Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Legend.



Over the past few days, there has been a whole lot of hulabaloo made over the death of Paul Newman. And I've been trying to figure out why.

I sat down and gave it plenty of thought, and came to a single, inevitable conclusion:

He was one of the fucking awesomest people ever.

Paul Newman was no mere Movie Star. As I have mentioned before, I think of Paul Newman as the founder of contemporary cool. He was cinematic royalty and a class act. Just a little bit of trivia before I really start gushing.

Paul Newman was nominated for a total of ten Oscars over five decades. After not winning the statue 7 times, he was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1986. Not one to accept charity or pity, the next year Newman won the Best Leading Actor Oscar for The Color of Money.


Kiss my ass, honorary statue.

In 1954, Newman appeared in the film the Silver Chalice. For the rest of his life he remained embittered and embarrassed regarding his role in that film. Rather than just bitch about like a diva, Newman took out a full page ad in Variety apologizing for his performance in the movie.


Why the Hell did I agree to do this?

Now that is true class. I, for one, would certainly like to see that sort of apology a whole lot more these days.





I have more, but I'm getting sidetracked.

For more trivia on Paul Newman, check out his IMDB page.

But really, I can't understate the level of wonderfulness of many fantastic roles that he brought to life through the years.

Butch Cassidy



Fast Eddie Felson in The Hustler and The Color of Money



Cool Hand Luke Jackson



Henry Gondorff in The Sting



Reg Dunlop in Slapshot



Slapshot holds a special place in my heart as parts of it were filmed in the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

Any of the above films I can, watch multiple times without coming close to getting bored of them. Trust me, I have seen all of them at least twice. I didn't even touch on the great movies he made later on in his career, like Empire Falls, Nobody's Fool and The Road to Perdition (another Oscar nomination).

You want so much coolness your head explodes? Try this on for size:



The combined coolness of Paul Newman and Steve McQueen as well as seeing Robert Wagner burning to death. Who could ask for anything more?


Basically, go watch all these movies and then think about the fact that the man responsible for them no longer walks on the earth that he helped to make that much more beautiful.

It's ok to cry.

So goodbye, Mr. Newman. Thank you for your talent and work. Also, I hope you appreciate my restraint in not telling any salad dressing jokes.

Love,

Rev

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I love a parade: Deja Vu Edition

Well I suppose it was guaranteed to happen, now that I'm approaching my second anniversary of living in either New York City or its ridiculous pretend-borough landfill.




I was bound to begin repeating myself, and this weekend I went to the Von Steuben parade again.

You may remember my post from last year, or you may not. The details are a bit fuzzy to me, too.

This year though, I did not go alone. I was accompanied to the parade by McG, and to the beer garden parade after-party by McG and Oach.



The parade was fun, and the weather was gorgeous. I took a bunch of pictures, but I won't be posting many of them because they look fairly identical to those from last year.


Except for this. This is different.

The beer garden party thing in Central Park had some fundamental flaws in its organization. First off, the space quickly filled up to standing room only. McG and I (thanks to some maneuvering and strategic New Yorker arguing) got there early and snagged some folding chairs while the getting was good, and so the three of us were fairly comfortable, until crowded on all sides by envious, chairless wastrels.


Suckas.

Before the crowd got crazy, McG and I went for the food. More signs of bad things to come. The large woman behind the table was looking extremely harried and stressed while filling my order for Bratwurst. I worried for her, because if she was freaking out to that level with only two people in line, then her head would probably explode once the rest of the thousands got there.

The cramped accommodations were not improved by the choice of performers. I was pumped to see some German Oom-Pah bands with their lederhosen and toasts and yahooing and alpine horns and such. Instead, I was subjected to smooth jazz.



Don't get me wrong, in a dark little club with candles on the table late at night, that would be fantastic. But it was 2:00 in the afternoon on a beautiful, sunny day. The band made me want to take a nap, when it should have been inspiring me to drink beer and do a silly slapping dance.


That's what I wanted.

When it looked as though the jazz band was finished, my hope rose. And were quickly dashed as an Elvis impersonator mounted the stage.

Appeared on stage, I should say. That other phrasing might have actually been entertaining.

