Thursday, July 29, 2004


signing off

It's that time, kids; time to dismantle the computer to move. Say goodbye to this old busted desk it's on. The new hotness desk will be coming soon.

Email will be down for a couple of days. Use a phone, you technofetishists.


Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

So it turns out they're STILL cleaning the new apartment. The landlady says we may be able to get in by thursday. Or we may not. Who can say such things?

Gotta call the current landlady and see if she'll give us an extra day to clean. It's not like people are clamoring to get into this place, apparently.

Wanna get your heart pumping? Try driving from Seattle to Vancouver in a van whose brakes are suddenly going bad. It was stop-and-go traffic from Shoreline to Lynnwood, and it was only my jedi piloting skills that kept us from rear-ending a delivery truck that stopped abruptly.

And for the first time, the border guard almost didn't let me back into Canada. I was sent to the Immigration office--she misinterpreted the phrase "does not authorize re-entry" on my Temporary Resident Permit to somehow mean that it PROHIBITS re-entry to Canada. The guy in the Immigration office took one look, shook his head, and wondered aloud why she was wasting his time.

TODAY--back to the packing, followed by trying to rent a moving van.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

Monday, July 26, 2004

Back to Canada. Will be leaving Chris and Angie's shortly.

I'm especially proud of the fact that we haven't checked our messages since the 16th, at a time when our landlord is wanting to show our soon-to-be-vacant apartment. Or more accurately, calling us and telling us to show it for him, since he can't be arsed to schlep out there himself.

"can't be arsed." I love that phrase.

Actually going to be busy-ass for a change. There's moving, painting the new place, getting otherwise unpacked and settled in, getting the new components into the computer (and thank you all for those), post-production on Working Stiff, and capturing and encoding about 20 Movie Geek show episodes.

Now the trick is stretching all that out until I get my Canadian residency.

*sigh* gotta go. Shelswick is done packing and it's time to load up the van.

I REALLY want to stay in Seattle.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

Sunday, July 25, 2004, 2:00 PM: Principal shooting begins for the motion picture Working Stiff.

Sunday, July 25, 2004, 6:00 PM: Principal shooting wraps for the motion picture Working Stiff.

Every time we do a film, going all the way back to The Movie Geek Show, we make some easily avoidable blunders, usually owing to a lack of preproduction. Every time we make a note of that, and learn for next time. And while I'm about 80% happy with how this one went, it's still a learning experience:

--I NEED a second battery for the camcorder. We can't shoot using the AC power, since that corrupts the signal from the boom mic.
--I tried to use a makeshift bounce card to provide fill light, but I'm not sure how well that worked out. The natural light from the windows was great (I'm a big fan of source lighting), but I think a fill light would have helped. Yes, it would have been punishingly bright, but that's what apertures are for.
--Though I marked the shots in my shooting script, I should have broken it down even further and made a list of the shooting order, so that after each take I wouldn't have to go through the script and decide what to shoot next.

Despite all that, I feel happier with this than I have with any previous film we've made. It doesn't have as many stupid camera tricks as The Movie Geek Show credits, but I think it feels more like a real film. You guys rock.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

I'm 34 today. Seriously, what's the point?

There's a time when almost every birthday is a significant one. From 1 to 9, well, the very idea of birthdays is still new and exciting. Then there's 10 (double digits), 13 (teenager), 16 (able to drive), 18 (able to do almost everything else), 19 (let's go to Canada!), 20 (no longer a teenager) and finally, the magical 21.

It drops off pretty sharply after that; there's 25, which is apparently significant in our count-on-the-fingers society, and then all you have to look forward to is 30.

At least 35 has the same count-on-the-fingers cachet. But 34? Feh I defy you to find any significance to that. All I can think of is an issue of Hellblazer from 1987 where John Constantine, in the midst of all his demon fighting, realized that it was his 34th birthday. And I doubt anyone but me remembers that bit.

*sigh* wake me up when I hit 40.

