HOTPIXEL POST: “HotPixel Helps Trigger Street and Jameson Whiskey JUMP!”

Published July 29, 2014 by Teresa
Uma Thurman stars in three short films by first-time filmmakers. Photo Courtesy of Jameson First Shot.

Uma Thurman stars in three short films by first-time filmmakers. Photo Courtesy of Jameson First Shot.

The latest over at the HotPixel blog features Uma Thurman! Not only that, but it features Barak Hardley, one of the stars of Ashleigh Nichols and Eddie Beasley’s awesome web comedy, Coffee Shop Squatters!

EXCERPT:

HotPixel recently handled color correction on the latest Uma Thurman project!

The sixteen-minute short film, written and directed by Jessica Valentine, is one of the winners of Jameson First Shot, a three-year-old contest produced by Kevin Spacey’s Trigger Street Productions that allows three first-time filmmakers from different parts of the world (the US, Russia, and South Africa) the opportunity to have their first films produced professionally and star Uma Thurman.

Lisa McGuire, one of the producers along with Kevin Spacey, Dana Brunetti, and Carter Swan at Trigger Street, spoke with me about this opportunity that Jameson provides to first-time filmmakers.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for first-time filmmakers to have the Hollywood Experience with a short film. So we surround them with a very experienced crew – for example, I’ve worked in this business for twelve years – so we have wonderful people to bring on, and a lot of these people have returned all three years. That’s how wonderful and fun this project is. A lot of [crew] do this for much less than normal rates, for the love of what it is, and they bring in a star, and we make a movie for them. Everything from the pre-production meetings, to the location scouting, to shooting, to post-production. It’s really fun to work with these directors – to actually bring them to Los Angeles and see what the typical L.A. filmmaking experience is.”

For the full post, or to leave a comment, CLICK HERE!

 

NEW AT BEACON: “SDCC ‘14: Fan-Favorite GRIMM An Example of Diversity in TV”

Published July 28, 2014 by Teresa
l-r: Sasha Roiz, Reggie Lee, Claire Coffee, Bree Turner, Silas Weir Mitchell, David Giuntoli, Bitsie Tulloch, Russell Hornsby, David Greenwalt, Jim Kouf, Norberto Barba, and moderator, Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times.

l-r: Sasha Roiz, Reggie Lee, Claire Coffee, Bree Turner, Silas Weir Mitchell, David Giuntoli, Bitsie Tulloch, Russell Hornsby, David Greenwalt, Jim Kouf, Norberto Barba, and moderator, Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times.

I took most of today easy, recuperating from San Diego Comic-Con, but I finally put up my first SDCC post over at Beacon. This one’s about the Grimm panel in Ballroom 20 on Saturday. First, because, well, it’s one of my favorite shows. So there. :)

EXCERPT:

Gender Parity 
In a regular cast of eight actors, there are five men and three women, but those three women are all extremely important, while of the five men, three are consistently important while the show tends to alternate between the other two depending on the story line. In addition, there are also two other female characters in Nick’s life who are women – his mother, Kelly Burkhardt (played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), and the aforementioned Trubel, who was introduced last season. Their strong presence balances things out quite a bit.

What’s even more important is that the female characters are all different types. We have fighters (Kelly and Trubel), we have the nerd (Juliette), we have the nurturer (Rosalee) and we have the evil, um, witch (Adalind). Yet, even within these types, there is nuance: Kelly and Trubel have their soft sides, one with regard to her son, the other with regard to her inexperience and wanting a mentor; Juliette started out “standing by her man,” but as she’s become more empowered by knowledge, she’s discovering her own place in the world of Wesen; Rosalee may be soft and sweet where Monroe is concerned, but she is also a former drug addict, a resistance fighter, and a member of the Wesen Council; and Adalind has had a truly fascinating journey, from powerful witch, to losing her powers, to becoming a loving mother, to having her baby stolen from her, to vengeful witch.

(Check out my S1 spoken-word poem in praise of the Women of Grimm HERE. Because yes, I’m the type of geek who writes poems about TV characters in her spare time. Shut up.)

