All "Top Ten" entries for this month are on this page. For all past "Top Ten" entries, go here.
Mark Allen's Top Ten for 6/6/06:
Copyright 2006 Mark Allen
Mark Allen's Top Ten for 5/6/06:
The first ever documented case of anorexia nervosa was in a 16 year-old male, as reported by London physician Richard Morton in 1694. Ever since that historic precedence, females have been dying to catch up. Currently, men count for somewhere between 6% and 18% of recorded cases of anorexia and bulimia. Experts uniformly agree that the percentages would be much higher if there were more resources for men with the disorder to turn to, or if it was talked about more.
Unlike their female counterparts, males with anorexia and bulimia are complex, deep and mysterious. They usually exist in pensive, hard-to-pin-down mental states; constantly looping back and forth between a skewed sense of superiority over others whom they consider lack the strength and self-discipline that they themselves have to say "no" to food, and a strong sense of self-pity and martyrdom about what they feel they have to go through to maintain their low weight. Looking at a women's skeletal bodies may make you nauseous (which is OK, you could stand to loose a few pounds there buddy... why not skip dinner too?) and trigger off all kinds of eating-disorder-red-flags in your mind ...but replace that image of a bone-y female with a bone-y male - and the idea of anorexia or bulimia will suddenly be purged from your mind. As usual, the distance separating crazy and adorable is a very thin line that nevertheless feels much wider when you're standing in it. Women with eating disorder symptoms have been openly chastised, criticized, controlled and scapegoated in our society for years while men with the same symptoms are allowed to think for themselves and are left to just do whatever they want - that's sexism. Men are the unappreciated underdogs of the eating disorders community. Maybe... you could even call them heroes.
A large number of male anorexics are gay, but certainly not all. Others might develop binge and purge addictions during their formative years in school sports like wrestling and track, that require weight control. Unlike most females with the disease, a large percentage of male anorexics were at one point overweight, and acquired the disorder while challenging themselves to drastically lose it during one defining moment. Most are never really cured, often spending the duration of their lives dipping in and out of downward spirals...
Not to mention developing an undernourished body type that makes them hung like giraffes below the waist... if you know what I mean. Hmm... I wonder if when male anorexics get a boner their veins collapse? In case you haven't figured out by now, guys with lots of bones give me a big throbbing one. I dream of an anorexic boyfriend who will take me out on the town with all the disposable income he has from not buying food. And if he's too weak to stand, then we could enjoy a nice evening at home not having dinner by candle light, smoking five packs of cigarettes, and then playing a fascinating game of Twister while our our underwear keeps falling off our bone-y frames.
I'm still waiting for male anorexia to become shocking and trendy the way female anorexia has in gossip magazines, daytime chat shows, fashion/model sitcom gags, and made-for-TV movies. Women with eating disorders are hogging that spotlight forever.
Since I can't meet these slim guys at any normal pick-up spots like the supermarket (the laxatives isle?) Heyyy... I wonder if my local porn store sells male blow-up dolls? Maybe I could get one and just not inflate it... wrap it around a broom stick or something. Anyway... I guess for now I'll have to settle for the 6%-18% that hang out online. These brave guys often cohabitant in outlaw "ana" chat rooms and message boards, and swap tips on what not to eat, how not to pass out, and what hairstyles look best with exposed femurs and spinal bumps.
Meet: Cheyenne. Cheyenne is from New Hampshire, is 20 years old, 5'9" and currently weighs 90lbs. He was diagnosed with anorexia nine years ago. He enjoys dating girls (boooo!), counting calories, Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper, and death metal. He was gracious enough to answer some questions for me about his experiences. Read on you hideous GASTROPODS!
How long have you been anorexic?
I have been this way since I was 11. It's been 9 years this January.
Have you ever been hospitalized?
Does your family know?
My mother and brother do. My brother has known for years, my mother just the past 2 years.
I see you have a twin brother, does he ever show symptoms of an eating disorder?
He has over 30 pounds on me. We have a fast metabolism, but he eats. He doesn't mind calories and he drinks calories.
Do you ever feel competitive with other males?
