Monday, June 30, 2008

Beauty and the Beast

Donna monkeys around with Kogar (Bob Burns) on the set of Larry Blamire's A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT. Photo by Frank Dietz.
Tonight, Donna and I returned home from an amazing ten-day trip to Los Angeles -- our first real vacation since we started VIDEO WATCHDOG in 1989 -- so if you're wondering why your e-mail hasn't been answered or your order confirmed, that's why. There's been nobody here except the dear friend who's been taking care of our cats.
What a trip! During our time in California, we picked up our Saturn Award for Special Achievement and shook the hand of Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films president Robert Holguin; Lucy Chase Williams and her husband Gibby Brand held a welcoming party for us in their Glendale home; we lunched with Joe Dante and his partner Elizabeth Stanley at the famous Musso and Frank's; we hung out with Bob & Kathy Burns at their "Bob's Basement" museum (then dined with them and our cover artist Charlie Largent at Bob's Big Boy on a "Classic Car" Friday); we attended a Q&A with Orson Bean at Beyond Baroque in Venice, where we met Orson and his wife Alley Mills, then had dinner with Orson all to ourselves at a fabulous French restaurant called Lilly's; we saw THE INCREDIBLE HULK (eh) at the Cinerama Dome theater; we walked around the Santa Monica Pier with Richard Harland Smith and his two toddlers and trudged through what felt like 20 miles of sand to get our feet wet in the Pacific; we got a private preview screening of Howard Berger's outstanding new music documentary A LIFE IN THE DEATH OF JOE MEEK, followed by an all-night conversation with Howard; we dropped in on Sue & Del Howison at Dark Delicacies, where we left a signed copy of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK for sale, and -- neither last nor least -- we were guests on the set of Larry Blamire's forthcoming "old dark house" mystery A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT, where we met Larry (a past VW contributor!), his wife Jennifer "Animala" Blaire, H.M. Wynant, James Karen, Brian Howe, Andrew "Truphen Newben" Parks and renewed old acquaintence with Sketchy Thingster Frank Dietz and our pal-since-the-early-Seventies, Mike Schlesinger, who's producing the picture (which looks like an inspired satire). I got to see some other friends again, meet a few people with whom I've been corresponding off and on for many years, and I even got hugged and kissed by Guillermo del Toro, who greeted me at the Saturn Awards like a long lost brother (and some have said there is a resemblance). Further sweetening the deal: Shintaro Sushi, fresh avocados, Prizzi's, fresh avocados, The House of Pies, fresh avocados, and a pleasingly firm bed at the Hollywood hills aerie of that Wild, Wild Westerner, David J. Schow, located high above the audible a.m. feeding frenzies of local coyotes.
As I'm posting this, I'm so sleepy that my eyes are literally crossing, but I wanted to explain my/our recent absence, during which time we could read e-mail but couldn't respond to it... which is not what we should have been doing on our first vacation in nearly 20 years anyway, and which we're therefore filing under "Fortunate Inconveniences." Watch for more fax and pix in the days ahead, as we begin to upload our own photos.
And a Big Thank You to Frank Dietz for capturing this once-in-a-lifetime moment on the official DARK AND STORMY NIGHT stills camera.

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