Monday, June 28, 2010

a GUSHING surprise!

On Saturday night, after getting back from a dinner at Bart's aunt circa 9 o'clock, I texted Buttercup to see if she would be up for a movie that same night. Indeed she would, and it turns out I introduced her to my theater of choice which she had never been to and had wondered about. It's now her theater of choice. Anyway, what movie did we see? I'll save that for another post.

For what really gave me a thrill is a trailer we saw. Now, normally I know all about trailers coming out, but somehow - thankfully - this one slipped by me. I didn't even klnow the trailer had been made. So imagine my delight when The Voyage of the Dawn Treader came on the screen. I felt 8 years old. I immediately fell back into the screen's vision of Narnia. From the start, I found myself on board with the renditions of the book's elements as they came in scenes both familiar and unfamiliar, all packaged in a way that I have come to trust.

I adored the first two Narnia movies. I enjoy the screen vision of it and whole-heartedly agree with their additions and re-writes. They never stray from the world of C.S. Lewis and often bolster or improve the original novels. I'm looking forward to the same here, as evidenced by the trailer. There is one fly in the ointment, in that the series switched production companies and directors. But that sort of thing has turned out to great success in the past with other series. Not to mention the fact that as I understand it, original director Adrew Adamson stayed on as part of the creative team. He just needed a break from directing. So, as this one seems right in the same realm I have come love, I cannot be more excited.

It will be out for the Holiday season. And yes, it's jumped on the bandwagon and is in 3-D. But I remember reading it had been designed for 3-D, which is a wardrobe of another portal from after-the-fact 3-D conversion. Also, I must say it had acutally been a thrill to see it in 3-D. It looked great. Plus, it's the third film. I jokingly say, "Now I have something to live for!"

(Watching the video will explain the post title)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Don't Be So Quix to Judge?

So it turns out that Terry Gilliam is not the only one who is using Cervantes’s famous foibled fighter Don Quixote as a springboard for a feature film. Joel Silver and Warner Bros. are planning an adventure for the knight errant as well. However, they’re taking a “different” approach. They’re making it more sleek and modern-ish. It's being touted as akin to the Pirates of the Caribbean series. It's also been described as along the lines of the recent Sherlock Holmes film.

My gut reaction: Please don’t.

Then I thought about it a bit more. Before I get to my re-evaluation, let me rant just a wee bit. I have not, and will not, see the new Sherlock Holmes movie. Why? Because I’m a purist at heart. And I’m sorry, but that is NOT Sherlock Holmes. I’m not saying it should be banned or anything. Just that I can’t abide it myself. Part of my disenchantment is the title. In my opinion, you can’t go calling it Sherlock Holmes when it doesn’t fit with the original concept. Holmes is not an action hero. I’d have less of a problem with it if they’d titled it Sherlock, or Holmes. I say less because the truth is even though that would ‘settle' the matter for me, I just don’t like the idea of Holmes with weaponry, clever quips that belong in “flicks” and such action-oriented sequences. In other words, I don’t cotton to a James Bond-esque Sherlock.

Okay, so, as you might guess, I’m hoping that the new Don Quixote movie is not simply titled Don Quixote when it's nothing like the original. And then the more I thought about it, the more I warmed the idea of revamping this tale. Unlike Holmes, Quixote lends itself to this kind of treatment. I can totally see some dude with ramshackle but nifty armor loaded with pop out knives. I already have a mental image of his army of transforming windmills. It would be stupid… but the kind of stupid that works. And my title suggestion? Quixotic. Or, better yet, if it turns out to be “full on” techno-saavy knight errantry… then I say Psychotic Quixotic.

Let’s hope it’s fun.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Flying High.. and Don't PANic, It's Almost Right

Anon finished Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between,
my interquel adventure, a little while ago now.
We’ve been discussing it back and forth via emails.

Here are just a few comments that brought me joy:

Oh. My. God. :D :D :D :D :D
This gets better and better! While there are still some problems, this REALLY feels like Barrie's Peter Pan!

