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Showing posts from January, 2012

Exit Through The Oscars - Again!

I was thinking about last year's Oscars and how my main interest in them was whether British street/guerrilla artist Banksy might make a surprise appearance (given that he doesn't "do" appearances) at the ceremony to collect the award I was certain he would win for his documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop (as so often with my Oscar predictions, I was wrong about the award - and the likelihood of his presence).


This year, I just wish there were some kind of potential controversy that could enliven the proceedings. There are some good films among the crop of Oscar nominees - and one great film in Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, but there is nothing that I can get really excited about, other than the possibility of it winning, which somehow doesn't seem as sure a thing as it should.


Maybe it's a reflection of the state of the industry, or my tastes - or both - but I long for the days when more movies would challenge my preconceptions of what films can do…

Come Celebrate Charong's Novel, Random - And My Birthday - Friday January 27th

This Friday evening, January 27th, between 6pm - 8pm in the private room at the Starbucks at The Junction in Sonora, Charong Chow will be hosting her book launch party for her first novel, Random...and I will be celebrating one thousand years on the planet (or something like that): my birthday!


Inspired by the death at 26 of our best friend, Jeremy, who first introduced us at one of my book readings in Miami's South Beach, Random is a Young Adult "teen noir" love story and thriller, set in contemporary Los Angeles.


Tierney is a sixteen year old high school co-ed who's neither the Bad Girl in school, nor exactly your average student, either. Excited by the arrival of Tom, a handsomely mysterious new kid, Tierney skips classes with her best friends, Jeremy (who's openly gay) and Maya, taking Tom along for a drug-fueled truancy that foreshadows darker things to come.

Written with an energy and razor-sharp dialogue that mixes teen angst and ennui with the shadows of a H…

Happy Chinese New Year!

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR...especially to Charong Hudson and Paradise. Here's a work of "rad(ish) art" created by Kenny, the owner/sushi chef at Zuma Sushi in Modesto, for Paradise and Hudson yesterday.

(Photo by Alexander Chow-Stuart)

Stunning Human Flowers from Los Angeles based Artist Cecelia Webber

Supercool PHOTOS of the human body from Los Angeles based artist Cecelia Webber.
http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/AdNfB9

Bogart and Bergman in Shadows and Light

Perhaps the greatest noir film - or film of any kind - of all time: Casablanca.

NOIR Writing Workshop - Saturday January 21st from 1:30-3:30pm

In my NOIR Writing Workshop at the Central Sierra Arts Council, 193 S. Washington Street, Sonora, this Saturday January 21st from 1:30pm-3:30pm, I will be exploring one of the most compelling genres of literature and film.


Tickets are $25 for adults - and $15 for students. There will also be a lunch before the workshop at Emberz, 177 S. Washington Street, from 11:30am-1:30pm. Everyone is welcome!


With style, content and psychological exploration that grew originally out of the German Expressionism of the 1920s - but which is most associated with American "hard boiled" thrillers, gangster stories and unconventional love stories of the 1930s-1950s - noir has influenced everything and everyone from Alfred Hitchcock to David Lynch, from Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless to Christopher Nolan's Batman movies and the dark tone and complex psychology of Inception.


Please join us from 1:30-3:30pm on Saturday to discuss and enjoy excerpts from some of the acclaimed classics of noir - …

Casablanca premieres Friday Nite Flicks at the Arts Council

Thanks to the incredibly generous sponsorship of Ridge Schneider of Sonora Subaru, the Central Sierra Arts Council is proudly presenting the first of its Friday Nite Flicks, the immortal Casablanca, at 6:30pm on Friday, January 20th at 193 S. Washington Street, Sonora (directly opposite the Bank of America building).


Tickets are only $5.


I will be speaking briefly before the film, describing some of the surprisingly troubled production history of one of the world's greatest classics of cinema, which stars Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid.