Not about body size, no. I hate most guys b/c i feel i may be the last gentleman on earth.
Did you ever compete in any sports as an adolescent that required you to maintain a certain weight, like wrestling or rowing?
Track and field in 5th grade, but never a sport for keeping the weight down.
Your anorexia: do you want it to remain a secret, or do you want the world to know?
I'm still as of yet unsure. I don't even know how close to being cured I am. I go back and forth like the tides.
Do you ever dress to "hide" your skinniness?
Sometimes I do, baggy bondage pants and a hoodie but other times I dress to emphasize it, like a tight shirt or something.
What are you wearing right now?
A black fishnet shirt, a plain black running shirt over that, my Tool hoodie over that and a pair of black slacks.
Are you ever embarrassed by your anorexia?
Never. Would you be embarrassed by something you put your life's effort into?
What embarrasses you?
Making a fool of myself. Being proved wrong.
People in E.D. support groups often speak of things that "trigger" their condition. What things trigger yours?
People who don't need to complain about eating that do.
What is your ideal weight?
I miss being 83 most.
What is your weight right now?
What was the lowest weight you ever were?
74lbs, four years ago. I saw the number 74 in a magazine and I thought, why not try it? It really affected my immune system and I developed a really bad case of strep throat, which then turned into scarlet fever. My friend had to spoon feed me oatmeal. Since then I've never below 83lbs.
What is "too far?"
I haven't reached it yet, maybe 60?
Do you like feeling empty?
Simply put, yes. Elaborating, I love the dizziness of the body eating itself to fuel me.
I see in some of your journal entries you list what you ate for the day. You actually count the exact number and size of things like green beans and french fries. Why?
Because 4 french fries and a pinch of salt were what I ate, not a handful, not 5, for 5 is too many.
When you imagine people admiring your slim figure, do you imagine them admiring you because you are slim and trim, or do you imagine them admiring you because you have the will power and self control to not over-eat?
I think they see what they could never possess. Sometimes it makes me happy because they must hate me for it and sometimes it makes me sad because of what I have sacrificed to be this way.
Do you think most people over-eat?
What do you think of the average "Fat American?"
They have no control and it wont make 'em happy.
What advice would you give someone trying to beat their addiction to overeating?
Cut everything you eat in half, eat more fruits and salads, less dressings and sauces. Switch to green tea, black coffee and diet soda. Subtract sugar and see how much you lose.
When people ask you what your favorite food is to eat what do you say? Do you have one?
I say rice cakes. 35 calories and I can make one last a freakin' half hour.
What is your favorite beverage to drink?
Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper.
Do you think you would be able to be anorexic if you didn't smoke?
Yes. I didn't start to smoke till I was 15.
You seem to be very open about your anorexia. Do you every use it to try and impress girls? Do you think it impresses some girls?
I don't think it does, and I try to keep it quiet in reality. Online is different, these are people who need support, who need the truth, the pros, the cons. what it's really like. I don't start a conversation with "hey, I weigh 90 pounds, you?"
When you hear people say things like "anorexics are frighteningly skeletal, but in their mind's eye they think they still look flabby!" What goes through your mind?
In my mind's eye, I'm sticking them in their mind's fat ass.
Are you actually aware of your extreme thinness when you are?
Yes, I can count more ribs, or my hips bruise when i sleep weird.
There are a lot of female public figures who's rumored anorexia gives them a lot of tabloid coverage and entertainment industry media gossip. These women almost seem to be idols to girls who are semi-aware of their eating disorders. Why do you think no male celebrities are ever discussed in the media as possibly having an eating disorder? Do you have any male celebrities that you admire for these qualities?
I think it's the media portrayal of it as a girl thing, because only girls feel fat. And I heard the guy from Silverchair was ana. And maybe that Miyavi character. That is all I know.
Mark Allen's Top Ten for 3/27/06:
Jim's fashionnnnmmmmmmmm... photo spread
When you're too distracted by life to update your own website, why not let your significant other update it for you by default? That's how couples raise kids! And that's what my website is; "...a child" (described with a disdainful, low growl).
