Am working on our upcoming Buzzine relaunch and having fun! We have a slate of cool shows that we will producing. Stay tuned, please!
Our Buzzine Bollywood sister-site, has started a weekly radio show and Podcast. I co-host with our Bollywood editor, Parimal Rohit. We re-start the season in February, I will let you know.
Famous, outrageous Rocky Horror troupe "Long Beach Rocky Horror" has spun off a section called "Cell 63" which recently performed a special Christmas performance of FORBIDDEN ZONE--LIVE SHADOW CAST. Sexy Erin Holt joined in a wild pre-show and performed "Princess Polly" from upcoming Forbidden Zone 2. I played Satan in "Squeezit the Moocher," also sang as the Jewish Masseur! House was packed... very wild night--we're planning another show soon, I'll keep you posted!
Starred in a short "Twilight Zone" type film called The Geologist, which just won best short at it's first film festival.
And I've been writing some pretty juicy, revealing, real life tales (maybe too revealing) in "The Elfman Diaries:"
MIDNIGHT INSANITY - THE LIFE (AND DEATH) OF ELFMANS, has Tim Burton, Danny Elfman, Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper & Steven Tyler.
THE NIGHT I KILLED KATYA IN ROMANIA has me throwing the head of a major studiio into a swimmng at a black tie party (for real, although more than a dozen years ago--I'm trying to behave--except at Midnight Insanity parties).
RAQUEL is a true life tale of love, passion and pain, and me getting my nose busted in a boxing ring.
MARY, a hot red-headed thirty year old school teacher gets heavy with a fiftenn year old kid... me!
SEE ME WORKING ON FORBIDDEN ZONE 2 TEASER SHOOT! SYFY CHANNEL MONSTER MAN VIDEO CLIP.
Watch actress Erin Holt kill the role of the horny, horrible Princess Sally! Son Bodhi & daughter-in-law Jenna appear on show! Great tune by Danny Elfman/Ego Plum!
Speaking of music, did I tell you that when John Lennon ran away from Yoko Ono to live with her assistant, May Pang, my house (under the Hollywood sign) was one of the places they lived? So we have some musical history here (also Robert Downey Jr. & Sarah Jessica Parker lived here as a couple, but that's another story). So the music tradition continues with our exclusive Buzzine video interviews. GOTYE was just here for beers and GREAT interview, check out the link!
English techno duo JACK BEATS coming this Saturday, before their performance at Wiltern, in Hollywood. Some other cool band interviews done at the house:
More on Forbidden Zone 2 later in the column! In the meantime, you are actually inside my Buzzine site--your gateway to fun, culture and entertainment!
About Buzzine: my son Louis and I publish it together; he's also chief technical geek. Lauren Elfman is editor in chief, and my mom, novelist Clare Elfman, is our literary editor...and usually has the last word regarding words. (Please meet executive producer Stefan Goldby and the full staff, and also check out our exciting Buzzine Bollywood site.)
My other son, talented actor/producer Bodhi Elfman, and his wonderful wife Jenna Elfman (with grandsons, Story Elias, 4 and Easton, 1) live five minutes away. Brother Danny Elfman and his beautiful wife Bridget Fonda ( with son Oliver, 6) live five minutes away. Mother Clare is a 30-minute drive out to the west side of L.A., but that isn’t considered far in spread-out Los Angeles. The family is fine. Life is good. And work is fun!
I presently live in a 1926 house up in the Hollywood Hills under that famous sign. It’s a cool old place; I love to party and entertain on the roof-top deck--a place where many interesting artists have entertained before, including Robert Downey, Jr. and Sarah Jessica Parker who lived here as a couple, and John Lennon and May Pang, when he ran away from Yoko on his infamous year-long “Lost Weekend.” (We toast his awesome ghost!)
Forbidden Zone 2: The Forbidden Galaxy
Ma and Pa Kettle leave the depressed Dust Bowl with their kids, Stinky and Petunia, and drive their old jalopy down to Crenshaw in South-Central Los Angeles. Stinky is a hyper-active 12-year-old, played by a hyper-active 50-year-old; Petunia is a lumbering 13-year-old slut, played by an actress over 18 (hopefully); Ma is a corn-cob pipe-smoking inbred, and Pa is a craven, drunken carnival geek…with a bad disposition…even before his carnival job folded after the last dust storm. Together, they hope to find a better life in California. Unfortunately, the little shack they rent has a basement connected to the Sixth Dimension--a bizarre underworld, ruled by a megalomaniac midget King, his jealous Queen, and an array of fantastical creatures, the most outrageous being The Princess Polly, a man-hungry gal with a to-die-for sexy, voluptuous body and an over-sized, grotesque, cartoon-like head. Her wild get ups and show-stopping musical numbers will give Gaga a run for the money!
Daughter-in-law Jenna Elfman will do a surrealistic aerial dance routine (did you know Jenna’s a professional dancer?); I’ll get brother Danny to reprise his Devil role, singing a knockout version of “St. James Infirmary Blues,” and we’ll shoot the “Crenshaw” scenes in Ghana. Crenshaw will look like a cartoon version of 1910 Harlem, but everyone will be INCREDIBLE dancers and acrobats – from the Ghana National Dance Company. Of course that brilliant rascal, writer/director/actor Matthew Bright (aka "Toshiro Boloney" in the original Forbidden Zone) will reprise his role as Rene Henderson, as well as co-write the script.
