We shot Meteor Apocalypse in the Angeles National Forest which suffered a brutal fire in August of this year. The terrain reflected the devastation with ash and charred trees, purposefully chosen for their "end of the world-doomsday" look. The lovely Madison Mclaughlin played my daughter and the easy to work with Joe Lando played my husband. We withstood wind and dust in our eyes and tried to pull of the rather difficult task of acting as if meteors were crashing all around us...try getting 3 actors to all look at the same spot at the same time while losing the light...!
It was an easy job, a couple of days on the set and off to the next film (which I wish I had not had a dead battery in my camera for)..."Sex Tax" was filled with beautiful actresses playing hookers and a couple of interesting character actors as well, all in a funky little house in the valley made up to look like a bordello...oh well, next time I'll bring two cameras!
Okay so I am back in the saddle again after a brief hiatus from the show. I appreciate everyone's support and comments through this endeavor of mine...they always refer to B5 as the "little show who could" a reference to the "little engine" children's book and I can certainly see that it was not an exaggeration. People from all over the world are still watching it! Amazing...
Alright so I watched episode 15 ; GRAIL and as much as I thoroughly enjoyed David Warner as the "cosmic wayfarer" seeking the Holy Grail of Arthurian legend, I felt that the episode was a little cheesy at times. Once again I found myself shocked at how amateur some of the effects now look to my spoiled-state of the art-Imax theater drenched brain. I mean at the time these were smokin' hot! Now it makes the Pee Wee Herman show look like a Hollywood blockbuster...
That aside, I really loved the reaction to the seeker by the religious caste of Minbari, they had the utmost respect for a man who would spend his life searching for something which was very likely non existent....which of course brings up all of the thoughts of what WE are searching for as humans and what makes our own personal search worthy or futile...I mean so what if someone spends their life trying to perfect the lotus position and dying feeling that they have not attained perfection because hey, does "perfection" actually exist? Is anything actually perfect? What if you spend your life seeking material things? Is that NOT worthy of admiration simply because it is more "honorable" to do yoga? Come on, they are both selfish exploits and in some people's minds a waste of a life. It made me think of what it is like to admire someone simply for their passion. So many people have no passion for anything, their job, love, family...nothing. So when someone comes along and exclaims "I'm going to climb that mountain if it's the last thing I do!" or "I'm going to cross breed coffee beans with cocoa beans if it's the last thing I do!" it evokes admiration and envy in a way because they are passionate about something and clearly (even if they seem a bit mad) living life!
After all of that heavy thinking I still think the Nakaleen Feeder looked ridiculous. :)
Okay episode 16; EYES was great! I really loved it, it was well paced and had energy and a great bad guy : Gregory Martin with his crazy Heidelberg dueling-type facial scar and fantastically cheesy British accent which sounded like it was straight out of a David Lean film. I thoroughly enjoyed that episode. The whole psi corps thing is great, really and has so many current day comparisons to CCTV's and the whole Big Brother-no more privacy- issues swirling around modern society. It really is a great and almighty conversation starter.
The series I have coming out next year on Showtime (LOOK) is the same theme in a way because the whole thing is shot on CCTV's and computer cams and nanny cams , ATM machine cams etc. etc. showing really that there IS no more privacy and that you are filmed all day everyday...amazing and Orwellian!
I suppose that's the beauty of well written TV....to make you think...and I think I came up with a brilliant idea by writing this little essay : coffee-cocoa beans! I have to do some research to see if anyone has bred that bean yet...
I booked a couple of jobs on Friday so I thought I would go do something fun this weekend. The jobs are very low budget films, one comedy called "Sex Tax" where I play the role of a woman who runs a brothel in Nevada which is audited by the IRS and an action-disaster film called "Meteor Apocalypse" in which I play Joe Lando's wife (he was in Dr. Quinn, medicine woman). They aren't huge roles so this "fun" thing I was to do was not going to be a trip to Bermuda...instead I drove to the Huntington with David and we looked at beautiful paintings and walked the gardens in the scorching heat. One of my favorites paintings is Sir Joshua Reynolds's portrait of the famous English tragic actress Sarah Siddons. It was hailed at the time of its first exhibition in 1784 as one of the greatest portraits of all time; it still ranks among the significant works of late-18th-century art. I always spend more time in front of that gorgeous image then of the other more famous ones such as Gainsborough's Blue Boy which is also housed at the beautiful Huntington in San Marino, California...a truly stunning city with outstanding homes and a quaint downtown. They also had an orchid exhibition so we took a stroll through the humid hot house and finished with a stroll through the statue garden. Once again, visiting our local delights is a must for me as I continue to learn more about this state I live in. I am learning to use the Nikon D90 David gave me so that's a fun little diversion as well. Tonight, back to B5 viewings for the few faithful who read them! :)
I attended the Burbank memorabilia show for a few hours on Saturday and was pleased to see all of my old Babylon 5 friends. The event had a ton of guests but luckily we sat near each other.
