Wednesday, February 09, 2005

US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, CO - Day 1

During one of my calls to the Festival Box Office, I was told my best chance to get tickets to the Eddie Izzard show would be to get to Aspen early (they opened at 10 - "they" not being the actual City of Aspen, but "they" being the aforementioned box office) on the first day (February 9), to pick up our ticket packages, and to "beat feet toot sweet" (not actually a quote) to the Exchange Table. Though it caused grumbling from the likes of Me Old Lady, I set the alarm for "early". Thanks to this unfront planning, we were up, washed (please pronounce this "warshed"), and on the road by 6 A.M. You heard that right, 6 A.M.

Four to five hours later (not to gloss over our travel on treacherous icy mountain roads, listening to the LOTR:ROTK cast commentary to kill time, and the near-destruction of my transmission trying to go 4x4 on the fly - which isn't something it is designed to do), we found a residential parking spot a few blocks from the St. Regis Hotel (US Comedy Arts Festival Party Central Headquarters- or USCAFPCHQ for short).

I strapped on my handy Polaroid Spectra 1200FF (which in all truth, isn't that "handy". Though it's clunky size is one of the things I love about it; for when the world starts getting smaller, I choose to go large). Portroids await!!

Our first celebrity sighting came not five minutes later when who should we spy at the entrance of the St. Regis? None other than Donal Logue!!!! I know what you're thinking, but no it's not "Donald" with a "D" (at the end), it's just "Donal" (without the D (at the end)) like the Irish way of speaking and spelling. Be thankful it's not more James Joyceian, or it'd likely be Donl Flibbitygibbet Logee. (side note: I don't get James Joyce. Is he a genius or just a spastic with a typewriter? I don't want to be scoffed at by the "intellectuals", so I'll just nod and plaster on a static smile, pretending I understand even one paragraph from Finnegan's Wake.) Donal shows up from time to time on VH1 loving different things about different decades. That aside, I didn't take Donal's picture just then because he was on his cell phone. I may be many things, but one thing I am not is an interupter of Donal Logue on a cell phone. That I am not!

While I picked up our ticket package, I sent Erica to the Exchange Desk to check the vibe. The vibe, I found out upon her return, was that no Eddie Izzard tickets had been turned in for exchange and likely would not be turned in for exchange. Turds!

Donal Logue (he plays 'Chuck' on ER) walked by talking to someone. I didn't interupt him to get a picture. I may be many things, but one thing I am not is an interupter of Donal Logue when he walks by talking to someone. That I couldn't stand to be!

I had other tickets to exchange, so I waited in the 'Exhange' line hopelessly. Erica probed the crowd asking if they had Izzard tickets to sell or trade. One guy contemplated a swap for 'Waiting For Guffman', but made a phone call and evaporated into mist. And then a miracle happened. The couple behind us in line had one, count them, one ticket to the show. They were willing to trade, but only for certain things that weren't in our trading deck. The tension was high. We discussed making a three way trade with the Desk, but the Desk suggested we deal amongst ourselves (which made me think the desk was maybe hording tickets for "VIP"s). The couple told me to wait aside and that they still may be able to help me out if they got what they wanted elsewhere.

I waited aside.

After waiting what seemed like minutes, they approached and handed me the single ticket. I offered money. They refused to take it. They GAVE me the ticket. Now, that's nice. Then they gave me four other tickets that they weren't going to use and told me I could use them to sweeten the deal to any would-be traders. I didn't even get their names. That's because I'm a bastard.

Now we had one ticket. We only needed a second and all would be well. We doubled our efforts, asking everyone, sometimes asking the same people twice or three times (you know, in case they changed their minds). I checked the Exchange Desk more times than was polite. Still no luck.

I asked Eugene Mirman. He's on my Friendster list, though we'd never met. He didn't have a ticket. I told him we were going to see his show. "Midnight tonight?" he asked. "I think another night," I replied. He agreed that midnight was probably too late. He said he might skip it. Erica suggested that comedy is usually best around 4 in the afternoon and he concurred. I didn't take his picture. I'd see him around and get one later.

As this story grows longer, you are probably wondering if we got that second Eddie Izzard ticket. No. We didn't. Not this day, the day before the show. We asked a lot of folks and got turned down by them all (sounds like prom). By the end of the day, we still had hope. I told Erica she could use the one ticket we did get, so at least one of us could have some fun.

Um, the rest of the day was great. I didn't get any pictures. Not a one.

Here are the highlights (since I wasted so much time writing opening fluff, I've become bored with myself):

Went to a Shorts program at the Isis Theater. Enjoyed it. Erica lost a glove.

Erica bought new gloves.

We saw Donal Logue (he was on that show 'Grounded For Life') in the St Regis lobby sitting on a chair chatting with some guys. I did not take his picture (as you may have guessed from the statement above stating that I didn't take any pictures on this day). I also didn't want to be the guy who interrupts D. Logue whilst he chatted. It's not my thing.

We watched and listened as Sam Seder and Janeane Garofalo broadcast their Air America radio program live from the St Regis lobby.

We skipped the opening night film because it was kung-fu and we aren't that into kung-fu, at least not openly.

At 7, we went to a stand up show. I wasn't impressed. Well, I liked Simon Evans. He was funny. Each of the other acts had a few jokes I liked, but overall it wasn't that impressive (to me - but who am I?). Sheryl Underwood spent her set essentially begging the industry people to give her her own TV show. Now that's comedy!

The last thing we did Wednesday night was to go see Patton Oswalt and Greg Behrendt. Patton Oswalt is seriously one of the funniest guys out there. I loved his whole act. I can't accurately describe how funny this man is, so I'll not say anything more. Greg Behrendt was also really entertaining and funny. I laughed so hard, I peed someone else's pants. This, of the three shows we'd seen so far, was by far the best!! I wish I had stuck around and taken some pictures of these guys, but I didn't.

We went home because someone was grouchy. It wasn't me. We skipped two shows: Steven Cragg, and a midnight stand-up (the one featuring Eugene Mirman). Turns out that was the one we had tickets for. I was really looking forward to seeing that show, especially because the testimonial I wrote on Eugene's Friendster page claimed that I was his Number 1 Fan. It seems more like I'm a Number 2 fan. Oh well. Maybe we could catch another show during the next four days. Maybe.

If you keep checking back, maybe you'll find out just what happened on the rest of this trip for the rest of the Festival. Do we get in to see the Eddie Izzard show? Do I ever take any pictures? Will anyone actually read it if I write about all four days?

Until again,
Rick
portroids@hotmail.com

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