XO For The Holidays Vol. IX [Album]

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As many of you know, there is a whole lot of behind the scenes type of folks who make even the simplest of sites (like this one) operate. And one of the most important types will always be the fine publicity people who push out their clients’ work like it was the work of their own children. Well, at least the good ones do. I have been doing this work for just short of a decade, and I feel like I have seen just about every type of publicity company imaginable. And with that, a small handful have really stuck out and have become a mainstay not only for Trainwreck’d Society or wherever else I may write, but in my life in general. And while I would like to pretend that I love them all equally, my heart will always go out the hardest to Kaytea Moreno Elst & XO Publicity. Kaytea has not only been my favorite oddly named individual on this planet, she has also been one of those persistently supportive individuals who truly cares about the people she is working for, and has an obvious ear for talent that is almost unmatched in her business. And she has a bit of an edge over others in some very fantastic ways. And that is where we begin with XO For The Holidays Vol. IX.

As the title would suggest, this is the 9th installment of a series that XO Publicity has been putting together for, well, at least 9 years right? It is a collaboration of Holiday themed tracks by the artists they are currently representing, and I shit you not, every year has been fantastic. I have been listening to this FREE downloads for years, and am almost ashamed that I am only now getting around to writing some nice words about them. Seriously folks, before I go to far into this thing, please understand that this is some beautiful holiday music for people like me you absolutely despise fucking holiday music. And I don’t care what holiday it is. I’m just not a fan of this crap…..until it is done like this! This FREE (yes, I am overemphasizing this for a reason) compilation is an amazing collection of amazing holiday tracks that will make the most Scrooge-like asshole feel the spirit.

On Vol IX, we actually find a couple of past TWS features throwing their holiday spirit into the proverbial circle, as well as a few that will certainly be showing up on the site soon (Andrew Joslyn, oh boy, this guy is incredible). And I have bow down to the incredible magnetism and electricity that Magnuson creates on their cover of the classic “Silent Night”, which is absolutely as far from “silent” as you could imagine, just short of some sort of speed metal parody around the end. It is masterfully done. And as I sort of mentioned earlier, Andrew Joslyn is on here with a bit of composure alongside The Local Strangers on a beautiful rendition of “Under Mistletoe”. Our old friends from Blue Skies For Black Hearts also have an absolutely captivating track that mash-up that will leave your heart weeping for about 2 1/2 minutes, leaving you stunned for another 2 1/2 minutes after. And then there is Piney Gir showing off her unique and brilliant vocals on “Love Is A Christmas Rose”. There is just so much here people. There are even more great sounds from Eaglewolfsnake, Bill Berry (with a take on what happens AFTER Christmas), Texture & Light, and Occurrence. And did I mention it is FREE?

So, how do you become a part of this delight holiday goodness. Well, it may surprise you to know that this compilation is, wait for it….absolutely FREE! Head on over to the XO Publicity website and pick up this album. And if you are looking for a solid library of Christmas music that will have every hipster cousin and cool aunt grooving during the holidays, why not check out the previous 8 years worth of XO For The Holidays compilations that are also absolutely FREE!

Kaytea and XO have been oh so special to Trainwreck’d Society and myself over the years, not only for their hard work and dedication, but for their creativity to even have a project like this exist. This compilation, and the 8 that prefaced it, are perfect collections made for the avid cookie decorating, mistletoe touting, holiday nut. But, it is also perfect for the agnostic Scrooge in your life who is sick and tired of hearing Bing Crosby every damn hour on the hour!

So whether you love them or hate them, holiday music is never going away. So, why not let XO make them just a bit cooler and easier for you to deal with. I guarantee this compilation will do that and so much more. Enjoy!

 

Folake Olowofoyeku [Interview]

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We have a great one for you all today folks! It is always a pleasure to showcase a strong female actress, writer, musician, etc. who I may start unaware of at first, but eventually become all in and become a huge fan. And this is without a doubt the case when it comes to today’s interviewee Folake Olowofoyeku.

Folake was introduced to me through my obsession with the now cult classic Corman film, Death Race 2000. I knew the film was having an honest to hell reboot/sequel entitled Death Race 2050 that would NOT involve Jason Statham and held more true to the original genius of the first film. And I had mixed emotions. Not quite on the hateful and ridiculous level of these on line Ghostbusters trolls, but just a bit of hesitation. So, when I was given the shot to talk to an actual star from the film, I had to jump on it. That is where Folake came in.

