thehefner: (Batman: I Am The Night)
First, Aaron Eckhart is "heartbroken" to learn that Nolan is definite on Harvey Dent being dead, and thus will not be in Dark Knight Rises. It's worth actually reading Eckhart's story of how he learned the news. I predict it'll launch a number of slash-fics.

For my part, I'm glad to hear it now than to hold out hope that maybe, maybe there'd be a surprise cameo in Arkham or in the twist ending or after the credits or in a deleted scene or maybe hell maybe in the fourth film yeah yeah maybe who knows *cries*. So, good to be spared that cycle.

Still, it's certainly put a crimp in my entire day. This is why I haven't actively thought about TDK for months. It just puts me in a frustrated, thinky mood for hours, going on with what I liked and what I wish wish wish they had done differently.



In related news [livejournal.com profile] box_in_the_box posted the following, dubbing it the "Best Batman Theme EVER." It's a combination of the themes by Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, and Shirley Walker:





Oh my god. Okay, very mixed feelings here.

Whenever the theme went to Zimmer, I. Was. So. Bored. At least, I'm guessing the boring parts were Zimmer, because they were the parts that were neither Walker nor Elfman. Now, I didn't like Zimmer's theme in BB until I heard it used in the trailer for The Dark Knight, at which point I was like, "Okay, this is actually pretty badass, I like it now."

Here, it was swalled up by Elfman and Walker. Maybe it's just that the composer didn't effectively recreate the literally thirty seconds of good music from Zimmer's entire BB score, by which I mean the first thirty of this:



Those blaring horns and slamming beats are the only part that could have stood up to Elfman and Walker, and while it actually took me a couple listens to discover that the composer actually had included that part, he didn't successfully recreate the "grab you by the balls and PAY ATTENTION" urgency. I think that speaks more to Zimmer's production than composition skills, because without that factor, it really is a boring track.

Actually, I'm listening to that above Zimmer piece on its own, and I'm rather loving it. The best thing Zimmer can do with the soundtracks is give them a sense of urgency. But even this is two-dimensional compared to the sheer scope of Elfman and Walker's soundtracks.

And yet... maybe it's because of that that I actually felt gut-punched both times Shirley Walker's theme came in, and elevated the entire piece to greatness for those few seconds. Maybe it's sympathetic pregnancy (and dear god, I've wanted to kill somebody for chocolate on more than one occasion, so it well could be), but I was actually moved to tears when the Walker theme came on the second time. Amazing how hearing that theme over and over again in the most formative show of one's childhood can have that effect.

There's something so much more hopeful about that theme to counter Elfman's glorious darkness. Both are soaring statements about who Batman is. Zimmer's is more just what Batman does: just pure action, action, action, without introspection.

All in all, this was a fascinating and fascinating piece, one that was even moving in a couple occasions. I want him to do a second version down the line. Maybe a series. Hell, I'd love to hear him combine all three Joker themes. Ohhhh fuck yeah, do I wanna hear that. Screeching Hans Zimmer white noise of horrifying madness:




... giving way to a magnificent Elfman waltz...




... giving way to that whistling, happy, mischevious Walker theme (cue to 4:15)...





... and back again with little to no warning. Ohhh man, I gotta write to this guy and make a request.
thehefner: (Two-Face: TLJ "OMG!")
At Best Buy today, as we were buying a USB cord so we could finally start figuring out how to use the projector for the show I'm going to be performing in ten days oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck, we discovered they had a music section, with a synthesizer for anyone to try out.

OH MY GOD I'M IN LOVE.

Thing is, I've always wanted to play an instrument, but I've never been able to really make my brain/hands do what it takes. But a synthesizer, man, I don't even have to do much with it, and it already sounds like I'm composing the soundtrack to an 80's Michael Mann film.

Of course, that's where my brain is today, after I attempted a rewatch of Brett Ratner's RED DRAGON to see if maybe it wasn't as bad as I'd remembered. Or at the very least, to see if maybe, just maybe, I've been wrong in thinking that Bryan Cox's Hannibal Lecter in Mann's MANHUNTER was superior to Anthony Hopkins' return to the role in RED DRAGON.

