Updates

Started at the POPSMUT, Now We Here: The End and Other Beginnings

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As a true American legend/general staple of the Oscar blogging community, I feel that as I move forward into 2014 and beyond, I must reveal that sentiment, above all, is kind of my thing.

We’ve been close since elementary school, the days when I used to come home on Fridays with a lunchbox bursting with plastic forks and spoons I’d accumulated during the week–utensils similar to the ones I saw my classmates tossing into the trash like they were nothing. But mine? No. I held onto mine dearly. “My mother gave these to me,” I told a lunch lady who dared to question my actions from atop her stained-yellow Keds of judgment, watching me place a used spork back into the box.

I don’t part with things easily. As many of my friends know, I linger in the movie theater long after the final scene is whisked away by the credits. I soak up the moment, the music, the experience that I’d just bathed in for the last two hours. It’s hard for me to get up and walk out–unless the movie was American Hustle or something.

Parting with this blog, however, has been a long time coming. I so tactfully named a future professional tool after something that sounds like an Xtube user handle belonging to a Scotch-laden man with an intense interest in geriatric male-on-male fellatio. I guess it’s more difficult to say after the fact that this blog was started as something for me to mess around with. It’s since grown into the foundation for a career I’m so desperately trying to have.

It’s through this space that I’ve been able to meet some incredible artists. I’ve interviewed celebrities, artists, designers, directors, writers–people, more than anything else. I’ve written about love, regrets, passion, resentment, life–strung together with the thread of film and pop culture, of course. But, the one thing that’s remained the same is the person behind the keyboard: me. I’ve single-handedly taken this blog from a silly side project into something I’m extremely proud of.

But, it’s time for something new. I am ending POPSMUT.

As I grow increasingly interested in writing as a career (screenwriting, journalism, etc.), I learn more and more with each passing day that the potential realities of breaking into the industry at age 24 (or “6th Anniversary of 18”, as I like to call it) are rapidly dwindling. Self-publishing (for more than just fun) is the route I’ve decided to take.

On August 25, 2014, I will launch Serving Cinema at http://www.servingcinema.com, alongside my longtime collaborator and friend, Alice Groesbeck. It will focus on Oscar season, the film industry, and culture in general. Our first major feature will focus on the release of a few key films during the New York Film Festival in late August (we’re in negotiations with one of our writers who’s going to be at the festival to bring his reviews exclusively to us). We’ve got a fantastic web designer who’s in the final stages of bringing our vision to life. We have tons of features lined up that will add a youthful life force into the crusty Oscar Blogging industry pool, and have gathered a great group of writers, collaborators, interns, and others to help make this a multimedia sensory extravaganza that will find a home in the hearts of tens of millions of adoring people across this great nation (or so we modestly hope).

We eventually hope to expand the site from mere videos, podcasts, and articles into an outlet for online-only independent filmmakers to showcase their work in a monthly spotlight/theater feature, but that’s all for phase 2. Phase 1 has barely left me any time to sleep in the past few months, so one step at a time.

Over the course of the next month, however, I’ve got a ton of other projects coming to life as well. Anaka Records will be flying (AKA putting me on a train because I’m terrified of air travel and refused to do it. I wish I were kidding, but I’m really rolling up for a business trip on rails) Alice and I to New York City on August 7 to collaborate with Alex Young (a singer I first interviewed on this blog in 2010, mind you) on a series of documentary-essays and web episodes/video projects surrounding her artistry and the city itself.

On September 6th, I’ll be traveling to Toronto to cover the Toronto International Film Festival–a legitimate Oscar precursor festival–for Serving Cinema as its first major feature.

My first short film (that I directed, acted in, and co-wrote with Alice), Dealing, is nearing completion, and will be edited (and released) by the end of the year. I’m also in the process of partnering with the Three Rivers Film Festival here in Pittsburgh to do some cross-promotion for my site and their list of filmmakers on this year’s slate.

I’ve accomplished so much (being humble apparently isn’t included in that assesment), and this blog as been there right by my side. It’s grown into more than just an outlet for expression. It has become an instinct, a gut-reaction for sharing ideas, an extension of myself as I try to write as personally as possible. I can’t do it all by myself if I want to expand, so we’re taking my little ball of passion and turning it into that Indiana Jones boulder (if that Indiana Jones boulder were a handful of people passionate about staying indoors/blogging about film).

