Today's guest post is by Tracy DeBrincat. She is the author of Hollywood Buckaroo. We are also hosting a giveaway of this book, so check at the end of the post for a chance to win a print copy. Enjoy! A few updates and announcements are coming soon. So be sure to check them out. They are supper exciting.
How Hollywood Got Buckaroo’d
by Tracy DeBrincat
Or: Nearly Two Decades in Exactly Two Paragraphs
Or: How The Howling VII Changed My Life
Or: How Much Do I Totally Love Alternate Titles!?
1993 was a difficult year for me. I was not young, but I was immature, inexperienced, untried. To help me feel better, a friend invited me to take a couple weeks off from my job and come out to the desert to work on a movie with her. I didn’t really need any special skills, she said. It was a low-budget film. I could help on the set or I could sleep on the floor of her motel room all day long if need be. Whatever I wanted to do, as long as I got out of L.A. and my own head for a while. I didn’t think twice about it. I called in divorced, drove east to a locale in the high desert north of Palm Springs, and joined the crew of the western/werewolf/musical The Howling VII: New Moon Rising. Its budget was so small that local town residents had roles in the film. I helped out in the ragtag wardrobe department: washed and labeled clothes, counted up cowboy boots, sewed sleeves so they’d tear off when a character was shot. But mostly I fell in love with a place called Pioneertown. Built in 1946 by a consortium of investors including the singing group Sons of the Pioneers, Roy Rogers, Bud Abbott, Russell Hayden, Dick Curtis and Louella Parsons, Pioneertown served as a permanent location for filming westerns. The one-road town has it all: motel, roadhouse, saloon, church, bowling alley, post office, soundstage, and a series of outbuildings with facades that resemble a bank, jail, blacksmith, general store. Anything you’d find in a wild west town was there, plus the most amazing, open-hearted people I’d ever come across. Musicians, cowboys, poets, fugitives, dropouts, war vets – the desert gave them solace, freedom and, most importantly I think, space. Plus the most beautiful rock formations on the planet under the grandest of grand cathedral skies.
I healed and fell in love in Pioneertown. Fell in love with so many things: people, music, Joshua trees, driving in the dark with no lights on, line dancing to a countrified version of “Whiter Shade of Pale.” With the desert’s beauty and awesome brutality. And with storytelling. I wrote and re-wrote my love story to Pioneertown a zillion ways. From the point of view of a dog. As an adventure story between a trucker and his drunk girlfriend. As a screenplay. As a novel punctuated by a screenplay. Until finally, it became the story it is now: the improbable and unintentional coming of age of Sander Sanderson, whose filmmaking aspirations are in the toilet after the death of his father, a successful plumber to the Hollywood stars. Dumped by his girlfriend, and unable to grieve for his dad or face running the family business, Sander wangles a shot to direct a commercial in the old west town of Buckaroo to live out his dream for one whole week before resigning himself to a life he dreads. As Sander struggles to rescue the imploding project, eccentric locals jumpstart his creativity and his heart, so he can mourn at last and love again. Hollywood Buckaroo’s town of Buckaroo is inspired by Pioneertown, and the Shitkicker Saloon after its infamous watering hole, Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. Everything else in the story—incidents, names, drugs, pop stars, feuds, UFOs, rumors—is totally, utterly mostly fake. And nearly twenty years after I stepped foot in Pioneertown, the manuscript for Hollywood Buckaroo was awarded the inaugural Big Moose Prize from Black Lawrence Press and published in October 2012.
Watch the trailer!
For an excerpt and more info, visit www.hollywoodbuckaroo.com
Tracy DeBrincat is the author of the prize-winning short story collection Moon Is Cotton & She Laugh All Night (Subito Press). A new prize-winning collection, Troglodyte, is due from Elixir Press in 2014. She has published short stories and poetry in literary reviews from Another Chicago Magazine to Zyzzyva. Although San Francisco is her hometown, she loves living in Los Angeles, where she is a freelance creative advertising consultant and authors the blog Bigfoot Lives! www.tracydebrincat.com