Friday, April 20, 2018

The Room - An Emotional Rollercoaster

Tommy Wiseau's The Room is not a good movie. It's not. NO, it's not! But it is a GREAT movie.

I mean, it's an absolute piece of shit. Almost unwatchable. There's no plot. The character's motivations turn on a dime. Story lines are forgotten the second they are mentioned. The cinematography would get you a C grade if you did this in film school. And the pacing is on par with an incontinent octogenarian's bowel movement. But YOU need to see it.

I'm serious!

A little back story:

Somewhere around 2009, Joel Rickenbach started the "You've Got Geek On You" podcast (later shortened to "You've Got Geek.") The title was a homage to a line in Shaun of the Dead ("You've got red on you, did you know that?") It was a pop culture podcast that explored film, television, music, comics, games, books, etc.



The podcast was born out of late night phone calls Joel and I would have about these same topics. This was 100% Joel's baby. So he asked me and James Hunsinger to join him every Wednesday night (or sometimes Sundays or whatever day of the week worked for everyone's availability).

Aside from providing an MATURE rating from iTunes, my greatest contribution was "The Nerd Confessions." This came out of an episode where I admitted, I had never seen James Cameron's Aliens before. This was rectified in July of 2009.

Andrew Mitchell set up what would be the first or three screenings at the University of Delaware. For the inaugural screening, we invited anyone who was interested in coming to watch Aliens with us.

Bob Trate (future "You've Got Geek" panelist) brought his helmet for me to wear.


The next screening would be Flash Gordon, in which Dave Perillo and Brendan Carr (future "You've Got Geek" panelist), would perform as The Ukes of Earl in opening the night's festivities (though Dave became unavailable at the last moment and Brendan played solo)
Steve Manocchio watching Brendan rock out. Also, that camera makes me wonder where the hell that footage is! 
Flash Gordon was a MST3K type viewing. All were welcome to shout out whatever they wanted at the screen. It was probably my favorite screening of the three movies we'd show there.

The final screening however, would be the aforementioned The Room. Tommy Wiseau's masterpiece about a guy who is in love with a girl, who seems to be in love with his best friend, and possibly a 14 year old boy next door. I believe this took place early 2010.

The screening was amazing! It was a room full of friends, almost all of who, were seeing the movie for the first time. THIS is how the movie is meant to be seen. In numbers.

I find it near unwatchable in a singular setting. But the more people you gather, the better the film.

I would go on to watch it two more times in my life. Once, as part of Brendan's bachelor party in late 2010 (though , admittedly, I told Joel to wake me when it was over having seen it with in the same calendar year - that's about as much as the human condition can accept seeing it). And then finally May 18, 2012 as part of the "You've Got Geek" sponsored screening at The Colonial Theater in Phoenixville, PA.


THIS was the screening where Jim Burns showed up as Johnny AKA Tommy Wiseau.


While this was the first public appearance, Jim had been "Tommy" before. Specifically on the 2/23/2011 episode of "You've Got Geek."  <--- CLICK to listen to the episode.

Fast forward to April 2018.

I got a text from Jim about a staged reading of The Room at PhilaMOCA in Philadelphia. He asked if I was going to attend. I was on the fence, until he told me HE was reading the part of Johnny. 

YES! That's Greg Sestero (the actor who played Mark, the writer of the book Disaster Artist (which was turned into a movie starring and directed by James Franco), and of course Tommy Wiseau's best friend).
Jim is a private dude. I'm not.
I immediately told Julie and decided to call on EVERYONE I could think of who might be remotely interested.
Julie and I started throwing names at each other. And then we both became extremely sad.
Both of us had immediately thought of Joel.
Joel passed away in 2015.
He is still a huge presences in both of our lives. Not a week goes by where I don't have the thought in the back of my head that I should, "call Joel."

See a good movie - Call Joel.
See a bad movie - Call Joel.
Think of an extremely irreverent joke - Call Joel.

Phillies deplete their bullpen in the 3rd game of the season and need to use a position player to pitch an inning - Call Joel.

