Friday, February 20, 2015

Reflections On Reflections: Show Within a Show, Private Firestorm of Madness, and No! The Log Is Not For Sale.

written for Twin Peaks Freaks fan community

Oral histories are fun reads. I recently enjoyed Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks by Brad Dukes. It has interviews with folks that had something to do with the show: cast, crew, writers, producers -- the author interviewed a whole lotta folks involved in the Twin Peaks. Featuring first-hand accounts from series co-creator Mark Frost and cast members including Kyle MacLachlan, Joan Chen, Sherilyn Fenn, Piper Laurie, Michael Ontkean, Ray Wise, Billy Zane and more.

I'm wondering with how awesome this book is, knowing that the author pretty much published it himself, if some publisher will scoop it up to reprint it. I saw that he was pretty much really only selling it on Amazon, and I wanted to make sure we had it at Quimby's, so I tracked the author down on Facebook and convinced him to consign it with us. He was very receptive and sweet about consigning it, and I was thrilled to provide a brick and mortar venue for him to sell it in Chicago. Also, I love sharing a good book with folks that I know would appreciate it, especially if it's independently published.

Stuff That Sticks With Me From this Book & Thoughts:
-Mark Frost, co-creator of the show, said that when they could, they'd add little asides in the show. It might have been references to old movies or other peoples work, even right down to the casting. For example, Peggy Lipton who played Norma Jennings on the show, was on Mod Squad, and they had her run into a co-star from Mod Squad in the diner that her Twin Peaks character worked in. Frost said, "Nobody was using this word then, I don't think I'd ever heard it, but this is a meta-level of conception, that in the show became a 'show within a show.' It became organic to our process. We knew we were making fictional narrative entertainment and we were also paying homage to things that tread similar thematic ground in the past." (p. 193) Oooooooo mashy-uppy goodness. I love this. This method of working in real life meta-ness adds to the mystique of the show, giving extra meat to conspiracy theories about Twin Peaks. Yes yes yes.

-Catherine Coulson who played Margaret "Log Lady" Lanterman said that some Japanese company wanted to buy the log because Twin Peaks was really popular in Japan. She told them, "No, the log is not for sale." She lamented that her daughter had just graduated from college, and she thought they really could have used the money but she could never bring herself to sell it. (p. 149)

-Phoebe Augustine who played Ronette Pulaski said that when she was filming the scene in the pilot where she was found walking down the railroad tracks in a torn up nighty, that she was really cold and that she had to walk across the railroad ties without looking down. There was a guy on the crew who looked really scary even though he wasn't doing anything. She told David Lynch that this guy was frightening her, and Lynch said "Don't tell anyone, but he's the bad guy." It turned out it was Frank Silva who played BOB, the scariest part of the show. (p. 176)

-Grace Zabriskie who played Mrs. Palmer (Laura Palmer's mom) said about Sheryl Lee, who played Laura Palmer: "She gave everything she had, she gave more, she gave more than she could afford to give, and she spent years coming back. I can't separate 'what her performance says to me,' from what I know it both gave to her and took from her. The performance itself tells this story. No one walks away unscathed from work like that." (p. 205)

-Sort of along the lines as the above quote from Ms. Zabriskie, Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer) said, "Playing Laura was a painful place to live for a long time. It's hard, in acting school they teach you how to develop a character but they don't teach you how to let a character go." (p. 205) It reminded me of this amazing poem Ms. Lee wrote about it, a sort of letter to Laura. I was inspired to revisit the poem on-line, and upon rereading it, one of the stanzas really jumps out at me:

I offered my whole self
In honor of your life
And in exchange
Was tricked quite well
When you rewrote my rights

Soooooo haunting. The notion of being so emotionally and permanently affected by something you had a creative hand in, as well as being typecast because of it, it's the logical and poetic extension of being haunted by something.

-Wendy Robie who played Nadine Hurley on the show said of her character: "Nadine looms large in my career. I was just a small part of the series, but if you put it all together over that amount of time it was a huge role that I was allowed to create. She loomed large, just to be playing a character for that long, but I do know that especially for the first season it had to carry underneath it - that pain of Nadine. I had to carry that to do her justice. I've never played a character that hurt as much as she does. She lived in her own private firestorm of madness." (p. 250) I love the term "private firestorm of madness." I MUST USE THIS IN ALL CONVERSATIONS EVER.

