12:21 PM – CHAD:
We had to wake up in Raleigh today and haul ass directly to New York City for our big Friday premiere there tonight. Along the way, we blazed through Richmond Virginia, Baltimore Maryland, Wilmington Delaware, and Philadelphia Pennsylvania. They’re all on film, if anyone gives a shit:
8:20 PM – BOB
The drive from Raleigh to Brooklyn took eleven and a half hours. It should have taken about eight to nine, but we got lost. The good news is that I hear that if you can make it to NY, you can make it to anywhere. (NOTE: And that’s despite the toll roads):
On the Road in the Car…
Chad’s Phone call Request for a “Stunt”
Drive/Arrive in NYC
Pulling up to the reRun Theater
9:30 PM – CHAD
Ok, so a week or two before we left for this trip, our producer, Mia Cevallos, had been talking to Aaron Hillis, who booked us our week-long run at The reRun in New York City. Somewhere along the way, they decided it would be a good idea for me to do some type of publicity stunt before, during, or after the screenings for the audience’s delight. I told Mia that sure, I would come up with something between now and then, but that it goddamn sure wasn’t going to involve me getting into a trashcan of any sort, which I already had the sneaking suspicion was exactly what the theatre had in mind. Along the way, I also started emailing and chatting back and forth with Aaron, all the while promising that I would do something spectacular, but steering the options away from anything trashcan related. I even told him at one point, you know, why don’t we announce that I’m going to have sex with a minor right there in the theatre and then at the last minute it actually turns out to be one of the Chilean miners and the whole thing had been a big play on words? This was back when that was much more topical humor, mind you.
Well, today we’re rolling up The New Jersey Turnpike about three hours before show time, and Aaron calls us. The motherfucker is at Home Depot as we speak, shopping for trashcans, talking about what color and size do I want. I’m like dude, my trashcan jumping days are behind me… but he sort of skirts around that and tells me the bar needs a new trashcan, anyway. I tell him that as long as the bar needs a new trashcan anyway, then I tend to favor the larger (64 gallon) Toter brand trashcan and have never seen one in any color but gray. I then reiterate that I’m not getting in a goddamn trashcan but I did offer put on a clinic of sorts, where I would teach members of the audience or members of the staff or whoever was interested how to jump into the trashcan and do all of the tricks themselves. He’s like, what tricks? I explained that it’s not just as simple as jumping in a fucking trashcan like some asshole, there is actual skill involved in it, and there are specific, recognized tricks and stunts in the world of trashcan jumping (a world, keep in mind, that I saw come and go years back) many of which I had invented and perfected myself. You’ve got The Guadalupe, where it’s just like when you jump off a dock along the Guadalupe River with an inner-tube, slide the tube under your ass in midair, and splash down into the water sitting perfectly in the tube except instead, you’re jumping off the stage with a trashcan and landing inside it on concrete. There’s The Holy Diver, where it’s basically diving head first off a platform into a barrel of water like the daredevils of yore, except it’s not a barrel, it’s a trashcan and there is no water in it. You’ve got The Grand Prize Game, which is just like the game of the same name from The Bozo Show out of WGN Chicago where the kids would throw ping pong balls into little buckets arranged in incrementally increasing distances away, winning prizes as they went, except you are the ping pong ball and you’re throwing yourself off a stage into a series of trashcans. There’s The Inch Worm, where you stand in one trashcan, bend over at the waist headfirst down into another one, and then “inch” along the floor inside the two of them while people try to break your back. There’s also The Fondren Family Planner, which is really just getting inside a trashcan and throwing yourself down several flights of stairs, but it’s actually only called The Fondren Family Planner because one of the best ones I ever pulled off was on a night at Room 710 when most, if not all of the important Fondren Family members were in attendance. There are shitloads of tricks… King Kamehameha, The Butterball Turkey, Oscar the Grouch, The Walk In The Park, The Man In The Can… too many to name, really. Back when I was into this shit, I was probably the best in the world at it and might even still be, but I’ve moved on, you know? I’m ready for a new generation of trashcan jumpers to come along and take it to the next level, which is why I was more than willing to put on a clinic for the people who were coming to the movie. No fucking way am I going to get into a trashcan myself though, because in all seriousness, I actually have done some other stuff since then creatively, like the movie I’m touring the country with, and I just don’t need that shit anymore.