898 days, and my first reaction is still to "Call Joel."

Last night at the reading of The Room, I laughed my freaking head off! Every single person in the cast was stellar! With Jim's Johnny and the woman playing Lisa as stand outs.

All night I had this feeling eating at me. Right before we took this picture, Jim (not Johnny, not Tommy) put the feeling into words:

"I can hear Joel's laugh."

I asked a random woman to take this photo. I didn't crop or alter it in anyway. Today I realized,without knowing it, she left the room to Jim and Julie's left for Joel. 


Sometimes when you set out to make a dramatic film for you and your friend to act in, you instead end up making a comedy cult masterpiece.

(*Apologies for typos. I wrote this piece crying while listening to Joel's laugh)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Facebook


Long before the Cambridge Analytica scandal, I have been trying to find ways to kick my nasty Facebook habit. More than my fear of data mining (which I'm not particularly fearful of), I loath the timesuck that the social media platform has become in my life.

About 3 weeks ago, I removed the Facebook app from my phone. This isn't the first time I've done it, but it's the first time I've done it so easily. Sure I still use Twitter and Instagram on my phone, but I never seem to fall as deep into the rabbit hole using those platforms.

The second thing I did, was "unlike" almost EVERYTHING on my Facebook page. A friend of mine recently said she's deleting her artist page to concentrate more on her website. This inspired my mass "unliking" of pretty much everything, including pages for friends endeavors (bands, artist pages, improv groups).

I'd rather see my friends posting about what they're working on ,or an event they're having, on their own pages in their status updates (from my desktop of course). Maybe it's silly, but it just seems so much more personal and intimate, which was one of the things I loved about Facebook from the outset.

Finally, speaking of those Events, I looked into ways to remove ALL event invites from my account. Unfortunately, you can only block people individually. This is rather unfeasible, so instead I'll continue to ignore Event invites as I have been (as well as most of you) for the past 2 or 3 years.

I will however make this promise, I'll personally stop using them.

When I have an event I am interested in sharing, I'll just put the details with a link in my status update. That way people don't:
  • a. get bombarded with Event invites that they have no possible way of going to (sure, I'd love to see your improv show in Los Angeles this Thursday at 10pm)

  • b. feel bad, and almost singled out, when they can't make it to an Event.

  • c. get buried under so many Event invites that they miss out on things that they actually WANT to do.

...and if you don't see my status update, hey, it's no different than how most of us no longer even look at Event invites.




I still like Facebook, and continue to think, overall, it's a terrific way to stay connected with friends and family when people are extremely busy. I just no longer want it controlling my life.

"I miss seeing your pictures of Kit!"

The weather's getting warmer. Come hang out on my patio and see her IRL.
There's your invite. No Event needed.

Friday, April 6, 2018

"They're Gonna Put Me In The Movies..."

On January 31st, I saw a listing on Facebook for an alleged casting call for Creed 2. It asked for participants to fill out some information and include a head shot.

This is the "head shot" I sent:



This photo was from a few years ago when I shaved off my beard. As men are required to do, I took lots of other photos from each stage of shaving, which included both a Charlie Chaplin (NOT Hitler!) and Freddie Mercury.

Sending the 
photo and info to the casting agency was meant as a joke. Though when I posted about it on FB, I had a couple of my friends, Dana & Todd, reach out. Since they both have connections in "the Biz," they asked if I wanted them to get me background work on Creed 2. Seeing as Dana was something like 13 months pregnant and Todd was going through some family issues, I declined not wanting either of them to waste their time on one of my flights of fancy.

Then I immediately forgot about it.
Until I was contacted via email a few days later.


The emailed went something like this:

Kevin
 
We reviewed your application and the information that you submitted online; so far so good! What we need to do next is schedule a time for you to come in for an initial evaluation.
 
This appointment is an opportunity for us to meet with you and determine if you'd be a good fit. Timing is everything so the sooner we get you in the better.
 
