Friday, March 10, 2006

USCAF - Day 3

A great day for portroids!

If I could have a tagline for Day 3 of the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen it would be, "A great day for portroids!". But since I can't, I won't.
In case you can't tell, we finally arrived in Aspen. At around 5 PM.
We checked into our Snowmass Village hotel and took the free shuttle into Aspen proper (I don't know if they use the term "proper" when describing Aspen proper, but I do). First order of business was to pick up our tickets in the St. Regis basement (I don't know if they call it their "basement", but I do).
Back upstairs in the lobby, tickets in hand (um, pocket), Erica (my portroid celebrity spotter) pointed out the first portroid of the trip. A fellow by the name of Dave Chappelle. Maybe you've heard of him? He's like a comedian who used to have this show on TV. You'd probably recognize him. He had all this controversy about walking out on a $50 million contract. He went to Africa instead. Ringing any bells? Anyway, no matter.
I went up to him and his entourage and asked if I could get a quick picture. He said sure, but then said hold on a minute. Evidently, Damon Wayans, who just walked in, was more important than me, and Dave wanted to go talk to him. It seemed interminable the amount of time I awkwardly stood by listening in on their conversation (which essentially entailed Dave raving about how great Damon's new movie is (it's called 'Behind The Smile' - go see it. I didn't. Not yet anyway)). I considered walking away, but I was specifically instructed by my van-mate Frank to get this portroid and damn if I was going to let Frank down!
I got it. See it here. Damon made the comment to Dave, "They know you're here now."
I took Damon's portroid too. See it here. I was certain that this portroid would fulfill one of my Year 3 Portroid Goals (the one about someone who first acquired fame in the 80s), but it turns out it was 1990 when Damon became very famous. Damn you, Damon, for not getting famous a year earlier!!!
Some other stuff happened, like eating and taking in a show (The Larry Sanders Show tribute), and then more portroids happened. Just like that.
After the Larry Sanders tribute, we were hanging out in the St. Regis lobby (I don't know if they call it a "lobby" ... OK, yes I do. They do), when who should I spy coming towards me?
Are you going to guess?
You guessed wrong.
It was Brian Henson!
What you might not know about me is that I have been a huge Muppet/Sesame/Henson fan for as long as I care to remember. What you might also not know about me is that I got kind of involved with helping the design team over at Palisades Toys with creating their Muppet line of action figures (my name even appears on the back of the Pigs In Space playset under Special Thanks). Anyway, I stopped Brian and told him I was a big fan. He asked my name. I gave it. I asked if I could take his picture. He allowed it. I asked him to sign it. He did it. See it here.
I mentioned my helping the Palisades design team and Brian lit up. He loves the figures and was eager to talk about them. He then introduced me to Bill Barretta. He is the puppeteer/Muppeteer for the Muppet Pepe the King Prawn. We three had a nice talk about the figures and the fate of the line. It was really cool (though to someone who considers themselves "really cool", this may sound "really lame", but you, sir, Mr. Really Cool, are the lame one and I hate you). I got Bill's portroid, too. Check it out (I especially like the surprise cameo in the background). See it here.
Brian encouraged me to attend the Jim Henson Puppet Improv show the next day. I didn't need encouragement, but he encouraged nonetheless.
Shortly thereafter, my final portroid for the day was taken. It was the successful completion of another Year 3 Portroid Goal. That of another cast member from Arrested Development. Jeffrey Tambor, who was honored as part of the Larry Sanders Show tribute, was coming up from the basement (I call it a basement). I stopped him, as is my want, and asked if I could take a picture. Before he could agree, and in his moment of hesitation, Brian Henson intervened on my behalf and said, "This is Rick. He's a good guy." Oh my god!! I was amazed to have been vouched for by someone who I so admire. I'm also amazed at how girly those last few sentences sound.
Jeffrey gave me a wave and a smile and an autograph as well. Check it out. See it here. He also sounded hopeful of an Arrested Development return. He indicated that every day they don't hear something is good news.
That's it for portroids taken.
Send complaints to our complaint department.
I saw a bunch of other potential portroidable personages, but circumstances disallowed their being portroided. One of note was Illeana Douglas, who two years prior at this very festival was my most seen celebrity (we saw her everywhere we went). The Everywhere Unportroided Celebrity. Like then, like now, I did not take her portroid. She remains suspectly absent from these archives. Maybe someday, Illeana. Maybe someday!!!
Last year's Everywhere Unportroided Celebrity was Donal Logue. This year there was an Everywhere Unportroided Celebrity. But more on that with the recap from Saturday, March 11, 2006, or the day I like to dislike calling "The Worst Day In The History of Portroids" ...
Until ...
Rick

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