First of all, thank you to all of you who sent in your questions! The winners are all listed at the bottom of this post. Some of your may have won completely by accident! Please just send me your name and address, and a sleep mask (should you desire one), will come in your direction.
So, I heard that the Olsen Twins are making this big coffee table art book about their influences. The book will be called “Influences.”
I have to admit, I kind of laughed when I first heard this idea. But then I thought, “Maybe the Olsen Twins will each hide in a copy of the book, you know, like bookmarks! They are small enough! And they will jump out and surprise someone!”
That thought made me like it more.
And then I though that maybe I should tell you about just a few of MY influences. I have a long and time-honored tradition of bringing you things you didn’t ask for. Why stop now?
TODAY’S INFLUENCE: FLASH GORDON
When I was a tiny mj, we had HBO, and back in the day, HBO tended to show the same movies OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. One of them was Flash Gordon. I know there is a new TV series, but believe me, it can hold no candle to the shiny magnificence of the movie.
Don’t get me wrong . . . Flash Gordon is not a GOOD movie. Whole tens of dollars were spent on the special effects. The lead was a former Playgirl centerfold with all of the acting talent of a bag of hammers. However, it still manages to be TOTALLY AWESOME, and all the music is by Queen. In fact, to this day, when I am feeling very low-energy, I turn on the Flash Gordon theme REALLY LOUD and suddenly, I am writing up a storm!
I feel I am bound, in explaining my influences, to introduce you to this film. And if you do know it, I hope you will enjoy visiting it again. It never gets old.
Here is the original trailer, which captures much of the wonder of Flash Gordon. Rock out to the excellent theme song! Tremble at the scary zoooooinnnnng noises the weapons make! Most importantly, please note the way that Klytus (gold-faced monkeyboy of the evil Emperor Ming) pronounces the word “earth” right at the top of the clip. (Klytus is excellent throughout the movie for this kind of thing.)
Flash Gordon was notable for dressing absolutely everyone in the movie in spandex and lamé. That’s it. Those were the only two acceptable fabrics. (Except for Timothy Dalton, who for some reason was forced to dress like a stalk of asparagus.)
I have to think that my love of shiny was influenced by this movie, which has to be the shiniest movie ever made. Flash Gordon will blind you. The clothes, the walls, the props . . . every inch of the set is shiny. And also, vaguely Art Deco. Was this what I was thinking of when I designed the Hopewell Hotel? POSSIBLY.
To give you some sense of the drama and spandexeness of it all . . . here is a riveting clip of Flash returning to attack Ming’s base on what appears to be a flying treadmill. He is blocked by the deeply scary General Kayla. I loved General Kayla, and I wanted to dress like her every single day. I still do.
In rewatching that, it appears that the sequence of events is: Flash flies on treadmill toward baddies, baddies shoot, Flash runs away. Which is not very heroic. Then all the bad guys seem to be scratching their heads in bafflement over their next move until General Kayla suggests that maybe they should go after him and kill him with some Ajax.
I swear this movie was more exciting than this . . .
Nevermind. We’ll look at my favorite clip of all.
Here is the scene in which Flash and the Gang meet Ming for the first time. You can get a fairly clear idea of what everyone is like from this little snippet. Flash is the kind of guy who has to have his name written in big letters on his shirt, possibly to keep him from forgetting it. Dale Arden is useless. Her major contribution to the battle is a chicken dance. And Dr. Zarkov (the guy who kidnapped them and took them into space by accident) proves that he is actually the dumbest of the bunch, which is really saying something.
Even the baddies are morons. It takes a squad of them to catch Flash, and even then, many errors are made. Klytus tries to get involved by giving them an inspirational non-speech with absolutely no instructions in it. The only person who comes out of this looking good is Brian Blessed, king of the Hawkmen. Watch his little moves throughout this clip.
(And for those of you who have read Suite Scarlett . . . Spencer could do a MUCH better job in this scene, don’t you think?)
I hope you have enjoyed this influence. Now, let’s answer some questions!
nona leon said…
Hey, Maureen, my question is do you know just how many Starbuck places there are in New York? I envy you so much because you probably have one like a block away but for small townies as i have to travel THREE hours to the nearest Starbuck’s.
MJ: There’s this one corner where you can see four of them at once. There’s literally a Starbucks across the street from a Starbucks, which is technically across the street from another Starbucks because there is one in Barnes and Noble. And then there is another one down the block. The day I realized that was the day when Starbucks truly made me afraid.
Will Scarlett ever travel the tunnels of New York?
MJ: WHO TOLD YOU ABOUT THE TUNNELS? ABORT MISSION! ABORT MISSION! EXTERMINATE! BLOW UP PLANET!
My questions are: 1. How many Suite Scarlett books are there going to be?
MJ: At least three.
2. Why doesn’t Naked Lady wear clothes?
MJ: Because she has a roof patio and people with roof patios in New York think they are invisible when they in fact are not invisible at all.
3. Hey there Maureen, what’s it like in New York City?
MJ: It’s excellent.
4. Are the sleep masks regular sleep masks, or are they dead ferrets?
MJ: These are regular sleep masks. I know the book talks about a fur collar/essential oil sleep pillow, but these are just made of silk and diamonds.
5. Why are they called “books?”
MJ: They aren’t! They are called algorithms of worditude.
6. Why doesn’t the contest winner get to keep you?
MJ: Technically, I am owned by a Spanish candy company and am only being rented out for the contest.
7. Why am I asking so many questions?
MJ: I have no idea, but I LIKE it.
Do you like Spencer or Eric better? Personally, I love Spencer, but my best friend is all fangirly over Eric. So I was just wondering who you’d rather hang out with.
MJ: I do have a very definite answer to this question, but I cannot reveal it, as it would give away events in book two.
Below are the winners of the 25 sleep masks! Today is a “random commenter gets a book day,” so fire away!