SEE "Buttleman" by Francis Stokes via the Had to be Made Film Festival!
OK peckerheads, listen up! This is a long post but it is all worth it! I'm even forgoing using my spell checker just so I can get it all out sooner!
Time for me to do some serious plugging for a good friend of mine, Francis (Frank) Stokes.
Frank is a very gifted and funny film maker living in LA-LA Land. A short while ago he scraped up enough cash to put together a very funny dark comedy, "Buttleman" starring John Hawkes, and featuring appearances by Karen Black and Dan Castellaneta. For you TRUE indie fans you can also see the talents of fine actors like Anita Barone, Stephen Falk, Stephanie Markham, & Carlos Jacott.
I've seen this film a few times and it is a genuine treat. I'm not going to give you a bullshit review where you assume I like it because Frank's a friend of mine. I'd tell you if I didn't like the film. In fact, I'll tell you now that if I had my druthers the film would be a tad shorter and have a different ending (one that I wrote!), but after those critiques I can say with all honesty that this is a great little flick. Very funny and dark. The cast is excellent and the music accents the well-written story nicely. It is a very good film to watch. PERIOD! But I think you should decide for yourself.
Now how can YOU see this piece of indie-film history? I'm so fucking glad you asked! "Buttleman" is part of the very prestigious Had to be Made Film Festival. Rather than JUST let you check out the HTBMFF website, which sadly, is in DIRE NEED of some updates, I'll let Mr. Stokes himself tell you a little bit about the thing.
From the Buttleman Blog:
"Wednesday, November 24, 2004
The Had To Be Made Film Festival is just around the corner, so here is the latest information...
The Had To Be Made Film Festival has a partnership with small, non-chain video stores across the country who rent out the movies in monthly volumes. Volume 9 has "Buttleman" and two short films, and will be on the shelves in late December. I have included a list of the participating stores below, so you can see if there is one in your state.
If NOT, you have just about a week to get your local store to participate. After that, they won't include the store until the next festival, and they won't get "Buttleman"! So, here's what to do: Tell the store's owner or manager about the festival, and if they're interested get their name, address and phone number. Then contact Sonia Giddens at Had to Be Made and let her know about them. The best way is to call her: 323-653-3937, but you can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let her know all the info and tell the video store to expect her call - then check back with them in a couple days. Be sure to tell her you want them to have the CURRENT series, with "Buttleman". Remember, time is of the essence!"
Now do check out the festival site and figure out how to vote for favorite films and all that. I'll also repost the latest list of store locations where you can rent the flick. Don't try to find it on their site. Did I mention that they are in dire need of some site updates???
Had to Be Made Film Festival Locations
Specialty Video Chicago, IL
Quick-Flix Cambridge, MA
Video Village Rockwall, TX
Video Station Alameda, CA
2905 E. Speedway
Tucson, AZ 85716
Movies on Central
4700 North Central Avenue #121
Phoenix, AZ 85012
6633 Ventana Dr Rancho Murieta, CA 95683
620 S Raymond Avenue #4 Pasadena, CA 91105
2730 Griffith Park Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90027
302 Pico Boulevard Santa Monica, CA 90405
201 W. Napa Street Sonoma, CA 95476
Box Office Video
6960 McKinley Street Sebastopol, CA 95472
American Video Center
14442 Union Avenue San Jose, CA 95124
41865 Boardwalk #109 Palm Desert, CA 92211
Carmel Valley Video
308 Mid Valley Ctr Carmel, CA 93923
1929 Broadway Alameda, CA 94501
1596 Post Road Fairfield, CT 06824
Video Cinema Ridgefield, CTWASHINGTON DC
5536A Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC 20015
New Concept Video
1671 Meridian Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139
707-A E. Lake Drive Decatur, GA 30030
375 W. Kuiaha Road Suite 35 Haiku, HI 96708
560 Washington Ave. N. Ketchum, ID 83340
97 Thoreau Street Concord, MA 01742
485 High Street Dedham, MA 02026
8 Bow St. Cambridge, MA 02138
7300 Baltimore Ave #A College Park, MD 20740
Video To Go
300 N Clippert St #18 Lansing, MI 48912
Movie Store, Ltd.
15300 Kercheval Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230
300 E. Main Street Carrboro, NC 27510
3405 Hillsborough Road Durham, NC 27705
Visart Video 1945 E. 7th Street Charlotte, NC 28204
Sussex Video Total Entertainment
205 Rt. 23 Sussex, NJ 07461
6 St. Mark Place (between 2nd & 3rd) New York, NY 10003
Big Picture DVD Superstore
9220 Liverpool Road Liverpool, NY 13088
52 W. 8th Street New York, NY 10011
478 S. Main Street Granville, OH 43023
16 S. Main Street Oberlin, OH 48912
13367 Madison Avenue Lakewood, OH 44107
2484 NW Thurman Street Portland, OR 97210
1670 Ashland Street Ashland, OR 97520
LaBeck's Video Chest
2310 N. Lombard Street Portland, OR 97217
4320 S.E. Belmont Street Portland, OR 97215
1300 Broad Street Greensburg, PA 15601
736 Lancaster Avenue Bryn Mawr, PA 19106
West Coast Video
4614 Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15224
517 S. 4th Street Philadelphia, PA 19147
TLA Video 1520
Locust Street Philadelphia, PA 19102
7630 Germantown Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19118
1808 Spring Garden Street Philadelphia, PA 19130
Cactus Music and Video
2930 South Sheperd Drive Houston, TX 77098
I Luv Video
4803 Airport Boulevard Austin, TX 78751
2811 Thornton Lane Temple, TX 76502
2144 North Main Street Belton, TX 76513
403 S. Bosque Street 9 Whitney, TX 76692
Waterloo Records and Video Video Annex
1016 W. 6th Street Austin, TX 78703
1107 Ridge Rd. Rockwall, TX 75087
1141 Willoughby Square Charlottesville, VA 22902
7505 Leesburg Pike Falls Church, VA 22043
382 Madison Avenue N Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
5030 Roosevelt Way Seattle, WA 98015
218 W 1st St Aberdeen, WA 98520
1050A Hildebrand Lane Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Four Star Video Heaven
315 N. Henry Street Madison, WI 53703
Get out and support independent film. Help start a brilliant career. Make Frank famous so I'll have a big-time connection one day soon! Also check back because I'll be posting reminders, updates, and even an interview with the "real" Harold Buttleman! Bye for now!
