THRILLVILLE: Will "the Thrill" Viharo's weird, wild world of Pulp Fiction, B Movies, & the Lounge Lizard Lifestyle.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscars '09: Bashed & Bushed

For something like the 10th consecutive year (I've lost count, honestly), Thrillville hosted the annual Speakeasy Theaters Oscar Bash - third time at the Cerrito after many years at the Parkway. I never used to even watch the Academy Awards before I was recruited to host the Parkway bash, with all of its festive contests during the commercials. (Barely Legal Productions now hosts at the Parkway.) To me, it's treating Art - even crappy Art - like a Sporting Event, and I am not a sports fan. I just don't like the idea of competition in general, because people who should be proud of their work are made to feel like losers if they don't get enough votes from their peers. I just find it all so juvenile and pointless. Most people seem to enjoy the Oscars for the gaudy spectacle, the ostentatious fashions, and the chance some celebrities will make fools of themselves. None of that interests me in the slightest. Which is why I am an ironic choice to host the party. My anti-Oscar shtick always seems like part of the act, even though I'm not acting. Monica Tiki Goddess enjoys this kind of thing a lot more than I do. She digs the glamor and the drama, plus she's an actress herself. I use it as an opportunity to not only bash the Oscars - putting the bash in Oscar Bash, literally - but to rebelliously champion the kinds of movies I show in Thrillville, all the forgotten cinematic dregs that have never won any kind of award, but which deserve to be recognized and celebrated for their unique low budget appeal.

"Guillermo el Thrillermo" pinch-hosts the party, with Monica Tiki Goddess

Weary of this charade, this year I decided to try something different. I stepped aside altogether and let my lucha libre doppelganger, "Guillermo el Thrillermo," take my place along Monica onstage. Guillermo used my usual Thrillville multiple choice format for the trivia questions, but with a twist. Guillermo posed the question like this (in his horribly mangled "Spanglish"): which movie in a given year won the coveted "El Santo" award for Best Picture, as opposed to The Oscar?

Best Movie 1964?
a. Maria Poppins
b. Mia Fair Lady
c. El Doctor Strange Amor
d. Santo contra Zorba El Greek

Best Movie 1966?
a. Un Hobre por Totos Seasons
b. Que Pasa, Alfie?
c. Who is Afraid of Virginia Lobo?
d. Santo vs the Martians

6. Best Movie 1967
a. In el Heat de la Noche
b. El Graduate
c. Guess Who’s Coming to Comida?
d. Santo vs Bonnie y Clyde

Best Movie 1971?
a. A Clock-trabajo Orange
b. Fiddler en el Roof
c. El French Connection
d. El Mexican Connection

Best Movie 1973?
a. El Stingo
b. El Exorcisto
c. American Graffiti
d. Chicano Graffiti

Best Movie 1979?
a. Apocalypse Ahora
b. Totos That Jazz
c. Normarita Rae
d. Santa vs Kramer vs Kramer

(Hint: the answer is always D.)

and of course:

Quien es mas macho, Guillermo o Miguel Rourke?

Quine es mas macho, Guillermo o David Frost o Ricardo Nixon?

It was good, nutty fun. At the end, once all the prizes ("caca de mi casa") had been distributed, Monica put Guillermo in a headlock and unmasked him....a great shockwave rippled through the audience as his idenity was revealed...

Meanwhile, in the upstairs theater, Mr. Lobo was hosting the Oscar Bash for the third time at the Cerrito. His trivia was likewise formulaic: all of the answers were "Oscar" (as in: who is Felix Unger's roommate? Who lives in a trash can on Sesame Street?)

As for the actual awards ceremony up on the big screen, it was okay. I could see they were trying to make it different too - both classier, and more international in flavor. Like I was doing. I was very disappointed my old pal Mickey Rourke didn't win, but Sean Penn (I knew them both back in the day, as blogged here) brought precious attention to a good cause - gay rights - with his role as Harvey Milk, so social politics trumped sentimentality. I was gratified Heath Ledger won for his iconic role as The Joker, too, though that means nothing to him now. Normally I have no horses in this race, so I found the actual awards a little more interesting than usual. As for the Best Picture Winner, Slumdog Millionaire, I did enjoy the music and cinematography, and I dig the fact the Oscars are being globalized, but it's no Dark Knight - hell, it's not even Hell's Ground (the first Pakistani zombie flick!), but it's a nice, feel-good film.

Afterward, the three hosts went out for drinks at a great Mexican tapas restaurant, Fonda. Cocktails are outstanding. I ran into this cool dude I've known around town for years named Cecil, who was with another cool cat, chillin'. It was only after they left that I realized the other guy was famous blues musician Taj Mahal. Damn it, I could've taken a picture with him. I was just too Oscar'ed out to realize who he was. It's nice to know I was in the presence of a true legend, despite my initial ignorance, and I did give him my card and some free passes to the Cerrito.

Anyway, the evening as a whole was fun, but as usual, I'm glad it's over.

With Mr Lobo, at Fonda, post-bash, bushed