Friday, December 04, 2009

Vernon Chatman, Interviewed. By me.

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So a little while ago I interviewed Vernon Chatman about his new comedic endeavour "Final Flesh".
That interview had to be cut for space, so I thought I'd put up the longer version here. I still omitted a couple of things, namely Vernon praising comediac Derrick Beckles, whom he produced the Totally 4 Teens pilot with for Adult Swim - Chatman feels it was Beckles' cuts that made the final product of T4T so enter"T4T"ning. He also claims a fondness for the work of Toronto comedian David Dineen-Porter, specifically his L'Brondelle's Universe series. It was an enjoyable conversation, and when I go to heaven, I pray that it comes with me...
I hope the sound levels are decent for this interview.
I only do interviews in megabass. The truth is in the low end. That's where all the spooks live. Do you hear that static?
Yeah. It could be on my end.
When I hear static, I get scared and wet my dress. I might bite you. If I show my teeth, back off. I don't mean it.
Final Flesh was an awesome idea.
It was an awesome idea, and then [watching it] all awesomeness went away?
The awesomeness 'went away' into my eyes while I watched and enjoyed it.
So you think that when something enters your eyes that it goes away? You think of your brain as a black hole?
I think my favorite of the four companies that made Final Flesh was the first group, with the baby outfit and the attempt to re-enter the womb.
That was probably my favorite too, because it was the first one we got back. When I watched it, I actually felt repulsion at myself. I wasn't prepared for that – but I got hooked.
Did the actors improvise dialogue to any extent?
No. We were very adamant that they stick totally to the script. There's like four words in the whole thing that are different. I was really adamant that the script was the fetish. The only real music and sounds on there are things that we had to just mix down. One of the companies used a Linkin Park song. It was beautiful. I got massive beef with Linkin Park. Huge, pendulous beef. Drooping beef with Linkin Park. It hurts too much to think about why, so I just sit and stare at my gigantic beef that I have with them.
There's a 2003 calendar on the fridge in a scene. Was set design in your hands as well?
Yes. You know how Orson Welles took 8 years to make Othello? It's like that. It was 2002, maybe 2001. Whatever the Othello production schedule was, ours was like that. It was very important for the story to see that years had gone by. You feel it in the air. In the first one it's like 'what's gonna happen with Iraq?' is in the air, and by the last one it's like 'when are we getting out of Afghanistan'. Every prop that we used was in the script. It was all a script to make [the actors] fail, basically. I figured everybody has a home or an apartment, so as long as I used the kitchen, or the bathroom or the dining room, I would be safe.
No deserts.
I feel like when you watch it, a desert forms in your mind. I know when I first started watching it, sand started dumping out of my mouth. Gallons of gallons of sand. Then out of my eyes – tons and tons of sand. That's what's supposed to happen. If someone buys a DVD and that doesn't happen, they should burn down a Wal-Mart.
When did you discover these customizable fetish websites?
A friend of mine had heard about them, and said 'you should make a music video like that', and I thought it'd be better to hear them talking. It's so much funnier to make porn actors talk.
To step away from the orifices for a moment.
Take stuff out of your holes and really feel, and create moods. Every porn actor is waiting for this moment to unplug their hole and let their heart sing.
You gave them days and days of a refreshingly sex-free life.
If there's a word that combines 'poetry' with 'favor', I don't even wanna know how to pronounce it. I'm just glad it exists.
Did Final Flesh wind up turning into an Orson Welles budgetary situation where it wound up costing more than you thought?
There's a wide variety of price points in this industry. The cheapest was $900, except for the first one – he agreed to http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif$900, because he didn't realise how long it would take. They're used to movies being an hour long, and taking 61 minutes to shoot. They didn't realise that with the dialogue and the cutting, they wound up being there all night, and the actors got really pissed and wouldn't leave his house until I agreed to give the actors all $100 each extra. All the other prices were pretty similar. I don't know what the price per stroke is, but it's low, believe me. In any good porn, a buck a stroke is industry standard.
Animation, puppets, Snoop Dogg or porn stars: who was the easiest to work with?
Porn stars are the easiest because they'll do anything (into any hole) and as long as they can pronounce it, they'll try and say your jokes as if they are totally serious. Snoop is in last place.
While watching it, did you ever get the sense that the actors understood that your lines were in fact, jokes?
I think that maybe in the second one there was a chance that there was some awareness that [it] was more complicated than just softcore fantasy porn from a strange person. Regardless of whether they were hip to what was happening or not, they had to commit or else it doesn't work. It was kind of interesting to see the spectrum. Some people commit like 'this is your thing', and it's really sincere, and it's beautiful and sweet that they would do that. The first group didn't try to interpret, they just executed it. The second ones -I think they tried to really interepret it and add something. But they all [added something], in their own way.
To be deadpan in those parts is key.
Any actor or comedian would be too aware that it was funny, but people doing jokes that they don't know are jokes – to me it's very funny, and it's hard to find that. Farming it out and letting someone fail, that's hopefully what works [with] Final Flesh.
There's a degree of making people do that in your work.
Puppeteering everything. But that's all that making shit is. It's making people or objects do what you want them to do. If you see any Hollywood movie or TV show that has actors in it, they're all doing the bidding of somebody. The examples you're using are more about that power dynamic, so I think it's more honest. You're laughing at the imbalance of power. The manipulation is on the surface, and that's part of the joke. If anyone got angry at me, they'd be part of the joke. People aren't that dumb. I wish! If we were wildly successful, people might get after us like that, but we're just moderately successful.
I liked the episode of Xavier["Chief Beef Loco"] where he becomes a gang member. I thought it was a nice reference to Grand Theft Auto-style gang animation.
I'd never played one of those videogames! People think it's playing with videogames or something, but for years me and John have loved the clumsiness of CG animation. Everything is human scale but it's all so weirdly clumsy, it's hilarious. The animation style is so lamely ambitious. When you leave these computer animation guys to their own devices, they always want to go to some cosmic place. It's so ugly, god damn it. Something about CG attracts a particular brand...I think it's animators who think they're not doing animation. Our animators were not really like that, but we did have to teach them that we liked stuff because it was shitty. We'd have to tell them 'go back to the clumsy, shitty thing'.
So on that end of things, you actually need people to 'get it'.
You can't be playing a trick on them, not when they're crafting things frame by frame.