Hidey-Ho, New Readers! Time for Some Christmas Music!
Let me give a nice little welcome to all the new folks who have been stopping by as a result of their reading The Cheers. My recent stats have shown a dramatic increase in traffic from folks who just finished reading the Sex Blogs article and I am very pleased you made the jump over here. Of course there is one little problem I have with you new people.
YOU COULD POST A COMMENT OR SAY "HI" YOU KNOW!
Whew! Just had to say that. Don't be a stranger here. Stop in, take a look around. See if I've said, "cock" or "skullfuckery" in awhile. Then maybe say "Hi" so I know you've been here. I'll leave chips and dip for the next time. Maybe I'll get a keg!
Now let me tell you a little something about one of my ALL-TIME FAVORITE Christmas albums. I should preface this by saying I'm not a very religious person. You should also know I used to be a store manager for a major toy store chain and my take on the Christmas holiday will NEVER be even close to what it was when I was a kid. Thanks to these two facts the very thought of hearing most Christmas tunes, religious or secular, makes me want to get an assault rifle and go a little "Christmas-nuts"! Having said that...
"Go Tell it on the Mountain" by the Blind Boys of Alabama is just about the best damn Christmas CD ever! The Blind Boys have been making music together for OVER 60 YEARS! Their latter-year recordings have been in heavy rotation in my CD player ever since I saw them open for Peter Gabriel on his last world tour.
Blind Boys music is a little bit of blues mixed with a whole lot of gospel and the end result is music that nobody can resist (Unless you're extremely Jewish. Even then it is one tough feat!) They know how to deliver a song and are backed by some damn fine musicians! Even one who is not all that religious has no problem with the gospel feel and the toe-tapping, church-going sounds emanating from their speakers.
This CD, which came out last year, was so beautiful to hear I quite honestly was brought to tears at the listening station. Building upon the Grammy successes the Blind Boys found with albums like "Spirit of the Century" and "Higher Ground", they take this blues/gospel hybrid to the limit and make old worn out classics like "Little Drummer Boy", "The Christmas Song", "Silent Night", "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" & "White Christmas" sound completely new and vibrant. As my own mother put it, "This is Christmas music like I've never heard before!"
While the first and last tracks are performed solely by the Blind Boys, the album also features a wealth of guest vocalists & musicians. The eclectic mix of artists includes such performers as Solomon Burke, Tom Waits, Chrissie Hynde, Mavis Staples & George Clinton. There is something for EVERYONE on this CD!
Please check this CD out. Click on the link I provided and listen to samples. I get no money from Amazon if you buy one. I just want you to be made aware of one great album of music.
If you want to buy something where I DO make some cash for the referral, then go to fu-qtoo.com and buy heavy you bastards!
"Best Of Andy" Articles are Up!
A couple of oft-mentioned gems seem to be the choices of our editor-in-chief for my week away from being creative. I know you must be tired of hearing about these articles, but I gotta post SOMETHING here for you to read & refer to your friends. So here goes.
First: "My Name is Andy, and I'm...SOBER!"
This details my life as a perpetually drug-free man. I know it seems strange, but I have never tried any sort of narcotics in all my years. However I did actually make a drug purchase and I tell this amusing little tale here.
Second: "My Dinner with Gacy"
Do I have to tell you more about this one? It has been somewhat popular over the past several months. Anyway, if you missed it before check it out now!
Over 3,000 Hits in One Day!
Siim at The Cheers must be submitting my Sex Blogs article to a few more referral sites because I went from 11,000+ hits at the start of yesterday to 14,000+ today!
Maybe a few more folks will read other articles and refer friends, come here, demand that their local paper or magazine hire this kick-ass new writer...well, maybe.
Anyway, there'll likely be a "Best of Andy" article this week since I didn't send in anything new for this week. I'll let ya know what it is. Until then, click the hell out of the link to the Prom Story. I think any story involving an unfortunate nipple hair deserves more attention!
Just when I thought I was becoming a has been
As we've been gathering more readers at The Cheers and utilizing more article referring sites the inevitable changing of the guard in our Top Ten has been taking place.
As you can see I am now only claiming four spots in our list of most-read articles. One article has managed to reach 10,000 hits in a matter of a couple of weeks when it took a month or two for me to do so. I assumed that I'd be out of the number one spot by now.
However, it seems with new readers comes a new interest in our past works. I'm close to reaching the 12,000 hit mark and still hanging in there at the top. How cool is that?
I'm taking the week off this week and will not be submitting anything to The Cheers. I will keep on writing useless crap here though so please hang around!
Thanksgiving Memories. Germans on a Bus, Edie McClurg, Swearing, & Seka.
This was something of an unusual Thanksgiving for me. I had a booking during the day. Being booked on Thanksgiving is not unheard of altogether. It is just not common. This gig was even stranger.
My partner Jim Bina
and I, dressed as gangsters, were to be picked up at the corner of Belmont & Kedzie in Chicago, by a tour bus filled with German travel agents and business V.I.P.s. These folks were fresh off the plane from O'Hare and barely spoke any English so our little gangster's comedy tour of Chicago wasn't nearly as funny as it should have been.
We were originally told the bus would be filled with 30+ German women. We were lied to, presumably to get us to do the gig. Ah well, money is money.
Thinking about today's little escapade before my feast, I though of a few other Thanksgiving oddities from my past.
When I was about 18 or so I was dating a very tall and pretty girl from my small home town. This girl's mother was a nice lady, but a little overbearing with regard to being a church-going person. She absolutely hated any use of foul language regardless of the context in which it was used. "Fuck"
just wasn't allowed, nor was it funny to say.
On Thanksgiving, my girlfriend and I had decided to rent "Planes, Trains, & Automobiles"
, arguably the PERFECT
Thanksgiving movie. We'd gotten her dad to come in and enjoy the film with us. Her mom said she'd catch up later. We were all having a GREAT
time watching this movie.
Now this is one funny damn film and very suitable for the entire family. There is really only ONE scene that is even the slightest bit objectionable. If you've seen the film you know that there is one scene where Steve Martin
, after being sent on a wild goose chase for a rental car, accosts the rental car clerk, played by Edie McClurg
. This scene, while quite hysterical, does use the words "fuck"
about 20 times in only 3 or 4 minutes.
