Saturday, August 28, 2010

Legend of Black Lotus by Angelo — Kickstarter

About this project

Legend says, during a magical time in Ancient China an honorable emperor had a vision of his kingdom in ruins and his people suffering. The emperor prayed to the Spirit of the Black Forest for help. The Spirit promised the emperor that she would send a warrior to restore the kingdom to its former glory. Years, then decades passed. Legend became myth, and soon only a few still believed in the Promise. When the kingdom was at its most corrupt, the Spirit spoke to the new empress, calling upon her to deliver the warrior who would bring honor back to the land.

THEMES: LEGEND OF BLACK LOTUS explores themes of faith, honor, prejudice, unconditional love, and sacrifice. It puts the fate of an empire into the hands of an emperor governed by fear, an empress led by faith, and an ostracized child who's led by love.

THE LOCATION: The film will be shot in good ole Los Angeles County. All interior locations will be shot on a soundstage, which I'm excited about because I've never shot on a soundstage before. The exterior locations are the L.A. Arboretum and a dry lake bed in the California desert.

The cast is hired! We have the award-winning leading actress, Emayatzy Corinealdi playing the lead role (Daiyu) with Julia Kubo playing the younger version of the lead. Additionally there's Steffinnie Phrommany (empress), Clint Jung (Emperor), Irene Park and Jade Doheny (older and younger princess), Victor Chi (captain), Kerry Liu (nurse), Anne Lee Mako (wife).


These folks are already hired and eager to start! We are ready to hit the ground running.

The first incarnation of LEGEND OF BLACK LOTUS was as a feature film project based on the fascinating story told to me by Nicole Sessions. That script is written and ready to go -- in the future. But the story had such a lasting effect on me that I want to do something NOW. That's why I adapted the feature script into a short film script.

When you contribute to this film project you'll be a "partner" in the creation of a film, of which, you will forever be proud. But that's the intangible. Some tangible perks include everything from high-res desktop wallpaper, posters, DVDs, sponsor certificates, film credit, to advance sneak peeks at cool cast videos and a visit to the set!

Legal fees; equipment rental; food; travel & lodging (for out of towners); lighting equipment; costumes & props; post-production equipment; and DVD production.

I imagine a few of you are saying, "I've seen that guy somewhere before." And some of you might ask, "Why is Marcellus Wallace on Kickstarter trying to raise money for a film?" This is our third round of funding! We've got some very encouraging feedback and now Kickstarter was the most logical next step. Remember, this is an all-or-nothing campaign, so pledge today.

Thank you in advance for helping me make this movie!

Project location: Los Angeles, CA

Only 22 days left to help support this project! Are you a backer?

Posted via email from Michael's posterous

Friday, June 25, 2010

Spicy Chicken a la Bernstein's

Our first summer with our new grill, an event which will allow me to experiment and develop some unique recipes for outdoor cooking. Here’s the first one of the season which I’m sharing.

WARNING: This is a very spicy recipe! Note the optional ingredient listed below, which if eliminated, will cut back the spiciness significantly. You have been warned :-)

Some basic food safety caveats first:

  • Always handle raw chicken while wearing rubber gloves
  • Immediately dispose of any packaging in which the chicken came
  • Thoroughly wash any utensils used while handling raw chicken as well as any surface areas where raw chicken rested


1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 14 oz bottle of Bernstein’s Restaurant Italian Dressing & Marinade

Spice mix:

2 tablespoons of chili powder
2 tablespoons of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1 tablespoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of paprika
1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 large pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Chicken preparation:

Shake the bottle of dressing well, as the spices as well as the oil and vinegar separate quite a bit. Simply put the chicken in large, sealable plastic bag. Pour the entire bottle of dressing in the bag and seal it. Shake the bag, evenly distributing the dressing on all of the chicken pieces. Open the bag and squeeze out as much air as you can, then reseal the bag. Cover a large plate with two sheets of paper towel, then put the bag with the chicken on the plate and place into the refrigerator. Let marinade for 4-12 hours.

Spice preparation:

Place all the spice mix ingredients into a small, sealable bag. Seal the bag and shake the contents until the color is completely even.


Spray PAM made for higher grill heat on the grates. Heat grill to 250 degrees F.

While the grill is heating, finish the chicken prep. I recommend you do this at the kitchen sink. After donning your (fresh) rubber gloves, remove and gently shake each chicken piece over the sink, then place into a large bowl. Once all the pieces are in the bowl, sprinkle your spice mix evenly over the chicken, “stirring” the chicken gently with your hand as you continue to sprinkle the spices. The goal is to get the spices on all the chicken pieces as evenly as possible.

Place the chicken pieces on the grill’s grates using tongs, giving each piece enough space from its neighbors. Close the grill hood to maintain the heat. Turn the pieces every 15 minutes during this stage of cooking for a total of 45 minutes of cooking. Then turn over the pieces one last time and turn up the heat to 300 degrees F. Close the hood. This last step is necessary in order to get a bit of char on the outside of the chicken.

