Friday, April 06, 2007

You betta recognize!

I didn’t even sleep, not a single minute as I awaited my second screening. Not that it mattered since I got home around 5 in the morning. Det. Budd is still passed out, Johnny Sabado went MIA sometime around 2AM. The professor stumbled back to his room with the Five-footer in-tow and none of us is really ready to screen at 10AM.

There is a lot of things you can do at 10 in the morning (like give a hooker her change) but screening Sex-Love is not one of them. This is a late night film, midnight movie if you will. I mean you have to be a special kind of in-denial baby boomer to screen a film with an excess of profanity and simulated drug use (actually we really did smoke weed during that shot) so early in the morning. I mean c’mon people…you have to at least follow the recommended screening rules if you want the desired effect!

Anyway, so I’m up…well I am standing…I’m trying to keep moving lest I just collapse and die. I’m frantically moving around the hotel room and packing things up. I’m like Mr. compulsive when it comes to screening. And even worse I’m terrified that again there will be no turnout. Of course, I don’t care this morning.

I’m going to wake up and smoke a bowl and eat some potato chips and see what happens. I mean how bad can it really be?

Johnny Sabado stumbles in right as we are about to leave. I was expecting a story about some chick’s panties or some shit like that. But he says he’s been sleeping in his car for 4 hrs…likely story.

I hit up The Professor and the Five-Footer…Five-FT says he has plans with the GF….so my numbers are in trouble already. I can’t be mad though…he went the distance last night.

It’s 10:15am..and me and Det. Budd and Johnny Sabado are rolling through the Arizona center. I have been told by numerous persons that this will be the crowded screening. We roll in and the place is nearly empty…see, I know my shit.

We sit in the back and try to act like we didn’t just roast bowls in the parking lot (“smell something?, no sir I don’t smell anything). It’s the same section as last night…and I’m disliking the films in my section even more on the second pass (I’ve had time to think about the implications of the shots).

And then Sex-Love begins. It’s always a strange feeling to see it on the screen. To remember which shots I was totally clueless about and how there are several crew members that I wished I would have fucked. It all comes rushing back…like bad sushi..

The film gets a few chuckles but let’s be honest…comedy is hard when people still have sand in their eyes.

So guess what? The section ends and the lights don’t come on. And there is no Q & A. Again I am standing in the dark, trying to defend my film, yet again!…I fucking hate festivals. I mean how tough is it really? I told them that the only people who’ll really attend a screening before 11am are the ones that are incarcerated…you know.. cause they ain’t got shit else to do but lift weights and eat salad (and I’m not talking caesar).

But I don’t care. I mean fuck’em…we just screened...this is officially a party…you betta recognize!

We leave the theater with a large amount of noise. It’s like 11:15 and there’s really no one at the festival yet. But wait…they are setting up some sort of table and shit over on the patio. It’s the hospitality tent….with free beer samples…what are the fuckin’ chances?

So here we come. We’re walking deliberately to the hospitality tent to taste their beer. There are two people standing behind the table offering samples of their product and t-shirts.

Of course they are only giving us Dixie cups to drink out of. I’m being totally fucking serious. Like 7 grown men, collaborating around a card table, to get a 3 ounce refill on the domestic swill that passes for beer in AZ. What the fuck is that all about? I am a professional alcoholic and this is not sanctioned in the rule book. But I don’t care, we are the only people trying to get fucked up before noon.

This guy’s got Michelob Ultra, Rolling Rock and Stella…and he’s holdin’ back on the Stella. We try to be nice but at a certain point someone says “what the fuck, dude”. I mean he was making us drink the Michelob. I looked at him and I asked him..

“have you ever seen a big, dreaded, black motherfucker in a Michelob commercial?”

“Uh, not really”

“Well that’s because we don’t drink this shit. And what the fuck gives you the right to fuck around with the design on the Rolling Rock bottle…I’m from Pennsylvania….that beer belongs in an 8 ounce can in the back of my grandfather refrigerator”

He’s not exactly tickled at my response…but hey, he’s not the Master of Ceremonies, now is he?

1hr later we’re rowdy. Johnny Sabado is trying to get with this sister DSL’S (dick-suckin’ lips).. The Professor is killin’ the Stella and Det. Budd is just being loud. We have been joined by a few of the festival attendees and it’s like a little party.

Only none of these cats are filmmakers and to be honest I’ve yet to meet another filmmaker. See that’s the problem…this is some professional expo when it should really be a “drink till you drop fest”.

Suddenly, a tall man comes in flanked by two women. I recognize this guy from yesterdays symposium…this was one of the speakers. Actually he’s like Mr. connected at this festival…or at least that’s how he fronts. It doesn’t really matter…I mean this thing has been kind of a bust so what do I have to lose.

