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Sunday, October 30, 2005

James Earl Jones designs Lunchbox for charity!

Only a day and a half left to bid on this lunchbox (EDIT: link no longer available) designed by James Earl Jones (voice of Darth Vader)
...proceeds go to the Food Bank of New York.


Friday, October 28, 2005

Actor Updates!

Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker - OT) is voicing a character in Toonami's upcoming IGPX - the series will premiere on November 5, on the Cartoon Network.

~~Don Francks (voice of Boba Fett in the SW Holiday Special) has a new film coming out called Lie With Me, he plays David's ailing father.

~~Bai Ling (Senator Banu Breemu in ROTS) will be making her singing appearance on VH1's But Can They Sing? this Sunday, October 30, 2005. She will be singing Madonna's "Like a Virgin."

~~Gerald Home (Tessek-Squid Head and Mon Calamari Officer/Controller/Aide - ROTJ) has been busy with a pop video, The Word (program that encourages children to read) and you can see him in a commercial for Dutch Railways!
He's got a few photos of the shoot at his official site.

~~Rena Owen (Taun We - AOTC; Senator Nee Alavar - ROTS) has two new films on the horizon, The Horrible Flowers (Linda) and Pledge of Allegiance (Maria).

~~James Earl Jones (voice of Darth Vader) is the narrator for a CD called, The American Christmas Carol It will be available on QVC in November.The recording is based on a special program for PBS also called, The American Christmas. It will air to a select audience in Dallas, TX in December of this year, but will not be nationally broadcast until 2007.

~~You'll be able to check out John Lithgow (voice of Yoda in the Radio Dramas) in a new commercial for Campbell's Select (soup) airing nationally this fall and winter.

~~David Warner (voice Grand General Brashin in Star Wars: Force Commander) is featured on a new CD called The Essential Shakespeare Live. It is a rare opportunity to hear many great performances from the Royal Shakespeare Company (Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK) from the last 40 years, previously it was only possible to hear these recordings by visiting the British Library. Mr. Warner's performance as the title role in Hamlet~1966 is included.

~~Adrian Dunbar (the unused Bail Antilles in AOTC) is starring in BBC TV's Kidnapped as Uncle Ebenezer.

~~Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi - PT) won the theatre Best Actor award for Guys and Dolls. He will leave the production in November.

~~Diahann Carroll (Mermeia the Holographic wow - SW Holiday Special) was interviewed for the Academy of Television. This interview, which comes in 8 parts, is part of a long list of interviews recorded by the Academy to chronicle TV history in front of and behind the camera. Google and the Academy teamed up and have set a precedent by allowing users free access to all of these incredible interviews.

*NOTE Michael J. Fox (Spin City, Back to the Future), Alan Alda (M*A*S*H, West Wing), Joseph Barbera (of Hanna/Barbera fame), Barbara Eden (I Dream of Jeannie), Dick Van Dyke (Dick Van Dyke Show, Mary Poppins), William Shatner (Star Trek), Fess Parker (Daniel Boone/Davy Crockett..for those of you who remember), Jonathan Winters (Mork & Mindy), Julia Childs (TV chef)...just to name a few. Each interview part is about 20 - 30 minutes long and there are generally 4-8 parts to each interview and about 75 interviewees. That's about 225 hours of viewing. Astonishing.

~~The passing away of several actors connected with Star Wars this month:
William Hootkins (Red 6, Jek Porkins - ANH)
Charles Rocket (voice of Nym in Star Wars Starfighter and Jedi Starfighter)
Long John Baldry (voiced background characters from the Ewoks series)
Hamilton Camp (voiced Rune Haako in Galactic Battlegrounds)

~~Newly added to the Star Wars Actors Database:
Emily Berry
Richard Donat
Kelly Hu
Nicky Katt
Dylan Lewis
Mardji the Elephant
Joe Matheson
Diane Polley
Tarik the Bear


See you next time.


Feel the Fright, Luke!

The chills of fall set in our bones
All hallows' eve approaches
Vampires, werewolves, mummies roam...
Headless coachmen drive their spectral coaches
Monsters, spooks, demons...stomp, slither, creep and crawl
Hunters, slayers, priests and deacons...Lay siege and vanquish all!

