Passion = Truth? How Jeffrey James Francis Ircink Sees The World? I love when people are passionate about something. That surging of emotion is the one honest measure of what truth is. It's a truthful display of how a person really feels about something or someone at that particular moment. That passion IS truth.

About me...

My photo
Greendale, Wisconsin, United States
Ex-producer of THE REALLY FUNNY HORNY GOAT INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, playwright, actor, singer, outdoorsman, blogger, amateur photog, observer & bitcher, Beach Boys groupie, Brett Favre fanatic, lover of everything Celtic and forever a member in the Tribe of HAIR. Spent most of my life in the Village of Waterford, a small town just outside of the Milwaukee suburbs. After 12 years in North Hollywood, Bel Air and Culver City, Cali, I moved back to Wisconsin in September 2009. No regrets - of moving to LA OR moving back to WI. Have traveled to Belfast, Ireland, Dayton (OH), Manhattan, Seattle, Cedar Rapids, New York, Miami and Sydney, Australia with my plays. Moved back into the Village of Greendale where I was born. Life is good.


Friday, February 29, 2008

Does Belvedere Vodka Blow? Job market hot in Saskatchewan.

If you're not a vodka connoisseur, your tastes may change after seeing Belvedere Vodka's latest marketing campaign.

The ad below for Belvedere appeared on the front cover of a recent Hollywood Reporter and my office was in a titter (look it up). I was surprised because: 1) our firm is based in Los Angeles, California, 2) a few of those commenting on the "suggestiveness" of the ad weren't necessarily the most prudish people I've known - I wouldn't compare them to Jenna Jameson but they weren't Mother Theresa's either, and 3) those who made the comments acted like "sex sells" and subliminal/suggestive advertising were novel concepts only recently devised for use on Mad Men, AMC's 2007 television series set in the 1960's New York City advertising world.

Does the ad appear suggestive to you? Duh. For shits and giggles, check the link below for more titillating (sorry) ad examples:

Meanwhile, for those of you contemplating moving to the "Great White North", all signs point to a hot job market in Saskatchewan, according to reports released Tuesday by Statistics Canada.

PS - Women's Wear Daily is reporting that “the ad is the most expensive in Belvedere history — $20 million, more than triple the cost of the 2006 campaign.”

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Favre Retires...but just for two minutes.

It's not out of the ordinary for the webmaster-baters at to prepare - in advance - for possible up-coming news stories. The "will-Favre-retire-or-won't-he" story is one such news item that is prepped - but not activated until the story is true.

Enter "snafu". This page went up - only for a few minutes - accidentally, sending Packer faithful into a tizzy. It was quickly removed. I didn't see it (my cousin Scott called me after it was known the news was false). Had I seen it, I'd still be at the UCLA Medical Center recovering from a minor stroke.

And the faithful continue to wait.

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PRICELESS (Jeff's version)

Price of eye doctor appointment = $0
Price of parking = $0
Price of torn custom-made contact lens (new) =

PRICEY ($500, not covered by ins.)
PS - price of frustration with traffic on Santa Monica Blvd. west of the 405 = icepick in my temple
PSS - price of frustration for former "idiot" employer's insurance company who is supposed to be covering the $500 = 2 icepicks; one for "idiot" and for the the insurance company

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Theater or Film? A Playwright Neil Labute Explains.

Playwright and film-maker Neil Labute has written such films as The Wicker Man, The Shape of Things, Nurse Betty, Your Friends & Neighbors, In the Company of Men and his plays include Some Girl(s), Fat Pig, The Shape of Things, Bash: Latter-Day and In the Company of Men. While interviewed on NPR, Labute discussed, among other things, his West Coast premiere of Some Girl(s) at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood, CA. Here are Labute's 10 reasons why he'd rather direct cheap plays than Hollywood blockbusters

1.) No one ever says: "We're losing the light!"
Now, this isn't always true, of course - you might have someone from the electric company burst into the theatre and scream this out, but very rarely. What I mean is that in the theatre, you rarely do battle with the elements while you're trying to work, and that is a very good thing. No wind, no rain, no sunset - unless, of course, you ask your designers for them. And I've never had to shut down a theatre rehearsal because we spent too much time at the catering truck and now a cloud is hanging over our heads.

2.) The word is still king, or queen, or whatever
I watch and make films because they are delightful and transporting and lovely, but it is still most often in a theatrical space where I am flooded with the beauty of language and ideas. It is here where I am most often challenged as an audience member and as a person. Go see a David Hare or a Wallace Shawn or a Caryl Churchill or a Rebecca Gilman play and let yourself drown in the sweet, sweet language of it all.

3.) Plays deal in numbers I understand
Movies cost too damn much, for the most part - so much so that I can't really comprehend it all. Mickey Rooney used to say to Judy Garland, "Hey, my dad's got a barn, let's put on a show!" Today, if you want to make a film, you need to say: "Hey, my dad's got a barn - can we ask your dad for a million dollars?" I still talk with friends like Paul Rudd and Aaron Eckhart and plan out theatrical productions that we can pay for with the money in our collective pockets, rather than with the Gross National Product of Haiti. I made my first film for $25,000 and shot it in 11 days - and the reason it worked? Because I approached it as if it were a play: lots of rehearsal, shot in long takes, very static camera.

(Wait! There's more...)