I do have appointments with Ms. Bryant, the Office Director of our South Jersey location, available this Saturday at 1:00p or Monday at 7:00p.
 
During the evaluation we will get measurements and take a couple snapshots. This is not a competition but be aware that other talent may be present during this initial process.
 
Email me back ASAP with the appointment time that is best for you. We look forward to meeting with you; make sure to smile!

Sincerely,
 
Janelle
 
P.S.: Email me even if these times don't work, I may be able to work something else out for you. 

I say "something like this," because I deleted THAT first email, but have since received another 5 or 6 pretty identical emails. As well as 11 text messages. Yes. ELEVEN!



The texts come from 3 different phone numbers, but are always from "Kim."

The company is called Nine9 Modeling & Acting. A quick Google search tells you that, while the agency is legit, they also have some less than legit business practices. Such as putting out "casting calls" for movies that are already been cast. 

Their MO is to bring in "talent," one or two times. THEN tell them they need "representation" which they offer...for a fee. Which is bizarre, because all representation worth a damn is percentage based on work an agent gets you (per SAG/AFTRA it's 10%).

I did find this from Nine9 posted online:


"...only 1% of aspiring models and actors are signed by agencies. We...represent the other 99% of talented individuals looking to find their place in this industry...we do tell everyone during our initial open call about our enrollment and monthly fees..."



Look, I'm not going to pretend that I wouldn't LOVE to do Background or Featured Extra Work if my schedule and financial responsibilities would allow it (most of the time they won't). And while I admit almost nothing is free, this preying on people's dreams just seems disingenuous.


But hey, Nine9 can continue to send me text messages. Because as I said, "almost nothing if free," my unlimited text plan is, since it's a perk included in my phone service.

Monday, February 5, 2018

E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES!

I have so many thoughts going through my head the day after the Eagles have (FINALLY) won the Superbowl.

So many things I'd like to talk about. For example, being a fan because my Dad was a passionate fan, so I just kind of inherit it. Or the years my Dad's company had a penthouse box at the Vet and we could go to every game. Or something more recent, like performing a ComedySportz match at the Linc and then getting a private tour of the field.

But instead, I thought it would be cute to relay a story that now makes more sense to me.

First a little background:

My sister-in-law, Ellen is from Buffalo, NY. She's a huge Buffalo sports fan. We have always had a revelry between my Flyers and her Sabres. So much so, that I taught her daughter, my niece to say "Let's Go Flyers" at a very early age. She'd do it to get her mom's goat. I loved it!


My Mom and my niece, Brianna, with a Flyers hat
that I may or may not have had something to do with it.

So fast forward many years, and I have a child of my own. She somehow picks up the chant. "Let's Go Buffalo." Probably from her aunt. She'll randomly chant it at me during Flyers game. She's relentless.

Last night I asked her who she's rooting for in the Superbowl, The Patriots or The Eagles...well...here's the video of her answer.


She's clearly a demon.

So as the game goes on, I continually ask her, who she's rooting for. AND STILL her answer is the same. The Patriots.

Finally it seemed like I had finally won her over as she mistakenly forgot who she was rooting for. But of course, she was quick to correct her mistake.

Finally it was time for bed. She was asleep before seeing the "sad" outcome. for her new adopted team.

Julie and I watched and cheered as the Eagles won their first Superbowl Championship.

This morning, I left for work before Kit was awake. While Julie was driving her to school she said, Guess what, Kit! The Eagles won the football game last night!"

Julie said Kit got sad and weepy.

So Julie asked, "Why did you want the Eagles to lose?"

Her answer kinda breaks my heart...

"Daddy told me that if the Eagles lose, he'll take me to the Y to swim on Tuesday, but if they win he won't."

In fact, it was the other way around. I have ComedySportz practice in the city on Tuesday night, BUT the parade was originally scheduled for Tuesday night. So it was decided, if the Eagles win, we'd cancel practice because of the craziness.

That said, I can still take Kit to the Y, we just go right after I pick her up from school.

