Well. I should be working on reviews, but I simply have to get this off of my chest.
As many folks know, I'm covering Screamfest for Horror Freak News - for the sixth consecutive year. It's a tradition, and I'm thrilled to be part of the Screamfest family.
It's become an epidemic of sorts, for bad behavior by movie-goers. Talking, texting, looking at their phones, etc. My other half (it's now become its own tradition at Screamfest and other festivals we usually attend) calls out folks who bring out their phones to check messages, etc., thus lighting up the darkened theatre - IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FILM.
Generally, folks will quickly hide their phones, give a quick passive-aggressive look in our direction (we always sit in the back - another tradition) and we all go on our merry ways for the remainder of the screening.
But tonight - after 5 years of attending film festivals - I experienced something brand new, as far as bad theatre etiquette.
We sat down for one of the feature films this evening. Not a packed theatre, but an okay house. We were again in our usual seats (phones off) and ready to fall into the world of the film. This particular piece was one I had on my schedule as "I will review this one."
I think it was a total of three times we had to tell a group of people (we now know was cast/crew for the film being screened) to turn off their phones. One person was admonished twice by my other half, and then a third time by myself (and my other half chiming in). The usual backwards glances of anger (or whatever).
Look. I get it. This is your film. You're celebrating your showing at Screamfest. And I congratulate you. Screamfest is a big deal and you made it.
But here are a few things I think should be kept in mind.
Isn't the old saying/belief that once you make your film, complete it and release it -- that it's no longer yours? Isn't that true of all art destined for an audience?
The last straw for both my other half and I (yes, we left the film with probably 20 minutes remaining on the run-time) was when we called out a DIFFERENT person in the SAME group, for taking photos/video of the film. This particular person got out of his seat, came up to us and explained that he was the film's DP (Director of Photography). My other half quickly replied that we were press, there to review his film. This person then quickly returned to his seat, and we left shortly thereafter - the experience ruined via our complete removal from the film and its story (by that point, how could we not be?)
The thing is, the cinematography of the film was actually quite good (no doubt it would have been praised had I watched the entire piece and then penned a review). Having a screening experience of lovely vistas and riversides upset by the creator of said loveliness (because he had to take pictures of his -- what I'm assuming is -- completed film). That's irony, right? Hammered home in a big way.
And I can sort of understand (certainly not forgive) the general public for less-than perfect behavior in the cinema these days. But the filmmakers themselves - who should certainly know better, or strive for better etiquette? Frankly, this whole experience is mind-boggling.
I won't call out the film we walked out on, nor the film's cinematographer by name. That's just not nice. But c'mon - wouldn't you want press to have the best and ultimate experience, thus allowing them to get lost in your film and then write a glowing review to hopefully further your film's success?
And if that sounds like I'm touting the power of the press as being TOO powerful, then how about this? Even if I'm just a regular viewer, who came in off the street to check out a film festival screening, perhaps on a whim, or for my first time. What about that? Good old-fashioned word of mouth (and subsequent social media praise from the people) - that's not bad, right?
I've been going to the theatres less and less, because of entitled behavior from other patrons. But getting this kind of nonsense from a filmmaker at an elite festival screening?
Well, the chances of me returning to the cinema more frequently - have fallen yet again.
And of course: DISCLAIMER. I in no way blame Screamfest or its amazing organizers and staff for any of this. They're salt of the earth and awesome. And before EVERY block, they do remind folks to turn off - AND KEEP OFF - their cell phones during the screenings.
an ongoing description of my life, loves, thoughts, fears, work and lustings.
Saturday, October 12, 2019
Well. I should be working on reviews, but I simply have to get this off of my chest.
Saturday, August 10, 2019
I've gotten used to a healthy mixture of jealousy and pride when I see the accomplishments of so many of my creative friends. There's always the "I'm so damned happy for you", but then the little tingle of "I wish that had been me". I've grown accustomed to it and accept it. It's part of my life in "the biz". Perhaps unhealthy, but acceptable in my eyes.
But where my jealousy starts to go off of the rails -- is when I see happy, normal, well-adjusted family lives.
I simply don't have that -- although I had glimpses of it throughout my childhood.
And yes, I am aware that the photos and posts and lovey-dovey stuff we see, sometimes hides the true pain and resentment underneath. People put up their best faces.
But I don't even have the surface peace so many might enjoy.
