Monday, September 29, 2008

What's funny in Asheville? Psycho Beach Party!

Looking for a laugh this week - Theatre UNCA are presenting Psycho Beach Party featuring Sarah Erickson of the Feral Chihuahuas. Shows are from Wednesday until Sunday, and it's only $10.

Theatre UNCA Box office can be reached at 828-232-2291 and tickets can be bought online


I had a great time, but I think anyone who talked to me knew that.

Gordon asked me if I'd do a short set at the BlogAsheville party (and I said yes before I knew it was the same weekend as Charlotte Beerfest), so I thought I'd give the greater Asheville Blog community the full-on Bastard experience and suited up.

Although I've done shows in Asheville in the pink suit, this is the first time I've not had to haul other costumes around or travel as a part of the show, so I walked from Casa del Bastard downtown in the pink pimp suit. There's a feeling of empowerment you get from the crazy things people on the street say as you saunter by. I stopped by Bruisin' Ales to pick up Julie (my "date" for the night, and her husband will be pleased to know I left her alone with many men during the evening) and we negotiated Asheville's alleys and underbelly to get there. A very enthusiastic gentleman outside Mellow Mushroom wanted to change clothes with me, I think it was to escape the creepy-crawlies that had permeated his short trousers.

We were among the first there. The setup was excellent - three foamy kegs, hidden bathrooms, and a convenient secluded courtyard where fine dining was offered at a convenient height to fart down on. I lost track of the number of people I chatted with and the ones I met for the first time. Random flying observations...

  • Jennifer Saylor kept touching my arm. If she has good luck from this, I could be the next Blarney Stone
  • Xty called me attractive and charming, so she must have been completely wasted
  • Gordon at one point put a traffic cone on his head and wouldn't take it off - maybe there are auditions for "Pirates of Penzance" somewhere
  • Reverend Johnny had to leave to go play a show with his band, but he didn't know when or where. I hope they just set up somewhere random and played until they were thrown out
  • I bumped into a guy named Clay (who works at the recording studio where I took my "Davinci Teabag") photo at different parties on Friday and Saturday. Weird.
  • Sorry to everyone I drunk dialled... especially those I drunk-dialled more than once
  • Julie had to leave way too early, but had some great stories of how single girls react at the last stop of the Brews Cruise, which makes me want to go on one
  • I think I killed any possibility of original George "the" Bastard material ever being published by Mountain Xpress, though I did see Ashevegas in the flesh, really I did
  • In my next life I will be Short Street Cakes fork-boy
  • If I do a double act, it will be George "the" Bastard and Carlos "the" Mexican
  • Matt Howard goes into a robotic trance if you ask him when his show is on and reels off a promo. He will then go straight back into interviewer mode
  • I don't know if Edgy Mama was trying to get in to or out of that t-shirt, but she succeeded

The time I was going to perform changed a bunch of times, and I was completely taken by surprise when I heard my name announced - I was filling a beer at the time! I was pleased with the set, got some really good laughs from those close in - I was told afterwards that if you were at the back you couldn't hear me clearly at all - you are the lucky ones.

This is no longer an award-winning blog. I donated a prize since I won an award last year, and I'm happy it went to someone who is going to like it (and who I had a wonderful drunk conversation with).

Good work on putting things together, BlogAsheville crew and other volunteers and sponsors.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Just in time for floozapalogathon

The first three video pieces from this year's Feral Chihuahuas comedy season are up...

"Super Sweeper" - featuring more of Tommy's hair-metal goodness

"The Interrodation" - Monsieur Shinyhead's finest performance

"The Perfect Chair" - the first Feral Chihuahuas video to feature George "the" Bastard.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Bastardmobile vs the Great Asheville Gas Crisis

The Bastardmobile (a 2002 Honda) has done it again - I last filled up with gas on September 5. When the Great Asheville Gas Crisis hit, and I heard of not avoiding panic buying, I was a notch under half full and thinking "I'll be fine, let these idiots do their thing and I'll be fine". During week one I wasn't too fussed - I did have to go to Hendersonville twice, but I don't have to drive to work every day, so I'll just nudge along bit by bit.

