Saturday, December 24, 2005

Canada And Its Moustaches And Passion

Every once in a while I watch something that shakes me to my core. I've watched this video three times and I still can't believe it. Your turn. Courtesy of the 1987 Calgary Flames - the most embarrassing thing in hockey history.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Whiteys: NBA White Guy Awards, Part One

I was going through the inordinate amount of sports cards I have, from back when I rode the cardboard horse in the early 90's, and while almost all the players and styles look funny to me now, nothing looked quite as ridiculous as the white guys. Not all of them, mind you. But most of them. Additionally, I don't know where they got their photos back then, but whoever snapped them either had a knavish sense of humor or didn't give the card companies much to choose from, because they really caught people in some unflattering poses. So unflattering in some cases that it makes it seem as if some chromosomes had gone temporarily missing. I pulled out enough cards that a complete celebration of the NBA White Guy became possible. Here's to awkward and missed high fives everywhere.

The Silver Mullet Awards

Let's kick this off right, with the easiest to mock hair style of all time. Glamourized in fine films like Joe Dirt, and reaching such a popularity that not long ago a certain website was able to sell themed calendars, the mullet is certainly an easy and popular target. But there's something special, and I don't know, downright righteous about an NBA player having one. Let's begin shall we?

Mike Gminski

Mike obviously spent some time on his hair, a common theme among Duke graduates, who may need that attention to grooming for that job at daddy's bank. Not only did he have a great mid-range jumper, he knew his way around one of these. I feel pretty confident in saying that if there had been a Color Me Badd at the dawn of the age of Man, Mike would've fit in real nice. He gets bonus points for having visible brush lines on the business end of his mullet. I don't actually have a point system, but he gets three bonus points anyway. He's a broadcaster now, so grooming will be forever a part of his life.

Scott Roth

I don't remember Scott Roth as a player, but I can tell you that being guarded by Scottie Pippen, as in the picture above, is as close as he ever got to a ring. They sometimes call the mullet "Camaro Hair," and he surely looks like he's driven one. He also looks like the kind of guy who listened to Priest as he picked on smaller, weaker kids, and the mullet is the birthright of such a person. He's currently serving time in Wisconsin for hate crimes or animal torture, whichever you find more humorous.

Brad Davis

I am really glad Brad is named Brad, because he's such a Brad. Brad actually is up for more than one Whitey, that's how powerful his fashion mojo is. Since Mike Judge is from Texas, I find it extremely suspicious that Brad resembles both Todd from Beavis & Butthead, and Boomhauer from King of the Hill. Just look at him -- he's practically bumming a smoke from you.

Joe Wolf

Joe evidently had one move, and you are seeing it. I think he may have picked it up at the Special Olympics. Those rainbow Lego Nuggets uni's don't help his uncoolness one bit. His mullet style is far from extraordinary, kind of like a regular haircut with extensions at the back. I think Michael Keaton must have had this same do at some point. Joe probably has his eye trained on a squirrel right now.

Dwayne Schintzius

The clear winner of the Silver Mullet Award has got to be Dwayne Schintzius. He was sort of the Brian Bosworth of the NBA; an ornery, cocky son of a bitch who overstayed his welcome almost immediately. It's said that his response to "How's the weather up there?" was to spit on the inquisitor and then reply, "It's raining." He was also involved in one of the more disturbing off-court happenings you'll ever hear. He was hanging out with another real son of a bitch, Jayson Williams, who bet him that he couldn't drag his pet Rottweiler "Zeus" (did EVERYONE watch Magnum PI??) out of the house. As the story goes, Dwayne won the bet, and Williams reaction was to not only not pay up, but to blow the dog's head off and then make Dwayne take care of the mess. This might be the only time Shinbone is a sympathetic character in an anecdote.

Anyway, the former Gator is sporting a high fashion badass mullet. Only badasses can pull this one off. Look how it fans out menacingly, not unlike a cobra, warning lesser creatures to stay out of his path. Nature has a pecking order, and Schintzius was no fool when he selected this hair style. Today he is a professional wrestler, or has at least considered becoming one at some point.

Next up: Spastic Poses

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Jeez, Grizz #3

Where was I? Oh yeah, accosted by Busey. Gary arrives on the set and at first everyone is excited.

