I had a good kind of day, a day where it was gorgeous outside and after I woke up too late to go to the class I told myself I wouldn't get up too late for, I got to go from building to building all day workshopping things I'd written or co-written: a poem, a pitch for a short film, an outline for an American "The Office" spec, and then at Hammerkatz NYU rehearsal, the first act of our February show, which should be a barn-burner.
In between my last class and rehearsal, a pilot I wrote was screened at Channel 102. For those of you who aren't NY comedy nerds, 102 is a five-minute television contest, and the competition is pretty stiff so to even be screened was an honor. I was as excited to be at the screening as I have been for anything in a while, and lots of Hammerkatz peeps came out to represent. Tony and Will, the 102 gurus (Will's responsible for my all-time favorite 102 show, Fun Squad) had really nice things to say about our show, which was cool, 'cause those guys know from pilots. We got some good laughs but ended up getting creamed in the voting. Ah well. I'd be happy to go down "a lost classic in the early history of super-short television," or failing that, "something that bunch of knucklefucks did because most of 'em don't have honest jobs."
Our pilot, "The Culliver Family Variety Hour," and all the rest of the shows (which were a fucking honor to be screened alongside, special love for "The Tribe," "Puppet Rapist," and "The Outer Limit" and "The Block" and...damn, all of 'em were sooo good) will be available free at Channel 102 sometime Tuesday, and all of them will be playable on yer video iPod. Ours'll be in the "Failed" section. But if that strikes you as overly negative, remember: "failed" is just another word for "unsuccessful."
You should go get the new song from Bishop Allen, "Corazon," at their website. It's free. Their album "Charm School" pretty much got me through February of my freshman year, which was much much colder than this one. I am gonna try and go see them next week.
If you're a semi-regular reader of dcpierson.com you know I plan to cut a broad amorous swath among Hollywood starlets and indie-darling singer songwriters, but that trajectory plants squarely me in the arms of Neko Case, on a deserted island with a case of red wine and some good soul records where we will live out the rest of our days, mostly in the bathtub.
So you can imagine I'm excited one can pretty much get the whole of the new Neko Case album by jumping around the mp3 blogs. But if you're too lazy to do that, hit up this elbo.ws "Neko Case" search results page and re-up on lovely dark-as-pitch Canadian country.
If you feel like you don't have enough music with lyrics like "I leave the party at 3 am/alone, thank God/with a Valium from the bride/it's the devil I love, it's the devil I love, and it's as funny as real love/and that's as real as true love" from a girl with a voice like the prairie, you should probably get in on this.
In keeping with the theme of things I did late at night instead of other things, the other night at the bar Mo and Al and Chuck and I did...well, I dunno what they're called. I did them with Fran one time at that same bar. You take pop culture ephemera like celebrity names and movie titles and anything else vaguely recognizable and mash it up. Like "Ricky Martin Lawrence Of Arabia." They have to be intelligible, and sometimes they sound better read aloud than written down, since spelling occasionally becomes a factor. Anyway we were some drinkin' fellas and I have three coasters full of 'em in my coat pocket so I figure why not. Anybody else played this ridiculous word game before and have a name for it?
Iron Chef Boyardee Snyder
Boy George Michael J Fox Mulder
Commodore 64,000 Pyramid Scheme
Willie Nelson Mandela
Eli Whitney Houston We Have A Problem Child Two: Electric Boogaloo
Neil Diamonds Are Forever Young
Weird Al Yankovictoria Jackson Pollock
Lionel Richie Rich Little
William Shakespearce Brosnan
Charles Bronson Pichot Me The Money
Rubix Cuba Gooding Junior Mints
Robert DeNirosie O'Donnell
Captain Kirk Cameron Diaz
Captain & Tenille Simon
Anthony Quinn Medicine Woman
Home Shopping Netanyahu
Ariel Sharon Stone
Kiefer Sutherland of the Lost
Geddy Lee Oswald
Terry Bradshawshank Redemption
Jaclyn Kennedy Onassister Hazel
Right Said Fred Durst
Fight Club Sandwich
Ted Turner & Hooch
Paula Abdul Jabbar
Rudy Giuliani D'Franco
Burt Reynolds Wrap
Dean Martin Van Buren Sample
F. Scott Fitzgerald Ford Motor Company
Bill Cosby Arthur
Cool Hand Luke Skywalker Texas Ranger
And so on. Now you try.