Forbidden Zone 2 will have all the ABSURDITY and balls-out zaniness of Forbidden Zone 1 but with more technical tools and a greater budget to play with. I can guarantee that Forbidden Zone 2 will have unforgettable musical numbers. It will employ the MUSIC FORMULA that we used for the songs in Forbidden Zone 1. I’m going to share a secret with you…
Richard Elfman’s secret formula for unforgettable musical numbers: Use memorable music rather than serviceable music!
“SERVICEABLE MUSIC” isn’t particularly original on its own, but it works well serving the vehicle it is written for. Example: Chicago, with musical numbers by Kander and Ebb. I remember really loving the stage show, but by the time I got to my car afterwards, I could barely remember the melodies. Other than the catchy lyrics of “All That Jazz,” most of the music kind of got mish-mashed together in my head. Why? Because it wasn’t really original music. Instead, it was an expertly crafted concoction of existing musical cliches…but it still worked well in terms of driving the show. It just wasn’t memorable music, which would stand on its own, independent of the show. Same with the film version of Chicago - and I LOVED the film. Great performances, great staging – but while the musical numbers worked so well on the screen, they didn’t make you run out and buy the album afterwards. Ironically, my brother Danny did the background score to the film (between the musical numbers), which, in my – perhaps biased – opinion, his incidental music was more original than the actual singing/dancing parts. (Please note that composers Kander and Ebb did do very original and memorable music for the show Cabaret, the song “New York, New York,” and others).
“MEMORABLE MUSIC” is music you hear once and are marked for life. Like an itch in your head you need to scratch, you must go buy it…or at least you crave hearing it again. And after the show, you REMEMBER it – that is the key – you remember it. I’m talking Three Penny Opera, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof… Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare Before Christmas…or Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher” and Josephine Baker’s “La Petite Tonkinoise” (Frenchy’s classroom song). At the risk (no, probability) of sounding pretentious, may I add “”Pico and Sepulveda” and “Bim Bam Boom”… and almost anything Danny Elfman writes.
I first saw the 1931 film version of Three Penny Opera when I was 18. I remember walking out of the theater and stopping in my tracks - Kurt Weill’s music had marked me for life. I turned around, walked back into the theater, and saw the film again. By the way, I believe that composer Kurt Weill had a key influence on Danny as well, along with film composer Bernard Hermann - who often worked with director Alfred Hitchcock - and Nino Rota, who composed so masterfully for director Federico Fellini.
There’s an infinite amount of memorable music that has never been tapped. As opposed to serviceable music, memorable music doesn’t age. It’s good forever. All those terrific songs from O Brother, Where Art Thou? had been gathering dust for over half a century before the gifted musical supervisor/composer T-Bone Burnett found them for the film. However, finding someone to write new memorable songs can be a bit trickier. It helps when you find that your younger brother, who had no musical training – or even much musical interest as a kid – turns out to be Mozart (yeah…I’m biased).
MORE UPCOMING RICHARD ELFMAN FILM PROJECTS:
Brave New Rosenberg
Picture the shabby storefront offices of the Rosenberg Detective Agency of East Los Angeles. Harold Rosenberg is a younger Woody Allen-type: neurotic and insecure - particularly in the detective business he inherited from his uncle. Pancho, (Jaime Aymerich) his pint-sized partner, is an expert with the ladies but rather incompetent with anything else. Business is on the rocks, and Lavonda, the hefty, ebony office manager, spends most of her days doing her nails and honing her sharp-tongued comic wit. At last, a lucrative job comes their way: to find a beautiful girl who seems to appear and disappear in their vicinity. Things are looking up! Harold and Pancho locate the girl, give chase, and then…the stunning red-haired beauty literally disappears through a brick wall!
Harold and Pancho are now offered a ridiculous price for apprehending the girl. As if it isn’t complicated enough tailing a girl who goes in and out of another dimension, she somehow falls for poor Harold. In her surrealistic universe, filled with nothing but gorgeous super-models, things are based on opposites, and Harold is the hottest guy imaginable.
Pancho warns Harold that a bi-coastal relationship may be hard enough – but multi-dimensional? Forget about it! So do Harold and Pancho save their skins…or save the girl…or save the world? Good questions – and all settled in a thrilling, slam-bang climax!
Imagine you’re a guy approaching the last act of your life and none of your dreams have come true. No money. No girl. No family. Nothing to fall back upon, you’re still struggling, barely making it – and even then on silly little scams. Then, BAM! Fate gives you that proverbial Golden Ring. The possibility of unlimited power – and even some of your youth back to enjoy it! The only thing is fate gave the Ring to two other scammers that same day. And in order for the power to work, the three of you must work the power together. Trio is a new take on one of the oldest stories ever told – mortals getting that divine chance of having everything; human nature taking too much and then having hell to pay. Trio is a darkly comic horror fantasy – in the Stephen King vein – based on an original story by Clare Elfman, and screenplay by Clare and myself.
As publisher of Buzzine, I recieve 1000 emails a week from PR reps. Well, to publicize my recent American Cinematheque screenings, I put on a clown suit, hung a placard on my back and marched around Hollywood banging a big bass drum! (Of course, I was accompanied by the “New Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo” and sexy chorus girls.) It cost me my dignity, but NBC ran a story and we filled the huge Egyptian Theatre all weekend. I offered my services to the heads of publicity at the major studios--if they needed any additional promotional help. Watch video: Killer Clown Attacks Hollywood!