Speaks for the Trees in 3D


A twist on the original text: ‘The Lorax: He Speaks for the Tress’ is a mock Grindhouse trailer that chronicles the badassssss adventures of The Lorax, an ex-lumberjack-cum-pimp with a green thumb way up the keister of industrial America. The Onceler, his power-CEO arch-nemesis, kidnaps the Brown Barbaloots an holds the world for ransom under his maniacal chainsaw assaults.


Written by Lee Keeler
Directed by Lee Keeler and Zach Graber
Produced by Yotam Dor
Photographed by Jake Hill
Edited by Kevin Erhard
Production Design by Britt Faulkner
Sound Design by Ashley Holland and Adam Latz

My Life as a Mash-Up XI

Well, here we go again.

I’m going to take a minute to throw a number out there, and that number is 36.

“36 what, Jeannie?” (that’s you). 36 is the number of times that I’ve moved that I can remember. Guess what I’ve decided to do in a few weeks? Oh yeah, MOVE- again.

Since this month’s mash-ups are leading up to the big scary Halloween day, I’ve decided that I’m going to let you all in to my personal nightmare: it includes lots of boxes, some tape, a shit-load of dust, and some seriously well-placed puns…

The Shining-meets-The Muppet Movie

I’m not really sure how to start this epic adventure that is my life, but that’s okay because the first few big moves I can’t remember. Sort of like little Danny in The Shining: blissfully ignorant in a family dynamic that is less-than-ordinary, but in tune to (and about to witness) something that will no doubt have an enormous impact on him later in life.

Imagine the Kubrick-ian opening credits as a massive metaphor for my life, only replace the little car with an old Studebaker, and the drivers with muppets: Bear right, frog left.

My first big move was a little like this current one- as in, away from New Mexico. The fam’ moved to upstate New York for some years. Then we moved to Florida. Then we moved to Vermont. Then I took over from there: Gainesville, Fl; Portland, OR; Nashville, TN; Austin, TX; Savannah, GA; Galway, Ireland; Albuquerque, NM. There was a lot of bouncing back to Austin in between most of those moves, but you get the idea… I don’t sit still long.

The Muppet Movie was all about following a dream, right? You’ve got Hollywood lust, musicians on tour, and the constant chase of the corporate world to turn Kermit (me) in to a spokes-frog for something he doesn’t support (Deep breath: the-settle-down-and-get-a-real-job-already-black-hole-of-creative-stagnation-and-life-long-regret/disillusionment-for-not-following-your-own-dream)… Forever, and ever…

So, the comedian and the actor/writer keep “moving right along” from one end of the country to the other in search of said dream. How easy is it to just toss your shit in the back of a car and go elsewhere? Too easy. You just do it, then you go. As Grover says: Near… Far.

Here’s the thing though- the nightmare part: Wherever you land, there you freakin’ are. Whatever ghosts you had haunting you in the last town, well they travel light and are liable to come bursting through your bathroom door with an axe yelling “Here’s Johnny!” while you cower uselessly against the wall. In fact, it seems, the MORE you move, the more those ghosts become tangible items that you haul around in a box and label “baggage”. It’s lonely out there in the Overlook mid-winter, and all you’ve got sometimes are yourself and your ghosts.

The Redrum Connection?

The secondary issue with having this “shining” (or: the propensity to move at the drop of Dr. Teeth’s hat) is that, once you do land somewhere, the figurative walls start closing in on you. This happens everywhere- it’s not just subject to small towns, lily pads, or monolithic hotels. Once the elevator doors begin to spill blood down Main Street, the itch demands to be scratched, and the Snowcat/Studebaker starts a-callin’ yer name. At some point (30) you hit the wall and start screaming at the top of your lungs: “Why are you doing this??!!”

What’s possibly kept me from going completely bonkers (aside from having better things to write than “all work and no play…”) is the fact that I really don’t know any different. Kermit knew nothing of being not-a-frog, right? Well, here I am: insert whatever terminology there is these days for American Traveler here.

Luckily, apart from finding my own Fozzie Bear who is equally as non-geographically-committed as I am (or, as we call it, “geographically challenged”), I seem to find myself narrowing down the landing strips. My “shining” is beginning to fade with age, as in the desire to add to the mileage. I know there probably isn’t a “the-standard-rich-and-famous” contract for me (and, sadly, it will not be handed over by Orson Welles), but I’m coming close to finding my way out of the topiary maze and depending less on frightening bartenders- so, hey, that’s something!