The extras were all excited because another celebrity was coming on set, granted most of them were confused when he showed up. I heard a few "that's not him" remarks which caused me to shake my head "you're thinking of Nick Nolte, you blowhole"

Gary's first day was fairly uneventful from my standpoint. Except that he demanded more chairs for his trailer. Several chairs arrived and they just weren't enough. I believe 8 - 10 chairs were brought in. Why? Who the hell knows one was going into that trailer. Might as well move to Beartrap Island, much safer.

"...Excuse me Mr. Busey can I ask you a question? Take a seat? Ok thanks, listen can you tell me just what went wrong with your son's television show Shasta McNasty?"

From what I understand, Busey only had one line...a cameo if you will, so I was surprised to see him on the set the next day. It would be fair to say that the climate had changed. None of the crew was really smiling and it was obvious that fear had set in. In between takes Busey would literally charge up to people and shout commands or questions. The main cast had distanced themselves somewhat from him because of his erratic behavior.

He had only been on the set a few minutes when one of the main cast and the director walked over to one of the camera ops, who was a former marine. "Hey did you ever have hand to hand combat?" "Sure." "We may need you."

They were laughing when they said it, but a few days later no one was laughing.

Now I am of the opinion that he is truly disturbed but at the same time it can be a bit calculative. One second he's running around hollering and acting the fool and the next second he's delivering his lines brilliantly. I guess my point is that as long as the camera is rolling he's professional grade, once the lights are off he's bat-shit crazy.

We broke for lunch and now things got really interesting.

I was sitting at a table reading the sports page. By now I'd had my fill of just about everyone on the set and I was just interested in staying warm. Busey storms out of his trailer and walks over to where the rest of the extras are sitting by the portable heaters.

The next 4 minutes was one of the most bizarre sequences I've ever seen.

But let me back up. Remember the kid that would act all slimy and look at you sideways when you talked to him? Well a few days earlier he got in my car during one of the colder nights so we could enjoy the heater while on break. He asked if I wanted to see his "honey." I didn't, but as in most socially awkward moments I complied, and he showed me a photo on his camera of a cute young girl. "Isn't this that chick that was on the set yesterday?"

He said yes, apparently she was the daughter of one of the make-up artist and that he'd known her for years. He told me that she'd been going through some weird shit and had been skipping school because she had no ride and that he was hoping he could start giving her a ride to school. I pointed out that you'd have to be half a fag to want to drive a 15-year-old to school when you are a 23-year-old man. He backtracked and said he's just her friend, never mind 2 minutes ago she was his "honey".

Fast-forward a few days and this chick shows up on the set and I see her mom get all bent out of shape. Apparently the girl rode to the set with some dude she knew and the mom wasn't happy about it. I overheard the mom going "you're 18 years old and she's only 15". It didn't look good for the kid but he seemed nonplussed.

So back we go to the 4-minute sequence.

Busey walks over to the extras and as soon as he gets over there a burst of flame comes off of one of the portable heaters. I don't know what happened but a ball of fire is around the heater and Busey drops his soup and sandwich and takes off like wild dingoes are at his heels. The rest of the extras scream and scatter; I spot a propane tank right behind the fire and run over and kick it out of the way and start kicking dirt all over the flames.

Some camera man spots me and does some dirt kicking too and soon the blaze is out and we stomp out all the grass that has caught fire.

Before I can even digest what just happened Busey starts yelling "Where's Paul? Where’s Paul?"

A few extras point to the sideways talker whose name is Paul but when Busey gets up to him he says "Are you the guy who brought the girl to the set today?" Instead of just saying no this Paul squeaks "’s him, and I was mad at him earlier" and points to the young kid that was getting yelled at by the mom.

Busey storms over "ARE YOU PAUL?" ...."yes" the kid says and Gary grabs him by the arm and drags him about 10 feet away and starts in on his ass. He's berating this kid (two inches away from his face, just like he speaks to everyone) and I begin to worry that this small dude is going to get his ass kicked by Busey. The kid is profusely apologizing and I'm not sure what is going to happen.

The female P.A. that babysits all the extras gets spooked and runs off to get help. I don't think that help will arrive in time, so I walk over and stand about a foot behind Gary. At this point I'm fully expecting to break up a fight with GARY BUSEY and possibly have my own fight with him. Now it might be a good time to point out that I'm 6'3, 230lbs, so I didn't find Gary to be physically intimidating, but his antics put him in the category of the monkeys I discussed earlier.

