The 2019 Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts at the Crest Theater

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For years we’ve looked forward to watching the Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts. Well, I have to say the selection this year was quite unexpected. That isn’t a good thing either. The real show was watching the stunned movie goers stagger out of the theater shell shocked and depressed.

One had a slightly bitter sweet message, but the rest were just depressing and somewhat disjointed.

Skin (United States)
The was the only American film in the group. It was sort of a skin-head white-trash revenge film. It was squirmy and uncomfortable with a totally unrealistic ending that sort of wasted the message of the movie. We came up with a lot of much better endings and resolutions.

Marguerite (Canada)
This was a bitter sweet story of an elderly woman and her caretaker. The message was about missed love and understanding. It had a bitter sweet ending. This was the only one that didn’t make me want to cry, scream, or throw something.

Madre / Mother (Spain)
A woman gets a call from her small child. He is alone on a beach. He can’t find his father. Twenty minutes later they are still on the phone and the tension is high. PANIC time. No ending. Seriously, there is no ending. It was like the start of a movie but nobody was allowed to see the rest of it.

Fauve (Canada)
Two typical funny kids (think of the boys in Stand By Me) go exploring what looks like some sort of mining operation. Bad things happen. I had tears in my eyes at the end of this one. It was well done but odd and disturbing.

Detainment (Ireland)
If you want to have your heart and gut torn out watch this half-hour film  based on transcripts of police interviews with Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, the English boys who were convicted of torturing and murdering two-year-old James Bulger in 1993. I was in tears after this one too. Yes, it was done well. Yes, it might just win. No I wouldn’t see it again.

I would not show kids any of these films. I wouldn’t recommend this group to any of my friends.

On the way out my husband, daughter, her boyfriend, and I discussed all of the live action shorts we’ve seen in the past. Never have we seen such a depressing selection. And most live action horror shorts I’ve seen are 200% better than any of these. And I don’t like most full length horror films so I’m not playing favorites on the genre. I’m just saying these films kind of left me feeling dead, and that’s coming from me.

We watched the movies at the wonderful Crest Theater in Sacramento, California, a restored movie palace of a bygone era. That made it worth while.

 

 

The Crest Theater was also the inspiration for my story “A Night at the Crest.” Maybe one day I’ll make it into a short film, or maybe a full length movie, or into a full length book (my original plan.)

A Night at the Crest

A Story from Marla Todd  (Juliette Kings)

Dallas Andrews was performing at the old Crest Theater in Sacramento. Jonathan Ward’s soon to be ex-girlfriend Beth told him that this guy was hot. Andrews could actually communicate with the dead. Dallas Andrews said angels walked among them. He claimed to see angels all around him 24/7.

Andrews was the darling of the clairvoyant, medium, mysticism, aura generating followers of spiritual awakening. He had been featured on most major network and cable television stations. He did radio shows, graced the covers of magazines and now was packing in full houses on a nation wide tour. He followed in the footsteps of Casey and Nostradamus. His book was on the best selling nonfiction lists.

Jonathan had tried to talk Beth out of it. He told her the guy was a fake. He told her that all of these guys were fakes, but she insisted. She told him it would be fun and enlightening.

“It would be fun and enlightening to stay home and watch The Wizard of OZ.” he replied, but she wasn’t going to budge.

Jonathan Ward, founder and editor of the West Coast Review, was 5’10 with broad shoulders on his medium build. He was in good shape for someone his age, which appeared to be somewhere in his mid 40’s. According to his drivers license he was 46. His sandy brown hair had soft grey streaks at the temples. His eyes were framed with long thick lashes. His prominent nose was straight and narrow, but it fit with his oval face. He was good looking enough to get noticed by women but not enough to stand out in a crowd, unless one noticed his almost unnerving pale ice blue eyes. He had almost a perpetual and too quick of a smile. “Always amused” is how he was often described.

His companion Beth McAllister was knock down drop dead gorgeous and she knew it. Aside from her occasional bizarre and childish fascinations with freaks like Dallas Andrews, she was also brilliant. Well, most of the time.

Beth chattered away as they entered the lobby of the Crest Theater. Her stiletto heels clicked on the floor. Jonathan always thought of it as her mating call. He slid his hand down over her perfect behind. She promptly slapped it away. “Who do you want to contact?” she asked.

“Judy Garland and Billie Burke.”

“No, it has to be somebody you knew.”

“There are no dead people I want to talk to.”

“Maybe Dallas can contact your parents or your brother.” She said gently.

“They have unlisted numbers”

“You aren’t funny.”

“Bitch.” he whispered then kissed her on the mouth and led her to their seats.

As they made their way through the crowd his eyes met a well-dressed, slightly handsome, thirtyish man in the lobby. Jonathan was sure it was a plant; someone sent by Andrews to listen in to the conversations in the lobby. “My brother was blown to bits in Afghanistan. Pass that one on to your boss.” The man looked calm but Jonathan knew he’d unnerved him.

The restored art deco movie palace was the perfect place for the grand show of bullshit he would witness tonight. The lights dimmed. A woman in a long green dress played a traditional Irish harp on the corner of the stage. At the other corner was a plainly dressed woman signing for the deaf.

“I bet there isn’t one deaf person in this theater.” He said to Beth. She rolled her eyes at him and squeezed his hand. The lights came up on the stage. The crowd cheered. Jonathan sat back with his arms crossed, glaring at the stage.

Dallas Andrews walked causally onto the stage dressed in a white silk shirt, cream colored tie and matching cream colored dress slacks finished off with tan Italian loafers with tassels. He was in his mid-to-late thirties with wavy dark hair and boyish good looks. He smiled sweetly at the audience showing off perfect dimples, practically glowing with goodness and concern.

