Jason Stuart [Interview]

 

Hello Folks, and happy Friday to you all! To kick off the weekend with a good laugh, we have an incredible guest for you all. It’s the “swiss army knife” of actors, the wonderful Jason Stuart! Jason is that guy that I have been watching for years, as an avid TV and film watcher, but also as a huge fan of comedy. That’s right, we have another damn fine comic on our hands here at Trainwreck’d Society. And not only his Jason a fantastic actor and stand up comedian, he is also a god damned inspiration!

Jason Stuart did something that could have wrecked his career very early, based on the timeframe in which he did. It’s almost sickening to discuss in this day and age, but we simply cannot ignore the past. Jason Stuart came out as a gay man in the early 90’s, at a time where you just didn’t do that. Anybody who watched the 2018 film mid-90’s and refused to believe that some of the dialogue in that film wasn’t lifted directly from what was considered “appropriate” at the time – believe it. And while it is still not safe to say that things are “better now”, you have to understand that they sort of are better. But, the chance for regression in the changes that have been made is always there. But thanks to people like Mr. Stuart who pioneered the very simple idea of just being who you are and loving who you wish to love very early on, changes have been made for the better. He is commendable for his talents in the world of art and entertainment, and even more commendable for his actions as a human being.

And with that, Jason has a wonderful new book coming out entitled, Shut Up I’m Talking: Coming Out in Hollywood and Making it to the Middle. Without a doubt, it is going to be something that you simply HAVE to read. And we are so happy that Jason was able to take some time out of his numerous gigs to share some responses to some questions with us here today. So Folks, please enjoy some incredible words from the even more incredible human being, the great Jason Stuart!

 

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What inspired you to get into the line world of comedy and acting? Was it an early aspiration that you have had since you were young, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I started acting at a very young age. When I started getting laughs on stage doing school plays and community theatre, I knew this was what I wanted to do. At the time, I thought I wanted to be famous. But what I learned as I became more adept at the work, was that I loved the idea of being able to make people laugh, cry and touch people. I love the idea that you can go into the theater or see a movie or watch a TV show and I could change the way you feel about something.

 

What was your very first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned that still affect your work today?

I guest-starred on a TV show called The Life and Times of Eddie Roberts and played a ping-pong player who smoked pot in college. I thought, “This is it! I’m going to get jobs like this all the time!” So I quit community college … and didn’t get another job for two years. I really had no idea how lucky I was to get that job or lucky to get any job. So I just started to work hard and put one foot in front of the other until around 10 years later when I was able to start making a living.

 

While you are indeed a renowned actor, you also happen to be a hilarious stand up comedian. And we love stand up around here! So with that, I am curious to know how your experience has been in the world of stand up? Over the years, a lot of changes have been happening. In your own personal opinion, what have been some of the positive changes you have noticed over the years since you started?

 

Comedy has been very good to me. I’ve been able to work all over the country and actually learn geography! I went to public school. Lucky I learned anything! But to be honest, I was so bullied in school that it was hard for me to pay attention. One of the bigger changes is that people don’t go to comedy clubs as much as they did when I started out. My fans like to come to theaters or alternative spaces. So, that’s what I focus on now. Also, young people watch comedy all over the Internet now. So they are less apt to come to clubs because they have to talk to real people in real life.

 

One very specific project you worked on has me all sorts of intrigued, and I know it’s probably a weird one, but I gotta know….America’s Most Wanted. You appeared as a detective in 2011. How was this experience? It seems like it would be very different from other acting gigs. What do you remember about working on this project?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it was just like any other job. The reason I wanted to do it is because I wanted to play the role of a detective. That role got me a number of other roles after I  put it on my demo reel. I have a supporting role “Detective Walter“ in the film Abducted coming out this year. Every job leads to another. You have to show people that you can play something in order for them to believe that you can do it. My good friends Billy Damota and Dea Vise cast me, as they have several times. They gave me the opportunity to play roles out of the box that I was offered at that time. I only played fussy managers or annoying Jews or funny gay guys. But because of people like them, I’m now considered for all sorts of roles ….most of the time.

I understand that you have a book that was recently released to the world. And you had a signing event that was hosted by our friend and past guest Alexandra Paul! Can you tell our readers a bit about the book? What can they look forward to learning about you and the your sometimes insane business?

The book is about this young gay Jewish boy who went to see Funny Girl starring Barbra Streisand. When I saw it I fell in love with Omar Sharif, her costar. And then thought to himself,  “If I love a man, who am I to be but Barbra Streisand, the woman. She’s funny on the outside and sad on the inside just like me. But she’s a not a guy.” This was very confusing to me as there were no gay role models in film and television in those days. It was very upsetting for a young boy at that time to come to grips that I might be gay. The book is about cleaning up the wreckage of my past and becoming a man. Dealing with a crazy family, a father who was in the holocaust, brothers and sisters who don’t show up for me and the ins and outs of show business. Also a lot of fun stories about everyone from George Clooney to Tiffany Haddish. And a lot about my very flamboyant mother, Gloria!

