art houses, where I would sometimes tangle with other snobs, arguing the merits of this auteur over that one. Horror movies, which I had liked to the age of fifteen or thereabouts, were irrelevant as far as I was concerned; so I was only dimly aware of the Friday the 13th phenomenon, which seemed to involve witless fornicators being subjected to unsought surgery by a hulking mute in a hockey mask. No thanks.
Still, never thinking I would get the job, I rented every Friday movie and watched them on a neighbor’s VCR. I had been told that the Friday producers wanted Jason Vorhees, the hulking mute, to square off in the seventh Friday with Freddy Krueger, the razor-fingered pickle of the Nightmare on Elm Street series, and though the deal had (for the moment) fallen through, a variation was clearly desired. I had the formula down by the end of Part 2 at least, and I walked to the Beachwood Market pay phone and called the Friday development person and pitched my ideas. No, she said to each one. Uh-uh. No, that’s not for us. On the phone she struck me as a mythical creature incredibly proving to be real: the hard-as-nails, bottom-line Hollywood exec, as encapsulated in the back-cover copy of airport novels. I shuddered at the idea of having to deal with more of her kind. I never had in New York, aside from casting directors, who on occasion revealed traces of mammalian warmth.
Then I came to an idea she liked. She proposed that we meet, and a few days later I walked to her office on the Paramount lot, where I waited while she finished her meeting with another writer: a lauded playwright who was working on a script for a drama featuring Keanu Reeves, whose star was just starting to unaccountably rise. The furniture in the office was universally white. The receptionist, waitresslike, offered me a bottle of water. I watched the playwright leave in a bit of a huff, and the development person at last emerged to welcome me.
“He’s annoyed,” she said of the playwright, “because we told him to change the script, and now we told him to change it all back.” She laughed. In person she didn’t seem hard at all, but her laughter was unsettling. “Aren’t my whims amusing?” it seemed to say. “Today I want it in red, and tomorrow I’ll want it in green, and who knows how I’ll want it the day after that?”
In fact, once the job was mine, she would change her mind repeatedly. By then I had moved to a house in Silver Lake, where I camped on the porch, and when I wasn’t writing, I would drink with friends, usually sleeping late and often woken by a call from Paramount. Can you come over and meet with us? We’re not happy with the last draft. I was working on two scripts at the time—the second was for Roger—but I didn’t have a computer and the Friday people did, and they wanted new drafts immediately. This meant that after the meeting, which involved sheaves of detailed notes, I would be extradited to a trailer on the lot, where I was expected to produce a page-one rewrite by the start of the following workday. Then I would return home and crash and, two or so days later, get another call from Paramount, and head with a hangover to the lot and bang out another draft.
Some nights, treating myself to a break, I roamed the sleeping lot, imagining the greats who might have worked on this or that stage. W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers, Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard, Gary Cooper, Rudolph Valentino, Edward G. Robinson, Mae West, Barbara Stanwyck, William Holden: all made movies at Paramount. Of course, nowadays people don’t care about any of them. Not that they cared much in the late eighties.
I also read letters from Friday fans, which were tacked to the bulletin board in the trailer where I worked, and struck up a correspondence with an Ohio teenager whose letter was precociously clever. I thought he’d appreciate hearing from the writer of the forthcoming sequel, but he didn’t—not particularly—and the correspondence soon lapsed. Still other letters, undisplayed, were described to me as cries for help from kids claiming to have been permanently traumatized by Jason Vorhees. I could sympathize, having endured panic attacks in my teens that were induced, in part, by violent movies. Now I was writing one. Go figure.
I probably produced around fifteen drafts for Friday the 13th Part VII, when I was contracted for four. My agent decided I should get more money and contacted the producers, who responded by hiring another writer for the final tweaks. This writer, whom I never met, used a pseudonym, which I should’ve done also. That I didn’t is something of a mystery to me. I think I had an idea that a pseudonym would be dishonest and cowardly. Plus I didn’t take the movie at all seriously, and figured my amused attitude toward it would be shared by others. We all do silly things, I thought, especially in our salad days. Surely people would cut me slack.
So I stupidly put my name on the movie, and only started using a pseudonym later, after the Internet Movie Database had oozed from the River Styx and my every embarrassing credit could be, and was, instantly accessed. The years after Friday weren’t kind ones. I was nearly killed when a car mowed me down in a Hollywood crosswalk, and had to have numerous surgeries to reconstruct an arm and leg, all of which triggered the return of the panic attacks that scrambled my brain as a kid. I was dumped by my agent and, unable to find another, relied on word of mouth for work, and some of the results made Friday look like The Battleship Potemkin. I continued to act, but movies in general had gotten so bad, and my so-called writing career had indeed hurt my prospects as an actor: Are you a writer who acts, or an actor who writes? I felt more and more like an interloper—certainly a renegade. I barely socialized with industry people. I went underground, living as I had in New York, hanging with musicians and bohemians of all stripes, and almost never mentioned how I paid the rent.
Yet people knew. Movies would turn up on TV, prompting shocked phone calls: Why didn’t you tell me you were an actor? I wasn’t so easily Googled, since my new friends knew me by the nickname I’d acquired after the accident (Duke, short for Iron Duke, which refers to the titanium that holds my shattered limbs together), but they learned that I was a screenwriter as well as an actor; I was never sure how. I was friendly with …And You Know Us by the Trail of Dead, for instance, a band that appears in Banned for Life, and while they were on tour in Australia, they posted a message at their Yahoo! group, to which I belonged, asking which Friday movie I’d written. This led to a flurry of messages from other group members. Did you write the sleeping-bag kill? My God, that’s my favorite Friday kill ever! I was for a fact responsible for that scene, but I hadn’t realized it had become fairly iconic.
Yet, elsewhere on the Internet, some geek accused me of ripping it off from a movie unknown to me. I was often attacked online, especially after I gave a couple of interviews in which I spoke about my Friday experience in appropriately negative terms. Somebody said I should die for that—“with a red-hot poker up [my] ass.” Still others, on seeing some other horrible movie I’d done because I was broke, would spare the director (and producer and cast and so on) and blame me for the movie, based on my de-facto resume at IMDb. It had to be my fault, what with stuff I’d done. But I was only doing what I was told to do—what I had to do in order to get paid. I probably would’ve been better off with a so-called real job, but I was an exceedingly poor candidate for one after being out of the market for so long. Funds would dwindle, and I’d scramble for a writing job before my landlords hit me with a Pay Or Quit notice, and I always managed to find one—or I did until recently. I’ve now written more than twenty feature-length produced screenplays, which is quite a record, though I’m not proud of it, and a few of the movies turned out okay. The best of the lot may be Life Among the Cannibals, a black comedy in which I had a prominent role as a serial killer, but it never received any distribution in the U.S.
As Brando, whose heir I once aspired to be, said in On the Waterfront: I could’ve been a contender. Instead of a bum. Which is what I am.
Well, perhaps not entirely. In 2000, while on location for a film in Belgrade, I came up with the idea for Banned for Life, and later moved to Belgrade to write it, returning to the States with a first draft. Then, for years, I refined and polished it, working harder than I ever had at anything, because I hoped to establish, once and for all, that I did have talent; that I’d been badly served by the movies; that I deserved to be taken seriously.
Ironically, I didn’t feel I could put my name on it. I’d destroyed my name, or so I thought. At the same time, it would’ve killed me to use a pseudonym. How could I use a false name on a work so close to my heart?
Some suggested that I call myself Duke Haney, but my nickname could be learned at IMDb. So, in the end, I became D. R. Haney; and to further distance myself from my actor-screenwriter identity, I submitted a report of my death (by heroin overdose) to IMDb. They required proof, so I doctored my Wikipedia bio, which was soon corrected by a meddling stranger. Enraged, I deleted the bio, but yet another meddling stranger restored it. I don’t know why I have a Wikipedia bio in the first place. I don’t warrant one.
In any case, IMDb never reported me as dead. I hate IMDb. It’s full of inaccuracies—an ex-girlfriend, for instance, is erroneously said there to be the daughter of Bobby Kennedy—but the world regards it as the authority. Meanwhile, this all goes to show how desperate I was to hide my past.
But no more. I’ve done what I’ve done. And now I’m free to tell stories I couldn’t tell before, since to do so would be to give myself away. And I am bloody well going to tell them.
Oh, yes. There’s much to tell.
A reedited version of this piece appears in the nonfiction collection Subversia.
In a word, masterful. The pictures are great, too.
How does it feel to be liberated?
Well, I’m at least happy to have finally posted something for the first time in what feels like ages.
I owe you a phone call. Things didn’t unfold yesterday evening as expected, though there’s no interesting story involved.
And now to head to my psychic jumpy castle. Can I phone Prue for support if I suffer an injury?
Prue is, in general, overly concerned with people being sick. She likes to take care of people. So I’m sure she’d be happy to take your call.
No worries about the call — we watched “Heroes,” which was comically awful last night.
You know this already, but for the sake of the comment board, it’s impressive to go to Hollywood and earn a living writing screenplays, no matter what kind they are. Hella cool, as Erika says.
Tell Prue to be on standby in a few hours.
Only a fellow writer, and the rare onlooker, would understand how hard it is to make a living as a screenwriter. That’s fine. There’s much I don’t get about the way other people earn their keep. But Everyman seems to think he knows who’s to blame for why a movie is bad, and I can promise you that it’s almost never the committee-guided writer. Everyman has it backward: “Somebody oughta tell them screenwriters out…” etc.
Typo at the end, I just notice. Hope the meaning wasn’t entirely lost.
William Goldman says he writes novels to maintain his sanity, as his screenplays are routinely destroyed — or words to that effect. Given all that, it becomes more clear why you were especially reluctant to submit BFL to a Jason-like editorial hack job. I’m glad it didn’t wind up like a horny teenager in one of those slasher films…although I have no doubt, to echo what Matt says later on, that if BFL came out as-is in hardcover on, say, Farrar, with the attendant cachet, it would have made quite a few Best Of lists.
Off to check your Wikipedia page…
check or vandalise?
I’m banned from contributing to wikipedia, although for about a year something I put on Chuck Norris’ page stayed there.
Jedi: Banned…for life?
Just seeing this, guys.
I’m fascinated that you’re banned from Wikipedia, James. What happened to bring that on, if you don’t mind telling me?
And you contributed to Chuck Norris’ page? Wow.
As always, Greg, I’m grateful. It’s people like you who keep me from blasting a hole in my head.
If you’re found to be vandalizing pages three times you get banned.
I got caught twice.
And then I claimed on John Logie Baird’s page that there was a film being made of his life which starred Chuck Norris. I wrote the same on Chuck Norris’ page. It was months and months before I was found out, but when I was it was strike three…
Is this some kind of art project of yours? Because I have to say it would make a damned good one.
Why Duke, I simply had no idea. No idea at all. And now I’ve just spent several minutes Googling that dark and seedy past of yours. : ) What a confessional. But just for the record, I thought you were hella cool before. I am even willing to overlook that little sleeping bag scene.
I’m at Google’s mercy now, I know, just as I realize I just lost hella cool factor. What if I assemble a few LA TNB’ers and phone you in the middle of the night? Can that act as a restorative?
You’re not metaphorically offering to drag me out by the sleeping bag with that phone call, are you? (that might’ve been a tad low – sorry!) And I love the phone calls. They make me immensely happy. Oh – and I’m desperately trying to find a way to make the Hollywood TNB live reading in June. I’d love to meet you guys in the flesh.
Wait. Has a TNB event definitely been scheduled for June? I know Zara and Simon are due for a return to the States, but I wasn’t sure if that meant a TNBoree.
Oh yes. Lets. TNBoree! Great name. Great idea.
You like the name? Good. I was sure it was lacking.
TNBoree it is. I guess I heard wrong. I’ll be watching for the announcement, though!
I think your “wrong” hearing may have just led to a very beautiful thing, Erika. But if it happens, how can we arrange to have you here?
I wouldn’t say no to a free plane ticket. Sadly, due to the ravages of this last year, my coming will depend entirely upon the availability of the greenback. I want to, though! I have even started a very special TNB fund. Nevermind the fact that it mostly consists of random coins my daughter throws at me in her ignorance of their value. Hmmm…how to exploit the 6-year-old…maybe I could get her to pay me for doing HER chores.
You may never, ever know how I feel you in the matter of greenbacks. And, actually, I hope you never do.
But if it’ll help: Pay Erika, six-year-old! Release them funds! Yee-uh!
There will be a TNB Con. It’s just a matter of when. I’m on it.
My marshmallows are already roasting.
Yes, they should be nicely burned by then.
June will be the prelim, Z. Like Pinky Dinky Doo, I’m thinking big.
(And I sincerely hope none of you know who Miss Doo is).
Is it David Wills’ pseudonym?
No, no June should be the main event. Simon and I can only manage 14 hour plane trips every so often!!
You know things are bad when your kid hands you a buck and says, “Mom. This is for you since you don’t have any money.”
Duke, I’m concerned about your marshmallows.
What, Erika, is your kid some kind of commie?
I jest, I jest. I’m in a real bind myself. I just try to take it one day — for that matter one hour — at a time.
Meantime, I’m already starting to eat my marshmallows, so your concern is justified.
Oh, and Z., isn’t Simon’s plane trip longer than yours?
She’s more like a Republican. I believe that dollar was aimed at lobbying for some more TV time. Oh yes, Greg. I know who Pinky Dinky Doo is. Although I like Duke’s explanation best. Poor David’s gotta watch his back door with those students of his.
(Move, David S Wills! Move! Australia is calling you!)
Ha. Kids always have an agenda, which makes them…just like adults.
I think David is ultimately California-bound. But maybe he’ll take to Australia. I, for one, think I would like it there.
That’s *an* agenda.
And Australia would like you too – but we kiwis would like you better….
Aw, Jude, you know I’m itching to get to NZ.
Yeah, Simon’s trip is longer. Damn Aussies. They always beat us…
Even at rugby?
I thought David said in his last post (comments) that he and his gf were kicking around Australia…Whatever the case, I imagine anywhere would be open for consideration..
Well, maybe he’ll read this and clarify, but I think he is planning to move to Australia, for a stretch, later this year, though he doesn’t expect to remain. He said his heart belongs to California, or words to that effect.
I get that. We moved away when I was 7 and I still miss it terribly. The crappy beaches of Seal Beach and the fragrant neighborhoods of Sacramento – these were my stomping grounds. But things GROW there. And, it’s not -10 degrees when you wake up. Which it was here this morning.
I never knew you’d done time in California, Erika.
It’s in fact a bit cold this morning, or it is in my apartment, which hasn’t yet heated up. It’s a very old building, in California terms anyway, with no insulation, so it gets very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer.
Also, right around Christmas, it was very cold — again, in California terms. But you really feel the cold here in a way that you might not elsewhere. I’ve had friends from New York visit in the winter, and they‘ll complain about how cold it is, maybe because the expectation is so different.
But, see, I like seasons, so I don’t really mind the cold, even though, only yesterday, I was talking to Greg Olear, and he basically characterized my attitude as romantic. There’s nothing fun about cold or snow, he said. He’d give it up in a minute.
I’m not a fan of cold per se, but I do miss snow. Then again, I never had to drive in it.
When we lived in Hong Kong during grad school, it got terribly cold for only a couple weeks out of the year. It was only in the high 30s to low 40s, but our apt had no insulation so it was miserable. I remember putting our toaster oven on the floor and sitting in front of it to try and heat up. So, yeah. Heh. I hear what you’re sayin’.
I’m inclined to agree with Greg. Snow gets tiresome. The beach is in my blood. Unfortunately, my husband likes the mountains and snow. Go figure.
Also, I’m not the best snow driver. I’ve got a driving history not unlike your dark and mysterious past.
Well, as you know, California has the mountains and snow and the beach. Maybe your husband needs to be reappraised of California geography.
I can definitely imagine you having the beach in your blood, by the way. But does your “dark and mysterious” past with driving in the snow include blood on the hood of your car? I wouldn’t think the worse of you. How could I?
In a completely opposite way, I hear you on the toaster front. When I was on location in Belgrade, it got so hot that, once, I removed the mattress from my hotel bed and set it by the mini-bar refrigerator, trying to sleep next to it with the door open. But even that didn’t do the trick, so I removed all the beer bottles in the fridge and put them in bed next to me. That didn’t do the trick either, but I’d run out of options. The bathtub didn’t work right, otherwise I might have run a old bath and tried to sleep there.
