Monday, January 30, 2012

Hey, I know that place....

Here is some background art to the animation that I am working on. Originally I was just going to do just a minute or so of very rough animation to demonstrate the look of the show. Of course it soon evolved into a four minute cartoon of continuous sight gags. Since we are still somewhat up in the air as far as the voice actors and sound production, we had to deliver on the visuals. The cartoon kind of plays out like the Old "Pink Panther" cartoons.  Our protangonist just trying to walk from one end of Bourbon Street to the other.

As you can tell, we are trying to put as much local flavor and characters into the show. Not just for those who live here, but so somewhere one of the tens of millions visitors who have spent time in the French Quarter will point to the screen and say "I've seen that."
I have a greater appreciation for the labor involved in animation. One scene Otis and I included needed a galloping police horse complete with a mounted cop firing his weapon. Just the horse and gallop took me about 6 - 8 hours to complete.  If that wasn't enough we added a swinging brass band, a running Baron Somalia, SWAT teams, gun battles and a huge chaotic finale. John Landis would find this final scene a challenge to direct. 

I am limited with the software that I have at my disposal. Photoshop and I-Movie is about all that I have to work with right now. The purpose of this short is to create interest for future funding of the 23 minute pilot. We have at least a dozen scripts written, and when Otis and I team up with the proper motivation, plots and punch lines come faster than we can write them down.

Here is one of the locations in the story line, a Bourbon Street strip club named "Barely Sane." The romantic interest of the lead character works there. Athena DeCruelle, B-movie actress turn fetish model, turned dancer and dominatrix. Don't expect a dumb bimbo type of lady. Athena  is a shrewd, manipulative and brilliant woman of Bourbon Street. Granted, she's sleeping around with about half of the men in the French Quarter, but only one man truly loves her, this is his story. I won't make any promises on a delivery date for the finished product, I won't debut it until it's ready. Someday I may have to face deadlines, hopefully by then we'll have a budget and a staff to yell at.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I changed my mind, I don't like football after all...

I have written in previous posts that I never got into the sport of football. Never played it, never followed it and never even watched a game until I moved to Who Dat turf. I kind of appreciated the sense of community and how it brings this city into harmony. Recent events have made me reconsider that perhaps my first disdain for the sport was correct. 

I can't get the whole college football fanatisism unless you ACTUALLY attended the college. I was talking about LSU fans with the security guard down at the Pontalba building. I mentioned being originally from New Jersey, I never imagined that an entire state of non-alumni would give two shits about the college team. Back in Jersey no one but a Rutgers graduate would even watch a Crimson Knights game. I don't even know the name of Princeton's team, as many times as have been in Princeton NJ. The guard chuckled about how big college football is in the south. "We're big on all football down here. Mississip, Bama, Texans are the worst. Your Ivy leages don't turn out football players, they turn out millionaires."

For those of you outside of the Big Easy, you may or may not have heard about an incident that took place here in the French Quarter the night of a rival game between Alabama and LSU.  Alabama fans flooded into the Quarter to watch the game, I listened all night to cheers and hoots from Bourbon Street fifty feet away from my balcony. Alabama won the game,  so the LSU fans who out numbered the rivals 10 to 1 in the Quarter drank themselves stupid. I sincerely expected some form of violence that night.  LSU fans down here take their team more seriously than careers or families., I believe a small percentage of the team's fans couldn't spell L-S-U. I could drive you around New Orleans and point out houses painted the purple and gold team colors. During the day of the game, several vintage cars painted LSU colors cruised through the Quarter.

So following the LSU loss, Alabama (I was surprised to hear that they had a college) rejoiced and celebrated through out the Quarter as Tiger fans drank themselves unconscious. This is the story of one of them.  Synopsis of what happened: A LSU fan passed out at the Krystal Burger in the 100 block of Bourbon. That block is by far the most notorious and usually the most dangerous. Most of the high profile shootings took place in front of the Krystal Burger joint. The chalk outlines of the fallen are washed away by urine with in hours. The Krystal is like a 24 hour White Castle style place with counters at the windows that overlook Hustler Hollywood's storefront. As you dine on sliders, you can gaze upon mannequins dressed in S&M garb with each other on leashes. I'm not exaggerating any of this.

The LSU fan passed out at the window counter after one too many Handgrenades. First of all, he was an idiot with lousy friends. To get passed out drunk on Bourbon with no one trustworthy enough to watch your back is asking for trouble. He's lucky that he didn't wander down to Burgundy to pass out. If he had, he may not have woken up, or if he did wake up he probably would have been naked and covered with excrement of the homeless.  Instead, he was discovered by Alabama fans exiting the Krystal. Garbage was left on him, water dumped on him, what you might expect from individuals who follow the careers of football players more than their own career advances.