-Another quote from Wendy Robie (Nadine Hurley), also talked about Owl Cave and said, "There are areas where the membrane is very thin and those are portals where you can see captive spirits down in there." (p. 254) Oooooooooo I love this. This idea of a membrane between our known reality and the mystical realm, it being thinner in one place more than another is very intriguing. Add "thin membranes" to the list of things that intrigue me that also explain paranormal occurrences, including but not limited to: portals, vortexes, black holes, singularities, hellmouths and ancient burial grounds.

-Co-creator Mark Frost said that the reason Josie Packard's fate ended up the way it did was because him and David Lynch decided to make her be imprisoned in another realm in a way that it shouldn't be physical as much as metaphysical, mythological without being melodramatic. (p. 256) It must be difficult to get metaphysical and mythological without being melodramatic, but somehow they managed it.

-Sherilyn Fenn who played Audrey Horne on the show didn't actually do the trick with the cherry stem in a knot with her mouth. That didn't stop Letterman from asking her three times in one year to demonstrate it.

-Leslie Linka Glatter (director episodes 5, 10, 13, 23): "What I loved about the reality of Twin Peaks is that it examined human behavior in microscopic detail so you saw the humor of it, the absurdity and also the truth." (p.25) So true, so true. I feel like in so many of my daily interactions with people all of those things come forward -- how my favorite art can sometimes shine an illuminating light on the humor and absurdity of human behavior.

Oooooo! Perhaps once the new Twin Peaks airs in 2016 there will be cause for another volume of a Twin Peaks oral history! I hope Brad Dukes does another one!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

104 Of My Favorite Twin Peaks Theme Covers With My Own Commentary On Each One

There's so much love for Angelo Badalamenti's classic, and for Julee Cruise vocal version entitled "Falling." And there are so many versions out there. There are tutorials on how to play it on every instrument ever. And so many different style interpretations. A bluegrass cover! A death metal cover! Several punk covers! People singing it in different languages! People performing it on stages! In their messy rooms! There's at least three dance remixes, two chill-wave versions, and one "Urban Jungle" mix! There are midi files! People playing it on flutes! Lutes! Cellos! Pianos! Varieties of guitars! Varieties of guitars to test out their new amps! At least three people busking with accordions! A number of video game-influenced versions with their respective video-game influenced videos! Some versions are mashup-y, others sound like they should be demo settings on casio keyboards. My favorites tend to be ones where they really do something new with it, really taking it to a whole new level, or interpreting it in some way that I hadn't thought could be done. There is a variety of stuff along the spectrum of professional to  amateur, especially in terms of video production. Sometimes the more amateur it is, the more it amuses me -- like someone will have an otherwise messy room but have the framed picture of Laura Palmer displayed nonchalantly. Or maybe a band is really going to town but there are like four people in the audience. But they're gonna SELL IT, if you know what I'm saying. Sometimes the comments section alone is what sends me into chuckles. All of these bring me immense amounts of joy. -Liz

I curated this for the fan group Twin Peaks Freaks, which you should totally check out.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Answers! Or Maybe No Answers!

I enjoyed Giving Up the Ghost: A Story About Friendship, 80s Rock, a Lost Scrap of Paper, and What It Means to Be Haunted by Eric Nuzum. I don't think I purchased this book; it may have fallen into my life either via a sample copy sent to the bookstore where I work from the publisher, or maybe it came into my life via the proverbial back-of-a-truck-book-distributor method. By that I mean, if you receive your book damaged from the distributor, you call them up and tell them. They either issue a call tag (pre-paid postage via UPS or FedEx where they pick it up an give you a sticker to slap on it to send it back free of charge to the distributor) or they say you can "donate or destroy" the book. This translates to "Take it home and read it"; I figure they're donating it to my home library. Book distributors often only want damaged books back if they're above a certain dollar value, so often they tell you just to keep it. I joke that the best way to get me to read a book short of sending me a free copy is sending me a damaged copy that the distributor doesn't want back. Sometimes I end up reading stuff that I wouldn't normally have bought but ended up in my life because of the donate or destroy method. I should get a Henry Rollins-style back tattoo that says "Donate or Destroy." However, the past few years I've been pickier about what to take from the donate or destroy pile because I've amassed more than I can really ever reasonably get to.

Anyway, Giving Up the Ghost is about this guy's preoccupation with this dead friend in his life that he had a crush on when she was alive, a friend who helped him through this paranoia about some ghost in his house that was haunting him. At some point he goes on sort of a semi-spiritual voyage bordering on the edge of ghost hunting, and goes to all these haunted places to sort of, figure it out.