Occasionally instead of doing something I'm supposed to be doing I play around with audio-editing software all night.
The results are usually something like this:
I'm actually vaguely proud of it. It's 12 minutes of woozy hip hop and hysteria. See below for the tracklist.
(song link fixed.)
Spank Rock - "Backyard Betty"
Regina Spektor - "Us"
Gnarls Barkley - "Crazy"
The Avalanches - "Undersea Community"
Three Six Mafia/Diplo - "Stay Fly (Mad Decent Remix)"
Crime Mob/MCDJ - "Knuck If You Buck (Remix)"
As I was walking to an appointment with my Creative Writing teacher there was a clutch of NYU kids waiting in the gawdawful cold and hellwind for the screening of the new Lars Von Trier film.
It's like, really, kids? I understand you have to pretend to like him but isn't maintaining circulation in your extremities more important than impressing the girl in your Cowboy Archetypes In Aborigine Cinema class?
Maybe it isn't.
Get your cityface on.
Your “I’ve got a secret
and that secret
is who the new buzz band from England is”
Your “I’m a celebrity
all your friends would know
but you’re not cool enough
Your “I’ve done coke
with Cameron Diaz
in the bathroom at the Vatican”
Your “I am a fuck-engine
that runs on models”
Your “my boyfriend is a DJ,
my girlfriend is a cop”
Your “I left my soul
in the attic of my parent’s house in Virginia
and me and my parents,
we don’t talk anymore”
Your cigarette face
Your coffee face
Your newspaper face
Your fuck-with-me-and-I-will-end-you face
Your fuck-me-or-I-will-end-you face
Dear Mad Scientist,
It wasn’t the way you’d wait ‘till I was asleep
then sneak out of our bed
leaving me cold and alone
while you went grave-robbing
with your assistant
or the way, upon your return,
you’d track graveyard mud
across the rug on your way to your basement lab-OR-a-tory
because you were too excited about finding
a left hand that hadn’t entirely decomposed
to notice I spent all day vacuuming.
It wasn’t when you used the parts you got
on those excursions
to create a monster
and then, later, a woman monster
you looked upon with more longing
than you’ve been able to muster
for me for a while,
and you named the first monster Klenderhaus,
so don’t think I missed the significance
of naming the female monster
“Bride of Klenderhaus”
It wasn’t the time after time
I had to come bail you out
Of getting lynched by
An angry mob of villagers,
Telling them about your pure intentions,
Your good and honest heart,
Things I realized
while I was saying them
to save you from being torch-and-pitchforked to death
I wasn’t sure I believed myself, anymore
It’s honestly this:
How come you never experimented on me?
It’s not that I necessarily want
or a third eye,
I might even find those things disgusting.
I want to be involved in the things you love,
even if those things take
lightning and corpses
In order to work.
I get jealous.
I’m human, you know.
And because you never tried to make me anything more than human,
I’m leaving you.
If you are forming a musical collective, please invite me.
I am always reading about bands who are members of "collectives." They are always in places too cool to have any industry, like Atlanta or Austin or Oregon or the great band-rich wilds of Canada. I imagine they smoke weed on the porch of a big house full of matresses and wear each other's t-shirts. I imagine they have in-jokes and swap keyboard players and mild cases of VD. And I am jealous, except for the VD part.
So if you are forming a music collective, please invite me. I don't know how to play any instruments or have a weed connection but I imagine I could draw decent album art and write humorous liner notes. I would update your webpage and make out with your female backup vocalist when she was on a break from her tempestous relationship with your moody-genius lead singer-songwriter. Then he could write a song about me called "Who Is That Douchebag Who's Always Hanging Around Trying To Make Out With Kara," little knowing that I have already succesfully made out with Kara three times, usually with the help of whatever charming local beer we have here in Atlanta or Austin or wherever.