You’d never think Eastern Europe could get that hot, but it does.
i enjoyed the history lesson. i think i knew most of it, or at least could have pieced it together with all of my super-reliable internet resources…it’s funny, i’ve often thought recently (while listening back) that it’s a blessing that i never “made it” as a musician, as I would have contributed some of the worst music the world has ever known. it’s true. i mean, how many “transcenders” have it figured out from day one? some, but not many. good, bad, ugly, stupid, childish, borderline retarded, however you may paint it, it all funneled into “banned”, and thank god for the rest of us you wrote that…at the end of the day, i believe it was yogi berra who said “the truth shall set you free”. you’re free now (free at last haha). i’m in canada (anne murray, blame canada). gonna ride the train across this tundra and will be back in LA next weekend if I can get through airport security with my bombs. see you soon.
You remember Shane, right? Shane Richardson? He was, a few days ago, turned away by airport personnel because his mustache appeared suspicious. I kid you fucking not.
Thanks for saying “the rest of us” with regard to Banned. It’s nice to know that there’s “a rest of us.”
Seriously, man, get the hell down here, and fast, and call me as soon as you arrive. It’s been too fucking long.
I hope you will.
I would so like to speak to you soon.
I just sent you an e-mail, because it’s been a while.
But great post, and the accompanying photos are pretty damn cool.
I now have a reason to look forward to checking my inbox. God only knows I don’t have many.
Glad you liked the photos. The obvious thing would’ve been to scan the web for Friday stuff, but such is my dislike for the franchise…
“He’s annoyed,” she said of the playwright, “because we told him to change the script, and now we told him to change it all back.” She laughed.
I laughed at this line, too, in spite of myself.
Easily the most evil person in this whole riveting tale.
In fact, she was. I tried to be discreet.
Are you, like, psychic? Or am I far less subtle than aspired?
You, sir, ain’t no bum. That the world hasn’t paid more attention to Banned For Life says everything about the world and nothing about the book.
I’m fascinated by the Corman connection. While they guy is generally regarded as a shit filmmaker (his movies were so often fodder for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew, though I rather liked some of his Poe adaptations) he springboarded a lot of film careers. So for better or worse you’re on the list with people like Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Bogdonavich, Peter Fonda, Robert De Niro, Dennis Hopper and John Sayles. And that’s not really so bad, is it?
I’m curious: have you ever given thought as to how your movie career might have turned out if you’d not take the Friday job and stayed exclusive to Corman?
(And great photos, by the way. Some of those b&w shots look like they could be hanging on the wall in a “Memories of Hollywood” type exhibit.)
Matt, how in the hell (I ask myself, not you) has it taken me this long to address you? I apologize and then some.
I agree with you about Roger’s Poe adaptations. I think two of them–The House of Usher and The Pit and the Pendulum–are pretty much the cream of the low-budget horror crop. I also like a few other, non-Poe of his movies. He had something, though by the time I met him, he seemed to have lost his passion for filmmaking.
In fact, I continued to work for him after Friday. In spite of everything — mainly, his cheapness — I very much enjoyed the time I spent at Corman. I didn’t volunteer to leave. Roger always pushed people out of the nest at some point.
He once compared me to Sayles, by the way, which I took as a great compliment. And you mention Bogdanovich — have you seen Targets? Fantastic, methinks.
Another fucking HTML mistake. Goddamnit.
Being that so many of his stories were about mood and atmosphere more than spectacle and event, I think Poe’s material really lends itself to smaller-budget features.
I would take being compared to John Sayles as a huge compliment, myself. For Brother From Another Planet if no other reason.
I must confess that, aside from one viewing of Paper Moon over a decade ago and his appearances on The Sopranos I’m not fluent in much of Bogdanovich’s work. Will have to remedy that, I’m sure. When I find the time.
The Last Picture Show is pretty great, but aside from that, Targets, and Paper Moon, he’s average at best.
Yeah, I’ve been kind of given to understand that by and large his career has mostly been based on his position as one of Orson Wells’ last good friends.
Well, he’s a good writer about film. He started off as a critic, in the style of the French New Wave. And he’s not a bad director; he just failed to live up to his early promise.
Welles was a Bogdanovich houseguest, incidentally. I saw Cybill Shepherd (Bogdanvich’s then-girlfriend) on some chat show once, talking about Welles bellowing to her from the next room in that deep Welles voice: “CY-BILL?!” Can you imagine? It would be like hearing God.
What could be cooler? I’m gonna bump your book sales right quick, by one anyway… May D.R. Haney, the Freddy rendering, bionic novelist prosper in twenty-ten.
Trail of Dead kick ass by the way… Being discovered by them as the penner of the sleeping bag scene may be about the wickedest back handed compliment life can dish out… And we are all bitches in the face of life, and as such should expect her backhanded compliments.
I could definitely use, Ryan, all good wishes for the year ahead, seeing that I’m currently at a low, and thank you for extending them.
As I was revising this post, I asked myself why the inclusion of Australia was relevant, if any way at all, where it came up with TOD. The fact is, they were in Australia when they posted that comment, and that’s partly why I found it so striking: So far away from the States, they’d seemingly just stumbled on this bit of news, or in any case made it public.
I haven’t seen those guys in a while, but I can’t even begin to tell you how big a fan I was once upon a time, and it was always a thrill for me to hang out with them.
Meantime, I hear you loud and clear on the bitches/backhand front — or is that end?
Duke (or should I call you…I’m joking),
I think your checkered past is a Very Cool Thing. All writing credits are good writing credits, in their own twisted way, and you are clearly versatile and hungry (metaphorically). These are all good traits.
Your digital footprint ensures that you will always live on in some way. So does your novel.
I am you fan as well, so it’s especially gratifying that you sign yourself as you do.
I don’t know that I share your view on all writing credits, however. There are many — and I mean many — on my person that I should like to remove.
But I think you had an inkling of at least some of my revelations, yes?
I haven’t yet had an opportunity to wish you a happy 2010, so please allow me to do so here.
Wow, that’s pretty impressive. I’m looking forward to seeing what kinds of stories this revelation frees up for you.
Good to hear from you, Mary. It may interest you to know that I was working on two pieces for TNB, and the second, which may take me a while to finish, quotes something I read on your blog. I’ve been thinking about it since I read it — but I may already have said too much. I’ll complete and post the piece in due time.
Thanks so much for reading and responding. And happy 2010 to you, and beyond.
There are a thousand positive things I want to say after reading this, but I’m settling for this: Phenomenal fucking post.
I needed this read today.
More than coffee?
But I would never make such a claim for it. I, like you, am addicted. I need a hit now, in fact.
(Thanks very much, Sir Slade.)
I already knew this about you. While I was reading Banned – totally killer Greg
told me all about you, including this. It just added to the D.R’s mystique. I never knew it was something you wished to hide. And you know how I feel about your book.
A friend of mine had that Jason mask and once stood outside in the dark with it on waiting for me to notice him from my window – I may be permanently scarred from that. So, maybe now
that I know the people or things to really be scared of are those hollywood execs, I can look out my window again? Dare I watch that sleeping bag scene? Greg and I almost rented it one night.
Can’t wait to hear more stories.
As I understand it, the sleeping-bag scene in the film is a but a shadow of the scene filmed. But it was meant (on my part anyway) as comic, and it seems to me that’s how it comes across.
Thanks, as always, Steph, for the kind words about the book, which mean, and has meant, more than I think you realize.
I probably don’t realize it, just like you probably don’t realize
how much your book has meant to me and still means to me and always will.
One day, maybe you’ll hear the song I wrote because your book was instrumental
in unblocking this blocked musician. And then you’ll know.
Everyone who has not read Banned needs to read it now. Go! Do you hear me?
I second this. As a radio personality in NZ recently commented about Banned For Life: “Usually books about the ‘music life’ get it so wrong. This one totally nailed it.”
** It. Get IT so wrong…**
I hope to hear that song very soon, Steph. How can that be arranged?
And, Z, whatever Troy said about BFL goes back to you. You’re the one that made it possible.
It’s a pretty fucking fantastic song. It made me cry when I heard it.
Man of the World by Peter Green is the only song that’s ever made me cry. And only a little bit.
It takes a lot to break British reserve!
oh, no pressure now. And Greg, you were drunk.
Duke, I’m just going to have to record it and sent it to you, one day, when the recording is finished. (gulp. scared)
well, i guess i should also thank you Greg – maybe you were only buzzed.
and Duke, I could also sing it for you on our porch when you guys come here (!!!).
I cry like a kicked puppy all the time on hearing beautiful songs. I’m such a soft touch.
Anyway, yeah, I think I might prefer the live version, Steph. But there’s so much to be done between now and then. I understand there might be an opening at T-Pac.
I heard – and wow – I think that’s great.
But it had better not affect your probability of appearing on our porch n’est pas?
Tish! You spoke French!
I want nothing more than to appear on your porch in the company of my prospective teammates. It’s a bit of a jigsaw at the moment, oui?
I am now feverishly kissing my own forearm.
Here’s some of Steph’s stuff, for all interested parties…these are some of my personal favorites, although if I had to pick one, I’d go with “Mecca”:
The first MP3 playlist compiled solely for a comment board…
ok – now I’m embarrassed – thank you at totally killer.
i’d love anyone to listen – but don’t feel like you have to. or anything.
i need to now say this, as the nesting below levels thing
is making this seem out of context but to Duke from before:
Mais je vais pleurer beaucoup de larmes si vous ne venez pas, mais, bien sûr, je vais comprendre.
I’m beside myself with desire!
The children. Yes, of course. You’re right. I’m fine now.
I’ve been dashing about this board for some time now, and haven’t had a moment to click on the inviting link sent by Totally Killer. But I will before the night is done, I daresay.
Steph.. You are an inspiration to me.
Steph literally inspired one of my TNB pieces. She’s a muse, she is. I’m sure Greg would corroborate — if he knows what’s good for him.
Aww you guys – I love you guys, that’s really nice.
And I’m going to muse you so hard when I see you both in June.
I’m going to muse you like a hurricane. I’m going to muse you until dawn
until I can’t muse no mo.
[Steph is groaning over my shoulder]
I sense a new song in the works. See? You’re even a muse to yourself!
She may be doing vocal warm-up exercises, Greg. Actors do them too. But they’re really embarrassing, so, on the rare occasions that I do them, it’s strictly in private.
More lyrics to my muse rap:
I’m going to muse all over ya.
Muse ya til the sun don’t shine.
Not use ya, just muse ya,
not lose ya, just muse ya
So, let’s get to it, grab a pen, there’s nothing to it
muse muse muse (ok – it turned kind of vogue-ish there at the end…)
The carob has gone to your head, Steph…
Maybe this can lead to a new dance in Harlem, with lots of wavy hand gestures, Steph.
More carob for you?
Okay. So, I clicked on the link for the Sleeping Bag Kill scene and it gave me rapid heart palpitations. I can’t watch that shit. However, I’m more than a little curious to know how satisfying – on some level – writing it must have been. I mean, they’re two different things, aren’t they? Watching it and writing/reading it. I can read It but I can’t watch it. I get that you’re a serious writer, but, I don’t know, I kind of picture writing that stuff as a bit of a romp. No?
I really want to read your book now.
It was definitely a romp. That’s why, as I was trying to say, I figured everyone else would see my having written this thing as a joke. And that particular moment — the sleeping-bag kill — was definitely tongue-in-cheek. I think the ridiculousness of it is the very reason that it’s become, to whatever extent, popular.
But I can promise you that there are no such moments in my book. I mean, not to encourage you or anything. (And I thank you for saying what you do.)
I will read it. I just finished a book and would hate to have to read the numerous neglected books on my bookshelf. I almost started reading Bonfire of the Vanities (which I’ve owned for five years and have always meant to read) last night. Looks like I’ve dodged that bullet yet again!
Ha. I started Bonfires once and put it down and never picked it up again, though, honestly, I’d enjoyed the fifty of so pages I read. I got distracted. But it’s only a few feet away from me as I write these words, and only a few weeks ago I contemplated going back to it. Fortunately I never saw the movie, otherwise I know the itch would long since have vanished.
I give Bonfire two enthusiastic thumbs up. Although I read it a long time ago, and I’m not sure how relevant it is anymore.
@Duke – I’ll do it if you do it. On three. One…two…
Is it too late? I really will if you will!
I read Bonfire of the Vanities. Kind of. I read most of it.
I had about 50 pages left, but I opened up the end by accident and found out how it ended.
Wasn’t interested enough to find out how it got to that point from where I was…
@Duke – for real? Okay then. When do you want to start? Do we have an end by/discuss by date? Will there be a test? Will it be multiple choice?
Seriously though. I’ll start it tonight. Shall I email you when I’ve finished it?
Wet towel, meet James.
are you hitting me with a wet towel?!
Gloria: I think we should set a start/finish time. I’ll meet your terms, whatever they are.
James: No, I’m not hitting you with a wet towel, though I would if you’d stand fucking still.
Sounds great. How about this: my boys (8-year-old twins) go with their dad as of tomorrow morning. They don’t come home until next Wednesday night. I don’t normally have so much boy-free time, so I will commit to having the book read by next Tuesday night. Sound good? We’ll discuss on Wednesday. If you lived closer, I’d make you meet me for a beer while we talk about it. But we’ll make due.
Well…maybe a little more time…but I did say I’d meet you on your terms, so if next Wednesday it is, than next Wednesday it will be.
No, no. You’re right. That’s a little ambitious. Seriously. Let’s go for: We’ll be done by the afternoon of Sunday, January 17th. Better?
Yes. That I think I can handle.
But how to hold our two-person book-club meeting?
Hey there. I emailed you an answer and tried to add you on Facebook so that we could take our plotting and planning offline. Just FYI.
Yes, I saw that you’d written to me, but I haven’t had time to respond. (TNB always takes precedence over my correspondence.) I have to rush off an errand that will occupy most of the afternoon, but I’ll drop you a line tonight.
Oh, and you say you “tried” to add me on Facebook? Were you having a problem there?
Gah! Now I feel like an enormous ass-hat. I wasn’t trying to suggest that you’re being remiss, I just know that sometimes people use certain email addresses for spam and whatnot (and therefore never check them) and certain other ones for other sorts of communication. I wasn’t clear which one was the one that appeared in my Yahoo inbox.
And no, no problem with Facebook. “Tried” was the wrong verb.
Good. I’ll check Facebook in a while. Just darting in here before I run up the street on another errand.
I’m so glad that you have posted. I was suffering some serious withdrawl symptoms.
As ever – this was just another fantastic story from you that is full of so many gems and so much insight and beauty and wisdom.
You really are a treasure. And I for one, think you are super cool for writing a Friday the 13th.
Love the pictures by the way. Just brilliant. Awesome.
(I shall hunt down the ‘Life Among the Cannibals’ and SS and I can watch when I’m in Australia…!)
You’re too kind as always, angel. And you’re the treasure. You do know that, right?
But if Cannibals can’t be readily found at the corner video store, my Melbourne friend Daniel can hook you up. It’s because of that movie that he and I are friends.
Fucking HTML error. Old times, 2.0-style.
I’m not too kind at all, just telling it like it is.
I shall look up ‘cannibals’ today! Now, to go back and re-read your piece, since I was jonesing in a big way and I need another hit.
Ah, Z. Is there honeysuckle in NZ? That’s what you are to me.
(Wait: I just notice that I’ve rhymed like crazy in the above.)
It doesn’t rhyme if you say Z like we do…
(but thank you, D x)
Oh, shit. I keep forgetting about that Z.
I think your way makes a lot more sense than saying ‘zed.’
But I like your way of saying it more. Maybe because it seems exotic.
That ‘zed’ business is nonsense.
No it’s not, Matt.
Think about it: What sounds better? NZ (enzee) or NZ (enzed)???
ENZED. Right? Right.
Nope! ENZED sounds like someone’s goofy-ass hippy name. ENZEE sounds like two letters put together properly.
It was Ambrose Bierce, I believe, who campaigned for “W” to be pronounced “wow,” which would be way cooler than “zee” or “zed,” both of which sound fine to my ears.
That would make web addresses way more extreme. Just cruise on down to wow wow wow thenervousbreakdown dot com.
wow wow wow.
I love that. I might try and revive it.
And Matt – ask Simon and David Wills – it’s PYUMA.
Oh and Jim! Sorry Jim! I always forget the motherland.
When I want Simon or David’s opinion on something, I’ll give it to them, damn it!
I’m the only one of you lot wot speaks proper inglish like ‘er madgesty does.
It’s pew-ma, like yer offerin’ yer old mum a seat at the church.
Which runs you right into the problem, Irwin: it’s not a proper english word! It’s from a native American language. English grammatical rules do not apply.
What’s your excuse for aloo-min-um?
In the States it’s spelled a-l-u-m-i-n-u-m. How else would you pronounce that?