This current move is, what else, temporary- it’ll be back to the East Coast next Fall. But I’m going in like I always do: Edith Piaf blasting away “Non, je ne Regrette Rien” from the factory stock speakers in my wagon. Maybe the path seems longer these days, but the distance is certainly shorter, and the ghosts are waning- hopefully a few can be put to rest here in Albuquerque.

I guess it’s all part of livin’ the dream… or is that a myth? A what? A MYTH: MYTH!


My Life as a Mash-Up X

Yay October: A month where we get to watch and think of all things scary.

What’s scarier than scary to me? Past relationships of course! Haunting, chilling, hand-covering-the-mount-or-eyes-in-disbelief-and-fright: oh yeah, it’s October-rifficy-goodness.

The Blob-meets-Dirty Dancing

The beauty of this mash-up is that it really doesn’t have to represent anyone in particular- EVERYONE knows this guy (or gal). The beginning of this relationship is 100% Dirty Dancing. He’s hot, muscle-y, and wants to take you dancing so you can finally master the ‘lift’ (innuendo?) where you’re twirled around in what seems like the only moments of grace your awkward body will ever feel (innuendo.). He’s brash and charming, not necessarily lacking in a sense of humor, just a little on the serious side (‘cause he’s a workin’ man, right?). Oh the lusty-goodness of the beginning of this relationship is so sweet- but, then, something starts a-bubbling. Small at first, but… then…

The scariest thing about The Blob was how slow- PAINFULLY SLOW- it moved. When I watched this movie as a child it seemed like there was NO WAY the oozy-gooey-big-bad could catch up to and kill any of the innocent teenagers in it’s path. But it grows- and it consumes.

Now, if you think about Mr. Blob sitting on your couch for the 8th consecutive week in a row, bitching about how the summer season is over at Kellerman’s and his particular ‘field’ is less than desirable in this faulty economy, it becomes that much more scary. The slow-moving, all-consuming terrors of his personality (and eating habits) begin to gnaw away at your very life-force- which, by the way, has been slowly disintegrating since you took that THIRD JOB in order to pay rent on your apartment that has now become the dank and musky lair of the-thing-what-crawls.

Oh Baby- it’s true, nobody puts you in the corner- but Johnny Castle’s idea of liberation means he gets to fondle the remote while you’re out working at Sally’s Beauty Supply contemplating the many ways one could hurt themselves on the job with activator and home perm kits. Where does this end?

The sad truth of these types of relationships is that the two-fold disposition of a well-meaning woman will enable blob behavior if there’s ‘art’ at stake. On one hand, you see the potential in blobby-boy to be a real man- if only the world could just give him a chance (and we’ve all felt this way). On the other hand, no one understands and supports him like you do- especially when it comes to his writing/music/painting/wood-sculpting/acting/film-making/dancing/etc. etc. etc… What’s important to remember here is that the behavior of a blob never changes- and with every human it consumes, its blobbiness just grows.

The only escape from the indescribable, indestructible (nothing can stop it!) relationship is to remember “The Time of Your Life” was had in the first month- and it’s all gone downhill from there. When muscles are flexed to ‘get the girl’ you’re darn right it’s gonna be good. Even the most disgusting creatures can pass themselves off as Patrick Swayze in the battle for a hard-working lady-friend, especially if they have a really cool car and can manipulate your daddy issues to a tee. If, however, cool-guy-slacker hasn’t got a job that pays real money by the time he starts saying things like “Can we do laundry soon?”-and by “we” he means “you”- then it’s time to kill the thing what oozes so you can eventually run off in to the sunrise with Steve McQueen.

As the classic taught us all, the only way to defeat the Blob is with the cold. Nothing short of an airlift to the North Pole could eliminate the perpetual suck-dom that was inhabiting every faucet of my life then, so there was no other option but to turn on the fire-extinguishers- full f-ing blast. I became the bitch I never thought I could.

It’s amazing how empowering the words “Get your shit out of my apartment, NOW” can be- sort of like watching something huge (ego) shrivel up and cower in a corner (not an innuendo). This is true liberation, not the Dirty Dancing kind that has Baby passed from one all-controlling man to another with anger issues (Right? He was pretty violent, wasn’t he? Wonder how that turned out…).

The point of this, the ‘lesson’ I suppose, is to never fall for the Johnny Castle bullshit. If there is no progress in the potential, no motivation behind the ‘art’, screw ‘em. But leave it at that.

