REVIEW: “True Blood” — flirting with the shark

True Blood has always flirted with jumping the shark. How couldn’t it? A campy Southern Gothic horror comedy about redneck Louisiana vampires? Why, the summary alone sounds ludicrous, even if you’re a fan.

But forget that. When it debuted, it was trashy fun — sexy, uber-gay, funny and bone-chilling within seconds. Season 1 was a hoot. Season 2 took a turn, it’s true, but it got better, and Season 3 was mostly very good. But Season 4, which ended last year, was dreadfully bad, almost unwatchable, with witches and fairy blood and trailer-trash werewolf and werepanther packs. As a friend of mine noted, “I can’t watch it — I grew up in Louisiana, and I spent too much time with toothless hick already in my life.” (For me, that’s exemplified in the character of whiny waitress Arlene, who I’ve known way too many of in my life.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

No fangs needed

Advanced Skin Fitness takes a cue from vampires to give patients a youthful look

The before (top) and after (below) photos of the Vampire FaceLift procedure show remarkable results, though the technology used to create it sounds like something out of science fiction.

The before (top) and after (below) photos of the Vampire FaceLift procedure show remarkable results, though the technology used to create it sounds like something out of science fiction.

STEVEN LINDSEY  | Contributing Writer

Horrified by your wrinkles and other signs of ageing? It’s a fact of life that simply sucks. But there’s a revolutionary procedure that takes cues from those mythic bloodsuckers to achieve remarkable results. It’s called the Vampire FaceLift, and it’s one of the most popular of a suite of age-defying procedures available at gay-owned Advanced Skin Fitness.

ASF owner William A. Moore says patients are amazed by the outcome of the frighteningly named procedure. And they don’t have to sleep in coffins, wear SPF 35,000 sunscreen or avoid garlic festivals to enjoy the benefits.

The name derives because the process utilizes a patient’s own blood.

“Stem cell science is used to tell the body to grow new, younger skin,” Moore says. “Unipotent stem cells, which grow only one specific tissue, can be found in every part of the body. For example, unipotent stem cells in the liver grow new liver tissue; the same cells in the skin grow new skin. The procedure takes cosmetic rejuvenation to a higher level.”

It all starts with a hyaluronic acid filler (like Juvederm) to begin sculpting specific areas of the face.

“The filler acts like a sponge, holding water in the face providing a basic shape,” Moore says. “This initial injection of the acid is the precursor to the desired form.” Next comes the polishing and refining step of the sculpting process, “which contributes to the appearance of a younger version of you.”

Moore adds that within minutes, the clinician creates autologous Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) to activate your own stem cells. (Vocabulary lesson for today: autologous means utilizing something from your own body.)

The three-step process is quite simple. A small amount of blood is drawn and then placed in one of those cool CSI crime-labby centrifuges to spin the blood and separate the platelets from the other components of the blood. Finally, the platelets are activated to produce your very own platelet-rich plasma. The PRP is injected into the desired areas (typically around the eyes, nasolabial folds, chin and cheeks) and just like a scab turns into skin over time, this process works to rejuvenate the treatment zones.

It takes four to six weeks to completely see the benefits of PRP injections, but according to Moore, there is also some instant gratification from the procedure.

There’s a way to maximize the results of the non-surgical Vampire FaceLift through a procedure Moore created, called iRevival. The treatments together work well for someone with a loss of volume in the cheeks and face.

The exclusive procedure will be introduced to other skin care clinics in March because of its popularity and visible results. It combines CO2 laser resurfacing with the same PRP and unipotent stem cells.

“First, we treat the skin with CO2 laser to create microscopic wounds. When these wounds heal, they naturally build new collagen and firm and smooth the texture of the skin. Afterward, the PRP is applied topically to speed up the healing process and injected into problematic areas as with the Vampire FaceLift,” Moore says. “PRP combined with microscopic wounds dramatically decreases fine lines, firms and tightens the areas around the eyes, evens out acne scars, eliminates sun damage, and brightens and enhances the color of the skin.”

Both these treatments are ideal for patients over the age of 35 because everyone stops producing collagen around that age. Acne scar patients or anyone suffering from premature aging due to excessive sun exposure or cigarette smoking can also benefit. (The Vampire FaceLift has virtually no downtime, but the iRevival requires about a week.)

Should you or someone you know need improvement further below the neck, Platelet Rich Plasma can also be used for rejuvenation and enlargement of the penis. Or as the vampires call it, raising the dead.

Call 214-521-5277 or visit AdvancedSkinFitness.com to schedule a free consultation.
Vampire FaceLift cost $1,299; iRevival costs $1,499.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 17, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

What’s Shakin’ – Wolfman at Wortham, Vampires on Pacific St.

The Wolfman1. If you got your hard-core Halloween partying out of the way this weekend, why not curl up under the stars (and a blanket) for the 1941 horror classic “The Wolfman,” at the Miller Outdoor Theater in Herman Park. Show starts at 7:30 pm. In this version the Wolfman (Lon Chaney Jr.) has an estranged father, frequents antique stores, caries an ornate walking stick for no particular reason and (of course) engages in nocturnal behavior of a hairy and bestial sort. Sounds like some of my friends. Admission is free, but prime spots on the lawn fill up quickly so arrive early.

2. If you didn’t get your hard-core partying out of the way then you’ll be glad to know that the clubs of Pacific street are still going strong. JR’s Bar‘s “Anytheme Goes” party (808 Pacific) and Meteor‘s “True Blood” festivities (2306 Genesee) continue tonight with a costume contests at 11 pm, while South Beach‘s “Twilight” fete (810 Pacific) waits till midnight for its contest . Cash prizes are up for grabs at all three for best costume, best couple or group and most outrageous costume.