I don’t know how the hell I managed to miss out on such a scintillating exchange, and I realize it’s now too late to join in, but, um, there’s this song? Called “Wow Wow Wow”? And it’s by one of my favorite bands, Girls Against Boys?
Never mind. As I said, I know it’s too late to join in. Lamesville is my name.
Well that’s where you’re going wrong old chap. How can you pronounce words correctly when you leave out vital letters.
You bloody americans drop vowels from proper words like cockneys drop ‘h’s!
Careful James, we’re treading dangerous waters here. After all we pronounce Stupid as ‘Schtewpid.”
The American’s have got it over us on that one at least..
Who’s this “us”? What, is Blighty and NZ now one and the same?
And if we have one thing over you, that’ll be about the extent of it, I promise you.
Well, we ARE the Commonwealth, Duke…
Our Queen is your Queen. And we also have a lot of your lamb in the frozen meat section…
The Americans pronounce it stoo-pid, don’t they? It should be stew-pid.
If it wasn’t for the Brits you’d all be speaking French right now. You’d be no better than Canada!
I, for one, wouldn’t mind it if we in your former –and I emphasize, former — colony were all speaking French. French is hot — or it is when spoken by the female of the species.
Oh, and I was born and raised in Virginia, which was named after your (arguably) greatest monarch, and Virginia is a commonwealth state, I’ll have you know.
I crave a meat pie.
Who us?? The mighty Anzac’s? No mate, we’d be Dutch.
When you come down under Duke, you will be awestruck at the meat pies on offer.
Yes, I am now familiar with your Dutch history. New Zeeland, indeed.
Damn, what I wouldn’t give for a meat pie now.
Baiting me, are you?
This whole tangent has led to me to start a whole TNB post about Britian. Satirical of course.
Although now I’m tempted to do a ‘Greatest Monach of All Time Battle Royal.’
I’d probably go for the Virgin Queen, the original Queen Elizabeth. Who doesn’t love a redhead?
I had a meat pie for dinner— or steak and kidney at any rate.
France is a lovely country. For visiting.
Any mention of kidneys in the edible sense has me immediately thinking of Ulysses. The passage in which Bloom sizzles kidneys is one of the greatest things I ever read.
I can’t wait to read your Britain post, James. But if you’ve only but visited France, I think it may be a tad unfair to pass judgment on it as a place to live.
If it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much…
I’m actually quite rare in being an Englishman who not only likes the Americans, but the French as well.
I’m planning to live in France for a while after university. I like the place a lot. And the language.
I never heard that saying about the Dutch before, Phat B — is it original?
Oh, and you like both the French and the Americans, James, may be you can help to bring them together, since they famously detest each other. But I’m with you in liking the French. I think they have a bum rap. And the language is beautiful — maybe the most beautiful language.
Wait. That’s IF you like both the French and the Americans, MAYBE you can help…
Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a comment toolbar.
Bloody French. NZ’s mortal enemies.
Really? How so? Competing cheese industries?
Without the French, there would be no America.
Well, first off they always beat us at our national game; Rugby.
Secondly, the French Government sent their secret agents into Auckland Harbour and bombed our anti-nuclear ships, killing people and sinking our ship.
Oh and of course, they refused to stop their nuclear testing off our shores.
We don’t much like them, I’m afraid.
It’s a sad day when the French beat anyone at rugby. They’re thought to be effete, you know.
But the rest — yes, I now remember you mentioning that before. Of course you know that Americans loathe the French, but I personally can’t get past all the great art they’ve produced.
I do like the fact that they smoke a lot though.
Yes, and they have really cool cigarettes.
But if you want to go to a place where people really smoke a lot, try Eastern Europe. It’s a regular smoke-athon.
The French being so good at ruby angers and confuses me. Although a lot of that is bitterness because back in 2003 our boys were bloody well unstoppable!
I have to agree with Duke that the French language is probably the most beautiful in the world. And like Zara (and most other Kiwis) we’re not so forgiving of the fact that they came into our harbour and blew up the Greenpeace ship – killing a young Portuguese man in the process.
However trying to stand aside from that, I do love the French attitude regarding their language. They very reluctantly speak any English unless they really have to – and I guess that arrogance makes the French very strong in their culture. I admire that.
I remember when I was there many years ago and was stunned at how good looking and well-dressed the Parisians were. And then in complete contrast, out in the country-side, I felt as if I had been transported back in time a couple of centuries.
And like you Duke, the art, the food, the wine…trés fantastique!
Ah yes, the chic Parisians. I never spent any time in the provinces, but I’m not surprised that hear that they’re backward — if that’s what you’re saying, as it now seems to me that you aren’t.
I’m going to have to read up about the Greenpeace ship — that is astonishing. When, approximately, did it happen?
But I’m glad in we’re accord about the language and the rest. Aesthetically, I don’t think there’s anything the French don’t do well, or haven’t. Their track record is pretty mind-blowing.
Oh, and James, rugby isn’t an enormously popular sport in the States, which explains my ignorance about which national teams are good, and so on.
Though, you know, I always thought I could really get into playing rugby. It’s a pity I never learned the game. Ah well. I didn’t know anyone who played it, and I was always busy anyway.
The sinking of the Rainbow Warrior – as the Greenpeace ship was called – was in July 1985.
Here’s a link to what happened…
Ah, it all comes back to me now. Yes, I do remember hearing about the Rainbow Warrior — how could I have forgotten?
Thanks for the link, Jude. Them damn French!
French culture rules. You’re right, Duke — check that; Duc — that they’ve done just about everything well — including championing freedom of the press and of speech. Without France, there might not have been a Lolita. Love, love France.
The French military, on the other hand, as the NZers can attest…boo hiss. The Maginot Line, ‘nuf said. Belardes can check me on this, but notwithstanding Napoleon’s misadventures, which of course didn’t last, the last time France can claim to have won a war was more than half a millennium ago, when they were led to battle by a fourteen-year-old girl they later burned at the stake.
Oh, and without France there would be no USA…but without the USA, there would be no France. Even Steven. Or Étienne, as it were…
That’s true. We did bail out the French in WWII. On the other hand, there were a number of people in France who seem to have welcomed German invasion. Fascism was more popular throughout Europe than many would care to admit.
But wasn’t the burning of Joan of Arc a collaboration between the English and French? Maybe not.
The French have a long history of embracing artists who were neglected on their native turf. Poe, for instance, had a following in France that he lacked in America. Also, French intellectuals took Hollywood movies seriously long in advance of American academics. Without Hollywood, there would have been no French New Wave, which is interesting, since there’s nothing “Hollywood” about New Wave films, aside from the many references to American directors like Nicholas Ray.
“I hoped to establish, once and for all, that I did have talent”
Oh Duke… you have talent – you have talent that the world needs to know about. But it’s an unfortunate thing that true talent never seems to be recognized – as I have many times said, the punters have no taste!
I am so happy to read another of your wonderful posts – I have missed your writing and the powerful punch it packs! I can’t wait to read the stories you have never told before… and I am bloody well going to read them!
And one more thing… the pictures are great. There’s a young Marlon Brando lurking in there – and I know it was not the best time for you, but my god, that pic of you in the hospital bed – it’s such a great composition. With the mustard blanket and the serene look on your face, you look like a Buddhist monk!
I can’t take any credit for the mustard blanket. It was supplied by the hospital. However, I suppose I can some credit for ending up beneath the blanket. And the serenity was care of morphine — any credit should be attributed to the hypodermic, if not to the poppy that preceded it.
I love you forever for the Brando remark, among others. Then again, I was already prepared to love you forever. I’m only sorry that I’m surely too late to be your first-footer.
First footer – 2011 Duke – that’s a promise!
Well, I certainly propose to see you by 2011, if not on at midnight on the day it begins, but now that I think of it…can I really qualify as a first-footer?
Now, six-footer — that I’ve got covered.
First-footer, second-footer, third-footer, fourth footer, fifth footer, ah…Six-footer – just perfect!
Just make sure you fast-foot and hot-foot it over here. We’ve got your name on it….
Oh, I am so anxious. I can’t even begin to tell you.
Never saw any of your movies. I do like your writing a great deal though.
Thank Zeus that you know me only by my writing, apart from my writing for movies.
Happy 2010, by the way. I’ve been wondering how you are.
Still out here in the desert, sucker punching wind for the hell of it. Thanks for asking after me and Happy 2010 to you as well good Sir.
That’s the first time in ages that someone has called me “sir” and I haven’t felt like it was a tacit insult. Thanks yet again, Sheree. And don’t let that wind off the hook!
That was very close to The Simpsons line ”…. called me sir without adding ‘you’re making a scene.”’
I call people sir all the time. I swing between ‘dude’ and ‘sir’, which is probably a little strange…
I use “sir” fairly often myself, but I don’t like the sound of it when it’s said to me — not usually. It’s like a note of formality by people who are otherwise conspicuously informal, and their use of it implies that I’m alien to them.
I say it so often my friends have picked it up… it’s weird.
I think it’s probably different in the country though, because historically it’s always been a fairly common way to greet/address people. For a class obsessed country it doesn’t quite have such formal connotations…
It’s common here in the South, where I was born and raised, or at least it was. I was told, as a child, to say “ma’am” and “sir” to every adult, and I did. It was only after I left the South that people started to react oddly to it — women, for instance, saying, “Oh, please don’t call me ma’am; it makes me feel old.”
But that I can understand. I’ve had kids at shows call me sir, and it always feels a bit like a stab. And I really do think, subconsciously at least, it’s intended that way. I mean, if the same kid were talking to Ian MacKaye or Henry Rollins or someone admired, would he address him as “sir”? Maybe “ironically.” That’s the way I often use the word.
In a different spirit, I sometimes say it back to kids.
“Sir, do you have a lighter?”
“I don’t, sir.”
Thank you, sir, for this exchange, in which I can explore my feelings with regard to “sir.”
Duke I am so glad your back! I have so much I want to comment on but not enough time. So I will keep it short and just state that I have to agree with Jude – you have talent! Not many can stir up so much emotion out of others through their art like you do. So take that and own it because you deserve it.I as well hope you continue to tell your stories and free your soul. Here’s to reading more of your stories in this New Year.
I’m go glad to hear from you, Erika!
Reno privileged me by appearing in L.A. over the holidays. If only you could’ve been here, too.
How can we manage to some day have us all in the same room at the same time? I blame Reno that it hasn’t happened so far, damn him.
I was going to post a new piece today but no way I’m following this.
A writing teacher once told me “Honesty always works.”
My favorite post from you.
Can you write a whole book of this?
I was hooked on every word.
We’re all bums &
Take it from St Francis
& a guy who turned
down a gig with David Allen Coe.
My friend, I’m so behind on the Coe front.
We should’ve done a Q&A a long time ago. I promise you that I was well-intentioned. My brain is made of feathers, and it’s been getting more so all the time.
But aside from all that, I was just wishing the other day for a JMB post. It’s been a while. But it sounds like you’ve got one in the popper. Could you release it, please?
Have you noticed
both our Gravitars
are yellow and black?
Any friend of a friend
of Coe knows
to never fret time.
new post tomorrow.
I am so looking forward to it.
I hadn’t noticed the similarities in color schemes. Does this mean we are bees?
I’ve got a little spec script
Jason vs. The Dukes of Hazzard
Could you forward it
to Robert Corman for me?
I need some rent moneys.
If it’s in 3D you’ve already sold a ticket
Never say such a thing to a screenwriter. “3D? Well, um, okay. There’s this cop, Popeye Doyle, and he’s on the verge of a drug bust, and he literally bursts through the screen…!”
Have you seen “Adaptation?” That is screenwriter gold. “Why can’t I just make a movie about flowers?”
“And God help you if you use voiceover narration!”
I have to read ‘The Orchid Thief’ for my creative writing course. I thought that possibly having seen “Adaptation” would be good enough, but apparently the book and the film differ slightly…
Adaptation is great.
And, no, James, the two don’t differ at all. Watch the movie. That’s all you need. Trust me.
It took me a while to get Adaptation. At first I thought it just got shit at the end, but then I realised why…
Also, why doesn’t Nic Cage do more comedy? Oh right, because Face/Off and Con Air pay better…
Everything Nic Cage does is comedy. Have you seen his performance in the Wicker Man remake? Epic. Some choice highlights:
I’ve seen the video. I have to get hold of the film. As soon as I saw him hit that woman I knew I had to see it.
And the bees!
Oh, man. I don’t think I can bear to look at that clip.
Me too, actually.
I’m no longer in touch with Roger, but I’ve got to say: Jason vs. The Dukes of Hazard sounds like the greatest thing, very nearly, I ever heard.
How to make it happen?
I would spend tampon money to see Jason vs The Dukes of Hazard! B.J and the Bear could give Jason a lift into Hazard County with McMillian and wife hot on his trail. Maybe Irwins mustached hero Magnum could be Daisy Dukes savior….. Just a thought.
I don’t know about James and Magnum and Daisy, but I do know I’d give you tampon money to spend to see Jason vs. the Dukes of Hazard, if I had it to give. And I’d be in the ringside seat beside you.
I don’t really recall the format but it’s something like this huh?
INT – BARN – NIGHT
Yellow moon shines through the open loft. An owl HOOTS. Various farming implements hang against the far wall. Shovel. Hoe. Pitchfork.
Long legs. White heels. Short shorts and panty hose. DAISY DUKE spreads a blanket on the hay. Deputy ENOS STRAIT tugs nervously at the skinny black tie of his uniform. They sit.
CLOSEUP DAISY and ENOS
Enos, I’m just so proud you could come to my moonlight picnic.
Shoot fire, Daisy I wouldn’t a missed it for the world.
She brushes back her long brown hair. The barndoor CREAKS.
Possum on a gum bush Daisy – What you reckon that was?
The wind? I hope.
As DAISY clings tightly to the Deputy the camera pulls away. In the distance there is a shovel. A hoe. No pitchfork.
Splattered coveralls pan down to a large boot creeping through the hay.
BACK to BARN
ENOS holds Daisy tightly.
Just the wind.
A hulking shadow moves across the barn wall behind them. DAISY SCREAMS.
JASON VOORHIES – Seven feet of gore-covered coveralls and a goalie mask LIFTS the pitchfork over his head.
As CAR HORN, splits the air with the familiar strains of DIXIE!
BACK to BARN
The Barn Door SHATTERS, an orange and blue car EXPLODES into the scene T-BONING JASON and HURLING him through the far end of the barn.
The General Lee SKIDS to a stop. BO and LUKE DUKE LEAP out from the car’s windows.
DAISY and ENOS run to embrace the duo.
Who the heck was that?
Focus FADES on the four.
In the moonlit field, JASON stands and readies his fork.
JMB, that is a Hall of Fame comment if ever I read one. Hey, you’ve got to read this, everybody!
(Hopefully that will amount to me shouting on the comment sidebar.)
Seriously, though, you must have written a screenplay at one point, yes? You’ve even got the SOUNDS capped and everything.
I am floored. And I really, really want to see that movie.
I think it’s bloody brilliant!
Hey, everybody, look what I got.
Mister, is you an angel?
That was off the top of my head.
All day long I’ve been thinking of scenes.
Top of the head is a great place for screenwriting.
If only the rights weren’t so hard to get. At the very least this would make for a great YouTube short. I can easily imagine it going viral.
D.R. you gotta teach me how you spawn
like 260 comments.
NLP hypnotics or something?
I’ve got a post up and all day
I’ve been thinking about your comments.
First I’ve got to say what a blasphemous
travesty that film with the Jackass boys was to the legacy
of The Dukes.
I’ve been thinking about this false finish all day.
Bo and Luke have a showdown with Jason in his lair at Boss Hogg’s
secret moonshine factory.
He thinks he has them trapped in the rafters
but they double back and with a tireiron to the back
he topples into the carnage of steel below.
“Reckon that’s the last we’ll see of that ole boy,” says Bo.
They get in the General Lee.
As they are backing out we here the boggy froggy
sounds of a foghorn playing Edgar Winter’s Frankenstein!
Jason crashes through the wall in a BLUE and ORANGE car with the Union Flag on top!
The General Grant!
He careens into the General Lee!
It’s Demolition Derby Mayhem!
Smash and Crash until they ply their superior driving skills
and send the General Grant careening into the giant still
of FLAMMABLE moonshine.
It topples and spills – thousands of gallons into Hazzard Pond.
Jason, enraged, leaps onto the hood of the General Lee and in a frenzy punches out the windshield. His gloved hand throttles around Luke’s throat while his other paws for a giant shard of glass.
“Bo…” Luke says through gritted teeth. “Gun it!”
