5:55 PM – BOB:
I drove for about four and three quarter hours today… I think. From day one to day 5 , it’s a blur. It’s like I’m playing an incredibly boring car racing video game from sunrise to sunset. It only livens up when I see, or think I see a cop and the fear shoots down my legs. It’s a nice pick-me-up and it breaks up the monotony of the road. But getting pulled over and busted for driving around with a small mound of weed and a pile of illegally obtained prescription drugs will give you the fear. Luckily we have this cloaking device known as a Prius. No one expects to find a pair of deviants in a Prius, right?
During the latter parts of the trip, Chad got a call from the cinema in NYC. They are demanding a stunt:
6:49 PM – CHAD
The Theatre in Raleigh is actually a regular style theatre that you’d see at any mall, so it was cool to get to show the flick in one of those, for once. The guy running the place, Jerome, was really nice to us and they even had this big tray of meats and cheeses set up that Bob and I shamelessly packed up and took at the end of the night. At one point, they paraded Bob around the theatre like a cover-boy and took upwards of three hundred and fifty pictures of him. I was laughing to myself for at least forty-five minutes, thinking of how bad it must have been pissing him off, deep down inside. There were actually a shitload of people at the theatre that night. It’s just too bad that all of them were lined up to see the midnight showing of Harry Potter…
6:55 PM – BOB:
The cinema printed up a bunch of posters and are playing the Hell on Wheels trailer on a loop in the lobby. They hired a photographer to capture the magic of the night for future generations to enjoy. It was really kind of weird. I posed for about 345 pics: next to posters, under the marquee, under the Hell on Wheels sign in the theater, working on my computer, watching the trailer, eating meats and cheeses, and even one where I was talking to a dude in a kilt. There was no logic in the kilt pic, I think the theater manager saw a dude in a kilt and thought it was worth documenting. Bob and kilt-dude at the Raleigh Grande! Timeless.
About three people enjoyed Total Badass. And by enjoyed, I mean sat through it. I really don’t know if they enjoyed it or not. One was Celia Fate, the founder of the Carolina Rollergirls. Celia and I were part of the Whiskey Livers scavenger hunt team at RollerCon a few years back. It was a fluke that I was on the Whiskey Livers to begin with, but that’s neither here nor there, I’m a fucking Whiskey Liver for life now. After eight hours of drinking screw drivers in a Las Vegas pool, the scavenger hunt was to kick off at the annual roller derby convention. Emma Geddon, an L. A. Derby Doll (and a very tall and very funny gal) had an injury that would keep her from the hunt.
This is kinda like those stories or movies where they pluck a scrappy fellow from obscurity and he wins the game. Except it’s not at all like that. In reality, I was just partying balls/ovaries/etc. with this gang of ass kickers: Celia Fate from Carolina Rollergirls, Chola from the Texas Rollergirls, and a group of L.A. Derby Dolls: Thora Zine, Kasey Bomber, Tawdry Tempest and Emma Gedden. Emma was down with an injury and they searched the room for a replacement. Sure, my anatomy was different, but they didn’t care. There was a swapping of jerseys. It was like that old Mean Joe Green commercial where he gives the kid his football jersey. Except this jersey swap involved naked titties. So it was waaaay better. In the long run, I was given a shirt, I squeezed into it like a hipster into tight pants and we set forth on the hunt. The first thing we bagged was booze. And lots of it. After that, I think there was some panties from a stripper, and … fuck. I don’t know. But It was fun. Sorry for the long build-up… what the fuck was I talking about? Somehow, over the course of this night, I was given my derby gal name: Boblong.
Oh yeah, so Celia Fate is a Whiskey Liver! She’ll always have that going for her. And she let us crash at her house. Thanks!!
7:48 PM – CHAD:
While we were in the lobby of the theatre and the movies were playing, all of our New York press hit the interwebs. There was shit about Total Badass in The New York Times, The Village Voice… you name it. Variety Magazine is talking about my dick nowadays, so I’ve got that going for me. Just about everything was a favorable review of the movie overall, but as far as what was written about me as a person is concerned… let’s just say that my parents won’t be cutting any of this shit out and hanging it on the refrigerator. I took a pretty good beating in the papers, rest assured. There were a couple of bright spots… Chuck Bowen from Slant Magazine seemed to get me. He said, “Holt is a Don Quixote…tortured artist…little-bit-of -everything kind of guy…kind of ingenious…sort of everyman who fights conventionality and keeps it real.” along with a lot of other flattering things. You can see the whole article at:
9:44 PM – BOB:
During the screening of Hell on Wheels, some fuckwad stole merch. The ass snatched three shirts and two posters from the merch table. Bastards and/or bitches! On top of that, the Total Badass screening was a bit of a wash. It started with zero people and ended up screening to three people. I believe this is our worst turnout to date.
