Sunday, December 26, 2010

My interview with Paulette Rubinstein

On December 23, 2010, I interviewed Titra Studios voice actress Paulette Rubinstein (Godzilla vs. the Thing, Gammera the Invincible) at the home of Paulette's daughter, actress Liane Curtis (Sixteen Candles). About halfway in, Liane joins the interview and adds some levity to the proceedings.

My thanks again to Liane and Paulette for being such wonderful hosts! Please enjoy the video.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Nice to know I still have friends

About to have breakfast with J.D. Lees and Robert Scott Field at G-FEST XVII in Chicago.

The holidays are a time of reflection, and given that today is Christmas, and I can think of no better time to think about my friends. Of course, those with poor judgment may count "the enemy of my enemy" as their friends, but those who do always find out in the end just how meaningful such relationships are.

With Akira Takarada at G-FEST. I spent nearly a week with this legendary actor and will never forget the experience.

With Damon Foster. Although he and I live hours apart, I got to see Damon several times this year. He's a great friend with a great sense of humor. Love our phone conversations!

With Luciana Paluzzi and Nika Solomon. I've seen Luciana twice this year (including my December 14 trip to L.A.) but only saw Nika once. I always look forward to seeing these great ladies when I'm in the area.

With Dore Kraus, as we attempt Ultraman's Specium Ray pose. I met Dore for the first time in October at a dinner he hosted, and he was just as nice as in our various correspondences.

With Dr. Franklin Ruehl. Dr. Ruehl's Mysteries from Beyond the Other Dominion was a favorite of mine on the Sci-Fi Channel in the early '90s. Getting to speak with him at length in October was truly a wonderful experience.

With Ib Melchior. Words cannot do this man justice, but I'm compelled to say a few. No one has shown me more hospitality this year than Mr. Melchior. Whenever I travel to L.A., I always have a place to stay at Ib's. I stay there so often that his house has basically become my home away from home! I sincerely appreciate the generosity he has shown me.

With Ryan Phillips. Ryan is a high school friend I haven't seen for nearly ten years. He was in the area on business and invited me to have lunch with him. It was my pleasure to reconnect with him and swap stories.

With Justin Dunleavy. I got to spend more time with my cousin this year than I have in a long time. Before getting involved in Godzilla fandom, Justin and I would spend hours talking about the various Toho sci-fi films in the 1990s (and the '80s before that!).

With Paulette Rubinstein and her daughter Liane Curtis. Although I have known Paulette for nearly five years (!), I never got the chance to meet her until very recently. She and her daughter Liane were extremely kind to me, and I was overwhelmed by their hospitality.

With George Chakiris. Although most people would think of Oscar-winning actors as having large egos, I couldn't think of a less appropriate description for George Chakiris. Last week, I met the West Side Story star again in L.A. for a chat, and we mostly chatted about our favorite films this year and of any year. We plan to meet again the next time I'm in town.

This doesn't begin to cover everybody, and I apologize to my friends I haven't included. I could go on all day with examples. But you have to cut it off somewhere!

I wish all my friends a happy and successful 2011!

Merry Christmas!

The fireplace burns bright at Ib Melchior's home on December 14, 2010. The blaze would have no doubt been enough for Chet the Christmas (Day Massacre) Parrot to warm his entire body!

Christmas has once again arrived, and I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday. Christmas only comes once a year, so let's please not ruin the holiday with bad behavior. I think we got our fill of that last year!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster: science fact?

The Japanese poster for Yoshimitsu Banno's Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (1971).

Brenco's advertising campaign for its U.S. release of Toho's sci-fi classic Gorath (1962) claimed the movie was "too real to be science fiction," that it was actually "science fact."

Little did anyone know that such a description would eventually prove more accurate for Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster, Yoshimitsu Banno's environmentally-aware monster movie.

On the heels of NASA's discovery of a new life form that's "able to thrive and reproduce using the toxic chemical arsenic," a San Francisco Chronicle blogger notes the similarities between it and a certain Toho kaiju eiga:
For humans, arsenic pollution in groundwater has been a major problem. While a naturally occurring element, Arsenic can cause cancer in humans and "cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and neurological effects" according to the National Research Council. Moreover, Arsenic is found in cities and areas with smog and industrial emissions, and Mono Lake, which as far back as 2006 and beyond, has been noted for its air pollution problems.
Which brings us to Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster and the idea that we're a giant step closer to science fiction as fact.
To read the entire blog post, click here. Special thanks to Mr. Yoshimitsu Banno for sending along the link.

Friday, December 3, 2010

AKIRA IFUKUBE: Works for Piano, Volume 2

The stunning cover for AKIRA IFUKUBE: Works for Piano, Volume 2.

Reiko Yamada, a former student of Maestro Ifukube's (and a special guest at G-FEST XIV in 2007) has recently completed a brand-new CD of the master musician's classical compositions. As of now, it's available in the U.S. from the Sanseido Japanese bookstore in Chicago and can be ordered here:

100 E. Algonquin Rd.,
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
(847) 956-0155

Details such as pricing are unavailable at this time, but when we're talking about Akira Ifukube, who would dare put a price on his genius?

More information about the release will become available on Maestro Ifukube's official English-language Web site as soon as possible. Fans of Mr. Ifukube, and of classical music in general, will certainly be pleased with the new release!