A few films you might like to see for the season that star Star Wars-connected actors, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing:

Top three...
Dracula~1958 (also known as the Horror of Dracula) <--- a="" an="" and="" are="" aristocratic="" as="" at="" athletic="" be="" beat.="" best="" but="" by="" can="" chain.="" chemistry="" complete="" compliment="" count="" cushing="" dark="" dashing="" dracula.="" dracula="" far="" favorite.="" featured="" feel="" film.="" first="" goodness="" hammer="" he="" helsing="" horror="" i="" in="" is="" it="" just="" lee="" monster....lee="" more="" my="" of="" on-screen="" outright="" peak="" personal="" portrayed="" powerful="" rather="" s="" seductive="" sensually="" shame="" strong="" swashbuckling="" t="" than="" that="" the="" their="" think="" this="" time="" to="" top="" van="" was="" wasn="" well-mannered="">Curse of Frankenstein~1957 - Cushing's and Lee's first pairing together and the beginning of Hammer's Renaissance of the horror genre. Boy, Peter Cushing's Baron Victor Frankenstein is delightfully obsessive...Cushing is immersed in his Frankenstein. And even though Lee has no dialogue his performance shines brightly as the tortured and sympathetic monster trapped in a hideous and mute shell. Great fun and horror!

The Mummy~1959 - Lee, in another role absent of dialogue, performs amazingly well with his eyes and body movements as the living-dead Egyptian priest, Kharis. He manages to evoke just enough sympathy from the viewer while brutally picking off his victims. Cushing is just a joy to watch here, he is equally at home in the role of hero as that of evil genius.

The Creeping Flesh~1973 - Scientist thinks he's got the cure for evil but the best intentions always go BAD...always! Do they never learn?

Cushing and Lee play rival half-brothers, Emmanuel and James Hildern respectively, with James being the less successful and more desperate of the two, any character (in any film) that runs an insane asylum might turn out to be a little unstable. Emmanuel Hildern's the more rational of the brothers yet he's the one who believes he can remove evil from the human race by fighting fire with fire, injecting humans with cleansed-of-evil blood cells from the water-regenerated flesh of a New Guinean skeleton/fossil with a huge cranium!!

I love the idea of the creeping flesh from dry bone, like NOT add water.

Dracula A.D. 1972~1972 - You just have to know going in to any film that has a its release year in the title is going to be heavy on youth-oriented pop culture du jour and will look and feel silly and dated immediately. As much as you want to be repulsed by the over-the-top 70's [unintentional] camp you can't help but be sucked in. Lee and Cushing, among all the "way out"-ness, manage to keep their regal composure as actors and as their respective characters, Dracula and Van Helsing. Mostly fun.

Horror Express~1972 I only recall seeing parts of this film waaaaaaayy back, years ago. I remember Lee and Cushing of course and the manner in which the victims turn up dead on the train bound for London via Siberia..blood from the eyes (which go opaque), ears, nose and mouth but I don't recall anything else. I must've fallen asleep. Might have to add this one to list of films to revisit.

Hound of the Baskervilles~1959 Hell hounds...gotta love hell hounds. Cushing is by far my favorite Sherlock Holmes (I'm sure by know you realize that I might be a Cushing fan) and he does a splendid job portraying the great detective of Baker Street. Lee does well as the romantic Baskerville. And the sets are terrific. Good combination of mystery and Gothic horror.

House of the Long Shadows~1983 - The first hour and a half are worth the admission price (if renting) but the film starts to stumble after it's first of several "endings," the characters are a tad cliched - wasn't everything in the eighties?

House that Dripped Blood~1970 - Lee in Sweets to the Sweet and Cushing in Waxworks. Note: Denholm Elliott (Raiders of the Lost Ark was in Method for Murder)

I, Monster~1971 - Fairly good retelling of Jekyll and Hyde...why the names were changed to Dr. Marlowe and Mr. Blake is a mystery and I can't say I enjoy watching Lee's slightly goofy portrayal of the killer

Night of the Big Heat (or Island of the Burning Doomed)~1967 - I prefer the alternate title Satanic Rites of Dracula~1974 - Much better than Dracula AD 1972. Adding always watchable Joanna Lumley to the cast worked. Ditto on Lee and Cushing here again....and no funky grooviness.

