Thursday, November 30, 2006

Films

The GLASS DANSE music video shoot that was scheduled for Sunday has been postponed. I'll keep you posted when the shoot will happen.

Last evening, I recorded a few things for EVERYBODY'S LAUGHING. He mentioned that my scene looks nice on camera, but had to reshoot some of the other scenes due to poor lighting. Although the film is not going to be 100 percent by the presentation on the 4th, I'm still looking forward to seeing how it looks.

I also received an update from Ritchie Steven Filippi about Parts II and III of the Roger Stern Saga (TELL ME WHAT I NEED TO KNOW and GIVE MY REGARDS). According to Ritchie, he and his crew are making very good progress on the films, mostly doing lots of sound work.

No word yet on HAND TIME CLOCK and A VERY MEMORABLE ENGAGEMENT.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

NOTHING MORE THAN EVERYTHING...

...is the name of a film I did close to 5 years ago. Surfing through YouTube, I caught up with the director Nathaniel Paluga. Unfortunately that film has not been completed. He still has all the tapes (lots and LOTS of footage). He mentioned that he should hopefully get his hands on them in February.

He asked if I would like to assist him in the editing process around March (I'd be curious to see the editing process).

I honestly don't remember what the film was about. All I remember is that I played a priest named Father Daniel Madigan.

THE DEVIL'S DEPARTURE

My meeting with director/playwright Ann Person lasted almost 2 hours last evening. We read through all of the Devil's scenes and discussed the character and where the play came from and where Ann hopes it will go.

I wish Ann luck with the play, but I just have too much going on right now.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Cast in Music Video (Glass Danse)

Just cast in the NYU Undergrad music video for Glass Danse (performed by The Faint).

A young man runs on a treadmill and fantasizes about futuristic researchers scanning his thoughts as he exercises. The thoughts reveal a sexy club scene where the man continues to run amidst a crowd of dancing women. I will be playing one of the researchers.

My shooting date will be on Sunday, December 3rd.

Locations TBA, but all within Manhattan.

Audition Tonight for THE DEVIL'S DEPARTURE

This evening, I will be auditoning to the play devil in the new play THE DEVIL'S DEPARTURE, written and directed by Lu Ann Horstman-Person.

The play takes place now. After speaking with Ann on the phone about the play, it's quite clear that she's not a big fan of the Bush administration and intends to use her play as a means of informing people about the danger they've put our country in.

The prospect of playing the Devil sounds like fun but I'll give the script a read first and see if it's something that interests me.

Click Here for LOQUESTO FILMS' Newest Film.

This Thanksgiving, instead of baking a turkey, Kyle decided to create this feast for the eyes:

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

One of the Greats...Robert Altman Dies At 81

LOS ANGELES - Robert Altman, the caustic and irreverent satirist behind "M-A-S-H," "Nashville" and "The Player" who made a career out of bucking Hollywood management and story conventions, died at a Los Angeles Hospital, his Sandcastle 5 Productions Company said Tuesday. He was 81.

The director died Monday night, Joshua Astrachan, a producer at Altman's Sandcastle 5 Productions in New York City, told The Associated Press.

The cause of death wasn't disclosed. A news release was expected later in the day, Astrachan said.

A five-time Academy Award nominee for best director, most recently for 2001's "Gosford Park," he finally won a lifetime achievement Oscar in 2006.

"No other filmmaker has gotten a better shake than I have," Altman said while accepting the award. "I'm very fortunate in my career. I've never had to direct a film I didn't choose or develop. My love for filmmaking has given me an entree to the world and to the human condition."

Altman had one of the most distinctive styles among modern filmmakers. He often employed huge ensemble casts, encouraged improvisation and overlapping dialogue and filmed scenes in long tracking shots that would flit from character to character.

Perpetually in and out of favor with audiences and critics, Altman worked ceaselessly since his anti-war black comedy "M-A-S-H" established his reputation in 1970, but he would go for years at a time directing obscure movies before roaring back with a hit.

After a string of commercial duds including "The Gingerbread Man" in 1998, "Cookie's Fortune" in 1999 and "Dr. T & the Women" in 2000, Altman took his all-American cynicism to Britain for 2001's "Gosford Park."

A combination murder-mystery and class-war satire set among snobbish socialites and their servants on an English estate in the 1930s, "Gosford Park" was Altman's biggest box-office success since "M-A-S-H."

