Dave Grohl’s Birthday Bash at The Forum and My Personal Foo Fighters Experience Blog

Greetings and welcome to a special Edition of The Outsiders Guide to the Inside of Hollywood. This blog is dedicated to Dave Grohl, who turns 46 today. Most of us my age first got to know Dave as a drummer in the iconic band Nirvana. When I first heard Dave, was not only not going to play the drums in his new band, but sing, I was skeptical. However after hearing the Foo Fighters debut CD and the second one The Colour and the Shape, I was hooked. I was a child of 80’s heavy metal and to be perfectly honest, I got more into the Foo’s than I did with Nirvana. It was in your face kick ass rock and roll. As much as I dug the band, I didn’t get to see them play live till moving from New York to California. in fact my first Foo Fighter show was actually an acoustic one.

Foo Fighters at Neil Young Bridge School Benefit 2000

One of the best things about living in the Bay area is that ever October we have the Bridge School Benefit to look forward to. The all day concert is an annual, all acoustic, non-profit charity event held every October at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California. All proceeds directly benefit the operations of The Bridge School. non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure that individuals with severe speech and physical impairments achieve full participation in their communities through the use of augmentative & alternative means of communication (AAC) and assistive technology (AT) applications and through the development, implementation and dissemination of innovative life-long educational strategies. The show was going to be one of the bands first time playing an all acoustic set in front of 18,000 people. The show was held at an outdoor amphitheater. Unfortunately it rained and poured on the crowd myself including. When the band hit the stage Dave, joked with us saying they were use to this since they were from Seattle. The bands 7 song set included See You, Learn to Fly, Next Year, Ain’t It the Life, Monkey Wrench, Everlong and This Is a Call. The band sounded amazing like they had been doing it for years.

Foo Fighters 2005-2009

That acoustic performances turned out to be a preview of what was soon to come. After seeing the band at KROQ’s weenie Roast in 2005 and a surprise solo acoustic performance by Dave solo the next year, I attended the final night of the bands acoustic performance Foo Fighters at the Pantages Theater on 8-31-06. The show was recorded and the album Skin and Bones was later released. After a few more KROQ and Bridge school shows, I followed that up with the bands 3 hour performance in the pit from Oracle Arena in Oakland, in 2009. I was sure that would be my all time favorite Foo Fighter shows. Boy was I wrong.

Dave Grohl’s Birthday Bash at The Forum 1/10/2015

Last Saturday night, once again in a down pour of rain, I headed to The Forum, in Inglewood, CA for what was billed as a Secret Show. Tickets for the concert went on sale 48 hours before the event. I remember thinking what is so secret about a show that was posted on Facebook and Ticketmaster in advanced. When I got to the newly refurnished arena, there was tons of buzz going on. The merchandise was selling a Dave’s Birthday Club T-shirt. The people in back of me were saying that black Sabbath was opening the show. The band sent out a message saying to get there early because there was no opener, so I knew that was just a rumor. I entered the arena to my VIP area seat and heard from one of the Chase representatives (now own the Forum)that this was going to be a great show because it was Dave’s Birthday show. What made the stage set up so cool was that it was in the round with a moving stage. The bands instruments were stacked close together making it feel like an intimate club not an arena. The stage kept circling alike a carnival ride making sure everyone had a chance to see the band play from all angles.

The show started with the band taking the stage but not starting with music. Instead Dave told everyone it was going to be a long night and it was his birthday (his actual Birthday is 1/13). We were then informed that he had a ton of friends who would be playing together with the band. The first special guest star was Paul Stanley from Kiss. The band launched into “Detroit Rock City” followed by “Do You Love Me”. After Paul left the stage Dave asked the fans if they wanted to hear Foo Fighters music. As the opening chords to “All My Life” started the crowd went into a frenzy. Next up was “Rope”, “The Pretender” and “My Hero” where the crowd sang along with the band to the chorus.

The next three guests were an odd pair. Jack Black and lead guitarist and vocalist Kyle Gass of Tenacious D were joined onstage by Slash. After Jack sang Happy Birthday, to Dave balloons fell from the top of the Forum. Dave then said there were suppose to be more balloons. Seconds later the stage was covered in them. Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins sang Queens “Tie Your Mother Down ” Led Zeppelin “Immigrant Song” was next.