Gary may disembowel me.

My adrenaline was going pretty good and I was nearly swooning from the notion that I might be on The Smoking Gun within 24 hours, and just as soon as it started Gary just turned and took off. The kid pulled out a cigarette and tried to put on a face that didn't convey "I just made a mudslide in my pants." He thanked me for standing by and then walked off shaking his head.

I envy the fact that he will be able to tell his kids that he was once berated by the star of Point Break.

A few hours later we are back in business and Gary is at it again. He's holding a big fake rock, and when cut is yelled he tries to dribble it. Then he runs over and yells something at someone, and then he runs over towards us and throws the rock at us. I sidle over to the wardrobe guy that's been following him around for two days. "So how's it going?"

The guy slowly turns to me and with the most sincere deadpan face he says, "This has been the most amazing thing I've ever witnessed." I look back and see Gary screaming at the producer, Brad Wyman (Monster). "WE'VE GOT A BIG PROBLEM!" Brad just stares off into space and puffs on a cigar. It seems that blowhard psychotic actors can be handled the same way you handle your average bum. By ignoring them.

Later it starts to come to a head. The A.D. announces that this will be the final shot of the night. Gary loses his shit and starts screaming "DON'T SAY THAT! DON"T SAY THAT!" He calls the A.D. unprofessional and at this point I look around see that everyone is stiff as a board. The atmosphere on this set had been so fun loving for weeks, and now in one day everyone is on eggshells.

I have a grin a mile long.

Finally the A.D. starts whispering to people that when this scene is over...go home. Gary had definitely worn out his welcome and they were just going to leave his ass there no matter what he says.

The next day was the last day of shooting, and we did fight scenes in front of a green screen in a studio. This was the day that the Amazons arrived: 8 women all of whom were over 6'0 tall.

Two of them I would have started a war over.

It was like Disneyland for a man like myself. Hell it was Disneyland for everyone -- Amazon women in bikinis running around. Busey's still there acting a fool. Suddenly the extras were getting all sorts of attention and special treatment.

One more thing of note: The bad guys were also on the set, the guys who fight my cave buddies. I have a little story to tell.

A few months ago I had guzzled some booze and me and the boys were going to the bar. Me, my buddy Adrian and my roommate Lil Mike. We found a prime parking spot but before we could park some big dude was standing in the spot. I waved for him to move and this guy just stood there talking on his cell phone. I told Adrian to make him scram and Adrian rolls down his window and tells him to move. Guy still doesn't budge so I jump out and since I've been drinking I tell him this isn't the lunch line and you can't just save your spot.

He tells me his boys are on his way and I give him a "fuck your boys" and we go back and forth and finally he sees things my way and moves. We park and laugh in his face and get to drinking. For the rest of the night he stares at me until I walk over and give him a hand gesture to let him know I don't love him.

So the last night on the movie I get dressed in my caveman getup and prepare for the battle scenes. I think you know where this is going; of course this big bastard is one of the bad guys. We laugh and make up and discuss the error of our ways. He tells me he was holding the spot for his wife. Then he takes his shirt off and this dude is probably 300lb and most of it is muscle. I silently thank God for not letting me die that night and I look at his skull tattoos.

Later they "wrap" Gary. Everyone claps and instead of shaking hands and leaving like David Carridine and the rest of the cast did. Gary leaps onto a ladder and gives a barely coherent speech about how he fell in love with everyone and he wouldn't be where he was without people like us and basically talked a bunch of nonsense while everyone prayed for him to leave.

At the wrap party everyone got drunk and told stories that are even better than what I've shared with you. They were just a little too specific, and I promised not to "out" them on the internet. Buy me a drink sometime and I'll tell you who banged who on the set and how David Carridine got drunk on absinthe and went around nearly naked demanding to keep his costume.

All in all it was a great experience. I went from not knowing who the director, Adam Rifkin, was to having much respect for him. Besides he told me the entire plot to the "He-Man" movie he wrote that will be directed by John Woo. By the power of Greyskull I'll never tell what I know.

So now I'm on to the next project and hopefully I'll get some actual lines next time. I implore you to see this caveman comedy when, or if, it's released because daddy should be all over it and we all want to support Tom Hodges don't we?

If you are a casting director and you'd like to have me write a gossipy catty column about your movie just let me know.


