Thursday, February 06, 2014

Virtuoso Goes One-On-One With Audience Member

By Taryn

This year I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Virtuosos awards. I hadn't gone before but I've always wanted to because of how it's the one tribute the Santa Barbara Film Fest does that honors more than one actor at a time. Tuesday night's honorees were Jared Leto, June Squibb, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Bruhl, Adele Exarchopoulos, Brie Larson, and Oscar Issac. Unfortunately due to scheduling conflicts only Leto, Squibb, Jordan, and Larson were able to attend.

Even though only four out of the seven of the honorees showed up I still really enjoyed the tribute. Going in, I had only seen Dallas Buyers Club, and I have to say that Jared Leto (who plays Rayon) was definitely the star of the show. For good reason, he's this years favorite to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

In the beginning of Leto's interview a woman from the audience heckled him about how he should not be recognized for playing a transgender woman, because he was a man. Her words were,"Trans-misogyny does not deserve an award," she shouted. "You don't deserve an award for portraying a trans-woman, because you're a man." This woman's opinion was not popular with the audience. I was personally very impressed with Leto's graceful response to this allegation:
"Because I'm a man, I don't deserve to play that part?" So you would hold a role against someone who happened to be gay or lesbian? They can't play a straight part?" Leto said. "Then you make sure that people that are gay, people that aren't straight, people like the Rayons of the world, would never have the opportunity to turn the tables and explore parts that aren't central to who they are."

He invited this woman to talk to him about this after the tribute, and he reportedly did. What made his response unique was that he didn't invite her to talk in a condescending way. He asked her in a way that was genuinely respectful and interested. The remainder of Leto's interview went on pretty routinely. He talked about his weight loss required to achieve Rayon's emaciated physical state necessary for the role, and how he interestingly has chosen not to watch the final cut of Dallas Buyers Club.

I found that all of the actor's in attendance were pretty dynamic and insightful in their interviews. Brie Larson has this Jennifer Lawrence-esque charm to her when she speaks. She was very honest about how she doesn't have any definite plans for her career going forward. Although, I'm sure that after her latest performance in Short Term 12 she can relax for a while, because directors and casting agents will be flocking to her.

Michael B. Jordan gave some interesting insight into the filming process of Fruitvale Station. He said that he and the rest of the cast worked closely with the friends and family of Oscar Grant, (the victim in the shooting that Fruitvale Station is based upon) and how that influenced how he played his role of Oscar.

The last interview was of June Squibb, the 84 year old co-star of Nebraska. I went in knowing nothing of Nebraska. However the clip they showed of it before her interview was the funniest of them all, which I was not expecting. It was the scene of her in a graveyard with her son and husband talking about all their various dead relatives. She refers to them, much to her son's shock, as "whores" and some being very ugly. She starred in About Schmidt and when asked if she ever planned to work with director Alexander Payne after that, she said no. She said that Payne said that he had only remembered her as, "The nice lady from About Schmidt."

The Virtuosos Award is meant to honor "up and coming" actors. This year it proved that an actor can be "up and coming" at any age.

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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

The Film Fester Returns

By Taryn

It is once again my favorite time of the year. It's the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. I've traded my press pass for a State Street Pass (one that gets you into most of the screenings) this year and I am intent on taking full advantage of it. Of course I will be blogging about my SBIFF experience.

I arrived in town on Saturday, I wasn’t planning on seeing anything that night. However, when I saw that there was a movie about an OJ Simpson inspired musical, I couldn’t resist. This unique movie is, Orenthal: The Musical. So as per usual, I dragged my dad down to the Metro 4 for the 10:30 pm screening of Orenthal. Orenthal: The Musical is a mockumenatry based around an unemployed young man that attempts to create a musical inspired by the OJ Simpson trial, and the Shakespearean play Othello. Going into Orenthal I wasn’t sure what to expect. I ended up loving it. It was funny, had dynamic characters, and my dad was "pleasantly surprised," which really says something. There you have it. If you were searching for an attorney's seal of approval on a notorious murder case gone musical.

The theater was packed with cast and crew from the movie, most adorned with "Free OJ" buttons and Bronco's jerseys. Following the screening there was a Q and A with the director and writer, Jeff Rosenberg. When asked what the story behind Orenthal: The Musical's conception, Rosenberg replied that the idea came out of an epiphany in the middle of an English class seminar that the OJ Simpson Trial and Othello are remarkably similar, who knew? What I found funniest about Orenthal: The Musical was that years ago, Rosenberg made a bet with one of his friends that Orenthal would never become a movie. The deal was that if Rosenberg succeeded in making a movie out of the concept his friend would get a tattoo of Rosenberg’s face on his arm. On Saturday Rosenberg’s friend pulled through and got a tattoo of Jeff’s face on his forearm. To stubborn dreamers like myself, that would be more rewarding than winning any Oscar.