There would be rumors that I am working on a solo project that will blow everyone away. I would occasionally ask people from the collective to come in and do guest spots on it. The tambourinist from Ted's Clap Revisited. The stand-up bassist from Run! Run! Your Children Are Gravyboats! I would have them record these parts in my bedroom on my computer mic. Just like four bars. "Great, that's perfect," I'd say. Of course, I don't have a solo project, I am actually playing Minesweeper. But the laptop screen is turned away from them and they think they are contributing to my masterpiece. Which they sort of are, because my masterpiece is this great myth that I'm concocting a masterpiece.
"When are we gonna get to hear your album?" the moody-genius lead singer-songwriter asks me one night when we're both smoking outside of Gaslight Freddy's.
"Soon enough," I say distantly, "soon enough, Spermwhale." He records under the name Spermwhale.
"What's it called?" he asks.
"Minesweeper," I say.
"Huh. I think there's a band in Tulsa named that. Yea, I think Ursula's Throes played with them last summer at Charliefest."
"Oh," I say. "Freecell, then."
"Freecell," Spermwhale says. "Nice."
And once I have exhausted that collective's goodwill, I'll pack up the van and move. I will have been working MySpace to find another local scene where I can land on my sandal-ed feet. If this collective was in Austin, I'll move to Atlanta. If Atlanta, I'll move to Austin. And once I've used up all the local beer, makeouts, and limited-run EPs in the US of A, I'll head north, to Canada, where a great band hides behind every snow-covered tree, and there are a fuckload of snow-covered trees.
"Poobah," they'll say, (Poobah's my Canadian Scene Alias) "you gotta come with us on tour, man, we're gonna hit Austin."
"I gotta pass," I'll say, "there's a moody singer-songwriter there who promised to strangle me with a mic cord if I ever so much looked at Kara again."
"Who's Kara?" they'll say.
"Funny," I'll say, "'Who's Kara?' is the name of my solo project."
I'm lying, of course.
The name of my solo project is Microsoft Paint.
Dear Jared Leto:
I beat you to it by three months.
Well I won't get to go see Colin Meloy (Decemberists lead singer) next week with Laura Veirs (who has a song, "Galaxies," I really love, and supposedly the rest of the album is good) because I'll be seeing Broken Social Scene (someone is a busy hipster). But undisclosed sources have been kind enough to favor me with a partial tracklisting for The Decemberists' upcoming release, If Plucky Dickensian Street Urchins Had Learned Guitar. Here goes:
The Art House Theater Ticket-Taker's Lament
Dirge of the Designer Cat-Sweater Salesman
Elegy For Todd, Keyboardist In The Journeymen, A Journey Cover Band
The Video Store Employee Who Longs To Become Manager But Is Ambivalent About The Additional Responsibility's Drinking Song
My Mother Was A Put-Upon Receptionist With A Weakness For Nautical Fiction
Ditty Of The Guy Whose Girlfriend Is Supporting Him While He Works On His Novel But Mostly He Just Sits And Watches "Dog The Bounty Hunter" On A&E
To My Own True Love, Who Predictably Quit Acting To Become A Design Major
Sea Chanty For Fluffers
I look forward to hearing some of these songs next time they come on tour.
One day week!
Class starts this week, but Monday was MLK and today both of my classes were cancelled (one moved to Monday on the perm tip, the other, cancelled just fer today). And I only have class M/T/W, so tommorrow is my only day of school until next Monday. That vast stretch of unoccupied time would be more intimidating if I didn't have a freshly borrowed set of 24 Season One DVDs and a half-baked notion about writing a bunch before class on Monday.
I am a little worried about being bored, but then part of me is proud of myself for designing a life in which I can have such a thing as a one-day week after just having four weeks off. Besides, grindin' will be in full effect soon enough, and if Mike Jones has taught us anything, it's that it takes grindin' to be a king.
If Mike Jones has taught us anything else, it's that his name is Mike Jones.
Thing about TV: Based on the overwhelming positivity in the comments on this Reason item, I added the new "Battlestar Galactica" to my Netflix queue, near the top. Can anybody confirm/deny that the awesomeness of this show transcends the nerdiness of having all my Netflix buddies see how I let it leapfrog shows about cops and documentaries about war? And by all my Netflix buddies, I mean Gregor, and Lauren from Hammerkatz NYU. From dealing with me day-to-day they are under the impression I am a Two-Fisted Chest-Hair-Having Man Of Action, and I don't want to disabuse them of that notion, in case they are ever in the position of casting a movie about dynamo WWII bomber pilots and I need the work.
