Sweet holy balls.
I had an idea last summer for a story, part of which involved a race of elfin albino women who live in the subway system until they're forced above ground. Since they're light-sensitive, the stick-thin creatures have to don big, ridiculous sunglasses.
Hammerkatz is nominated for "Best Sketch Group" in the 2005 Emerging Comics of New York awards. Even if you have never ever seen me perform comedy in your life, please go to this website and vote for us. And vote for our director, AJ Morales. You don't have to fill in any of the other blanks, although if you're feeling generous, Aziz Ansari is an awesome standup and Darryl is an amazing one man show and both dudes are the nicest people you'll ever meet and deserving of your love.
Not as deserving as, like, we are, obviously. But still.
Today was an awesome day!
First I was at a Hammerkatz tech at the theater at ten in the morning. That was not very awesome, mostly because of the hour.
But then when we left, Gregor asked who wanted to go to a barbeque in Queens, because it was an amazing day outside. It turned out I was the person that wanted to go.
The barbeque was on the rooftop of Sharon's place in Long Island City. Sharon (pronounced like the Israeli prime minister) is the best dude ever. When me and Gregor got there with our chips and beer it was just Sharon and his two roommates and their crazy house-sized where-Rocky-probably-trained sized apartment, which is being torn down next month. We went up on the roof. Bossa nova music was playing on the stereo and I ate more food than God. I drank many beers, ate everything that came off the grill including grilled pinapple, onions, portobellos, it was sunny and gorgeous and we had a full view of the skyline, later people praised my selections off the iPod that was hooked up, which is no joke all I want out of life.
Then around five Gregor and I went back to his place to pick up costumes and stuff. Piss-looking liquid was leaking from the bathroom ceiling of his new apartment, probably the least awesome segment of the day. Then we went to the show, all baked-in tired and sunburnt halfdrunk.
The show was awesome! So exciting. Very proud of it. Good to be back. Amazing fun invigorating show.
Then me, Fran, Gethard, Dominic went to McManus. More beers were had. Fries on my part. Gethard had beef stew over potatoes.
Then Fran and I, as well as AJ, AJ's friend, Tiffany, Sheldon, caught up with Dominic at the Magnet Theater for the Project. I'd never been to the Project or the brand-ass-new Magnet. It smelled like fresh paint, which reminded me of high school theater, which was generally a nice feeling. We drank forties in the back and watched improv.
Then Gregor called and Dom and I met him downtown at a party held at the apartment of one of the guys from Collegehumor.com. Apparently it is nobody's apartment, just an apartment the size of Alaska all the rich collegehumor guys mutually rented out to be their party/fuckaround pad. Gregor, Dom and I all reminded ourselves to be very rich someday. The kegs were cashed soon, we smoked cigarettes out on the fire escape, I thought a had another forty turns out I didn't, but whatever, sometimes you have to go to a giant ridiculous redneck-prom-themed party and not talk to anyone except Rina and Gregor and the people you came with, for a little while. Sometimes that's just the right thing to do.
Now I'm going to sleep. You can see how today was an awesome day. Summer is here. It is in effect.
The first one is the showiest. I sit in the empty upper balcony of the hotel theater, set up between tables where tan old ladies would be sitting if anybody real were playing, count ceiling tiles through fake Frankie Valle and fake Bobby Darin. Then the big guy comes out, in early period costume. Wonder if the hair is real. Doubt it. Wonder if he would do costume changes as he progressed through the songbook, but I don't give him the chance. Halfway through "Hound Dog" I draw a bead on his exposed chest, tuft of chest hair, gaudy medallion, squeeze. The THWAP-THWAP-THWAP reminds me of the paintball guns we've been working on, but that isn't paint on fake Elvis. The band doesn't stop because there's no band, just a tape that keeps playing. Old ladies on the ground floor scream and scatter. I leave the apparatus where it is, smoking, it's not like there's not more where that came from, and it's a neat calling card, no prints.
I'm rocketing across golden Vegas rooftops before there are even sirens.
Intense hooker negotiations before number two, in front of the All-Nite Wedding Chapel. Isn't the get-up a little much, she says. The only thing I think is a little much is her lip, I tell her. And besides, she says, I don't do fat guys. Nobody's gonna do anything, I say, she just has to go in and play along, no one's gonna end up hitched. I mention an indiscretion of hers from last week there's no way I could know about, she screams and slaps away, but stops right around the time five one-hundred dollar bills materialize, and I tell her there's another five where that came from when this is all over. She can be back on the Strip in a half an hour.
