Monday, February 25, 2013

My Personal Zombie Apocalypse - PodCRASH with Chris Gore

Saturday was quite the trek! Not only did I work on a music video from sunup to sundown complete with four different set-ups and come in under time, but… I was also on Chris Gore's PodCRASH later that night. Talk about a red letter day (and that is not a euphemism).

When I said yes to Chris, I had no idea what I was in for (again: not a euphemism). I figured PodCRASH would be a fun little tete-a-tete debate with some fellow geeks, just talking off the cuff about zombie flicks. But, about an hour before I had to get changed and ready to drive out to Hollywood, I saw the War & Peace of instructions via email, as well as physical comedy and props being required!

But I knew my partner in crime, Matt Raub (we used to host a weekly chat show, This Week In Horror, together) would be there and he'd have my back. He did. But even Matt couldn't save me from the zombie apocalypse.

Upon arrival at IO West in Hollywood (on Hollywood… oh, so meta), Matt and I were labeled with our names in huge print (which would later be replaced onstage with our zombie movie cliché characters — Matt was "Guy You Hate" and I was "Hot Chick"… we were joined by "Black Guy", "Coward", and "First To Die").

As I hobbled onstage (did I mention? I'd busted my toe a few days before and regardless of the zombie cocktail specials at the bar, I was feelin' the pain), I was slammed with the first question: What makes you such a big zombie fan?" Welllll… you know what? In spite of my background in horror, and the fact that I have, indeed, worn George A. Romero's eyeglasses, I am not a zombie fan.

I got booed, right off the bat. So much for honest answers. Brutal, I tell you! Brutal! (I chose not to mention the fact I have never seen The Walking Dead, either… which just so happened to be the theme of PodCRASH that night… shhhhh.)

One by one, we were asked the questions by a bloodied-up, chainsaw wielding Chris Gore (yep: more meta!).

Most folks chose Night of the Living Dead. Ho-hum. My boy Matt chose Fulci's ZOMBI 2. Sweet! My answer was, of course, 1932's WHITE ZOMBIE, starring Bela Lugosi as Murder Legendre.

I had somewhat redeemed myself by that unexpected, quirky old-school reply of mine — someone else was voted off via audience reaction — but I soon fell another notch after the "Do your best zombie walk" demo. For one thing, I don't have a zombie walk, let alone a "best" one. For another… while I am perfectly comfy onstage, I'm not a ham. No karaoke for me, no beat poetry on open mic night, and certainly no zombie shambles. But, I'm a trooper. I thought my ouchy foot might actually help me out here, but I came off looking more like I was channeling Jessica Tandy on a slow day than 28 Days Later.

Still, somehow, I maintained my "Hot Chick" status for just a little longer. What came next was my downfall… In the PodCRASH email, the question said, "What's the BEST ZOMBIE in a movie, tv show or in fiction that is never actually called a zombie?" Easy, I thought: Rufus the cat in Re-Animator. But no. Chris put a twist in the question, and my reply no longer applied. Matt had my back, whispered, "Captain America." My stolen answer was acceptable, but… not good enough. (Thanks anyway, Matty... luv uuu!)

I was, (secretly thankfully) voted off.

Since I was unable to answer the rest of the questions live, here's what I would have said, had I survived….

Your zombie defense WEAPON of choice?
Vinyl records, ala Shaun of the Dead.

Best ZOMBIE KILL of all time.
Zombie vs. Shark in Lucio Fulci's ZOMBI 2

Walking Dead - we need to know your favorite character and why you stand with them.... Is is Andrea? Rick? Daryl?
Uh-oh. Never watched the show.

Your DESERT ISLAND zombie movie list - pick up to 5 movies to take with you into your shelter:
White Zombie
I Walked With a Zombie
The Serpent and the Rainbow
Shaun of the Dead

If you could SAVE ANYONE on this panel other than yourself, who would you save?
Matt Raub because he is my favorite "Final Boy"!


If zombies break in that door in the back right now, what is your PLAN?
I will cue up the Thomas Dolby and blind them with science!