Wanna keep up with Comic-Con through MY eyes? CLICK HERE to get to my article and subscribe to me at Beacon! Starting at only $5/month, you can have access to my coverage of SDCC, as well as the work of 100+ other journalists covering all the topics you care about!

NEW AT BEACON: “Pop Goes Teresa Goes to Comic-Con!”

Published July 23, 2014 by Teresa
First San Diego selfie of the week.

First San Diego selfie of the week.

I’ve just arrived in San Diego, and am about to get caught up in San Diego Comic-Con craziness. For the next four days (and three nights), I’ll be running around checking out geeky offerings, going to panels and screenings, interviewing creators…and maybe sneaking in a party or two! Plus, I’ll be having my epic first meeting with Janice Orlando (of FanFlail fame – she and I go all the way back to Caprica fandom, but have never met in person…until now!), and catching up with other folks I know whom I usually only get to see at conventions. I’m very much looking forward to it!

And I’ll be writing about my shenanigans EXCLUSIVELY at Beacon!

EXCERPT: 

1) Every morning, I will post my schedule for the day – what panels I hope to check out, what interviews I’ll be doing, what events I’m scheduled to take part in, etc, so that you have an idea what to expect to hear about in the coming days. I’ll be using the “Discussions” section for this, but my posts will be emailed straight to you if you’re a Pop Goes Teresa subscriber!

2) Every evening before bed, I will post a Comic-Con Diary that will sum up, in brief, what I did, how I felt, and my overall impressions of the SDCC for the day.

3) You can keep up with my shenanigans as they happen by following me on Twitter! I’ll be posting observations/exciting news using the hashtag #TeresaSDCC.

4) Starting Monday, I’ll be writing a new article EVERY DAY about something Comic-Con related: announcements, projects, reviews, the event itself…and of course, these will all be examined through the Pop Goes Teresa lens you’ve come to know and love!

That’s right! I won’t be writing about my Comic-Con experience here at the blog AT ALL. So, if you want to keep up with Comic-Con through MY eyes, CLICK HERE to get to my article and subscribe to me at Beacon! For only $5/month, you can have access to my coverage of SDCC, as well as the work of 100+ other journalists covering all the topics you care about!

See you on the con floor! :)

Overdue Birthday Post

Published July 22, 2014 by Teresa
7-11 gives out free slurpees in honor of my birthday! How nice! ;)

7-11 gives out free slurpees in honor of my birthday! How nice! ;)

On my 35th birthday this year, the day started out feeling like all of my first choices for things to do were being crapped all over!

I wanted to go to The Waffle for breakfast, but when The Boy and I got there, it was under construction. What was worse? The sign up outside said “We will re-open on July 11!” My birthday is July 11th, and judging by the size of the hole in the ground, it didn’t look like it was opening any time soon. So, I was disappointed that my birthday was starting out so, well, disappointingly. BUT, we ended up going to Larchmont Bungalow, which I also love, and I had the best. Quesadilla. Ever. So that turned out all right.

THEN, we attempted to go to this spa place where we’d found a Groupon for a couple’s champagne/rose mani/pedi! $55 for 2 people including free champagne and a cupcake! WHAT?! So we went there, and of course the spa was all booked up. I’d been REALLY looking forward to that. We tried to go see a movie, but there was no movie that we could see that would let us out in time for my birthday dinner in the evening. Grr.

So, we ended up going home, getting my birthday slurpee (my birthday and Free Slurpee Day are the same day), putting whiskey in it, drinking and watching Before Sunset, which I’ve seen (and LOVE) but The Boy hadn’t. So…that turned out all right, too. Neither one of us has seen Before Midnight, so we’ll be seeing that soon, too.

But yeah, after a morning of running around, an afternoon watching one of the most romantic movies ever with the love of my life over honey whiskey (and slurpee) was pretty darned awesome. :)

Mairghread and Jason think me being an old lady in my mid-thirties is HILARIOUS.

