Memo to Casting Agents: Please don’t waste actors from The Wire

Sunday night, the Best Show In The History Of Television airs its final episode. Once The Wire is gone, what is going to happen to its stellar cast? Several of them have relocated to Los Angeles and I hope that their stars will be on the rise. But somehow, I’m guessing they’re in for some rough road.

For example, Andre Royo has recently relocated to Silverlake with his wife, who runs Canele in Atwater. He should be getting ready to collect his fifth Emmy for his portrayal of Bubbles. Instead, you may have seen him for a second and a half, getting wordlessly gunned down in the background of an episode of Terminator, the Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Robert F. Chew, who played the amazing Proposition Joe, is still in Baltimore, and given the parts he’s been asked to read for by Hollywood production companies, maybe that’s a good thing. (listen at about 20:30 mark.)

At least Lance Reddick is showing up on Lost, when he’s not hawking Cadillacs.

Anybody else seen or heard of Wire alumni here in town? Anybody see them in other shows, in parts big or small?

And is there any hope for a sitcom starring Isiah Whitlock, following the antics of a lovably corrupt public official with a penchant for a certain extra-syllabic epithet? Or how about pilots for Wendell Pierce or Clarke Peters?

Ticket Giveaway: Rhys Darby DVD Taping, Sunday 2/17. Ginger Balls, Live!!!1!!1!

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If you’ve ever seen Flight of the Conchords, you know and love their long-suffering manager Murray “Ginger Balls” Hewitt, imbued with genius by Rhys Darby.

Darby is filming a DVD of stand-up material at the El Rey and we’ve teamed up with Goldenvoice to give away three pairs of tickets so y’all can get your Ginger Balls on. They’re doing two shows for the taping; we’ve got one pair for the 7:00 show and two for the 10:00 show.

To claim the tickets, comment below with your favorite Murray-ism. If you’ve got a preference for which show, put it in there, along with a valid email address.

More Darby:

Rhys Darby home page (dig the Star Trek fonts)

Rhys Darby on MySpace

The Best of Murray Hewitt

Leggy Blonde

Cheer Up, Murray

A Vegan Jewish Christmas?

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Now that I’ve gone vegan, the Traditional Jewish-American Christmas of chinese food-and-a-movie has an added wrinkle. While it’s sometimes a challenge to find an LA chinese restaurant open on Christmas, finding one to serve my meat-averse, soy-loving, un-Christian behind makes it even harder. Oh, what’s a pinkocommieveganyid to do?

Thankfully, there are some options if you head on out to the San Gabriel Valley:

Vegetarian Wok: 529 E. Valley Blvd., #128, Alhambra, CA 91801. Open until 3pm

Fine Garden Vegetarian Cuisine: 841 W. Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel, CA 91776. Open until 11pm

Happy Family Restaurant Vegetarian Food: 111 N. Atlantic Blvd., #351 (Third Floor), Monterey Park, CA 91754. Open until 8:30pm

Closer to the city proper, there’s the old standby Kung Pao Bistro:

Kung Pao Bistro: 7853 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046 // 11838 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604. Open until 10:30pm

P.F. Chang’s has some veg-friendly options, and while I wasn’t able to confirm if they were open, with the amount of movie theater traffic tonight, I’d be surprised if they stay closed:

P. F. Chang’s: Burbank Town Center // Beverly Center // Paseo Colorado // Sherman Oaks Galleria.

In all cases, I recommend calling to double-check how late places stay open, as I met with a lot of confusion on.

Happy whatever-holiday-you-celebrate. I intend to have some sort of veggie lo mein dish, so I can properly honor my ancestors with tradition Jewish Chinese food, as well as pay homage to the FSM’s culture-spanning noodly appendage

Ticket Giveaway: VHS or Beta, Sunday night at the El Rey

http://www.transdiffusion.org/emc/techmark/baird.php

Like any great war, the Format Wars of the late 70s/early 80s cost many lives on both sides, and yet from the ashes was created some of the most beautiful, haunting music of our age. Come relive those heady analog days, where a tracking knob could make the difference between life and death.

We’ve got three pairs of tickets to give away for Sunday night’s VHS or Beta show at the El Rey. The first three to email me here will get ’em.

And while you’re basking in the glow of that conflict for the ages, please spare a thought for the impending casualties of our current format showdown.

BTW, I’m backing HD-DVD. I know Blu-Ray is technically superior. But remember the list of classic blunders. As we all know, number 1 is “never get involved in a land war in Asia,” and number 2 is “never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line.” But only slight less well know is number 3: “Never, never, ever, ever, bet on Sony in a format war.”

Strike Trouble at theOffice? (not the Pennsylvania paper one)

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theOffice is a writing space in Santa Monica. It’s a great place to get some work done, if you’ve got the pockets to pay for it. Which is why you won’t see me there very often. But I am on their mailing list, should they decide to open a space downtown at drastically reduced rates.

This weekly newsletter contained the following, interesting little tidbit:

REGARDING THE WGA STRIKE:

We realize that many of you belong to the Writers Guild. And because of that some of you are concerned about working in a public place like theOffice.

We want to remind you that whatever goes on between you and your laptop computer is your own business. What if you’re writing a novel, or composing letters to your grandmother, or balancing your checkbook?

The Writers Guild has more important things to do than to send out spies to theOffice to check up on your work. Besides, no one has the right to demand to see what you are working on unless they have a court order.