So, I'll be taking her to swim at the Y on Tuesday. In fact, going through my camera and finding THIS photo has made my day. So I'll make hers by surprising her when I get her from school and take her to the Y to swim today!  



GO BIRDS!





Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Sean Gunn Has Amazing Hair!!!




Let me start off by saying this:

Sean Gunn has tremendous hair!
Absolutely gorgeous!
Like, possibly top 5 hairdos ever!

I know that sounds like I'm pandering, but I mean it.
And I've studied the hell out of his hair!

Why you ask?
Because there are too many ways to spell his name.

Wait, what?!?

Bear with me...

November 3rd 2013, my friend (or he'd soon become my friend), Shaun Kreider was cast into ComedySportz.





My own ComedySportz mentor, Sean Curran, would constantly tell Shaun, he's spelling his name wrong.



According to the Bleacher Report, there are 11 variations of "Sean."

For example the aforementioned Sean and Shaun, as well as Shawn, Shawne, and even the overly Irish, Chone. For our purposes we're just going to stick with Sean & Shaun.

Somewhere around the end of 2016, I had told another ComedySportz Player/Friend, Josh Holober-Ward, that I had never played Dungeons and Dragon, but I had always wanted to.




January 22, 2017, I had my first D&D experience.



Along with (MORE) ComedySportz Players/Friends: Emily Davis (#27), Kristin Finger (#7), Kevin Pettit (#25) and Alli Soowal (#36).
*I have included ALL of their numbers in case you wanted to play the lottery or something...mine is #9.


WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH SEAN GUNN AND HIS HAIR?!?

Hold on...I'm getting to it.

So our D&D campaign continued for quite a while. Some people came and some people went. But we continued to meet, semi-regularly.

Then, on June 3, 2017, something magical happened...

We were asked, by our friend Mike Gregorek (ComedySportz NYC player), to PERFORM a D&D style Improv Show at Wizard World in Philadelphia!

Shaun and I had performed the year before at Wizard World as part of ComedySportz, in a rare 1 on 1 match. It was probably my favorite ComedySportz moment from 2016.

We'd be performing as ComedySportz again (or as NERDPROV) this year...





But before we donned the Blue & Red jerseys, we'd be dressed in all black for the origin of "Roll Play."



Our D&D journey was just beginning. With Shaun and Sarah LeClair added into the mix:




(Have you won the lottery yet?)

SEAN GUNN!!!


It's coming! Jeez!

So we performed "Roll Play: An Improvised Adventure" (though that name would come later). The crowd LOVED it! So much so, people ditched the Michael Rooker panel to come see us. Or Michael Rooker's panel was sold out and people had no other option...either way, it was terrific!


We've waited long enough. Now, tell us about SEAN GUNN's FUCKING HAIR!!!

Ok.

So after Roll Play and after ComedySportz, most people went home. Shaun, Kristin and I decided to go back out on the floor which was closing in about 20 minutes.

Suffice to say, there was almost NO ONE there.

The Fans and many of the vendors had packed it in for the day.

Sean Gunn was still there however, and Shaun thought it would be cool to get a photo with him for his Dad for Father's Day (The Kreider's are Gilmore Girls fans...that's not a judgement merely a statement of fact).

Now it should be mentioned, that me, a balding man, am jealous of Shaun Kreider's hair. And Shaun loves to point this out. So as we walk up to Sean Gunn to get a photo (yes we paid and followed all the rules), I decide to take a shot at my buddy and say, "Hey Shaun, finally someone with nicer hair than you."

They took this great photo:




While Shaun was looking at the photo I took on his camera, I shook hands with Sean and told him I LOVED Guardians of the Galaxy 2 which I had seen back in April. While shaking my hand, he kind of ignored me and then walked away.

I immediately became pissed! My buddy had just shelled out a decent amount of money to get this photo, and we were all the sudden being ghosted?!?

As we walked away I looked back and saw Sean Gunn was staring daggers at me. WHAT THE HELL???