Mira said that she was off to star in a film in Europe, Andrea is doing well in real estate and everyone was great! I was happy to see Jeff somewhat mobile and a little surprised that most of my cast mates did not know what had happened to him over the years. He is a mess physically and has dealt with pain, addiction and surgeries very much in the public eye on shows like Celebrity Sehab so I knew what he has been through and I was happy to at least see him out and about, albeit using a walker.
I must get back to my B5 viewings, I'm afraid I have been remiss lately due to other plans and the fact that I have changed representation professionally so that produced a flurry of activity; new demo reels and photos etc. etc. Pat Tallman actually led me to my new manager (Bonnie Love) bless her for sharing a good tip.
I hope everyone is enjoying the cooler weather, I know I am...I'm tempted to light a fire and get cozy when it's overcast and gray out. A lot of people have been reporting fatigue and sleeping more and/or deeper...change of weather is funny like that.
Here's to apple crisps, stews and roasts...pumpkins, hot chocolate and home made pies! Yippee!
In our quest to see more of this glorious state, David suggested a day trip to Ojai yesterday. We packed up the Land Rover and headed out around noon and enjoyed a traffic free hour drive up the 101. Ojai has a funny combo of spiritual seekers, tourists and plain old retired folk with a dash of bikers and meth dealers creeping along the outskirts...you see wonderful coffee shops and groovy help yourself-honor system book stores and then turn a corner and see a dilapidated bar complete with broken windows and cheap furnishings which must have housed some serious drinkers and seedier sorts at some point.
The weather was beautiful as we drove up towards Arroyo toad country; apparently a few years ago they closed the roads to prevent these little endangered rascals from being run over en masse. This stocky little, blunt nosed, warty skinned species must be pretty daft to get run over in large groups but who am I to say what gets protected and what doesn't in the Los Padres National Forest.
We had possibly, no, THE worst Mexican food I have ever had in my life at Antonio's in Ojai. Really nice staff but man was it awful...the chili relleno was actually a shallow bowl of microwaved cheese and somewhere within lurked what tasted like a pancake battered piece of celery.
However we went to a great little coffee shop (The Ojai Coffee Roasting Company) and had a wonderful latte served by a neophyte being directed by a chipper lady with quite the talent for making java...
All in all it was great to get out, we bought a pumpkin and some gourds for the Holiday season and took some great photos up in the hills....all in all once again a great way to spend a day...thinking, planning, enjoying and laughing...kind of felt like a vacation and that's what life is all about.
Well I have to be honest..I was not too crazy about "By any means necessary" and "Signs and Portends" and even though I was warned that TKO is supposed to be the worst episode ever, I thought it was better than these two! They just felt limp....boring and the acting was stilted. I thought the fight scenes in TKO were good and Greg McKinney was very good as the boxer and Theodore Bikel was great as the Rabbi...maybe I'm crazy but "By Any Means Necessary" nearly put me to sleep and that gal who played the head of the dockworkers was really annoying . The workers holding up fake wrenches and various tools in a threatening manner was just plain silly.
Once again (I'm beginning to sound like a broken record) Peter and Andreas saved it for the two of us by being interesting to watch and fine actors...thank God for them! O'Hare was good in the scene in TKO where he talks to Ivanova about sitting Shiva, I thought it was a very real and compassionate scene without a lot of his trademark eye rolling and stiffness and Ivanova is finally becoming a little more human as well...everyone seems to be relaxing into their roles which is of course to be expected half way through the first season. It's funny to watch it and remember the friendships forming and easy banter which would become all of our favorite reasons to come to work. There was a lot of laughter on the set and that's something which carries through to this day when we see each other.
I am looking forward to this weekend, some of us are doing a convention in Burbank, The Hollywood Show, which has been billed as a Babylon 5 reunion of sorts. So far Bill Mumy, Jeff Conaway, Pat Tallman, Andrea Thompson, Julie Caitlin Brown, Steven Furst and myself are going to be there. It will be be nice to see them....
I neglected my B5 duties this weekend, I admit it...I will watch episodes tonight and get back into the groove. Saturday we filmed a "test run" of my new webisode series "Claudia's Hollywood Roadkill" where basically I interview people and rant about stuff like silly lawsuits, bizarre inventions and dumb behavior
Yesterday David took me to Rancho Palos Verdes because I had never been there... can you believe that? 27 years in LA and I had never been there! It was very windy and the ocean was rough but it was a pleasant outing. The hill top homes over looking the ocean reminded me of the vista in Laguna Beach only without the charm...loads of cookie cutter homes in Rancho Palos Verdes and a HUGE personality-less resort called Terranea....what a waste of a gorgeous piece of ocean front property, the resort is awful, condos that look like a planned community and lack luster beige lobby...
