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Toronto International Film Festival: Four score


Day five.


Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz in Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain. Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures.

Toronto International Film Festival: “If you kiss me, I’ll pop you in the fuckin’ balls.”



Believe the hype: Borat rules. It has a release date of November 3. I suggest you mark it on your calendar … you will not be sorry. (Unless highly offensive, off-color humor — and the sight of two hairy, naked men vigorously wrestling their way across a banquet hall filled with mortgage brokers — ain’t your cup of tea. Then you can skip it. Everyone else will bust a gut without you.)

Toronto International Film Festival: The docs are in



Image of Yoko Ono and John Lennon, as seen in The U.S. vs. John Lennon, courtesy AP/WIDE WORLD PHOTOS.

Toronto International Film Festival: Quick weather report


It’s raining in Toronto … and New York City, setting for the weep-tastic Bollywood epic Never Say Goodbye, where no emotionally-charged moment passes without soaking at least one major character (and random passers-by) to the bone.


Just interviewed Bong Joon-ho, director of The Host, which even random journalists I’ve never met are declaring “the best thing here” in crowded elevators. More on the interview later, but after the jump, an example of something I’ve been seeing all over fest turf today…

Toronto International Film Festival: Bright lights, and the heart of theater darkness



Author and critic B. Ruby Rich (who programmed TIFF’s 2002 runaway hit and award winner Whale Rider) checks in with her first report from the fest:

Toronto International Film Festival: “Revenge is good for business!”



Day two. Why can’t every morning for the rest of my life begin with a Johnnie To movie?

Toronto International Film Festival: You want monsters with that?



Something wicked this way comes: Gang-du (Song Kang-ho) in The Host. Copyright Magnolia Pictures.

Event horizon: cinemania


Attention, film geeks: the Guardian‘s Toronto International Film Festival desk is up and running and frantically trying to patchwork together a schedule that crams in as many movies as possible without incurring some kind of mental break with reality as a result.

It’s a delicate balance, really, and one that brings forth a feeling of excitement, panic, and jet-lagged punchiness that I’ve never really felt at any other time in my life. Ideally, one figures out a way to see everything worth seeing (note: a personal judgement call all the way) while still leaving room for spontaneity, last-minute interviews, random networking, and bothersome other crap like meals, caffeine, and sleep. This is my second year at the fest, which happens to be the same exact age as me (31), and I’d be lying if I said I had the whole crazy shebang figured out.

Mother Ninja, RIP


wow — a lot of death on the blog this week. On Saturday, one of my favorite people in the world passed on from AIDS complications (yep, it still happens — drugs aren’t magic, people). Willi Ninja, voguer extraodinaire, mother of the House of Ninja, superfamous spokesperson for utterly fabulous butch queen love, was FIERCENESS itself. We’ll miss you Willie.


Check out this awesome YouTube tribute.

I met Willi when I was but a wee thing in NYC in the late 80s. I was at the height of my first club kid phase, doing the door with the IT TWINS at the World and Save the Robots, a mere teen hanger-on to all my glittery heroes, when he crossed my path — and crossed and crossed it! Girl, he was a human pretzel, a cyclonic blackalicious blur. All those flailing limbs! This was before Paris is Burning or Vogue came out (it was right around the time of Malcome McLaren’s awesome “Deep in Vogue” dancefloor shaker), and he wasn’t all internationally famous yet — but he was ROYALTY, you could smell it. He briefly commented nicely on my gold sequined short-shorts and blue afro (he thankfully said nothing about my giant Burger King crown) and moved through the party like a Swiss Army Knife thru butter. She moved thru the FAIR. I was star strucked.

He was only 45, but what a world of inspiration he leaves behind. The kids never die. FIERCE N HEVEN.

Crikey, it’s over



I can’t lie. I was bummed — if not 100 percent totally shocked — to hear the news about Steve Irwin. Yeah, there was the thing with his infant son and the crocodile a few years ago. And he was definitely putting himself in danger every time he went toe-to-toe with whatever latest vicious creature he decided to feature in any of his Animal Planet specials (always with commentary that cheerfully belied the danger at hand: “Here’s the spitting cobra — deadly accurate! What a little beauty!”) When he came to San Francisco in 2002 to promote his feature film, Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, I had to take advantage of the opportunity to talk to him, just to see if he was actually that hyper and energetic and hopped up on animals all the time.