We fill out a few forms at the front desk. Nadine the hooker uses a fake name. The receptionist accuses me of doing the same. Then she ushers us into the chapel where the big guy comes out of a back door onto the altar, Styrofoam coffee cup in one hand, velvet Bible in the other. This guy is late-period, has the paunch to back it up. He clears his throat, looks me up and down, but he's in no position to ridicule. I smile. Nadine lights up.
The receptionist is also the organist, she starts into "Hawaiian Wedding Song." The paperwork promised we would get this guy's rendition of "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You" upon completion of the ceremony, but again, I don't give him the chance.
Do you, uh huh, uh huh, he says, Debbie, take-- and I flip the Bible up and out of his hand, just to see how sharp I am, and in one motion pull a Desert Eagle from my generous waistband. Four holes in the good book, four in Father Presley. Maybe the receptionist screams, I doubt Nadine does, anyway I ghost before either happens. I leave a Bowie knife in the VIVA LAS VEGAS! movie poster in the antechamber. Nadine will find her other five bills in her g-string on her next trick, no idea how I got them there.
I can't believe my luck: On Sunday there's a goddamn Elvis impersonator convention in town. I slip in the hotel on Saturday night and do a few piano-wires in the rooms (three, four, five) then get six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven and twelve via plastic explosive rigged beneath the the speaker's platform during the USING THE POWER OF THE INTERNET TO MAXIMIZE YOUR KING POTENTIAL panel. Then I get the hell out of town, fast, like I do everything.
Apparently in the platform collapse I fatally crushed the webmaster of KingsMen.net, the number one Elvis impersonator website in the continental US, so his apprentice has taken over and posted an all-points-bulletin including a map of the US showing my reign of terror, Elvis heads everywhere I've struck, morbid. A big cluster over Vegas, two in Memphis. I see they missed the truckstop outside of Cleveland and the Indian casino in Jersey, which leads me to believe those were renegade Elvi, not in the guild. On the KingsMen message boards, which features users with handles like SuspiciousMindz and ComebackSpecial68, a debate is raging about how I hit the convention in Vegas Sunday morning when my first Memphis hit occurred outside of Graceland at 2 pm Sunday afternoon, a daylight drive-by. Somebody named JailhouseC0ck propagates a second-shooter theory.
The next two (thirteen, fourteen) are both packing: clearly, word is spreading that their number is up. Either way, I leave that Waffle House bathroom very bloody and add to my collection of tinted, gold-plated aviator glasses. I consider scalping pompadours, reconsider after mulling over a couple of factors: one, most Elvises are bald, two, that's a serial killer thing, and I'm not a serial killer, I'm on a mission. I die a little bit every time one of them dies, a little disappointed, but I don't stay disappointed for long.
I follow the big guy onto a train to the coast, anticipating number fifteen. He has a car all to himself, interesting. I kick the door open and he lunges for a big fucking Magnum, I turn to the chunk it takes out of the wall and think, yea, that thing could blow open a TV set easy. I throw a knife, he catches it. He scissor-kicks me, surprisingly nimble. Drives the knife in the floor next to my head, rakes my nose with his boot-heel. Asks what the hell I think I'm doing. I pull a semiautomatic from where it's strapped to my ankle, he takes the slugs like a champ, doesn't even flinch.
This is the real deal. If my hunch is correct, and of course my hunch is correct, I know next-to-everything, I won't be able to kill him. That's why I had to kill all those others, to find out which one I couldn't kill. I am a little starstruck, and I don't get starstruck.
He is confused when I don't bleed. Why the costume, he asks.
No costume, I say.
I pistol-whip him to the floor as getback for the boot to the face, he looks up: I've made the hangdog expression semi-permanent.
He asks again why I'm doing this.
Knowledge, I say. Why we do anything. You are a myth, and it's a lonely life being a myth. Chalk it up to that, I say, if you want. Loneliness.
He says, Do you know what it's like being a myth?
Yup, I say.
Do I have any idea, he says, what it's like when the more you dress like yourself the more people will be sure it's not you, just someone imitating you?
Absolutely, I say.
He says, Why didn't I get that air rifle I wanted when I was seven?
But he doesn't get an answer, because I lay a finger aside my nose and that same second, I'm on top of the train, lighting a Kool, radioing for the sleigh.
So Star Wars is over. But even if you don't care about Yoda stick around, 'cause I'm gonna get preachy and you wouldn't want to miss that.