“Pencil’s down” means not doing any work for hire. But if we’re going to allow paranoia to spread this early on in the game, then the Producer’s Alliance will have won. And we can’t allow that to happen.

We support the WGA, and we are confident the WGA will prevail, and we will all return to work with a new contract under our belts. But let’s do so with cool heads and a steady hand.

I wonder what’s been going on there that made them feel the need to send this message out. WGA spies? Looking over shoulders? Paranoia? That’s some creepy language.

Are Zoos Teaching People To Deny Evolution?

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A few weeks ago, before the fires forced evacuation, I went on an overnight trip at my favorite zoo, the San Diego WIld Animal Park. I’m not much of a zoo guy, since most of them get me bummed out by the confinement of the animals. The Wild Animal Park is a joyous exception.

But this time, I had a recurring experience which was unsettling. And once I noticed it, its frequency became increasingly disturbing. I’m curious to hear if anyone has made similar observations at the L.A. Zoo. I’m especially want to hear Will’s take, as he used to work there. More after the jump.

Continue reading “Are Zoos Teaching People To Deny Evolution?”

The Loose-Fish Project: An experiment in web storytelling.

Link to The Good Captain at Twitter

While we’re in the middle of a strike over the impact of the Internet on writing, I’d like to invite you to check out The Loose-Fish Project, an experiment in using the web as a storytelling medium which we launched at BarcampLA4 this past weekend.

For the past several years, I’ve been writing screenplays, tv specs and stage plays. But I’ve gotten burned out on scriptwriting. Scripts are very strange little creatures. And I’ve come to believe that they’re just not good vehicles for telling stories, at least not in the straightjacketed fashion that Hollywood demands they be written. When you want a good read, do you curl up with a screenplay? They’re not used as primary texts. They’re blueprints for someone else to tell a story. Or in most cases, they’re just used as sales documents, and treated with as much care. Now, I’ve never heard of anybody whose life’s ambition is to write the Great American Powerpoint Deck. It’s certainly not why I started writing. But I found I’d become less concerned with “am I telling a good tale?” and more concerned with, “how do I keep from doing anything that could make a script reader or development executive stop reading.”

Many of my writing projects are adaptations. I like taking classic stories, revamping and reformulating them (yay public domain!) One screenplay I wrote took the Shakespeare play Coriolanus and made the protagonist into a modern-day baseball player. If you ever want to blow a pitch meeting, just say the word Coriolanus. Another project I spent a long time working on was a sci-fi adaptation of Moby-Dick. I think these ideas are highly commercial, but alas, I seem to be the only one.

There are loads of other kinds of artists who don’t worry about persuading the middlemen anymore. They’re using the Internet to go directly to their audience. Novelists, short story writers, musicians, video makers are uploading their work to the web, and viewers and readers can experienced it as their creators intended. But for screenplays, or really any form of dramatic writing, it’s not quite the same. You can’t really just put your script up online and expect people to read it. So, how do screenwriters get in on some of that hot circumventing-the-gatekeepers action?

Continue reading “The Loose-Fish Project: An experiment in web storytelling.”

STRIKEWATCH!!!!!111!

(apologies to Reggie and Wil)

Walking near 4th and Spring this morning, I passed a parking lot where a crew was setting up for a shoot. Big Shots, I think it was.

On the corner, a knot of about 15 WGA protesters carried signs. With them was a burly man in a Teamsters jacket.

A grip was laying dolly tracks next to them. Things between the grip and the Teamster got heated.

The Teamster, appealing to Union solidarity, called the grip “Brother.”

The grip shouted, “You’re NOT my brother.”

Then they went nose to nose.

The 15 or so writers shrank back from the confrontation.

I don’t think anybody was actually shoved. Shortly thereafter, the Teamster walked away, back towards his hovering cohort.

The grip was left to continue laying his tracks, muttering.

Ticket Giveaway: She Wants Revenge @ The Fonda – Friday 11/9

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I have a weird fascination with She Wants Revenge. Almost all of their songs are identical. But I really like that song. They’ve been described as an homage (or a rip-off, depending on your inclination) of Joy Division, Interpol, and/or Depeche Mode. Again, but I like that song.

Listening to their new album, This Is Forever, has been eerie and insanely satisfying. Most of their songs came across at first as melodramatic teenage angst-fest, focused on minute detail of the uncomfortable parties, weird crushes, and lots of dance floor intrigue. But here’s the thing – when I WAS a melodramatic teenage angst-fest listening to the songs of Joy Division and Depeche Mode and, uh, not Interpol, those songs were the soundtrack of my life, and yet they weren’t really descriptive of my life. She Wants Revenge writes songs that described what it was actually like while I was listening to those songs. It’s so meta, it kinda makes my head swim.

And anyway, the songs have good beats and you can dance them.

We’ve got 2 pairs of tickets to give away for Friday night’s show. First two emails here wins them.

Tallest Skyscraper West of Chicago, eh, not so much.

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Curbed bring us the welcome new that the Tower of Babel Park Fifth project that was supposed to provide eternal shade to Pershing Square, is floundering. They’ve supposedly lost their main investor and he plans may not go forward at all.

My glee at this news is purely selfish, as I will now not be living next to a construction site for the next five years.

Besides, I don’t want our lovely Library Tower to be eclipsed.

EDIT: Then again, maybe not