“How innocent, how angelic, how phony” thought Jonathan.

The audience clapped until Andrews blushed on command and told them to stop. Jonathan glanced at Beth. She was transfixed. He had lost her, to Dallas Andrews, at least for the next hour.

The man in white told his story with all the passion of the finest bard or worst televangelist, depending on one’s point of view. It was all bullshit about dead friends and relatives who’d ended up with tragically only to “speak” to Dallas through his new found gift.

Dallas ended his touching life story with “We can all be at peace with those we love who have passed over. I knew at that time I had to help others to find that peace and end the pain and worry.

It is a selfish thing that we expect the dead to contact us. It isn’t easy for them. But I’m trying to make it easier, as their go between. I channel. I am the messenger. I am merely a vessel to bring the message of love from the other side.”

Jonathan said nothing as the audience sat transfixed. He jotted a few notes then put his pen away. The night might not be a complete waste of time if the timing was right.

Andrews proceeded to ask questions of tearful audience members who wished to hear from departed loved ones.

“I’m hearing from Mary, Martha? I also see black and white. A nun. A policeman.” Andrews said in the most gentle and concerned voice.

“I can’t fucking believe this.” Jonathan swore under his breath. The people around him glared. He ignored them.

They heard from a dead son killed in a car accident, a recently departed grandmother, a young wife who died from cancer, a career Army officer killed in Iraq. Jonathan’s heart broke for those who came looking for answers and the hope of any small comfort. He took notes while Beth wiped tears from her face.

After about 90 minutes Andrews opened up for questions and answers. When called on, Jonathan stood up with his usual amused smile. “Be nice” Beth whispered.

Dallas Andrews saw a familiar face. He knew who the middle-aged man in the expensive black suit and distracting ice blue eyes was. Then he noticed the incredibly beautiful brunette sitting next to him. Dallas smiled sweetly at Beth, catching her off guard. She smiled back then blushed. With any luck he’d she’d be at the reception afterwards and after that in his suite at the Hyatt Regency across the street.

“Yes, you had a question.”

Jonathan addressed the clairvoyant. “You actually see angels? Show me who the angels in this room are?”

Dallas smiled and nodded “You won’t be able to see them. They are spirits who reveal themselves to me, but they are here, all around us. Open your heart and you’ll feel their presence.”

Jonathan didn’t like the answer “Tell me Mr. Andrews, are your angels from heaven or are they from someplace else? It’s often hard to tell the difference.”

The room hushed. Dallas Andrews was obviously annoyed by this man. “I sense you have a troubled soul.”

“You don’t know the half of it.” Jonathan replied in disgust.

Andrews gave a sympathetic smile and help out his hands, palms up. “Let me try to help you find out where your demons come from.” His voice was soothing as if talking to a troubled teen.

Jonathan almost laughed. “Oh you’re good. You’re very good. Mr. Andrews, where I come from we have words for people like you. A few that come to mind are liar, con man, cheat, and oh yes, more importantly sinner.”

“What is your name?” asked Andrews trying to keep his composure.

“You know perfectly well who I am.” thought Jonathan. He smiled at the man on stage. “Jonathan Ward, West Coast Review.”

Dallas Andrews pointed at Jonathan then put his finger to his chin. He smiled again. “I thought I recognized you. You’ve seen with your own eyes, heard with your own ears the news I’ve brought to these people tonight. Mr. Ward, humor me for a moment. Think of someone you’ve lost. Your parents were from Alaska. They died in a plane crash, you and your siblings survived. Would you like a message from your parents?” he asked raising an eyebrow at Jonathan.

Beth took Jonathan’s hand. He gave it a quick squeeze and let go. Parents my ass. “Why should my dead mother contact you, a stranger, when she could contact me directly?” he asked.

Dallas toned down his voice. He turned up the gentleness and compassion. “You block out the passage for her to travel with your negativity.”

Jonathan only glared. “You found the information about my mom from the bio on my web site. You’ve been following my stories for the past year.”

“You must have great pain in your heart” replied Dallas in a comforting voice, as he put his own hand over his heart.

“How do you know my mother is really dead or even has a soul?” Jonathan shot back sarcastically.

“I speak with the angels.”

“Really? You not only see, but you also speak with angels? That is truly amazing.”

“It is a gift, a blessing.”

“It’s a lie.” said Jonathan calmly as Beth sunk lower in her seat.

Dallas Andrews smiled sadly “Ladies and Gentlemen, this reaction is common from skeptics. There are angels all around us.”

“Show me.”

“There’s one right next to you.”

Jonathan ignored the comment. “Dallas, do you believe in God?”

“Of course.”

“Do you believe in hell?”

“I believe in the intrinsic goodness of all mankind. So, no, Mr. Ward, I don’t believe in hell.”

“You will Dallas, believe me you will.”

Dallas lifted his chin in defiance. “Is that a threat?”

“No Dallas, it isn’t a threat. It’s a statement of fact.” Jonathan said cooly.

“What in your opinion is hell, Jonathan?” asked Dallas slowly and deliberately as if he was ready to pull out the big guns.

“I’ll give you a tour,” Jonathan thought to himself. He wasn’t going to take the bait. “I’ve seen enough. Good night Dallas. Don’t forget to check out next week’s issue of the West Cost Review for the end of this riveting story.” Grabbing Beth’s hand, he started to make his way to the back of the theater. Beth stopped and turned back.

“Just like Lot’s wife.” He whispered in her ear.

She pulled her hand away and hissed “Asshole.” He stopped by the exit door and faced the stage.

Dallas Andrews had already started to have a violent seizure. Then he started to scream and fell to his knees holding his head in his hands. Soon he’d feel pain like he’d never felt before. It was an ugly way to end the evening, but the man had to be stopped. Jonathan couldn’t kill, but he could do an amazing amount of damage to the living. Maybe, with any luck, Dallas Andrews would get the message and change his ways.

