Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"Ed Wood" Re-revisited -- Martin Landau (1928-2017)

Of course, in memory of Martin Landau, I had to watch "Ed Wood" again.

It would be hard to think of any other film ever made that so perfectly says everything important that needs to be said about the creative spirit.

Every time I view this film, I'm moved even more than before by its universality, by the canonization of Ed Wood as Everyman Artist, and of course by the heartbreaking spectacle of a great star, Bela Lugosi, reduced to a frail hulk, a truly tragic figure destroyed by Hollywood and his own vanity ... but not in the rose-colored glasses of Ed Wood.

I chose this film to remember Landau by, because it is not only his best single performance, but his most complete performance, a landmark in cinema history.

It's ironically fitting that what is arguably Tim Burton's best film, a film about a dreamer of children's-comic-book dreams with lots of heart but no talent, was a loser itself. It nearly didn't get made in the first place because of Burton's insistence to film it in black and white. Though it was lauded by critics all over the world, it was ignored by audiences everywhere. It grossed less than $2 million when it opened. Not only did people leave the theaters in hordes when it was first released, but it also failed to be saved by DVD due to delays in licensing. The movie was as big a loser as its lovable, stupid hero. And to add insult to injury, Martin Landau's acceptance speech was cut short by the Academy Awards broadcast, cheating him out of his moment of recognition for giving one of the greatest screen performances of all time.

Only now is "Ed Wood" beginning to find its place as perhaps one of the most important films about the cinema ever made. It surpasses everything Truffaut ever did in its unblinking but loving examination of the creative spirit, and the mystery behind the power of the tawdry creations Ed and his loyal band of misfits produced. If these films are so bad -- and they are -- why do we still watch them and, yes, love them?

Because it is the soul of the artist laid bare. Ed Wood is all of us, everyone who has struggled to bring their dreams to life, not knowing whether they are worthwhile or not.

Friday, June 16, 2017

James Vance (1953-2017)

I guess it's okay now to report sadly that Kings in Disguise and later Omaha the Cat Dancer writer Jim Vance passed away June 5, after a long and difficult battle with cancer.
Jim and familyJim and Kate Worley were married about 10 years when she passed away in 2004. At that time she and I, with agent Denis Kitchen, were negotiating on a new publication of Omaha the Cat Dancer with 150 new pages to complete the story. Jim took up the writing duties using Kate's copious notes, and we worked hard together, while he also worked on the Kings sequel, On the Ropes. Both were finished in 2013 and Omaha's final volume debuted at the 2013 San Diego Comicon.
Jim's wife Jodi Berg has looked after Jim during this time and and her daughter Kaitlyn and Jim and Kate's children Jake and Sarah are now in her care and doing remarkably considering they all have fought to overcome disabiities.
There is a GoFundMe project being started for Jo and "her" children to save their house. Please go there and read more about the amazing story, and consider a donation.


GOFUNDME FOR VANCE FAMILY MORTGAGE

Please follow the link and read the story.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Happy Birthday, Kate Worley

Kate would have been 59 last Thursday. She was a tall and hard-to-miss fixture in Minneapolis fandom, and in the music circle, and in Shockwave Radio.

Here is a photo from fanac.org showing some soon-to-be famous faces: (from left) Kate Worley, Emma Bull, Jerry Boyajian, Steven Brust.



Happy birthday, Kate.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Omaha waits while Nellie Tools Up

Omaha fans are waiting for Omaha material old and new to appear here, but that's going to have to wait.
What I'm waiting for, is for Jim Vance and Jo to give me the keys to the omahathecatdancer.com site so that either it can be updated or I can move some material to my site and add links. Due to health reasons, there hasn't been any update on the "Omaha" official site since 2008. So visitors there may not even know that the story was finished, and the full set of Omaha is available from NBM Publications.
When Jim and Jo get better, they'll get back to me, and we'll talk about what to do with the Omaha web presence. As I said before, I do intend to have sketches, pages, and unavailable material up for viewing and eventually, for sale. But there's still a lot of work to do before any of that is possible.
Meantime, the "Cat Dancing with Omaha" yahoo group is still active (although there havent been any posts for a while). Sign up if you're not a member.
In the meantime, the entire Omaha the Cat Dancer Picture Disk is on my site available for listening.

Meanwhile, Nellie and the Drummers, idle for 12 years, are hard at work on their new album, "Backstage Musical."
Between 2004 when I completed two numbers for the new album, and now, I've had to upgrade my computer and all my software. Additionally, the more ambitious project I'm beginning requires better instruments and better equipment, so I invested a little money I didn't previously have, into big band and orchestra instruments and an upgrade for my Digital Audio Workstation. Nellie's voice works just fine the way it is.
Watch the Nellie section of my website for developments, and new tracks as they are finished.





Friday, January 08, 2016

A New Period Begins

Yes, it's pretty much a new period in my life.

With Omaha the Cat Dancer finally finished, I'm retired. Now it's time to start cleaning up the mess online.

This blog has never been kept up, and it's likely that it will be closed down after I make some progress on my new site, at reedwalleromaha.com.

The Omaha the Cat Dancer Yahoo group has been closed, Mark is finally used up, and I can't do anything with it myself, because of confusion with my Yahoo account. Oh well, it has served its purpose.

Likewise I lost control of this blog when Blogspot switched to Google and i couldn't get logged in here either.

Then all my online files, such as blog images and Nellie and the Drummers music and my Furry Sex Panel video, all got erased when Consolidated Communications (who bought Enventis, who bought Hickorytech my ISP) decided to discontinue offering personal web space two weeks ago.

So I am starting my own website for the first time in 15 years. There I hope to be able to offer my artwork for sale, records and memorabilia, the Nellie and the Drummers music, and just generally be present. But mostly just for fun.

I will be contacting Jim Vance and see if he would like some help in bringing omahathecatdancer.com back up to date.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cyberpunk Nostalgia

It's time for a little cyberpunk nostalgia.

This link now works again!



This song was created for Nellie's first album in 1999, when cyberpunk was still fun, and the mix of digital 3D animation, computer generated audio, and vintage pop music was a novelty. Having the Andrews Sisters do a cyberpunk ballad seemed like a natural.
Be sure and check out the entire Nellie albums on my website HERE!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Contact information

It's been pointed out that I'm a hard person to get hold of. For those looking for me, I can be emailed at rwaller@hickorytech.net

There.