Freudian Slips: January 2010

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

January 21, 2010

Fleshing Out The Lovely Bones

A scene from The Lovely Bones.
I considered it a long shot at best making the final cut as an extra in the just released movie The Lovely Bones. I just did not know how much of a long shot it was until I saw the scene play out in this superb drama.

Supplying less than meaningful atmospheric filler as a diner patron, my prophetic long shot arrives 6:34 seconds into the film after the screen fades to white with a voice over by Susie Salmon’s murdered character. This pictured establishing scene in a shopping mall lasts four seconds but is inconsequential to the plot and leaves me unrecognizable to everyone but myself. Being in frame with Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz and Stanley Tucci is fine company to keep but I wish there was more of yours truly to flesh out in The Lovely Bones.


January 14, 2010

Forensic Files and Polished Acting

I pressed my cell phone to my ear. “Hello.”
“Is this Joseph Tornatore?”
“Yes, at your service. Who is this?”
“My name is Jen. You auditioned for me for Forensic Files. Do you remember?”
“I do. Ugh, that was two years ago.”
“Well, you finally resemble a perpetrator whom we plan to do an upcoming episode on.”
“That is the first time that has been said to me. I’m interested in hearing more.”
The casting agent summarized the perpetrator’s rap sheet as if she were reading flavors from a menu at an ice cream shop. She then candidly asked me if I have a problem with acting out any of the brutality. I said that I would enjoy myself. She continued to explain that there are four other finalists considered for casting in this same principle role. The conversation hung.
“Do you still sport blond hair?”
I chuckled, “Yes, sporting a little less hair than two years ago.”
“That’s okay. Would you consent to our makeup department dying your hair a premature salt and pepper color?”
“Absolutely. Cut it, perm it, shave it, add real salt and pepper if you want. My wife has been telling me I need a makeover. I don’t think she had murderer makeover in mind but I’m a very accommodating actor.”
“Great. That's a plus.”
The next part of the casting process consisted of having until dawn the next morning to recreate a jpeg mug shot in the best likeliness of the guilty party. I got to admit it was the first time I used my wife’s makeup bag. I drew heavy bags of hard living under my eyes then made my eyebrows fuller. Where Lancome failed, drastic measures took over. I applied alternate layers of white then black shoe polish to my hair. I added mousse to my top hair and combed it wildly stiff. I then created a matching mustache and goatee from the shoe polish. A sly silvery fox aging prematurely beyond his years stared back at me in the vanity mirror. An hour of picture taken followed. I finally captured a still shot with what I considered the right facial unconscionable sociopathic stare into the penal system.
In the end, I received an email that the producers had chosen another actor for the role. An all expenses paid acting gig in sunny Florida to break up a cold winter was offered to someone else. While lamenting this forsaken opportunity, I had an epiphany. The perpetrator had wiggled his way out of jail before. He had killed his mother with a knife. He had murdered execution style two neighbors with little provocation. He was a suspect in two other vicious unsolved murders. So I asked myself. How partial could he be to refraining from icing the actor playing him on Forensic Files? It just might be the role of a long lifetime not getting this part.


January 06, 2010

The Dresden Dolls Make-up

As a middle age man, I may be in rare company to be a music fan of the band called the Dresden Dolls. Their brazenly raw speak-easy lyrics might be mistaken for anti-establishment nursery rhymes when delivered beautifully overtop a piano soundtrack by lead singer Amanda Palmer. Although it is difficult to classify their music, their avant garde punk cabaret genre, if you will, often portrays social disturbia. Explicit songwriting finds an unlikely home to first orgasms, sex change operations, pornography, masturbation and mental illness. Not your typical Thanksgiving dinner conversation, the taboo subject matter makes a place setting for carving raw emotions. Their lyrics conjure the flawed humaneness in a troubled society to which its youth can identify.

Amanda Palmer's expressive voice covers powerful topics with unbridled passion. She sings like a cutting edge compliment to Tori Amos with the ranging voicebox of Happy Rhodes. Listening to the music of the Dresden Dolls is both a haunting and hypnotic experience, difficult to explain but with a distorted reality certainty that you are engaged. Amanda Palmer's voice seduces you with a resonating paralytic quality that lulls you into a false sense of security. Like a semstress of song, she then beats you with a pillow before you look up to notice your blood on the casing's underside. You know too little too late how the blood got there but it is a moot point since you strangely enjoyed your time.

In other words, if I were decades younger and addressing a contemporary audience about this band's music, I might say "Omg wtf those Dresden Dolls are f-in banging. I'm listening my a$$ off. They emo kill it, do you feel me?"


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