I realized it was the end of the day and he'd seen a lot of people, but I had been there all day too and had performed two shows!!!

I was just as tired, man!

Also, I rule the Seven Kingdoms, bro!




Or I guess Kristin does. But I digress...

So I let it go, because Shaun was so happy and I didn't want to ruin his moment.

I was seething while driving home.

I trashed Sean Gunn to my friends Jimmy and Petra who we had over for dinner that night.

I was still annoyed while going to bed.

The next morning, in the shower I replayed the event in my head forwards and backwards. Why was Sean Gunn a dick to me?

Then, while playing it forward again, my mind's eye caught this line:

"Hey Sean, finally someone with nicer hair than you."

I immediately thought, "er...Shaun, not Sean..."



OH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Sean Gunn thought I was being a dickhole right to his face...and I WAS, though I meant to be a dickhole to Shaun's face.

Fuck.

How could I right this wrong?

My daughter and I were going back to Comic Con for the last day so she could meet some of the Disney Princess...okay Harley Quinn:


Yes Kit was shy until Harley said, "Wanna hold my bat?"
It was a nightmare getting the bat back from Kit.

While we were there I saw Sean Gunn taking photos at his booth.

I thought, I should go over and apologize. Then I thought, will he even remember? So instead Kit and I went and said "Hello" to Rider Strong, who was awesome and we got waved to by Kristy Swanson (the original Buffy) because kids are adorable!

In the end, I did NOT apologize to Sean Gunn. I did however tell Jimmy & Petra that I was terribly wrong and they laughed in my face.

Maybe someday I'll work with Sean Gunn and I'll tell him this story and he'll laugh. Or maybe he'll remember and have me removed from the set.

Sorry Sean. You have terrific hair!





Friday, December 29, 2017

Scott Caan: The Final Chapter

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you've already seen all of this. If you don't follow me on one of those, and yet somehow stumbled on to my blog (and actually read it), you have my thanks.
**************************

The following is from Facebook on Thursday November 23, 2017:


Saw Bad Moms 2 last night. It was fun. When I got home from the theater...guess who was waiting for me?

Tired & cold in New York. Have been "guarding" floats all night.

Weird to be guarding a cop float... — at Macys Balloon Inflating.



Super cold waiting for the Parade to start this year.

I should have worn something heavier than my hoodie.

Of course Scott did full a "deck change." Once a surfer, always a surfer I suppose... 
feeling cold at Macy's.



Olaf is aloft — at Macy's.



Scott Caan: I know last year Tony Bennett was a tough assugnment, but maybe we can get you to hang out with another VIP.

Me: Oh! Gwen Stefani?!?

SC: I had a better idea...

Seriously?!? This guy has taken like 70 selfies of himself.



Well...they moved me off Fallon duty and moved me over to work as a balloon wrangle for the Red Power Ranger. Unfortunately, the wind picked up and we had an "incident."

I don't think I'll be asked back next year, so this is kind of working out!  — at Macy's.



Baby sitting celebrities, balloon wrangling, or guarding balloons from outside threats is one thing, but when you want me to be a watch out while you steal a dog from a kid, that's where I draw the line. — at Macy's.



This is that moment when you find out that Scott Caan volunteered you to dress up like Santa, because the other Santa is high off his ass on whippets!



One of these years I'll have a peaceful Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
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Also happy (other) holidays that have happened since Thanksgiving up until today. In the US they include:

Happy Hanukkah, American Indian Heritage Day, Robert E. Lee’s Birthday, President’s Day, Black Friday, Lincoln’s Birthday, First Day of Advent, Cyber Monday, St. Nicholas Day, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pan American Aviation Day, Wright Brothers Day, December Solstice, Washington’s Birthday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Day After Christmas, and Kwanzaa (*Boxing Day is a Canadian Holiday).

Have a safe and Happy New Year.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

1 Day....

"Expect SC tomorrow."

Oh, I get it.


So this photo was clearly lifted from my Facebook page. I exactly who will be knocking on my door at 3am tomorrow morning...