Learning to exist with sentiment makes me a stronger person, a stronger writer and, hopefully now, a strong businessperson (with the help of my good friend Tyler Marchinetti, who’s helping out with some of the business aspects, like teaching Alice and I what “net gain” means and that people can actually sue us for the shade we throw now that we’re a business). Speaking of which, I know that if throwing shade at Jennifer Connelly and Argo over the years could translate into success, we’re already “recouping” (is that the right business word, Tyler?) whatever shame I brought upon myself by naming this blog “POPSMUT.”

Sentiment is my thing. Saying goodbye, however, is not. I’ll hang on to the craft I’ve perfected on this blog over the years and give it new life in a new home very, very soon. Hopefully we’ll uphold a legacy far better than Argo is upholding the Best Picture legacy from the clearance bin at your local supermarket (one last jab, for old time’s sake).

So, goodbye, PopSmut. You’ll be the used spork in my lunchbox of life forever. *pops Cristal in the hot tub* *clinks glass with my angel-winged ego of the future*

Joey.

Look for Serving Cinema to launch on August 25, 2014. 

Shameless Self-Promotion: Peep Me (and my article) on ANTM Winner Naima Mora’s Website

I just wanted to take a quick time-out today to point my faithful readers (all two of you) in the direction of “America’s Next Top Model” winner and Galaxy of Tar frontwoman Naima Mora’s website, “Model Behavior,” promoting the release of her upcoming self-help book of the same name. She’s poured her heart and soul into the project and I’m very thankful to her and her publishing team (namely Tracy Saville) for working with me on this. The shoot was a blast and Tracy’s guidelines for the article challenged me to step a bit outside of my usual “bitching about pop culture” box and write something semi meaningful.

Check out www.naimamoraonline.com if you just can’t get enough of my beautiful face.

Dark Knight “Rises” In Pittsburgh; Hathaway, Cotillard, Bale in the Steel City

"The Dark Knight Rises" Filming in Oakland, Pittsburgh. Photo by me.

Oh, you know. Just Batman fighting some bad guys on the streets of Pittsburgh.  No big deal.

And no, I’m not talking about one of the crazy PAT bus patrons trolling the streets of Oakland at 1 AM  who think they’re Batman. Nope, this is the real deal. And it’s all unfolding about four streets over from my house in Oakland.

I know the photo is terrible, but it’s a miracle I even got that shot because I was having such frantic bursts of excitement. I cannot contain myself over the fact that I was about 100 feet away from Anne Hathaway. That kind of stuff drives me crazy.

Not to mention the fact that Marion Cotillard and I have been breathing the same smoggy air for the past week or so, and will be doing so until the end of August. If I see her on the street, I’m thinking of taking an alternate approach to the whole “rabid fan meets idol” thing. Perhaps I’ll just stand with my back hunched a bit, arms outstretched, frantically wailing “MARCEEEL! MAAARRRCEEELLLLLLL!”. Insert laughter from those who also love “La vie en Rose” here.

The scene in the picture above, however, yielded only momentary glimpses of the action. Bale and Hathaway were spotted leaving the set about a minute or two before I got there, and filming quickly concluded about 30 seconds after that. Dozens of extras dressed in Gotham police attire boarded about 6 busses outside the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning, where Bigelow (the street directly in front of the building) is closed off to house trailers and equipment trucks.

Today production is taking the crew to Heinz Field, where a mock football game is being held with hundreds of extras. That should be interesting. Pittsburghers know how to chear a damn team. I’m just concerned about how those bright yellow monstrosities also known as “Heinz Field seating” are going to look onscreen.

In other news, I’m currently trying to get Michael Keaton’s reaction to the franchise he’s such an iconic part of filming in his hometown. Hell, I went to the same high school as him. The same church. I even lived about 10 houses down from where his late mother resided until her death.

Keaton sent me this message, however.

Thank you very much but I am working on different interview pieces right now and don’t want them to overlap and I can’t find the time right now anyway.  Thanks again. MK

According to the movie editor here, I should simply reply in a week with five questions he can answer via email. “He’ll definitely do that” she says. I certainly hope so.

Val Kilmer and Adam West have also been contacted on my end. Here’s to hoping I don’t have to flash any bat signals in the sky to muster a response from any of them.

