Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Continued Disappointment

OK, here's what you've all been waiting for ... my failed portroid attempts / real unportroided sightings.

If the old adage, "Every man's success diminishes me" holds true (and I know it does), then my failure should give you strength (to laugh and point at me (like the schoolyard days of old)).

Let's rip this Band-Aid off right quick!!

At the 2006 USCAF, I saw many portroidable, but unportroided, celebrities. Most common among them was Jon Favreau. We saw Jon everywhere. He was the Everywhere Unportroided Celebrity, like Donal Logue of 2005, and Illeana Douglas of 2004 (who we also saw this year, and didn't portroid). I was even directly in line behind Jon (and Janeane Garofalo (who's portroid I took last year) at the Paradise Bakery. I had to ask him to step aside so I could get some napkins, but for some reason, though I'm a fan, I never asked to take his portroid. Weird? Yes.

OK, who else? How about a couple of folks you might know as Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston? Yes, that's right. I saw them together. I didn't take their picture. That's just how I roll, I guess. In my defense (and I always have a defense for my every action), I only saw them in the audience during one of the comedy shows. They made quick work of escaping undetected after the show. They are stealth like ninjas. Celebrity ninjas!!

Um, what more? Here are a few names for you to put in your top hat and how-de-do: Chris Tucker (during a performance, not elsewise), Dana Gould (walked by me a couple times - I'm nothing if not stupid), Goldie Hawn (saw her twice - once when it was a perfect opportunity that I just let pass right by), Kurt Russell (with Goldie, just those two and me in the St. Regis lobby. Did I get a portroid? I think you know that answer. It's no. If you didn't know that answer), Louis C.K. (I followed him to the basement and was a few feet away, but felt like a stalker, so stalked away), Illeana Douglas (don't want to break that streak, now do I?), Lisa Henson (got her brother's portroid, but not her. Why? You may as well ask why the caged bird sings. Actually, that doesn't make sense, so don't ask that.), Robert Wuhl (because I don't really know him), Aziz Ansari (he was too social with his own group and I had to catch the last bus to Snowmass, where periphery people like me had to stay), Janeane Garofalo (already had her portroid - like I already said), Garry Shandling (already told that story in the previous blog entry - check it out, if you haven't already, or if you have already but really want to read it again), James Burrows (he was eating, so I left him to his meal. Wasn't that nice of me? Of course it was), Lisa Kudrow (because I only saw her on stage), and I'm sure there were others that I have blocked from my infallable memory.

OK, as if that wasn't enough, here are three celebrity sightings (unportroided, as I decided to not carry my camera that day) from our weekend trip to Las Vegas last weekend.

Joe Montana. You may know him as a guy who used to play football. My dad spotted him in the Paris hotel. Shucks my luck!

Carrot Top. Not just a regular old Carrot Top sighting, but imagine this: my dad and I were standing in the Luxor, and here walks up Carrot Top ... talking with Erica!!! My wife and Carrot Top, that is something I would never have expected to see. Very surreal. Evidently they met on the escalator and became fast friends. I didn't have my Polaroid, so no Carrot Top portroid. Sorry, Mr. Top.

Martin Kove!!! I know you're saying, "who?" in that demanding way you have of saying "who?", but this was something I kicked myself for missing. Martin Kove played John Kreese in The Karate Kid. He was the mean sensei from Cobra Kai dojo and seeing him gave me such a thrill. He was walking around on the strip out in front of the MGM Grand. Erica and I both spotted him and turned to each other and smiled. You have a problem with that, Mr. Lawrence? No sensei!! I wanted to sweep his leg, portroid-style, but left my camera in the room. Curse me!!!! No mercy for the portroid artist unprepared!


So, that's it. That's all I can remember from the past few weeks of missed portroids. Have your laugh. I'll get the last laugh in the end (maybe).

We'll see (maybe),
Rick
portroids@hotmail.com

Saturday, March 11, 2006

March 11, 2006 - USCAF - Aspen

The Worst Day In The History Of Portroids!


If I could come up with a name for Day 4 of the Aspen comedy festival, a name that reflected what I felt and experienced as a portroid artist, it would be "Gordon". I don't know why. It just sounds like that name fits. If I had to choose something other than "Gordon" (you know, like, because "Gordon" doesn't make any sense), it would be "The Worst Day In The History Of Portroids".

The weird thing is that this day was actually a pretty great day for personal unportroided experiences. Funny how that happens, eh?

I'm going to kind of just start where I want to start. You OK with that? You don't get a vote.

"Why didn't you take his portroid?" Erica asked as we started walking down the stairs into the St. Regis basement.

"What are you talking about?"

"Are you kidding?"

"No. I didn't see anyone. Who was it?"

"You're kidding, right?"

"No."