Jonathan smiled slightly and narrowed his eyes “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Amen.” He said quietly to nobody in particular.

Beth looked at him with wide eyes.

He scowled at her “What? Don’t look at me like a frightened cat. I told you he was a fake.”

“Jon, we can’t just leave.”

“Sure we can. There isn’t anything we can do here except be in the way.” He took out his phone and dialed 911. “My name is Jonathan Ward. I’m at the Crest Theater on K Street. Sacramento. Dallas Andrews is having some sort of attack. Horrible convulsions. Oh my gosh, I think he passed out. Please, he needs help. I’m not sure…there’s a doctor or someone up on stage with him now.” He paused “Yes…you’ve had other calls…help is on the way. Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Beth stood in shock. “Oh no, oh no.” she whispered, her eyes still on the stage.

“Let’s go darling.” Jonathan told her grabbing her arm like a vice and practically dragging her out of the theater. She passed a few of her wide-eyed friends, but he didn’t let her stop. She’d be blabbering all night to them about poor Andrews. He wondered how someone as smart as Beth could be so gullible and stupid when it came to crap like this.

They walked across the Capitol Park to his car. Beth was livid.

“We should have stayed. I bet you made him have an aneurism with your stupid questions. I can’t believe how rude and mean spirited you were to him. I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life.” She tried to stop him but he kept walking.

He gave her a disgusted look. “I was rude and mean spirited? At least I was telling the truth.”

“No, if he dies it will be your fault.”

“How will it be my fault? Should I have asked for his medical history before I asked him any questions?”

She grabbed his arm. “Aren’t you concerned at all?”

He stopped and pushed her hand away. “Tell me why I should be concerned with a fraud like Andrews? Enlighten me?”

Beth was livid. “Dallas isn’t a fraud. What I saw tonight was real.”

This was going nowhere. Jonathan changed his tone. He ran his hands down her arms and gently took her hands. “Dear sweet Bethany. It wasn’t real.”

“You never respect anything I say or feel.” She cried trying to pull her hands away. “What about his visions from his cousin and dead girlfriend? He couldn’t have been making that up.”

Jonathan held on tight. “His cousin Joyce died when he was two years old. Andrews had seen her once. And there was no girlfriend Patty. She was a girl in his dorm who died of leukemia. They knew each other but they never went out.”

“He might have loved her. He might have cared for her.”

“No Beth, the guy is a liar and a fraud.”

“You don’t know that.”

““Listen to me. Remember the first time you saw the trunk that belonged to May Woosley, in the Sacramento History Museum? You were on a field trip with your nephew’s 4th grade class.”

Beth blinked, her voice turned shrill. “What are you talking about?”

“Let me jog your memory. May died in 1879. She was just a little girl. On the advice of a clairvoyant, like Andrews, her mother sealed a trunk full of May’s belongings in the wall of their home. Mrs. Woosley spent the rest of her life searching for a message from her daughter because she’d listened to the words of a con-artist rather than listening to her own heart for healing. The trunk wasn’t found again until 1979. When you saw it in the museum you cried. You went home and cried all night for the little girl and her family.”

“How did you…that was 5 years ago, before I even met you. I never told you about that.”

“You didn’t have to. Beth, don’t you see. You knew Mrs. Woosley was lied to. Dallas Andrews lies to people too.”

A tear rolled down her cheek. She backed away. “How do you know these things? You always know things.”

“I observe and I guess a lot.” He wiped the tear away and kissed her. “See, you aren’t as tough and shallow as you pretend to be.”

The fog had rolled leaving the night air with zero visibility. He took her hands and wrapped the car keys around them. “You’re driving.”

She took the keys knowing full well that he was practically blind on clear night and completely blind in the night fog.

“Could you even see Dallas Andrews on the stage.”

“I could see enough. Let’s go.”

“If you could have seen his face.”

“I saw his face clear enough to know every single thing he said was a lie.”

She adjusted the seat and glanced over at him. “You’re such an asshole.”

“Just drive.”

“Where are we going?”

“Your house.” Her house was closer and he wouldn’t have to drive her home in the morning.

“You expect me to let you…”

“I love you Beth. Nothing, including your faith in a charlatan like Dallas Andrews, is going to change that. Not now, not ever.” He took her hand and whispered, “You are my soul. And despite the fact that you drive me absolutely crazy, I need you.”

Another tear rolled down her cheek as she drove in silence.

When they got back to her house and made love to her like she was the last woman on earth. She asked him again about the long thin scars on his back. He told her for the 100th time that he didn’t remember how it happened. It was during the plane crash when his parents died way up in the Alaskan wilderness, hundreds of miles from anyone. So final. So tragic. It made for a good story, even thought it wasn’t true.

Beth’s amazing body was as fake as the con man he’d just put down. Beautiful store bought breasts, a dazzling smile of the best veneers money could buy, cheek implants and a slightly smaller and straighter nose than nature had given her, violet colored contacts covering her hazel eyes, the trendiest hair colorist in town, a sprayed on tan, artificial nails and a toned body thanks to grueling sessions with a sadistic personal trainer named Bruce. Jonathan thought wistfully that there was an entire generation of American men who had never felt a real female breast.

The sad thing was that at 38 Beth would have been lovely without most of the work. At least her heart was real, despite her tendency to be shallow and superficial.

He knew he scared her. The only reason she kept him around was for the great sex and his political connections. What a joke – there were no real “best” connections in Sacramento or anywhere else for that matter.

