Archive for the ‘Celebrity’ Category

Stephen Elliott at SJSU this week – You’re invited!

It appears we’re a little short on posts here at Metblogs, but never fear, I’m here to bring some excitement to your lives.  Er, I’m here to tell you about someone who will bring you some excitement to your lives…  Anyway…

Author/Director Stephen Elliott will be at San Jose State University tonight for a book reading and Q&A, and tomorrow will be screening his new film (about the porn industry – oh yeah, I have your attention now!) at the university on Wednesday evening.

Stephen Elliott is the author of seven books including the memoir The Adderall Diaries, which was named best book of the year in Time Out New York, and a San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book of 2009; the novel Happy Baby; and the erotica collection My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up. In January 2009 he founded The Rumpus, now the most popular online-only literary magazine. In 2011, he directed his first feature film, About Cherry.

Co-sponsored by The Rumpus and the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center

November 13, 7pm: Reading and Book Signing, MLK Library Room 225/229
November 14, 8pm: Screening of About Cherry, SJSU, Sweeney Hall Room 100

Note: About Cherry is Rated R. It contains nudity, drug use, and adult situations which may make some viewers uncomfortable. A preview may be seen here.

The screening on November 14 will be immediately followed by a panel discussion featuring writer/director Stephen Elliott, Dr. Tanya Bakhru (Women’s Studies), and Professor Harry Mathias (TV, Radio, Film & Theater).

I was able to speak with him for an hour this afternoon and found him utterly charming, intelligent, and quietly charismatic.  Don’t miss this great opportunity to not only see a great new film (starring James Franco and Heather Graham) but to speak to a fascinating, multi-talented creator of art.

Death of the Novel: San Jose Repertory

 

The San Jose Repertory  has brought Hollywood to local theater, and you still have a chance to see it.  Fans of Vincent Kartheiser from “Mad Men” (Pete Campbell) can see him live on stage through Saturday evening in a modern day play titled The Death of the Novel.

Kartheiser plays Sebastian, an agoraphobic writer who has decided he won’t ever leave his apartment until his advance runs out.  Sebastian is a bit of an insufferable, skeevy egotist… sort of a present day Pete Campbell.   He has issues, many stemming from the aftermath of 9/11, and others from a series of deaths in his own life.  When he meets beautiful Sheba (played by Vaishnavi Sharma), his life is turned upside down as he struggles to understand who she is, and whether it matters to him.

It’s quite a psychological drama, which seems to focus on the mystery of who Sheba really is.  She has created an intricate family history and background for herself, none of which appears to be true.  We meet the main characters in the first act, and get to know Sebastian well… then learn that we know nothing at all about Sheba.  The second act is a whirlwind of psychological intrigue and drama… an overload of the senses that is almost too much to absorb by the end.  But though it was tough to take our eyes off the beautiful Sheba, I thought the most interesting character was Sebastian.  From what we know of him, he has only one real male friend, Philip (Patrick Kelly Jones), who is Sheba’s original boyfriend.  But he also has three very important women in his life: Perry, his therapist; Claire, his hooker; and Sheba, the woman he wants but may not ever fully have.  It’s a virtual id, ego and superego of females.

In particular, I thought Zarah Mahler as Claire and Amy Pietz as Perry were the best of all the actors in the show.  Vincent Kartheiser also puts in an incredible amount of work in a role that requires him to talk almost non-stop through both acts.

It is not my favorite show that I’ve ever seen at the Rep, but there are several good points about the show and I still recommend it.  I would like to have seen it twice, or went over the script later, so I could absorb it all.  Of course, anyone wanting to see a bit of “Hollywood Stardom” should get themselves down to the Rep immediately before it’s too late.  It’s quite a coup to have gotten Mr. Kartheiser down to our theater, and we definitely appreciate the work that he and everyone else involved put into the show.  Thanks to the San Jose Repertory for an interesting and thought provoking opening to the 2012-2013 season!

