Thursday, February 19, 2015

Street Jeers

Remember when buildings used to be shaped like things? I was out in California for ADVENTURE TIME work and Verdell suggested several places for dinner, including somewhere "shaped like a barrel." I needed to hear no more! So we went to the barrel. Verdell said, and I believe I'm paraphrasing okay, that there used to be lots of buildings shaped like funny things in Hollywood, and this barrel is one of the last ones - maybe the last one - still standing. So now it has been taken over and reopened by some enterprising youths or something. Standing outside the barrel, as you can maybe see from the photo Verdell took, was a bearded guy in suspenders, whose sole job was to tell entering customers that the kitchen was closed because it was a "soft opening." But the kitchen was not completely closed! They gave us four deviled eggs in a cast-iron skillet. I have to say I was offended on some philosophical level! Why would deviled eggs be associated with a cast-iron skillet? Perverse! Jay - a new character in our story! - speculated that the bacon crumbled on top of the deviled eggs was the link to the cast-iron skillet. Not good enough! So for actual dinner, Verdell and Jay and I went to the reliable Tam O'Shanter, where we ordered MORE DEVILED EGGS. Hey! I did all that part from memory. Now I must consult my famed book of famed jottings. 1. Before dinner I was down in the hotel lobby and I heard a guy telling his life story at the hotel bar (he almost had a love scene with Bo Derek once) and he turned out to be the guy who plays Squidward. AND he was reading a storyboard based on one of my SpongeBob scripts! Right there at the bar. That was a coincidence! 2. The next day I went to Skylight Books to meet Kent. There was supposed to be an ADVENTURE TIME writers meeting but we had all forgotten that it was President's Day and the office was closed. So I bought some stuff at Skylight while I was waiting for Kent and had it shipped to myself. I can't remember the title of this one book I got, but it was written in 1959 and collected and analyzed the rhymes, jokes, songs and stories that schoolchildren make up and circulate among themselves (I think that's right) and anyway I opened to a section called "Street Jeers" and for some reason I thought, "'Street Jeers'! Megan Abbott would love this book!" 3. Kent and I ate in a French restaurant next door to Skylight. We decided it would be real cute if we went to see 50 SHADES OF GREY, which was playing in the movie theater on the other side of Skylight Books. "It would be 'blog-ready,'" I proclaimed of the potential experience! And in truth there's a lot I could say about 50 SHADES OF GREY, but I just don't feel like it right now, sorry. 4. At the end of 50 SHADES OF GREY, when it cut to black, Kent turned to me and said, "Wanna go get some chicken wings?" Ha ha ha ha! Classic Osborne. We walked a block or two to a place called "Ye Olde Rustic Inn" on the sign, but which I believe Kent referred to colloquially as "The Rustic." It was 3 in the afternoon and pitch-dark inside and everybody in the joint was already sloshed out of their minds. Kent said they had the best chicken wings in Los Angeles and told me about a Christmas Eve he spent there eating chicken wings. Michael Jackson came on the jukebox and Kent and I discussed how sad we had been when Michael Jackson died. 5. We were walking everywhere, well, Kent was pushing his bike.
So as we were walking down Sunset Boulevard we came upon a big bus-stop poster of 50 SHADES OF GREY and Kent wanted to take my picture in front of it. He was disappointed that there was a glare on the slogan "CURIOUS?"... 6. The next day I went to work and had lunch with ADVENTURE TIME coworkers Tom Herpich and Adam Muto and Jesse Moynihan and of course Kent. Jesse said he liked my outfit! He didn't use the word "outfit." Also, we discussed society. Tom had some thoughts about the future of transportation. 7. Back to work! This time with some actors from ADVENTURE TIME: Hynden "Princess Bubblegum" Walch (who was telling Jeremy "Finn" Shada about the meaning of Lent) and Steve Little. You'll probably recognize him from EASTBOUND AND DOWN. Look, here's his picture. He does the voice of Peppermint Butler. You know just the other day I was at Square Books and a young woman who works there (her name is Miracle!) was telling me how Peppermint Butler is her favorite character... AND last time I saw Jimmy he was saying that he identified with Peppermint Butler.
