Category Archives: Almost Famous

Just Listen To The Music Of The Traffic In The City

Washington Avenue Historic District
Last week, there was a school shooting two doors down from my building that made national news. (These days “school shooting” is synonymous with “mass shooting” but only two people were shot and they’re both still alive.) News vans have been parked outside of my front door all week. Even though it was a personal dispute that could have happened anywhere (a mentally-ill student shot a financial aid officer), the dialogue in the city immediately turned to downtown safety.

Oh and then. Then! A week later the former Governor of Missouri got robbed a couple blocks from my neighborhood. (This was a silly story because (a) a panhandler was asking for gas money and everybody knows it’s never “gas money”, (b) the Governor whipped out his money-clip, like who isn’t going to grab that and run, and (c) he was walking down a 2-block stretch that I never walk down even with Justin because it’s just parking garages and alleyways and creepily empty.)

Anyway, conversations about downtown safety infuriate me because these conversations are usually sparked by people in the county who have no idea what they are talking about. Hell, I knew nothing about downtown until I moved here. People come here for games or the occasional festival and then leave, and unless they work downtown, county people just imagine it as this desolate concrete wasteland full of boarded up windows, homeless people and gunfire.

They aren’t completely to blame for this, though. Justin has been living here for about 8 years and said it was a completely different world back then – he barely felt safe walking to his car. But thanks to redevelopment grants, the addition of cool places like City Garden and the City Museum, and the first grocery store in forever, Downtown’s population increased by almost 3,000% in the last 10 years. It’s an awesome street now.

My street is almost always in the news for bad reasons. It’s a shame because Washington Avenue has such a rich history, a vibrant community, and it’s absolutely stunning. In fact, it was voted one of the Top 10 Streets in the country.

Usually it’s in the news because Washington Avenue is where everyone parties on the weekend, and during the summer the crowds and noise are totally out of control. It used to be known as the nightclub district, but there were tons of shootings when the clubs got out at 1:30 or 3am, and eventually they shut down the problem clubs. However, there are still shootings, robberies, and other violent crimes. Hell, someone got murdered over a bag of Cheetos a few months ago.

Directly north of Washington is Delmar, a street so notorious for its divisiveness that the BBC made a documentary about it. (I don’t live in the rich white neighborhood that the documentary covers, though – that would be the Central West End.) Delmar marks the entrance to North City, which is where St. Louis earns the statistics that make it the most dangerous city in the county. There’s at least one murder a week. Contrary to popular belief, North City is much more dangerous than East St. Louis. So the juxtaposition of (mostly) wealthy loft dwellers to North City residents is a little jarring, and they typically don’t mesh well.

South of Washington is Locust. Up until a few months ago, Locust was in the news because of a homeless shelter run by an infamous televangelist named Larry Rice. Larry Rice allows people to loiter on his sidewalks. This usually bled over to the park across the street between Locust and Washington–a park which no one went to because it was full of sleeping homeless people and smelled like urine. The sidewalks surrounding his shelter were always packed with people.

I walk past this shelter every day and witnessed the crowds firsthand. They circled around the entire block of the building and even the sidewalk in front of the school across the street. This was a problem not because they were homeless but because Larry Rice does not allow drunk or high people inside of his building, and he doesn’t let people come and go during the night. If you’re in, you’re in. So the people who were outside waiting for food were the people who did not want to follow his rules. These people liked to yell lewd things at women (including me in my running pants), urinate on the street, do drugs and more.

Eventually, I started seeing more and more women out there. And then I started seeing strollers. This is when the city shut down the sidewalks AND put a fence around the park for “construction”. (You’ll recognize that reporter as the guy who got that infamous Todd Akin quote.) In fact, the sidewalks are still fenced off.

Back when all the nightclub shootings were happening, Erin T. asked me  to write about what it’s like to be a Washington Avenue resident. Honestly, I love it. I can’t get enough of it. I’m far enough away from the main stretch of bars that the noise doesn’t bother me. The most noise I usually get is when a wedding reception lets out at 11 (drunk bridesmaids are THE WORST) or if a band is playing at the City Museum.

Sure, it’s noisy. It’s dangerous at night. There are break-ins in my parking lot. There are muggings near me. People try to break into my building. I get asked for “gas money” every day. Dudes like to rev their engines in my alley at 2am and it echoes off all of the buildings. There’s one asshole who has a train horn instead of a car horn. I hate that guy. And when I’m visiting my mom or my friends in my hometown, I miss it. I miss running around in the middle of the night, feeling 100% safe. I miss the crickets and back porches and trees.