Jonathan knew the best people to know where those brilliant folks who stayed away from the media limelight, away from the cultural and political wanna-bees. He often thought, “Give me the rocket scientist next door over those who claimed they partied with Arnold and Jerry, or knew the more influential elected officials and developers at the state capitol. Give me my own friends; the mom who writes historic romance novels, the high school science teacher, the master gardener and the emergency room doctor. These were the people who really know what it is like to be alive and human.”

The next morning the fog had been replaced by a grey drizzle of rain. He left Beth’s in his silver Jaguar XJR, heading off to the airport to pick up Lorna. A few years his senior, she was a golden haired, blue eyed living Barbie doll. She lived in Malibu with a view of the ocean. Tapped into the spiritual rhythm of the ocean, she fit right into the affluent new age lifestyles of her neighbors. They had to be some of the most entertaining and shallow people he’d ever met.

“Where’s the hybrid?” asked Lorna

“Dropped it off for new tires.” He thought of Lorna and her unrelenting social conscience – knew he should have driven the hybrid, then shrugged it off. This weekend he wanted style not substance. In a few hours all the substance he could ever want was going to be shoved down his throat.

“What are you listening to?” she asked in disgust when he started up the car.

“Metallica.”

She turned it off. “Have you heard today’s news yet?”

“No. I’m clearing my mind today. No radio. No TV. No newspapers. No Internet. No phone.”

“Tell me what happened last night?”

“Beth broke up with me. She said I was too intense. I recall she used also used the words weird, asshole and insensitive. Lots of tears so I think there’s a good chance she’ll take me back.”

Lorna grabbed his wrist like a vice. “What happened with Dallas Andrews?”

“Let go, do you want me to wreck the car? Where did you hear about Andrews?”

“NPR, Morning Edition. CNN. Fox. LA Times.”

“Was my name mentioned?”

“They said that in the process of being interrogated by you, Andrews had a violent seizure. He is now is now seeing visions of hell and keeps mentioning your name.”

He changed the music to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons “Funny guy that Andrews. I heard the story on the way to the airport. Didn’t realize Dallas Andrews was so popular.” He said giving Lorna a wink. “Grab my phone, it’s in the glove box. Check my messages.”

Lorna’s beautiful mouth turned into a slight smile as she listened to the messages. Jonathan thought it was almost a snarl. “You have 22 messages. The first three are from your office, CNN and Beth. She’s hysterical. The rest seem to be people wanting to talk to you about Andrews.” They headed down Hwy 50 towards the hills. “What are we going to do with you Jonathan?” she asked rubbing his neck with her left hand.

“Don’t do anything with me” he answered quietly. “Just let me do my job.”

They went up the hill towards Sutter Creek, to Ruth’s Ranch as he always called it, for the annual, get our heads screwed back on, clear our brains, find peace, drink a lot of great wine and solve all our problems retreat. He was looking forward to it. The past few months had been a major drain on his mental and emotional resources.

He loved the drive through the rolling oak forested hills. He spent every weekend he could with his cousin Ruth. But this weekend might be rough. He was going to ask his family about his latest job offer. This was his dream job. He’d all but signed the contract. Everyone would be there to give him their own jaded opinions. Most wouldn’t be too thrilled.

He looked over at beautiful golden Lorna dozing in the seat next to him. She was his older sister, his mentor, the one who kept him grounded. He imagined her with a halo and beautiful wings spread out in shining glory. Then he wondered if she was sleeping with her new best friend, a plastic surgeon named, Dennis O’Brian. Denny, as she called the man was nice enough, but suddenly Jonathan felt like he wanted to beat the crap out of the guy if he ever touched Lorna. Then he’d torture him and flay off his skin leaving him a quivering mass of, well, whatever. He had to stop being so protective of his sisters.

Jonathan’s mind skipped back Dallas Andrews. He felt sick to his stomach. It had been unpleasant business, but somebody had to do it. After all it wasn’t easy being angel.

Copyright Ó 2013 Marla Todd

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~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

AGT and Cocktails – The 2017 Voting Starts (and Vampires)

(Peviously recorded – the winners of this round are listed after all act descriptions.)

In the summer of 2017 I started posting about AGT, sharing the comments of the peanut gallery of friends and family, and telling you what cocktails Teddy was making for the night.

Last night was the first night of votes for the 2017 season. Tonight we’ll find out what the first batch of talented folks going in for the finals will be.

So here is a run down of who performed, and what was said. This gets pretty brutal. Vampires are not an easy crowd.

Christian Guardino 

This kid is only 17 and I gotta admit has a huge voice. Last night my family was not part of his fan base. The peanut gallery gave the following comments:

He’s not that good.

Like Catsup and Ice Cream, but the judges will rave about him.

The judges did rave about him but I don’t think he is that great.

Yes, the judges ate him up.

Our vote: NO

Artion and Page (Dancers)

This eight and ten year old pair is so full of energy and sooooo cute. I have no idea why I like them. I usually don’t like kid dancers. Maybe that was after years of a certain dance school exploiting and sexualizing their hoochie dancing baby salsa stars. Ugh. BUT this isn’t the case this year. These kids are absolutely genuine and precious. They are just funny. Their facial expressions are hilarious and joyful and real. And these kids can move – but they move like kids. They just fun. Puppy and kitten cute. By the way, they danced to Footloose.

Our vote: Yes (except Teddy who doesn’t like any of the dancers)

In the Stairwell

This group is made up of a group of fine young men who attend the United States Air Force Academy. They are all great singers, good looking, and just darned cute (suck it up Vlad, you’re not the only one.) I love them. One Tuesday they sang the Fun song “Some Nights. Even Simon stood up to cheery. They are fine indeed.

Our Vote: YES YES YES

Singing Trump

This is a guy who is in his 50’s, obviously a professional performer, and entertaining. Unfortunately he was off on Tuesday, with a bad choice of songs. He did “Shut Up and Dance,” which was weird and confusing done by “Trump.” Then he switched to M.C. Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This.” A sad fail indeed. Yes, the man will never get my vote.

