Poster Fail

I’m in Fresno, performing my solo show…

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As part of marketing their shows, many performers put up posters around town. Here’s an example of a good poster display…

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Gemma Wilcox is not only a great performer, but also a master marketer. I mean check that out. She not only came prepared with a poster for her show “52 Pickup,” but also with an assortment of quotes and poster flair.

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That’s how you do a poster – review, awards, quotes, palm leaves, all spread out and eye-catching.

I, on the other hand, didn’t get around to making posters for this festival, so I ended up creating a makeshift poster out of show flyers. And not just any show flyers – leftover show flyers from a festival last summer…

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This, by any standard, is not a good poster. Ah, did you notice the duct tape? Yes, the duct tape…

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Not only did I not bring posters, I didn’t bring Scotch tape. So I had to duct tape the flyers together. Poorly. I borrowed some clear tape to affix the poster to the wall so as not to tear off the paint, but that was the only thing I did right…

Really, I’m surprised that anyone comes to see my show at all.


24 Hours Away…

As of this moment, I’m right at 24 hours until my very first public outing of “Every Job I’ve Ever Had.” I’m feeling pretty good about it, but I’ll probably work on it for at least another 15 of those 24 hours. Gotta sleep a little bit, right? It’s just a script reading, but still – it’s definitely a landmark.

I’ve really been wanting to get to that place where I wake up at 5:30 a.m. ready to get to work writing, and I finally got there – today. I’ve put in some 14-hour stretches over the past few days, and it’s a good feeling. Whatever it takes to cut Facebook out of my life, really.

Here’s a screen shot…

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I Had A Dream…

I had a dream two nights ago that someone scratched my car as they pulled into a parking place. I said, “You scratched my car,” then went on about my business.

Look, I’m sorry – I’ll never ever share another dream here again, I promise. This will not become Barry Smith Dreams About Stuff and Writes It. But this one was pretty good – first of all, I generally don’t care if my car gets scratched. In the dream it was a small scratch, so it was easy not to care. But I’ve interpreted the dream like this: I want to call Apple tech support about what happened to my Keynote file – see previous post – but I woke up from the dream knowing that just moving on was the way to go.

See, my keynote file just took a major shit and I lost pert near everything in it. Hundreds of images – gone in a heartbeat. Imagine you’re typing in a word doc and as you’re about, oh, a month into a big long story it suddenly says, “Oops – something happened – please restart.” And when you do all that’s left of your 80 page document are the words “this,” “cereal,” “pencil” and “Rudy.” And there’s NO WAY to get it back. Ok, so you backed up a few days ago, so you’re really only missing about 4 days of writing, but still – whooosh – your shit can disappear just like that. We know this, right? Sure we do, sure we do.

As of now, about 48 hours after the incident, I’m caught back up, back to where I was pre-whoooosh. And I feel a sense of focus that I may not have had before. Something about coming face to face with your e-mortality is very motivational.

My point – In 5 years of using Keynote nothing like this has ever happened, and to witness it firsthand was terrifying. I don’t know what tech support can do at this point besides tell me that they don’t know why this happened and that it’s not something that happens often. That’s hardly worth half an hour of hold music. So I’ve decided to just move forward. I am now Mr. Paranoid Backer Upper. I thought I was pretty good before, but I realize that I wasn’t.

I have just one day shy of 2 weeks before I do my first public reading of the show – and I’m flying to Iowa on Wednesday to do a performance of Jesus in Montana – so, it’s promising to be a very busy two weeks. Hooray.

I’ve started a Master List. I have TO DO and TO FIND on it – things to do (like I needed to clarity) and things to find, specifically pictures and documents that I know I have somewhere but don’t seem to have scanned into my computer yet. And yes, I always leave my pen on the page just like that – that’s totally not a set up photo. Completely natural.

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I have about 30,000 items in my combined iPhoto libraries. You’d think that would just about cover it, right? No – still need to find the Garfield cartoon that I tried to draw when I was 13. Crucial element.


Time to back up and get some sleep. Here’s your screen shot for the day.

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It’s about 1 a.m. on Friday night and I’m home working on this new show. Have been for hours. Through some bizarre computer error, my project just took a major shit and I ended up with this:

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See all those question marks? That’s where pictures were, just moments ago. And not just on this slide. On every slide. All 90 or so that I’ve created, including the 200 that I already had on there. I’m at a loss as to how to express myself without the type of profanity that would make me regret it when I revisit this page.