It is the ONLY
time in the film where any bad language is used and it is so shockingly appropriate there's no way that anyone can resist from laughing...unless you're this girl's mother...who came in just as that scene began!
Naturally she heard ONLY
the swearing and having missed the entire film of to that point she'd no concept of the context. She simply huffed and exclaimed a very parental, "Oh, NICE movie!"
and then stormed out of the room. The dad was whipped into submission with this one sentence and had no choice but to leave the room and not watch the end of the film. We were expected to stop watching the film and return it immediately. A total buzz-kill.
One last little Thanksgiving memory for you: Not too long ago I was friends with a female comedian who was friends with adult film legend, Seka
. I've never met Seka, but I've been told we were in the same room on a few occasions. It is so hard to get to meet everyone when you're shooting a Roman orgy scene ya know. Anyway...
Earlier that year, while in St. Louis, some comedian friends of mine were telling me about their little boy's club known as The Lumbermen
. This was a group of guys, comedians mostly, dedicated to porn, strippers, and beer. Nice gents! They mentioned that their annual dinner was coming up and they'd always wanted to book a porn actress to come out and chat with the boys. I mentioned that I knew someone that knew Seka and they demanded I try and get the contact info together. Before too long I'd gotten this porn legend a paying gig in St. Louis and she didn't even have to take off her clothes!
I spent that Thanksgiving up in northern Wisconsin with family, but had to return home for a gig the next day. My car ran into some mechanical problems so I stopped off in Madison to switch cars with my mother. I checked my phone messages before heading out again and was surprised to listen to the best Thanksgiving dinner invitation ever!
Yes, indeed I'd been invited to Seka's home for a traditional thanksgiving dinner as a thank you for referring her to my friends in St. Louis. The message on my machine was hot and steamy, left in perfect porn star voice. "Hi Andy. It's SEKA. I'd love to invite you over tonight for a little something to eat this Thanksgiving."
It went on to leave a number and a few more details. I knew that it was just dinner where a few friends would also be in attendance, but I found it to be hysterical. I kept it saved on my voice mail for months.
I'd often wondered what if I hadn't been up in Wisconsin that day and had already enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal. Naturally I had thoughts about shagging an aging porn actress and I had my letter to Penthouse
all planned out in my head. But it was not meant to be. It would have been interesting no matter what.
If it certainly WAS more than a simple invite to dinner the best I could assume at the time was, "Well, even if the bird is a bit old, I'm sure the stuffing would still be moist."
Oh My GOD!!! It's SNOWING!!!! DUH!
There are many reasons why I like living in this part of the world. However it follows that there are a few reasons why I don't. Today I was reminded of one of those reasons.
For the last few days our local weather reporters have been telling us that we would in fact have our first snowfall of the season by today. Aside from the Wisconsin hunter shootings there apparently hasn't been much news to report because it was a prominent story on every single newscast, without fail.
Sunday: "Clear skies today but rain and snow due by Wednesday..."
Monday: "Beautiful weather today, but look out! We've got a little snow in the forecast Wednesday."
Tuesday: "Well you knew it couldn't last forever. A snowy Wednesday, next in our weather report..."
We've been hearing about it for some time now. So WHY on Earth, even after ALL the overblown warnings and forecasts, do I HAVE to hear this once the news starts...
[booming ominous music]
"Our top story tonight: S N O W!
A cold white HELL falling from the once calm sky. Take cover for the frozen beast knows no mercy. All who come in contact with the demon crystals of death will surely suffer an eternity of pain. OH, the humanity! How could this horror befall such an unsuspecting populace? How can we send a man to the moon and yet we are helpless in protecting ourselves or even predicting the presence of such a foul abomination such as SNOW?"
OK, I may be exaggerating. But this is not a major blizzard here and we all KNEW it was coming. Why should it even be the main topic of discussion on the news? Furthermore, why do so many people turn into complete morons when the snow falls? Most people around here have lived here, among the snow, for a long, LONG time. There's no way these people could have forgotten about its inevitable arrival. And yet, we have people slipping and falling over themselves like drunk old men. Cars are spinning out of control everywhere and panic is overtaking the shoppers at the grocery stores. I just don't get it!
Does this happen to any of you in your towns? I mean, if you live in Vegas or Florida, then YEAH, panic. But Chicago? In November? What the hell?
Some Holiday Cheer for You!
Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Carol Stream Oktoberfest Fun!
Juggling at the Carol Stream Oktoberfest
Photo: Jeremiah Jackson
Luanne from the Carol Stream Chamber of Commerce was kind enough to forward this photo of me taken at this year's Oktoberfest! It is very rare that someone catches a good "action shot" during the act so I was very happy to see this one turn out so nice. That was a great event and I had a great time.
What was strange was at 2:45 there was NOBODY at the park and I thought I was basically setting up my show for nothing. By 3:00 there were more than 200 people there for my first performance! Lots of fun indeed. I hope to get more local work from that little gig!
Thanks to Luanne for sending the pic and to Jeremiah Jackson for taking it!
"House" on FOX is Fucking AWESOME!
I've got to personally thank the fine advertisers who had the idea to put a DVD of the first episode of "House, M.D." inside an issue of Entertainment Weekly.
My wife and I checked out the show long before its debut last week and we we've been waiting with great anticipation for the new episode this week!
This show is too good to be on FOX! I was shocked when "Arrested Development" got through and remained on that network. "House" is as good a show as anything I have ever seen. It should be on HBO it is so damn cool!
You really have to check this one out. The writing is extremely smart and funny. Add to that great all the fun and great suspense associated with a well-written mystery program and you'd have a hit show. But this show also adds some hair-raising computer illustrations of various medical procedures and some freaky stuff to make you jump out of your seat in that same way you did when Travolta stabbed a needle through Uma's heart in Pulp Fiction!
In short, this show is fucking cool!
The guy playing Dr. House is just compelling in this role and he delivers his smart-assed lines so well you actually find yourself wishing you had a brilliant doctor insulting you every time you visit the doctor.
PLEASE watch this show. Don't let this become another "Firefly". Watch this program and keep it on the air. Tuesdays at 8:00 PM (CST) on FOX.
