Tuesday, December 08, 2009

More Podcasts, etc.

Just a quick post to remind you to listen to the new portroids podcast (Portroidcast). You can subscribe in iTunes, or go to the main podcast site, or listen to them directly from this blog.

Listen here for my interview with Matthew Bissonnette and Joel Bissonnette at the Starz Denver Film Festival, where they presented their new film "Passenger Side".

And here is another podcast of my interview with Adam Scott, also at the Starz Denver Film Festival, who was in the films "Passenger Side" and "The Vicious Kind" (which begins screenings in LA on December 11, 2009).

Next up is an interview I will be conducting this Thursday with comedian Natasha Leggero. Expect to see that posted up on Thursday night.

Also, in portroid news, we'll be going to New York on Dec 18-20, so expect a lot of fun new pictures from that trip. I'll also try to do some quick interviews while I'm there, so as I keep saying, subscribe now.


Monday, November 23, 2009

"American Faust - From Condi To Neo Condi" - A Review

As you all know, I've been attending the Starz Denver Film Festival for the past twelve days (or thereabouts) and have seen many great movies (of which I will write later). I've also been able to meet, photograph, and interview some of the filmmakers. Overall, it has been very fun. That's my overall generic review. More on that later. For now I'd like to get into the discussion of one film in particular.

American Faust - From Condi to Neo Condi

Condoleezza Rice is a war criminal. And she has gotten away with it, whether out of fear of her power by those who should be pressing charges, or by indifference to the atrocities she initiated/allowed/ordered. After seeing this documentary film, which I recommend you do, you cannot plead ignorance anymore of her involvement in torture, pardoning of the Blackwater killers, and starting a war and continuing said war under false pretenses.

The film, by director Sebastian Doggart, takes a more objective approach, tracking Condoleezza's life from her early days in segregated Alabama all the way to her time as US Secretary of State. Along the timeline, as the Faustian title suggests, Condoleezza makes decisions, takes opportunities, that increase her power while her ideals drop off one by one, seemingly without emotion.

There is no narration in this documentary. It relies solely on interviews, testimonials, news clips, and expert opinions of people in Rice's life, with both positive and negative impact. Condoleezza's life is such an interesting story about an intelligent and compelling woman, and if it was fiction I would love the twists it takes. The problem is that it is real and it is horrifying. Left unchecked, power leads to corruption, and in the name of protection, through pre-emptive strikes and enhanced torture techniques, to the demise of any moral standing our country could wish to have.

This is a well-made and compelling film which I would recommend everyone watch. But don't just watch it. Act upon it. Write to your Congressperson (find out who they are and how to contact them here (send an actual letter if you can)). Demand action be taken.

I welcome any feedback, either before or after you see the film. Commit to seeing this documentary. The decisions, past and present, the people in government make ripple through the world. The bad decisions, some made for personal gain, some for seemingly the right reasons but with the wrong tactics, can accumulate into a tidal wave of hatred which we may not be able to stop. We need to act now and hold accountable those who made the decisions, by using the laws we have established so these crimes should not have happened in the first place. Otherwise, what are we but complicit?

You can buy or download this film from indiesdirect.com starting December 2, 2009 or find out more at americanfaust.com. Also, you can become a fan of American Faust on Facebook to stay up to date with the film's developments.

I also conducted an interview with the director, Sebastian Doggart, which you can listen to here, or by going to my podcast page at http://portroids.podbean.com/

Next time, I will return to more jovial topics, including my interview with Matthew Bissonnette (director of the film "Passenger Side") and Joel Bissonnette (actor in the film "Passenger Side"), and my interview with actor Adam Scott ("Passenger Side", "The Vicious Kind", Starz TV comedy "Party Down", and "Step Brothers").

With Highest Regard,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Podcast and More 32SDFF!

I'm back from vacation and ready for more excitement regarding the 32nd Starz Denver Film Festival. While I was away (in Las Vegas), I took one new celebrity portroid. Click here to see who it is (Note: it's Jerry Springer (you were going to find out soon anyway)). He asked me, when he saw my Polaroid, if I also have a Model T (I do not).

Before I left for vacation, I had the chance to sit down with George Hardy and Michael Paul Stephenson from the movies "Troll 2" and "Best Worst Movie". We met for about an hour and had a great time. Those guys are very cool and down to earth. I will probably write something up for their combined portroid page, but for now, enjoy this podcast (Portroidcast) I made of our interview.

Powered by Podbean.com

If the player is not working, or if you just want to listen later, you can download it here. It will also be available on iTunes soon.

I also attended the red carpet for the Evening with Ed Harris. I took portroids of the co-writers/co-directors of his new film "Touching Home", Noah Miller and Logan Miller. It was a cold snowy evening, so the Polaroids came out a little purple-blue.

There are still five great days of festival activities for you to attend, so pick out some movies and buy tickets. Tonight, I'm going to see Official Rejection. Friday, I will see Please, Please Me. Saturday will start with either Tales from The Script, or Laila's Birthday, then Passenger Side (actor Adam Scott is expected to be in attendance this weekend, but it may only be Sunday), and then closing it out with the Closing Night film The Young Victoria. Sunday, I have conflicting tickets for the Michael Cera film Youth In Revolt and the film The Vicious Kind (where J.K. Simmons will be receiving the Cassavetes Award (which means it will likely be my choice to attend)), then I have tickets to see Buick Riveria, but may opt to see the sneak peek screening (which I am 99% sure is the new Jason Reitman film "Up In The Air") where a surprise guest actor will introduce the film (my guess is it is J.K. Simmons (but don't quote me on that (unless I get it right))), and finally the last film I will watch for the festival will be the new Terry Gilliam movie The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.

I hope to see you at some, or all of these films.

See you there (I hope)!

Friday, November 13, 2009

32nd Starz Denver Film Festival Opening Night Red Carpet Portroids

Last night was Opening Night for the 32nd Starz Denver Film Festival. The film was "Precious" and it was excellent. You'll probably see it when it is released, but if you hadn't planned to, change your plans and do.

Here are the portroids I took on the red (blue, actually, to support the cause to stop child abuse) carpet:

Director of the documentary film "Con Artist", Michael Sládek

Dentist/Actor from the films "Troll 2" and "Best Worst Movie", George Hardy

Actor from the films "Troll 2" and "Best Worst Movie" (director), Michael Paul Stephenson

Actress (and repeat portroid subject) AnnaSophia Robb

Director of the film "Precious", Lee Daniels

Look for more portroids from this festival coming soon.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Business As Usual and More on 32-SDFF

As you may already know from your avid following of my twitter feed, I tried and failed to get a portroid of one of my favorite authors, John Irving. He was doing a presentation at the great Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver (where I have taken many a portroid) for his new book "Last Night in Twisted River". Even though he is one of my favorite authors (previously stated), I didn't even know he had a new book until I saw he was coming here. Maybe you didn't know either, but now you do, and now you have no excuse to not buy his book. Anyway, I got there early and got a good seat. Mr. Irving's planning for quick entrance and quicker exit left no time for any fan interaction (before or after). He did spend about an hour answering questions (pre-written on note cards handed out before the event) and talking about his writing process and new book. His son and grandson were also in attendance (and I think his wife was there, too) and he told some stories about them. As I mentioned a few sentences ago, upon completion of his talk, he made a speedy departure through a back door (I did see Denver mayor John Hickenlooper waiting near that doorway for an equally speedy greeting). All in all I was pleased with the event, but learned that Irving's evasiveness may prove to make a future portroid equally as difficult, but I shall be ever-alert should he make a more welcoming appearance in the future.

Other note. I will be in Las Vegas this weekend, which means I will miss a few events happening right here in my own backyard (not my literal backyard). Hal Holbrook* will be in town for the Starz Denver Film Festival, and Harrison Ford will be here to receive an award at the Wings Over The Rockies museum. Both events I would love to attend. Sorry, guys, maybe you can get your portroid taken another time.

Speaking of the Starz Denver Film Festival, it begins tonight!! I'll be standing near the red carpet if you want to come say hello. I'm the guy who looks like me (for more on what I look like, look me up on portroids.com).

*I got the chance to watch the Hal Holbrook film which will be screening at the festival, "That Evening Sun". I don't really know how to classify it. I definitely liked it. It was a slow film with two main characters that are  both right and grossly in the wrong, which makes for an interesting study. Throughout, you want to side with Abner (excellently acted by Hal Holbrook), but his relentless antagonism (somewhat justified) keeps you from knowing what is the correct path (much like life). I'd recommend you see this film and attend Mr. Holbrook's Excellence in Acting award ceremony this Saturday (sold out, but if you already have tickets ...). Let me know how it is. I will be out of town. In Vegas. Doing things I can only tell you about if you meet me there (probably just walking around, playing penny slots, scoffing at the escort trading cards being flicked my direction on the strip, and whatever else happens there (likely going to bed early)).

Kindest regards,

Monday, November 09, 2009

32nd Starz Denver Film Festival - Pre-Festival Documentary Reviews


So far, I've seen three of the documentaries screening at this year's Starz Denver Film Festival (the 32nd one (beginning Nov 12, 2009 (this Thursday))). Each of them was well worth seeing. As is my wont, I will tell you that you should see each of them. And, yes, I am the boss of you, so go buy tickets now.

Garbage Dreams

I've written many times about my recommendation of the film "Garbage Dreams". I saw it this year at the Vail Film Festival and have sung its praise ever since. That praise shall not be quieted. You will watch this movie and realize how much more you can be doing, and how much every country should be doing to better recycle and reuse our garbage. This film from Egypt is an inspiration (and you shouldn't scoff at that). The Saturday screening is already sold out, so you'd be wise to buy tickets for Sunday so I don't have to shake my head, disappointed, at your laziness and indifference (I'm using guilt as a tool to market this film, because I'm willing to stoop so low to make sure you see it (you owe it to yourself (and to me (a stranger you're likely to never meet)))).

Con Artist

What I cannot figure out after watching the documentary Con Artist by director Michael Sládek is whether the subject, artist Mark Kostabi, is actually insane. So many of his antics, both present and past, are obviously those of a manufactured (and highly entertaining) persona. His eagerness for fame (which he defines as love) drove him to the heights of the art world, to an amassed fortune, and ultimately to ostracization. You will see, when watching this film, the innate talent and perspective in his works, and how he took that talent, coupled with his over-the-top character, and created a brand that is more about the name than the work. Kostabi World is his conglomerate of artists, all working to present new works of art in the Kostabi name and style, guided and approved by the man, though not actually painted by Kostabi himself. It is one of the many ways he has striven to turn the art world on it's head, mocking those who invest in his works and even producing a public access game show where his host of celebrity panelists vie to name his newest Kostabi brand painting. Sládek captures both the manic persona and the man behind, yet leaves the interpretation to us, the viewers. I am undecided. While I am in awe of the ambitious drive and fierce self-promotion, I am also slightly terrified of the man in his tortured quiet moments. I didn't want to look away, for fear of what I may miss.

Best Worst Movie

Best Worst Movie is a great movie, well-crafted with a compelling story and engaging characters, unlike the film its based on, "Troll 2", which has become a cult classic due to it's sincerity and, at the same time, ridiculousness. From the earnest and likable dentist turned actor returned to dentist, George Hardy, to the child star mortified and ashamed upon first viewing of his perfomance in Troll 2 yet fully embracing it in cult status, Michael Paul Stephenson (also the director of this documentary), to the Italian director, Claudio Fragasso, who refuses to understand the amusement audiences get from his film and aggressively derides his actors for lambasting it's production, to the one hold-out in participating in fan events, the mother in the film, Margo Prey, whose homelife must be seen to be believed, the cadre of actors and filmmakers involved in the original movie make up such a cast of interesting studies that at times, "Best Worst Movie" felt like a mockumentary (a la a Christopher Guest's film), with scenarios and reactions so seemingly staged, yet not. The documentary aspect makes this movie just that much better. Without giving too much away, the journey George and Michael go on together to follow the path the die hard fans of Troll 2 lay out for them 17 years after it's release is just incredible. See this movie. Even if you haven't seen the film it is based upon, you will enjoy Best Worst Movie. Both George Hardy and Michael Paul Stephenson will be present at the screenings, so take the opportunity to meet them. They seem like really great, fun, guys.

Don't forget, the festival starts this Thursday, November 12, 2009, with the Opening Night film "Precious".

More reviews to come.


Friday, November 06, 2009

Coming Soon - 32nd Starz Denver Film Festival (Nov 12 - 22, 2009)

Longtime readers will recall that every year I attend the Starz Denver Film Festival and take the opportunity to see many amazing films and meet and photograph (in portroid form) some very cool people participating in festival events. This year will be no different (well, a little different (I'll be out of town for the first big weekend of the festival)).

The festival starts next week (Thursday, November 12, 2009) with the opening night film 'Precious' at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. I'll be there. Will you? Only if you bought tickets before now, because, my friend, that event is sold out. If you waited until now, you waited too long. Didn't I warn you about this? What were you thinking? Sorry. But, all is not lost. You still have a chance to buy tickets for most of the other events (though they are selling out fast, so I wouldn't wait long).

That said, there are 200 or so movies to choose from over the 11 day festival. So, check out the schedule and start picking out what you want to watch. Even if you're not in Denver, you should totally fly or drive here and hang out and enjoy some films you may not otherwise get a chance to see. You won't be sorry (and you'll be helping the economy (double win!))!

The big events this year are the Opening Night film 'Precious' (as I already said), An Evening with Ed Harris (who you know I already met once, but am looking forward to seeing again), Excellence in Acting Award for Hal Holbrook, Women + Film panel with AnnaSophia Robb (who you also know I met a few years ago at the Starz Denver Film Festival), Big Night film 'The Last Station', and the Closing Night film 'The Young Victoria'.

Some of the other films I am looking forward to seeing (other than the ones I already mentioned) are:
Leaves of Grass (one screening already sold out)
Who's Afraid of the Wolf?
Happy Tears
Best Worst Movie
Memory (sold out!)
Son of the Sunshine
Official Rejection
Children of Invention
Tales from the Script
Everybody's Fine
Please, Please Me
The Vicious Kind
Passenger Side
Youth in Revolt
Buick Riviera
The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus

Go online and choose some films that fit your taste (and some that don't (expand your view)) and come to the festival. I'll be happy to talk to you before or after the movie (as long as you're not super boring or overly talkative (how about maybe a five minute test conversation?)) about what you've seen or your thoughts on what we just saw. Sounds fun, right? Of course it is!! I apologize in advance if I am super boring or overly talkative.

Don't you dare think I forgot to mention the amazing lineup of directors, producers, actors, and other talent attending this year's festival. I haven't forgotten!! I just don't have time to list them now. I'll cover it next time (probably). (sneak preview: I'm excited to possibly meet Adam Scott and J.K. Simmons)

I'll be posting up some pre-festival film reviews in the next week to help you make your decisions. Look for it!

See you at the festival (Starz Denver Film),

P.S. Please go see Garbage Dreams. I saw it at the Vail Film Festival earlier this year and it was amazing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Newsletter and Contest

If you haven't entered the current portroids contest, you have until tomorrow (Friday. October 23. 2009 (Portroid's 7th anniversary)) at noon EST to get your submission in.

If you don't even know what the contest is, or what the prize is ($25 American Express gift card), you need to sign up for the newsletter.

If you didn't even know there was a newsletter, you need to go to http://www.portroids.com/ and sign up!!

I look forward to you winning.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bits and Pieces

1. The 32nd Starz Denver Film Festival is coming up in a month (Nov 12). Announced so far this year: Opening Night film - Precious. Mayor's Award - Ed Harris. Excellence in Acting - Hal Holbrook. I will be there for as many of the films and events as I can possibly fit in. I hope you will, too.

2. Portroids continue to show up in blogs across the world. This is going viral (it's a very slow pandemic). Let me know if you find some cool posts.

3. I'll be creating a mailing list soon for a newsletter with exclusive content, including contests (if I can think of prizes). Sign up when you see the sign up form on the site. You won't be sorry (probably).

4. Polaroid and The Impossible Project announced today that they will be beginning production in 2010 of new Polaroid instant cameras. New film also being created in 2010 (black and white! and color!). Portroids shall live on!

That is all (for now).

- Rick

Friday, October 09, 2009

Blog on Blog

Kanye West posted a blog about Portroids this morning. This is my full circle post to create a mobius strip of web surfing (a true circle would include the German site Jeriko which Kanye sourced (and who's translated text makes up the body of Kanye's post) - herein included).

This, to me, is awesome!

Now to just get a portroid of Kanye himself.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Did Some Things. Here's What They Were.

Every time I post a new blog, I resolve to post more blogs. This is no exception. I'm totally going to post more often. It's going to be awesome! (if only it were true)

I am posting things on twitter as they happen, though, so I'm not a complete deadbeat. I also post up more of a quick and civil recap on my update page when I post images to my update page, so you can read about my photo exploits there, too. See? You haven't been abandoned. Not absolutely.

Anyway, it's been like six months or so since I posted what I've done. Sorry, OK?

I went to some festivals. I didn't get a press pass for them, though I applied, so I figure a less timely report is justified.

OK, let's see, Maui Film Festival was really fun. Their Celestial Cinema outdoor theater is incredible. I almost got a portroid of Willie Nelson. I stood by and let Zooey Deschanel and Ben Gibbard walk right by me without stopping them to ask for a photo (second one of Zooey, if I had). The Taste of Chocolate event at the Four Seasons Maui was star-speckled and decadent (dessert-wise and otherwise). I met many people there and got portroids of all but one (the very friendly, but camera resistant Dax Shepard). Here are those portroids for your eyes' delight:

Lisa Linde Marsden
James Marsden
Robert M. Knight
Anna Faris
Chris Pratt
Tori Spelling
Virginia Madsen
Kristen Bell
Jillian Michaels

Also, since I blogged last, I had one of my portroids in a Polaroid photo show at PhotoWorks SF in San Francisco. That was a cool event and I had a great time meeting people there. I've also recently been interviewed for an article on portroids. It was a fun process, for sure. I did some live-tweeting for the Denver Film Society for their Film On The Rocks series. I even got to go backstage at Red Rocks. You should totally do that if you get the chance. Totally. I'm sure other things like that have happened that I have forgotten. I'm prone to such forgetfulness (not usually).

I got turned down to my face when I asked if I could take a photo. That is always enjoyable (for you to read). Christopher Guest and Lou Reed. Prepare for rejection should you approach either (especially in a hotel lobby, or if they are swinging around a wooden staff martial-artsily).

What else? I went to Bumbershoot in Seattle. Had an amazingly fun time. Saw a ton of comedy shows and bands and met some cool people (AST friends: Rebecca O'Malley (from resilientrabbit.com), Peter Greyy, and ran into previously portroided Andy Wood). Met some of the writers from the TV show "Lost" (Carlton Cuse, Eddy Kitsis, and Adam Horowitz) and contributed some highlights from that to yublog.org. I would write a lot more about it, but I am pretending to be bitter about not getting a press pass for this superb festival which you should try to attend every year for all three days over Labor Day weekend. Also, check out the band "Hotels". They have some awesome songs (and all four of the members let me take a portroid, even though it resulted in an unfortunate Sharpie event for one of them (I still feel horrible about that, Brendan Malec (in case you have a Google Alert for your name))). Some other great talents I met were: Reggie Watts, Matt Braunger, David Cross, Amber Tamblyn, Matt & Kim, Christian Lander, Tony Camin, and Tyler Bryant. And I feel like this particular portroid of Adrian Grenier came out amazingly well:

That is probably all I have to say. I still need to post my new pictures of Ralph Nader and of Ira Glass. I'll do that soonish. Going to New York next weekend. The New Yorker Festival is happening then, so I hope to get some great portroids while there. If anything else comes up, you'll be the first (last, probably) to know!

Kind Regards, and Until Next Time (6 months, shall we say?),

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Michael & Michael Have Issues, etc.

If I were you, and let's be honest, I pretty much am, I would watch "Michael and Michael Have Issues" starting tomorrow on Comedy Central. If you're not reading this today, you may not know that tomorrow is July 15, 2009. A Wednesday. So, let me be more unambiguous: tomorrow night, July 15, 2009 (a Wednesday), watch the new television show entitled "Michael & Michael Have Issues" on Comedy Central at whatever time it airs (do some of your own research, OK? I can't do everything for you. You'll never learn that way).

Where do I get off, you may wonder, in telling you what to watch? Well, my friend (best), I have it on good authority (my own) that the show is very funny and very good. How do I know? I watched the first two episodes (pre-release, motherf*cker!). So, take my word for it. When have I ever steered (storn?) you wrong (other than any time I may have actually storn (steered, right?) you wrong)?

Let's say you don't even know anything about this show. All the better. Set your TiVo or DVR or VCR and record it. Record every episode. Watch them all. Over and over. Start a revolution. Be obsessive. It's fine. It's welcomed. You won't be sorry (very).

What do I get out of this? Nothing other than continued entertainment by Michael and Michael due to your (and my) support of their work. So, do it for me, OK? I owe you one.

I just realized you may not know who Michael and Michael are. My apologies. They are these guys:

Now, do everyone a favor (including yourself), and watch this show, "Michael and (&) Michael Have Issues" on Comedy Central on July 15, 2009.

Also, while you're doing things just because I said you should, go out and buy "The State" on DVD. It comes out today (today being July 14, 2009). It stars the two aforementioned Michaels and nine other amazingly hilarious people (who can be seen on my site as well - The State on portroids )

OK, that's it. Watch the show. Record it. Tell your friends (and enemies).


Thursday, April 16, 2009

The VFF Wrap-Up

Those in the know know that VFF stands for Vail Film Festival. Now you're in the know. Feels pretty great, right? Of course it does.
Vail Film Festival (VFF)
As you surely remember, the last entry I posted on here was a preamble to my attending the festival. This is a postamble (assumed word) of the time I actually ambled (too far? Yes!) at the festival. The other weekend. April 3-5, 2009. The VFF ran from April 2-5, 2009, but I only made it for three days. I'll tell you this now (and I'll remind you later), you really should go to this film festival next year (2010). I have no idea who will be there, or what films they'll screen, but I do know it will be well worth it for you. Mark my words and don't make new regrets by not heeding them.

Some of you probably read the Twitter updates (http://twitter.com/portroids) I posted from the festival, but don't worry, there will be new info here. You won't be bored (maybe). Some of my twits (tweets) vanished after the fest, which is weird, so that just goes to show you should be following my every move live, or else you may just miss out (on a couple twitpics of random things).

Our plan was to drive to Vail on Saturday morning, but a blizzard threatened to hit us hard that day, so we came in Friday afternoon. The roads were perfectly clear and the decision was sound. We checked into the Vail Cascade Resort (the headquarter hotel for the festival) and I made a few quick stops at the Hospitality Lounge and the theater lobby to familiarize myself with the layout. I saw Ashley Jensen (from "Ugly Betty" and "Extras") with her husband, Terence Beesley (at the festival with his short film "Pussyfooting"), in the Hospitality Lounge relaxing on one of the couches near the stage (musicians played for most of the weekend). Right after, in the theater lobby, I saw Giancarlo Esposito (there presenting his film "Gospel Hill"). Pretty great start to the weekend. I did not take any of their portroids, as they were otherwise occupied. Later for that.
View from the balcony of our room at the Vail Cascade Resort

After dinner (shuttled into Vail proper) with my wife, Erica, and friend, Michael, we relaxed in the hot tub (yes, the Vail Cascade has two outdoor heated pools and a couple outdoor fireside hot tubs). I, of course, was not satisfied having not yet taken a few portroids, so I absented myself briefly when we returned to the room with the goal of getting two new Polaroids before bed. Straight away upon arriving at the Hospitality Lounge, I saw Kaitlin Olson (from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", "Curb Your Enthusiasm", and at the VFF with her new movie, "Weather Girl") talking to a few staffers. As soon as she concluded, I asked if I could get a quick photo and she kindly obliged.
Portroid of Kaitlin Olson at the Vail Film Festival
A few minutes thereafter, they herded us out and directed us toward the after-party. I saw Ashley and Terence again and had a chance to stop Ashley to ask if I could take a photo. She was talking to a man who worked with the festival. They were having a very interesting conversation about "Extras" and about Ricky Gervais's tendency to try to throw off each scene by either laughing himself or making his co-stars laugh (and Stephen Merchant having to remind him that it was his own project he was throwing off). She agreed to a photo.
Portroid of Ashley Jensen at the Vail Film Festival
I mentioned that I had met Ricky Gervais previously and she wanted to make sure he had been nice to me. I assured her he had. I thanked her and headed off to bed, successful in my goal.
The next day, Erica and Michael went skiing and snowboarding respectively, and I studied the schedule for the day's events to determine how best to occupy my time. I don't ski. I've had a few too many bad experiences which would be too entertaining (for you) for me to describe here.
2009 Vail Film Festival schedule
I decided on the documentary "Garbage Dreams" at noon, followed by the tail end of the Screenplay Competition reading of the 1st Place winner's screenplay ("Chasing Echoes" by Bill Schreiber) in the Hospitality Lounge, and then the Shorts Program D at 2PM (with Jason Biggs listed as "in attendance" (spoiler alert - he was not "in attendance" due to a filming conflict)), then the Award Ceremony at 5PM, and the Closing Night Film "Weather Girl" at 8. I was going to leave the Closing Night Party as an option if I should decide later.
"Garbage Dreams" was an excellent documentary about the lower class citizens in Egypt called the Zaballeen. They are the trash people who collect all the refuse of the cities and return it to their "garbage village" for sorting and recycling. This is not a paid position, but something they are born into. They make their living by recycling 80% of the waste and selling the raw materials. The crux of the film centers around a foreign collector being hired to collect the garbage and how the Zaballeen respond to having their livlihood stolen from them. The documentary follows the path of three teenage boys for four years and how they progress with the changes and their decisions in the new world. I highly recommend this film. See it in a theater if you can, or rent/buy it on DVD when released. You probably won't be sorry (unless you hate to be made aware of how nice your life really is, in a feel-good way).
Next, as promised, I stopped by the Hospitality Lounge. I only caught the Q&A portion of the Screenplay Contest winner's screenplay reading. It would be great if these contests resulted in the film being produced. That, as I said, would be great. You should make that happen, Mystery Eccentric Philantropist.
Shorts Program D. I am a fan of short films. Maybe I'm oblivious (please tell me if I am), but there needs to be a venue to see Shorts on a regular basis. Perhaps before feature films at every movie theater? You should make that happen. Anyway, the Shorts Program D did not fail me. It was an excellent mix of styles and subjects, as you'd want in a Shorts program. I only wish I would've had time to see Shorts Programs A-C.
As previously mentioned, Jason Biggs was touted as being in attendance, but the program came and went and he was not to be found. Upon investigation I discovered he had to cancel due to other obligations (some film or something). Maybe some other time, Biggs. May be.
I did stop and chat with Terence Beesley after the Shorts and got this portroid:
Portroid of Terence Beesley at the Vail Film Festival
He, as you'd expect, was very nice. Ashley came up as I was leaving and said hi. That was the last I interacted with them, so I hope you're not expecting more stories about the Beesley/Jensens, because you will not get that from me. My deepest apologies.
Before the Award Ceremony, I returned to the Hospitality Lounge. It was as good a place as any (probably better than most) to have as a home base. They had a number (4 or more) of musical acts that played in turn throughout the festival. I caught Buddy, Laura Jansen, Holly Conlan, and Cary Brothers at various times. Throughout the musical performances, this guy was painting pictures. It was live art. Here's a still capture of the art in progress:
A painter painting at the Vail Film Festival
Cary Brothers on stage at the Hospitality Lounge at the Vail Film Festival
I had the chance to talk to Cary Brothers for a few minutes and take a portroid. We spoke about the demise and potential resurrection (Impossible Project) of Polaroid film. He summed it up well by saying, "F%&king digital cameras."
Portroid of Cary Brothers at the Vail Film Festival
You may recall from the beginning of this epic entry I mentioned a potential blizzard. Well, it sort of came in on Saturday as predicted, and therefore caused a delay in the arrival of Kevin Smith, which in turn delayed the start of the Award Ceremony. No big deal, really. It was like less than an hour delay, and we, as an audience, were very forgiving. It also gave me the opportunity to have some interesting conversations with the media handlers and publicity crew working the festival. I took portroids of them later in the night, but I will show them to you now (why wait?).
Portroids of Sam Chafos, Deborah Park, and Heather Boyle-Noland at the Vail Film Festival
At the Award Ceremony, awards were given out. I have a list of the winners, but wouldn't it be more fun for you to go to http://www.vailfilmfestival.org/ and read about them there? Sure it would. "Weather Girl" won Best Film. There, are you happy? Michelle Monaghan received the Excellence in Acting Award. "Garbage Dreams", Best Documentary. OK? Kevin Smith - Renegade Award. Discover the rest on the VFF website, like I already told you.
Kevin came up and accepted his award and told a tale of toilet traumas. I think you can find it on YouTube. I won't spoil the ending. It was very funny. The woman next to me was fancily dressed and perhaps in her 70s. She simultaneously laughed uncontrollably and showed surprised indignation (though not enough to not be greatly amused) at Kevin's abject honesty and unyielding grasp of language.
Kevin Smith accepting the 2009 Renegade Award at the Vail Film Festival
Next was a Q&A with Kevin Smith conducted by IFC's Matt Singer. Kevin wasn't comfortable sitting down for the interview, so he and Matt cosied up on stage, first with arms slung around each other and then holding hands. It was beautiful.
Kevin Smith being interviewed by Matt Singer at Vail Film Festival
Kevin Smith and Matt Singer holding hands during Q&A at Vail Film Festival
Due to the late start, they decided to do the red carpet photos after the Award Ceremony. Because of the nature of the photos I take, I was granted access to Kevin Smith in the theater "staging area" prior to his media walk. He and his wife, actress Jen Schwalbach, both posed for their portroids and were really friendly and easy to talk to. I'd always heard that about Kevin, but it's great to experience it first hand.
Portroids of Kevin Smith and Jen Schwalbach at the Vail Film Festival
Just off the red carpet I was able to talk to and get portroids of Matt Singer, Michelle Monaghan, and Tricia O'Kelley (there for the film "Weather Girl"). I also talked briefly to Kaitlin Olson about "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and she warned Tricia that I'd get right in her face with my camera (that's the nature of the Polaroid). Here are those shots:
Portroid of Matt Singer at the Vail Film Festival
Portroid of Michelle Monaghan at the Vail Film Festival
Portroid of Tricia O'Kelley at the Vail Film Festival
And, well, my friends, that's about it. I did not go to the Closing Night party and I did not go see Weather Girl (because it was sold out and Erica and Michael couldn't get in, so I went to see the action sport film "Life As A Movie" which was great). I hope it gets wide distribution, because I'd love to see it.
I also got portroids of the founders of the feast (unfair Scrooge reference, I just like the saying), the Vail Film Festival co-founders and directors, Scott Cross and Sean Cross.
Portroids of VFF co-founders Scott Cross and Sean Cross at the Vail Film Festival
The weekend was incredibly fun and I recommend you attend next year. You'll see me there. Say hi, or just wave awkwardly from across the room so I can squint at you and say to myself, "who the hell is that?" I'll wave back, even if it turns out you were really waving to someone else. How embarrassing!
See you there!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Vail Film Festival!!!! April 2-5, 2009!!!!

Based on my last entry, many of you probably thought I was going to pull out all my tricks (magic, or otherwise) to find my way to New York this coming weekend to get portroids of all the performers at the David Lynch Foundation's Change Begins Within concert (you know, the one with McCartney, Starr, Vedder, Lynch, Donovan, Simmons, Dern, Crow, Stern (recently added), Horn, et al). You would've been right, if you weren't wrong.

You might've also thought this coming weekend I would be attending the wedding of my good friend and old roommate Jivan Hall in Cancun, Mexico. I tried, my friends, but was not able to make it work. Sorry, Jivan and Sarah. I wish I could be there. I'm sure it will be beautiful and I send my love to you.

After two paragraphs of preamble and disclaimers of where I won't be, now I'll tell you the surprise of where I will be (not a surprise if you read the title of this blog entry (you just couldn't wait, could you? (you want to know what I'm getting you for Christmas? So impatient! I'm getting you a mug that says "World's Greatest Friend". Why? Irony.))).

This coming weekend, April 2-5, 2009, I will be attending the Vail Film Festival! That's a long weekend. Four days. I think I may only be there for two days of it, unless I can work some of that magic I referenced above (tricks!). I expect, though, that it will be an incredibly fun and entertaining weekend. We, in Colorado, have been getting so much snow recently that the skiing promises to be amazing. If you're a skiier (which you probably are (I'm not (my wife is))), you owe it to yourself to fly to Vail this upcoming weekend, ski, and take in some of the phenomenal events at the Vail Film Festival!! Festival passes are so affordable and get you discounted ski passes ($55). You'd be a fool to miss it. You don't want to be a fool, do you?

Here, let me tell you more about the festival.

If you believe online rumors, Jude Law will be there. Jude Law will NOT be there. It was a rumor. Unsubstantiated, and proven false. Don't come for the sole sake of hanging out with Jude Law. I would say you would be disappointed, but the roster of actual attendees and events would make being disappointed an impossibility.

Who will be there? Kevin Smith. Do I mean some other Kevin Smith than the writer/director of Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jersey Girl, Clerks 2, and Zack and Miri Make a Porno? No, that's the exact Kevin Smith I mean. He's being honored with the 2009 Renegade Award (well deserved). That award ceremony is happening on Saturday night (April 4, 2009).

OK, fine, Kevin is awesome, but who else will be there? Michelle Monaghan. Receiving the Excellence in Acting Award. Also on Saturday night. Looks to be a pretty great night, doesn't it? It does. You know Michelle from all the excellent acting she has done. Thus the award. You still have time to rent or buy her movies (if you don't already own them) before the festival. Here are some: Eagle Eye, Gone Baby Gone, Made of Honor, The Heartbreak Kid, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Trucker (opening night film at the festival, screening Thursday night (April 2, 2009)).

There are so many superb films screening at the festival, you should check out the schedule to see just what you can see. If I knew more about your tastes, I would make some recommendations. I, personally, am going to go see some of the shorts programs and a couple of the features.

One of the features I am going to see is the Closing Night (April 4, 2009) film, Weather Girl. While I have not seen any official confirmations, online rumors (not disputed) claim that Kaitlin Olson (who you may know from "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia) and Tricia O'Kelley ("The New Adventures of Old Christine) will be in attendance. You shouldn't miss that.

Also rumored to be in attendance are Jason Biggs (who you love in pretty much everything you've seen him do), Giancarlo Esposito (who directed a short film in this year's festival, and who I have met a couple times and is so incredibly nice), Julie Benz (from "Dexter"), Tom Everett Scott (with a short film he made), Jenny Mollen (for "Kidnapping Caitlynn"), Rhys Coiro ("Entourage" and "24"), and Ashley Jensen (from "Ugly Betty" and my favorite, "Extras"). Some of those people may not be there, but some may. I bet you can't wait to find out!!

The festival will also have a music lounge featuring Cary Brothers, Holly Conlan, Buddy, and Laura Jansen.

This, as you can maybe tell, is not to be missed.

You can follow the festival on twitter at either the official link or through my experiences as they happen (live!).

Look for me there. I will take your portroid and add you to the site. You are going to have the best time EVER!

See you at the Vail Film Festival!!!

PS - buy your passes at http://www.vailfilmfestival.org/ or by calling 970.476.1092

Thursday, March 19, 2009

David Lynch Foundation - 'Change Begins Within' Concert

As many (all) of you will remember, last summer I attended the David Lynch Weekend in Fairfield, IA. (If you don't remember, read the second half of the first sentence again, wait for a few seconds, and then think about what you just read. Now we all remember. )

Well, that was fun.

It also gave me the opportunity to get some great portroids of some of the special guests for that weekend. Here, I'll show them to you:

I also took some other portroids that weekend, but you'll have to go to the main site to find those. I'm not going to do all the work for you. That breeds laziness.
The point of all this is that there is an absolutely amazing concert coming up on April 4, 2009 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The concert (titled "Change Begins Within") is a benefit for the David Lynch Foundation (to teach 1 million children Transcendental Meditation). If that's not enough for you, please check out the lineup:
Hosts - David Lynch, Laura Dern, and Russell Simmons.
Musicians - Sir Paul McCartney (from The Beatles), Ringo Starr (also, from The Beatles), Eddie Vedder (who you might remember from Pearl Jam), Donovan, Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper, Moby, Paul Horn, Bettye Lavette, and Jim James (frontman for My Morning Jacket).
Sounds like a pretty awesome concert, right? You should totally go. It's sold out. Sorry. I should've told you sooner. Believe me, I'm as disappointed as you are. I tried to get tickets, but just wasn't fast enough. Wouldn't that have been incredible (for me) if I could've gone and got portroids of all these legendary performers? You would've totally loved that (on my behalf).
There is some good news, though, my internet friends (I consider us friends (best)). Lots of good news. I will enumerate it:
1. There will be live Twittering (tweeting) from backstage by the DLF.TV crew. You must follow them at the following addresses: @heatherhartnett, @boozby, @edenweaver, @amy__darling, and @dlftv.
2. There will be a live backstage webcast on DLF.TV.
3. The tweets from enumeration 1 above will be consolidated in a live twitter feed, also at DLF.TV.
4. Sounds like you may want to check out this DLF.TV site. They are running a beta now. You can access it, thanks to portroids.com (and probably lots of other feeds), using the beta code: thealphabet
5. You may want to get on that beta site (see point 4), as there is still a chance for you to get tickets to the concert (WHAT? Really? YES!!) via a DLF.TV ticket giveaway drawing. You also could win the opportunity to have a Meet and Greet and Photo Op with David Lynch. So, you should go to DLF.TV right away and sign up (I totally hope you win).
6. Did I mention the DLF.TV website? Lots of cool exclusive content from David Lynch. You might not want to miss that.
OK, also look at this promo video, since you're here:

David Lynch Foundation Television Trailer (DLF.TV) from DLFTV on Vimeo.

After all this promotion for the event, my guess is that you guess that I am somehow working for the David Lynch Foundation. Well, I'm not. But a lot of my friends are. Friends like Sam Lieb and Eli Lieb and Heather Hartnett and Ed Murphy and probably other friends, too. You can find a lot of their portroids on my site (portroids.com - where you are right now!).

So, anyway, if you already have tickets to the concert, you're lucky and I'm jealous of you. If you don't, we can hang out together on the internet watching other people have a great time. Awesome!!!

Seriously, check out DLF.TV,

Monday, March 16, 2009


Portroids is now on Twitter. Why? I guess because it's easy and the easy way is always more alluring (like the Dark Side of the Force).

Look for instant updates of what is happening in the world of portroids in a twit format.