One of the Alabama fans, Brian Downing, 32,  evidently the closet homosexual of the group decides to whip out his junk and start to simulate sex with the unconscious LSU fan's ear by climbing up on a nearby chair. Yea, when I'm out drinking with my buddies, we are always trying to see who's penis is small enough to fit in another man's ear.  Due to the lack of motor skills and judgment, the ear rapist Mr Downing slips making full facial contact with the man in the purple and gold.  After he finished rubbing his male genitals on the face of an unwilling victim,  Downing stood in the middle of the restaurant with penis still exposed as his friends cheered.

Mr. Downing, understandably growing up in Alabama has forced you to feel the need to remain in the closet about your homosexuality. There were better ways to out yourself. If you were so drunk that you felt able to express yourself in front of your friends, then you should have gone down a few blocks to St Ann Street. There you could have found dozens of WILLING partners who would have been more than happy to allow you to rub your penis all over them, and they would have precipitated to teabagging on your face. Perhaps your future cellmate will be a LSU fan who will help you discover yourself in a healthier fashion.

Ironically, in High School I was bullied by the jocks who called me a fagot because I never played sports and liked art. I never tried to penetrate the ear of a rival artist with my penis. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Preview of a preview preview...

Here's a short video that I  started and won't finish. I was working on for 2011. My editor called mid way through this and stressed the urgency for a short color "trailer" demonstrate what we are capable of doing. We are in the process of finding funding for the pilot episode, so a slick short demo of show was in order. Until an angel drops a warm wad of cash in our laps, I am challenged as to what kind of animation I can do with my limited resources. Working only with Photoshop and Imovie, this really stretches and tests my creative abilities. 


This video is a parody of Frank Miller's SIN CITY. I love his work and wanted to see what my characters and backgrounds would look like borrowing his style. My editor loved it, and we may work the style sparingly into our project. The 4 minute color trailer that I am now working on will be more in the vein of a Pink Panther story line.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Drunk Stripper Storage

My front door is about one hundred feet from the infamous Bourbon Street. A short stagger, or on some nights crawl home for when I am so inclined. It has it's advantages and a few disadvantages. Often on the weekends there is a constant dull roar of the crowds, brass bands, police sirens and loud cheers during football games being watched on a thousand or so televisions with in earshot.  It's like living next door to a football stadium. I don't mind it. 

One night while working on my computer, I heard a couple of pops and several hundred people scream followed by the thunder of the same several hundred stampeading. Followed by sirens.  People wonder why I don't have a television in my apartment, why would I even need one. I live the life of a background actor in the middle of the most entertaining city in the world. Just when you wake up in the morning you pray today will be a comedy, not a tragedy. You never really know until you go to bed each night.

Sometimes you can tell when you first wake up in the morning. My first impression of my new landlady was she is not one to fuck around with. She seemed strict and I did not want to piss her off. Shortly after I moved in, I received a phone call from a good friend who bar tended the graveyard shift at a Bourbon Street strip club. My buddy the bartender figured he was doing me a favor by offering my couch to crash on to a very intoxicated and somewhat wasted dancer.  I never in my life thought that I would ever turn down such a delivery. I had to Tarantino on his ass.

"Mmmm! Goddamn, Styles! This is some serious gourmet shit! Me and Twinkles would be happy with some freeze-dried Taster's Choice right, but he springs this serious GOURMET shit on us!  Is this Cafe DuMonde?"

"Knock it off Otis, I don't need you to tell me how fucking good my coffee is, okay? I'm the one who walks down to the French Market and buys it. But you know what's on my mind right now? It AIN'T the Chicory in my coffee, it's the drunk stripper in my stairwell. When you came walking up here on Toulouse, did you notice a sign out in front of my apartment that said "Drunk Stripper Storage"? Did you notice a sign out in front of my apartment that said "Drunk Stripper Storage"? You know WHY you didn't see that sign on Toulouse? 'Cause it ain't there, 'cause storing drunk strippers ain't my fucking business, that's why! 

Now don't you understand that if my landlady comes in and finds a drunk stripper in her stairwell, I'm gonna get evicted. No letter of complaint, no increased security deposit – fuckin' EVICTED. And I don't wanna get fuckin' evicted.  Now I wanna help ya out Otis, I really do. But I ain't gonna lose my apartment doin' it. There's nothin' you can say that's gonna make me want to be homeless, IS THERE? My landlady will be coming by in about an hour and a half.  You have to call some cab companies? I suggest you start."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I got one complaint....

I have been praising New Orleans ever since I set foot down here. The culture, the music and the people. Let me get this off my chest,  what's with the frickin attitude like the State of Louisiana owes you? Every time I turn around someone is trying to figure out a new way to scam the state, city or a corporation out of money. A couple of days ago I mentioned to someone that money was tight and I had to go food shopping. "Don't you have a food stamp card?" they asked. "No, I earn too much." "Does your boss pay you with a check or cash?" "Not that it's any of your business, but cash." DUUUUUUUH! Lie on the application." That exemplifies the mentality down here.

