I got this email a few days ago and I showed it to Chadd yesterday.
“Wanna see a preview of my new blog post?”
He was sitting in the corner of a small Alphabet City apartment, drunk, moody and uncharacteristically quiet, wearing an angsty Vincent Gallo t-shirt and so I thought I’d give him a little pepping up.
“Like I need one, like everyone should care.” Chadd told me.
But he did a double take when he saw it.
I had shown up barely announced to the cramped apartment with my best friend Frank and his friend Army Rob in tow, with a six-pack of Labatt Blue out of the sort of courtesy that one brings to a party in the form of beer or beer-like substances.
The main attraction though was a “Return to/from Russia” theme, espoused by the fur cap Bobby Olsen was wearing when I entered and the horseradish vodka shots, chased with mini dill pickles, that Dan Berk made us all take.
“I want to go to the vodka closet!” Dan declared after one particularly strong whiff of horseradish. “At these clubs around the city, you can go into an icy closet and there’s just a shit-ton of vodka and you can drink as many shots as you can take–30 shots, whatever.”
“Yeah, how much is that?” I asked.
“Nothing, it’s part of the club.” He replied.
And I nodded and chewed on my pickle.
Chadd looked at me seriously and tried to convince me that this was an augur that I should write a short film for Colin Quinn.
“Give him something he won’t expect, man.” He told me. “You’re good at that.”
I wasn’t so sure, about the idea or the script, but I took it.
Soon Chadd left and so did the rest of us. Frank and Army Rob were happy for the funny vodka, but complained heavily about the walking load of going anywhere from Alphabet City.
Army Rob wanted to try Karaoke for the first time, so I got him jazzed up with some pointers, describing to him my strategies versus the balladry of the other Ro-beardo Malone and how he belts out Celine Dion songs like they were covers by a one-Rob-Malone-band, but Army Rob not having Rob-knowledge, it was somewhat lost on him.
Planet Rose was packed full, though, of “bridge-and-tunnel” folks and the new place I tried, The Karaoke Cave (a Matt Chao rec) was also packed with 30-minute wait times on songs.
Frank and Army Rob went home, to Frank’s karaoke-less relief and Rob’s only slight disappointment.
For me, the horseradish vodka was enough to get me to bed.
Working in the movie theater lately has alternated somewhere between frustrating and fulfilling.
It’s always better when I have something else in my life, something to look forward to, some hope that this isn’t my endgame.
“I’m taking classes, somewhere, anywhere.” One of co-workers told me. “Because if this is the only thing in my life, I’d go insane.”
And while I reached a periodic low sometime last week, recoiling still from blowing my one audition, this week I had a good meeting with a manager, booked another audition and, most importantly, found a new video game to play.
I also gained some confidence from a writing group session which reached a good 6 or so people when I thought that no one would come. I made some revisions to a script, drank some good beers, and chatted about Mochi with a tipsy Emmeline Wilks-Dupoise while I escorted her to a dinner-date near by.
Andy Roehm liked my script so much that he ended up bugging me about it at work.
“Dude,” he began, in his usual So-Cal invocation. “I know those characters. I’d do justice to it, man. I’d do it right. You know it.”
It was fun being pursued like this, fun to know that people still like what you gotta say.
And it was funny seeing Andy say this, while wearing a black visor, preparing to clean a bathroom.
It was somewhere between feeling bad and feeling better that Mr. Quinn came by.
His show was over, so he must have lived the near the theater. He recognized me from an earlier time I took his ticket.
We chatted for about ten minutes, during the n0t-busy hours, about comedy, filmmaking, my posture (which he told me could be improved by “Alexander Technique”) and my favorite podcast, “WTF with Marc Maron”, which he said he was going to be on “just because you asked.”
“You’re the only reason I’m going on that show.” He told me and I probably blushed.
He solicited seeing my movie when I told him I was a film student and got back to me that same night.
It’s always a pleasure when someone like that is a decent fellow to you.
I guess working at the movie theater has its’ ups.
The downs, I suppose, came when I worked my first ever double shift: 17 hour straight.
It was going to be an event, opening and closing on a Friday. I told all my friends to come and see movies and drink coffee and soda and eat popcorn and candy: anything I could offer them for free.
Anything really, to have at least someone come and keep me company through what was bound to be a stressful period of my life/day.
As it happens, noone came. At least not to see a movie.
J.D. Amato came almost incidentally, as part of pre-show ritual of getting out the jitters through visiting multiple coffee shops.
Mr. Amato had amazed all my friends upon graduation college a year later than us, by landing a big corporate ongoing gig. Even though he wasn’t there anymore, he still seemed to be walking on air, producing shorts for the UCB’s website (which he created) and for Funny Or Die. In his “spare time” he also improved on teams, putting on shows in cool-sketchy venues.
In short, he seemed to have the sort of creative-artistic “progress success” that seemed to elude me and my friends, who found ourselves in various degress of “working in a movie theater.”
It was nice of J.D. to come though, and our talk precluded a long relationship we hav had now, playing Words With Friends on our iPhones.
The other person who showed up, was my Mom with two slices of Two Boots pizza, one my favorite, one hers.
It was a very nice gesture and one that I appreciated. So much, in fact, that that picture is all I managed to take of them.
The one slice, my favorite, the Mr. Pink, has marinated chicken, plum tomatoes and roasted garlic on an otherwise normal slice. It’s chewy and chicken-y and spicy with greasy cheese binding everything together, kind of like a streamlined chicken parm.
My mom’s fave, she was loathe to tell me about it, but turned out well, the Tony Clifton, which has Vidalia onions and wild mushrooms and some nice sauces.
I usually don’t like mushrooms and onions on my pizza (why my mom was scared to tell me), but really you just appreciate anything in that sort of circumstance and I warmed to Mr. Clifton quickly.
I got through the shfit somehow and went back to work the next day, still burnt, and somehow I feel like weeks later, I still haven’t recovered.
I celebrated Rosh Hashanah recently with my family and told my mom how much I appreciated the slices.
The next day, Eva’s Rochester-Irish father took me out to brunch and brought up the new year.
“Blessings on your face.” He told me.
“I think that’s what you’re supposed to say on the new year.” He said.
I wondered if my acne had gone away.
1 Mr. Pink (Chicken, Tomato, Garlic) and 1 Tony Clifton (Vidalia Onions, Mushrooms)- $7.50 (or free if your mom brings it)
Bleecker St between Broadway and Crosby St.
BDFM6 to Broadway-Lafayette/Bleecker St. R to Prince St.