Pshhh, no to both counts:



Y'know, I actually made my preference of Cox to Hopkins' Lecter a line in my show, THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES. I love how, every once in a while, an audience member actually knows what the hell I'm talking about and smiles. And here I used to be worried that someone would pick a fight with me after the show.

One of the few plus sides of RED DRAGON is Danny Elfman's soundtrack, which is the very few times in recent memory that Danny Elfman has sounded like classic Danny Elfman, music that makes you want to frolic in a graveyard:



Too bad that Brett Ratner is such a hack that Elfman's music completely overpowers any middlingly directed scene from that film. But even with classic-style Elfman, damn it, I so vastly prefer the soundtrack to MANHUNTER.

Not only does it help that Michael Mann--like Scorsese and Tarantino--is one of the ultimate masters of utilizing music in film, but it's pure 80's synth awesomeness from start to finish (well, except for "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"). How I wish I had a high-quality copy of tracks like "Graham's Theme," which might be one of my favorite pieces of film music ever:



If I had a synth, the first thing I would do is learn to play that. Which, from what I've seen, probably wouldn't be that hard. But who cares? I want one more than Buffalo Bill wants a pretty new dress.



Eh, I feel lazy ending it on a SILENCE reference, as I honestly don't get the huge appeal of that film/book. Clarice is so boring compared to Will, and Dollarhyde is both more sympathetic and terrifying than Bill. At least, when he's played by Noonan. Ralph Fiennes was one of the only actors in RED DRAGON who wasn't actively sleepwalking, so cred to him, but I'd still rate him beneath Ted Levine.
thehefner: (Green Lantern: Orange "Mine!")
I recently (finally) discovered the wonder and joy of playing vocals for ROCK BAND 2, so much so that I'm now seriously considering finally splurging and getting a Wii. Especially with this coming out:



It's the "multiple harmonies" feature that really sells it for me. That, and the fact that I bet I could play the drums on hard mode and probably still be all right. I love Ringo, don't get me wrong*, but how many times was he little more than a delightfully charming metronome?

Between this and Wii PUNCH-OUT!!!, I might just celebrate the end of my summer tour my buying a console sequestering myself in the Rehoboth Beach house for a month or three. It will be a well-earned hermitage.



ETA: Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.





*He's number two on John Hefner's Immutable Laws of the Universe: 1.) Everybody loves pie, 2.) It's impossible to hate Ringo, and 3.) it sucks to be Harvey Dent.
thehefner: (Venture Bros: Boop)
On the heels of my triumphant-ish Orlando Fringe production of THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES: HOW HEFNERIAN,* two show-related things have occurred:

1.) Katee Sackhoff to be Typhoid Mary in a new DAREDEVIL movie? I wouldn't put too much stock in this story; pretty much the exact same thing happened when Traci Thoms came into my store to buy everything Misty Knight related, and we haven't heard a damn thing about a DAUGHTERS OF THE DRAGON movie since. Which is a shame, because how fucking awesome would Traci be as Misty?

2.) I have just briefly reunited with the great Emm Gryner an hour ago at the 9:30 Club. She wasn't headlining or even performing solo, sadly, but was instead playing piano and doing backup vocals for A Camp, a great band fronted by Nina Persson of the Cardigans. Emm was radiant and sweet as ever, and this time I only made a mild ass of myself. She expressed great interest in seeing my show, and hopefully--if I can figure out a good way to upload DVD video onto the internet--I'll be able to show it to her. And to all of you as well.

Now, for the two things I couldn't get much of from the past two weeks: booze and sleep.



*Which I may rename "HOW HEFNERIAN": A HEFNER MONOLOGUE to clear up confusion in future performances. Too many people thought I was just doing the same show over again, which boggles the mind considering that I'm far from the only performer who does multiple shows that way!
thehefner: (Default)
If I end up having to perform at the Orlando Fringe Festival with pneumonia because I stood in the rain for four hours straight, it'll still be worth it all because I just saw Leonard Motherfucking Cohen.