And as it usually happens, I became more in love with the work of the person beyond the initial reason for wanting to speak to them. Olowofoyeku happens to be an amazing actress who has over a dozen film credits to her name, and has appeared on every damn TV show you love, from 30 Rock to Westworld, from How To Get Away with Murder to Modern Family. She is around, and she is wonderful. She is also a very gifted musician better known as The.Folake, that you absolutely must check out.

So, beyond getting to chat up a bit about the upcoming Death Race film, we got to steal a few words from a lovely and talented actress that we hope you all know and love. Because she deserves it, and you fine readers deserve nothing but the best. So please enjoy some great words with the wonderful Folake Olowofoyeku!

I understand you come from a rather large family, with an abundance of siblings. So, did you get into acting to sort of stand out from the crowd a bit? Or has it been a passion for as long as you can remember?

From as early as I can remember I wanted to be a performer. It was never an act of rebellion; it felt divine actually.

My dream then was to be a musician, however, my parents were specifically against that. So, in an act of desperation, I planned to blind-side them by becoming an actor and then segueing back into music. Once I made the commitment to acting, I focused whole heartedly on studying the craft and building a career.

So, as a huge fan of the original Roger Corman classic Death Race 2000, I absolutely NEED to know that Death Race 2050 is going to be amazing. Please sell it to me! Could you please tell us why fans of the original film are going to love the film as much as we want to?

If you are a fan of the original then you’ll love this remake; it stays true to that style. I believe this version is really being made for you guys: the true fans of the original. You guys will be the ones to really get it. It’s a lunatic of a movie — graphic and extremely inappropriate, the good stuff!

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And what will your role be in Death Race 2050? What did you enjoy about shooting this film?

I play Minerva Jefferson. She’s a bad-ass, larger than life, rock-star diva with strong opinions and a bold, sexy style. In this post-apocalyptic world of ‘Death Race 2050’, she is the person you dread to go against and exactly the person you want on your side. She’s been able to survive so far by being militant while having sex appeal, by being street-wise while also being her version of an activist.

I thoroughly enjoyed filming in Lima, Peru. The tirelessness of the crew, the producer and our director was contagious and inspiring. There’s tons of blood, sweat and love poured into the making of this film.

One more Death Race question: Did you have to undergo any sort of training for this role? Like, learning how to drive like a psychopath or something like that?

I didn’t have to undergo any training, but for research I watched tons of celebrity tantrum footage. A lot!

I am also hearing great things about your upcoming project If. Can you tell us a bit about this project and your role?

I play an African barber in this film. It’s a sort of cameo role that provides comic relief from an avant-garde-African’s perspective.

Can you tell us a bit about your work as The.Folake? What made you want to dive into the music world from acting, or have you always been passionate and activate with both?

Growing up, my art of choice was music. Having very little support in that department I got into acting, as mentioned before. Music now is my perpetual passion project. It’s a creative outlet outside of acting, where I have more control of my creativity. I use music as an outlet to express my thoughts, to comment on the world and social issues and have fun.

So what does the future hold for you? Any new tracks coming soon, or any other roles you’d like to promote here?

Female Fight Club is currently being released in some territories.

I’m also working on a video game; I’ll be voicing one of the lead characters, and I’m very excited about the process and excited to share it with the world.

Also, my newly launched a production company, Fo Foyeh Films, recently released the first season of a comedic series called Inappropriate Sh!t. It’s available to watch online now: http://www.folake.info/productioncompany

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Also, as a multifaceted individual, as an actress and musician, have you ever thought about getting behind the camera to do some directing? If so, what kind of stuff would you like to create?

Yes, I actually studied directing at the New York Film Academy. I’m taking on projects under the Fo Foyeh Films umbrella.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Watching videos of cats. Ha!

From The Vault Part 8: Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell Part II: Back Into Hell

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There are very few artists out there that have been a major part of life from my earliest memories, to this very day. But there are some. And the first one to always come to my mind is the great Meat Loaf. One of the greatest showmen of all time, and the man with the voice that has captivated audiences for over 40 years now. And when he was paired up with legendary songwriter Jim Steinman, it was honestly just not fucking fair to others artists. They are an unstoppable force in their solo ventures obviously, but together, as a team, they’re just an unstoppable force of nature.

So what makes Meat Loaf such an important force to me personally? Well, first of all thanks for asking (because I know my reader(s?) would ask)! It all boils down to one lovely person who has always be a driving force behind anything I ever do in this life. A beautiful woman who would be celebrating her 72nd birthday on this very day had she not lost her very quick battle with cancer 3 years ago while I was, once again, boarded up in a small dorm room in South Korea, leaving me with just memories and tears leading to weeks of endless nights listening to these beautiful songs that we shared together for so many years as a youth. If you couldn’t guess, I am talking about my dearly departed grandmother, Mrs. Betty Whittle.