 

 

I am also very intrigued by a radio gig you have now entitled Riffing with Jason Stuart. Can you tell us a bit about this project? What compelled you to get into this game, and how can our readers find it?

The reason I started getting into hosting Radio, was that I wanted to get a boyfriend. So I wanted to find a job that would keep me from going on the road. I wanted to learn a new skill set. Just being funny wasn’t enough, I had to learn to interview people and I’ve been doing that for the last 10 years and for five different shows. What I really love about the job is you get to ask questions to people that you’ve known forever or work with, that you wouldn’t ask if you were just hanging out. So to me that’s a lot of fun.

 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Well my book is my main focus now. I have another film called Immortal coming out where I play a very intimidating private investigator. The film also stars Dylan Baker, Samm Levine, Robin Bartlett, and a lot of wonderful character actors. I also have created a new web series with Mitch Hara called Smothered, about two middle-age gay men who hate each other but can’t afford to get divorced.

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Having my mom sit in the front row of my book signing, as she was smiling with joy over a book she was afraid I would tell too much in about her and the family ups and downs.  At one point she said “Don’t use my real name! Call me Goldie not my real name Gloria”. I said “Ma, I’ve been talking about you for over 30 years everyone, knows who you are.”  She said “Oh yeah, I forgot.”

The Listening Tree Interviews: Jordan Farrow [Interview]

 

 

Our dear friends and fellow TWS contributors Adam Mattson and Chris Eaves of the world-renowned podcast, The Listening Tree, did a fantastic interview with lead singer and guitarist for the kajui metal band Oxygen Destroyer, the great Jordan Farrow. And our friends were kind enough to allow us to share it with you all  here! Please enjoy, and listen to Oxygen Destroyer!

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE TO THE LISTENING TREE ON ITUNES.

 

 

Check out more from Oxygen Destroyer on Bandcamp.

 

Also be on the lookout for the band coming to a city near you:

 

August 16th @ The Charleston in Bremerton, WA

August 22-25th @ Vancouver Island Metal Festival in Victoria, British Columbia

September 27th @ El Corazon in Seattle, WA

Oct 4th @ McCoy’s Tavern in Olympia, WA

 

Find more dates on the band’s Facebook Page.

 

Sunday Matinee: Badass Beauty Queen [Film]

 

“Badass Beauty Queen is incredibly inspirational and a call to action for anyone who has ever felt that they want to make a difference in this world. The film features never-before-seen footage of Lin’s struggle to bring global attention to the issues of religious freedom and organ harvesting in her native China. The highly acclaimed documentary follows Anastasia Lin as she stands up for her beliefs on the world’s stage. This eye-opening glimpse into the story that made headlines across the world, when Lin was denied from competing in the Miss World pageant in China.” – October Coast PR

 

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Prepare to be inspired, Folks. That is something I have to say right out the gate about Bad Ass Beauty Queen. Because, the title really does say it all. Anastasia Lin is all of these things, and so much more. There is just so damn much evil in the world, and it is a beautiful thing to know that there are some great forces of nature out there looking to do the right thing, for the sake of simply doing the right thing. And Lin did just this. There are moments in just this film that had me personally exclaiming, “Yeah, I would have just quit.” But thankfully she did not, and her actions have very likely put some wild shit that is happening in China and other countries, on the table for conversation, if nothing else. Now prepare to be pretty bummed out….

 

 

And this is what the real conversation should be here. Why is it that Miss Canada has to be the one to shake some sense into people? Yes, I understand that the concept of representing a nation in this campaign is to be an inspiration. Sure. I’ll bite. But, in the end, she is a twenty-something young woman who is using a worldwide platform to bring up the fact that PEOPLE ARE SMUGGLING FUCKING ORGANS FROM INVOLUNTARY HUMANS!! Seriously, Folks, this is some next level, 90’s action movie type shit that should only be science fiction. But, it is not. And this is just one of the causes that Lin has been speaking out against. We all know that human violations in China are plentiful, but we do nothing about it. In this modern North American age, it’s as though we are dependent on these human rights violations in order to advance ourselves in the slightest, and to ensure that we keep the pockets line of fat cats like Bill Gates, who “adorably” cannot tell you how much a box of pizza rolls cost. It’s not adorable. It’s terrifying.

