Since moving out to Los Angeles close to five years ago (!) I've had the honor of residing with one Christopher Buchakjian who was a bit of an urban legend back when I was in college.
Even though we were both in the film department I had no classes with Chris but would often hear him referred to in a hushed, revered tone whenever brought up since he was held in such high regards by the professors. His experimental short film, "Son of a Dagger Maker" was the student template used to judge all other films in the class and is an oddly horrifying piece of work. While scouting out Los Angeles for the big move my former roommate and good friend CR discovered that Chris needed a new housemate and put us into contact with one another. Based off the fact that:
A. Around campus Chris was a mysterious, wraith like figure
B. Had made a movie that was the definition of curiously unsettling
I honestly had no idea what to expect.
My fears however turend out to be completely unfounded since 2004 Chris has become one of my best friends. Despite the fact we're both kind of loners who spend their time on very different hobbies (Writing VS Lighting Design) we hit it off. I am certainly not an easy person to live with at all times and we managed to have a house with several line up changes and very little drama.
Greg / Chris / Adam 2004
Greg / Chris / Leo 2004 - 2006
Greg / Chris / Rich 2004 - 2009
With that said I am sad to announce that he will be moving out of our luxorious Culver City residence by February. While I wish him well on his further misadventures and look forward to my own zaniness with ongoing housemate Rich (a friend from the land of high school) and incoming housemate Jeff (another Hofstra alum) the house will not be the same without him.
Some of the top moments from an entertaining run:
10. Chris, Leo (the only person I might be able to ever go to Burning Man with) and I deciding one Sunday afternoon that in order to make more money we would become vampire hunters but then bitterly arguing over whether or not we would keep any money or goods we found on the undead. For the record I was pro keeping the loot.
9. Chris agreeing to come with me to Pirate Times on a whim where we, along with another friend Will, screamed like a house was on fire for our sections hero The Green Pirate.
8. When I suggested I liked Eric Bana as an actor Chris proceeded to sing a song with guitar accompanyment as to how much he sucks.
7. We both insanely LOVE The Doom Generation but for two very different reasons. He enjoys it as a parody while I find it a great example of what not to do while writing a film. To this day I don't know which one of us is right.
6. Adam, our former roommate had a ton of wild friends from the college he went to and parties at our place turned out to be a fairly mixed bag in terms of people. Late one night, in the middle of a crowded room while talking to two girls as a Smiths song played Chris appeared out of nowhere, pointed to one of the gals, announced "This girl lost her virginity to Morrissey" and then moonwalked down the hall.
5. Chris had lived in our house for several years before I arrived and he and his first roommates started and kept a tradition hosting orphan Thanksgiving. While some faces have stayed the same and others have changed, hosting the holiday is always a lot of fun. My folks don't even ask if I'm coming home in November anymore and having the event at our place made Los Angeles feel a lot more like home than New York City ever did for me.
4. At a club for Kelly's Birthday Chris climbs onto a platform on top of a stage and starts dancing. The platform is for hoochies only and security tells him to get down. Chris looks the large slab of beef in the eyes and instead of getting down, merely dances harder, wildly waving his arms.
3. Random Movie Madness: I used to work for Film Threat and in order to review movies they would send you a box filled with 50 DVD's...95% of which were total shit. Sitting alone was agony but thankfully bizarre curiousity drove Chris to begin sitting in on the viewings and we became a two man MST3K which turned into a lot of fun. The one terrifying exception was an unmarked 6 hour DVD of 9/11 conspiracy theory material narrated by a creepy robot voice. Chris made it through 4 hours while I watched 5 until I fastforward to the end. Chris was so freaked out he slept with his sneakers on, I slept with a baseball bat.
Even years after I was done with Film Threat we would find ourselves still watching the randomest crap on television and sticking with it just to hurl insults at the screen. Movies I sat through which I never would have thought twice about otherwise.
-Akeelah and the Bee
-Belly 2 (Special guest star Rich doing the funniest impsersonation I've ever heard)
-Factotum (Loved the book, the movie is total crap)
-Aquamarine (perhaps our lowest point)
-Evan Almighty (How does one mock a comedy? When it's as unfunny as this film.)
2. Ridiculous late night conversations were a staple for the house and none more so than a humongous, passionate argument over whether or not one would rather spend ones time building a ship in a bottle or going snow shoeing. Chris, Rich, Trish and I yelled ourselves hoarse. BTW I remain a devout advocater of snow shoeing.
1. The house on the end of our street took Y E A R S to complete and as it was nearing its final stages the workmen would be over there at odd hours. During one arduous two week period they would wake us up early every morning hours before we had to work. As a joke I remark that in order to get them to stop we would have to dress up as construction workers and infiltrate their operation. That afternoon as I'm watching TV and Chris begins pulling random objects of clothing from his room. When I inquire what he's doing he replies that he thought we were going over to bother the construction workers. I admit I was joking but he will have none of it.
In a button down shirt wearing a hardhat and safety goggles clutching a clipboard I follow Chris who has on a hazzrd jacked and ear protection over to the house. As he taps on various parts of the house with a pen and nods to me I make gibberish notes on the clipboard until we attract the attention of the workers. Chris demands to see the person in charge and asks about what kind of hours they're keeping claming that we are from the head office and feel they may be starting work too soon. The foreman asks if we want to see the permit which Chris quickly agrees, I let him do all the talking since if I open my mouth I will begin laughing hysterically. The foreman returns with the paperwork which Chris studies making several side comments to me who is once again marking notes on the clipboard. Chris says we'll have take this up with our superiors and we walk home...TWO DOORS AWAY!