Thursday, April 15, 2010

happened recently last month (was recent, last month)

Hey now, let's see what's new lately... of course, the biggest news (which now seems like old news, but I haven't posted anything about it) - the company I work for, ImageMovers Digital, is being closed down by their parent company, Disney. We got the news at a company-wide meeting at noon on Friday, March 12. Didn't sound like a good sign that they called a last-minute meeting with the company heads (Robert Zemeckis, Steve Starkey, Jack Rapke), but we'd just had a good review with the director on the project that was just getting into full production, most of the murmuring centered around that. Then - as we were all standing in the cafe (where all large-scale meetings happened) - Jack Rapke came onto the mic with "terrible news". Continuing on, stating this was 'the worst day in his professional career', he revealed the news that Disney had decided to pull their funding of Image Movers Digital, and would be closing the facility after the current project, "Mars Needs Moms". It was a lot of stunned co-workers , a lot of fear, despondency, anger... other company heads spoke on scant details, their own despair, the bleak future. They told everyone they could go home, but they stuck around to chat a bit more with people who wanted face-to-face talks. News spread like 'wildfire' (sorry for the cliche) around the industry - friends from other companies called me to see if it was true, lots of Facebook pages blowing up. The following week was very surreal - all that really happened was smaller company & department meetings, a whole lot of questions, not much work, we got our projected end dates and severance packages, talk of job fairs and re-placement assistance from HR... I've got a month of perspective on it, but still so many questions on WHY they made this decision when they did, and what they hope to accomplish by finishing the current project, but at least most of us have a few more months of employment... A couple major observations, though : a few folks had lived through unfortunate company closures - Dreamquest/Secret Lab, The Orphanage, Laika - I never have, and at least they didn't shut the doors & fire everyone that day, but to think of 450 crew/artists looking for work at a time when the trend is toward downsizing and outsourcing... looks pretty devastating...

But, as I said, I've had a month of perspective and other lifeness, and the night after the announcement, we had my birthday celebration at Ragged Wing for "Handless"! Great night out, and a perfect opportunity to get friends together, and introduce them to the theatre group! The overall run went very well, I don't have final #'s but I know most of the Saturday shows sold out. Show was fantastic, congrats to all!

We had our traditional Easter brunch (though it rained - moved everyone indoors) - lots of mimosas & bloody marys, quiche, and egg coloring. We had lots of kids over, too - so the egg coloring was particularly fun! Wondercon was the same weekend - it was the usual crazy scene, maybe even more people than last year. I know that a lot of the smaller panels were packed, and even filled up (I got to see 'The Spirit of Star Trek', and Ed Martinez' make-up FX demo; but I missed 'Forensic Psychiatry & the villains of Batman', and the 'Real Archaeology of Indiana Jones'). I didn't buy much, but I ran into a mess of coworkers and friends, and got to say hello to a few old friends and associates I haven't seen in a long while (esp. Geoff Johns and JT Krul from Michigan State days).

Colossal Inertia played another show, at The Bistro in Hayward. Really nice spot - no sound system to speak of, and while it's not a restaurant they serve some minor bites, and they don't have liquour but boast a wide variety of Belgian beers... It was a good setup for our band, we had the whole night for ourselves, but several of the bands we invited to play with us declined (it doesn't work great for rock, so we asked more of our bluesy-folksy-mellow peers). So the lineup ended up being : I did a solo semi-acoustic set (the debut of Cafe Inertia!); DJ Cypod did a singer-songwriter-drum machine set; then Colossal Inertia had a larger headliner window to play for, so we did an almost hour-long set. Low pressure, it was one of our most fun gigs we've done.

Got to see the reunion tour of Faith No More (they're only playing in San Francisco & New York, and at Coachella)! I'd not seen them back in the day, though I've seen Mike Patton in almost every variation since... They put on a great show, kind of nostalgic but very strong and energetic. They had a couple oddly-placed opening acts - an oldschool punkish band that apparently were missing their lead singer so they had a guy mumble through the songs (though I found out that day, that Deb Thomas' husband Kirk was playing guitar with them!); and an amateurish PG-13 fetish ensemble, and I think it was Neil Hamburger kind-of MCing and telling his staple bad jokes in-between acts. So, the biggest disappointment was that FNM didn't go on until almost 10:30, and we had to leave at the beginning of their first encore, to catch the BART back... still, got my evening's worth of entertainment with my best lady. :^*

Movie updates :: "How to Train Your Dragon" [verdict : excellent entertainment, solid story]; "Chloe" [verdict : broaches some interesting psychological explorations, but too luridly silly, and the ending devolves into a cheap thriller]; "Until the Light Takes Us" [a documentary about Norwegian black metal, went w/ Tim Coleman; verdict : fascinating movie, and fascinating crowd, I've never seen so many heshers at an art-house screening]; "Alice In Wonderland" [verdict : the best Tim Burton film in a while]; "Shutter Island" [verdict : thriller that delivers, helped by the strong hand of Scorsese, but not one of his best]

Guess that's about it for now. Despite unusually late rainstorms, the summer season is around the corner, so more festivals & events coming up!