June 2008 Archives

I don't know why I got my hopes up about this week's Fear Itself. Maybe it was because I had actually seen some of director John Landis's previous work and liked it very much. Sure, before the Masters of Horror series came along a couple years back he didn't have that many horror credits to his name (unless you count 2 1/4 as "many"), but An American Werewolf in London is a classic of the genre and is, in my estimation, one of the best werewolf movies ever made. I confess that I have yet to see either of Landis's Masters of Horror episodes, but I certainly hope they're better than "In Sickness and in Health," which probably could have used a werewolf or two to spice it up.

As usual with this series, the problems start with the script and this one just so happens to have been written by Victor Salva, the writer/director of the Jeepers Creepers movies and a convicted child molester whose work I've managed to avoid up until now. I'm not saying he's incapable of making scary movies because of his checkered past (quite the opposite, in fact), but some people simply don't need to be encouraged. And if this teleplay is any indication of his talents, he won't be. Who knows? He may have the great American pedophiliac werewolf story inside him, but who's going to want to get it out of him?

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DHL and some other east-central PA guys have started a pop group called Lunchbox of Blood. They sound a lot like Air Supply, only louder, noisier, and drunker. After an 84-groupie escapade, DHL asked me to come up with some artwork, something that would depict the "smooth, dentist-office calm that is L.O.B." (his words, not mine). Minus the text elements, this be where I'm at:


I don't know if it's AM radio enough for them.

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Attentive readers will recall from last week's article my harrowing ordeal at the hands of alleged thespian Eric Roberts via his televised appearance in last week's episode of Fear Itself. What I neglected to include in my review, however, was the aftermath of this shameful incident. Apparently, in an Roberts-induced state of delirium, I began wailing and howling in a manner more befitting an animal than a man, and these odd vocalizations of mine were audible throughout the apartment complex in which I currently reside.

I was, as they say, "pretty far gone" by the time the local police knocked on my door to make inquiries as to my safety and sanity. These law enforcement officials were responding to a 911 call made by my neighbor, an elderly widow named Viberta Wigfall. Fortunately, Mrs. Wigfall is one of my oldest and dearest friends, and her call to the police was merely an act of motherly concern rather than one of spite or malice. Regaining my composure under these admittedly embarrassing circumstances, I managed to convince both the police officers and Mrs. Wigfall that everything was perfectly all right, and we all adjourned to our respective dwellings.

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It was like that one Volkswagen commercial. You know, the one that reintroduced Trio’s “Da Da Da” to a nation that had forgotten a group called Trio ever existed. There were differences, of course. (If there hadn’t been, I would have said, “It was that one Volkswagen commercial” and been done with it.) For one thing, I was alone, so I had no one to react to (or to react to me). For another, I was on foot, so I didn’t have a car to tool around in. And do I have to mention that my misadventure was not scored by any '80s music whatsoever? (Well, I suppose I could have had a boom box or a Walkman or whatever portable device people use to listen to music nowadays, but I didn’t, so now I have cleared that up.)

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Siamese monster squirrels contemplate the power of the all-knowing acorn. (please help me come up with a punchline for this one -- Illustration Friday, topic: punchline)

Prints: chrisleavens.imagekind.com

On Thursday, Adriana and I set off for a relaxing vacation in bucolic east-central Pennsylvania. If you're going to be in the area or you are in the area, let me know and we will collude, drink beverages, and make fun of mustaches. DHL, I expect a basement concert and I'll be bringing prototypes of your logo. Sorry, no truck burritos.

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Last summer I was in Long Beach for a few days. It's been nearly a year since then, and yet the moment captured here, when I happened upon a group of local Gs keeping things real, haunts me still.

It's been said that the truest stories of a place like Long Beach aren't found in the lyrics to a hip-hop song, or in a dog-eared copy of the "Rough Guide." They're found, instead, in the hopes and dreams of the everyday people who don their tutus and headbands and go at it anew each and every day they live, always striving to do things a little better than they did the day before.

