Friday, October 30, 2009

The White Tiger Movies

Before I tell you about the White Tiger Movies, let me say this. One of the greatest joys currently in my life is discussing stories with my son. I don't know if he senses that I love stories or whether I just gave him my love of stories, but there is nothing greater than listening to someone you love tell a good story, especially when it's your son.

When I made up stories as a child this was very much frowned upon and punshed as lying. Understandably, my parents thought it was their job as parents to get their children to distinguish between fantasy and reality. To them it was this clear, this bipolar: truth and lies, fantasy and reality.

I very self-consciously tolerate - and maybe even encourage - my son to just tell me what he is thinking. I let his fantasy life mix easily with reality and don't really bother pointing out which is which. I think it much more important for him to develop the ability to describe what is going on in his mind. Why not? He is a well-behaved and reasonable child.

And he really tells pretty marvelous stories. He re-tells the Harry Potter but in his version, Harry's parents never died. They enroll as students in Hogwarts with Harry and they don't really do much. They are always in the background, though, to lend support. (Noted.)

But his big plan is to create The White Tiger Movies: ten CGI features about one white tiger hero. (He is going to be a movie man, he tells me.)

In the first White Tiger Move, the hero's parents, the King and Queen of White Tiger Land, are killed at the hero's wedding.

Very gripping first scene. Royalty popular subject for plays. (think Shakespeare)

The hero and his brother hunt the killers (rivals to the throne) throughout the movie. The hero's son is born. An epic battle between the White Tigers and the rivals leaves the brother dead. End of first film.

He is five years old and this stuff Kill Bill meets Lysystrata. A London theatre director once told me that great directors are just born. Maybe, but I have to credit Pixar (Toy Story, Monsters Inc) for my son's understanding of the importance of a hero, a hero spurred to greatness by extreme events (Woody, Sully, The Old Guy from Up, Wall-E, The Incredibles).

He should shoot for getting the Kennedy Center Honors before I am too old to enjoy it. I heard they serve vintage Champagne at the ceremony and it's a week of great parties.

Yes, for me it is all about the parties.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Empire Blue - sitcom pilot

Is the name of the sitcom pilot I just finished.

By reading this you agree that the characters are completely fictional and bear no intentional resemblance to any living person.

Set in London in 2000, Empire Blue chronicles three women's struggle to bring a chaotic internet start-up company from the verge of bankruptcy to riches and success.

Colby was head of marketing and I was general counsel at an internet start-up in London seven years ago. We bonded through the sometimes hilarious and sometimes terrifying experience and vowed to write a sitcom about a much different experience than we actually had.

And we have. We have worked really, really hard on this in bursts since 2006 and had some great feedback for rewrites. It has taught us to love re-writing, I'll tell you that, not an easy lesson. And I laughed so hard writing it, I am grateful that we wrote.

But if you happen to want to see the pilot, to, I don't know, send it to any tv producers or actors you know, please drop me a line.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

All Time Great Party Dance Tunes

I am in love with this Cambridge institution called the Early Night Club - once every couple of months, they turn a tapas bar into a dance club for people who want to get in, get dancing and get out before midnight.

My exuberant love for the place must have been noticeable because the organizer asked me to do a guest DJ spot. It really isn't that big a deal. He is using free guest DJs all night so I am one of many.

But I have to decide what to play. So of course I am looking for all time great party dance tunes. Well, second-tier great party dance tunes. All time great party dance tunes are usually set pieces when a group of people who know and like each other are just relaxing and fooling around. Like acting out Meatball's Baseball Song at a high school reunion (the EHS '86 reunion in '96) or Summer Nights from Grease (too numerous to list and I am kind of bossy about being Sandy). That is definitely the most fun thing ever. It has to be spontaneous and essentially impossible to duplicate. Like a bright moon suddenly appearing over the Carribean sea at exactly the same time CCR's Bad Moon Rising came on the stereo on the boat. (December 2001) Or Sting (when he was cool) going nuts on So Lonely to a live audience at exactly the same time a group of really great friends who really love each other get up from a long, wine-filled dinner. (Washington, 2000). Or you can have it with two people in a car. Like driving from El Paso to Big Bend with J. T. in 1995 and driving from Chicago to Dallas with J.G. in 1989.

It happens a lot at weddings. This and Champagne are why weddings are fun. The last song at my wedding was Tiny Dancer and everyone had their arms around each other in a huge circle singing softly (Brecon, 2002). I was dancing with Rhys in the center and looking at all these people I loved, who had flown into the middle of Wales, so relaxed and happy. (My guests were on the whole phenomenally better behaved at my wedding than I was at theirs now that I think about it)

All Time Great Party Dance Tune moments do not usually happen in nightclubs, which is what the Early Night Club essentially is. Before the Early Night Club I was last in a nightclub circa 2000. I remember very clearly someone telling me (in the middle of a nightclub) that when I was old I wouldn't go to nightclubs all the time. I was furious. I will NEVER stop going to nightclubs, I said. Ah, youth.

So for my set Thursday night I need the great more anonymous party dance tunes. Respect by Erasure springs to mind. That song really commands you to dance. I Don't Feel Like Dancing by Scissor Sisters does too. It's hard to calibrate for age in this crowd and also hard to calibrate for England, because as I have found out from being married to my husband they were listening to all this total crap over here in England in the 80's when we were celebrating the phenomenal genius of bands like Asia, Laura Brannigan and Air Supply.

I was thinking that my set should be themed. Since I am such a sunny optimistic person, I am thinking The Summer of Death for my theme. You could do that forever with all the great Michael Jackson. The problem with a lot of popular Michael Jackson hits is that they turn into endurance constests on the dance floor. They are so long. Mama Say, Mama saw Mama pu saw goes on so long you start to think about his trial. Give me I Want You Back from the Jackson 5 days clocking in at an efficient 3:00. It would be great to play something from Dirty Dancing in honor of Patrick Swayze. She's Like The Wind is too slow, so probably Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance). I am so tempted to play something by the Dead Kennedys for Eunice and Ted - not in a mocking way but in a post-Modern respectful way. I'm not sure I can pull it off, beside, I can't see these women dancing to them.

Then there's John Hughes films. I always loved that scene in Breakfast Club when they were dancing around. But the song sucked. If You Leave is a great song from that, but is it too slow? The theme from Charlie's Angels would be poignant but not too danceable.

Being a DJ may be harder than I previously gave the likes of Samantha Ronson credit for.