The Death of the Novel
San Jose Repertory Theatre
Through September 22
Next up: Freud’s Last Session
October 11 – November 4

Interview with local filmmaker Vijay Rajan

Vijay Rajan is co-owner and Chief Creative Office of Siren Song Productions, a media services company and original film studio based in San Jose.  Having journeyed all the way from Virudhunagar, India to become a graduate of Santa Teresa High School and San Jose State University, he is now also well known throughout our own Cinequest Film Festival as an accomplished director of short films.  He is now in the process of filming a very important full length documentary, Journey Through Fire.  Journey Through Fire is a brutally honest and intimate documentary about a young woman who was raped by her brother and his friends throughout her childhood. It is not about what happened to her; it is about who she is now. This harrowing film promises to be unlike anything you have ever seen before – and hopes to inspire support and understanding for those who have endured the unthinkable.  I spoke with Vijay last week about the making of this documentary and how the community can help.  What came out of that is the following long interview which I just can’t see a reason to edit down.  It’s an important film, and I think Vijay gets his message across in this interview.

1. You have chosen a difficult subject with JOURNEY THROUGH FIRE.  Explain to our readers a little more about this documentary.

Sometimes in life you are given the chance to participate in something life-changing. That was the choice presented to me almost a year ago when I discovered that a good friend of mine had been raped by her brother and his friends for several years during her childhood. I was fascinated by her psychology, by the way she saw the world – how much of that was influenced by what she’d been through? And how was she able to rationalize acts of violence committed against her in adulthood? How was she able to still be compassionate?

These are difficult topics and not something that most people want to face. I never felt as if I had a choice. I turned on a camera – and that was the beginnings of the documentary Journey Through Fire.

To be honest, though, I had no idea how difficult a process this would be, not only emotionally for myself, but interpersonally, conceptually, artistically, and in recognizing the large amount of discomfort and apathy that exists towards such a brutal and harrowing topic.

If a survivor of the unthinkable can face these things, however, why not a filmmaker? Why not an audience? And aren’t the most inspiring movies the most harrowing, anyway?

2. Where did you meet the subject of this film and how did you come up with the concept?

For the sake of her safety, I’m not going to answer the first part of the question. She’s already been very courageous in coming forward and speaking her story and to give the details of how I met her just puts her out there further than we’d like.

But I will say this. When I first met the subject – and others have echoed this sentiment – what they are most floored by is her vitality. She is always laughing, she is bouncy, energetic, enthusiastic, and happy. I honestly was quite attracted to all of those qualities. She’s got this light in her eyes that’s really quite something.

When you think of a survivor of something like this, you think of someone who’s in a sense destroyed by it. Alcoholism, drug dependencies, at the very least depression. Not being able to hold down a job. She is none of these things. For her, what happened to her was a normal childhood. She shrugs it off. And that’s what so insidious about what was done. Its effects aren’t obvious. You have to look deep, dig deep, and then you begin to see the huge psychological effects. This is after all the woman who was walking down the street with me, stopped under a street-lamp, and innocently, heart-breakingly, asked, “Is it molestation if it happens only once?”

But for a filmmaker, that was the challenge, perhaps even the attraction. Can a film see deep inside a person’s mind? Can we really see and understand the depths of a person in a documentary? Look not just into what she’s saying but who she is?

And that’s just her story. What happened to her and how it happened and the effects of it continuing to her life now and the effects it has on those that love her — this is such an intricate story. When I began filming this documentary, I could not have predicted the twists and turns this year has taken. I knew it would be complex, but my God… I feel like it’s been much longer than a year. Living in this world, thinking these thoughts, has been a gauntlet.

Yet the constant through it all has been her. What makes this documentary unique is that I love the subject. I really do. She has been one of my closest friends. And seeing her fortitude and her exuberance, the excitement that she feels when she watches Phantom of the Opera, or gets scared of glass elevators, or talks about Tom Hiddleston as an actor, these “normal” things, these things that are her, they’re the light. I’m smiling as I say this because I just referred to her ridiculously irrational fear of glass elevators as “normal.” But that’s her. That’s my friend.

3. Besides financing, what has been the biggest obstacle/problem in making this film?

Getting people to deal with the subject. It’s discomforting. It’s tragic. It’s depressing. But you have to wade through all of that to get to the light. This is an ultimately inspiring story – if for nothing else than it has inspired a movement, small as it is now, but growing every day. I get responses from people every week speaking about how the teaser trailer (now available at JourneyThroughFire.com) has moved them. Yes, there have been those who have said, “I wouldn’t watch the movie. It’d be too hard.” But I’ve also heard from those who want to commit, who want to champion, who want to stand up. i:Scintilla, the popular independent Chicago-based band that is scoring all of the music – all for free unless we get distribution, by the way – they’re champions. I admire them so much. I’ve had other survivors speak to me, share with me, open up to me.

