Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lena Dunham Auditions For Zero Dark Thirty

After several days spent chained to my editing suite, we've submitted the rough cut of Birthday Cake to Frameline Film Festival. Yay! I'm pretty drained, and prepping for my NYC trip, so here's something funny. Chelsea Davison's impression of Lena Dunham is too good. I love it. 

NYC, see you this weekend!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Someone Wrote That Song

This is an issue that's been going on for a while and I addressed it on this blog back in the day during that kerfuffle with Jason Robert Brown and the kids on his blog. Some say the economics have changed and writers can just go eff themselves, but I really think a lot of it is about education and attitude-- particularly indoctrinating young people. When you teach people that something and someone's work is valuable, they'll think it's valuable. When they see the through-line, they'll understand. I'd still rather give sheet music to someone who couldn't afford it than have it stolen. 

And that's why I'm so excited that Dramatists' Guild and a whole bunch of my friends made this video. Yay for purchasing sheet music and making it so writers can keep writing. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Skyfall & Bond 50

Were you as disappointed with the 50 years of Bond "Tribute" as I was? I mean, I heard they had something better planned... with all the Bonds and more of a music montage... that fell about at the last minute thanks to some butt hurt egotism from Pierce Brosnan or something. But still. 

I wish the video montage below had been in place of that sad one they clearly threw together at the last minute. 

For the record, I think Skyfall is one of the best, if not the best of the modern Bonds. I'm not even just saying that because of the Scotland/Glen Etive/Glencoe connection. (About time they went back to Bond's Scottish roots! Huzzah for Scotland on Film!) Or because of Ben Whishaw as Q. (Though that definitely helps too.) I think Skyfall was robbed of Best Cinematography on Sunday night. I'm all in support of the VFX battle that's going on right now. Which is why I think it's great that Life of Pi won for VFX. But Skyfall should have taken cinematography. 

And I hope that one day, Bond will get a tribute-- at the Oscars or somewhere else-- worthy of its champion status. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday Music - Cillie Barnes - Hey Hi

Vanessa Long, aka Cillie Barnes, is an awesome LA folk-pop outfit that I so wish would make an album. I heard about her through a friend of mine who manages one of my faaaaavorite bands. I loved "Indian Hill," I love this song, I love 'em all, really. In the mean time, follow Cillie Barnes here. And get a little "Hey Hi" going on for your Monday. She wrote this song about being open to engaging new people and I'm definitely working on being in that frame of mind myself. So, Hey... Hi! Happy Monday.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tune in to see Haviland singing with The Miz on the Oscars

When Haviland and I first became friends, she was still performing in Les Miserables on Broadway, covering Fantine. She sings a helluva "I Dreamed a Dream," I can tell you that much. And I'm so excited to tune in later tonight to watch her singing again with The Miz on the Oscars. It's a Les Miz buffet of talent past and present. There's cast members from the Broadway revival, the West End, Hollywood Bowl concert,  and of course the film. While I doubt Les Mis/z will be taking home many trophies tonight, I'm just happy to see that gathering of people. 

Congrats, Havi! Break a leg!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Buddhist in America - Michelle Joo

This is a really amazing series on real people practicing Buddhism today made by my friends in faith in New York. It chronicles the stories of a good many of my friends, as well. Last night, at my district meeting, Michelle's sister was there and said some really great and true things about her, so I just wanted to share her episode of the series with you all. She's one of the most stylish, hip, smart, talented, cool people I know. Rock on. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Covering Otis Friday Links

This was one the best weeks I've had in a long, long time. I was sort of starving myself of all the things I loved. There are probably a lot of reasons I do things like that, but I'm going to try to do less of it from now on. Let's listen to some Otis. And reap the gifts of the internets. 

Hope you have a great weekend!

- Best Otis Redding Covers playlist. Boom. 
- Necessary punctuation marks for modern living. I like Andorpersand.
- This is the most adorable item of clothing I've ever seen
- This is a sad story. Kate vs. Hilary? Way to be reductive, idiots. Read the essay. 
- Flannery O'Connor: Epiphanies aren't permanent. True. 
- McC was recently charged 6K for a trip to the emergency room to wait for hours and receive no care. Our health care is a joke

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cause & Effect - Midway Film

Through my very dear friend Torcuil, I gained a new appreciation for birds while I was living in Scotland. Living in New York, birds are more of a nuisance than anything else. But now that I know what to look for, I can't help notice the thrushes flying over my apartment terrace in Madrid or the murmurations of starlings all the time... even in Los Angeles traffic. 