Monday, November 23, 2009

THE FOURTH KIND


What more can I say than "watch this video and let me know what you think"?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Videos!!!

I don't post here enough, and when I do, it's generally to tell you about videos I've made or like. And so, here are some videos I've been involved with or like.

A review of The Art Of Seducing Difficult Women:

Then Graham Wagner and I made a cartoon called "Heads"


Also, I am a fan of Scottober and a fan of the new Fuppets cartoon

Friday, October 02, 2009

Cot' Damn...

How To Be A Serial Killer and more...
So I have a new Toro Pop Culture With Nick Flanagan episode...next edition will be shorter, so enjoy what we've got here:

Also, I have a Joke Club in Toronto Wednesday October 7 Please go.
Also, I wrote a column about Roman Polanski...This is it. Find out where my sympathies truly lie.
I will update again later and it will be so special.

Monday, August 31, 2009

New Stuff, New Things, A New Me


New Toro videroo

Been doing lots of shows, been doing lots of snuff snortin', been doing lots of copying and pasting, and have been considering becoming one of these "male burlesque dancers". All I need is some ka ching ka ching "$$$" type stuff so that I can buy some cock pasties. I said "pasties" not "pastries", sicko!!
xo
nick

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New SH*T!

OK you wackos. I wrote a new Toro column about Brad Pitt, Bob Dylan and Eric Dane. Hope you laugh. Also, lately I am listening to this Beastie Boys/Nas song and trying to figure out how much I like it. I like it, I know that. But I don't think I love it like I love my father. After I interviewed Raekwon, he assaulted notorious rappin' schlub Joe Budden. Thoughts? I think the worst part of it is that it's all in regards to a Vibe Magazine Top 50 list, and for some reason JB thinks he should be on it. That's like a piece of poop thinking it goes in the urinal. Can't we all just get along?
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Joke |Club!

Another Joke Club is headed your way, Toronto. With video from Graham Wagner & I, and Aubrey Ives. Also featuring guest Mark Little!
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Pat Thornton!

David Dineen-Porter!

And that's just a taste?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Movie Reviews & A New Toro Blog.

Oh Hi, Mark. It's me, Nick. How are you? I just had a couple of my nearest and dearest in town for 10 days of eating, watching TV and making hasty exits from bars and clubs. It was really fun and anytime you're my best friend and you want to come visit, that would just be great!
On the reportage front, I made a new Toro column: Here it is: Jude Law, Simpson/Romo and The Usual Crud

Now let's talk films:

The Room:As good as anybody says it is. Tommy Wiseau is a fascinating onscreen presence on par with the dog who played Beethoven. Sometimes I think he's a Paul Reubens character. MUST SEE.
A Family Underground: This documentary on Insane Clown Posse's annual Gathering Of The Juggalos proved to me what I always thought: Psychopathic Records is a modern day version of Stax/Volt. There is that much raw, facepainted talent there. Twizted are absodefinutely the new Sam and Dave.
Bruno:
Why is there criticism of Ron Paul being harassed in this movie? I assumed the world was demanding that he be harassed in some manner. I wasn't demanding it, but I figured somebody was.
Bronson: No, this isn't a biography on Balki, although it is about a man with a ridiculous accent. It's about the most violent prisoner in British history and I found it very well-done, if a little fighty. There should be an entire British genre called 'hard man movies', because this is yet another one where a big English guy unblinkly yells at the camera and prison guards. MEGAN FOX MAKES ME A HARD MAN AM AH RIGHT UKNOWHAMEAN

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New video!