So, fast forward to the theatre/bar a couple hours later. (Ok, I want to talk about something real quick. We get a lot of theatre/something-or-others on this trip, ok? Most of the places we show at, when we roll into town, it’s not simply a theatre… it’s a theatre/bar, a theatre/museum, a theatre/roller rink, a theatre/something-or-other. I just want to make that clear, to you and me both.) We get to the theatre/bar and everything is going fine… Mark Hutchins is there early on with his wife…Raphael Vargas shows up with this fine-ass date…a girl who used to work at Cream Vintage on the drag when I delivered Whoopsy! Magazine is there… we couldn’t have asked for a better reception when we rolled into Brooklyn.
And thrust upon Chad a shoddily writer Liability Release form:
Liability Form – Evidence
10:03 PM – CHAD:
It was mentioned to me that Aaron had printed something in a magazine promising these people a stunt and he also had a couple of cameramen there to record it, so again, I start getting the impression that trashcans are becoming an issue. The reRun Theater has a really nice restaurant attached to it and before the movie, Bob and I were treated to dinner with Aaron and one of the cameramen who was there to film me making a fool of myself. I had the filet mignon. You and I both know this was the only time in my life that I will ever dine on filet mignon as a guest of honor, so I made goddamn sure and did that while I could. Over the course of dinner, Aaron and I are going back and forth about how I’m not going to jump in a trashcan and he even gets me to sign some kind of waiver that releases him and the establishment of any type of liability, which I found to be extremely unorthodox, but I signed it and told him it was a moot point because I wasn’t going to be doing anything dangerous. Somewhere around that time, I hear a voice in my head… not one of my voices, mind you… but just the collective voice of differing opinions says, “Hey asshole… He booked your show for a week-long run. He gave you a filet mignon. Now, shut up and get in the fucking trashcan.” So, I cut a deal. I told him that if I could get someone from the audience to do a trick with me (which was obviously going to be The Fondren Family Planner straight down the two tiered flight of stairs right at the bar’s front door) then I’d do it too, knowing that nobody in the place is going to have the guts or the humility to try such a thing. I also told him that I’d take a vote after the Q&A and if more than half the people wanted to see me do the trick, I’d do it because I was convinced that having seen the movie and then heard what I was going to say afterwards, most people would understand why getting in the trashcan would be a bad idea.
Stunt I – Chad’s Acquiescence…
Ok, so it’s after the movie and we’re doing the Q&A and according to Bob, I rambled on quite a bit drunkenly and bored the shit out of everybody. In my mind though, I was delivering one of the most impassioned sermons on the state or art in our society to ever be publicly expressed in New York City. My main point was that if I got in the trashcan, it wouldn’t be art, it wouldn’t be real, it would not only be bullshit in that particular moment in time, but it would retroactively go back and turn everything I had ever created in the world of trashcan jumping into bullshit, as well. My main piece of evidence was the trashcan itself… the one Aaron had just bought from Home Depot. Not only was it physically deficient (it was a little 32 gallon piece of shit) but it was completely devoid of any soul or spirit. It had never been used. It was completely clean. In order to drive this point home, I told them the story of Alan Nelson, which is good for Alan, because he ghosted us out in New York and didn’t come to any of the shows, but it looks like he made it into the tour journal, anyway. I met Alan through his brother Pat, who used to work at Room 710 and was not only always a good friend, but he was a big supporter of the stuff I did… my writing and my shows. I always thought that was cool because he was a bit younger than me and it just made me proud that something I did could have an effect on someone from another generation. I used to call Pat Nelson “Butt-Crack Pat” because he always wore his jeans low with no underwear so when he was behind the bar, you had to sit there and stare at about a third of his ass all night. It wasn’t really as unpleasant as it sounds though, because Pat’s ass looked just like a little baby’s. Every time I’d see it, which was usually about fifty-three times a night, I’d think to myself… not in a gay way, mind you… but my fatherly instincts would come out and I just wanted to like, powder it and wrap it up and put it away for him, like he was my kid or something. Anyway, Alan moves into town, and Butt-Crack Pat really wants us to meet because it’s his older brother and he’s also a performer and shit, so Pat gets him to come out to a Frunttbutt show even though Alan was really sick with a stomach virus or something. Well, we get about two songs in, and I notice Alan off in a corner at the 710 leaning over a trashcan with it gripped in both hands, just puking his fucking ass off in the thing. My first thought was, wow, at least Alan wears his pants a little higher than his brother, Butt-Crack Pat, but I also realized that even though that particular trashcan wasn’t “in-play” just yet, it would be. Sure enough, about fifteen minutes later, I’m so covered in Alan Nelson’s puke, I could taste it, and not because any had gotten in my mouth, no, but because there was so much of it on my face, I was breathing it in through my nose and it was cycling all the way through my sinuses. This wasn’t just, had-a-little-too-much-to-drink-on-a-Saturday-night-so-most-of-it-is-just-beer-anyway style puke, either… it was sick-man vomit. Now, was there anything redeeming about being in that situation? Not at the time, no, but years later, I thought it served as a good parable about the difference between an authentic, bar-used trashcan and one that still had the fucking price tag on it. A trashcan at a bar is filled with not only physical perils like puke, spit, broken glass, cigarette butts, and so on, but it also contains the lies, the broken dreams, the tears, the laughter, the so-called good times of all the people who have gotten fucked up there. That’s what makes it a trashcan in a bar. Therein lies the art. (Did I spell it wrong on purpose? We’ll never know, will we?)