There was something very peculiar about Grandma, that you may not hot have notice in that last paragraph. Grandma loved MEAT LOAF. Most Grandmas only make the food, my Grandma LOVED greatest artist named after a ground meat dish. In fact, she listened to mainly hard rock and heavy metal music. On the surface she was just a lovely & sweet, although sometimes crass, Grandmother. But, she was not afraid to admit that she loved hard rock sounds and frightening as shit horror films and Steven Seagal action films. She wasn’t some sort of ex-hippy turned punk rocker or anything like that, she just loved her music loud, and her films frightening and/or action packed. I can remember endless occasions of going grocery shopping with Grandma listening to several Meat Loaf cassette tapes, as well as being the first time I can remember hearing Nirvana’s Nevermind. Or anything from White Snake or Alice Cooper. And it was blowing my prepubescent mind when I really thought about what I was hearing! Was this insane? I started meeting other kid’s grandmas, and they never quite seemed as cool. And that’s because they simply were not. Nobody’s grandmother was as cool as her. Never were, never will be. Period.

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So, that is my lead in to this album. While it would be more memorable to cover the first Bat Out of Hell album, which actually holds the fondest memories and really stand the test of time, I decided upon the sequel, which was actually released in my lifetime. I was 8 years old when this album came out. It was actually one of the first Compact Discs I ever received. Christmas 1993, I believe it was. 23 years ago, I was finally having something fresh and new to share with Grandma, and I was so damn excited. And what I couldn’t wrap my 8 year old mind around was the fact that it was the return of Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman as a team. I did notice that it sounded so much for like the first Bat Out of Hell than something like Midnight at the Lost and Found, but it was a “sequel” so I just figured it HAD to.

And dammit it all if Grandma didn’t love it as well. I can remember calling her up to see what she thought of it, and when we were finally back to visit her again, we listened to it over and over together. We both knew all of the words, even to the 13 minute long massive hit “I Would Do Anything For Love (But, I Won’t Do That)”. We both believed that ‘Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through” was the best song, and we listened to it the most. Fuck, my Grandma was cool.

I mean to take nothing away from the talents of Meat Loaf, but as I grow older I really wonder if it isn’t nostalgia for my wonderful grandmother that truly made me love this man’s music. I honestly like to think it is a little bit of both. My grandmother was a beautiful person. Meat Loaf made beautiful music. And these two elements combined made beautiful memories. In fact, I continued to love Meat Loaf, even when I wasn’t able to share all of his work with my grandmother as I grew older and didn’t see Grandma so much. I still feel like Welcome to the Neighborhood is one of Meat Loaf’s most underrated works, right before Midnight at the Lost and Found. The man has touted out tunes that have always mesmerized me, and I am certain that as long as he has the ability to do so, I will have the will to listen to his music. He’s a fucking madman on the microphone, and if a person as memorable and important to me as my grandmother could adore his work, you better goddamn well believe I always will.

I want to leave this piece on a quick memory I will never forget that involves my grandmother, Meat Loaf, and my dearest heavy metal friend, Metal Mattson. Grandma died 3 months earlier. I made my way back to U.S., and felt lost in my old hometown. I was destined to Spain in just a couple of short weeks, so my time for grieving in my old stomping grounds was limited. But, I had a beautiful tribute to my Grandma that I will never forget. My dear friend Metal (Adam) Mattson had me over to his house for drinks and conversation, as we had done for over a decade in our lives. And you better fucking believe we sat on his couch belting out the lyrics of “Paradise By the Dashboard Light” together in unison over an over abundance of alcohol and a masking of needed tears. This is the way Grandma would have wanted to be eulogized. And I would hope this is the way that Meat Loaf would want people to enjoy his music.

P.S. I know this is less of an album review of Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, and more of a digital Meat Loaf dick-sucking and a 3 year old eulogy to my Grandmother. But, fuck you. I’ll do whatever the hell I feel like doing. It’s what Grandma would have wanted.

Sean Jordan [Interview]

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I need to preface this introduction by giving a full on apology to Sean Jordan, one of my favorite working comedians of the now. I am writing this introduction on May 5th, 2017. As you will notice, that is just a few days shy of 5 months after this amazing interview was published. This is for two reasons: 1) I am a total dick and 2) (time for the excuses) I released this interview during my transition from southern Spain to the Suffolk region of England. And totally dropped the ball with the site for a few weeks during that transition. And Christmas was happening and stuff. So, again, my sincerest apologies to Sean Jordan, who again, is one of the finest comedians of the now that you absolutely must check out. Now for a more formal and deserving introduction.