Scream and Scream Again~1969 - Vincent Price has the largest role between the three actors and that's not saying much...Lee and Cushing's total screen time can't amount to much more than 10 - 15 minutes with Price leading at 20. Misleading billing.It's ok. Not sure where it wants to go for the first hour then tries to tie together and tidy up an unraveled mess of the creation of blood sucking super beings through Price who's getting the parts from...elsewhere (unsuspecting jogger,) who knows what this film is about.

One More Time~1970 - This is a comedy not horror but Lee and Cushing (both uncredited) revisit their most iconic roles...Dracula and Dr. Frankenstein, respectively.

Nosher Powell (ANH stuntman) and Harry Fielder (Death Star Guard - ANH) also make uncredited background artist appearances.

~~Other Peter Cushing horror films with Star Wars connections:
Legend of the Werewolf~1975 - Harry Fielder (Death Star Guard - ANH and extra extraordinaire!)

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed~ - Harry Fielder (Death Star Guard - ANH and extra extraordinaire!)

~~Other Christopher Lee horror films with Star Wars connections:
Sleepy Hollow~1999 - Ian McDiarmid (Palpatine), Ray Park (Darth Maul), Nick Gillard (stunt coordinator/Cin Drallig)

Scars of Dracula~1970 - Morris Bush (Dengar - ESB)

Theatre of Death~1967 - Julian Glover (General Maximilian Veers - ESB)

~~Small bits of Lee/Cushing horror trivia...Christopher Lee and Vincent price shared a birthday, May 27th...Peter Cushing's birthday fell on May 26th.

Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee were film in The Devil's Agent~1961 but every frame of film showing Peter Cushing was edited out of the final film.

Cushing and Lee starred in 22 films together and were very good friends.

~~ Have a wicked weekend.

May the Mayhem be with you!


Monday, October 24, 2005

William Hootkins (1948 - 2005)

Very sad news.

William Hootkins died last night after an almost year long battle with pancreatic cancer.

I last saw him at CII (Star Wars Celebration II in Indianapolis, IN) where he made me promise that the next time I saw him I was to recite two lines spoken between Tubal and Shylock from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.

Tubal speaks of a ring he was shown that had once belonged to a love of Shylock, Leah (my namesake). The ring was taken, along with other valuables, by his daughter who used it to buy passage away from Venice and elope with the man she loved...a man whom her father would not have approved.

Well...I never got to see him after our chat (he wasn't able to attend CIII), I'll recite it for him here:

Tubal: One of them showed me a ring that he had of your daughter for a monkey.
Shylock: Out upon her! Thou torturest me, was my turquoise...I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor. I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys.

Rest in Peace, Bill.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

For the "Oh! Brother!" File

Turmoil in the Toybox - 1990
"A Shocking Expose' of the toy and cartoon industry. It reveals the hidden dangers found in the He-Man and Masters of the universe, Barbie, Rainbow Brite, G.I. Joe, Smurfs, Dungeons & Dragons, Care Bears, Thundercats, E.T., Cabbage Patch, to name a few. This Book unmasks the New Age, influence that have invaded the once innocent toy box. TURMOIL IN THE TOYBOX also explains the importance of play, and how toys can enhance or stunt a child's development. In addition, this book provides the reader with an alternative to today's more popular toys."
Phil Phillips has done a great service to America as a whole, and the Christian family in particular, for exposing the occult connection in the toys being marketed to unsuspecting children. Every parent should be aware of the potential for mental and spiritual harm from allowing their children access to such toys."
The cover
The only thing more disturbing than the description of the book is the evil-looking Yoda on the front cover...see also Darth Vader in the center of the box....Oh, Brother!

I'll stick to the basic ground rules in raising a child, thank you.

PS...thanks darth_load for the initial heads up!

Funny isn't it? A little scary too I'd say.
I can't help feeling sorry for children under any belief system that controls everything in their environment. Not so much because they will lack the toys that you and I enjoy, millions of others live without them and do just fine. No, it's the thought that they grow up with fear and anger. We all know what that leads to.