Wow.... O_O I did not expect that....
This chapter opened up looking like the kind of heartless fun that I remember and love, and then --

Now I REALLY want to finish this thing tonight

Overall, an EXCELLENT final chapter to the book! Could hardly have been better if you tried

As for the book overall? Aside from [ … ], it was VERY much what I'd hoped for!
In some ways it was even MORE than I'd hoped for, as it pointed things out that hadn't even occurred to me, and made me curious about others! It really DOES feel very much like "Chapters 7-20" of Peter Pan In Kensington Gardens, the Peter Pan book with no ending!

The “problems” and “Aside from” spoken of are mainly the same ones that I have mentioned as possibly being problematic in other posts regarding this book. However, it’s also still the case that it isn’t as if these things cannot be smoothed out. Especially since Anon had given me some great suggestions. And the “did not expect that” refers to something that shocked in the good way.

Anon also had some issues along the way which wound up working themselves out. For instance, Anon thought Pan seemed too poilte. But as I pointed out in our email-ing, the boy Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens is quite different from the one in the Neverland. Without giving too much away, it's the events of this novel that shape him into the cocky, rude and horribly self-absorbed boy that we somehow love in spite of all that.

Having someone so well versed in the world of Barrie certainly helped quite a bit. And it’s not just the re-tuning to make those sections more Barrie-like. Anon came up with some delicious tidbits to add as well as ideas to further the impact.

And so, it’s back to wordsmithing for me… Although I am going to take a little bit of break first. But I’ll get to it soon enough. So anyone else who is looking forward to the “lost chapters” of Peter Pan’s life, just hang on for a little while longer. Once I’m done with the rewrites, I’ll be sending it off to Andrea Hook & Jill Jones.

And what’s on the agenda after that? I’m not sure. I certainly am not lacking for ideas, thank goodness. I have a few things I can go back to as well as a few new projects to begin. As of yet none of them are leaping out at me. But I expect one of my characters (or a new character) to come knocking before I’m ready to return to the page.

I can, however, say that as of right now I do not expect to be returning to Peter Pan. I’ve had enough of him for a while. But there’s plenty more to write about the boy… so I’m not done with him yet.

Oh... the pic is the "tagline" for this book.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Josiecat's Declaration

Buttercup and Josiecat are here.

I just had to share what Josiecat said moments ago.

Her boss, with no discernable provocation to do so, asked her,
"Do you believe in fairies?"

She replied, "HELL YEAH!"


A New Meaning to Pan Seared...

Strange, but this is the first I am hearing of...
... a vegetable named after the eternal boy?

Yep, this is "Peter Pan Squash."

Up until now if I'd heard "Peter Pan squash" it would have brought to mind a dim-witted troll living in the Neverland (or NeverWorld) declaring his plan for the day.

Somehow (with a grumble) I think peanut butter would be more up his alley in terms of taste.

Good grief...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Gilliam's Arc - A Flood of Films Flowing into Fantasy

I have now seen all of Terry Gilliam’s films.

Last Friday night, Buttercup and I watched Jabberwocky.
I rather liked it. It’s not the best movie, but it’s not bad either.

How does it fare in terms of a Gilliam flick?

Well, given that it’s his first movie (Monty Python films not included) it serves as a missing link, even though it comes first. How so? Well, Jabberwocky is very straightforward. Sure, it veers a little here and there, but it’s nothing like the double-backflipping and turning reality inside out as per Gilliam’s later movies. What this shows, then, is a definite arc of his work. From single-streamed story to various streams of consciousness flowing in and out of each other. A progression (or degeneration, however one chooses to look at it) of storytelling technique, getting less and less linear as he goes along.

At this rate, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote will be a series of semi-related images.
I jest. But it is interesting that as projects came, he beefs up the surreal quality each time.

And for the record, Jabberwocky pretty much follows the Lewis Carroll poem. It’s not a direct adaptation, not by a longshot. But it does tell roughly that same story. In fact, it's quite Monty Python-like. From the humor to the look of it. And having the always great Michael Palin as the guy who falls into being the hero bolsters that feeling. Thus, it stands to reason that as time went on in his films, Gilliam steered farther away from the Pythonic influence. I'd also like to say that Deborah Fallender did a great job as the princess. She played it rather like a medieval Marcia Brady.

