Gummi Boogie Bear Chortles

Greetings candy lovers. The most recent shoot we did for "GASA" involved my wife, Jackie Milad, white paint, a big cube and 10lbs of gummi bears.

As usual, we converted a crevice in the "5th Dimension" (H+H Building, Bmore) into a soundstage for the movie. The idea behind the scene, which occurs in the "Part 1 Vignettes" of GASA, is that Tom (1st person singular narrarator of this very paragraph) confronts a very bleached out "bear nymph" somewhere inside the infinite computer and is seduced into voluntarily eating a LOT of gummi bears, which inevitably cause him severe and psychedelic gastric overload. For this shoot I "took one for the team" and drank what seems like a pint of corn syrup and ate a shit ton of those iconic candies.

Jackie and Sarada Conaway arrived on day two of the construction phase to helped to design an enormous nearly invisible mandala in the corner of the set. The mandala would eventually be a large animated mosiac consisting of several hundred Gummi Bears.

The animation, to be realized via "stop motion", took approximately two hours. The bears are glued to the set with hot glue, incidentally. I felt maxed out on italian cookies from Trinacria Foods that night, so i only ate about 8 gummi bears during tedius ritual, though Dan sacrificed 28 bears to the gummi diety.

The completed manadala was ultimately remarkably durable and if i may, rather christmassy.

Some nights later Jackie arrived and with Sarada's assistance and make-up mastery turned Jackie into this beguiling creature.....

Sigrid Lauren, Bethany Dinsick, and Dan's hermano Patrick Breen came over to help "bleach" Tom. Because we wanted the bleaching to also animate via stop-motion effect, we need the extra hands to move quickly....

Note in the above photo how Pat had to work "crotch detail".

Above, Sigrid makes me even more white. We instructed our assistants to feel free to eat as many gummi bears as they wished. There were many.

This shoot proved to be a "yoga of the body" for me, as i experienced many sensual things i have never felt before. These include having cold white watery make-up brushed into my groin, having gummi bears break down and melt while stuffed into my nostrils and drinking and pretending to puke bright florescent colored "puke" made of nearly pure corn syrup. The sickening sweet taste lingered in my mouth all night long. I got up twice in the night and pounded water to to try to rid the cloying, hideous tooth-rotting taste from my head.

But kvetching aside, some of the stills and imagery from this shoot are among my favorite of the entire film. Unfortunately we have no photos of the puke. The end.


Oktober Wurstnacht

GASA is dogmatic about indoor vs outdoor, i.e. real vs virtual, but the "death metal/sausage/s&m" segment of the "Part 1 Interludes" subverts us by being an outdoor as indoor scene. As with the "sauna shoot", the "sausage shoot" occurred during the mild, lovely Baltimore October times. The spark for the shoot came from Dan, who envisioned a part of the movie in which his roommate, artist Gina Denton, would flog him Dom-style with a long sausage rope. Gina, who loves and listens frequently to death/black/doom metal of the heaviest kind, just seems to exude more "S" than "M", though in person she is not sadistic or abusive as far as I can tell. She just has powerful woman energy and likes wearing black and listening to loud heavy shit.

We chose The BANK, West Baltimore's finest underground venue located at the end of the ghetto rainbow, as the site, and imagined how we could shoot the scene in their "courtyard" and make it look like a strange "room" - since, after all, it is meant to exist inside of a computer program (imagine GASA as a video game with no beginning or end). Additionally, we really wanted to add Gerry Mak to the scene, because he too is a master of metal (throat singing for art-metal band Bloody Panda), a thespian, and an interesting physical foil to Gina - being a very petite male he is rather smaller than Gina, and he would be playing her "igor", or halfwitted assistant (archetypes!). We decided that Doom Metal sounds would fill the scene, and i asked Gina and Gerry to come to the shoot as "feral" as possible. You won't fail to notice in the above photo of them that they did indeed come "feral".

Gina was our MC character in the infamous (though not yet blogged) nightclub scene and in that scene she adorned herself in some scary/beautiful pelts and of course we'd continue that for this shoot too. She is exactly the same character, in fact, for in the GASA universe archetypes abound, ideas bob up and down in the sea of data.

We initially envisioned a starker scene, using the BANK courtyard to suggest the whole scene was happening in a big cement box (which the courtyard is, basically, but a roofless one with a veg/herb garden on one side). However, when we arrived (via the back bungalow of our courteous host the inimitable Little Howlin' Wolf) we got a bit magnetized by a mysterious corner of the thing with an enormous Ghetto Weed Nut Tree of some sort growing out of it. Instantly we went to work building our "indoor" S&M Sausage Dungeon with a tree growing up it's spine. Note in the above photo the St. Christopher's Cross (St. Steven's Cross?), meant for tyin' and whoopin".