A New Direction

As most of you loyal readers (I can actually say that I have those now…for real) have probably noticed, this blog has pretty much been inactive since the final Oscar was handed out a few months ago. Contrary to popular belief, I certainly did not die from my bitter (alright…”violent”) reaction to The King’s Speech winning Best Picture, so this was not the reason I’ve been neglecting this blog. School swamped me this past semester, not gonna lie in the slightest. What I feared would happen ended up…well…actually happening. You see, my major (and life’s passion) deals with the art of cinema. I’m a Film Studies (I bolded that for those of you who automatically think any major in film is the same as another), in other words I can totally beast a 12 page paper on the aesthetic qualities of the French New Wave, but you’re shit out of luck if you want me to shoot a motion picture and present it as an assumed coherent piece of art. Basically, I don’t fuck with film production; studying the art is my game. And I’ve loved doing just that ever since I can remember. Countless weekend hours spent watching movies in my room instead of going out to parties like the “normal” kids, going to a 1:00 PM showing of The Queen without any other people in the room under the age of 60…this is how I spent high school. I used film as a distraction from doing real work while I attended the University of Pittsburgh’s Johnstown branch campus before I could transfer to the Oakland campus. I managed fantastic grades and maintained my passion for film amidst a hick wasteland where the only theater in town played the latest superhero/sequel/PG-13 horror film for about 5 weeks straight until the next corporate schlock managed to slither its way onto the screens of Johnstown (I swear the people there are direct, unevolved descendants of the fools who ran from the train at the Grand Cafe in Paris…”them pictures is movin’ up on the screen!”) [side note: yes, I know people didn’t actually run from the train on the screen at the Grand Cafe, I just needed to make a point].

But when I arrived at the Oakland campus to study the artistic realm of the moving picture, I began to associate it with school. I can safely say I’m much more intellectual about film and my approach to it, but I seem to have lost some of my passion for it. The last thing you want to do after taking 4 exams on Film Theory and writing 2 papers on film movements or aesthetics is sit down and watch a movie. At least that’s how it is for me. I’m currently re-developing my love for the art during the summer, but that too will soon fall victim to work vs. passion; I’m about to begin a 4-month stay at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s entertainment section as an intern. Doing what? You guessed it; screening and reviewing movies. This is everything I’ve ever dreamed of. Sharing my own bitchy opinionated ideals on a large, published, city-wide scale is all I want to do. Hopefully the next step for me is somewhere along the lines of Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, or even Premiere. Variety might be overshooting it. But I can dream, eh?

I’ve also had a couple of things published locally around Pittsburgh…two fashion magazines have taken an interest in my writings and are publishing my interviews (with Paris Nicholson and Naima Mora of America’s Next Top Model) and articles, so that’s very exciting.

I guess as my dreams are being realized, I’m losing a sense of what made me love them in the first place considering I’m now associating them with work and stress. But I have done quite a bit for myself over the years…I’ve got a ton of writing credits, have interviewed some amazing people (Naima, for example, and Alex Young, Jenn Hoffman…all notable people who have professionally worked with people such as Kanye West, Janice Dickinson, etc.), and the modeling/acting thing is going well too (peep your boy lighting up the screens on late night MTV in the “Knock Knock” video by Mac Miller…yeah, I can’t believe it either).

All I’m saying is that this blog is probably going to be heading in a new direction once the Post-Gazette places into persepective everything I’ve ever wanted to do.

Stay tuned, bitches. Shit’s about to get interesting.

Some Exciting Things Are Coming!

I’ve just recently gotten back into the groove of posting regularly, and I have a LOT coming in the next few weeks.

Just to wet your little appetites a bit…

Interviews with America’s Next Top Model winner Naima Mora, pop singer Alex Young (along with the debut of her music video for “Government Name”), a full review of the indie documentary Catfish, and a few pieces on the upcoming Oscar Season (finally here!!). Keep yourself posted, I’m dying to get all this done!

Update: New Stuff Coming :)

First off, let me just say that this totally kills me:

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Watching a trainwreck become a disaster with almost nothing to salvage is truly depressing. Lindsay Lohan might not be a saint, but she’s still a human. And it’s still heartbreaking to watch someone whose been so publicly helpless slip even further through the cracks of her own self-destruction kills me.

I’ve been ridiculously busy lately, but pieces on the Lindsay fiasco to come in the next day or two, along with reviews of new albums by Kylie Minogue, Kelis, a film review of Mother and Child, as well as a few fluff pieces on Raina Hein, M.I.A., Kathy Griffin, and M. Night Shyamalan. Also look out for an interview with pop singer Alex Young by next week! Thanks for reading, I’m almost at 1,000 hits!