I don’t want to rush the guy… but I do really want to know what his deal is. He’s a funny guy, likes to tell stories and do a little ad hoc stand up. Not bad, but I’m a writer (and an addict)..I’ll kill this guy if someone gives me a mic.

Anyway, he’s over by the beer table and I make an entrance..

“So who wants to get fucked up?”

“dude it’s not even noon

“I know, we’re wasting time when we could be getting really fucked up”

He chuckles at my immaturity as he sips his drink, but I’m not worried. Three rounds later and he’s still here…wanna know why? Cause there ain’t shit else to do at 12 noon on a Sunday in Phoenix but get drunk (church…what’s that?).

So I switch into producer mode. I’m telling jokes and generally being a Los Angeles I grab my PSP out of my bag. Now I’ve watched 4 of 5 people run at this guy over the weekend and none of them have been successful. Mainly because this is like amateur night and the kids don’t know what to say to him (luckily, I’m a professional.)

My approach is by the book. I stand near him, but don’t really try to talk to him. Money people hate being cornered so it’s best to be near them and ignore them (kind of like when a woman likes you). I begin to chat up his assistants because they aren’t really drinking which means they have to be the ones to make the contacts.

I make conversation and then I casually mention that I am a filmmaker. They collectively nod their heads.. “we can tell”. I take that as a good sign since they were both smiling. I open the PSP case…the one with the external speakers and the sub woofer and play a few trailers.

The money guy glances over but doesn’t really take notice. Which is fucking amazing, I mean c’mon dude.. that’s 16MM…that’s high speed photography…that’s color timing…why you playin’ me like Parcheesi? The Assistants on the other hand really like it, but the check-writer is unphased. Then I pull out the big guns, I play the Z-car trailer.

His eyes light up as my Z goes through the paces. He actually walks up to the PSP and stand directly in front of it so no one else can see the image. He begins to question me..

“Is this your film?”

“It’s one of the trailers for the film, it’s a compilation of the stunt footage”

“What year is that Z”

I couldn’t believe he said that. He knows Z’s.. this could get good.

“it’s a ‘77”

“I’ve got two Z’s …my ’83 and a 2005 350Z.”

..and what do you know, he’s a Z guy. He’s got an 83 that he says is totally stock. It starts out as a great conversation…but he keeps harping on the fact that his is stock.

I should probably point out that his ’83 is not a classic Z, it’s a ZX and 350 owners and classic Z owners rarely get along. Then he says it, the statement that sets it off.

“Your not one of those guys who puts a bunch of aftermarket parts on your Z are you?

“I’ve done a performance restoration and heavily modified the engine”

He laughs and tells me that my car was fine just as it was, and that he hates guys who try to update the Z. And from then on we go at it. He’s mumbling about classic lines and original equipment.

“What did you do, put a big wing on the back and some neon lights on the undercarriage?”

I mean who the fuck does this guy think he’s talkin’ to? Do I look like some fuckin’ 19yr sport tuner who doesn’t make his own insurance payments…I have to set him straight.

“Dude.. I’m runnin’ an oversized cam with 3 into 1 headers, twice pipes, cold air induction, big throat throttle body… and need I mention the short throw shifter or the suspension modifications”

“And that makes it a better car?”

“First of all I don’t drive a car, I drive a Z. And my Z is nasty, hella nasty.”

“You mean it looks nasty?”

The crowd chuckles…

“Whatever dude! My Z gets hella respect, yo!”

“I mean why is that necessary… it was a great car to begin with”

“The classic Z’s, the ones that one 10 consecutive C-production racing titles were originally run almost completely stock. They were good cars but suffered from the compromise of being a daily driver. So you have to bump up the horsepower, stiffen the suspension…if you really want to find out what your Z can do.”

he’s not listening. He’s telling me I’ve ruined my Z. This from a guy that doesn’t change his own oil. This from a guy who wouldn’t know what a throw-out bearing was if you tied it to his dick. Are you fucking kidding me? I’m on my second engine. I spend more on Z-Parts than you do on Viagra!

He continues to berate me and tries to indicate that I’m not really a Z-guy. This from a 350 owner...and I’ll bet you money his 350 is an automatic. I bet he brakes for yellow lights and signals before he changes lanes. Hey money Guy…why don’t you buy a Volvo and get it over with. You are worse than the Ferrari owner that doesn’t speed. You worry about traffic…there is no traffic when you pass on the shoulder. The only thing I yield for is Semi’s and other Z’s. The rest of you panty-weights can eat a dick!

He’s from LA so he says he’ll show me what a classic looks like. Pah, is he fucking kidding…he won’t be able to hear himself fart – that’s how loud my exhaust is. My shit doesn’t even idle the engine is so worked. He says we’ll compare cars one day…I just laugh. That’s like asking Shaq if he wants to play one-on-one.