Other thing about TV:
Dear Kristen Bell, Star of TV's Veronica Mars,
I have never been one of those people that confuses actors with their characters. If anything, I'm hyper-aware that the people on screen are just people, people who had tiny apartments in LA during pilot season and are really hoping they make it enough episodes to get a syndication order. I can distinguish one from the other.
But please forgive me if, somewhere in the course of our whirlwind courtship and inevitable blissful marriage, I want you to solve a case for me. Or if I want to, just for a minute, be the sensitive, witty guy who breaks through the spiky exterior you were left with after the death of your best friend Lilly Kane. If anything it's just a testament to the quality of your portrayal and my respect for your art. It's just like I would hope, in our relationship, you would occasionally want me to say or write something amusing. You play a devastatingly attractive fiercely independent girl detective with a genius-level vocabulary. I say and write amusing things. These are the attributes that initially attracted us to one another. It's only human that we should occasionally want a taste of the things that made us fall so head-over-heels in the first place. We're only human, Veronica. And by Veronica, I of course mean Kristen.
So thank you in advance for your forgiveness. And thank you also in advance for thinking I have great taste in music and finding my inability to keep a clean room charming instead of gross.
Yes, that three paragraph letter to an actress I have a crush on from a TV show I like should keep anyone from suspecting that I'm a nerd.
Gregor put a bunch of old(ish) HKATZ photos up on facebook. It's a narcissist's holiday!
Backstage at UCB, I am in a 60's band. Perhaps Big Brother and the Holding Company.
Gregor and I discuss something noble and weighty, like farting.
Doug, Greg, and Gregor sarcastically oblige the photographer's request to "do funny stuff." People are under the impression that comedians will not show up on film unless they are wearing a silly hat (see above) or wacky policeman's outfit or something. To wit, this IRC thread.
This photo of me and Donald reveals my true feelings re: black people (put-off, thirsty).
Photographic proof that we were doing spelling bee sketches before any Fortes and Parnells. Lorne owes us MASSIVE royalties.
At St. Andrew's in Delaware (the school where they shot "Dead Poets Society") Lou looks on as I eat dinner in the lofty shadow of my aristocratic forefathers. I can't figure out how to flip this picture.
Me, Greg, AJ at UCB. I have hit my head on that blue pipe more times than I have kissed a girl. I'm convinced there's a connection.
Doug wants to know if you guys want a ticket to the OAR show. (Delaware)
Derrick + Doug sepia-toned outside Target in West Hollywood. After this photograph was taken we were all killed in the Battle of Antietam.
The whole ensemble. We're urban!!!
PS- if you're facebooked up, our profile is here. If you don't go to NYU, global-search for Hammerkatz. Be our friend!
We also have a buncha new videos up on our website under "Films." Check it.
In other news, party last night was a succerse. Thanks to all who showed. Thanks to Matt and Steve for hosting the nonsense. My birthday is officially over about twenty days after it started. Next year I'm going for a full month.
Donald (MCDJ) has finished my 21-songs 21st birthday mix and it's fucking fly. I am listening to it right now and I have a smile on my face four counties wide.
You can download it here. Missy Elliot + Elliot Smith works surprisingly well. 18 minutes of awesome.
The tracklist of songs used is here.
Tonight: NY birthday party. I am clearly milking this thing for all it's worth. Come by if you're up in this cold motherfucker.
Outside is the kind of weather where you're being punished for something. In this case, we're being punished for the weather being amazing this past week.
Dominic/Sarah/myself went to see Matt/Steve/Daniel's show in Philadelphia. While I was there, I did not see ?uestlove (although I did see him one night in NY when I was walking home drunk: I told him "I love you" 'cause what else do you say. He gave me a very exhausted pound) but we did find out that the Philly transit system is from 1962 (the SEPTA ticket machines don't take the new five, tens, or twenties, and it doesn't look like anybody's making an effort to change that, so bring your antique cash). We drank in Steve's mom's house's furnished basement. He has Fawlty Towers on VHS and the fridge down there has pictures of high school Steve being a nerd: I'm pretty sure one is him and his friends playing a collectible card game, and one was them having a LAN party. And now he's a killer actor and has a ridiculously cute girlfriend. Miracles can happen. Nerds, we can all be redeemed.