It is the government’s job to keep these people in check, and they aren’t doing it. They won’t do it. It’s time to accept that. Everything that a company like Apple makes is made in labor/death camps in China. We know this. As I type these words out at this moment I wonder if there are blood stains in the internal parts of this laptop from a 6 year old who knocked their finger on hour 13 of a 16 hour shift. All the while we are told that things would be “so much more expensive” if these people were treated right, or companies didn’t outsource their labor. Which is true. But it is also bullshit. This is simply a reality that we have created where CEOs, including the British companies behind the Miss World pageant who were sheep and blindsided Anastasia Lin, refuse to accept less profit. And they are commended for hoarding their wealth. It’s sick, and honestly, there is no end in site.

I hate to end this on such a bummer, but it’s the truth Folks, and I honestly don’t have a solution. I am not a politician, and I am not in the business of policy change. But those who are, will not do shit about it. But thankfully we have people in this world like Anastasia Lin who are at least attempting to make the world a better place, by whatever means they may have available to them. I never would have thought a beauty pageant sash could be a weapon of choice, but what the hell, right? Rock on Anastasia!

 

Bad Ass Beauty Queen is available now on DVD and VOD wherever you watch great films.

 

Saturday Special: The Velocipastor [Film]

 

“After a devastating family tragedy, a priest travels to China to find deeper spirituality, but instead is endowed with an ancient ability that allows him to turn into a dinosaur. At first, he is horrified by his newfound superpower, but a local prostitute convinces him to use his newfound gift to fight evil – and ninjas.” – October Coast PR

 

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You know what Folks, I am a person who does enjoy a good bit of art & culture from time to time. I have been to Italy a handful of times and drank lush wine, and looked up at the Sistine Chapel in the way that Robin Williams described it in Good Will Hunting. I have enjoyed fine intellectual conversations in the vain of a Mitch Albom novel. I’ve read Kafka, and understood it. But, I’m also the guy who once tried to drink 80 ounces of an energy drink in 2 minutes and only missed it by a mere 18 ounces. Also multiple counts of public urination. What I’m saying is that life, not unlike art, is subjective! Brilliance doesn’t always have to come from the serious side of life and/or art. There are times you just want to see a motherfucking human become a dinosaur and tear shit up. Also ninjas. And prostitutes. And more ninjas.

A wonderful television writer once spoke about this humble little site as being something that “doesn’t wish to sedate you”. And Folks, I’d like to think that is true. And it is also what I believe the absolute brilliance of The Velocipastor is not wishing to do as well. It’s just a damn good time, that’s what it is. It is a fun film that will have you asking the age-old question that has been passed around since the dawn of time: “Who comes up with this shit?”

 

 

This is a film that does not lie to you. Right from the very beginning, it makes it’s presence and purpose very clear right from the beginning. And god dammit if it didn’t make me extremely happy. Our dear friend and contributor to this site, Christopher Eaves, has always said that he appreciates a film that doesn’t try to be something that it isn’t. Of course, he says this about the Fast & the Furious franchise which is absolute rubbish, but you can see his point. The Velocipastor is not The Godfather Part IV. Hell it’s not even The Godfather Part III (also complete rubbish.) But it is an entertaining mad house of events collected on film that is meant to be enjoyed. The world is in utter turmoil right now, and the human population may not exist by the end of our kid’s lifetime. So, how about we have some fucking fun, huh?

Do yourself a favor and check out this wonderful film with at least 16 proverbial grains of salt, and try not to take yourself so serious. There is always time to enjoy the world of arthouse cinema and expressionist asphyxiation centered around one’s purpose in this finite existence and blah, blah, blah. Every once in a while, just have some FUN! Enjoy a low budget, purposefully corny, and grindhouse like fun for once. I always think about Sydney Pollack’s line in the film Husbands and Wives, when he was talking about his new girlfriend during his separation with Judy Davis, in which he describes a film his new girlfriend rented that was “dopey” and “stupid”, as well as something that his very serious all the damn time  wife would have never let in the house. And the pure joy on his face in that scene is incredible! Of course the girlfriend was an idiot and he got back with Davis in the end, but you see the point, right? Live a little!

And yes Folks, I just managed to squeeze in a reference to a pretentious Woody Allen picture in a review about a film that is about a man of the cloth (“claw” as the tagline would say, which is brilliant) who is able to turn into a dinosaur when he is angry and is convinced by a prostitute to act like Batman with his new found ability. Also ninjas.

Art, Folks. Art.

 

The Brendan Steere directed classic-in-the-making will premiere on DVD and Digital August 13th on such platforms as iTunes, Comcast, Spectrum, Dish, Vudu, Amazon, Fandango and Sling. A Blu-ray release will follow September 17.

 

 

 

Zoe Eisenberg [Interview]

 

Aloha Folks, and Happy Friday to you all. Today we have a wonderful interview that we sort of teased to you all during our Sunday Matinee this week, and one that you are absolutely going to love! It’s Zoe Eisenberg! Zoe is a writer, director, and producer of the incredible indie film we previously gushed over entitled Stoke. And in between the time of our coverage of the film and this interview, the film is now available! It is seriously one of the best films of the year, and an absolute must see.