4.) Rehearsal carries the day
In film, one often gets a few days' rehearsal and that's it. Figure it out on the run and, above all else, make that day's schedule. In the theatre, we still put emphasis on the elements that mean the most to me: actors and script. There is nothing more pleasurable than being in an empty rehearsal room with a group of actors and working on a scene. No technicians waiting around for lunch, no hair and makeup wanting to get done and go home. Just you and your actors, digging in and hunting for the truth. Spend a few hours watching Liev Schreiber work his way through a monologue or Rachel Weisz as she wrestles with a scene and you've found yourself at the gates of artistic heaven.

5.) The human factor
There is nothing that can replace the excitement of opening up the house and watching an audience take their places. The audience isn't there to sit back and be entertained. They play a part as important as anyone else involved in the production - they complete the triangle, as it were. To meet them head-on in that magic space between the stage and their seats is a bloody, beautiful contest (if you're doing it right). It can never be the same at the cinema. An audience may enjoy what they see, but the outcome on screen is inevitably the same.

6.) Process v. product
In the theatre, the definition between process and product is clear. We rehearse the work, we tech it, we bring the people in. In film, the process and product are symbiotic creatures - what you shoot on the first day must be as good as what you shoot on your last day, even though you've only begun to work together as a team. I find this method maddening and very often counter-productive. So much of how a film is shot is based on convenience rather than emotional truth. It rarely matters if an actor has to cry his or her eyes out, or make love with a co-star on the first day on set, as long as it works out on paper. In film, the schedule is everything.

7.) Computers do not rule
I dislike using computer effects in my film work, opting to do everything by hand whenever possible - the "old-fashioned" way, as they used to say. One of the beautiful realities of working in the theatre is that one rarely encounters mechanical or computer effects, at least in the kind of work I like to do. One of my favourite days shooting the film Possession was an elaborate scene that was shot very simply. Two couples (one Victorian, one present-day) pass each other in the same room, 150 years apart. I did it all in a single shot (without cuts) but had the walls of the room move about so that all the furnishings changed at a moment's notice. It was fun and theatrical and a great day for all of us.

8.) The limitations of the box are enchanting
I love the simple confines of a theatre - a black box, a proscenium, a found space. Even in my film work I prefer to move people within the frame rather than to move the frame itself. As a student, I used to hunt down new spaces to work in, trying to adapt shows to the places I would find. Pinter's One for the Road under the stairs of a Natural History Museum; Bond's Passion in the open air of a city park; my own work in a local bar with people sitting around, drinking and interacting with the actors. Movies require a technology, a screen, a bucket of popcorn. Theatre only needs someone to stand up and say: "Listen to this."

9.) Elitism is not necessarily a bad thing
I love the fact that theatre has to be sought out, hunted down, found. Once a movie opens you can find it anywhere - down the street, at the mall, in your neighbour's family room. But a play is usually at one place only in a given city. If you're rich or poor, young or old, hip or square, you still need to do the same as anybody else who wants to see it - sit yourself down in that space, in the dark and surrounded by people you don't know, and invest your time in it. I can try to describe to you what it's like to watch Gretchen Mol smile or Sigourney Weaver cry on stage, but if you haven't seen them do it ... well, you haven't really lived.

10.) It feels like home
I've really enjoyed the time I've spent working in film thus far in my career, but nothing feels like home as much as a theatre does. It doesn't matter where I am - LA, Chicago, New York, London - the gorgeous hush of a playing space can move me to tears (or as close as I get, anyway.) The possibilities that exist each night. The simple elegance of actors facing their audience with a handful of words. I've been lucky enough to work off-Broadway, at the Almeida Theatre and at the beautiful little jewellery box of a theatre that is the Gate in Dublin, as well as many other places. But they all feel the same to me in one way: I'm happy there and I feel that I'm meant to be there. This is what makes the difference. This is what makes me come back again and again. Film is a business - theatre is a religion.

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Heard on NPR today...

Per capita, NO city has come close to Milwaukee (my hometown) for the popularity and number of bowlers.

And I enjoy bowling. Might add I'm a former Duck pin bowling champ, don't ya know (ask your friends on the East Coast what that is).

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A recent email exchange between me and a co-worker.

What lead up to this point was an ongoing soap opera regarding B.'s "title" on the company website and how it was wrong and there was a conflict with her and another employee, who had a similar title but was in a different department, blah, blah, blah.

From: B.
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2008 11:19 AM
To: Jeff Ircink

I know you don’t give a crap – but I am the VP acquisitions CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMING. The difference between Robert and I is that he handles FILMS (not family related) and I handle Kids stuff. All requests for Children’s content shall go to me.


From: Jeff Ircink
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2008 11:39AM
To: B.

sorry b. actually i do give a crap. what i don't care for is your pushy attitude and your sense of entitlement.


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Make Art - Burry Thoughts

- from "Burry Thoughts"/The Burry Man Writer's Center, since 1997, a worldwide community of writers and a primary source of research information and freelance job leads for working professional and talented beginning writers.

"I hope you got a chance to watch the Oscars Sunday night, if only for one moment; when Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova won the Best Song award. Two struggling musicians who were basically in a movie for a lark (Hansard was in the movie "Once" by accident, because nobody else would sing his songs) winning this major award and being so overjoyed and humble about it. Hansard's statement at the mic: "Make art. Make art." There have been a few posts on Inked-In (a splinter writer group of Burry Man) during the short time we've been open from people who are attempting to "Do The Work", and feel they're failing. New member Shawn struggles with anxiety about his drumming. A long post run dealt with depression and how it attacks creativity. A casual conversation on our back porch and a newspaper article have somehow become an evening of jazz and a benefit concert, which I'm producing, because I consider it art. I also consider it very difficult, and a little scary; I feel the same way about my plays. Art isn't easy. It probably shouldn't be. We do it because ... well, because. The answer "because we have to" is too pat, too simple, it smacks of egotism. I make art because I'm driven, you don't because you're inferior. Simple answers aren't becoming, or truthful.We do it, those of us who do it, because we do it. Because it calls to us. And sometimes we don't do it. But if you lie back in the dark night, close your eyes and listen, very closely, the call is still there.

