Sunday, September 16, 2007

Profile Image Update

Jasper Redd is no longer using his portroid as his main profile image on myspace ... but Doug Benson is (at least for now).

Hooray (at least for now)!


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sept 3, 2007 - Bumbershoot Day 3

Oh, I forgot to mention that we went to Flatstock on Days 1 and 2 (but not 3). It was very cool. Rock concert poster art. The artists were there presenting their work. It, like I said, was very cool.

Day 3

Breakfast with Carl again. And his wife, Miwa. I got her portroid (did you doubt it?). We went to Orange Julius (or so I thought (it was really Julia's (sans Orange (I had orange juice)))). After eating, they dropped us off at the festival, as we had an event we were excited to see ...

[title intentionally left out] - venue unlisted
This was one of those things we were really looking forward to that ended up being not good. At all. It was awkward and uncomfortable and we left halfway through. I wish it wasn't the case, but it was.

... but the good news is that due to leaving that event, we happened to catch another event randomly that we loved ...

The Bad Things - Wells Fargo Stage (Northwest Court)
I'm not quite sure how to describe them, but I'll try: gypsy rock, junkyard polka, old timey traveling circus musicians, fun as hell. It's the only CD we bought on premises. Look them up and give them a listen. Try their official page or myspace. You know, if you want.

I got portroids of four of the seven band members. Why only four? I have no idea. They were all there and available. Leaves me something to strive to complete in the future.

See them here:

Jimmy the Pickpocket
Stanislav the Gypsy
Madame Miss Funi
Captain Panto

We had planned to check out more comedy in the afternoon, but instead we met up with Carl and Miwa again and went to Alki Beach. On the way out, we caught The Blakes on Sound Transit Stage. While just walking by, I ascertained that I would give them a listen later. I bought a song on iTunes, so that's proof right there that I didn't lie to myself (on this account).

As you may've noticed, the last seven or so portroids have a different "look". It's due to old film. It's becoming harder and harder to find Spectra film for the Polaroid, and when I do it is usually already expired. This particular batch expired in 2005, yet I only just recently purchased it. In anticipation of seeing The Frames later this day, and not wanting to have the portroids turn out badly, I, against Erica's advice, wasted the last five pictures in this cartridge by randomly pointing and shooting. I then reloaded with what I thought was a newer cartridge (it was actually older).

We returned to the festival in the 6 o'clock hour and found a spot in the grass for ...

The Frames - Sound Transit Stage (Broad Street)
I think I've already given my assessment of this band in a previous post, but I will just reiterate that they are amazing (especially live). As one reporter noted about this show (I paraphrase), "it was cinematic." I agree. It's a perfect mix of quiet soulful music that crecendoes into all-out kick-ass rock. Lend them an ear (yours, preferably).

There was supposed to be a post-show signing post-show, but the lady manning the FYE tent said there would not be. Something about the band having to catch a plane. Instead of getting very sad and moping and walking hang-doggedly home, I went over to the stage entrance exit and hung out. You never know, right?

Within a few minutes, Glen Hansard came out and signed autographs for everyone waiting there and talked to them about upcoming shows, the movie Once, and other topics. I asked to take his picture, and he agreed (as most people do). When he saw it was a Polaroid, he started scratching around the edge of it and asked me if I ever do that. He explained that it makes it look really cool when it develops. He wasn't sure if it would work due to it usually taking a harder scratching, like that made with a key, or stomping on it on the ground. I took one more picture and thanked him and left.

After I had walked away, I pulled out the picture to see how it was developing. It wasn't. Not well, anyway. This film was well past expired and barely registered but a ghostly image. Oh drat!

I scanned it anyway and put it through a filter in Photoshop. I also "created" a new portroid from the other picture I took. I hate to do that. I really do, but I also hate to lose out on a cool portroid.

This was my final Bumbershoot shot, the true portroid taken:

- Rick

Friday, September 07, 2007

Sept 2, 2007 - Bumbershoot Day 2

I forgot to mention that on Day 1, we went by the FYE tent and found out that the majority of the bands (with the exception of Mainstage acts) do signings after the performances. Portroids gold mine!!!

Day 2

Breakfast with Carl, as promised. Then he went home for about an hour and we went back to our hotel, where we saw Janeane Garofalo getting off the elevator. Same story as other stories: I already had her portroid, so we didn't stop her to have a good old fashioned chat.

Carl called to say he was on his way, so we went down to the lobby and ran into Kristen Schaal and Todd Barry. She said hi to us. He acted like he didn't know who we were (which he did not). I didn't ask if I could get his picture, and feared I'd regret it (I didn't (ultimately) regret it). Carl arrived and then Erica left us and skipped out on the festival in order to go meet with a friend she hadn't seen in 18 years (some friend, eh? (I said "eh" because she's Canadian)).