I could go on and on about the concert, about how it was one of the finest I've ever seen, about the brilliance of Cohen himself, about the personal significance of dragging my mother along to this show... but frankly, I need to pack.

Tomorrow, I head South. Not straight to Orlando, but to make a major detour to pick up [livejournal.com profile] bitemetechie and [livejournal.com profile] darkestnova, and from there, to try to make it to Orlando by Wednesday evening's Fringe Artist Meet-n-Greet.

Going to Orlando. BRB.






But seriously. Leonard Cohen. I seriously never thought I'd ever see him perform, and while my main goal in doing so was just to say I've done it before either of us died, it surpassed all expectations. Absolutely amazing, moving, and bittersweet. It really, really felt like he was saying goodbye at the end there. *sniff*
thehefner: (I'm a pirate! YARR!)
I'm at the beach house in Rehoboth Beach for just a day, as I gotta be back down to Washington College to see Neil Gaiman.

I swung by WAC yesterday to see the great [livejournal.com profile] beatonna, an hour detour that seemed like a much better idea at the time. When I got there, I realized that 1.) I have nothing I'd want to say to Kate Beaton, nor anything for her to sign, 2.) I'm too damn shy to ask for a drawing in this atmosphere, in the crammed O'Neill Lit House with all these people here, 3.) she was doing a Q&A, and I hate Q&A's because there are always one or two yahoos who ask totally inane questions that make me want to claw out my own brain, and 4.) holy crap, is that the creepy guy from the Georgetown comic shop where I worked? Does he go to Washington College now?!?! RUN. RUN AWAY.

So that was rather a waste of a couple hours. Thankfully, the HopeMobile comes equipped with a six-disc CD changer, and I had a recording of THE PRESTIGE to keep me company. So far, I'm into it WAY more than I was the movie, which still leaves a bad taste in my mouth even today.



[livejournal.com profile] bitemetechie alerted me to the following quote sleepily uttered by her roommate, [livejournal.com profile] darkestnova:

"John is our magic song machine. Like a jukebox that doesn't take quarters. Or requests. He's shiny."

Well, I do have a tendency to randomly burst into song. I wish someone else could hear the background music whenever it starts up!



For example, I've recently found myself singing Laurie Anderson's "Let X=X," which has since become one of my favorite things ever. Why does this bizarre nonsense song make me so goddamned happy?

Really, I can't believe I've gone this long without knowing Laurie Anderson. I mean, just look at her!



She's... god, she's like a female Agent Smith who decided to become a performance artist in the 80's.

By the way, anybody who owns and/or likes her seminal album BIG SCIENCE is strongly encouraged to go on iTunes and track down a song from 2007, exclusively online. It's called "Big Science 2," obviously a sequel to the title track, and it's easily one of my favorite songs of hers so far.

Man, dare I splurge $37 to buy her epic four-disc UNITED STATES LIVE album?
thehefner: (Me: Rose)
I'm at a loss to guess if my recent discovery of Laurie Anderson will elicit which of the following responses:

A.) You don't know Laurie Anderson?!

B.) Hell yeah, Laurie Anderson is awesome!

C.) Good lord, ew, no, Laurie Anderson is crap!

D.) Who the hell is Laurie Anderson?

E.) I like pie.

Whichever response it is, the point is simply this: I think I absolutely fucking love Laurie Anderson, and must travel back to 1984--during which period I would be one year old--and make her mine.

Because this... I gotta say, this gets me a li'l moist. Just a li'l bit.



I hated that song when Peter Gabriel covered it (with her) on his seminal album SO. Turned out, I just wasn't on their wavelength then, because watching that now, I feel like... what Amanda Palmer does to her fans, Laurie Anderson is kinda doing to me. She hits all my drag king points, coupled with my love of 80's prog rock and general wackiness.



She's like if Peter Gabriel and David Byrne raised a daughter together. She's like Peter if he ever looked like he was having fun doing any of his wacky shit.* And to make her even more awesome, look who she's married to:



Lucky, lucky man. God, that is a couple in rock 'n roll love right there.