Hello my dear blog readin' pals. Are you OK? I'm. Lots of shows coming up in the next month or two-it's fairly exciting stuff, including a date opening for Jon Lajoie in September and an upcoming Joke Club show in August. Whatever the case, I have a new Toro video!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Smiff N Wessun & Black Moon rule.

The Black Moon/Smiff N Wessun show was great. Here's the original copy of my review, originally published at eyeweekly.com:

Black Moon with Smiff N Wessun, Marco Polo & Torae @ Opera House, Thursday July 23rd. Editorial Rating: *****
The atmosphere at last night's Opera House 'Tribute To The Classics' headlined by Brooklyn's Black Moon and Smiff N Wessun (AKA The Cocoa Brovaz), likely because those who know the group and their label Duck Down, know. With a Toronto fanbase that seems to have infinite respect for the groups, with a large portion of that infinite faith stemming from their debuts-Black Moon's Enta Da Stage pretty much solidified the bellowed rap chorus as a song mechanism, and Smiff N Wessun's Dah Shinin' was a dank exercise in steller MC back and forth over undeniable beats from Duck Down's in-house masters Da Beatminerz. After a spirited set from Marco Polo & Torae that got the crowd involved and further amped, Evil Dee launched into a DJ set that seamlessly led to Smiff N Wessun hitting the stage with Timz N Hood Chek, Dah Shinin's leadoff track. Evil Dee shone as much as anyone that night, using hiphop stalwart beats to great effect-the second verse of Timz N Hood Chek was backed by the Deep Cover beat, and he would use split second snippets of Welcome 2 Jamrock and Ante Up to incite the crowd. He even scratched with his face during his intro set. Smiff N Wessun parlayed the chemistry they showed on wax into their live performance, with slightly changed up flows that didn't take away from the songs, and excited demeanors that felt genuine. After several songs from them, Buckshot hit the stage, displaying an energy that many MCs could learn from. He started off with Powerful Impak, Enta Tha Stage's lead track, and kept going, unafraid to freestyle when the moment took him, and going back and forth across the stage with the energy of a stoned-via-vaporizer Michael Phelps. Trading stage time with Smiff N Wessun proved simple-the groups came together for songs like Black Smiff N Wessun and U Da Man(which also featured an appearance from Duck Down CEO Big Dru Ha and his revered 'I always get the pussy 'cuz I tell 'em that I'm Spanish' line), and each acted as hypemen for the other during off-time. Buckshot also ripped through a verse from Black Moon MC 5 Ft. Accelerator, who was absent due to border problems. The venue was packed and happy, with the high point being Sound Bwoy Buriel, which many in the crowd rapped along with, and which basically had as much impact on their fans as Bruce Springsteen performing Born To Run would on have on his. Ending with an impassioned freestyle from Buckshot critiquing Autotune's distinct, often unacknowledged similarity to the work of Roger Troutman, and an exit to the strains of Hey Joe, this was an intimate and brilliant celebration of important works in hip-hop.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Band. Celebrities. Rap.

Hey weirdies. You`re all great, right? Except for you, guy who said backhanded thing me that time. And you, guy who looked at me weird just because I was at the dollar store looking for cheap air freshener. Hey did you what? I wrote a new Toro column about Paula Abdul, Walter Cronkite, and all of our other friends
Don't forget! If you're in Montreal this weekend, Brutal Knights performs.
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Tonight I get to see Black Moon. Smiff N Wessun too. You know who I'm talking about, right? I'm talking about these dudes...


You will hear more about me hearing a show later.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Newest Video.

Film reviews, Billy Bob Thornton impression and more!

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Things I Didn't Write In Reviews and Interviews.