I return to drinking…and I’m behind the crew. Sabado is workin’ hard for the money, The Professor has managed to get about 6 free T-shirts and Det. Budd is roastin’ bowls behind the palms trees…then he approach me..

“Are we gonna fuck around all day with the Dixie chicks or are we gonna do some drinkin’?

Seconds later we are on are way to an adjacent restaurant on the patio. We have to lay low till we meet our 19 yr drug dealer (hey, it’s your state...don’t get mad at me). As the three of us are being seated I tell the hostess that it will be safer for everyone if we are away from the families. She obliges.

I start off with a full size Stella. Det. Budd gets a pitcher of Margaritas and I think The Professor started with some shots…I don’t remember.

It’s almost 3 now. Our 19yr drug dealer has shown up…with her little sister (I shit you not). And here we are, in the Arizona center…feeding alcohol to minors, buying weed and trying to see if there are any hot mommies who need attention in this restaurant (it’s good to be a filmmaker.)

Our waitress return and she wants to get a food order. Food order? I thought the margaritas were the food? Then she starts to up sell me on the liquor.

“You might want to think about switching your drink?”

“Oh, does this one cause cancer?”

“uh, no.. but there is a two pitcher limit”

“what do you mean by limit?”

“Meaning…you can’t get no fucking more!”

“Oh it's like that, huh? Well when was that law passed…this is anarchy!”

“Welcome to Arizona… Now I do have some nice alternatives”

“I’m sorry are we still taking about alcohol?”

“Yes Cooprdog, I’m not a Madam”

“How do you know my name is Cooprdog?”

“Cause I’ve been you waitress for the last 90 min’s you alcoholic….anyway.. would you like to try some Kilievisch?”

“I’m sorry….Killabitch…it’s called Killabitch? Oh I got to get some of that.”

“No, Kilevisch"

(I should probably point out that we have yet to be able to figure out what the fuck she was talking about, so maybe I was just drunk….so if you know what this shit is…hit me up cause I can't even spell the shit)

“I was about to say, if it ‘s called Killabitch…I’m gonna have to give that a taste…I mean that has got to be some bomb shit if it’s got a name like that”

The underage drug dealers are getting’ tipsy and I order another pitcher of the Margaritas. I’m inhaling this steak Fajita and loving life.

I wonder exactly how fucked up I can get before the cops show up. And next thing I know.. my blackcherry is vibrating. It’s Johnny Sabado…he says the hospitality tent is closing and he wants to know where we are at.

I tell him to turn around and he bursts out laughing. We’re less than 20 ft from him….Sabado is hella fuckin’ faded.

He joins the party and orders a drink.

“So what’s good to drink?”

“We’ve got Killievisch”

“Killabitch…are you for real? That crazy…”

The whole table is cracking up. Sabado is like “what the fuck dude? I’m just tryin’ to order...that’s what the shit is called…don’t be lookin’ at me like I made the shit! I'm in the movie betta recognize!"

Now this is a fucking party. The drinking continues for another hour. Lies are told, dirty looks are thrown by the “real” customers of the restaurant and I’m starting to itch to want to get up.

We pay the enormous tab and we bounce. Off to some out of the way place to roast a phat bowl. It’s me, Det. Budd, The Professor, Johnny Sabado and our 19yr old weed hook up. We’re in the parking structure…puffing hard. I am wondering if I can take a large enough hit to make me forget this entire trip.

I’m coughing, wheezing…doubled over and my eyes are watering……now that’s what I call good weed.

There’s about 6 hours left in this festival, and we should probably go see a film or two. So we adjourn from the parking structure and stumble to the theater. There are more “festival personnel” now…but still no filmmakers (are we the only ones?) We stop to make a little conversation with some of the festival attendee’s

“you know you guys reek of alcohol?”

“Reek? Do we really reek of alcohol…or do we have the aroma of alcohol? The aromatic signature of relaxation? Who is to say when socializing ends and chemical dependency begins? Who among us is on top of their shit enough to talk smack to me and my boys about drinking…that’s my question.”

The guy walks away.

“What did you say to him?”

“I merely asked him for clarification on his assertion”

Det. Budd chuckles as we continue into the theater. The Professor stops by the registration table to get an additional program and the fireworks begin.

“May I help you?”

“Yeah, I need a festival program”

“ok, that’s going to be $5”

“Five-dolla? What the fuck are you talkin’ about?” ( ..motions to his festival badge…) “I’ve got an all access pass bitch, you betta recognize!"

She back pedals, she apologizes and gives him the program.

“Professor, is everything alright over there?

“This festival is hella fuckin’ Janky, dude!”

…and The Professor is right. This place is beyond jankiness. Low turn out, shitty digital copies of filmmakers films, rain, 2 drink maximum’s…I mean can it get any worse?

Of course it can, tonight is the award show… I can’t fucking wait!


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