This has been a whirlwind of the past three weeks. You have worked with one of the most abrasive people you have yet to work with. Why is it so hard for you to find a environment that reflects growth, community, follow through. and responsibility? I know it will happen but there are still many lessons you must go through in order to be a better self. I am glad you stood for yourself. Like making sure you were to take at least a 20 min break for lunch during an eight hour work day even though the manager did not allow it. Simply because she did not take a breaks. She wanted it to be dictated for everyone else in the office. Remember the lack of her explanations, follow through, wanting to help out to her support team. Showed some amount of caring for her team like a true boss she was supposed to be but was the complete opposite. Showed you such an example of how not to be in a work place in order to grow and be an overall good person. Remember how unconformable it was for you to hear her yelling at husband and then slamming down her phone while you were sitting at the desk next to her? It was a constant reminded you never wanted that in your personal life and never be accepting of that kind of behavior in a work place! I understand that the business have been a long lasting 43 years old business. But was it a good one? Are the memories solid or couldn’t you tell how overwork, overstressed this woman seemed to be and will probably continue to be. With a lack of family support for a family owned business it seems like a waste of time to keep turning the same wheel. I am glad you saw clear signs of this woman’s lack of want to help other succeed in her business. Like leaving early in the afternoons like the building was on fire. constantly pawing off her own responsibilities and yelling at you while you were talking to her clients over the phone, the lack of her learning technology. The fact that you were left handed and being angry because you couldn’t use a ring sided binder . Her frustration and prejudices was deep towards you for the smallest things but keep in mind that she probably be the best that she will ever do. She will reflect back on those years as being burnt out. You are worth more than the three weeks that you work there. You will find that place that will have you grow and promotes growth. Thank you for for going through this experience. It made you tougher, wiser, and not to settle for lower than your worth.
My adoration of weird movies runs deep. Here are four movie titles that I think would fall into this category.
The Fan (Der Fan) (1982): directed by Eckhart Schmidt and starring Desiree Nosbusch and Bodo Staiger. I watched this movie around 2012 by a random article I saw. The movie centrals around a teenager named Simone who is a literal die hard fan of a singer that goes by an alias called “R”.
Nothing else in her world matters. Not school, not friendships or her parents. Simone has a one track mind and it is all on “R”. She finally goes her chance to meet her idol however it is not like she imagined.
Fun fact about this movie: I recommend this movie for any fans of European during the 80’s decade.
Little Oak (aka Greedy Guts or Otesanek) (2000)- Jan Svankmajer. Starring Veronika Zilkova, and Jan Hartl. Director Jan Svankmajer is truly a unique director. I feel like once you watch one of his shorts it linger in your mind way after you watch it.
This movie is about a couple who wants a baby but is having an extremely hard time conceiving one. The couple buys a house in the woods and find a tree stump that resembles a shape of a baby. It clicks in their mind to treat the stump like a baby and by steer magic it become real. However their tree stump baby become a true nightmare.
Fun fact about this movie: The plot of this movie comes from a Czech fairy tale called Otesanek.
Society (1989) directed by Brian Yunza and starring Billy Warlock, and Concetta D’Agnese.
I truly cannot talk about this movie enough. I have written about this movie a couple of times and I am always recommending it to others who want a change of pace to their movie routines. It is about a guy named Billy who always got weird vibes about his family. Like something was off about them and he could not put his finger on it. But the more Billy investigates into his gut feeling about his family the more of a nightmare it becomes!!
Fun fact about this movie: The movie only took five weeks to shoot.
Frankenhooker (1990) directed by Frank Henenlotter and starring James Lorniz and Patty Mullen. There are many many different takes on the classic Frankenstein story by Mary Shelley. This movie is probably my top interpretation of it. James Lorniz plays Jeffrey Franken a power plant worker and happens to dabble as a bioelectrical scientist. His life feels complete until there was horrible accident at his fiancee dad’s birthday party. The very same gift he got his future father in law (an automatic lawnmower) kills his fiancee!!! Heartbroken Jeffrey believes that he can bring her back to life. However he must come to terms that she is really not the same person that she was alive.
Fun Fact about this movie: It took 12 years to finish this movie.
This week’s Welcome to the Insta-hood is on @jr.nes77 !
