Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ready? Ok! Trailer

Hi Guys,

Up above is the first trailer for the movie I designed last summer. Take a look at it! I'm very pleased with it. The film also won three awards at FILMOUT San Diego - our first festival appearance! The film won Best U.S. Narrative Feature Film, Outstanding Emerging Talent for our Writer/Director James Vasquez, and Best Actress for Carrie Preston.

The film is also now scheduled in the following festivals around the country:


Ready? Ok! Go watch the trailer!


Monday, April 21, 2008

Choking your Chicken

Back in the earliest days of the 20th century, when my grandmother was a little girl, she witnessed the events that led to this blog, the events that led to a favorite family story of the infamous day when my great grandmother tried to choke her chicken.

I had best explain. My great grandparents, Louis Dillard Kirkpatrick (Daddad) and Mary Campbell Kirkpatrick (Mamie) lived with their daughter (my grandmother, Edna) in Bridgeport, Texas. They owned a large house on fourteen acres of land. They had pecans, various fruit trees, and they kept chickens. If the dinner-time meal was to be chicken, Mamie would ask Daddad to please go get her a chicken, and he'd go out to the hen house and select a tasty looking bird. He would hold it by the head and with a quick spin of his wrist, the chicken's head would come off, and he'd take the chicken to my great grandmother for cleaning and cooking.

But one day, she forgot to ask Daddad to get her a chicken. She had witnessed the deed on many, many occasions. And she thus thought, "Oh foot! I can kill a chicken! I've seen Louis do it a hundred times!" So she went out into the yard, snuck up on the feathered dinner-on-legs, and grabbed it by the head. It squawked and flapped its wings, and she took a deep breath and started to spin the chicken around. And she continued to spin the chicken.

The chicken was not amused. It still squawked and flapped its wings. But Mamie kept on spinning the chicken. Whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop, around the chicken went! All the other chickens looked on in wonder!
Whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop, around the chicken went!

Eventually, my great grandmother let the chicken go. With a sigh, she went into the house to find something else to make for dinner.

According to family legend that chicken eventually died of old age - with its head permanently wrenched, turned backwards looking over its shoulder. When my great grandmother would see the chicken out in the yard she would look at it with remorse and sigh ... "Oh, Louis, oh ... oh..."


Friday, April 18, 2008

Much Ado About Easy-Bake Ovens

EXTRA! EXTRA! Stupid Children get fingers caught in Easy-Bake Ovens! "Roasted Child-Digits" only 185 calories each!

So read the papers and blared the radio a couple months ago ... Dumb kids, dumb parents, dumb recall, dumb world... However, this silliness did bring up multiple memories and tales-to-tell of my own adventures with MY Easy-Bake Oven. And being a good little queer boy I didn't burn MY fingers. I made tasty things to eat!

If I recall correctly I got my Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas when I was about six or seven. I really liked it - mainly because it worked! You could actually "bake" cakes and stuff in it. The oven used two light bulbs, one in the top and one in the bottom, surrounded by a highly-reflective aluminum shell. You mixed the cake mixes in little bowls, greased up the little pan, and slid it into the oven where it baked for a time. When it was ready you pushed the cooked cake out the other side of the oven, and a baker you were!

The packaging shown above looks much as I remember MY oven - the late 1960s "Flower Power" decals included. I also recall thinking that the little girl featured on the box wasn't too bright. Look at her little cakes. You are SUPPOSED to bake TWO layers of cake and frost them together with a layer of icing in the middle! It's boring to simply frost a single layer!

My two big memories about my Easy-Bake Oven involved my Dad. He was all for it - indeed he was the baker in the family. When I made my first cake I was distressed that when I pushed it out the far side of the oven a sharp blade (inside the oven) hacked off the top of the cake and made a very flat shaved-off cake layer. This didn't seem right and wasted some very edible cake. My Dad agreed, so out came the tools, he opened up the oven and removed the "cake-shaver." Voila! Unshaved cakes.

The Easy-Bake Oven also gave my Dad an opportunity to give me a lecture on the evils of Capitalism. The oven was a really good toy, well-made, and fairly priced. But the company really gouged you on the cake mixes and frosting packets. And I was baking a LOT of little cakes!

So Dad explained all this stuff about monopolies, and evil-marketing strategies designed to take advantage of little boys, and he took me to the grocery store where we purchased inexpensive JIFFY cake mixes, frosting mix, corn-bread mix, and such. We found a little clear plastic container and carefully measured a "real" Easy-Bake mix, and using tape and a marker, made an Easy-Bake measuring cup so I could easily use the "real" cake mixes in my oven. These real mixes were even better than the expensive "Easy-Bake" ones. There were more flavors! I could make things like corn-bread! And this made the oven seem more "legit."