If you are in Philly you should go see their play, it's mad good. I might lead a contingent to see it again next weekend since not a lot of people who wanted to go could. Only this time I call the big couch.
It is still weird to buy booze or go to bars I wouldn't have been able to under normal, underage circumstances. I keep feeling like somebody is going to catch me.
NYU is having something called a Tunnel Of Oppression. I thought this was quinessentially uniquely NYU, but Google tells me a bunch of other schools have done it. This is good. I think liberal arts students need more opportunities to say to themselves, "Damn am I socially conscious. I am going to hit on the next person I see with a pin about veganism and we'll go have very earnest sex." Since there's clearly a market for travelling exhibits about vague societal ills, I'm spec-ing out a couple rip-offs, including:
The Vortex of Institutionalized Hypocrisy
The Hidey-Hole of Fascism
The Underwater Cavern of Nobody Eats Dinner As A Family Anymore
The Hate Nook
The Alley Where It's Dark Enough To Have Anonymous Sex With Somebody With A Pin About Veganism
If you would like me to come to your school with one of my projects, comment below. I have the haircut and style of dress which indicates I have a lot of deeply held political beliefs, and I am ready to party.
I had a productive ol' day.
I got up at the world-beating hour of one PM (new winter break record for earliness), went to the library to check my e-mail, sat in the park and got on the phone with the Bursar's Office and put out a fire (or at least got it reduced from a four-thousand-dollar fire to a less-than-a-grand one), back to the library for readin' material ("Portnoy's Complaint" which has been recommended to me by all my favorite Jews, and "Bootleg," about the history of bootleg recording culture), went to Supercuts and got a haircut (whenever I get a haircut, which is like twice a year, for a week afterwards I always end up looking like Prince Valiant and Mary Tyler Moore had a child, until the shit grows in, but it doesn't seem to be too too bad this time) (if I were an indie girl with a livejournal or a myspace blog I would give you all like nine or ten picture I took of myself with my new haircut so you could all leave comments like "Cute!" or "Too cute!" but just because my camera doesn't work and I'm not an indie girl doesn't mean you shouldn't leave a bunch of comments like that, because I AM A FOX), went to Donald's to record a verse for a song on his new album, went to the gym, dropped shit off at home and squealed with glee after finding Netflix delivered (I wasn't expecting any mail until Monday 'cause of Winter Break), went to the bank and Chipotle, back to the library, started a short story, wrote this.
Now to the theater for coogemootch.
Tommorrow: Philly for Steve/Matt/Daniel's show.
Aww, c'mon, Jay. Listen to my demo.
Why you gotta be like that, man? Just take it. Put it in the ride. It's hot. I guarantee. It's hot.
Aww, man, when you was comin' up, Jay, I know some brother gave you a chance, you know what I'm sayin', young kid steady hustlin', you know what I'm sayin? It's hot.
No, I see how it is, I see how it is, you come up out the game, all the sudden you ain't got time for real kids from the block no more.
No I ain't mean Triple Creek Terrace, where the fuck Triple Creek Terrace, man? I'm talkin' about the block. You know what I'm sayin'. Kids from around the way. I'm from Marcy, son, for real! One Marcy kid to another.
The fuck you mean Marcy DePrile? Who the fuck Marcy DePrile?
No I ain't never been to no stupid-ass theater camp and no I ain't know no Marcy DePrile, theater camp counselor. What the fuck--look, man, you wastin' my time. I'm ghost. But know this: when I get back on the block, I'ma tell them boys at the corner, Jay, man, he changed. He came out the game, he ain't street no more, you know what I'm sayin'. They got him wearin' this stupid-ass blue vest, they got him wearin' a nametag that say "Jason" and shit, they got him pushin' these carts all over the lot--
Yea I think you Jay Z. What kind of question is that?
Yea, I see you white.
Yea, I see you like sixteen. You a skinny motherfucker. Your white ass is pimply as well, no doubt--
Well it's like Russell said, you know: when you comin' up, you got to stay on your grind 110% of the time, you know, 'cause you never know who your break is gonna come from, you can't go to the supermarket and NOT bring your demo and you can't look at the bagboy and say he definitely NOT Jay-Z in disguise so I'm definitely NOT gonna give him my demo.