Oh, and one more thing. at the wrap party I approached Gary and told him that I was so inspired by him on Celebrity Fit Club that I went out and lost 100 lbs and it changed my life. He told me I made his day and gave me a big hug and said he loved me. We laughed together well into the night.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Great Moments In Modern Obituary History

This is from my home town newspaper. I like this lady, too bad she's dead.


Jeez, Grizz #2

Well the caveman comedy has wrapped and it's for me to fill you in on how the whole thing went down.

Initially I was very skeptical of the comic validity of this film. As the days wore on however there were some scenes that had me laying on the floor laughing which doesn't mean a thing really but it gives me some hope.

We watched an outtake reel at the wrap party and I laughed a lot during it and was surprisingly relived to see that it looked more low budget than I even expected, in a good way. Reminded me of all of those old low budget movies you'd see on "USA up all night" with Rhonda Shear or Gilbert Gottfried. I think this movie will play better that way.

Along the way I ended up befriending most of the cast and crew so I suppose I won't be as hard on them as I was in my first post but don't worry. There are plenty of people to be clowned so you'll get your share of Grizz justice soon enough.

People have asked me "Grizz, what does a caveman do during caveman times" well the answer is simple friends. He hunts, battles, sits by a fire and bonks ho's on the head with his club.

The majority of my time on this film was spent sitting around a fire freezing my applebag off because we didn't wear pants. I have an extreme appreciation now for what women go through wearing skirts. If you're not'll catch someone eyeballing your crank and it's never who you want to eyeball your crank. Also, you'll find that the "business district" can get very cold very quickly and now I understand why women are always cold. I was born in Wisconsin and grew up in the harsh bitter winters of Amarillo but I was weeping toward the end of this film. It got so cold and rough that at one point we were so desperate that all the men were nearly arm and arm around a fire, just looking to survive.

David Carridine isn't as impressive as an acting giant when he's huddled next to you with chattering teeth mumbling expletives.

I know I know, everyone just wants me to get to the goods about Ron Jeremy but the fact is he's just a really nice guy. Lots of dick jokes, sure but other than that he's pretty vanilla. He did show up with what would be considered a girlfriend I guess and she was too young for me and I'm 29. I think Ronnie-boy is in his fifties. Good for him I guess but what the hell is she thinking. It would be one thing to go after a noted playboy like Warren Beatty. Sure he's been around the block but he's still got some power...this is like picking up a dick you found in the river Ganges.

Tom Arnold also made an appearance. What to say, Tom is a mercurial man. Some love him, some hate him. Personally I love him so this was kind of cool for me. Tom plays an effeminate caveman and I might just be part of the world's first hate crime, something I'm awfully proud of. I got a laugh out of Tom when we were about to begin our scene with a "let's beat his ass and then tease the shit out of his bangs". Trust me it was funny. Anyway he was only there for a day so I never got the chance to talk Iowa wrestling with him or to dust off any old Roseanne jokes.

What about the beautiful Ali Larter you may ask? Well Ali doesn't talk to the trolls on set but the Grizz was able to....ok actually I'm a troll so I never spoke with her. Well actually I did once when we were filming a wedding announcement and I went up and said "where are ya'll registered?" which if used in the film will be very funny. Get it? It's caveman times and I asked where are you registered.....ok f you. Anyway I've never really been an Ali fan and plus she's a smoker and chicks under 40 who smoke look retarded to me. I did see Legally Blonde on TBS last night and she was pretty good in that. Anyway enough of her...she ain't ugly I'll tell you that much.

The only guy you don't know on this movie was Tom Hodges. I knew his face but not the name. When I realized he was Dolly and Spud's son on Steel Magnolias I flipped the f out. I can't say enough about this guy. All movie stars should be Tom Hodges. He went out of his way to treat me well and I hope he gets all the success in the world. See this movie just out of respect for Tom Hodges. Then go buy all his old dvd's so he can get the royalties. The man is a prince.

Another great reason to see this movie is the old guy. They have an old man that appears in many of the scenes, sans clothing. One of the better days on the set is when the old man showed up and two young girls saw their first naked old ass. Their mom was mortified and for a minute she thought that they were in the clear. You see, the mom had to confiscate the girls glasses and she hoped that they wouldn't spot the old ass. She came up to me and goes "oh my god I have their glasses!!!".