My personal highlight guest of the night was Alice Cooper dressed in a High School Lettermen’s sweater sang “Schools Out” and “I’m Eighteen”. http://tinyurl.com/oe3x9so More of Dave’s friends included Zakk Wylde who did perform Black sabbath’s N.I.B.Fairies Wear Boots. Zack was a madman on guitar and sound like a 1970’s Ozzy. LA legend Perry Farrell from Jane’s Addiction played “Mountain Song” and covered The Rolling Stones “Miss You”. The guest stars and band looked like they were having the time of their lives. you could see why the foo Fighters have become one of the best live rock bands in the country. After that the Foo’s played “Something From Nothing” “This Is a Call” “Best of You”

The other major surprise was what Dave called a Bucket List Jam with David Lee Roth who sported a new shaved bald head look as he danced around performing Van Halen 1984’s classic “Panama” http://tinyurl.com/pfqxseq followed by “Ain’t Talking About Love”. The bands classic “Everlong” could have closed the show, but Dave had one more friend to welcome to the stage. It was one of Dave’s close friend and influences Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister. For the final song “Let It Rock” (Chuck Berry cover) Slash and Zakk Wyld came back for the final jam and song of the night.

Bands always say this is going to be one of the greatest rock and roll night’s. that was an understatement. This was not a concert it was an event that could have been held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Thank you to Dave and everyone that made this One of the greatest rock and roll shows I’ve ever seen. Thanks for letting your fans share this historic night with you. If this was how Dave was going to spend his 46th Birthday, one can only dream of what his 50th will be like.

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Thank you for letting me share my experience with you. I can only hope I made you feel like you were there. Don’t forget to support local bands and films in your city.

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My Robin Williams Experience and the Personal Demons We Shared – Blog

Greetings everyone. Welcome to a Blog, I wish I never had to write. The Entertainment Industry lost an Icon, on Monday. Oscar winning Actor and Comedian Robin Williams lost his long bout with depression, on August 11. The 63-year-old actor, was found dead in his Tiburon home in Marin County, California, by his personal assistant after committing suicide. The news took a while to break, but when it did it consumed everyone. An immediate outpour of love and appreciation for Robin, could be seen all over television and the internet world wide from the White House to the Middle East. I even came over my camera shyness and was interviewed, by KCAL 9’s Kristine Lazar, at Robin’s star on the Walk of Fame. “He was a genius; I mean, how many different roles did he play and different characters,” said Jonathan Shensa, a fan of Williams. “He had that down-to-earth feeling where you just felt like he was one of the people in your neighborhood.” (my part is about 1:30 in the outpouring of love video part) http://tinyurl.com/lp53utp

Like many people my age, Robin, first landed in my universe as the lovable television character, Mork from the planet Ork on Mork & Mindy. The show ran for only 4 years from 1978-1982, but still has a place today in many peoples hearts. Thanks to video and syndication a new generation of kids have been able to fall in love with the show. I remember being so upset when the show ended it’s tevelvsion run on ABC. Robin won four Golden Globes, playing Mork.

Robin also brought one of my favorite characters to life in Robert Altman’s “Popeye”. It quickly became one of my all time favorite films from my childhood. To this day I could never see any other actor in that role. Robin, was a character actor. What a character he was. He never played the tall dark and handsome roles. Every character was different. I loved Robin so much that his 1982 Film “The World According To Garp”, was the first rated R movie I ever saw. I remember loving the movie but was crushed by the ending. The film showed me, that not every movie has a happy ending.

As the years passed I enjoyed many of his roles. He had a way of bringing humanity to every character, he played. He always seemed like a down to earth guy. He never had an ego. The cool thing about Robin, was he never played the same character. He didn’t play it safe and wasn’t afraid to take chances (“1 Hour Photo”). The one word that could never describe him was ordinary or boring. Robin was a master of playing characters with mixed emotions. He was always believable. Who else could have played the roles and deliver a dramatic and comedic performance, with the films subjects that dealt with everything from kids with Caner (Patch Adams) to the Vietnam War (Good Morning Vietnam). My all time favorite film was the one that won him an Oscar. Robin played Dr. Sean Maguire in Gus Van Sant’s “Good Will Hunting”.

Neil Young’s Bridge Benefit XIV Oct. 28,2000

One of there coolest things about living in the Bay Area, is  Neil Young hosts a special all acoustic concert at shoreline amphitheatre at mountain view. The Bridge School Benefit is an annual charity concert held in Mountain View, California, every October at the Shoreline Amphitheatre. The concerts are organized by musician Neil Young and his wife, Pegi Young. Proceeds benefit the Bridge School, which assists children with severe physical impairments and complex communication needs. The artist line up for the show was a music lovers dream. Unfortunately it poured all mooring and the lawn section at the venue looked like the mud pits from Woodstock. The show featured Tom Petty, Dave Matthews Band, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Foo Fighters Tegan And Sara and  Crosby Stills, Nash and Young. At one point the stage hands, were pushing the water off the stage as the sound people desperately tired to get the nests bands equipment set up. Instead of playing video highlights of past years and information about the school, we heard a familiar voice. It was Robin, who was a surprise guest. “I just spoke to Noah and he says the ark should be ready shortly”. We were then treated to a 15 minute Stand-up set.

