SIX DEGREES OF LEONARD NIMOY

Photo: Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0 Wikimedia Commons

I woke this morning to the news that Leonard Nimoy passed away and immediately began a traipse back twenty eight years and thirty pounds. Back then—in 1987—I was completing a political science degree at the University of Toronto while pondering job opportunities at various receptionist desks across the city. Like any young person, I curried ideas that included changing the world by pioneering a great idea or assisting a key decision maker in the public policy realm. *insert laugh track*

But before I could do any of that, I had to answer a call for warm bodies at a down town hotel.

SAY WHAT?

Unlike the rest of us from the hood, my friend Steve rose above we mere mortals by landing a really cool job as a casting director for *gasp* HOLLYWOOD MOVIES. With just a phone call, Steve could invalidate the Cold War and nuclear disarmament because he had the power to place whomever he wanted within arm’s length of the bold and beautiful.

WARNING: NAME DROPPING HERE

Whether playing lawyer #3 to Sophia Loren’s crime fighting heroine in Courage, or a dance hall girl in a room that included Sam Neill and the late and talented Robert Urich in Amerika, that girl who used to be me became someone else completely. Sometimes I was a face in the crowd; at another time I was “woman at table” next to Canada’s own Wendy Crewson. For these experiences I claimed extensive bragging rights. But none of these, awesome as they were, came close to touching my brush with off planet greatness.

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER

As a fan of the man from Vulcan, I knew that Leonard Nimoy did more than act and make public appearances. He also directed films and in 1987 that task brought him to Toronto to helm a little bit of froth called Three Men and A Baby.

It didn’t take long for me to ditch class when the call from Steve invariably came. That the film offered three male leads who on their own pulled a 10 out of 10 every time was enough to send any girl half way across town on a cumulonimbus cloud of her own making.

“Wear something upscale,” Steve advised, “and report to the main ballroom at the Sutton Place Hotel.

I’M DOING WHAT?

My reverie was short lived as I entered the ballroom.

“Here’s your line,” said the woman with the clipboard. “I need you to say it in three distinct ways.”

Young me. Starstruck with shiny forehead.
Young me. Starstruck with shiny forehead.

With ‘crazy,’ ‘heartbroken’ and ‘ironic’ as my only directives to go on, it did not yet sink in that this was something over and above an ordinary casting call.

What will I be this time? I wondered. Woman with cigarette? Lady at bar? I didn’t care. I was just glad to be there. And with thoughts of Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg, and TOM SELLECK swirling through my grey matter, it didn’t take long for me to suspect.

“I’m gonna kill that sonofabitch,” was not only the line I was given to rehearse, but it reflected perfectly, my sentiment at that moment toward my dear friend Steve.

“Are you a model?” the gorgeous Toronto print model asked from her seat opposite me. She along with a clutch of other blondes like me occupied the one corner of the room that didn’t belong to the brunettes and redheads occupying the others.

“No,” I stammered, as I wiped my slopping forehead that refused to stop shining despite copious amounts of pressed powder. “I’m hoping for a career in politics.”

The stunning lass was impressed by my answer even more so after filling in the blanks I had walked into the room with. Steve hadn’t sent me to Sutton Place to help fill a room—he had sent me on an AUDITION to fill one of three “girlfriend” roles in the picture.

“I’ll take any one of them,” my friend giggled. “But I really hope I get Selleck.”

“I’m gonna kill that sonofabitch,” I muttered.

KIRK TO ENTERPRISE

What followed were three rounds of “walk” “talk” and pirouettes before a sea of eyes that included the great man himself.

“I’m gonna kill that sonofabitch.”

“I’m gonna kill that sonofabitch.”

“I’m gonna kill that sonofabitch.”

I said it so many times that I failed to notice the room thinning. For what was once a space of about 150 women was now reduced to a mere 10, and I was one of them.

Holy hell, I cursed inwardly. I might get this job.

I’d be lucky if I pulled a walk on, never mind a talky part.

Leonard Nimoy walked towards me slowly, deliberately, elegantly.

My heart rose up into my throat.

“What color are your eyes?” he asked

“Green,” Like Vulcan.

“Walk for me, please.”

He’s shorter and slighter than I imagined.

“Say the line.”

Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.

“Did you get it?” the Disney executive seated in the lobby of the Sutton Place asked.

It was over and I was glowing.

“No,” I said, undoubtedly flashing one of my signature toothy grins.

