Gilda Radner story

January 17, 2011

I don’t know if this story is true, but it was just posted on this blog as a comment on that Gilda Radner / Steve Martin dance duet I posted a couple months ago, and it’s kinda sweet.

Here I am on MLK Day 2011 remembering Gilda. It was a Friday in 1978, and at 26 I had just finished the drive from Los Angeles to NYC. The goal was to be in the audience for SNL the next day.

I walked from the Americana Hotel to a deserted Rockefeller Center, arriving about 11pm. I hadn’t slept in the previous 36 hours. The guard under the NBC marquee let me know if I wanted tickets to be in line by 6am Saturday morning. Dismayed that might not happen due to my extreme fatigue, I walked over to the solitude of the taxi stand for a ride back to the hotel.

Suddenly Gilda appeared like an angel, full of energy, and stood close beside me. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a joint, asking her if she would like to get high. She grabbed it, and we vanished into the night in the back of that cab smoking, telling stories, and having a good old time. When we parted in front of the Americana about 6am after bar-hoping (including Woody Allen playing sax) she handed me her last pass for the evening’s performance, hosted by Steve Martin and including the wonderful “Dancing in the Dark.”

I have never been the same since. I imagine you are with Lucile Ball performing comedy skits in heaven. God bless you Gilda, and thank you again for a wonderful time. You left us way too soon.

Thanks, “enkidu”.


Guest Post: Andrea Peneycad’s Magico Magico

January 17, 2011

I tried to trick Peneycad into starting a blog by being all tricky, like “hey that thing that happened to you is funny, you should type it” and she did and then I was all tricky again, like “oh hey great story, why not start a blog and put that story on it” and she was like “no”. So basically she’s the one who tricked me, because look, I’m posting it here.

I was on the subway on Saturday night. It was around 10:30 – kind of a lull time, just before the going-out crowd, um, goes out. I was coming back from a baroque- concert-slash-gay-marriage-fashion-show that I saw with my aunt and my 91-year-old grandmother. But that is entirely another story.

At maybe St. George station, this guy about my age got on the subway. He was incredibly nonremarkable in every aspect except for that he had kind of searching eyes, which are entirely unusual (and entirely undesirable) eyes to see on the subway. The rest of us were playing our required roles of Weary Torontonians On The Subway Who Don’t Notice Anyone Around Them.

I half watched him choose a seat not too far away from me, next to some other guy I dutifully hadn’t noticed either. He then sat down with an exaggerated ‘aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,’ a sound which I can compare only to letting the air out of a bicycle tire. This guy was happy to be taking a load off and wanted us to know about it.

In that exact moment, the man who had been sitting on my same bank of 3 seats got off the subway, and our deflated bicycle tire gave us all a look like ‘golly, isn’t that just Murphy’s law that a better seat opens up right when I sit down, well, gee, I’ll just snag it, it seems like the only thing to do, wouldn’t you agree?’ We wouldn’t agree (or disagree), we were Not Playing. He got up and crossed to sit down next to me, leaving a seat between us.

I focussed on my subway activity of choice, which is to send text messages to my friends, which eventually send themselves when I get to ground level, but once again, ‘aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.’ This sealed the deal for me. I had to keep my eyes to myself; this guy was looking for some sort of conversation opener, and it wasn’t going to take much.

The next time I looked up, he was sort of clumsily shuffling through a deck of cards. Not in a ‘wow, I’d really better get these cards mixed up; look, all the jacks are together’ kind of way, but more of a ‘if I do this for long enough, someone will ask me if I do magic’ vibe. We’d just passed Christie station, which meant I was getting off in 4 stops.

It sort of flashed through my mind that I could make this guy’s night by asking him if he did magic. He was basically wearing a sign that said ‘Ask Me If I Do Magic (Hint: The Answer Is YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)’ but then I thought better of it, and right in the middle of deciding not to, I heard myself say resignedly ‘so. do you play poker, or do you do magic.’

Him: ‘Why, I do magic!’
(I swear, he threw in the ‘why’ at the beginning of the sentence.)

Me: ‘Ok. I’m getting off at Dundas West.’

Him: ‘I’m getting off at Lansdowne! What you see here is a completely normal deck of cards.’

He lifted his deck of cards up, which he was awkwardly holding, as if to prove that there WAS something fishy up with these cards. He kind of clumsily half- fanned through them, so I could vaguely see some writing on at least one corner of the cards. ‘What I plan to do, right before your very eyes, is erase these cards. So, first thing we nee–
FFOOOOOOOMMM

He threw an ENORMOUS fireball into the air, then did some sort of awkward sleight-of- hand and, yup, he’d turned all the cards white. But who cares. I was still back at ‘WHOA. You just threw fire on the subway. Did you really just throw fire on the subway?’ Also, I was thinking how READY this guy actually was for me (and by ‘me’ I mean ‘anyone in the entire world’) to ask him about doing magic.

The other riders on the subway, god love ‘em, they were all playing their ‘I’m in Toronto, nothing’s gonna surprise me’ roles all the way to Oscar nominations. Not a blink or a raised eyebrow anywhere. Inspiring stuff.