And after checking out this lovely film, I simply had to reach out to the folks involved with the making of this genius piece of art, and Zoe was kind enough to take some time out of her busy life on the big island to answer a few questions. We discuss Stoke in detail, the film community of Hawaii, and what made her want to join the world of filmmaking, which we are so damn delighted that she did, as she is a rare gem in a sea of mediocrity and has been creating some of the best work in recent years.

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from an incredibly talented individual, the great Zoe Eisenberg!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of film? Was it an early aspiration you can always remember having? Or did you just happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I’ve always been interested in storytelling, and my formal education is in creative writing, so I entered filmmaking from the screenwriting side. My best friend from high school, Phillips Payson, is a filmmaker, and in 2013 he asked me to write a screenplay for him. I did, and then I ended up producing that film as well, because we needed a producer and I’ve always had a knack for project management. During that process I found out I love producing (and Phillips, it turned out, plot twist, we just got married). That first film we did is called Throuple, a weird dark comedy also set on Hawaii island, where we live. Since Throuple, we’ve done three more films together– a short, a documentary called Aloha From Lavaland, and Stoke, our fourth film but our second narrative feature.

What was your very first paid gig in the world of film production? And where there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that you still use in your work today?

My trajectory in film production has been pretty scrappy – most of the film production work I’ve had I hired myself for. I didn’t take the traditional route of becoming a PA and working my way up, I fell into filmmaking and have since worn so many hats. I’ve been a PA, AD, props, costuming, wardrobe, makeup, I’ve wrangled extras, I’ve done a lot, because in the kind of micro-budget filmmaking I do, you don’t often have a budget to bring on someone else, so you figure out how to do a lot yourself. My sets are not the kind of sets where someone says, as not my job. That said, I’ve always had a team of people to help me, and I couldn’t have done it without them–but typically I’ve been working with a team of 10 to 20 instead of 100 or more, like on larger films.

I recently had the pleasure of checking out one of your latest films, Stoke, which was absolutely amazing. So what made you want to tell this story? 

Thank you! Stoke is about an entitled, grieving tourist who hires two wannabe tour guides to take her to Kilauea volcano. It was actually inspired by the film before it, a documentary called Aloha From Lavaland, that followed my town of Pahoas reaction to a lava flow in 2014 that threatened to cut off our only major access road, which would essentially isolate the town from the rest of the island, and the world. While working on that documentary I was interviewing dozens of people about their relationship with the lava. Our town is located right next to Kilauea volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. We interviewed both people born and raised here, and people like me, transplants who knowingly, sometimes purposefully, moved into an active rift zone. As we were interviewing, we kept hearing the same thing over and over from the transplants: they came here for healing. For whatever reason, again and again this came up. They found the island’s volcanic energy healing. This made me want to tell a story about someone called to visit Hawaii island to heal, and why they feel the volcano–which destroys as it creates, simultaneously–can help them. This is the perspective I wrote our tourist character Jane from. And for our Hawaiian characters, their perspectives on lava tourism were also gleaned from the interviews we did with those born and raised here. How do they feel about so many people coming to see their volcano, and the industry that surrounds that tourism. Puna, where I live, has no hotels, so lava tourism is our only kind of tourism.Â

We also spent a long time casting our Hawaiian characters. In more mainstream cinematic history, Hawaiians have been white washed from their own stories, and we wanted to make sure the actors playing our Hawaiian characters identified with Hawaiian heritage. Even in my own previous work, in Throuple, there wasn’t a single Hawaiian character. I was new to the island and so I imported our entire cast and crew, and I’ve always regretted that, so we spent a long time trying to get that right with Stoke. Most of our cast and crew are from Hawaii, except for Jane, who we wanted to be a genuine outsider. And most of our music is also Hawaii-based. Our soundtrack has some well known artists like Willie K, Keali’i Reichel and Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu. Honestly I was very nervous asking to license their work for the film because I knew how important it was to have an authentic sound — and I couldn’t believe they said yes!

 

 

And how was your experience working on such a unique project?

We really had to go with the flow in order to safely shoot with an active volcano, and I couldn’t miss the irony about having to build our shoot around the volcano while telling a story about, among many things, reverence to nature and the contrasting human urge to try and control everything around us. There were things about the shoot I just couldn’t control.

Stoke, much like yourself, is based in Hawaii. In fact, the land is a pretty large character in itself I would say. So with that, I am curious to know what the film community in your area is like? I would guess that alot of films get made there, but what is the local scene like?

Most of our local film scene is over on Oahu, where they shoot some of the larger television shows like Hawaii, 5.0 and Magnum PI. The film scene on Big Island is much smaller, as we have limited infrastructure and only one film studio, three hours from me in Kona. That said, there is a tight knit film community across all of the islands. There has to be, because we are so isolated.