Jim Krewson has a nausea-licious fashion spread in the new Vice. With "food" being the theme of the issue, Jim channeled his inner-Laura Mars and decided it would be appropriate that the clothes be modeled this way... drawing on Giuseppe Arcimboldo and Ed Gein to make creepy people made of food. I would love to have seen the looks on the designer's faces when they got the magazine and saw their clothes smeared in smashed eggs and maraschino cherries (they thought the clothes would be featured by 'model' models). Anybody wanna buy some clothes? Go here to see the full spread. See the evil little house that the delicious but sinister Mr. Dessert Man lays in wait... to tempt children into his lair with his yummy candy head and then strangle their little necks with his Twinkie fingers? That's a friend's daughter's playhouse in Jim's neck of the woods. Isn't it nice?
As ying to Jim's yang *ahem* I have a small article in the same issue on male anorexia. It was a much bigger article on male anorexia, but got way-shrunk down (starved ..haha!) and heavily edited by the magazine - which was a bummer, but fine - par for the course for writers. You can see what's left of my article at the bottom of the page here... is it perhaps dangerously unaware of the hazards posed by it's newly emaciated size? Look in the mirror Mark's article! EAT SOMETHING MARK'S WRITING CAREER!!! *gasp!* (I hope it gets some help!) *sob!*
Also of note, I should probably finally tell readers that I will be undergoing a major life change at the end of this week, and you probably won't recognize me when it's completed. No one really knows... but I've been planning it for a long time. I'll be losing something down there that has meant a lot to me (and allowed me many experiences) over the years... but is nevertheless something I need to cut loose. I'll have a new name, a new wardrobe, and a whole new outlook on life! I want to look at life from both sides now... I just hope it likes the new me. Stay tuned (here) for the unveiling...
Kenny G causes me to try and mentally summon the fat lady singing at the end (harder than ever before)
This week I don't give you something to (attempt to) read for three hours, but instead give you something to (attempt to) listen to... for three hours. On March 1st, as part of our 2006 WFMU Marathon (pledge!), the unverifiably preposterous Kenny G invited me to co-host and sing non-stop for the entirety of his radio show "Intelligent Design."
Click here (it's the 03.01.06 link) to listen to the 3-hour, scream-tastic, Wagneriaudioverloapocalypse.
WFMU's own Megan bravely shot a short video where you can see me bizarrely channel Klaus Nomi as a man who's work I've deeply admired for years deeply assaults and traumatizes me while wearing a bad wig, fake boobs and a black maternity slip. Did I flee the building gushing tears of rage at the end, vowing deadly revenge? Of course I did (and I promise you will too)... how could it not have been an opera if I hadn't?
Mark Allen's Top Eleven for 2/20/06:
Satellite images of movie locations found using GoogleEarth:
Using GoogleEarth, I captured these current satellite images of locations where some of my favorite movies were filmed. It took a little bit of detective work, and double-checking some addresses, but with a little bit of "zooming, flying and spinning" over these places with a detailed-oriented eye (and a re-examining of my DVDs) I'm sure I have my information correct.
These are still images (you can click on each image for a much larger view), and don't really match the experience of using GoogleEarth (which allows you to move all over the place, zoom in and out, spin around, change angles and even 'drive' or 'fly' down streets). Therefore, I have included the longitude and latitude of each location, so if you have access to GoogleEarth you can visit these places yourself, and explore on your own. Also, those familiar with the program know that it does something strange with "3D" perspective (using flat overhead images to kind-of 'fake' the appearance of terrain and buildings). I found that at an angled perspective (which most of these shots are), the images looked best when the shadows from the sun were either directly behind, or directly in front of objects. This kind of dictated what angle I captured, because otherwise the images just looked too weird (for instance this is why I chose to show the front of the school house from 'The Birds' is facing away). But like I said, using the longitude and latitude, you can use the program to visit these places your self and do your own electronuc stalking... oops, I mean snooping.