When you let something sit in the dark, you actually become a part of the perpetuation of it. Getting people to deal with this subject has been difficult, but I feel that if you come through it, you don’t feel demotivated or depressed, you feel inspired. You have to know the people, the survivors and the supporters. There’s no way these people could leave you depressed. Choosing to look has its rewards.

And that goes for me too. I would be lying if I said I jumped out of bed every day energized to work on Journey Through Fire. This is draining material some days, especially when it’s about someone you love, its impact on you, the apathy of the world, and the evil that can exist inside of it. But looking back, I don’t really remember those days. I remember instead the ones where she and I conducted a heartbreaking

interview and then ended the night watching an episode of Game of Thrones laughing at Tyrion Lannister’s dialogue. I remember a professor from my old film school, someone I’ve known and admired for years, telling me on Facebook, of all places, that she too is a survivor and she believes in being open about these things, and then the kind words she said about the movie we were making. I remember Kurt Kuenne, director of the phenomenal Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father, signing on to mentor me on the production of this film, because he was so moved by the subject’s spirit. These are people. Extraordinary people. How could the experience of knowing them be negative?

[Read more and find out how to help] (more…)

Director Todd Solondz at Camera 3, July 21!

THIS SATURDAY! Legendary independent filmmaker Todd Solondz, the acclaimed director of dark comedies such as WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE and HAPPINESS will be at Camera 3 for a Q&A session, following a screening of his new movie DARK HORSE.  The movie will be at 3pm, the Q&A is at 4:30. Tickets are matinee price–$7!

DARK HORSE
Cast: Justin Bartha, Christopher Walken, Selma Blair, Zachary Booth, Mia Farrow, Jordan Gelber and Donna Murphy
Synopsis: Abe is a schlubby 30-something loser who still lives with his parents, half-heartedly working in his father’s office and spending all his time buying Thundercats toys on eBay. Perversely, however, Abe is not without confidence and when he meets heavily-medicated depressive Miranda –- who has also just moved back in with her parents — he thinks he’s found a kindred spirit and proposes on their first date. “Solondz brilliantly — triumphantly — transforms what might have been an exercise in easy satirical cruelty into a tremendously moving argument for the necessity of compassion.”–New York Times

Running Time: 84 Minutes

MPAA Rating: R

Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser coming to the SJ Rep!!

YouTube Interview with Mad Men\’s Vincent Kartheiser

PRx Digital talks to Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell) about his starring role in The Death of the Novel,” a new play by Jonathan Marc Feldman at the San Jose Repertory. As Kartheiser wraps up Mad Men Season 5 on AMC, he turns his attention to his role as Sebastian, a brilliant young novelist coping with great personal loss in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

He goes into seclusion in his Manhattan apartment, refusing to write again. A mysterious and beautiful stranger intrudes, telling incredible stories of her own. Is she yet another fan of his work, or is she something else entirely? This play is about finding the tenacity to thrive in a dangerous, unpredictable world, and to create again.

In this interview Kartheiser talks about the energy and passion he brings to his roles, such as Pete Campbell in Mad Men. The production, directed by Rick Lombardo, runs from Aug. 30 to Sept. 23, 2012 at the San Jose Repertory Theatre.

As always, Metblogs is looking forward to next season, and as great fans of Mad Men, this show in particular!  Click the link for the quick 2 minute interview with Vincent!  See you at the Rep in September!  And this month, and July, etc.  There is ALWAYS something great happening at the Rep.

DeAndre San Jose’s American Idol


I stopped in at Dick’s Bakery because I just needed a square of Burnt Almond cake.

While there I noticed a now familiar face. Posted on the glass refrigerator door above the sign reading, ‘Please Do Not Slam Door! I Am 53 Years Young” was a picture of American Idol contestant DeAndre.

The picture reading: Good Luck DeAndre!

Don’t forget to watch and vote for DeAndre
On American Idol !
Wednesday at 8pm

Phillip Phillips is my favorite, but it will be hard not to cast my vote for our local Oak Grove High School student.

Sonya Tayeh choreographing Spring Awakening at the SJ Rep

 

Does this tattooed woman with a shaved head look familiar to you? If so, you’re probably a dancer and/or a fan of So You Think You Can Dance, where Sonya Tayeh is a frequent choreographer and occasional guest judge. Well known for her quirky contemporary dances on the television show, she has become one of the more popular choreographers. And she is in San Jose right now, choreographing the San Jose Repertory Theatre’s season opener, Spring Awakening.  As if I weren’t excited enough about this show, now I can barely wait until Opening Night!

