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

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Black Christmas...White Kwanzaa (Thrilling Holidays, Part 1)

December 2009 marks not only the end of a tumultuous year, but a turbulent decade as well. Monica and I decided to end it with a bang instead of a whimper. This year we suffered the deaths of dear friends and the demise of the beloved movie theaters I worked for, but it also introduced new beginnings, like my association with Forbidden Island and the Conga Lounge (the latter being headquarters for our ongoing Oakland Mai Tai campaign), as well as the Thrillville road shows. This past ten years (the "Aughts"? - this is the first identity-challenged decade of my 46 years!) gave us 9/11, Katrina, Bush-Cheney, and the economic meltdown, but it also gave us President Obama (whose record is spotty so far, IMO), The Dark Knight along with many other great genre flicks, and the bulk of Thrillville's successful, memorable run at Speakeasy Theaters - not mention my wedding to the Tiki Goddess on May 31, 2001. All in all, plenty of reasons to reflect - and to celebrate.

At the top of the month, Monica and I returned to the Cal-Neva Resort in North Tahoe, site of our wedding, after visiting it this past summer amid rumors of its possible closure/renovation. We like it when it's all dolled up for the holidays, so we spent the night there, just relaxing and reminiscing.

My two shows featuring the 1974 classic Black Christmas, at the 4 Star Theater in San Francisco (with Project Pimento) and the Camera 3 Cinema in San Jose, went well - not heavily attended, but the crowds were very enthusiastic and appreciative, as has been the case with most of my road shows this year (here's hoping this trend goes on the upswing in 2010.)

Our Sinatra Birthday Party at Kingman's Ivy Room was a very successful shindig - friends, strangers and hipsters hob-nobbed, sipping stellar cocktails and swayin' to swingin' music (and vice versa) in a swank, sultry atmosphere as Rat Pack flicks played on the bar TVs. Mark Klein, AKA "Dino Manelli" performed for the first time with the Lori Carsillo Trio (Lori is AKA "Lola Bombay" of Project Pimento.) It was a classy, sassy affair - a great way to kick off my new association with the bar where I officially met Monica at an Elvis Bday Bash on January 8, 1998. Looking forward to our Mad Men Party at the Ivy Room (with Project Pimento) this coming January 23, more on that later.

Every year since 1992 or so, I've been designing Elvis-themed Xmas cards for the computer consulting company 42inc, run by my pal Cory Levenberg, to give to his clients. I also send them out to friends and family, generally with a personalized photo insert. You can see previous Elvis cards online here. This year's edition featured an updated phot0-shopped version of the infamous Nixon-Elvis photograph - with President Obama. Caption: "I'm Dreaming of a White Kwanzaa." As you can deduce, the cards are irreverent, but all in good fun.

Speaking of good fun, after all this, Monica and I headed South for Southern California to celebrate her 37th birthday (December 15) at two of our favorite spots, Palm Springs and Disneyland. More on that in the next blog. I'm exhausted from all this celebration and relaxation. Cheers, Will