God dammit I love Sean Jordan. He is exactly the kind of person I want to see standing in a room with the full desire to make me smile. His light-hearted take on life and the misery all around us is not only entertaining, but absolutely admirable. He comes from a time and place that I am very specifically familiar with. As a kid growing up in the late 80’s and early 90’s, moving into the teen years at the later part of the decade, it was a very specific time to be alive, and Sean Jordan can tell you all about it in a truly beautiful way. And, as die hard Jordan fans will already know, he hails from one of the most wholesome parts of the country you could ever imagine, yet have probably never experienced, the midwest. Specifically, Sioux Falls South Dakota. For anyone who has spent some time in South Dakota, you will automatically know that Sioux Falls is definitely the “big city” for that region. (Random fun fact: Ellsworth Air Force Base, based just outside of Rapid City, is the 5th largest “city” in the state of South Dakota). And what is the best thing about all of this? Sean has ZERO shame in any of this. And why should he? He loves what he does, where he came from, and is destined to delight audiences for decades to come.

Recently Sean Jordan has developed a worthy following as a “guest”, more of a co-host at this point, on the brilliant and creative podcast All Fantasy Everything, hosted by another brilliant comedian (hailing from my beloved (sort of) homeland…shout out to Beaverton!) Ian Karmel and also featuring a new favorite comedian of mine who is also a “guest” on the show David Gborie. If you haven’t listen to this amazing podcast, please fucking do it, right now. I mean, read this incredibly thoughtful and personal interview that Sean has graciously provided us. And then go and listen to the brilliance of Karmel, Jordan, and Gborie who have a synergy that is beyond comparison to anything you have ever heard before. I guarantee it.

So, again, with apologies to this very hilarious comedian, I would whole-heartedly love to (re)introduce to you all, the great Sean Jordan!


What made you decide you wanted to join the world of comedy? And what were some of your earliest comedic influences?

I honestly had no clue I wanted to be a comedian before I started. The first stand up show I went to was Bobcat Goldthwait and I absolutely loved it. I think I was around 23 or 24. I remember the MC being super funny and dry and I thought to myself that it was kind of how I was just in general. I think I mentioned something about wanting to try stand up while I was at work one day and then a coworker heard an ad on the radio for a comedy contest and he told me I should enter. I ended up entering and winning but not because I was any good of course. I brought something like 80 people to the show so they all just voted for me and that kind of sealed it. I did fucking terrible! I remember my first set pretty well and still have the note cards from it. Not a single actual joke, just a bunch of ideas that didn’t have punch lines or anything. As bad as I did though I was still super into it from jump. It was one of the best feelings in the world getting off that stage and just thinking “I did it, I actually got up there and told jokes to strangers.” Nothing has ever made me more nervous in my entire life and I love that feeling. I still get nervous but in a good and exciting way.

My earliest influences were the comics that came to the club that I really enjoyed. I still love them to this day. Tommy Johnagin, Brendon Walsh, Andi Smith and Brett Erickson to name a few. A couple years in I started to pay attention to people like Doug Benson, Paul F. Tompkins, Sarah Silverman and people from that class.

So, what was the stand up scene like when you started out in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where you are originally from? Were there any other local talents in such a specific area of the country?

The scene was VERY small in Sioux Falls. There were 2 other comedians that actually lived in Sioux Falls when I started. There were 0 open mics so the only place to work was the comedy club as a host for the shows. The only way to get to host was to win the contest pretty much. After I won they invited me to start hosting. Looking back that was a horrible way to start developing material but it was fantastic to get comfortable in front of people. I was doing 1 or 2 shows a week and gradually one of the comics kind of fell off so it was just myself and another kid who would host shows. I started doing 4 or 5 a week and he would cover 1 or 2. My friend Jon started doing stand up a year or so after I did so then he would do a show or 2 a week as well. Eventually the club closed and there was nowhere to do stand up in town. I know that sounds ridiculous but there was literally nowhere doing shows or open mics for 2 or 3 years! That’s pretty much why I moved. I hadn’t done stand up for years and I was bummed because I knew it was what I wanted to do. That ultimately brought me to Portland which ended up being the best decision I’ve ever made.

The scene in Sioux Falls is getting a lot better now though. There are a handful of very good comedians, open mics, a record store called Total Drag that is amazing about putting on shows and a comedy just opened back up in town. I love all of that.