If you were given the opportunity to write and directed the biopic of any legendary figure in world history, who would it be? 

Oh wow. Great question. I would love to produce a biopic about Kahumanu, an extremely powerful figure in Hawaiian history and a women’s rights activist, but I would want to pull on a female Hawaiian director to spearhead it.Â

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I’m currently working on a feature set in Hilo Hawaii that I plan to direct myself. I co-directed Stoke along with Phillips, so this would be my solo directorial debut. I am also the Executive Director of the Made in Hawaii Film Festival, and that keeps me pretty busy.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My husband, probably. He cracks me up all the time. He works hard at it, too, I think. I like to give credit where credit is due.

 

Larry Hankin [Interview]

 

Today’s interview subject is a prime example of why I started this little site in the first place. I love to get to know people, even if it’s simply through a digital means. People who you think you might know on the surface because you have been watching them for so many years on the screen. But, when you actually find the means and ability to ask them a few questions, they become a far more fascinating presence than you could have ever imagined. That is Larry Hankin, Folks!

I have watched Larry in so many different projects over the years and have appreciated his work as an actor for the entire ride. Yet, as it turns out, his acting work is only a side story to his incredible, and even Academy Award nominated, work as a filmmaker and storyteller. This interview is one of those rare occurrences where I wish I could take back a few questions I asked via e-mail, and just do it in person, as I would love to hear even more amazing tales from Larry. But alas, this is what I have, and I still think it is pretty fucking great, and you are going to love the gifts that Larry has given us today! We learn some sad truths about beloved projects, some reiterations of some things we already knew but are wonderful to hear, and some delightful antidotes about the life of an artist as a whole. He is a sweet and genuine man with so much to give the world in so many different capacities, and we are extremely fortunate to have him on the site today!

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the absolutely brilliant story teller, actor, man of the world, the great Larry Hankin!

 

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When did you first realize you wanted to join the world of performance? Was acting an early aspiration you had since your youth, or did you just find yourself in this world one day?

 

I graduated Syracuse University with a friend I met there: Carl Gottlieb (later to write Jaws as well as several other major movies).  We shared an apartment in Greenwich Village – he immediately got a job reviewing movies for local papers, and I got a job scrubbing duckboards behind a bar after closing to pay my part of the rent so I was broke most of the time: I graduated as an Industrial designerer just to please my parents but I really didn’t know what I wanted to do and chose to scrub duckboards at night rather than working in an office 9 to 5.  I was deciding what my Next Move would be by frequenting the coffee houses on open mike night to see a free show for a cup of coffee and watched everybody who was later to become big stars: folk singers and comedians. I was a funny guy in high school so I figured I’d try a couple of open mike nights and weirdly, I was opening for Woody Allen within 6 months. So, that’s how I got into show biz.

 

What was your very first paid gig as an actor? And do you remember any sort of lessons learned from that project that still impact your work to date?

 

I auditioned for Second City in New York City and was hired to be in a company that was booked into the Crystal Palace in St. Louis, Missouri for two months and we were held over for 9 more months.  Lesson learned: I worked well with others and I had talent as a professional funny guy in showbusiness.

 

Beyond the world of on-screen work, you have also written and directed several projects as well, even receiving and Oscar nod for one of your short films. So, what sparked this interest?

 

Though I was a ‘professional comic actor’ I’ve always thought of myself as a stand-up-comic story-teller and a filmmaker-wanna-be.  I use acting to pay rent, purchase necessities and make films because people hire me as an actor and pay me to remember their words –  which isn’t fun for me, but my rent and films were more important and, lo and behold: I was learning to be an actor, so there was this free benefit. Cool. But at heart I’ll always be a funny story teller.

 

In 1993, you became the unsuspecting winner of sorts in the classic film from my childhood, the wonderful Billy Madison. As far as personal memories, this is where I believe I saw you first! I still love the film, not only for nostalgic purposes. So with that, I am curious to know how you enjoyed working on this film? Was it as much fun to work on as it was for me to watch both as a 9 year old boy?

 

Fun? Not in any way shape or manner.  I was a hippie and had hair down to my shoulders. I was running low on cash and my film short was in storage till I got money to finish post. My best friend was directing Billy Madison, but he wouldn’t hire me for the job unless I cut my hair. I cut it. Post-Production takes precedence. Adam Sandler and I had different senses of humor.  I didn’t get him at all (in person-jokes, I mean: mostly deprecating humor and pranks).  Then he fired my friend, the director.  He probably wanted to fire me but he’d have to re-shoot all the scenes I was already in: too expensive.  Not so, the director. Adam and I didn’t click.  He does, however, know what he’s doing. Artistic and comedic differences.  C’est la vie.