Comments from the peanut gallery: He’s not fat enough to be trump. Whoever he is the man is a professional. Tremendous, greatly, and very very bad tonight.

Our Vote: No

Angelica Hale

A nine year old girl with big pipes. We like her. She is cute with a mature sounding voice. She can really sing.

Our Vote: Yes

Bello Nock

This guy is a classic circus clown in the old time Barnum and Bailey tradition. He does dare devil stuff. He is good at what he does. He makes it look fun. Alas, he didn’t grab any of us enough to get our vote.

Our Vote: No

Just Jerk

When I saw the name I thought of Jamaican cooking. No such luck.

This is yet another group of teenage boys (with a couple of token girls) who dance as good as an average high school drill team. Ho hum. Boring music. Boring Dancing. I don’t know why they were even chosen in the first place. This is where the formula aspect of the show comes in – they need people in every group (singers, dancers, teens, adults, kids, dare devils, etc.)

Our Vote: NO

Puddles Pity Party

This guy is a talented mature singer dressed like a sad turn of the 20th century clown. 

Comments from the peanut gallery:

Fast forward. NOW.

Simon should come out and beat him to death.

This is bull shit.

The song is horrible enough and even worse when he sings it.

Simon gave him an X.

Our Vote: No

Preacher Lawson

Comedian

We love this guy. OMG he is funny. He is a shooting star. Love love love! Look him up on YouTube. Preacher Lawson.

Our Vote: YES

 

Yoli Mayor

No good comments from the peanut gallery EXCEPT that she looked great and had a wonderful dress on that was super flattering. It was a bad song to start with and she can’t even sing it. I don’t know why the judges (Simon) are so intrigued by her. She is a lovely young woman, but not the million dollar act.

Our Vote: No

 

Trashy Roller Skaters

We’re a skating family. My daughter is a US National Roller Sports Champion. We DO NOT like this act. This brother and sister pair CAN skate. They have expensive boots and plates. They know what they are doing, BUT they are so trashy. She dresses slutty. He usually has his shirt off. They were spinning around and his head is right in his sister’s whoo haw.

Comments from the peanut gallery: All they do is spend. People are doing this in Vegas (naked.) All they do is spin. All they do is spin. All they do is spin. This would be a good 90 second opening for another act. If she wasn’t hot it wouldn’t work.

Our Vote: No

 

Darcy Lynne

This young ventriloquist could win it all. I can’t even describe how good she is (so here is a video.)

She is amazing. She sings better than 99% of the singers. She keeps in character with her characters. She has amazing stage presence. She’s a winner.

Our Vote: YES YES YES YES YES YES

And the acts that went through to the finals are:

In the Stairwell

Darcy Lynne

Angelica Hale

Preacher Lawson

Trashy Roller Skaters

And two acts saved with some Dunkin Donuts weird vote thing were:

Yoli Mayor

Christian Guardino

 

While we’re all watching this silly show my husband Teddy is making cocktails.

Forget the fruit and the fluff.

We’re going for the hard stuff.

 

That’s No Bull Shot

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 oz blood
  • 1/4 fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2-cup of cold beef concentrate
  • 2-6 dashes of Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste
  • A dash of ground pepper
  • A dash of cayenne pepper
  • A dash of kosher salt

Instructions:

Shake all ingredients in a shaker with liberal amounts of ice. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

Note: If you’re not a Vampire leave out the blood.

 

vm_eve

 

Bloody Bovine

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 4 oz of V8 or Trader Joe’s Vegetable Cocktail Juice
  • 4 oz chilled beef concentrate
  • 4 oz blood
  • 1 tsp of peeled and finely grated fresh horseradish (If you don’t have fresh use the kind in the jar. Don’t use the cream horse radish sauce because it will be disgusting.)
  • A pinch celery salt
  • 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 dashes of Tabasco Sauce or more to taste
  • A liberal sprinkle of ground pepper
  • 1/4 oz fresh lemon juice (just squeeze in a few wedges)
  • And a big green olive or two. Try a blue cheese stuffed one.

Instructions:

Combine everything over ice in a big glass (or two if you want to share). Stir. Ganish with a long piece of fresh red bell pepper.

Note: If you’re not a Vampire leave out the blood.

 

Now Let’s Talk BACON

vm bacon cocktail

It’s all about the bacon. And the news is good.

You can now have your bacon and drink it too.

 

How to make Bacon Washed Booze.

 

You can add bacon flavor to vodka, whiskey or broubon. And it is easy. AND best of all you’ll get to eat the bacon.

This is fantastic in a Bloody Ceasar or Bloody Mary.

 

Bacon Washed Booze

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound good quality bacon
  • 26 ounces vodka, whiskey or bourbon (some people like to use rum too. I say go for it.)
  • 2 quart Mason jars
  • Fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth and funnel
  1. Fry up your bacon on low heat until nicely crisp but not charred. You don’t want to burn it. Pour fat from the pan into a heat-safe bowl (like a Pyrex bowl).
  2. Remove bacon strips and put them on a plate that’s covered with a paper towel. Let stand for five minutes.
  3. Pour alcohol of your choice into a large mason jar.
  4. When the bacon has cooled slightly, add strips into the Mason jar with the alcohol. Pour bacon fat into the jar as well. Let jar stand at room temperature for four hours and stir mixture every hour. Remove the bacon strips (but not the fat)
  5. Put the jar into the freezer overnight. The fat will solidify and rise to the top, scrape as much fat out of the jar as possible.
  6. Using a fine-mesh strainer pour vodka from one jar to a new empty mason jar. The strainer should catch lots of bacon fat and other stuff.
  7. Wash the original jar used and train the bacon infused alcohol one more time into the now clean and empty Mason jar. Enjoy.