I actually found it very fascinating to see what these places look like today. Most of these locations are incredibly ordinary and, weirdly, most of them are practically unchanged. I couldn't help but wonder if the people that lived in the immediate areas were even aware that they lived next to these odd, randomly immortalized spots... the recognition that they had been frozen in cinematic history perhaps only realized by a handful of curious and devoted followers who make occasional pilgrimages. When you watch a favorite film, your willing suspension of disbelief makes you feel as if the location of each scene is the only place on Earth at that moment. Using this program to access overhead satellite images of these places double-destroys that willing suspension of disbelief, making you realize that these set locales are extremely "un-special" in the most soberingly bland way possible. They're almost just random specs, cramped and suffocated by the sprawl of houses, buildings, parking lots, cars, roads, trash, people and the rest of the clutter that surrounds them in all directions.
Having to literally scan and scan in the vicinity of where I knew these specific locations probably were until I spotted them (they hardly stood out) made me realize how these places, however immortalized, were nothing more than tiny, autonomous squares in a giant, zillion-squared patchwork quilt junk puzzle that covers the entire planet.
Still... who can resist? Not me! Gawk away fellow film nerds...
(click to enlarge)
1. The park from Blow Up (dir: Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966)
L: 51 29'24.86N
L: 00 02'33.45"E
I have to say that I can think of few other film locales that are more perfect for film obsessives to explore and electronically "walk around" nearly forty years later via the internet, using an overhead satellite photo accessing program.
This is Maryon Park in London, where all the park scenes in Blow Up were filmed. As you can see the tennis courts are still there, and above them is the large patch of green that opens and closes the film.
The thin, long, diagonal patch of open grass (that runs from over to the left of the courts a bit, all the way down to almost the left bottom corner of this photo) is the open space where Hemmings quietly photographed Venessa Redgrave during her fatal rendezvous, and where Hemmings later returned to investigate. The place where Hemmings entered the scene and leapt over the fence is the upper, right part of this long patch. The staircase where Hemmings and Redgrave confronted each other is at the tip this upper part too, (obscured) under the trees. When Redgrave fled away, she was obviously running down towards the lower left corner. The little wooden fences are apparently all gone now.
See the little strip of paved street that runs between the two buildings in the lower left? This is Clevely Street, and is the small street that Hemmings walked along as he left the antique shop and entered the quiet park (the shops and buildings along this street have been mostly torn down and renovated). Right above that little red car at the end of Clevely, is the small gate that Hemmings walked through when he entered the park... and a bit above that (after the little open square to the right) are the four trees planted in the small paved area (which are apparently still there) at the beginning of the walkway.
If you have GoogleEarth, it's interesting to explore the streets and areas below this photo and try and match them to the film (only some scenes were actually filmed right outside the park). The current photo on GoogleEarth is pretty crisp, and you can zoom in quite close. Although, in contrast to the relatively run-down but still very unchaged Maryon Park, the surrounding area has been renovated so drastically that it's almost all unrecognizable.
(click to enlarge)
2. The cliff Bud Cort drove his car off at the end of Harold and Maude (dir: Hal Ashby, 1971)
L: 37 37'10.83"N
L: 122 29'51.64"W
This is a rocky cliff right next to Mori Point in Pacifica, CA, and is the cliff that Bud Cort drove his car off at the end of Harold and Maude. The place where the car landed is at the top of the long-ish, dark rocky patch right in the inside center of the curved-in part of the cliff (the tide is higher here than when the scene was shot).
GoogleEarth does weird things with "3-D" terrain (the cliff walls and water kind of melt into each other), but the hills to the right of this photo, where Cort walked away while playing his banjo, are fun to explore.
(click to enlarge)
3. The original "Camp Crystal Lake" from Friday the 13th (dir: Sean S. Cunningham, 1980)
L: 14 03'49.72"N
L: 74 56'41.10"W
This is Camp NoBeBoSco, right outside of Blairstown, NJ, and it is the camp that the original Friday the 13th was filmed in. It was then (and still is) a working camp. "Crystal Lake" is actually called Sand Pond.
It's easier to see in the enlarged version, or using GoogleEarth, but that little white pointy thing on the right side of the kind-of top part of the pond (below those two white circles) pointing into the water, is the wooden dock that the counselors sunbathed on (and where Alice had her final confrontation with Mrs. Voorhees).
