40 Foreign Films Everyone Should See

One of my favorite places in Phoenix, FilmBar, has started doing a weekly blog about all things cinema related… and guess who they got writing for it? 🙂 Here’s my first post with them- A response piece to that Martin Scorsese essential foreign films list that’s going around the web.

FilmBar: 40 Foreign Films Everyone Should See

The Top 15 Best Lovecraftian Porn Films

The Top 15 Best Lovecraftian Porn Films

(In Order Of Their Deleterious Effect On The Human Psyche)

#1. The Incall of Cthulhu

#2. The Statement of Ramdong Harder

#3. The King In Yellow Showers

#4. The Thong On The Doorstep

#5. Prickman’s Model

#6. Sherbert Breast: Reanimate Her

#7. The Dunwich Whore

#8. The Bates of Charles Sexter’s Gourd

#9. The Shadow Over Ingrid’s Mouth

#10. The Wet-Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath

#11. At The Mammaries of Madness

#12. Her Mound

#13. Sedusa’s Coil

#14. The Poon That Came In Sarnath

#15. The Fister In Darkness

Potential Halloween Costume Ideas 2016

It’s that blessed time of the year: Halloween is a week and some change away, so it’s time for Last Minute Costume Brainstorming! I’ve rocked a few winning costumes in year’s past, including: going as porn star Ron Jeremy (complete with voluminous chest hair); a “Yeezus Monk”; and Oliver Hardy (I didn’t have the foresight to recruit someone to be Stan Laurel, so everybody thought my costume was Fat Chaplin). Whatever shall I be this year? Here are some ideas, in no particular order:

FLEX MENTALLO
Flex_Mentallo_001

PROS: Major geek points; plus I’m pretty sure I could use some foam board and wire to construct a floating “Hero Of The Beach” halo around me.

CONS: I do NOT currently have the body to pull this off. So maybe next year, if my current exercise regime works out?

REBIS
2401812-rebis

PROS: More geek points, since it’s another Doom Patrol-related costume (and Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol is THE GREATEST COMIC OF ALL TIME); relatively easy to whip together.

CONS: Drinking and dancing while covered in bandages sounds like a capital B-Bitch.

MIRROR UNIVERSE DONALD TRUMP
Business-mogulTV-personality-Donald-Trump-and-Miss-Universe-2010-Ximena-Navarrete-R-attend-the-Success-by-Trump

PROS: Super easy costume- it’s just Donald Trump with a goatee, walking around and saying culturally sensitive and informed things.

CONS: Topical political costumes are kind of lame; may have to spend a lot of time explaining what I’m going for.

VINCE GILL
vince_gill_21188

PROS: Super super super easy costume, since Vinny G is basically my doppleganger.

CONS: Odds of anybody I know knowing who Vince Gill is is slim; plus I’d probably have to listen to a bunch of his music to get into character, and I really can’t make that kind of commitment. Country music? I can’t go for that, no can do, like my boy Daryl Hall.

DR. GIRLFRIEND
venture-bros-dr-girlfriend1
PROS: I’ve actually wanted to go as Dr. G for YEARS but can’t find the right clothes/never have enough cash to whip something together; I would look like a massive freak; major geek points; get to dust off my extremely rusty cross-dressing skills.

CONS: Like Flex Mentallo, don’t really have the body to pull this off.

And finally-

ALFRED HITCHCOCK & HIS SILHOUETTE
Hitchsilhouette

PROS: Easy to put together; Alfred Hitchcock is a world class pimp; iconic and pretty recognizable.

CONS: Still haven’t figured out a way to rig a silhouette that precedes me whenever I move around; plus, playing the theme song to “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” on a loop all night sounds way better in theory than it probably would in practice.

Six Things You Should Never Do On A Dance Floor (2010)

Here’s an old piece I wrote for the Phoenix New Times, back during my “clubbing days”. That was a period of my life when I spent my nights (after performing) going to dance nights at places like The Ruby Room, Rips, Sanctum, Philthy Phil’s, White Rabbit at the San Carlos, Bar Smith, after hours at Quincy’s and a dozen other places that got consigned to oblivion like a flip phone with a “House of Jealous Lovers” ringtone. Basically if a place had $5 or less for a cover and played at least a little bit of new wave/goth in their mix I was there, dancing my ass and desperately trying not to make eye contact with people (god forbid I would SOCIALIZE with people at a dance night). *Sigh* I miss those awkward, sweaty days… at least until I remember how often I had to listen to that awful She Wants Revenge song and then the past doesn’t look or sound so great…

Six Things You Should Never Do On A Dance Floor

Six Things You Should Never Do On A Dance Floor

Most people wouldn’t guess it, looking at my chubby physique, but I am a man who loves to dance. If there’s a scuzzy bar or club in some part of town hosting a dance night (preferably one without a cover), there’s a 70 percent chance that I’ll be popping in there at some point.