Besides best-director, "Gosford Park" earned six other Oscar nominations, including best picture and best supporting actress for both Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith. It won the original-screenplay Oscar, and Altman took the best-director prize at the Golden Globes for "Gosford Park."

Altman's other best-director Oscar nominations came for "M-A-S-H," the country-music saga "Nashville" from 1975, the movie-business satire "The Player" from 1992 and the ensemble character study "Short Cuts" from 1993. He also earned a best-picture nomination as producer of "Nashville."

No director ever got more best-director nominations without winning a regular Oscar, though four other men — Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Clarence Brown and King Vidor — tied with Altman at five.

In May, Altman brought out "A Prairie Home Companion," with Garrison Keillor starring as the announcer of a folksy musical show — with the same name as Keillor's own long-running show — about to be shut down by new owners. Among those in the cast were Meryl Streep,Lily Tomlin, Kevin Kline,Woody Harrelson and Tommy Lee Jones.

"This film is about death," Altman said at a May 3 news conference in St. Paul, Minn., also attended by Keillor and many of the movie's stars.

He often took on Hollywood genres with a revisionist's eye, de-romanticizing the Western hero in 1971's "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" and 1976's "Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson," the film-noir gumshoe in 1973's "The Long Goodbye" and outlaw gangsters in "Thieves Like Us."

"M-A-S-H" was Altman's first big success after years of directing television, commercials, industrial films and generally unremarkable feature films. The film starring Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould was set during the Korean War but was Altman's thinly veiled attack on U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

"That was my intention entirely. If you look at that film, there's no mention of what war it is," Altman said in an Associated Press interview in 2001, adding that the studio made him put a disclaimer at the beginning to identify the setting as Korea.

"Our mandate was bad taste. If anybody had a joke in the worst taste, it had a better chance of getting into the film, because nothing was in worse taste than that war itself," Altman said.

The film spawned the long-running TV sitcom starring Alan Alda, a show Altman would refer to with distaste as "that series." Unlike the social message of the film, the series was prompted by greed, Altman said.

"They made millions and millions of dollars by bringing an Asian war into Americans' homes every Sunday night," Altman said in 2001. "I thought that was the worst taste."

Altman never minced words about reproaching Hollywood. After the Sept. 11 attacks, he said Hollywood served as a source of inspiration for the terrorists by making violent action movies that amounted to training films for such attacks.

"Nobody would have thought to commit an atrocity like that unless they'd seen it in a movie," Altman said.

Altman was written off repeatedly by the Hollywood establishment, and his reputation for arrogance and hard drinking — a habit he eventually gave up — hindered his efforts to raise money for his idiosyncratic films.

While critical of studio executives, Altman held actors in the highest esteem. He joked that on "Gosford Park," he was there mainly to turn the lights on and off for the performers.

The respect was mutual. Top-name actors would clamor for even bit parts in his films. Altman generally worked on shoestring budgets, yet he continually landed marquee performers who signed on for a fraction of their normal salaries.

After the mid-1970s, the quality of Altman's films became increasingly erratic. His 1980 musical "Popeye," with Robin Williams, was trashed by critics, and Altman took some time off from film.

He directed the Broadway production of "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean," following it with a movie adaptation in 1982. Altman went back and forth from TV to theatrical films over the next decade, but even when his films earned critical praise, such as 1990's "Vincent & Theo," they remained largely unseen.

"The Player" and "Short Cuts" re-established Altman's reputation and commercial viability. But other 1990s films — including his fashion-industry farce "Ready to Wear" and "Kansas City," his reverie on the 1930s jazz and gangster scene of his hometown — fell flat.

Born Feb. 20, 1925, Altman hung out in his teen years at the jazz clubs of Kansas City, Mo., where his father was an insurance salesman.

Altman was a bomber pilot in World War II and studied engineering at the University of Missouri in Columbia before taking a job making industrial films in Kansas City. He moved into feature films with "The Delinquents" in 1957, then worked largely in television through the mid 1960s, directing episodes of such series as "Bonanza" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents."

Altman and his wife, Kathryn, had two sons, Robert and Matthew, and he had a daughter, Christine, and two other sons, Michael and Stephen, from two previous marriages.

When he received his honorary Oscar in 2006, Altman revealed he had a heart transplant a decade earlier.

"I didn't make a big secret out of it, but I thought nobody would hire me again," he said after the ceremony. "You know, there's such a stigma about heart transplants, and there's a lot of us out there."