Parents who are convinced that these toys are the tools of Satan might have to "protect" their children from other things out in the big blue world. TV, movies, radio, malls and stores (those who sell evil toys must be evil themselves), restaurants, travel (unless it's to convert the wicked), circuses (clowns are evil), games/gaming, reading, art, speech...etc., etc. Where does that end?

The environment becomes more and more controlled until parents feel they have no choice but to limit nearly all outside contact and influences. Phil or Texe encourage parents and others to protect themselves from the evil outside and move to a fortified compound where they'll continue to "guide" their children: stymie all creative thought, control play and playmates; tenaciously police reading materials and eliminate celebratory events.

Phil or Texe will start to implement worship of God through them, surround themselves with military-style protection then, either gather at that all-important meeting to drink and sleep* or find they, through no fault of their own, are "protecting" themselves from the **Feds until they've rightly martyred themselves and their innocent children.

Oh! yes, that is far less evil than letting them play with Yoda and Darth Vader. Really, too much or too little freedom has a tendency to come to a bad end. Striking a balance between the two generally works out for the best.Odd little world we live in.

2016 EDIT
There was a sequel



Tuesday, October 18, 2005

James Earl Jones Reads the Raven

Hello all!

Check this out...
An All Hallows' Eve goodie from Verizon and Star Wars baddie Mr. Jones.
First up is The Raven which is playing this month, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address starting November 1 (honors the November 19, 1863 reading by President Lincoln) and then Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. starting December 1...2005, of course.

Hope you enjoy them!
Mr. Jones will also star in The Reading Room on TV (US) in November.

This man is ever busy!


Daniels, Jackson, Ling, Lawson, Crowley

Update to NHA

Moronic, puerile and bad taste humor aside it's still pretty bad. Said to be a cross between the Carry On series and The Evil Dead, ok, maybe a little.The horror spoof, I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle, stars Neil Morrissey (Bob the Builder, Men Behaving Badly) and Star Wars' very own Anthony Daniels (C3PO - OT/PT) as the decidedly twitchy cleric.

If you're in the UK, have a region-free DVD player...or just can't help yourself... the movie will be released on October 24, 2005.

~~Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu - PT) and Bai Ling (Senator Bana Breemu - ROTS) will be attending the HIFF.

Jackson will be honored with LVHIFF's Achievement in Acting Award and Bai Ling will be attending to promote her new film Dumplings. October 20 - 30, 2005.

~~Denis Lawson (Wedge Antilles - OT) and Dermot Crowley (Gen. Crix Madine - ROTJ) in BBC's Bleak House. There's not much written on Dermot Crowley but quite a bit on lead actor Denis Lawson. October 22 - 28, 2005 (BBC One - UK)

~~An article from the New York Daily News - Headline and star of Rome, as Servilia, Lindsay Duncan (TC-14 -TPM)...not that there's any connection, just interesting.

~~One FoxTrot comic reference and two music references.

See you soon!


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Chewbacca Becomes a US Citizen

Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca in the OT and ROTS) is officially a US citizen.
Congratulations, Mr. Mayhew.


PS...ooops forgot the original link. sorry.

Star Wars Actor News


¤Natalie Portman (Padmé in the PT) will be starring as Ines/Alicia, Francisco Goya's muse and her daughter, in the upcoming Goya's Ghost (2006)

¤Madison starring Jake Lloyd (Young Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace) a movie that took quite some time to be released to theatres has been released on DVD.

¤Hilton McRae (Arvel Crynyd in Return of the Jedi) is starring as Feste in Twelfth Night at the New Wimbledon Theatre in London 10/11/05 - 10/15/05. And...his wife...Lindsay Duncan (voice of TC-14 in TPM) plays in HBO's epic series Rome, as Servilia of the Junii.

¤Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks in PT) produced a film called The DL Chronicles with his production company Stop That Bangin'! Productions. The film is currently making the film festival circuit.

¤James Earl Jones (voice of Darth Vader) will be the keynote speaker at Johns Hopkins University on January 13th, 2006.

¤Adrian Zmed (Toth in Jedi Starfighter - video game) is replacing actor David Hess in the role of Noah in an off-Broadway production of The Ark, before the preview has even started. The Ark will start on October 14, 2005 at the 37 Arts theatre in New York, NY.