“But you’re so happy.”

You bet I was.

You see, I was never for Kirk, just like I was never for John or Paul. I adored George Harrison. And I adored Mr. Spock too. On that day, twenty eight years ago, I was given an opportunity to meet someone I grew up in front of watching countless reruns of Star Trek. It was a moment in time I shall never forget.

And when I think about it, what better way to honor someone who had an impact on me than to remember him?

Rest in peace, Mr Spock. The galaxy awaits.

Funkhauser, out.

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FRESH MEAT–Fifty Shades: The Unreview

NEW CONTENT AND THE ONE STAR THAT KEEPS GIVING

Hey! Who hasn’t had a cat across their back, and is it really so bad?

Well, uh, that’s the problem. There’s cats and there’s cats and then there’s my conflict over Fifty Shades of Grey. As a frenemy of the franchise, I can attest to both admiring and coveting the author’s zeal. Her enthusiasm for her characters and the situations they find themselves in are patently obvious: she’s having a ball and she’s making plenty of dough. Make no mistake, I covet her dough too, I just can’t get my head around the notion that it’s okay to get the hide strapped off of you so long as the guy with the belt is a rich dork with a helicopter.

Am I being unfair again?

SPOILER:

Ana comes round to Christian’s way of the world because he had a tough go growing up in Detroit. Plus he marries her and they raise kids in stunning opulence, kinda like the French Kings of old.

I’m still unconvinced.

Maybe if the cast in the new movie had been older. You know, like Clive Owen and Charlize Theron–people with a few miles on them. In my vision, Charlize could have cred: a professor, a jaded financial planner, a competing captain of industry. Old Clive, of course has to die and by her hand. In the final act, Charlize blithely dumps his body along with the cat o’ nine, waterboards, and electric chair he favored, but that she resented. Oh, yes, and she takes over his empire through a hostile mergers and acquisitions maneuver.

Now that’s something I could go for. Sadly, my vision was not to be, and the new flick will doubtless make MILLIONS so who cares, really?

As the release date approaches for Fifty Shades Part 1 (everything comes in three’s in Hollywood) I’m leaning towards the broad consensus arrived at Book Club: we can’t put money towards this thing when the economy is headed for the toilet…again. Best to wait until it arrives on the box, and then we can all get liquored up together in front of the flatscreen and insert our own dialogue.

Until then, I can only offer an intuitive critique of the upcoming film based on scuttlebutt, third party reports out of LA, and a really weird dream I had last night.

Presenting: The Unreview

Last week, I engaged in some trollish good fun with a fellow cinophile over the sturm und drang that occured on the set of Fifty Shades between director and writer. My Schadenfreude simply kicked in because the EL James juggernaut had stalled, if only for a brief time. The movie’s gonna make buckets no matter what, but at least for “one brief shining moment” there was trouble.

As a fan of enthusiastic authors everywhere, I place EL high on my admiration list. Lucky for her that the beware dogfantasy fest that is Fifty Shades The Movie is neither harmed nor hastened by the blow ups on set. For as much as the willful and spectacularly accepting race breathlessly to buy clothes and accessories made from the “softest leather,” others pinch nostrils shut because of the undeniable Euw factor that comes with the story.

As Canadian radio personality Jian Ghomeshi found out, rough sex outta the box leaves a stink that clears a room.

Fifty Shades is pretty. I know this because I’ve seen the trailers. Beautifully staged, wonderfully lit, it offers gorgeous scene set ups and fantastic costume design. Kinda like the Royal Wedding back in ’81.

However, as naive young Ana moans and groans under the ministrations of her wealthy and too young to be believable patron, the viewer soon experiences bilious side effects–a creeping feeling of extreme perviness–that accompanies visuals of a young woman stripped down and dehumanized for the greater good that is the heightened sexual awareness of her “I don’t do romance” helicopter loving, elevator riding partner, whose childhood of abuse and neglect back in Detroit makes this all okay.

Like the sets they play in, the youthful stars are super pretty too.

…And so was Rome under Caligula. (See Bob Guccione’s Caligula…or maybe don’t)

As my libertine friend suggests, life outside the box (or in this case, inside The Red Room of Pain) suggests either a sophistication derived from long-in-the-tooth experience and philosophical acuity (See A Dangerous Method) or deviance hastened by depravity and increasing violence resulting in death. (See Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka)

If Fifty Shades was honest, one of the characters would die at the end. But it’s not and they don’t.