My 5 seconds meeting Robin at the “Old Dogs” Premiere in 2009

The only time I photographed Robin was at the very begging of my photography career. I didn’t start my photo career on the red carpet or with any kind of credential. I started off with only armed with a point and shoot camera. I would hang out in the fan sections with fans, collectors and other independent photographers, hoping the actors would sign autographs in the fan area so. When Robins film “Old Dogs”, premiered in Hollywood in 2009, a friend and I went down to Hollywood. It was a really strange night. This was the first premiere that John Travolta was attending since the tragic death of his son Jet. When Robin arrived, he did make it over to the fan section to sign. I was able to say a few words when he got to my area. He seemed so happy to meet his fans. The crowed took photos and got autographs. Even though they were short for time he didn’t rush through the area, before hitting the Red Carpet. Couldn’t have imaged that that would be the one and only time I’d see him.


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My personal Struggle and Why I’m Mad at Robin

You know what? Fuck this! I’m mad as hell and I’m going to tell you why. Like Robin, I was able to beat addiction in the past. I’ve also battled depression for most of my life and had many thoughts of suicidal at times. When my friend told me the news of Robin’s passing, I assumed it was a heart attack or a accidental drug related death. I knew he had been in rehab twice recently. I figured he lost the fight, that so many others have lost. When I heard he took his own life. It was inconceivable. He was loved by his family, friends and millions of fans. I have been in that dark place. I’ve hit rock bottom but swam My way back to shore more than once. Robin, should have know how this would devastate his family. Celebrities have so much power.  They affect and have an influence is the average persons life. It’s also a huge responsibility. That is one of the reasons I’m alive today to write this Blog.

Back in April 1994, I was with my fellow alcoholic manic depressive friend. We had been drinking hard since early that mooring, when the news about the death of Kurt Cobain, was rumored. We didn’t have cell phones, or Facebook, so I headed for a pay phone to call the local radio station. After the death was confirmed, I headed in a downward spiral that almost took my life that day. When the Average Joe or Jane, feels hopeless, like there is no hope or a way out. When someone like Robin takes his own life, it could literally drive someone over the edge. If just one person committed suicide after or the days after Robin’s passing, that is too much! Actors and musicians are more than entertainers. They are our lovers, friends and at time therapists. When I was at my darkest moments, I’d take Metallica’s “Fade To Black” out of the CD played and put The Grateful Dead’s “Touch of Grey” song on. There’s a line in the song that goes, “I will get by, I will survive”! I started expressing myself by becoming a Screenwriter. My ability to escape into a world that I have control of the outcome. Through film and love of music I learned how to cope and how to dream of a better life. This is why I’m alive, to write this blog, today. Not everyone is so lucky. If you or you know someone who needs  help, call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273- TALK (8255) or talk to a friend, family member or your spiritual leader. You are not alone and there is no shame in asking for help.

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Help Save The Life of Bay Area Artist Julia Lazar-Franco

Greetings everyone! This is going to be the most important blog’s, I’ve ever written. It’s not about a Red Carpet or Concert, I recently covered or attended. The purpose of this blog is to help save a life, of an extraordinary women. Julia Lazar-Franco, has recently been diagnosed with chronic Hepatitis C, end stage liver Cirrhosis, and liver cancer. She urgently is in need of a liver transplant. If you have blood type O, A or A+ you could help save her life. Here is more information on how you can get tested:http://www.helpsavejulia.blogspot.co.at

I’ve only known Julia for a short time, but in that time, I could easily see why so many people love her. She is one of those people, that always has a positive outlook. She is warm and friendly and has such an amazing spirit.

The first time I met Julia, was at a Book Signing for Betsy Franco’s “Naked”, which was illustrated by Tom Franco (Julia just married Tom last week). I had met Tom, at the Mill Valley Film Festival, back in the Fall of last year. I then ran into him again, at his brothers James Franco’s book signing in Palo Alto. I then found out Tom, was a artist and sculptor. I decided to cover their Book Passage book singing and conversation in Marin. Tom introduced me to Julia. At the time, I thought she was a manager or publicist, she took care of all the details and made sure the event ran smoothly, even running the slide show. You can tell she loves her work and loved working with the Franco’s, whom she already seemed like were her family. She is the type of person who could light up a room with her smile and charm. Her warm and friendly personality makes everyone feel at ease. Even this shy and quiet photographer/writer.