But I LOVE walking to work. I love walking to the grocery store and the general store and bars and restaurants and games and concerts and festivals and the MetroLink. It’s the closest I’ve felt to living in London since I was there – every errand feels like a little journey because I have to walk to get there. I love seeing so many familiar faces on such busy sidewalks. I love the diversity and the noise and the action. I love my building full of riff-raff artists; it leads to something hilarious and weird every day. I live in the same building as a pig, for pete’s sake. In my front yard? THE WIENERMOBILE. (Okay, once.) And my backyard? My backyard is one of the most incredible, insane, weirdly beautiful buildings in the entire country.

I’m a huge advocate for living downtown, but I’m not a total idiot about it. I stay on populated streets. I don’t walk alone at night unless it’s busy and full of people. I stay away from empty, shadowy blocks during the day. If an inebriated/mentally-ill person is screaming in the middle of the sidewalk (at least once a month), I cross the street or I wait until he’s distracted. I tell panhandlers that I have no cash on me, and I’m usually telling the truth. I carry mace in my hand when I walk to the Y at 5 in the morning. I also learn my lessons:

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 4.14.28 PM

I’ve been trying to make an effort to get more involved, too. I plan on volunteering at shelters once the wedding hoopla is over (just not Larry Rice’s shelter). My next-door neighbor runs Town Hall Meetings and they are my new favorite thing. (It is truly a Parks & Rec episode brought to life.) Here’s me at 14:20 rambling about downtown safety with my hand in front of my face:

.

I plan on living down here for as long as I can. In St. Louis speak, that means until my kids are old enough to go to school. The biggest problem that downtown or any other part of the city has is that the schools are heartbreakingly awful. So unless you can afford Catholic School, you move to the county when the oldest turns 5. That’s just how it is. But who knows? We’re currently having an election for a new mayor for the first time since 2001, and both the current mayor and his opponent are making schools a central issue. So maybe it will continue to get better, and maybe I can stay here a little longer. I hope so. Downtown West is the best.

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“A Man Like That. Where In The Hell Did You Meet A Man Like That?”

So once upon a time, a million years ago (okay, three and a half), I had an awesome birthday party where my friends and I watched The Room. Janet and Courtney, two of my Twin Peaks Club buddies, were in attendance. A few weeks later at TPC, Janet and Courtney were talking about the movie.

“What is that?” asked a tall, quiet guy sitting across the room from me.

I launched into a breathless, hyper description of The Room. Justin told me later that that’s when he started falling for me.

Months later, after we had talked more at TPC, TV Time and other Squid stuff, he organized a covert Room screening at Webster University. We went to a bar for drinks afterward, and he asked me on a date.

Exactly three years later, we went to the Tivoli to meet the writer/director/producer/star himself, Tommy Wiseau!


He brought along his co-star Greg Sestero, and they showed up an hour early to sign autographs. We would have been first in line, but we were like an hour early and left to go get Froyo. We were probably 15th.

Tommy and Greg were AMAZING. They spent at least 5 minutes with everyone who came. We weren’t sure we would be able to do this, but: Justin told them how we met, and we invited them to the wedding!


Greg (who was intimidatingly handsome) seemed genuinely touched and said, “You guys are going to have laughter for your whole lives together.”

And Tommy? Well, Tommy was beside himself, but I think he’s kind of always like that. He told us that he would invite us onstage for the Q&A. Justin and I figured that the whole process was such a whirlwind that he wouldn’t remember. He was still amazing, though. He kept taking things out of our hands to sign, including a DVD, a stuffed dog and the program Justin made for that original screening.


Tommy: Happy …
Justin: Wedding?
Tommy: Nah, that’s cheap.

He ended up writing, “To Justin and Stephanie, Happy life. Love Tommy. P.S. Be good to each other.”

The pug in the tuxedo was a brilliant thing to start selling at Room screenings. It even talks! Appropriately enough, our place in line was in front of the flower shop at the Tivoli.


Tommy was late to the screening because he wanted to spend time with everyone in line. But he finally showed up. Before the Q&A, he told everyone in tuxedos and red dresses to come up front. They played football with a plastic water bottle for prizes. (It makes sense, I promise.) All the people were lined up for questions, too. So we assumed that he forgot. And then:

“Oh, before we begin, I wanted to invite up a beautiful girl, a beautiful couple with a beautiful story. See, I am an actor, I remember things …”

I handed my camera to the guy behind me (after an hour in line, you make friends with people) and we went up front.

“This is a wonderful story; who would like to tell it?” Tommy asked, and I reached for the mic. (Justin told me later he was like OH THANK GOD.) “You have two minutes to tell us. Okay, go.”


