Monthly Archives: March 2009

Puerto Rico

Well, Motherfakers. I’m on the road again.  This time to San Juan, Puerto Rico.  I’ll be shooting Rum Diary with Johnny Depp.  I’ve got a lot of news to share.  Fun with the cast of Wizards of Waverly Place, more on Obama including my thoughts on Special Olympics bowling and lastly a note on the passing of a good friend and St. Louis comedy writer.

 

San Juan Puerto Rico

San Juan Puerto Rico

 

I headed to the airport early Sunday morning.  It was much more stress free than my average trip to the airport because the studio provided a driver. My driver was a nice guy, but it looked like he was trying to bait me into a political argument.

He was telling me that Aaron Eckhart was in the limo before me, and so I asked who were some of the nicest people he had driven in the past.  He said he really liked George Clooney, and talked about how nice and friendly he was.  I added that I figured he would be and that I like that he has strong political convictions and that he uses his celebrity to promote causes he believes in.

That’s when he started talking about how Clooney isn’t as far to the left as Susan Sarandon, but getting there.  He went on to talk about how he thinks Obama is ruining our country.  I held my tongue.  Really?  in 60 days he’s already ruined our country?  I firmly gripped my taste-bud holder when he went on to point out that there has never been a Socialist government that’s lasted.

If he’d drank that much Kool Aid, there was no way I was going to try to convince him that Obama didn’t run on the Socialist ticket.  He’s an Amercian and a Democrat. I don’t agree with everything he’s said and done, but I’ll give him 4 years to see if his ideas will work for us.

I don’t argue politics anymore.  I’ve wasted a lot of time in the past trying to point out the holes in what I perceive in the “logic” of people who disagree with me.  And the older I get, the less sure I am that I know everything there is to know. Besides I’ve got too many friends on both sides of the aisle to start an argument about something as futile as my opinions about some policy.

 Speaking of everything Obama has said and done,  I couldn’t believe my ears when he was on The Tonight Show and said his bad bowling was “like something out of the Special Olympics.”

Whoah!  Apparently  he hasn’t spent any time bowling with a Special Olympian.  Everbody in Special Olympics has whipped my butt in bowling.  My friends John Taylor and Eddie Barbanell have made me hang my head in shame at my own bowling score.  I’ve been amazed at the bravery of Special Olympians who compete in events like downhill skiing and much more. I have to bowl in my shoot with Johnny Depp tomorrow and I know I wish I’d spent more time with John Taylor who’s the best bowler I know. 

So, I arrived in San Juan late Sunday and checked into the Caribe Hilton.  It’s one of the nicest hotels and resorts I’ve ever stayed at.

It’s right on the beach and the beach is gorgeous.  Expansive blue skies and waves crashing on the rocks.  I keep my window open most of the time since the sounds are just as beautiful.

I headed to the set of Rum Diary the next morning and on my way out I ran into David DeLuise and Jake T. Austin from Wizards of Waverly Place in the lobby.  I knew from emailing Peter Murrieta the day before that the Wizard movie was shooting at the Caribe Hilton.  I had planned on stopping by to see them after I was done, since I knew I’d get off early that day.

 

I didn’t know I’d be running into them that early. I also ran into Peter who told me that David pitched an idea to him about me making a cameo since I’m down here and Disney didn’t have to pay to fly me down or put me up.  So we planned on seeing if we can fit me in.  Hopefully it doesn’t distract from the scene that was written.

I arrived at the base camp for The Rum Diary and met the director Bruce Robinson and talked breifly with Aaron Eckhart.  He really was a nice guy and we talked about St. Louis a bit since he had filmed Meet Bill there a few years back.  It sounded like he had a chance to really get out and see St. Louis when he was there.  We talked about The Improv Trick and some of my other favorite things about St. Louis.

I got back to the Hilton and shot the scene for Wizards.  It’s a walk on.  I literally just walk on.  But it was a suprise cameo and only took about a half hour to shoot.

 

 

David Deluise and Selena Gomez

David DeLuise and Selena Gomez with Flat Stanley

By the way, I’m working on a slide show with Flat Stanley for my nephew Brandon.  So, technically I’m working on THREE projects in San Juan.

It was Peter Murrieta’s birthday so we all went out to a  great restaurant called Marmelade!  Whooiieee! It was delicious.  We had some amazing appetizers which included:

  • Baked Pear with feta cheese
  • Homemade Gnocci with spicy pork
  • Grilled Baby Octopus
  • White Bean Soup

And there was more. It just kept coming! The grilled baby octopus was great, but we all agreed that there’s no tasteful way of announcing any appetizer that begins with the words “grilled baby.”This jewel of a restaurant in Old San Juan was amazing.  I had a great entree too: Red Snaper with sausage and clams.  Then the desserts started coming, in taster’s platters just like the tapas appetizers.  We all agreed that the entrees were not even neccessary.  The waiter assured us that many of their guests go into a food-gasm at the end of the evening.