Bo lays the pedal to the floor, honks Dixie and hits their biggest jump ever out of the factory wall and OVER the pond –
The brunt of takeoff sends Jason backwards & upright on the hood
With precise timing Luke leans back and fires his bow –
sticking him in the chest with a dynamite arrow!
Jason fumbles and tumbles, the fuse spitting as he falls….
into the shine-filled Hazzard Pond and
Massive explosions and flames
as the General Lee traverses to the other side with a Yee-Haw
and fists pumped they land on the far bank.
As the credits roll a charred mask floats slowly
to the bottom of the pond.
See? I’m crazy here~
Imagine how much money this film would make JUST
It really is a fantastic idea, and your additions are great. I especially savor the image of Jason driving that car. He needs to expand his repertoire, moving away from kitchen and gardening tools.
As far as the Friday producers are concerned, or were concerned, comedy and Jason don’t mix, though. The sixth part of the franchise was a comedy-horror, and it didn’t do very well. But maybe with the Dukes factor…!
About the comments thing, I really don’t know how it happened. I started off getting twelve or so comments, on average, and I didn’t change my approach or anything. I was surprised when the numbers started climbing, and every time I post a new piece, I always think, This will be the one that barely gets any comments.
Of course, I did pay that witch to cast a spell on TNB, so maybe that has something to do with it.
Well as a kid watching the Dukes
I always thought how cool it would be
to have a nemesis drive the Bizarro version
of the General Lee.
Now if that nemesis was Jason Voorhies?
I think you’re a natural conversationalist DR.
You excite people.
I’m all reserved and shadowy and concise
and look how stirred up you got me.
I’m only gonna say one more thing:
HAZZARD COUNTY FAIR
Bo and Luke get in a fist fight with Jason and Freddy
on the double Ferris Wheel!
I am loving this. The pictures I have in my head are insane.. !! Ferris Wheel fight? Too funny.
Actually, JMB, there was a Ferris Wheel fight planned for the end of Friday Part VII at one point, or something like it.
There was originally a whole sort of Jaws-type angle, in which condos were being built on Crystal Lake and the developer behind them didn’t want people to know about Jason Vorhees and the murders that had taken place over the years. (As if such a thing could be forgotten! I mean, what was the body count by then?) Anyway, on the night of the grand opening, there were amusement rides and so on, and Jason appeared and all havoc broke loose.
None of those were my ideas. Rather, the development exec wanted a bigger, more elaborate movie than all the sequels before it. Then the head honcho said no way. It was obviously coming off like Godzilla or something.
Anyway, there’s some more Friday history, for anyone who might be remotely interested, as I can’t see why they would be.
Thanks, as always, 11, for your kind words. And I hope the pictures in your head have become a bit more insane now, Z., but in a good way.
Yes. Even more insane. Thank you.
Did I tell you that the Friday the 13th franchise inspired one of my high school friends to go on to film school and then move into directing? He later did ‘Eight Legged Freaks’ which I’m pretty sure, as far as I can recall, paid homage to Jason in it.
He used to make slasher films through high school and I remember being lucky enough to be used for a part where I had my neck broken by a one armed man, while I was in my bathing suit. I blame you, Duke Haney.
I never saw Eight Legged Freaks, though I’ve heard of it. But I’m amazed that the Friday movies have inspired anyone to do anything at all, except to laugh. I never did understand their popularity. To me it was just another Halloween ripoff. There were many for a spell, most titled after a holiday (or in any case a “special” day).
But you didn’t literally get your neck broken, did you? Either way, I’ll accept your blame. I always think I’m to blame for everything. Grandiosity, no doubt.
No, not literally, just in the movie. Suffering for someone else’s art I guess…
I saw Eight-Legged Freaks in the theater! On a date! That movie is goofy as all hell–we had a blast!
Well, it is art. I mean, there’s bad art and good art — or there’s the other argument, that bad art isn’t art. That’s been the subject of many a late-night dorm discussion. Ah, youth.
Does Freaks involve spiders?
Matt: I will tell my friend – he will be pleased I’m sure.
‘Ah youth’ indeed, Duke!
Yup. Big mutant ones attacking David Arquette, Scarlet Johanssen and the other residents of a small desert mining town.
Oh yes, it involves ridiculously large spiders. I think they have been infected with some sort of toxic waste.
Comments out of order here, but you just mean they were enormous, right? Sorry to be dense. I thought for a second that they might have been harmed while being shipped to NZ.
There are some really huge spiders, you know. Don’t a few species dine on birds and rodents?
(I just went in to correct an HTML error, forgetting that I had the power to do such things on my own pieces. That’s how long it’s been since I’ve posted.)
Gigantic. Like truck size.
Oh, another claim to fame that NZ has, is that we shipped a whole bunch of our native spiders to hollywood to star in ‘Arachnophobia.’
In fact, I feel pretty certain that the spider I inadvertently sent to Greg and Stephanie may have been one of that species.
We have a neighbourhood here in Auckland that is obsessed with these particular spiders. So much so that they have a massive sculpture of a spider in a web in the main shopping area and all the stores have enormous fibreglass models of spiders on the top of their buildings. It’s sick.
Wait. There are truck-sized spiders living in NZ?
Okay, I’m a little freaked out now.
In the movie – ‘Eight Legged Freaks’ -they were truck sized! CGI truck sized.
The biggest spiders we have here are maybe the size of your palm.
Doesn’t NZ have a bunch of big edible bugs? That you can just pick up off the ground and munch on?
Like that one that you put in our box?
(wink wink wink – kidding! had to….)
Exactly!!! Oh, I can’t believe I sent you a yucky spider!! Oh!
Well, that’s still pretty big, Z. But it’s not as big as I feared a second ago. And how big do the spiders in Oz get? About the same size? I always thought it was the Asian and African spiders that get huge.
Oh, and Matt, aren’t most bugs edible? I’ve heard of people surviving on nothing but bugs.
Yeah, but I’ve heard of some in NZ that are actually supposed to be palatable, even tasty….kind of like those witchity grubs they have in OZ…
Australia beats us yet again. Their spiders are fucking huge.
Massive. Fully sick. Ugly monsters.
I’m not sure what bugs you can eat here, I’m sure you can if needs must, but I have to say I’ve never seen anyone in NZ just stop and pick up a bug off the ground and eat it.
Well, maybe with a bit of Louisiana hot sauce…
Also, of course, if I can eat shellfish, which are kind of like bugs of the sea, I can probably be made to eat the land sort. I mean, I’ve eaten snails. In fact, snails are pretty damned good.
You’re more reassuring about NZ by the second, Z. I was picturing myself hiking with Kiwis and one of them stopping to devour a bug — “Sweet as!” — and coaxing me to do the same.
But as the giant Aussie spiders also the poisonous ones?
The Goliath Birdeater tarantula of Brazil is often over a foot long…and can live twenty years or more. Luckily, they’re not dangerous to humans.
Yes, I am pretty sure you will like the seafood/shellfish/bugs of the sea here…
Good. I do so enjoy my bugs of the sea, you know.
We have no poisonous spiders here. Oh wait. Yes we do. The Katipo spider, which is basically a black widow with a red strip on it. But you know, I have never ever seen one. Nor do I know anyone who has ever seen one. Plus we have anti-venom here if anyone is unlucky enough to get bitten. But yes, Australia is full of deadly things. I must remember NOT to walk around barefoot when I’m there at the end of the month…
Ha. Matt, there was a band called Goliath Birdeater. I didn’t make the connection between that and the spider, though I’ve heard of it.
I think most of the really huge spiders aren’t dangerous to man. Maybe their size is already enough to scare off larger predators, which may already have a natural fear of spiders, as it’s been said that most species do of snakes.
I’m obviously not much of a naturalist.
Black widows are grotesque things. Even their walk is grotesque. I’m sure you remember being teased about black widows when you were here in L.A., Z. There really are a lot of them.
And yet you chose to walk barefoot. Well, I hope you will indeed remember not to do so in Australia.
Yes I remember being teased about black widows on an almost daily basis! I’m sure there will be more in June. And, yes – I will remember to wear my shoes while walking the melbourne footpaths and parks!
There you go. My work is done.
Huhu beetles! I knew I wasn’t just off my rocker!
Did you Google a NZ bug? I can’t find any huhu references above. Am I blind?
No, Zara mentioned them in one of her older posts, and I went hunting, found the reference, and then did a Google search on them. Which confirmed my suspicions. “Has a taste similar to buttered chicken” one of the references said.
Nothing will ever convince me of that. I think the butter would have to be added.
If I were in NZ and a kiwi offered me one, I’d probably eat it.
For me, it would depend on the Kiwi. I mean, if it were a half-dead Kiwi, retching on the floor, and he offered me a bug to eat…
. . . glad you finally outed yourself, duke . . . hate to say i told you so, but i knew people would find your past with corman fascinating, i sure did . . . .
Must you always be right?
Meant to say up front: the moral of this story is, Evison is always right.
Or, to put it in a cartoonish way, “If Woody had gone straight to the police, this would never have happened.”
Does “Woody” have phallic significance?
Been years since I’ve seen that cartoon, but probably.
is it Woody? I thought it was if those meddling kids had….
…what? Solved a mystery? Asked for a Scooby snack?
Gosh darnit, I would’ve gotten away with it, if it hadn’t been for them meddling kids.
We often did a google trace on screenwriting teachers. My favorite teacher of the bunch penned “Iron Eagle 3: Aces.” At least you didn’t write porn, and yes, there are scripts for porn and people get paid.
Phat: I love that you can tell us stuff like that with such authority.
IE3 had to have been better than the original, one of the worst things I’ve ever seen in a theater.
There’s a classic porn blooper I saw on the net somewhere where they’re running through a “dry hump” where they do all the acting and then run through the sex with their clothes on to get the lighting and camera angles right, and make sure flexibility and height and such are all permitting. So this fully clothed porn starlet is sitting on this studs lap, imitating reverse cowgirl, repeating “fuck me fuck me fuck me fuck me…” then a pause as she looks off camera and says “What’s my next line? Oh right. Fuck me fuck me fuck me fuck me…”
Ha! You’d like to think there was some freedom for improvisation in blue movies…I guess not.
No, it’s all fairly rigid.
My favorite writing teacher ever, Thom Bray, played Murray on Rip Tide. 🙂 He was also one of the head writers for Evening Shade and would tell hilarious Burt Reynolds stories. He also worked for Designing Women. I loved him because he was quite forthcoming about his past and was very, very honest about what a cesspool full of jackals Hollywood was. Also, he was funny and brilliant.
Unfortunately, I only know one Burt Reynolds story, and it’s really not that hilarious.
However, Phat B’s story is, and hearing it dissolves my last worn sinew of naivete.
Hell, James sounds far more jaded than I would have — before the dissolution of my last worn sinew of naivete, I mean.
I toyed with writing (hardcore) porn at one point. I was offered a chance, and would’ve taken it, if only because of how “subversive” I considered such an idea, but the offer collapsed.
I was also offered a couple of opportunities to “act” in porn, but I was way too shy.
so, you’re telling us you DO have the equipment, right?
Whoa! One outing at a time!
writing hardcore porn must be great fun.
It must be a sex-and innuendo fan’s wet dream…
Alas, I lack the experience to corroborate.
However, I’ve written softcore porn, and it was the same as filling out an online job application.
I once got a gig writing softcore porn, which also fell through, but as I was researching the mechanics of it, I discovered that it’s just a formula. Fill in the blank. Glad I didn’t do it.
Unfortunately, I did. Fill in the blank, indeed.
Every girl I went to jr high with could have been a porn star by 10th grade if we had only listened to the coked up, gold chain wearin’ chest hair barin’ scouts that came to our beach community from L.A every weekend seeking new talent. The 70’s was full of “movie” makers and “fashion” photographers. Heh.
And they weren’t even wearing hockey masks, those guys. Real-life monsters aren’t easily spotted, and sometimes they can’t even spot themselves.
Trust me, it wasn’t hard to spot these friggen coked up losers. Shirts always half unbuttoned with pre-cum stains on their wrinkled skin tight silk pants, chewing gum like a bunnies eating carrots. Not an ounce of Jimeny Cricket in them.
What a horrible (that is, really effective) description. Ugh. My brain now needs a shower.
Great to see a new post from you, Duke – it’s been a while!
Wow, I can’t believe you offed yourself on Wikipedia. And I, like the rest, am going to have to go and watch the sleeping bag scene to see what it’s all about.
You ain’t no bum, sir. No bum, you.
Did you ever read If Chins Could Kill, the Bruce Campbell autobiography?
I have not. Did you ghost-write it? If so, can you arrange for Bruce to hang out with us when I hit Melbourne (he said, fingering his rosary)?
I did for a fact attempt suicide online. It isn’t, I should reaffirm, very effective, should you ever think to do the same, as I know you never will.
That was seedy and horrible and worth being ashamed about?
Maybe if you’re a super film insider but… you’re not that anyway. Just be crazy you. You’re awesome.
Done deal. Made possible by your awesomeness. And craziness comes oh so naturally to me.
Well. Then it’s clearly the correct choice. Very good, very good.
The party begins in an hour.
This is a badass piece. My favorite yet.
Hey, I’m writing indie screenplays. Going to take a bigger role in this latest flick as I’m going to raise the money. Already have much of the team of filmmakers assembled.
Want a part in it? You’d be great!!
As Paul McCartney once sang: I’m down.
(I am just about to have a listen to your podcast with Mr. Matheny, by the way. And thanks for good word about the piece. Happy new year to you, my friend.)
Oh hell yeah!!! I am rewriting the treatment, then will write you into this script. Do you want to be a good guy or a bad guy? 😀
I’m thinking good guy. But it’s your choice.
The same homies directing, filming, editing The Lackey will be making it with me. Same cool Red cameras too!
Oh and happy New Year to you too. We talked about you today in my GSpot interview. Schweetness.
I’ll click on the link in a sec. In the meantime: serendipity abounds. Look below to see who just appeared.
Yeah. I think he may have seen me tweeting this link. He’s observant like that.
Too bad, though, it wasn’t magic. I’m crushed.
Oh there was magic involved. I didn’t even actually touch my keyboard. I’m psychically connected to Twitter now. Oh, that’s tweetable…!
You know, Nick, I can imagine that about you. And I hope you did for a fact tweet that you’re psychically connected to Twitter — by psychic means, of course.
So glad you did this. Now we can talk about your movie experiences on your next GSpot Podcast. w00t!
I did say it was forthcoming, yes?
Talk soon, Jack. It’s been a crazy day.
Yeah, I got the space today. It’s a done deal if we want it.
I dig it, Jack. Like, yeah. [sound of fingers snapping]
I’m glad you didn’t turn out to be Brando.
But, David, but in his early days, he was the most perfect actor ever.
(Good to hear from you! All the best in the new year!)
But — but — I tried to catch that extra “but” as I saw the message leaving, to no avail.
So great! I feel liberated, you must, too! Really compelling and a great read. Woo hoo!
You, Rachel, are very classy.
Interesting backstory, Duke. Had no idea you had a hand in Friday the 13th. That, my friend, is pretty dag on cool. Your book (“Banned for Life”) is one of many here on The Nervous Breakdown I plan to digest in 2010. My only question is: are there any scenes that in some way incorporate one of the following: Black Flag, Bad Brains, Gorilla Biscuits.
Please say yes.
Bad Brains comes up at one point, but I’m afraid I have to disappoint you on the other two accounts, though Chuck Dukowski of Black Flag was something of an inspiration in getting me started on the book. I’m of course grateful that you might want to take a gander at it. Meantime, I think it’s cool that you think it’s cool that I had something to do with one of those hockey-mask movies. It almost makes me feel cool.
If you were part of the team that constructed the Killer Klowns from Outer Space script then you are officially my idol. I made my wife watch that the other day with me. I believe at that moment she questioned why she gave her hand in marriage to me.
On the subject of punk, east coast punk in particular, you should check out Shower with Goats and Stick Figure Suicide. Both are now defunct. “I Eat You” by Shower with Goats. Great song. “Dred” by Stick Figure Suicide. Same.
You have stumped me, sir. I have heard of Stick Figure Suicide, but I never heard them.
Meanwhile, as I continue to disappoint you, I had nothing to do with Killer Klowns. However, I’ve been told that I resemble a killer, as well as a clown, though never both at once.
I like the idea of becoming officially someone’s idol, which has never happened before, so hopefully at some point I can hit on something. Thank you for planting such a suggestion in my head. I feel a sense of purpose now.
I don’t mean to sound sarcastic, if I do. I’m a weirdo in the humor department, as I no doubt am in others.
Wow. Just… wow.
(or should I say ‘wow wow wow’?)