And how did the famed monster look? It’s the second best brought to the screen (of 3.) Burton’s takes the Unbirthday Cake, to be sure. But Gilliam’s is impressive for 1977, certainly. And it’s much better (in terms of design and action) than the one in the 1985 made-for-TV Alice in Wonderland.

I’ve also come to realize that I’d been looking at the works Gilliam had written. There is, of course, also The Fisher King, Twelve Monkeys and The Brothers Grimm. I've seen each of those, too. And on the whole, I liked them as well. But each of them is a linear tale... although the fantastic hand of Gilliam is definitely present in each!

Trying to Grok Gilliam

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Ever-Jelly

Is Peter Pan staying young by an absolute choice really so far fetched?
Mother Nature has shown it's possible!

Meet the Turritopsi nutricula, a jellyfish living with its own fountain of youth. This sea creature has the ability to regenerate its cells so as to become young again, literally. A kind of reboot of the life cycle, over and over again. You can read more about them here.

The part that's a little scary? They're mulitplying... and they're immortal.

Anyone who says magic doesn't exist and Nature doesn't strike back, think again.

Friday, June 18, 2010

He Writes... He Scores... With Some Time-Out

Well, my “faithful reader” Anon has begun
Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between.
So far, it’s very well received. WHEW!

How can I not be pleased with being told it "DEFINITELY" feels like we're back in the world of Peter Pan? Anon also said that it doesn't feel like a new book. Rather, it feels like Chapter 7 of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. (i.e. the next chapter of it, as if it actually came next.) Thanks, Anon! Glad you're enjoying it.

Anon does have some minor issues, though, but that's to be expected of the first read through of something so near and dear to the heart.

You might recall I’d been a tad worried about the one section of it - I said it might seen too outlandish. To my relief, Anon doesn’t hate it or think it too strange. Then again, the general feeling is that it doesn’t quite fit. That is to say… yet. For it’s not as if it can’t, it just doesn’t seem so quite right at this point. But from Anon’s comments/comparison to Barrie (on this part as well as another) I know just how to fix it so that it will thus become much more Barriesque. Thanks for the inadvertent suggestion on how to make it work, Anon!

Anon is only four chapters in so far… and there’s a lot to come in the next ten. Here's hoping the "wonderings" and "issues-that-might-not-be-issues-after-all" turn into a genuine love of the book!

For the record, I'm going to make the necessary revisions before I pass it along to Hook & Jill author Andrea Jones. No sense in giving her something to read that can use some polishing, eh?

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Holly Will They or Won't They?

Some more rumblings in Hollywood to cheer or jeer.

First, the jeer. A little while back, I mentioned the remake of Fright Night. A summary: It's a bad idea... unless you use the twist they had decided upon. Well, twist again. Chris Sarandon will not be involved with the movie. If the reason for doing the remake requires his presence to work, then, yes, the spark of fun in it has gone. At least for me. It's now to be set in Las Vegas with 'Charlie Brewster' going to a 'Criss Angel' type figure to help. I suppose it could be good. But I'm just not psyched anymore without the "metaphysical" approach.

On the cheer side, a director has been set for OZ - The Great and Powerful. That's the movie starring Robert Downey Jr. as the man from Omaha who would be a Wizard - i.e. a prequel to The Wonderful Wizard of OZ. See this post for more info. Sam Raimi has found a place in this balloon. He's a great choice. I enjoyed the hell out of the first Spider-Man movie (yes, I did have some issues, but they're minor) and although I didn't care for the story in the least for the rest of Spidey, Raimi did a great job staging imagery on screen. He's just the grounded fantasy we need for a movie like OZ. Up, up and away.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Putting Down the Pen on Another Pan

Last night I finished writing
Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between.