Yes. I've come to consider my other half as family. And I try not to take him and our 20-year relationship for granted. But my immediate family is so damned disjointed now, it's hard to believe that it was ever an actual unit -- if indeed, it actually was.
So many folks are dead now, or were never present in my formative years -- or in some cases -- both.
(this is all coming to a head because of my biological father's recent death -- and our lack of a relationship for the past 35 years).
I see happiness between multiple generations, and I crave it. Have I been conditioned to want this, or believe that this is "the tops" as far as familial bonds? Whatever it is, I find myself longing for such bonds.
Large family gatherings -- where we play cards, eat hearty, homecooked meals and listen to old stories from the past.
It's not as if I never had this -- there were years of happiness, but over the past two decades (was the death of our matriarch and my beloved grandmother, the beginning of the end?) -- things have dwindled, until I'm at my current point. So many of my elders (both close and far) are dead now. My relationship with my mother is nothing more than surface talk about the weather. I love my siblings, but only speak to one of them on the regular. I have little to no contact with extended family -- cousins, aunts, uncles -- outside of the surface connection that is social media.
I've been toying with the notion of writing my autobiography -- for many years now. And it seems, with the emotional tolls I've been struggling with over the past week (between my father's death and my aunt's death today) -- that now might be a good time to dig into this quagmire of memories, resentment, joy, pain and everything in between. I've got a lot to get off of my chest, which is why my working title on the autobiography is "Cheap Therapy".
But the point of this discussion, is the feeling of jealousy -- as I see friends with deep and seemingly strong connections with their elders, their cousins and most notably, their parents. Pictures of a happy family (and all that this encompasses -- at least in my goody two-shoes brain) make me feel bad that my family is so broken, so disconnected and so beyond repair.
I can't discount the love and connection I have with so many chosen family members (friends with whom I share a bond) and of course, my husband.
But the human mind and the emotions which inhabit it -- are strange things. I can't just shut off this need for a larger family unit. I had it, and apparently, I want it back.
"Cheap Therapy". That's the name of the game here. And even if I never actually tackle the ol' autobiography, and throw all of my dirty laundry up for everyone to see, marvel at and judge -- there's always this blog to let off some steam.
I'm glad your family units are wide and vast and healthy. And of course, I don't wish anyone ill-will -- but I would love some of that over here, to share with me and my hubby.
PS. Writing this on a half bottle of wine...
Posted by klugula at 8/10/2019 09:15:00 PM
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Just a matter of hours ago, I was informed by one of my cousins, that my biological father, Leland Klug, had died.
I posted a blurb of sorts -- over on Facebook, suggesting that a longer blog on the subject (this one here) was forthcoming... as there are a lot of things for me to process, in light of this news.
My mother and father divorced when I was just finishing up with first grade. My older brother and I were put in the custody of our mother, and she moved us back to our hometown.
A very brief time later, my mother remarried and we moved across the state -- where I lived until I moved away post-college and in the early stretches of adulthood. While not an ideal childhood overall (plenty of tales for another time), my stepfather was a great guy -- supportive, in every meaning of that word. He was a good father, no question.
My biological father, however -- basically vanished after the divorce. Child support payments ended, as did mail correspondence, phone calls and visits.
My older brother and I have the same final memory of face-to-face contact with our dad -- when he came to our new home on the other side of the state, picked us up for a week of touristing around The Black Hills -- all of this when I was in about 4th grade. He lovingly called my stepfather, "Dead-Head Fred" (perhaps a good indication of the inappropriate things my brother and I were exposed to as children -- Yes, badmouth our new stepfather -- I'm sure that's good for kids to hear).
And that was the last time I saw this man in person. What age is an average 4th-grader? 8? I'm 45 now. Quite a stretch.
There was an additional greeting card (hidden in a card from my paternal grandparents -- also had little contact with this entire side of the family following the divorce) when I graduated high school. I recall breaking down at the sight of his unique, tell-tale penmanship, and then opening the card to see these well wishes from the man who had deserted us. My best friend was thankfully with me when this all went down (thank you, Eric). Clearly some issues with my missing father at that point in my life -- were unresolved.
He always signed any correspondence with, "Love, P.W.K." When I was a kid, he was always known as "Pee Wee". Thus, Pee Wee Klug (PWK).