We chose the JIFFY mixes because they were the only mixes that already had the eggs and stuff in them. Thus they were ADD WATER ONLY just like the Easy-Bake mixes.

Toys wear out and I have no idea what became of my Easy-Bake Oven. But when I was nine, we traveled to Bridgeport, Texas because my grandfather was very ill. My Dad took care of me and my sister in the motel room while Mom was at the hospital all day. One afternoon, while walking the main street of Bridgeport, we wandered into a "five-and-dime" store and I spotted a treasure I had to have!


Suzy's oven also worked via light-bulb, but it was bigger and looked and functioned more like a "real" oven. You placed your food in the oven through the hinged oven-door on the front of the oven.

Well, Dad sensibly saw this as a way to keep me occupied and amused during those long days in the motel room and he got it for me. This oven came with an assortment of "cake mixes," too, but it was suggested somewhere that one could also make pie! So when we went to the grocery store for the old reliable JIFFY mixes we got some JIFFY pie-crust and a jar of jam and I became the "Boy Baker of Bridgeport" for a time.

So here I sit thirty-five years later, I love to cook and I bake pies from scratch.

But the world has changed. Think of the fun to be recalled in 2043 when some forty-something brat will be writing mini-essays on how when he/she was ten, he/she stuck their fingers in their toy-oven, burnt them to shreds, sued Easy-Bake for Billions, and they are forever doomed to a life of store-bought baked goods.

Bon appetit, David

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Almost Movie Time - READY? OK!

Lurie Poston and Michael Emerson (Ben on LOST) on location shooting "Ready? OK!"
Photo Credit: Adriana Breisch.

As you may recall, last summer I served as Production Designer of an Indy feature film. Well it is called READY? OK! and it is premiering at FILM OUT SAN DIEGO, Thursday april 17th. I can't wait to see it! A few early reviews have come in, too.

Beth Accomando, at KPBS radio, reviews FILMOUT SAN DIEGO and offers a great review of the movie toward the end of this several minute long sound file.

There is also an early print review from the
North County Times. You can also read it online here - with a few pictures, too.


Thursday April 17th, 7:15 pm
Ken Cinemas

4061 Adams Ave
San Diego 92116

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Gimme Some Skin

I am currently working on AIDA for San Diego Opera - no, I was not cast as Radames (or Amneris) but am instead serving as body-makeup artist. What does this job entail, you ask?

Well, I must arrive at the opera two hours before curtain time and venture into the lower depths of the theatre where I (and several other makeup folk) get to spend three hours applying body makeup to various supers, dancers, and some of the chorus.

The vast majority are men ranging in looks from stunningly beautiful to elderly teamster. For about two and a half hours these assorted men wander over to the body makeup area in their opera-supplied skin-pink underwear and I ask them if they are Egyptian or Ethiopian. Depending on their answer they are made up with either Light Egyptian or Dark Egyptian body makeup.

They are escorted over to an empty spot on the plastic-covered floor and I spray them down with a water bottle. This makes the makeup flow better, quicker, and more evenly. Using small round sponges and pancake make-up of the chosen shade, I proceed to daub, wipe, pat and otherwise apply the makeup to pretty much every exposed inch of them save their heads, hands, and feet -- which are their own responsibility.

We are basically just trying to apply an even, smooth color. There is not much time for subtlety. I have worked up a few tricks and quick-and-easy frills to this crank-em-out process. I try to make sure the body makeup fades realistically into their necks and faces which are sometimes too light or too dark. I also usually apply a quick dappled sponge effect to darken the tops of their shoulders, like natural sun exposure creates. And a last little trick of mine, when doing their backs, is to start with a very dark spongeful of makeup down their back bones. This makes a little valley of makeup which can then be feathered out with the sponge. It not only avoids streaks but also adds a subtle hint of muscle definition to their backs.

Other elements of the job include hiding tattoos, doing a body makeup quick-change on eight dancing girls in about eight minutes, and then a lot of clean up afterwards: washing sponges, refilling water bottles, preparing for the next performance, etc.

It's kinda funny having a job where a man in his mid 20s comes up to you in his underwear and apologizes for not shaving his armpits better.

This Light Egyptian makeup has an interesting backstory. It was developed by Max Factor for Lena Horne who desperately wanted to play Julie in the 1951 remake of SHOWBOAT. The studio apparently worried that Horne was "too light" and Max designed Light Egyptian to darken Lena Horne's skin to an appropriate shade for the studio. Then as Ms. Horne has told it, "They went and hired my good friend Ava Gardner to play Julie and covered HER in MY Light Egyptian!"

So in a few hours I must head to the theatre for my opera chores. SOMEBODY has to do it!

Aida, Aida, I just met a girl named Aida . . . that's a different show, isn't it?