Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2162nd Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3610, October 19, 2006.
Golden State Colonial Convalescent Hospital, 10830 Oxnard Street, North Hollywood, California 91606-5098.
Telephone: hospital(818) 763-8247; personal (818) 506-3159 * eMail:firstname.lastname@example.org
|Nippon 2007 in 2007!||Denvention 3 in 2008!||Salamander Press #2645|
A couple of weeks ago, at the September Asian Cult Cinema screening, I commented after Black Mask, the 1996 Hong Kong s-f/super hero feature with Jet Li, that it was very much like Drive, the only live-action movie that Streamline Pictures had helped produce (as opposed to just licensing ready-made anime from Japan). Drive (also 1996, directed by Steve Wang), was generally reviewed as the best American imitation of Hong Kong action/martial-arts movies; so much so that it was accepted for screening at the 1998 Fant-Asia Film Festival in Montreal for Asian s-f & fantasy films and the same year's Yubari International Fantastic Adventure Film Festival [remember Go Go Yubari, the baby-doll assassin in Kill Bill, Part 1?], even though it made no pretense of being a genuine Hong Kong film (though it is partly set there); and it won the former's Best International Film award and a critic's award at the latter. It is also definitely s-f (except to Marty Cantor), with Mark Dacassos starring as a Chinese forced cyborg prototype with a "bio-device" implanted in his chest to turn him into a super-soldier, who escapes to America where he hopes to get rid of the implant by selling it to a defense industry that will take it out of him and give him $5,000,000 for it. Kadeem Hardison is the jive-talking Black dude that he picks up as an accidental buddy in San Francisco; John Pyper-Ferguson is the American Redneck leader of the army of hired killer commandos and biker punks that the Chinese hire to get Dacassos and the bio-device back; and Brittany Murphy is the teen airhead who wants to tag along with them because excitement excites her (she gets so much that it looks like she is having a 15- or 20-minute orgasm). Lots of car chases, shoot-outs, martial-arts demolition derbies, and Things Blowing Up along the coast from San Francisco to L.A. Drive is also set slightly in the future, when the most popular TV program in America is a sort of cross between Time for Beany and Doctor Who called Walter, the Einstein Frog; there are brief scenes scattered throughout the movie where TV sets, usually in the background, are showing Walter, the Einstein Frog. Streamline Pictures' participation with the production was pretty small, both literally and jokingly; we made the miniature models and Blew Them Up. Wyatt Weed, a Streamline employee at the time, got a screen credit as Second Unit Director. My involvement consisted only of keeping from falling over the giant model of the motel that was in the middle of the Streamline warehouse for about a month, and keeping a tarp over it so it did not get dusty before they were ready to Blow It Up. Anyhow, I mentioned that I had only seen Drive once, ten years ago, and that I would enjoy seeing it again if the Asian Cult Cinema would stretch a point like the Fant-Asia Film Festival did and show it. My sister Sherrill did not wait but got Drive for me on DVD. Last Monday, the 9th, she brought me to her apartment so I could watch Drive again on her 42" TV screen. Afterwards we went to Solly's for dinner. So I can now loan Drive to the LASFS or Asian Cult Cinema if anyone wants to see a really good s-f pseudo-Oriental martial-arts action comedy with lots of Blowing Things Up. Ribbit, as Walter would say.
The next day, Tuesday the 10th, Sherry took me for a long-delayed visit to the UCRiverside Library to accept Dr. Melissa Conway's invitation to show me the Eaton Collection and how the donation of my collection was fitting into it. I had a wonderful time, frustrated as usual whenever I visit a library that I did not have more time to just linger and read books. This was worse than usual because, due to the long drives from North Hollywood to Riverside & back, I got only about four hours in the library. About six librarians helped wheel me through the stacks - a privilege granted me as a major donor; the stacks are closed to the public, and people can only read requested items in a rare-book reading room. I did not see much of my collection, which is still being unpacked & cataloged, but I saw Bruce Pelz's & Terry Carr's fanzine collections all neatly on shelves. I was allowed to browse briefly through the library's collection of s-f prozines (each in an individual acid-free Mylar bag), and I found two of the three issues with my unidentified Jack Gaughan cover paintings that I mentioned last week: Galaxy, May 1970, and Worlds of Fantasy #3, Winter 1970-71. The library has found my copy of Robert van Genechten's Van den vos Reynaerde, which may be only the ninth copy in North American libraries, although Conway said that the "all-inclusive" list of library holdings is mostly limited to public and university libraries and a few public institutions like the Library of Congress. It does not include private libraries, and most libraries of Judaica at Jewish colleges or places like the Museum of Tolerance would not be included; and most of those keep examples of anti-Semitic propaganda & literature; so some of them might well have copies of van Genechten's book. Anyhow, the Eaton Collection recognizes it for what it is. They are still deciding what to do with my collection of Furry literature; whether to keep it intact, as probably the only library of Furry literature in a research institute, or intermix it with the Eaton's general s-f collection. They have a general policy against keeping duplicates in multiple places, and something like Richard Adams' Watership Down could