Mairghread and Jason think me being an old lady in my mid-thirties is HILARIOUS.

Things started picking up steam at my birthday dinner at Midori Sushi. My friends Mairghread and Jason came out and I ate my body weight in sushi. We had some great conversation, and it was a good time!

Me and Heather (and my birthday flowers from her and Alexis!)

Me and Heather (and my birthday flowers from her and Alexis!)

The night got even better once we got to Sardo’s for karaoke! At first, I was worried no one was coming – I booked a table for 9:30, and my first guests arrived at around 10 – but once they started they didn’t stop, and in the end, I had a great group of some of my favorite peeps together to celebrate! Songs were sung, beers were swallowed, and a good time was had by all – despite how LOUD their sound system was! (Seriously, it was loud) One guy (who ended up knowing Heather) did an amazing mash-up to a karaoke track, calling it a “work in progress.” Another dude did a killer Bowie (Ziggy Stardust). And one guy sang the shit out of Melissa Etheridge’s Come to My Window! Seriously, I think Sardo’s is my new favorite karaoke place, because the people who sing here MEAN BIDDNESS. And I love that kind of atmosphere! Laid back and friendly – but taking karaoke fun VERY seriously. :)

DSCN1365

Ashleigh, Me, Heather, Alexis, Lindsay, Josh, Adam, and Eddie.

Ashleigh, Me, Heather, Alexis, Lindsay, Josh, Adam, and Eddie.

And of course, my friends were all about it. Ashleigh and Eddie made me squee with their version of Dammit, Janet. And Alexis was hilarious singing Somebody’s Watching Me. But, of course, the biggest Karaoke Slut of all was me!

Also, I think I had the most drinks purchased for me that night than I ever have on any birthday! The Boy and his bro got me drinks, natch, but then so did our waitress, who took a Blue Moon off our tab for me, and a random dude at the bar who was visiting L.A. and heard it was my birthday! Needless to say, by the end of the evening, my karaoke was FEARLESS. We closed the place down, and I had an amazing time!

My favorite photo of the night. Heather took this of me and Adam when I wasn't paying attention. Lurve.

My favorite photo of the night. Heather took this of The Boy and me when I wasn’t paying attention. Lurve.

The final part of my birthday celebrating was The Boy and me going to camp overnight in Joshua Tree (at the Indian Cove campground). It was a very different experience for both of us, which is precisely why I wanted to do it!

Nothing but desert surrounding the campsite.

Nothing but desert surrounding the campsite.

We camped in The Boy’s car, and there was a picnic table and a fire grate as part of the campsite. We spread blankets on the ground by the fire so we could hang out and lounge under the stars.

Campsite - blanket view

Campsite – blanket view

 

Campsite - picnic table view

Campsite – picnic table view

 

Sleeping arrangements.

Sleeping arrangements.

The thing that amazed me most about the desert? The QUIET. I’ve never been anywhere so quiet before. It was so quiet, that when we first arrived, I kept swallowing, thinking that my ears needed to be popped! But there was just nothing to hear. It was so quiet that, when we were leaving our payment for the campsite (through a slot in the wall at the ranger’s station, because there were no rangers!), the sound of the rope slapping against a nearby flagpole was SO LOUD. It was so quiet that whenever a bird flew overhead, we COULD HEAR THEIR WINGS FLAPPING. It was amazing, and several times we just sat for long chunks of time listening to the silence.

That is, when we weren’t getting drunk and silly. :)

The other thing that amazed me about the desert was how brightly the moon lit up everything. I was concerned that, even with the fire and the little lantern we brought that we might not have enough light. But it was a Full Moon, and it was huge in the sky, and it was so bright. It was so bright, I wasn’t even scared to take the flashlight and go across the way to the nearby outhouse in the middle of the night! (I’m not The Dark’s biggest fan. Especially out In Nature. But this was a piece of cake!) It was beautiful.

I loved being able to just talk with The Boy without other distractions. I loved the quiet. I loved the moon. I loved the beauty of the landscape.

