Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Apr 20 2003

I wasn’t really sure what to expect at the Chinese…

I wasn’t really sure what to expect at the Chinese Star Wars book intro celebration my friend Azuma was doing on Saturday. When I got to the Youth Activity Center on Linsen S. Road I was blocked by security guards from even entering until I fished out my silver-plated pass. Inside a large room were a stage, a suspended platform, a bar, large arrays of Star Wars toys and posters, and a bunch of reporters wandering around. Dean, Kay and Random Gavin were wandering around somewhere, but I couldn’t see them.

When the event started, the room went dark and a huge laser show began, shining right into the audience’s eyes. Avert thine eyes! the show seemed to say, as two rows of Jedi Knights lined up on the stage, fragile glass-tube lightsabres held aloft. Azuma presided over the whole ceremony from the elevated platform, reading the Star Wars-intro-like lines in Chinese and English. The Jedi on the floor repeated after him. Then the lights came on, the Cantina Band struck up its famous theme, and everyone went to munch on free sandwiches while they looked at the toys and took pictures next to various storm troopers, imperial guards and Darth Vader, who seemed to hate keeping his helmet on for more than two seconds at a time. Probably afraid of “Helmet Hair”. The lightsabres were cool, but I know if I had one I’d break it almost immediately.

Afterwards we went looking for locations and found a nice antique shop on Jinan Road for a certain scene. The owner was an 80-year-old man, sitting in the back next to a walker watching TV. His Indonesian caregiver was hanging around but didn’t know anything about any of the products on display. We asked the old man if we could film in his shop, when could we film, should we call, etc. Through all of this he just nodded and said, “Yeah, yeah, whatever. Don’t call, just come. It’ll be fine…”

I think we’ll call. He would make a good actor, but I’m not sure he can stand up. Still, the shop’s almost exactly what we’re looking for. Later on that day we met up with Maurice, Dolly and Tall Paul at an Italian restaurant off Anhe Rd. It was a beautiful day, and the place had a nice big balcony out front. As is always the case when Maurice is involved, the food was excellent. We discussed the film, and I am happy to say that both Maurice and Dolly want to be a part of the production, so we now have their excellent acting talents to add to the mix.

We were having such a good time sitting out on the porch, talking and eating, we ended up being late to the Urban Nomad thing and missed a good portion of “Redneck Vampire”. Still, we did see a few interesting things. The venue this year, while still a warehouse at the Huashan Art Center, was at least better than last year’s. I talked with a member of a band who might be interested in doing music for the film; hopefully she or someone else will get back to me on that. The Ska band Walltigers was also suggested. I know Berta’s in tight with them; perhaps she will know how to get in touch with them. At the end of the event they handed out awards to the films involving surfing, skating, and Bobby-McFerrin-style body music. I spent the walk home putting all that shit behind me. Alphadogah, I’ve decided, is to be used as a diversionary tactic to make people thing I don’t know what I’m doing.

After a late lunch today at Jake’s, Dean and I went to look for Chinese actors at a rehearsal at the very IKEA-inspired Odeon II, and then over to an equipment shop. The rest of the afternoon was spent going from place to place in search of miniature Terracotta warrior replicas, of which we found five at the National History Museum. We then spend several hours looking for a cheap tuxedo jacket, but that search proved fruitless, with the exception of discovering pictures of our old co-worker from the paper modelling tuxedowear in a store catalogue. However, even the suits at Sogo exceeded NT$50,000! Anyone know where we can find a cheap tux jacket?

Needless to say we were tired and ready for dinner. We went to Friday’s for dinner, but we were told the wait would be 15 minutes, so we went up to put the Terracotta warriors away. When we got back to Friday’s the dimwitted girl at the door looked at us like she’d never seen us before. “Is our table ready?” I asked, but she just stared at us. It reminded me of one of those Mutual of Omaha shows where Marlin Perkins comments on the stupidity of, say, a yak while we watch it stare dumbly at the camera, chewing a piece of grass or something.

“Table?” she replied. I swear I could see her jaw moving in a most yak-like fashion.

We ended up having an excellent dinner anyway at Mr. Fish, where we ran into another mutual former co-worker (they’re everywhere!) Peter Parker Ma, who is still at The News. It was hot and muggy, our first real summer day. Everyone looked slightly flushed, and even Lipton Ice Tea tasted good.

I’ve been watching the BMW films lately. While I enjoy most of them, particularly Guy Ritchie’s Star and John Frankenheimer’s Ambush, my favorite by far is Ang Lee’s Chosen. While the former feature exciting car chases, Lee put together a wonderful little story and accented it by sending the cars and characters into ballet-like choreography; the music is also extremely good. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of giving a set of filmmakers a set of parameters and letting them go at it. BMW did it, Lady X is doing it, and I think we might be able to put something like this together for local filmmakers as well at some point in the future.

In other news, there was an article in today’s Taipei Times about the damn book. One point I should make: The words “Shock and awe” never passed my lips during that interview. Just so you know.

Tomorrow I’m supposed to meet “Da Shan”, the big brother of my friend “Xiao Shan” (of course). Da Shan is involved in filmmaking. I don’t quite know what he does yet, but he seems to be in a position to help us out with the film. “So, Da Shan,” I’ll say,”What exactly do you do?”

“What exactly do you need done?”

I guess I’m going to find out.

posted by Poagao at 4:38 pm  

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