I know that I can't translate this well without telling you in person but it was one of the funniest moments of the movie. The mom furtively looking back at her girls who are sitting around a fire. After about 6 takes the damage was done. One of the girls had spotted the atrocity and had pointed it out to her younger sister. Nothing more damaging than staring at your first naked male body and noticing that it looks like wet bread. I loved it.

This movie also has monkeys. More than one. One was a baby named joey and he was of course adorable in his little baby jumper and diapers. The other was an actual long armed monkey named Albert or some shit.

Monkey's used be cute, now I"m wary. The jokes over. I've watched way to much Discovery channel to get close to one of those assholes. They always turn on you. There will come a day that the monkey decides you ain't the boss. That's when your genitals will be pulled off. I got enough problems in my life, the last thing I need is to have to pull a knife on Mr.Jenkins, the resentful ill-tempered ape who hasn't had acting work in a few years. One time we were doing a scene and I was about 20 feet from the monkey, while I was walking by he screeched and I damn near fainted.

Now it's time to get to the good stuff. The extras. Here is where the entertainment begins. The extras can be broken up into 3 categories:

1. the eager person wanting to get into the business, this is the easiest way
2. the person who had nothing better to do that day, might as well be in a movie
3. the delusional dipshit who thinks he's a star in the making and thinks David Carridine is now their best friend.

Now let's breakdown the percentages:

1. 5%
3. 85%

It shouldn't be too hard to figure out who was worth talking to each day and who avoided at all costs. The only problem is that this was a small intimate set so you had no choice but to interact.

There was the insecure kid who introduced himself to everyone but befriended no one. He had a weird thing where he stood next to you and talked to you while looking at you sideways. We call that the "horse eye" where I'm from. It was unsettling. This kid was always poking his nose into shit that didn't concern him. Once he told me that he wanted to be a producer as long as he didn't have to be an asshole. I told him that being a dick is a job requirement of producers. His response "then I guess I'll just be an actor"

Ok dude. I was thinking I'd just become a neurologist myself. Probably just read a book or two to brush up on it.

There's more to the story of this kid....we'll hear from him later.

There was the "sista" who was on the set for a few days. Once she asked me for my phone number. "You tall and shit, we goin on a date" Now, the grizz ain't scared to dip his pen in ink ya'll but this chick was 35 and had two babies. I ain't down with putting "Bebe's kids" to bed and all that.

The true persona non grata was the weirdo who writes horror films. Now the make-up chicks told me that they loved me because I required no wig or beard. I looked like a real caveman but dear friends that's because I was a professional actor in character. This dude, Robert, was an actual caveman. I mean Cro-Magnon man. Hideous visage, yellow teeth and the posture of a well cooked gulf coast shrimp. This guy was nice but socially inept. He'd shuffle up to you and just grunt, expecting you to react. I gave this guy a total of 3 actual courtesy laughs and then I was done with him. I never talked to him again on the set and from a distance watched him alienate himself from one person to the next. After a bachelor party scene where he got too grabby he was kindly asked not to return. One night I went to watch the Tx Rollerderby girls. One of the extras was "Miss Demeanor" and she invited us to see her show. Robert was there of course and he was all surly because dudes were talking to his "woman". I guess he decided that she was his girl and he even claimed they had boned a few years ago. Robert approached me and stuck his hand out and I walked away. I'm not sure I've done that big of a dick move since high school. Robert is probably just a few years away from committing bloody bloody murder. I'd hang out with that monkey for days before I'll drink coffee with Robert.

On a side note my drunken roommate, Lil Mike had accompanied me to the roller rink. He decided to crash the show right at the end and one of the rollergirls treated him to the experience that is being a rollerderby queen. Here is a pictorial of the result:

Then there were the uncle and nephew team that were just there for the experience and to get high and hang out with Carridine. Guess which two dudes I hung out with the most? These guys provided me with comic relief and had no agenda but to have a good time.

All in all it was a 3 week party. Most of the crew were amicable and great. The wardrobe people were never pretentious and a few were cool as hell. I made a few actual friends and hopefully set myself up for networking in the future.

Ah but just when you think that everything is hunky dory things change. A dark sinister cloud was heading toward the Texas Hill Country. With only a few days left to shoot this movie was looking to be quite the smooth production.

All of this would soon change and I would be privy to one of the most exciting moments of my life. Friends, my life was irrevocably disturbed for the better when one of Hollywood's most quarrelsome and extreme personalities descended on us like the eye of Saromon.

