July 24, 2006 17:15The Wages Of Sin
There are certain perks to appearing in pornography. I mean besides the amyl nitrate, fluff girls and mortified parents.
The pilot episode of Strip Club Confessions has been cut together and exhibited to select audiences in hopes of making a sale to someone somewhere who might need a titillating titty show. The trailer is available to a slightly larger audience –- that being the entire world. If I were visible for more than half a second, I'd be embarrassed to the point of getting quickie plastic surgery by a disreputable South American doctor to assure my future anonymity. Should you visit the SCC website and view the trailer, I encourage you to blink so you'll miss my performance entirely.
In a business that relies so heavily on who you know, it's nice to know the sort of people who will pass on free stuff to you. For awhile now, I'd been feeling a little bad about not grabbing tickets to see John Cleese at the Just for Laughs festival. After all, it's been one of my lifetime goals to see each of the Pythons in person. It's a task that's become rather more challenging since the 80's now that they don't really hang out together anymore, and they all seem determined to grow old and die eventually. I managed to stay one step ahead of the Grim Reaper, slipping Graham Chapman in under the cancer wire in 1988. I did a Terry Jones/Eric Idle double header in 2001. Cleese's turn came unexpectedly the other night when I received an eleventh-hour call from one of SCC's producers, telling me there were two tickets waiting at the venue. Neither had my name on them, but that didn't stop me.
The exact chain of title of who passed on the tickets to who when a whole series of people decided they couldn't make it remains obscure. The situation wasn't illuminated any further at the box office when the snobby Place des Arts ticket-monkey told me I didn't look like an Eileen. I tried the usual round of name dropping in an effort to look connected, but he was immune.
"I haven’t heard of any of those people," he told me in his bitchiest "I just work here and every day I turn away fifty assholes who try to snag comps by claiming they're someone they're not, or tight with someone they don't know" tone.
Luckily, he wasn't the guy holding my tickets. They lay with someone elsewhere who never questioned who I was, who I knew, or who I was claiming tickets on behalf of. Nevertheless, even as they were handed over to me, I was busted by someone else in the comp line.
"He doesn't look like an Eileen. Check his I.D."
No one checked my I.D. because it quickly became obvious it was just someone fucking with me. The someone in question was Jean Guérin.
Jean Guérin is one of those ubiquitous presences in Montreal who has his finger on the pulse of whatever is cool and interesting in town – and then somehow manages to infiltrate it. His greatest claim to fame came in the early 90's, when he worked as a driver for a short-lived film festival of the fantastic. No one had ever heard of Peter Jackson back then, but Jean was pressed into service as his chauffeur while Peter was in town for the three screenings of his new film, Braindead. I was there the night Peter, in the Q&A session, announced that his next project would be called Heavenly Creatures, and that he had unexpectedly found the perfect Orson Welles during his stay in Montreal. One trip to New Zealand later, a brief on-screen snog with Kate Winslet, and infamy was assured. Thanks to this more than passing resemblance, Jean now holds the distinction of portraying Orson Welles almost as many times as Orson Welles did. And there's still time for Jean to catch up since he continues to act, whereas Orson seems committed to staying dead.
"The last time I saw you, you were dressed as an Oscar," I told Jean. That was at last year's World Stupidity Awards, a show that degenerated into stupidity almost as dumbfounding as what it was poking fun at. Jean had appeared, coated in a gold paint, for one of the skits with host, Lewis Black. Even seated well back at the Imperial, I could recognize him under all the makeup. Who else but Jean could look like Orson "golden boy" Welles, painted gold? He went on to tell the tale of backstage fiascos and fuckups in a show that sounded like it was going down in flames long before the curtain went up.
As we compared notes about celebrity run-ins on stage and off, we got onto the topic of how many Pythons we had left to encounter. We quickly determined that so far we had seen the same Pythons at the same venues and only had two left on the checklist.
"So you saw Graham Chapman at Club Soda way back when?" I asked.
No, Jean admitted. He wasn't counting Chapman because it was too late for him now. He hadn't been to Graham's "Looks Like a Brown Trouser Job" lecture series when he was touring. I could hardly contain my pleasure.
I've never kissed Kate Winslet and I've never driven Peter Jackson anywhere. I've never even seen Lewis Black scowl at a catering table that had been reduced to nothing but bread crusts and crumbs by an army of comedians long before he ever got to take a bite.
But I did get to see someone throw a box of Kentucky Fried Chicken at Graham Chapman when he asked for thirty seconds of abuse before he lecture began. Yes, I saw him in person, and Jean never did. And that's something I can always hold over him.
Unless Jean gets a shovel.
July 10, 2006 19:57It's Over, Now Please Shut Up
It's World Cup Madness!
And I mean "madness" quite literally. The people who are actually into this crap require the sort of assistance only overmedication and electro-shock therapy can offer. Perhaps then they might be dissuaded from driving around town, honking their horns incessantly, and waving the flags of distant lands in a nationalistic fervor that would normally require accompanying goose-steps.
Ever since it was founded by a bunch of fur trappers and missionaries, North America has, quite correctly, not given a crap about soccer or football or the-most-tedious-game-ever-played (whatever you want to call it). At least the parts of North America that count, ie: not the third-world-nation bits.