Last night I went to see Capitalism: A Love Story, which was massively depressing (like Michael Moore's other films, especially Sicko) but of course, necessary to see. I felt utter despair after watching the film..I mean what are we supposed to do at this point? Big business has been running the country for years so how can we undo something so pervasive? The only solution is a revolution and I can't see that happening anytime soon unless things keep getting worse and more people lose their jobs and homes and the 1% keep getting richer and the 99% suddenly get off their butts and rage and protest and fight and burn and rampage...and then what are we left with? A bunch of destroyed innocent small businesses, injured bystanders and cities looking like wastelands? What ARE we supposed to do about the state of our country? Write to our representatives??? Come on....they gave 700+ billion$ to bailout companies and we don't know where the money went nor were told what it would be used for...does that sound fair or democratic? NO. People diss Italy for being heavily mob influenced in their Goverment but they have paid vacations, unions to protect workers and free health care!...we're run by Wall Street financiers and lobbyists who control every decision, Congress has no power and we're going to hell in a hand basket...what's the difference? We got the short end!
One of the things which struck me the hardest was the bakery which paid everyone equally; CEO and baggers alike..and everyone made money and was happy, commune style! Hey, it works! Greed doesn't work obviously but once again..what do WE do when we are not in control, when we elect a President who is also in bed with these guys (they all are, Democrats and Republicans)....
It makes one feel helpless and powerless when your vote means nothing...what a sad, sad film. I DO recommend seeing it though. It's funny because the film says exactly what the conspiracy theorists have been saying for 40+years and everyone said they were nuts...but they weren't, they were dead on!
Too bad FDR couldn't live to see his "Second Bill" put into action, then we wouldn't have all of these problems...the last thing I will mention is that it brought up the fact that after the war Germany and Japan both got pretty much what FDR wanted for America, education for all, health care for all and jobs for everyone amongst all of the other benefits which came with the restructuring of the countries...everything he wanted for us...but the greedy in our country ruined it for the rest of us.
Very sad indeed.
p.s. the photo is from when I went to the LA Zoo...I thought it was pretty and it has nothing to do with anything in this post :)
I have been thinking about my nieces and nephews and God children a bit of late...I think I am too quick to rush to the assumption that their life is not as "simple" as ours was and their childhoods must be in someway less pure but now I am beginning to realize that childhood is a combination of nature and nurture. One could easily be raised by two computer designers, live in a modern home in a modern culture and still enjoy the simple pleasures of childhood which to me are discovery and safety.
We talk about the dangers toward children; kidnapping and drugs, sex and violence, bullying and premature responsibility...yet there are some children whom these things do not seem to touch. I find myself at dinner parties extolling the virtues of growing up in rural Connecticut where we could roam in the woods and not worry yet my brother's kids live in not so rural Orange County and they manage to camp nearly every year, they have a house in lake Arrowhead where they spend loads of time outdoors and yes they have iphones and play video games but they seem to enjoy fishing and playing in the snow as well so is it because their parents enjoy these things or is it "in their blood"?Do they enjoy the outdoors because they have options which come with a comfortable life? If they were poor and depended on fishing to eat, would they love to fish? Probably not!
I see other kids who love nothing more than to watch TV all day, everyday and still others who you cannot get off of a sports field no matter what the weather...is it true desire or is it to please Mom and Dad?
All of these questions fly more freely in my head these days because I have taken the decision to not have children and I am more and more comfortable with the reality of it everyday. It would be easy to label it as selfishness or immaturity but it's a lot bigger than that.
I truly feel that being responsible for the huge thing called the "human experience" and knowing that this person you bring into the world can be so easily scarred by so many different things, so devastated by life itself , not to mention the chances of them falling into the darker side of life no matter how much you love them (I have many friends dealing with this now) simply is overwhelming to me.
I am not saying that life is not filled with joy and revelation but I also know that it is not easy and that I would forever hold myself responsible for that child's happiness, it's my nature. I think I would smother that child. I am also a supreme worry wort so that child would have never been able to go out of the house.
So those are my thoughts on parenthood, after a bit of therapy and long chats with friends and family and David I have come to the conclusion that this is the right choice for me and I am now planning the rest of my child free life with undisguised glee. Traveling and continuing to be productive and creative are key in this plan as is building up a financial safety net so I CAN enjoy life, not easy in this business....