Bring in your most prized zombie COLLECTIBLE and you will be asked to argue why it is the best.
T-Virus from Resident Evil 3

So, I may not have survived the zombie apocalypse, but I've lived to blog another day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

7 Sexiest Romantic Rock 'n Roll Couples of the 70s: Celebrating Valentine's Day & "DARK LULLABY" book special

I never did like John & Yoko as a couple. I always thought Gene & Shannon were kind of tacky. Rod & Alana were stylish 'n racy, but not especially lovey-dovey. Paul & Linda were cute, but not sexy. I adore John & June, but they're not really rock 'n roll. Debbie & Chris are more punk (as were Sid & Nancy, and definitely not "romantic" in my songbook!). Jim & Pam were beautiful and sexy as sin, but their heyday was more the swingin' 60s. Todd & Bebe are another fave, but there's only 7 slots! Sigh…

So in compiling my list of personal faves, I thought of the songs I most loved, written about these often turbulent, passionate relationships.

In my vampire romance novel, DARK LULLABY, which is set in 1971 and centers on a lead singer and guitarist who's in love with his vampire muse, there's a song called "Butterfly Kiss", which brings them together…

I interrupt your regularly scheduled blog to announce this Valentine's Day special! Anyone who buys an e-book of DARK LULLABY on February 14, 2013 — costs $2.99 — will receive a free copy of my movie guide 50 YEARS OF GHOST MOVIES

Download DARK LULLABY in any format through Smashwords or a Kindle edition through Amazon


Staci Layne's 7 Sexiest 
Romantic Rock & Roll Men & Muses

Mick & Marianne

Although I must confess I like the visual coupling of Mick & Bianca better (they looked so much alike!), I certainly cannot deny the enduring power of the song "Wild Horses" which was written by Mick (& 'Keef') for Marianne. It's rumored that Mick's secret love song "Memory Motel" was written for Carly Simon in answer to her secret love song about (maybe!) him, "You're So Vain". Mick wrote many exquisite dirges for amazing women, such as "Angie", after some stolen moments with his friend's wife.

Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones on Grooveshark


David & Angie

David Bowie wrote the songs "The Prettiest Star" (Angela appears in the concert film Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars; in a backstage sequence, David calls her by the name 'Star') and "Golden Years" about her. These two were a real power couple, long before there was terminology to describe it.

The Prettiest Star by David Bowie on Grooveshark


Lindsay & Stevie

So many songs to choose from! Lots of love and romantic strife here, and the talent to express it. Each of them wrote songs for, and about, the other. "Go Your Own Way" is probably the most popular one in relation to the relationship, but my favorite is Stevie's lament, "Landslide" as well as the lesser-known "Silver Spring" (which was written in the 70s, but not released till later), which goes, 'I’ll follow you down ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you (give me just a chance). You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loved you (was I just a fool?).'


Leonard & Joni

Leonard Cohen wrote some of the most gorgeous, luscious, sumptuous, swoon-worthy seductive songs, ever. "Chelsea Hotel" was for Janis Joplin, "Suzanne" was for Suzanne Verdal McCallister (but which Leonard dueted so beautifully with another lover of his, Judy Collins — who, of course was the inspiration for the CSN song, "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes… and, on that note, "Our House" is another CSN song, inspired by Joni). There are more. But my faves are the ones L and J wrote for each other (mostly in the 60s, but spilling into the 70s). She wrote "A Case of You" for him, and they each wrote a song called "Winter Lady."

Winter Lady by Leonard Cohen on Grooveshark


Keith & Anita

As was typical in these swingin' times, many ladies went from one band member to another; Swedish model Anita Pallenberg was with Brian Jones before she made the switch to Keith Richards. (There were rumors that she also had a fling with Mick during the filming of Performance.) The two remained together through the 70s, splitting in 1980, but leaving a legacy of lingering love songs. "You Got The Silver" is probably the most famous one.

You Got the Silver by The Rolling Stones on Grooveshark


Eric & Pattie

Certainly the most famous "Romeo & Juliet" of the rock & roll world, there is nothing I can say about these two which hasn't already been revealed. "Layla" is the most widely-known song about Eric's undying love for the blonde beauty (who also inspired "Something" by then-husband George Harrison in 1969), but my personal favorite is "Wonderful Tonight". (Side-trivia: the Donovan song, Jennifer-Juniper, was written about Pattie's sister, Jenny)


Bob & Sara

While Eric & Pattie may be the popular #1 choice, mine is Bob & Sara. They were married, had four children together, and he (my favorite lyricist of all time, space and dimension, by the way!) expressed his love, and their life together most beautifully in the epic outpouring entitled simply, "Sara". It is quite possibly the most poignant, and realistic, love song ever written.