I'm running a little late to the set and I park, put on my jacket and step out of my car when a man grabs me by the shoulders and shakes me violently. He tussles my hair with his hand and yells in my face "Hey you wild beast! ready to make a movie!!?"

He had the wild eyed stare that is normally reserved for train-jumping hobos, the mentally deranged and Vietnam vets who think they are still actively in the shit.

Read tomorrows exhilirating conclusion as we meet:


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Jeez, Grizz #1

So I've been preparing myself to try my hand at a little acting and writing. So far it's gone ok. I've been in two student films, and this weekend I was invited to be an extra on a studio film about....cavemen.

A caveman there any other kind?

Anyway it's directed, written by and starring Adam Rifkin who has also directed such notable films as:

Night at the Golden Eagle, Without Charlie, Welcome to Hollywood,Detroit Rock City, Denial, The Chase and who can forget.... Psycho Cop Returns.

I never saw Detroit Rock City and I've only seen parts of The Chase on TV, and the only reason I did that is because there is a Kristy Swanson sex scene. So going in I wasn't expecting to be on the next hit comedy or anything, and I was pretty sure there wouldn't be any notable actors in the movie.

There were only about 8 or so of us extras, so we all made our way through wardrobe and make-up where I was lauded by all of the crew for being the only "real caveman" in the bunch. I required no wig or facial hair...just a big furry caveman costume and some basically shit-brown Ugg boots.

The rest of the guys got silly wigs and shitty beards drawn on their faces.

We made our way down to the river's edge where the set was. The first hour or two we just sat around and waited for the cameras to show up. During this time the P.A. told me that Tom Arnold was in this movie insome other scenes, and so was Ali Larter. Ali and I have a long history ever since we shared a cigarette on the first shitty comedy I ever extra'd on, Varsity Blues. Since then she's experienced a meteoric rise to the top of the entertainment world, peaking at Final Destination and then again on Final Destination II: We're Almost There, Ya'll.

Sadly there weren't any "cave babes" during our scenes because we were supposed to be an army or some dumb shit. So there were 20 guys standing around leering at the wardrobe girl who had big boobs. I passed on looking down her sweater every time she'd adjust my costume, because I have respect for women and their boundaries.

Anyway we block our scenes and stand around, and then stand around waiting for the real talent to show up. Soon, David Carridine slowly made his way down in his caveman costume. Apparently he's our wizened old leader or something, and that was moderately cool I guess. I actually never really cared for "Kung Fu" the television show because it was so slow and plodding and when he did kick ass it was lame, but of course he's Bill from Kill Bill so we all stared at him anyway.

His rather revealing costume showed off some odd tattoos around his waist and thighs and I could see, because he kept showing it off, his tiger-striped bikini briefs. We had to keep waiting for "Ron", some lead actor that was running way late. While we waited I talked to one of the other main characters, some guy about my age that looked like a more handsome Johnny Knoxville. He told me that he just had a pilot get picked up by Fox last Wednesday. I crack a joke about them canceling Arrested Development, yet keeping "Stacked" on the schedule and then he tells me that his show is actually the one replacing Arrested Development.

I almost strangle him with my bare hands.

Anyway, look forward to seeing him next spring or summer on some show called "The Adventures of Handsome Guy" or something like that. I'd take this time to clown the guy but I have to admit he was alright for a big handsome successful asshole.

Anyway so finally the "Ron" we've been waiting for shows up and my jaw falls to the floor as RON FUCKING JEREMY comes waddling up with only a loincloth to cover that famous crank of his. Two hours later we break for lunch. I'm sitting at one of the tables with one of the actor's I'd befriended, talking about some book, and then Ron takes the seat next to me. For the next hour we talk about his reading of the book "Wicked", the mahi mahi, and our Thanksgiving plans. I watch Ron dust off 1 small bowl of spinach salad w/ranch, 1 small bowl of pasta salad, 1 small bowl of mango salad, 1 big plate of turkey, Cajun rice, butternut squash, green bean casserole and some French bread. Impressive.

He then tops that all off with a couple of cups of lemonade and one "small" piece of chocolate cake that I cut and served him. Yes, I served cake to a fat hairy man I've seen have sex on film oh about 100 times in my life, give or take. Before you call me a pervert, realize that 95% of the film's cast and crew have all also seen this man grunt his way through numerous balloon-boobed bimbos. Many, many times.