3. Broadway World reports that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D – NY, plans to introduce the Senate companion to the “Every Child Deserves a Family Act” introduced by Rep. Pete Stark, D – CA, last May. The bill would remove barriers to otherwise qualified LGBT parents servings as foster parents or adopting. “By removing all barriers for LGBT families to serve as foster parents, New York City has increased its foster parent pool by nearly 26,000 prospective parents,” said Gillibrand. This legislation would open thousands of new foster and adoptive homes to children ensuring they are raised in loving families.” So far only three of Texas’ thirty-two congressional representatives, including Houston’s own Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, have signed on as cosponsors.

 

—  admin

Something WICKED this way comes

BiteMarks1rs
BLOOD-SUCKING HUNKS | It could be hard to run from these beefy vampires in ‘Bite Marks,’ a horror comedy starring Dallas native Benjamin Lutz.

Alt-gay gorefest Fears for Queers is back for seconds as vampire director Mark Bessenger presses the flesh

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Mark Bessenger may be the first person to coin the term “horror drag.” The film director, who comes to town Saturday for Dallas’ second annual Fears for Queers Film Festival, ponders over what queer audiences find in horror films. As he sees it, the gays love screams.

“Whether [it’s because] we identify with the monster as an outcast, or because people dress up in all that horror drag, I’m kinda surprised [LGBT-themed horror festivals] are not happening more often,” he says.

Bessenger’s first produced feature, Bite Marks, closes out the one-day fest, following a successful premiere at the San Francisco International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival last week. And even though Fears for Queers isn’t as big, Bessenger is glad organizers Shawn Ewert and Andrew Rose approached him for it.

“It’s like we were made for each other,” he says. “How often do you run into a gay film festival of horror movies? I can’t wait to see how Texans react. And to have it shown at the theater where Lee Harvey Oswald was apprehended?  That’s such a bonus.”

In Bite Marks, Brewster, a truck driver (played by Dallas native Benjamin Lutz), is dealing with his sexuality. While on the road, he picks up a hitchhiking gay couple working out some issues of their own. If you think the premise sounds suspiciously like the plot of a gay porn film, you are not alone.

“Even during casting, we were asked if this was a porno,” he laughs. “Without giving too much away, Brewster is hauling a shipment of coffins to a funeral home, but when the GPS misleads them, they find themselves in an abandoned junkyard — and the coffins may not be empty.”

Written to be dark and brutal, Bessenger made changes during talks with his executive producer. Initially, the hitchhikers were straight, but changed to same-sex to broaden the demographic. (How often has that decision been made?) He also changed the tone to more of a horror comedy.

The decisions have paid off. Bessenger’s reaction from the San Fran crowd was enthusiastic.

“The feedback I’ve gotten has mostly been about the comedy,” he says. “I think they responded because of its gay edge and snappy lines. One funny thing was the more conventional horror scares I use, the audience wasn’t familiar with.”

Bessenger was thrilled hearing gasps in the audience and seeing people jump in their seats. Although he says his next film will be straightforward horror, the gay element isn’t lost on him. His approach has been to create the film and then figure in an LGBT aspect. He has no problem being the “gay filmmaker,” as that sensibility will creep into his movies regardless.

“Of course it depends on who I’m making the movie for, but because I am gay, there will likely be that aesthetic,” Bessenger says. “If I had done Avatar or Super 8, there would be something gay in there. Artistically, something of yourself has to seep in even if it’s just a line of dialogue or a reference.”

But making Bite Marks so gay was easier because all the lead actors were out, including Lutz, an SMU grad making his feature film debut. Lutz performed in Dallas with the likes of Kitchen Dog Theater and the Dallas Theater Center, but left for L.A. six years ago. But he’s downplaying his homecoming.

“I am really excited to see it on my home turf,” he says. “I can’t be nervous about reactions. I’ve done my work, it’s up there and there’s nothing I can do.”

But he had some nerves going into the part. Unlike the blue-collar Midwesterner Brewster, Lutz is a Texas boy; he worried if that would hinder his performance.

“I’ve never driven a truck or done certain things Brewster has,“ he says. “I was nervous I wouldn’t have a believable accent, but everything really fell in place. I felt like I was in really good hands with Mark.”

Both Bessenger and Lutz are at work on their next films, and Bessenger for one is excited about the continued growth of LGBT voices in film into something broader. He just wants them to scream as well.

……………………………

Fears for Queers’ lineup

DOA Blood Bath Entertainment teamed with out filmmaker Shawn Ewert and his company Right Left Turn Productions to bring back the second annual Fears For Queers LGBT Film Festival, consisting of feature films and short scarefests — all by queer filmmakers. The films — which all screen Saturday at the Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff — run the gamut from camp to terrifying.

In J.T. Seaton’s feature George’s Intervention, friends of George meet to help him with his addiction to  eating people. Considering George is a zombie, they may have trouble sticking around through the night.

Ann-rose-hang-up-bras

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cupcake, above, is likely the first zombie lesbian musical. The short fits in a chorus line of zombies amid a love story in the suburbs. A lesbian couple moves into Hobart, but the crabby pair of old ladies next door aren’t having it, but beware of that pale-looking mailman.

The Finnish film Metsästysmaata, below, takes two strangers led by a mysterious girl into the deep woods where no one can hear them scream.

Metsa1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lola Rocknrolla is back with cinematic screwballery in the short, I Was a Tranny Werewolf.

Bite Marks, below, closes the fest along with a Q&A with director Mark Bessenger, actor Benjamin Lutz in attendance.

Bite-Marks-movie-[IMG_6063]

Proceeds from the festival benefit Youth First Texas.

Texas Theatre,
231 W. Jefferson Blvd. June 25, 2–7 p.m. $10. DOABloodbath.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 24, 2011.


—  Kevin Thomas