Sara by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

I laid on a dune, I looked at the sky,
When the children were babies and played on the beach.
You came up behind me, I saw you go by,
You were always so close and still within reach.

Sara, Sara,
Whatever made you want to change your mind?
Sara, Sara,
So easy to look at, so hard to define.

I can still see them playin' with their pails in the sand,
They run to the water their buckets to fill.
I can still see the shells fallin' out of their hands
As they follow each other back up the hill.

Sara, Sara,
Sweet virgin angel, sweet love of my life,
Sara, Sara,
Radiant jewel, mystical wife.

Sleepin' in the woods by a fire in the night,
Drinkin' white rum in a Portugal bar,
Them playin' leapfrog and hearin' about Snow White,
You in the marketplace in Savanna-la-Mar.

Sara, Sara,
It's all so clear, I could never forget,
Sara, Sara,
Lovin' you is the one thing I'll never regret.

I can still hear the sounds of those Methodist bells,
I'd taken the cure and had just gotten through,
Stayin' up for days in the Chelsea Hotel,
Writin' "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" for you.

Sara, Sara,
Wherever we travel we're never apart.
Sara, oh Sara,
Beautiful lady, so dear to my heart.

How did I meet you? I don't know.
A messenger sent me in a tropical storm.
You were there in the winter, moonlight on the snow
And on Lily Pond Lane when the weather was warm.

Sara, oh Sara,
Scorpio Sphinx in a calico dress,
Sara, Sara,
You must forgive me my unworthiness.

Now the beach is deserted except for some kelp
And a piece of an old ship that lies on the shore.
You always responded when I needed your help,
You gave me a map and a key to your door.

Sara, oh Sara,
Glamorous nymph with an arrow and bow,
Sara, oh Sara,
Don't ever leave me, don't ever go.

Here is some rare footage of the couple together, timed to an equally unique rendition of the song.

= = = =

Want more rock & roll love? Check out this fab blog I found on '50 Songs Inspired by Real Women'

Friday, February 1, 2013 Steered Me Wrong

I guess it's ironic that I'm on day 6 of a cleansing fast, yet I still followed the links to a restaurant meal coupon I got in this morning's usual avalanche of email. I'm not even hungry. And what's more, I have vouchers I bought 6 months ago, and still haven't used. But, curiosity fed the cat and all that, so I decided to have a look at what's available in my area.

One of the search terms I always use when looking for a potential dining day out, is "romantic" — regardless of whether it's for a date. I like quiet; I don't like screaming kids. I like atmosphere; I don't like sawdust floors. I like soft music; I don't like flatscreens blaring football. I like booths; not benches. You get the picture, right?

So, I clicked onto searched in my immediate area, asked for "romantic dining" and, well, let's just say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Name: Taqueria Los Tres Hermanos. Nothing says love like fried burritos and sweaty siblings. Cupid (and his two brothers) would be appalled! (But the rusty bars going across the front of the establishment are a nice touch.)

Location: Van Nuys, at Sherman Way. Ah, yes… what couple will ever forget date night spent dodging gang-banger gunfire in the parking lot?

Interior: Not exactly crystal chandeliers and red velvet, is it?

Cuisine: If you eat this on a romantic date, the only thing you'll be reaching for in bed later is the Pepto Bismol.

My question… who on earth aside from maybe Fabio's evil twin would consider this restaurant "romantic"?

Cheap Rodeo: An Embarrassment of Riches

Yep, I count myself lucky, lucky again. Not only am I blessed with amazing, professional friends who are always kind enough to recommend me for creative projects — especially when it comes to directing, in which I am only getting started.

In just a few short years, I've done experimental art shorts, DVD featurettes, a 9-part motivational series, and now I've just wrapped a shoot on my second rock video.

The band is Cheap Rodeo, brand new on the music scene, but imbued with years of talent and carrying with them an amazing amount of gravitas considering their self-titled country CD (due out February 6) is their first.

The launch video, which I landed through MasiMedia Productions, is for the single First Night in Heaven, written by P.J. Soles (yes, horror fans… "that" P.J. Soles!). We're still in post- production, but I can tell you that there will be several visual elements woven together to capture the essence of the hopeful melancholia the song, which is about the death of a best friend.

Here are some stills from the shoot, depicting just one of the elements.

Stay tuned for the announcement of the premiere, and then even more about the second video, Chain Gang.