I see no appeal in watching overpaid Eurotrash kick a ball into a net so huge, a paraplegic retard cut from the Special Olympics team could scarcely miss. And miss they do, in an attempt, I gather, to keep the game so mind-numbingly dull, no one watching ever wakes up long enough to look around and realize, "Hey, this sucks." Goals are so infrequent, there's time to publish an entire newspaper edition celebrating the fact that a goal has occurred, long before someone else manages to score a second. And apparently just hearing about a goal is every bit as exciting as witnessing one.
I was on a train, returning from Toronto, when multiple cell phones started going off at once in my car. Various people of various ethnic backgrounds answered all at once and, after a brief message from family or friends, responded in unison in the exact same manner.
And this was said like it was some marvelous herald. The way someone reasonable, like you or I perhaps, might react to a piece of news by saying:
"They declared war?" or "The shuttle blew up again?" or "Sanitary napkins are 30% off at Wal-Mart?"
In the past, the correct reaction to this sort of behaviour was obvious and appropriately xenophobic: "Assimilate, you damn-dirty immigrants!" This is Canada, and you're only allowed to get this excited when your city's hockey team wins the Stanley Cup. Then, and only then, may you parade through the streets, screaming about the triumph of a bunch of guys you don't actually know, who won a game you had nothing to do with. Destroy some property while you're at it. Nothing says "team spirit" like an overturned bus and flaming storefronts.
But this year, for whatever reason, Canadians have forgotten their traditional hockey obsession that extends into the off-season (that being the last day of June to the first of August) and have developed not only a tolerance, but an affinity for the game. I can no longer point an accusing finger at "those weirdoes from Europe" or "those weirdoes from Asia" who are so into this crap, because the bars and the streets and A/V stores are filled with cheering twits who can't get enough of men in shorts, running around a field as large as a Maritime province, playing fetch with their feet. Among them, in shocking numbers, are "those weirdoes from Canada" who seem to have given up and climbed on board the bandwagon with the rest of the planet.
Only they may be the biggest weirdoes of all. Because no matter how loud they cheer through the finals, Team Canada will never hear them. Not only was there no Canadian soccer team in the finals, there was no Canadian soccer team at The World Cup at all. I dread the day when we might actually put a qualifying team together and send them off to compete. Not only will the number of home-grown fans double, but I'll be subjected to their obnoxiously long faces when Team Canada is eliminated before they even step off the plane.
Seriously, I'll tell you guys right now: I'll never watch a game and I'll never give a damn. But if you want to win you have to go in with a plan. Here's the plan. Break into the stadium the night before we play, hose the field down with water, and turn the air conditioning way up so it freezes. Our boys might have a fighting chance if they play on ice, but on grass, we can't win shit.
July 05, 2006 22:09Bagel, Bagel, Meat
Such was the progress of my giant serrated knife as I tried to saw through a particularly stale bagel a couple of weeks ago. I like to maintain my steady diet of bagels to help keep up the illusion that I'm Jewish for the teeming masses who would be so disillusioned to learn that I'm nothing of the sort, despite looking like a Rabbinical school dropout. Sometimes this necessitates a middle-of-the-night excursion to my local 24-hour bagel emporium (run, appropriately enough, by Hindus) to snatch up whatever they still have in stock before the 6:00 am batch starts to roll hot off the presses. And if all they have are day-old leftovers, well, at least it beats matzo balls and gefilte fish.
I knew I'd made a tragic mistake when, two or three hard-earned strokes through the bagel, I started cutting something that wasn't quite so doughy. I withdrew the knife from my finger, shortly before hitting bone, but long after doing what would have been only superficial damage. And then the blood came.
It's been awhile since I wounded myself badly enough to have one of those cuts that just won't stop gushing. Water, hot or cold, and applied pressure did nothing. Indeed, days later, I would continue to tear the wound open all over again if I looked at it wrong. As I gazed at the fresh, deep cut, I had one of those "stitch or no-stitch" moments before deciding to go with "no-stitch" and, more importantly "no-three-in-the-morning-emergency-room-wait." I would just deal with it myself.
Dealing with it myself involved the application of ancient leftover Band-Aids that dated back to the genesis of self-adhesive technology. You know the ones I'm talking about. The kind that leave a sticky residue that would suggest, to an experienced criminologist, that you had been kidnapped and bound with duct tape for the last three weeks. The kind that will stay with you through your next dozen showers, despite your best efforts to remove all traces of it with soap and water and a belt sander.
After going through a few of those tar-like bandages, I finally concocted something more suitable with a paper towel and scotch tape. It was so large, however, that typing at my keyboard proved impractical (and painful), and therefore gave me a valid excuse to slack off from both work and blogging. Miraculously, my video gaming was not adversely affected. Funny that.
Unfortunately, time heals all wounds. And now that my finger has safely grown back into one whole piece, I have to get back into the swing of things. Plans are in motion for the next time I need a break though. Call it a premonition, but I think I might be accidentally crushing my thumb in a car door sometime in the future when I need a breather.