In 2009 you became a Portland transplant. What made you want to move to the PDX area? Did you know any comedians working out there? And what was your overall thoughts on the comedy scene out there?

The reason I moved to Portland was kind of touched on in the last question but I’ll dive in a little deeper. Portland was never the destination, I just knew I wanted to leave Sioux Falls. I had never really left before so I was kind of scared to go on my own. I had some friends who decided to move from Sioux Falls to the west coast but they didn’t know where. I told them if they moved and got a place to stay that I would come live with them as soon as they were settled. They tried San Fran but couldn’t find a place or jobs so they just ended up going up the interstate to Portland and found a pretty dope spot. I look back on it and it was in an amazing part of the city for pretty cheap considering it’s Portland. They moved in and had an extra room just sitting there! I got pretty lucky with my job as well because they had a branch in Portland I could transfer to. So in the middle of a recession I got to move to Portland with a dope place to live, 2 of my best friends in the world already there and a job waiting for me. It couldn’t have been a better situation. I didn’t know any comedians at the time but I ended up doing another comedy contest in 2010 in Portland and met a bunch of people that would end up being my friends to this day.

I moved to Portland at the exact right time for comedy. The scene was always good but in 2010 they started the Portland comedy contest up again so I made it just in time for that. The next year The Bridgetown Comedy Festival started up again after a year hiatus and Helium Comedy Club opened up. Those 3 things really pumped some life into the scene again and I got to be there for the start of all of it. I was very fortunate in that way.

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You recently moved once again to what seems like the most logical place, Los Angeles. Looking back on your experience in the Rose City, how you do feel about it? And what was your main reason to move to L.A.?

My experience in Portland was probably the best time of my life so far. The excitement of leaving Sioux Falls for the first time made the summer of 2009 the best ever for so many reasons. Then i moved to Portland and learned how to live away from home and also learned so so so so much about stand up and what kind of person I was. It taught me so many life lessons and I’ll always love Portland for that.

I’m excited to be in LA for the same reason. The possibilities are endless here and it’s just another chapter in my life. It’s been almost the same situation here in that my best friend had a room that he wasn’t using that I just moved into. So I got to come to LA and instead of having to search for a place I had a room here with a friend built in. If it weren’t for that I honestly might not have lasted here. I moved because I was just thinking that if I don’t now then I never will. I don’t want to look back and think “what if?” So I said fuck it and moved. I didn’t have a job waiting for me or anything, no manager or agent but I do have confidence in my ability and hopefully that’ll be enough 🙂 Things have a way of working out and that’s what’s been going on since I got here. I’ve never been more nervous about life or worried so much about money but that’s kind of part of the deal I think. This city can break you down and you have to realize why you do stand up. If you’re in stand up to make money or get fame then chances are you’re in the wrong business. It can certainly happen but I feel it only happens to the people who are in it for the love of the game which is something this city will pound into your head. I’ve been here for almost a year now and it’s very hard. I stick in there because I love doing it though and I feel like as long as you work hard and work for the right reasons that good things can and will happen.

While we are discussing your continuous globetrotting, would you be able to enlighten our readers as to where some of your favorite places to do stand up are? Are there any middle land areas that surprise the left and right coasters of the country?

Performing can be fun anywhere! It’s such a universal thing that everyone enjoys. My favorite places to do stand up are Minneapolis, Denver and Portland. I’m sure that comes as no surprise to anyone 🙂 I’ll say this, the first club I ever did a feature set at was in Peoria IL and it’s still pretty fun there. I don’t think a lot of people would see that one coming. Also Madison WI. They have one of the best clubs I’ve ever worked! It’s a college town so it’s very fun to go to. Tell jokes, walk around campus, get drunk with college kids and grab some late night pizza! Do that for 4 days and then go home and sleep for a week 🙂

You have been one of my favorite comedians to appear on the brilliant contest driven podcast Doug Loves Movies, hosted by Doug Benson. I am always excited to notice that you will be on the show. So how do you enjoy your appearances on the podcast? Is it as fun as it sounds like it is?

I absolutely love going on DLM and it is as much fun as it sounds. Doug has helped me out in stand up more than I could have ever asked for. So when I was in Sioux Falls bar tending and not doing stand up because thee was no club, Doug texted me out of the blue one day. I got a text saying “Hey, I’m in town. We should grab a drink.” I had no clue who it was but it turned out to be Doug and he was in town doing a college. He ended up coming to the bar I worked at after and talked to me a little about moving. He said that I needed to and wherever I ended up he would do his best to help me out. When I was in Portland he let me open for him at a theater which was my first big theater show, he pretty much got me into the comedy club as a regular act and had me on DLM for the first time.
So what does the future hold for Sean Jordan? Anything you would like to plug here?