I love this quote from page 53!

It wasn't until I read this that I realized that I think, in the back of my mind, I might have always thought all this too, or maybe I wanted to believe all of these things. Or at the very least, I wondered all this were true. When my mom died, I think I might have gotten ever so slightly paranoid that somehow she was suddenly able to see everything I was doing, even at embarrassing personal moments. You know how when someone dies people are always like, "They're watching over you"? That might initially be comforting but the more I thought about it, the more bothersome it became, for reasons of privacy invasion. Who wants to be watched when they're wiping their ass? Who wants to be watched by their mother while strangers hold their hair back in the American legion hall toilet as they vomit from too many vodka and diet sodas on new year's eve (thank you, whoever you angelic strangers were, I will always love you, my dear cherubs)?

Also, if our souls do live on after we die, does it necessarily mean all the secrets are illuminated? I have no idea but there is that part of me that I think has always assumed this is true but another part of me that theorizes that just because we're dead, it doesn't mean everything becomes illuminated. Maybe the truth of the universe is in a different department that is nowhere near souls accounts receivable department. It reminds me of some novel I read, though I can't remember what book it was, but it was some novel where some dead person's soul enters the afterlife and is saddened to learn that they don't get all the answers they seek. Some angel says something to the soul to the effect of "Oh you humans, you're so stuck in that primordial Christian theology with such a sense of entitlement about getting answers when you die. Just because you're dead it doesn't mean you learn anything." I wish I could remember what scene in what novel that was. I want to say it was a Kevin Brockmeier book maybe? Anyway, it always stuck out in my mind as being one interesting take on considering the sort of enlightening answers we might get or not get after the curtains close on our mortal coil.

Do the dead have some way of effecting our life besides just spooking us? Are they spooking us? Is that them?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Creating a Life-Affirming Love of Life With Art That Reminds Us How Shitty the World Is

One of the best pieces in Greil Marcus' The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs (Yale University Press) was Transmission: 2007/1979/2010, about the song Transmission by Joy Division.

I loved this quote because even though it's in reference to some other quote, what I really like about it is the italics part, in reference to what Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis must have felt:

He said that life was terrible. I wanted to get up and tell people life was terrible, too.

It gets to the essence of what a lot of music I like is about, which is basically, telling the world how shitty life is, sometimes in some big social or political way, but also on a personal level, like maybe having a broken heart, a mental illness, physical pain or whatever it is that's causing you grief.

And isn't that pretty much a lot of art? We make art because we're inspired by someone else's art, and we're thinking in our head I'm inspired by your art telling the world how shitty the world is! Now I'm going to create art continuing to remind the world how shitty it is! Maybe I will inspire somebody else to remind everyone how shitty the world is! and so on. Sure, I do realize that some folks can't make it past the shittiness and they don't stick around (exhibit a: the lead singer of Joy Division), but maybe for those moments where they're experiencing the art they love they find a release. For many others, I wonder if maybe we communicate a life-affirming love of life with our art that reminds us how shitty the world is. And I am totally fine with that.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Revisiting: Little Gems of Focus

I recently revisted David Foster Wallace's book of essays A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments to re-read the essay he wrote called David Lynch Keeps His Head, about hanging out on the set of David Lynch's Lost Highway. It was such a pleasure to revisit it after having watched Twin Peaks. DFW, was a self-admitted Lynch freak, and this article is thoughtful, funny and pithy. He talks about more than just Lost Highway though -- pretty much his thoughts on Lynch's work in general. This essay was originally in an issue of Premiere in 1996. I also noticed it gets quoted a lot in other articles I stumble on, usually in reference to helping define what "Lynchian" actually means as an adjective (and I'm paraphrasing DFW here): macabre but mundane irony, a deconstruction of a weird 'irony of the banal.' One example he gives is in reference to serial killers: Dahmer storing body parts in the fridge next to chocolate milk, that's pretty Lynchian, but Ted Bundy, well, not so much.