Here Gina preps her pelted headdress. Note her leather glistening in the bottom lit TomTom drum light. The light was on faders for percusso-lumination effects. Ta!

Dan hangs the "candelier" in front of BANK bottle mosaic. The combination of the attractive BANK-designed courtyard art, the Nut Tree, the moist October harvest air, and our additions of gloomy dungeon decor quickly spun the location into our perfect setting for the Dan character to get his butt whooped by a screeching, grunting feral duo of sausage wielding and chomping maniacs. Gina provided us with a a great mix of doom, gloom, and Scandinavian guitar sounds to flesh out the moods apropos.

Above: The Nut Tree, glowing in the purple Westside night.

I could hardly comment on Gina in the above photo in a way that would improve on what the photo itself speaks formidably. Note the sausages dangled, which were Gerry's actual dinner.

A parting shot (below) of the back wall of the BANK. The shadows from our lights went well with the mysterious Poe Moon out that night and eerie heat that seemed to move into the city earlier in the evening.

A fun night indeed...and thanks to the BANK folks, especially Wolf, and way ups to Gina and Gerry.

Sauna + Hot Dog Last Supper

Snacks is at last stretching down into the back leg of our shooting schedule for "GASA". Specifically, it is also the "Part I interludes" phase. Don't allow me to expand on what that means, because it will be esoteric jumble that may only ever have meaning to Dan and I. Briefly, I can say this - We shot the movie backwards (sort of), and the "middle beginning" consists of "interludes", autonomous "vibe" pieces that wedgie themselves into the bigger picture of the film - but retain non-narrative spirals in and of themselves. In each interlude, the lead "wretches", played by Snacks ourselves, are "tested" by a series of tortuous "pleasure" routines inside of an infinitely huge computer system.

Just about a short week or two ago Snacks crammed three shoots into a sublime pocket of October weather, two of which went towards visualizing the "sauna scene" concept......

The sauna itself exists in the backyard of the one quarter Danish/one quarter American/one half Portuguese marriage partnership of Jenny Graf Shepherd and Jorge Martin. They bought a sauna in it's entirety from a fellow on Maryland's Eastern Shore and it was delivered a contiguous whole via flatbed ------- all the way from the Eastern Shore to that exact spot (see above photo) in Arcadia, Baltimore (sort of the lower left ventricle of Lauraville, NE Balt). It's a fine item, this sauna, smelling sweetly of wood fires and high quality seasoned cedar.

Since this part of the movie occurs inside of a computer, the spaces are meant to be "2D", mere simulacrum or projection. However, the simulacra have teeth, and in this particular scene, those teeth sink into some hot dogs.

In the above photo you will see Dan "preparing" a hot dog for a "movie magic" moment in which it will fly perfectly between the toes of this lovely person....

Kat Sotelo. Performce artist extraordinaire, she is the anchor of the scene, and she ministers over her charges as well as her victims with succinct efficiency.

When the wretch portrayed by myself arrives into the sauna simulacrum, he is in worse tune than a west baltimore church basement piano, and Kat must burden herself with the necessary task of "tuning" Tom. She is soon assisted by a second tuner, portrayed by Katherine Ralston - of Baltimore's Annex Theatre. Hot Dogs, in one dimension, can be thought of as "tuning forks".

In the topmost photo, one can see the entire cast for the scene. Several "musicians" are required to "play" Tom, now that he's been "tuned". Big thanks to our players - John Kahn, Sam Shea, Katey Truhn, and Ami Dang.

Consistently throughout this entire movie our lead characters (US) are treated very badly. Use and abuse are interchangeable. Use IS abuse. Note how hardcore deadly Kat looks from the POV of the person's face she is slamming her foot into.

Every expert victim tuner who lives in a computer sauna must be armed with a "quiver" of hot dog tuning forks in her towel.

Jenny and Jorge were fine hosts, and their superb sauna shall be immortalized in our "art". The first shoot was rather chilly for our nearly naked toweled persons to be prancing about in the backyard, although we eventually got the wood stove in the sauna kickin' and that was plenty heat to warm the hot dogs and also our scruffy souls as well. There was an eventual late night hang and also we dined on the weenies too 'round midnight or so.

The second shoot we did a week later, and my gosh it was a lovely Autumn eve of the best kind - those humid breezey patches of tropical air we get waltzing occasionally through Bmore from the Caribbean during foliage weeks.

Here's a parting shot of the sauna, languid in the the October night....


Computer Plumbing Central

Another large construction for GASA occured this past June. After a year of courting Ms Paige Shuttleworth for the role of the GASA computer plumber, we finally found the right time and spot to build the set and shoot the scene.

Paige's virtues shall not elude you, reader. Aside from those virtues easily extracted from the above photo, go 'head and table another in that both of her outfits used in GASA were made entirely by her, for her. She is a master at sewing and fashion design.