My Mom used to say "oh...having a daughter is a must, they never leave you like boys do! If you don't have children you will be lonely in your old age!" Therefore I shall endeavor to be an entertaining Auntie and a sparkling friend so that I will have company when I so desire...the truth is that I enjoy being alone so that part doesn't scare me as much as the never ending responsibility, school trauma, cost of living, teenage angst, drugs and other childhood nightmares do.
Being safe as a child is tough in this day and age and we read with horror about the child abductions and sexual abuse cases which seem to be everywhere even in supposedly safe enclaves and sleepy little towns. I know that one of the most beautiful feelings of being a child is being safe; falling asleep in the back seat of a car on the way home from some family event and being carried into your home and put to bed. These people, your parents, got you home safely and took care of you and you trusted them.
I am very much aware of the fact that there are millions of kids out there who have never felt safe and that is a crime. Childhood is a precious time of self discovery and learning and to be in an environment where danger is your primary thought is a travesty. Once again I hear the voices say "you have to get a license to get a pet, to drive a car and to get married but anyone can have a kid!"...it's sad but true.
I heard back from the Children's Cancer Hospital regarding joining their book reading volunteer group and the response was that they were incredibly full...so I signed up for the Screen Actor's Guild BookPALS instead and felt good about the fact that so many people were volunteering to read to these kids and play with them. But then I got to thinking about average kids...how often do their parents read to them? How often do any of them find a mentor in their life, someone who tells them that they are good or smart or funny?
We all know that the education crisis in this country and other's is creating a generation of indifferent children (who also have the highest rate of obesity ever!) but what are WE doing about it? Spending money on anything BUT education. The funny thing is that I find the most fun in teaching something to a kid, they are sponges and they express pride in achievement so palpably that it is a joy to behold. I can see why people would want to have a career in teaching, it's just a shame that we treat teachers like second class citizens and pay them a tenth of what they are worth....
Maybe being a "big brother or Big sister" is the way to go...I also like the idea of matching the elderly up with young kids so that both groups gain friendship and companionship...so many things to think about.....
Well, well well...my stuffed monkey was feeling left out so we invited him down to watch with us (replacement for a dog, hopefully temporary because he doesn't DO much other than look cute and I look foolish walking him)
Death Walker..first of all I love the fish head aliens and now that Robin Curtis played their ambassador..I love them even more! I really, really like Robin, we did "Hexed" together in the early 90's and every time I run into her at a con or something, she is as funny and sweet as always, a real, normal, nice person AND an actress to boot! What are the chances :) (there are too few of us out there, trust me)
In any event Sarah Douglas was wickedly good as the Death Walker and the episode had that horribly delicious twist at the end (Twilight Zone like) where she revealed that the serum which will make you immortal has a component that you can only get from...yes...LIVING PEOPLE!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! So we will become murderers just like her long dead race of Nazi- like evil doers! That was a fun episode!
It's interesting to see the sets from a decade+away..in some shots they look good but others they look exactly like what they were: plywood, plastic and paint :)
The Believers brought up a heated discussion of the Jehovah Witness's practice of not allowing life saving surgeries (which I am sure it was intended to do) which led to a discussion of Michael Jackson being a Jehovah Witness and "does plastic surgery count?" etc. etc. It was a very heavy episode and Richard Biggs was, as always, solidly excellent..he was truly a fine actor. In Survivors, Garibaldi is framed and Jerry Doyle once again shows that HE should have been Bruce Willis!...he is comfortable and likable on screen and the episode had more bad guys, a guest lead gal with a huge chip on her shoulder, the resurfacing of Garibaldi's alcoholism and some really, really cheesy "Willy Wonka in the tunnel" effects during the low gravity-subway-people movers scenes....you know what I mean? Those scenes in that train like thing look exactly like the scene in the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where the families take the river boat through the tunnel and end up in a crazy psychedelic scene! The same visual effects! Well, that's the way I remember it in any event.
Once again I was reminded of fun times. I told David about sitting in the cockpit of the Star Fury (which was just a cockpit, the rest is CGI) when the Northridge earthquake hit...everyone went running, screaming out of the studio and left me dangling in the cockpit, strapped in and helpless in my Michelin man space suit and horrible helmet. (Those helmets would fog up all the time so they installed a little fan inside that the actor would have to turn on and off between takes so that the sound department wouldn't pick up the sound of the fan, so you had to remember your techno babble lines and the fan and be in a suit you couldn't move nor think in) I was a little ticked off that no one thought to save me so when they all came back to set after the quake mellowed out, I gave it to them!
I hope the show starts to lighten up a little....these dark episodes get us riled up before bed!