So I told the audience the story that I just told you, and ended it with, “And now, because of The Room, we’re getting married!” The whole audience cheered really loud. I don’t remember much else because it’s hard to remember things when you’re on stage in front of hundreds of people. I just remember Tommy and Greg shaking our hands and saying, “Thank you.”


Tommy and Greg were pretty hysterical during the Q&A; if you ever have a chance to see them, do it. At the end, they said, “We will be back someday soon! Somebody already invited us!”

Justin and I decided that since we had that first conversation at TPC, we could technically do the same thing at Twin Peaks Fest. Then we joked that we should go to Comic Con and pull the same gag at every panel to see how many celebs we can meet.

But really, The Room is what brought us together, and because Tommy and Greg were so kind and genuinely happy for us, that night is something we’ll remember fondly forever.

AND we can’t wait to go to another screening in a few years to tell Tommy, “We are expecteeeng!”

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I See Red People

Well, this happened:

Want to know what it’s like living on the craziest street in downtown St. Louis on the night the Cardinals win the World Series? Well, here’s a nice relaxing stroll down my street over an hour after the win:

I was going to write some big long entry worthy of such an epic win, but guess what? My street was up honking and screaming until 4am. And remember that legendary Game 6 the night before? Honking til 3 on a Thursday. That lack of sleep, combined with standing in the cold for hours and high-fiving one million strangers equals a mother of a sinus infection. Justin and I are laying on the couch as I type this, coughing and groaning and whimpering.

So here’s some pictures in a lazy slideshow. Keep an eye out for some pictures of our street–after I shot that video, the police closed off the street and firetrucks showed up “just in case”. I also threw in some pictures from Game 1, where we sipped tumblers full of wine, and hung out with like 12 people on the corner outside the stadium (as opposed to the 20,000 you will see below):

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Dog Days

Here’s a link to the video Kim and I helped make. You can see us in the Making Of video! We’re almost to 40,000 hits as of today, which is cool.

Full disclaimer: I did not name this video.

 

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Adventure! Romance! FOOD!

Justin’s film premieres tonight at the Tivoli! It’s at 9:30, though his will play toward the end and we’ll have a giant screening party when he finishes the longer version, so don’t worry if you can’t make it. (I think he finds the $12 ticket price a little embarrassing.)

His mom’s side is in town this weekend and his dad is coming later today, which means we have or will be hitting up every single cool restaurant/bar in my neighborhood this weekend. Rooster, Crown Candy, Blueberry Hill, Rosalita’s, Broadway Oyster Bar, Soulard Market, etc. They were even spoiled rotten by now-famous Dustin at Sub Zero.

We went to Lola for the first time for our anniversary and it was delicious. We also have the Closing Night Awards Party this week, then we’re going away next weekend for a belated anniversary trip. And did I mention last week was our traditional BLT Week featuring giant Indiana tomatoes and corn on the cob?

I’ve run 11 miles this weekend, but still. I am. So fat.

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Moodboard 3: It Fits!

Remember that bridesmaid dress I ordered in a size too small? YUP, it fits. In fact, it’s almost a size too big.

I’ve lost 25 pounds so far this year, which isn’t a lot unless you realize how many times I get taken out to lunch at work. But people are noticing. Last weekend, Justin and I visited a few of our neighbors during City-Wide Open Studios, and we realized we live above a former Project Runway contestant.

“Oh, it’s Y Girl! We go to the same Y,” Michael D. said to me when he opened the door. “You’ve lost a lot of weight–looking good, girl! ” And then I died.

So needless to say, a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders (and stomach and thighs and ass) and I’m feeling pretty relieved today. And confident. And hungry. So if you’ll excuse me.

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Harry Potter World Premiere

When I was in London in 2001, I roomed with this awesome girl named Kacy. She suggested Harry Potter  to me any time I needed a new book, but English majors can be dickishly superior about popular books, so I would always turn her down. That is, until I flew to Rome for Fall Break. I read the first one on the flight over and was so hooked that by the time we landed, I shelled out about 50,000 lire for an English version of book 2. After we got back, I locked myself in our room for about a week and finished books 3 and 4.

So when Kacy asked me if I wanted to go to the World Premiere a few days later, I said sure. For some reason, I thought we were going to watch the movie. Little did I know that we were heading down to Piccadilly Circus at 10 in the morning to watch them set up and hopefully grab seats in the grandstands.

We ended up hanging out with this kid named Simon who was dressed like Harry. All the reporters wanted to interview him, so that day you could see Kacy and I grinning in the background like fools on channels all over the world, including Telemundo. We were there so long that we ended up flirting with the bobbies and got wristbands to the grandstands–second row, right in front of the door!

