August 16th, 2007

community, tv

Lost article

Attention Lost fans: there's an interesting article by David Bernstein in the new issue of Chicago Magazine about Jeffrey Leiber, who is listed in the credits as a co-creator of the show. Here's a brief excerpt to whet your appetite:

The ABC series Lost is the sort of extraordinary hit that TV dreams are made of.

Centering on a band of plane-crash survivors marooned on a mysterious island, Lost has mixed sci-fi and plot twists into a huge phenomenon, attracting millions of viewers and propelling ABC out of a long prime-time ratings slump. When fans tune in to the show for the start of its fourth season in February 2008, one of the names they will see rolling in the opening credits as co-creator is Jeffrey Lieber. That’s Jeffrey Lieber, Evanston Township High School, class of ’87; U. of I., class of ’91.

Lieber’s success should lend itself to a heartwarming tale about a local kid who defied odds and made it big in show business. But the story is not that simple. In the Chutes & Ladders world that is Hollywood, Lieber finds his biggest triumph discomfiting. The network fired him after he wrote Lost’s original series pilot. He doesn’t know the crew or cast. He has never visited the writers’ offices for the show and never set foot on the set in Hawaii, where much of the series is shot. Lieber won his credit only after a fight for recognition with ABC.

Nobody needs to feel sorry for Jeffrey Lieber: because of that successful arbitration, Lost has served him quite well financially. But he finds that a hollow victory. "It’s money for therapy," he says, with a laugh.

Read the rest here.

  • Current Music
    Big Bad Voodoo Daddy - You and Me and The Bottle Makes 3

Can't turn away

Oh, what the heck, let's go back to the well. This one's complicated, so pay attention. From page 5 of Will the Vampire People Please Leave the Lobby? True Adventures in Cult Fandom by Allyson Beatrice:

The shock of the move sucker-punched me in the face right around Christmas, six weeks after I arrived.

Pages 7-8:

It all started with a party. A gathering of my fellow net sluts. A woman named Kristen, who would later turn out to be one of the most important people in my world, was throwing a bash at the Paramount Studios Commissary. ... I was in love with the idea and volunteered my time to the event. ... I was a broken down excuse for a person, but I was slowly rebuilding by being responsible for something, even if the something was as small as printing nametags.
     Here's a brief timeline of the milestones between printing those nametags and getting a book deal to write essays on my strange life-changing road trip through fandom:

January 2000: Kristen introduces me to Kara, a writer for

Page 9:

February 2001: Kristen and I, along with a woman named Maya Stosskopf volunteer to plan an arrival mixer and auction for an infamous party called PBP (Posting Board Party).

Page 54:

[Beatrice and her friends are dissatisfied with the way the Posting Board Party is being run. The PBP Committee challenges them to throw their own party if they don't like it.] A tall redhead named Kristen picked up the gauntlet and hatched a plan. There would be a party the same weekend as PBP, in Los Angeles, for half the price. And thus, Caritas was born.
     I had just moved to Los Angeles from Boston in October 2000. ... Kristen threw a fabulous shindig at the Paramount Commissary. ... We had proved that we could live without the PBP Committee. ... [W]e ended up at Mel's Diner one fall evening. Me, Kristen, Will from the PBP Committee, and Maya, a neutral party in the party wars. We had decided to make a compromise. On PBP weekend, Maya, Kristen, and I would throw a mixer on Friday night to welcome the Bronzers to L.A.

Page 171:

A stranger I met on the internet came to live with me in April of 2003; a tall, curve-alicious black woman named ita, with a sprinkle of freckles across her nose , close-cropped bleach blond hair, and an ever-present pimp chain draped around her neck.

Page 173:

I had fled the Northeast a year earlier, my soul sucked from my body by a crappy job that had left me nothing but an empty husk.

Phew! As the passages quoted above demonstrate, there is a real problem with continuity in this book. Consider: Beatrice moved to L.A. in late October 2000. Not too long after the move, she throws herself into helping organize a fan party at the Paramount Commissary. That much is pretty clear, but there's so much contradictory detail sprinkled throughout the book that you're left not really knowing what happened when with whom. In one chapter, the party at the Paramount Commissary is described "an arrival mixer and auction for an infamous party called PBP," but in another it's presented as being entirely separate from the Posting Board Party, an alternative event for "a small, disgruntled, bitchy minority" of frequent Bronze posters who resented the presence of less-frequent posters at the PBP. (No, really.) Maya Stosskopf is said in one passage to have helped organize the Paramount party, and in another to have been a neutral party in the dispute between the small, disgruntled, bitchy minority and the PBP Committee. Her "Give Buffy an Emmy" campaign is mentioned as having happened both "between printing those nametags and getting a book deal" and before she moved to L.A. And she says that she moved to L.A. a year earlier than her friend ita, who moved there in 2003.