For those who do not already know:
This novel is an interquel.
That means it's a sequel to one work, but a prequel to another. You see, there's a major gap between Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (really part of the novel The Little White Bird) and Peter and Wendy (aka Peter Pan.) In PPiKG, Pan's "origin story" by Barrie, he is an eternal infant living among the birds and fairies in the famous London park. But the next time we see him, he's a young boy fighting pirates in the Neverland. One could just chalk it up to Barrie changing his focus for the character. Sure, that's true. Yet reference is made in Peter and Wendy as to the first adventure having happened. That means story-wise, we have a major chunk missing. How did the little boy who wouldn't grow grow up to being a boy? And how did he get to the Neverland? Thus, I've pored through Barrie's works again and devised that very story. Those and some other ponderous elements are made clear.

I must, of course, read through it all again and make any necessary revisions. And I've got a few very minor details (such as which birds specifically) to fill in... but otherwise it's a completed book. It clocks in (currently) at 53,533 words. Naturally that will change. It's a short novel, but then, so are Barrie's.

Before I unleash it, I am going to have (at least) three people take a gander at it first. Not just anyone, either. Andrea Jones (Hook & Jill) will be delving into it for me. Since she's quite versed in Barrie's world it can only behoove me to get her opinion. Her obsession has the very helpful advantage of a feminine perspective as well as masterfully manipulating Barrie without sacrificing any of his integrity and themes. My faithful reader Anon will also have a read. Anon rivals my own obsession with Pan and Barrie and also matches my insistance on the meticulous details. Anon has been anxious to read this tale since I mentioned it. And of course, Bart.

I really am curious what they will think of it. I'm hoping it doesn't seem completely off the mark to them. Not that I doubt the work. I am very pleased with it. I just wonder if since I've been dealing with and living with it for so long that I'm more readily accepting of some of the ideas, characters and events in it. After all, I am more than touching a subject that is both delicate and difficult - namely the wherefore of how Peter, grew up, so to speak. There's the chance that at first experiencing this adventure it could seem too outlandish. But I do feel it remains true to Barrie's universe while expanding it just that much further.

At this point, then, I am not entirely sure of this novel's fate. But I will be sure to keep you posted.

*Yes, that's the cover I've devised for it. The photo is of a walkway gate in Kensington Gardens. Bart took the picture when we visited London and the "world" of Sir J.M. Barrie.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

See Peter V. in Person?

Printers Row

Hey look! That's me next to the Printers Row 2010 logo. What am I doing there?
There's a simple answer: I'll be there!

Yup, thanks to Joe and Leah Guillemette, you will find me sitting at the Old Towne Books & Tea table both Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. I'll have paperbacks (the "cooler" of the two versions) of Peter Pan's NeverWorld with me and an orange pen to sign 'em if you want to stop on by and see me. I'm a "wishful recluse" so it's a "rare" opportunity to view me in person.

I'll be there with Andrea Jones, author of the marvelous Hook & Jill, and a whole slew of other authors will be at the Old Towne Books & Tea table, too.

So if you're in the Chicago area... check out the Printers Row book fair and say "Hullo!"
(Oh yeah, and be sure to pick up your personalized copies of Peter Pan's NeverWorld and Hook & Jill!)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Using Another James...

You know how I'm always referencing back to Barrie to be able to properly complete Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between? Well, I just had to delve into the work of another James... None of other than James Fenimore Cooper. Yes, that's right, I needed information from his pages as well.

Why? Because Barrie said to do so, of course. As if I'm taking orders from the great Scotsman. In a way, yes. You see, in one of his writings on Pan he himself makes a reference how the Redskin/Indian characters perform a particularly nasty task in the Cooper manner. I'm using that idea which Barrie had presented in my novel. Therefore, it became my duty to hunt through Cooper's work. Fortunately, there's a new kind of "Hawkeye" in the form of the 'find' command in a text document. I put in a few keywords from Barrie's desire and voila - I had the very references he intended. I'll do a little more searching (especially the other adventures of Natty Bumpo [aka Hawkeye in Last of the Mohicans]) just to be thorough.