I don’t really know what the future holds 🙂 I’m trying to get writing jobs and late night sets of course but it’s a pretty long process. I’m just gonna stick it out in LA and work my little pooper off! Hope for good things.

The only thing I wanna plug is stand up comedy in general. Go watch some live stand up and enjoy it 🙂

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Doesn’t take much to make me smile 🙂 I got coffee today and walked around the mall a little and there was a kid in a stroller with little antlers on his head. That made me smile BIG. I love the holidays.

Adam LeFevre [Interview]

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We certainly love a good character actor here at Trainwreck’d Society. And hot damn if we don’t have a wonderful actor to showcase today. Adam LeFevre has probably been in your favorite movie. He’s probably been in your mom’s favorite movie. Hell, he’s probably in your pot dealers freeloading girlfriend’s favorite movie. Seriously, for close to 40 years, Adam has been in just about anything. In fact, he is actually in MY favorite movie. And for avid fans of this now 20 year old gem of a film known as Beautiful Girls, you will definitely remember him as Victor The Meat Cutter. He was sort of the “villain”, who really didn’t deserve such a title, but when you build a divinity for Michael Rapport’s senseless character in that film, you didn’t want to like Victor.

So, of course, we were so delighted that Mr. LeFevre was willing to talk with us a bit about Beautiful Girls, acting in general, and a nice quick conversation about a very admirable and illustrious career. So, feast your eyeballs on some great work from a wonderful actor. Enjoy!

When did you first decide you wanted to join the world of acting? What were some of your earliest influences?

I began college as a pre-med student-athlete (football, baseball). Gravitated to the English and Theatre departments.I remember being thoroughly smitten when I first watched Brando’s performance in On The Waterfront.After a few decades as an actor in so many different types of mediums, what would you say has been the greatest change in the profession, for better or for worse?

After a few decades as an actor in so many different types of mediums, what would you say has been the greatest change in the profession, for better or for worse?

I think the greatest changes in the actor’s media in my time have been technical. The new technical possibilities have been both a blessing and a curse.. A blessing in the amazing range of new effects possible; Faustian to the degree the “human element” has been sacrificed or marginalized.

 

So, I honestly have a very specific reason I was hoping have you on the site… You portrayed none other than Victor The Meat Cutter in one of the greatest films of all time. And depending on how rational of a person you are, some might say you were the “villain”. So, I have to ask how that filming experience was for you? Was it as fun as I could imagine?

Filming Beautiful Girls was delightful. Working with Teddy Demme was delightful, and I still miss him. I never thought of Victor as a villain. He’s just a small town butcher looking for love.
If you could portray any famous world leader and/or dictator in history, who would it be? 

Dictator/world leader? Henry VIII because he was a rational man consumed by his passions. Or maybe Nikita Kruschev, a teddy bear or a grizzly bear depending on one’s point of view.

In your long illustrious career, you have played characters who tend to have a plethora of different occupations. That being said, what would you consider to be the most difficult occupation to portray?

I don’t think any one occupation is more or less difficult to portray than any other. Because you’re never portraying an occupation. You’re portraying a person.

 

When you look back, what would you consider your greatest non-artistic achievement?

I consider my children by far my “greatest achievement”.

 

So, what does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug here?

Two films about to be released: Gold, with Matthew McCoughahey, and Almost Paris, directed by Domenica Cameron-Scorsese.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The last thing that made me smile? Just now, remembering Ted Demme and working on The Ref and Beautiful Girls.

Greg Proops [Interview]

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There are a lot of comedians out there who have left a mark on my fragile mind, and today you are lucky enough to hear from one of them. Greg Proops is an amazing comedian who has a brilliant perspective on life and love and everything in general. The casual reader will remember Greg from Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, and the avid reader will know that he is one of the finest stand up comedians that has graced the comedy stage in the last 20 years. He has an amazing podcast as well, so be sure to get yourself on the Proopcast wagon!

And with that, we are so damn happy that Greg decided he would like to share a few words with us. He really didn’t have to, but we are so damn happy that he did. So, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Greg Proops!

 

How did you find yourself in the world of comedy? And what keeps you in the business?

I wanted to do it since I was a teenager. The freedom and being treated as an adult drew me in. The audience interaction keeps me in. I love the dance.

What are you thoughts on the modern world of comedy after so many years in the business? Are things better? Worse? Same?

Better, more Women and People of Color. The worse part is there are still too many sexist asshats. The internet has allowed us all to be free agents.

