Opening Night

At some point in every man's life, there comes a moment where he has to say, "Screw it. I'm walking home." For me that moment came on opening night of my play. Although I wasn't paid in cash for my performance, I did receive a large tub of jelly beans and a single rose, which I heartily accepted with an air of excitement.

I took both of my gifts along with me only to stand in front of the theater wondering where in the world my ride was. Had I known my ride was still in Fresno, clubbing with his cousins and apparently taking shots off of scantily clad women, I probably would have taken matters into my own hands much sooner, but after circling the block for two hours I had to realize I was on my own.

I had no cell phone, after leaving it with my wife who had left that morning for a trip to Los Angeles, and after paying fifty cents to a pay phone that had apparently been disconnected in the early 1990's, I realized I had no way to contact anyone on the outside world. A few trips to the receptionist at a nearby hotel proved useless after realizing that I had no knowledge of my in-laws phone number. So I continued to wait.

Somewhere, deep in my mind, I rationalized that my situation would be resolved in the same way my situations of being lost in a supermarket were resolved as a child. I would simply wait in the same exact spot until someone realized that I was missing. And maybe cry. Around midnight I began to realize that this was not the same situation.

At this time a friendly black man approached me and, laughing to himself, said in a raspy voice, "Boy's got a single rose for a lady! All you need is one my man! All you need is one!"

I laughed back and nodded, slightly hoping this was enough of a reply. It wasn't.

"Girl's always ask for a dozen, but you know what happens? They die, my man! They die!"

"Ha, I know what you mean." I said, quickly nodding while slowly backing away.

"Say my man, I only have six dollars and my car needs gas. You think you could spare a few bucks?"

Realizing I had only two dollars in my wallet and that this guy probably didn't own a car, I apologized and started walking home.

Although I've spent some time in New York, here it's a bit harder to find a taxi. Also, I'm cheap. Really cheap. So I never really wanted to find one in the first place. It wouldn't be until the next day that I would find out that the distance between my theater and home was just about four and a half miles, which to a reasonably in-shape person is perfectly fine, but to someone who prefers to play video games and uses stumbleupon is basically the same as the Oregon Trail. Would I end up with dysentery? Only time could tell...

The town I live in is mostly known as the agricultural capitol of California, so I was surprised to come across a guy twirling fire within the first three blocks of main street.

"Wow. That guy is crazy!" I thought. While I held a jug of jelly beans, a single rose, and was wearing heavy makeup and eye-liner.

I continued walking, and having been without food for a mere few hours I already began hallucinating that the person walking behind me, who was blasting techno through their headphones, was not only following me but was playing their music to the exact pace of my feet.

About half-way I decided, probably poorly, that if I was going to go through with this that I might as well be mildly intoxicated and bought a beer at 7-Eleven. Still wearing eye-liner.

Now, slightly intoxicated, and dehydrated from said intoxication, the trip slowly became less scary, then more exciting, and then as a result, a little more scary again.

Nevertheless, I made it home. It's a difficult realization, understanding that you really need someone else to count on when times are hard, but at least I'm glad I made it back safely when I realized that I could make it home on my own. Next time though I'll be sure that there are two cell phones in order before I leave.


Laser Koala Escapes From Tron

I realized that I never got to post the Christmas gift I made for Beth.

I really wanted to make something that says, "I love you" while also saying "I also love lasers." I think this was a perfect middle ground. So here it is. I call this work: Laser Koala Escapes From Tron.



The Illusionist - Movie Review

The Illusionist
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I once watched a magician pass a rubber band directly through another, and although I know it was probably a simple trick, for the life of me I have no idea how he did it. Especially when I held the other rubber band myself. The art of close up magic lies not in the great reveal, but in the technique itself, which lies predominantly in the subdued hand of it's executor. We are not so encumbered by how the rabbit came out of the hat, as to how the rabbit came into our line of sight without our perception of it. It's really about the slight of hand. The Illusionist is one of those rare films that focuses entirely not upon a trick based entirely upon the perspective of the viewer, but upon how the illusion was created by the manipulator. Perhaps manipulator is too harsh of a word...

Here we are granted the illusion of a provider, or a father figure, who grants his follower with whatever she so desires, as long as she does not require the father himself to provide his insight. After all, a magician never reveals his secrets. For her he provides her shoes, her clothing, her food, and yet he remains somewhat of a mystery. How strange it seems that he works a second job as a caretaker for the automobiles of the wealthy, miraculously removing oil stains with the most obvious equipment at his disposal, be that rain itself. And yes, he sells out, using his talents to sell brassieres and stockings in store front windows. Do his actions justify the dismissal of his follower? We may say no, but success for some may be defined as otherwise.

L'Illusionniste is an animated film unlike any that you might have seen. It requires no real subtitles or audible language, and unlike it's predecessor The Triplets of Belleville, it requires no surreal visuals to engage it's audience. This is a film that is based upon the subtleties of human interaction. If you were to attend a class in animation you would probably be asked to animate a rock. I think if you were to ask the director of this film, Sylvain Chomet, you would find that there are a great deal of subtleties you would never have thought of.

The Illusionist in this film is no hero or villain, in reality he does no harm. He is never revealed to be authentic, nor a fake, he simply is presented as a genuine showman who presents himself as he is. As with any illusion, the question as to it's authenticity is placed within our hands.


Buried - Movie Review

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Would I be giving too much away if I said that after watching Buried I definitely considered crying in the shower? Or maybe punching a wall? Or maybe punching a hole in the shower wall and then having to explain to Beth through the hole in the wall why I was crying in the shower in the first place? I don't think it's too much of a spoiler. It's just more of a fair warning. Buried is one of the most intense films I have seen, and it takes place entirely within a 9 foot box.

This is a story of Paul, who has found himself buried alive in a coffin in Iraq. All he has at his disposal is a cell phone, a lighter (which I personally wouldn't have used so much in an oxygen limited environment) and a surprising amount of deadly snakes. This is certainly a "what would you do" situation, and frankly Paul makes the most of it. He calls the FBI, his wife, his work (to even call in the day off), but somehow he still has to go the extra mile, and a few miles after that, and then get called back to be told he has quite a few miles left to go.

Buried knows exactly where you as a viewer would take it, and then takes it further than you would expect. That is to say, this is a smart thriller. I have seen films that multiply the set-pieces by two dozen and still feel less intense, yet Buried makes it work. You might expect an "O. Henry" ending, as I did, but the one you find might be even more ironic than you would expect. In a better world Ryan Reynolds would be nominated for an Oscar for this. This is the kind of role some actors would dream for, and Reynolds plays it perfectly.

I admire films like Buried, which use their limitations in setting and content to intensify the drama of the situation at hand. It takes a great deal of creativity and ingenuity to make something like this simultaneously exciting and different, but it works. This is a very intense, and extremely involving film. Whether or not you're happy by the end doesn't negotiate your engagement in the journey.


If You're Wondering Where I've Been

Let this cover of the Visalia Delta Times Choices section be the answer:

I'm Prince Charming in the Enchanted Playhouse production of Cinderella!
The show runs for three weeks through February 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, and 19th.

It's been a little crazy here with the lack of posting on The Awkward Unicorn, but now that rehearsals are finally over I can get back to writing and share even more crazy Japanese videos. Thanks for the support!