Wait. Are you obliquely referencing the song “Wow Wow Wow” by Girls Against Boys? Either way, I’m wowed by your wow.
No. I was referencing the above comment thread about ‘wow’s and ‘zed’s.
I neither know the Girls Against Boys song, nor do I know (I openly confess) a single Friday franchise flick. (Horror’s not my genre.)
But I do loves me some good stories and the fine art of telling of them well, and sir, you are a Wowzer. 🙂
Well, I was forced to partake of the Friday franchise. Believe me, I wouldn’t have otherwise.
But Girls Against Boys — that’s a whole other story. They’re not a band that grabs you right away — not typically — but once they do, you’re done.
Just for the hell of it, here’s a clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cegExTD2hrs&feature=related
I can’t begin to say how flattered I am that you say what you do. You will promise me to have a great year, won’t you?
I thought maybe Kimberly was channelling Kate Bush for a second…
Well, I was definitely channeling Girls Against Boys. But don’t we all channel musicians at some point?
Oh yes. I AM Tom Petty.
Tom Petty never had it so good. He must be all: Damn, I’m fine!
A masterfully told story, my friend. And the photos are great, as well. And speaking of photos, I recognized a woman in one of your Corman production shots. She’s a dear friend, one of the first people I met when I came to LA. Next time we see each other, remind me to tell you a story about what happened when I once stayed at her place, while she was in NYC, working with Spalding Gray.
My God, Rich, you must be speaking of Anna. She knew Spalding. As a matter of fact, I stayed at Anna’s place for my first few weeks in L.A., sleeping on her dining-room floor. This was on Cheremoya, next to Beachwood, and Spalding’s girlfriend, Renee, came over at one point.
Small world. Yes, I can’t wait to hear your story. I’ve been thinking of Anna lately.
After reading your piece and the comments I feel a little late to the dance here… you have experienced some amazing ( and not so amazing) moments and lived to write about them… And to think now I know who to blame for my fear of sleeping bags…
You just sold another book….
Oh, you can never be late to my dance parties. Yeah, I’m lucky to have survived — or maybe I’m just too mean to die.
But are you really afraid of sleeping bags? If so, and if that movie had anything to do with it, allow me to apologize. Maybe one day I can write something about a sleeping bag that, once occupied, flies or goes back in time or, you know, something magic and wonderful like that. That way I can make it up to all the sleeping bags whose feelings I inadvertently hurt.
I am the biggest baby that ever lived when it comes to slasher movies. I think this can be traced back to the original Night of The Living Dead and the sound the flesh eating zombies made when they devoured the humans ( I recently discovered this was barbecued chicken they were noshing on) anyway – I watched that particular Friday the 13th on a dare – to prove what, you ask? I don’t even really remember… let’s just say I’m not a huge fan of camping either…. but I can’t blame that on you and that damn sleeping bag scene!
I was easily frightened by horror movies as a kid. Then I went through a phrase where they never seemed to frighten me — to my disappointment. I wouldn’t say I’m easily scared now, but I am grossed out by stuff that never used to bother me. Like blood-drinking, for instance. I had to watch a bunch of vampire movies once for a potential writing assignment, and I couldn’t believe how I’d wince every time a vampire went for somebody’s throat.
I think that particular Friday movie was pretty bad, but I have to admit to liking the telekinetic showdown at the end — do you by any chance remember any of that? I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t, but, you know, I unfortunately did write it and all.
Do not hide from the telekinetic showdown ( of course I remember it – I was all in by that point) or the movie… in the end a writing gig is a writing gig… plus, how many people can claim a slice of pop culture with such charm, wit and self-deprecation as you have?
Oh, gosh. Can I be, like, your best friend? I’ll give you candy!
I tried to read this so many times, and life kept interrupting and making me put it off. Now I am the 217th person to comment, which is really embarrassing!
This is quite a story. I didn’t know any of this about you.
I think it is weird that you still look really handsome when you are in several pieces lying in a hospital bed.
I hope you got to keep that little strip of red at the bottom of your left eye. It’s really a conversation-starter! It’s WAY better than a scar.
Your book is brilliant. Sometimes it takes time for word-of-mouth to get around the country.
I’m so behind that I didn’t read your comments, which is not like me at all, but I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number. So excuse me if you have answered this already. Did they get the son-of-a-bitch that mowed you down? Did they kill him? If not, justice was not done, in my humble opinion.
First, Irene, thanks for saying what you do about the book. I’m humbled. Also, I feel I owe you an apology for failing to comment on your last piece. I read it, and was about to comment, but something got in the way, I forget what, and then — well, you know how it can sometimes go.
Anyway, my eye went back to normal — and, by the way, I had a number of people comment at the time of the accident that I looked so much better than I did ordinarily. Strange. As for the guy who hit me, he did stop, and the accident was judged to be more my fault than his — a long story involving police reports, etc. — so nothing was ever done to him. I never saw his face. I just remember lying on the sidewalk as I heard him speaking to those gathered around me: “I didn’t see him, ha ha ha.” Yes, he laughed — but kind of hysterically. I don’t think he was happy to see me hurt by any means, least of all because he must have thought he was in trouble. And he never came to the hospital or called or wrote to me or anything like that — but I imagine lawyers were responsible. I don’t hold any grudges.
Thanks for understanding my lateness. Life contains so many interruptions. Often you can’t do what you want to do because you have to do stuff you don’t want to do. (And you are ALWAYS forgiven anything, in my book.)
I am awed that you don’t hold grudges.
How do you do that?
I have been working and working on that but I can’t seem to get there.
It’s an aberrant flaw in my character.
I’m sure I do hold grudges in some cases, but not in this one, because I’m sure the guy didn’t mean to hurt me, just as I understand that he’d undoubtedly been advised not to get in touch with me, and so on. It’s a question of state of mind, you know? Even the law tries to take state of mind into account.
I do wonder if I ever occur to that guy, though. I’m sure, if I’d run someone down in a car, I’d continue to think of them. How could you not? But people are so different.
Now THIS is what I’ve been waiting all this time for….
Perfection. Sheer perfection.
Get out of here!
Fine…I take it all back…including all the nice things I said to you on the phone earlier. 😉
soo much love…..
Ugh…fine…you can have it all back. Make up your mind Haney!
Oh, speaking of what we spoke of….I’m meeting a lot of new people tonight, going to take the chance to sell more of your books. 🙂 Wish me luck!
I very obviously wish you luck. I wish me luck also, if I may.
You may. I always do…
In both cases? Ah, bless your heart.
of course both cases…I’m trying to keep my karma intact! I just re-read this piece and I still can’t seem to find anything more intelligent to say. Your words inspire, Duke, as does your life.
Well, even cockroaches can inspire on occasion, I suppose. They’re hardy creatures, and it’s said that they’ll outlast us, once we finally getting around to fully destroying ourselves and most other species.
Roger Corman, incidentally, produced a movie about cockroaches entitled The Nest. It’s set in a Los Angeles talent agency.
I’m joking about the setting. If only the movie had had such a fitting subtext.
There’s so much I didn’t know about you, thanks to your eleven word TNB biography.
Yes, well. I didn’t want it known. Hence the eleven words.
Good to hear from you, man. Hope you have a great new year — which should include Melbourne. And you never know, but maybe I…
The new year will include my reading both your book and Jonathon’s. I’m sure this will be a very productive year indeed… I have many things lined up. Many things I’ll be doing under a pseudonym…
And I also forgot to mention that I used to own every single Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street movie… I never really liked them, but I owned them. I don’t know why… One day I woke up and thought, “I don’t like these and I’m really, really poor…” and I sold them all for a night of drinking.
I’m glad that, in some odd, small way, I was able to help provide you with a night of drinking. And I hope it’s not the last time.
Is the pseudonym a nom de porn? In fact, my most recent pseudonym is a woman’s — a long story.
I’ve been using the same pseudonym for a long time. I’ve never written or starred in a porno, but the name is indeed a pretty obvious nod to oral sex…
Sorry. That’s not very good. Plus I’m cheating, thinking of a Saturday Night Live skit in which a bunch of Southerners speak of their good friend, Colonel Lingus. “Sometimes it takes Colonel Lingus a long time to come.” That kind of thing.
Haha, that’s awful.
Yes, well. I should’ve said “awful” instead of “not very good.”
I hate being the last one to the party. But what a spread! I could feed off the leftovers in the comment thread for days. But I can’t eat it all up today so if this has already been said, sorry but…
I think it’s great that you did’t use a pseudomym. It makes your history far more interesting.
And as far as the specializing thing: I think that season has passed. We are fast heading towards the second coming of the Renaissance man/woman. Diversity is what weeds the pack and evolves the species in times like these. And lucky you to have more than one skill. Rising like the cream, my friend.
I’m glad you’re liberated.
Tell us all your stories, D.R.
Thanks, Josie. I’m already trying to decide where to begin.
The thing is, most of my adult life has been spent making movies, so I didn’t have access to a lot of my best material without admitting to my past. There’s stuff about filmmaking in the book I recently published, but the new novel will deal more with it.
Also, I do sort of think I’ve had an interesting career (though I don’t know that I should call it a career), as opposed to a lot of people who’ve been wildly successful. I was always intrigued by B-movie actors of the past, in the same way that I was much more interested in underground-music acts rather than in rock stars. Maybe it’s the snob thing again — if something is too well known, etc.
At any rate, welcome to the party, where it’s never possible too arrive too late, so long as you simply arrive.
I’m glad you aren’t hiding anymore. Your life and mind, past and present, are absolutely fascinating. I can’t wait to read more.
Thanks so much, Tawni. I’m already sifting through my many sordid, movie-related memories, trying to decide which will embarrass me most. That will clearly have to be the subject of my next post.
Holy. Shit. A girl leaves TNB for a few days to start teaching a new course and THIS is what I come home to? I am speechless. This is absolutely the weirdest, most fabulous thing I’ve heard in a long time, Duke. You know what–I have never, ever had any interest in the Friday flicks, but I do now!
Interestingly, given my extensive ignorance of the films I failed to “get” your title straight off the bat, and I of course began the piece thinking you were going to confess to having been in prison for murder or something, and the wild thing is that I would not have found that information even about one-fifth as scandalous or fascinating as this crazy piece of news! Masterful blindside indeed . . .
Those pics of you in the full body cast are pretty horrifying, btw. Man, I’m still wincing.
Actually, Gina, it’s a deceptive photo, what with the blanket covering most of my body. Only my left arm was in a full cast, at the time at least. My right arm, and right leg, were both in traction, as is obvious; the wounds I’d suffered (as well as the surgeries to correct them) needed to “breathe,” so it wasn’t till later that the leg was, like my left arm, placed in a full cast. (My right arm was never in a cast, full or otherwise, though it was literally snapped in two, a bit like a wishbone.) The leg, for the first few months, was held together by an external fixator. (The spikes of the fixator are protruding beneath my bandages in the photo.)
But enough about that. I’m naturally delighted to hear from you, and to have given you a surprise. A weird past, isn’t it? I certainly think so. And I don’t blame you for never having had any interest in the Friday movies. I never did, and still don’t, so I’m far from being an ideal candidate for the job of writing one.
Oh, and a friend of mine still cackles (and he does indeed cackle, as opposed to laugh) that a friend of his once said, after meeting me, “Where’d you meet that guy — prison?” So you’re apparently not alone in thinking I could conceivably have been in one, though I’m teasing you, knowing that’s not what you meant and that I made for such an impression with such an overly dramatic buildup. But, hey, that’s how embarrassing I find my past.
Best of luck with the new course you’re teaching, and with everything else in the year, and decade, to come.
Okay, somehow I am wincing even more from your description of your injuries than I was at thinking the cast covered your entire body.
Happy new year to you, too, Duke, and I look forward to meeting you this spring somehow on my book tour.
I also anticipate scoring quite a bit of coolness cachet with my almost-tween daughters when I finally let them watch the Friday films and then casually say to them, “Oh yeah, I know the guy who wrote these” (yep, in my version you’ll have suddenly written ALL of them.) God knows they would find that infinitely more impressive than your just being another literary person I know who has a (“yawn!”) book out like their mom . . .
I hope we do for a fact finally meet in person, Gina. I wish I’d known you were going to be in L.A. the last time you were here, though you did meet someone (Jim H.) with whom I’d done yet another horrible movie. Of course, by this point, I’ve done a horrible movie with a tenth of the L.A. population.
Also, if you ever do get around to allowing your girls to watch the Friday movies, I’ll be interested in hearing their reactions. They may well find them cheesy in the extreme, as they should, of course, but I’m wondering if they’ll hold up, even as camp, for people as young as your daughters. Any day now, those movies are going to become unwatchable across any and all generational lines.
i never did understand what your embarrassment over it was. personally, i’m proud simply to have watched the friday the 13th movies! it’s not like you wrote fucking titanic, you know? then i’d have to laugh at you forever. from outside your walled compound.
It’s not that movie per se, it’s a resume full of others like it — and worse. And when my novel comes into the equation, it’s almost like being Paul Westerberg or somebody, except, while putting out my Paul Westerberg records, I’ve been writing songs for aspiring Jonas Brothers types.
But the “rules” about “selling out” and what constitutes being a “hack” are all over the map. Arty film directors, such as Wim Wenders, are known to make commercials, but no one faults them for it — especially since commercials are now considerable acceptable, where once they weren’t.
Then again, many such directors live high on the hog — sometimes behind the walls of compounds (but aren’t all compounds walled?) — and material success, in today’s climate, justifies a great deal, if not everything.
Needless to say, Ben, I lack material success.
Ah, man. I’m still in the rat race.
And I’d give my right tit to work for Corman, though that dynasty isn’t what it was in the 70’s. Hell, I’d be happy to direct a sequel to your sequel’s sequel.
I don’t know that Roger is active at all these days. I heard (since we’re no longer in touch) that his kids have taken over the operation. He’s — what? — eight-three now. (I’m fairly sure he was born in 1926, which would make him the same age as Hugh Hefner and the remains of Marilyn Monroe.)
Meantime, I, too, am still in the rat race. And I think they just started over with the Friday franchise, a bit in the style of Casino Royale, and if I had any power with regard to potential sequels, I would recommend you. Then you could have an experience equal to mine in terms of bitterness, and hate me for the rest of your life. But I’m obviously jumping the gun.
You’re right about Corman. He’s just a figurehead these days, but what a noggin. Lumet is 86 and still working. I want to be like that.
And I’d be grateful for any of your miserable handmedown jobs. Though I would never hate you for it. I might lick your boots, though. Just like Hansel and Gretel, I’m grateful for crumbs.
I am currently dining on crumbs, after last year’s collapse of the company for which I regularly worked. I’m posting this comment, in fact, after returning home from the set of a kiddie musical on which I worked as a PA for a few fourteen-hour days. Next up: a transcription job. And I am sincerely grateful for the work. There was none, of any kind, for a long stretch. Nor did I (or do I) qualify for unemployment benefits. I don’t know how I managed to survive, except for the occasional assistance of parents and friends, and the (very) rare residual check.
I forgot, by the way, in my previous comment, to corroborate that Roger’s 1970s company, New World, was a wonder, never to be repeated after the start of its follow-up, New Horizons. Roger distributed, at New World, a number of classic art films by the likes of Fellini and Bergman; but when he sold New World, he was prohibited, by the terms of the agreement, from distributing similar fare with New Horizons. The work produced exclusively for both companies, however, was pretty much the same: schlock.
Roger’s work as a director during the 1960s, on the other hand, was, in a few cases, fairly remarkable. His House of Usher is one of the best films ever adapted from Poe, and Pit and the Pendulum is close behind. Only Fellini, with his short Toby Dammit, fared better with Poe, in my opinion. Poe’s stories were conveniently in the public domain at a point when Roger was looking for classic horror fodder, otherwise, I’m sure, he would never have bothered.
I here ya. Crumbs of crumbs is what I have these days, too, but I suppose mine is by choice. Trying to get my own production company flying instead of working for the man. A challenge, I must admit.
Funny you worked on a kiddie musical – I’m shopping one right now.
What I admire most about Corman is his generosity. He mentored so many great filmmakers. Gave them a place to start. We don’t have anyone like him today. There’s no place to begin a career if you’re a director. I had to beg, borrow and steal to get my first film made, and my second…well, let’s just say it’s true what they say: making your second film is far harder than making your first.
But I continue. Why I’m not sure some days. Why I don’t just hike down to Mexico and live on the beach and fish for my food I’ll never understand. Drive is a curious thing. Sometimes I wonder if it isn’t just another type of neurosis.