You’ve been a cast member in both the UK and U.S. versions of the hit sketch based game show Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, so what would you say was the biggest differences between the two versions? And which audience did you find the most receptive to this style of show that was unlike any other?

The money. The audiences are mad enthusiastic on both sides. We did the Palladium in London this year and the Adelphi last year and it was bonkers. I am very lucky to work with so many great improvateurs and visa versa.

If you had to pick one, what would you consider your favorite bit you have performed on either version of the show?

Tony Slattery’s pants split once at taping in London. I saw more than I wanted to. I prefer the Live version I do with Ryan Stiles.

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You have a plethora of voice over gigs under your belt, including 5 seasons as Bob The Builder and Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Meance. So I’m just wondering how much do you enjoy these gigs? And what has been your favorite gig thus far?

I’m working on a new movie called Duck, Duck, Goose and it should be great. I loved Nightmare Before Christmas and I have had the pleasure of performing it live the last two years with a full orchestra, Danny Elfman, Catherine O’Hara and Pee wee at the Hollywood Bowl. That was like being in an opera.

I really enjoy Proopcast, by the way. But, for those out there who may not be familiar with it, what do you believe it is that sets your podcast apart from the increasingly large amount of comedian driven podcasts these days?

I’m not a misogynist. And I speak to issues.

When you look back on your obviously illustrious career in the world of comedy, what would you say you are most proud of?

The podcast. My Wife Jennifer and I have put our hearts into it.

So what is next for Greg Proops? Anything you would like to plug?

The podcast is always happening. The Greg Proops Film Club rolls on, next episode we show The Apartment on December 7th at Cinefamily. My paperback of The Smartes Book in the World comes out in February. I also ell continue being a satirical voice opposed to Trump and all he stands for. Racism, sexism, bigotry and xenphoboa.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The windows at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. (See below)

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Watch Greg for yourself at one the following dates:

12/07 Cinefamily-Greg Proops Film Club -The Apartment in Los Angeles, CA

12/14 The Comedy Store in Los Angeles, CA
12/29-31 (Podcast on the 29th) Punch Line in San Francisco, CA

1/09 NerdMelt in Los Angeles, CA
1/15 Vodkast – Bar Lubitsch in West Hollywood, CA
1/26-28 (Podcast on the 26th) -Vermont Comedy Club in Burlington Virgina
3/05 The Crocodile in Seattle, WA

Hans Bauer [Interview]

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If I have learned anything from running this site for the last 5 years, it is that sometimes you strike gold without a whole lot of effort. We have done it today, folks. As I mentioned before (probably last week) we LOVE film and television writers. They are some of the most respected artists, who ironically enough do not receive enough respect. The story starts with them. They are the idea men. Even when excess individuals enter the picture and twist the story around, as it can happen sometimes, it was still THEIR story. When you see these strange visuals and exceptional storytelling brought to the silver or television screens, it all started as stimulation of some creative human being’s brain. It is a truly fascinating process, and deserves a showcase on a far more grand of a scale that it currently is today.

So back to striking gold: I discovered Hans Bauer while digging through the dark and dusty proverbial alleyways of the internet with only the intention of possibly getting some words from the dude that once wrote a screenplay about a giant snake. But, what I got was so much more. I got some beautiful insight that is on par with the insight and surprise I received from the likes of Frederic Raphael over 3 years ago. I got brilliance, and I am so happy to share it with you fine folks. This man is a writer’s writer, and I definitely don’t mean that in an insulting way. I really dig Mr. Bauer, especially after how he handles my unfortunate use of autocorrect and made him a transplant to America from a country even further away than he actually came (read below, you’ll understand and remember that I am a very simple man). So please enjoy some great words from one of my new favorite writers of anything, Mr. Hans Bauer!

 

How did you get into the world of screenwriting? What inspired you to get into the business?

As a fluke, really. I’d gone to San Francisco with a vague idea of starting a life there. Unable to find an affordable apartment, I thought I’d give LA a try. The day I moved in, the guy below me was moving out; he’d sold a script and was able to afford a house. So it hit me: I’d take a shot at this thing called screenwriting. I got very lucky, very quickly, was hired to write some scripts, optioned a few of my own. Most were sold off pitches, which I quickly realized was my strong suite. If they wanted the idea, they had to give me first crack at the screenplay, always with the implied understanding that I’d likely get booted as soon as I fulfilled my obligation. Point being, producers REALLY LIKED THE IDEAS. It did, however, take another two decades to actually get something made.

You penned the screenplay to the severely underrated 1997 suspense film Anaconda, which I honestly enjoyed very much. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to write this script?

