My coworker is a Chris Brown apologist.
Not that that’s something that would come up in ordinary conversation.
We started talking about the movie “Takers”, during the mid-late-night, when some of the movies were still letting in, but the concession stand was cashing out.
My co-worker was arguing that he was excited to see “Takers” as an example of a good, simple action movie, while I was arguing the general position that in fact, it probably sucked.
“Listen,” I told him. “They pushed the film back three year. Three. Years. Why do you think that was? And then releasing it in the primetime of the last weekend of August?”
“Nah, man.” He retorted. “They delayed it three years because T.I. was in jail and Chris Brown did what he did.”
“T.I. was in jail?” I asked uncertainly.
“What, do you live under a rock?” He declared.
“I don’t follow that sort of thing. What was he in jail for?”
“Well, let me put it this way: you know that commercial for the Army, ‘Army of One’?”
“That was T.I. Military-grade weaponry in house. Grenade launcher and shit. If you come at him, he blow you up.”
“I’d probably take one of the guns and just use it on him.”
“If you got there first.”
“Anyway, there had to be T.I. getting out of jail, rebuilding his fanbase, doing that T.V. show where he helped kids…”
“Now what the fuck is that?”
“It’s building his fanbase. This is the perfect moment to release, the crescendo of his come-back and that’s why I’m gonna go to ‘Takers’.”
“But wait, what did Chris Brown do?”
A silence fell over the concession stand.
“I don’t talk about that in polite company.” He retorted.
I thought deep.
“Wait a second, he beat the shit out of Rihanna, right? Like busted her face real bad.”
“Yeah, but she probably started it.”
“Wait, hold up.” I said. “Are you trying to blame Rihanna for getting the shit beaten out of her by Chris Brown? That’s fucked up, man.”
“She probably said something that really pissed him off.” He postulated. “Probably something that ended in ‘…and that’s why you can’t dance’.”
A female co-worker came to clock out.
“Hey, are you hearing this?” I asked. “This guy is a Chris Brown apologist!”
“No, I’m not and please stop saying that cause I don’t want to get fired, all I am saying is that she probably started it.”
“Christina…” I appealed.
“I believe it.” Christina said. “I bet if I were her I’d be slapping the shit out of Chris Brown thinking that who the fuck is going to believe him if he says shit. But that don’t mean he shoulda hit her. Just mean he started it.”
“What the fuck?” I asked, appealing for sanity.
“See?” He said. “And that’s why I’m going to see Takers.”
Our manager came over and I asked her too.
“Are you going to see ‘Takers’?” I asked her.
“Which one’s ‘Takers’?” She asked back.
“The one with T.I. and Chris Brown and Hayden Christensen in a hat.”
At which point she began a fir of laughing that didn’t stop for minutes.
“See,” I told him. “It’s fucking ridiculous.”
At the bar, following my final improv class, my fellow classmates asked me to show them my headshot.
They’d just embarrassed Tim, who was a proper British “event host” by day, by making him take out his headshot to have them look at.
And they knew from class that I’d have one.
I’d told them all, since I was nervous and needed advice.
After all, it was my first big audition.
After two months of feeling like I had fallen off the map at “my agency”, I got a call to go in the next day for an improv’d video game commercial by my agent’s assistant.
This was vexing partially because it was my first big audition and if I didn’t get at least a callback I might be dropped by my agency and secondly, because the one thing I had learned from improv class was that I was fucking terrible at improv.
It was my second time taking the Upright Citizens Brigade Improv 101 class, my first time marred by an aborted would-be classroom romance and a twice-absent teacher. At that time I decided improv wasn’t for me, which made me feel especially bad when I went crawling to my new teacher for advice on how to improv the situation.
“Make strong choices and commit.” She said, which sounded a lot like improv to me.
The night before I was to go in, I ran in to an old friend from school, while having lunch with my mom at her work. I tried to install a video game on his phone and he offered with his DSLR to take some headshots for me, considering that he was a semi-real improv player and acotr who had done this sort of thing before.