 

Another terrific, yet very different, project that you worked on was the legendary series Breaking Bad. We have had quite a few folks from the show featured here on TWS, as it is an absolute classic. So, same sort of question. How was your experience working in the world of Vince Gilligan?

 

Total opposite. Vince Gilligan is an amazing writer-director-storyteller.  And, for me, among the best at all.  He cleared the way for everybody on the set to do their best work.  His writing is easy to learn and say and believe and get into.  His sets are focused and creative and helpful.  I had the best time as a paid, serious actor in front of his camera.  Mr. Gilligan is the real deal.

 

 

You have done so much amazing works in the world of film, television, the stage, and beyond. With that, I am curious to know what your favorite field to work in is? If you were destined to only work in one field for the rest of your career, which would you prefer?

 

Visual storyteller: Woody Allen, Buster Keaton, Jacques Tati, Cantinflas, Fernandel, etc…. All clowns, all filmmakers, all writer-director-actor-producers – all had something new to say; then to create and control the narrative, the joke: the telling and the timing. Basically, a standup comedian showing the realities of his tale, fleshing out his stories on a screen and the challenge of entertaining a room full of homo sapiens.  When it happens, it’s amazing.

 

After a varied and absolutely stellar and decade spanning career, I am curious to know what you tend to look back on with the most pride? Not necessarily one project persay, but as a whole?

 

I come from a very anti-education, anti-art, upbringing.  Extemely reactionary. I look back on making a living doing and making stuff I love to do and make despite that background; to travel and meet people I never would have met any other way.

 

I look back on my own personal work on stage, my film shorts, standup routines, stories and fables. That journey, which I’m still on, that’s the coolest thing to me.  Who’da’ thought, back then, in high school, I’d be typing this to you?  Not me, or a million monkeys.

 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

 

At the end of November, I’ve got a book of funny short stories, fables, political satire, and doggerel poems coming out called The Loopholes Dossier.  It’s how I look at the world through satire and comedy.  It’ll be on Amazon and Kindle and a lot of other outlets -It’s quirky and funny. You got to at least check it out.  Also I’m in this really big-time movie that’s coming out also at the end of November that I can’t discuss it’s so big (I had to sign a Non-Disclosure-Agreement – true). It’s gonna be big and released through Netflix, I believe.  It’s great.  I got a cool part.  You’re gonna want to see it. Right now, I’m in the middle making a series of “Homeless Rants” which I’ll be putting up Youtube along with the whole slew of shorts of mine that are already on there.

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

 

A little 5-year-old girl trying to direct her mother’s eyes to exactly where the bird in the bird’s nest was that she’d discovered in the tree they were standing under.

Sunday Matinee: Stoke [Film]

“Struggling with the sudden death of her fiancé, Los Angeles litigator Jane makes a spontaneous trip to Hawaii Island to visit an active volcano. Upon arrival, she enlists the help of two locals pretending to run an adventure tour company, and the trio embark on a cross-island road trip as weird and wild as Hawaii itself.” – P & Z Films

 

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One thing I wasn’t expecting to learn quite a bit about when I started this site, and starting watching brilliant indie films so regularly….was the islands of Hawaii. Regular readers may remember our coverage of the brilliant film Kuleana last year where first became obsessed with the non-tourist side of the islands. And then there was our interview with former Hawaii native funny man Zak Toscani. Now we have something completely different, yet just as insightful in the film Stoke. I seriously LOVED this film. The idea of turning tourism into an emotional journey that you are soon not to forget is absolute genius. And I will be the first to admit it, I had no idea that the setting of the film even existed. Of course, I am now intrigued and HAVE to go. I guess I will one day be a part of the problem. But I digress.

Stoke delivers incredible surprises, witty dialogue mixed with a grab bag of comedic excellence, all within a tale that focuses on the pain of loss and the hardships of a reality that can be dark and disturbing, even in the sunniest of lands. And as a Pacific Northwest kid who once lived in the glorious southern region of Spain, I can attest to the fact that the mix of moodiness and excitement in Stoke is very human, and very well done.

 

 

 

The writing/directing team of Zoe Eisenberg & Phillips Payson are absolute force to be reckoned with Folks. They are not only a brilliant Hawaii based team of creative souls, they are simply a brilliant team that is going to continue to rock the world of independent cinema and beyond. Stoke is incredible, as I said before. And they have a project they created a few years ago entitled Throuple, that I can not speak to, but hopefully I soon will, as it also sounds incredible inspiring and brilliant. Seeing this film, knowing of the other, and knowing that the capabilities of this team is a true inspiration, and I am so excited to see what the future holds for them. Oh and, spoiler alert(?), you may be hearing more from Zoe on this very site, very soon (okay, Friday, you’ll hear from her on Friday. Okay? Cool.)