Thanks. Anaconda was, in part, inspired by a misunderstanding. Once in a while I’d see a nature film that featured an anaconda, so, obviously I paid attention. How could you not?  It’s a giant snake, for Christ’s sake, there’s got to be a movie there. The misunderstanding had to do with the original King Kong. Looking at a grainy print, I saw the giant ape battling a giant snake, and how cool is that? Years later, when viewing a cleaned up print, it turned out I was wrong: Kong wasn’t battling a snake, but a giant lizard. That time I was able to make out the little lizard feet. Anyway, that’s how it happened.

Anaconda is not a film I’m thrilled about, meaning it has very little to do with the story I scripted. Mine had nothing to do with a National Geographic team looking for a lost Indian tribe, which, if you ask me, is bullshit. The fact that it found a global audience and became a brand has much to do with the studio hiring actors who covered almost every known demographic. That’s my theory.

My original draft: In an epic adventure, twenty-something, middle-grade biology teacher Andie Easter and six young colleagues, in the dead of a Chicago winter, hatch a plan to spend their summer in Brazil, hoping to reverse their meager fortunes by joining a modern-day gold rush on a tributary of the mighty Amazon.

Disoriented and increasingly isolated, the treasure hunters stray into the remote domain of three colossal snakes: daughter, mother, grandmother. One by one, under terrifying circumstances, the teachers fall victim to the devastating effects of gold fever and the relentless brutality of the primeval South American jungle. Andie Easter must discover her inner Amazon to avoid becoming prey to the Mother of All Snakes.

I recently novelized Anaconda (Anaconda: The Writer’s Cut) in order to get across my original vision. Fingers crossed that someday Sony will make a new version and that time get it right.

 

 

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Titan A.E. was also amazing as well. I’m curious to know if it was always planned to be an animated film? And what are your thoughts on the end result as a film?

Thanks again, but Titan A.E. also had little to do with my involvement. How candid am I allowed to be here? I’d been developing a concept for a galactic pirate film (Treasure Planet) with a wanna-be producer friend who later went on to head a studio. When he got to that position, he ripped me off and turned the project into an animated TV series, somehow forgetting to mention that I was his contracted partner. I sued and we settled out of court. The guy’s next plan was to use a lot of the same material for an animated feature. That time, the studio bought all my material (a lot of it was just notes to myself) up front, and threw in a co-‘story by’ and a meaningless producing credit.

If you were to give any piece of advice to an aspiring screenwriter, what sort of advice would you give?

What can I possibly offer? My career has been a fluke. I beat the odds, got lucky over and over again. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but accept that it had a lot to do with the strength of the ideas, even if I am the one saying so, and not the actual writing. Not very helpful, am I? Hope I haven’t wasted your time.

If you could pen the script to any tragic event in Australian history, what would it be?

Actually, I’m an Austrian citizen with a Green Card, been here forever, not Australian, and know little of the history of either country.

But you mentioned Australia, and I have been toying with a story set in the South Pacific. I’ll quote from Wiki: In the annals of our World Wars, there have been many atrocities committed by our kind against each other. The South Pacific during World War II holds a special distinction for being an especially brutal and savage killing ground the likes of which humankind has never seen before or since. Yet one of the bloodiest and most horrifying massacres in the history of the war came not from the hands human beings, but from the jaws and teeth of the animal kingdom. During World War II on one remote island in the South Pacific, a platoon of nearly a thousand armed Japanese troops entered crocodile infested swamps and most never returned; a disappearance that, if reports are to be believed, would make it the single greatest instance of carnage caused by animals in history.

So what does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to promote?

The future doesn’t hold much in the way of new material. A half-dozen bought or developed scripts (Young Wizards, The Tree, some others) are still in limbo at various studios, so there’s that, Have a co-authored (Craig Mitchell) script, Motorcade, over at Dreamworks for over a decade. I occasionally hear rumblings that they’re still developing it, so we’ll see. Another script, Fishtale, is in turnaround at Sony, maybe someone will pick that up. Also have another dozen scripts (Snake, The Pet, Marooned, Texicano, among others) that have never been shopped. But mostly now I’m interested in writing novels and in my photo-based art.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I smile when I reflect on how well my new novel, Spicewood, is turning out. And when I see the images in two new photo projects: a thoroughly convincing photo-based medieval tarot deck; as if someone had recently discovered a long lost tarot deck made with a prototype camera five hundred years ago, and with American Pickers, a collection of stark, black and white portraits of working Texas Hill Country musicians. Yeah, those speak to me.