COMING OF AGE IN A SOCIETY CLOAKED IN TABOOS

Caught between their sexual urges and society’s contradictory teachings, a group of teenagers reveals their alluringly melancholy story of self-discovery and coming-of-age anxiety as seen through the eyes of young teenagers. Set in repressive 19th-century Germany, these students attempt to reckon with the thrilling, complicated and confusing time of their sexual awakening. This haunting and provocative rock-musical is a powerful celebration of youth and rebellion in a daring fusion of morality, sexuality and rock & roll.

Haunting and electrifying! This brave new musical has a shivery, sensual allure unmatched by anything in the theater right now. -The New York Times

Metblogs will be at the SJ Rep on September 7 (the Official Opening Night) to review the show for you, but previews start tonight and tonight is also Pay What You Will night.  Pay What You Will Night is a San Jose Rep community outreach program that supports the company’s mission of accessibility and affordability for every member of the community.  A suggested ticket price of $10 is requested. However, any amount will be accepted. No handling or facility fee will be assessed on any ticket.  Tickets are available only at the Box Office.

Please Note: Spring Awakening is a powerful coming of age story with mature themes, including sexual situations, partial nudity, and strong language.

Spring Awakening
San Jose Repertory Theatre
September 1 – 25, 2011
book & lyrics by Steven Sater | music by Duncan Sheik
based on the play by Frank Wedekind
directed by Rick Lombardo | choreographed by Sonya Tayeh

Bay Area Native wins prestigious HUGO AWARD for Science Fiction

Born and raised in Santa Clara, Christopher Garcia attended Westwood Open, Buchser Jr. High and Santa Clara High School before moving to Boston to attend Emerson College.  Returning to the Bay Area after graduation, he’s become well known in many different social and professional circles around town.  Most everyone who has been to the Cinequest Film Festival has had contact with the outgoing Mr. Garcia.  If you have ever visited the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, you most likely have had a conversation with the bearded hunk of charisma.  And if you are anyone who is anyone in the Sci Fi industry, you’ve most likely met, shaken hands with or been interviewed by this amazing writer and human being.  Among various other successful projects, Chris has been writing and editing an amazing Sci Fi fanzine called The Drink Tank since 2005.  And after several nominations and losses, Mr. Christopher J. Garcia has just won the most prestigious award in Science Fiction:  The Hugo Award.

1. What is your earliest memory of the Sci Fi genre, and what first got you interested in it?

Wow, tough question. I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t into SciFi and the like. My Dad had a bunch of paperbacks when I was a kid and I read them pretty early. He used to take me to conventions when I was a kid, and that introduced me to that world. I was really hooked as a life-long reader when I was in my early teens by the novels of Kurt Vonnegut and Phillip Jose Farmer.

2. When and how did you get involved in The Drink Tank?

The Drink Tank started partly because I had been working on another magazine that wasn’t going well and I was about to go to a convention called CorFlu which brought fanzine editors from around the world. I put out the first issue on January 31st, 2005 and have been going almost weekly ever since.

3. How did it feel the first time you were nominated for a Hugo Award?

I was stunned. I got a pair of eMails that said I’d been nominated and I was blown away. That time, I managed not to cry, but I think I did call everyone I knew that evening and did a bunch of ‘Woohoos!’

4. Your acceptance speech when you finally won, after having been nominated seven times, was very touching for those of us who know you.  Tell us how real the tears and emotion were.

They were 100% real. I had no idea what I was doing, really. Some portion of my Lizard Brain had taken over and I was more or less just reacting. I’d actually lost 9 Hugos, so it was a bit of a combination of relief and over-whelming joy and a bit of sadness that my Dad hadn’t made it to see it happen. It was a whirlwind and you can see in the video how many times the emotional wheel of my Brain turns.

5. You mentioned a few people in your acceptance speech.  Would you like to explain to us who those people are and why they are important to your success?