I wish you good fortune with your kiddie musical. The timing certainly seems to be good for that sort of thing. And I’d never heard that saying about second films, though I immediately recognize the truth of it. Many first films are funded by friends and family, and it’s hard to return to the same sources if the movie doesn’t turn a profit, as happens with the majority. Of course I have no way of knowing how you specifically funded your first film; I’m just speaking in general terms.
It’s an interesting question you raise about drive and neurosis. They ultimately amount to the same, I think, even if they didn’t start that way. I wonder why I’m now working on another novel, for instance, when I have no real-world incentive. But I’ve spent my entire life making art, for want of a better term, of one kind or another. The train long ago left the station.
Oh, and not to speak ill of Roger, but I think it was always less a case of generosity for him than of exploitation. He needed cheap labor, and a few talents happened to get launched along the way. But you’re certainly right that there’s no one these days who provides that kind of opportunity. So-called indie film supplanted the B-movie, which was further crippled by the rise of the copycat A-movies that covered the same turf with gargantuan budgets. Novice filmmakers these days have to do it all themselves, and the marketplace is flooded with their efforts, making it difficult as never before to get noticed.
But I know you’re aware of all this, and I don’t mean to be depressing.
Dearest Duke, you are not depressing, just honest.
And yes, I suppose the train left my station long ago as well. I keep at it, even though the odds are against me. It’s what distracts me from the banality and horrors of this world.
As for Corman and exploitation, I’ll have to respectfully disagree with you. I’ve long heard this about him, and by all means you have more experience with him than I, but I don’t have a problem with a producer or company paying shitty wages. I can’t even count how many times I’ve worked on something for free. Am I being exploited. Nah. I’m just paying my dues. That’s how I look at it. As long as both parties are in agreement on the fee (or lack of one), I don’t see the exploitation. Certainly not like teen prostitution or recruiting child soldiers.
Right now, if someone paid me 50 bucks a day to direct a movie, I’d take it in a heartbeat. And I wouldn’t care if it was Carebears versus Cabbage Patch Kids. I would make it work somehow. I’d just be grateful for the opportunity to be on a set.
However, artists should be paid for their work just like doctors and lawyers. This I’ll concede. As someone who has always had to have other jobs to support my art habit, I resent that society no longer values her artists. I resent that I have had to sacrifice family and friends and sometimes the basic needs in life (like food and shelter) in order to pursue this dream.
It’s a cultural shame, for sure. Perhaps becoming global.
But, I made my choices. Not complaining. (Ok, maybe a little.)
Sometime when I come to LA, you’ll have to share your Corman stories with me. I’m a total geek for the film world.
Oh, I’ll definitely be writing more about Roger at TNB. And I hear you loud and clear on the rest, particularly on the society-no-longer-valuing-artists front. I see it especially with regard to the word. Novelists were frequent guests on talk shows at one point. Now it’s a blue-moon case at best.
The problem with compensation is that some artists–pop stars, mainly–are wildly overcompensated, while others are left to starve. It was always thus, of course, but it’s a matter of degree.
On the other hand, I was always grateful to be compensated at all, as you somewhat say of yourself. Unfortunately, low wages caused me to have to go immediately from one job to another, which made it almost impossible to work on my own material and led to a dislike for screenwriting overall. Ultimately, when I came into a small windfall, I used the time purchased to work on my novel, rather than a spec script (or two).
Keep on fighting the good fight. I’m in the trench beside you. Which doesn’t amount to much, I know, but it’s something.
Glad to know there’s someone in the trenches with me. It IS something.
And I hear you. I took the last year “off” to try and work on my own stuff full-time instead of working full-time on everyone else’s stuff.
My next life, I’m coming back as a pop star.
Until then, keep shooting.
(Can’t wait to read your Corman stories. I love Hollywood history so much.)
I may well join you as a pop star in my next life. I set out to be a movie star (albeit of the Method school), but I got sidetracked, as described in my apologia.
And I, too, love Hollywood history. I was just remarking about that earlier tonight to a friend Down Under: how the thing I’d miss most about L.A., if I were to finally move, is my proximity to movie history. Just down the street from me, there’s a building that, three years ago, I recognized in a Three Stooges short — with a huge ad for a laxative painted on the wall. Also, a lot of Keystone cop movies were apparently shot a block away on Baxter Street — the steepest in the state of California, or so I’ve been told, which made it perfect for runaway Keystone cars. And then there’s the jacket that a neighbor bought at a rummage sale, which he later opened to find VINCENT PRICE sewn on the liner.
Yeah, this city is filled with celluloid ghosts.
It’s never too late. You have plenty of time to become a movie star. When the neigh sayers tell me I’m too old (I’m only 40!), I say, “Look at Morgan Freeman.”
Of course, directing is more my gift, not so much the acting, but I’d love to act just so I could work with certain directors. I thought about working as an extra just so I could hang around directors and watch them work. Actors have an opportunity to watch each other and learn, but for directors, well, it’s a very isolating position (which I rather like most of the time.)
I was actually on my way relocating from NY to LA when I made a pit stop in Texas to visit family and see if I can get this musical up. It’s set in Texas, so I thought it was worth the stop. Great thing about the modern age, you can be anywhere and still be in Hollywood. But I am looking forward to getting out to LA eventually so I can geek out on all the movie history. I visited twice, but LA seems to be the kind of city you need to live in to fully appreciate.
You’re absolutely right; it’s precisely that kind of city. A lot of people hate it without knowing anything about it, but I pride myself on making L.A. fun for visitors. I think I succeeded with Simon and Zara when they were here last September. It’s not as horrible as many believe, though I’ll admit to having mixed feelings about it.
As for acting, I suppose I could score as a character actor, but Morgan Freeman was always working, which is how he eventually rose to his present position, while I’ve mostly faced a computer screen. I happen to think I’m a good actor, which can be verified (I hope) by my brief (but, I’m often told, very memorable) appearance in Jennifer Lynch’s Surveillance. I enjoy the social aspect of acting, which is obviously very different from writing, and I used to find it very cathartic, depending on the role. The acting bug is very much fed by the quality of the roles. If they get bad, the bug dissipates. A lot of actors seem to disappear once they’ve done a TV show, and I think it may be because the show killed the bug.
As for directing, it’s something I always wanted to do, but I could never bring myself to face the fund-raising aspect of it. I don’t envy you that part. In general, I can’t stand others standing between me and my work, though I know I’m not alone in that department. But seeing that I haven’t directed so far, and likely never will, I made the narrator of my novel a director (he’s formerly a musician), which amounted to some form of compensation.
But I’m curious as to some of the directors you’d like to see at work. It’s funny; I read a book about Fellini in which he insisted on being visited on the set so he could be seen at his best, and the author commented that he was no different on the set than he was in life, meaning he was wonderful all the time. I love Fellini. He’s probably my all-time favorite director. But he seems to be ignored by the younger generation, which is curious, because there’s so much caricature in his work, and kids are so fixated on animation, or films that might as well be animated. I suppose Fellini is finally too sophisticated — too European — for them.
I hope this means that when I do come, I can count on a grand LA tour by The Iron Duke.
I know what you mean about the quality of roles feeding the bug. It’s precisely why I didn’t previously move to LA. I was afraid I’d get sucked into the crappy work and become another cog. But now, I’m just happy to work and the work is there so I will eventually make my way out there. NY was dead for so long. Of course, now that I’ve moved, I get all kinds of notices. But I’m on my course, for better or worse, and I want to stay focused and committed to my own work.
Very excited to read your book, especially now that you’ve told me about your character. I just ordered the last copy from Amazon, btw, so stock up.
As for directors I’d like to watch, most of them are dead. Kieslowski and Ashby would be at the top of my list. But living? Hmm, so many, but here’s a short list:
Coen Brothers, Bertolucci, Sheridan, Haneke, Brooks, Allen (to watch Nikvist more than Allen, as Allen doesn’t really direct actors, but Swen is dead now, so…) Polanski, Sautet, Almodovar, Aronofsky, Gondry, Frears, Gilliam, Demme, Del Toro, Tarantino (though I was not a Kill Bill fan), Miike. I’m sure I’ve forgotten many.
As for kids and Fellini, most kids won’t watch b&w films. I forced my nieces and nephews to watch Young Frankenstein, and 5 minutes into it, my oldest nephew asked if the entire movie was in b&w. When I replied with a yes, the disappointment was palpable. However, 15 minutes into it, he moved up closer to the screen. By the end, they all wanted to watch it again. So we did.
Point being, sometimes kids don’t know what they like until it’s forced on them. Kinda like spinach. Fellini is like spinach.
Yes, books are notoriously spinach also. Someone once said that one of the reasons for the success of the Oprah Book Club was that the Big O treats books like chocolate in a world that regards them as spinach — an attitude she manages to instill in others, with her telegenic genius (and it really is a kind of genius, I think).
Also, I read a tidbit about Hugh Hefner, who’s an old-movie nut, showing some classic to his bleached-blonde, plastic-boobed harem, some of whom had never before seen a B&W movie. But, good God, even relatively recent films, such as Schindler’s List, have been shot in B&W. And there are commercials shot in B&W also.
It’s funny that you know about Allen and actors. Sam Shepard once worked for him as an actor (in September, I think it’s called, which was later completely reshot with a different cast), and he said Allen knew nothing about actors or acting. But very few film directors, in my experience, do. There’s almost no discussion about the character or motive or anything along those lines. You’re treated completely like a puppet: faster, slower, louder, and so on.
I’m a huge fan of Kieslowski, by the way. The Decalog, for me, is one of the great achievements in film history (though it was originally made for TV), mainly because of the beautiful writing. And that shot of the bug climbing out of the glass of water? You know the one I mean? If you’ve seen The Decalog, you must remember. What a moment! I never thought I’d be rooting for a bug the way I did.
Also, there’s a moment in The Double Life of Veronique that directly inspired a bit in my novel, but I’ll wait until you’ve read it before elaborating. Which is not to pressure you to read it, you understand. I never pressure anyone to read it — believe me, there are friends with copies that have barely been cracked, if at all. And of course I must (and want) to thank you for buying a copy. I head to the book’s Amazon page every day for my requisite dose of depression, and I noticed that the so-called last copy had been sold, but the page isn’t reporting that the book is out of stock, so I never know what to make of that stuff. I mean, when it reported that Amazon was down to its last copy, the sales number was even lower than it had been a day before, meaning that no copies had been sold. Then, too, the number sometimes hasn’t changed when friends have reliably reported having bought copies from Amazon, so, as I say, the whole thing is a mystery to me. But thanks again. And your list of directors is a good one. I failed to mention my admiration for others on it, but there are several.
Looks like we’re cut from the same cloth.
The Decalog is indeed one of the most brilliant works ever. I own it. Watch it regularly. I steal from Kieslowski all the time. If I could only be that good. I admire him so. And yes, yes, you are right about the bug.
I failed to mention Mehta and Scorsese (though he’s not impressed me lately, and I have a take on that. We’ll discuss one day over a bottle of Brunello.)
I read a lot of film biographies. Allen in notorious for being bad with the actors, but honestly, I can tell just by watching his work. The actors are always lost. Maybe it’s because they’re not allowed to read the entire story when they’re shooting. But then, each scene should have a specific objective, so that can’t really be the reason. I could certainly learn a lot about what not to do by being on his set. But he always works with the best DP’s, so I’d just hover around the gaffer all day.
Really, I should just have my own round table talk show with directors, writers, Dp’s and editors. I’m a total geek for these cats. Actors, too, but I feel that field is covered. If only Lipton could be my adopted grandfather.
I’m an actor’s director, or so I’ve been told. I don’t stick my face in the monitor; I always give specific adjustments (what the fuck does bigger mean anyway?) I’m a trustworthy sort, so I think that goes a long way with them, too. But I do tend to work quickly, so sometimes that doesn’t go over. But honestly, sometimes, I just know when something isn’t going to get any better. You have to know how to move on, especially in the low budget world. One more take just isn’t always possible.
I’m going to Belize to shoot a promo doc and am looking forward to reading your book on the trip. Having read your work here, I know I’m going to like it.
I love when Binoche devours the lollypop in Blue.
Or when she rubs her knuckles against that stone wall.
Such simple actions that convey everything.
I love that.
Did you ever see the television version of Fanny & Alexander?
I can’t remember which version of Fanny and Alexander I saw, but I do think it was the long version, which was the TV cut, yes?
The funny thing with that movie is that I’d been told it was kind of a Hallmark Hall of Fame thing, meaning it was nowhere near the level of Bergman’s best work, so I put off seeing it forever. Then, when I saw it, I decided it was a masterpiece. I was similarly warned off The Pianist — Polanski’s finished, etc. — only to decide that was likewise a great film. There’s no accounting for taste, as cliche has it. (But doesn’t cliche always?)
Of Kieslowski’s “color” films, I like Red the most, but I always carried a torch for Irene Jacob. I also used to love Binoche, but I was friendly with her ex, and I heard maybe one story too many, including a story I love to tell (but can’t here) about her affair with Daniel Day-Lewis.
As for having to speed through things, I think sometimes that can work to an actor’s advantage. It’s like, everyone’s depending on you, and there’s no time for fucking around, and you’ve got to deliver or else. Kind of a bottom-of-the-ninth-inning sort of deal, you know?
It’s funny that you mention DPs, because they’re sort of ignored these days, or so I find. People used to talk a lot about the great DPs, but now they’re all focused on production design to the exclusion of (virtually) all else.
On the other hand, contemporary DPs all kind of run together, with very similar styles. It wasn’t like that in the day of Storaro, Nykvist, Ballhaus, and so on. One could never be mistaken for another.
Oh, and I think you’re lucky that Lipton isn’t your grandfather. What a windbag! He is knowledgeable, of course, but his show is misnamed, since most of his guests aren’t even members of the Studio.
I think foreign TV was very different than American TV in terms of quality. But then again, we did have Hee Haw.
And ooooooooooo, I want to hear ALL the dirt on Binoche.
Loved The Pianist. I think it’s perhaps his best film. Certainly his most personal.
The first foreign film I ever saw was Tess. I heard you could see her tits, so of course, I had to go. I was hooked on foreign films immediately. It blew my mind. I’d never seen anything like it. Dallas was a big city, but it was still The Bible Belt. From then on, I’d go see any foreign film at this one local theater. If there were three people in the audience, it was a busy day. Most days, I was alone. Oh, how I miss having the theater all to myself. When I moved to NY, my moviegoing experience changed dramatically.
And I can’t believe you know Storaro’s work. I’m bananas for him. He’s my old man crush (him and Eastwood). And you’re absolutely right. DP’s today all light the same. There’s no art in most. It’s one reason why I’m resistant to using any other medium other than film. Sure HD looks all right, but nothing is like film.
And Ballhaus – another genius. Don’t forget Almendros, Deakins, Hall. See, I need my own show.
Don’t hate on my Lipton. He’s just a big old geek. And yes, I’ll concede that J Lo and Terry Hatcher should not have been included in his show (though I could defend J Lo in some ways), but where else can you go and get these kinds of interviews? I laugh, I cry, I raise my fist in indignation. It’s a ride.
btw – did you ever hear the story about Storaro shooting Apoc Now?
I have not heard it, or at least I don’t think I did. That’s another of my favorite movies.
I met Storaro once, at a film festival in Poland. I had a longer exchange with Vilmos Zsigmond, who was nice enough, and Deakins was on the panel of the festival. I love his work. I also love Almendros’ work, and Hall, yes, although I got a terrible review by a Variety critic who elsewhere slobbered all over Hall, and I’m afraid that’s tainted my view of him ever since, though I realize how ridiculous it is. Also, I despise American Beauty as I do few other films.
I used to have a big thing for Nastassja Kinski, so I hear you on Tess. We didn’t get many foreign films in my hometown, except for older releases that played at the local repertory cinema, where I was a fixture. I’m slowly preparing a new piece for TNB that mentions that place. I have many fond memories of it. When I was in high school, The Last Picture Show played there for a few days, and I saw it every single night. That’s how much I loved that movie, though my ardor for it has since cooled. I also saw Casablanca for the first time at that theater, which later became a run-of-the-mill, new-release art house. But that was after I moved away, and I’m not sure if it’s there anymore.
I don’t think I can tell the Binoche story here, first because it’s too long, and second because it needs to be acted, to some extent. I’ll tell you one story, though. She and her boyfriend were spending the night at a hotel, and his DP (Binoche’s boyfriend was a director) was loudly making love to his girlfriend in the room next door. Apparently, the girl was positively shrieking, and Binoche’s boyfriend, feeling competitive but too tired for sex, turned to Binoche and said, “You scream too!”
I don’t remember if she complied. Then again, I may not have heard, since it’s clearly a story meant to conclude with the punch-line.