Now, Vampire People is a collection of essays, not a novel nor a traditional memoir, so it's not meant to have narrative flow. But to the extent that she discusses specific events, it would have been nice to see a little attention paid to getting the details right. How did the editor not catch any of this? To be fair, I didn't see the contradictory details about the Paramount Commissary party at first, but they emerged easily enough when I went back to try to reconcile the two radically different dates for Beatrice's move to L.A., which I did notice right away. If I saw it, why didn't a professional editor at a small but reputable independent publisher?

  • Current Music
    Dandy Warhols - We Used To Be Friends

Once more into the breach

OK, this is the more or less the last thing I intend to say about Will the Vampire People Please Leave the Lobby? True Adventures in Cult Fandom by Allyson Beatrice. This is a passage I alluded to in my previous post, but I thought it deserved its own turn in the spotlight. From pages 51-52:

     PBP stands for Posting Board Party -- The Bronze posting board to be exact. It was an annual gala of epic proportions thrown by Buffy and Angel fans, for Buffy and Angel fans. The cast and crew of both shows would attend, along with four hundred or so fans from around the world. There was an auction to raise money for charity, and open bar in the VIP Lounge, very loud live music, and some sort of buffet buried in a back hallway somewhere. It was a gorgeous clusterfuck of a bash that everyone seemed to adore.
     Everyone, that is, except about sixty or so of us Bronzers who thought that perhaps things had gotten way out of control with PBP. Sixty compared with four hundred likely seems a small, disgruntled, bitchy minority. And we were. The day-to-day reality of The Bronze was that we only had about a hundred and fifty or so folks stopping by the forum every week at a regular clip. Sure, there were hundreds of lurkers who read the boards religiously, but we were there providing the daily fodder.
     PBP started out well enough. Generous handfuls of Bronzers showed up at a Hard Rock Café in West Hollywood and hobnobbed with producers and actors. It was way before my time, so I only heard anecdotes from those who were there, but it seemed like a good time. As the fandom grew, so did the party, and it became a distorted shadow of its once-intimate self. Old-school Bronzers would look around and wonder, "Who the fuck are these people?" No one knew.

Despite what I've written here in recent days, I neither like nor dislike Allyson Beatrice. Based on her own description of herself, I know I disapprove of some of the things she's done, and it seems we a difference of opinion when it comes to the nature of fandom and what it means to be a fan. But I don't know her. Some people can gin up hatred of people they've never met simply because they're on opposite sides of some issue (page 54: "I also became acutely aware I had chosen a side. Suddenly, the PBP Committee was my enemy, and though I had never met any of these people, I hated them all."), but I've never had the knack. But if I did dislike her, I don't think I could have made her look worse than she does in the three paragraphs posted above. I've rarely if ever seen a more extreme example of elitism and self entitlement. I would call her brave to paint such an unflattering portrait of herself... but at the same time I wouldn't be at all surprised if she doesn't realize that it is unflattering.

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    Hairspray - You Can't Stop The Beat
10-J, 10-M

Ten, no, twenty! random things: Augusut 16

Opening lines of the last twenty songs I listened to:

  1. "I have looked all over the place / But you have got my favorite face"
  2. "I have slept beside the winter and the green is growing slow"
  3. "A public service announcement followed me home the other day"
  4. "Sit back / Matter of fact / Teasing, toying, turning / Chatting, charming, hissing, playing the crowd"
  5. "A long time ago / [title] / But I haven't thought of you lately at all"
  6. "So if you're lonely / You know I'm here waiting for you"
  7. "Forgive, sounds good / Forget, I’m not sure I could"
  8. "Is this the real life? / Is this just fantasy?"
  9. "If you're down and confused / And you don't remember / Who you're talking to"
  10. "Echoes of reggae comin through my bedroom wall"
  11. "[Title] / Though I spend my days in conversation, please"
  12. "If you wanna make the move then you better come in."
  13. "1989 the number another summer (get down)"
  14. "Color me your color, baby / Color me your car"
  15. "Foals in winter coats / White girls of the North"
  16. "Starry, starry night / Paint your palette blue and gray"
  17. "I was a sailor, I was lost at sea / I was under the waves / Before love rescued me"
  18. "Sometimes I wanna take you down / Sometime I wanna get you [title]"
  19. "Her face is a map of the world / Is a map of the world"
  20. "[Title] / I fell in love once and almost completely"

I didn't do a list yesterday (nor the day before! I suck.) and I'm feeling lazy after those two long posts today, so you get, somewhat paradoxically, a longer-than-usual list of songs served up randomly by my MP3 player. But instead of naming the songs, I'll let you name them! If you recognize any of these lyrics, post the titles in a comment. I pulled the lyrics from LyicWiki, so I blame them if any of the words are wrong.

  • Current Music
    Payne, Freda - Band of Gold