By the weekend I was looking OK - had to do some running around on Sunday, around 1/8 of a tank left, no cause for alarm.

I had to drive on Tuesday, we're nearing empty, but not quite crisis mode yet. I saw massive lines and angry mobs waiting for gas. I didn't want to join them.

I had to drive today, I passed many closed gas stations, but I read a few heartening things in the paper. Maybe these line people only come out during the day, maybe I'll be safe at night. I need a new printer cartridge, it's 9:30 pm. It can't be that bad, can it?

Enmark on Merrimon avenue. Gas is $3.75. There is a short line of cars, but not too bad, not quite to where Gourmet Perks used to be. There are people funnelling the cars in to orderly lines at the gas station. People are keeping their cool - 11 minutes later I have a tank of gas, and I am out of there.

Thank you bastardmobile! Your reliability and stingy gas consumption make a Bastard happy.

Bastard weekend in reverse, part 1: Brewgrass

The 12th annual Brewgrass Festival and the 9th Annual Brewgrass festival of the Bastard took place on Saturday. Of all the venues for Brewgrass that I've been to (City County Plaza, Pack Place, McCormick Field, The Block, MLK Field), MLK field is by far my favorite. It's a great size, lots of room to put chairs and blankets (which Dick and I remembered to bring this time), and it is only a few minutes walk from Casa Del Bastard.

Dicky Ricardo Davis (the official Light and Sound guy of the Feral Chihuahuas) and I went for breakfast at Moose Cafe, figuring that ballast would be a good thing. You've got to admire a restaurant that charges less for their "all you can eat" breakfast than it costs to order from the menu. The stagger back from Casa Del Bastard to the park made sure there was just enough stomach room left for many many pints of beer.

Got to MLK park at about 12:15, and there was a long, snaking line that went from the entrance, up to the corner and back. The line ride! At least there weren't two lines fighting to get in like last year, and it was less than 30 minutes in the line until we were inside, chairs staked out, and ready to go. I did end up missing the Biscuit Burners who were the band I most wanted to hear, but that's OK, there's beer drinking to be had.

The rest of the afternoon was a predictable alternation of drinking, lazing in the chair with a beer, and lining up for a porta-potty. Random observations...

  • My favorite "new" brewery was Big Boss Brewing. I had tried Helles Belle before at a Bruisin' Ales tasting night and loved it. The rest of their beers were similarly excellent.
  • It's always a good day when you run into Julie and Jason!
  • I lost my sheet early on - one of the breweries close to the stage had a really terrific altbier. Anyone remember who it was?
  • I missed Highland Clawhammer. I was hoping they'd have Schenk's cream Ale there. I did try the Imperial Mocha Stout, which was good, but I think the high point of their imperials was Imperial Kashmir from last year.
  • This was the first year I remember that I didn't have the same beer twice. There must have been more brewers or more variety. I did manage at least one from each brewer.
  • If you need to change your bra, inviting your boyfriend (I presume) into a scalding hot porta-potty to assist leads to amusing noises that can be heard through the walls of the next porta-potty.

See you there next year!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bastard Weekend in reverse, part 2: No Shame Theatre

In a state where I probably shouldn't have even been vertical, I worked on a script that had been rejected by the Feral Chihuhuas but I desperately wanted to see make light of day. It was about the rise and fall of the Alliteranation, there were three people plotting a secret society, and every line of it consisted of only words that started with a certain letter of the alphabet. The first line was only words starting with "A", the second only words starting with "B" and so on...

The idea tickled my fancy, but I think I used a lot of really obscure words so it didn't read well when we did it at Feral Chihuahuas. I took out the really out there words, added a few to lines so that there was really a plot to the thing, printed out four copies and staggered towards NC Stage Company.