¤Raphael Sbarge (voice of Carth Onasi and others in SW video games) will make a guest appearance on the TV series NUMB3RS as Malcolm Galway in episode Calculated Risk and airs October 14, 2005.

¤Edward Asner (Jabba in the ROTJ radio drama; Master Vrook Lamar in KOTOR) will be making a special preview performance of The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial in Campbell Hall at UCSB (University of California at Santa Barbara) on October 14, 2005 (evening) and October, 15, 2005 (matinee)

¤Graeme Blundell (Ruwee Naberrie in the PT) and his wife Susan Kurosawa cancelled their appearances at the Bali Writers Festival in Bali, Indonesia after the recent bombing.

¤Garrick Hagon will be starring as Waters in the film Shadows of the Past (starring Steven Segal) due out in 2006.

~~One MUSIC reference to share:
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde


Monday, October 10, 2005

Archaeological and Psychological Exercise of Creating or...Art Good!

I was thinking a little about my art and being an artist last night while working on my latest piece...great time, I know...and I realized how much I had changed over the years and how I have never lost my love of art or the act of creating art.

When I was in my teens I had a very strong attachment to every drawing I produced. I felt that each drawing was the result of an archaeological exercise in collecting my past (and present) life by recovering and examining the memorial evidence and placing them into my work. Once the time and effort had been expended I felt an inexorable safety in what I had created. I needed to covet my own work because the experience of making things come to life and the connections that were made were a great comfort to me. Especially in the midst of the alienating experiences I was feeling at the time outside of my home life. If I gave up the art was ultimately giving up, at least parts of, my identity...scary then.

As time passed and I started the business of art (portraiture) I would feel less and less attached to any piece of work. Part of that is having to churn out many works in a short period of time and simply not thinking about the end and the parting. But the more important other part was that my identity, skill and confidence levels were stronger and I was not longer under the belief that I was giving away a part of my identity but was only giving away a representation of my identity.For example, when a client orders a work I believe that the work is not physically mine. I care deeply for the subject matter, the quality of my work and for the client but I am not so emotionally attached that I fret, I experience an alienated creativity of sorts. That's not to say that there still isn't an occasionally bittersweet moment as the piece leaves me and finds its home with the happy client. It's just gotten easier to let go I suppose.

For example, when I have created a work (or works) without the thought of a buyer, when there is no reference to economic gain, I feel particularly gratified and my personal value in the work increases. Surprisingly, it's at this point that my attachment leads me to manage more work (more artistic archaeology!) and the more work I create the less I'll feel the need to keep it. Interestingly enough once I sell any of those pieces I'm invigorated knowing that someone else felt strongly enough about the piece to make a purchase or ask for more, this is no SMALL detail! Funny that once the piece is gone I honestly don't think on it much. Then the process begins all over again. hehehe, the artists vicious circle.

I'm not an artist who wants to find the horrible, dark recesses of my mind and explore them through art, fascinating in its own right and cathartic for some, I am simply interested in exploring beauty, light and color, enjoying myself and pleasing others who are interested in my work.


Art good!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Star Wars Actors News

Julian Glover and Genevieve O'Reilly are both starring in the Old Vic production of Richard II in London until the end of November. I hear Kevin Spacey is doing quite well in his role as Richard II...for his first Shakespeare attempt.

Halloween is coming up quickly and there's more than a few good releases on DVD that will sate classic horror/thriller/sci-fi fans
The Man With Nine Lives~1940 - Karloff...mad scientist!
The Val Lewton Horror Collection '42 - '46 which includes:

*Cat People *I Walked with a Zombie *The Leopard Man *The Seventh Victim *Ghost Ship *Curse of the Cat People *Isle of the Dead *The Body Snatcher *Bedlam

More noir-ish psychological thrillers than horror...but that's a fine line, isn't it? They make low-budget look good.

Torture Garden~1967 - Among the other cast... Peter Cushing (Moff Tarkin), doesn't matter what he's in, he's always good.
and...totally unrelated... The Warriors~1979 - wow, been waiting a long time for this to come out all shiny and new on DVD.