Tell me a little about yourself:
“I was born and raised in the great city of Chicago and I’m also first generation Mexican. Since I can remember, I’ve always loved watching movies and listening to music. Growing up on the north side of Chicago, I can remember the days of hanging out on my block while talking with friends about the latest Nightmare on Elm Street movie and with a couple boomboxes playing in the background. One specific genre that would consistently be played on those boomboxes was Chicago House music. On any Friday night, you’d hear mixes from Ron Hardy, Farley “Jackmaster” Funk and the legendary Godfather of House Music, Frankie Knuckles (who I luckily met and became friends with while working at Virgin Megastore).
I was also lucky enough to have parents who loved going to the movies, but also loved having a movie night at home. I can safely say that my taste in movies is a fusion of my parent’s tastes. On one hand, you had my father watching “Deer Hunter” and on the other you’d see my mother watching “Fire in the Sky.”
Being fortunate enough to grow up in Chicago, I was treated at a young age to the legendary show, Svengoolie. This show would play classic camp, sci-fi and horror films like “Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man,” “The Bride of Dracula,” “The Incredible Shrinking Man” just to name a few. The Svengoolie show has aired locally since 1970 and now broadcasts outside of the Chicago area.
My love for films and music grew even more when I worked at Virgin Megastore for nearly 8 years. Not only did I have immediate access to all types of films and music, but access to a group of individuals who had the same love that I do. Having this accessibility just made my love for the strange and unusual even stronger…since I too am…strange and unusual. Sorry, I felt I had an opportunity to quote “Beetlejuice” and I had to take it.
In 2019, I took the first step in creating my small business and that was forming my LLC, UNDERCOVER. That same year, I partnered with [synthetic] Chicago (Alberto) to create Front Left Speaker (FLS). Forming UNDERCOVER is an extension of my vision on creating product and events that highlight my love for music, movies, art and Chicago.”
2. Can you talk a little bit about Front Left Speaker?
“Front Left Speaker (FLS):
When working at Virgin Megastore, I met so many fans of Chicago House Music and aspiring DJs. During and after work, so many great discussions of Chicago House music and parties would be had. As time progressed, I found myself creating amazing bonds with a handful of people and one in particular was Alberto ([synthetic] Chicago).
As we discussed our love for Chicago House Music, we found ourselves having some similar concerns. One of our observations was seeing our female friends struggle to break into the scene. Regardless of how amazingly talented they were, they faced so many obstacles in a heavily male dominated field. We also saw many who didn’t fit the “industry norm,” be denied great opportunities.
As all this occurred, House music was gaining popularity across the world and it seemed that people were forgetting that House music originated in Chicago. At this point, we thought to ourselves, one day we should collaborate and throw parties together to address these issues. We discussed how we would feature women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ community and remind everyone that House music originated in Chicago.
As life happens, we separated from Virgin Megastore and began our separate journeys. We kept in touch throughout the years, but it would be some time that we would be in the right stage in our lives to start what we’ve always talked about.
Around 2017 we found each other again after not seeing each other for a few years. We reconnected and caught up, turned out we were both starting new chapters in our lives and ready to make some moves. Alberto reached out one day and said, let’s hangout and talk. We met up and as usual, we would catch up. Alberto would then say, I think the time is now for us to work together. Alberto would then explain he’s had an idea of an event series that would address several social issues that we previously discussed. Thus, Front Left Speaker was born.”
3. If you have to make a Cult movie spring list: What movies would you have on there and why?
Top 5 Spring Cult Films:
Polyester – When the Spring season arrives, it brings the beautiful aromas of fresh rain and blooming flowers. With that said, why not celebrate your sense of smell with John Waters’ “Polyester” that features “ODORAMA.” Plus, everyone loves a serial foot stomper.
2. Spring Breakers – When Spring season hits, it’s a little hard not think about students on Spring Break and their shenanigans. So why not join in on the fun with a couple former Disney stars, booze, drugs, scooters and James Franco (AKA Alien) in Spring Breakers.
3. Pumpkin – Love is in the air during this season and nothing says love like two polar opposites falling for one another.
4. Demons – As we get ready to hit the movie theaters again, there’s nothing better to celebrate with the idea of getting trapped in the theater with some demons.
5. Showgirls – Need some spring in your step? Showgirls can help you get sprung into action with some killer dance moves and jazz hands.