I actually took home one of the posters below and kept it in my room til the end of the semester. If I had known what I know now, I would have paid to ship it home. Ugh.

We had primo seats to watch all the celebrities pose for the paparazzi. We only knew half of them, though. The little girl in front of us thought she was the shit as she haughtily explained who the people were. “She’s on Footballer’s Wives. He plays for Arsenal. Do you even know what Arsenal is?”

I had my boyfriend Tim’s camera, which took pictures on “film” that you had to “develop”. Also, you had to look though this little hole to see, and it did not zoom. So below are pictures of celebrities, some amazing and some awful. Some celebrities that were there that I didn’t get pictures of included Helen Hunt, Jessica Simpson and Ben Stiller.

I could show you which face is Daniel Radcliffe if I had MS Paint on this thing.

Hermione!

Ron!

Hagrid! Robbie Coltrane was so awesome, the crowd ended up chanting, “Robbie! Robbie!” over and over, and the paparazzi took tons of pictures of us.

Fuzzy J.K. Rowling!

Madame Hooch!

Fuzzy Warwick Davis!

Fuzzy Fergie!

Baby Spice!

STING! AGH!

The highlight of the night was when Daniel Radcliffe started walking toward the front door. “Harry! Harry!” we all yelled, as his publicist shielded him from us. But just when he seemed like he was heading our way, we noticed something out of the corner of our eye. “Harry! Harry! Ha-CHER! OH MY GOD IT’S CHER!”

Cher looked as excited to see us as we were to see her. She looked amazing up close. She high-fived tons of people, INCLUDING ME, and then I got the most awesome picture of the day … so awesome that when William (the receptionist at Regents) saw it, he said, “You bitch.”

So that’s my story of the first Harry Potter. And last night I saw the last one with Jen, Ron and Justin. It was amazing, and not just because Neville Longbottom kicked ass.

I showed Justin all the previous films over the past month or two, and it was great reliving the whole thing and getting to experience the last one with him sitting next to me. (Good thing; I needed a shoulder to cry on and Jen was too busy crying on Ron’s.) This has been a huge part of my life for the last ten years, and even though I knew how it ended, it was touching to see it brought to life by these actors we’ve watched for the last 10 years, too. The fact that the entire cast was on board for eight films is pretty remarkable.

Oh, and SPOILER ALERT: Continue reading

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Spanx For The Memories

On Saturday, Justin, Sarah, Brent and I went to the St. Louis premiere of The Pruitt-Igoe Myth. It was extremely powerful. For those of you who don’t know, Pruitt-Igoe was a public housing development  that took up 57 acres of downtown St. Louis for over 20 years. The goal was to create a utopian environment (it was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the architect behind the World Trade Center). It started out that way, but ended with tragic results.

The image of the Pruitt-Igoe’s demise is very famous; it was often seen as the death of modern architecture.

The screening was really heavy, and many of the former residents that he interviewed were in the audience and spoke up during the Q&A session. It’s going to be on the festival circuit for a while, and then he hopes to make it to PBS. Catch it whenever you have a chance!

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I finally caved and bought actual spandex pants to run in (as opposed to baggy Target yoga pants). I was hesitant to show downtown St. Louis how bangin’ my ass really is (and the homeless guy who cried, “Daaaaaaamn” the second I stepped out the door didn’t help) but I made it to the Y and back alive. And holy crap, I ran so much in between!

I haven’t run in over a week because I pulled some muscle in my thigh, so I wasn’t expecting to run more than three miles on Saturday, but I ran five miles easily, in record time! I could’ve run seven, but I had to get home to Justin and I have a tendency to overdo things like that, anyway. I have the feeling I’ll be able to run ten miles by the end of the summer. Hooray for spandex!

During the week I couldn’t run, Justin and I did a ton of downtown walking. One night we walked to the stadium to watch a game with Jen and Ron (I’ll miss you, corporate Redbird Club tickets!), and one night we walked all the way to the riverfront and back. (If you’ve never walked all the way down to the Poplar Street Bridge, I, uh, don’t recommend it. Lots of dudes sitting in their cars doing lord knows what.) This week we’re going to walk to my new work building and back so I can see what I’m getting into.

I can take the Downtown Trolley to work, too! My life is getting hilariously fun.