Lords of Dogtown~2005 - released last week, I've yet to watch it, but I'm interested to see friend Peggy Oki be portrayed by Stephanie Limb. Peggy Oki was the only gal in the Dogtown gang and the first female champion skater. She still skates but is working as an artist full-time in my former hometown of Santa Barbara now. (I loved Dogtown and Z Boys~2001)Anyone seen Lords of Dogtown?
Any fan of Frank Miller's 300 (1998) might be interested to know that Dominic West (a palace guard in TPM, but most might know him better as Kirk Cuddy from Rock Star or as Fred Casely in Chicago) will be joining the cast which is set to begin filming in Montreal two weeks from now.

John Carter of Mars will start shooting next year. That will be interesting for sure since Lucas used a few elements of the John Carter series (Princess of Mars) in the Star Wars films. Princess Leia in the slave outfit and Princess of Mars' Jorah Thoris' outfit for one. Reverse References (about 2/3rds down the page under "books")
Land of the Dead~2005 will come out on DVD very soon and one scene with former Ewok, Phil Fondacaro, will be re-inserted into the DVD that was left out of the theatrical release. Apparently the scene adds to the shock value. :p
Those who are fans of The Muppets will be sad to hear that Muppet writer Jerry Juhl died of cancer in late September in San Francisco. Frank Oz said that Juhl "brought tremendous soul" to the Muppets.
I'm so looking forward to Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit this weekend. Gromit is a delightfully perfect dog after all. And I'm mighty curious to hear Ralph Fiennes (Victor Quartermaine) do animation...has he found his funny bone?
Oh, and if that wasn't enough...Cree Summer (Luminara Unduli in Clone Wars and Princess Kneesaa in Ewoks) will be performing (singing) at Temple Bar, 1026 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA tonight (Friday, October 7, 2005) at 9 PM.

Ig Nobel!

Each year after the Nobel Prizes are awarded, an equally scientific, if not infinitely more entertaining, prize ceremony is held at Harvard University. Ig Nobel.
I just finished watching the live web-cast of the Ig Nobel Prizes: Annals of Improbable Research. What a blast. Never fails to tickle me. This year was no exception and there was an interesting Star Wars connection to boot.
The Ig Noble prize for PEACE went to two researchers (Claire Rind, et al. of Newcastle University Upon Tyne, UK) who monitored the brain activity of locusts watching Star Wars.
The locusts were strapped to little seats and shown (forced to watch) an abbreviated version of Star Wars (1977), mostly the battle scenes. Since locusts can't shut their eyes they don't have much choice in the matter...sounding a lot like A Clockwork Orange!
The locusts were being observed for their reactions to the quickly approaching objects. The scientists found that locusts have an Iobula giant movement detector which sets off an evasive action response trigger. ...the run-you-stupid-bastard nerve cell :p
This might sound a little frivolous as far as research is concerned but there is a practical application. The scientists built a robot which has the very same capabilities (as those locusts) and it manages to stay clear of objects 90% of the time. With a little more work that technology could be applied to cars and other transit vehicles to avoid major or minor collisions.
Talk about the science of Star Wars....good thing it wasn't the Star Wars Holiday Special...or the research may have been labeled cruelty.
Other funny prizes went to the inventor of fake dog testicles (Neuticles, which I had heard of before...oddly enough), a Japanese man who photographed every single meal he was about to eat for the last 32 or 33 years (taking your time extends your life was his theory), the pressure build-up of penguins...before...ahem...defecation, deciphering the smell of frogs under stress and much more.
The award ceremony will be archived online at some point. Certainly worth the time to watch or listen to. HERE

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Dead Ringers - Radio Show

Familiar character...and yet another reference...and then some. (EDIT: no longer links to that episode)

Dead Ringers Radio Show

Get Ready for Pod Racing - NASA meets NASCAR

One year from now... wow
Lucas, how 'bout sponsoring a rocket plane? :D
Doubt we'll see any Ben-Hur/Sebulba antics though ;)
NHA.n super update!!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Hamilton Camp (1934 - 2005)

Another Star Wars related actor has passed.

Hamilton Camp (Rune Haako in Galactic Battlegrounds) died suddenly on October 2, 2005 of heart failure. He was an actor, a singer and a songwriter.

As I try to pick out some easily recognizable performances for people I find a few...In 1968 he turned out a cover song of Bob Dylan's This Wheel's On Fire which many would recognize now from the BBC series Absolutely Fabulous. Camp also played in Joe Dirt as Meteor Bert, and in December of 2004 he played Brian Linder on an episode of Desperate Housewives. But Camp may have been most famous for half of the folk duo Gibson & Camp.