As some as you know, besides being a photographer, I’m also a writer and aspiring filmmaker. I also love supporting Independent film and music. I was interested to find out not only is Tom, an Artist and Sculptor. I also found out Tom and Julia, have a business together in Berkeley. The Firehouse Art Co is a nonprofit project, directed by Tom Franco and Julia , providing spaces for artists to co create currency, and a culture of interdisciplinary collaboration. I was invited by Julia, to one of there events, at the Galley last November. Since then, I had returned for two other events there. I found it inspiring to be around so many talented and creative people. I felt honored to be a guest in their community. The work at the gallery is always amazing. I love that the purpose of the gallery is to support the independent art community.

One of the coolest things to see from each of my visits to Berkeley, is to see how much Tom and Julia love and support each other. Julia has given so much to the creative world that it only seems right to help her in her toughest battle. She has inspired so many people and we must help her to inspire even more. She is a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a dear friend and source of inspiration to many. To find out what you can do to get tested got to: http://www.helpsavejulia.blogspot.co.at

Update: Julia Lazar Franco died on August 25.

© Jonathan Scott Shensa Photography DSC_9175 DSC_9478

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MusiCares Celebrates 10 Years of Helping Musicians Get Sober with MAP Fund Benefit Concert

Greetings everyone and welcome to another look inside some of the entertainment industry’s coolest events. This blog, is dedicated to the recent MusiCares Benefit Concert and Red Carpet, that I covered and attended. Back in 2011, I covered the The 7th Annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit, honoring Depeche Mode frontman Dave Gahan and Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman. http://tinyurl.com/793huyd

The MusiCares Foundation, was established in 1989 by The National academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The organizations goal, is to help struggling musicians in crisis with the health and welfare of their community. In 2004, the Musicians Assistance Program (MAP Fund) to help musicians with drug rehabilitation. They also help to provide sober living and safe harbor rooms backstage at concerts.

Rock stars and music fans packed Club Nokia on Monday Night May,12, for a Live Benefit Concert to Raise Funds for MusiCares’ Addiction Recovery Services. The concert honored Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, Ozzy Osbourne, and Jeff Greenberg, owner/CEO of the Village studio.

Before the concert a dinner was held inside the club, while the performers and honorees of the evening walked the Red Carpet and posed for the photographers, after being interviewed by Video Journalists. Ozzy, walked the carpet with his daughter Kelly. The two shared some touching and candid moments on the carpet. Kelly was quoted in a video interview that was shown to the audience, now having the father she always dreamed of, since Ozzy, got sober. The Red Carpet, didn’t just include the evenings two honorees but also brought rare red carpet appearances by presenter Joe Walsh (Eagles and also a recovering addict) and special guest guitarist Slash (Guns ‘N Roses / Velvet Revolver) along with Osbourne’s solo touring band members and celebrity guests. Fans lined up on sidewalks behind the Red Carpet, trying to get pictures of the stars. Some lucky ones even got memorabilia signed.

After the carpet the show kicked off with MusiCares chair Bill Silva, announcing that the MAP Fund program, that has already devoted $10 million to addiction services designed to help musicians get sober. Bill, then delivered the evening first joke saying “and most of them are in this room”. After the short speech, a video tribute to was shown of the late Adam Goldstein (DJ AM) who lost his battle with addiction, on August 28, 2009. After that, it was time for the concert portion of the evening to start.

The evening’s first performer was Los Angeles singer – songwriter Beth Hart, who opened with a song from her called “Immortal”. She followed up with a bluesy soulfully version of Ozzy’s ‘Changes”. Hart reflected on stage that the first time she heard it she didn’t know it  was Ozzy. Beth’s set, was followed by Grammy Winner, Keb’ Mo’, who honored Jeff Greenberg, with his set. Greenberg during his speech stated, “We’re all here because we love music, music is the center core of our lives. And this is where we take care of the people who make the music”.

