Tuesday, October 09, 2007

October 9, 2007
Still having a hard time shifting gears to black and white. Here are the sketch pages to prove it:

And, of course, now that I've made up my mind to move back to scratchboard, all the subtle transitions that evaded me for months, suddenly come bubbling up to the surface. Check out the incredible face in the sepia frame, above, left (bottom right hand corner).

Notice how I tried to shift gears to black and white (below), then reverted to sepia, like some baby who stands and walks for the first time, then goes back on his knees and crawls around for a month. The right-hand page, done last night, is possibly the best page of sepia wash I have ever done.

And, by the way, these sketches put me over the 4,900 mark.

This Just In From Liz Young
Bono, the lead singer of the band, U2, is famous throughout the entertainment industry for being more than just a little self-righteous. At a recent U2 concert in Glasgow, Scotland, he asked the audience for total quiet. Then, in the silence, he started to slowly clap his hands, once every few seconds. Holding the audience in total silence, he said into the microphone,'Every time I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies.' A voice with a broad Scottish accent from the front of the crowd pierced the quiet: 'Well, stop doin it then, ya evil basturd!'

Traffic Observation #233
Have you ever noticed that when a traffic signal turns green,
automatically it activates the horn of the car behind you?

Our talented movie writer, Henry Cabot Beck, was in the office yesterday and he told me the commentary track on the DVD of "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" is the best he has ever heard. On the Special Features track, the director and star, Tommy Lee Jones, and Dwight Yoakam and January Jones talk about the making of the movie.

Well, guess what I got from Netflix that very morning? Went home last night and watched it. Tommy Lee is both amazing and infuriating. When he cryptically says, "That girl's a good actress," Dwight says, "Isn't that your daughter?" Jones kinds of grunts, admitting it might be, and offers no other comment. Later, when Barry Pepper's character is driving along a back road, it comes out that the Merle Haggard song playing on the soundtrack was not cleared for rights, Tommy just stuck it in the movie. Dwight goes off on the copyright issues involved, to which Jones replies, "I don't know." Incredible.

When Yokam points out an actor in a scene and asks Tommy Lee, "Didn't you do a movie with hime prior to this?" Tommy Lee says, "Yes, ten years ago." But he doesn't tell us the movie! Or any details. This is maddening, but as the commentary progresses, you realize he's very guarded about what he talks about. Some things he relishes:

He mentions that the French hated the color of the titles (hot pinks and blues a la Mexicana), and they warned him it "ruined the movie," and he said he wasn't changing it and told his detractors to talk about something of substance that might be worth changing. Or, words to that effect.

Turns out that Tommy Lee did the sound editing at some studio near Normandy, France. He went to France to finish a movie about Texas and the Mexican border! He is so meticulous, he describes how, in one scene where his character puts lighter fluid on the corpse of Melquiades and then lights it afire, he fretted for days on "what the sound of Mexican hair would sound like burning." He laughingly says he wanted to ask his hispanic wife if he could cut some of her hair and burn it but she wouldn't let him. They allegedly spent two hours in the Normandy studio trying to get that snippet of sound "right."

He also admits they used "stunt ants" in the same scene, and adds, "No ants were harmed in the making of this movie."

Tommy Lee gets off a couple great lines: when he was questioned as to why he had such detailed shot lists, with maps of where all the camera set-ups would go, and then when he showed up on set he was constantly changing everything, Jones laughs, saying, "You can't change your mind if you haven't made it up." Spoken like a true artist.

The other wonderful comment comes at the end of the movie when his character, Pete Perkins, "finds" the non-existent town he has been looking for, and Jones quips, "This is a case where seeing is not believing, but believing is seeing."

Jones shot most of the movie on his Boracho ranch in West Texas, and he's really a piece of work. Probably the most existential cowboy America has ever produced.

"Things That Are Trying To Turn Me Gay."
—Stephen Colbert, in his new book, "I Am America (And So Can You)"

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