This part is kind of hard to explain but bear with me: the dark building just inside (and to the right side of) the upper left arm of the "H" formed by the gray paths in this photo - that's the main cabin where most of the action in the film was shot (where they played strip Monopoly, where Alice barricaded herself in the kitchen pantry, etc.) The original archery range is apparently still there too.
You can go down the road southeast, and explore Blairstown, where all the "in town" scenes were actually filmed (the diner just outside of town is still there also). None of the other Friday the 13th films were shot at this camp.
(click to enlarge)
4. The beach where Marcello Mastroianni and others discovered the sea monster at the end of La Dolce Vita (dir: Federico Fellini, 1960)
L: 41 52'28.10"N
L: 12 10'37.26"E
This is a strip of beach in the small sea resort town of Fregene, Italy, and it is the beach where Marcello Mastroianni and the other party-goers gawked at the beached sea monster at the very end of La Dolce Vita. You can see the little inlet that the young girl stands on the other side of as she motions to Mastroianni. The buildings were obviously not there in 1960, and it appears that the forest area (that the characters slowly emerge out of at dawn) may have been scaled back to build the roadway. I'm pretty sure the house where the group had the all-night party was not actually located in those woods. Don't let the "flattening" effect of GoogleEarth fool you, those are actually the tops of tall trees in direct overhead sunlight.
(click to enlarge)
5. The school stairs Winona Ryder stood on (as Christian Slater blew himself up) at the end of Heathers(dir: Michael Lehmann, 1989)
L: 34 00'52.03"N
L: 118 28'13.76"W
These are the stairs outside one of the buildings at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica, CA, where Winona Ryder stood at the end of Heathers, right before Christian Slater blew himself up and she lit her cigarette from the explosion. The red carpet on the stairs and red doors were obviously done for the film (as was the 'Westerberg' sign).
This wasn't the only school used for the whole film. Other high schools (and some interior sets) were used for exterior and interior school scenes.
(click to enlarge)
6. The bank and street from Dog Day Afternoon (dir: Sidney Lumet, 1975)
L: 40 39'28.09"N
L: 73 58'57.12"W
This is Prospect Park West in Brooklyn (a street in limbo somewhere between Flatbush and Park Slope). The bank was located just to the left of the white buildings on the corner (of the side of the street facing you in this photo). The exterior bank shots and almost all of the film itself was shot on this street (the interior bank shots were a set).
In 1975 the location was a real bank, but is now some other kind of business. It's obvious that the back of the building shots were not the true back of the building. I have been on this very street on a hot summer day, and it's so cramped and grimy and ordinary, that you would never in a million years guess that a film like Dog Day Afternoon had been shot there.
(click to enlarge)
7. The "Twin Pines Mall" parking lot from Back to the Future (dir: Robert Zemeckis, 1985)
L: 33 59'26.56"N
L: 117 55'39.51"W
This is the southwest corner parking lot of the Puente Hills Mall in City of Industry, CA, and was the location of the "Twin Pines Mall" parking lot where Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox tested and launched the time machine in Back to the Future. Not much to add... if you're really familiar with the film you can see where all of the different scenes at this location occurred. This mall parking lot was obviously used for some of the sequels too.
(click to enlarge)
8. The schoolhouse from The Birds (dir: Alfred Hitchcock, 1963)
L: 38 20'45.06"N
L: 122 58'18.60"W
This is the schoolhouse that Tippi Hedren sat outside of as the birds slowly collected on the playground and telephone wires, and that the children later fled as the birds attacked them. The building is no longer a school, but still looks the exactly the same (it's the building in the center with the steeple on the gray roof). It's on a quiet, remote lane on the outside of the small town of Bodega, CA. The town looks very peaceful, although Hitchcock "faked" many backgrounds in the fictional town with matte effects to make the layout appear different. I had to have the front of the schoolhouse facing away because of the weird perspective thing GoogleEarth does.
The actual bay (Bodega Bay) is right to the lower right of this photo, although the area with the gas station and restaurant and everything has been torn down and turned into a hotel complex. Apparently the town is actually in the middle of a bird migration path, and the air is always thick with squawking seagulls.