After a full hour of cooking, your chicken should be done. However, it is advised that you use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat, using the guidelines on your thermometer. Once your temperatures are confirmed, your chicken is ready to server.

Side dish:

2 medium red bell peppers
2 medium yellow bell peppers
2 medium green bell peppers
1 large brown onion
1 tablespoon of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1/2 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Slice the peppers, taking care to remove the seeds and white “stuff” inside. Wash the pieces and drain them well, then place them in a bowl. Peel and slice the onion, slicing the pieces into the bowl with the peppers. Sprinkle on the seasoned salt and black peppers. Pour the mixture into a grill-safe vegetable cooker (they have holes on the bottom) and place on a cookie sheet (only used to prevent spillage here). Drizzle olive oil on the mixture.

Set the grill temperature to 300 degrees F. Place cooker in the grill and cook until the vegetables are soft and have a bit of a char on the outside (20-30 minutes). Remove and serve.


If you try these recipes, please do let me know how they turn out.

Happy grilling!


Saturday, April 03, 2010

5 Things The Simpsons Taught Me About Life

OK, fanboy time. I heart The Simpsons. There, I said it. Ever since they appeared on The Tracy Ullman Show back in 1986, I became instantly enamored with the whole dynamic of the characters (and the fact that I’ve always loved animation didn’t hurt). As the show evolved and The Simpsons spun off into their own series, I followed along and became a rabid fan. Even to this day, while my Sunday night TV viewing doesn’t revolve around the show anymore, I still frequently watch them in syndication. I’ve seen every episode at least once and in most cases, dozens of times, particularly for the earlier ones.

So, as a devotee of the Yellow Crowd, here are the top five things I learned from watching The Simpsons for all these years:
  1. Everything can be made better with beer or donuts (or both)


    Face it; you want to believe this one. Beer is nature’s perfect drink and donuts, while hardly something nature provides, gives sustenance without the complication of vitamins, minerals or anything else good for you. While pretty much any foodstuff makes Homer drool, he has a special something for his suds and cakes - they get him through (or into) the bad times.

  2. You can be a total screw-up, but if you’re lovable, people will forgive you anything

    Homer is an everyman, but has almost every flaw known to man. Just look at the facts: Homer has destroyed lives, businesses, homes, even people with his incompetence-enhanced laziness and yet because he’s such a good-hearted “person” (down deep underneath all that blubber), everyone eventually overlooks those flaws. Life can’t be too bad if you’re a Homer.

  3. Don’t be stuck in the same old career your whole life - branch out and try new things


    Besides his normal full-time job as a safety engineer at a nuclear power plant, Homer has been a recording artist (twice), an astronaut, a volunteer fireman, a team mascot, to name a few of his jobs. Who wouldn’t want to be him? If your current job bores you, try something completely new and unfitting for your background and education. Succeed, fail and grovel for your old job, only to try it all over again another time. Brilliant! Where do I sign up?

  4. Being a nuclear plant safety engineer means you get to travel ALL the time and still keep your job


    I knew there was a perfect job out there and Homer has it! You’d wonder why he keeps trying to find other careers when he has the deal everyone wants. The man can take his family anywhere around the world - Brazil, Israel, France, England - for weeks at a time and never get penalized! How much vacation time does he have? Come on, you all want that.

  5. All you need to do is produce an animated series about a dysfunctional family and you can get great guests

    Amazing the number of big names that have given voice to their animated selves on The Simpsons. To name but a few: Paul & Linda McCartney, famed physicist Stephen Hawking, Sting, Ron Howard, architect Frank Gehry, reclusive author Thomas Pynchon. The list goes on and on. Whatever it is about Springfield’s favorite family that lures in these famous luminaries, the writers have found the formula.
Do you have any favorite life lessons taught to you by The Simpsons? If so, please share!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Russian Lawrence Welk?

I continue to be fascinated by this video, circa the late 1970's, of Eduard Ghil, a Russian entertainer singing a song that has no lyrics (entitled "I Am So Glad I Am Finally Coming Back Home!," subtitled "Vocalization") and has already become an Internet meme. I'm not sure why this appeals to me so much - it is as much for the "camp" value as it is completely the antithesis of our former arch-enemy, the Soviet Union.

Rumor has it that this song actually does have lyrics (about an American cowboy returning home after being out on the range), but Soviet censors forbade Ghil to sing them because they put the U.S. in too favorable of a light.

When you watch this video, note the half-hearted attempt by Ghil to do a credible job lip-synching as well as his somewhat comic facial expressions and gestures. Of course, you may find plenty of humor just taking note of his 70's-era suit or the Welk-esque production values.

Here's to you, Mr. Ghil! My fondest wish is that you reprise this song live for American television some day.

From our hill to yours,


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Peacock peek-a-boo

Peacock peek-a-boo
Originally uploaded by socalvillaguy

A day trip to see some of our favorite fowl, featuring our fine-feathered friends, the peacocks (and peahens). Enough alliteration for this post, don't you think?