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Lately I've been thinking of the things I do. By 'lately', of course I mean 'since I discovered self-obsession at the age of 3, when I first noticed my reflection in windows and mirrors'. I write about music a fair amount, and at some point I decided to make my reviews a little more informative than opinionated. Essentially, one should assume that in my spare time, I don't listen to 75% of the stuff I'm assigned to check out or review. Yes, as nice as they were, I was unfamiliar with Biffy Clyro prior to being assigned an interview. They're talented and nice though. What the fuck were they doing on the Warped Tour though?
It's questions like that, and comments like "Even though this review is evenly toned, keep in mind that I think Offspring blow bigger chunks than those which broke off of the Titanic" Also "Dexter Holland changed his hairstyle when Fieldy, Christina Aguilera and Mena Suvari started copying it".
At the moment I'm not sure what to tell you I would have written but did not. Maybe I'll start with my recent Rock The Bells Review. I forgot to mention this stuff:
-Joe Budden is like a rap version of Homer Simpson, except not as funny. No idea why he has certain internet messageboards agog. He was trying to be the star of Slaughterhouse, but Royce 5'9 and Crooked I are the obvious standouts to me in that weird unsuccessful guy supergroup. Great T shirts though. Plus, Joell Ortiz has heart though.
-Seriously, Mos Def was on another planet. It was very strange. I kinda loved it, but it was odd as Hell. The new album is good.
-Molson Amphitheatre is a nightmare. $9 cups of beer, an inconsistent security staff that may or may not target pot smokers, awful acoustics and a general barf/concrete odor.
-The stage setup was sparse and kinda shabby for the show, although once the light fixtures above the stage started working it got kind of cool.
-Talib Kweli is an awkward onstage presence no matter what you tell me. But he can rap.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Sarah Palin.

I wrote about Sarah Palin.

Please tell me how it makes you feel when you read my thoughts.
Speaking of, I think it should be illegal for arenas to charge $10 for beer. i know they're trying to keep people sober, but I'd rather a happy drunk driver than a poor drunk driver. Right?

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Another Week, Another Video.



Yep!
See you in Montreal, Ottawa and beyond in the next little while!
xo,
Nick

PS What do you think of my Billy Bob Thornton impression?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Blogged About Perez

The title says it all, except for the interior of said blog. I write columns as well as do these videos on pop culture for toromagazine.com, and my most recent column deals with this late-night attack in a cruddy, shiny, Hellhole of a neighbourhood on a vaunted humourless, power-hungry bloggista. An attack on Perez Hilton is an attack on our way of life. Our way of life sucks, though.
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Monday, June 22, 2009

Cinecycle

There's lots of crazy times here in “tha Hog-dot”-we've got imitation SF burritos that might as well be called wraps or pita pockets; we've got stores that mostly sell gum, and of course we have 'DIY venues'. It's a whole thing here, making unorthodox places to have shows. If I weren't lazy, I'd go to the many art/music exhibits that seem to happen at midnight under deserted underpasses and abandoned mental hospitals. As it stands, I've already played too many of those in town. One of the most stupid was a punk show at a place called Cinecycle. It's a fairly mellow venue normally, but this was a massive show in 2005 or 2006, I can't remember. Clorox Girls and The Observers and our band and Fucked Up and Career Suicide and Demons Claws and The Bayonettes. It was a big one, and it was full as a rich man's tummy. To set the scene: Cinecycle is kind of like a bike garage, but instead of bikes it is filled with cinematic memorabilia. There are mannequins everywhere; reproductions of the Marx Brothers and C3PO greet you on the way in, there's a bunch of signed Fatty Arbuckle posters, and there's even a popcorn machine that doesn't work. It's a veritable museum of the history of cinema.

Unfortunately, as soon as the first band started, a fauxhawked punk and a girl with a Chelsea Clinton haircut sawed all the Marx Brothers in half with one of those big logger saws. I was like 'damn we should have frisked at the door!' Then Demons Claws put a firework in the popcorn machine, so that got wrecked. When we played it was sheer bedlam. This one guy was dressed like Tarzan and had installed ropes from the venues ceiling. He swung back and forth on them the whole time, wantonly kicking people in the head and shoulders. He made a grand exit by swinging out the back door, right into a paddy wagon! The cops beat him until he was a black guy. That's right, the cops showed up! Believe it. It was a full on nut bonkers wild time. Fucked Up came out, and Pink Eyes made a long bilingual speech about how it's important to support policemen and how much he loved them, but he totally flipped the script by ending the speech with a snarky 'Not!' as the band played their underground hardcore smash hit “Police” a record six times. The venue was literally leveled by the time it was over, and the cops had to drag a microphone away from the big singer. I was weeping from excitement. It was the greatest night of my life, and it could only happen in Toronto, the Littler Apple.

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Things 'A Comin'.

It's been almost a year but I think I'll repost some stuff up in this piece. What do you say? 'Til then, here's some of my toromagazine.com videos...




I had a lot of fun hosting the Chunklet showcase at NXNE last night in Toronto. Now I am bleary-eyed and bushy-tailed. Also bushy front-tailed. Leaving for shave now.