Ana and Christian get a place and raise a family (Book III, suffer the trilogy), something serial killers Bernardo and Homolka hoped to do until they turned on each other. Prior to arrest, they hoped to abuse their future children and keep them in cages.

Does EL James have pretty little red rooms in store for Book IV?

Let’s hope she doesn’t go there.

Rating: 0

Author’s note:

I know, I know. I haven’t seen it, which makes this review extremely unethical. That’s why I’ll be back, but only after a free screening.

At press time:

Word out of H-wood is that the film is pretty mild; hence: no NC17 rating. The movie is very pretty and dialogue is very hokey. So what’s being shopped here? It doesn’t sound like S&M Bondage. Perhaps the joke’s on us?

Tomorrow: Fifty Shades of Creative Writing

Funkhauser, fragged out from an all-nighter of proof reading, jumps into a free for all on Facebook where she good naturedly offers up a little fan fiction.

February 16, 2015

Seems I got bogged down in proofing, and for that I am remiss. In not getting my fan fiction up when I promised, my emotions skewed much in the same way as when I heard that 25+ Dakota Johnson actually gave a compelling performance in the film. I’ve seen the stills–she looks dewy and real sad in character, and who wouldn’t be? Top performing billionaires like Fifty are doomed to disappoint given their alpha nature and tiresome veni vidi vici ethos. Professional reviews of the film so far suggest that Fifty is a firm “1” in terms of stars as opposed to “top rated”. Depending on their demographic, reviewers are either shocked at the domestic abuse portrayed, disappointed that it’s not dirty enough, or satisfied that its better than the book(s). The lead actor model is “wooden” they say, and that’s unfair, because the story really is about the woman, so beyond all the grunting and brooding, Christian Grey really is nothing more than a colossal woody and, that said, is entirely authentic.

Authors note:

I know. I know. I haven’t seen the film, so this review and all the content that accompanies it is still highly unethical.

The Fan Fiction

So here’s the thing: Much as I’d like to piggy back my besty tunes and the musicians that inspired me on my DEBUT NOVEL page, I won’t because of the “fair use” santa clause thingy that hinders me. Happily, there’s no such obstacle where the phenomenon ‘fan fiction’ is concerned. So with that, I’ll offer up my own Fifty Shades scenes. There are only three and they’re nice and short. I think EL would approve and maybe Dakota Johnson too, although I hope the kiddo doesn’t do the sequels. A one star rate does not a one star make.

Disclaimer

I know how to write good, so any weird phrasings in the fan fic is merely stylistic. Happy Family Day, Ontario. Happy Presidents’ Day, America. Happy Monday to everyone else this side of the International Date Line.

ABF

The Fan Fiction (Reproduced from a Facebook Free Fer All)

1.

Filling me with dirty socks and a coupla of golf balls, Fifty asserts his power with a rakish yawp.‘Cry havoc and let them dogs slip to war’ I howl at once remembering that I failed English. ‘I love your mind’ Fifty teases, his cruel taunts more hurtful than the cat I got him at Christmas.”.

2.

“Hot tears soak my downy supple cheeks. Fifty’s brought out the turkey baster again. My pert, anxious nipples flatten and he sees. ‘You have not eaten your dinner Mrs. Grey,’ he admonishes, loosening the chinos he picked up for real cheap at the Saks mid winter sale. I know what he means, and I am crestfallen because we’re married and it’s a bore. He advances to me, his essential being pulsing in his big strong ginger dappled baby bottomed hands. ‘Aw hell’ I mutter. ‘Gotta eat my meat and veg all over again.'”. 

3.

“Fifty teases me with his helicopter blades promising to Julienne fry me. Trussed up in my panties and a turkey halter, I can only give thanks for my incredible luck. Rich assholes are so hard to come by and this one, if I’m real, real good, is for life. ‘Pass me the colander darling. I want to wear it on my head’ Fifty laughs. My hands aren’t free so how can I position a chapeau? “I’ll free you goose,” Fifty promises, as soon as I take my blue pill.” A young man, he’s taken a beating so I forgive him a Pfizer. I wait patiently, marking time with a reminder to write the drug company a thank you for making my led zeppelin a reality. “Baby, baby, hit me again” I squeal, longing for his sordid touch. Sacred and profane, there aint nothining like a good old fashion stroppin before the break of day.”

Etc and more rubbish.