Yeah, I can't compete with that, even with a time machine. All I can do is watch these, swoon, hope that my swooning isn't meant with reactions as if I just discovered Phil Collins, and pray for HOME OF THE BRAVE coming out on DVD soon.





*even in the videos for "Sledgehammer" and "Shock the Monkey," he just seems so intense; this is a man who treats walking around stage in a Zorb and going bouncy-bouncy-bouncy as SERIOUS BUSINESS.
thehefner: (Applause)
Three days after I finish my run of THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES: HOW HEFNERIAN in Orlando, guess who will be coming to DC for the first time in (I think) four years?

Emm Gryner, pallies.

Although it's not (yet) listed on the 9:30 Club's official page for some reason, but I'm willing to take Emm's word for it.

If you've seen HOW HEFNERIAN and/or you remember the story I wrote about that night, the second-ever Hefner Monologue I wrote here on LJ (and I kind of dread rereading the original, unedited, unrevised version; the HH performance version is obviously more polished and much shorter), that name and its appropriateness will ring a bell.





Even if seeing Emm Gryner directly after telling her story in a solo show isn't Hefnerian in of itself, I can still think of no finer way to return to DC.

Plus, if I can manage to see Leonard Cohen at Merriweather Post Pavilion on May 11th before I leave, I'll have awesome Canadian musical bookends to my Orlando trip! Huzz-eh!
thehefner: (Me: Rose)
When I want a short way to describe this hippie community to people, I say, "When that whole 'Miracle on the Hudson' thing happened, they held a candlelight vigil for the bird." That sums 'em up pretty well. :)

Which reminds me, when said 'Miracle' happened, my brother called me up. I was in Tuscaloosa, in the midst of having a ridiculously-successful Daniel Day-Lewis movie trilogy marathon with [livejournal.com profile] bitemetechie, and as such I hadn't been watching the news. Edd, over the phone, explained, "Yeah, apparently one of the engines got obstructed by a BIRD BIRD BIRD, THE BIRD IS THE WORD, BUH-BUH-BUH-BIRD BIRD BIRD, THE BIRD IS THE WORD...!"

If Edd taught me anything, it's that brilliance and obnoxiousness sometimes go hand in hand. Maybe that's why I consider JACKASS performance art. Seriously, some day, I'm just gonna do an entire dissertation on why Johnny Knoxville and crew are some of our generation's truly great performance artists. Anyone who doesn't believe me clearly hasn't seen JACKASS NUMBER TWO. Tee hee hee.

Okay. Gotta get serious. Going up tomorrow, first show of Frigid. I need to get pumped.



No. No, that's not doing it.



Shit. Even that's not getting me pumped. I need major pumpage here, people! I need to feel like I could kick Galactus in the junk! Come on, internets, WHAT. HAVE. YOU. GOT?!



Damn skippy, commune-full-o'-hippies. I am gonna monologue the fuck outta this shit.

Tomorrow. After sleep. Which will not be coming for hours yet. Ding-dang it.
thehefner: (Bill the Butcher: Reflective)
Me, I've never liked New Year's Eve. Even when I had parties to actually go to, it always left me feeling nostalgic at best, and at worst, it... well, it's never been good. I imagine it's that feeling between what single people feel on Valentine's Day and what some old people (not all, but bitter ones like my father) would feel on birthdays.

That said, these songs help:



Also, this is only tangentally appropriate, but close enough (and contrary to the confusion of the video-maker, who clearly didn't listen to the actual song, it's called "Open Eyes"):



So yeah, those help. But hey, any excuse for more Oingo Boingo is a good one.

YES.

Dec. 19th, 2008 03:20 pm
thehefner: (Batman: Rogues)
OMGWANT.

I've been wanting this for sixteen years. I seriously thought they'd never release it, figuring too much time has passed and there was too little interest. Holy crap. Holy crap. The villain themes alone... Joker, Pengers, Jervis... and, of course, Harvey. Oh god, Harvey's theme... like a mournful dirge, played slightly off-key.