I'm gonna try and keep this whole thing spoiler free. First, the two cents, briefly: It was as good as it needed to be. Lucas has a couple of trump cards he can pull to make us collectively six years old again, all this movie ever had to be was a decent couch for those magic couple of things: Yoda badassery, the Anakin/Kenobi battle, Vader's first breath. The ultra-clumsy dialogue and people walking around in front of greenscreens giving intergalactic C-SPAN recaps were still in place, but trimmed back enough not to fuck with the magic. And we got a couple of legitimately awesome setpieces, battles, and "Order 66." I'm not angry. And my little-est brother (I just saw the 12:01 showing with both the brothers) said it was his favorite of all the movies, and the opinion of a real live Star Wars t-shirt wearing ten year old bests that of my inner ten year old any day. (Actual ten-year-old DC preferred Jedi was my favorite. The plot-obsessed, horny crank that has since replaced him reveres Empire. Just like we all grow up and start drinking coffee instead of soda.)
In improv there's sort of a piece of wisdom that you name stuff right away. You get all the details out there, because the more you keep something vague the more the audience will paint it with its imagination, and once propriety forces you to call that thing out, they will inevitably be disappointed with what you bring them. The same holds true, it's been said elsewhere and better, for storytelling. The Matrix trilogy got itself in huge trouble with this stuff. The Wachowskis gorged themselves on awesome vagueness and hints of bigger, badder stuff in the first movie, without knowing what any of that stuff was. We all shot the next two movies in our heads on the way home from the theater that day. And even if they hadn't fucked up massive in the second (and conventional-wisdomly in the third, though admittedly I haven't seen it), whatever they brought to the table would never, ever be as good as the movies we made in our heads.
George Lucas gave us 16 years to make the prequels in our heads. Collectively, we had more love for his creations than he himself seems to have been able to muster, all of it working away on set in our imaginations. Other stories we tell ourselves a million times a million different ways before life writes them for good: dating, love, graduations, freedom, our place in the world, they're written now, or in progress.
Anyway, you get where I'm going. Wondering is better than knowing. Anticipation beats reception every time.
Star Wars taught me the magic of stories. I didn't really get it until now but probably half of that lesson was leaving things in shadow. Promising the fantastic, promising the Clone Wars. The secret message in the way I shot the placing of the helmet on Vader's head in my head: Stories don't get handed down from the mountain. They belong to the people who love them and half of the telling takes place not on the set or in the editing bay but in the theater, in the dark, where those people sit, waiting, pleading, deserving to be wow-ed.
The creators are nobody special. They just let their affection jump its banks and become action.
Now that it's been written, I feel a little like I just opened the last present on Christmas morning. The last myth of our kid-hoods has been told. And initially that was going to be disappointing, in keeping with how drearily goddamn twenty I've been feeling for the past five months, but then I thought: Holy shit, it's ours now. Fuck Star Wars. I am going to play with the box it came in. It's always, always better because it's yours. You make it what it is.
This is on the trail of something I've been meaning to express for a little while, or at least an opportunity to let it fall out half-formed: We, and if you think I'm including you I am, are not owed opportunity, adventure, excitement. However, we owe it to somebody, and I'm not sure who exactly, maybe just ourselves, to live lives that are legitimate adventures. I think we might owe it to our grandparents, like my grandpa who told me he didn't know what he wanted to do when he grew up so he just picked engineering and he envied me my determination. None of us have to stay down on the farm or risk our hands in the factory. And probably we owe it to our ancestors who did have to stay on the farm to make our lives more than about tooling around our hometowns in cars that stand in for goals, picking lives of convienience, smugly certain that the future will come and we can waste today 'cause there will be more like it. All of us ought to prefer brave failure to comfortable success, because it's a hard fucking choice to make and therefore, probably right. No one will begrudge us living our dreams.
It's sanctimonious and schmaltz-y but I can't bring myself to pre-apologize for saying it. I am a sanctimonious and schmaltz-y dude, case in point, before I sat down I went out on the balcony, same one I had my first kiss on while my friends were inside watching Usual Suspects a year after Episode I came out, and listened to "The Last Days Of Disco" by Yo La Tengo and looked out at all the goddamn stars and the red-lit radio towers I grew up under and couldn't bring myself to be as melancholy as I thought I ought to be, all I could be was incredibly, incredibly happy. Alecia is happy too. We talked about this adventure stuff last night, in a conversation I started a few weeks ago with that all-purpose truth vessel, the drunken voice-mail, and if Alecia and I agree on something there's no way it can be wrong. She says she can't wait to see what everybody will do and she loves life. Absolutely.
I want to tell the stories my brothers will love, and, by extension, the world will love. And I'm going to.