The Wow of Joao: A talk with Two Drifters director Joao Pedro Rodrigues


“People are crazy here, no?,” director Joao Pedro Rodrigues half-asks over the phone from LA, where he’s making a brief visit to promote Two Drifters (aka Odete), which opens in the Bay Area this week. His words bring to mind a certain observation by a Hollywood starlet that then became a Rex Reed book title. But in Rodrigues’s case the remark might partly be inspired by the star of Two Drifters – the person whose apartment he’s visiting, Ana Cristina de Oliveira, who has since gone on to a role in Michael Mann’s Miami Vice remake. De Oliveira plays a volatile character in Two Drifters, and some swear words delivered loudly by her bring this interview to an abrupt end.


Guardian: You’ve used the same bold red font for title credit in both of your features. Can you tell me a bit about deciding that?
Joao Pedro Rodrigues: I like it. I like red, it’s like blood. It’s like something that’s inside you.

snow in august






It’s another brief club weekend update, courtesy of your eternal Guardian club whore Marke B. I don’t know if you’re saving your wad for the long weekend Sunday night (I’ll be outta town, alas!) — but don’t. Go to my friends Ryan R$obles and Juantita More’s fab new club Playboy at the MANsion, er, The Stud — check it out.

gogo boy xtravaganza! lewd and lascivious fashions! lots of kooky musiks! and look — sexy jesse who just turned 30 is on the flyer wearing acid wash! you have to go now, don’t ya …

Playboy-Next Party1.jpg

Saturday, Sept 2
at the Stud.
it’s scary fun! it’s wild! I think …

Fashion Week for the fierce, pt. II: Being Marke B.


Fab intern Justin Juul picked up the Fashion Week/Fisher Spooner pieces for me this past weekend. Here’s what he had to say.

The press people at Mystery Girl Productions invited Marke B. to the third annual SF Fashion Week sometime last month. Never one to turn his nose up at a free party, Marke enthusiastically accepted before realizing that the dates clashed with those he had previously set aside for his three-day long birthday bash. Thus, by way of simple calendar negligence, the job was handed down to me, Justin Juul, better known ‘round these parts as “The Almost Fabulous Intern” — if Marke gets an alter ego, damnit, so do I. Join me as I spend a night in Marke’s shoes.

Justin and fashionable stalker friend

“What would Marke do?” I thought, as I began to get myself dolled up for the evening. “What was he saying last week about Tylenol Cold and Sinus medication? Did he say you should or shouldn’t mix it with tequila?” Since all I had was a half pint of Gentleman Jack, I figured it didn’t matter so I popped the pills, finished getting ready, then went outside to wait for my cab. While standing there, the details of Marke’s alcohol and cold medication story re-surfaced in my head. “Don’t do it, young intern,” Marke’s ghostly voice echoed, “you’ll pass out and turn blue on the dance floor like I did, wooohooo hooohoo (spooky/fabulous ghost sounds).” Fuck, I thought to myself. I spent the next half hour nursing my third Jack n’ Coke in the cab while trying to ignore Marke’s phantom presence. Despite the knowledge that I was probably going to suffocate by the end of the night, I felt I was off to a good start. Marke would have wanted it this way.

Fashion Week for the fierce, pt I: Yao-za!


Fab intern K. Tighe went to Thursday’s Fashion Week emerging designers extravaganza, here’s the take:

What to wear? The big question. When I decided to attend the 3rd Annual San Francisco Fashion Week, I didn’t really think it through. You see, I’m not what one might call a “fashionable” person. Oh, I’ve got style for miles and miles — but trendy I am not. I’ve been wearing a uniform of jeans, cowboy boots and free band swag t-shirts for years — and the thought of dressing up for such an event frankly turns my stomach a little. So I did what any self-respecting journalist does in dicey situations such as these — I put on a sweater. I figure at the very least I can start a trend — the “dude ranch rocker on the slopes” look is gonna be all over the Milan runways next year, you watch.


I head to the Galleria — roughly 15th & Kansas, that highly fashionable district located just between the Mission and Potrero Hill — hoping the walk will open my mind a little. SF’s Fashion Week is not modeled after the stuff of New York and Paris events — tonight will focus on emerging local designers, and that is a cause I can get behind. I hope.

Doggie do


Bring your favorite pooch (even if he regularly snacks on your US Weekly — dude, a tooth mark right through Jennifer Aniston’s face!) to Dolores Park tomorrow for SF Dog‘s “Dog Days of August” event.


