Monday, February 29, 2016

Congratulations, Kira, plus Lynn Lowry comes to Vancouver

So here I am at 5am, awake without really wanting to be. The cat is asleep beside me on the couch - snoring, even, in these cute little whimpers - and hopefully my girl has fallen back asleep in the bedroom. I can't get back to sleep, have given up until my girl is off to work. I have the start of some weird illness, I think - muscle aches, foot pain, and a cold sweat with shivers.  It's not good, whatever is going on.

Anyhow, turning to the internet I see that Kira Roessler, formerly of Black Flag and (presently?) in DOS, with Mike Watt, has won an Oscar for best sound editing for Mad Max: Fury Road. I had no clue she was even involved in the film. I've always enjoyed her playing (check out the bassline for "The Bars," maybe my favourite Rollins-era Black Flag song); and I've admired her gumption to stick with it in a band as masculine, and at times as misogynist, as Black Flag. I don't really care about the Oscars, but it's nice to see nonetheless. Congratulations, Kira!

Not sure if it's down to my girlfriend or not, but I actually saw and admired most of the major contenders this year; Spotlight is really good, one of the best, most serious "workings of journalism" movies that I've seen, somewhere between All the President's Men and uhhh, Zodiac (or perhaps Ron Howard's rather under-appreciated film The Paper, which, like Spotlight, features Michael Keaton as a reporter). Mark Ruffalo has really blossomed as an actor, so it's nice to see him in a winning film, tho of course it is also, um, nice that Leonardo DiCaprio has been acknowledged by the Academy, given the apparent ordeal he went through in The Revenant, and that Fury Road got the "quantity" of Oscars, if not the quality ones. (I actually wasn't that excited by it - AMAZING production design but it seemed kinda slight on story; maybe a second viewing will teach me the error of my ways but I haven't gotten around to revisiting it). Truth is, I usually don't have much time for the Academy's "Best Picture" choices, having little use for, I dunno, stuff like 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen's least film, and nowhere as interesting as, say, Nightjohn or Mandingo, the best films about slavery I've seen; presumably it won, like Mississippi Burning some time ago, because of the politics of it, not because of the quality of the filmmaking). There's also painfully boring "respectable spectacle" films like Gladiator, or sheer self-fellating crap like fucking Argo (quoting myself: "a sub-cinematic liberal wank, an act of Hollywood self-congratulation, and yet another attempt by Ben Affleck to sell us on how soulful, deep, and caring he is.") It's kinda cool to have a year where I don't find myself objecting to any of the academy's choices.

(I will stay out of the "Oscars So White" debate, save to say that there have been so many years that the Best Picture award apparently went to films to reward their progressive politics, as opposed to their cinematic qualities, that I am not really that bothered by the issue much).

But in terms of cool women, it's very, very exciting that Ms. Lynn Lowry will be coming to Vancouver for the Northwest Horror Show. She's actually still active as an actress, which I did not know, and she's even directed a short, The Whole Town's Sleeping, back in 2014. Her filmography includes, of course, major roles in David Cronenberg's Shivers and George A. Romero's The Crazies, tho' she also did a (mostly) softcore, bisexually-themed, partner-swappin' Radley Metzger film, Score. It's definitely an unusual film, and quite queer-friendly; who knows what audiences at the time made of the man-on-man sex in the film - maybe there was a place for Utopian bisexual swingers' cinema back in the early '70s? It seems like a definite niche market now...

In any event, Lynn Lowry's cred would be established indelibly by her star turns in those three movies alone, but she also apparently has an appearance in the grim 1970 cult classic I Drink Your Blood, which actually makes plausible the premise of acid-tripping Satanic bikers, INFECTED WITH RABIES, menacing a small town, if I recall. (No idea where she is in the film, she's uncredited and presumably only on screen briefly). She's also in Paul Schrader's remake of Cat People, which I haven't seen since the days of VHS, and in an early Jonathan Demme film called Fighting Mad, starring Peter Fonda as a farmer fighting off land developers. I don't think I have seen that film, but boy now do I want to! Host of other films in her filmography, none of which I have seen, at least a few of which seem to be Troma/ Lloyd Kaufman related. I'm actually not a big Troma fan, but again, this is a cult movie actress to be reckoned with!

The movie that Miss Lowry will be doing a Q&A for has not yet been formally announced (tho' there was a hint at Badass that apparently no longer applies; there are still changes happening to the schedule).  The films already confirmed for the Northwest Horror Show include Salo: the 120 Days of Sodom - a serious, depressing, and very hard to watch film - and Umberto Lenzi's Cannibal Ferox (a frivolous, depressing, and also hard to watch film, though totally enjoyable as far as sleaze goes, and arguably less hypocritical and misanthropic than Cannibal Holocaust. Both films, alas, have scenes of animal deaths, though they're a little less "eww, look at the turtle's guts" in Cannibal Ferox). And then there's Night of the Creeps, which I have not seen; it is the only film in the fest that will not be projected from 35mm, I gather. There's more to come - I already have done the first part of an interview with Shane Burzynski, the organizer, and will be expanding on that and publishing it once the rest of the films are formally announced, which presumably will be soon.

But jeez, Shane, I never would have thought I'd get to meet Lynn Lowry; thank you so much for inviting her! I'll be definitely standing in line hopin' to get my DVD of Shivers signed...

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