PS Party on saturday. You bastards better be there.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

Monday, July 19, 2004

Okay, comments system no longer requires registration. So all you anti-registration la-di-das can now comment to your heart's content.

Mr. Bridges, I'm looking in your direction.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

Friday, July 16, 2004


So, "Where The Hell's That Gold?!!?" was a TV movie from 1988; I remember that such a thing existed, but never saw it.  In the intervening years, I had imagined it as some sort of madcap comedy (or an attempt at one), a sort of "It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World" in the Old West.  The reality was Willie Nelson and Delta Burke bonding on a train.  So enough about that.
Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

Friday, July 09, 2004

Am watching a made-for-TV western entitled "Where the Hell's That Gold?!!?" Note proper punctuation.

Will report.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Here, look at some pictures from the set of Serenity, Joss Whedon's Firefly movie. I understand some of you have not seen any episodes of Firefly yet. Just do as you're fucking well told, already.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

We have a place to live! We couldn't find a basement suite that didn't smell like dirty socks dipped in sour milk, so we found a great place in a building. It's more than we expected to spend, but it's reasonable, it's a buttload bigger, and there's a metric fuckload of closet space. We might actually be able to cram all our stuff in there. So you're off the hook on having to put us up--for now.

New address is forthcoming. But first, a bit of fun.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen


Now this is just silly

Okay, I like how in the X-Men movies, you get glimpses of characters like Hank McCoy, to set up a future appearance by Beast, but now Dark Horizons reports that Jessica Simpson may appear in X3 as a lounge singer, to set up the character of--wait for it--Dazzler.

Oy. Can Strong Guy be far behind?

Monday, July 05, 2004


Yahoo! News - Ruck Overcomes Illness to Star on Stage

So, after reading the story about Jeffrey Jones, I find this one about Alan "Cameron" Ruck, who is starring in the road company of "The Producers" (in Matthew Broderick's old role, no less), less than two years after nearly dying from a strep infection.

So, of that cast:
JENNIFER GREY: goes for a nose job, ends up unrecognizable.
MATTHEW BRODERICK: nearly killed in a car accident.
ALAN RUCK: nearly dies from a strep infection.
JEFFREY JONES: pled no contest to charges of sexually exploiting a minor.

Mia Sara, if you're reading this, run.


Rooney eats it

Apparently, yesterday was Ferris Bueller day, not that that's a bad thing.

First, TBS showed FBDO a couple of times, as some sort of holiday event. I watched it, mainly to remind myself of why you shouldn't watch movies on Turner stations. "Level with me sporto, do you slip her the hot, wild affection?"

Then the Matthew Broderick remake of The Music Man was shown on the Wonderful World of Michael Eisner. Not bad--he seemed to basically be playing the 1930s equivalent of Ferris, using his diminutive charm to talk people into things.

Finally came this story on Yahoo that Jeffrey Jones--Edward Rooney, Dean Of Students--has been fined for failing to register as a sex offender. I have no comment on the charges against him.

Isn't it about time for a special edition FBDO DVD? Yes, the existing one has commentary, but come on! Deleted scenes, trailers, and--and I know this exists--the old German lady from the parade, performing a polka version of "Twist and Shout" on the Carson show.

Oh, it does too exist--I saw it. Just like I saw the soundtrack.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

According to this article on IMDB, 84 year-old James Doohan--Scotty--has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

We saw Doohan a couple of years ago at Sea-Tac Airport, and, even for his age, he didn't look well at all. He looked tired and confused. We decided not to harass the poor old man. I wonder now if they knew then, or just chalked it up to age.

I was a bit surprised, though, to learn that his wife is only 47. You know there's a story there.

According to this story on IMDB James Doohan--Scotty--has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I can't say I'm surprised. We spotted him at Sea-Tac airport a couple of years ago and, even taking his age into account, he looked tired and confused, and we decided not to harass a poor old man for his autograph. I am surprised, though, by the fact that his wife is 47.