Yea you could be Jay-Z. I figure you doin' like some undercover shit, street-level, like try to understand what the kids is listenin' to, you know, what's goin on in THEY mind--
Damn right you could afford a skinny-white-kid suit, you worth billions, kid, I seen The Source--
Nelly got signed 'cause he was sayin' some real hot shit to a stripper one time and it turned out that stripper was really Jermaine Dupri.
Well that's what I heard.
So you definitely not Jay-Z? 'Cause if you was Jay-Z, I hope you would respect my hustle enough that at this point you would take off your pimply-ass mask and sign me to the ROC without even havin' to hear my demo. But if you did listen to it, it would be hot.
A'ight cool. Nevermind. You could go back to pushin' carts n' whatever.
No I ain't gon say "hi" to Marcy Aprile for you.
Yo, kid, yo, kid, hold up: be real with me for a second. Your manager, over there with the tie and the moustache and the potbelly: he's Diddy, right?
Back in NY.
AZ is lovely this time of year but damn if it ain't boring. With the exception of some wondernous parties and kicking it with my family. I kept resolving to wake up earlier than two but it never happened.
Of course you can't really criticize a place for being boring when the first thing you did when you got out of it (after the hellish slog in from the airport) was take a shower, go to Chipotle for a burrito, then spend the rest of the evening eating Take Five bars, drinking milk, and watching "Veronica Mars" and "The Wire" on DVD.
By the way, "The Wire" is fucking good. Case in point, a scene where the lead detective and his partner parse the scene of a shooting saying nothing but "fuck, fuck, fuck" with various inflections, instead of the babble about trajectories and angles of entry and all that stuff you'd expect. I'd say it's the "Anti-CSI" if I had ever seen an episode of CSI and had anything but my uninformed ideas about what that show might be like to go on.
Now that I'm back among the iPod-ed classes, I have resumed my slavish devotion to shuffle. Even if there's a song or couple songs or, in those rarest of cases, a whole album I feel like listening to, it hurts me to break up a good shuffle I got goin'. I have a whole mess of songs I downloaded over break from mp3 blogs and never got around to actually listening to. When I'm in front of iTunes, I'm too ADD: the ability to scroll around and change tracks at will means I do so every thirty seconds or so, and in those thirty seconds in between I'm not really listening, I'm reading whatever website I'm on or IMing somebody or obsessively Googling myself or Hammerkatz. Gregor's friend Rina said she'd listen to a song over and over again for two or three days until she was beyond sick of it. On the other extreme, I barely listen once.
But now I have time to walk around with music. I can soak in songs about running from the sheriff's rope, drinking after the party is over, and an ass-shaking competition champ, variously.
I don't have an mp3 for you 'cause I'm on a school computer but Donald's "Mushaboom" remix is something else entirely: guaranteed to light the nearest indie girl's ass on fire. This is the DJ whose New Year's mix got my friend Trevor in AZ a speeding ticket. Believe it.
It's now burrito o'clock.
I may buy the We Are Scientists record based solely on this fucking hysterical article from their website, and this cover of one of their songs. (And I used to have "Selective Memory" on my iPod. It was pretty dope.)
My old good buddy Alex Pareene did a smart thing by dropping out of the NYU Dramatic Writing Department 'cause now he co-edits Wonkette. Awesome! This is a good job for him, given that the twin engines of his writing were always a deep knowledge of politics, and cuss words. My favorite thing he's done recently is The Year In Talky Shouty White Guy Rock. It is funny. It's also so hard to tell whether or not he likes these bands that maybe he oughta write for Pitchfork.
I've spent about 98 percent of break reading mp3 blogs, downloading songs, and making mixes, but the best piece of music writing I've read in the past couple weeks belongs to good ol' Will Hines: Nightmarish Alternate Versions Of Myself. It's a short, funny, sweet account of going to see They Might Be Giants on New Year's Eve. Strictly 4 My Former Weird Al Listenaz.
You can read a short story I wrote off a suggestion from Will's girlfriend and ubertalent Eliza Skinner here. It is also about nerds.
