Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Links: Skot K.

The first of my friends to start a blog, he was also the recipient of my scorn when he started out. Two years later, here I am. Who's zooming who?

So, what can I tell you about that miserable rat bastard, Skot?

To start with, he's a miserable rat bastard, in the truest owning-up-to-the-definition sense, Skot is a gourmand of schaden freude. I've never seen anyone delight in others' trouble the way Skot does.

And yet, he's also one of the most endearing cranks I've ever known (note to future curmudgeons: don't take yourself too seriously). An impressive actor, it seems he's left the stage for good, which is a shame, honestly. I've never seen him phone it in, even in productions he was less than enthusiastic about(Obscene Bird of Shit comes to mind)...Okay, that's a lie. Yes I've seen him phone it in, several times in fact (again, Obscene Bird of Shit comes to mind), but these are usually the exception. I mean, when a critic compares your intensity in playing a decaying zombie "Shakespearian in scope," that's fucking talent. Commited and smart, you couldn't ask for a better scene partner.

And, as with most assholes, the taciturn exterior masks an inner softie, though this is the last time you'll see that being noted in this entry.

Instead, I'd rather regale you with some of the finer examples of Skot's cheesedick-ery:

-- Summer of '98, I'm at the tail end of what is essentially a break from theater, and I get a phone call from BW, telling me that Open Circle Theater is looking for a funny black actor, and that, as a mildly amusing beige man (better than Garrett Morris, but not quite Damon Wayans), I'm one of the closest things to that in Seattle. I decide to give it a shot.

I show up to this dingy warehouse in the middle of nowhere, and am greeted by SB (director), NZ (playwright) and Skot (ne'erdowell). SB gives me the pitch for the show (Shari Lewis meets Warhol's Factory meets sketch comedy with musical accompaniment), tells me it's not supposed to be politically correct, and then gives me a scene in which a white guy expresses his desire to be blacker, so that he could get his girl back. Skot reads the scene with me, and it goes over. When we're done with the scene, Skot tosses his script behind his back and storms off. SB tells me he'll be in touch, and I head out.

On my way out, I'm greeted by Skot who's chatting with AS (stage manager, and the only person I know in the production), who convinces me to stick around and have a smoke (never an arm twisting scenario). Mid-smoke SB comes out and says, "oh, you're still here. We think you'll be a good fit."

Skot: "Yeah, you're black."

SB: "Right, do you want to be our token negro?"

Uh, sure.

Skot: "Great, listen, I need someone to mow my lawn, would you mind? I mean, you're brown and all. You don't mind, right?"

How could I resist? (I couldn't, this was the first show in what turned out to be a seven year commitment to OCT.)

-- I can't pinpoint any specific examples of the kind of behavior Skot would get up to over the next couple of years, as it's all a blur between shows for OCT and DBP (of which he was a member. Ask him about his writing debut with Knock Knock Theater, an epic callback sketch quite loosely "based" on Sartre's No Exit). But, typically, it would involve a) a $20 loan that floated between the two of us (much like my arrangement with Deni M.), b) getting ridiculously wasted at the Family Affair, and c) trading "mow my lawn" (Skot) and "I sleep with your woman" (me) gags which were funny to no one but us.

-- NZ & KZ's wedding. The OCT contingent is in full effect. The wedding is taking place at a local Polish Catholic place, which in and of itself is grounds for hilarity. The drinking of bloody marys starts early and often, so that by the time the wedding begins, the concept of decorum is an alien one. Most of the group is able to contain themselves.

The exception? Skot and myself.

Sitting next to each other was probably not the wisest thing to do. To begin with, Skot's an atheist, and I'm a former Catholic, so nothing's sacred. That none of what we came up with was very original (for example, we would not take the "body of christ" into our mouths) didn't stop us from giggling like the Katzenjammer Kids. The minister at several points through the wedding would raise his arms in a "touchdown" formation, and proclaim that "The lord fills us with kindness and love" or some such ("Twinkies and beer" we'd fill in). I mean, seriously, we were eight years old.

After the ordeal was over, the reception took place in the church's basement, so that went placidly, we just never stopped drinking.