"Do the Work" - and trust."

The Burry Man Writers Center

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Get off Favre's Ass.

Regarding the post below on whether or not Brett Favre will retire, I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I am sick and tired of hearing about "the Favre watch" or the annual rite where Brett "holds the team at bay" deciding whether or not he wants to retire. Brett NEVER made a big deal about the retirement issue to begin with. THE MEDIA DID. I've made reference to this numerous times on my blog and on other sites, but because the media is nothing but a bunch of douche bags, I feel the need to rant once more (and I feel a decision from Brett is coming any day).

Just like after his 2nd or 4th or 6th season, Brett unpacks his locker at the end of the season and goes home to Mississippi to contemplate the past season while he rides his lawn mower/tractor on his acreage while chasing beaver off the river running through his property. And he and we all assume he's coming back. As the years go by and he finishes his 11th, 13th and 16th years with the Packers, Brett once again packs up his locker and heads home to contemplate life on his tractor and eat beaver - I mean, shoot beaver. It doesn't take a card-carry member of MENSA to assume Favre is getting closer to retirement than when he started with the Packers. Duh. So that begs the media to ask the question, "Will he or won't he?", and thus, the media created this circus - not Brett. The man has earned the right not to rush into any decision. Granted, he should be sensitive to the Packer organization's personnel needs as far as giving them an answer before a specific date, and he is sensitive about it. But the Packers have been "preparing" for Favre's eventual retirement for how many years now? They drafted his heir-apparent in QB Aaron Rodgers and in three full seasons Rogers hasn't played dick. And when he does play he gets hurt. Ya think the Packers were planning for Brett's retirement a little early? Hindsight's 20/20 but if I thought that and I don't know dick about operating a football team, than the Packers should've known that.

My point is take a pill and relax. The man is human and will have to retire at some point - though you'd think after the season he just had it would be a no-brainer that he'd return. I believe he's coming back. Course, I've been saying that every year since the "Favre watch" has began. One of these year's I'll be wrong.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Model Naomi Campbell hospitalized. Good.

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Naomi Campbell was hospitalized in Sao Paulo for the removal of a small cyst, her publicist said Tuesday.

Too bad. I thought perhaps she was having one of her infamous tantrums/fits and tossed a boomerang at someone - which then came back and smacked her in the skull.

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Will he or won't he? Favre to return to Packers?

Personally - I think he's coming back.

"Hopefully we’re close," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "We had a very good discussion last week. I know Ted (Thompson) talked to him in the last couple days. I should talk to him here in the next day or two. My whole thing with Brett is make a decision that you can commit 100% to. That’s what you have to do. For him, the season’s still fresh. He’s worn out from the season. He’s talking about it. He’ll do the right thing."

McCarthy was asked what the holdup is with Favre's decision. Favre finished second in the MVP voting and had indicated late in the season he'd have a decision sooner than a year ago. Last year, Favre announced he was coming back on Feb. 2. "You go through all the things that people think, that hey, he should play, he has a lot left, and that really has nothing to do with it," McCarthy said. "It’s not the fact that he knows he still can play. He had a great time this year. "

"It’s just the fact that he’s played a lot of football, and he’s had to fully commit himself and his family year in and year out. When you do get older, you have more responsibility, and he just wants to make sure he’ll be able to commit himself 100 percent. Because if he doesn’t think he’s 100 percent in, he thinks it might be his time to walk away."


McCarthy said he's taking some good-natured ribbing from others across the NFL who would love Favre to pack it up. "Oh yeah," McCarthy said. "Players and coaches. `Tell that old guy to retire.' I hear that all the time." Speaking of the other NFL teams, there are at least a few of the Packers' rivals and conference opponents are hoping he opts to walk away. "I doubt that's going to happen (just) from watching Brett play," said Minnesota coach Brad Childress, whose Vikings were 0-2 against the Packers in 2007, as Favre completed 65 of 91 passes for 695 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions (111.7 rating) in the two games. "Am I holding out any hopes that he quits? I probably (have more) hope that he falls off his lawnmower." Detroit Lions coach Rod Marinelli said, "Brett Favre is a heck of a football player. Would it help us for him to be somewhere else? Sure. But I just assume he's going to play forever."

"For sure, I want him to retire," said St. Louis coach Scott Linehan, whose Rams handled Favre (19-for-30, 225 yards, two TDs and two INTs) but still lost 33-14 on Dec. 16. "But I would be really surprised (if he does). You can just see, he's been reborn. He just defies everything. He just gets better with age. "As long as you can protect him, and they were able to get that running game going, (so) he didn't have to chuck it every time. He's unbelievable."

Linehan was among the coaches surprised and impressed by how well Favre played while turning 38 during the season. Favre finished the regular season having completed a career-best 66.5 percent of his regular-season passes for 4,155 yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions for a 95.7 passer rating, his best since 1995.