The next music set of the night might have been the most anticipated. It was a short but powerful four song rare acoustic set by fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Metallica. As the band took to the stage the once seated crowed in the balcony rose to their feet. The band hit the stage and sat on stools, as James teased the crowd with a the opening chords of “Stairway To Heaven”, before opening up with Earth’s “I Just want To Celebrate”. A song, which they also played acoustically at Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit in 2007. The band followed up with another cover deep purples “When A Man Cries”. Metallica fans could be heard crying for them to play some Metallica, but those fans must have forgotten James Hetfield, was honored by MusiCares himself in 2006. The band then played The Beatles “In My Life”. For their final song they paid tribute to Ozzy, by covering his “Diary of a Madman”.

Joe Walsh presented Ozzy, with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award. Then it was time for the man of the evening to hit the stage. Ozzy, kicked off his set with “I Don’t Know” with Janes Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro playing with him for his entire set. “Suicide Solution”, a song that tells of Ozzy’s battle with alcoholism was up next. Ozzy, jumped around on stage clapped his hands liker it was the 70’s. You could clearly see that his sobriety helped his vocals and live show. “Iron Man” and “Crazy Train” sounded amazing. But the true highlight of the evening, was the final song of the night, Black Sabbath’s anthem “Paranoid” where Ozzy, was joined on stage by Slash and Billy Morrison.

On a personal note. I have witnessed first hand how important the MAP Fund is. I’ve spent a lifetime surrounded by and being a fan of musicans. If we had programs like the MAP Fund and MusiCares my generation might have not lost people like Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley and Bradley Nowell. My parents generation might not have lost Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. For more information on the MusiCares program check them out here: http://www.grammy.org/musicares/recovery


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My Personal Philip Seymour Hoffman Tribute and Experience – Blog

Greetings everyone and welcome to a special tribute blog. This blog, should have been about meeting Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Steven Tyler, 2 weeks ago in LA. It also could have been about my entire first experience, attending and covering the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, with Dig In Magazine. Instead it is about one event from Sundance. Just hours after arriving to Park City, our first carpet we covered at Sundance, was “A Most Wanted Man”. http://www.diginmag.com/2014/02/01/sundance-2014-a-most-wanted-man-philip-seymour-hoffman

The films star, Philip Seymour Hoffman, lost his battle against addiction, last weekend in New York City. Losing Philip, we lost one of the greatest character actors of all my generation. Philip never had the looks of a Brad Pitt. He had to make it solely on his acting abilities. The first time I saw Philip, on the big screen was in 1992 in “Scent of a Woman”. It was the cult classic  “The Big Lebowski”, where he really got my attention.

My first time photographing Philip, was at the “Moneyball,” premiere, where he played Art Howe, the manager of the Oakland Athletics. Not only did I photograph “Moneyball”, but I also was an extra in a crowd scene with Hoffman. (I didn’t make the final cut). Philip walked the baseball field shaped carpet that night waving to excited fans, that lined on the streets of Oakland to watch the celebrity arrivals.

Hoffman won an Academy Award in 2005 for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote in the film “Capote”. In addition to Hoffman’s Best Actor Oscar, he was also nominated for the Best Supporting Actor award three times, for his roles in “Charlie Wilson’s War” (2008), “Doubt” (2009) and “The Master” (2013). He recently appeared in Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Philip, not only had “A Most Wanted Man” at the festival, he also had “God’s Pocket”, (which I was lucky enough to attend one of the Sundance screenings) screen there. The movie was filmed in my hometown of  Yonkers, New York. The picture was another example of what Philip Seymour Hoffman brought to a film. He had a way of playing the ordinary average Joe, but making you care and root for him. He never played simple roles. It didn’t matter if it was on the stage or on the screen he mastered each of his roles and was responsible for creating amazing characters. He had  a way of just diving into the character and always brought something special to each performance.

When I heard about his death yesterday, all that I could think of was he was only 5 years older than me. I thought of the shoot in Utah, just two weeks ago to the day. I called the Owner/Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Dig In Magazine Cindy Maram, and found out it was a heroin overdose. For the rest of the day, I kept having emotions ranging for sad to angry. Then I had to remind myself, how close I came to not being around to write this. Thankfully, I never faced the same addiction as Philip, but had to fight my personal demons and addictions to overcome.