So, Carl and I went to Bumbershoot on our own.

The Trucks - Sound Transit Stage (Broad Street)
Whoa! No lead in? Nope. We came across The Trucks before we even got into the festival grounds, as the stage borders the sidewalk outside the fence. From there we not only heard some rocking sounds, but also saw some under-ass of one of the girls in her hotpants onstage from backstage. I think it was the one girl who is missing a front tooth. I might be wrong. You never know. They rocked, from what I could tell in passing.

We wandered around, killing time (too much time, by the way) waiting for the first comedy show to start that we wanted to see. We went back to the Sound Transit Stage and visited the FYE booth for The Trucks' post-show signing (I was scouting it out, so I would know where to be for The Frames' signing the next night). I did not get portroids of the ladies. Sorry if that was your fondest wish. You should've said something before. Now it's too late.

Walking to the next line, I saw who I could swear was comedian Doug Benson (not on the schedule) coming from the Mainstage VIP area. I wasn't certain, though. We arrived at our next line ...

Craig Baldo, Janeane Garofalo, Al Madrigal - Comedy Stage North (Intiman Theatre)
Yeah, um, we didn't get in.

So we went to ...

The Stockholm Syndrome (3 short films from Sweden) - 1 Reel Film Festival (McCaw Lecture Hall)
I rather enjoyed the two very intense, somewhat confusing as to the message, films we stayed to watch. The first was about Elvis (not the real Elvis, an Iranian kid named after him) and this Nazi dude who babysat him for a day (Oops, spoiler!). The next was about a heavy-metal-loving war photographer who doesn't get involved who gets involved and gets killed. The one guy also shoots a lot of dogs in Rwanda (Spoiled, too (My deepest apologies, but what's done is done (Vader is Luke's dad (Head's up.).).).). Both short films were beautifully filmed, says I.

We left before the third short, a cartoon, to go to ...

Brent Weinbach, Fred Armisen, Eugene Mirman - Comedy Stage North (Intiman Theatre)
We got in line very early for this, so we assured ourselves we'd get in. We did not disappoint ourselves. Once seated, the show started. The host: Doug Benson! I knew it!!! I pat myself on my back (not literally). He told a series of funny jokes, and we laughed accordingly. Then Fred Armisen came out. I had seen him perform before. He's a funny guy. He doesn't do typical stand-up. He does character pieces and, what I consider, deconstructive bits. This was one of the latter. I thought it was funny. I think the audience was split. Not for me to say. Next up was Brent Weinbach. I hadn't seen him perform before, but I was looking forward to it due to great reviews from people whose comedy tastes I appreciate. He did not disappoint. He was hilarious. Not much of a review, I know, but it's hard to do without giving away the jokes (I had no problem spoiling the short films, you'll recall (screw you)). Next was Fred Armisen again. Remember what I said about his comedy style before? This was the former. And again, funny. Especially the Q&A after. And finally, Eugene Mirman. I am a big fan of Eugene. He always makes me laugh. He did a few jokes I'd heard before, but mostly it was new material (to me). I was very pleased overall with this collection of comedians. Very pleased indeed!

Right after the show, Carl and I wandered around the lobby. We saw Fred Armisen talking with some people by a door. When you see super famous celebrities talking to people by doors, you know they either just came out of it or are going into it or just happened to be standing near it. That is for certain! We looped around to the other side of the theater to see if there were any other doors for people to stand by talking, and there weren't. We walked back, intent on asking Fred if Brent (who as of then was unportroided) would be coming out that very same door. We didn't get the chance to ask. Brent walked out that door. Boom! I called it, right? And he wasn't alone. He was with Jasper Redd. Jackpot! Two awesome comedians in one fell swoop. I asked if I could take each of their pictures and they agreed it would be acceptable. We talked for a few minutes and I shook Brent's hand (a few times (once as a misunderstanding)).

You can find their portroids here and here.

Note of Interest: I had seen Jasper perform once in New York, opening for Patton Oswalt at Caroline's (the night I took Patton's portroid). Also opening that night was Eugene Mirman. Anyway, that wasn't the note I intended. The note I intended was to point out that as of right now (and this could change at any moment, so don't hold me liable), Jasper Redd is using his portroid as his profile image on his myspace page. That is pretty cool, I think.

We attempted and failed to go see ...