For his part, McCarthy said the only way Favre's indecision affects the Packers is if he doesn't decide by the start of free agency at 11 p.m. next Thursday. In that case, the Packers wouldn't know if they needed to sign a veteran backup for Aaron Rodgers if Favre did quit, or if his $12 million base salary for 2008 will be on the books. "I wouldn't play any differently with Brett or without Brett. Conceptually, we'll still attack it the same way," McCarthy said. "It doesn't change anything from a scheme (or) preparation standpoint." Still, despite some coaches' hopes, not all of Favre's would-be opponents would like to see him hang 'em up. Former Packers and current Seattle coach Mike Holmgren, whose team was knocked out of the playoffs for the second time in five years in an NFC divisional playoff game Jan. 12, will coach his final season with the Seahawks in 2008, and he hopes Favre is back for one more year, too. "You know what? I love seeing him. He plays great against me, and that's a tough thing, but I want him to play as long as he wants to play," said Holmgren, Favre's coach from 1992 through '98. "But I really have nothing to do with that. If he's there, I'll do what I always do — give him a hug, and (tell him) it's good to see him. If he's not there, then we play (against) whoever's playing."

In other Favre news, the Mississippi State Legislature honored Brett Favre for breaking several passing records this year. Favre, the former University of Southern Mississippi star from Kiln, was honored with a resolution last week.

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Stupid TV - The View and why-was-Whoopi-omitted-from-the-Oscar-montage

Who gives a rat's ass?

It was the 80th Oscars so montages were shown throughout the night on the winners, the hosts and other events surround the Oscars. Apparently - though shown receiving her Oscar - Whoopi Goldberg was left out of the montage of previous hosts. So was Steve Martin - but Steve doesn't work on The View with 3 other (4 if you include Barbara "Idiot" Walters) dingbats. There have been 13+ hosts and numerous Oscars with multiple hosts. I don't think they showed everyone. Calm down, Whoopi. It's not the end of the world.

And why in the hell is that Elisabeth Hasselbeck even on that show? What purpose does she serve? Nothing. My taint's more entertaining than anything that ex-survivor has to contribute.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Julie Christie Loses Oscar to Frenchy

Marion Cotillard stole the Oscar from Julie Christie. What? That's bullshit. Marion played Edith Piaff in La Vie en rose. Christie played a woman with Alzheimer's in Away From Her.

It's the only category I was passionate about. The French suck.

Couple other notes:

I'm intrigued by the movie, Juno, now after watching Ellen Page on The Barbara Walters Special following the Oscars. In particular, the quirky song from the flick, Anyone Else But You, by the Moldy Peaches. Barbara Walters told Page that "she didn't get it" (the song and the group performing it). Walters - retire. You're an idiot. Here's a clip:

I will also see Once based on the recommendation of my friend, Nick, and because it's set in Ireland and I liked the Oscar-winning song, Falling Slowly. Here's a clip:

The musicians are also the leads in the movie, a modern-day musical about a busker (to play music or perform entertainment in a public place, usually while soliciting money) and an immigrant and their eventful week in Dublin, as they write, rehearse and record songs that tell their love story.

I mentioned I'm pissed Julie Christie lost, right? I am pissed.

Oh - and it was exciting to see clips from the soon-to-be-released Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the 4th installment series (on The Barbara idiot Walters' special).

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sponsor a child. Do what's right.

Around the world, there are many children still living in poverty. And the best way to change their world is to help their community to become self-sufficient. This is what child sponsorship does. Child sponsorship helps to provide long term benefits to a sponsored child, their family and community by funding vital development work such as: digging wells for clean drinking water providing agricultural training so they can grow enough food to eat providing basic healthcare the chance for children to go to school.

When you sponsor a child, your support allows this organization to work with the child’s community on long-term community development projects. Your contribution of $43 a month is pooled with that of other sponsors. So you are helping not just one child but thousands in need.

I sponsor the above children - Nick and Yoshi, brothers from Sarejevo. I hope you'll do the same. Not the same as in these two - another child. Or two. And don't pick Sarejevo either.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

A chair I endorse.

Ikea's Jeff Chair. $9.99. And it's sturdy.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Are you watching Smart TV?

Mensa's Top 10 television shows:

Mensa Says: The repartee was sensational; the main characters were very good. Even though they portrayed people who were likely of high intelligence, they also showed their weaknesses. Yahoo! TV Says: Since Frasier and Niles would have been the poster boys for Mensa, this only makes sense. Well played, Mensa leader guy.

The West Wing
Mensa Says: You had to pay attention to stay up with it. The repartee was fast and furious and you needed a fairly high level intelligence to keep up with it. Yahoo! TV Says: Yes. Uh-huh. We agree with what he said. Especially about needing to be smart to keep up with it. Which we definitely were.

Boston Legal
Mensa Says: It's primarily because of the characters. The story lines are OK, but the characters are incredible and the writers give them great dialogue. Yahoo! TV Says: Sure, David E. Kelley consistently delivers quirky, complex, deeply-flawed characters. But "Boston Legal" is so goofy and over the top that we would never rank it in our top 10 smartest list -- if we had been smart enough to come up with one.

(Read on for the rest of the Top 10)


Mensa Says: [Carl] Sagan was able to communicate something extremely complicated to the layman and do it well, and that's unusual for a scientist at his level. Yahoo! TV Says: At first we gave ourselves extra smarty-pants points for having watched Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" as children. But when we learned that over 600 million people worldwide have seen it, we revoked our points and issued each other a layman's gold star.