Screening of EVERYBODY'S LAUGHING on December 4th

Everybody's Laughing, a film short that I was involved in a while ago will be screened on Monday, December 4th at the NYFA.

The film centers on a young man, Martin Piertot, as he embarks on a job interview, fraught with all the normal feelings when going to a job interview.

Throughout the course of the interview, Martin realizes that everyone is laughing at him. Everyone he comes in contact with can't stop laughing at him and it's driving Martin crazy.

As his nerves continue to get the best of him, Martin begins to hallucinate and in this halluncination, Martin is paid a visit by his father who also laughs at Martin. That's where I come in. It's a nice little part and had a wonderful time working with director Romain Ronzeau.

Hopefully, I will have a copy of the film on my website in the future.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Noir Film

I just received some bad news. The noir film I was going to start filming after Thanksgiving has been put on hold indefinitely because the director has to return to his hometown for family reasons.

It's a shame. I was really looking forward to my death scene.

Hopefuilly I'll get a chance to work with Cameo Productions in the future.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Click Here to See Robert Arrucci's FULL SNOWY JACKET

When Robert was 17, he made this clever short film. I think it's very good!

Enjoy!

Elected To Random Coconuts' Creative Committee

I am honored to have been elected to the creative committee of Random Coconuts, the film/theatre company that I have been involved with over the last few months. (I appeared in staged readings of THE SHAKESPEAREAN MASSACRE and A POCKETFUL OF MATCHES.)

I am very excited to be a part of team and look forward to jumping right in.

If you wish to read up on the company, please check out their MySpace page at:

www.myspace.com/randomcoconuts

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

PICASSO on DVD

Douglas DeMarco (friend of Ray Arrucci) of Brown Paper Bag, Inc. filmed the November 5th performance of PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE and I just finished watching it.

It was nice to sit back and watch the show from beginning to end. I got a chance to see everyone's wonderful performances. And boy does that set look good under the lights.

I wasn't thrilled with my own performance though (a bit loud and one note), but then again I'm never really happy with anything I do. It's rare if I walk away from something with the thought that I did it the best that I could do.

Doug did a fantastic job with the filming. Thanks, Doug!

If you wish to see other samples of his amazing work, please visit www.brownpaperbag.biz

Monday, November 13, 2006

PICASSO Pictures on My Website

Just added them. Thanks to the great Holly Vanasse for the great pictures.

PICASSO Comes to an End!

It's always sad when a show (especially a good one) comes to an end. Three weeks of performances went by too fast.

This was an extraordinary experience. My face and sides hurt from laughing so much!

Thanks again to Brian and Taryn at APAC for all their efforts in bringing this show to life.

To Larry, Mele and the cast: Thanks for the memories!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Xbox Game

I exchanged some emails with Ed Herbstman at Kirt Gunn & Associates and he informed me that the Xbox video game I shot back on June 28th (2007 Milan Metro Challenge) is
still being produced.

Ed and his crew are in the final stages and are hoping to have something by the end of the year.

I'm just happy they're still using my footage.

Robert Arrucci's Mockumentary & Other Stuff

Spoke with Ray yesterday about Robert's mockumentary and because of time (not much of it) and the location of the shoot (Ossining), Robert felt it was unfair to have me come out there for such a short amount of time. Ray did mention to me that Robert does have a project or two in the works for the future, so there's that to think about. Thanks guys for thinking of me! We'll work together soon!

It looks like Kate Freer's project isn't panning out too well for me either because of a scheduling conflict on one of the shooting days. If something can be worked out, wonderful, but I wouldn't want to hold the project up.

I checked in with Rachael Gordon (NYFA) about HAND TIME CLOCK and she is in the process of making a copy for me.

As far as those two NYU shorts that I have been waiting on for one year, SHE'S A BRICK (Nina S. Misch, director) and CASSIE AND DUANE (Lindsay Gibbs, director) I've decided to just give up on them. It would have been nice to see the finished product of both of those shorts, but I've become exhausted from asking. Lord knows I've sent enough angry emails to both directors. Now, I understand that the filmmaking process is a tense and delicate one, but both shorts were 5 minutes in length each. Does it take one year to edit and put together a five minute film?

I'm also still waiting on Utopian Productions' GIVE MY REGARDS or SEND MY REGARDS (The title of the film changes more than Diddy's name). The cast was told to expect something in December, but we'll see.

Wow, that kind of turned into a rant.

And I'm in a great mood too!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cast in Noir Film

I have been cast in Cameo Productions new film, the noir film I mentioned in my last post.