The director is also eating with us, so is his young assistant "Merriweather" (yeesh), and he's discussing how he thinks he'll spend Thanksgiving in Austin with his buddies in the band Rooney. At this point I'm glad I'll be going home to Amarillo to eat with mom and dad and my uncle Dwayne who will be in town. Sure I'm a big nobody in the entertainment world, but at least I won't be fighting over the stuffing with the fags from Rooney.

Anyway for the next 5 hours we shoot the exact same scene over andover and over again because it's "a critical focal scene" according to the assistant director. This scene is basically the main character running down a hill, tripping in the sand, and then having a fight with the Drill Sergeant because he can't say "sir yes sir."

"Yes sir"
"No! Sir yes sir"
"Yes sir yes sir"
"Yes sir yes sir sir"

This goes on for two minutes or so. I challenge any viewer to laugh once. It was painful to sit through that, but hey maybe they can do something with special effects or something. God I hope so. After 5 hours or so we finally move on to an obstacle course scene, and during the break Ron gets tired and sits down on the sand. With one hand resting on a rock he basically starts nodding off, so I sit there and watch a fat half-naked Ron Jeremy doing that fat boy nod/snore while still propping himself up.

It was almost sweet. Almost.

Later he got bored during one break and went over to the water's edge and was fucking with the river creature with his prop spear. Out of nowhere some mom and her two small children make their way over a hill and walk down the river's edge right towards where Ron is fucking around.

I take this time to deliver the line of the day:

"I remember the first time my mom took me out to nature to see my first Hedgehog"

The whole crew falls out laughing and once again I prove why I am the most underrated comedic genius in the world. All things considered it was a fun day and beat the shit out of sitting in an office for a living. I met some more Austin film people, which is the whole point, and I met two screen legends. Maybe I'm an asshole, but it's just my gentle opinion that this script is total shit and since I felt the same way with Varsity Blues I can only assume that I am completely wrong and this movie will be a complete Hollywood success too. Anyway that's all I got for now.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Spade Cooley

If you don't know who Spade Cooley is now, you'll certainly find out later. Dennis Quaid is supposed to be directing and starring in a movie about his life, and it should be out next year, probably later than originally expected now that Katie Holmes had to drop out of the project to carry Tom Cruise's demon seed. Quaid also wrote the screenplay, which means he must be even more fascinated about the man than I am. While I'm sure he'll do a good job, it's pretty obvious that Billy Zane looks a lot more like Spade than he does. But I am of the opinion that if you were to give Billy Zane a fiddle, the sky would blacken and the earth's crust would split open, and gigantic red bats would consume or carry off every living thing with four or less legs. No, really.

When I took it upon myself to learn about old country music some years back, Spade was one of the first artists to really grab my ear. He helped make Western Swing one of the most popular styles of music in the 40's and his life really does make for a great script. He was a true Hollywood success story, starting out as an extra in Roy Rogers films, getting discovered as a fiddler and taking over his own band, engaging in a battle of the bands for Western Swing supremacy, hosting his own TV program, and also managing to do some really bad things, like stomping his wife to death in front of their young daughter. Really, if you read a synopsis of this guy's life, you'll wonder how they've gone this long without making a movie about him. I mean, it at least should have been in line ahead of Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas.

My favorite stuff is the from the mid-40's when vocalist Tex Williams' friendly how-d'ya-do baritone fronted the band. I should caution that if you want to start checking out his catalog, and I highly recommend that you do, you need to watch out what you buy. There's actually quite a bit out there, and a lot of it wouldn't be an ideal starting point. UK's Proper (I love Proper) put out a 2-CD set called Swingin' The Devil's Dream that covers a lot of ground, and is the best bang for your buck, and has Proper's usual great liner notes. Spadella! is the best sounding compilation, and has his biggest hits on it. After that, it's a mixed bag. A lot of CD's that appear to be compilations are actually live radio shows. I love these, but unless you are already a Spade freak, they are far from essential. There are also compilations of his later stuff, when western swing's popularity had waned and he was moving in a big band direction. I don't recommend these unless you've already scooped up all the older stuff and want more. His final album, Fidoodlin', is worth picking up, but I'd suggest looking around for an old vinyl copy before picking up the CD reissue. I often see it around for under $7.