Come join us at Rick's Cafe in Casablanca, as the seemingly cynical Rick (Bogart) becomes involved with a freedom fighter on the run (Henreid) and the woman who, years before in Paris, crushed Bogart's spirit (Bergman). The Nazis are closing in - and no one is safe in Casablanca!


Revel in the incredible mood - a mix of exotic wartime thriller and astonishing love story - and hear some of the most immortal lines ever spoken on …

Charong Chow reading from her new teen noir novel, Random, at the NOIR Writing Workshop

Charong Chow will be reading from her new teen noir novel, Random, at my NOIR Writing Workshop on Saturday January 21st 2012 from 1:30-3:30pmat the Central Sierra Arts Council, 193 S. Washington Street, Sonora (directly opposite the Bank of America building at the intersection with Stockton).


Random explores classic noir themes of love, death, betrayal, the femme fatale and the "broken man" - but in a contemporary Los Angeles teen setting.


Charong will also be joining us for the pre-workshop lunch at 11:30am at Emberz, 177 S. Washington Street, Sonora.

Next NOIR Writing Workshop - Saturday January 21st 2012

My next writing workshop at the Central Sierra Arts Council is on Saturday January 21st 2012 from 1:30-3:30pm(to allow for an extra 30 minutes if we run over, before the Arts Council officially closes at 4pm).

It is themed around NOIR in books and movies, and will explore how the extreme emotions, motivations, characters and plots of noir are worth examining, no matter what you are writing.  


It will include brief clips from classic and more recent noir movies, including The Maltese Falcon, Blade Runner and the Coen Brothers' Blood Simple, as well as passages from noir novels, including The Maltese Falcon and The Postman Always Rings Twice, as well as more recent noir novels.  


We will also examine the arson-induced fires of the past two weeks in West Hollywood and Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles - the circumstances of which have been compared to real-life LA noir.

Admission for the workshop will be $25 - and $15 for students.

There will be a lunch beforehand, probably at Emberz (very …

Thanks For A Great Workshop

Thanks to everyone who came today to my Real World Writing Workshop and lunch - it was a really great lunchtime and afternoon, I hope we have many more like it.


Thanks especially to new participants such as Donna and Roberto Minighini, and to Kimberly Francis, Arlene Uslander and Brenda Warneka, Sydney Avey and Kristin Fulton, as well as all our returning regulars.


I would like to congratulate Kate Matthews on her publication of The Little Pink Book of Cancer Cartoons, Arlene Uslander and Brenda Warneka on The Mystery of Fate: Common Coincidence or Divine Intervention, and Kimberly Ann Francis on her highly recommended children's book, Payten and Nannie Ann - Painting Our Way Home.


I will be updating my email list and posting new material on box.com in the next few days. I hope you all find the online resources useful - please let me know at tranquilbuddha@gmail.com if you haven't received the link, and I will send it again.


Thanks again to Yvonne and all the staff at the Starbuck…

Pre-Workshop Lunch on Saturday January 7th CONFIRMED - and NOIR Workshop Time

Just a brief note to remind people that there is now a pre-Real World Writing Workshop lunch this Saturday, January 7th 2012 at 12pm until 2pm at the Diamondback Grill, 93 S. Washington Street, Sonora.


The Real World Writing Workshop will follow directly after the lunch at the Central Sierra Arts Council, 193 S. Washington Street, Sonora.


Many thanks also to Yvonne, the manager at the Starbucks at The Junction (my local haunt), for her continued support in providing coffee for everyone at the workshop. It is much appreciated!


Also, the time for the Noir Writing Workshop on Saturday January 21st 2012 is now 2pm - 4pm, the same as the Real World Writing Workshop.  More details will be posted on this blog soon.  There may also be a pre-workshop lunch before the Noir Workshop, if that proves a popular option, as it seems to be.


If you need to contact me for additional information, please either email me at: tranquilbuddha@gmail.com or call me at: 310-383-7562.


Thank you for your support, Alexa…