My scene is a very cool one...a death scene (all actors love death scenes). I play a stoolie for the mob named Herschel, who is killed by his mob boss for his dealings with another organization behind his back.

The scene is going to be shot in one day after the Thanksgiving holiday. It should be a lot of fun.

Cameo Productions has done some fantastic work. If you wish to see for yourself, please click here: http://www.myspace.com/cameoproductions

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Audition Tonight for Noir Film

This evening, I am auditioning for a small role in a 1940's noir detective story.

Shooting would take place at the end of November/early December.

Could be fun.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Next Projects

Robert Arrucci, the son of Ray Arrucci (A great Gaston in Picasso at the Lapin Agile) has invited me to be a part of a short film he is making for the NYC Movie Making Madness competion, a 2 week film race. Robert and his crew have been assigned the genre of Mockumentary and the subject of leftovers.

I just heard about this today, so I'm awaiting more details and a script, although Roberts says it's extremely funny. More to come.

Katherine Freer (A Very Memorable Engagement) is producing a new film titled Innocent Until Proven Barney and she wants me to play a small role in this, also a comedy. Kate was wonderful to work with on A Very Memorable Engagement. Speaking of that film, Kate mentioned that the editing is coming along nicely and that everything looks wonderful. More to come on Kate's new project later.

Picasso continues to go very well. We received another review of the show (below).

_____________________________________________________________________________________

From THE QUEENS COURIER

A View From The Cliff

BY CLIFF KASDEN

Thursday, November 2, 2006 2:31 PM CST

APAC Showcases Einstein, Picasso Comedy

Undaunted by a frustrating search for a theatrical home, the Astoria Performing Arts Center continues to produce top quality productions with outstanding performers.

The current offering is Steve Martin's brilliant comedy, “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” where a Parisian saloon is the site of a chance meeting between geniuses. Albert Einstein before his theories, Pablo Picasso before his famous canvasses and a ghostly Elvis forge a unique brotherhood.

On opening night, The Broccoli Theatre in the Variety Boys and Girls Club was transformed. A dozen deliberately unmatched wrought iron and wooden chairs, a beautiful wood planked bar and numerous, imperfectly aligned paintings provided palpable support for the unusual story that followed.

Albert Einstein (Jordan Kaplan) is played with a great combination of wit and physical humor, including an obviously false moustache and a womanizing attitude. Yet he is humbly puzzled by the “high I.Q.” inspirations that constantly flood his head. Pablo Picasso (Rafi Silver) mirrors Einstein's qualities but with a greater artistic flourish. He is wittier, more physical and pursues the opposite sex with broader strokes. Freddy, the bartender (Alex Pappas) is sometimes clueless but his flashes of insight still endear him to his girlfriend, the wisecracking Germaine (Meryl Bezrutczyk). Her vocal inflections, facial and physical reactions are consistently well done despite the changing dialogues that surround her.

My personal favorite is sarcastic, grizzly Gaston (Ray Arrucci) who describes himself as “newly old.” He fills the stage with paradoxically self-deprecating yet arrogant observations of women and the world. If every character onstage is some part of Steve Martin's psyche, then Gaston is his clearest voice.

Suzanne (Elizabeth Wirth) is Picasso's stunning, mesmerized coquette. She waits breathlessly, with a painted smile until the artist appears. Naturally, he has forgotten her. She is just one patch in his multi-colored palette of beautiful conquests. Righteously indignant, her anger fades as Picasso's superstar continues to shine charismatically.

Other geniuses include the great Schmendiman (Timothy J. Cox) and the Visitor (Jason Winfield). Schmendiman wears a very loud red striped blazer, with equally loud vocal chords. He represents every self-important bombastic personality. The Visitor, who is clearly the spirit of Elvis, grinds and gyrates. Nonetheless, he demonstrates the same humble sense of awe in his own talent that shines in Einstein and Picasso.

Finally, jaded art dealer Sagot (Jimmy T. Owens) and the Countess/Admirer (Holly Vanasse) are groupies. Sagot follows genius for financial gain. Vanasse's characters are enthralled by the hype that surrounds superstars.

This irreverent comedy is directed by Lawrence Lesher with artistic and executive direction by Brian Swasey and Taryn Drongowski respectively. Kudos to Michael P. Kramer (set design), Erik Michael (lights), Hilary Noxon and Bdwy Wig design (costumes/wigs), Michael R. Mele and Christine Goutmann (stage mgmt).

