Courtesy of…

I didn’t get the part in the commercial I’d been waiting to hear back about.

I had been calling my agent for days about it, or my agent’s assistant at least.

I’d even alienated my friend Kent who worked at the agency and whom I pestered with texts cajoling him for info.

It was shameful time, that one.

It all came to a head when I took John Beamer out for Mexicue, the food truck which was near my house that day, as we sat waiting early for my girlfriend Eva’s arrival.

John had been staying at my house, in New York from Palo Alto, attempting to figure out what to do with his life in the city, I guess, where more people try to do that sort of thing.

When I tried to give him a sort of grandiose walk-through of the truck’s offerings, the cashier stopped to ask me:

“You a food blogger?”

“Why yes,” I started to respond. “And I’m ashamed at Tribeca for shunning you, the line at FiDi would be intimidating by–”

But I’d lost the guy at yes, as he took the next customer.

“Eww, do you want the greenies?” John said, picking bits off his pulled pork sliders.

“That’s avocado.” I told him. “Are you insane? It’s delicious. Incontrovertibly so.”

“Well all I know is I don’t force food on other people.” He said.

“Well, I do, I’m Jewish.” I replied, but by the time the “greenies” were off and the sliders done.

“Should I call my agent?” I asked John, as we sat on a mesh-metal step.

I had held off for a day, after hearing I was “still in the running”. It was good to hear anything, but it was tough not to call.

“It sounds fine to me” from John was all the absolution I needed to make the call, that bit of social ammunition to convince me I wasn’t being just another crazy actor.

No news, they said. They’d call later.

Eventually Eva came and we sat talking about Louis C.K., as she ate beet tacos and I drank a Jarrito.

John and Eva thought he was a genius, but I thought he was at least a part stuck-up-shit.

We argued for a while, then John took a hint.

When I checked my phone next, there was a missed call and a message I had gotten the news.

The good part is, when I told Kent, he forgave me and cheered me up.

I guess it’s nice to know I’m not double-fucked on a day of bad news.

***

“That over there is Brooklyn Bridge Park.” I told John and his ladyfriend, as I held Eva’s hand in the breeze.

“It’s very nice and new and pretty. Look at the green field. In the daytime, there are food carts there.”

I gestured and they looked and appreciated it with mild “ooh”s.

We had walked down by the water in Brooklyn at my behest, looking for late-night ice-cream after a movie treat.

John had invited a friend of his along for the night.

I had to get a frozen banana earlier, but I’d never had one before and I found them somewhat disconcerting, outside of the context of Arrested Development.

I gave mine to Eva who accepted it with a happy squeal.

“I will treat this frozen banana as if I was my own.” She told me.

The banana was bought at a movie theater, a small joint I had been meaning to check out, called ReRun Gastropub Theater, a hodge-podged Dumbo joint fulled of reclaimed minivan seats and an HD projector.

Really, it was the movie theater equivalent of a mumblecore film.

But what had struck my interest about the theater was not really the set-up but the curatorial aspect of the films.

Each film they chose seemed both quirky and appropriate to the venue and the films were usually chosen outside of a distributor, chosen by some invisible hand.

The movies I had heard reviews of from here were not always 4-star flicks, but they always seemed interesting in a way that reminded me of only one other theater in NY: the Cinema Village.

Did I mention they also have beer there and homemade pretzels?

(And frozen bananas too.)

But the film we saw was better than both the venue and the idea of its line-up. A gritty film I’d probably describe as either earnest horror/thriller or “mumblegore” (Rob Malone has threatened to kill me if I use this term, so I take my life in my hands), Red, White and Blue is the story of some aimless 20- and 30-somethings in Austin who try to make art, live life and get over their collective pains.

Describing it like this could make it sound like the film sound like the Andrew Bujalski-made Beeswax or a film by Aaron Katz. But instead of giving an apologia for those who need not worry about anything besides their own aimlessness and cushioning white privilege, Red, White and Blue functions as a tragedy showing the legacy of hurt as it moves from individual to individual, obfuscating dreams, irregardless of relationships.

That is also functions as a genre horror film and a political parable, though an intentionally vague one (the war in Iraq is invoked and the colors of the title are both the USA’s and Texas’) is a measure of both the strength of the script, the amazing casting/direction of actors and most of all, the spare storytelling and crisp bordering-on-experimental editing, that tells much without words and fills out characters effortless while presenting us with the before/afters of their actions.

In the end there’s not much of a resolution, only an act of forgetting that we hope is enough to move forward from great sorrow.

Compared to a much more ballyhooed political-parable/genre film that I saw at the NYFF, Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff, I found both less pretentiously self-conscious and greater for being lower key and unheralded. In a way, RW+B‘s director, the Brit Simon Rumley, has out Reichardt-ed Kelly Reichardt, producing both a critical and understanding look at Americana and our “history of violence”, both in a decidedly low-key.

They’re both certainly excellent films though and well worth watching.

At least, to me.

***

Everybody got cold a little bit soon, down by the water, at the park, and Eva really wanted to go home.

It took me a little while to figure out when his ladyfriend kept talking about going to the F train, that she really just wanted to go with John for a while, while Eva and I let be.

“But it’s farther away.” I kept insisting. “And the A train is right here.”

Eventually, I got a clue and they left and we went home on the subway, Eva and I.

As we waited for the train, we plugged in an ear-a-piece of my headphones and listened to a Moth story about the former host of Blue’s Clues and a part-time stripper.

When it wasn’t over in time for Eva’s stop, I got with her and we walked up the stairs to Warren St, earbuds still in.

We smiled and kissed and kissed again and the podcast was eventually over.

I thanked Eva for giving me her for a day and I watched while she walked off.

John told me he wasn’t coming home till late and I nodded and told him yeah.

“Sorry I gave you so much shit about the train.” I said in a text. “I guess I pulled a you.”

And it was nice while I was walking home up Church St.

And cool and quiet.

***

RERUN GASTROPUB THEATER

Handmade 3-cheese pretzel (not pictured)- $5 (tickets are $10 and can be bought online with no surcharge).

Front St bet. Jay and Pearl Sts. DUMBO, Brooklyn.

F to York St. AC to High St- Brooklyn Bridge (a walk away)

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3 Responses to Courtesy of…

  1. Lisa says:

    glad to hear john’s in town. hope he stays a while.

  2. clome says:

    I believe I threatened to dropkick you. No murder involved.

  3. John says:

    My main points were that I imagine CK has a very exacting and particular vision for what he puts out there, and that the results are often excellent in the realm of standup and mixed in all other forms I’ve seen him dabble in, i.e. shorts/films/TV shows.

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