Santa Lives in HELL, This Week at The Cheers!
Oh Hi! You still here?
This week at The Cheers you can read the first of a few stories I'll share about life as Santa Claus for special events. OK, the main story in this column is just an expanded version of the post I had here earlier in the week, but there is some good stuff you didn't already know.
I'm not too sure about some of the weird things they're doing at The Cheers.
First, they've got some sort of device within the code that finds keywords from particular articles and links them to other articles within the magazine, past or present. That's kind of a good way to encourage a few more folks to read but it makes the articles look crappy.
Next, they're now having automatic page breaks inserted into stories. So my columns which have traditionally been 1000-2000 words (usually about 1500) are being broken up every 500-600 words and turning them into 3 page pieces.
Now who in the internet(s) is going to see that and read all three pages? Most people will freak out even though they may already be very used to reading my work. I really hate this because now I feel I have to write 500 word pieces just to keep people's attention regardless of how much story is actually told. Have you READ some of the crap there that is a single page? Very piss poor work!
Oh well, in theory the people that are interested in what is being written will stick around right? I need a real paying writing gig! Of course if enough people e-mail the editor and tell him to change it, maybe this can be fixed. ;)
OK, it is Official!
There it is! My GOD...It is BEAUTIFUL!
I swear on all that is important to me that I did not click this article 10,000 times all by myself.
Now that this is over I'm more than certain some other article will take its place. Already there a piece about being a loser and dating at The Cheers that has over 3,000 hits. I'll just work harder at promoting and more importantly writing new pieces and hope for the best.
I just put the finishing touches on an article extrapolating upon my recent post about playing Santa Claus. That should run tomorrow.
I'll also be sharing a few more Santa stories in the coming weeks of The Cheers so stay tuned!
Speaking of Christmas, the shopping season is upon us. Why not click the ever-loving shit out of the links I've provided to fu-qtoo.com and buy some t-shirts! I hear that they MAY soon be selling some designs by a certain comedian/juggler/writer guy we all know and love! T-shirts make the perfect gift for people who have a lot to say, but have a limited budget. Buy yours today!
My wife is getting one of the "Your Kung-Fu Sucks Ass!" shirts! I may even get a nice photo of her modeling it for you!
Speaking of Sex Blogs - "Captain Cum???"
We all know that I'm all about sites that post links and pics of various hotties, right? It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Well then how could a site run by a guy calling himself Captain Cum elude me for so damn long?
I'm not saying that this site is going to be on my daily list of sites to check out, but it is suitably perverse for any stereotypical red-blooded American male. It is a simple blog that contains commentaries, video links, photo galleries and the like. Nice. Simple. Good nekkid celebrity fun.
But what's the real issue? Hey Captain! Dude! You come visit my little blog and don't even say HI? What's up with that? What? Did you find me because of a search or maybe by hitting the "Next Blog" button? What happened? Looks like you took a brief skim over my blog and decided that we are not in the same camp or something. Well my cum-slinging superhero friend, you couldn't be more wrong! I repost links and pictures. I'm a horny pervert too ya know!
I review sex blogs and comment on other nonsense of the like. I'm sure we'd be able to enjoy a beer or two at a local bar before hitting the strip club. I shouldn't have to check my stats to find out a Captain Cum has been here!
At the least you could have e-mailed me and suggested a link exchange. I'm always looking for more traffic. Ah well.
Perhaps when you check your own stats or do a little ego-surfing you'll come on back and make things right! Zeesh!
Oh God, I'm Getting Close! - I'm...Getting...CLOSE!
There's some good old sex talk for ya. This commemorates the very eventual and practically eminent arrival of my Sex Blogs article reaching the elusive 10,000 hits mark at The Cheers.
As I have said many times before, I know that 10,000 is not all that big of a deal considering how vastly traveled the internet(s) is(are), but since we're still growing and developing it is an extremely humbling little feat and I am quite proud of it. I can't say this enough, THANK YOU FOR READING!
What's strange is that when I wrote the Sex Blogs piece I ended up getting some grief from the inspiration for this fan favorite, Missy Mae of Small Town Sex. She sent me an e-mail telling me how upset she was that I'd even suggest her blog COULD be fake and was upset that I ever touched the subject at all. She was so insulted she never even blogged about the article in order to let her fans know that people are talking about her. Anyone who read the article saw that it was a very fair piece and it gave RAVE REVIEWS of her blog and its content, no matter what the truth may be. That was pretty clear and still I angered the horny one. She described herself to me as high maintenance and I guess she wasn't lying. LOL!
I noticed that this piece took off after being listed by linkfilter.net, Dave's Daily, Attu Sees All, and e-pauly and the effect was more readers of that story, the stories I linked within the piece, as well as this blog. That was very cool because it showed me that the Sex Blogs article was good enough to some that they felt compelled to check out other works of mine. Again, very humbling and satisfying.
I can only assume that after the increase in traffic to my article and this blog, Missy Mae at Small Town should have seen a modest increase in traffic at the very least. Of course I don't know. She hasn't really talked to me since I insulted her by writing such a favorable story about her kick-ass blog. Not even a thank you. She also told me she doesn't care if she has readers or not. She blogs to vent. Seems an odd statement since she has a mailing list and advertisers a plenty on the site, but I'll believe her on that one too.
Anyway, this post was not intended to talk smack about one of my favorite blog-crushes. This was to let you know that I'm 14 reads away from having one of my articles be read 10,000 times at The Cheers. This is to say thank you to the friends who read my work every week, the new readers I find every day, and the lovely lady who inspired that article in the first place; Missy Mae.
I hope to have other "hit" articles and maybe even a paying career as a writer one day soon.
All the Cool Cats Love Andy!
Since this is such a dismal and dreary day here in Chicagoland I thought I'd post a few pics from one of the better days I had this past summer.
That's me petting a mammoth tiger at the Valley of the Kings Animal Sanctuary in Wisconsin. More specifically, in the word of the handler in the photo (also named Andy) the tiger is enjoying "scratches".
I was fortunate enough to visit this unique place earlier this year thanks to Mike Preston. He was taping an episode of his cable show, Psycho Babble and wanted me there to share circus stories, eat some fire, and enjoy a very cool day in the sun among the animals.