What I didn’t love? THE FREAKING MOSQUITOES AND OTHER FLYING INSECTS THAT WOULDN’T LEAVE ME ALONE NO MATTER HOW MUCH INSECT REPELLENT I PUT ON! Between the moths swarming our lantern as we tried to play a card game at the picnic table, the mosquitoes biting the hell out of me, the big-ass ants keeping me from getting fully comfortable on the blanket I spread, because I was afraid they’d climb into my clothes…Let’s just say, next time I go into Nature, I’m gonna be Queen of the Citronella Candles. I’m surrounding my campsite with them. Oh. My. God.

However, the other lesson I learned, is that it was a DUMB idea to go camping in the DESERT in FUCKING JULY. There’s a reason why summer is the “off-season.” It’s because it’s hot as BALLS in the desert in July. So, I might have been able to cover up more and protect myself from the flying, bitey insects, but I couldn’t, because it was SWELTERING, and even having my long, loose, cotton pajama pants on made me feel like I was gonna DIE.

Yeah, we were planning on going on a hike the following morning, but after not sleeping well due to the heat, the bitey insects, and the uncomfortable car seats, the last thing we wanted to do in the morning sunshine was hike up a freaking hill. We woke up early, and skeedaddled to find some food in town, then sped out of there and back to civilization. :)

Still, it was worth it for the quiet and the beauty. Next time, though, I’ll be better prepared, go at a better time of year, and do it RIGHT.

A photo can't do that sunset justice, but I'll carry it around in my memory. It was gorgeous.

A photo can’t do that sunset justice, but I’ll carry it around in my memory. It was gorgeous.

NEW AT BEACON: “All About That Bass: White Girls and Booty”

Published July 16, 2014 by Teresa

This week’s Pop Goes Teresa column over at Beacon actually talks about pop music. Or rather, one particular pop song that my pals Maighread, Jason, and Alison turned me onto.

I discuss Meghan Trainor’s debut single, All About That Bass and how, while it’s a great song, it throws women – particularly skinny women and Women of Color – under the bus.

But it’s still so damn catchy!

EXCERPT:

But even just looking at the photos above – Miley Cyrus during a performance of We Can’t Stop; Lily Allen in her video for Hard Out Here; and now Meghan Trainor’s video for All About That Bass – you can see that even in videos created by white women trying to make a positive statement, black women are being used. Sure there are other white women in the videos, too, but they’re not the ones being grabbed. They’re not the ones being used as visual aids. They aren’t asked to be props in addition to being performers. 

And yes, in the case of someone like Lily Allen, she’s doing something like this to speak out about how wrong it is that this gets done. I get it. But you know that by doing stuff like this, you’re just making it happen more, right? And it’s hard for me to respect a message coming from the Mileys and Lilys and Meghans of the world when they aren’t even willing to bear skin and get grabbed in the same way in their own videos, staying above the demeaning treatment while attempting to comment on it.

Actually, scratch that – of the three examples above, Miley Cyrus is the most balanced! In the We Can’t Stop video, she does grab black women’s asses, but they also slap her ass. What’s more, she grabs other white women and lets them grab her. And also, there are scantily-clad people on both ends of the gender spectrum. Really, she just wants people to live, love, and say who and what they want to. Point: Miley Cyrus. (At least on the video. That live performance was another story…)

If you want to read and comment on my full post, you’ll have to subscribe to my work over at Beacon! For only $5/month, you’ll be able to access Pop Goes Teresa, as well as the work of 100+ other journalists writing about the topics you care about. Check it out! Once there, please click the “Worth It” button on the bottom of my article! (That is, if you actually like what I’ve written.)

Thanks!  :)

The Gift Of Impact

Published July 10, 2014 by Teresa
Me. 35 years ago. :)

Me. 35 years ago. :)

I turn 35 tomorrow. 