Somewhere there’s a Steve McQueen waiting for us all, and I’m pretty sure he’s worked/working his way up to whatever-it-is that will make him truly self-satisfied. The non-blob-art-guys that are the real deal would rather starve than have you supporting them with three crap-tastic jobs because they understand you’ve got your OWN passion to follow. The oozing pink lazy-asses (ew) will selfishly prey on your kindness, until they’ve sucked you dry.

So: Go McQueen.

The End…

My Life as a Mash-Up IX

So I’ve already made the decision to sort of “theme it up” a bit and include at least one horror movie in every post I make for October.

Why not start a little early?

Let’s talk about cocktail waitressing. It sets the tone so perfectly for a horror flick of all sorts: running, screaming, periods of incoherence, and strange men chasing you up stairs to demand something from you that will, of course, result in more running.

Funny though, I don’t think of ‘chaser films’ when I think about my job(s). This is what comes to mind:

Dawn of the Dead-meets-Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

FYI: That’s the original, 1978, Dawn of the Dead. This entry is zombie-baby free (although, for the record, I miss Joe Dubois).

In case any of you are considering an illustrious career as a cocktailer, here is the short list of things you must possess to handle this job:

1. The ability to look like you’re happy when, in fact, you want to tear people limb from limb. See: Romero Zombie 101, or, Pee-wee vs. Francis Burton.
2. Quick thinking in potentially violent and/or lucrative situations. See: The Zombie Survival Guide (thank you Max Brooks), or, THIS.

AND possibly the most important of all:
3. The constitution to maintain some semblance of faith (or sense of humor) in the human race after seeing them at their absolute worst, night after night, year after year. See: Peter’s suicide contemplation (but not follow through!) in Dawn, or, I KNOW YOU ARE BUT WHAT AM I??!!

Basically it’s this: bar patrons=zombies. Not just any zombies, DAWN OF THE DEAD zombies. Somehow, somewhere in the deep recesses of the mushy zombie-brain, there is a compulsion to return again and again to the same place you were the night before, do the same things you did last night, and drink (human blood/body parts=booze in this analogy) until you pass out or get killed looking for more.

Have you figured out where the basement in the Alamo figures in? PAY-OFF. Where Dawn didn’t exactly fail to deliver an uplifting ending (helicopter pun!) of escape, Pee-wee got fame and fortune out of his adventures in to the surreal. AND he got his bike back. AND he got to ride off in to the sunset with a bicycle mechanic (which, speaking from experience, rocks).

See, cocktailing sucks about as bad as the zombification of America, but hell, the tips are great. If you want a truly brain-numbing job, work in retail. Be one of the first-to-go in the mall-o-dooms-day- not from being devoured by walking dead, but from your own head-first spiral down the rabbit hole of human-and-self-loathing. Let’s put this to a test, shall we?

In one of the more memorable lectures I’ve ever attended I got to ask Max Brooks what the psychological implications were of the “Quislings” in his novel ‘World War Z’. Quislings were people that hadn’t been turned by zombies, but just couldn’t deal with the zombie apocalypse, so they had a mental breakdown and began to act just like the undead did. Interesting thought, if you apply that to retail. Here’s why:

For 39.9 hours a week (because full-time-with-benefits is about as mythical as a studio executive offering you loads of money to buy the rights to your life story) you can make minimum wage selling people who make more than you do shit they don’t need. After your first two-cent raise (so, after you’ve worked the same register for 2 years), you start to think to yourself “How are these people any better than I am?” To make yourself feel better, or, you know, not the world’s most insignificant peon, you take advantage of your 3% store discount and start buying all the same shit those people with loads of money buy. Now you’re the same! You all own a bunch of shit you don’t need!

Conversely, cocktail waitressing produces a very different effect. After the first few months of hit-or-miss nights, the ‘hit’ nights sending you home after 5 hours with $400 cash-money in your pocket, you start to LOATH the people that come in for a ‘party’. Not your regulars, mind you- they generally know how to drink and tip. The ‘party people’ are the assholes that think ‘bar’ translates roughly in to ‘leave all morality and human decency at the door’. They do things like take their shirts off and holler “Jager Bomb Yo!” at the top of their lungs. Does this make you want to join them? Nay. You run, far away, back to your books and dvd collection for some specifically non-sweaty non-physical-contact-y goodness.

Who wins in this situation? The fucking cocktail waitress who knows how to run her ass off on a slippery floor in heels. Archery? Can’t be that difficult if you’re coming from a place where you have to balance 9 kamikazes and eleven-teen pints of Bud Light on a tiny tray. Let’s face it: Dodging drunks is about 99% zombie avoidance technique. I will survive.