Camp was busy up until his death. He had worked on stage (A Noise Within), on TV (Desperate Housewives), an original album (name unknown) which will be released before the end of this year and film (Hard Four) which was supposed to be released in September of this year.


Monday, October 03, 2005

Fire, Film, Finds & Fact Checking


Our trip to Santa Barbara last week started uneasily. Wednesday fires started along several points in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego and Ventura counties. I had watched the news closely to determine which route we'd take to avoid smoke and flames on Thursday, our departure day.

Fire season starts about mid year and continues until our first substantial rainfall. If we have had higher average rainfalls throughout the previous year then our fire season has the potential of being disastrous.

The first fire was on the Morongo Indian Reservation just 20-ish miles west of Palm Springs, that was quelled quickly and no trace of it as we passed though the smoke from the second fire burning to the north of Redlands, which incidentally, could be seen from Palm Desert...58 miles away. That fire was not one that had been burning earlier to the south of Redlands earlier that day which had been extinguished.

The third was only 20 miles later. Another fire to the south of the 10. I was hoping there weren't any more surprises.The last fire I could see was the big one, The Topanga Fire, the smoke could be seen for miles. The sun set quickly behind the wall of what looked like black smoke. The sky turned orange-red and cast the most eerie glow upon the cities. As I got closer the ash was floating through the air, almost looking like light falling snow. Santa Ana winds died down that morning making the fire burn much slower (a good thing) but smoke lingered over the area choking all who passed through.

I thought I'd made it past the area, they were saying that the fire was not near the freeway but firefighters were vigilant to keep it that way. I could see the glow in the night sky and wondered if I'd catch a glance. Sure enough as I came over a hill on the 101 freeway at Calabasas, I gasped. It seems as though each driver coming over that hill did the very same thing because traffic came to a near halt. Lines of flames could be seen. It looked like a volcanic planet, it looked like Mustafar. Nearly a dozen people pulled over to gawk and take pictures as flames looked dangerously close. All radio reports indicated that those very flames were two miles away. Two miles! Those flames had to have been at least 20 to 40 feet high to see them so clearly from the freeway. It was chilling...obviously we made it OK.

I managed to see and enjoy Serenity twice over the weekend. Very pleased, very pleased. Obvious allusions to Star Wars here and there. :D

The yearly Planned Parenthood book sale in Santa Barbara took place over the weekend and I managed, as usual, to find a few books to add to the already massive list of 'must reads' and 'most loved' sitting on my shelves.

This time I added:
The Tale of Genji (1935 print - originally written in the Heian period, 11th c. and considered, debatable at best, the worlds first novel) - by Lady Murasaki Shikibu, a lady in the Heian court who knew Genji, and translated by Arthur Waley. Classic Japanese tale of Hikiru Genji a favorite son of the emperor...about his loves, loyalties, friendships, an exile and ultimately a tradition carried on by his grandson which brings the stories full circle. Written for ladies of aristocracy in days past but translates well into modern literature.

The Portable Mark Twain (1946 print of select pieces from Twain) - by Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) excerpt from 'Old Times on the Mississippi' starts: " When I was a boy there was but one permanent ambition among my comrades in our village on the west bank of the Mississippi River. That was to be a steam-boatman" My family had been river-men/pilots of flatboats and steamboats for over 100 years, the last one retiring around 1919. The subject fascinates me and only Twain has managed to catch the profession so perfectly. His accounts of river life are, in my opinion, the best ever written.

Collected Verse of Rudyard Kipling (1914 print) - poems and verse from the author of the Jungle Book. In spite of racial differences in attitudes from Kipling's time (as he voices in his characters) to our own. The works remain enjoyable.

Florence in the Poetry of the Brownings (1907 print) - poems of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning which have to do with the history, scenery and art of Florence, Italy. Lovely.

Oh, yes...Ian McDiarmid is starring in the TV adaptation of diaries from World War II freed by author Simon Garfield, Our Hidden Lives. It will air tonight on BBC4 at 9 PM in the UK. That's right now! ack!
Small interview