(Yes, I realize it’s not a trolley. Much like children and my boyfriend, I’ll forgive abuse of the English language if you’re adorable.)

~~~*~~~

Justin and I have finally finished the Buffy/Wire Club. 12 seasons of legendary TV in the can. We haven’t decided what shows to watch next, but Breaking Bad and Mad Men are on the list. He’s pushing News Radio and I’m pushing Veronica Mars and Battlestar Gallactica. We’ll see.

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My April Plus goal is going … all right. My cousin is letting us choose our bridesmaid dresses (they just have to be fuchsia and white, by the same designer) and I found a super cute one that won’t fall off of me if I go ahead and lose the other 20 lbs. anyway. So while the pressure’s off, I’m still aiming to lose as much as possible before the fitting.

My jeans officially don’t fit anymore, even fresh out of the dryer. WOO!

~~~*~~~

This is my last week at my current job! It’s starting to sink in how much I will miss all of these people. Aside from two people, I really love everyone here. This has been my family for the last six years and it’s going to be so hard to say goodbye.

~~~*~~~

Davy is finally screening My Heart is An Idiot around the country, and they’re coming here at the end of the month. One reason I’m glad that I’m leaving my job is that I won’t be stuck at the Quilt Festival in Paducah, Kentucky at the end of the month, so I’ll be able to go.

It will be weird to introduce Justin to Davy because … well, you know … but it’ll be so nice to see him. Also, I saw on Facebook that my ex best friend is going? I’m sort of dreading running into her in that kind of environment, but I’m determined to not let her ruin anything else for me ever again.

Finally, I’m in this week’s Extra Hot Great podcast – I submitted an episode of Freaks and Geeks into the EHG Canon! Woo!

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3 Cheers for the Weirs – Revisited

It’s been exactly a year since I threw the concert for my parents, and I feel like if I’m ever going to write about it, it might as well be now.

For those of you who don’t know, my dad had both of his legs amputated about 15 months ago, due to Type 1 diabetes. This was after a triple bypass and several vein replacements the year before, not to mention losing an eye two decades earlier. When I first thought about this concert, only one leg was missing and I had hoped to buy a prosthetic with the money. Soon, both legs were gone, he developed a category 4 bedsore, and it became apparent that (because of his blindness), he would require 24/7 care – most likely (and as it turns out) for the rest of his life.

The actual money I raised (around $3,000) paid for a hospital bed, a trapeze bar for above the bed (so he could exercise), a portion of an expensive wheelchair and medical supplies. It was much needed, and I know this because I had to pick up a lot of equipment and run to the pharmacy for him almost daily. My dad was expensive – worth every penny, but expensive. Above, you’ll see the receipt for my first trip to the pharmacy for him – $538.39.

I didn’t write about it right away because I wanted time to let it absorb. Then, around the middle of December, he got sick again. He had gastroparesis, which makes patients feel full even though they haven’t eaten. As a diabetic, eating was essential, and the doctors were having trouble getting a feeding tube to work. The day before Christmas, my brother went to the hospital with my mom to speak to counselors about end-of-life decisions. I thought he was going to die on Christmas. My concert seemed pretty pointless, my initial optimism  seemed childish, and in addition to the sadness, I felt like I had let everyone down.

However, he came home soon after, and aside from one more hospital stay, he spent the last 7 months of his life at home, in the house where he lived for over 30 years. My mom was with him almost 24/7, and when I moved home in mid-May, he got to see me every day, too. He had a lot of visitors and got to spend holidays like Easter sitting at the head of the dining room table, just like he used to. The equipment helped make all of this possible, and the concert helped bring the equipment home, so it was worth it.

Man, when I started this entry, I wanted it to be about the concert itself and all the positivity, but it’s impossible to explain even the facts of my dad’s story without being long-winded and heavy. Anyway:

The concert was amazing. There were so many friends from so many different parts of my life, and I think I even remarked onstage that it was kind of like a wedding in that respect – when would I get all of those people in the same room again? I remember choking up during my speech (and saying, “Shit.” when I did). I told everyone that my family spent so much time sitting around in hospital rooms that we would run out of things to talk about. And when that happened, I would tell them about my friends. My parents knew about almost everything that happened to my friends, and asked about them, too. “How’s Warren’s house?” “How’s Emily’s baby?” “Does Ron like teaching?” “Did Jen get over her cold?”

I told the crowd, “You all mean a lot to my parents, because you mean a lot to me. And it’s really nice that I can tell my parents that the same is true about them.”