Things I loved in the essay: 
-Lynch's work is not quite art film (as a viewer, DFW explains, with art films you pay to get in and have to do then do some intellectual work, essentially paying to have to work). But Lynch's films aren't quite commercial films either (as a viewer for commericall films, you pay once to get in but have an unspoken assumed contract with the filmmaker that the fee you paid to get in is the only "price" you pay; you don't have to do any work.) DFW speculates that Lynch belongs to a third class of filmmaking that is more about just getting "inside your head," (p. 171) or as British critic Paul Taylor says, Lynch's movies are "to be experienced rather than explained" (p. 170).  I agree with this. I think about many of the dream sequences in Twin Peaks and the argument I have heard many people make, that what is really being communicated is a mood. Or something. Something that comes to mind in regard to this point is that I saw the Chicago premier of the documentary film about Lynch's 16 city speaking tour entitled Meditation, Creativity, Peace. In it, a student told him that while watching Inland Empire that once they dimmed down their conscious mind always trying to make sense of the movie, that they felt like they intuitively understood it more, and Lynch agreed that that is the best way to understand his films. I have a hunch that other people who work with him would agree. In fact, off the top of my head I'm like 77% sure I read a quote from Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost (from Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks by Brad Dukes), where Mark Frost said something to the effect that Lynch is the master of communicating a mood. However, I should point out that DFW does say on page 161 of this essay "Lynch seems to run into trouble only when his movies seem to the viewer to want to have a point -- i.e. when they set the viewer up to expect some kind of coherent connection between plot elements and then fail to deliver any such point." I have a hunch that that may have been a criticism of both Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive, but it probably depends on the person.

-this quote, which appropriately (and you will see why this is appropriate once you read this quote) can be used about art in general: "Art, after all, is supposed to be a kind of communication, and "personal expression" is cinematically interesting only to the extent that what's expressed finds and strikes chords within the viewer. The difference between experiencing art that succeeds as communication and art that doesn't is rather like the difference between being sexually intimate with a person and watching that person masturbate. In terms of literature, richly communicative Expressionism is epitomized by Kafka, bad and onanistic Expressionism by the average Graduate Writing Program avant-garde story." (p. 199) YESSSSSSSSSS. Like good art says something universal. Bad art is so specific to that person that it's uninterestingly embarrassing. Quirky is OK, but there has to be something universal being communicated in spite of it.

-the fact that Balthazar Getty is sort of a douche, illustrated with examples

I loved all the little crystalized gems of insight David Foster Wallace had about how to perceive Lynch's oeuvre, things that I realized I kind of had been chewing on in the back of my head too, and it was nice to see it honed into well-articulated crystals of logic and wit.

And the snarky stuff was good too, because being snarky can sometimes really just be a slightly higher IQ version of gossiping. Which, I, um, well, looooooooved.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Working Through Low-Rent Schizophrenic Narrative Trauma With Fellow Fans

So I read Blake Crouch's first book in the Wayward Pines series entitled Pines. I read it because people I know who were into Twin Peaks talked about the series in that tone of "If you're into TP, you'd be into this." So I thought I'd give it a try.

At first notice, yeah, it's pretty Twin Peaks-y. Initially anyway. Once I got passed the "secret service agent who loves coffee traveling to a town in the Pacific Northwest to investigate a case," the plotline pretty much departs from similarities to Twin Peaks, and becomes more The Prisoner meets Cabin In the Woods. There's a lot of bits to the effect of And then he crawled slowly through the heating duct and the angry mob chased him and he fought gravity and sluggishly moved his bloody foot forward business that made me wish I was watching it on something I could fast forward through, what with all the tense descriptive moments, like if Dickens wrote a full fledged horror novel, with a an excess of it to where I felt my eyelids drooping.

Enough  "trying to escape" action already! I wanted something that was more interesting, that would develop the story more then just "guy trying to outrun some crazy people." I know the big thing is "show don't tell" but the Hitchcockian tension bored me. How about we change the "Show don't tell" writing policy to "show but then also sometimes tell more stuff, hopefully a little more frequently"?

In fact, when I was done reading the book, my husband asked me what I thought, and I started complaining that there were too many of those then he wedged himself between the wall and the dumpster to hide type of scenes. I tried to act out what I meant to help illustrate my point and my husband said I sounded like a drooling caveman. I think that's a pretty good indication of the mood of some of the bigger chunks of the book. It moves slow, sort of like a drooling caveman at times, communicating very little other then "ME STRUGGLE." The big explanatory ending could have come a lot sooner. Yeah, yeah, I know you have to "earn" the big reveal but the journey at times kind of made me feel like I was pulling a bag of wet rocks uphill. This would have been more enjoyable to me as a novella instead of a 300 page book, but then apparently, I am a cave woman with a short attention span.