With one stop till he needed to get off, I kind of expected that we were just gonna have the ‘thanks, that was neat’ ‘oh really? You really think so? Thanks a lot I have been working on it I am really into magic it’s not that easy you know thanks a lot’ conversation that happens after someone almost singes off your eyebrows, but he stuffed his hand into his pocket and pulled out 3 pieces of trick rope. Kleenex, receipts and instructions for other tricks came tumbling out too, but this guy didn’t care. He was on a mission.

‘I have in my hand 3 ropes. I’m the kind of guy who carries rope in his pocket, crazy eh?’

‘You certainly are prepared,’ I managed.

‘As you can see they’re all of differing lengths. I will now transform them to be the same length.’

He started doing some clumsy movements in his palm. ‘Next stop, Lansdowne Station’ came the recorded voice. He sped it up, and I kind of glanced away so he could hurry up with whatever secret moves he needed to do.

The subway rolled into the station, and he kind of threw the rope out of his hands ‘ and now you see they’re all the same length um bye!’ he grabbed his bag, stood up, and started scooping the receipts, tissue and the instruction card back into his pockets, sliding out the doors just as they were closing.

I laughed and laughed to myself. I tried to catch the eyes of the other passengers, but they weren’t having any of it.

Understandable, really.

– Andrea Peneycad doesn’t have her own blog.
(yet)

PS, Here is an unrelated link.


Blue Valentine Trailer & Screenplay

January 16, 2011

I had no idea Ryan Gosling was so charming. Or that Michelle Williams was so interesting. Man, I liked this movie. The dialogue was mostly improvised; the Blue Valentine shooting script is online here.


WIN a SmartPhone with a free 3-month phone plan!

December 28, 2010

UPDATE:
We have a winner! (Sorry for the delay in announcing it). The HTC SmartPhone and 3-month Mobilicity Talk & Text plan goes to….

Comment # 16, Laura! Congratulations, Laura. Please use your phone for the good of mankind.

Mobilicity gave me an HTC Snap SmartPhone to give away! The recipient gets the phone to keep, as well as a 3-month Mobilicity Unlimited Talk & Text contract.

Your phone may, or may not, appear to be sideways when it arrives at your house. If it is, just rotate it, ya dingus!

How do you win this phone?

Just leave 1 or 2 comments on this post. In your comment, mention
something you might phone or text with this phone
that you might regret later.

(It can be funny, sweet, embarrassing, or whatever; just keep it clean).

Make sure your comment includes a valid email address, which will be confidential and only visible to me. It’s fine by me if you enter with the intention of giving this phone as a gift- I’m sure some of your parents or luddite friends could use a cool SmartPhone, so go ahead and try to win this one for them. As long as it ultimately goes to an adult who lives in Canada (excluding Quebec), it’s fine.

You may enter up to twice per email address.
I’ll pick the winner on the afternoon of January 3.

Fine print:
The free 3-month plan includes local calling, texts, picture messaging, in-province long distance, voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, 3-way calling, and call forwarding. You do not have to sign a contract with Mobilicity; at the end of the 3 months you can choose to continue the plan, or it will be terminated. The phone is yours to keep either way (it’s worth about $175). This contest is open to Canadian residents (except Quebec, desolée!) who are over 18. I don’t think there’s any tricky stuff attached- the company who’s managing this promotion is great. Email me if you have questions.

Remember, you can enter TWICE per email address.


Starr Andrews Whips Her Hair while skating

December 28, 2010

I love this kid. And her Chuck Taylor skates.
Thanks to May for Facebookin’ this.


Cat Bow Tie

December 27, 2010

I made an Xmas bow tie for Helder’s mom’s cat.
My cats were forced pleased to model it first.

Mojo. So majestic.

Juno. So annoyed.

Then I wrapped it up and gave it to the Senhora and my lil’ buddy Fausty, who chewed on it while being told in Portuguese how pretty he looked.

It’s felt, with a hair-elastic-and-button closure.

I am pleased with it, and am now planning an entire line of catcessories: a long necktie, a priest collar, a peter pan collar, maybe a Shakespearean ruffly thing. Stay tuned for more mortified cats special occasions.

I did this once before but obviously cats look better in tuxedoes than business suits. What am I, a farmer?


What I’ve been looking at

December 27, 2010

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Pics I liked online this week.


Animals doing things in the halls

December 25, 2010

It’s my favourite YouTube user, Halifax’s Klaatu42– this guy is magic.


Russell Brand improvises as Trinculo

December 16, 2010

Here’s Russell Brand improvising a clever monologue that explains his entire backstory for the jester Trinculo (a character in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, soon to be a film directed by visionary designer/director Julie Taymor). Brand takes the character from childhood to shipwreck in 4 entertaining minutes.
Thanks to Holger and Brady for Facebooking this.


Bad Request

December 16, 2010

I tried to look at a photo on Facebook today and this message came up.

Facebook error message that says Bad Request. The server found your request confusing and isn't sure how to proceed.

The photo was of someone I had a crush on when I was 17, which makes me feel bad for the poor, confused Facebook server. Like maybe my teenage crush is now in an unstable relationship with this Facebook server and she’s super jealous and insecure. I wish I could reassure her.