I guess that's what has stuck with me, what has caused me to wake up on so many afternoons drenched in sweat since this day, last July: The knowledge that, without warning, I came upon the naked and throbbing true heart of America's number one port city.

Real people doing real things. There is a subtle majesty to it all that damn near takes one's breath away.

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After last week's dismally derivative "The Sacrifice," the horror anthology series Fear Itself bounces back with a sophomore effort that is a refreshing change of pace. Far from your ordinary haunted house story, "Spooked" is a touching drama about a damaged man coming to terms with a tragedy in his past. Of course, as a sop to the show's presumptive fan base it has to couch its hard-won emotional revelations in supernatural terms, but it's no less effective for that.

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So it goes. After the art show displaying my work was canceled last night, I was predictably bummed out. So it was nice to receive a mass email from Imagekind today that listed me as a featured artist:

Yes, I'm now in a gazillion inboxes. Seems as if the karmic wheel's been kind to me lately.

In case you forgot, my Imagekind store can be found here: chrisleavens.imagekind.com

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I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when the decision was made to take over the office building through bloody insurrection, but once taken it was hard to go back on it.

The proverbial First Shot Fired on Fort Sumter, as it were, was not an actual gunshot, per se, but its reverberations were just as epochal to us. It happened during the lunch hour. The support staff was gathered at the long table in the break room, as was our wont, when one of the senior staff – I don’t even remember which one it was – came in and imperiously declared that we needed to eat somewhere else because they were expecting guests. Now, we in the support staff understand the importance of impressing visiting dignitaries and potential clients, but the lunch hour is the lunch hour. Disturb that sacred ritual at your peril – and that’s exactly what the senior staff was in for. The only question was how much of it and when would it be provoked.

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Official flyer (click image below for embiggened version):

That is all.

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From greatness comes greatness. From gods come gods. As Dionysius sprang from the loins of Zeus, so Breck Eisner sprang from the loins of Michael Eisner, and we the viewing public are all the luckier for that fact. While Eisner the Elder's triumphs are many and myriad, it is of the younger Eisner I now write, for it is he who directed "The Sacrifice," the inaugural episode of Fear Itself, a new horror anthology series currently airing on the National Broadcasting Company. Reader, I tell you, a more stirring curtain raiser this series could not have asked for. "The Sacrifice" is beautiful and grotesque, a phantasmagoria of horrific delights for all five of the senses. If there were any lingering doubt even after Sahara, "The Sacrifice" proves that Breck Eisner is a master. This episode is a masterpiece, truly a master's piece.

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In the forgotten days of monster birds, offspring were sprung from head trees. (Illustration Friday, topic: forgotten)

Prints: chrisleavens.imagekind.com

I'm actually pretty psyched about this one.

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This is just a quickie I grabbed out a car window while passing through downtown. I'm not entirely sure about what it means to "envia tu dinero," though from this ad, it seems like something that's done by mountaineering construction workers who very well might perform in disco-revival bands on the weekends. In Mexico.

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Christa knew she was going to have a problem the moment she reached the counter. Of course, the fact that she was being called to the counter at all meant there was some sort of problem, but she knew how to handle them. That was her job, after all. For an extra 50 cents an hour, she got to bear the brunt of the irate customers. Some were just bruntier than others. This one looked like he had taken a course in bruntiness.

The customer stood before her, fuming, holding an opened CD in one hand and crumpled receipt in the other. He looked like he was used to getting his way, and was openly contemptuous of anybody who contradicted him. This was not idle speculation on Christa’s part; this was based on three years of handling returns from customers just like him. She steeled herself. She had the impression she was going to need all the steeling she could get.

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I've been invited to display my work at another one-night group show here in LA. The location's the same, 533 Los Angeles St., 6th Floor, Los Angeles, CA. The time, of course, is different. The show's going to be part of the downtown LA art walk on June 12th. It sounds like it's going to be much more art-centric than the last show. More details soon. For now I give you this self-portrait I took as part of the promotion for my previous show:

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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