And last Saturday was one of those nights, when I stopped by Rips, my home away from home, for their monthly Obscura dance. This month’s Obscura was a Scott Pilgrim-themed night, and it was packed. I was practically pressed shoulder-to-shoulder. Being in such close quarters with folks over a long period of time gave me a chance to see a lot of bad dance-floor behavior at work, therefore I feel it’s an ethical duty to give a small crash course in basic dance-floor etiquette.

1. The dance floor is for dancing, not for standing.
Some people don’t like dancing. That’s understandable, kind of sad, but forgivable. What is unforgivable is when said non-dancing individuals decide to plant themselves like trees in the middle of the dance-floor, standing upright and immobile and clogging up all that precious floor space. These sad immobile figures take many forms: the boyfriend standing by his girl, too insecure in his masculinity to dance with her; the gaggle of friends, standing and gossiping and sipping drinks, seemingly oblivious that they are SURROUNDED by writhing bodies; the immaculately dressed hipsters, bobbing their heads to the music, every other part of their bodies as still as death. Thankfully, most establishments that host dance nights are kind and thoughtful enough to provide places for these tragic wastes of nightlife to congregate. There’s the bar, there are tables and stools and counter-tops and patios, maybe even pool tables and booths. There are plenty of places for people in a venue to stand around and be tight-assed and boring, so please leave the dance-floor to the people who are actually going to put it to good use.

2. Don’t bump the DJ’s table.
Don’t bump the DJ’s table. Don’t bump the DJ’s table. Also: if the DJ says they don’t take song requests, take the hint .

3. Put your phone away!
Unless the Texting Two-Step is the latest dance craze sweeping the nation, your phone should be out of sight and out of mind. You can Tweet about how much you love this song afterward, at the bar, where you won’t risk having someone collide into you because you’re paying more attention to your iPhone than the bodies swirling around you. And while we’re on the subject of phones: don’t be that jackass holding their phone up in the air, trying to capture the sounds of the club, so they can send it to someone who isn’t there to show them what they’re missing. If you were my friend and you were sending me idiotic messages full of club noise and chatter, I would punch you in the throat for wasting my time. And if you’re going to be that jackass, at least have the courtesy to not wave said arm directly in the face of other dancers.

4. When it comes to floor space, sharing is caring.
Be mindful of the fact that you may not be the only person on the dance-floor. Resist the impulse to be a funky windmill if there are folks near you that you’ll end up inadvertently slapping. If you’re dancing near tables or a wall, try not to box other dancers into tight corners. And for the love of Giorgio Moroder, at least make eye contact with someone before you start grinding all over them.

5. Drink your drink before dancing.
Don’t come onto the floor with a bottle or glass in your hand. One reason why you shouldn’t: people who dance sweat, and sweaty hands don’t have firm grips. I have yet to go to a dance night where some asshole with butter-fingers DIDN’T drop their glass on the dance-floor and had to have bar-staff scurry over to sweep up glass and booze while the rest of us danced around their Slip-and-Slide of shame. Another reason why you shouldn’t: you might think it makes you look like the life of a party, dancing with a drink in your hand, but what it really says is “I’m holding an excuse for not giving it my all on the dance-floor”. It’s kind of hard to go totally buck wild when you’re holding a fistful of glass. I can already hear the protests: “but the DJ’s playing my favorite song! I can’t just sit it out” . Yes, you can. I’ve sat out many a beloved jam, just to finish my drink before hitting the floor. It’s called being considerate and having faith in the DJ to keep kicking out the jams throughout the evening.

6. It’s better to not dance at all than to dance ironically.
If you’re going to dance, just fucking do it. Don’t be cute about it. Don’t be one of those jerks who does a stupid dance move with that shit-eating “look how lame this is, dancing is stupid” grins on their faces. It’s like people who go to karaoke nights and sing goofy or really terrible on purpose rather than actually try to sing. Not only is it a lame cop-out, it insults everyone else for sincerely doing what you’re incapable of/unwilling to do. It’s always more admirable and respectable to be someone who is a bad dancer, who is aware that they are a bad dancer, and dances anyway, rather than someone who tries to mask the fact that they’re a bad dancer by being snarky and ironic. The dance-floor is no place for cowards.

Why Your Book Buyer Hates You

The following is a piece I wrote in 2010 for the Phoenix New Times about my experiences working as a used book buyer. It’s 50% useful advice, 50% spleen venting. Enjoy (and seriously: if you’re thinking of selling your books to any secondhand store, HEED THESE WORDS OF WARNING!).

At some point, you’ll have to lose that weight. All that fat bulging on your bookshelves, tucked away in your closets, or packed away in boxes. One day you’ll hear the floorboards in your home groan and beg for mercy under the crushing weight of your book hoard, and you’ll end up doing the one thing that no self-respecting dragon would ever do: you’ll get rid of it. Or a part of it at least, the part you’ve outgrown, the part you’ve been gifted, the part you’ll probably never read again anyway.