Performance wise, holy shit. Caitlin Holcombe is absolutely brilliant. And Kauhane Lopes & Randall Galius Jr. make for an incredible duo that I would definitely love to see more of in the future. Seriously, it feels strange to know that this was Kauhane’s first film role because he absolutely nailed it. And of course veteran actress Kimee Balmilero came in and absolutely KILLED as one of the few characters who seems to have her shit together.

Folks, if you have enjoyed any recommendation we have given you here, you should know that we would not lie to you all. I personally might, but not through this site! I kid, I kid. But seriously Folks, as soon as you can, check out Stoke! You seriously will not regret it!

 

Stoke will be available on streaming platforms on August 6th.

 

 

Saturday Special: Wicked Witches [Film]

 

“After being thrown out of his home by his wife for being promiscuous, Mark finds himself back at Dumpling Farm, a place of youthful memories and parties, but things aren’t quite right. His old buddy Ian, who has never left the place, is possessed by a group demonic, flesh eating Witches. Using Ian and his farm, these beautiful Witches honey trap Mark and his friends to consume their souls.” – October Coast PR

 

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Oh sweet readers, the time is coming up sooner than you think! The love for the world of horror is about to strike the world sooner than you think! It’s been a minute since we covered a horror film on here, as it’s nice to give a cool slow burn working towards our Month of Horror. We shall be trickling in a few here and there in preparation for what is marked to be one of the best Horror seasons in our history! And we are kicking things off with damn good one with the brilliant British slasher Wicked Witches! Filmed in the proverbial backyard of Trainwreck’d Society HQ (Cambridgeshire) this is a film that hits all the marks damn near perfectly when it comes to being a terrific horror film. Wicked Witches is a film that has that perfect build up of suspense mixed with the the perfect concoction of blood and mayhem that leads to a wonderful ending. If you love horror Folks, as I am certain you all do, this is a brilliant indie horror film to get yourself ready for the scary ass season!

 

 

 

Performance wise, the film is definitely not lacking in talent. While all the performances were spot and commendable, I feel compelled to single out the film’s antagonist, Ian, performed brilliantly by Justin Marosa. I was unaware of Justin’s work prior to this film, but you can bet your bottom god damned dollar that I will be paying attention from here on out. He seriously scared the living dogshit out of me just about every moment he was on screen.

Again Folks, Wicked Witches is a wonderfully written and beautifully shot indie horror film that is on par with any major studio release you could possibly compare it to. I sincerely can not recommend it enough.

 

 

Wicked Witches will be in select theaters and on DVD & VOD on August 9th.

 

 

Kurt Braunohler [Interview]

Photo by Adrian Aguilar

 

Hello Folks! Do we have a very exciting interview for you all today, is a question you are probably asking. And the answer is: yes. Of course. Why the hell would you ask such a stupid question? Our interviews are always amazing aren’t they? Well, okay, regular readers will know that I may call out this over-emphasis but, trust me Folks, today’s interview subject is an incredible human being and I am sure most of you are already here knowing him by name. It’s motherfuckin’ Kurt Braunohler, Everyone!

Kurt is an absolutely hilarious stand up comedian, improv mastermind, and delightful actor. This cat is just an absolute delight to look at whilst doing his craft, and has an incredible brain that moves a mile a minute and only puts out the best to the world. I know that this sounds something like Trump talking about himself, but I swear to you all that it’s true. I have admired Kurt’s work for so long, and it is quite the honor to have him grace our digital pages here at Trainwreck’d Society. I don’t entirely get into it in the interview process, but I have a quick story to tell about Kurt, that I did not dispel to him prior to writing this introduction. Here it goes:

I was on a plane from London headed back to Portland watching The Big Sick when Kurt appeared just about the seat back tray ahead of me, and I literally exclaimed “Holy shit! It’s Braunohler!” It was in this very moment that I realized that I was a true comedy nerd.

Alright, I know that for a lot of you, this is not a real crazy story. But trust me, for those of us who have to face the real world, day to day, and socialize with normies each and every day, this was quite the revelation. Also, the elderly lady sitting next to me wasn’t entirely pleased by my exclamation.

So Folks, I really can’t fully explain how excited I am to have Kurt on the site today. So, I will just shut my stupid mouth, and let Kurt speak for himself. He has some amazing A’s to our Q’s that I am so excited to share with you all right now. Enjoy!

 

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When did you first discover that you were a hilarious human being and that you wanted to make people laugh for a living?

I was 5 years old. I shit my pants and thought, “That’s a killer closer.”

What was your very first paid gig in the world of comedy? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that you still incorporate into your work to this day?