Which is why this video trailer for the film Midway made me feel so profoundly sad. On trash days in New York, I used to have to shield my eyes from the mountains of bags. If I allowed it in; allowed myself to process it, I'd be depressed the rest of the day. But you gotta let it in. Because it all ends up somewhere. Please watch this.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Team HotMess on Amazing Race Canada

Hey, listen up Canadian pals! My awesome friend and celebrity trainer, Craig Ramsay, is auditioning with his bestie, Cristal, for Amazing Race Canada. We were under the gun, but I helped them make a little video where we secretly filmed Cristal. 

You might remember Craig from Thintervention on Bravo. (Or if you're a Broadway person, from Mamma Mia and Fiddler on the Roof.)He also has a couple of kick ass fitness books, which you should check out. But first, please throw your support to Team HotMess. I'd love to see these two take Canada by storm.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Illustrated Timelapse Universal History of Music

Even though this is technically in Spanish, I feel confident that it will not diminish your experience of its awesomeness. Enjoy! Happy Tuesday. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Quote For Presidents' Day

Hi. I'm back. Happy Presidents' Day. I'll be more fully back later this week, but in the meantime, in the spirit of today, I wanted to post my favorite quote from Abraham Lincoln. It was always my favorite, but it took on a whole extra layer of emotion and meaning when it was uttered by Ben Whishaw, as Freddie Lyon, one of my all-time favorite television characters, in the Season 2 (and now what appears to be the series as a whole) finale of what might be my favorite television show of all time, The Hour. That episode stays with me still. If you haven't seen The Hour, please find a way to do so

And Lincoln, good on ya. Quite the premonition there, Uncle Abe.

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”—U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864 (letter to Col. William F. Elkins) 
This is the scene that immediately follows the Lincoln quote and ends the series. DON'T watch it until you've seen the whole thing. But please please watch this show. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Crush Week: Bearded Aussies Justin O'Shea & Tom Bull

I did it! I found some smokin' hot male people. They aren't people I actually know, but let's just run with it. Aussies don't really crank the dials for me the same way they do a lot of ladies I know, but these two are sort of special. 

I'm pretty sure Justin O'Shea (the worldwide buying director of is gay (I try to avoid listening to his speaking voice, in order to keep that knowledge at bay), but perhaps that's part of his appeal. It's all just hypothetical. As Anne Taintor says, "She liked imaginary men best of all."  

I feel like Justin O'Shea is the grown up version of fellow Aussie, Tom Bull. And I know, Tom Bull looks already grown up (and grown up RIGHT!) but he's like fourteen years old. Oof. He does mention an ex-girlfriend though, so at he's playing for the team. 

Blonde beards. Rugged. What is my deal? 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Crush Week: I Heart CHVRCHES

CHVRCHES has pretty much everything I need in to order to commit to a band: chick singer with dude backups, some electronic goings on, list Prince & Depeche Mode as one of their primary influences, possess UK passports, and most importantly: Scottish residency. I was fortunate enough to see Glasgow natives, CHVRCHES, by accident (they had only JUST formed) while I was living in Scotland and have loved them ever since--- even though they haven't had much music for purchasing via the internet

I am happily awaiting their EP next month in the US. In the meantime, I've used my still-active UK itunes to download a few things. Lead singer Lauren Mayberry kind of reminds me of Hayley Williams-- in a good way. She's also a lawyer...and a journalist-- so watch the fuck out. Iain Cook & Martin Doherty, on the other hand, are sort of a Scottish indie rock mainstays-- having previously founded Aereogramme & The Unwinding Hours  and The Twilight Sad, respectively. CHVRCHES spent most of 2012 on tour with Passion Pit. Personally, I'd like to see them go out with Polica. That's a concert I'd jump to see. 

Even without Polica, I'm still planning on seeing them here in LA at the Echoplex on March 12th. See you there??

They're also the first band I've seen to have the good sense to take promo photos in front of the Scottish National Galleries neon installations by Nathan Coley

For more, check out here and here. And a Prince cover

Monday, February 11, 2013

Crush Week: Griffith Park

I started Crush Week on this blog a couple of years ago as a way to entice myself to find something to like about Valentine's Day. Either guys who were out there somewhere just being crush-worthy or, as has turned out to be the more frequent case, things, ideas, places, etc that make me feel a little hope and a little romance in daily life. 

I'll warn you that I don't find much about the male species to be crush-worthy these days. I'm gonna try real hard this week to give you at least one example of a dude I find crush-worthy. But I'll prep you now, the select things I am loving about life these days are more like bands, food products, and freedom in my schedule to hike Griffith Park every day. 

Which brings us to the number one thing I have a crush on and that's Griffith Park. With very few exceptions, especially since I took back control of my own employment schedule, I hike up to  the Griffith Observatory every morning. It's also the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning too, as it's my view from my bedroom window. 

A lot of the time, no matter where I move, I feel like everything is the same. Nothing will ever change or advance. I keep moving, but I'm not getting anywhere. Hiking Griffith in the sun, with bare shoulders, even in January or February chips away just a little bit, at that notion that nothing is ever going to get better. You can move somewhere with sunshine, at least. And you can carve out one hour a day, at the very least to appreciate that, if nothing else. 

Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

New BBC Drama - The White Queen

Get ready for a whole 10 episodes of scheming Richard III and the War of the Roses in new BBC/Starz drama, The White Queen. Based on the books by Other Boleyn Girl author, Philippa Gregory, the new series got a nice press bump from the recently discovered remains of Richard--- underneath a car park in Leicester

The series stars Aneurin Barnard (of the West End Spring Awakening) as Richard III and (counter-intutively, Swedish) Rebecca Ferguson as the White Queen. I look forwar to disappearing for 10 hours into this one. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Today Sounds Like This - Solange - Losing You

So eighties. So awesome. Today was a lovely carefree day worthy of this. Get it, Solange. Also, live.
Also! Remember that one time when Solange was maybe gonna be in VOTE! ??? AHAHAHHA

Friday, February 8, 2013

I Burned Through All of House of Cards Last Week, So Now What Do I Do With My Life? Friday Links

How can I be this busy without having a proper job? Or perhaps a better question is, how was I getting all this done when I had one? Never mind, it's all fifth gear over here in Melrose Hill, home of the revamped, suped-up littlewowproductions. We were in the studio most of the week with Nicholas & Alexandra and we've got some tracks we're so excited and nearly ready to show you. After this week though, I'm taking it easy over the next few days and logging some hours in my PJs. 

Next week, I will reluctantly bring you my third annual crush week. Though pretty much the only thing I have a crush on is House of Cards on Netflix and my Magic Bullet Smoothie Maker. 

- Intriguing passports of famous artists and writers
- Eight days alone in London.
- I won't hire people who use poor grammar. WORD. 
- The comedy of cruelty.
- Reeeeally interesting article about ADHD treatment and our love of prescriptions
- Money and Depression: Telling Your Boss or Not
- I'm still loving the crap out of Pedestrian Verse. Now I want the vinyl

Finally, more Roald Dahl turned into musicals! Hooray! Brits! Shaiman & Wittman (again.) Candy!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Consider Me - Nashville

After spending a lot of time thinking about and writing about SMASH yesterday, what a refreshing change to watch NASHVILLE at the end of the day. I sure wish the writers of SMASH are watching that show. I sure wish Kat McPhee would learn a thing or two from both Hayden Panetierre and Connie Britton. Nashville is my most looked-forward-to show happy watch each week. It's doing everything right that SMASH is doing wrong. 

One such example is this song. Work the steel line OUT. Just a little something for your Thursday. Buy it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

SMASH Season 2 Premiere - The Fall Out

Hi. I'm back again with the SMASH recapping. No, not the funny ones. That's Rachel Shukert. I'm the painfully earnest one. But I just can't help myself. You can read my thoughts on Part One of the premiere here. Or any of my Season One Recaps from BroadwaySpotted here. Now, onward to part two: The Fallout

And indeed, that's what this was. Particularly when held up against that first hour. 

The best thing about the second part of SMASH's season 2 finale was all the Broadway people. In addition to Jeremy Jordan, Andy Mientus & Krysta Rodriguez, this episode gave us Annaleigh Ashford, Mara Davi and the lovely Brynn O'Malley. Not to mention...The Fierstein. 

Tied for the best thing in The Fallout is Megan Hilty's performance of "They Just Keep Movin' The Line." I say her performance and not the song because, the song is just ok for me. And leads me back to a statement I feel I make again and again which is that Bombshell has two of every song. Each song should serve an individual purpose in the show and Bombshell doubles up on all of them. "National Pastime" does the same thing as that Wolf Howl song, and for that matter, also "Let's Be Bad." There are 22 songs in Bombshell-- a musical with basically no book! That's at least a seven too many, as far as I'm concerned. "They Just Keep Moving the Line" feels like one more Marilyn desperation to make it song-- and way more appropriate for Ivy to sing than Marilyn. That being said, I'm glad Ivy sang it. Which is to say, I'm glad Megan Hilty sang it. Because Megan Hilty = butter.

There are also two things tied for the worst thing about The Fallout. (There is also a long list of honorable mentions including the "Would I Lie To You" hallucination number and any moment in which Karen tries to seduce anyone, which we were tortured with again this ep.) 

The first worst is that as bitchy as theatre gets, the president of the American Theatre Wing would never kick Tom, Julia and Eileen out of a dinner. As in, order them to leave. Though, if you're going to portray the woman as a judgmental battle-ax  might as well go straight to Margo Martindale who has never played anything but a snakey, sad, judgmental battle-ax in her entire career. Kind of a weak move. And I was personally offended on behalf of the theatre community. I don't think we'd ever do that. (Anyone with stories to the contrary, please feel free to correct so I can lose that final shred of hope I had for humanity.) Worst thing number two isn't just a problem with The Fallout though. It's a long running problem. Even more than my Julia problem. I mean, at least I HATE her. At least she elicits a response with her unprofessionalism and constant wallowing victimhood. 