Valley of the Kings is a non-profit animal sanctuary that rescues abandoned or abused circus animals, pets, zoo animals and the like. It is almost completely funded by private & public donations and they house hundreds of tigers, lions, bears, wolves, and the like.
It is not open to the public. You must be a member/supporter of the facility in order to get to take the tours & visit the animals. Memberships are very inexpensive (as low as $50.00 for 6 months I think).
If you take the tours (usually on Saturdays) bring lots of raw chicken and other meats. Your donations do in fact help feed these magnificent creatures. Come to think of it, if you're taking one of the tours and happen to have the chicken legs with you, YOU can feed the animals yourself, which is the thrill of a lifetime! OK, if you are a professional animal trainer or a vet then MAYBE feeding a tiger by hand is no big deal. For me...BIG DEAL!
This is a place unlike any other in the world. I am hoping to find a Saturday with my wife where we can both go someday soon. She and I love zoos, sanctuaries, and just about any place where we can encounter exotic animals and I know she'd have a great time.
One funny thing about the day in the Valley, as I was taping my fire-eating segment for the program, one of the tiger handlers watched me stick the fire into my mouth and said, "Well now, that's just crazy!" This was coming from a guy who regularly stepped into a cage with wild tigers!
Zeesh! The Holidays Are Approaching FAST!
Not only am I getting at the age where I marvel at how quickly the days, months, and years pass me by, but I just found an old news clipping of me as Santa. First, the passage of time.
I know it is a trite old notion but it really seems like life is moving a whole lot faster then it did when I was younger. Seems like yesterday I was celebrating the New Year and now I've got to gear up for another one.
Once again I'm not all too sure what I'm getting anyone for Christmas nor how I'm going to pay for anything. Once again I hope for enough gigs to keep me alive well into the coming year. Once again I have to string lights on a damn tree. OK, I like the tree part.
I really miss not seeing Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving. Of course, I really miss a lot of things from when I was younger. I don't miss parachute pants per se, but I do miss a few things. Oh well.
Now about this photo - Early in my career, a short time out of Clown College I had to take as many gigs as possible to convince my family that I would be able to one day make a living at being an entertainer. I even talk about one such gig at The Cheers this week. However, this photo represents a rarity in my showbiz life. This is a shot of yours truly playing Santa Claus for a local grocery store.
I RARELY did any sort of Santa appearances. It is a thankless job and the pay is LOUSY! But, if you need the money and can string several gigs together in a season you can make it worth enduring the kids with bad colds, worse attitudes, and shitty parents. I'm sure I'll write an article about my Santa days for The Cheers soon.
At the time of this photo the girls (Kelly & Meaghan Hirsch) were the first in line to show up at Morningfields in Park Ridge. This SHOULD have been a sweet thing, but it wasn't. Why? They were tired and crabby from waiting for a VERY long time prior to Santa's arrival.
See, their dad made a point to get them up extra early and wait for Santa BECAUSE he knew that the local newspaper photographer would be there at the same time. Apparently these same kids got their cute little mugs on the front page of the paper the previous year and the dad wanted to give "their fans" a repeat performance. The guy didn't even let them talk to Santa until the photographer was there. THAT was pretty fucking weak!
I only did a few Santa gigs that year and fewer the following year. I'm sure there are quite a few Poloroids of me with the kids I did see. This, however, is the only public evidence that I ever did this type of work at all.
HEY! Isn't "Hirsch" a Jewish last name?
Ah well, I told you I'd try to post some shit from the Andy Archives every now and again. So Merry Fucking Christmas!
Come out to Durty Nellies this Sunday for Comedy Night!
You KNOW you're not doing anything this Sunday night, November 21, 2004 at 8:00 PM. So why not head on out to Durty Nellies in Palatine and see some kick-ass comedy & juggling? If you come on out and pay a measly $5.00 to get in, I promise that I'll be there and I'll even be funny.
You should go. There's beer. Did you hear that? B E E R!
So get off your asses, try not to be a pain in the ass loser that pretends that work the following day is so freakin' important and come on out to Palatine!
E-Pauly Loves When I Talk A-Boot Canadians!
This week, e-pauly.com is republishing my review of the GREAT William Shatner CD, "Has Been".
I hope you'll all head out and read it. Near as I figure, if Paul is silly enough to think that I provide high-quality content for the web, I'll be silly enough to keep on referring you to his site.
More stories are sprouting up in the Top Ten at The Cheers! This is very cool because it means we are getting more readers to come see our little chunk of the internet(s). Of course it also means I have to work harder to maintain my position in the magazine, building my fan base, and one day...rule the world! I've stopped my e-mail self promotions for now because a friend of mine yelled at me as if I were raping her pet or something. But the Andy Martello Promotion Machine will be chugging along again one day soon.
By the way, check out the blog set up by the folks at fu-qtoo.com. There are frequent postings of a large-breasted woman modeling wet versions of their t-shirt designs. That's something, right?
Am I the only one who is freaking out over the fact that Thanksgiving is next week? Amazing! I guess time truly does fly by when you get older.
Of course I am sure that people in Europe and elsewhere in the world aren't wasting one bit of time thinking about Thanksgiving. As I recall, Thanksgiving is basically our holiday and it is otherwise meaningless everywhere else.
Thinking about it, Thanksgiving is pretty damn meaningless anyway. Really, given the past and recent history of our country and how we treat those that are different from us, the original meaning of the holiday seems a bit fuzzy.
And how do we give thanks on this holiday? We eat until our hearts stop!
Still if you ARE European as opposed to American, there are a few things to be thankful for...
Remember to clean your plate and have seconds! ;)
"Sex Blogs" About to Hit a MILESTONE!
OK, so I'm NOT as big of a cheese with only six articles in the Top Ten at The Cheers. [sigh]
But one of my articles is a mere 170 clicks away from being the first article to be read 10,000 times!
I suspect that not ALL of the clicks are actual unique readers. I also know that I sure as hell haven't clicked that damn thing no 10,000 times!
So as always, thanks for reading!
I've Been Cut to Six Entries in The Cheers Top Ten. :(
Of course I REALLY don't mind because the current entry at number ten is from my dear friend, and a most excellent writer (probably even better than ME, but don't tell her that! Shhh!), Marjo Moore!
