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

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Why 2014 Will Be My Year

Drinking a Vesper, the original James Bond cocktail,
at Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge.
2014=2/14=Valentine's Day=Vic Valentine. Not sure whether I believe in numerology, but if Christian Slater's film version of my novel Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me finally gets a green light this year, then that will definitely make a believer out of me. 

But even if it doesn't happen that soon (sigh), because Christian is too busy with his new TV series Mind Games, which premieres on ABC on February 25, my life will change drastically this year anyway, for the better, because Monica Tiki Goddess and I are pulling up stakes and moving our Bay Area base of operations north to Seattle, WA.

Plus, I now have my very own Wikipedia page, officially declaring me a pulp writer of note to the universe at large. My mission to reintroduce myself as an author and not just a B movie impresario/lounge lizard is now complete. Now I just have to continue living up to the honor.

But why leave (mostly) sunny Northern California and move all the way to Seattle, you ask? Doesn't it, like, rain a lot up there?

Exactly. I'm a noir kinda guy.

I've lived in California since I was on my own at age 16, after being raised primarily in South Jersey, having spent my first few years in Houston, born in Manhattan 4/2/63. After being kicked out of Jersey by my stepmother for non-sensical reasons, I was alone and lost in Los Angeles till I was 22 (during which time I was befriended by a young Mickey Rourke), when I decided to move to San Francisco without knowing a single soul there. I picked a random room out of the newspaper that happened to be the legendary Hotel Europa in North Beach, above the strip club where the famous Carol Doda performed. I pissed in my sink, typed novels on top of my portable fridge, watched Miami Vice on my small TV, and hid my beloved cat Puss (RIP) from management.
Yada yada yada, 29 years later I've become locally known as "Will the Thrill" of "Thrillville" fame. But all good things must come to an end. Much as I felt back in 1985 when I left LA for SF, I now feel like I'm stuck in neutral, spinning my wheels in the same old well-worn grooves, complacent but uninspired, and frankly the Bay Area's recent historic dry spell reflects my personal sense of ennui. I need a big reboot right up my ass. I need a major storm. In short, I need Seattle. It just fits the Thrill-bill, climate-and-culture-wise, soothing my soul while invigorating my spirit. Monica's best friend from college lives up there, and The Tiki Goddess is applying for her PhD in Theater at the University of Washington, better known as UDub. It feels like the right move at the right time. I turn 51 on April 2 - and I'm barely become accustomed to turning 50, which happened on my exploratory trip to Seattle last year. I figure if I'm going to alter the trajectory of my life, both personally and professionally, it needs to be now. I want to spend the autumn (and winter) of my years in a place that actually has both seasons, as opposed to the perpetual spring-summer weather of California. I left LA three decades ago largely to escape the heat, and it apparently followed and finally caught up with me. Yes, I crave clouds. Some like it hot. I dig it cool. And green. Go ahead, call me crazy. I'm used to it by now.

As for my career aspirations, other than writing and simply finding some kind of regular work to pay the basic bills, I doubt I'll pursue any kind of theatrical version of Thrillville up in the Emerald City, but I'm in no position to turn down cash offers, either. I do envision a book reading/burlesque mashup of some sort, especially since Seattle is such a literary hotbed, so to speak, but we'll see what Fate holds in store. My main job at the moment is simply to get there, bridging the gap between my past and future.
A new place to hang my fez...
Meantime, Thrillville has become the online platform for my pulp fiction, and it finally ends its long running incarnation as a "cult movie cabaret" when the "franchised" version I'm currently programming at The New Parkway comes to an end in June, when we plan to move, taking my brand name with us. The Sunday night series, for which I've been designating rotating guest hosts since about a year ago, moves back to its original, "old Parkway" time slot of (every other) Thursday night this month. My first gig of the year, on January 9, will be our final Elvis Bday Show by the Bay, featuring Elvis's greatest movie, King Creole (1958), one I've always wanted to show, but there were no 35mm prints (The New Parkway, like most theaters, is all digital projection). Check out my take on this movie as classic film noir here.

UPDATE: Photos from Elvis Bday 2013:

Forbidden Island, 1/8/13
Hosting King Creole at The New Parkway, 1/9/13 
With The Tiki Goddess at The New Parkway 

With longtime Thrill Seeker Dan Franco and his amazing, custom-made
"Thrillville" table, a gift to the theater
Complete Thrillville Theater schedule through June here. I won't be personally presenting most of them, but on March 20, I will host my final SHATFEST: Tribute to William Shatner, featuring The Devil's Rain (1975).

Then on Thursday, April 3, I celebrate Thrillville's 17th Anniversary with a combo Farewell Bay Area Show featuring my all-time favorite flick Sweet Smell of Success (1957) - a scent I hope to be getting a huge whiff of real soon...

Years ago I introduced clips from this and other beloved movies like I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!, and Bare Knuckles (starring my father Robert Viharo) in this early local TV appearance, my first as "Will the Thrill," back when Thrillville was still called The Midnight Lounge. In fact, I initially introduced the whole concept of "Thrillville" right on the air:

Recent shows I've hosted at The New Parkway:

Hosting "A James Bond Christmas: On Her Majesty's Secret Service" at The New Parkway,
Hosting "A Rat Pack Holiday Party" featuring "Ocean's 11," a movie that looms large in my history...
 The New Parkway, 12/29/13

After last fall's promotional blitz for the reissue of Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me, I don't have a lot of other projects lined up. I'm pretty preoccupied with the move. And the movie. I really need both to happen this year. But only one of them is actually under my control. And I'm taking it. 
Original mock poster by storyboard artist Matt Brown,
the basis for the cover of the Gutter Books reissue of the novel.

This random photo makes it look like Christian and I are morphing into the same person: Vic Valentine, Private Eye

Drinking a "Vic Valentine," New Year's Eve, Forbidden Island

My short story "Behind the Bar" is included in this new Charles Bukowski Tribute anthology, LONG DISTANCE DRUNKS, from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.