In the media and in public, we tend to see celebrities in a certain light. We don’t realize that just because your famous doesn’t make you suffer from the same fears and weakness that is seen in every day life. I wanted to write about how he lived not how he died. I saw different postings about how he died and peoples reactions to it on social media. If you haven’t faced addiction and depression, it’s impossible for a fan, writer or critic to understand. For me my love of music, movies, and writing helped me escape safely into my own world and found a way to survive. Some people just can’t do it on their own and need help. If you can’t talk with a loved one or friend  see someone or checkout these sites: http://www.drugabuse.gov or http://www.recovery.org

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My Best of 2013 – Best Horror Film and First Time Director: Jessica Cameron – “Truth or Dare” – Blog

Greetings and Happy Holiday’s everyone. Welcome to another step inside some of entertainments coolest events. I’d like to extend a special welcome to readers, who are new to my blog. This is not your typical blog. It doesn’t focus on who wore what, or give you a detailed account of every scene in a film review. I write my blog, as lifelong fan of the entertainment industry and mass media. I also was a child actor, an assistant in the Entertainment Industry and even was a music manager, and continue to be an aspiring writer and producer. I currently work as a celebrity  photographer and journalist. My blog is about not only covering red carpet events, it’s about experiencing them and the impact the artist and their work has had in my life professionally and privately.

Meet Jessica Cameron 

This blog is dedicated to the true spirt of the Independent filmmaker. When I say Independent, I’m not talking about millionaires opening up a so called indie film company after the breakaway from the big studios. Or, an A list star, opening up a new production company. I’m talking about the ones who invest everything they own financially, personally, and spiritually, ones who have to fight for every dollar they can get to make their vision become a reality. Followed by endless promotion starting from festivals and ending in DVD releases. just just right before the film comes out. This blog is the first of my Best of 2013 series. It is dedicated to my favorite Horror Film of 2013, Jessica Cameron’s “Truth or Dare”. Not only did Jessica, star in the film, she directed and  co – wrote it and even helped to produce it.

I first met and photographed Jessica in Arizona, at the premiere of Leigh Scott’s “Dorothy and the Witches of Oz” in 2012. It wasn’t till “Miss Misery’s Days of Terror” Horror Convention later that year that I saw a film of hers, Brandon Slagle’s, Award winning “The Black Dahlia Haunting”. The film was one of my nicest surprises of 2012. The film stared her “Truth or Dare” cast mate and fellow Scream Queen Devanny Pinn, and Ghost Hunters Britt Griffith. In the film Jessica, played Marilyn Monroe. She completely pulled off a very difficult role to play.

Though the “The Black Dahlia Haunting”, was my introduction into the Hollywood Independent Horror Film world, it wasn’t my first time watching horror films. I’m a child of the 80’s who grew up with such horror classic franchises as Friday The 13th, Halloween and “Nightmare On Elm Street”. There were also indy classics like “Silent Night Deadly Night” and “The Prowler”. But after getting addicted to Quentin Tarantino, and his style of writing dialogue.

When I first heard about the “Truth or Dare” film right before Jessica signed on to direct it. The screenplay was written by Jessica and producer Jonathan Higgins. The “Truth or Dare” team and their Truth or Daredevils, raised $11,725.00 with Indiegogo, including a donation from me after seeing her dedication from videos she was posting on social media sites. When it comes to promoting Jessica is a promotion machine. Besides being a Scream Queen she is also the # Queen, promoting projects she is involved with. When she’s not on the set Jessica, makes herself available to fans, by attending festivals, conventions and other fan interaction events. Any director or producer would befit from working with Jessica. Not only do you get a hard working actress who is not afraid to take chances, but she also understands the business and how to promote. It’s like having a free PR person. I almost think she could have been a Publicist or Agent in another life.

2013 RIP Horror Film Festival – “Truth or Dare” Screening

“Truth or Dare” successfully premiered, at the Underground Film Festival on Friday the 13th in Tucson, AZ. last September. I didn’t get to experience the film my self till it’s Southern California premiere, at the 2013 RIP Horror Film Festival at Cal State Long Beach. The evening started with a Red carpet hosted by L.j. Rivera. One of the cool things about this event was many of the filmmakers were friends and supported each others projects. There seemed to be lots of love and respect between the filmmakers and that made for some fun candid moments on the carpet. I got to meet several new people and even got a chance to photograph and meet the Twisted Twins Sylvia Soska and Jen Soska, who recently directed WWE Studios “See No Evil 2.”

I took pictures of all the guest and then got the cast of “Truth or Dare” together for some cast pictures. Everyone looked amazing. But my fashion winners of the evening were Jessica and Devanny Pinn. The girls were also wearing jewelry from Jessica’s Screamqueen Couture. https://www.facebook.com/ScreamqueenCouture Everyone was in high spirits as we entered the theater for the screening of the film.