I wish we had a college football team, college football is so much damn fun. Can NYU trade some of our mySpace-profile-in-search-of-a-personality artistes for a buncha hulking dudes who are either cornfed Nebraska types or have dreadlocks and names like DeClive? Can we build a subterranean football stadium where kids who would otherwise be in their dorm rooms watching "Family Guy" and disapproving of stuff could paint themselves purple and call for the blood of the opposing team?
We barely even have a marching band. I think we have a jazz ensemble that plays at basketball games. I do not want a band that knows a clever funky rendition of "Paranoid Android." I want a band that only knows "History of Rock n' Roll Part I" and "Iron Man." And would it kill us to have a bonfire?
All I'm saying is, nobody at my school is offered an easy scholastic time of it in exchange for their performance on the gridiron, and we have nobody to knock up our cheerleaders. And I think that's a problem.
Somewhat related: At schools like Florida State where a great deal of their football ritual is based around doing the Tomahawk Chop, does everybody end up with one arm that's significantly buffer than the other one? Comment below if your school ever had a delightfully racist mascot and you can offer some insight.
Tsar - "I Don't Wanna Break Up" (right click/save as)
Scenes from a year:
At home last year for the holidays I wake up hungover, like I do a lot when I'm home. I go downstairs to check my e-mail, and after like ten minutes I think "Man my butt feels ill-proportioned." Turns out is my iPod in my back pocket. The screen has a big black blotch of LCD-juice on it. For the next several weeks I have broken-iPod themed dreams, until through a series of eBay maneuvers, Matt fixes it.
The Skidmore auditorium at the National College Comedy Festival in Februrary turns out to be a lot smaller than we remember it. We spend the afternoon before our (HKATZNYU's)performance shooting an on-location video showing characters in a sketch entering the actual auditorium. Dan has a new awesome camera, and a new awesome device which allows him to follow Matt getting into a car, stick the camera to the hood and let the camera keep rolling as Matt drives off, taunted by a dead rapper via the radio who's telling him about his wife getting fucked by the mailman (dead rapper on the radio added in post, and by post I mean sometime between the shoot and dinner). Somebody's foot got run over. Daniel's? UCB Tourco is also at the festival: I hear Eli and Gethard laughing their really distinct laughs in the back of the auditorium during our show, which is very gratifying. Later, Fran bets somebody (Donald, maybe) that Bill Nye was killed, and not only that, was killed by a paper-mache volcano. After we Google him, she admits it may have just been an Onion headline.
Somewhere in here, HKATZ professional starts working on the show that will become "...And Other Reasons To Cry," all we have at this point is a lot of half-baked ideas about a single-location show that takes place at a high school. At one point it's called "Principal Rocketpack," which is how I contexualized Lou wearing a shirt with a hanger in it during a break at improv practice one Sunday. I still really like the idea of a principal whose hard line on discipline gets results and thus keeps everyone from criticizing the fact that he goes from classroom to classroom unintentionally melting desks and burning kids with the afterburners on his rocketpack.
I intern at UCB during an SNL afterparty, the same night a blizzard dumps feet of snow on the city. Ben lets me jump behind the bar for a little while and I make a ton of money. Later, I walk through snow-caves to buy cigarettes for comedy heroes.
Sometime in March, I think, I get home from babysitting and try to get into the Sufjan Stevens show at NYU's Kimmel Center. The show costs three dollars, the girl at the door says it's all sold out but then says screw it and lets me go. I ask if she still wants three dollars. She doesn't. Everybody in the auditorium is sitting in chairs. He plays "Chicago" and shortly thereafter, the fire alarms start going off. They try to play through it but eventually everybody has to leave.
HKATZNYU does three original shows spring semester. One of them is like twenty-seven minutes long. Everybody agrees we should probably do more sketches per show.
In April or maybe May I go to see the Decemberists two times in two weeks: once at NYU and once at Irving Plaza. I develop a crush on the ukelele-playing girl who opens for the Decemberists at NYU; I haven't had a crush in forever and it's kind of a nice feeling so I walk around with it for a week or so.
I come back to Phoenix for a little while after school in May. I take my little brothers to the midnight showing of the final Star Wars: Matthew, the littlest one, says it's his favorite one so far, so there you have it.