 

vm_rick

Make a dry Bacon Martini and garnish with a strip of bacon. Or try a Smokey Vampire. Yum.

 The Smokey Vampire

  • 2 oz. Bacon Infused Bourbon (or Whiskey)
  • 1/4 oz. maple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Orange juice (just a bit)
  • Blood (just a bit)

In mixing glass, stir 2 ounces bacon-infused bourbon, maple syrup, and bitters with ice. Strain into chilled rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with bacon and if you want add a splash of orange juice and blood.

Note: If you’re not a Vampire leave out the blood.

 

Have fun and we’ll see you next week for more ATG and Cocktails (and Vampires.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer TV Update (with Vampires, guilty pleasures, cooking, movies, AGT, and more)

Fall is just around the corner. I know that because I am painfully aware that books for the fall quarter for two college aged kids will run around $1,600 – $2,000, maybe a little less if they are lucky enough to get used books. But on a good note, the summer TV season is still in full swing.

I know I’m not the only person on the planet who is NOT watching Game of Thrones. I was turned off the first season by all of the gratuitous doggy style sex in every single episode. Really? Come on folks mix it up. I think that is an HBO thing. Seriously it gets annoying after a while (like after the first five or six times within an hour.) There were also a couple of other annoying things. I tried to read the first book and couldn’t get through it due to the writing style. It was well written, but I just couldn’t get into it. Hey, I have read a lot of fantasy, more than most, and a lot of difficult literature (which I loved) but I couldn’t get into Game of Thrones. Sort of like I can’t get into any Wally Lamb book (sort of like waiting in Hell, I mean on hold with any technical support department with any cable company, phone company, or eBay.) But if you like it then go for it. Have fun. As us Vampires say, “sink your teeth into it.” And there are dragons. Dragons are always exceptionally cool.

I also don’t watch Dr. Who. Never have. Never will. I will not discuss the subject. Period.

By the way, I have a funny bit. This morning my husband answered the phone at some early still-dark hour. He said, “Microsoft Technical Support,” and presto – the caller was gone. HA HA HA. I love that man.

So what stupid things have I been watching this summer? Not a lot. Mainly movies. Mainly small indie films. I’ll do another post for summer theater films (maybe) later. This is what I’ve watched and highly recommend that I’ve seen on cable.

Juliette’s Short List for Summer Movies You Can Watch On Your TV or Computer:

  • The Fundamentals of Caring
  • Shimmer Lake
  • I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore
  • Tangerine

Note: All of these are small Independent films. Good stuff. None of them will make you want to strangle me after you see them. Please see the ratings and descriptions before you watch them with kids. 

 

The Bachelorette

Late one night, while I was alone, I discovered The Bachelorette. I discovered Rachael. Who couldn’t love Rachael. She is a beautiful, lovely, charming, sweet woman from Texas.

I usually don’t get hooked into this stuff but I did. I watched it in secret without family or friends. I wouldn’t admit to anyone that I was following Rachael’s adventures. But I couldn’t stop watching it.

You know, if it was a guy picking out a girl from the usually room full of chicks in too high of heels and too tight dresses I wouldn’t have watched. But this was different. This was so different. I’m not going to even try to explain today. Maybe later. Not today (I have stuff to do and need to finish this post.)

She started out with about thirty guys who all wanted to marry her, or at least get the chance to find out if they wanted to marry her. Each week she’d give a rose to the guys she wanted to keep in the running. The guys all stayed together in a stable, I mean house. Some were nice. Several were real douches. Some spent their time back stabbing other guys. That got them nowhere. In the meantime Rachael went around the world having romantic adventures with the fellows and FINALLY picked the last THREE. Oh what a heart break and what a sweet ending.

She picked…one of my favorites…the right choice… Bryan. Woo Hoo. I wish them a long happy life together.

I hope it works out for them when reality sets in. You know the reality I’m talking about. How will they handle it when one of them gets sick our injured? How will she deal with his weird high school friend Kyle? What about their morning routines, holidays, decorating styles, views on how they’ll raise their kids, where they’ll raise their kids, morning coffee breath, what they watch on TV and a variety of weird things? Life after dating can get complicated – yes, that is what marriage is. Marriage is rewarding but it isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work, and it isn’t always romantic.

I still can’t believe I got sucked into this. Awww, must be the romantic in me. Hey, Peter, dude, you blew it.

America’s Got Talent

This is my flagship show. What I mean by that is that when I first started this blog back in 2012 I started blogging about this show every single week during the summer. All of us (me, family, friends) would gather around and watch. I publish comments from the peanut gallery – unfiltered and unapologetic. The honest truth. The show is good this year and now in the judges cuts for the top acts. I’ll be posting on it again… and YES WITH COCKTAILS. Do a search for previous blog posts on this show.

I have to add one note about this season’s “golden buzzer” choices. A small girl with a big voice sang a lovely song and received the “golden buzzer.” My daughter looked the girl up on Google and found that she’d been in talent shows all over Asia. No wonder she was so good on stage, so slick, and utterly fantastic in a practiced and staged way. Her parents have made her into an industry – starting with what they named her (after a famous singer.) Unlike many of the other children we’ve seen on the show I feel this child is exploited by her parents. There is nothing natural about her. This isn’t talent. This is force fed performance – like a trained dog or monkey. She is their cash cow – raised to be a cash cow. By the time she is 23 she’ll be washed up, but who cares – mom and dad can retire in comfort. It is too bad the guest judge who pressed the golden buzzer couldn’t have seen through the blatant exploitation of a small child.

