Philip who? No, I haven't joined a cult. Here's the story: In the early 1990s, I would leaf through the LA Weekly and Los Angeles Reader and find large ads filled with colorful quotes by a local character named Philip Ashamallah (1923-2004). An immigrant of apparent Arab extraction, Ashamallah was a structural engineering contractor (i.e. a concrete guy) with hilariously… read more!
Lists of Nine with Keyword "misc." (most recent at top)
Although I took German in high school, I decided to study Spanish, as an adult, from 2006 until 2008, and again from 2017 until the present day. I am still far from fluent, but I have increased my vocabulary somewhat, and along the way I've found a few irresistible words that I'd like to share with you. Some are handy.… read more!
Every single manmade thing in the world was once just an idea. It didn't exist until someone put said idea to paper, gathered the necessary raw materials, assembled a prototype, tested it, and deemed it functional: a vehicle, an appliance, a textile pattern, a form of government, a book, a song, a vaccine, and so on. Most of us have… read more!
As we wade into a new decade, some people believe, as always, that everything's getting worse and that everything used to be so much better. I disagree. For instance, you can't convince me that any era before the advent of indoor plumbing was better than this one. We romanticize the past because we survived it – we gloss over the… read more!
What does it mean to "rule" a year? For this list, I chose people who not only met with great success in their chosen fields in 2019, but who dominated the media landscape (especially on the Internet, where I live). People whose names and likenesses you saw again and again, who were the constant subjects of praise, opinion, and fascination.… read more!
I'm currently in the thick of submitting Words to Live by to American film festivals near and far. (I'm not pursuing foreign festivals this time, for reasons stated below.) A lot of websites offer dos and don'ts for the festival-bound filmmaker, but these are mine, based on my own experiences and observations. Before you start submitting your film – hell,… read more!
It's time once again for Pride Weekend in West Hollywood. And as I occasionally do around this time of year, I thought I'd write another cheeky list saluting my friends and neighbors here in this, the queerest of American cities. The following streets are all real, and they were all christened long before West Hollywood became a gay mecca. But… read more!
One year ago today, I posted a List of 9 detailing my predictions for 2018. As I mentioned back then, the fun part of annual predictions is checking in later to see how wrong these arrogant prognosticators turned out to be. And oh, how wrong I was! I honestly tried to be realistic, dear reader. I didn't try to game… read more!
Yesterday I launched an Indiegogo campaign for my next film, Words to Live by. It's as good a time as any to post this list, which I wrote some time ago, back when I thought I was hot stuff because I was history's first crowdfunded filmmaker (which I now equate with being history's first panhandler). Things change, but these tips… read more!
It's breathtaking to think that there was once serious talk of making a film out of Catcher in the Rye – with none less than J.D. Salinger starring as Holden Caulfield. Can you imagine? Of course, this never came to pass. But these nine other writers did succeed at getting in front of a camera and playing a character other than themselves.… read more!
I'm one of the last people I know who regularly go out to the movies. Because of my flexible schedule, I attend matinees, for the lower prices and the smaller, quieter audiences. I usually have a swell time. But there's always some annoying weirdo in the theater, isn't there? Now, according to my snobbish criteria, anyone who does not sit… read more!
The number of recent films adapted into stage musicals boggles the mind: Big Fish, The Wedding Singer, Catch Me if You Can, Groundhog Day, School of Rock – all have seen new life on Broadway. And there are more on the way: Back to the Future, The Devil Wears Prada, Pretty Woman, Magic Mike, and A League of Their Own are currently in development. What… read more!
As a member of the entertainment industry and as a fan of entertainment, I read a lot of press, interviews, and analyses pertaining to same. I have found that too many journalists – and interviewees, and pundits, and human beings in general – fall back on the same lazy clichés. This is a roster of the tropes that bug me… read more!
I love reading annual predictions. I love the arrogance of it, the fruitlessness. Mostly, I love revisiting such predictions a year later, to see how inaccurate they were. It reminds us of the uncertainty of life, and how deluded we are to think we can see the future. (A favorite is Michael Ventura's doomsday article "$4 a gallon" from 2005.)… read more!
There's an annoying term in the tech world called "disrupting", when a single breakthrough turns an entire industry on its ear. Typically it's a startup company that does the disrupting: think of Uber and AirBnB changing the way we obtain transportation and accommodation. But for every great innovation, there's a staid corporation too slow or skeptical to believe in it. This goes back… read more!
Much of my time this year has been spent on film festivals: entering them, attending them, and just plain obsessing over them. This list, informed by my experiences and observations, is written with the American independent filmmaker in mind. My short 20 Matches has played in (almost) all of the following types of festivals; for a full list, go here. So if… read more!
As of this writing, I've submitted 20 Matches to 41 film festivals. Deciding where to submit can be tricky, as most festivals cost money to enter, and those fees add up fast. To make it worth the gamble, you have to consider which festivals you're willing and able to travel to; how much clout each festival has; whether it's the right venue for your film; if it has potential for… read more!
I have lived in Los Angeles for 24 years – over half my life – so allow me to wax nostalgic for a bit. You non-Angelenos may want to tune out, but I still hope you enjoy this little time capsule of my first decade in town. None of these things exists anymore, but for me they are as symbolic of '90s LA… read more!
There are thousands of articles about the many grammatical errors that people make when speaking or writing English: "its" vs. "it's" and so on. But these are the nine mistakes that bug me, Mark Tapio Kines, the most. "Snuck" instead of "sneaked". I realize I'm on the wrong side of history here: "snuck" has become so commonplace that it's practically proper English. But the word… read more!
Thanks to this year's surprise publication of Harper Lee's long-lost Go Set a Watchman, Lee is no longer a member of that elite group known as "Famous Authors Who Only Wrote One Novel". The Internet is filled with lists about these people, and you'll see the same names over again: Emily Brontë (Wuthering Heights), Ralph Ellison (Invisible Man), Margaret Mitchell (Gone… read more!