According to the event website, there’ll be “dog arts and crafts” (presumably, made by humans with dog motifs, not actual arts and crafts made by dogs), a doggie fashion show (so Project Runway!), and a screening of Best in Show hosted by the canine-friendly San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation.

UPDATE! Pics from the event after the jump.

Television: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems


Holy crap, dude. I think my eyeballs are bleeding.


For the full selection of Dancing with the Stars contestants, including Tucker Carlson (sans bowtie — hey, how’s his head stayin’ on?), go to ohnotheydidnt via the glorious Dlisted. Be warned: the new season starts Sept 12. Cha-cha-cha!

Crawling for a cause


So bar crawls for me are usually literally that — I’ve worn out the knees on so many jumpsuits dragging my ass amongst watering holes that I might as well be a member of the orphan chorus in Annie. Hard knocks, more shots, wrecked stockings. And by any indication, I should probably invest in a pair of those hunky PG&E repair guy knee pads for Thursday the 24th’s BAR AIDS event, during which 15 or so bars will be donating a percentage of bar sales to local anti-HIV and STD warriors StopAIDS.


The fun goes on all evening, all over the city, and it may be the first time you can honestly puke for a good cause. See you in my beer goggles! (You can get more BAR AIDS info here.)

“That’s GOOD news? Snakes on crack?”


On the occasion of the first San Francisco screening of the most ridiculously hyped movie of 2006 (and, quite possibly, of all time — sorry, George Lucas)…


Club kids make good


… club sandwiches. BUT formerly local club kids Justin Bond and Kenny Mellman — aka KIKI and HERB — have really made good. They’re currently alive on Broadway at the (dear lord) Helen Hayes Theatre in “Kiki & Herb: Alive on Broadway,” and they’re garnering effusive raves, like this one in today’s NYTimes.


Way back when I was but a wee thing doing loads of drugs in the light booth at Josie’s Cabaret & Juice Joint, I totally used to groove to them, back when they were locals (they’re bigtime newyawkaws now) — and back when their combo of post-kitsch musical cabaret mentality and slyly sincere emotional buffeting was totally radical. Turns out it still is, as anyone who went to K&H’s New Year’s Eve show this year at Herbst Theater can attest. Go Justin! Go Kenny! See? Club Trash can be artistically relevant. Just like maybe murdered beauty pageant tots. Now all we need is a Jason Mecier retrospective at the Smithsonian and Ggreg Taylor on Oprah.

The slither king: the complete interview


This is not a story about the feverish hype swirling around Snakes on a Plane. It’s not a review of the film, because Snakes on a Plane is so critic-proof that snotty journalists like me don’t get to see it before it opens. And it’s not yet another piece in praise of Snakes star Samuel L. Jackson’s inherent awesomeness (not that I’m denying it, of course). What follows is an interview with the individual who just may be the coolest cat in America right now — snake handler Jules Sylvester, the guy responsible for charming winning performances out of Jackson’s forked-tongued co-stars. Sylvester, a Hollywood veteran who’s wrangled critters on everything from Men in Black (thousands of cockroaches) to Out of Africa (lions, dogs, owls) to Arachnophobia (duh), is bar none the jolliest person I’ve ever talked to at 8:30 in the morning on the subject of killer snakes.

Image of Albino Monocled Cobra from Chameleon Counters.

[Note: this is the complete transcript of the interview that appears, in edited form, in this week’s Guardian print version.]

May the “Force” be with you?


Somewhere between our best intentions (to rent The Constant Gardener, no less) and the new-release wall at Lost Weekend, we plunged into the vortex of Edison Force. The pull of Justin Timberlake’s movie-star debut — sundry cameos don’t count, including that worth-reconsidering turn as a flaming make-up artist in the will-Lance-Bass-get-the-girl comedy On the Line — was stronger than the Death Star’s tractor beam. Despite debuting at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, and boasting a somewhat prestigious cast (besides JT, you get Morgan Freeman, LL Cool J, Dylan McDermott, Cary Elwes, Piper Perabo, and an oddly coiffed Kevin Spacey), Edison Force went straight to video. And oh, we were ever about to find out why.


For sale: hooded jacket and sunglasses (slightly used)



The Smoking Gun posted the court document directing the U.S. Marshals Service to sell off Ted Kaczynski’s property — except the stuff pertaining to, you know, bomb-making and whatnot. Proceeds go to the victims. So far, no word on which online auction site will do the honors.