I’m not a clumsy computer user. I know my way around pretty well. This was not operator error. This was just some serious fucked up fucked uppedness that has just set me back about 5 days – 5 days ago being the day I did my last backup. I’m such a backup evangelist, too. 5 days isn’t as bad as it could be, and I would have backed up when I was done tonight. I’ve already had to postpone one deadline because I was a few days behind on this project. Now my mac has seriously let me down.

Fuck this multimedia shit. I’m getting out the sock puppets.


Every Job I’ve Ever…Well, You Know…

Continuing on the writing-about-writing-a-new-show theme…

Now I have papers with words on them spread out on the floor. Look, I never said this would be exciting, it’s just the way it goes…

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And here’s another screen capture from the “multimedia” portion of my show. I really want to do a lot of graphs and lists and drawings and cartoons and scribbles in this show. Graphs are funny, right? Right? I’m liking my spiral notebook keynote background. Made it myself. I also made one that’s a yellow legal pad and an old “Big Chief” tablet. You’re not REALLY working until you’re making your own Keynote themes, baby. It’s OK if I call you “baby,” right?

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Eventually all the stuff that I’m now doing on the computer will be done by hand, by me, then scanned and put into the computer. I’m making extra work for myself, but I think it’ll be worth it.

For now, though, I’m just trying to get a good rough draft together. Later on I’ll, as Frank Zappa used to say, “put the eyebrows on it.” Although I have spend way too much time geeking out on what the first 60 seconds of the show will look/sound/feel like. So far I have a Rage Against The Machine song playing at the top of the show. I hope I keep that in.

Here, for no real reason, is my dad (right), circa 1975. This picture was sent to me recently, meaning that up until a month or so ago I didn’t even know this treasure existed. Hooray life!

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Zipper Song

Back in about 1985 my brother bought the “Breakin'” soundtrack. The last song on the cassette – yes, cassette – was called “Reckless,” and featured the early vocals of a pre-cop-killing Ice-T and some, well, reckless turntable work by DJ Glove.

There’s some serious scratching on this song – in fact, the song is pretty much all about scratching. Having never heard scratching before, we thought it sounded like somebody doing their pants zipper up and down. And I have to say, even 25 years later, in this particular song it really does sound like that.

We liked the song, and played it a lot, so we got to know it pretty well. One day we decided to make our own music video. So we went to the garage, did a bit of rehearsing, hit RECORD on the tripod-mounted camera and PLAY on the cassette player, lip-synched for 3 minutes and – presto – The Zipper Song!

It was a big hit in the family. “The Zipper Song!” “Play the Zipper Song again!” “We’re gonna send the Zipper song to America’s Funniest Home Videos and win $10,000!” “Let’s watch the Zipper Song again!”

Well, nobody ever got around to submitting the Zipper Song to AFHV, otherwise I’d have footage of me being interviewed by Bob Sagat, which would be awesome. Actually, I don’t know if it would have made the cut. Here’s a still…

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Here’s the thing – I think I have a place for the Zipper Song in the new show! And that’s very exciting to me. But not so much to my brother, who does some amazing zip-synching work, and for some reason is embarrassed by it now. I think I have a lot more to be embarrassed about than he does, and I think it’s great. Perhaps even a little bit…reckless.

Library Cards – Show-making Continues

Remember library cards? The ones you’d get from the card catalog? It’s not a relevant question, really, I was just trying to do a “library” and “card” tie-in.

I’ve been writing for about 8 hours straight, so this is the best I can do.

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I went to the library. I tore up some pieces of paper (like cards – get it!?) and wrote a “scene” on each one. I put “scene” in quotes because they aren’t really scenes, more like concepts. Little nuggets of kernels that need to be put in some sort of order. I write things like “shit poking” and “colorado” and “situation wanted” on them and start moving them around. It’s fun. I love the computer, and have no real anti-tech feelings, but there’s just nothing like writing stuff on paper and moving it around on the floor or table.

I spent last week doing what I called a “loose pencils” writing of my show. In the comic world “loose pencils” is the rough, very rough, lightly sketched first draft. In pencil. Next comes tight pencils, then ink. I’m not actually in the comic world, but I’m a fan.

As of today, this minute, I have 26 days before I have to stand on stage and read my script-in-progress. Feeling good about it. Here’s a screen shot of my work today.

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This is me (below) in early 1989 in a squat in London.

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I was writing, then thought, hmmm, some day I may want a picture of me, in a squat writing, so I put the camera (Pentax ME Super) in the corner of the room, sat the timer, then ran back and started “writing.” I found this picture today, and was looking at it on my computer screen, so I figured I should do exactly the same thing, 21 years later – a picture of me pretending to write while looking at a picture of me pretending to write.

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Coffee should probably be prohibitively priced. Or heavily taxed.