To think, Barrie saw the Turn of the Century (i.e. into the 20th) and crafted his tales of Peter Pan not so far into it. And here I am, just after the next Turn of the Century crafting a Peter Pan tale, tracing his steps in literature and using the latest conveniences to do so.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Trying to Grok Gilliam

One (or more) of the following are true:

Terry Gilliam is a weird, strange and twisted man.
I am not clever enough to understand his films.
Terry Gilliam purposely designs stories to confuse us to no end.
I am a glutton for punishment when it comes to bizarre storytelling.
Terry Gilliam needs to make more films.
I need to stop watching his films.
Terry Gilliam should stop telling stories.
I can’t wait for more of his tales.

I’m not sure… perhaps all of them are true, none of them are true or vice-versa - which is to say it’s rather like a Terry Gilliam movie.

What brought this on? Last night Bart, Buttercup and I watched The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Well, Buttercup and I did. Bart zonked out at a slower bit of the film and never recovered. Let me make it clear that both Buttercup and I liked the movie. We’re just not sure we did. By which I mean we didn’t really understand it. Or if we did, we’re not sure we actually have. But it had been one hell of a great ride!

Looking at IMDb, I have not seen just one of his movies. That film is Jabberwocky. In talking about his work, I am not counting the Monty Python films (which I’ve seen and I “got”) as those can be regarded as a different category. My two favorites are Time Bandits and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

I’ve made a post about Baron Munchausen before. In a nutshell, I adore that it’s designed to be impossible to discern when and where reality and fantasy begin or end. Time Bandits I have not seen for quite some…er…time. I have very fond memories of it and know I’ve seen it more than once. As I recall, it’s the most linear of his stories. But yes, it does (or so I think) have some bends and turning of tables characteristic of Gilliam.

Brazil is a film that my mind won’t seem to let me remember. Sure, I recall bits and pieces of it. But when I watched again there were large chunks I didn’t think I’d seen before. Not in the sense of not remembering them, but in that my brain decided to black them out due to them being disturbing or unnerving somehow. I can’t tell you which parts, since they’ve blacked out again.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas I saw once and that seemed to be enough. It didn’t sit right with me, nor did it sit wrong with me. We’ll leave it at that.

His movie Tideland is, well, odd. Very odd. To the point of I don’t get it at all. I might even be sickened by it, I’m not entirely sure. None of it “blackened” in my head, though. But all the while I felt as if I’d been missing something. Like Gilliam is completely off his rocker or I’d not been savvy enough to comprehend it.

And The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is just like that… only without the (possibly) disgusted bit. It’s a little like Munchausen in that fantasy and reality blend to the point of numbing the mind. But unlike Munchausen it didn’t make me stand up and applaud that aspect. But by no means did I not enjoy it. It’s visually stunning. And the backstory of how it came to be made (or almost didn’t) is fascinating. It’s Heath Ledger’s last film - he died during production. Gilliam reportedly had a nervous breakdown after having also had ridiculously horrendous bad luck during his first attempt at a movie called The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (see the documentary-like film called Lost in La Mancha.) But a solution presented itself. Since Parnassus deals with fantasy, Gilliam decided that going through his magic mirror ‘changes’ Ledger’s character each time… and actors Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell stepped up so that the film could be completed.

I suppose I need to see Jabberwocky.

At the very best Gilliam’s films get one talking and thinking, that’s for sure.

So thank you, Mr. Terry Gilliam, for being one hell of a delicious creative convolution! May you always continue to bring us wild and wicked whimsy. And best of luck in upcoming productions. I’m looking forward to The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.

Gilliam's Arc - A Flood of Films Flowing into Fantasy

As said in "Gilliam's Arc" post: I’ve also come to realize that I’d been looking at the works Gilliam had written. There is, of course, also The Fisher King, Twelve Monkeys and The Brothers Grimm. I've seen each of those, too. And on the whole, I liked them as well. But each of them is a linear tale... although the fantastic hand of Gilliam is definitely present in each!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Agree with Jake Morgendorffer

Just a quick gripe.

There's a movie of the comic panel Marmaduke coming out.
I've read Marmaduke in the paper, but only because it had been on the page. I never once laughed at it. Perhaps if I'd grown up with an oversized dog I could have related. So it stands to reason I won't see the movie. (I don't see "dog movies" anyway.)