All of that being said, complaints aside, there are some really interesting developments in it that unfold and make it interesting that, I imagine, will be more interesting in later books in the series that I will get to eventually. I just well, SPOILERS, people.

I'm curious how it will translate to a TV experience. That is, because FOX is making a Wayward Pines TV show with Matt Dillon, and it seems like there seems to be some public cynicism about it being a Twin Peaks rip-off.
TOTALLY INTENTIONAL, right? Right? Please say it is intentional. Is this the part that's homage?

I don't want to be one of those people who's all WELL I READ THE BOOK THE SHOW IS BASED ON and but well, I did, and the second book is on deck. It wasn't until I got to the author's Afterward that I got some confirmation for his Twin Peaks love, which warmed my heart (and confirmed my suspician). He wrote about how Pines was inspired by his love for Twin Peaks, and it occurred to me that he probably intentionally put that at the end of the book instead of in a preface in the beginning. I assumed that he didn't want people cynically thinking he was ripping off Twin Peaks when they first cracked open the book, and somehow if they'd already read the book, the Afterward would illuminate the reading they already did instead of inform what experience they were supposed to have while reading it. He writes, regarding Twin Peaks:

"Shortly after the show was cancelled, I was so heartbroken I even tried to write its mythical third season, not for anyone but myself, just so I could continue the experience."

This is adorable to me, that Mr. Crouch was basically writing fan fiction to continue the series that aired when he was twelve. I loved that he did this. He did also say in the Afterward that it has taken twenty years to create something (this book) that makes him feel the way TP made him feel, and that though he doesn't want to suggest it's as good as TP, he did want to express how much the show inspired him and that it wouldn't exist if it weren't for TP. So I'd like to think Wayward Pines isn't a rip off of Twin Peaks, but neither is it a tribute to. I think it's enough just to say it's "inspired by." Nothing wrong with that. But I guess I'll have to read more books in the series and see how they make the show to really judge that. I reserve the right to change my mind but I want to give the benefit of the doubt, especially from one TP fan to another. Mr. Crouch also wrote, "They say all art-whether books, music, or visual-is a reaction to other art, and I believe that to be true." I also agree. This thought makes me feel better about the kind of creative stuff I do, which is essentially reacting to other people's work by sort of mentally chewing on it, which is a valid form of, well, art. The art of criticism.

There seem to be a lot of posts on the internet that imply that in making a Wayward Pines series, FOX is trying to capitalize on the success of shows like True Detective (which is actually on HBO). Sure, money moves a lot of the decisions made for television, but in terms of the artistic angle, it is really Twin Peaks that is the bigger influence. That is to say, Twin Peaks is the real historical influence on shows like True Detective here, just like the many of the obvious descendants of Twin Peaks that many people seem to agree that might never have existed if it weren't for TP (X-FilesLostNorthern Exposure, etc.).* Maybe FOX wants to "cash in" but I wonder how that matches up with the folks who actually write/direct/produce the show? Blake Crouch writer of the novels? M. Night Shyamalan who adapted it for TV? Creator Chad Hodge? Honestly, I ask these questions but truthfully, I don't really care. If I enjoy Wayward Pines as a TV show then I enjoy Wayward Pines as a TV show. All of that being said, I know how people are. They'll say "Oh, it's just a rip off of Twin Peaks" but then also watch it and secretly like it, the way you would if you like a certain band you probably like other bands that sound like it. So there's THAT.

More importantly, I totally understand Mr. Crouch's angle from his Afterward of wanting to relive the Twin Peaks experience so much that he created an addendum to it in order to continue capturing the magic of it. Trying to prolong the ending of that world one is immersed in is what fan fiction, Harry Potter amusement parks, comic cons and cosplay are all about, which is pretty awesome. Even though I came to Twin Peaks much later then Blake Crouch did, who watched it in its original run, I can understand what he means when he talks about the devastation he felt when the series ended. When I read that he felt devastated when Twin Peaks ended, it was like he read my mind. I too, was deeply shattered by the end of the show.

