Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Industry Insider logline has been released

The latest Industry Insider Screenwriting Contest logline has been released:
After a storm destroys her small farm, killing her mother and father, an adolescent girl is sent off on a journey of survival.
This logline comes from Oscar-winning producer Edward Saxon (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Ulee's Gold, Adaptation).  Early deadline is February 28 and final deadline is April 30.

The way the contest works is that you submit up to the first fifteen pages of a feature script based on the logline provided.  Genre is up to you - you can write it as comedy, drama, sci-fi, horror or anything else that floats your boat.  I do have to wonder how many Wizard of Oz-type scripts they're going to get.

Prizes are pretty sweet - the top ten finalists go into a twelve week mentoring program to finish their scripts, then a winner is chosen to take meetings with Saxon and Benderspink.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

California, there he goes - RIP Huell Howser

California lost one of its greatest treasures when Huell Howser passed away Sunday night at the age of 67.

The Brother and I were huge fans.  Huell's enthusiasm for, well, pretty much anything was fun and infectious, plus he introduced us (and countless other Californians) to so many great people and places we didn't even realize were in our own backyard.

I'm lucky enough to have scored a Huell bottle from Montebello's Broguiere's Dairy (one of many local businesses Huell introduced to the world) last year when I was hunting down the two L.A. Kings bottles the dairy had put out after the team won the Stanley Cup.

Here's Huell performing California Here I Come with students from the Musician's Institute in Hollywood.  I hadn't seen this before, but it went up as news of Howser's death made the news.  A lot of people seem to think this performance was kind of hokey, but I absolutely love it.  You really get a feel for Huell's boundless love and enthusiasm for the Golden State:

I always hoped I'd be out somewhere and Huell would turn up filming one of his shows.  There are very few celebrities I have any interest in meeting, but Huell was pretty much at the top of my very short wish list.  I strolled past the MI courtyard so many times when I lived in Hollywood, but unfortunately not the day they filmed this.  I would have loved to have seen him belting out a song that could have been written for him.

RIP Huell.  California was a more interesting and appealing place when you were showing it to us.

Local coverage/links: Los Angeles Times - KCET - L.A. Observed - Franklin Avenue  - Huell Howser Productions - Chapman University's Huell Howser Archives - Huell Howser on You Tube

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hockey's back!

Yes, after 100+ days of the stupidest lockout ever, the NHL is returning to grace us with its presence.  Unfortunately, Gary Bettman is still commissioner, so there's still work to be done, but at least the Kings can raise their Stanley Cup banner and the fans can get their hockey fix!

Note: This ad was produced and aired after a previous lockout. Bettman sucks!!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Well, maybe there is something as cute as little kids playing hockey

Yes, I made this statement earlier this year: There's nothing cuter than little kids playing hockey.

And now, this:

Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for The Shetland Pony Grand National!

Seriously, they are just as cute and fearless as the little guys on the ice.  And come on, that pony in the middle doesn't even look real.  He looks like a stuffed animal.  A freaking adorable stuffed animal!  Squeeeeee!!!!

Via Euro Equine Imports on Facebook.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Screening: The World's Greatest Cartoons at the Alex Theatre

The Brother and I decided to check out the annual post-Christmas cartoon fest at the Alex (presented by the Alex Film Society) last weekend.

I usually enjoy screenings at the Alex, but this one was unfortunately a bit of a letdown.  For some reason I was expecting a couple hours of non-stop classic animation, but only ten were actually shown and the two-o'clock screening ended well before four.  In addition, the advertising was a bit misleading - of all the characters shown on the flyer, only Bugs and Daffy were shown.  I would have liked to have seen some old black & whites (particularly Betty Boop).  They were supposed to screen a Koko the Clown short, but apparently it's an old print and there was some concern that it wouldn't hold up, so it was replaced with Madeline
  • Fast and Furry-ous (Warner Bros., 1949): The first Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote cartoon, originally made as a one-off.  The duo caught on and the rest was Acme-fueled history.  As usual, the "Latin" names given to each (Accellertatti Incredibus and Carnivorous Vulgaris) got huge laughs from the audience.
  • Billion Dollar Limited (Fleischer/Paramount, 1942): It's Superman to the rescue when bad guys attempt to rob a U.S. Mint-bound train loaded with a billion dollars in gold.
  • Madeline (UPA/Columbia, 1952): A sweet story based on the classic children's books.  This short received an Oscar nomination.
  • Hockey Homicide (Disney, 1945): Thanks to this short, The Brother and I got to see more hockey in an afternoon than we'd seen since June.  Narrated with increasing insanity by Doodles Weaver, this short features a world populated by Goofys in a hotly contested hockey game.  Needless to say, there's lots of fighting both on the ice and in the stands.
  • Pet Peeve (MGM, 1954): Technically a Tom & Jerry short, however it features Tom and the family bulldog attempting to prove which is the more desirable pet when their owners decide it's too expensive to keep and feed both (Jerry, as a tiny mouse, emerges as the winner, mainly because the owners have no idea of the gigantic stash of their food he's managed to squirrel away).
  • The Fox and the Grapes (Columbia, 1941): Columbia came up short when it came to creating characters that the public wanted to see over and over again, however this was still a terrific one with a Heckle & Jeckle-type blackbird trying to distract a cheerful, happy-go-lucky fox from his picnic with a juicy bunch of grapes, because apparently foxes love grapes.
  • Casey at the Bat (Disney, 1946): Originally a segment from Disney's Make Mine Music, Casey was later released as a stand-alone short.  Based on the famous poem about the overconfident baseball star who brings no joy to Mudville.  Narrated by Jerry Colonna.
  • The Ventriloquist Cat (MGM, 1950): A cat finds a device that enables him to "throw" his meow and uses it to torment his canine foe.  A great example of Tex Avery's hysterical, lightning-paced work.  This one got some of the biggest laughs all day.
  • Rabbit Seasoning (Warner Bros., 1952): One of the all-time greats, with Daffy Duck trying to persuade Elmer Fudd that it's really rabbit season, only to be thwarted by the always crafty Bugs Bunny.
  • Rock-a-Bye Bear (MGM, 1950): Tex Avery again, this time with two dogs battling for the job of guarding the home of a hibernating bear, while trying (and failing) not to make any noise that will disturb the snoozing bruin.
The screening was halted every couple of cartoons by an animation historian and Alex Film Society rep, who would give us some historic info about the next couple of cartoons.  It was interesting, but could have been included in a handout.  More cartoons would have been preferable, especially in a program called "World's Greatest".  There were a lot of kids in the audience and it was a kick to hear them laughing at these decades-old cartoons, but they got restless during the talks.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

RIP Rocky Cola Cafe

I've had a number of meals with various family members at the historic Rocky Cola Cafe in Montrose and the place was always packed.  So you can imagine my surprise to learn that Rocky Cola has closed its doors.  The 50's-themed diner, which has been around almost 25 years, has seen a downturn in business the past few years as a result of the poor economy.  My brother lives just a few blocks from this place and is - well, was - so much of a regular that when I'd go in with him, the waitress would know him and his usual order. 

The Rocky Cola location in Hermosa Beach closed in August 2011, also a victim of the economy.

Rocky Cola Cafe was a mainstay of downtown Montrose.  It will be greatly missed by my family and by the local community.  The food was always good, the service was always great and the atmosphere was small-town and comfortable.  It really is a shame to lose this place.