But here's the gripe: Marmaduke talks in the film. Marmaduke does NOT talk in the comic. Maybe that changed, I don't know. I haven't read it in probably 20 years. So, assuming that the past panels still hold true, even if I had been a Marmaduke fan I would not see the movie based on the talking factor alone.

Bart recently got the complete series of Daria on DVD. Watching one the other day had a line that made me laugh out loud. Daria's father, Jake Morgendorffer, is reading the paper and says, They should just put Marmaduke to sleep.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Aurora Adventure

I had a little adventure last night.

I schlepped over to a Chicago El train with two boxes on my head and a Peter Pan’s NeverWorld bag over my shoulder… and then trekked through downtown to Union Station. I hopped the next train to Aurora. On the hour or so ride out there, I broke out some paper and began scribbling out more of Betwixt-and-Between. (Yes, the old fashioned way.) And why had I been headed out to Aurora?

It partially answers the question to say Andrea Jones (author of Hook & Jill) met me at the train station and whisked me away in her car. What a thrill to see Andrea in person again! We talk regularly through emails and chat boxes. But there’s nothing like discussing theories of Barrie face to face.

And why did I go out to see Andrea? Because of the boxes on my head, of course! The boxes contained copies of Peter Pan’s NeverWorld. I had to deliver them to her because she’ll be toting them along to the Port Washington Pirate Festival. Naturally she’s there to sell her own novel, and because she’s terrific she’s going to have mine available, too. The Port Washington Pirate Festival is this weekend, June 5 - 6 in Wisconsin. Hook & Jill is certainly more “pirate heavy” than my novel, but mine is not without its share of buccaneers. Thanks, Andrea!

Playing delivery boy had not been the only purpose for my visit. Andrea scooted me over to Old Towne Books & Tea. I finally saw this marvelous bookstore for myself (as I’d heard about it from Andrea many times.) Old Town Books & Tea is not your typical bookstore. It’s much better. What other place can you walk into that feels like an inviting home and sells great books to boot? A simple charm radiates there, from the literal individual rooms to the comfortable plush seating arranged just so - perfect for the frequent Book Club meetings and author appearances. I also had the pleasure of meeting the owners, Joe and Leah Guillemette. I’d talked online with Joe before, but he’s even cooler in person, just the sort of guy you’d want as a friend. Leah, too, is a delight. Oh - Peter Pan’s NeverWorld is now featured on their shelves by the check out desk, right near Hook & Jill. Thanks, Joe and Leah!

If you want to visit the appealing Old Towne Books & Tea for yourself, you’ll find it at 61-63 Madison Street in Oswego, Illinois.

We continued our chatting and visit at the Tap House Grill not so very far at all from Joe and Leah’s store. I had a quite tasty chicken pesto wrap and downed more than my share of bottomless ice tea. (Look at me, I’m a rebel ;] ) Good food, good conversation and new friends… doesn’t get much better than that.

Before long it had been time for Andrea to escort me back to the Metra train station… and yes, we tittered away about Barrie's work. (We just can't help ourselves.) I bounced a few ideas I had for subsequent NeverWorld books off her. She especially loved one location I've created. And I quite enjoyed hearing more about her plans for the further adventures of Hook and Jill. I hugged her goodbye and got into Chicago about twenty minutes before midnight. The walk to the El train proved much easier without heavy boxes on my head. I returned home to Bart well after midnight. And then I typed in (and revised as I typed, as per my usual habit) what I’d written for Betwixt-and-Between on the ride to Aurora. I find a certain satisfaction in having composed some more of the Peter Pan story on my way to see another Peter Pan devotee. (Okay, so she’s more into Hook. But I won’t hold it against her. ;] )

To make a grand end to a great night, I discovered that the new material has put Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between over the “book length” mark of 50,000 words. Voila. It’s officially a book. Hosah! Now I just have to finish the rest of it. I’m still estimating a fifth left to go, but as I always say it’s hard to know for sure since some scenes take less words/time than expected and the characters always have more to say.

And so went my adventure in Aurora.

Old Towne Books & Tea