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.