arguably be included among general literature, s-f & fantasy, &/or Furry literature. (This was largely why they rejected Forry Ackerman's collection when it was offered. The offer included so many restrictions as to how the collection must be maintained and protected as to render it a gigantic and unusable White Elephant.) If they weed out the books in my collection that are already in their s-f library or the UCR Library's general literature collection like Olaf Stapledon's Sirius and George Orwell's Animal Farm, they avoid duplication and save needed shelf space; but that would reduce my collection of Furry literature to only a few obscure titles that would totally misrepresent what Furry literature is. A dilemma. Conway made a special exception to the collection's rules and allowed me to borrow one of my donated books that I had been working on when I had my stroke; Run for Cover by Tom McCaughren, a Furry novel that was only sold in Ireland and is out-of-print now, which would be extremely difficult for me to find another copy of. (It is an anti-animal-experimentation polemic full of cat-fox hybrids and two-headed animals that is coincidentally similar to those in Van den vos Reynaerde, but McCaughren blames reckless genetic and cloning experimentation rather than Jewish anti-Racial Purity miscegenation.) They have dozens and dozens of boxes marked "Fred Patten - miscellaneous materials". I helped them sort through one while I was there; it was a hodgepodge of early 1980s C/FO Bulletins, extra copies of the 1988 ConQuistador Program Book and daily newszines, the working drafts of some of my late 1990s & early 2000s anime articles, flyers from the freebie stacks at s-f or comics conventions, and general correspondence. I had a great time, and I hope that I can return soon. I had barely returned to the hospital when I got an e.mail from Dr. Conway saying that, while we had been touring the Eaton Collection, they had received an e.mail from a Ph.D candidate at Indiana University asking if he could come to UCR and see my donations on Japanese animation. "I would imagine that much of the material in Mr. Patten's collection would prove invaluable to my research."
Michael Burlake took me to the LASFS meeting on Thursday. Its main event was the news of Bob Tucker's death, and the tributes to him - I think. I was not feeling well, and I dozed through most of the meeting. We left without staying for any of the program.
On Saturday, my sister Sherrill brought me to the monthly Cinema Anime meeting. I was afraid that we would have to watch the anime on the club's TV set after the breakdown of the projection system the previous week, but the new Samsung projection system was in operation and it worked great. We watched half-hour episodes of most of the usual anime TV series, plus the first episodes of Pumpkin Scissors (a s-f political-military drama; it's the code name of a futuristic military unit), Ghost Hunt (with theme music that is a great Danny Elfman imitation), Aria (a beautiful but languorous (= SSLLLOOOWW) series about teen girl gondoliers in the canals of Neo-Venetia on a terraformed Mars with so much water the planet is renamed "Aqua"), and we started Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi "for real". Brett Achorn also showed the opening credits animation for the TV series (as distinct from the original DVD feature, which was previously shown) of xxxHOLiC, which seems to have kept its Gustav Klimt art-style. Eureka 7, episode #3 looked more spectacular than ever, but I still don't buy the aerial-surfboarding giant robots. I am extremely favorably impressed by Bones, Inc.'s animation quality for s-f dramatic action, though.
I spent all Sunday at the home of Robin Leyden & Paul Grunau in Canoga Park, thanks to Michael Burlake driving me there. Robin was one of my oldest & closest friends in fandom. He was one of the five founders of the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization in 1977, and he used to invite me onto the sets of the movies he worked on to watch special effects shots. I was on the set of 1941 when they shot the Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica pier knocked off its base by the Japanese submarine shot and go rolling down the pier into the ocean. Spielberg announced at the last moment that of course he wanted all the lights on the Ferris wheel to stay on while it careened down the pier & into the ocean, so Robin had to rig the miniature of the Ferris wheel so they would stay lit up. 2010 and War Games were a couple of the other sets I visited to watch Robin at work. He was my legal executor until I had my stroke and replaced him with LASFen. Unfortunately, we drifted out of contact during the 1990s when he switched from movie making to the theme-park industry, and he & Paul began spending months at a time in Las Vegas and Orlando and Tokyo as a consultant building & installing either individual components for the high-tech spectaculars or the entire theme parks. (After years of visiting his house, we did not find out until just before I stopped seeing him that he lived within walking distance of Kelly Freas' home.) Last week he invited me for old times' sake to visit him & Paul for the day & a barbeque dinner to catch up on what we had both been doing since we were last in steady contact. We (& Michael) spent the day mostly agreeing on the sad state of the movie & animation industries (DreamWorks and Aardman Animations are feuding, and Flushed Away will be their last film together), and watching his DVD of the Soviet Nu, Pogodi! cartoons. (We had independently discovered their release on a Russian DVD after we fell out of contact. I showed several at the LASFS when I first got the DVD at the Russian bookshop in the mini-mall at Laurel Canyon & Riverside that I have often recommended.) I had a wonderful day.