Not too long ago I was standing in line at a check out behind a young guy who had an armful of candy and soda. The clerk rings up about $9 worth of crap, he whips out his Louisiana Purchase card to pay for the Twizzlers. I know we have the technology with bar codes to limit what can be purchased by a card. Make it so recipients can buy potatoes, not potato chips, no frozen pizza, no t-bone steaks. Rice, beans, vegetables and milk, that's it. You want to buy $10 worth of Fritoes, get a goddamn job. I have a two jobs and can't be wasting my money on $9 worth of candy. 

I heard a bit of an uproar over the suggestion of making welfare recipients take drug tests in order to be eligible for any state assistance. "Oh! That's unconstitutional, that's discriminatory, that's invasion of privacy..." Wait, some folks have to pass drug tests in order to WORK for a PAYCHECK, but it's not fair that you have to pass one in order to be GIVEN money? Don't get me wrong, I am an advocate for the legalization of some recreational drugs, but only if you WORK for your dope.  Some people believe they are entitled to sit at home and get high, while the taxpayers foot the bill? What are you? High? Don't answer that...

I knew a local and he called himself a "filmmaker" even though he couldn't direct a funeral down a one way street. He was convinced that he could finagle a few million out of the state for an idea he had. Why? The state had money, he didn't, he was entitled to it. "Do you have a script?" "No, but I have an idea for one. Actually, it's an idea based on a film I saw a few months ago. Styles, I need you to re-write that script to that film so I can submit it as mine for funding..."  So, you have no creativity of your own and lack the ambition to even steal an idea? But you're entitled to millions from the state film board? Sure, I'll get on that right away for you pal.

My friend Robert and I are both from New Jersey, we thought the attitude up there was bad. We joke that at least up in Jersey if you were lazy and didn't want to work while the state paid you, you went out and got a union job like everyone else.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dining Review

When I first moved down to New Orleans I was set back by gas stations selling fried chicken. Back in Jersey, if you wanted fried chicken you went to the standard KFC or the recently opened Popeye's. As much as I love fried chicken, I thought the joints were were over rated and over priced. Dropping eight bucks on a couple of pieces of chicken was a luxury by my meager income. While working as a day laborer digging up sewer pipes of St Bernard parish a co-worker introduced me to Brother's Chicken. It's a chain of gas station / convenience stores down here that are are clean, reasonably priced and very good.

I was hooked. Excellent chicken, always hot, always consistently good and very reasonably priced. Now I live in the French Quarter, considered by many as the heart of the best southern cuisine, I could find a dozen places touting "Best fried chicken." It may be good, but I would be paying a day's wage for the location and name. Brothers is great fried chicken at the best price. It's the only reason I have to leave the Quarter, by one block. 

Tonight was pay day, I dropped about $15 on 12 pieces of white meat.  With a decent buzz going I had the doors of my balcony open listening to the roar of LSU fans on Bourbon street as I dined on the chicken and plain white rice that I cooked up while listening to WWOZ. I thought how much I wished my friends from Seattle were here. This is how Quarter Rats dine fine.

Brother's Food Mart on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 8, 2012

French Quarter Undercover

New Orleans, the music is hot, but this part of town is even hotter. They call it the French Quarter, a place with no rules except live for today and forget about tomorrow. Two men call the French Quarter their home, their beat, their job is to keep it from exploding. And they do it the only way they know how....with pure guts. This is the French Quarter, where they never let the tourists see what's really going on. Where people can do anything they want, as long as they don't do it to anybody else.

I'm re-posting this Youtube video of a trailer of the 1985 film, FRENCH QUARTER UNDERCOVER. Looks like a hokey Miami Vice rip off action cop buddy type of film that was big back in the 80's. The two T-shirt clad  undercover detectives are played by Michael Parks and Billie Holiday. I'd like to find a copy of it, but apparently it's only available on Betamax.

A place where pleasure is a way of life, and death is often the only way out of town.

"New Orleans undercover cops Andre and R.J., partners for 17 years and in danger of being suspended for their recklessness, are enlisted by the F.B.I. to track down a terrorist who plans on poisoning the water supply of the city, gaining access through the World's Fair."

Two tough cops whose job was to tame the hustlers, the prostitutes and the petty crooks in the French Quarter now have the assignment of their lives. Stop the terror.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hey God....

Hey God, if I haven't thanked you in a while, let me touch base with you. For the past couple of days I have woken up in a warm bed. I've walked to a job that I actually can tolerate and most of the time enjoy. Spent the day working with people I like and enjoy being around while listening to people that you blessed with the gift of music. I return home to warmth and fill my stomach. For the past two nights I have spent my time with brilliant creative company at my elbow. Folks that I consider myself fortunate to call friends.  

Tomorrow, I hope to rise to the challenges that you set before me, I doubt you will give me anymore than I can handle. Look after those I love. Help me to treat others as I would want to be treated. Thanks, you've been good to me.

Sunday, January 1, 2012



We at the Quarter Rat really have to get cracking on this animation project if we ever hope to get it into production. Otis and myself have day jobs, well his day job is at night. Plus he has a family to look after. So I decided from here on out to devote at least two hours a night to making this a reality. Here is the first part of many many steps to our ultimate goal. I'll periodically post anything new as it comes along.