Crazy, I know. :)

Anyway, I’ve had a couple of people ask me what I’d “like for my birthday.” And while I appreciate the gesture, and I’m touched that people are thinking of getting me anything at all, I also REALLY LIKE SURPRISES. Honestly, I prefer getting gifts I have no use for but that are surprises to gifts of stuff I need but that I ask for. Surprises are gifts in and of themselves! Even if I never wear the ugly sweater. ;) But usually, people are better gift-givers than they think. Chances are, if you know me at all, whatever you get me will be something I enjoy.

Then again, I never expect anything for my birthday. Times are tough financially, and not everyone has the time to make something. I know there are several people I care about very much that I haven’t been able to give a birthday gift in a long time, because money, because time, because I live so far away…so, I don’t generally expect anything. Usually what matters most to me around my birthday is spending time with close friends or family…and getting to be entirely lazy and self-indulgent for a day (or a weekend).

After all, it’s the only time when it’s legitimately OK to totally celebrate ME! :) So that means only fun things that I want to do, or quality lazy time.

That said, I know there might still be some of you who want to do something to help me celebrate the occasion. For that, I am grateful. If any of you would like to help me commemorate my 35th year on the planet, I would love it if you could send a donation to any of the following organizations: 

WriteGirl: http://www.writegirl.org/
National Alzheimer’s Associationhttp://www.alz.org/
American Diabetes Association: http://www.diabetes.org/
National Autism Association: http://nationalautismassociation.org/
Kiva: http://www.kiva.org

If you choose to give to one of the national organizations, look up your state’s (or city’s) local chapter and give to them! Your donation will have more direct impact if it doesn’t have to trickle down through the national organization.And here’s the Birthday Present Part: When you’ve made your donation, email me a copy of your receipt at theteresajusinoexperience@gmail.com! I’d love to take screencaps of them to make a gallery that’ll show how much of an impact I’ve had on the organizations I care about! :) (I’ll likely be posting pictures and shouting you out on Twitter – #TeresaBday) Please email them to me by this Sunday, July 13th at 11:59PM. :)

That’s it! That’s all I really want for my birthday. I mean, I certainly won’t turn down a thoughtfully picked-out gift. :) But if you’re struggling to think of something, or if you were looking for an excuse to make a donation to a worthwhile cause, here you go!

NEW AT BEACON: “The Angel of Verdun: Nuanced Female Characters”

Published July 9, 2014 by Teresa

Posts once a week at Beacon. That’s how I wanna roll. :)

Anyway, here’s the latest at my pop culture column over there. It’s about the difference between “Strong Female Characters” and “Nuanced Female Characters” and why I think Rita Vratasky (Emily Blunt) in Edge of Tomorrow is a great example of the kind of female character we should be clamoring to see in films.

EXCERPT: 

I hate the phrase Strong Female Character

“Strong Female Character” carries with it a judgement that I don’t think its users intend. After all, what does “strong” mean? Does it mean physically strong (and so, are we defining strength according to stereotypically male criteria)? Does it mean emotionally strong (and so, does this mean that if a woman cries, falls in love, or protects her children she’s not strong)? Does it mean assertive and ambitious (and so, can more average women not be “strong characters?” And how do we square that with the fact that, with male protagonists, the Hero’s Journey is often defined by his starting out as an ineffectual schlub who grows into leadership. Was he not a “strong character” until the very end)? 

My preferred phrase – and what I think most people mean when they say “Strong Female Character” – is Nuanced Female Character.

What those who want gender parity in pop culture want in their female characters is complexity. We want them to be more than girlfriends, doormats, or prizes to be won. We want them to have their own inner lives and goals in the stories we watch. Even if they’re not the protagonists, we want them to be fully-realized people, not caricatures. We want them to have strengths and flaws. We want them to have, or at least want and earn, agency. Most of all, we want them to have a reason to be in the story that doesn’t boil down to: Plot Device.

If you want to read and comment on my full post, you’ll have to subscribe to my work over at Beacon! For only $5/month, you’ll be able to access all my pop culture criticism, as well as the work of 100+ other journalists writing about the topics you care about. Check it out! Once there, please click the “Worth It” button on the bottom of my article! (That is, if you actually like what I’ve written.)

Thanks! :)

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