Anthony Jeselnik, Kristen Schaal, Jonathan Coulton - Comedy Stage North (Intiman Theatre)
Attempted ... and failed. I'd seen two of three of them previously, so while I was sad, I wasn't devastated. Just sustained partial collateral damage.

As previously mentioned, Carl was the very first portroid back in 2003. It was due time he had a follow-up, so if you want to see it, you can do so here.

If you recall the events of Bumbershoot Day 1, surely you will recall that we were denied ingress to the Michael Ian Black/Todd Barry show. With this in mind, we planted ourselves in line 2 hours early and waited. Erica rejoined us with her long lost friend in tow. I took her portroid, of course.

Suffice it to say, our next show was ...

Michael Ian Black and Todd Barry - Comedy Stage South (Charlotte Martin Theatre)
The host once again was our old friend Doug Benson. He did some different jokes from the previous time we saw him that day, and that was pleasant. They were funny, as expected. Next up was Todd Barry. Todd, if you haven't seen him (and even if you have), has a deadpan style. Not like Steven Wright's deadpan, but more like a sarcastic deadpan. Does that make sense? Of course it does. And he's hilarious. A regular laugh riot. You really missed out if you missed his show. Big time. I'm very sad for you. I'm also sad for you for missing Michael Ian Black. I've been a fan of Mr. Ian Black since, well, since before you were born (if you were born after 1993), so I'm a little biased in his favor when I report that he was fantastic. I hadn't seen his stand-up before, so it was mostly new material for me. I'd tell you every joke if you wanted, but I know you don't want that, so I won't. Ever. So don't ask.

After the show, Doug and Todd were waiting for us in the lobby. Not "us" specifically, but "us" collectively. If you want to know if I took their portroids, the answer is ... yes.


If you want to know if I took Michael Ian Black's portroid again, the answer is ... no. He either skirted out the side door or skorted quickly past the crowd. It's what he does. As Todd Barry commented, "Who is he? Wayne Newton?"

That's it for Day 2.

One day more!


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sept 1, 2007 - Bumbershoot Day 1

As promised (never promised), here is the breakdown of my experiences at the Bumbershoot (umbrellas not permitted (not needed, either)) event in Seattle (Washington (USA)).

Day 1 (as mentioned in the title)

The first order of business was to scout out the festival grounds and familiarize ourselves with the layout. Get a feel for the place, you know? (of course you know, you're not stupid) We checked out the Indie Market, the food vendors, the various stages, the potential bottlenecks, fastest routes for between shows, etc.

One of the coolest things is that there are a lot of outdoor stages, where, when walking by, you can overhear various styles of music that may or may not draw you in. Some may repulse you, some may pull you (pending tastes). It's like you're a pinball in a magnetic field with constantly alternating polarity. Sort of like that. I should've said "sort of" up front. My apologies.

Anyway, it was in this way that we came across the first band that we were drawn in to ...

The Cops - Sound Transit Stage (Broad Street)
Neo-retro punk. High energy. Awesome. We stuck around for a few songs. Liked what we saw. I will buy some of their stuff on iTunes. You should give them a 30 second listen to see if they are for you. That's my recommendation. Just kind of feel it out, and then get super into them.

From there we walked to the Mainstage to get ready for The Shins. There was already a concert in progress ...

Crowded House - Samsung Mainstage (Memorial Stadium)
As I overheard someone unoriginally say "it sure is a crowded house for Crowded House." I grit my teeth. Look, you already know Crowded House, so I don't need to sell you on them, OK? They do that "don't dream it's over" song, and others! We were going to stand in line and get some food in the stadium, but the lines were too long, way too long, so instead we found third row seats in the stands, hungry. Sitting in the third row allows a fairly unobstructed view, if you don't mind not really seeing the band up close. For that you need to be amongst the throngs standing on the field. I will say this, they sounded really great. I mean, like you'd hear on the radio, studio quality. I even posited they were lip singing (but mostly as a joke (especially the "singing" v. "synching" part)). Not that we were bored (we weren't), but we read books while we waited. Then they introduced a special guest up on stage. We were so far back that we couldn't truly make out who it was. The crowd went ape, though. He stuck around for a couple songs and then left. Turns out it was Eddie Vedder. All in all it was quite enjoyable. Take that for what it's worth (twenty cents on the open market).

And then a short break, and then:

The Shins - Samsung Mainstage (Memorial Stadium)
I am a fan of The Shins by nature, so I was pleased to see them. Of course, I am a casual fan, so I was pleased when the four songs I know were played. I rather enjoyed the other songs from my I'm-less-familiar-with category, so that's a nice testimonial for them. They played a great show, as expected. Everything was as expected.

