Monday, November 7, 2022

Lola LaRue Variety Show - Love on the High Seas - Episode 6

 Here's the last episode of series 1 of the Lola LaRue show. We've already started working on series 2, so new episodes will happen, probably early-ish in 2023.

It was very hard to not laugh while recording this.

Monday, October 31, 2022

The Lola LaRue Variety Show - Episode 5 - "Do the LaRue and Look Like Lola!"

 Here's the next episode of the show I've been working on with my friend, Diana! We only have one more (next week) and then we're taking a little break to work on some new material.

Monday, October 17, 2022

The Lola LaRue Variety Show - Episode 3

 Here's episode 3 of the Lola LaRue Variety Show, where Lola gets some visitors in her apartment/dressing room.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

The Lola LaRue Variety Show Launches Today

 Hello! If you've tried to call or text me this past year, chances are good you got a reply that I couldn't talk because I was in a production meeting. What, you wondered, was I producing? Well, wonder no more. I was producing the Lola LaRue Variety Show! It's a new series (6 episodes long so far) that my friends Diana Costa, Lola LaRue and I created for YouTube.

I first met Lola way back in maybe 2009? Hard to remember now exactly. She was doing some gigs down in Hollywood and I would go see her late-night weekend performances. I became an instant fan and forced some of my friends to go see her. They also became instant fans. I hope you will also become an instant fan.

The first two episodes of her show are available now. Here are the links:

Episode 1:

Episode 2:

Please like and subscribe to Lola's channel. She needs 100 subscribers to get her owl URL.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Puzzle Pieces Always Falling into Place

 If you read my blog regularly, you probably read my New Year's Resolution wrap up when I spent the year reading books…and hated it. A piece of the puzzle of me finally fell into place in the past year, thanks to comedian Richard Herring and RHLSTP (Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast).

You see, Richard has a cognitive condition - which might not be the right way to describe it - called aphantasia. Part of his imagination is broken. He has no mind's eye. Ask him to visualize a tree, and he can't. He dreams and that all seems "normal," but daydreaming means something different to him.

Back when I was in high school, I had a best friend/boyfriend who was an artist. I would spend hours on the phone with him and I remember one time talking to him about what, at the time, I called "visual thoughts." I told him how scary it must be to have "visual thoughts," because I didn't have them. I assumed only a few people could actually visualize things. Lucky people who could then do things like draw from memory. I wasn't one of them.

Turns out, thanks to Richard Herring letting me know that not having visual thoughts put you in the minority and not the majority, I realized that I fell into that minority. I wouldn't say I'm 100% unable to visualize things, but from talking to people since learning about aphantasia, and reading about it, I'm much closer to the no visualization end of the spectrum than the other end, where people have the ability to hyper visualize things.

When I drift off to sleep, I can visualize things a little. That's when I work on the plots of my stories, or think about things I love, or daydream. The way I can sometimes imagine images when I'm awake I can best describe as someone holding the picture just out of my field of vision. It's on the side, in the periphery, or even behind me. I'm aware of it, but I can't look directly at it.

I assumed when you were told to visualize something, or picture something or whatever, that it wasn't a literal suggestion. That it just meant "think about." If you ask me to visualize something, I don't. Instead, I get my brain ready to access facts about that item. "Think of an apple" would send me into the following thought process:

Apples are fruit. They can be basically green, red or yellow. They can be sweet or sour. They can be eaten raw, or are often cooked and added to pies. Seasoned with cinnamon. They can also be crushed to make applesauce and juice. I like the way apple juice tastes and often order it on planes. I have three apple trees in my yard. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Ok. I'm ready for a follow-up question.

It is all words in my mind. If I want to remember something, I have to be able to recite it. When I learn tap routines, I memorize the steps, saying them, and then do them. Until I can say the order of the steps, I can't do them. When I learn music, I have to be able to say the chords or I get hopelessly lost. Everything I look at is converted to text in my brain. What does someone look like? I can only tell you the parts of their appearance that I've taken the time to convert to words. If I didn't look at someone and intentionally think something like "blue eyes," I will have no idea what color their eyes are. I cannot pull up their photograph in my mind and see what eye color they have. My memory is essentially spoken word.

I think this is why I don't like to read. The more descriptive the writing, the less interest I have. If a writer spends three pages describing a person's features, I'm not following along. I'm not creating a picture of the person in my mind. I banking important details in case they become plot important later, but I have no idea what that character looks like. I usually assign real-life people to what I read. I cast actors to play different roles. And all I see when I read a book is the words on the page.