I got drunkish at the bar under his house waiting for him to get home from rehearsal and he ended up standing on furniture trying to take pictures of me.
In the end, he did some minimal photoshopping and I sat at a Famous Famiglia Pizza in Times Square across the street from the 1-hour Photo 24-hour Duane Reade, watching Futurama and waiting for my picture to come out.
When it did, I got as much sleep as I could, tried to find a Kinko’s in the rain to cut my acting resume with to fit my headshot and found out at the audition that they didn’t want it anyway.
I didn’t get the part, though I felt I didn’t do too bad. It was a funny scripted bit, not improv, about two gamers going into couples therapy and I played it very straight and solemn and sad.
I got a compliment for my choice and someone telling me I had “a great look”, but apparently I did “something with [my] face” that wasn’t pleasant and I was an ushered out with a “thanks” and a “great”.
My final improv class show, which I had never gotten to previously, went better than my low-low expectations predicted, but I still didn’t think I was funny.
When my dad sent me a congratulatory text revealing his unannounced presence in the audience, I said I didn’t know if it was him or “some old guy grinning stupidly”, which apparently offended him greatly and I had to apologize and I did.
When the class out to get drunk after at the aforementioned bar, I only had a $4.75 PBR can (I only found at later the draft was $4.50) and some hugs and facebook requests before heading off to my job.
Rob, who had taken the class with me, stayed at the bar with Eva and Marc Dickerson, Rob’s pizza-spinning Puppy Whistle collaborator and my girlfriend’s occasional writing partner.
Eva later told me that Rob introduced her around and everyone told her how funny they thought I was and how cool.
It was nice to hear, but I didn’t really absorb it.
Maybe it’s just one of those things that seeps like that.
My headshot is still in my bag.
When I go places and ask people a lot of questions about their food, they ask me who I am.
Nowadays, I tell them I was almost an eat-out writer for TONY.
I applied a while ago, never heard back, heard back and was asked to freelance and then never heard back about my pitches.
I figured they weren’t bad, but that was weeks ago.
I even left a message on the editor’s answering machine, to no avail.
Anyway, when Mexicue started being assholes to me, after my friend’s boss there decided he didn’t like my attitude, I had to find somewhere new to go.
This place just happened to be in my hood.
It’s a new food truck called “SOUVLAKI GR” and what they offer are, well, Souvlakis, which are the Greek rivals of the Turkish “kebab”, cooked with less spice and more charcoal.
For 2.50, you can get a kati roll (or hot dog)-sized skewer of chicken dressed up with red onion, tzatziki, french fries, lettuce and tomato.
A decent deal indeed.
When I brought them back to work afew nights in a row, the security guard scoffed at their size, but as I told a co-worker today: when you work in a movie theater you only need some protein.
Popcorn and ice cream can fill the rest.
And the souvlaki itself is tender and chewy, with fresh veggies and salty fries and a refreshing blast of the cucumber-yogurt tzatziki sauce, like the Tony Dragonas cart filter through Lollypop-Land.
It did, for me, those nights.
Finally, my grandma took me out to lunch at the Plaza Food Hall, the surprisingly affordable pseudo-cafeteria under the former Plaza Hotel.
We got two pizzas, one of which was a spit-roasted chicken “flatbread” with cheese and carmelized onion.
The chickens were on a spit in front of us and the meat was obviously carved off them.
The pizza was great, but that’s not why the picture’s here.
It’s because my grandma told me that in her feeble attempts to use the internet she somehow found my blog.
She told me she’d look out for the pizza we’d had together.
SOUVLAKI GR TRUCK
Chicken Souvlaki Pita- $2.50
Houston St bet. West Broadway and Thompson Sts (location varies, check @souvlakigr on Twitter for current info)
1 to Houston. CE to Spring. ACEBDFM to West 4th St.
THE PLAZA FOOD HALL
Spit-Roasted Chicken Pizza- $14
NW corner of 60th St and 5th Ave.
NR to 5th Avenue.