The only other thing I remember from this day, was Skot, myself and SE piling into SE's Volvo and laughing for nearly 15 minutes non-stop over the cartoon noise we'd invented for ejaculation ("blorp"). We could not stop laughing.

-- Vegas. The contingent from OCT head down to see a play of NZ's (who was attending UNLV's Playwrighting Graduate program), and the wedding of a couple in the group. Three days of non-stop drinking.

On the first day there, a group of us went to a Safeway not far from our hotel and bought Safeway brand vodka and tequila. Needless to say, there was plenty of it left over the night before we all came home.

So, after the wedding, and after dinner in an Italian restaurant (where one of the contingent had the misfortune of ordering and eating a seafood entree -- seafood in the middle of a desert just isn't a good idea), the bachelor's room attempted to kill the remaining booze before we left.

Of the four of us in the room, half went to sleep early because of the flight time the next morning. Skot and I decided to stay up all night, gamble and get wasted. Well, the gambling lasted until about 12:30am, when we both became broke (craps for me, blackjack for him).

We couldn't go back to our room, due to the sleeping roommates, and so, we proceeded to drink this awful tequila in the hallway leading to our rooms. We stagger around the Trop, killing time and our livers, until 5am, fully an hour before the rest of the group wakes up. We decide to nap.

It's 6:30am, the group leaves at 7am to take the taxi to the airport, the flight is at 8:30am (obviously this took place before 9/11), I'm shaken awake by KN (the lesbian bachelor in the room), and I stagger into the shower. I get out, still groggy, only to find that Skot's still passed out, and the other two have left to wait for the cab taking us to the airport. I may not be smart, but I got the implied message.

Skot, wake up!


Wake up, man, we have a flight to catch.

"Go 'way."

Wake the fuck up, man, the cab's gonna be here any second now.

At this point, Skot sits up, looks at me in an approximation of my eyes and says, "I'm tired," and flops back to his pillow.

Skot...Skot! Goddamnit, wake up, man!

I somehow convince him to take a shower (i.e.--I lift him up and take him into the bathroom), and after a cigarette, notice that the shower is still running. I head to the bathroom door and listen. I hear snoring. I open the door, and sure enough, Skot's asleep in the shower while the shower is running.


"I'm so tired..."

I reach in and turn the hot water off. This does the trick, and in less than five minutes, we're in front of the Tropicana waiting for the cab with everyone else.

Skot's still single at this point, and when he's drunk, he usually goes into lotharian mode. His moves are...basic (invariably, something along the lines of "but it's my birthday!"), yet successful during that timeframe, so I'm not judging. He does, however, decide to do some "platonic flirting" with SE's teutonic girlfriend (the aforementioned seafood poisoning victim, who had spent the previous evening expiating the day's meals), who was still not feeling well, and Skot, despite being fresh from a shower, was basically sweating bad tequila and nicotine, so not a happy coupling here. (This, in fact, begins a basic disintegration of the OCT contingent in those days, but that's a different story.)

KN escorts Skot back to me and says, "you're gonna have to take care of Skot, okay? Okay, bye." And so, I do (getting pissed off at the portion of the OCT contingent who were acting as if they'd never). This consisted of hearing the "'Jose?' What? 'I'm tired.' *flop*" joke over and over, which I was sleep-deprived enough to appreciate. Particularly when we were in the smoking area of the Las Vegas airport, and he flopped his head right into a pane glass window.

Eventually, we board our flight, and we proceed to sleep off and sweat out the previous evening's libations. A bout of the dueling snorers ensued, so I hear...

--These days, Skot is still cantankerous, despite dying last week. However, since getting married (to a saint of a woman, we all marvel at her ability to deal with his shit), he's become more and more of a hermit. We see him out and about rarely, but when he is, he's pure Skot. He heads home early, though, never being out later than midnight. He saves his energies for his blog, which serves as a great platform for his bitter outlook on the world at large.

Check him out, he's worth it.

[Click here to go to the next in the "Links" series.--tbo]

Friday, April 22, 2005

Hollywood Is Brilliant!