Mensa Says: Again, it's high level type of show; it's the personality that makes it a winner, plus it deals with science. Yahoo! TV Says: Does this endorsement mean all the crazy medical mystery stuff that happens on "House" is actually possible?

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Mensa Says: The way they use science to solve their programs is intriguing to viewers. Yahoo! TV Says: More science. We've identified a trend.

All in the Family
Mensa Says: The show dealt with social issues before its time and was on the forefront of trying to show people's feelings, beliefs and the complexities of personality, in both a serious and comedic way. Yahoo! TV Says: We find it ironic that a show that featured the most infamously ignorant TV character found its place on Mensa's Top 10 list. We not only agree with this decision, more importantly we hope we used the word "ironic" properly.

Mad About You
Mensa Says: It’s a personal favorite, I loved the characters and the back and forth. It was very smart. Yahoo! TV Says: This is surprising. "Mad About You" is a very sweet and likable show, but not overly brainy. Maybe we were distracted by Murray the dog. That happens sometimes.

Mensa Says: It's about the only game show that really tries to test people's intelligence. There's very little luck involved, and there are few game shows like that. I don't watch it all that much honestly, but from what I've seen it tests more than knowledge, it tests intelligence too. Yahoo! TV Says: "Jeopardy" seems like it was handcrafted for Mensa by Mensa. Like the smart guy says, there are very few game shows that require book smarts to win the big prize; a couple of our other favorites would be "Cash Cab" and "Win Ben Stein's Money.

Mensa Says: It had smart repartee and was so much more than a comedy. Yahoo! TV Says: We 100% agree. M*A*S*H was brilliant in its ability to intertwine deep moral issues with laugh-out-loud comedy.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

I've been Warholized!

Try it yourself:

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Robert Evans, Oliver Peoples & the commerical I WAS and WASN'T involved with.

A few months ago my friend Tatjana approached me about helping a friend of hers with this film he's shooting. Legendary producer Bob Evans was going to be featured in an ad/short movie for Oliver Peoples' eyeware. During Bob's tenure at Paramount, the studio turned out landmark films such as Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, True Grit, Love Story, Harold and Maude, Serpico, The Conversation, Save the Tiger, The Great Gatsby, Rosemary's Baby, and The Godfather. He went out to produce such film as Chinatown, Marathon Man, Black Sunday, Popeye, Urban Cowboy, The Cotton Club, The Two Jakes, Sliver, Jade, The Phantom, and The Saint.

Back to the film. So, I outlined some ideas for what I thought the film should look like and emailed them to the director and left it at that. If he took any of my suggestions - great. Mind you, there was no compensation - just the possibility of working for him again (he's a photographer and owns his own company).

Here are some of my notes:

OLIVER PEOPLES/Robert Evans commercial/film

The current Oliver Peoples web campaign features a series of vignettes with men and women at play – lifestyle, slice-of-life, artsy. No dialogue. Just music.

I believe the focus of the Robert Evans film for Oliver Peoples should parallel the above – similar to the American Express ads. No dialogue. Just Robert’s VO. Music = piano, scattered notes and chords strung together pell-mell. The VO’s have nothing to do with sunglasses. However, Robert IS wearing them. The woman’s wearing them. So, in one manner of speaking, we can ALL be like Robert – and wear the sunglasses.

The VO’s would be, in effect, Robert talking to himself – sharing with the audience his philosophies on life, reflecting, asking questions, pondering. As the VO continues, the camera catches Robert in various emotional states: reflective, contemplative, joy, doubt and exhilaration. Interspersed with the VO’s and shots of Robert are shots of the Woman. She goes about her own business, perhaps glancing Robert’s way. Remember, we’re refraining from shedding any light on their relationship. Robert ponders, looks at her and ponders some more.

The entire film is shot in color – except Robert. He’s in black & white. He remains in b&w until the very end when the woman takes her foot and splashes him with a few drops of water. The water “colorizes” Robert and he delivers his final VO. The color change represents Robert contemplative state – signifying is reflective mood – b&w, and then the splash of water signifying the here and now.

At the very end, perhaps we see Robert’s signature scroll near the bottom – as if he himself is writing it out – if, in fact, Oliver Peoples wants to call attention to who he is.

OK. So that's a snippet of what I suggested to the director. Now go to the link below and watch the film:

It's a cool ad - he did a great job with it. And, he used some of my ideas - or were they his? We'll never know.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A sentence every playwright loves to hear.

"Dear Mr Ircink, the Festival wishes to accept your play for consideration."
- regarding my full-length play, "Chromosome 21".

The festival is the Icicle Creek Theatre Festival, just east of Seattle. To qualify scripts so they're not flooded with subpar material, you send in a synopsis, character information and a statement about where the play has been, where you think it's headed as far as development, what you want out of the workshop, etc. - they sort through that and then pick which scripts they'd like to read and pick the final two or three to workshop. It's a crapshoot but that's what a writer does.

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Julie Christie Interview on NPR's Morning Edition

NPR had an interview with Julie Christie this morning (my favorite actress - see previous posts). You can listen to a bit of the interview here:

Julie Christie: After Decades, Oscar's 'Darling' Again?

Morning Edition, February 20, 2008. One of this Sunday's Oscar nominees is a woman who has a long history with the statuette: Julie Christie won an Academy Award more than four decades ago. Now she's nominated for another award — for a film about a four-decade marriage. Away from Her, in which Christie plays a woman in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, was written and directed by a woman still in her 20s: Sarah Polley, the latest in an an astonishing list of talented filmmakers who've directed Julie Christie. John Schlesinger's Darling brought her fame, David Lean's Dr. Zhivago superstardom. And then there was Truffaut, Altman, Nicholas Roeg. And then, when she was still a young star, and a hugely famous one, Christie walked away from Hollywood and settled in a remote part of Wales. She tells NPR's Renee Montagne, who's a friend, that it wasn't hard.