With iTunes, I haven't bought an actual physical CD for a couple years now, much less paid more than $20 for even a two-disc album. But for this, along with liner notes by Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, and others... it will be mine. Oh yes. It will be mine.

EDIT: Er, on the off-chance that someone was thinking about being awesome and taking this as a hint, don't sweat it, I've already put in the order! But, uh, if you're still so inclined, here's my Amazon.com Wish List!
thehefner: (Cyclops as ELVIS!)
From the ever-awesome [livejournal.com profile] little_dinosaur:



Thug Life!

I've been on a Sammy kick lately, especially ever since the otherwise-awesome Nathan Rabin said that he was "nowhere near as talented" as Frank Sinatra. To which I must call bullshit. But then, the more I've been reading about the Rat Pack, I've come to like Sinatra the least, which might color my opinions of his music.

Oh, I love 'im, and the SINATRA: VEGAS box set ran on rotation in my iPod through Big Sur. I dunno, maybe I'm just too drawn to theatrical bombast to appreciate the subtler nuances of Sinatra's brilliance, but... Jesus, guys, watch all of this:



And that's just a couple years before his death too. There's a reason he rocks the Superman bling, pallies.

I have an old tattered used hardcover of YES I CAN in the minivan, one of the too-many books I foolishly brought along on this road trip. Cracking it will be an undertaking, but a very rewarding one, I reckon. Throw Sammy in the same list of people like Dean and Jerry, the Beatles, Elvis, and Oingo Boingo who I'm gonna see live once I invent a time machine. Or steal it from whoever does.
thehefner: (Applause)
On the plus side, going to the Amanda Palmer concert was a very good thing indeed.

I was pleased to find that I was only one of three or four people to actually be wearing bowler derbies there, and the others were in more of a full costume, rather than rocking it for the sheer sake of bowlery excellence.

While I was very reluctant to go alone, I've discovered in recent months that when you're alone it's so much easier to meet people. Soon, I'd made the acquaintance of a dozen people clustered with me in the first "row" by the stage. Getting as close to the stage as possible is one good way to avoid the dual concert plagues of claustrophobia and tall people.

What made this concert especially... uh, special... was how this was the first time I'd ever felt like the opening acts were as integral to the experience as the headliner. Each of the three progressively whipped up the crowd, and were all awesome. Even before Amanda came out, I felt like I was truly getting my ticket's worth, a full meal of music. Even the emcee (one of Amanda's Danger Ensemble) was delightful, as was the surprise audio cameo by Neil Gaiman. A pinch of Neil makes everything better. He's like nutmeg.

And then, of course, there's Amanda herself. While I was and still am put-off by some of her more hardcore fans (usually abrasive teenage girls with yarn in their hair who probably self-loathingly frequent Hot Topic), there really is no denying her sheer stage charisma and ability to put on a show. And dear lord, is she crazy sexy in performance.

So of course, it's in a state of having my ass totally kicked and wiped out by that entire experience and just generally zonked from it being 1:30am that I meet her. I've heard it said that she's got an amazing down-to-earth rapport with her fans, and they're not kidding: she made me feel like me just being there, asking for her autograph and saying totally generic, brain-fried, yet sincere compliments of her show was the utter highlight of her day, giving me and other fans a warm hug and a dizzyingly lovely little kiss on the lips.

Really, it's just what I needed after pulling another "Emm Gryner" experience and turning into a babbling idiot when we talked.

AMANDA: (Noticing my "Harvey Dent for Gotham City" sticker) Awesome!

THE HEFNER'S BRAIN: She noticed! You should say that thing you were planning to say the next time someone remarked on the sticker. Turn on the geek charm and say, "Hey, I still believe in him! Unlike most politicians, at least we can trust him half the time! Hurr hurr hurr!" Wait, that's lame. You were supposed to work on that!

THE HEFNER: Yeah, it... it... it... it... it... yeah.