Anyway, the crowd wasn’t buying it. They still wanted to see me jump in a trashcan. I even took out the release form and showed it to everybody, trying to explain to them how ludicrous the idea of signing a release just to do one fucking trick would be after doing the shit for real down in Austin for the better part of a decade with no such legal wranglings. I singled out Aaron and the other employees of the club specifically, and told them that even though they might have found the shit amusing in a movie, if one of my old bands were to actually come up there and play a show in real life, we would fuck their place up so bad that not only would they have to stop the performance, but they’d never allow me back in the building again. Nobody cared about any of this shit… the crowd was still split, literally right down the middle in numbers of those who wanted me to get in the trashcan and those who didn’t. Well, my faith in my fellow man was so shaken by then, I just figured if these motherfuckers were there to see tricks, then that’s exactly what I’d show them.
I scooped up the trashcan, told everybody come on, I’m not waiting, and walked right out the theatre up to the front of the bar where the stairs were while everyone was still clamoring to get out of their seats and break down their cameras and shit. I took everything out of my pockets, set the trashcan down at the edge of the stairwell, got in it, and threw myself down the stairs, just like you do a Fondren Family Planner. Only thing is, I wasn’t doing a Fondren Family Planner. I had reached a little deeper back in my repertoire, all the way back to literally the oldest trick in the book. Playing Possum was always fun back in Texas, because it weeded out the people who had seen my shit before from the ones who hadn’t. Playing Possum is when you do one of your regular tricks (The Fondren Family Planner in this case) and then act as though things have gone terribly wrong, leaving you either dead or paralyzed for life. Then, you lay right there in a catatonic trance until either the very end of the night when everyone has gone home, or until the trick itself transcends art back into real life and someone calls in the proper authorities to come and take back charge of reality. As an expert trashcan jumper, I can assure you that this moment always comes… usually in about the seventeenth minute with a standard deviation of four minutes either way. Far and away, the funniest shit that happened before the fire department showed up (keep in mind I was watching all of this go down, floating above the scene of the “accident”) was when Aaron was openly lamenting that maybe the trashcan he bought was of the wrong size and the big ass bouncer goes, “What’d you get, sixty-four gallon?” and Aaron says, “No, a thirty-two. “And the big guy says, “Nah, man. That’s not big enough…”
So basically, I had people just sitting around postulating about trashcan jumping, and the little nuances of the sport, like the proper equipment and shit. I really couldn’t have asked for anything more. When I saw that the fire department had showed up and they were headed inside, I transcended back into my body, got up out of the trashcan, walked up the stairs and ordered a beer from the bar. Eventually, EMS and the police showed up as well. I was summoned to come talk to the lead fireman, and when he asked me what was going on, I told him the truth. I said this is what I do. This is who I am. I have a movie out about me jumping into trashcans. I came out here on tour with it, people came to see it, and this place begged me, amid much fanfare, to do one single trashcan trick for them, so I did one. I even did one of my oldest, most basic stunts, seeing as how they were all newcomers. We had people here filming the shit and everything. It was all very meticulously planned out. I have no idea what went wrong….
Stunt, Part II:
After the Fire Department
2:02 AM – BOB:
The screenings tonight were fucking awesome! These were some of the most rowdy crowds yet. The Hell on Wheels screening was a hoot. There were lots of derby gals (and soon-to-be derby gals) in the crowd, including a cute pack of them right front and center. I did the q&a and only after did I realized that my pants were unzipped. I’m sure that was a thrill for all the front row gals. They bought merch and had me autograph some posters, and I’m certain that this was only the case because my fly was undone. I’ll do all my q&as this was in the future.
The Total Badass screening was rowdy fun as well. And I think Chad did some sort of stunt tonight. Fun.
Thanks Raleigh and NYC, Aaron, Hutchins, Vargas and the hot toll road dames!