“Truth or Dare” – Film Review

The filmmakers stated through publicity for the film that “Truth of Dare” was going to be “The Most Fucked Up Film You Have Ever Seen”! Director, co – writer and producer Jessica Cameron, even handed out paper vomit bags, just incase some audience members couldn’t take the gore of the film. The film wastes no time in jumping right to the story line. Six friends (two couples) achieve internet fame when they make fake “Truth or Dare” videos. When a crazed fanatic (their number one fan) is crushed that the video was not real the fan (played by Ryan Kiser) takes the cast members hostage. He then informs them that they will be playing Truth or Dare, for real, but using his rules which keep on changing. To be honest, my first thought was done before, but boy was I wrong. The films stars all gave great performances.

For me personally, to my surprise the thing that really lured me in was how smart and funny the script was. Yes, it is extremely gory at times and there is scene with wine bottle and Devanny Pinn, where you will change the way you ever look at a wine bottle again. Jessica, Devanny, Jesse Wilson, Brandon Van Vliet, Shelby Stehlin  and Heather Dorff all turn in great performances. Ryan Kiser performance in the film as their crazed psychotic number one fan was magnificent and believable. I was almost afraid to approach him after the film ended. The plot line has several twists and surprises for the viewer. Some of the truth’s that were exposed I never saw coming and will shock audiences. The filmmakers took so many risks shooting this film but it all pays out in the end. The film also makes an interesting statement, showing how an over obsessed fan might get caught up in the social media obsessed generation. The film is violent and not for people with a week stomach, but was shot tastefully. I’m glad I got to see the directors cut. I’ sure some of the shots may be toned down for a potential distribution company. “Truth or Dare” is the must see film of 2014 for the true horror fan. The film had a great response from the sold out crowd and won The Viewers Choice Award at the RIP Horror Festival to go along with a number of other awards the film has recently received on the film festival circuit. I knew that I wanted to see the film  again so I could experience it in another way. That chance would come at the films next screening.

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Another Hole in the Head Film Festival “Truth or Dare” Screening

I was overjoyed when I heard that “Truth or Dare’ was screening at the “Another Hole In The Head Film Festival in San Francisco, with an appearance from Jessica Cameron, on December 15. The theater was in the Japan Town section of the city, at the New People Cinema. When I got there I was a little confused. The theater turned out to be in the basement of the New People store. Upstairs were several stores and a bunch of parents and kids around at a Tea Time dessert Restaurant, that looked like it was “Alice In Wonderland”. I saw Jessica and we took some fun candids in the lobby before the screening. We even went browsing in a few stores also with the very cool photographer and Talk radio show host Oscar Benjamin. After some fun playtime I then headed into the theater and saw the film for the second time. I was even more impressed this time. I kept thinking that what a brave decision it was for Jessica, to choose this film as her directorial debut. Most women wouldn’t have the guts to make a film like hers. “Truth or Dare” combines great acting performances with amazing storytelling and interesting characters, something that can sometimes rare in the indy horror world. After the screening and Q & A, Jessica, stayed and signed autographs for fans.

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Truth or Dare’s next screening is at the Shockfest Film Festival in Hollywood, CA on Friday, January 10th at 11:55 pm. The event will be held at Raleigh Studios, across from Paramount located at 5300 Melrose Ave. Hollywood, CA 9003. http://shockfilmfest.weebly.com and for all things Jessica Cameron, checkout her web site: http://jessicacameron.com also to find out how you order the film and can help the “Truth or Dare” team checkout their site here: http://truthordarethemovie.com/contribute/

Thank you for joining me on another once again. You’ll be seeing a lot more blogs from me in 2014. My next one will be on a trip to LA. I’m also proud to announce I’ll working covering the 2014 Sundance Film Festival for Dig in Magazine and my blog. Till then don’t forget to support independent filmmakers and musicians in your town or city. For more celebrity photos, events and stories from the red carpet follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Jonathanshensa or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jonathan.shensa.

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Disney’s Delivers A Family Film Goers Early Xmas Gift with “Saving Mr. Banks”

Greetings everyone. I’m official back from hiatus, after focusing on photography and jornalisim for the last few months. I’d like to send a special welcome and thank you to all of you who are reading my blog for the first time. My blog, is different from most. I write not only as a lifelong fan of the entertainment industry, but as someone who was a child actor, an assistant in the industry and even as a manager. I currently work as a celebrity  photographer and journalist.

Movie studios and film lovers, are eagerly anticipating the pre-Christmas and Christmas Day release, of many new films this week. Disney’s latest film “Saving Mr. Banks,” which has been winning fans over on the film festival circuit opens  everywhere on today.