(click to enlarge)
9. The original site of Lou's Tavern from Fight Club (dir: David Fincher, 1999)
L: 33 46'14.38"N
L: 118 16'42.06"W
OK, I know... it's just an empty lot now. But since I love the film Fight Club so much I just had to include this. This is the northeast corner of Figueroa Street and Harry Bridges Blvd., in Wilmington, CA. It is where Lou's Tavern (and parking lot) was located - where Ed Norton and Brad Pitt first started the fight club. Apparently the filmmakers spotted the nightclub (an old, closed-down topless joint) while scouting locations, and added their own signage and turned it into Lou's for the film (not sure if the interiors were shot there, the basement shots were obviously elsewhere). Since so much happened in the parking lot, it's fascinating to zoom around and look at all of the stuff you can see in the background of the various shots of the film. It's definitely an industrial area. After filming was done the entire building and parking lot was demolished. Maybe they'll open a soap factory in it's place.
(click to enlarge)
10. The waterfall pool that Michael York and Jenny Agutter dive into at the end of Logan's Run(dir: Michael Anderson, 1976)
L: 32 44'52.28"N
L: 97 19'33.55"W
This is the Forth Worth Water Gardens in Fort Worth, TX, and is the spot Michael York and Jenny Agutter dove into to re-enter the domed cities (and where all the people came out to look at the old man) at the end of Logan's Run. In the film, the parameters of the location were obviously altered with matte paintings to looks like the seaside and the edge of the domed cities (it's actually surrounded by boring city buildings, and a highway).
The actual public park is a very odd, modern kind of urban installation that consists of different areas made from concrete levels, plants, and cascading water arrangements (perfect for a 1970s sci-fi film.. as was most of the '70s modern' look of Dallas/Ft. Worth at the time). This part of the park is it's main attraction; a weird kind of "sink hole" with water cascading down the levels all around you as you walk down a (slightly treacherous) elevated pathway and then can walk around a weird, raised circular pathway at the bottom. Having grown up in Dallas, I have visited this park many, many times, and am always pleasantly surprised (as I was when looking it up on GoogleEarth) that it is still there after all these years (it's quite an odd thing to be in a Texas city). It's not kept up quite as well as it used to be, but is still quite nice, and very neat to walk around. The scene in the film gives a good indication of it's size. Oh, and if you dive head-first into the middle... it doesn't lead anywhere (except perhaps to you being rushed to the emergency room).
(click to enlarge)
11. The Bates house and motel from Psycho (dir: Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
L: 34 08'10.64"N
L: 118 20'48.63"W
OK, I just had to include this one for posterity's sake... and here it is! The Bates house, and Bates Motel (even the stairway leading down from the house)... oh and look, why there's the motel sign!
It may have lost much of it's glory, sitting amongst all the hubbub of the Universal Studios Hollywood lot... surrounded by tourists in trams taking pictures of robotic sharks while attending Battlestar Galactica re-enactments - but apparently this is the actual house and motel and stairway... still there. The last time I visited the Universal Studios Hollywood lot tour (an attraction I highly, highly recommend) I remember the house was not surrounded by so many other buildings, and I have no idea what those weird structures are behind the motel. Who knows if it's all been moved (or... gasp! rebuilt?)
Did you know that the Psycho house is actually kind of a strange, sort-of half-sized model built specifically to look looming for Hitchcock's camera in the original film (which was always looking up at it from below)? The front facade (and porch) is pretty much normal sized, but the sides, back and top are oddly scaled down a bit (from the back it kind of looks like a big dollhouse).
Apparently the nature of the lot tour has changed over the years, and to get the full tour you now have to pay a special price for a "VIP" package (although apparently this one lets you walk around some of the grounds... something you could never do on the tram tour). Just roaming around the Universal Lot with GoogleEarth was interesting. I can see how, with a little sleuthing at fan sites for TV shows like Bewitched and Leave It to Beaver, etc., you could easily find their respective set houses amongst all the weird, fake little neighborhoods on the lot.
Mark Allen's Top Nine Backs of Women's Heads In Movies for 2/13/06:
Copyright 2006 Mark Allen
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