Julie Christie in Petulia.

"Oh, God no," she says. "I'm just a hippie at heart, and there I was [in Hollywood], pretending to be something else. And all I wanted to do was get the vegetables going."

Much is often made of how difficult it can be for actresses to find parts in Hollywood once they're past a certain age. But Christie has twice been nominated for Oscars for parts she played after she turned 50. She tells Renee Montagne that age has its benefits.

"I think I'm more focused now," Christie says. "I've not only got a bigger perspective, but I can refine my perspective now, bring it right down and make it laser sharp — I mean, if I'm lucky. ... I was working more in a fog before."

As for the jobs question: "I think it's true of women in every job," Christie says. "It's not just to do with acting." (Though actors, she says, "have the biggest voice, so they shout about it a lot.")

Though they've known each other for years, Julie Christie and Renee Montagne had never previously discussed Christie's career at any length. "I never talk about my work," Christie laughs. "I think it's so tedious, talking about your own work. I like talking, getting information, giving information, listening, growing as the conversation continues," Christie says. "But I've never been terribly interested in acting, so I wouldn't think of it as the most interesting thing in the world to sit and talk with someone about — in fact I never have."

Acting, at least for Christie, is a thing that happens in the moment, then evaporates. "When it's over," she says, "it's so over that I can't remember a single thing about it."

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Cuthbert, Banks, Jones, & McAdams. Have you ever seen them together in the same room?

Elizabeth. Elisha. January. Rachel. Top to bottom. Like'em all. Have seen a total of 14 of their movies. Why don't they ever appear together so I can put aside my conspiracy theory that, in fact, they're one-in-the-same?

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Kahuna is recovering nicely.

Left to right: Kenny, Bill D., dad (sitting), Bill P. Greg, Cousin Gerry, brother Jason.

A close hunting friend of ours - Kenny Koepsel - just had quadruple bypass surgery Saturday. He's fine but I wanted to throw a couple pictures of him up on the blog - my way of letting him know we're all (hunting group) thinking about him.

The Kahuna (left) and my dad.

Everyone calls Kenny the "Kahuna" because he organizes all our bowhunting trip and the hunts throughout the day ("drives"). My dad hunted has been hunting with Ken since he was a teenager. Good man, the Kahuna. I wish you knew him like we do.

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"God damn LA drivers!"

My annual walleye fishing trip back home in Wisconsin begins 2 months and 3 weeks from now - Mother's Day weekend. We head up to the Rainbow Flowage in Lake Tomahawk. That's about five hours straight up into northern Wisconsin - an hour from the UP (Upper Peninsula of Michigan). God's country - truly. What does this have to do with driving my car in LA?

Seems as my DHA levels are low and driving in this LA traffic is not healthy when your DHA levels are down. That's according to scientists at Toyama University in Japan who have found strong evidence for a link between omega-3 (DHA) deficiency and anger/stress. Seems omega-3 is found in cold-water fish and has been touted by researchers as a heart-healthy beneficial fat with links between low levels of DHA in the brain and people with violent tendencies (road rage).


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Au Revoir, Fidel.

Now maybe we can all fly to Cuba for a long weekend. Rates from LA are $624.

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"I knew Marilyn Monroe and Ms. Lohan - you are not Marilyn Monroe."

Bert Stern's famous "last sitting" pictures of Marilyn Monroe in 1962 are recreated in the February issue of New York Magazine by none other than resident Hollyweird psycho Lindsay Lohan. In case you don't come across the pictures on the internet, here's the best one of the lot.

Bert took these as well. For the record, Ms. Lohan will never be a Marilyn Monroe (not that she said she is); she should never be compared to Marilyn Monroe; if Lohan's life came to an abrupt end she STILL could never be compared to Marilyn Monroe. Here are the rest of the pictures.

That's a helluva picture, ain't it?But for the record, I distain LL and her ilk. See this post - "What If Britney, Jessica, Lindsay and Paris Were All Involved in a Train Wreck?"

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Oil Rigs and Barbed Wire Fencing

As I made the trek along my usual 5-mile walk through Culver City today (I walk 15 miles a week), I decided to venture through some undiscovered territory - Culver City Park. Now the section of the park I normally walk by is the skate park. The part I never see is in back of the skate park and then along a road that takes you up to the top of a hill, revealing a couple new softball diamonds - I was impressed. Great vantage point for a picture of the surrounding city. This path was more scenic of a walk.

Once at the top I had a great view of Century City (background) and Culver City (foreground). For those of you who don't know, Century City used to belong to 20th Century Fox studios. Much of that land was the backlot - old west town, etc. It was replaced by offices in the 70's and one of the Planet of the Apes flicks (the one when the apes take over the city) was filmed on that spot.

Now adjacent to the park are these oil rigs. They're all over Los Angeles County. You can see some from the beach, near the airport...strange site for Los Angeles. Signs read - Plains Exploration and Production Company. I looked them up on the internet - they're an "independent oil and gas company primarily engaged in the activities of acquiring, developing, exploiting, exploring and producing oil and gas properties in the United States. They own oil and gas properties with principal operations in - the Los Angeles and San Joaquin Basins onshore California, the Santa Maria Basin offshore California, the Piceance Basin in Colorado, the Green River Basin in Wyoming, the Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico, and the Gulf Coast Basin onshore and offshore Louisiana, including the Gulf of Mexico."