On Monday, Sherry came to the hospital with a jury duty summons for me that had been sent to Lee Gold's address. The rest of Los Angeles (Post Office, city & county public libraries, City Clerk - Election Division) has my current address at the Golden State Convalescent Hospital, but not the jury duty office, apparently. The hospital's doctors certified me as unfit to serve for medical reasons, and I signed the summons illegibly. Sherry took me to her apartment for the rest of the day to unpack more boxes of my stuff. We found the old 1890s complete volume of The Count of Monte Cristo that I have described here previously; about 900 pages of teeny tiny type. I am glad that I still have it; I consider it a family heirloom.
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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:
Toony Loons #16 - (Zeff) Yes, you understand what I think a Mason Award should be. ## It used to be hard to find a copy of the Constitution of the Confederate States of America, but today there are several Internet sites that have posted it. You can even find the lyrics on the Internet for the official national anthem of the Confederacy, "God Save the South", which was adopted by the Confederate Congress and ignored by the public (they sang "Dixie").
Wonderlust - (Frame-Gray) If you liked my review of Magic Tails and Twisted Cat Tales, did you get my 15-page annotated cat-fantasy novel bibliography at the "Are There Too Many Cats in Science-Fiction?" panel at L.A.con IV? If you didn't, it is published in Anthro #7, September-October 2006.
De Jueves #1500 - (Moffatt) See http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mpopeye.html for the explanation of the Bluto/Brutus confusion. ## The plot in Open Season is only intermittently logical. Postulating that anyone would toilet-train a pet bear to use the toilet was obviously only to set up the toilet (or lack-of-toilet) jokes once the bear is thrown back into the forest. ## I am not sure whether Marc Schirmeister is still in charge of my Fund, but since he does not have e.mail and is difficult to reach by telephone, he has pretty much turned it over to Glen Wooten to get the Fund practically applied.
Godzilla Verses #109 - (DeChancie) Yes, but what is a "genuine SF writer"? Also, it is a notorious fact that all movie and TV scripts are rewritten by committees of incompetent staff writers, so it doesn't matter how brilliant the author may have been
SFFAM #491 - (Merrigan) I should have said "tarnished" rather than "rubs off" when referring to the Sacagawea dollars that have been n circulation for a while. They lose their "golden" luster, in any case, which genuine gold coins did not. ## More specifically, the Evans-Freehafer Award is to honor LASFen for service to the club during the past year only, not for lifetime service. That could be what a new award is for, plus for service beyond the LASFS alone. ## Yes, green parrots are certainly exotic to Southern California. Crows were not around (or at least not common) during my youth, so I think they are fairly recent immigrants here. (An attempt to find out via the Internet when crows spread to Southern California, rather than that they live here now, was not successful; but I ran across an interesting story from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that ravens in North Cascades National Park have found that rubber windshield wiper blades make great toys, and they have been stealing them from cars that park at the visitor center there.)
I slightly Understand Liaden - (Gold) I imagine the Mason Award as being for achievements over a longer period than just one year, but not necessarily for a "lifetime" of achievement; although certainly those who have been doing good stuff for their lifetimes should be among the first considered for the award. I also imagine it as for service throughout fandom, to help make Michael Mason's name known beyond just the LASFS, which would be the case if it were for LASFS members only. ## Would James H. Schmitz count? Most of his cute animal pets turned out to be intelligent aliens. Fritz Leiber featured pet cats in several stories, notably "Space-Time for Springers". ## How long does it take plastic water bottles placed on concrete to degrade to an unhealthy contamination of the water therein?
Fish Out of Water #192 - (Helgesen) If you like the Coyote and Road Runner cartoons, you might enjoy Michael Bard's s-f drama, "The Coyote and Road Runner Show" in TSAT #48, October-November 2006. For that matter, for Chuck Jones fans, there was a fair bit of publicity during the year before his death that he was creating a new cartoon character, Thomas J. TimberWolf. There has not been any publicity about Thomas TimberWolf since, and some animation fans have been asking if the cartoons were ever made. They were, and they have just been put up on the Internet. Not up to the standards of classic Jones, but still worth watching at least once.
Vanamonde #700 - (Hertz) If there can be a planet named Plergb, why not one named Pahrump?