To celebrate this most excellent feat of writing AND promotion, I'm going to plug her cool article, "The State of the Union, Undressed", now available for your enjoyment at The Cheers!
Among the Reasons I Like Las Vegas
They've got one helluva good Fatburger there! MMMmmm, Fatburger! Just one of the things I miss when I'm stuck here in cold and dreary Chicagoland in November. I know that I could just replicate my own Fatburger here. But really, is it at all the same? I didn't think so!
In other news, one of my regular readers at The Cheers jokingly posted that I was "getting soft" in response to my recent article. I took the jibe and returned in kind with a nice, "Go $#@& yourself!" I like being a smart-ass and having smart-ass fans!
"out of the Mouths of Babes" This Week at The Cheers
The new issue is up and running at The Cheers. Please check out my latest article, "Out of the Mouths of Babes".
More later. Must pay bills and make phone calls now.
Well THIS Can Cheer Any Man Up!
And a few women!
I don't know where attu finds all the things he sees. But I am always happy when he shares with the class! The link is not safe for work viewing, but it is well worth it if you are a stereotypical man or perhaps a hearty lesbian. Enjoy!
E-pauly.com this week.
Check out e-pauly this week. Not only does he have some lovely pics from a wet t-shirt contest he attended, but he reprinted my article about Gay Marriage. He also sent me an e-mail that sheds some light on the differences between Canada and the U.S., which I'll share here.
I enjoyed reading your article on Gay Marriage.
It was remembrance day yesterday here in Canada. A day when we remember the sacrifices made for our freedoms. A day to say thanks to those who fought for us. We here in Canada have a perspective on 'Gay Marriage' being a statement of freedom. Most people here are not gay and react very poorly to gays when confronted with homosexuality face to face. But as a country we support gay marriage, because ... to put it simply you're 'free to be happy any way you can find it'. No one here says you're free, but only if you're 'like me' and and it seems Bush (and his republican party) likes to pass laws to ensure no one can be different.
Very cool of him to continue to showcase my work. Perhaps someday, people will read it, I'll be signing copies of my book, making a living from the stupid words I write. Maybe. Until all that happens, enjoy the work free of charge!
I've said it before and I'll say it again...
Some purchases I've made I will never stop paying for!
Just the tax on being stupid alone will take a lifetime to pay off.
On a lighter note, I'll be at Comedy Comedy in Lisle, Illinois tonight. Come on out and see me while you can.
Don't forget to tune in to WGN Radio tonight at 9:00 PM to hear Bill Mellberg and Kent Wehman!
I Just Finished Watching the Traditional, NAY, The QUINTESSENTIAL Veteran's Day Movie!
The Blues Brothers!
A Plug for My Good Friend, Bill Mellberg!
Well hello again, loyal readers (both of you). :Þ
I thought I'd mix thing up a bit and bring to your attention the most excellent political humor and musical accompanyment provided by good friends, Bill Mellberg and Kent Wehman.
Bill is a long-time friend of the family and one of the best comedians and voice impersonators in the business. Kent is so talented a musician that any musician worth his salt admires his chops.
Together they have been touring the country with their unique show, "Evening with the Presidents".
THIS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2004 you can hear them together on the graddaddy of all superstations, WGN Radio. You can listen live on the internet and on the AM dial at 720 in the Midwestern United States. Here are all the details as provided by Bill. Please check it out!
Political humorist Bill Mellberg, accompanied by pianist Kent Wehman, will be
bringing "AN EVENING WITH THE PRESIDENTS" to WGN Radio this Friday night,
November 12th, from 9PM to 11PM (Central Time).
They will be Milt Rosenberg's guests once again on his 'Extension 720' program -- a Chicago institution for more than 35 years.
WGN is located at 720 on the AM radio dial, and it can also be heard live over the Internet at www.wgnradio.com
During the second hour, listener calls and e-mails will be welcomed. Throughout
the program, Mellberg and Wehman will be serving up their lighthearted,
bipartisan political humor ... "doing our best to bring America together!" as Mellberg puts it.
Among the "Presidents" appearing that evening will be George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and the late presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon. Also on-hand will be presidential wannabes John Kerry, Bob Dole and Ross Perot, plus a host of other characters such as Arnold Schwarzenegger,
Richard Daley, Jimmy Stewart, Jack Benny, Johnny Carson, Rodney Dangerfield, Julia Child and many more.
It'll be another fun evening when "The Presidents" visit Milt Rosenberg this Friday evening! We hope you'll have a chance to listen in ... and to call in!
Call-in guests can reach the show at: 1-312-591-7200
Listeners can also e-mail comments/questions to: Extension720@tribune.com
WGN Radio is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting Company, and Friday
night's program will be broadcast from Studio One in the Tribune Tower
on Michigan Avenue in the heart of beautiful downtown Chicago.
Tune in for a merry mix of humor and music!
"Editor's Choice" at The Cheers
Well they seem to have ironed out some of the bugs with the server at The Cheers. Instead of running the articles that were meant for this week and having to take them down on Monday, they've decided to fill the remainder of THIS week with an "Editor's Choice" issue. So everything in the magazine this week has been in the magazine before. I have SIX pieces being rerun!
Three of the articles, "My Dinner with Gacy", "September Writing Prompts", and "Hair of the Dog" are currently in the Top Ten most read articles. Surely you're familiar with those old nuggets by now. Ok, Only two of those are in the Top Ten, but you're well aware of the Gacy thing already.
The other three are ones I wouldn't have expected Siim (Editor in Chief) to have picked. I certainly liked them so I'm glad they're enjoying a new life. With a little luck you'll check them out and recommend them to your friends and leave comments or ratings.
"I've Got Your Controversy RIGHT HERE!"
I wrote this piece as a knee-jerk reaction to another article being rerun this week about shopping for a bride in India. That particular article sparked the most comments and controversy from the readers due to its subject matter. So naturally, the asshole in me decided to write a hair-raising article myself where I invoke wrath and anger about all sorts of taboo subjects, just for the hell of it all. Naturally I didn't offer any sort of clinical research or level-headed thought behind the positions. I merely played up to the people that like to get mad about SOMETHING and rarely read the meaning or intent of certain articles. My personal favorite parts about this piece: randomly stating "Hitler was RIGHT" and then not saying what he could have been right about. And Proclaiming that anyone who was truly angry about Janet Jackson's bare breast at the Super Bowl were folks like me who'd wanted to see her breasts for years and got angry because when it finally happened, there was a damned hubcap on it!