Finally, it became too much and our trio set out for some other entertainment, much to the cheers and high-fiving of three formerly chairless individuals nearby.

We took a brief walk to the boat pond, where we met up with the greatest street performers in the City: Song Camp.



Yes, they're way better than that old asian guy at the Whitehall station with the banhu, who seems just as baffled by the sounds he's making as everyone else is. He is a beggar. They are musicians.


Banhu.

But in all seriousness, the next weekend you're in Central Park, make it a point to find them. You'll not be sorry. I'm proud to say I was a part of the creative process, as the benches at which they usually play were occupied. One was taken by a girl reading the last few chapters of Zadie Smith's White Teeth. That book was written by a rather young author and is actually quite good. In that way, it is very much dissimilar to anything by Christopher Paolini, against whom I still harbor a burning literary hatred, and whose latest derivative piece of crap was released four days ago.



The other bench was taken by a fat man sailing a toy boat.

McG and I focused on trying to get the boatman to move, most notably by "accidentally" blocking his sightline of his boat. He was an experienced captain, however, and sailed it slightly to the left, reestablishing visual contact and thwarting our poorly planned and executed attempt.

Oach and Song Camp remained near the reading girl, carrying on a louder-than-necessary conversation about how nice it would be to take a walk around the pond.

Ultimately, the girl caved first, though the boatman wasn't far behind, and we had more benches than we knew what to do with.

That's not true.

We sat on them.



For a sampling of the music I enjoyed for the remainder of my afternoon check out Song Camp's site here.



All for now,

Rev

Note: I have not been paid to promote Song Camp, though I wish I had been.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Escape From New York

Well, New York City, at least. I stayed in New York State. I mean, come on, it's the greatest state of the greatest nation of the greatest planet in a pretty good solar system.


meh.

So yeah. I escaped the hustle and bustle of the City and job and responsibility to an idyllic, (relatively) upstate camp on a lake. It looked like this:


Oh yes. Everything necessary for a fantastic weekend.

But first I had to pass through the Gate of Hell.


No... that's the Hellgate Bridge. I live under it.



Ok that's Sunnydale High School, site of the Hellmouth on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You're getting way off topic. You know, I don't think we communicate like we used to.

I'm talking about John F. Kennedy International Airport, man. Keep up.

I've flown out of JFK several times before and it's always been on the short trips that I've been the most disappointed. This flight from NYC to Syracuse was no exception. I was delayed, and we taxied on the runway for an hour before taking off and I really had to pee and I was sitting next to the only person on the entire airplane that felt the need to turn on her reading light and use her Women's Health magazine to reflect the glare into my foveas.

But take off we did, and land we did, and drive we (different we - Curly and I) did.

At long last I arrived at the above camp, circa 2:06 AM. Then came a 24 hour period of fun and relaxation with a colorful cast of people.


Mr and Mrs Rev were there.

And where Mrs Rev goes...


tequila follows.


Here's Curly in the yellow, and Capt. Scrooge in the black, whose birthday was the reason (excuse) for this particular celebration.


This is Joey. He's being held by his mother, Bluish-Green. You may remember her from when I ran the Boilermaker this year.

Joey's a cool kid. He's relaxed and doesn't make too much noise, and he says "Hi" all the time. Except when he says it, it comes out more like "Heyy" like the Fonz, which only makes him cooler. Also, he let me try on his life jacket.


Safety first, sexy close behind.

There were plenty of great activities to be had.

Mr Rev went kayaking:


In fairness, Mrs Rev, Curly and I went too, but we had no one to take our picture.

Mrs Rev went waterskiing:


This is hours before the tequila showed up, even.

I built a fire in the evening, because I love that stuff.


So beautiful... it speaks to me.

There was some late night swimming to be had as well:


Apparently, the water is extremely cold.

Thank goodness for that exquisite fire, eh?


What's that? You want me to bring you inside?

Oh right! I forgot to mention that we may have killed a woman:


Nah, I'm joking. I'm sure she's fine wherever we dumped her in that rolled-up carpet.

In summary, good times were had by all. There was plenty to eat and more than plenty to drink, and wood smoke and boat cruises on a 5 mile long lake.