Located at 21-12 30th Road in Astoria, call 718-393-7505 for directions. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

OffOffOnline Review of PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE

Meeting of Minds
by Amy Krivohlavek
Picasso at the Lapin Agile reviewed October 29, 2006

There are few regional, university, or community theaters that have not produced the absurdist comedy Picasso at the Lapin Agile, a casual encounter between Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso sprung from the wild and irreverent imagination of Steve Martin. A cinematic version is even in the works, tentatively scheduled for a 2008 release.

Now in its sixth season, the Astoria Performing Arts Center has brought Martin's play to Queens in a compelling and sharply rendered production. Since it opened its doors, the APAC has hopscotched around the neighborhood; currently, it has a temporary home in the Brocolli Theater at the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens, and set designer Michael P. Kramer has convincingly transformed one corner of a bare gymnasium into a warm and well-worn Parisian cafe circa 1904.

In this fanciful and intriguing script, Einstein and Picasso meet and exchange ideas on the eve of major watershed moments in their careers—in 1905, Einstein would publish "The Special Theory of Relativity," while Picasso painted his famous "Les Demoiselles D'Avignon" in 1907.

It's testament to both Martin's brilliance and battiness that he would choose to juxtapose a scientist and a painter; ostensibly, head would meet heart, reason would meet spontaneity, and sparks would fly. Instead, these dualities are complicated as the men speak of celebrity, intellect, and cultural significance. And when a mysterious visitor (who looks an awful lot like Elvis Presley) appears late in the show, he further challenges established notions of perpetuity, fame, and fortune.

Rather than map out a simple two-sided argument, Martin has filled his supporting cast with a host of eccentric and incendiary characters. There's Freddy, the acerbic proprietor, and his sharp-tongued girlfriend, Germaine; Suzanne, a winsome young girl who arrives with a drawing that Picasso gave her after a romantic liaison; Sagot, an over-the-top art dealer in a sparkly cape; Schmendiman, a would-be genius in an oversized bowtie; and Gaston, a regular patron who makes intermittent comments about sex and other bodily functions. "Why do all the nuts show up in one evening?" he wonders as he lumbers toward the toilet.

Under Lawrence Lesher's efficient direction, this production pops with energetic verbal interchanges. The opening expository scenes could use a bit more snap, but when Sagot sashays in with a miniature Matisse in tow, the conversation immediately becomes more pointed.

Martin's writing is certainly sophisticated, but its humor is often elusive, as if written to please the author, not the audience. But if the proceedings are not always laugh-out-loud funny, Martin manages to pull off moments of exemplary wit. At the end of a particularly incomprehensible outburst, Schmendiman adds, "No pun intended." "No pun achieved," Freddy dryly corrects him.

Martin is also quick to question the limitations of the theatrical form. Written in 1993, before audiences became glutted with such devices, these self-aware asides and winks at the audience ("Yes, dear audience, we the actors know that we are doing a play") were certainly more novel than they are now. And yet, even as Martin challenges the form, he also manages to endorse it.

As Sagot shows off his tiny Matisse, he points to the frame as its most important feature: "Otherwise, anything goes. You want to see a soccer game where the players can run up into the stands with the ball and order a beer? No. They’ve got to stay within the boundaries to make it interesting. In the right hands, this little space is as fertile as Eden." The boundaries of a stage, then, can also be liberating.

In the excellent cast, Jimmy T. Owens is particularly splendid as the melodramatic Sagot, while Alex Pappas and Meryl Bezrutczyk imbue Freddy and Germaine with the perfect amount of tart domesticity. Timothy J. Cox gives an inspired and explosive comic performance as the loony Schmendiman. Lean and lank with a shock of dark hair and a bushy, stand-alone moustache, Jordan Kaplan makes an amiable and slightly unhinged Einstein.

Only Rafi Silver struggles a bit in his rendering of Picasso. True, it's not the best-written role—at times, Picasso comes off as little more than a marauding womanizer—but Silver doesn't reveal much depth behind his passionate gaze.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile would seem to be an ideal opener for the APAC. Although it is so often produced, the play is perpetually alluring for communities of artists. And as Astoria becomes a home for more and more creative types, they will eventually surface to debate issues of art and culture. One cafe, the Waltz-Astoria, has already opened its doors to area artists, sponsoring live musical performances and poetry readings in the hopes of creating a vibrant community. At this moment, a future Picasso or Einstein might be sipping a glass of Greek wine.