"As we walked by the gift shop, Garry Shandling came out and almost bumped into you. He was literally shoulder to shoulder with you, so close he was practically touching you from there to the stairwell."

"You're kidding!"

"No."

Well, crap. That was my first missed portroid of the day. The conversation, while similar to that, was not exactly that, as I didn't have a court reporter with me taking down shorthand our every conversation. Maybe someday I can afford such extravagance.

I rushed back upstairs and he was gone. Garry Shandling was gone.

Next story:

I'd like to state right here that I am taking credit for another successful Year 3 Portroid Goal with this next story. Just wanted to state that. Right here.

Russell Simmons. This man is a legend in his field, and his field is producing hip hop music. From the age of 13 until about 22, I primarily listened to rap music. That's it. That's all I'd do. I'd walk around with some rap artist rhyming into my eardrums via my yellow Sony Walkman. And my favorites, the ones I returned to time and again, were those that Russell Simmons in one way or another was responsible for bringing to success. Run-DMC, Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, EPMD, Slick Rick, etc. These were my teenage heroes. Thanks to Russell Simmons (in one way or another).

So, as you can guess, when I saw him in the St. Regis lobby, I wasn't going to be shy about talking to him and taking his portroid. And thus I did.

Although it was slightly awkward, with his hands full and my fumbling about and him confusedly saying, "But that's a Polaroid", we managed to pull off a great shot. He signed it. I thanked him. We each went off about our business. Awesome, right? Right.

All day, I noticed the portroid in my inner coat pocket, crammed in with my festival program, two spare film cartridges, and two Sharpie Grip pens. I made special care to shove it back down if ever I pulled the program to see what was next, noting that it had a tendency to climb upward. Throughout the day, I felt for it, reassured each time at it's slick texture. Until ...

I am a fastidious person.

In my life (unless I have lost a memory somewhere (which I doubt, as I have an impeccable memory (and an impeccable conceitedness about said memory, evidently)), I know of only two things I have ever lost. One was at the age of 11, in Westbrook, Maine, walking on Main Street. I lost the brown wooden plastic Ewok Spear which accompanied my Wicket W. Warrick action figure. I looked everywhere, but it was not to be found. I tried to substitute it with a small twig, but nature compares not to man-made molded plastic. Does it? No, it doesn't!

I vowed that day to never lose anything again ... but I did. One other time.

At the age of 12 (what an idiot kid I was), I lost my LJN Hillbilly Jim wrestling action figure's brown rubbery hillbilly hat. I lost it in my living room, which is the ultimate in baffling. I tore that mother apart looking for the hat, but it was never found. I assume it entered another dimension through some space-time portal. That's the only feasible explanation.

OK, so for the past 20 years, I have not lost anything. That was the point of the previous few paragraphs.

Do you see where this is going? Down a dark path.

Sometime, at around 8:54 PM on Saturday, March 11, 2006, I dug into my inner coat pocket to take another look at my prized Russell Simmons autographed Polaroid (a portroid, mind you), and it ... was ... GONE!!! Somehow, during this day, I let down my 20 year obsessive-compulsive vigil over all things mine and let slip from my possession my possession. I was stunned! Stupified!! And ultimately disappointed in myself!!!

I tried to retrace in my mind where it could be ... the St. Regis lobby? Maybe. The Isis Theater 1, where I took off my coat twice earlier? Perhaps. The Wheeler Opera House? Possibly. It could be anywhere, anywhere except in my pocket. DAMN!!!

I'll save you the expected suspense and tell you that I never found it. Someone likely picked it up and put it in their pocket (or more likely just stepped on it and maybe threw it away). It was forever to be deposited in the Lost and Found basket of my life (along with Hillbilly Jim's hat and Wicket the Ewok's spear).

Not to be completely confounded, I have taken it from memory and replicated the missing portroid for all of you, my portroid fans. See it here.

I'll write later about all the other portroids I missed on this and the following day. You'll see. The day of missed opportunity continues ...

Love (platonically),

Rick

portroids@hotmail.com

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

Thursday, March 09, 2006

There Yet?

It's day 2 of the annual comedy festival in Aspen. Don't look for me there, because you will look in vain. I would hate that.

I'm not there. Not today, folks.

Check back tomorrow. Will you be disappointed? Likely. But just because you have high expectations. Tomorrow we're going to the festival.

Seek new portroids soon.

That's like a fortune cookie you will never see.

Fortunately Yours,
Rick
portroids@hotmail.com

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Hooray for Comedy!

Today is the first day of the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen.

As you definitely recall, Erica and I attended last year.

Are we there today? Nope.

Tune in tomorrow to find out if we're there tomorrow (clue: we won't be).

Rick
portroids@hotmail.com

PS Check out the update page for exciting new portroids (from like a month ago) from our February cruise. Check it out!