Have you seen what Ridley "I used to be the shit before GI Jane" Scott is planning on foisting on us?

Pleaseoplease! I want to see a movie in which Western culture goes out to kill some 'Rabs in the name of Jesus. Where can I get me some of that? Outside of Fox News, wiseass.

Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, just how wise is this movie right now? Because, let's face it, Hollywood is not known for accuracy or cultural/historical correctness. I hear that the script does make concessions that maybe one or two Christians got involved in the Crusades for the wrong reasons, but the bulk of them went because they truly believed in the cause.

Fucking revisionism. Look you had a few types during the crusades: 1)The poor and gullible, who were forced to go, but gulled into believing in the "Higher Purpose" of the crusades; 2)Royalty, who wanted to claim the land for various reasons (not wanting to make Arabs richer, for one thing...also they were starting to be able to defend themselves and their land, and that just won't do. Oh, and yeah, poppies and hashish); and 3)wealthy commerce types who wanted to make some quid quickly off of the sweat of the locals.

I'd rant and rave at the predictable injustice of it all, if I didn't know one thing: This is exactly what the American public wants from its historical epics. Not the truth.

I should say that the American public doesn't want the truth in any kind of entertainment, informational or otherwise. Witness the recent PBS censorship brouhaha over cuss words in a Frontline documentary about an Army Troop's experience in Baghdad.

Even more damning is a comment I overheard following a screening of Hotel Rwanda, which I'm sure was commonplace throughout the country:

"Jesus, that was depressing, why did they keep blaming us? We had nothing to do with any of that!"

Thursday, April 14, 2005

All right, I give up!

If anyone could inform me where the clip (linked below) came from, I'll send them a copy of the 3CD mixes, and a million fucking dollars. (offer extended to the first person to give me correct information.)

Monday, April 11, 2005

Links: Corey N/Dusty W/FBoS

From 1996 through 2001-2002, there was what one could call a Sketch Comedy Explosion in Seattle. During the climax of this timeframe, there were probably upwards of 20 sketch groups, of varying degrees of quality/success, in the Emerald City.

A textbook definition of the word "glut," really.

I was fortunate enough to be around for the entirety of this run, both as a spectator and as a provocateur. First with the ill-fated Not Named Bob (we weren't), later with the more punk-like Disgruntled Bit Players (more about these guys on a later entry).

So, I was around. I got to see how, out of all of these mostly talented mob-o-funny-folk, the only one to truly "break out," comparitively, is the master of self-promotion Mike D. And I say this not in a derogatory way, Mike definitely deserves his present cult-lite status, he's worked very hard for it. But to say that he was any more or less talented than anyone else around during that time would be bullshit.

(It would be fair to say that he was a controversial figure amongst his peers, partially because he was so adept at self-promotion, but also because his actions came across as, and often were, elitist. Also, if you crossed him, as DBP once did, his pissiness knew no bounds. Beyond this though, he was just a guy, really, no different from the rest of us.)

This may not mean much to those who weren't around at the time, but I'd feel weird if I didn't mention some of the other groups I knew and was aware of: Bald Face Lie (these guys are credited with being the premier sketch group in Seattle, and they've certainly been the most consistent and longest running group; they began around the same time Not Named Bob did--BFL survived, NNB didn't), Lo Blo (which consisted of the other members of NNB), Up In Your Grill (Mike D's group), Kazoo!, Some Kind of Cult, Pork Filled Players, and the Habit (who had their own controversial master of local self-promotion, Jeff S). This is by no means a comprehensive list of Seattle Sketch groups, only the ones I came to identify with that sub-culture, and apologies to those I've left out.

As with any scene, it started out very competitively, with groups actively staking claim in their members, comedic turf and milieu, snarling at the others who were deemed to be the enemy. But soon, thanks to the Seattle media's traditional lack of support for pretty much anything its denizens come up with, the scene was forced to a friendly detente which eventually led to some mixing.

(That I was never involved with said mixing, leads me to believe that I am not perceived to be that funny, sort of the ethnic equivalent to BFL's David G.--great when on a roll, but generally not so much. I, of course, tend to disagree. I'd like to think that I'm at least as funny as Corey N, which may not be saying much.)