THE HEFNER'S BRAIN: *slow clap*

Indeed, perhaps a testament to Amanda Palmer that her utter delightfulness can diffuse even Hefnerian situations. Truly, she is one of those artists you simply have to see live to really "get," and I'm super-glad that I bit the bullet and went alone. Especially considering that I wasn't alone anymore when I left.

So, yeah. A very good thing indeed.
thehefner: (Doom: Woobie)
Amanda Palmer is in town tonight, the few tickets I can find are eighty bucks, and I like her but I don't like her eighty bucks worth but I know I might if I saw how awesome she actually is live because of how everybody's been raving about her live show because half my f-list has seen her live including my ex so that's a thing in of itself and they all raved but in doing so have kinda browncoated her but it might be fun if someone else went with me but I don't have anyone else here except maybe Edd who likes Gogol Bordello but doesn't know her but eighty bucks is eighty bucks and I...

... I just need steak and a blowjob. Stat.

EDIT: Screw it. Ticket acquired, and thankfully, for a fuck lot less than eighty bucks. I'm going alone, and I'm gonna enjoy myself, damn it.

It occurs to me, I fear my trademark bowler derby will just make me look like a poseur fanboy in that crowd. Hrm.
thehefner: (Harvey Dent: Community Organizer)
1.) The man said the night was always darkest just before the dawn. I think the dawn just arrived.

2.) That said, I think [livejournal.com profile] tommx put it best: "The true work begins."

3.) Following that, I think I have fixed the Harvey Dent mix. If you had any problems downloading or playing it before, try these: Part One and Part Two. They're now all m4a files, and hopefully in order. Let me know if it works all right, so I can pimp it on a couple relevant LJ communities! These kids have probably never heard a Peter Gabriel song in their lives!

4.) And yet, amid the joyous dancin' in the streets, California's Prop 8 passing is this election's Captain Buzzkill. That said, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] rosered2318 for putting it into perspective with the thought of it going to the Supreme Court. Here's hoping.

5.) Magnolia (the name of the minivan I will be driving) is nearly ready for travel. The only thing I think I need to get is a portable hot plate or stove for making soup and ramen and whatnot. Probably wanna go to Target. What else am I forgetting?

6.) Seriously, folks. Karaoke. Remingtons. Tonight. Anyone in? If it's not happening, fine by me, I have packing to do. But it's my last huzzah, I'm off tomorrow. So what's it going to be, then?

EDIT: 7.) Oh, wait, Mo's at Austin Grill tonight? That might be even better! Nachos and margaritas and not making an ass of myself, I approve!
thehefner: (Harvey Dent: I Believe In Harvey)
The following is an experiment to try and put a playlist of mine up here for y'all to download and enjoy. I'll be frankly amazed if I wake up tomorrow and find out that everything here has gone smoothly. If nothing else, I'm not certain if everyone has iTunes (as I think it will require iTunes to play) or if the playlist will even appear in proper order when loaded (there may have to be some manual arrangement). Regardless, here it is, right when people have actual *important* matters on mind and really couldn't give a crap. Hope it works!

(Psst. All you fellow Yanks voted today, right?)


...

So in honor of Election Day, may I present to you this collection of songs dedicated to the one candidate in whom I still believe:



Would that I actually had photoshop so I could really whip together a mock CD cover with full playlist, but ah well. That'll have to do.

I've created this fanmix around the arc of my novel, following Harvey's journey by focusing on his relationships his wife, Gilda, his abusive father, his enemies (mobsters like Moroni, Falcone, Grissom, and Thorne) his friends (Bruce Wayne, James Gordon), Batman, and Gotham City herself. Until such time as you can actually read the book and follow how the music corresponds to the arc, the definitive Two-Face story "Eye of the Beholder" should suffice for now, as this was the core basis for my entire book.

At 28 tracks, this playlist is kinda sizable (149.71mb), even in zip file. It was compiled on iTunes, which means that you'll likely need iTunes to play several of the tracks. Or not, I'm not sure how this works. The whole thing is kind of a crap shoot.