4. Can you talk about the music video you created?
“Music Video – Version 2.0: The Reboot:
After completing a successful 2019, we were ready to take 2020 by storm. As soon as our “Mary XXXmas” event ended in December 2019, we were working hard for our 1-year anniversary of FLS in March 2020. As we got closer to the date, the news of a new virus that could possibly become a pandemic was becoming a reality. In early March of 2020, Chicago announced the closures of bars, venues, restaurants and restrictions on gatherings. As heartbroken as we were, there was nothing more important than the safety of all. As time progressed and closures remained, event organizations were streaming live events to promote their artists and brand. Streaming became very popular and majority were using that platform. As Alberto and I discussed our options during these unusual times, we decided to go in a different route. Instead of streaming, we decided to create a music video that would loop with an original Chicago House mix. As we discussed the pandemic and social issues that were occurring in 2020, we felt the world needed a “reboot.” As we were developing the concept of our music video, we decided to also pay homage to our love of cult films.
Premise: The world is under attack by ignorance and hatred…let alone that dirty nasty bitch COVID-19. Sound the alarm!!! The world is in dire need of a reboot. Queue our lead mother android as she steadily works away creating her fem bot. Watch as they work towards creating change for not one, but for all. Their mission, to eliminate ignorance and hatred through the power of music and artistry.”
5. Do you have any exciting events or news that you would like to share?
“UNDERCOVER product line currently in production and will launch in the summer. All original creations and manufactured in my studio/office in downtown Chicago. IG will have updates and more information in the upcoming weeks.
New Front Left Speaker music video, “Version 2.0: Integration,” is currently in development. Could a trilogy be in the works??? We all know what happens in a trilogy, all bets are off in the last chapter.
Front Left Speaker product line in final stages of production and will be launching in the summer. IG will have updates and more information in the upcoming weeks.”
If you would like more information. The following information is below:
I always imagined if I was in charge of selecting the movies that go on the Criterion Collection what movies I would put on there. So here are five movies that I would pick:
To Woo Foo Thanks for everything, Julie Newmar (1995):
Fun Fact about this movie: Gary Oldman was offered one of the lead roles but at the time he did not want to do another role that he had to do a long process of makeup.
Coming to America (1988)directed by John Landis. Starring Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones and Shari Headley. The first time I watched this movie was on TNT and they were having some kind of marathon where it was shown for 24 hours straight. Out of those 24 hours I think I watch it 4 times just to absorb all of the humor and the different characters that Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall played in the movie.
Fun Fact about this movie: This movie was nominated for two Oscars. One for best Makeup- Rick Baker and the other for Best Costume- Deborah Nadoolman
Joe’s Apartment (1996):
directed by Jerry O’Connell and Megan Ward. This is the first MTV movie I remember being heavily promoted on the channel. Plus it has a bunch of cockroaches as the lead in a movie and how many times can you say you watched a movie about Cockroaches in a comedy?
Fun fact about this movie: The concept of making this movie was from a movie short (1994) that was shown during the commercial breaks on MTV.
Elvis (1979) directed by John Carpenter:
Starring Kurt Russell, Season Hubley and Shelly Winters. I have watched a lot of movies about Elvis and his journey to fame. This is one my favorite interpretation of his life.
Fun Fact about this movie: Bing Russell (who’s son is Kurt Russell) played Veron (who is Elvis’s father)
What is your dream list of Criterion Collection movies? Comment below!
“My name is Wes, but in drag I go by Drella. I started in the Orlando punk scene, opening a few shows with my personal taste of underground music, new wave and synth punk.
There I am, a queen of the night and then the punks would rage and beat the hell out of each other (while I watched, voyeuristically).
That was my way of avoiding the gay circuit, I am quite stubborn and refused to go the route of a ‘talent’ night and so on. And I had more fun with this crowd anyway, I was pleased Drella was received so well on Mills Avenue. I was just getting the taste for blood before the pandemic. I aspire to weird people out, I care not for big tits or death drops. I want the audience to leave with their date in silence, thinking “how queer..how strange..”
2. How did you come up with your instagram name?
“Simple, Wesley is Drella, Drella is Wesley. I got Drella from Andy Warhol’s persona and the album dedicated to him after his death by John Cale and Lou Reed, Songs for Drella. It’s my love to Andy.”