When I run into people who have seen Twin Peaks, I want to talk with them about it,** because I feel like I'm on an island with my thoughts about things that happened on the show as if they were real life events; I have a little bit of a PTSD thing going on, and I'm looking for someone to talk to about it, in a sort of therapy kind of a way. It's kind of a low-rent schizophrenia, a form of not being able to distinguish between fantasy and reality, but only on a purely emotional level. I feel a little bit like a victim of some kind of trauma, and then I'm relieved to meet someone else who went through what I went through. I just know they'll understand me! And that's what I feel like fan fiction or fan communities are -- (besides a way to continue on the narrative of a departed show) -- a support group for having gone through the trauma that is the internalization of the show's narrative. Not only was I traumatized by the events of the show, but then I was equally as traumatized just by the fact that the show ended, as we always are when a show you love ends, especially if you've been binging on it at once as I did on Netflix. It feels a little bit like being dumped. I think that's part of the appeal of conventions for things that have been cancelled, like Twin PeaksFirefly*** and so on. Sure, conventions are a place where you meet people who are into what you're into, but it's also a place where you meet people who have gone through the same sort of "narrative trauma" that you've gone through. You cannot imagine the exhilaration I felt when they made the big "we're making more Twin Peaks" announcement last year. Like many other fans, I felt "Maybe I'll get some closure!" I just hope nothing happens to me before they release it in 2016!

Some them footnotes from above:
*Would TP have existed if it weren't for The Prisoner?
**I've written a variation of this point in Xerography Debt before.
***Fans wrote letters about both TP and Firefly such that TP had a second season and Firefly made a movie! Right? I have my info on that right, internet? Correct me if I'm wrong (oh, I'm sure you will).

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Freudianily Surreal Small Screen Oddity

Watching the biopic Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story I couldn't help but freak my shit out a little bit watching Sherilyn Fenn (as Elizabeth Taylor) and Ray Wise (as Mike Todd) get lovey dovey alternating with going to fisticuffs, which until Mark Todd was killed in a plane crash they (Liz Taylor and Mark Todd) had a passionate marriage. The biopic was a Twin Peaks reunion, only MORE surreal. In Twin Peaks, Ray Wise played Sherilyn Fenn's father's attorney. And considering that there's all this weirdo daddy daughter stuff in Twin Peaks for multiple lady characters and their fathers, this seemed Freudianily creepy and poetic. It's possible that the significance of how surreal this is can maybe less impressive if you're less of a Peaks fan, but if you are, these images are super surreal. Although Fenn and Wise don't share an immense amount of screen time together in Twin Peaks, the fact that they're both is it makes these moments in the Liz Taylor biopic weird and awesome and kind of pop culture-y-mashy-uppy in a way that is always interesting to me.

Fenn (Taylor) & Wise (Todd) being lovey.

Fenn (Taylor) Wise (Todd) fisticuffs!
Peeled off by Debbie Reynolds (Judith Jones)!

...and back to lovey...

What I really wanted to find was Liz Taylor's reaction to Fenn playing her because she was still alive when the movie was made. I have seen the Lindsey Lohan Liz & Dick movie and was surprisingly touched by it. Yeah, yeah, kitsch kitsch rotten tomato and all that but whatever! I liked it. So sue me. I did see that there was another Liz Taylor biopic with Helena Bonham Carter on BBC4 from what looks like about a year-ish ago. I guess I will have to go watch that one too. It's not even like I'm a huge Liz Taylor fan though I do have an appreciation for her. I did read her book Liz Takes Off about weight loss, and let me tell you...the recipes are super gross! I only got it because I like a preposterous celeb autobio. But I liked all the memoir-y stuff in it. I have seen a number of her movies so I guess, well, I'm noticing that as I lay all this out, I'm realizing that I guess I kind of know a lot about her now. How did that happen? Oh I know! My sister-in-law did some video installation art performance thing where she appropriated pieces from a variety of Cleopatra performances from different movie versions of Cleopatra, including Taylor's. This got me on a Cleopatra roll, where I added a ton of Cleopatra movies to my Netflix queue (this was before Netflix was prominantly streaming) but since my queue is so long, by the time the movies got there it was like three million years later, and I was all, "Oh, I see I was going through that Cleopatra phase when I put these in my queue." Putting stuff in my Netflix queue was like this reverse gestating period, where I'd put something in the queue and then by the time I "had the baby" (ie: the DVDs arrived) it was like forgetting about a baby I "conceived" (as in, getting interested in the movie).

But really that is all neither here nor there. The most important thing, what I REALLY found awesome from the Sherilyn Fenn-Liz Taylor biopic was how amazing Fenn was. She played such a wide range of ages in the film, convincing as all of them and so compelling to watch.

Well, OK, actually, the most, most, most important thing about this particular biopic was that I could capture this particular screenshot of Ray Wise as Mark Todd looking suitably creepy with two dogs:

One chants out between two pooches, dogs walk with me!