I do slightly better listening to books because I can look at other things. But, as I've learned is the case with many of my fellow aphantasia people (aphantasiacs?) is that I would rather read non-fiction than fiction. I'd rather sit with the Audubon Field Guide than the latest novel by the hottest author.

I'd also rather write screenplays than novels. A screenwriter has to only put in plot important details and leave room for other creative people to inject their creativity into the project. It doesn't matter what kind of car you put in your script, you can just say "car." Unless you need the car to have some specific quality later, and then you can be more specific.

I think this might also be why I'm good at my job. I watch movies and write what I see. My imagination doesn't interject. I see what is there. And I think this might be why I'm good at figuring out how things are made/put together, how things work and how gears will turn. I also think this is why I don't have many memories of my very young life. I remember seeing photographs of places I've been better than remembering going to those places. I know I've been to New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Germany, England, etc., but my "memories" are the stories my parents have told and the music we listened to.

A few friends have said things like, "Why didn't you tell me?" Well, I didn't know! And you couldn't tell! There is no decline in my ability to learn. I was able to get my Master's Degree with honors. I wasn't singled out. This isn't a disability in any way. It is just different than what apparently most of the people in the world experience.

I'm fine. I just hate reading and have to look at reference pictures to paint. I panic that I might not recognize people when I see them, but I don't think I have a problem with that. My subconscious brain remembers some things, even though it likes to keep them hidden from my conscious.


(A picture of a dead tree in the Nevada desert just because I prefer my posts to have at least one picture.)

I might write more about this in the future, but for now, thanks to Richard Herring to push in a puzzle piece of what it is to be me.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

University of North Texas (UNT) Advanced Film Production Films - 1997

 Hopefully YouTube won't take these down. I've finally, after years, uploaded and posted the short films we made in the spring of 1997 in North Texas. 

Here's the one I was in:

Here's the one I edited:

Here's the whole playlist:

UNT - Advanced Film Studies Playlist

Here's what I posted under the videos:

University of North Texas (UNT) Advanced Film Studies - 1997

This is one of several of the final student films produced by the UNT advanced film studies class in 1997. I don’t remember everyone involved. I’ve pulled names from the credits on each of the films and will assume these are the students from the class. If you would like to see the specific credit received, and additional cast/crew credits, please watch the credits on the individual short films. If you were in the class and your name is missing, let me know and I’ll add it. If you weren’t in the class and your name is here, congratulations! If your name is spelled wrong, it was probably wrong in the credits of at least one of the films, where I copied these names from.

UNT Advanced Film Studies Students:

Seale Adams

Steve Andrews

Heath Banks

Chris Blackledge

Melinda Buckley

Will Chen

Shane Clark

Tad Dennis (Thomas A. Dennis)

Brandon Dodd

Richard Doss

Jim Driskell

Cindy Edgemon

Elisa Farrell

Deedee Freeman

Matt Hirsch

Ben Hogan

Norma Inocencio

Jeremy Jimenez

Katherine “Katy” Kirby

Diane Lowe

Jariya “Jun” Manoonkulchai

Heather Matson

Keith Miller

Clay Mills

Mike Moe

J. Michael Owen

Fernando Perez Del Rio

Heidi Quintero

Dan Riddle

Paul Salinas

Kristi Sandoval

Joe Scott

Chris Switzer

Camille Sharon Thien

Nathaniel Torson

Devrin Usta

Jeff Valeri

Matt Walters

Chris Weatherly

LouAnn Wu

Jack Young

I can’t recall, but I assume these films were all shot on 16mm silent film. The audio was recorded to mag and the editors had to work with reels of synced film and mag stock. This transfer was completely out of sync, so I’ve done what I can without making myself crazy to adjust the sync before uploading.  The way these films were made is much more expensive, time consuming and difficult than making the equivalent films would be today with digital recording and editing options.

All of these were shot in and around Denton, Texas, near the University of North Texas, in 1997. I think this was a spring semester class only, because I actually graduated in 1996 but stayed at school after graduating so I could participate in this class.

My VHS copy - which I don’t think I’d ever played prior to this conversion - has suffered from age. The films which were later in the tape look better than the ones which were early on the tape. The quality, therefore, varies from one film to the next just because of the VHS. If you were part of this group and have a better copy, please let me know! I had lunch with a couple of the guys from class and they prompted me to upload these films since they couldn’t locate them. I’d be happy to share a better version, if it exits.

Also, to the people who made these films, please drop a comment or find me on other social medias! I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to.

Don’t forget to like this video and to subscribe to my channel. It may not seem like a very big thing to you, but it is the most important thing you can do to show support for people who create videos on YouTube.

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