I can’t tell you how amazing it was in the weeks leading up to the show – businesses handed over gift certificates without blinking, Off Broadway opened their doors gladly (and for free), friends like Janet and Ann pitched in to make fliers and banners, Rob brought pizza for the bands, and all the musicians/friends I asked to play gladly accepted.  Erin (who was still a relatively new friend at the time) gathered money from her co-workers, promoted the shit out of the show, and brought several friends with her.

Friends bought insane amounts of raffle tickets from my boyfriend (in his cute raffle outfit). I remember one friend buying 40 at once! Oh, here’s one complaint – I kept picking the same 5 winners, no matter how hard I shook that bucket. What the hell? One friend handed me a $100 check on the spot and another friend hugged me and slipped me a wad of cash for just as much.

I also got tons of checks in the mail – one of the first was from my first grade teacher, all the way from Texas. Hell, I even got a huge check from an ex who had every right to hate me. I raised almost twice as much from these checks – a part I wasn’t even expecting as first – than I did from the actual concert.

The staff at Off Broadway was awesome, too. They gave me drinks on the house and the door guy kept diligent track of the amount of guests (80) and the money they gave. He made me pull up to the front door and walked me to the car with all of my cash. And speaking of the cash – have y’all ever walked downtown with a huge stack of bills? I had to, because that’s where my bank is. I thought I was going to die.

Overall, the whole experience was overwhelming. When I got home that night, I was sitting on my bed holding all the money, and I just burst into tears out of exhaustion and gratitude. And as you’ll see from the following video, my mom did, too:

So I know this is about a year too late, and I thanked everyone who needed to be thanked already, but I wanted to reiterate how amazing this was. I knew that putting together a concert would be helpful and therapeutic, but I wasn’t expecting so much support and kindness and positivity. I didn’t have the time or the money to help my parents, so I used what I had – friends. Talented, generous, incredible friends. And what I received from everyone involved didn’t just carry me financially – it gave me what I needed emotionally to survive this last year. So once again, thank you from the bottom (and top, and middle) of my heart.

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Jane Espenson, Superstar

Last night, I was explaining Twitter to Justin. I started telling him about retweets and @ replies, and I hit my @’s to show him. And unexpectedly, at the top of the list, there were a bunch of @ mentions – to me – from Jane Espenson.

Who is Jane Espenson? Only one of the most beloved TV writers ever. Even Justin knows who she is because during our Buffy/Wire Club, I’ll always say, “Oh, yay! This is one of Jane’s episodes!” In fact, we had just finished one of her episodes from Season 4 right before this happened.


Jane has written/produced/supervised most of my favorite shows, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Dollhouse and Angel. She was also an executive producer for Gilmore Girls, which isn’t one of my faves (Connecticut hate, you know) but people worship that show. She wrote my top two favorite Buffy episodes: “Pangs” and “Storyteller”. Her episodes are usually known for being brilliant comedic stand-alone stories, like the Jonathan-themed episode, “Superstar”. But she writes serious episodes, too – “Earshot” was actually pulled off of the air because of Columbine. She’s sort of a guru for anyone who wants to get into screenwriting.

When you listen to her commentaries (because on Buffy, the writers are just as important as the actors, if not more) she sounds like such a sweet, funny person. And I mean, look how cute!  I adore Jane Espenson.

So anyway, she had mentioned that she used to name products for a living. So I sent her this:

It’s a very small part of my job, but it’s my very favorite part. So anyway, she wrote this back:

I’ve been retweeted by a lot of people I admire (and shockingly, I haven’t mentioned most of them before). And while it’s such as stupid thing to get excited about, it’s fun to make a hero of mine laugh or catch their attention, even for a second. And out of all of those people, Jane is (okay, maybe Dave Holmes, too) a true paradigm of what I’d like to be. While Jane complimenting my fan name is such a teeny tiny insignificant compliment, it’s like an aspiring musician having Elvis Costello say to them, “I like what you’re humming,” or “That’s my favorite chord, too.” (I could probably give you a better analogy if my repertoire extended past “Hot Cross Buns”.)

Do you know what I mean? It’s so little, so this isn’t a braggy post at all (YOU GUYS I GOT RETWEETED I’M TOTALLY FAMOUS NOW RIGHT?); it’s more to let you know how awesome Jane is. But like Mark Twain said, I can live for two months on a good compliment. Hell, it’s more feedback than I usually get at work, anyway. Remind me to pay this forward.

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Half a Million!

LOOK AT MY HITS, Y’ALL LOOK LOOK:

500,000 hits over the course of 6 years and some change? It isn’t monumental or impressive in the Grand Scheme of the Internet, but it’s feels pretty damn rewarding for a little spaz like me. I used to get 5 hits a day, and now I average about 500. What on earth?

This feels like it deserves some sort of nerdy speech, but (a) I do that every day and (b) I wrote the mother of all entries when I celebrated the 5 Year Anniversary last summer.

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Who Your Name Is

So last night was the concert with Chuck Berry and, as rumored, Nelly. It was pretty great. It was in Kiener Plaza so the crowd was tiny, and there was no beer so everyone was freakishly well-behaved. Apparently, going to the show means I’m now a volunteer for the Democratic National Convention? I didn’t find that out until this morning. That’s cool.

They didn’t point out the DNC selection committee but I’m pretty sure I spotted some of them. There were these three couples who were so good-looking and perfectly polished that Justin remarked, “They’re clearly not from around here.” The girls’ shoes gave it away. The guys were all the same height, same build, and had their sleeves rolled up to the exact same length, like they mastered this look together in a class at Yale. I wanted to whisper to Justin, “They look like that cafeteria table full of vampires in Twilight,” but Justin is a pop culture vacuum and sometimes I get baited into explaining totally stupid things like they’re important.

Thanks to Joe, I know we were on the news. J’s in red, I’m in black:

I would show you the clip but I’m chomping my gum in it like a psychopath. Also, try to imagine all those older people around us singing “Hot in Herre”, because that happened.

I didn’t cry but there were a few parts where I really missed my dad:

1. “Maybelline”

2. Mike Shannon. He’s the voice of the Cardinals and therefore, he was my dad’s eyes when watching baseball. Unexpected.

3. Nelly’s latest song. It’s about a breakup, but the bridge goes, “If you ever loved somebody put your hands up/ And now they’re gone and you wish you could give them everything.” If he sang that line one more time, I would’ve burst into tears.

My favorite moments:

1. Mayor Slay loses Mike Shannon

2. Chuck’s daughter wailing on the harmonica like a boss

3. No set list – Chuck just kept saying, “You call ‘em, we’ll play ‘em.”

4. Chuck forgets part of a song and blasts random chords, grinning

5. So the world’s greatest rock and roll legend is playing onstage and half the audience becomes enthralled with bouncing around a beach ball

6. A teeny tiny adorable hunched-over old lady hobbled onstage to dance with Chuck Berry

7. Awesomely inappropriate sing-a-longs to “Ding-A-Ling” and “Country Grammar”.

8. “St. Louis, y’all. You may not like us but you will respect us.”

9. Running into RØB, Coolhand, Switchblade and Jason’s mom.

10. My FAVORITE BOOTYJAM OF ALL TIME, “Shake Ya Tailfeather”. YES. OH HELL YES.

If the Democratic National Convention comes to St. Louis, Justin and I decided to rent out our loft and parking spot for like $1,000 and crash at my mom’s.

Did you guys know it’s been 10 years since “Country Grammar” came out? And did you know that 50 years ago, my mom worked in a shoe factory next door to where I’ll be living downtown? And my new next-door neighbor makes the world’s best milkshakes at the Washington Avenue Post? Fun facts. I’m so sleepy today!

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Filed under Adventures, Almost Famous, Ew Politics Ew

Jealous

Janet texted me and said that Tommy Wiseau called her beautiful and held her hands.(!!!)

Extremely happy for Janet, but a little :( . And fed up with thees worrruuullld.

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I Love Twitter Games

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Filed under Almost Famous

A Thousand Things You Don’t Know, And One You Damn Well Should

I’m going to be on Esquire.com! A buddy of mine was looking for 1,000 Things You Don’t Know About Women, so I sent him a list of 10.

Here’s a tip I left off, that my landlord should have known: if you are going to re-tile the entire kitchen floor leaving no access to the pantry, sink, stove, refrigerator, etc., you might want to give your tenant more than A 30-SECOND WARNING to grab her food and prepare for the next two days. They may be okay with eating over-priced fatty Italian takeout every night, I am not. I guess I will only be able to eat when they are asleep.

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Filed under Almost Famous, Botheration

How To Win Dave Holmes’ Heart

How? He’s been fascinated/mystified by “Tik Tok” for weeks, so you send him this:

He thanked me, posted it on my favorite blog and totally made my day. St. Lunatics 4 Life!

When I was searching for his @ reply, I saw that one of my OTHER favorite bloggers, Princess Melissa, replied to me last week. She had tweeted that she was on a “Party in the USA” kick so I sent her that video I posted on Thursday, and she sent this back:

Hooray! Also, today Spencer Pratt requested to follow my buddy @Jaimeville. I don’t know why former MTV stars (and in 2 out of 3 cases, talented, hilarious and gorgeous people) love us on Twitter today, but I’ll take it!

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Filed under Almost Famous, Pop Goes The Culture

Easier With Practice