I have a hard time recalling much correspondence/contact with him throughout college and into my post-college years. I know that he had remarried (Nell later died. I had never met her or some step-siblings who exist). The last time I recall actually talking to him (on the phone) was around 2003. I had already been with my other half for a few years, and I don't recall the impetus for us getting into contact. I wanna say it was good old-fashioned curiosity. And I think that was it. Of course, about a decade ago, I reconnected with my Uncle Stan (out of Tucson -- and my dad's older brother). He was a bitter old gay man (i.e. an absolute hoot) and a writer as well. My other half and I hit it off with him, and once we moved to Los Angeles, visited him frequently. And I was reunited with my two aunts and some cousins -- whom I'd not seen in probably 40 years! Last year, Uncle Stan died.
And there were mentions to me (and to my other half -- whispers as not to upset me) that Pee Wee wasn't doing well. Lots of health issues (including the diabetes I have the pleasure of dealing with -- from both sides of my lineage, thank you very much). But honestly, I figured there'd be a call when he had died, and that I would acknowledge the information and move on with my day.
After all, what connection do I have to this man? He was never there for me. I have memories of him up until the age of 8. And he had failed to do his job (in practically every way, aside from siring me) as a father.
While I had developed a good relationship with Uncle Stan, and had totally mourned his passing -- what would my reaction be when I got that call that Pee Wee was gone?
Well, today, I can answer that question.
There were tears. There was also anger. Resentment. Pain. Confusion.
I barely knew this man, and here I was -- in sort of a whirlwind of emotions (which continue at the present moment). Why should I care? Why should I grieve? He clearly didn't give two shits about me or my brother.
Is it a deeper, primordial response to your immediate ancestor's expiration? Something buried inside of my brain which "knows" that he's gone? After all, I wouldn't be who I am (biologically and via his absence) without him, right?
I don't like this feeling of helplessness -- as far as properly (and finally) defining what I'm feeling.
Of course, I called my older brother with the news, and we had a long conversation. Obviously, I won't discuss his thoughts, as that's not my place. But I can begin a basic understanding that "I (we) was short-changed" -- for so many reasons. No contact with the complete other side of my family, no relationship with the man (sperm-donor) who helped create me. Growing up feeling (knowing) that my own father didn't want anything to do with me? Who does that? And what does that understanding (to a fucking 8 year old) do to a kid and his psyche and his sense of worth?
I know there are probably other factors which were at play while I was growing up. And there are too many of those "what if's" to go through at this venue. But the fact that there are still "what if's" at all -- is a problem.
I'll never have all of the answers. But I hope (as my brother said) that there will be some sort of closure (albeit, never 100% complete -- there simply can't be now).
I guess I secretly wished that one day, there would have been an apology, a reconciliation -- CLOSURE.
But it's not meant to be.
I liken my feelings to the loss of a great celebrity. Someone whom you've admired from afar -- and then they were suddenly gone. "I just always thought they'd be around. They were a constant in my life. And now they're gone. I didn't know them personally, but there was a connection of some kind."
Is it the same thing here?
I didn't know this guy (other than the first 6-8 years of my life) -- but there's a connection and a sense of loss.
Is it because he's now gone, and there is no possible forthcoming apology or much-needed closure -- and there never, ever will be, that I can now put the entire matter to bed -- to place him in the 100% memory box?
Sure, I didn't get the ultimate, death-bed apology (sorry I neglected, deserted, ignored you boys... and I apparently never loved you either) -- but the simple idea that I now KNOW THIS FOR CERTAIN -- is it's own form of closure?
I do believe this will be an ongoing process -- processing my anger, my resentment, my pain and those very real (although mostly hidden) feelings of desertion?
Fuck. I mean really -- fuck. It's not a grieving scenario. It's an "all of this shit is coming up in my brain, my memories and my emotions".
As it is -- the only thing I can say is, "RIP, Pee Wee." And that's the best thing I can say... 'cause he sure as hell wasn't a "Dad".
Thank you for your time.
And BTW, I had a passing thought, just a week ago -- that I'd be getting this call very soon... And today, here it was.
Posted by klugula at 8/07/2019 08:56:00 PM
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
I find it fascinating, that as I age, there are certain arenas of my life and personality, which continue to evolve and strengthen. And then there are some things inside of me which deteriorate and dwindle, despite my best efforts to hold strong and say "no".