We left The Shins' concert ten minutes before it ended for two reasons: hunger (primary driver), and to avoid the crowd (exiting), and because we kind of got it already (great as it was).

I opted for pizza (by the slice), and Erica for kabobbed chicken (on a stick). Neither of us chose alligator (on a stick), though it was being offered. We ate it (on the lawn), and then waited in a long ass line for ice cream (if you're wondering what any of this has to do with portroids, wait no more!). While in line (ice cream, remember?) we had our first random celebrity sighting ... Eugene Mirman!! I had already portroided him a year earlier, so we let him pass unmolested (lucky him).

Mostly for indoor events, you need to get in line early, like at least an hour early, so we did that. We got in line for our next performance like an hour early. It was ...

The Moth: Sex, Drugs, and Rock N' Roll Stories - Boeing Performing Arts Stage (Bagley Wright Theatre)
We had seen The Moth before (me? three times!) and really, really (double really) loved it. For those of you who don't know what it is, allow me to explain. Various people (usually some sort of performer or artist, but sometimes Joe Schmo or Average Joe (a Joe of some garden variety, though)) are given a topic and allowed ten minutes to tell a true story from their lives that relates to that topic. This performance lived up to the prior experiences I've had with The Moth. Very entertaining, funny, touching, and entertaining (double entertaining). I recommend, if you like good stories, you see The Moth. They perform monthly in NYC (with an everchanging roster of storytellers) and they also tour nationally.

We left as soon as it ended, not waiting around for the post-show signings, because we had to get in line for what we hoped would be our next event ...

Michael Ian Black and Todd Barry - Comedy Stage South (Charlotte Martin Theatre)
The line was long, and we didn't get in (to make a potential long story short).

We, though, gave that line the old college try. I called an old college buddy (CARL) and told him we wouldn't be able to meet for dinner after all because we were still full from our overindulgence in ice cream. We would meet the next day for breakfast. Oh, true indeed.

We left. Took the monorail back downtown. On the walk to our hotel, we saw Fred Armisen on the corner a block from our hotel. I had taken his portroid earlier this year, so we just crossed paths like the strangers we actually are.

I know you think this story should be over, but not quite. So far, it has been zero new portroids for me, but not for long!

Waiting at the elevator (slowest EVER) in our hotel was none other than Kristen Schaal. You may know her as Mel from Flight of the Conchords (if you don't, then shame on you!). I asked if I could take her picture, as we stepped into the elevator. She agreed, awkward though it seemed. Of course, by the time I was ready to take the picture, we had arrived at our floor. She suggested she just get off with us. We found an ideal spot for the picture and had some small talk about comedy and places to live (and to have lived) and we thanked her and stepped into our room (literally right there). I assume she got back on the elevator, but that's not for me to assume.

Anyway, after all that, here is the one portroid I took the first day of Bumbershoot:

Two more days to go!


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Go see The Frames, now!

I was not able to blog from Seattle because the internet connection in my hotel room was absolute garbage, but I will be posting up all the things I did and all the people I met and all the shows I saw and all the portroids I took. Very soon. Maybe even today.

But before I do that, I needed to post an urgent message to tell you, everyone, to go see The Frames. I saw them last night and they rock, absolutely! They are doing a mini tour of the United States starting last night in Seattle, continuing tomorrow in San Francisco. Get tickets!!

The lead singer, Glen Hansard, plays the main character in the film "Once" (which you should see, absolutely, if you have not already). I met him after the concert yesterday and he was perhaps the coolest, nicest person I've ever met, and yes, that includes you if I've met you. Sorry. You're just not as cool. Or as nice. And you definitely don't rock as hard. My apologies. Maybe you should step it up a little?

Anyway, he will be touring with The Frames on this mini-tour (I'll post dates at the end of this so you can rush out and see if you can find last minute tickets), and then he will be touring the US in November with The Swell Season (his other music project with his "Once" co-star Marketa Irglova). Those dates haven't been posted yet, as far as I can find.

Here are the dates (from their myspace page):

05 september 2007 ::
great american music hall, san francisco, ca
support: eleni mandell

06 september 2007 ::
henry fonda theatre, los angeles, ca
support: eleni mandell
doors: 8PM
tickets: $16

08 september 2007 ::
hideout, chicago
support: Andrew Bird
tickets: $35 (on sale: 03 july 2007)

10 september 2007 ::
webster hall, new york, ny
support: Brendan O'Shea & Michael Brunnock

You can find links to purchase tickets on this site:

Don't say I didn't warn you when everyone else is on The Frames bandwagon and you're hitching your star to their wagon too late. It may already be too late. Probably is. Get onboard anyway. Nowabouts.

- Rick