But Karen is the dullest thing ever served on white rice. I feel like a broke record with this. Everything with her is a case of show don't tell. They keep on and keep on telling us there's something special about her. Well, I've watched every ep and I sure don't see it. Like when they tell us a song is very good. Nope, you gotta just play the song and let us decide. Everything she sings, every line she says, Kat McPhee just drops it on the floor. She is wasting Jeremy Jordan's sizzle. I hope he continues to make fun of her for the rest of the season. She is walking particle board. Or, to just go ahead and quote Rachel Shukert,  she is "the human equivalent of one of those grocery store peaches that looks like a Cezanne but tastes like the inside of a mattress..."

But on that note, the worst worst thing about The Fallout was its ratings. Only 1.1 million viewers. Let's hope there's no yanking the show. Because I can't wait to see how Jimmy Collins thinks anything will ever happen to his music without the help of actors, directors, producers or audience members. And because what replacement masochistic method could I ever hope to find of this caliber and high production values?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Duncan Sheik - Lay Down Your Weapons - Free Download

Duncan released a new song today, available for free download off his website. It has a similar vibe to the other stuff he was writing at that time period, while he was touring Indonesia. And it seems to be coming from the same emotional plain. 

One of the things I've always liked best about Duncan is his ability to see how the pieces all connect. And in my life, Duncan has served as a little indicator light for connecting things as well. Whenever he turns up-- be it in person and we chant together, or in music-- I am reminded of my own proclivity and need to step back and see how the way we do one thing is the way we do everything. And to be aware of that. Here is his commentary on the song. You can download it for free here

I wrote Lay Down Your Weapons in 2011 while on tour in Indonesia. I have been playing it live during the past couple of tours and there have been many requests that I release some version of it. Because of the the senseless, ongoing gun violence that is plaguing America I felt even more acutely that I wanted this song to be available to anyone who wanted to hear it. The lyric was not written as a political statement and is obviously a metaphor about fraught human relationships but I do feel personally there are many types of weapons out there that need to be “laid down” for good and forever. Thank you for listening.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Jane Badler - My New Personal Hero

During my editing process for Birthday Cake, Jane Badler, original baddie in the eighties show V, became a new personal hero of mine. Like, I want to be Jane Badler when I grow up. She is nothing short of spectacular in B'Day Cake-- that special blend of bitch and comedienne. She's a singer too-- hint hint. I'm looking forward to more of her in my life coming up soon. 

Check out her most sinister moments from the eighties. And follow her on twitter (whispered, "at JaneBadler...")

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Marcel Christ

I can't get the image of this beautiful photo by Marcel Christ out of my mind. Hope you're having a dreamy Sunday. For more on Marcel click here

Saturday, February 2, 2013

New BBC Drama - Dancing On The Edge

Here's what I'll be watching tomorrow. Stephen Poliakoff, the noted control freak behind Glorious 39 and The Lost Prince, has a new drama coming to BBC 2 called Dancing on the Edge. It appears to have it all! 1930's fashions, enterprising aristos, racial, religious, and class tensions, sex, dancing, jazz (original music numbers!!) and John Goodman! I can't wait!

Hope you're having a fab weekend so far!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lonely But Fabulous Friday Links

What a week. Lots of changes over here. Strangely, I feel better in the wake of recent upheavals on their multiple fronts. I've been doing a lot of taking stock. And I think I've learned some good things moving forward in what I want my days to look like; the rest of my life to look like. I do this a lot, inching towards it bit by bit. Chiseling it down into something that hopefully looks like something. 

Most things have been pushing me towards going it on my own for several years now. Not on my own on my own, but a kind of autonomy or partnership with separate but equal spheres is where I'm sticking to. That's definitely when I'm happiest. I'm looking forward to all the work coming up for Steven and me. I'm looking forward to a slightly reconfigured New York trip. I'm looking forward to long morning hikes at Griffith Park and to having free mental space to finish these scripts. 

There is a luxury to being alone. And I'm going to wallow in it for a bit. 

Here are your links! Have a great weekend!

- My ol' pal Duncan Sheik's "Barely Breathing" featured in the Girls torture chamber. His reaction.
- Best article on SMASH I've ever read. It's juicy. 
- Listen to Frightened Rabbit for free before their album Pedestrian Verse comes out next week. 
- Last lines of all the 30 Rock characters. RIP 30 Rock. 
- I watched The Americans. I don't think it's going to be better than Homeland
- Cronin's Confessions of a Liberal Gun Owner in the NYTimes
- Speaking of Cronin, here's what he loves about Houston

Why Stop Now?

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