Sometimes the rigs work in pairs.

And sometimes they prefer to work alone.

As I descended down the hill out of the park (I took the road), I noticed the fencing along the side of the road enclosing the oil rigs.

And I read the signs posted on every section: Barbed Wire Fence.

And I wondered just how many idiots are living in this city.

As I left, I turned back and waved goodbye. 'Goodbye, ole 59'.

And I wondered what secrets lie beyond the Barbed Wire Fences put up by the Plains Explorations and Production Company that they would prefer I don't trespass-loiter-trespass.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

And people still think I only like blondes.

Mmmmm...redheads. This is Melissa. I took this picture of the big-screen TV with my digital. Needless to say I was "struck" by her beauty.

She's the wife of Seth "Shifty" Binzer, one of the celebs featured on Dr. Drew's Celebrity Rehab. What can I say? It's a guilty pleasure of mine - mainly because Jeff Conaway (Taxi, Grease) is one of the patients at this clinic in Pasadena and I like him; I met him once. Shifty's the lead singer of the group Crazytown who wrote and sang the smash hits "Butterfly" and "Starry Eyed Surprise".

Am I still a bad boy for watching Celebrity Rehab?

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Hafa Adai!

Not exactly sure what that means in Guam-ish but I assume it's some sort of greeting. Like, 'Don't worry - we gave up headhunting 20 years ago'. That's my cousin Joe (dad's side) and his girlfriend Brenda in Guam. She's a nurse and just began a 3-month stint with her placement firm working in a hospital delivering baby Guamites. Pretty, isn't it? I'm talking about the scenery. Thought about what a great time my brother and I would have visiting them but found out it's a $1900 plane ticket from LA. Shit - for $600 I could go back to Ireland and live like a nobleman. Alright, an upper, lowerclass peasant.

Not that you kids will be pressed for things to do there, but if you get bored and are looking for some fun summer-ish ideas, read my post from this past summer - one of my favorites: Notice the similarities in our subject line???

Enjoy the islands, you two. And thanks again for the fleece!

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Be Patient, Midwest

In the face of more snow today, I have to give a shout to all my hommies back in the Midwest - yo, won't be long before your landscape resembles the above picture taken by my friend, Janis. This is near a quarry just west of Milwaukee where Janis takes her dog running.

Ain't they purdy flowers? Peace out, biatch. (Well that's how they talk, right?)

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Garage door in Culver City.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Two of my Venice Canal shots featured on "Californication"

In anticipation of the 2nd season of Showtime's Californication, I just finished re-watching the first season. I'll cut to the punch - star and executive producer David Duchovny is brilliant (recently won a Golden Globe) in his turn as Hank Moody, a novelist who moved to Venice, CA to from NYC in order to see his name on the big screen, but it turns out he hates LA, lost the woman of his dreams that he had a love child with, and drinks, smokes and screws everything in sight - this show is not for kids. That being said ('cause I'm no kid), the writing, acting and music is an A+ all the way through. It's one of the smartest shows on TV.

I'll give you a little taste - three clips you have to watch: 1) select scenes from Season 1, Episode 1, 2) Hank Hates You All and 3) Hank knows how to sweet-talk a woman on the first date.

Truthfully, perhaps one of the reasons I'm attracted to the show is that I identify with the character of Hank. Could be a little of me in Hank. Or is it a little of Hank in me? Maybe it's David Duchovny. Anyway, I love the show, though I shouldn't really make that public. One of the last shows I loved was Rome on HBO and it was yanked after two seasons.

Which brings me to these pictures. I took them last summer along the Venice Canals. The one above is featured in my book, PASSION = TRUTH, A photographic essay on life's truths (see right panel for order information). BOTH vistas are featured in Episode 9, "Filthy Lucre" at about the 14 minute mark. You can see the boats in the picture above in the master shot below, at the left base of the bridge. See?

None of this means anything. Just thought it was funny when I saw the shots in the show. Like know.

Stay tuned for a post on the women in Hank's life and more YouTube clips from the show. "Dude, dude...she's gonna blow."

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This - is a Siamang.

A baby Siamang, to be more precise. About six days old. A face only a mother could love. Cutie, isn't he?

The Siamang is a tailless, arboreal, black furred gibbon native to the forests of Malaysia, Thailand, and Sumatra. The largest of the lesser apes, the siamang can be twice the size of other gibbons, reaching 1 m in height, and weighing up to 23 kg. They mainly subsist on the various parts of plants, with 60% of their diet being fruit. As the forest disappears in their habitat, so will the Siamang.

Unlike other parts of Asia, primates are not hunted for their meat in Indonesia (the exception is in some Chinese restaurants in Indonesia). However, they are poached and hunted for the illegal pet trade, mostly for infant Siamang. Poachers kill the mothers because mother Siamang are highly protective of their infants. It is therefore very difficult to remove the infant without first killing the mother. Despite the fact that most Siamang on the market are infants many infants nevertheless die during transportation.

I bowhunt whitetail deer and fish. I guarantee you I could NEVER lift a finger to harm this little guy.

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Chad Smith or Will Ferrell?

One of these guys is the actor, Will Farrell. The other one is Chad Smith, drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The question is - which one's which? (Don't let the drumsticks fool you. Could be a rouse.)