Incidentally, the article gets one detail wrong. All together now: KIRK NEVER SAID "BEAM ME UP SCOTTY."

Friday, July 02, 2004


Comic-Con pulls the plug on superhero fan films

According to this article on Cinescape, Warner Brothers is arguing that by showing fan-films like Batman: Dead End, the San Diego Comic-Con is profiting from unauthorized use of copyright material.

To their credit, WB does seem to recognize the creativity and talent that goes into these films, and is apparently looking for a way to allow screenings to take place elsewhere. If you haven't seen Dead End, check it out--Schumacher, this means you!

So, the apartment by the beach turned out to be too small--we gots a lotta stuff, donchew know.

Right now we're looking at basement suites--or, more accurately, ground floor suites, since there are no basements in Richmond. We thought we had found one, but the more we thought about it...well, it was big enough, and I enjoyed the hot Indian girl in her pajamas who showed it to us, but we would have to enter through the garage, we couldn't use the washer and dryer, the fridge was old and busted, and from what she was saying, we wouldn't just be renting an apartment, we would be joining their family.

I don't even want the family I have. I don't want another one.

We've given notice, so we're out of here at the end of the month no matter what. So if Shelly and I show up at your door on August 1st, have a heart.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

Thursday, July 01, 2004

BTW, learn more at

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen


With one mighty word...

So, I was explaining to Shelswick about Captain Marvel--the SHAZAM one, not the trippy Jim Starlin one--and some of the loopiness of the character back in the Golden Age of comics. Now I'm in a Captain Marvel mood, so bear with me.

The short version: When he speaks the magic word "SHAZAM," 10 year-old Billy Batson is transformed into CAPTAIN MARVEL, the World's Mightiest Mortal. SHAZAM is an acronym for the seven gods who give "The Big Red Cheese" his powers: Solomon (wisdom), Hercules (strength), Atlas (stamina), Zeus (power), Achilles (courage), and Mercury (speed).

It gets weirder, people.

Captain Marvel's face was originally modelled on Fred MacMurray. Yes, the Shaggy DA.

Since his debut in 1940, Cap was a major success, at its height even outselling Superman, which led DC, naturally, to sue. By then, the cast had grown into "The Marvel Family," incorporating not only the original Captain Marvel, but also Captain Marvel Jr., Mary Marvel, Uncle Marvel, the three Lieutenant Marvels (three nonpowered guys who just happened to also be named Billy Batson--there was Tall Billy, Fat Billy, and Hill Billy), and of course, Hoppy the Marvel Bunny, who came from an alternate world inhabited by talking animals.

Seriously, it gets weirder still.

Captain Marvel's nemesis was a freaky little German dude named Dr. Thaddeus Bodog Sivana, "the World's Wickedest Scientist." They loved their alliterative nicknames back then.

Freakier still was Mr. Mind. Who was Mr. Mind? Mr. Mind was the leader of an organization called The Monster Society of Evil, whose epic battle with Captain Marvel lasted an epic 24 issues--this in an era long before the advent of continuity in comics. At the beginning of this story, Mr. Mind's identity was kept secret. It was eventually revealed that Mr. Mind was a superintelligent worm from another planet.

Captain Marvel ceased publication in 1953, as a result of DC's lawsuit. Ironically, DC themselves bought the character in the 70s, and attempted a failed revival. By then Marvel Comics had come up with their own Captain Marvel (that's the Starlin one), forcing DC to call Cap's title SHAZAM! (note the exclamation point) rather than name it after the main character. The character has hung around the DC universe ever since, never really making a splash except as a counterpoint to Superman.

Rumor has it that Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, of "Batman: The Animated Series" fame, tried to get a Shazam animated series going; I remember seeing some character designs by Timm, and Dini wrote a one-shot for DC featuring the character, but the idea seems to be dead in the water.

Which is a shame. From what I've been reading, there was definitely a loopy intelligence and humor going on in those old stories. I may have to track them down.