I don't know if it was the weekend, that there's no gas, or that this was the first one of the season, but there weren't that many people there. I put my piece in, asked for three actors and was thrilled to get Karen Stobbe as one of the cast members, I liked her improv show over summer, and I thought she'd deliver this script the way it was meant to be. Since they were short on scripts, I was going to try out a bit of my proposed piece for Fringe, but I didn't have the backing tape (and there was already an act that was really similar, so I'll hold back on that one).

Our piece ended up being the closer of the show, I think it might have worked better earlier on, but it got a few laughs and some people liked the cleverness of it. That could be the first and only performance of "The Rise and Fall of the Alliternation". The rest of the night was odd... Asheville was there with a funny rap that could have done with either another verse or shortening. There were some excerpts from NC Stage shows. I may have passed out in my chair once, I was still pretty obliterated. A few people I usually like did stuff I didn't like. An Oxymoron did a sketch (I've seen that before, but it was an interesting surprise, and I laughed a few times at it).

It was a hungry, drunk, desperate stagger home, but I was glad I went. Next No Shame comes up pretty quickly (Oct 11, I think). See you there!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bastard weekend in reverse, part 3: David Byrne at Thomas Wolfe

Still tired, still hung-over, my weekend ended with staggering back into town to see the David Byrne show. I had been looking forward to this forever, I liked a lot of both David Byrne's solo stuff and of course, Talking Heads. Having seen Tom Tom Club in Asheville and now David Byrne's show, can I say that I've seen Talking Heads in Asheville?

Anyone concerned that there would be no Talking Heads in the show breathed a sigh of relief when the gang on stage launched into a brilliant version of "I Zimbra", and the show alternated through recent David Byrne tracks, a smattering of tracks from his solo albums and Talking Heads classics. There were six dancers/singers/musicians who choreographed each song and all the David Byrne trademarks were there: crazy suit, goofy dancing, turning around on stage.

Highlights: "Heaven"!!!! (still happy that they played my favorite song, if only once), "Life During Wartime", "The Gates of Paradise" (flirting with country, sounding a bit like Cracker).

Lowlights: Lack of material from "David Byrne" or "Rei Momo" - maybe because the concert was to highlight the Byrne/Eno collaboration? Long shots, but I would have loved to have heard "Independence Day" or "Drugs" live.

In any case, this was 90 minutes of an art-rock legend blazing his way through the Thomas Wolfe auditorium - the first ovation was deafening. Thanks for stopping by, Mr. Byrne!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Busy Bastard weekend

Asheville is the place to be this weekend, and I'm having a big bastard weekend!

On Friday the Feral Chihuahuas are getting together to plot our next big shows and hopefully shiny purchaseable objects. We're sorting through the footage from this summer season and planning a few more pieces of film to put together for upcoming projects.

If I can make it in time, I'm going to check out some Australians who were inexplicably let in to the country - The Land of the Lightning Brothers. You can lead a Bastard to culture but you can't make him drink...

Until Saturday that is, when it's Brewgrass and a chance to add another tasting glass to the trophy shelf. The first few Brewgrasses, with the plastic sampling cups, they are long gone...


After 7 hours of solid drinking, No Shame sounds appropriate. I'll either sing, submit one of my scripts in progress ("Canada, Utterly No Talent", "How To Choose a Vice President", or "The Adventures of Abstinence and Sobriety") or come up with something dire on the day.

Sunday is the David Byrne show at Thomas Wolfe. Dickie 'Ricardo' Davis thinks that Brian Eno is going to be on stage as well, I'm not sure if that's happening, but if it does, it'll be awesome.

Vote for this blog at the blogasheville unpronounceable awards, I'll be there, pink suited.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Are you smarter than a bastard?

Nina Pell, pictured above with the two-tone head, just won the London Times sudoku championship. She finished four difficult sudoku puzzles in 18 minutes.