One sweltering morning, Coppola is geared to shoot a scene in the jungle. Storaro explains he isn’t ready and sends Coppola and the crew down to the beach to wait. Storaro races around the jungle taking light meter readings on all the leaves. The entire day goes by. Finally, he emerges from the jungle waving his arms, “Now, now.”
They had fifteen minutes to get the entire thing before the light faded.
Coppola got his shot.
(Coppola, btw, is a big fucking stinkyfaced asshole. Had an encounter with him once when I was waiting tables in NY. I haven’t watched one of his movies since, and secretly sent bad juju vibes when his last movie came out. It tanked, and I take credit for that. If I saw him in a dark alley, I’d punch him in his stinky face and then rack him. He was really quite evil to me.)
Very envious you met Storaro and Zsigmond. Scarecrow is one of my favorite movies of all time, and I WILL steal that opening sequence one day. Such a perfect shot. For me, Pacino has never been better (and I heart Pacino mucho mucho.) Hackman, too. Have you seen it?
That Binoche story is funny. I hope she didn’t scream, though. What an asshole director/ boyfriend. Unless he was just being funny. Which I doubt, considering the size of most director egos.
Shit, I was I was coming to LA soon. I want to hear/see the other story! Tease.
Yes, I guess that does make me a tease. I didn’t mean to be — but don’t teases always say that? (That’s now three different uses of the root verb “do.”)
Also, you know, it’s not a good story to put out there because it involves, well, domestic violence of a kind. But I vow that you’ll hear it. One day, one day.
Was her boyfriend a jerk? Definitely. But also, at times, hilarious. And I do think he meant the “screaming” line to be funny, even to her.
It’s funny that you had such a bad experience with Coppola. I met him once, and he was really cool to me. There’s a story associated with that, too, but not a very interesting one. I have a feeling yours is much, much better. It’s not often that I hear people characterized as “evil” — at least when there’s no romantic angle.
I’m not at all surprised about the Storaro story. I used to be friendly with a number of DPs who are all now wildly successful. They were the first people I met in L.A., and they were just starting out in their careers and had their own little circle, and once they became successful I lost touch with them, of course. Anyway, I remember one of them was having a kind of professional crisis at one point, because he really wanted to get into directing, and I reminded him that being a DP was still a pretty great thing to do. He disagreed, saying he didn’t want to end up as some kind of perfectionist nut like Storaro. He said Storaro had all kinds of color charts taped to his walls for whatever project he was doing at the time, and he worried excessively about this detail and that one. But, you know, that’s why he’s Storaro. And that’s (one reason) why my (former) friend is not.
I accidentally sent this to your email. Wondered why I didn’t hear back.
At any rate, here’s what it said:
Phew. Glad the guy meant it to be funny because it is. Hard to hear tone in the written word.
Very heartbreaking to hear that the story involves domestic violence. I hope things are better for her. And him.
My Coppola story isn’t that amazing. I was waiting tables at a French restaurant in Chelsea. You can tell a lot about a person by how he behaves in a restaurant. He simply used every opportunity to berate me as loudly as possible (and he’s a very loud man). I watched his family squirm every time he did, too. (Poor sweet Uncle Carmine.) They were so ashamed of him but no one would stand up to him. I finally started calling him “maestro” every time in my most condescending voice. He just has that typical director personality that I abhor. He builds himself up by tearing others down. He’s very unevolved.
And I was heartbroken because I was a huge fan of his. I even said as much when he came in. I mean, he was the one who started the film revolution. He toppled the studio giants (and in some very clever ways.) At any rate, it’s hard to separate the experience from his work.
I hate that.
If I hadn’t been through such absolute hell trying to find a job in NY, I would have punched him in the face (not really, but I like to talk tough.)
Your friend would think me a nut. When I’m working, I often have color charts taped to walls, too. I tend to be extremely organized and detail oriented. It’s a gift and a curse, I’ll concede. A form of OCD, really, but I think writing is as well. At least I’m not as bad as Kubrick.
How did you get so interested in film?
Your book came today. You smell like elmer’s glue and pine cones. I open to the dedication page. I have a character in my next film named Cornelia. I have a thing for old school southern names.
Is this considered an SSE?
Can’t wait to read. I’m putting my Ashby biography aside, I hope you know. (Poor Ashby. I keep trying to get to him but he keeps getting bumped from the pile. Probably how he felt in Hollywood.)
Apologies for the delay in responding. I had a long and interesting journey to and from Bakersfield, which necessitated a day of recovery. The rainstorms we’re having in L.A. are some of the most brutal in recent memory. Anyway:
Pine cones and Elmer’s glue? Hmmmm. But I’m glad the book arrived, and that my grandmother’s name has provided us with what I for, one, will accept as an instance of SSE. Maybe Simon will be kind enough to corroborate, though I doubt he’ll see this comment unless directed to it.
I think Coppola is bipolar, which may account for his boorishness. On the other hand, he never made a great film after Apocalypse Now, which itself is regarded as a failure by some; and he’s got to know how far he fell from the mark he set for himself, which could also account for his boorishness. But I like to think of you punching him in the face, even if that was just tough talk.
Oh, and it’s a former friend who said what he did about Storaro, so who cares what he thinks? I, for one, admire people who take their work that seriously. It can drive others crazy on occasion, but at least it’s the result of passion, which is a rare commodity. And believe it or not, the story about domestic violence is pretty funny, too, but it would no doubt suffer in the translation unless told in person. As I’ve said, I mean to do that one day.
How did I get interested in film? Actually, that’s covered in my next post for TNB, which is taking a long time to finish. But how did you get so interested in film? And do you know Kimberly via a film experience?
No worries. When I didn’t see my post here, I wondered what happened to it and figured it went into cyber purgatory when I saw it in my sent folder.
Your trip to Bakersfield sounds post worthy. Had no idea you were getting hit with storms out there. It’s 60 and sunny here. And the only white in the sky is the trail of a plane that has disappeared into the horizon.
I love the smell of new books. Ok, well, I love the smell of old books, too, but sometimes they make me sneeze. I just love books. But yours does have a hint of pine in it. Very odd. Usually I can smell the glue but not the tree.
Re: Coppola. I’ve never read anywhere that he’s bipolar. Not that he isn’t. It could explain things. Good thing I didn’t punch him. Though maybe if crazy people were punched more, they’d stop being crazy. I have a character in my newest that punches his dad in the face. Living vicariously, I suppose. And you’re right, he hasn’t had a great film in a very very very long time. (I can argue A.N. both ways.)
Scorsese once said that the best character trait a director can have is OCD. He’s right. I’m not Joey Ramone OCD – don’t touch things three times or anything, but I tend to think too much. I’m a compulsive researcher, too. When I discovered directing, I finally felt that I had found my purpose. Not to sound cheezy. But all my Idiosyncrasies came together. I finally understood why I’ve bounced all over the place in life, voracious to learn everything. Why I need lists and pictures. Directing a movie is almost as peaceful as that moment right after an orgasm when everything gets loud and quiet all at the same time. (Only someone with OCD would find directing peaceful.) One day, I hope to hire Storaro. Not on this next one. I’ll have to shoot to fast for him on this next one, and I probably couldn’t afford him on a 5 mil budget anyway, but one day, when I have a proper budget, I will fly him and his team in and we will geek out over colors and highlights and shadows over a pasta dinner made from scratch by his personal chef. It will be a great night. You can come.
I wonder if he likes board games.
As for SSE – well, here’s the deal. I wasn’t in too good a mood when your book came. My brain was hurting because I can’t finish this damn ending. My eyes were bleeding from the inside out from looking at a computer screen too long.
This damn ending is killing me. Everything is contrived. AHH!
You see, I received my first rejection on the script. Went out to a famous lady and she came back negatory. “She didn’t respond to the material.” Which means it’s shit. Perhaps I had been too smug. The first three people to read said yes immediately. (And one is an all-time hero of mine in music, so I was stoked.)
I was on a roll.
At any rate, she said no, so I reread the script. It had been a few weeks since I’d read it, so I was able to pick out the flaws right away (time is crucial to the writing process.) I understood why she said no. The character didn’t have a clear enough objective.
So back to the drawing board.
I’ve been hacking and pacing and struggling for the last week, and I can’t get this ending. I was having one of those ‘I’m moving to the beach and becoming a beach bum’ days when your book came.
I’ll preface this with I am not religious. I’m not even sure I’m spiritual. I don’t know what’s out there, don’t think I’ll ever know, so why obsess about it when there are so many others things I can know. So, I don’t believe in destiny or the hand of god or any of that. I don’t not believe either.
(I hate labels, so I’m reluctant to claim one.)
But I do believe in signs. I believe the universe is a living breathing thing and sometimes she winks at me. Sometimes she sends support. Simon refers to it as SSE. So when I saw your grandmother’s name, the same name as this new character I’d created to serve as a sort of greek chorus, I accepted it as a gift from the universe. It’s her way of saying, “Not yet. Don’t give up just yet.” (Not that I ever really would. My beach threat is somewhat empty.)
So thanks for that. It’s renewed me.
(btw – I’m happy this actress said no b/c I just learned recently that another actress I adore sings. She’s not trained the way this other is, but she has a rawness to her voice that works better for my vision – I envision this character as a sort of female Tom Waits living in a small town. If people only understood how liberating and transformative the word “no” can be. I must thank this actress in my oscar speech. Had she not said no, I would not have discovered this about the other actress, who is really better for this particular character.)
And yes, I know Kimberly from my NY film days. She’s the one who got me hooked into TNB. A very good egg.
I look forward to your next post. Sounds like you have a lot of good stories. My journey began with Bambi. I cried for a week when her mother died. I’ve been hooked on movies (and animals) ever since. But that story will have to wait for another day, as I’ve already written a book here, and I still don’t have this ending.
Write well, my friend.
Thanks. I hope I have. You’ll see the result soon. The piece is pretty much set to go, but I’m going to wait a little while before posting. Meantime, you write well also. I’m sure you will. A female Tom Waits in a small town? Intriguing.
My grandmother was about as close to an angel as I’ve ever met, so if ever there were one to give a heavenly sign, it would be her. But your story reminds me of something that occurred to me. I was in Poland at a film festival (where I met Storaro and Zsigmond and Deakins), and someone asked me if any of my movies were available in Poland, so I went online to look and came across a horrible review of a movie I’d done, and I’d been singled out for abuse. This was a professional review, not something written by some nerdy kid on the IMDb, and that movie had been a joy to make, and now, I felt, someone had shit all over it. I was really, really depressed.
This was when I was just starting to write Banned for Life, which at the time I was calling Old School. I know, I know, it’s a horrible title, but I always knew it wouldn’t stick; I just wanted to call it something. Anyway, I went to bed feeling like crap, and the next morning I walked outside, and saw graffiti posted just outside my hotel that read: OLD SCHOOL. In English. In Poland. I did for a fact take it as a sign that I needed to put the past behind me and plow ahead with the book.
As for OCD, I have it also: the form known as Pure O. I wrote about that in a previous TNB post. But OCD is maybe a good thing to have for those with difficult, demanding work. Many baseball players have it, employing all sorts of rituals believed to help them hit and pitch.
Oh, and Coppola’s bipolar disorder is mentioned in Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. There’s mention in the book that he called Warren Beatty and said all kinds of crazy shit, and Beatty said, “Uh-huh, uh-huh,” calmly playing along, and afterward called Coppola’s wife and said, “I think your husband needs help.” I hope I’m telling that story correctly, but it’s very funny to think of Beatty behaving that way. He seems very sane, despite his obsessive-to-the-point-of-sex-addicted womanizing, at least in days of old.
Love your description of the sky. And did you see where Nick already turned my trip to Bakersfield into a post? I’ve been scooped. But a few details that Nick didn’t include are provided by me in the commentary.
Oh, and I hope Storaro does for a fact play board games. I love backgammon. Also, I hope my book proves a good house guest, following the success of its pine-cone cologne. I told it to wear that.
First off, I must recommend not reading your reviews. Ever. Ask someone close to you to collect them for a future time, but if you can, refrain from reading anything about your work. No good can come of it, even if it’s a good review.
I love your Old School story. Nothing weird about that title. I’m old school. I like both titles. But I love that you woke up seeing that spray painted on your hotel. That’s Miss Universe winking at you for sure. And good thing, too. Now you’ve got this book that is out there in the world loving on readers.
Did not remember that about Coppola from Easy Riders. Great book. And if anyone is crazy, it’s Beatty. There’s a sociopath right there if you ask me. And a world class manipulator.
I just read Nick’s post. Such an ordeal. Bravo for being the kind of man who shows up rain or shine.
I’m a Tavla junky. Bought a beautiful board when I traveled through Turkey. Mother of Pearl inlays. Handcrafted. Really stunning.
I’m 50 pages into your book. Strangely enough, I have a story about a Yugoslavian, too. And from the tone of things, maybe just as crazy as Irina. I started a TNB post about him a few months ago, but haven’t been inspired to finish. One day.
As for your book, so far, it’s proving a great read. I love stories about the business, and I love the idea of searching for a fallen hero. And I love all the music in it, though I don’t know all the bands, I’ll confess. But I love that. Something to research. Did I mention how much I love research?
So far, you’re still smellin’ good.
I’ll tell Axe you said so. I’ve been trying to talk them into launching a pine/glue variation. Maybe now they’ll fucking listen.
You know, honestly, as much as I love music, even I didn’t know all the bands that are mentioned in BFL until I did — yes — research for it. That was one of the great dividends of writing it: that I learned so much. But even now there’s so much I don’t know. I’m trumped as a matter of course: Do you know this band? I’m afraid I don’t — and in my case, I really am a bit afraid, since, having now written a book about punk, I’m apparently supposed to be an expert on it. I know a lot, but there’s much that awaits discovery. Like Tavla, for instance, though that has nothing (presumably) to do with punk. But I envy you that you’ve traveled through Turkey. It’s one of the places I most want to go, along with NZ and Australia, and I know you’ve been to the latter.
As for Easy Riders, I can’t help but warm to any work of non-fiction that reads like a novel, even when it involves an alien subject, as Riders obviously does not. But do you really think Beatty is a sociopath? I have to commend him for his long career, and I saw him interviewed a couple of years ago, and he was strangely touching, being an elder statesman now, as he undoubtedly never saw himself. Also, unlike Hugh Hefner, he didn’t have that dirty-old-man thing going. He seemed strangely dignified, as well as genuinely humble.
But, of course, the interview only lasted a few minutes.
Yes, please convince Axe to implement this smell in all their books. If you tell them it will save the world, I bet they’ll do it. I use that one for everything. (Buy my movie, it will save the world. Eat more chocolate, it will save the world. Learn French, it will save the world.)
That’s funny that people expect you to be a walking encyclopedia of punk music. (I don’t mean funny haha. I really mean it sucks.) I never understand why people aren’t able to separate a story from the writer. I get that with my scripts, too. “Oh, you must be just like this character.” Drives me crazy. Don’t they understand that we have what’s called an imagination?
I used to bartend in a live music venue all through my 20’s. I saw a lot of music, met a lot of my heros, and made a lot of money. I spent all of it on my band, my movies and traveling. Have no regrets. I’ve been just about everywhere, but I’d still like to go to Africa (I went to Tangiers for a day, but that doesn’t count.) My brother’s in-law is the UN peace negotiator to Darfur. I keep asking him to take me. Would love to go with my camera and bear witness. My best friend lives in Turkey, which is why I went. One of my favorite places in the world. I’d love to buy a house on the beach there one day. Cheap!! Australia is sublime. Aside from the plane ride (36 hours either in a plane or airport with no escape – and I was a smoker back then, so I really wanted to murder someone when we finally landed. Ah, the freedom I have now that I quit.) Next time I do Australia, I want to visit my old guitarist who now lives on Antarctica. (He’s a guide for all the scientists. Cool, huh?)
As for Beatty, yes, I think he’s a mild sociopath. I’m sure age has tempered him, but from everything I’ve read about him, he’s a smiling cobra, not to be trusted. If someone found a corpse in his basement, I wouldn’t be surprised. Sociopaths are very good at getting people to like them. Look at Bundy. I’m not sure I see much difference between these two (aside from the body count.) But maybe Annette has done him some good. I never underestimate the power of love to heal someone.
I’ve never met anyone who lives on Antarctica. (I suppose one does say “on” and not “in” with regard to the South Pole.) That’s quite a shift from being in a band — one of the more dramatic shifts that’s reached my ears. But a lot of musicians surprisingly stick to their guns. Many old punks still have bands, or else their old band gets dusted off every once in a while for reunion tour or some such.