If you found this article interesting, let me know and I'll clue you in about the Alan Moore connection.
Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

Friday, July 2, 2004. Today is Lindsey Lohan's 18th birthday.

Lindsey Lohan as Hermione Granger on SNL

I'll be busy all day.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen


Let There Be Lips

Part 11: The Sun Never Sets On Those Who Ride Into It

By late spring, between dealing with cast drama, and my total lack of a love life, I was feeling done in. Couldn't win. I was starting to consider following John into retirement.

I didn't quit cold turkey. First I stepped down as Brad, relinquishing the part--and by extension, the leadership of the cast--to Mike. I had planned to simply become part of the audience, occasionally dipping back into acting if they needed me to fill in for someone.

Well, as it turned out, Mike inheriting my part meant that we were without a Riff Raff. So the week immediately after my retirement, I was back, playing Riff Raff for the first time.

That helped shake me out of my funk a little bit. The pressure of leading the cast was off, and I was playing a new part. Riff Raff is fun to play, too--I spent an inordinate amount of time practicing that semi-drunk walk that Richard O'Brien does.

The rest of the cast was in fine form. Mike made a great Brad, applying his inborn smarm to Barry Bostwick's sincerity, to great comedic effect. Jeni had grown into a natural Columbia, and even Valerie, despite her mental instability (or perhaps because of it), made an excellent Frank.

By the middle of summer, though, the feeling of burnout was returning. Same lines, different week, cheaper audience. In retrospect, I probably should have just taken a temporary leave from playing Brad, rather than giving it up altogether; I was missing the preshow, not to mention that, apart from the "does she squeak?" scene with Magenta, Riff Raff doesn't get any monkeylovin'.

So, around my 22nd birthday, I made the decision to retire for real. I hadn't intended for it to be the end of an era, but I had been there longer than anyone else in the cast or audience--since the very first show, outlasting Pauline, John, Jack, and too many others to count. So the end of an era it was--Chris, Mike, Jeni and Katy all retired with me.

By the end of the summer, we were all still hanging out together, we had just removed Rocky Horror from the equation. The show was left in the capable hands of Alexis and her boyfriend Cajun, and a cast made up mostly of teenagers, most of whom I had personally devirginized.

I moved out of my parents house in early 1993. Mike moved in with me temporarily, and not long after he and Jeni broke up, he disappeared, stiffing me for eight weeks rent. Chris and Katy broke up, and she moved to Olympia with a self-styled wiccan named Dean. Pretty soon it was just me and Chris, as usual.

I was still young and deluded enough to think I had some acting talent, and began doing plays at local theaters--one, in fact, was directed by John. At least once, during every play I was in, I would end up taking some curious castmates to their first Rocky Horror showing, giving me a chance to check in and make sure that the kids were alright. I was always welcomed as a sort of Brad Emeritus, often being asked to do the preshow for old times sake.

Chris and I moved to Seattle in 1994. By then the Neptune had been remodeled (and stripped of its charm), and Rocky had moved around the corner to the multiscreen Varsity theater. We went a couple of times, but somehow it just didn't feel the same, and when we were in the mood for a midnight movie, we would usually opt for Reservoir Dogs.

I made one more return appearance at Lincoln Plaza, MCing Alexis and Cajun's final show. It was a great homecoming; I got to get my Rocky Horror ya-yas out one last time, to an audience who had mostly been there long enough to remember my glory days. And true to form, I met a great girl, hit it off with her, and totally whizzed it by the end of the night.

Sometime in the 90s, the video was rereleased at a sell-through (Rather than rental) price, along with a deluxe laserdisc set. While it was good that anyone who wanted to could own their own copy, and could even get extras like the deleted song "Once In A While," it also meant that there were even fewer reasons to go to the theater. And for people who didn't have twenty bucks for the video, Rocky became a Halloween TV staple. Its network premiere was on Fox, who cut between the movie and a live audience, as if to rub it in that such things were becoming increasingly meaningless.