Vampire Cocktails – two parts mixer, one part blood. Cheers. And never drink and drive.

Next Food TV Star

This season had a bunch of likable folks (except two who were just annoying.) In my opinion it was the best season ever. They are now down to the last three. All men. All fun. All guys you’d want to hug and have as neighbors. All great. My bets are on Jason, a wonderful guy from Tennessee with an accent that will melt your heart away. I could just eat him up. This man can cook and entertain. Let’s see what happens.

If you don’t want to win on this show do the following:

  1. Refer to yourself as “Mama” something.
  2. Talk non-stop about a distant country you identify with, that nobody has ever heard of, even though you are 5th generation American. Then rather than educating us, and sharing with us the wonders of your beautiful family culture, be so confusing about it that nobody knows what the crap you’re talking about.
  3. Be totally clueless in the kitchen.
  4. Show the other contestants how ignorant and helpless you are.
  5. Act surprised that you’re going to be on TV and have to talk about your food.
  6. Don’t know what a vanilla bean looks like.
  7. Make the other contestants want to cry when they are paired up with you.
  8. Don’t follow directions.
  9. Act like a Martha Stewart wannabe.
  10. Make some sort of shrimp and grits for every single challenge. Yes, we know you’re from the South, but I know damn well that folks from the South eat a lot more than grits.

Preacher

I love this show. I fucking love this show.

Life Below Zero

I’m hooked. Love Sue. Love the others too. But I wish they’d show more than just hunting and fishing. I’d like to see other aspects of their lives as well. We get a hint, but I’d like more. OK I admit, I watch for the foxes at Sue’s and the puppies with everyone else.

Forged in Steel

People make knives. No drama. They are craftsmen and women. They are awesome. Wow. Check it out.

Ink Master

Yes, we’re watching this weird and wonderful train wreck of a show. This year is a team effort (teams of two in competition against each other.) There is less drama and better ink than on previous shows. Thank you producers for raising the bar a little. And did I say better artists? Yes, they’re better than we’ve seen in years. Like most shows this is just something we watch together, talk about while we watch it, and don’t take too seriously. It is family time. Don’t like to watch it alone cause it just wouldn’t be fun. And Dave is still hot.

If this Vampire wants to tattoo your image on his arm…you’ll have to check out his entire body first. Hey, look at the Vampire Maman tattoo (yes, he has a tattoo.) Is that me on his arm? Hell yeah!

 

So have a nice week everyone, and try to get outside too. Have fun – as only the summer can give you.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

ATG 2015 (with Cocktails and Vampires)

Summer is here and for my family (key words: family, family time, children) America’s Got Talent is a silly, fun, tradition. It is an old-fashioned talent show full of magicians, 78-year-old singers, dancers, comedians, acrobats… and you never know who or what will show up. My daughter told me that some kids from her school auditioned. It would be fun to see them on the show.

Last night was the second week of auditions. It is the 10th anniversary of the show. This is our 6th year of watching it, my 4th summer of blogging about it. While we watch my husband Teddy makes snarky comments and makes cocktails.

 

Cheers!

Cheers!

I have adored talent shows from the time I was a child. I never saw a Wild West Show (we lived in the Wild West.)

When my brother’s and I were growing up we took every opportunity we could to see performers. Most were musical acts, but we were open for anything. We’d sneak into theaters, do just about anything to see animal acts and puppets.

We first met our good friend Innocenzio D’ Antonio when he came through town with a touring opera company in 1865. My mother convinced him to stay in California (and turned him into a Vampire.) He showed up on Tuesday, at my house. His opinion is always valued. But we didn’t see any opera singers – not yet, but I guarantee you there will be some.

So what I’m trying to say is that we love shows and a variety of acts. Plus our silly summer ritual is the only talent type reality show we follow.

America’s Got Talent Season 10: Last Tuesday’s Show and Cocktails

The first few shows are the auditions shot during the winter months. The finalists (some children) are called back for the live summer shows (where the audience votes.)

This is what we saw and our rude comments for the second show:

Howie, Howard, Heidi and Mel are all back. My husband Teddy likes to give the silly Heidi clap. He says I clap funny like her.  And of course Nick is back in his usual ugly ill fitting suits – but he is still darling.

Here we go…

The DM Dance Group: Wow. This is one of the best dance groups I’ve ever seen on the show. About two dozen young women in black not only dance in the most mysterious way but use facial expressions too. Teddy thought they were boring, but he hates dance groups.

Wayne Hoffman: This guy exploded stuff in his mouth, or more accurate he did not explode stuff in his mouth, but rather in a box. He was ok. Teddy asked why he didn’t use m-1000’s. Now that would have been an act to remember.

The Craiglouis Band: Two cute and talented soulful singers. The judges loved them. Everyone sitting on my couch kept yelling “wrong key guys.” They also yelled, “you picked the wrong song dudes.”

The Swollowing Vomit Guy, Stevie Star: This guy swallowed stuff then pretended to barf it back up. Parlour tricks at best. He would have made a good opener at an amateur talent show.

Ronnie the Dancer: A weird middle-aged guy who danced in silver shoes. He was buzzed off.

Fourteen Year Old Ballet Dancer: I didn’t catch this young man’s name because everyone was talking too loud and yelling rude things about the previous dancer. The child was a beautiful teenage boy. They mentioned a vision problem, but I couldn’t tell. He was lovely.

Shirley Claire: Wow. This gal was a spunky, 87-year-old vixen. She sang her heart out. The jumpsuit didn’t do much for me – it was a bit baggy, but she hit it out of the ball park with her personality and style. The song she sang was “I’m Going to Live Until I Die.” Good choice.

There was a treadmill dance group. Impressive but not as fun as OK Go. Click here to see OK Go and you’ll know what I mean.