This is ours now. Now.
I finished the first act of the play, so once it's in my professor's box, I am officially done with school.
I attached an epigram (not really the right word, but...) with two quotes. One from Elvis Costello. One from Darryl Strawberry. So you know this thing is good as a motherfucker.
I know the custom is to finish (or halfway finish something) and say it sucks, whatever, but why would you write something if you think it sucks? I never understood that.
That said, no idea what the second act is gonna look like.
Chelsea gets to read it first, if she wants to.
I will be in Phoenix on Wednesday morning, and there for a week and change. People have to call a dude, as time is tight. I assume drunken court will be held many nights at Alecia's, if she will have me.
In the age of the remix, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for a radio edit of The World.
You know radio edits: they take swear-word laden rap singles and replace the offensive words with generic proxies (Juvenile's "Back That Ass Up" becomes "Back That Thang Up," it turns out Luda has "pros" in different area codes, not "ho's") or, failing that, just little blips of silence. Only Missy really has any fun with them: If you got a big (elephant noise), let me search it" on "Work It".
Not entirely unreasonable, then, that I should get to strap on my headphones and get a clean-for-radio version of the people talking around me in the park. Only I'm not your average radio listener. Here are the things I am offended by:
- quoting Family Guy back and forth
- quoting Napoleon Dynamite back and forth
- coversations that go, "Have you seen (movie title)?" "No. Have you heard (band name)?"
- verbal static: "I don't know," "I'm sorry," "like," "uhm." You do know. You're not sorry.
- cell phone conversations which make me suspect the person making the call only has a mean boss so they can call somebody to detail how mean their boss is in excruciating detail
- acting students talking about only things acting students could care about at a volume which presumes other people might care, too
- anything being described as a guilty pleasure, any TV show qualified as "something my roommate was watching" to exonerate the speaker from charges that they might have the same tastes as that ghastly unspeakable mass known as the rest of America
- anyone expressing typical, safe disdain for fast food, SUVs, the South, because a nuanced viewpoint could never hope to brand the speaker quite as quickly as a right-thinking person and a real seeker of truth
- anyone describing anything as the new anything or the next anything
I would like these things to be dubbed over and replaced with elephant screeches, bits of silence, and the words "fuck," "ho," and "glock." And I'm not excluding myself: it might be better if every time I opened my trap to send down an Opinion from Mt. Genius, what came out was in fact Missy Elliot rapping backwards.
Speaking of which, have you guys heard "On and On?" Sick! (right click/save as)
And as promised, here's Stilettos (Pumps) by Crime Mob, the song that got me through the rest of my Simpsons pages when the coffee wore off, and is also a crunk song featuring girls rapping about their shoes as though they were guns they were toting. Fucking awesome. I urge you to listen.
You don't have the stomach for this anymore, old man.
Then again, you never did.
So I guess what I mean is, you don't have the stomach for not having the stomach for this anymore, old man.
I have never been a proponent of the world-is-ending viewpoint. I don't think human life is any worse than it has ever been, in fact, it's empirically better. But it is going to be harder and harder to keep repping for the-sky-is-not-falling if things like Subway no longer offering the $2.49 six inch sandwich of the day keep happening.
To power through the rest of my Simpsons spec, due tommorrow at 10:30, I'm destroying a four-day-deep shuffle to hear the audio Red Bull of Crime Mob's "Stilettos (Pumps)". I would describe it as a crunk Le Tigre. I'll post an mp3 when I'm back at my lair.
We rockin' stilettos, ho
We rockin' stilettos, ho
Childish Gambino (Donald) is dropping his album this weekend. Some say GE (Gangsta Electric) may spit a verse or two at the record release party, which will probably be in a basement. D To The C will definitely be on the freestyle tip no matter what, though.
Tomorrow afternoon, and probably all week: Hammerkatz gives NYU students the answers to their finals at the corner of Waverly and University. Be there or fucking fail.
The happiest birthday to Alecia. I have vague recollections of leaving you a rambling drunk-dial wellwish last night. I spent the time after my intern shift at a party in Gramercy where I didn't know anybody except the people I came with, shooting the shit on a misty balcony, the keg cornered like an escaped con. So that accounts for my thick tongue as I told you happy twentieth. I believe I expounded upon the theme of adventure. Are you in Coachella? I hope so. That definitely counts. Love.
This is my 350th post. The Simpsons has its 350th episode tomorrow night. My comedy nerd-dom and my secret affection for signs and wonders have collided, and now I have a little bit of a hard-on. Whatup, computer lab.