"My Own Little Opus"
This was the first of a few articles where I stalk cartoonist Berkeley Breathed for personal gain and acceptance as a writer. Really all I want is some free swag, but I'd settle for a restraining order. I've written three or four of these types of articles and I'm probably due for another one. Fans of his work will enjoy the humor in this piece.
"My Name is Andy, and I'm...SOBER!"
I have ALWAYS liked this piece. This is about a guy (ME) and the social problems associated with being a man who has never tried any illegal substances. It spoofs 12 Step programs and describes the time I bought some marijuana in Jamaica, only to avoid smoking a single puff of the stuff! A very funny piece if I can say that without too much arrogance.
One of those days
So I did get a little bit of work done around here. Paying bills and the like. But that initial mayhem caused by trying to get the fu-qtoo link to work did seem to set the precedent.
Sometimes I HAVE to work online. Things like updates for my main site need to be sent in. E-mails need to be returned. And of course, there is my writing. Well after a little bit of cleaning I decided to do some LONG overdue updating on my main site.
I've been promising a few cigar guys, retailers mostly, that I'd get some links added to the site. Those links really help drive the traffic and bring me up in the searches so I really SHOULDN'T be so far behind on things. Well I finally went ahead and worked on finding all the links, all the banners, all the info I'd need to get this OFF my "to do list". Of course, not too soon before finishing the hour-long project I closed the wrong window or hit the wrong button and -POOF!- No more e-mail. All that work for nothing!
So, as with so many of my days, my day is completely shot! Normally it is just my fault for being such a depressed & lazy doofus. Today, just being a doofus caused my downfall.
To celebrate wasted time, check out this cool flash game at e-pauly's site. It is a classic waste of time. Thank God for the internet(s).
Well I found a "solution".
It seems as though there's some sort of glitch with Blogger because any other artwork or link I post works just fine. So I found a spot at the top of the blog to put a nice banner for fu-qtoo.com, a t-shirt company cool enough to post links to this site & my main website. As a THANK YOU, I've even added a little montage of some shirt designs for your amusement. I sincerely hope none of this crap happens again as I've wasted a lot of time on this nonsense.
Sure, it is my fault for allowing myself to waste so much time. But the internet does have its irresistible charm!
Anyway, check out their site. They've got some cool stuff that will surely get you in trouble.
To: Fu-Qtoo.com. I Tried. I REALLY Tried!
Do you see that picture above this text? You DO see it, right? Well I was trying to set up a cool little link for these guys in my sidebar and for HOURS now, I simply can't get the thing to work WITHOUT fucking up the entire blog. There's MASSIVE amounts of space in between whatever is above the link and the actual link itself, making it IMPOSSIBLE for you to even see the damn link without scrolling til your heart stops or you get bored, whichever comes first.
What's worse is that I COULD have simply drawn a link from their site, but for some reason that only GOD knows, I can't get their fucking gif file links to open in a web page, much less provide a cool animated little picture for you to look at. I had to create this stupid jpeg just so I could attempt to make a nice link...which I CAN'T FUCKING DO!
So, fu-qtoo.com, I am sorry. There is no fucking way I am ever going to be able to embed a nice and pretty link to your site in a prominent place in my sidebar. Unless someone with a little more knowledge than me can chime in with the proper code, you'll have to settle for this posting and the simple text link I created.
Been Going Through Some Boxes of OLD CRAP!
BEHOLD! Right there, before your very eyes, sits the birth of a pathetic but enjoyable career. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, THIS is my very first business card!
I know what you're thinking. You're wondering just how on Earth have I managed to remain so relatively unknown even though I had such a professional looking business card. It boggles my mind too! How could I be so poor and anonymous to this day? I mean, really, LOOK at that slick marketing and craftsmanship. That card just SCREAMS, "FUTURE SUPERSTAR!"
This is probably the last one of these little gems in existence. My parents gave me these as a Christmas or birthday present back when I was 15 or so. They spent a few bucks on getting me some of my very first promo pieces in order to support my future. Isn't that sweet?
Actually, I think this was a gift from my sister. The promo gift pack from mom & dad didn't come until after this! I'll have to scan those and show them to you another time. Yeah, I remember now...
I was going to do my first "professional" gig, which was a church craft fair. My sister, Lisa, booked me and I juggled all day for about $15.00 (a cut of the profits made at her own craft booth!).
As it turned out the cash was not the only incentive for this glamour gig. Lisa bought me the business cards beforehand so I'd have something to hand out to people at the fair and use that opportunity to promote my services. She even designed the fancy artwork on the card. I think the cards were more expensive than my juggling services!
Later I placed an ad in some local paper and got a few birthday party gigs. The ad was basically a scan of the business card. OK, maybe the ad came first and then the business cards, but in any event these cards were a gift from my sister and I guess they did the job just fine because I'm still making money at this entertainment thing.
The real question here is, who the hell was the "Company" in "Andy and Company"? I had no partners, no staff, NOTHING! Did I come up with that name to sound infinitely more important than I actually was? What a total crock!
And is there really any difference between "magic" and "card tricks"? Come to think of it...I don't really KNOW any magic or card tricks other than one trick I learned that same year. THIS was enough to advertise? Oh man I am glad I am not that kid anymore!
WOW! There's some silly nonsense that is perfect for the young Andy Martello STALKER-FAN! That was fun! I think for the next few weeks I'll post some other fine bits of my past and we can all point and laugh at me in unison!
As if G-Dub v:2.0 Were not Enough
Over the weekend I put on Comedy Central for some good quality background noise. I like having music or some sort of TV programming on when I'm writing and Comedy Central seemed more than suitable I guess.
Anyway, it happened that they're playing one of my all-time favorite comedies, "Wet Hot American Summer". This was both a good and bad turn of events because I love the movie so much that I am often compelled to watch every single minute of it when I know it is on, making it impossible for me to get any work done.
As one of my personal laugh-riot invoking scenes came on the set, I was appalled to see how badly the censors had edited, no, BUTCHERED the film. It made me tune off the film and I attempted to get more work done. Very sad. I had to settle for "Celebrity Poker" as background noise.
