- The King arrives to receive his crown
So what’s new, fellow Professionals?
It’s been a busy couple months around here, what with the transition to Word Press. All of us at AIBN hope the new template will facilitate the posting of new articles, and that the new look will trigger pleasing electrical impulses throughout your amygdala. Uploading stories and images was never a small feat on the old site, which partly explains the lag time between the movie reviews and other stuff. The currently featured review of BATTLE: LA is our first in a couple months. So dig it.
Hey! His Handsome Majesty Christian Bale may now be referred to as, “Academy Award Winning Actor Christian Bale.” That’s right. Bale won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Dicky Eklund in THE FIGHTER. But you knew that already. Indeed, we knew Bale was Oscar material all along, and it was only a matter of time—and a great script—before he got his dues from non-Professionals.
A few of us participated in a live Oscar Chat here on February 26th. Thanks to those who stopped by and shared their thoughts on the event. I personally don’t place much stock in awards shows; they’ve always seemed little more than swanky soirees where elite people pat each other on their backs for the privileged work they’ve done. I mean sure, it’s nice to recognize one’s peers for his or her efforts. And I suppose when you’re talking film, it makes sense to have an “objective” panel of so-called experts to discuss the projects each year and decide which pictures and what persons are to be commended for their efforts. Which is why I still recognize the importance of an Oscar, despite my feelings about the actual ceremony and telecast. It’s a status thing, and it holds weight whether or not we choose to believe it. You can bet the poster for Bale’s next film will mention that he is an Academy Award winner. It’s a selling point. A marketing gimmick they’ve used for decades. And I suppose it’s not an entirely meritless tactic. With a majority of recipients—like Bale—the praise was deserved, the recognition was warranted, and further mention of it lets casual moviegoers know that hey, this new feature has someone in it who knows what he’s doing and, per those in his industry, excels at it.
Point is, we at AIBN had been telling the world Bale was the shit for over two years. Now everyone knows that the man’s sensational, body-altering performances in AMERICAN PSYCHO, RESCUE DAWN, and THE MACHINIST weren’t flukes. The guy has what it takes to deliver, whether it means adopting the mindset of a complete whacko or transforming his own body into that of an Olympic athlete, a sickly, guilt-plagued factory worker, or an obnoxious heroin addict in denial. Sure, he’s great in the BATMAN movies and other high-profile stuff like TERMINATOR and PUBLIC ENEMIES—but he didn’t have a whole lot of room to maneuver in those.
Pick up THE FIGHTER on DVD beginning March 15. Feel free to mail your copy to any of the Professionals at AIBN—and we’ll sign it for you! You’ll never get it back, but you can rest assured your autographed disc will be enjoyed for many years in one of our trusty laser-spinners. Praise Bale!
Some of you already know I am now writing for other outlets. I gave up my night job working security at House of Blues Cleveland back in August. It just got to be too much, working almost every night at every show. And if there wasn’t a concert scheduled, there would be a bar mitzvah or wedding or rich kid’s birthday party, and I’d be expected to cater. And serving food to anyone, for any reason, is something I told myself I was done with after college. I’ve worked enough of those jobs, thank you very much. I say that not meaning to offend anyone presently employed in the food industry, but rather to assert my sovereignty as a person who—given the untold amounts of cast I’ve divested on multiple graduate degrees—has essentially bought his way out of that shit, even if only symbolically.
But I digress. So yeah, given the extra time I now have after tucking the kids in bed, I decided to get back to what I do best—or at least what I enjoy doing most—which is writing. And my area of interest is the arts. Specifically, music and film. So I entered into the huge house of doors that is the Internet (Abandon all hope…) and starting barking at some of them until I was admitted. I was fortunate to hook up with Bob Ignizio’s www.clevelandmovieblog.com just a month after it got off the ground. Working with Bob as my editor has been an enjoyable experience, and I’d like to think my writing has benefitted. I must adhere to a 500-word count at CMB, which means I must choose words carefully, like fresh fruit at the market, and say as much as I can in as few characters as possible. It’s a welcome mental exercise that forces me to discipline myself and get to the point, already, when reviewing a picture.
The work has also given me an inside look at the movie industry. The press side, anyway. I wasn’t aware that the marketing for most of today’s feature films is handled by two conglomerates—Allied Integrated Marketing and Owens Group—under whose umbrellas all the studios, distributors, and public relations people conduct business. But it’s true, and I’ve learned a lot in that regard. I don’t have to pay for most of the films I review, and so long as a movie is halfway-decent, just seeing it becomes its own reward. Bob knows I have children (he and his wife just welcomed their first), and he generously grants me first dibs at most of the kid-oriented fare. Which means I can take one of the tots—if not both—to things like YOGI BEAR, RANGO, and MARS NEEDS MOMS without having to fork up thirteen dollars apiece (figuring in the 3D premium). Practically speaking, it isn’t relevant whether such movies suck; if it’s a title my kids would want to see anyway, then covering it for the blog saves me a good $25-40. In these tough times, I’ll take that deal. But if a movie does suck, I’ll say so and offer my humble opinion why.
Bob passed my name along to a photographer friend of his who was looking to start a music-related site. I’m glad he did, not only because his referral demonstrates his confidence in my work, but also because joining forces with Michael Sawyer at www.theclevelandsound.com has allowed me to indulge my inner rock and roller, who even on the crest of forty refuses to die. Michael has more or less unleashed me after just a couple months; he handles the photography and layout, while I provide articles. Reviews, interviews…stuff to read. I’ll look to see who’s coming to town, decide which acts are hip enough for inclusion on TCS, then stalk their publicists for a connection. Since Christmas 2010 I’ve interviewed Henry Rollins, Mike Watt, Dave Thomas (Pere Ubu), Page Hamilton (Helmet), Cheetah Chrome and gotten to read some pretty good books I might otherwise never have known existed.
Working for the two Cleveland-based websites made me hungry for an actual printed byline, which I’ve not had in ten years. I freelanced in the nineties, contributing regular articles to a Cleveland alternative weekly rag and to the family-approved, official Experience Hendrix magazine published out of Seattle (Jimi’s father and sister signed my paychecks). But work, grad school, law school, and parenting occupied my time in the 2000s, so “fun” writing took a backseat. Until now. John O’Brien was kind enough to accept a couple articles for his Irish American News Ohio, which is a monthly arts and news ‘zine here on the North Coast. And with that—bang—I’m back in print. A small but satisfying victory.
At the insistence of Dannyglover’s Dickblood I opened a Twitter account in late November 2010. I’m addicted. I love the technology’s instant gratification component and find myself struggling to not log on at work too often, as the IP douchebags track computer bandwidth (if not content). I never understood that. I mean, if my employer issues me a pen, are they going to take me to task for writing a personal letter with it? For signing a check? Jotting down a reminder to pick up milk on the way home? No, that’s silly; that’s what a pen is for. Computers—and by extension Internet access—are tools as well. Yes, I know bandwidth costs money, but please—I work for the government. It’s paid for already, and I can assure you no one makes more productive use of their time online. Professional.
Hey—the tour manager of one of my favorite groups, YES, just wrote back to deny my request for a photo pass. I’d planned to shoot the band’s upcoming gig in Cleveland, but they only issue creds to “legitimate media.”
Yeah, I’m sure all the “legitimate media” in our market are knocking down the YES door to take pictures of YES and promote them. And by the way, Mr. Fancy Pants, Henry Rollins disagrees with your assessment of “legitimate.”