You can download the .zip files in two parts via MediaFire: Part One and Part Two. They're all m4a files, so you'll probably need iTunes, and they're hopefully all in order.


Full track list behind the cut, with artists such as Peter Gabriel, Radiohead, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Angelo Badalamenti, Julee Cruise, Dresden Dolls, Johnny Cash, Moby, and more! )

Let me know if shit is wonky and hopefully we shall de-wonkify matters. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy! Once I master this, I might finally load my "Mack the Knife" mix, or epic "Wainwright Family" saga. That playlist is brutal, man.


EDIT THE FIRST: Okay, so it looks like you'll need my itunes password to authorize some of the tracks. If you wanna download the above, e-mail me and let me know and I'll pass along my password. When I get back from voting and lunch, I'm gonna try to tinker with figuring out how to unload this so everyone can get it hassle-free.
thehefner: (Harvey Dent: Scream)
Say, I wanna give you all music. Does anybody know how I might go about exporting an iTunes playlist into a way that I could put it up for download?

I know a couple websites people use to put up files for download, and I imagine I'd need a program for making zip files. Or does my Mac already have one? Ugh, three years later and I still barely know my own computer, how sad.

But yeah, I've seen people on LJ in the past put up whole playlists, including custom CD cover art. I've thrown a little something together and wanna share it with you good folks, if'n you're interested.



Oh, and in other news, BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM? Saw it all the way through, and yeah, still the best Batman movie ever. Yes, it's deeper than THE DARK KNIGHT.
thehefner: (Darkplace: One-Track Lover)


I feel dirty for how much I loved that episode (that subplot, anyway). But my shame is overshadowed by the *headdesking* I've been doing since discovering just how many people didn't know it was a real song. Like Seth McFarlane made that it up or something. I understand Weird Al Yankovic has that song first on his playlist, that he supposedly notices something new every time he listens to it. That thought pleases me.

Going to NYC, will be back Monday. I probably won't have internet till then, barring an internet cafe or something, so it'll be a few days before I hear all of you thanking me for getting this goddamn song stuck in your head. Like Peter did, I've since made my mother's life a living hell.

If I'm really sadistic AND masochistic, I may try to perform this at karaoke next week. Because there will be karaoke next week. It might be my last week in DC for the next few months.

See you on Monday, folks!
thehefner: (Cyclops as ELVIS!)
I had my Remington's cherry popped last night at my first-ever Rudes' karaoke night. Not many people were there, probably due to the debate, but it was a grand night out nonetheless. I like to think I made an impression on people there; several just seemed impressed that somebody actually sang "Weird Science."

Also fun is the recurring question people have when they first meet me: "How many have you had?" That's just me, pally. That's just me.

But using a microphone takes some getting used to, man. How else to explain the difficulties I had trying to sing Harry Nilsson's "Coconut"? Still, I may have pulled that one off, in my own Hefnerian fashion. The DJ, who has seen many bad singers up there in his time, simply remarked with a stunned, "...wow" to my performance. When I asked if that was good or bad, he said, "It's just... wow."

I dare say I rocked "Dead Man's Party" (they have TWO Oingo Boingo songs! YAY!), even if my voice was so hoarse by that point that I could barely hit the notes on "Don't run away, it's only me." I went in there last night with a mildly sore throat, and now I can barely speak, but it was worth it.

Next time, I'm doing Jim Carrey's take on "I Am The Walrus" and maybe, just maybe, Meat Loaf's "Rock and Roll Dreams Come True."
thehefner: (Two-Face: Coin Flip)
So I've been listening to the soundtrack for THE DARK KNIGHT on a loop as I've been revising the third draft of the Harvey Dent novel. That may sound like a painfully obvious music choice, but stay with me on this.

When the dumbfoundingly-awesome [livejournal.com profile] inviere (would that I could have been at Dragon*Con, to have seen her in person as Six) clued me into the third track, "Harvey Two-Face," she said that I--personally me, John Hefner--needed to hear it. She said that of all the soundtrack, this piece alone deserved some kind of award.