Is there something going on in the zeitgeist with Peppermint Butler? Probably not. 8. Marceline came in. By which I mean Olivia Olson, who plays Marceline. Of all these folks, she was the one I'd never met. Kent forgot to introduce me! So she just breezed into the booth thinking I was probably some old weirdo who was hanging around. 9. A break in the recording session! I walked out and beheld a strange sight. Now, the recording studio is on the first floor of the building, but the windows are high up, and I saw a row of people standing on chairs and other objects in order to peek out the window. Pendleton Ward took this photo of the phenomenon:
There was a big police standoff happening! "Every cop in Burbank is out there," as Kent said. There were SWAT vans and helicopters and everything, massed against some poor soul who had stolen a car, I think. This went on for some hours. 10. But work must continue! Back to the recording booth. Marceline had some more lines. Standing there waiting, Elizabeth Ito (a director on ADVENTURE TIME) mentioned Kent's tweets about 50 SHADES OF GREY, and as I was answering her I realized, oh good, this is my introduction to Marceline, because it was just Elizabeth and Marceline and me hanging out, and Marceline was intently listening as the old weirdo stranger who was standing around earlier talked at great length about 50 SHADES OF GREY. "Uh, I'm Jack," I said, after describing 50 SHADES OF GREY to Marceline for a while. 11. After all the work was done for the day I wanted to go back to the hotel but the standoff was still happening. I couldn't find Kent. I called his cell. "I'm on the roof!" he said. Cole Sanchez offered to take me out the back way and get me an Uber. While we waited for the Uber, Cole told me about a special backpack he carries his dog around in! 12. I went on a terrifying Uber ride with an extremely old man - who knows? maybe he was a terrible driver when he was young, too. But he swerved all over the road and generally behaved like a maniac. And the first thing he asked me was, "How do we get to Burbank?" to which I replied, "Uh, we're in Burbank." It was all downhill from there. 13. Sitting at the bar at Musso & Frank, waiting for some more people show up. I saw a bottle of Plymouth gin, which I've never had, but it's in all the Travis McGee books, so I thought I'd have a Plymouth gin gibson in honor of my pal Ace's hero Travis McGee. Pen showed up and had one too! He told me about the outcome of the police standoff: "They shot him with a beanbag and his pants fell down," said Pen. But when I showed him that I had jotted his sentence in my little jotting book, he added, "Not in that order." 14. While I was having dinner at Musso & Frank, Dr. Theresa was back in Mississippi having dinner with independent producer and actor Maggie Renzi. Maggie Renzi told Dr. Theresa about the movie she and John Sayles want to make next - which I would never reveal, in case it's a secret -
BUT LISTEN TO THIS! In an email on Feb. 3, my brother said he had an idea for a movie: "it's amazing... sad... triumphant... interesting" he wrote about this idea. AND IT'S EXACTLY THE SAME IDEA THAT MAGGIE RENZI TOLD DR. THERESA THE OTHER NIGHT. (Here's a photo of Maggie Renzi speaking to Dr. Theresa's Gender Studies class just hours ago!)
15. Speaking of my brother, he was among the party at Musso & Frank and revealed a fascinating piece of information I can't tell you... YET. 16. Pen took me to his house after dinner and strapped a thing on my head (pictured). It was like 50 SHADES OF GREY, ha ha, not really! It was the latest in virtual reality technology! I seemed to be flying, superhero style, over an old city. When I first started flying, I accidentally swooped toward the ground and shouted "Aaaaaaaaaaah!" exactly like the audiences in 1903 who went to see THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY and got scared that the train was going to run over them. (Did that really happen? I am going to say yes.) There was also a virtual reality where you throw a ball to some kitty cats. That was more my speed. 17. McKay mailed me a copy of THE LEOPARD by Giuseppe di Lampedusa. She was thanking me for my recommendation letter because she got accepted into a swank artist colony in Italy. I hate to tell her, but she got in on her own merit. I write the most glowing recommendation letters imaginable but they're just the kiss of death. Nobody gets into anything that I recommend them for! I'm glad McKay proved to be the exception. So I was reading THE LEOPARD on the plane and it is a book with an owl in it: "from the overhanging bell tower came an elfin hoot of owls."
18. On the flight back I had a layover in Minneapolis, and I am almost 100% sure that Lou Ferrigno (who plays Billy on ADVENTURE TIME) was on it! In fact, he broke in front of me in line to get on the plane and even jostled me! I am almost 100% sure I was jostled by Lou Ferrigno! It wasn't on purpose, I am sure. I am no more to Lou Ferrigno than an ant! Nor should I be. When the plane landed, and he stood to retrieve something from the overhead bin, I noticed that the man I took to be Lou Ferrigno had a high-tech looking black gizmo behind his ear. This is anecdotal and rude to boot, but I recalled that Mr. Ferrigno has a hearing impediment, so that small gadget, whatever it was, helped confirm my assumption. Now I am going to look for a current photo of him. Well, yes, by God, it was him!