The White Bean Soup was an amazingly rich cream based soup with crispy bacon dust, served in a small cup, almost like an espresso cup.  You’re supposed to sip it instead of eating it with a spoon.  The big spoon they give you wouldn’t have fit into the cup anyway.

Lastly, I’d like to send my regrets to everyone in St. Louis who was close to Jamie Foehner, a very funny improviser and sketch comic.  Jamie worked in the sketch troupe Brand X, and he studied at The Second City at around the same time I did and also had Stephen Colbert as one of his teachers.

Jamie died far too young, but thankfully painlessly and quick.  It’s believed he had a heart attack sitting on a stool at his computer.  At least he went out writing.  St. Louis is a few laughs light today.

Well, it’s 1:02am and I have to leave for the set tomorrow at 6:30am.  I’d better get some sleep.  I’ll have more on the trip later.  For now, feast your eyes on this shot from my hammock this afternoon.

 

The Port of San Juan as seen from between my legs.

The Port of San Juan as seen from between my legs.

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Hold The Phone, Marconi!

Hey Crowd,
Remember when your good Ole Great Unc’a Bill would blog all the time. Why I’d go on for hours and write about things that only a maniac would want to hear…and you read it, to your credit.

Besides the fact that that rhymed, or despite that fact I’d ramble on about treasure hunts and network auditions and bands I heard and my favorite fans. And then things got quiet…a little too quiet. The divorce happened…and I stopped blogging regularly. That was probably scary for you and maybe you even blamed yourself or felt that it was your fault.

Well, it probably was. But I wouldn’t hold that against you because things are better now. So here I am in LA on a slightly chilly night. During the days the weather has been beautiful. Like the sort of weather they have where angels guard secret giants. Or the kinda day when a surfer dude decides not to “hang ten” and sits under the shade of a cocanut tree and “pots off” or whatever it is that druggers do.

I’ve had some mad fun since coming back to town, including shooting two more episodes of Wizards of Waverly Place and a webisode of Donny Clay starring Jason Alexander. I’ve got classes going on in LA and The Improv Trick is going strong in St. Louis while I’m in LA where we all agree I need to be.

Well, one of the fun things I’ve done is go to Yoshimoto Nara exhibit at the Blum and Poe gallery. Like much of Japanese art, it’s all about young girls. I decided I should have my picture taken in front of a really cool looking circus wagon. The second such picture I’ve found recently.
The other such picture is from long ago when I was writing for Jeff Fox’s Barracuda Magazine under the name Diamond Bill Cardigan, a trickster and medicine show man and living encyclopedia of sucker bets.
Diamondbill
In the meantime, my good friend Eric Hoffman has found a number of old pics from my days with the sketch comedy troupe The Dickie Bell Twist Dance Party and put them on Facebook. You can find them there, but here’s an example of the insipred lunacy.
This was a really fun show that we did in the early days of iO West. Very bizarre sketches from another dimension with a cool Retro feel. Before Retro was cool and when it was still just Post Junk.
I just got back from New Orleans for the New Orleans Comedy Arts Festival. It was a lot of fun. I had never been there for a Mardi Gras parade. It was so neat. There was a float that featured Uncle Sam, bent over a barrell and a prom queen named Fannie Mae having her way with the kind uncle. I had a great time and I think this picture sums it all up.
Yes, by the end of the evening I was, as the British put it, “Fagged Out.” I really enjoyed seeing some of my favorite funny people including the wonderful Yvonne Landry owner and director of the La Nuit Comedy Theater. It was good to see all the acts, and in particular I enjoyed hanging with Jill Bernard, who had me do a cameo on her audio blog about The Lockhorns.
You can hear it here:

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http://lockhornsaloud.livejournal.com%2F82358.html

This was her Mardi Gras costume…a pirate hat.

I really enjoyed watching the Oscars the other night. I had my greedy little working actor fingers crossed and I’m glad that my favorite pinko commie homosexual Sean Penn won for Best Actor.

Although I have to say that I was also rooting for Mickey Rourke. I really identified with his role in The Wrestler and the portion of his life where he felt that he couldn’t go on doing the only thing he loved and decided to work as a butcher, until he snapped.

He had fun until he was recognized. That’s kinda how I felt about moving back to St. Louis until The Improv Trick became this amazing thing in my life and I was reborn. I felt like I was denying myself the thing I loved in life, and until our improv comminty came together there, I was lost. Very much like Randy the Ram.

I also really enjoyed Benjamin Button. Both that movie and the Wrestler were about coming back from your adversities even stronger. Just like Me and New Orleans. It was great to see so many familiar sites in that film. Places I’ve seen on my many trips to the beautiful Crecent City.

I look at New Orleans making it’s way back and I see myself, I see Benjamin Button, I see Randy the Ram. I see America.

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