Being in Los Angeles, there is never a shortage of things to do. It's never been a secret that I love to socialize, but after a humdinger of interaction with other human beings -- say a week long of various events and/or get-togethers -- that I'll need a good week to recover, hiding in my 10th story apartment, away from the chaos of the streets below and away from having to put up my "walls" when dealing with socializing. Putting on that happy face, etc. Of course, there are many social events where I'm able to let down my guard, but being in show business, it's certainly a matter of constant networking and of always being "on".
Honestly, I believe this was one of the reasons I burned out on film reviewing after 4 years. Not only was I just plain tired (and tired of seeing sub-par films which I could not walk out on), but of attending events (screenings, festivals, etc.). However, not being actually obligated by that gig, to go out and cover a film -- has brought me into my current state.
I wouldn't quite diagnose it as agoraphobia (I always think of Sigourney Weaver's character in the 1995 thriller, Copycat), but how far away am I from such a firm conclusion?
Per the Mayo Clinic, agoraphobia is, "a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed."
The problem in dealing with the flirtations of such a condition -- whether or not that's what it actually is -- is that I have so many friends who have film festival screenings, stage-plays, social events and life events -- every single week. And the constant memes from friends of "I'm an introvert" are apt and enlightening, but I feel like my issues/neuroses are starting to go beyond that.
Of course, I want to support the projects of my friends and acquaintances, as they've done for me, but as each day passes (and as I pass right on by middle-aged), I find it more and more difficult to remove myself from the safety of that 10th story safe-house. I'm proud of these people and want them to know that I love and back them and their projects, but how can I actually prove that if I don't ever make it to their special events?
The thing is, generally -- once I get to an event, anxiety is all but flushed away. There's something about Los Angeles traffic and/or public transportation which will immediately fire up the "let's get crazy" receptors of my brain. It's the getting there, not the being there (in general). Not only is there an increased heart rate, honest-to-goodness sweats and increased body temperature, I also have an innate fear of crapping my pants. Not a joke, completely serious.
The idea of "no escape" and all which that entails -- including no access to a bathroom should one be needed (I've never actually had an accident involving #2 -- knock on wood) -- is what will filter into my mind when stuck in traffic or when underground on the Red Line, jetting toward downtown.
Can I get out if I need to?
Yes, there are times where my bowels legit need to be relieved, but I've learned over the years, that any "rumblings" or "pinecones" (the term the other half and I have used for decades to describe an impending need to visit the restroom), are 95% of the time -- in my head. And knowing that, doesn't always keep the panic attack from setting in. Mentally, I know I'm panicking for ridiculous reasons and that all will probably be fine.
And I know this for a fact, because when the other half and I travel (we do road trips to Vegas and beyond all of the time) is that once we head east and reach the 15 (into a more "rural" area), that my body, my mind and my tummy will inevitably relax. There's a psychological reason for this. If indeed I needed to have an emergency stop -- a more "rural" side of the road would be less of an inconvenience or an embarrassment.
You're reading this, thinking, "That's fucking absurd." And I agree with you. Absolutely. But it doesn't change things.
When events are forthcoming on my calendar, I begin to tense up and worry -- at least 2 days beforehand. The day of an event, I'm on edge and crabby (whether it's the event of a friend, or an event involving me). When someone flakes out on something and I am spared having to leave the house -- a literal wave of relief which will rush over me. It's like an inner celebration for my anxieties. In addition, an evening event will require me to mentally prepare -- all day long -- at the expense of writing projects and obligations. And two events in one day -- forget about it.
These anxieties are absolutely real. And so is my support for you and your life events and your artistic achievements. But there are plenty of times where I let the anxiety win (too many) -- and will therefore flake on your event. It makes me feel terrible. It might make you feel terrible. And for that, I apologize.
It's an ongoing journey and an ongoing struggle. And for that, I ask your patience and understanding and forgiveness when I back out on an event or when I say "no".
I've had several legit panic attacks in the past several years, and I've learned to control them to a point. But there's always the lingering spectre of an anxiety flare-up.
But of course -- how many times have I made my way on the train or onto the freeway to get out of the house and support folks and their celebrations? Probably too many to count. Which means, in my inconsistent life, my inconsistent emotions -- even my neuroses can't stay consistent.
I'm a mess. Thank you for your time.
Posted by klugula at 6/11/2019 12:06:00 PM
Sunday, December 30, 2018
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Saturday, December 29, 2018
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