Though on the disturbing side, there was an inexplicable portrait of Mr. Morchison hanging on the wall of the camp:


Peek-a-boo.

Needless to say, I avoided that room as much as possible.

Sadly, on Sunday it was time to return to NYC. Even sadder, it took me 8 hours to fly a distance that it would have taken me 5 hours to drive. JFK sucks. I don't want to think about it any more.

It's time for me to get going, but I'll leave you with a gratuitously sexy swimsuit shot.



Now you people behave with that picture. I don't want to see it posted up on all those smutty, disgusting, filthy websites I frequent.

Catch you later,

Rev

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Manhattan 1, Coney Island 0

So in my last prose blog I mentioned my adventure in Coney Island a few weekends ago. One of the primary goals of my trip went tragically unfulfilled.

I wanted me some frozen custard.

"Mmm, that sounds good, Rev" you might be thinking, "I like ice cream too."

I said frozen custard, and may God have mercy on your soul if you ever confuse the two again.

According to Wikipedia: Frozen custard is a cold dessert similar to ice cream, made with eggs in addition to cream and sugar. It typically contains 10% butterfat and 1.4% egg yolk.

See that? Eggs make everything better.


Faberge knew it and now you do too.

Frozen Custard was born in Coney Island, and so I was Hell-bent on finding out its hiding place. I dragged Kaz and Zippy and Bizzy (Oh yeah, Bizzy was there too), up and down the boardwalk looking for someplace that sold frozen custard.

All I could see were storefronts with chipped and faded paint, boldly advertising their heaping servings of disappointment.

Oh yeah, we saw this too:


Sound advice.

I could not believe that such a delicious confection could not be found in its place of origin. My world was turned upside-down, and not in a good carnival ride sort of way. More of a bad Astroland Park ride sort of way.


I've seen scarier, but only because of a different kind of fear.

In my desperation to find some Frozen Custard, I called my Chloe.

A "Chloe" is anyone you've ever called whilst away from a computer to have them check something for you online. It is derived from the hit TV show 24, in which Jack Bauer receives increasingly improbable technological help from Chloe O'Brian while in the field.


"Jack, I've just downloaded the entire internet to your sunglasses."

My most consistent and reliable Chloe is Honus.


"With just these and science, I could blow up the goddamned world."

So yeah, I gave him a call and he was good enough to put up with my wildly impractical and needy requests. I fancy myself a pretty decent hand at the interzone. Upon request, I can find info fairly quickly, and on a shocking variety of subjects. There are those in this world that I would not trust to find google.com if it were set as their homepage. Honus is not one of those people.

As soon as three or four minutes had passed in the silence of active internet search, I knew hope was lost. He broke the news to me, I thanked him for his time and tried to keep the shameful burning tears inside. I was not to have frozen custard that day.

Fast forward.

Sunday, September 7th, 2008. I had finished a sketch comedy writing class at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater here in NYC, and a Revoriginal sketch had just debuted at the class showcase. It went well, thank you to everyone who came out. That was just the beginning.

A group of people decided we wanted to continue to spend time together and enjoy the wonderful weather. So we headed to Madison Square Park and the Shake Shack.


I may have mentioned it before, but this place is awesome.

As you can guess from the name and (if you've ever seen it) the giant line of people that is ubiquitous, they have pretty good Shakes.

What's their secret? FROZEN CUSTARD.

If you guessed anything else, you show shocking little faith in my ability as a story teller, though I've probably given you good reason to doubt me.

Admittedly, of our group only four of us were willing to wait in the somewhat long line to obtain this ambrosia. One of them looked like me, and the other three looked like this:



I finally got me some frozen custard, and it was all I dreamed it would be and more. Everyone else seemed pretty pleased, too.


Mr. Morchison enjoyed his shake.



Oach heartily endorsed the entire experience.

I'm not sure when I'll go back next, but it helps the Universe make sense in my mind to know that somewhere in this crazy, crazy town there exists a haven, a beautiful sanctuary of sanity and frozen custard.

Oh yeah, Bizzy was there too.



Peace, Love and Bump Your Ass Off,

Rev