The scene that was completely edited out involved the entire cast going into town for supplies all to the tune of Rick Springfield's, "Love is Alright Tonight". In this classic movie montage spoof the cast goes from eating fast food to trying to buy beer at a convenience store to purchasing & shooting up heroin & cocaine at a crack house in a matter of three minutes. The topper is the return to camp featuring the line, "It is always good to get away from camp. Even for an hour."
Well, that scene was completely ripped out without a trace for the offensive drug references. Of course the scenes with gay marriage and two guys banging the hell out of each other in a supply closet (stuff that is extremely offensive now that we live in the bigoted, religious right, hate-mongering, Red United States) was all there. Very odd.
If this wasn't enough to frost my beans, it looks more and more like the Ron Jeremy Blog is a complete fake. I know, I know. If you can't trust America's most famous and rotund porn star, who can you trust?
I have no confirmed kill on this being a fake yet, but all the signs are there. There haven't been any updates in weeks. Many photos have been taken down, presumably to avoid law suits from the genuinely innocent people in the photos being portrayed as porn starlets. It just smells more like a hoax ever day. Ah well, it is still better than Lawrence's Ladies Blog. How sad is that?
Finally, the new issue of The Cheers is going to be delayed a short while. They're having some trouble with their databases and the new info has disappeared or something. When it is up there, look for a piece from me titled "Out of the Mouths of Babes". This is another story from my early days in da biz. Until then, feel free to head over to e-pauly.com & read my Kentucky story.
I've successfully avoided doing laundry, paying bills, and cleaning the house - all so I could reminisce with my old friend, Chris Flondro, and have a few martinis, steaks, and cigars. Thing is...I have a gig later tonight and I have a few hours to get bright enough to be convincing. NICE!
Since I Have So Little Left to Live For...
Can the few of you who stick around for longer than 5 seconds head over to The Cheers and click the living shit out of the link for my Sex Blogs Article? It would be the only article they've ever had to be read over 10,000 times. After that minor success I can pack my bags with memories and fling them, along with myself, into the Chicago River.
I can float comfortably in slumber to a water reclamation plant and be thoroughly cleansed. By the time my clean soul and all those memories are sent back into the general population for drinking, showering, and the all-important suburban lawn-watering, you'll wonder why there are no more entries from me at this blog or at any of the mildly unknown web publications I frequent.
Of course, since many of you will likely ingest me via tap water, you will unknowingly become smarter, funnier, and more cynical. You will also experience an unusual fascination with penguns and you'll be able to juggle. Only a mere few will be able to eat fire. Sorry I can't spread that to all. Insurance liability, don't ya know.
A Kentucky Story at e-pauly.com
[sigh!] Nobody posting or e-mailing me about the program thingy trying to invade my computer. No responses to my request for regular readers to chime in and say "hi". Yet, there seems to be steady traffic coming to the site. I can't make any sense of it all. Is it possible that this blog is only drawing the attention from people that are so introverted they can't even post to a weblog? Strange. Maybe I should shut this thing down.
Maybe you need some scathing remarks about Kentucky. If so, check out e-pauly.com this week and read a reprint of my article, "Need an Education? Kentucky Wants to Help!"
Anybody Know What the Hell THIS is?
This damn thing has popped up every time I try to log off the internet lately. I am more than confident that it is something nefarious and evil and I have always just logged off. However I cannot guarantee that a program or two didn't slip past the old goalie here. My virus software is up-to-date as are my spyware programs. Every scan I do comes out clean as a whistle.
All told it may be nothing other than a simple little update. But since this could be coming from one of the "other" internets (thanks G-Dub for informing me there's more than one internet. PUTZ!) I am always worried about the big bad killing my happy little computer.
So if any of you lurking readers out there are big-time techno-gods or are even a little bit familiar with this please post here or e-mail me at email@example.com
Info: Sony Vaio running Windows XP personal with service pack II installed. Internet is Juno 6.0 dial-up. Zodiac sign: Gemini
This is not My Beautiful House.
Today I mourn.
I mourn for the happy bygone days I once knew.
I mourn for tomorrow.
I mourn for those blind to injustice.
I mourn for those living comfortably with prejudice and bigotry.
I mourn for lives needlessly sacrificed.
I mourn for lives we will lose in the coming days.
I mourn for the loss of friends.
I mourn for the enemies we have made.
I mourn for a people divided.
I mourn for my country.
I mourn for America.
Shatner, Election Day, & The SPRA Showcase
This week at The Cheers, a review of the new Shatner CD. Sure I talked about it here, but I've expanded upon the idea for this week's column. I needed to write SOMETHING and Shatner seemed like the best topic at the time. Check it out. It is actually a pretty good piece.
OK, I don't really have to tell any of you how important it is that you vote Tuesday, do I? Vote. Vote for the right person for the job, even if you think it's George Bush. While I can't say that I don't care who you vote for, I can say that I care if you don't vote at all. It is extremely important this time around. Vote for the guy who will appoint the next Supreme Court justice. Vote for the guy with the power to send your child to war. Vote for the guy who offends you the least if you must. Just VOTE!
I have to attend the SPRA (Suburban Parks & Recreation Association) showcase on election day. This is an event where I basically sell my act to park districts throughout Illinois. I get a lot of summer fairs and fests this way so wish me luck.
I hate election years because they adversely affect my business. Everyone hangs onto their money for FUN until the last minute, thinking that the world will come to an end on election day. Sadly, this year, it actually might!
Fearless Radio at www.ORRN.com
The debut of Ghetto Boy & Beers on the Open Road Radio Network was lots of fun. While on the air they had their show extended by one hour so the higher-ups must have liked something. I choose to believe it was my witty banter and genius comedy that sent them over the top.
They had a few listeners and we interacted with folks who were sending along instant messages. It seems like a good start to all who were in attendance. Here's hoping that they continue to grow and grow. Maybe one day they can get famous and rich enough to help me pay for my $50.00 parking ticket I got. D'OH!
Go to the ORRN site and register. Once you've registered you can listen to the shows and more importantly, leave feedback on the show's official FORUMS.
Be sure ton check out their news groups!
Fearless Radio MSN Group
Kelly's ORRN Yahoo Group
There. Now I've done my duty and told the world about this show TWICE in as many days. Let's have a little good karma coming my way now!