Oh, and speaking of my book, I’ve been told that it has the power to save a life, or in any case change it, but the world — no, I don’t it has that capacity. Taking you literally, of course. I have no imagination. Yes, I agree with you there also.
Funny that you think Australia is sublime, since Simon, I see, has just posted something saying he wants to be shot of it. Well, I guess he didn’t exactly say that. But it’s always hard for me to understand why people clamor to move to the U.S. I was much happier living abroad. But I think I tend to self-marginalize, and the expatriate route is one of the best ways to go about it.
Do you think John Edwards is a sociopath? He came up in conversation earlier today. I always thought Bill Clinton had a streak of the sociopath. Oh, and I’d meant to comment about the review thing. It’s true that it’s a bad idea to read reviews of your work, but sometimes it can’t be helped. People send them reviews to you, including bad ones. I don’t know why they do that. I suppose they think they’re being helpful, or else they assume that you’re curious about anything related to yourself. But with the review I mentioned, I didn’t realize it was a review from the bit on Google, and by the time I realized what I was reading, it was too late to stop myself. I wish I were one of those people who’s nonplussed by such things, but if I were, I suppose I’d be nonplussed about a great deal else, and we have enough zombies as is.
So many of my old musician friends are scattered now, but some are still at it. Steve (Antarctica dude) went the farthest. I miss playing music in that way. One day I’ll start up again.
Don’t see the sociopath in Edwards at all. Clinton, yes. (I did not vote for him for that reason.) I think it sucks that Edwards is going to be remembered for his recent affair and not much else. He’s done some good things and has always championed the working class.
I’m 100 pages into your book. Sat in the parking lot of a grocery store after my dance class today reading because I wanted to know what was up with Irina. Is it wrong of me to like her? I laughed out loud when she tells Jason his script stinks. What a piece of work. (I’ve been accused of being too blunt. I empathize.)
Somehow, I feel she will take a turn, so I’m reserving official judgement until the end.
I’m glad you like Irina so far. Many people don’t like her. I, too, find her bluntness funny, though she’s not always blunt, as you may later see. Also, I’m very flattered that you would read the book in a parking lot.
What you said about Edwards is what I was saying about him earlier today, when a friend said that Edwards was always a used-car salesman, as is now evident but wasn’t to so many naive followers. But, like you, I think it’s a pity that he destroyed his credibility (not to mention his political career) with this affair. I hope the daughter it produced amounts to fair compensation for everything he lost.
I hope you do start playing music again. I’d love to start a band, but for various reasons I don’t think it will happen, one of them being that, at the moment, I simply don’t have the time.
Oh, I always play. I’m always singing, and I just started teaching myself how to play guitar. I’m learning all the songs that are in my musical. I don’t want to look like a complete idiot when I sit down with Leon. Thought learning the guitar would help me communicate with him better.
I think Edwards can still redeem himself. And aren’t all politicians at the end of the day used car salesmen?
As for Irina, I don’t always need to like characters to like them. Does that make sense? (For the record, I tend to like headcases in literature.)
Are you teaching yourself to play, or taking lessons? I’m self-taught, but I play so seldom of late that I’ve probably forgotten everything I ever learned.
As to not having to like characters to like them, I understand perfectly. I feel the same.
Teaching myself. I can read music. Trained originally on piano and cello. But I don’t really play either well any more. My forte is voice. I love to sing as much as I love to write.
I’m chomping at the bit to comment on voice and singing, but I want to hold off till you’ve gotten deeper into BFL.
No, no, don’t chomp. Spill. Will it ruin my read?
Potentially. I think it’s best to wait a few days, though I’m now making too much of a mystery as to what I mean to say, which wasn’t my intention.
Ok. And don’t worry, I promise not to expect too much from the mystery.
Hey, I don’t suppose I can impose a reading request on you? If you’re swamped, don’t be afraid to say no, but as you’re in the biz, I’d love to have your eyes on my most recent once I finish this fucking ending. (And it is a musical, so maybe you can’t stomach the genre. No hard feelings if you can’t, I promise. I realize it’s an acquired taste.)
Do you have an ETA?
I don’t yet. Maybe end of this week? I want to proof today and finetune then let it simmer for a few days. If it’s an ass kicking, don’t sweat it. I know it’s a lot to ask.
I also meant to ask how how quickly you’d need it read. I don’t know that I can get to it immediately, but if I have a week or two…
(Oh, and I’m flattered to be asked, as I should’ve said immediately.)
I can’t even direct my kids to do something before I become annoyed and just do it myself. You’ve got street cred in my opinion. 😉
Hey, hookers have street cred, and I could be characterized as a hooker of a kind. But if my street cred could in any way contribute to getting your kids to obey, my rates are cheap, I can promise you.
Thanks much for reading and commenting, Christine.
Cheap rates? I’m interested!
You’ve had a complex existence…I salute your hooker power!
It doesn’t work in L.A., alas. The other hookers, especially those who inexplicably price themselves highly, dislike me for my frankness.
But outside L.A., I’m optimistic that my power holds.
Clean your room, kid! No charge for that. Let me know if it has an impact. If not, I’ll turn up the wattage — also free of charge.
Duke, stop, or I’m going to have to insist on your Manny position to start immediately, if not sooner. We’ve never tried “Clean your room, kid!”
Excellent. As you know, I continue to covet that job.
But with regard to the cleaning of rooms, have you tried, in Dom’s case, appealing to his architectural sense?
We have. In terms of urban planning, he’s less of a precise La Corbusier and more of the Jane Jacobs stoops-are-good-cities-should-be-organic mindset. He likes stuff messy, in other words.
A man after my own heart!
I don’t think his ideas would be so welcome among commuters, however. I recommend an emphasis on seeking commissions from rock stars who walk the walk, if any truly exist, aside from Lemmy Caution. Unfortunately, there will be no chandeliers. But there could conceivably be trapeze wires.
He likes things messy, however, he is a stickler for tradition.
Dining rooms needs chandeliers and that’s that.
But a trapeze wire, could actually make a splendid chandelier.
In other news, just because why not mention it here
on your comment board – my therapist is reading your book.
I had mentioned how it helped my thaw – so now she wants to read it.
Another fan for you, I am sure.
Gee, I hope so. I mean, I hope she doesn’t come back to you and say, “This guy has got a lot of unrecognized problems.” But, you know, I’m paranoid. Greg will confirm.
As for Dom, I do hope he takes my suggestion on the trapeze wires once the work from rock stars starts pouring in. But you have a chandelier in your dining room, right? You must!
We don’t really have a chandelier, more like a ceiling fan with lights.
He tolerates our meager means.
And don’t worry – I’m sure my therapist will not read your book and come back with that. But maybe she’ll stop being a therapist after reading your book and start a band or start writing poems or something. And then I’d have no therapist. Ah, well, I probably should move on at some point anyway. Then I could have enough money to buy Dominick a chandelier. See? It’s all going to work out.
Ah, yes. If BFL could somehow lead to a chandelier, that would be quite an achievement. Then Dom may start spending so much time in the dining room that he becomes interested in food and eventually develop into a celebrity chef — the one known for cooking on TV under a chandelier — and still later, if he should stumble upon your dog-eared copy of BFL, he might quit all that chef stuff and start a band with Prue. And maybe you’ll be in the band, too. It would be kind of like the Partridge Family, which was based on the Cowsills, who had a couple of hits back in the sixties. And me? I would feel very proud about it all, of course. But it begins with your therapist, who’s just got to start writing poems or something. Let me know if BFL doesn’t hit her right. I’ll instantly write another novel with her in mind.
The Cowsills! OMG – I had completely forgotten them… shame you reminded me! Now I’ll have to go look them up to see what happened to them – or wait for your answer to enlighten me.
I can’t resist answering right away, even though I have to research a journey I may possibly undertake next week. But I’ll steal a moment to tell you that some of the Cowsills were diddling with drugs (unbelievable, right?), and others (or possibly the same ones) were copping “Fuck this shit, I’m an artist” attitudes, and the whole family started bickering like bands always do, except this was worse because they were family to boot. I think they even threw their mom out of the band! So the whole thing went to hell, and some are dead, including one who drowned during Hurricane Katrina. You can see the clip of his funeral (New Orleans-style) on YouTube — I think. I did, but that was some time ago.
I developed a brief interest in the Cowsills after bumping into another YouTube clip of them playing on Playboy After Dark in, I think, 1970, with Hef and bunnies looking on. And you know what? One of their songs almost, kind of rocked.
Drugs! But they were ‘so clean’…
I remember seeing them on a TV show here – maybe a series? Thought they were plonkers… and was surprised to see that The Partridge family was based on them. But then they were plonkers too!
At that time in my life, we didn’t have a lot of choice as to what we viewed on TV, but thank god, I must have had some sense of good taste in music as I remember thinking they were shit! Surprised to hear your comment about “Playboy in Dark”. Going straight to YouTube now…
Well, it took some searching, Jude, but I found the clip I mentioned, and the song that sort of rocks starts at 3:15 or thereabouts:
The one singing it is Barry Cowsill, the Katrina fatality. Oh, and note the bimbo at the beginning of the clip pretending to flirt with another Cowsill brother.
You’re a love… thanks for that. I had searched but couldn’t find it.
I agree – a bit of rock there but still not enough to be redeemed in my eyes. And according to the comments at the bottom, the blond bimbo was apparently married to one of the Cowsill boys. Oh dear…
Well, come on, that sounds like Black Sabbath for the Cowsills!
And was she really married to one of the brothers? I thought she was only joking about it. I’ll have to look again.
It was hard to find, by the way, because whoever posted it didn’t mention Playboy After Dark in the tags. I think the clip I saw initially was posted by someone else and has since been taken down.
Black Sabbath… mmmm…doubtful they even knew who BS were.
Here’s another link I found.
If you have a look at the beginning, the blond introduces her husband and then Barbara as her mother-in-law. Barbara gives a very strange look… doesn’t look like she was too happy about it!
Perhaps they weren’t really married – just living together – which in those days, was a mortal sin.
Sad about the Cowsill who died in Katrina.
You know, watching the clip, I still get the impression that the blonde is joking, though Hefner sounds sincere when he mentions “her fiance, Bob Cowsill.” So maybe they really were engaged, or even married. Or maybe they just hooked up, which is kind of funny to consider, though I’m sure even the Cowsills had groupies.
I think I’m agreeing with you… Mom’s face gives it all away. Ha ha..who would have ever thought those straight up Cowsills had a sense of humour!
I can’t believe I’m having a gossip session about The Cowsills…
You know, I think they’re pretty gossip-worthy. Like, maybe they were all stoned on the show, including the mom, and that’s the source of their humor. (“You want to hit this shit, Bob? Barry? No? Well, fuck you all, then. More for Mom!”)
Also, hasn’t gossip about real rock stars been to death? We’re breaking ground here!
You are so wonderfully zany and awesome. I’ve often wondered about your past and I know there is so much more to be revealed.
I’m sorry I’m so late in reading this, but I was so happy to see you had posted something. What a delight.
Did I ever tell you about the time that me and my tenant, Ricky Ricardo, traded places with our wives, Ethel and Lucy, who worked in a candy factory while Ricky and I tried to do the housework? No? Much zaniness ensued, believe me!
Seriously, though, Megan, no apology is necessary, and I’m beyond happy to see your comment. I can’t hold a candle to you in the awesome department.
I’m just glad to see you writing, I’ve missed seeing you around these halls.
Now, go record me some audio so I can turn these glorious stories of yours into a podcast.
Thanks, Megan. I missed these halls, though I walked them without contributing for a couple of months.
And I will indeed try to get you something on audio. I’d been meaning to address your message about that since you posted it some time ago.
How in the hell did your post fall off of the #1 most read slot? Where’s the guy that runs this joint? I wanna talk to him!
ha ha ha Thanks, Greg. I love the summation of my post.
Thanks, Gloria. I was going to make a bra joke — “Gloria Harrison gives us a lift…and separates.” — but that came to me first.
It’s not a pun, but you could’ve gone with “Gloria Harrison’s son is still in the basement,” to steal and amend the line from Ducky’s comment on the post in question. It cracked me up.
Well, the owner is away, but there’s a manager on duty. Wait. I think I hear him now. (And thanks for the note of outrage, Gloria. We like that ’round these parts.)
Well, this predictably nested weirdly, but I’m grateful for that list, Greg, though it could conceivably irk a few. The Poor Little Rich Boy syndrome. That sort of thing.
It should also be noted that the gap between #1 and #2 is quite large.
It’s also quite large of you to point it out. But I hope you’re pleased with the response it received. The message board veered off into some very interesting directions.
Hey, Perky, meet Outed.
It’s a public service announcement, really. It behooves us to call attention to the most popular pieces, especially if they’re good.
Nicknames, yes yes.
Perky, Outed, Jedi, Our Fearless Leader…we need Rachel McKibbens’ help with this.
Um, I’m only willing to be “Outed” for the purposes of this piece. I can supply alternatives for the future.
I know! This is travesty! I’m going to enlist totally killer’s help right – it took me a day just to find this here.
Your plea to Totally Killer was apparently heeded, Steph. What, are you married to that guy or something?
But if you should ever want to find this piece, it’s listed under “movies” in the cemetery section (as I’ve just decided to call it) of this page, the one with all the small titles below the main deal. It should remain there for some time, resting undisturbed.
Will there be shuffleboard? Pinochle?
As threatened: I don’t know about games, but there just might be reruns of The Andy Griffith Show and other Nick at Night fare.
How’s your whistle?
[…] 1. Friday Bloody Friday, Duke Haney […]
Five more and you’re in Ted Williams territory, Duke.
I shall return (he threatened) with more about the afterlife, Steph, as well, Ducky, about directors and such.
Excuse my ignorance… but please enlighten me on Ted Williams.
A baseball player. He batted .400. It’s an American thing.
He was supposedly a real jerk, by the way.
400+ for you, but there the similarity ends!
Oh, I have my moments, Jude. Believe me.
He batted .406. Which is what this comment puts you at.
I couldn’t have done it without you, TK.
Does this one put you over?
Actually, it was Jude who put me at 400. It would be a Potts. But, yeah, you just sent me past the Ted Williams mark. If only I could’ve hit like him — man, that would’ve been something.
I’m glad you saw this.
And we don’t even have the old “see all comments” thing. I mean, we do, but it doesn’t work. I miss it. I miss the old dashboard.
I miss the old dashboard too. I’m going to have to work on my psychic abilities..
They appear to be working just fine. But maybe you can add tarot to your bag of tricks, if you haven’t already.
Aha! I have! Simon and I are having regular Tarot meets. They happen on a Tuesday night if you want to come on board….
Can you do a reading on my behalf and report the findings? I require a little coaxing, lacking a metaphysical bent.
I respect you more now, Duke, not less. You wear the truth well.
Here’s hoping that things pick up for you financially in this new year.
Thanks, Kymberlee. It does feel somehow like it’s going to be better year generally. I knew I was riding into a storm with the last one.
I’m really glad to have heard from you, and pleased that you were somehow able to find this post, now that it’s in the cemetery, as I refer to the bottom part of the TNB front page. An apropos metaphor, given the “scary” subject matter, yes?
[…] Benton vanishes…and D.R. Haney […]
Great, just great. Love this!
Thanks much. I wish posting it had caused me to lose my embarrassment, but so far, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
But where are the the heartfelt confessions about Paul McCartney? 😉
Good God, Joe, sorry I missed this comment. How the hell did that happen?
But I believe we both know where those confessions about Paul McCartney exist.
Sorry we didn’t have a chance to meet up. I’m gonna be back in LA in a couple weeks to interview that Cuban fighter. I got his coach while I was down last time just before the massive Pacquiao fight (a sea of Filipinos flooding the parking lot under the gym). How are you?
I dread taking my emotional temperature, since it’s almost always at a dire level, but I thank you for asking. I, too, am sorry that we didn’t have a chance to meet up, but I’m happy you’re returning, and that the book proceeds, sea of Filipinos or not.
[…] D.R. HANEY reveals himself to be the author of Friday the 13th, Part VII. […]
[…] is the time when, if this were a horror movie—like, say, Friday the 13th Part VII—I would rear back my head and laugh maniacally. Because what you poor saps don’t realize is, if […]
[…] The protagonist of Banned for Life is not the only character he’s written named Jason. […]
I don’t understand, as handsome as you were and are, why aren’t you as famous as George Clooney?
You flatterer! You’re just being nice because it’s your granddaughter’s birthday.
What?? I can call handsome any day. I am married not dead. HAHAHA
I can relate. I sometimes want to forget about my musician past.
[…]D. R. Haney | Friday Bloody Friday | The Nervous Breakdown[…]…