I also recommend getting some Tex Williams and his Western Caravan, since Tex took a lot of Spade's Orchestra with him when he left in 1947. Finally, there's a Proper box set called "Doughboys, Playboys and Cowboys" that's a pretty amazing documentation of western swing. You get 100 songs, which is as much western swing as most people ever need, and it's usually under $25. Plus, you get the song "Pussy Pussy Pussy" by the Light Crust Doughboys, something you know you want to put on your next mix CD.

Hear Spade and Tex perform their big hit Detour .


Monday, December 05, 2005

The High Strung 12/02/05 Detroit

I have managed to see the High Strung three times in the past six months – once at the Birmingham Baldwin Public Library on their nationwide library tour (after they judged a local high school “Battle of the Bands”); a record release show on the stageless second floor at Mephisto’s in Hamtramck (complete with a cage dancer on the first floor); and this past Friday night at the Magic Stick in Detroit. The common thread – regardless of venue and circumstance - these three men give up the rock and leave the fans smiling and sweaty.

They also happen to be the beneficiaries of extreme doses of THC – Tall Hot Chicks who love to stand up front and dance like maniacs when these guys hit the stage. I don’t exactly get it, but I’m sure as heck not complaining being a very TGD (Tall Goofy Dude) myself. I suppose if I was a Tall Hot Chick and wanted to do the froog with my peers, the High Strung would be a much better than average option. That kind of sums up the live experience: people having fun playing music for people to have fun to. Or something like that.

The show was solid as usual, with a sprinkling of their entire catalog up for grabs. The hits were there, and “Wretched Boy” and “Cored Out Apple” were the set highlights for me. No “Loretta” which I have yet to hear live, but a great action packed show. Super tight, and just very… damn… likable is about the best way that I can describe them. Things ended with some sort of jazz odyssey type jam with heavy crowd participation, including two very Tall, very Hot Chicks singing backup and dancing on stage. A great finish to a great set.

Fans of the good pop music will love these guys, live and on record. I am still a bit more partial to “These Are Good Times” but the recent “Moxie Bravo” is terrific and it all sounds great live. The live show seals the deal, so make sure not to miss it. And if there are any THC’s out there who want to make one of my dreams come true and turn up at a great indie rock show wearing either a Fidrych, Skiles, or Bird game jersey, please do not hesitate to supply advance warning.

website, with sounds and all that:

J.V. O'Keefe

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Wrens 12/03/05 Los Angeles

I've been a Wrens fanatic ever since I first heard them on a mixtape my friend made me in 1995. It was hard to track down their album, Silver, but once I did it became one of my favorites of all time. Still is. I managed to catch them a few times, once for some "indie" show that was being filmed at the Whisky, and another time at The Opium Den, where they were given what seemed like about 20 minutes to play. That was around the time their EP, Abbott 1135, came out. Little did I know it would be several years before I would see them live again.

Thankfully, after years and years of working and reworking songs, they put out The Meadowlands, their first album since 1996, and fans and critics started noticing them. It broke the Wrens to the audience that probably should have noticed them in the first place, and it meant they got to hit the road again. These guys have day jobs and families, so even with their newfound popularity, live shows are pretty rare.

Last night's show was what the Wrens live show has become. Bits of absolute spastic bliss tempered with moments of slow, almost uncomfortable quiet. They kicked off with a Jekyll and Hyde version of This Boy Is Exhausted, very quiet and slow at first with just Charles Bissell singing, breaking into a full sprint by the time the rest of the band fell in. They followed it up with the blistering Shot Rock-Splitter To God, the best "new" song not on Meadowlands.

There was lots of jumping around, Charles with his maniacally fey windmill guitar strumming and striking of the strings up at the headstock for a trademark Wrens sound; Greg the birthday boy running around like a kid on a sugar high and being his usual you-have-no-idea-how-much-fun-we're-having self. Jerry MacDonnell's drumming was as great as ever, and Greg's brother Kevin as usual supplied the perfect 2nd guitar and backing vocal parts. The biggest treat for me was the encore, when they played two songs from Silver, Napiers and Broken. Broken is a slow song, but it always hits me hard, waves of crescendoing chords with a high guitar part that sounds like seagulls atop those waves. I left satisfied, but as usual wondering when the next time I'll see them. These guys give their all every show, don't miss them if they come to your town.