Hell on Wheels fared better. After the screening we hung out with some of Carolina Rollergirls’ finest. Chad was swept off his feet by a local debutant. She hadn’t even seen the movie, but she was smitten with the boy nonetheless. Maybe she was smitten because she hadn’t seen the movie. Or maybe she read some of the reviews that just hit the wire.
Sport and Grim Reality
By MIKE HALE
Published: November 18, 2010
There must be chief executives and millionaire athletes in Austin, Tex., whom Bob Ray could make documentaries about, but he doesn’t seem to be interested. “Hell on Wheels,” from 2007, and the new “Total Badass,” playing in repertory at the ReRun Gastropub Theater in Brooklyn, focus on a lower-middle-class world where drugs, beer and tattoos compete for attention with paying the rent and getting the kids to school.
Mr. Ray goes deep inside that world for his micro-budget films, devoting heroic amounts of his cheapest resource — his own time — to his subjects. For “Hell on Wheels,” that meant filming several years’ worth of meetings, in bars and living rooms, and matches, at skating rinks and warehouses, of a fledgling women’s roller-derby league that would eventually lead to a nationwide revival of the sport.
There’s an awful lot of grim reality on display, including a long and bitter fight over control of the league, some depressing financial and managerial ineptitude and several excruciating shots of dangling broken limbs. But “Hell on Wheels” is at heart an inspirational film, with a fairly conventional structure and a vivid, sometimes heroic cast of women.
“Total Badass” is something altogether more complicated, a working-poor man’s cross of Frederick Wiseman and Hunter S. Thompson. Mr. Ray embeds himself with his friend and former neighbor Chad Holt, an Austin character who manages to publish an alternative weekly and make a reasonably funny white-rap video when he isn’t in a drug-induced stupor or having sex on camera.
The film is both a portrait of life on the artistic and social fringe — a funnier and less pretentious place in Austin than it would be in New York — and a thriller: will Mr. Holt manage to emerge from probation and establish a living situation that could include his young son? The signs aren’t necessarily good, and a segment of the audience, perhaps a large one, will respond to “Total Badass” with anger and sadness at the scenes of Mr. Holt lighting up in the parking lot after his drug tests or getting high while driving. (That’s not to mention the explicit oral sex or the urinating in a cup at a movie theater.)
Mr. Ray is not impartial — he communicates some sadness of his own, particularly in the film’s last shot — but he’s admirably nonjudgmental. Any college town would be lucky to have someone willing to work as hard, and as skillfully, to document its working-class demimonde.
Or read the Village Voice
Total Badass/Hell on Wheels: In the Gutter and on the Roller Rink With Austin Double Feature
By Michael Atkinson Wednesday, Nov 17 2010
Bob Ray, Austin’s newish lowbrow Maysles brother, has taken his two latest features on the road, comprising the pro-am doc equivalent to being piss-drunk and lost in a tattoo alley in Texas. Most beguilingly, Total Badass (2010) chronicles the life of notorious Austin reprobate and chemical hog Chad Holt, who lives in a friend’s garage, sells weed (on camera), fronts punk bands, puts out a freebie magazine packed with his Hunter Thompson–esque memoirs of sexual sleaze and dope consumption, and generally lives as if he’s an artist pursuing a vision when in reality he’s the city’s most complete fuckup. Holt comes off charmingly as equal parts Texan Keith Moon and crispy Richard Benjamin, talking blue streaks and rolling joints in his probation officer’s parking lot, but Ray obviously foresaw the man’s spiral from gutter to abyss. Rubbernecking fun though it is, Holt’s trajectory becomes—big surprise—creepy and despairing. Ray’s second film, Hell on Wheels (2007), is by comparison an almost wholesome chronicle of the origins of the roller-derby renaissance, beginning with a single two-team league of bighearted redneck Austin broads, who quickly take over and must run the business themselves. Management compromises prove more demanding than the races; tough-talking Xenas that they are, the derby chicks still resort to oil-wrestling fundraisers.
12:12 PM – CHAD:
So, we all walked to this bar right next to the theatre after the movies were over, and I watched the Longhorn’s basketball team win an overtime game against Illinois, I believe. I was feeling kind of down because only three people had come to the fucking movie, shattering our previous all-time low of six, which we had set in Jacksonville only days earlier. That, plus the way my life had been pretty much summarized as big pile of shit in the national media earlier in the evening almost had me down in the dumps. Well, I’m sitting there at the bar and the bartender comes up and gives me a drink and tells me this lady across the bar had bought it for me. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before… this was like something out of 70’s movie. Anyway, it was this really pretty lady my age and I went over and talked to her and her friends. She had just gotten a divorce. I don’t know what it is, but every woman I get involved with these days has either just gotten a divorce, is going through a divorce, or is about to get a divorce and just doesn’t know it yet. Anyways, I talked to her for a while and we even went out to the parking lot and made out in Bob’s car. It was a total fucking pick-me-up, I assure you.
Film tour page: www.badassfilmtour.com