This mixing led to the creation of a couple of SuperGroups, and the only one of these that has stuck, with any consistent quality, has been Flaming Box of Stuff.

Consisting of members from Up In Your Grill (Val B, Corey N), Bald Face Lie (Kirk A, Evan M), Some Kind of Cult (Troy F, Dusty W) and Disgruntled Bit Players (the PPP), FBoS (or FLOX, as I call them) will soon be the only reminder of Seattle's sketch comedy hayday. Everyone else is gone, or is about to leave. And even so, FLOX's future isn't all that secure, with members placing their priorities towards more traditional stage productions, or in music ventures. My personal hope is that they remain, and eventually become recognized for what they are: Torchbearers for a once thriving community that specialized in gutsy, original humor.

Dusty W died last week.

[Click here to go to the next in the "Links" series.--tbo]

Sunday, April 10, 2005


just go there.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Links: King Kaufman

As evidenced a couple times, earlier in the blog's existence, I like the sports.

Like 'em, yes I do. And while I consider myself to be a big fan of soccer, basketball, and baseball (ehh, I can watch football, but I'm not rabid), I don't spend my time obsessing over stats or find myself reading the Sports page on a daily basis. I also don't listen to the sports talk radio station, I don't obsess over trades (merely gripe about them, if someone I like is involved), and I don't paint my face in team colors.

Any attempts to play in fantasy leagues, leads to said teams dwelling at the bottom of the roster. This is due to the combined lack of interest in stat-studying, and my attempt to disprove Phil Jackson's "Zen" approach to coaching. (In other words, I'm likely to just have the draft happen, and then not touch the team from beginning to end, while "eliminating my desire" for the team's success. This, of course, does not preclude the endless amount of trash talking I'm bound to do, but this has nothing to do with Phil Jackson. Despite all of this, I'm still not the most annoying person in any of the leagues.)

I just like sports, in general. I get the sense that King Kaufman likes them in the same fashion. The big difference is that he gets payed to like them. He, like Heather Havrilesky, is employed by (just do the damn day pass already).

I should clarify, however, that he's a bit more traditional in his fandom. He obviously reads the sports columnists, and thinks about this stuff with abandon (he is, after all, payed to do so). Beyond his unnatural fascination with stats, however, he doesn't read like your typical sports freak.

I mean, he has his prejudices, sure, but I think that because a) he has to write about sports on a national level, and b) not for a sports entity, it allows him to be a lot more objective and entertaining as a writer.

...I've run out of words.

[Click here to go to the next in the "Links" series.--tbo]

Monday, April 04, 2005

While We're At It, Fuck Me, Too

Jesus, with everything else going on in the world, I come up with some hackneyed rant about Daylight Saving Time? what the fuck?

I mean, who diminishes their output to once a week and then doesn't do anything remotely interesting once something does come out? Beyond Stephen King.

(See? Stephen King jokes are so 1993. God, I'm a loser.)

You Know What? Fuck Ben Franklin!

So Ben Franklin's all: "blah blah blah, penny saved is a penny earned. all cats are grey in the dark, work will make you free, right? so check it, if we turn the clock back in spring, we get an extra hour of daylight for the farmers to work with. which is all kinds of cool because then they can work that much more during the summer, and then, in the fall, when it gets dark earlier, we can go back to normal, and aren't I smart, blahdefuckingblah."

Shut the fuck up, Ben Franklin. You're dead. Deader than the Pope and Terri Schiavo combined (there, something topical...two days ago. Happy?).

What may have been a pretty smart idea nearly two-hundred years ago, is only proving goddamn annoying these days. Why do we keep up with this shit? It's largely unnecessary, especially because the modern age? No. Longer. Agrarian. For fuck's sake.

And don't talk to me about kids catching busses in the dark. Are you gonna tell me that those kids who are in areas sketchy enough to be worried about are going to be in any less danger when it's light out? Where are their parents anyway? Huh? Exactly.

Fuck Daylight Savings. Right in the ear.