Well, Dad gave me life and introed me to SF and the like, and Mike Glicksohn was a Hugo-winning editor and writer who passed away this year. He is also my facial hair hero as his beard was full and awesome! Genevieve and Evelyn are my Ex and her daughter who have always been so very important to me. So much so that when Gen became my Ex I didn’t mind hanging out and babysitting Evelyn every day. The Lovely and Talented Linda is my Long-Suffering girlfriend. Taral Wayne is an artist best known for his Anthropomorphic works who also happens to be an amazing writer who has supplied more than 70 articles to The Drink Tank. Mo Starkey is another artist whose works for the covers of The Drink Tank, along with many more, earned her her first Hugo nomination this year.  Finally, My Mom is my Mom. She’s good people.

6. You actually produce quite a few eZines.  What are they called, what is each one for, and where can we find them?

They’re all on eFanzines.com. The Drink Tank and Claims Department are at http://efanzines.com/DrinkTank/index.htm while Exhibition Hall, my Steampunk zine, which I do with Ariane Wolfe and James Bacon is at http://efanzines.com/ExhibHall/index.htm. Journey Planet, which is a UK-US-sometimes Australian co-production, is http://efanzines.com/JourneyPlanet/index.htm. They’re all very different, but we love doing them. I used to be a part of the team that did Science Fiction San Francisco, though I left the team about a year ago. They’re still going strong at http://efanzines.com/SFSF/index.htm!

7. You now work at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.  Tell us anything you like about your job there, and the museum itself.

I love my Job! I was never much of  tech geek, but when you grow up in the Silicon Valley and you love video games and the like, you pick things up. I’ve been a curator for more than a decade and it’s always a fun gig to study and present the materials of the information Age. Our current exhibit, Revolution, talks about the progress of computers and computing over the last 2000 years!

8. The first time I ever met you was years ago when you had a short film showing at Cinequest.  You’ve been a well-known fixture there ever since, and have helped with other films.  Any future plans in the film industry?

I’m working on teaching myself the art of documentary short filmmaking. I love the short form and documentary is my preferred state. I’m working on a couple of things and I hope to have a short doc finished in the next month or two on the Illustrated Presidential Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography by Earl Kemp.

9. Where are you going to keep your Hugo Award? 

On the table right in front of my TV so I can claim to be watching whatever’s on while I’m actually staring at the trophy!

10. You’ve found a time machine which can take you to any point in the future or past.  Where would you go and why?

I’d probably do one of two things: go back to Colonial Philly in 1776 and hang with that Ben Franklin guy ‘cause he seems like a dude who knew how to party, or go back to the screening room where the full version of Von Stroheim’s Greed was shown. No other film has so thoroughly intrigued me!

Storm Chaser, Sean Casey, Blows into San Jose

Sean Casey and Marcus Gutierrez, stars of new the IMAX film “Tornado Alley” and of the Discovery Channel series “Storm Chasers,” will appear at The Tech Museum.

Yes, the Tornado Intercept Vehicle (TIV) will be there. This custom built tank has wind-resistant flaps and anchor spikes. It can withstand winds up to 190 mph and is fitted with bullet-resistant windows. An onboard camera can capture 360-degrees storm action from the military-style turret.

When: 10 AM – 1 PM
Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Where: The Tech Museum – 201 S. Market St., San Jose, CA.

Look for the TIV parked in front of the building.

Talk with Casey – get an autograph – take photos.

The Hackworth IMAX® Dome Theater:

“Tornado Alley” the film.
Opens to the public
Saturday, August 20, 2011

Facebook: Meet Discovery Channel’s “Storm Chasers” Sean Casey at The Tech Museum.

Tornado Alley – Official Documentary Trailer 2011 HD on YouTube.

Allison “The Duchess of Doom” Fisher

My husband (The Bear) and I try to practice at California Billiard Club as often as possible. In our opinion it is the best room in northern California. It has a good atmosphere and the tables are well maintained. We also enjoy seeing some top players like Rafael Martinez in action.

Just days ago Allison Fisher won her 5th WPBA US Open 9-Ball Championship, and now California Billiard Club is offering an opportunity to learn from this legendary pool and snooker player.

The Allison Fisher Clinic
Featuring: Two Hours of Hands On Instruction; detailed analysis of fundamentals, shot selection, strategy, training drills, and Q & A.

Only a few spots left (8 people per session groups) Register Now.

Cost – $100. per person.

Contact Kristi @ 704-989-4109
or afteam@allisonfisher.com

When: Tuesday June 28th and Wednesday June 29th

Time: 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Where: California Billiard Club
881 E. El Camino Real
Mountain View, CA

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