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Friday, February 15, 2008

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Jean-Dominique Bauby at the Naval Hospital at Berck-sur-Mer, on the French Channel coast.

We all have some cross to bear in life. A physical or mental handicap. Depression. Alcoholism. Abuse. Loveless marriage. Out-of-work. Debt. Something we did. Someone we harmed. A secret. A natural disaster just leveled your home. The death of a loved one. Illness. Something. Whatever it is those around us try and support us the best way they know. They tell us, "things could be worse" or "that soldier just came back from Iraq and he lost an arm and a leg". Yeh - you could be worse off. You could be dead. As nice as they are, those words of encouragement offer little consequence to the particular situation we find ourselves in. Yourself in.

I just finished the book, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - an autobiographical testimonial of sorts of Jean-Dominque Bauby, the 43-year-old former editor of French Elle magazine, who suffered a stroke which severely damaged his brain stem in 1995. After several weeks in a coma, he woke to find that he was one of the rare victims of a condition called "locked-in syndrome" or LIS, which had left his mind functioning but his body almost completely paralyzed - except for his left eyelid. Through a rearrangement of the French alphabet, he translated his story, letter by letter, to an assistant. He died two years after this book was published. It's been made into a movie of the same name and is nominated for multiple Academy Awards. I heard it is beautiful.

The "diving bell" and "butterfly" references in the title are Bauby's comparisons to the state of his life - the diving bell represents the state his body is in and the butterfly represents his imagination's ability to take him out of his body to anywhere he chooses - building castles in Spain, discovering the Golden Fleece, at war with Napoleon, taking a walk on the French coast, visiting a woman you're in love with, etc. If you were a butterfly, what would you do? Where would you go?

Having suffered an eye injury in 2004 that left me cosmetically handicapped (I wear a cosmetic lens to cover the damage), I understand some of what Bauby suffered through. In the blink of an eye (forget about the pun), my life changed. Am I worse off than Bauby was? No. But that doesn't make my condition any less severe or traumatic than his. It's subjective. Understand?

I recently self-published a book of my photography called, PASSION = TRUTH, A photographic essay on life's truths (see right panel to order), and I wrote the passage below on how my life changed since my accident. It's not my intention to take away from the subject matter of this post, but to, in my own way, illustrate my own diving bell and butterfly.

i feel the impact of my
eye injury in many ways
sadness, anger and bitterness
my self-confidence is not
what it once was
it's affected my acting
it's affected aspects
of my personal relationships
if i happen to glance
at my favorite portrait of
myself as a child, i think
'where has that little boy
with the beautiful brown
eyes disappeared to?'
i wish he was here but
he's gone forever
i am loved
by many and yet
my injury won't go away
in an industry where image
is god i feel i am at a loss
i wonder what others say
'do they think i'm ugly?'
but i'm the same person
inside as i was before
how soon the strangers forget
i'm surviving but
i am still haunted

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Reprint of May Post - Romeo & Juliet

(In the spirit of today's holiday, I thought I'd reprint this from my May 2007 trip to New York City.)

Ahh...R & J. Those crazy kids. This is outside the Shakespeare Theater in Central Park. Tragic love or true love? You decide which is right...and which is an illusion. Anyway...yes - love. Good love. Bad love. Love-in's. Unrequited love. Can't love with'em and ya can't love without'em. Can't buy me love (Beatles). Love surrounds me (Dennis Wilson). Love the one you're with (CSNY). Love Gun (KISS). Love is real (Lennon). Love hurts (Nazareth). Love stinks (J. Giles). It breaks your heart and will drive any person mad.

Ain't love grand?

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Happy VD Day.

Try this twist on a tried-and-true VD gift. Bite into a solid, milk or dark chocolate, anatomically correct human heart. Made from premium chocolate, they make the ultimate gift for mortuary students, pathologists, embalmers, or your sweetheart. Packaged in a white gift box. Total Weight: 1 lb. Mmmmmm...the left ventricle is my favorite!

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"No Movie for Little Kids". Duh.

Saw "No Country for Old Men" tonight. Great flick. Different then the other Coen Brother movies I've seen. Loved the ending. Had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

What also had me on the edge of my seat was what appeared to be a man, his father and two children - ages 5-6 and 7-8 (presumably the son's children) in the theater with me. They spoke with an accent, though I can't be certain the nationality. Caucasian. Children didn't have an accent. And the grandfather had his phone on - and actually took a call during the show.

Dumb bastards. These are people who I want to beat until unrecognizable only by dental records. They weren't really a nuisance - aside from the one phone call - or I would've said something. I should go back to the theater (Culver Plaza) and question the fact that they allowed adults to bring children into that particular flick. Though the R rating on this film allows children under 17 as long as they're accompanied by an adult, this was beyond-absurdity-judgement on the part of the two men. No questions. Period.

I know two adults with foreign accents in Culver City, CA that should seriously have their heads examined with a compressed-air cattle gun.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I See What Spencer Tracy Saw In Kate Hepburn...

Katharine Hepburn on stage at the Colonial Theater during the Boston run of "The Philadelphia Story," March 1939.

Honestly, I haven't seen that many Hepburn movies. At least, not enough to qualify as a fan or expert - Adam's Rib, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?, On Golden Pond, The Lion in Winter, Pat & Mike, Rooster Cogburn, The Glass Menagerie - that's it. I never paid much attention to what she looked like when she was younger but this picture is striking.

Fiesty bitch - Hepburn. And beautiful to boot.

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