I go back to New York for a week, Dan and Dominic let me sleep on their couch. They are trying to get rid of the apartment; one day while I'm still in boxers a contingent of Japanese business types come in, speak in hushed tones, and let the realtor lead them out. One day we get out of an early tech rehearsal and everyone's exhausted but Gregor mentions something about a rooftop barbeque at his friend Sharon's place in Queens. It's the perfect afternoon: the view of the skyline is ridiculous, it's warm, we eat meat, drink beers, and I play a lot of Getz/Gilberto off an iPod. A girl compliments my music selections. I could live off being told I am a good DJ. Gregor and I go to the show baked-in tired and vaguely beery, summer in full effect.
I go down to South Carolina with UCB TourCo to tech shows. Everybody decides that if all we had to do for the rest of our lives was sit by the pool at a beachhouse all day then go do a comedy show at night, well that would be pretty okay. I flirt embarrasingly with the cashier at Piggly Wiggly, Bobby and I buy Piggly Wiggly t-shirts. After one of the shows I play Dem Franchise Boys' "Oh I Think They Like Me" for house music. I see a black kid dancing to it and am affirmed; girls and black people being the two groups I seek to impress with my music choices.
After a thirteen-or-so-hour drive up the coast with Fran and Gethard, I get on a plane and meet up with my family in Detroit (maybe Philly, my memory is hazy, it was just a connecting airport) and we go to Italy for a week for my stepmom's parents' fiftieth anniversary present. It's crazy fun. Among the elements that make it such: abundant history, cathedrals that are the religious equivalent of Michael Bay movies, girls that are not so much cute in a traditional sense it's just they know how to rock it, amazing pizza, wine, the fact that insalata caprese can be ordered with every meal. We also have a bitter French tourguide who is made of cigarettes and skepticism towards Italy's future. I decide to spend the rest of my days riding around Rome on a motorscooter with a girl on my back, because those dudes seem to be having the most fun. Having the extended nervous system of a family to lug around an unfamiliar setting for a week is weird, since I'm now used to being a Solitary Dude Against The World. The trains on the Rome subway system are graffiti'd like they were in New York in the 70's; I get nostalgic for a time (Style Wars) when I wasn't alive. My grandma gets her passport and credit cards stolen at the Vatican, when they go back the next day, my grandpa gets his wallet stolen.
Jay Z's "Dear Summer" comes out and is the song of the summer, which is great because in it Jay talks about how he's sad he won't have the hit song of the summer anymore now that he's retired. I love the idea of marking time by releasing massive summer jams the way I mark time by going to Skidmore every February.
Chelsea is in the city during the summer, she burns me the new Sufjan Stevens album. I play it for the first time on my summer-dorm roommate's computer for the first time while I'm lying in bed sweating my ass off and go WOWWWWWWW. It's been hyped up so much on so many top ten lists that mad backlash is inevitable, but I like to remember how awful damn good it was that night.
Other fun things:
going to Atlanta with Derrick, Donald and I watching LOST in the backseat off laptops with Dan in the front seat editing video for the show
doing a Cagematch with Hammerkatz vs. Delaney and Merritt, two comedy heroes, who were convinced we stacked the house, but even our stunt of having Greg pretend to propose to his girlfriend (it was my idea but everybody said no one'd believe I was getting married. Word to that.) didn't take us over the top, vote-wise
breaking and losing a bunch of iPods in a lot of really stupid ways
going to Syracuse with HKATZNYU, debating about whether or not to do a somewhat controversial sketch in the midst of a campus firestorm about a racist show on their college TV network, deciding not to do the sketch, except in the living room of the guy's house we were staying at, to an audience of one, the guy whose house it was.
The coolest thing that happened this year, by far: Donald, Dom and I sold a show to Comedy Central. When we all get back to NY from the holidays we'll sign stuff and start writing the pilot, then hopefully they'll want to make the pilot, then hopefully based on the pilot, they'll want to make the show. I've held back on mentioning it here for a while out of a fear of jinxing it or calling down the clouds of misfortune I feel, sometimes when I'm being dumb and skeptical and guarded, must inevitably follow something really, really awesome.
But yea, this year was so fucking cool, and thank you for it.
The Mountain Goats - "This Year" (right click/save as)