I thought I'd have a bash at them, my times were 8 minutes for the first, 5 minutes for the second, 7 minutes for the third, and then I made a mess of the last one and took 16 minutes for a grand total of 36 minutes. My head was swimming near the end.

Try them if you dare - let me know how you fared.

Upcoming bastardry

No Shame Theatre is this Saturday at 10. I should probably be sleeping off Brewgrass at that point and making sure I'm in some condition to watch David Byrne the next day, but it's very tempting to either write something truly drunk-inspired and turn it in for other people to act out, or sing a song from my one-man Fringe show in the making, or just do some barely conscious stand-up. The piece I'd really like to do from the Fringe show would take longer than five minutes.

YouTubey goodness soon...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The upside of gas gouging

I took the bastard bike out for a spin yesterday, I don't think I've seen so little traffic around downtown Asheville on a Saturday afternoon. Nice day for cycling, I don't think I was the only one out there rehabbing the old non-fossil-fuel burning modes of transport.

Listened to local radio lately? You may recognize the dulcet tones of a Feral Chihuahua breaking into the world of advertising jingles - thankfully for your ears it's not me!

Feral Chihuauas meeting today, and things are on the roll for our next big all-new show - it's going to be two nights of Hallowlection - combining the creepiness of an election with the politics of trick-or-treating. Stay tuned for many more details coming soon.

We also decided on what is going to be the next set of videos to go up on the Feral Chihuahaus YouTube channel. I'll go for whatever pisses off Monsieur Shinyshirt the most.

While I'm on the topic of old chemistry...

OK, so I've been asked to give a light-hearted talk on history of Science. In browsing through some old science textbooks, I came across this gem, from "A System of Theoretical and Practical Chemistry" by Friedrich Accum, published in 1803

Text not available
A System of Theoretical and Practical Chemistry By Friedrich Christian Accum

Friday, September 12, 2008

Take the advice of the Bastard

My friend Matt was concerned that he didn't have anything to sell at his parents yard sale. I suggested he wear the following sign...


Anyone else need a personalized sign? Ask the Bastard!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Au Revoir, friend of the Bastard

Just read an obituary for Neil Bartlett. I didn't know Neil that well, but I knew a lot of his close friends, and went to a few of his lectures. Amazing guy, even though he lived in Canada and the US for 50-odd years he maintained this very crisp British accent. I distinctly remember him giving a lecture in Honolulu on gold fluorides on a very nice summers day and there was nobody there - it was well into the beach/drinking/sightseeing time of the afternoon. Still, there he was racing through a talk on complex chemistry for a room that had about five people in it (one was a fellow noble-gas chemist who was completely asleep).

Neil Bartlett, taking the noble out of noble gases by making Xe[PtF6], XeF2, XeF4 and XeF6 - 1932-2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bastard movie review: Hamlet II

Mountain X had Justin Souther go see this one, pity, because I'd be intrigued to see what Ken Hanke thinks of it.

I've been a big fan of Steve Coogan since being introduced to him by a friend's husband - his Alan Partridge character is the stuff of genius. Also helps that he can get away with saying "shit" on TV over in England. He's not playing Alan Partridge in this film, but all the elements are there - self-absorbed, given to flashy phrases, completely convinced that he is right. And that "Hamlet" would be a better play if everyone lived happily ever after, and Jesus gave Hamlet the opportunity to reconcile with his uncle. By playing this totally deadpan, the film is a magnificent bit of anti-comedy. It's the feelgood story of misfits overcoming the odds to stage a completely stupid play.

George "the" Bastard rates this one buy at least two airplane bottles on your way to the theatre and enjoy the ride.

Since no categories really define this blog, nominate me for anything you feel like at the BlogAsheville Awards. Last year I won "Least likely to make money by blogging". I don't see "Worst Blog", "Best Reason to revert to the stone age", or "Most likely to go to the Republican National Convention wearing a t-shirt that says "Bristol Palin's Baby Daddy"", so nominate me for anything.