Roller Skate Guys: Horrible. They were nothing but a bunch of rink rat session skaters. Please, stop saying guys like this can skate. Come to the USA Roller Sports National Championships with me this summer and see how REAL skaters do it. Yes, it is a REAL SPORT. My daughter commented, “I can’t stand people like that.”

A magician sawed Heidi in half. I know how that is done. Someone mentioned he should have put a sock in her mouth. Yes it was mean but we all laughed. Sure we’re rude and awful but we’re Vampires.

Then there was the shy girl…

Lisa: A pretty young woman wearing a white blouse and red skirt came out to sing. The nervous girl came out with a huge beautiful bluesy voice. She was on key and absolutely killed it (in the best way.) I only wish the best for her. As a mom, I’d suggest a different hair style next time to frame that lovely face better.

Young Blood: He was a long-haired young man. I think he was trying to look like John Claire in Penny Dreadful (Frankenstein’s Creation.) He drank milk through his nose and squirted it out of his eyes. Why yes, it was disgusting. Yuck.

Derick Hughes Magician: Just look him up on YouTube (Click here for the link). He was a lot of fun and quite unexpected. He could win if he plays his cards right (yes, that was an intended pun.) Yes, he is the guy who pulled the cards out of his fly and out of his butt.

Freckled Sky: A couple of lovely young dancers played underneath water while fantastic images flashed on a screen. The comments from the peanut gallery were, “not tech bull crap,” and, “I’d rather just seem them dance,” and, “putrid,” and, “contrived.” I kind of liked them. They went straight to the Las Vegas semi-finals without having to perform again.

As for those cocktails…

Teddy mixed up a batch of one of our favorites.

Bloody Talent

3 parts V8
2 parts Vodka (I use the kind in the blue bottle)
1 part blood
A dash of lemon juice
A dash of lime juice
A dash of hot sauce
A dash of orange juice (just a dash)
A splash of good gin (the blue or green bottle)
3 large green olives (stuffed with whatever you like)
And add a pickled green bean if you like. Might as well.

Pour over ice!

Thank you Teddy!

If you’re not a Vampire leave out the blood.

So have fun and if you have a talent show it off!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Family time – in the shadows and night

Chlorine Bleach.

You don’t need to keep gallons of it around because you shouldn’t be making that kind of mess.

That is one of the first things I teach new Vampires or stupid Vampires. I swear sometimes I wonder how they survive.

I swear to God if we tore out throats and had blood dripping down our chins like the creatures in movies we’d be extinct. Everyone would be after us. No really, they’d be coming with knives, and guns, and flame throwers. The government would get involved (not that they already aren’t.)

We’ll leave the monster mashery to the Zombies. Even Werewolves know how to be discreet.

I’m overhearing my husband and daughter talking. They’re watching something on TV about computer apps. A woman comes on who looks kind of like Barbie and she is showing her child something.

Clara: She looks like one of those perfect moms who like to tell other moms how to do their job.

Teddy: Just stab her in the neck.

Then they laughed about it. There again, some other method of shutting her up might work better. Don’t get a worked up – they were just kidding. Why would we want to stab someone in the neck. It isn’t a good idea to manhandle food.

They’re talking more but I’m doing something else, like trying to figure out what I’m going to write next. Then I hear Teddy saying, “you can’t just shut up can you?” Then they start to laugh.

Now they’re talking about what to do in North and South Dakota. They’re kind of impressed by the Badlands and Cluster, excuse me, Custer State Park. Now they’re talking about what states have the highest rates of meth use.

Yes, folks, talk with your teens about everything. It is fun and always interesting.

Outside the ghost is sitting on the back fence watching something out in the woods. Maybe ghosts of wolves of days gone by or maybe nothing. He looks up and flips me off. I curl my lip and show him a fang. Fucking ghost.

Back inside the child is still discussing statistics about the states with her dad.

All is well in the land of shadows and night.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

traditional vampire

 

 

 

 

Pi Day, Pie and the Ides of March…and Vampires

I got a call at about 2:00 a.m. this morning.

“Three major days: Friday the 13th, Pi Day and The Ides of March ALL right in a ROW.”

“Do you remember the first Ides of March?” I had to ask. He remembers so much of his days as a Roman.

“I didn’t hear about it until months later. I was in Britain by then. I was in love and didn’t have any desire to go back to Rome.”

The person on the other line (as you might have guessed) was Tellias, one of the Elders, and ancient Vampire who is a bit over 2,000 years old.

About 45 minutes later he was at my house and we were making pie for Pi day.

None of us were feeling like anything sweet so we went for savory.

Savory Cheese Pie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup small curd cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (we like the sharp kind)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup baking mix (like Bisquick but we don’t care what brand we use)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup French-fried onions (optional or choose some walnuts or something like that if you like.)

This should be called Half Cup Cake for all of the half cups of everything in it.

  • Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  • Grease 9-inch pie plate.
  • Stir together cheeses and bell pepper; spread in pie plate.
    Stir baking mix, milk and eggs until blended.
  • Pour into pie plate; sprinkle with onions or whatever savory topping sounds good to you. Sun dried tomato bits work especially when mixed in with the cheese. You can also add fresh tomato slices on the top after it is cooked.
  • Bake about 35 minutes or until golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes.
  • Serve with a nice salad of baby greens, dried cranberries and balsamic vinegar.

I opened a couple of bottles of Spiced Poet’s Blood and made a pot of tea as well.

Tellias and Eleora (his true love since the late days of BC), my husband Teddy and I all had a lovely time. Clara was with her Grandmama last night but we saved them some. Vampires don’t eat as much as Regular folks but when we do we tend to like more savory things and we always like cheese. Cheese rocks.

So happy Pi Day everyone and have fun.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman