Friday, December 16, 2005

A Truncated Update

A week ago, Erica and I were in New York. I bet you're wondering if I got any new portroids on that trip. Would I be writing if I didn't? Maybe. But, of course, the answer is yes. I got eleven (ten, really).

Before we left, we had some pre-arranged plans. One of which I hoped would result in the completion of yet another Year 3 Goal, and another possible plan that would result in the completion of one of the Fan Challenge goals. Neither came to fruition. Pre-guessed goals were fruitless. Fruition was -ion. Does that make sense? I doubt it.

I suppose things would be best explained by discussing what new portroids I did actually portroid. Let us begin.

Kevin Laurie - Kevin is a business contact. He is my investment contact at Lehman Brothers. If you're looking for an investment contact, Kevin is a good guy to know. At breakfast, he noticed my Polaroid camera and asked me about it. We discussed my site, and one thing led to his portroid being presented on this here the internet. Ta-da!

Alexis Stember - if I had a wish, it would be to put Alexis's portroid in the fantroid section. But, my friend, wishes don't always come true. My own rules forbid it. Although Alexis has been requesting her portroid be taken for over a year, and her first real interaction with me was in reaction to the portroids site, I have had foreknowledge of her from years ago when we both lived in the same Iowa town. She's also friends with some of my friends. Therefore, she doesn't go in fantroids. Oh well for her.

Undeveloped Portroid - this is what happens if you remove the film cartridge when there is still film inside. It's gold, baby!! This is for the sake of science and curiosity. Don't let it kill your cat. Science, that is. You can't stop curiosity from killing you cat. It's what it does. It's a killer.

Rosie O'Donnell - my first celesbian portroid! Rosie is currently in the Broadway musical Fiddler On The Roof. I've seen this musical, but not on this trip. I did see Rosie at the stage door though. I also saw Harvey Fierstein. I asked if I could take his picture, he said "Of course you can, cookie" and then walked off. Thus no portroid. Rosie was more accessible. Friendly and gracious. She mentioned she may try to get back into television - with a variety or game show. Just so you know.

How I happened to be at the Fiddler stage door is like this: I walked over there. We actually saw the musical Wicked, but decided to pursue portroids other than Rue McClanahan (a Golden Girl!) and Ben Vereen (though both would've been excellent additions to the site). I went by three other stage doors before settling on Fiddler. That's the story. Aren't you glad you read all that?

Those were the portroids I took on December 9. I took more. December 10 and 11. I haven't posted them yet. I'm busy. Too busy.

I'll post them later. When I'm not so busy. Not too busy.

Busily Yours,

Next Time On ... Portroids Blog! A failed mission, a surprise success, and the most jolly fictional man and the most evil fictional man in .. the ... same ... day!!! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

20% Success, 2 Strikes, and Fan Challenges Revealed!

We're a month into Portroids Year 3, and I've already hit two (maybe three) of my Year 3 goals (more on this later). That's not too bad, right? At this rate I may get all ten. But, hold the horses, as I haven't yet revealed the challenges put forth by you, the adoring portroid public.

So, without any more ado, here are the Top Ten Fan Favorite Portroid Challenges for Year 3:

1. Figment (from EPCOT)
2. Someone from the TV show 'Survivor'
3. Will Ferrell
4. Sarah Jessica Parker
5. Jack Black
6. Axl Rose
7. Another fantroid
8. Someone who first acquired fame in the 80s
9. Steve Martin
10. A significant person in politics (past or present)

OK, the game is afoot!

Now, it's time to discuss the portroids I took thus far this portroids' fiscal year.

In reverse.

eeL gnA. Sorry. Ang Lee. Red carpet portroid for the Denver Film Festival closing film Brokeback Mountain (which he directed!). It's about gay cowboys, but straight cowboys will enjoy it too because it has boobs (Anne Hathaway's and Michelle Williams' boobs, in fact). That's the kind of stuff straight cowboys (and gay cowgirls) like. It's also a beautifully directed film with a great story, and all cowboys can agree that's A-OK.

Annie Proulx. I wish she could fulfill #8 for my Top Ten Challenge, but I've never read any of her work, so it's hard to admire her work without that foreknowledge. Maybe I could cheat and read and admire in arrears and then claim myself at 30% success ... maybe? Anyway, I got this portroid on the red carpet for the same screening of Brokeback Mountain as discussed above. The movie is based on her New Yorker short story.

Philip Baker Hall. This is a great actor. I asked him about working on Curb Your Enthusiasm and he claimed to have had a lot of fun. Maybe he was just acting when he told me that. Maybe that's how dedicated he is to his craft. Maybe not. Anyway, it was really great meeting him. Wonderful man.

Blair Underwood. I got this at a book signing. How boring is that? Very. He wasn't boring though. He was engaging. It's just boring that I got the portroid at a signing. I mean, how obvious.

Matt Mulhern. Writer and director of the new film, Duane Hopwood. This was a really good movie. You'll probably not get a chance to see it. For that, I feel sorry for you. Sometimes I can't help but feel sorry for you. Sorry.

David Schwimmer. This is where this portroid should be, but it isn't. Nope, he eluded me yet again. This is the second time I saw David Schwimmer and missed a portroid. The first time was in New York. He was in SoHo talking to Judy Greer (which would've meant another Arrested Development portroid). This time he was doing a One-On-One interview for the Denver Film Festival. I was there, but he scooted (not literally. Literally, he skedaddled, but that was too long a word to write) out the back door as soon as it ended and I was thwarted. Don't believe me? My head is in the bottom right of this picture from the Denver Film Festival website:

Two rows in front of me on the aisle is Matt Mulhern, for you back-of-head trivia buffs out there.

Greg Behrendt: He fulfilled my #1 goal for this year (not #1 as in top priority, but #1 as in the first on my list). A portroid previously missed. We saw him at the Aspen Comedy Festival last year, but didn't get his picture. Now that has been remedied. I love remedies. They cure what ails you.

Rick DeMint: This is a portroid of my portroid Halloween costume. I went as a portroid of myself. I only later realized it would've been cooler to go as a portroid of someone else, thus doubling the costume awesomeness, but alas I wasn't that foresightful.

Alan Lee: He's someone involved in the Lord of the Rings movies, and therefore fulfills another of my Year 3 challenges. It's been suggested that this may be somewhat of a cheat, since I knew I would see him before I set the goals, but I say it's been a goal of mine well before I set the goals and I'm counting it. He was really cool to meet and he showed a lot of his design work for the movie. All in all a fun event.

Um, that's all I have to say. Quite likely my most boring blog post ever, and that is somehow an accomplishment.

Boringly Yours,

Monday, October 24, 2005

Happy 2nd Anniversary, Me!!

Today is the second anniversary of the first time a portroid was ever taken (by me). October 24, 2003. That seems like a long time ago. Let's reminisce.

I started portroids as a means of documenting my life. In two years I have had a chance to take portroids of almost all of my friends, almost all of my family (including both of my maternal grandparents, who have since both passed away), tons of celebrities, a few strangers (who have since become friends), co-workers, and a portroids fan (which is such a weird concept to me - a portroid of someone I would've never had a portroid of if it wasn't for portroids - self-propagating, I love it!).

I am so grateful for all the opportunities I've had over the past two years. I mean, it's insane that I've gotten to meet so many people I respect and idolize. At the first anniversary of portroids, I wouldn't have believed the portroids I took in the past year. I feel truly blessed.

In Year 1, I took 168 portroids (not all of which were posted - so don't go counting).
In Year 2, I took 99 portroids (not all of which were posted - count if you insist - you'll be disappointed).

In Year 3, I am going to be even more ambitious. No more 40.5% portroid attrition. Let's get more portroids this year than any prior year!! I may even resort to duplicating portroid subjects (I've done it before, so it's not beneath me) from prior years. People change, let's capture that on film!

I already started a Year 3 project (I'm ambitious). It's called Self-Portroids. Here's the first image from the series. It's me (of course). Maybe it will be all portroids of me, or maybe I'll convince other people to take their own portroid (with my camera, with me there - let's not get crazy with everyone in the world thinking they are freelance portroid artists - I mean, c'mon).

Celebrity portroids are an important part of why my hit count went from 10/mo to 10,000/mo. I know where my bread is buttered (on both sides!) and I plan to continue in this great tradition.

Here are my top ten celebrity portroid goals for Year 3 (in no particular order):

UPDATED (03/11)

1. A previously missed portroid (someone I saw, but didn't get a portroid of) - ACCOMPLISHED 11/04 - Greg Behrendt
2. A cast member from the TV show LOST.
3. Someone associated with the Lord of the Rings films - ACCOMPLISHED 10/27 - Alan Lee
4. Someone associated with the original Star Wars films - ACCOMPLISHED 12/11 - Ian McDiarmid
(the last three have made me appear, quite correctly, as kind of a geek)
5. A musical legend in their field/genre. ACCOMPLISHED 03/11 - Russell Simmons
6. Another cast member from Arrested Development ACCOMPLISHED 03/10 - Jeffrey Tambor
7. An unportroided member of The State (I have 5 of 11 already).
8. An author who's work I admire.
9. An actor or director on a film set.
10. An up-and-coming comedian.

OK, those are my goals. Now here's the challenge. Send me your suggestions for who I should try to portroid (as a verb?) in the coming year. You can send specific names, or general categories (as I did above). I will pick ten from all the submissions to post as Top Ten Fan Favorite Portroid Challenges for Year 3. Get to work. The year has begun!!

Congratulations (to me) on Year 2's completion and Year 3's commencement!

I can't wait to hear from you.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005


A new portroids section, or concept, or robotic-sounding amalgam (or whatever you will) has been created. I mean, the section hasn't actually been created yet, but it will be ... soon. It's Fantroids! Portroids of fans of portroids who have no other connection to me other than their fandom of all that is portroids. It's complicated, but just go with it.

Over the years I've received many an e-mail. Some of those e-mails include a message the likes of: "There should be a portroid of me." And I agree. There should be a portroid of you, stranger.

I often reply with this very sentiment. And until recently, no one has taken me up on the challange ... until recently.

On September 30, I received one of my typical e-mails: you're so great, I love your site, how did you get to be so awesome, there should be a portroid of me (the content of the e-mail has been changed to protect the intellectual property of the sender as well as to exaggerate the praise toward me).

In my typical fashion, I replied to the effect of "glad you like the site, you're right there should be a portroid of you, where do you live, maybe someday I'll be in your town, I agree I'm awesome, blah, blah, blah."

In typical fashion, my reply was met with silence. Happens all the time.

Time passes.

Time comes for my weekly ego-search. search portroids. What have we here? Some new links of people talking about portroids. I click a new one and I'm brought to a blog entry written on September 30 by the same person who e-mailed me. Being the gracious person I am, I post a comment on her blog thanking her for the mention. I also notice that she only lives about 40 minutes from me and I tell her so. Suddenly a fantroid becomes a possibility.

After another blog post, comment, e-mail, e-mail, blog post, e-mail, an arrangement is made for the very first fantroid to be taken. She and her husband will be coming to my town to do whatever it is people do when they come to my town (shop and eat and walk around and stuff, I guess) on Sunday, October 16. We make a plan to meet.

OK, by now you've probably guessed that we did indeed meet and I took portroids and about three minutes and an exciting dog/squirrel chase later, portroids history was made.

So ladies and gentlemen, I'm proud to present the very first (and maybe last?) FANTROID!!!!

This is Beth. I also took a portroid of her husband, Sam, but I don't know if he's a fan, so he doesn't get the substitute "fan" over the commonplace "por" to make "portroids" "fantroids". He does get to be on the site though, so if you want to see his picture, I'm not stopping you. It's here. See? I even made it easy for you. I'm nothing if not an enabler.

So, that's it.

That's it,


Monday, September 26, 2005

Top Of The List

The ultimate portroid. It really doesn't get any better than this.

More later,

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Backlog Blog - Old News

On Friday, September 9, my wife's friend's mother (see how cool portroids is?), who writes for a local paper, got some comp tickets to a concert at a local venue. She had a few extra and invited us along. We agreed. Then I found out who was performing and I was like, "Damn! I wish I wasn't going to this concert." I know that sounds harsh, but normally when I think about concerts I want to attend, Sophie B. Hawkins isn't in the Top 10 (sorry, Sophie, you were #11). Nevertheless, we went. The place was jam-packed full of lesbos (and I'm not talking about the oxymoronic and ever-elusive lipstick-lesbian either).

Contrary to my contrary attitude, I ended up having a good time. How's that for a glowing review? "And after being dragged against his will, clawing and biting, he ultimately enjoyed himself, despite his fierce initial protestations." It'll probably be written on the back of her next album jacket (because evidently albums still have jackets (and random internet reviews)).

The opening act was a local talent by the name of Melissa Ivey. She was extremely entertaining and had more spunk than Ron Jeremy. Look for her when she comes to a town near you (it may even be your town, which is as near you as near you gets). Here's her website. Look at it if you want. I met her and her guitarist, Michael Whalen, after the show. They were interested in portroids, as all good people should be.

Now let's discuss Sophie B. Hawkins for a moment. When her show started, my first thought was "this woman has lost her mind". She was nuts. Flailing all over the stage, playing the piano with her head, a "free-spirit" with no inhibitions. I was dumbstruck. And then gradually I started to get it. I started to enjoy it and find it normal behaviour (and to start spelling behavior with a "u"). She had mesmerized me and brought me into this world, against my best wishes. By the time she got to her show-stopper (Damn! I Wish I Was Your Lover), I was hooked. I mean, I didn't buy her album or anything, but I immersed myself in this craziness. I had become a bull-dyke lesbian.

Post-show, we waited around and talked to her in the lobby. She was excited to have her portroid taken, as she love Polaroids (who doesn't though, I mean, really?). Her stage personality and non-performing personality were so completely opposite, it was amazing. I was amazed. I'm easily amazed though. We had a nice time talking to her, and then we left.

That's the end of this update. I have so much more to say about so many more interesting things, but ... you know, I don't want to right now.

I just got back from a week-long trip that yielded maybe ten new pictures (ten that I am permitted to post, that is), and this weekend I intend to get the mother of all portroids (if everything works as planned). I can't wait! Neither can you!


Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Recap Havoc

After two or so weeks of intense portroiding, I finally got around to posting the resulting new portroids. 23 in all.

If you think I'm going to spend the time and effort to explain the circumstances of each of these new portroids, you've got another think coming. The other think you have coming is another thing entirely. A whole 'nother think thing.

I think.

OK, since you twisted my arm (kind of softly, but twisted nonetheless), I'll break it down generally. It'll be what the hip-hop kids refer to as a "general break-down". I don't really know what that means. I think it has something to do with dancing. Hip-Hop Dancing!

Category 1: Papa's Funeral

Most of the pictures I took were of the remaining family members whose portroids have not yet been portroided. I also took some pictures of some kids who aren't old enough to sign their own names (an extreme breakage of the rules). I had their parents sign for them. I'm a rebel.

Here are the new ones:

Shelley Watson-Aguiar - my mom's best friend since 1st grade (I'm sure if you've ever talked to my mom, she's told you this. She won't shut up about her best friend since 1st grade, Shelley. Well, here's her picture.)
Toni Tibbets - this is Shelley's* sister.
Madalyn Watson - this is Shelley's* mom. 91 years old, she is.
Laurie Miller - this is my cousin. Cousin Laurie. See the family tree to see how she fits into things.
Bob Schow - my uncle Bob. Not the Uncle Bobby on my Dad's side, but the uncle who is married to my Mom's sister, Aunt Cookie. That's the Bob I'm talking about.
Gabriel Walker - my nephew. A baby. He can't sign his name. My sister did it for him. He's a cheater.
Erica DeMint - my wife. A blurry portroid (as per usual). I'm kind of crummy at this. One of my Grandma's crucifixes is in the picture, so that has to count for something.
Devin Alan Miller - my second cousin. Jim Alan's son. Cousin James, or whatever. Signed by "James".
Emily Rayne Miller - another second cousin. Billy's daughter. I mean, Cousin William. I don't know if her last name is Miller. His is. He signed this portroid.
Jason Bressler - this guy was a surprise guest at my grandfather's funeral, playing the bagpipes while my Cousin Billy (William) wrapped up his eulogy and we pallbearers transported the casket to the hearse. This bastard made me cry.
Ben Bruner - my brother's friend. He ate some of my Mom's French toast. She said it was the best French toast she's ever tasted. No one else said that. Not even Bruner.

Category 2: Colorado Visitors

Leslie Robarge - she went to college (I think) with my father-in-law. She's a friend of the family (on my wife's side). I would say she's a friend of my side of the family too, if you count me as being "my side of the family". I hope you do.
Benj Myers - you know, it's Benj. He's that guy who went to school with us, but was a few grades younger. He used to listen to rap music. Now he's some sort of Literature Masters student at Johns Hopkins. Benj. Why is he biting his lip? I know, right?

Category 3: Bright Lights, Big City (as my old boss Doug Vaughn used to say)

We went to New York over the weekend and got some portroids.

David Hyde Pierce - voted best quote uttered while in the portroid process (seconded by Eddie Izzard's "Oh, for crap's sake"). It's on the main page of portroids.
Alan Tudyk - great performer. Nice guy. Loves polaroids (but what about portroids? No! No one loves portroids!)
Billy Crudup - also a nice guy. Made time for everyone waiting outside his show. Picture is a little blurred. Typical of me.
Jeff Goldblum - cuddled up for a picture with Erica (or Mrs. Photographer, as he called her) and then made a fun, kooky pose for his individual portroid. He was really quite great with all the fans. Good for him.
Rick DeMint - just a second shot for me. First portroid taken by Erica.
The SugarHill Gang - say what? You mean the Rapper's Delight SugarHill Gang? That's what I said. Check it. And now you show that even you know the words to the first part of Rapper's Delight. We're all so impressed with you.
Tom Wopat - yes, yes, yes, it's that Tom Wopat. Yes, the same one who was in Annie Get Your Gun on Broadway. He was also in Glengarry Glen Ross on Broadway. That's what I saw him in.
Gordon Clapp - same text as for Tom Wopat, but replace "Tom Wopat" with "Gordon Clapp", and Annie Get Your Gun with NYPD Blue. Yes, keep the "on Broadway" after NYPD Blue, just for fun.
Frederick Weller - saw him first in The Shape of Things, now in Glengarry Glen Ross. Thought he was great in both. Here's his portroid for all you suckers who thought I'd never get it. What up now?
Liev Schreiber - awesome actor. I can't wait for his directorial debut with the new Everything Is Illuminated film. He also wrote the screenplay. Regarding portroids, he stared at me for ten seconds, after asking if I was going to sell the picture on ebay**, before he would sign it. I'm not going to sell it.

That's it. No more portroids for now. Maybe later.

I said maybe later!

*Shelley, in case you don't remember, is my mom's best friend since 1st grade. Thanks for the reminder, Mom.
**For extra credit, and your name on my website: other than Liev Schreiber, name two people who asked me if I planned to sell their portroid on ebay. I believe three people have asked.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Goodbye Papa

Yesterday my grandfather passed away. Cancer. Sucks.

I added a new page to the site showing the direct blood descendants of my grandparents, as they relate to portroids.


Monday, August 08, 2005

G-Ma's B-Day

Today is my grandma's birthday. I don't know if it can actually be called a birthday anymore, because it's the first birthday since her birth that doesn't mark her reaching one more year. She passed away in January (the 14th). Cancer. Sucks.

That's all I have to say today.


Friday, July 22, 2005

Where You Been At? ... A Portroids Blog Update

You know, I've been around.

I've traveled a lot lately and carried my camera with me each and everywhere, but with no success at capturing new portroids. I'm sorry to have failed you. I know I'm a big disappointment (like when you inadvertently stab your thumb through the base of your Eat-It-All wafer ice cream cone and mid-way through your ice cream eating, it starts dripping out that hole and the bottom gets all soggy and you have to start sucking on the base and it just gets worse and you wish you never got an ice cream cone at all), a disappointment to the n-th degree.

Although I've been a failure, I haven't been a total failure. No? I managed to get four new portroids since my last blog update, so ... that has to count for something. Yes?

Q. What do two of my newest portroids have to do with one of my older portroids?
A. Donald Trump

That question and answer don't really make sense, but that's because I couldn't be bothered to think it out. I just couldn't be bothered. It'll kind of make sense soon, I hope.

New portroids:

The Grimace: Everybody loves The Grimace (ironically, nobody loves to grimace). I think The Grimace has something to do with McDonald's milkshakes. He also starred in a McDonald's television commercial with Donald Trump. (See? It's all coming together, like what Hannibal loves a plan to do.) Mr. Grimace was making an appearance at the newly remodeled Executive McDonald's near my house. He was in the back when we got there and the help had to go yell for him to make an appearance. I saw a flyer weeks before and couldn't miss the opportunity. He's an icon.

Robin Himmler: You may have seen her on The Apprentice as Donald Trump's assistant Robin. (See what I did there? I gave you the answer to the second part of the above riddle. I'm not such a bad guy after all.) Here are some things (some things I gleaned through direct conversation and overheard conversations with others) you may not know about Robin: she attended some art school in Manhattan (though I don't know which one, but for sure it was one of them); though some people evidently don't know it, she wasn't the winner of The Apprentice, but an already existing staff member with some cameos on the show; she and Raj are friends, but don't date; she claims that Donny Trump (my name, not hers) hand-picked all the candidates for the next The Apprentice, so stay tuned; and according to the guy who tried to convince me to go over and get her autograph, "she's single".

Ann McKevett: America's Hardest Working Admin and Swingline's 2005 Admin Pro of the Year. Need I say more?

Paul Feig: Paul Feig is cooler than you (unless the "you" in question is actually Paul Feig reading this, in which case it would be really hard (though probably possible) to be cooler than yourself. Hi, Paul). Paul Feig is also cooler than you think. Have you ever played a nerd on The Facts of Life? Paul has. Have you ever created a critically acclaimed TV show that spoke to misfits and weirdoes everywhere? Paul has. It was called Freaks and Geeks. Ever heard of it? Have you ever waited until you were 24 to lose your virginity? Paul did. That's not very cool, but he wrote a book about it, and that is cool. Did you ever write a book about losing your virginity at the age of 24? I didn't think so. It seems to me that you haven't done a lot of the things that Paul Feig has done. I haven't either, so don't think I'm just picking on you (even though I am actually just singling you out. You should really look at yourself and try to change your life. WWPFD? Seriously, you're kind of a loser).

That's it folks. That's all I have to say for myself. I make no apologies.


Instant Update: Paul Feig also mentioned that he would be directing the premiere episode of Season 3 of Arrested Development next month. He has directed five other episodes so far. How many have you directed? Loser.

Side Note: Thanks to a Korean friend of mine, I have finally seen all of Arrested Development Season 2, and I loved it!! Jason Bateman can finally get off my back about this. If you haven't seen Season 2 yet, you can watch them all on Fox starting next Friday (July 29, 2005). Check your local listings. Season 2 DVD to be released October 11. Season 3 to begin September 19.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Pre-Birth Grudges and the 2/10 Tie-Up

I recently added a new portroid to the directory, that of Jane Fonda. She was signing her new book called ... something or other (not actually called "something or other", but I can't remember the exact title, it's something or other like "My Life's Things" or "What Makes Me Not You" or "Generic Autobiography Title" or some such). I didn't actually buy the book, so don't start throwing gang signs up at me and calling me names (like poor Rudolph who couldn't play any reindeer games. I bet he tried to get his revenge on them by buying Ben Affleck's movie 'Reindeer Games' and playing it on his DVD player. Little did he know the joke was again on him. Rudolph, you red-nosed asshole, when will you learn?)

Anyway, as I approached the booksigning, I noticed about ten protesters out front. I tried to imagine the lives of these people.

Back in 1972, a year before I was born, "Hanoi" Jane Fonda visited Vietnam to spread her anti-war propaganda. Evidently she thought war was bad and that Nixon was a turd for bombing civilians. She claims she supports troops, but not war (sounds like every other liberal modern-day movie star in regards to I-raq, but I digress). So, on the last day of her tour she goes and visits with some enemy troops and has her picture taken shooting down American planes and torturing US POWs (you know, just for fun - like the way we humiliate our prisoners in our current spreading of democracy - except now we have video footage instead of just photographs. You gotta love technology). All was good until the US soldiers caught wind of this and got hella P.O'd. Imagine it: this girl that you lusted after in Barbarella, probably to the point of manual release, was shelling the shit out of you and your friends in that hellhole of 'Nam (like it wasn't bad enough only having young Asian girls and boys to rape). She was grenading your medical tents and fingering the shrapnel holes. What a traitor! A dirty Commie traitor!

Fast forward thirty-two years. In the meantime, the US Government sold weapons to terrorists and trained them so they could turn against us in later years, but ignore that. What's really important is that Jane Fonda has written a book and she's coming to your town to try to sell it. Oh boy. Let the planning begin. First, you've got to talk to your boss on the factory floor and explain that an old enemy is coming to town and you need a day off work to let her know she hurt your feelings. Next, you've got to stop at Wal-Mart (America's Store) and buy some poster board, some markers, glue, and a wooden stake. Once home, you start constructing your message to the masses. Ooh, ooh, ooh, best print off one of those pictures from the internet of Hanoi Jane eating some dead GI's eyeballs. Paste that to your poster board and write next to it "Traitor!" and "Eyeballs Eater!" and "I'll Never Jerk-Off To You Again ... Starting Tomorrow!" Now, get a good night's sleep - if that's even possible with the constant flashbacks and shell-shock.

Early morning, grab a coffee at Starbucks (America's Coffee Shop), and post up outside the bookstore. Some of your friends are already there. They didn't have to get time off work because their jobs were shipped overseas thanks to the President they put in office. No matter. Jane Fonda's in town and she's to blame for all your woes! When the hell are the news cameras going to arrive? You didn't spend half the night gluing glitter to the half-eaten eyeballs just to show Hank and Tommy (though they appreciate the extra effort).

The day passes without much fanfare. You shake your signs at a couple people entering the store, but no one really seems to be affected. Oh well, at least the message will strike the heart of Ms. Fonda. It'll be all new to her. Your 32-year grudge will finally be understood by she who personally betrayed you. Thank God! Maybe if you had taken any of her great many apologies over the years seriously, you would've been at work today (evidently it was a pretty eventful day. Smitty lost yet another finger covering for you at the can press . They may not let him work anymore with only three fingers between both hands. There may be an opening for one of your protesting buddies, so not all's lost).

You go home after a long day of holding your sign, resting assured that today you made a difference in the world.

I, on the other hand, actually went to the booksigning event and listened to what Jane had to say. It was pretty informative and gave me insight into what makes her not you. I waited in line and took her portroid. I also told her I liked the movie Monster-In-Law. I wish I could tell you that was a lie, but it's not.

Anyway, judge me as you will, but J-Lo versus J-Fo? You just can't go wrong.

I feel I owe it to you to give a little more info about the Aspen Comedy Festival from three months ago. After my despair of not getting to see the Eddie Izzard show the night of Feb 10, I waited for Erica outside the theater. She came out all psyched about the show, but after she found out I didn't get in, she hid her excitement so as to not rub it in too deeply my missing it. We decided to wait outside the stage door to maybe catch him exiting and to at least get a portroid for this fine site. As we waited, a super surprise guest exited the stage door unexpectedly. It was a white-haired Christopher Guest. This is a guy I truly admire for his comic sensibilities, yet he turned such a sour face and grumpy disposition at seeing people outside the door that I didn't bother him with my inane request for capturing his likeness. Some teenage kids, likely stoned (as all teenage kids are) yelled out "Spinal Tap, Spinal Tap, Spinal Tap" to which he quietly replied, "That's right" and walked away swiftly. The teenagers left and we were joined by Drama Kid. Drama Kid is the kid from Everytown, USA who wears a ridiculous black fedora and fancies himself the next great world-class actor because he had the lead in his high school's production of "Boy Are We Gay". Drama Kid let us know the stars he had seen and we let him know the ones we had, and then we left because we suddenly felt much less cool than ever before in the existence of "cool". We went home and no portroids were taken, and my chance to see Eddie Izzard vanished. Oh well. The next days would be better.

That's it. I hope you had fun. If you didn't, because you took offense to everything I said, I'm sorry (that you take everything so seriously).

Until later.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Google's Revenge

My 'Nefarious Purposes' post from below has worked, but Google found a way to spite me for my backhandedness. Their robot scanned my links and added my pages, but in a horrible twist they have deleted my picture links from their search. Picture links are portroids' bread and butter and jam and honey and marmalade and peanut butter and orange juice and other breakfast things. I've been hoodwinked, and all due to my own imagined slickness.

Curse my slickness!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Five Up and Double-Down

Hi. I bet you've been wondering where I've been. I'll bet ten dollars. Did I win? If not, please send me your address so I can pony up. Damn! I was sure I was going to cash in on this wager. Double-or-nothing? OK ... we broke even (because now I'm sure your curiosity is piqued and you started actually wondering where I've been - and why I haven't finished telling the Aspen stories (which I promise to finish - though not in this post). See, your greed for $20 proved to be your downfall - now you've got nothing. How does that make you feel? Mad? Sad? Rad? Some other -ad? Write to me about your feelings, and I'll ignore them like your significant other does.)

This post is to tell you about some new portroids I portroided. There were only five, so don't get all "oh man, I've got to sit through all these boring so-ons and so-suchs again" because it'll be short-ish.

Jeffrey Wright - if you don't know Jeffrey Wright, or haven't seen him in a play, I feel sorrier for you than I did when I found out your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband ignores you when you tell them how you feel (God, that's sad for you). Jeffrey Wright is an amazing actor whose stage-presence is intimidating; whose dedication to character reality is awe-inspiring; and whose choice of work is always ... something that means the same as "cutting edge", "pushing the envelope", "beyond the cusp of 'the cusp'", or "breaking the bounds" without using these trite cliches. Jeffrey Wright is anything but trite. See him. I did. You want to be like me, don't you?

Amanda Peet - for the love of Peet, if you haven't yet made the connection between the first two new portroids, then I won't tell you. It's not my job to tell you everything you don't know. If that was my job, I would expect $10/hour plus benefits. Benefits can include periodic shoulder rubs, donuts on Fridays, and high fives on demand. I'll give you a taste of the information you can expect from me should you choose to employ my services: Jeffrey Wright and Amanda Peet are currently starring in an Off-Broadway play by famed playwrite Neil LaBute. The show is called This Is How It Goes and this is how it goes: a black man marries a white woman in the midwest and a white man comes between them with lots of twists and racism. Amanda Peet came into the production a week before it started (replacing Marisa Tomei). She did an incredible job. I'm not even going to disclaim that last sentence by referencing the sentence prior to it, as that would only take away from the performance with a wink and a how-do-you-do of "she was great ... considering". She was great. The portroid is a bit white-washed in the face area, but that's more my fault than hers.

Ben Stiller - he was the "white man" referenced above. Do I really need to tell you some things you already know about Ben Stiller? I mean, you know about him already, right? OK, I'll tell you a few things. Ben Stiller is seriously dedicated to comedy. It's his playground and he'll give you a comedic wedgie if you're the weak kid trying to play tetherball or four-square on his asphalt. This is all imagined. What isn't imagined is that I love Ben Stiller in a dramatic role (oh, don't cry - I love him in comedies too). In This Is How It Goes, Ben's character starts off kind of goofy and awkward and comedic (typical fare) and I thought "typical fare", but then as the story goes along he becomes more serious and dramatic and real and powerful. Neil LaBute's plays deal with sensitive issues realistically (reality being that we are all bastards and not at all sugar-coated). Ben Stiller plays into this perfectly. I was impressed.

He gets two paragraphs. After the show, we waited around outside to get a portroid, along with other autograph hounds. It's an ugly group and I hate to be part of it, but to get what the public demands (MORE PORTROIDS!), you make sacrifices. Ben was the last to leave (he was accompanied by the next portroid subject - stay tuned). He had his bike with him and was geared up to go. People surrounded him and he signed Playbills as they were thrust upon him, looking down at the ground primarily. Some people posed next to him while he bore a few photographs (I never really like pictures like this because who is going to believe that Ben and you are pals - even with photographic evidence). He signed another Playbill and announced "last one". Crap! I hadn't had my chance yet, but I was already positioned directly in front of his front wheel (not by design). He broke his own word and signed a couple more, so I took a chance and asked if I could get a quick picture. He agreed and smiled for the Polaroid. He signed it, and while doing so I told him how great I thought he was in the show. This was when he turned human (as opposed to a duty-bound robot?). He looked me in the eye, almost as if he wanted to make a sincere connection, and thanked me. I nodded and smiled. Erica, who was next to me, expressed her appreciation of his performance and he made the same effort with her. She didn't ask him to sign her Playbill.

Jason Bateman - he was the one who left the building with Ben Stiller (as referenced above). He was standing off to the side while Ben was beleaguered. One guy approached and asked for an autgraph on his This Is How It Goes Playbill, of which Jason had no connection. He signed it anyway. Why not? I thought I couldn't lose, so I went up and told him that I really love Arrested Development (which I do) and that I hope it gets brought back for another season (which I do). He said that there is a really good chance that it will (which I hope is true). I asked to take his picture, he agreed, he signed, it's up for you all to see. I mentioned to him that we had gone to the Aspen Comedy Festival and were sad that the Arrested Development Live show was cancelled (as noted in my February 8 blog post), to which he replied that he was hosting SNL that same weekend (as noted in my February 8 blog post). He also said that they were hoping to do the Aspen show next year if the committee will have them (I hope they do). I reiterated that I hope the show is still on next season, and with a wink he indicated that it likely will be. Ben walked by and Jason asked me if I had seen the episode Ben was in. I had to admit that I hadn't seen it, and he shook his head in mock disappointment and told me I had better catch up (truth be told, I haven't seen any of the Season 2 episodes, so I have lots of catching up to do. I started Season 1 when it came out on DVD and by then Season 2 had already begun and I didn't want to start it mid-season. I know it's a horrible excuse, but I'm waiting for the DVD, or for reruns from the S2 beginning - I don't like trying to catch up mid-stream. I've made a huge mistake).

Erica asked Jason to sign her Playbill and when he agreed, she shook her head and said she was just kidding. Ben Stiller was standing right there and she hadn't asked him to sign it, so she thought it'd be funny for Jason to sign and not Ben. The joke was kind of lost, but I liked it. As we walked away, Erica said with a smile, "I hope I didn't offend Justin Bateman." I'm sure Justin was just fine.

Patton Oswalt - if you remember from my other posts, we'd seen Patton performing in Aspen and really loved it. I didn't get a portroid there, which maybe you didn't know because I never finished telling that tale, but I didn't (sorry to ruin the ending). When we heard he was going to be doing some shows in New York while we were there, we were like "Hell yeah!!" Opening for Patton was our old friend Eugene Mirman (whose portroid has never been taken - this trip was no exception to this rule). Patton is hilarious, but what I find to be best about him is that his show is never the same. He mixes it up with different jokes and a conversational style with the audience. He's good (even if he looks like he just came from a Heroclix tournament in a comic store basement - which he likely just did). After the show he was standing in the corner talking to fans. We waited our turn and spent a few minutes talking to him about how much we enjoy his comedy and how we had seen him in Aspen. I asked to take his picture and he thought it was weird that I wanted a picture of just him. I showed him the four other pictures I had taken right before his show and he mentioned that he and Bateman had just gone the other day to see Tambor's play (Jeffrey Tambor is in Glengarry GlenRoss currently playing on Broadway). What a name dropper. He also self-deprecatingly said, "you came from Stiller's show to mine?" He posed for the portroid (even though he thought it creepy - rightfully so) and made a grumpy face. He signed it, gave a raspberry, and exclaimed it "worthless!"

That's it. Longer than you wanted. Less exciting than promised. As always.


Thursday, February 10, 2005

Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, CO - Day 2

It's Thursday, February 10, 2005 (at least you can pretend it is if you're one of those people who have an imagination and live in a fairy world and have no sense of reality and only focus on the past. I can say with utmost confidence that you are NOT reading this on February 10, 2005 as I'm actually writing it on March 19, 2005. It's a little trick called adjustable date syndrome - like when you let some air out of your inflatable girlfriend for a softer ride (let out too much air and you may as well be dating a Hefty bag - take it from someone who knows)).

Anyway, pretending it's Day 2 of the Aspen Comedy Festival, Erica and I got up when the notion took us and got ready for a day of laughter. "Hee hee hee," I warmed up my laughing chords. "Ha ha ha," she practiced (I hope) as I walked by in the nude. Once giggling warm-ups and dressing and primping were complete, we took ourselves to Aspen (from Snowmass) in hopes of securing one more ticket for tonight's Eddie Izzard show. If you don't know why we were one ticket shy, please take the time to skim the prior posts and get up to speed. It's the least you can do (and isn't that what we all strive to do, the least possible?).

"Hey, you got tickets? Tickets? Tickets? Who's got tickets? Give me tickets. I want tickets." I asked. I said.

"No." "Get bent." "Sorry, butthole." "I'm looking too." "Good luck, jerk." "I do, but not for you." These are replies, real and imagined. No ticket for me to be had, not for tonight's Izzard show at least. Not yet, at least.

Time for our day's programming to begin. It began with Shorts Program 3. Back to the Isis Theater. I like Shorts. They aren't long, so if they're bad, they'll be over soon. These weren't bad, so it was pleasant to have them entertain us briefly. During the final short, and because our next movie was to start within minutes, we got up to leave. Once outside the theater, we saw the lobby was jam packed full of assholes clamoring to get in to where we had just departed. That's because it was where our next screening was being held, so we slunk back in and found our seats again. We could just stay there for the next show, so no bother getting up (though it was too late for that).

Once the shorts ended and the seats were being cleared of all people who wouldn't be staying to see the next show, I agreed to go out into the lobby to get Erica some popcorn and a drink. My sinister alternative reason was because I, myself, wanted to see if there were any possible portroid subjects to be portroided (new verb, I guess). Guess what? Outside, talking to some tall guy I had seen around a lot was Patton Oswalt (whose show we laughed at last night. Not "laughed at" like you do when a retarded kid stumbles over a drunken bum on the sidewalk and then starts punching the drunk in that way retarded kids love to punch people, but "laughed at" like you do when you are tickled inside by something you relate to in an unexpected way). Man, it would be awesome to get Patton Oswalt's portroid, but he keeps on talking to this guy who I don't know. Ah, fiddlesticks! Maybe later.

The next screening was a film called "Tennis, Anyone?" directed and starring Donal Logue, who you may remember from such things as talking on his phone in front of the St. Regis, and walking around chatting to some dude in the St. Regis, and sitting in the lobby socializing in the St. Regis. Same guy. Also in this film is, hey, it's that tall guy I've been seeing around, the one who was unintentionally hording Patton's attention when I wanted to go up and awkwardly ask if I could take his picture. His name is Kirk Fox. He turns out to be a pretty decent actor and so I forgive him for my not knowing him before. I'm pretty magnanimous.

The movie was an independent film striving hard to be independent (and I don't say that with condescension or derision or mocking tones - it's just that they specifically said they wanted it to be independent and to have the feel of independence). It was strongly autobiographical in that "this is what I know, so this is what I write" kind of way, similar to how novels by prolific novelists tend to have a protagonist who just so happens to be a novelist. This movie didn't have the "based on a true story" tagline, but from the Q&A afterwards, it seemed to be. This is neither positive nor negative, just something to write about the movie. I enjoyed it. That's also something to write about the movie. Something else to write would be to say it had it's obligatory share of quiet drawn-out moments where the character is "feeling" something, the staple of independent films, the silence of reflection that adds boredom to the interesting parts and separates it from those bastard mainstream "Hollywood" popcorn pictures. Because without the scene of the main character breaking his own heart with self-pitying self-realization, how the fuck are we supposed to know this art means something? We're not that smart.

After the movie, which I feel I need to reiterate I enjoyed, we were all invited to a champagne mid-day afterparty across the street to mingle with the filmmakers and ask poingnant questions. This would be my chance to get that longed-for Donal Logue portroid, but I wanted to go to McDonal's instead and get a two cheeseburger meal. Super Size Me wasn't playing this year (that was last year's hit), so I didn't have the associated guilt of killing myself with bad-for-me food. Ah, the delights of forced ignorance. Erica had a case of feeling barfy from the popcorn and wanted to get some "real food" in her in a hurry. She also lost her hat in the Isis Theater. That place eats winter wear.

After our late lunch, it was time again to go to the St. Regis to check the Exchange Table for last minute Eddie Izzard trade-ins. Time was running short and panic was starting to creep into my normally cool facade. No luck. No one had any and those who did weren't budging. I still had hope.

Upstairs in the lobby we saw Tom Green. You might remember him as the guy who lived on the boat in Charlie's Angels (maybe he didn't actually live on the boat - you're the expert - you tell me.). If you only remember him from that film, you must see some pretty crappy movies and you must not have watched MTV or Canadian Public Access Television (CPAT) from like 1994 (start CPAT) to the Year 2000 (end MTV) and/or you didn't see any of the other crappy movies he was in. I like Tom Green, but he was in a rush out the door, so I didn't get his picture (so don't go looking for it - because I'll tell you now for the last time, I never got his picture).

The next picture we saw was 'Bob The Butler' starring Tom Green. He was there and introduced the film (and no I didn't get his picture. I said it before, and I hate repeating myself, I DID NOT take Tom Green's portroid on this trip. Not at all. Not even once. Quit pestering me with the same old questions). In the audience with us was Christopher Lloyd. He had a big bushy mustache and an Aztec-ish print fleece jacket. He fit right in in Aspen. Kind of half-cowboy, half-hippie. After the movie, I saw both Mr. Lloyd and Mr. Green in the lobby. I was going to take a picture of each of them, but decided not to. I don't know why. The timing was oh so right. I just didn't feel like it, OK?

Oh, and I found Erica's hat.

While waiting for the next show (The Chippertons) to start, we checked one last time the Exchange Desk, only to be mocked and scoffed at as if our our own increasing desperation for the elusive Eddie Izzard ticket wasn't demeaning enough. There's nothing sexier than desperation, but couple that with the embarrassment of public rejection and damn that's hot!

We killed the remaining time watching Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder broadcast live their Majority Report radio program on Air America from the St. Regis Lobby. While we waited, Stephen Tobolowsky passed through. He had on a coonskin cap. No picture. No proof. I could be lying. I could say he was wearing a Sherlock-Holmsian Deerstalker and you wouldn't know if it was true (unless you were there). Maybe he wasn't wearing a hat at all. Maybe he wasn't even there! Maybe I wasn't there! I was, though, and he was, and he was wearing a coonskin cap. You've got to believe that. You've just got to.

The Chippertons - it was over in 45 minutes, but seemed like a full hour. The tediousness reminded me of riding 'it's a small world' twice in a row. I know that doesn't sound all that tedious, but try it. You'll drown yourself in the ankle-deep waters before you hit Mexico on that second go. I think the monotonous happiness was supposed to play into the satire, but it was too annoyingly real to work effectively. The fake commercials were funny though, and given another subject, I can see how the "troupe" could make comedy work.

Taking the long way 'round, I've finally come to what I've been yammering about for three days. The Eddie Izzard Show. 8:30 PM at the Wheeler Opera House. We got there at 7:15. There were five people in the ticket holders line (Erica joined them), and one person waiting in the ticket buyer line. I was going to join the ticket buyer line, but was told by staff that because I had a Black Diamond Pass, I could wait in a new line all my own which gave me first priority for an extra seat after ticket holders had been satisfied. I would've been better served in the ticket buyer line.

As showtime grew nearer, the ticket buyer line grew, the ticket holder line grew faster, and my middle of the road line grew intermediately. We got moved to the far edge of the sidewalk as the sidewalk became more and more crowded. Behind me in line was my friend Al who I had met the day before. He was also seeking tickets to Izzard. He was also without luck. The ticket holder line stretched for blocks down the block. Erica helped by asking people in line if they were willing to sell a ticket. They weren't. I noticed, though, that some of the people from the ticket buyer line had moved over into the ticket holder line. It seems some ticket holders had given away their seats to what they thought were the first awaiters. Curse my across the sidewalk line! We were missing all the opportunities.

I waved goodbye to Erica as she and her front-of-the-line friends went into the theater. "Don't worry, I'll get in," I said, trying most to convince myself. A British guy in line behind me and behind Al and behind Al's wife made the astute comment that America was indeed not a classless society. This was punctuated by a special breed of new arrivals - the VIPs. VIPs get ushered in through the backdoor in hordes. The theater only seats 400-some people, but these swarms of More-Important-Than-Me-ers weren't worried because they held the golden ticket - knowing someone who knew someone who is someone. I knew no one. So, now it was VIPs, then ticket holders, then me and my ilk, then ticket buyers for priority entrance. Things were looking grim.

Oh, and take into account that we had now been standing outside for an hour and it was cold as a warlock's cock in a brass jock.

The ticket holder line never seemed to get any shorter, no matter the number of people allowed ingress. It was like a clown car in reverse. Until they hit capacity.

They filled a backflow room where some of the remaining ticket holders could watch the show on monitors, but it was standing room, and once that room filled, that was it. About 150 actual ticket holders still waited outside waiting to get in. We, in the standby line were told to no longer stand by. In the independent movie of my life, this was the moment where the close-up of my face revealed the inner destruction of all my hope, the self-pitying moment that spoke quietly the inner torment of my failure. I held this pose for as long as it took to bore anyone watching, and then I left. "This means something," I wanted them to think.


Nefarious Purposes

I would like to interrupt this long-delayed telling of our recent Aspen Comedy Festival experience in order to plug various neglected portions of the portroids website.

It seems our good friends at Google haven't roboted our site since May 2004, therefore all hits as a result of "Googling" someone are heavily weighted toward older material. We have plenty of new pictures up. Also, the aforementioned "we" is really just "I".

Here, since this blog is on a more regular robo-rotation, are some poignant links for all your Googling needs. I would like to point out that I find "Googling someone" to be "creepy" and "rude" and "fun", akin to using binoculars to spy through your neighbor's window (fun, yes, but how likely really are you to see them naked? Not very. Believe me, I know). But since "Googling" is what brings my hit count up, I cherish it. Oh boy, do I cherish it. - this page gets more hits than a bong at Chong's house - this page is the html equivalent of all the pictures I've taken in Portroids Year 2, and is grossly neglected by search engines - this page is where I link some STELLA comedy portroids and tales - this, of course, is the "main page". It's like when you say someone is your "main man", when really they're just a way for you to get an "in" with the cooler kids (e.g. "Main Page" is to "Portroids' Flash Site" as "My Main Man Kevin Bacon" is to ... ______?)

I've got more links, but I don't want to post them. I want to see if the robot can find them. I like to play with robots. Especially robots that dance. We could have a dance-off. Damn, that's cool.


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,

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

HBO's US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, CO - Preamble

Rambling Preamble

First, let me set the stage ... we attended the festival for one day in 2004 and loved it. This year we hoped to go for the full five-day event. We invited some friends to join us and they acted interested (bordering on excited) to partake. Before you get your hopes up, just know that they all flaked and backed out. Flakes.

It would just be me and Erica.

Ticket packages for the Aspen Comedy Festival went on sale in June of 2004 for the February of 2005 show. No events were yet announced, so I waited. Gradually, events were announced. Gradually, I grew more and more interested in attending, but wasn't sure how large a package I wanted (though all SPAM-brand e-mails tell me the larger the package the better). Finally around November I decided to get the Black Diamond Pass, the largest package imaginable (the ladies were going to love me and the guys would all resent me). I delayed purchase though, as most of my available cash was being used for Christmas gifts and travel and other things that money is accustomed to buying. January 3, a month plus a week before the show, I ordered the tickets: a Black Diamond Pass for me and one for "the wife" (I don't know why "the wife" is in "quotes" because she is actually my "wife". Oh well). I booked four nights in a nearby hotel (The Stonebridge Inn in Snowmass) and everything was looking cheery.

About a week later they sent an e-mail announcing the time had come to choose the shows we wanted to attend. I scurried online. I scrolled through the choices, mentally preparing a list of the must-sees and mentally undressing a list of the must-misses (you know, to make them feel self-concious and unabashedly ashamed). Scrolling the 'I's, my heart stopped and my pulse quickened (is that even physically possible? (I'm no doctor, but I play one in the bedroom)).

One night only ... previously unannounced ... EDDIE IZZARD!!!

We have been life-long fans of Eddie Izzard (who's name sounds like it was interpreted by Snoop D-izz-ogg, or any white person four years after Snoop implemented his -izz-es) since November 2003 when Nancy Williams introduced us to his transvestite brand of comedy via the wonders to Digital Video Disc (henceforth referred to as DVD). We were insatiable. We bought all two of his US-released stand-up shows, but that wasn't enough. No, it wasn't. We had to have the UK releases as well. We bought a region-free DVD player (it wasn't region-free until we "converted" it - using high pressure threats of Hell-fire and damnation) and over time ordered his four remaining DVDs (see above if you don't know that DVD stands for Digital Video Disc). Three of these discs have since been released to US markets, but damn if we aren't ahead of the pack on that fourth disc. We rock as Izzard fans! We rock hard!

There were four shows at the Festival that we were most excited to see. They were (in order of excitement quotient) 1) Eddie Izzard, 2) Waiting For Guffman reunion, 3) Arrested Development Live (I had quickly become a fan of the show after hearing they would be in attendance - I picked up the 1st season DVD (don't make me tell you again!) and watched it with loving attention), and 4) Jim Carrey winning the AFI Star Award (being presented by Conan O'Brien).

I chose these shows (and others) for our packages and waited to hear which of them (and others) we would get. I would like to say I waited patiently, but that would be a lie, and I don't want to lie to you (although I say "I don't want to lie to you", sometimes it's necessary for me to lie to you - for your own good - but just know that I don't want to lie to you). I was antsy, like as if I had ants crawling on and, even worse, in my skin. Weeks passed. I called HBO's box office (that's a little redundant, eh?) once and/or twice a week to check the status. "No update" was the status quo. See, there was a chance that we wouldn't get the tickets we wanted, even though we bought the most expensive package. We bought late and it was first come, first serve.

On January 28th, it was announced that Arrested Development Live had been cancelled due to key cast members' scheduling conflicts (which seems to be Jason Bateman's need to host Saturday Night Live that same weekend). I wanted to swear. I wanted to say words like "fuck" or "shit" or "dang" to express my disappointment, but I never swear (this could be construed as one of those times when I lie to you for your protection - it's in your best interest to believe me good-hearted and pure). The show was replaced by American Dad Live - a new cartoon by the creator of The Family Guy. Not a show I plan to watch. The sadness I felt was overwhelmed by my still lingering hope that we would get to see the other three important shows on our list. Oh hope, my old friend, don't let me down, don't be like those friends who said they wanted to go with us to the festival and then ... didn't.

About a week before February 9 - the first day of the Festival - I received an e-mail listing the tickets we got from the choices we made: AFI Star Award - awesome! Waiting For Guffman Reunion - kick ass! American Dad Live - um, I didn't really choose that! Sarah Silverman - what? I didn't pick Sarah Silverman (not that I have anything against her - I've seen her before so it wasn't a priority). No Eddie Izzard! Sarah Silverman replaced Eddie Izzard. We didn't get the one show we looked forward to most ! Hope was dashed upon the rocks like so many urine-filled beer bottles. Nooooooooooooo!!!!!!

And this was where we are before we leave for the festival. We still hold out that we can exchange tickets at the Exchange Desk (as I was told by box office officers) if we get there early enough on Wednesday, February 9, 2005. Chances are slim (like the pants on a cowboy).

Stay tuned,

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Ramblings of 'They' and Portroid News

Has the heart grown fonder? They say absence will do that. 'They' say a lot of stupid things. 'They' are stupid. Don't listen to 'them'. Just because I haven't written in over two months doesn't mean I haven't been thinking of you. It just means I've been neglecting you. I neglect you because I care. I'm "sorry" I haven't written. I offer no excuses ... because I don't have to answer to you. You aren't the boss of me.

Now that the niceties are out of the way, let's move ahead.

Portroids Year 2 has kicked off with a dang (to use a horrible Carrie-Bradshaw-ish pun). Rather a slow beginning filled with not much filling. Fifteen shots total (nine of which were added a few weeks ago (w x -2.5)). Weak, weak, weak (w x 3)!

I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you about some portroids I didn't take.

Tom Hanks (1) for number one. I walked slowly shoulder to shoulder with him for about five minutes as we both exited the Minskoff Theater (home of Fiddler On The Roof), but I didn't want to "bother" him. Erica talked to him for a moment and he was kind as could be. I fell behind and almost gave him a "flat tire", but succeeded in only kicking the bottom of his shoe. The best laid plans of mice and men ... have nothing to do with this story. A big rule of Portroids is to only make attempts when success is likely to occur. He was out with his family (so add Rita Wilson (2) as another portroid untaken) enjoying a Sunday matinee on Broadway and I felt it would be crass to ask for his picture and autograph. He may have granted it, but imagine the disappointment if he didn't. I can't stand disappointment. It breaks my spirit.

For the past few months (maybe one of the reasons I haven't written (since you demand to know)), I've noticed that my lifetime of carefully-bottled emotions have been seeping out through some new hairline fractures. They say if you hold things inside, someday you'll blow up. I don't hold a lot of stock in what 'they' say, so I shook this off as just more fear-based political propaganda. I'm here to report that there might be some truth to these words. 'They' aren't always full of it. 'It' being 'shit'. I've been quicker to anger, quicker to take offense, quicker to give in to the more "feminine" feelings (like crying, or caring). It's a scary thought to think you might be losing control of what you've held so deep for so long.

I'm happy to report that I have regained most of my "composure" in the past week or so and the bottling plant is back in business. Do your best to anger or offend or make me weep, you shan't succeed (though if you do, perhaps you'll witness the final break that shatters the pot - and oh what a sight that'll be!).

Another portroid I didn't take was Robin Williams, but that's because I've never seen him. Ever.

I did see Adam Sandler (3) though. At the Saturday night performance of Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays. He was sitting on the aisle five rows behind us. We sat third row center, so we had better seats than Mr. Sandler (and his wife). The problem with "better seats" is that it takes a long time to leave the theater after the show, and by the time we got outside, Adam had made his getaway. We did find out later that he stuck around for a few minutes signing autographs and posing for pictures (two great tastes that taste like Portroids when tasted together). A missed opportunity. Add it to the archives. I also blanked when Ana Gasteyer (4) and her husband came out of the stage door and walked right by me. I blanked and missed a shot. It's what I do.

The third (fifth) and final missed portroid was of Matt Dillon (5). We were walking right next to him for a few blocks up Columbus, or Amsterdam. We were the only three people on the street, until a woman came yelling and ranting to herself in the opposite direction. After she passed, Erica cracked a wisecrack and Matt turned and laughed. I chose, again, not to ask for the 'roid. Some things are better left to the magic of the moment, or to forced awkwardness.

Just so you don't think it was all negative, here are the successes, the signed proofs, the additions to the collection:

Cojo - kind as can be and overly willing to have his picture taken (as all psuedo-celebrities are). A true gem for a guy like me.

Gyan Shrosbree - not keen on having her picture taken (like all those who think much or little of themselves), but obliging to the last.

Billy Crystal - Erica said some very nice things to him and he took a moment to look her in the eye and thank her. I, on the other hand, jumped in his face, camera at the ready, and asked for a picture. He looked up, said I was "too close" (which for the record is almost a portroids requirement, as you need to be within four feet of the subject for pictures to not look overly small) and he moved on. I snapped a side shot, squeaking my side-eyes at him. He did sign it though, so all wasn't lost. I need to learn to be a little more "couth".

Alfred Molina - this is a very nice man. He took time to sign everything that was thrust upon him. He signed Erica's playbill and "borrowed" her Sharpie Grip (official Portroids marker of choice) to sign other memorabilia (as other people weren't as prepared as the DeMints). He kept assuring her he'd give it back, but continued using it nonetheless - returning it after a few more signings. I finally got my chance to snap his picture and did so with less than excellent results. Polaroids are tricky bastards. They focus where they choose, and in the case of Alfred Molina, it chose to focus on the guy walking next to him, leaving him somewhat blurred. Happens all the time. Either I get too close, or focus shifts elsewhere. I'm no expert. I'm a novice, a hack. Oh well. After he signed the picture, I told him he could keep the Sharpie Grip (official Portroids marker of choice). He sincerely thanked me in his British accent and said he will. And he did.

Jeremy Piven - a class-act. I feel like Donald Trump in how much I'm kissing ass (although I find Donald interesting and charismatic - I've never found him to have much of substance to say. He pretty much namedrops, says how great his celebrity friends are, and markets his properties. I'm not saying I do anything differently, just on a much smaller scale. Hypocrisy is my forte). Anyway, Jeremy Piven was taken aback by the Polaroid, pointing out to Vanessa (who evidently was a star too, as some other guys posed with her and took her picture) its novelty and asking when the last time was she saw one of those. He smiled and signed like all good sports do. A class-act. I hate that I forgot to tell him how much I enjoyed his performance in Fat Pig (the play we had just seen). He is a masterful actor. A class-act.

Stacey Hoffman - gave a nice profile, which makes for fun picture positioning. Thanks, Stace.

Ashlie Atkinson - she is a friend of a friend, and also a lovely little actress (she was in Fat Pig). I talked to her for a few minutes and she kindly let me take her picture. Another example of my poor skills at measuring distance and focus. I hate when I do that.

Keri Russell - I doubt she'll ever not be linked to the title character of the show she starred in, but she seems like such a fun person and I hope she breaks those associations (through further acting and new associations, if that's what she wants). Although she was distracted from her portroid experience by her friends holding a taxi, she apologized to me and patted my arm as consolation for not giving me the time I "deserved". I got the picture and autograph and all the rest was gravy.

Andrew McCarthy - this brat-packer gave a solid performance as the "jerk co-worker" in Fat Pig, but still is called a "brat-packer" by me and others. Not just me, but others as well. He gave me that eye-to-eye look of sincere thanks for my complimenting his performance (which I truly did enjoy). I didn't call him a "brat-packer" to his face though. No I did not. He may not want to be called that anymore, and since I didn't know for sure I wasn't about to say, "Hey, great performance, brat-packer. Can I take your picture?" I might've gotten a frowned response. I might've not, but we'll never ever ever know.

I've said too much already, or so 'they' say.


P.S. It's Franklin's birthday today!!!