In 1998, on impulse, I went to a showing at the Varsity. I got off a few good lines (most of which I had come up with during the Lincoln Plaza days), and afterwards I got to talking to a member of their cast, who invited me back for something called "Cast Support." So I tentatively got back in the thick of it.

By then, Rocky had been cut back to one night a week. "Cast Support" meant that me and another guy stood off to the sides, illuminating the cast with heavy-duty flashlights. Yes, I, the guy everyone in the Tacoma audience wanted to hang with, was now one of those pathetic hangers-on who is grateful to get to play a Transylvanian. To make matters worse, when I came in my old Eddie costume, their Eddie, an angry lesbian, felt threatened and threw a Valerie-like fit.

They had a big show coming up; together with the new iteration of the Tacoma cast, they had paid to have Sal Piro, the fan club president himself, flown out to MC a show. I talked to some of the Tacoma people beforehand, and while I didn't expect anyone to remember me, they didn't remember anyone. Not Alexis, not Cajun, not Steve, Craig, or Valerie. It was as if our gang had never existed.

My flashlights batteries died during the show, earning me a whole plethora of dirty looks from the Angry-lesbian-Eddie. After the show, I made the apparently grievous error of asking Sal if Shock Treatment would ever be released on DVD. The look he gave me made the Angry-lesbian-Eddie seem friendly by comparison.

I was not invited to the afterparty. I walked home at 2 in the morning and never went back.

Eventually, the Varsity cut Rocky back to one weekend a month. Not long after that they dropped it altogether, and Rocky moved to the Admiral, way out in West Seattle, and I'm not even sure if they show it anymore.

The last time I went to Rocky Horror was Halloween 2003, in Vancouver BC. It took some searching in alt.cult.movies.rocky-horror to find out where it was playing at all--they only show it that one night a year. At eight PM.

Not midnight. Eight. Prime time.

Still, it was at the Vogue, a cool old movie theater, and there was a huge crowd, most of them in costume. I remained optimistic, even after I learned that the cast had come up from--yes--Seattle. At least the Angry-lesbian-Eddie wasn't there.

My optimism dimmed when the MC asked the virgins to stand up--and two-thirds of the audience stood.

During the show, I did my best to keep the old school traditions alive. I had my toast, my toilet paper, and my rice. I omitted some of the more esoteric lines, sticking to the classics. Asshole, slut, castles don't have phones.

And for the most part, I got a good response. Though the group immediately around me were all Video Virgins, they were at least receptive, having come for the true experience. And the two strippers in nurse costumes sitting on either side of me helped.

Towards the end of the show, though, a teenage girl came over from another section and told me to be quiet--my yelling was ruining it for the people who were there to see the movie.

The entire problem, in microcosm.

Though the stage revival of the Rocky Horror Show has been a big success, that hasn't translated into renewed interest in the movie. In fact, Fox is working on a new TV movie version, to air this Halloween, with the depressingly predictable casting of Marilyn Manson as Frank.

Very few cities have regular showings anymore, since, now that it's on tape, laserdisc, DVD, and airs on TV damn near every other week, there just doesn't seem to be any reason to schlep down to the theater anymore.

But schlep you should, if you get the chance. Find a theater that still has Rocky playing, even if it's only once a month. Throw rice--during the wedding scene, of course--and yell and scream like a damn fool, ESPECIALLY if some little skank tells you to shut up. Don't dream it, yada yada yada.

Is Rocky's time over? Was it just a curious 70s-80s word-of-mouth phenomenon? I hope not. Now more than ever, with million-dollar penalties for showing a single nipple on TV, in a time when Avril Lavigne is considered "punk," we need an outlet. We need a way to say fuck you, we won't conform, we're going to dress like freaks and get silly and say and do inappropriate things.

Because if you can't ogle young girls in skimpy outfits, the terrorists have won.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

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