And where do you take that slashed off hunk of literary fat? If you’re patient and willing to delay instant financial gratification, you try selling it yourself online. If you need money right now or need to clear some room in your house right now and don’t have time to wait for somebody to click a “Buy Now” button and then have to pack up your stuff and ship it to them, you’ll probably end up trying your luck at your friendly neighborhood used bookstore.

And that’s where people like me come in.

I’ve been in the used books business for four years. I’ve sold my fair share of personal belongings to other stores, and I’ve bought thousands of items for my store from a diverse array of folks, some of them mensches, and some of them total jerks.

Having been both a buyer and seller of used goods, I’ve decided to impart my hard-earned wisdom to help you avoid the many mistakes sellers make that end up invoking the wrath of their book buyer. And before you say, “Why should I care what a secondhand buyer thinks of me?” keep in mind that an angry buyer is probably not going to be a generous buyer. If you want to make the maximum profit off your old books with a minimum amount of damage done to your dignity and to your buyer’s sanity, keep these things in mind.

These are the reasons why a book buyer might hate you.

You smoke like a chimney.

One of the more unfortunate characteristics of books is their uncanny ability to pick up surrounding odors, graft them to their person, and then NEVER LOSE THEM EVER. If you pick up one of your books and inhale deeply, and the pages smell like Joe Camel’s asshole, good luck getting rid of them.

You’re a cat person.

Nothing against felines, personally. They are marvelous creatures. They are also hairy creatures, and they just love leaving their stray clumps of fur all over books. If the inside of the box of books you’re trying to sell looks like it spent an hour parked underneath a barber’s chair, it’d be a good idea to sweep out all that nasty, potentially allergic reaction-inducing hair before letting other folks paw through it. We want to buy your books, not shave them.

You’ve got shit to sell with your shit.

Dogs shit. Babies shit. Cats shit. Rats shit. Birds shit. And sometimes they like to shit on your books. If this happens, please, please, please don’t bring them to us. Seriously: this happens more often than you think it would. Unless they defiled a 1st edition Hemingway, nobody is going to buy a book with unsightly brown smudges and splatters on it. This also applies to blood, semen, piss, half eaten pieces of food…. if you wouldn’t touch it with gloves, don’t let it be on or near your books.

You don’t believe books should be intact.

Some folks for reasons that are beyond me like to tear the covers off their books. Some folks like randomly tearing pages out of their books. Some folks enjoy bending the spines of their books until they snap and the book lies limply in 2 halves whenever they open it, floppy and flat like the peels of a banana. Congratulations: you’ve just taken something that may have had a shred of worth and beaten it out of them. You’re the literary equivalent of Chris Brown.

You’ve got stowaways.

Often times people stash their old books in a box in a garage, or in a closet somewhere, duct-taped and left to sit for years and years before they decide to drag them out and sell them. These people often forget that they live in a world crawling with parasites and nasty little bugs, and these squirming multi-legged creatures love nothing more than to hitch a ride inside a box of books and find new places to infest. Silverfish, termites, roaches, spiders, and scorpions are among the many things we’ve had to smash into slimy bits while looking through books. And since critters like silverfish love laying eggs in books, we don’t buy them. Not even a signed Bukowski is worth the risk of an infestation. So better take a peak in that box and make sure everything inside is inanimate before bringing it over.

You’re not a fan of boxes.

Few things say “treat my things like trash” quite like bringing your books in to sell inside a garbage bag, so don’t do it. Ever. Piling them haphazardly inside a shopping cart (where they’ll often mash into each other and get crumpled) and wheeling them in is also a great way to say “hey, I don’t care, so why should you?”. And if you think that suggesting that the book buyer leaves the store to dig through your car trunk and make the purchase out in the parking lot is going to work, think again. That might work out great for your drug dealer, but not for us.

You like to read in the bathtub.

Books and water don’t mix. Again, unless it’s a 1st edition Hemingway or it’s wrapped up in a lock of Sylvia Plath’s burnt hair, no book that has suffered water damage is worth jack. And when it rains, it is not a good idea to pile your books on carts and wheel them into a bookstore through the downpour. They may have been fine at home and on the drive over, but two minutes of rain can turn your book-gold into utter trash.

You don’t understand what the phrase “Supply and Demand” means.

If you paid list price for a book, you will never get paid that price back at a used bookstore. And unless it’s something really good, you probably won’t get half of that value back. If that hard truth bothers you, sell it yourself. When you sell to middle-men like us, you’re selling for the convenience of easy money that day, you’re selling to clear some space up quickly, but you can’t expect to break even, because you won’t. Books devalue rapidly. Books that were a hot best-seller two years ago may be worth pennies today due to over-saturating the market. If you’re selling a Tom Clancy paperback that millions of people have already read and sold back to stores like us, don’t be shocked that you don’t get handed fat stacks of cash.

You think bus books, phone books, and half-completed sudoku books are sale-able goods.

If it cost you nothing, it’ll get you nothing. Except possibly some contempt. But you can’t fill a gas tank with contempt, so it’s best not to even try. But if you do, at least you’ll have the bus book to help you get home.