3. If you had to pick 3 icons (living or dead) over for a dinner: Who would they be and why?
“I love this question; it is very fun to daydream about. For a dinner of only champagne, I would welcome Andy Warhol, Grace Jones and Nina Hagen to talk about art and all things worth living for. All three have inspired me very much to live as extraordinarily, fiercely, and proud as I can. Then we would all go nightclubbing together.”
4. Name 3 movies that would best describe your personality and why would those movies be it?
“Oh god. Well, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I believe there are few movies that strike so many chords like conviction, humor, liberation, pride and pain the way that exquisite film does. I really love Blade Runner 2049 too. The dreary, neon world that was built accompanied by the music of Hans Zimmer is enrapturing. I enjoy that kind of viewing experience most, not to mention conceptual, post-apocalyptic fashion and makeup. I am terrible at deciding, so there are many others I could choose for my third movie, like Alien or Black Swan, but I will go with the tried-and-true The Mummy. A camp masterpiece and a look into 1999 Hollywood, silly, but golden, nonetheless.”
5. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?
“I am excited to be now living in Denver to pursue studying art history as well as drag, where I believe Drella will prosper even more in the west.”
If you would like more information on @wesleyisdrella the following contact information is below:
When Rudolph Valentino died in the early morning of Monday August 23, 1926 the world was devastated. He had fainted at “The Hotel Ambassador” on August 15, 1926 then he was brought to the New York Polyclinic Hospital. The doctors who treated him diagnosed him with having a couple of gastric ulcers and appendicitis (they referred his symptoms to “Valentino syndrome.”). So they decided to perform surgery the same day Valentino was admitted. However he was not ok after the surgery he had gotten peritonitis. Which is severe inflammation of the peritoneum. It is the lining a the inside wall of the abdomen and acts as the cover of all of the abdominal organs. On August 18 the doctors were on the fence about Valentino overall health. And by August 21 Valentino was doing worst because peritonitis had gone to his left lung which made him very frail.
However no one wanted to tell Rudolph Valentino the truth about his ill fate and he actually believed that he was getting better. So on the morning of August 23, 1926 he was talking to the doctors when he fell into a coma later that day and died. He was only 31 years old.
During his days as an actor he became a sexual icon for those who watch his movies. Rudolph was given such names as the “the Latin lover”, Valentino or “the Great Lover.”
More craziness ensued that day thanks to actress Pola Negri.
Pola Negri was a popular actress at the time. She met Valentino at a costume party at San Simeon (William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies were known to have various parties with a theme.) and it was claimed from there until the time of Valentino’s death that they were lovers. When she was at his New York funeral she caused such a scene such as collapsing, fainting and sobbing loudly various times throughout the procession that it definitely caught the attention of the media.
She even had a huge floral agreement that spelled out her name to be put next to Valentin’s coffin but it was refused. She also claimed until her death in 1987 that Randolph Valentino was the love of her life.
Rudolph Valentino had made no arrangements for his death because he did not think he was going to die. So a friend of his by the name of June Mathis stepped in to help. For a short time she offer a crypt that she bought for herself at Hollywood Forever Cemetery (Hollywood, California) until other arrangements could be made. Mathis bought the crypt for herself and her husband however they divorce and she got the crypt. Unfortunately Mathis died a year after Valentino so she ended being bury where her (ex) husband was going to be.
And Valentino was never moved. So I am guessing that maybe that they were still friends in the after life. Valentino’s films were more in demand after his death and so they were brought out and played in movie houses until the mid 1930’s. Those in demand Rudolph Valentino movies paid for a lot of bills from his estate.
There has been a long tradition of a “lady in black” appearing at Valentino’s grave. It started around 1928 where a woman would arrived completed covered and veiled in black bring a one rose (some say it’s two roses) to bring to his grave.
A woman named Ditra Flame (1905-1984) claimed to be the original “lady in black.”
She said it started when she was 14 years old and was in the hospital with a terrible illness. She had a visitor from a family friend who happened to be Rudolph Valentino. He put a single rose in her hand and told her that everything will be ok and she will live. And he made her promised that if he died before she does to visit his grave so he won’t be alone. After her death in 1987 the tradition still continues and there is still a lady in black visiting his grave.
Sources, Wikipedia, youtube.com, This was Hollywood by Carla Valderrama.