My buddy Davy’s film Easier With Practice opened yesterday. He didn’t write the screenplay, but it’s based on a great story he wrote about his real-life tour experiences. I read the story a million years ago when I first met him, but I won’t spoil it for you.

The trailer is awesome – it’s that dude from The Hurt Locker! And what’s her name from Wet Hot American Summer and Mighty Ducks! To quote Davy, Easier with Practice is “the first movie in film history to get a NC-17 rating without nudity or violence, for its graphic sexual language alone!” Huzzah!

It’ll be fun to see a fictional version of him. And this reminds me, when the hell is My Heart Is An Idiot coming out?

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I Remember. The Poop.

This weekend Justin introduced me to Me and You and Everyone We Know and this part (which is probably NSFW and falls into my disturbingly undisturbed category) made me laugh so hard that I couldn’t even make noise:

That kid is pretty hilarious, no matter what he’s saying. I think he won a Best Supporting Actor award for this somewhere:

Returning to Erin’s 6-Degrees obsession for a minute: the dad in that film, John Hawkes, starred in an awesome movie Buttleman, written and directed by my friend/Sludgie boss Francis Stokes. So I am three degrees from that kid. Yay!

We watched the movie through the window of a tent in the middle of his living room, which was pretty sweet even though the floor hurt our backs. I haven’t laughed til my sides hurt in a really long time. I’ve also been running for the last 3 days after a 2 month break, so my legs are killing me.

It was nice to be in incredibly bad pain for incredibly wonderful reasons.

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Filed under Almost Famous, Pop Goes The Culture

St. Louis and “The Office” Cast

Yesterday, STL Today had a great article about Ellie Kemper, who plays the new receptionist Erin on The Office. I had no idea that she was from St. Louis. Three of the main actresses from The Office are from my city. Awesome!

Everyone knows that Jenna “Pam Beesly-Halpert” Fischer is from St. Louis. But did you know that Phyllis “Phyllis” Smith is from St. Louis, too? Steve Carell once did a hilarious interview where he and Phyllis get serious church giggles over the topic of Gooey Butter Cake (at the 2:00 mark).

Ellie Kemper’s family founded Commerce Bank, which is a huge bank in Missouri. She was once Queen of the Veiled Prophet Ball – a debutante role reserved for girls with last names like “Anheuser” and “Busch”.

During an episode commentary, Jenna mentioned that an Office Assistant Director, PA, and Intern are also from St. Louis, and aside from Boston, St. Louis is the city most associated with The Office.

Where did they go to High School?

This is a question that everyone in St. Louis asks each other. It’s a great conversation starter; I don’t know why other cities think it’s so weird. Anyway. The following details are very important for St. Louisans:

Jenna (Pam) went to Nerix Hall in Webster Groves. This private all-girl high school is located next to the English building of my old university and these chicks were always stealing our parking spots.

Phyllis (Phyllis) went to Cleveland High School. At first I thought she went to Cleveland the military school, but it turns out there was a school in Carondolet (South City, REPRESENT) that closed in the 80’s.

Ellie (Erin) went to John Burroughs high school, which is – I think – the most expensive school in St. Louis. The tuition is exactly the same as the university I attended. It has an exclusive enrollment of 600. Another John Burroughs graduate? John Hamm from Mad Men:

BONUS STL HIGH SCHOOL FACTS:

My favorite blogger and former MTV VJ Dave Holmes attended St. Louis Priory School. Other alumni include my friends Kevin, Ian and Ron, as well as actor Kevin Kline.

The high school George Clooney’s character visits in Up in the Air is Affton High School (renamed “Ashton”) … the actual alma mater of John Goodman. And most importantly, Scott Bakula from Quantum Leap went to Kirkwood – my high school. GO PIONEERS!

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Filed under Almost Famous, Pop Goes The Culture

“Started Out So Heartfelt.” “I Know, I’m Sorry.”

Last week, my buddies/favorite podcasters Frank & Erik gave me the sweetest, most complementary shout-out and asked listeners to donate to my cause. How cute is that?

It’s just before the 57 minute mark of Episode 38, but you should really listen to the whole thing. I legitimately laugh out loud repeatedly during every F&E episode. Heck, download/stream all the archives, too. It’s truly the best thing on the Internet. (At least play Episode 19, where I smootch a drunk Davy Rothbart in the intro.)

I have been looking for ways to pledge my allegiance (aside from Tiger Beatesque entries like this) and thankfully they’ve made buttons… featuring Frank’s jort-adorned crotch*:

Trust me, YOU NEED FRANK & ERIK INTERNET FAMOUS IN YOUR LIFE. And if they’re already in your life, you already know how much you need Frank’s Jort Junk on your backpack and/or jean jacket. Subscribe today. Get a button. Be awesome.

*I swear, I wrote “pledge my allegiance” and “jort-adorned” before I read Erik’s entry… I ain’t changing it! We’re both brilliant! Suck it!

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Filed under Almost Famous