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

This Duck Has No Pluck

By Taryn

Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson is a walking stereotype. I always say that all stereotypes are based on some sort of truth. Robertson is a 67-year old, duck hunting, southern bigot. Not to mention that it would take the contents of an entire Gillette Razor factory to shape up his two-foot long beard. He recently sparked outrage with his anti-gay comments and beliefs (published in the January 2014 issue of GQ magazine) asserting that African-Americans were happier under Jim Crow laws, As a result he was put on an a brief hiatus from his A&E reality TV show.

Here is some of what he had to say in the GQ magazine interview:

"I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once," the reality star said of growing up in pre-Civil-Rights-era Louisiana. "Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I'm with the blacks, because we're white trash. We're going across the field ... They're singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, 'I tell you what: These doggone white people' — not a word!"

While I do not agree with Robertson’s comments at all, I'm not surprised by them. In fact, I'd be more surprised if he felt any other way. Here’s a little background on Robertson for those of you who may not be familiar with him.

Robertson was born in Vivian, Louisiana and grew up with no electricity, toilets, or bathtubs. He played football at Louisiana Tech University and was approached about playing professionally. He declined the offer because it “interfered with his hunting.”

Robertson grew up without any TV, and my guess is that he didn’t have much connection to the world outside of where he lived, let alone Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Robertson is the poster boy for southern bigotry and ignorance. The man can’t even put two grammatically correct sentences together. He doesn’t realize that black people didn’t complain about the white people whom they worked for because if they did they would likely lose their jobs or maybe even die. Lastly, the guy is the star of a reality TV show. There is no reason for anyone to be surprised by his comments. After all, it was only a matter of time before he opened his mouth and and said something stupid.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

That Grown-Up Feeling

By Taryn

So, ever since I was a little girl I've been obsessed with the idea of being "grown up." I still am. I'm pretty well done with high school at this point. Hence, why I spend much of my time writing this blog. (Which as far as I know, no one under the age of 22 reads.)

Here's a list of things that make me feel like a grown up. (In case you were wondering."

  • Not being called "sweetie or sweetheart."
  • Using my school ID to get through airport security. (Yes, this actually happens to me frequently.)
  • Having a state ID so I hopefully won't be turned away when I try to see an R-rated movie at the Paseo Nuevo theater. (I tried to see "Spring Breakers" twice with no success because apparently my school photo ID with my birth date on it isn't a valid form of identification.)
  • Going to parties and events with writers and media people with my dad. (It's strange being the youngest one in the room but it makes me feel awesome.)
  • Using my debit card to pay for things. (Pretty self-explanatory.)
  • Having business cards. (This is kind of frivolous, but it's a self confidence booster.)
  • Having multiple email addresses. (This is a weird one.)
  • Seeing and being emailed by blog readers. (No matter what it's really about it makes my day. It also gives me hope that I may actually be good at what I love to do. Also the fact that it's frequently writers, lawyers, media people, that read my posts and email me because they want to, not because they have to.)
  • Yes, I know that being a "grown up" has a lot of crappy stuff to go along with it, like taxes, insurance and having to go to real prison if convicted of a crime. But, I'll leave it to the adults to deal with that.

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    Tuesday, August 20, 2013

    As I Was Saying . . .

    (Ed. note. After a long hiatus (but who's counting?) my daughter is back to blogging. Here's her post)

    By Taryn

    I've officially decided that Mindy Kaling is my hero. For those of you who don't know, Mindy is a writer, actress and producer (among other things). She was a writer and actor on The Office. She now has her own show, The Mindy Project. It's a show about a doctor, (Mindy) who works in New York City and it revolves around her coworkers, relationships and general escapades.

    I recently started reading her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). It's basically a book of essays and stories from her life. I think the reason I love it is because it is pretty much a mirror image of what I want my book to be about some day.

    Her book gives me hope. This probably sounded really cheesy. Hear me out. I've heard many times about how "the high school losers will rise above all the rest." Yeah, I sure hope so. I seem to remember hearing a fair amount of similar statements from celebrity books, TV shows, interviews etc. Sure it's a nice message. However, most of the time I have a hard time believing it from an Oscar nominated billionaire, perfect faced, American dream celebrity.

    Mindy tells her stories about this differently. She wasn't super popular or outstanding in high school. She got made fun of and called names. But she doesn't try to write it with an "it gets better" tone. She writes it just how it was. Her pieces don't end with an inspirational quote or anything. You can see her success by just reading the rest of the book. It's obvious she's made it. However, without internship horror stories or tales of "being almost fired from writing on 'The Office.'" It's very refreshing to read her work.

    It makes me think that maybe one day I can be a writer and successfully work in television as well. My dream (one of many) is to be the cool girl at the party with the Tiffany earrings and Chanel purse. The girl who can spend hours telling stories about her misadventures in school and writing. Without having to use a cheesy inspirational statement to get my point across.

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