This set is a close second in terms of time/effort in building to the white laboratory posted about previously. We wanted to acheive more "steam punk" than "cyber punk". Paige's character works as a "plumber" of sorts, sending the two lead wretches to various "virtual" testing grounds where they unwittingly experience more pain than pleasure through psuedo food fetish S&M scenarios. Paige is central to the movie, and her character is less one dimensional than all others, as she is, in spite of incredible Glam Rock style and good looks, a working stiff and ground down by the steamy tomb room she stations at.


There is a smoke machine on the left by the bicycle rim. We take "steam punk" literally and there is occasional gusts of "steam" pouring from the wall to achieve Fritz Lang or Jules Verne style sci-fi energy. The set was built right in Dan's studio in the H+H building. We liked the idea that Paige's console for operating the whole thing was a big, dilapidated organ manual.

Thanks to my lovely and insightful wife Jackie for being our camerawoman and logistical inspiration. It was unbearably hot in Dan's loft and the three nights we shot footage were grueling. Baltimore warehouses in summertime will forever stand in my memory. It's a very memorable body sensation, that sauna like climate.

Jackie took all of these pics. The four of us had fun in spite of the temperature....expecially "choreographing" the fight sequences. As stated previously, Paige's plumber character is very abusive to our "wretch" characters. Like in every other scene in this movie, our characters have no hope of even getting a shot in as we are kicked, whacked and otherwise bullied.

The above pic shows how we achieve our type of "movie magic". This was a long tracking shot of Dan getting "punched" and a "fist POV" of him flying 10 feet into a wall.

Here are a few varied pics-

It needn't be said that the butt figures prominently into GASA. Below note Tom testing out the "butt whanging" mallets.

I am relieved this shoot is over. Thanks Paige and Jackie. The end - for now.


Dangerous Radiation/ Flipparoos/ Faux Fu

GASA has many "fight scenes". We have been influenced by a great many Hong Kong and Bollywood fight sequences, not to mention some of the glorious things available on youtube. I'm not sure frankly what the appeal of violence is for us (all of US....humans?). There is so much violence out there intended for comedic purposes...well, it's interesting. prat falls, larry, moe, curly, wile e coyote, etc....it all seems pretty painful....yet amusing. Perhaps, even though films ask for "suspension of disbelief", what they also ask is "suspension of belief"....i.e. this isn't really violence....now LAUGH.

part of the appeal, in my humble opinion, is the lack of credibility of many films.

for a particular scene in GASA, our doppelgangers (played by the inimitable two can ladies Jessie Unterhalter and Emily CD) seek us out, challenge us to a duel, kick our asses, and eat our souls. We needed a place to shoot this scene, and since the scene occurs "outdoors" (more on that in a sec) it needed to be color-flipped and altered.

so, firstly, the location we chose for this scene was a "PCS base station" (cell phone signal receiver/amplifier/transmitter) atop Dan's warehouse, the H+H building. it is quite convenient to have a loud, humming 60hz, current sucking, high voltage SCI-FI-begging-to-be-used setting just up a few fire escape flights from Dan's living room.

We went up to scope it out one day, and instantly fell for the thing, knew it was perfect for our purposes. but of course we got to it by climbing up the fire escape.....if we'd gone up through the locked door at the top of the stairwell, we'd have read the signs saying "DONT ENTER! HIGH RF RADIATION. HARMFUL" etc.

We got a bit freaked out that we'd just been all over the place for the past hour and had a good old time in high energy radio fields. I calmed down later in the day when i started googling RF facts. Apparently no link has been made to cancer...........yet. However, like it's big sister the microwaves, radio waves with a lot of amplitude can heat up organic tissue really fast. one article i read said that if a human stood directly in front of one of those rectangular cell phone antennas that their eyes and testicles (ladies excluded) would likely heat up and explode in less than 30 seconds. The rest of you would get 2nd or 3rd degree burns pretty quickly.

So, when we went back up there a week or two later with our doppelgangers, we kept a nice distance from the antennas.

For particular reasons, we want the "outdoor" scenes of the movie to be "color altered". Each scene shot outside will get it's own color palette.

On this particular day, there were storms in the area and grey skies. we had previously been very pleased with the huge spectra of gorgeous color we'd gotten through HDDV in our previous shoots. THe footage from our PCS Station shoot were awfully dull- a result of the heavy overcast and low grey light. Ultimately, it didn't matter, because Dan was able to do this great, spacey, foreboding and creepy color scheme with brilliant pinks and purples.

We did our best with the Kung Fu.

This particular scene is a "sword fight" in the tradition of samorai "jideigekei" film. but obviously - retarded, goofy, and pseudo-futuristic.

Below are some "power pill taking" pump up Rocky-esque training scene stills.

Lastly, a head butt to help your day along.....