"They got him," she said. "They finally got Harvey."

And she's right. It's a wonderful track. Haunting, full of promise, hope, tragedy, and dread. But I couldn't quite put my finger on what was missing until very recently, when I realized that--just like THE DARK KNIGHT itself--it only covers Harvey, at least one side of Harvey. There's really no Two-Face there.

And I must say again, I've only become more dissatisfied with how they dropped the ball with Harvey in TDK. Really, the most damning evidence is how his whole story--even though he likely had the most screen time of any character--he's swept under the shadow of Heath Ledger's Joker with everyone else. Forgive me for having high standards, but Two-Face is a character that should have hit people every bit as hard as Ledger's Joker, just in different places. They are Gotham's masks of Comedy and Tragedy.

Many critics (the ones more aligned to film than comics) have likened Ledger's Joker to being this year's Anton Chigurh: an iconic mythical figure of terror and chaos that will live on for decades. While I was awed and terrified by Chigurh along with everyone else, I thought to myself, "Just wait till DARK KNIGHT. They think this character has made coin-flipping terrifying? They don't even know, man." But the problem is, they still don't.

Because for Two-Face in THE DARK KNIGHT, the coin-flipping is little more than a gimmick, with only the most tenuous ties to any real meaning or power. The closest things we have are the lines of it being his "father's lucky coin," (an implication known only by us hardcore nerds) and his line at the end about "there's only chance," which comes out of nowhere. This new luck-based life-direction philosophy comes out of nowhere, shoe-horned in at the last minute, and rings ultimately hollow in every way, save for fans going, "Oh, it makes sense, because this is how Two-Face acts anyway, so I can accept it."

No, sorry, fail. It better fits the simplistic Two-Face of the Golden Age, where going ugly (not even the pain of the acid, just being turned ugly) was enough motivation to have someone go crazy and evil. Really, it's not much more complex than that in TDK. In real life, people do not go that crazy that quickly. No, Joker, I beg to differ: sanity, unlike gravity, does NOT require a little push, just as it does not take "one bad day" (as Alan Moore pointed out) to drive a person mad. That simplistic shit only happens in old comic books.

That's just the problem, really. Harvey Dent was a character, while Two-Face was a comic book character.

But honestly, it doesn't piss me off and frustrate me as much as it could, not as much as some other geek things can do. The flip side to this is that, well, I don't have to worry about it overshadowing my novel. I started this book so I could finally tell the story that I've always wanted to see, all the areas that moved me but went underdeveloped or unexplored. Three drafts in, and I'm getting there. I'm damn close, and I'm damn proud.

So why, I wondered, have I been listening continuously to THE DARK KNIGHT soundtrack, when its Harvey themes only convey one part of the story I'm trying to tell? There's no Two-Face in those Harvey themes; there are references to his downfall, his tragedy, but no references to his burning anger, his madness, his resentment, his loathing and his self-loathing bubbling and festering to the breaking point. THAT wasn't there.

But that's when I realized that... it actually was. It's the Joker's theme. That screeching, howling, screaming discord of pain, stress, rage, chaos, and madness... that's what I hear in my head whenever I think of Two-Face.

In fact, in the hospital scene where we see Harvey's breakdown (the last truly great Harvey Dent scene in that film, IMO), where he grabs the coin, tears off the bandages, and screams... correct me if I'm wrong, but they played the Joker's theme there, didn't they?

That's when I realized that the soundtrack as a whole actually fits what I'm trying to accomplish with this book. After all, THE DARK KNIGHT was an ensemble piece, essentially about Gotham as a whole and how it affected each of the individuals who lived there, from the outside in.

But Harvey's the only character who has ties to all those walks of life--Crime Alley, City Hall, Bruce Wayne, Batman, the police, the mob, and the freaks--and as such, Harvey's story alone is a story of Gotham as a whole. In my novel, taken from the first person perspective and told in the present tense, Harvey's story is the story of Gotham--and vice versa--from the inside out.

It's the little epiphanies that make projects like this so thrilling.

September 2012

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