In November, I had the privilege of  covering the red carpet for opening night of AFI Fest 2013. “Saving Mr. Banks,” which was the opening night film of the festival. Even before I heard the film was going to be opening the festival, I had been eagerly anticipating the film since hearing about it. Growing up as a child, I never was a huge cartoon fan. My Saturday’s were spent watching the World Wrestling Federation (WWE) with my younger sister. I never saw “Fantasia” or many other Disney films, but  I was a fan of the theater and musicals. My first introduction  to “Mary Poppins” was the music. When I first saw the film I was amazed by the storyline. I also had never seen a film that used animation and live action together so well. My family never had a live-in caretaker like Mary, but we did have full time babysitters after my mom went back to work a few years after my sisters birth. My dad worked for publishing company Random House and would travel a lot. I was able to relate to and be touched by several elements of the film. I just recently watched the film again for the first time in about 20 years. The movie was ahead of it’s time. Mrs. Banks, was involved in the battle for women to vote, but was not independent enough herself to stand up to her husband. In the end Mary helps the Banks by not just taking care of the children but using their imagination. The film, still is one of my all time favorite children and family films.

“Saving Mr. Banks tells the behind the scenes story, of the making of Disney’s “Mary Poppins” film. Walt Disney had made a promise to his daughters that he would make a film based on their favorite book character. The film was based on the book “Mary Poppins” by P.L. Travers, and took over twenty years before the author would sign over rights for the film. “Saving Mr. Banks” chronicles the turbulent process of negotiations between Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and the author (Emma Thompson).

AFI Fest 2013 – Opening Night Gala Screening of “Saving Mr. Banks” 

I arrived at the newly renovated Chinese Theatre, and saw a much smaller group of photographers waiting to check in compared to what would normally be at a Disney premiere. AFI which was handling the premiere did a great job with lighting and the set up. Besides having a smaller crop of photographers, there was also a smaller amount of guests walking the carpet. All of the stars from the film were there and walked the carpet. The first film stars who hit the red carpet were. B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman who played the Sherman Brothers who wrote the lyrics and music to “Mary Poppins.” Tom Hanks (Walt Disney) arrived and was in high spirits joking with some members of the press. Emma Thompson (P.L. Travers), looked stunning wearing a Roberto Cavalli Mona Lisa, red printed midi sheath dress. Emma was very press friendly as she was laughing and joking as she made her way down the press line. She seemed like a real down to earth person with an amazing personality.

After missing the film at AFI Fest and The Napa Film Festival, I was stoked when Cindy Maram, “Dig In Magazine” Founder/Editor-in-Chief, invited me to the see a screening of the film at Skywalker Ranch. The film wasted no time in getting right to the story. We learned that it has taken over 20 years of negotiations, before P.L. Travers agreed to let Walt Disney bring Mary to the big screen. Travers, arrives in Hollywood and immediately, buts heads with not only Disney, but everyone associated from the film. Travers, who is played magnificently by Emma Thompson, is adamant about there being no animation and is horrified when hearing there was going to be music in the film. Tom Hanks, who masterfully plays Walt Disney, brings heart to his character and shows a side of Walt we haven’t seen or heard before. We see Mr. Disney, as a father who never gave up on honoring a promise to his daughters to put their favorite book character on the big screen.

The film also highlights the struggle between the author and the films composers Richard (Jason Schwartzman) and Robert Sherman (B.J. Novak). There are some wonderful performances turned in also by Bradley Whitford and Rachel Griffiths. The one performance I was most pleasantly surprised by was turned in by Collin Farrell, who played the character inspired by Travers real life father, whom she lost as a child. We discover the reason Travers, didn’t want to have Mary changed or tarnished was because she was family. One of the most upsetting experiences she had while making the film was her frustration when Walt Disney thought Mary Poppins was supposed to save the children. When the reality was that Mary was there to save the father. Her father. The only downside was that I would have liked to have seen what her relationship with Julie Andrews, played by Victoria Summer (uncredited) was like.

The film “Saving Mr. Banks” is directed by “The Blindside” director John Lee Hancock. Just as he did in the “Blindside,” John does an amazing job of not just telling us about the characters, but making us care about them. He truly has become an amazing filmmaker. He brings heart to all the stories and characters. After the Q&A, I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Mr. Hancock. He is a truly nice and down to earth person. You could tell how much and how close to his heart this film was to him.

“Saving Mr. Banks”, is the perfect holiday film for the entire family to see and experience together. The film opens everywhere this Friday, December 20th. Get tickets now! http://www.fandango.com/savingmr.banks_159710/movieoverview

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