So all seriousness and human carnage aside, let’s go back to the most important rule: a sense of humor. Until that day comes where drunks actually ARE undead, blood hungry threats, we can’t go attacking with shovels. Yet. Which leads me toooooo: TEQUILA!

It’s safe to say I dance my way through work nightly. Not in a booty-shakin’-too-sexy-for-this-apron kind of way, but in a mental, this-is-the-only-way-I’ll-get-out-of-here-alive, way. If Pee-wee could dance his way out of hangin’, tattooin’, killin’ ordeals, I sure as hell can, too.
So watch out bikers! My tequila dance is to the Robot Chicken ‘ba-bac bac bac’ and involves many, many inexplicable pies.

Keeps a smile on my face though. And that, my friends, pays the rent…

Tip me or I’ll get the shovel,

TWC: Brian Thompson

While acting ability is essential to any actor or actress having a long career in the ever-changing and increasingly dynamic world of film, having a particular look is perhaps even more important. I mean really, when we watch someone perform what is the first thing that we recognize? Is it their ability to transform into their character or is it how their actual look fits that character? It evens out a bit as the performance goes on but that initial reaction goes a long way for the audience to accept it and, more importantly, go along with it. For instance, it would be kind of tough to envision Nathan Lane as a serial killer because that just isn’t the type of look that he brings to the table. Robin Williams is a good example of an actor that faced this dilemma and still brought it home. It’s definitely possible to avert an audience’s expectations with a worthwhile performance, but most of the time it is just plain easier to cast a guy that looks like a serial killer to play a serial killer. On that note, not many actors look more like a serial killer than the man we’ll discuss today, Brian Thompson
Here he is while not performing, looking only slightly less serial killer-y…
Despite looking like he would eat your children, Thompson started his career in theater performing in various plays, musicals, and operas. He eventually got his Master’s of Fine Arts and started auditioning for film roles. In his first role he played one of the three punks (along with Bill Paxton) that the Terminator encounters after being sent back, and it was actually Thompson’s character whose clothes are stolen and Arnold wears for the rest of the movie. That’s a pretty awesome introduction to the Hollywood scene right there. It became immediately apparent that with his intimidating physique and look that Thompson could find consistent work.After being featured in a few television shows he landed one of his largest roles to date, as the psychopath antagonist in Sylvester Stallone’s action “film” Cobra. Thompson played The Night Stalker, a cult leader who kidnaps women and murders them with an axe or a fancy knife. He was probably the most memorable part of the movie besides Bridgette Nielson’s robot lust commercial and Stallone’s never-ending product placements. Really though, this was the role that has been getting him work ever since.Next up was The Three Amigos, where he played one of the German fancyboys that are a lot tougher than they initially seem, especially after they shoot up a full bar. I’m not even sure if he said a word but it still sticks out in my mind as one of his more memorable roles. Again it says a lot about how much an actor’s look and presence can present to an audience even if they don’t have a lot of dialogue to work with.He has been in a ton of stuff, usually either playing a main bad guy, a main bad guy’s lackey, or some other role that needs a huge scary dude. I suppose I have to bring up his disappointing role as Shao-Khan in the sequel to Mortal Kombat, the utterly terrible Annihilation. I’m not sure the blame for that one can be put on Thompson’s shoulders though as he seemed to be the only person in the entire production to actually want to make a real movie. God that movie sucks. It still doesn’t change the fact that this guy will always be one of the go-to guys if you need someone to scare the crap out of you by simply being there, and god bless him for that.-Kevin Merryman

CTM: Overtime – 4

With so much media in your face these days, it’s getting harder and harder to take things to the extreme. I remember a time when I used to get mad if somebody was texting while I talked to them. Now I take their temperature if they don’t ignore my conversation for their iPhone: “Are you feeling okay?” “Yeah, why?” “You weren’t being as insanely inconsiderate as you normally are.” Okay. So this one isn’t technically a sketch by The Overtime, and is a piece that was written by Geoffrey Golden after the group split off into their own projects. But it was done really, really close to when The Overtime was around, so it counts — kind of like how “My Sweet Lord” was more or less a Beatles song even though it was on a George Harrison solo record. C’mon, you guys know what I mean, don’t be jerks. Anyway, cheers to this Classy Troupe of the Month, you can see many of these gents doing comedy work around Los Angeles proper: John Ford has a group at iOWest called Get Sweaty, Asterios Kokkinos hosts the Frolic Show at the Far Bar in Little Tokyo twice a month, and Geoffrey Golden is the Editor-in-Chief of The Devastator Magazine while writing freelance comedy on the sly.