My first paid gig in comedy was: I was paid $250 to dress up in this monkey costume with a huge dick and try and sneak into the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a huge TV producer’s gala. At the time, my rent was $500 a month and I was living in Brooklyn, so $250 meant the world to me. This was in 2000 I think? During the first big tech boom in NYC. There was dumb money flying everywhere. This start-up’s mascot was a small monkey with a blue dick. So the owner of the company had an $8,000 monkey costume custom built for me specifically. Then they packed it into suitcase, rented me a tuxedo, and bought me a $700 ticket to this producers’ gala at the Met. The idea was that I’d run around and get my picture taken with people, and then the photographer would hand them a card where they could go online to see their picture with the monkey – and it was the company’s website. The security at The Met, of course, would not let me in with a suitcase. So I just got to go to this very fancy party for free. I assumed the gig was a bust. I ate free sushi and drank free drinks all night long.

Then at 12:30 am the guy was like “Alright we’re gonna go to this afterparty, and you’re gonna do it there.” And I was already very drunk but was like OK. Then we get to the afterparty and he’s nervous not enough people are there. So again I think the gig is over. I have more drinks at the afterparty. Then at 2 am he’s like “Get into the monkey!” I go to the bathroom to change and I’m so drunk I just get fully naked and then get into this monkey costume. Now I’m running around, wasted, as this monkey with a huge blue dick and I’m just dancing and people are taking photos, and I’m nude inside. It was so surreal.

But the weirdest part was at 4 a.m., when the gig was finally over, I changed back into my tuxedo and was walking to the train. A Lexus pulls up next to me and the window rolls down and a beautiful woman who’s driving the Lexus propositions me for sex. Then she spreads her legs and reveals she’s got no pants on. Like no pants. I found out later that after Gulliani cleaned up Times Square, apparently some prostitutes would rent high end cars and drive around the far west side and proposition men coming back from conferences at the Jacob Javitts center and shit. I asked her if she would drive me to Brooklyn. She refused. I said no thank you then and went to get on the subway. Because even though I had $250 in cash on me, I couldn’t afford a cab.

As somebody who has toured all across the country, I am curious to know what may be some places around the country that are exceptionally great to do live comedy in, but people may not realize it on the surface? What are some more obscure places in which you have performed that you were pleasantly surprised to work in?

Lexington KY. When I drove into Lexington for a one nighter at a punk bar I was like, “Oh no, I’ve made a mistake.” But it was honestly one of the funnest nights of comedy I’ve ever had. Packed house. Everybody having fun. The bartender gave me a bottle of bourbon at the end of the night. That’s a good night.

 

 

In 2017 you appeared and worked on the award winning film The Big Sick, which is still one of my favorite films of the last 10 years hands. I am curious to know how your experience was working on this soon to be considered classic film? In the making of the film, did you get the feeling that you were a part of something very special that would go on to receive such acclaim?

We had no idea. Honestly, I didn’t know if the movie would even get a wide release. I thought maybe we were just making a small indie film that would be a blip on the radar. But to have it do so well, and be so many people’s favorite movie of that year. Well, it’s ruined me. That was my first movie. Nothing will ever compare to that.

In that same year you co-host the absolutely brilliant podcast Emotional Hang, alongside our friend and past guest Joe DeRosa. I learned about the podcast from Joe, and absolutely fell in love with it. Can you tell us a bit about how the idea came about to do this show? And how was your experience creating such a gem of a podcast?

Joe and I became friends after we both moved to LA. And we realized it’s so rare to become friends as adults, so we decided we should just do a podcast about adult friendship. It fell apart when I had a family and Joe started splitting his time between here and NYC, but it still holds a special place in my heart. As does Joe.

 

 

Can you tell us a bit about your weekly show Hot Tub with Kurt & Kristen? I have heard several murmurs on several podcasts that I love about this show? How did you come around to teaming up with Kristen Schaal to make this show happen?

This is how I started doing stand up and sketch and writing in general. I’d been doing improv for 7 years, I was 29. I wanted to start writing for myself but didn’t know how. I figured I’d start a variety show. So I asked the artistic director at the PIT in NYC, who at the time was Arian Moayad, now a very accomplished actor  (he’s great in Succession on HBO) about doing a weekly show. He mentioned Kristen Schaal had just asked him the same thing. I didn’t know Kristen at the time, but had seen her perform once. I walked backstage and was like “Hey you wanna do a variety show with me?” and she was like ok. And then it turns out, we really clicked. That was 14 years ago. We still do the show every Monday.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I’ve been working on a ton of stuff – multiple TV shows, I just wrote a movie, I’ll be on the second season of Black Monday on Showtime, and I’ve got a new podcast coming soon, but it’s all too early to mention names and places.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My daughter this morning.

 

Check out Kurt’s weekly show, Hot Tub at The Virgil in Los Angeles, especially this coming Monday as it is my daughter’s 10th birthday, and our friend and past guest David Gborie will be there! Maybe David and Kurt will give a shoutout to Lelaina if one of you asks ever so nicely.