Tag Archive: Eric Payson


3:31 PM – BOB
I’m currently sitting in the NYC Public Library, Mulberry Branch, writing the tour journal. I’m acting like it’s Day 06. If you go back and read “Day 06,” you can get yourself an eyeful of time-traveling lies.

6:14 PM – BOB
The library closed.  I’ve moved to the Whole Foods down the street.  I crapped out an entry for Day 07.  I’m currently writing this sentence that you are reading at this very second.  In a minute, I’ll try to find a place to sleep for Providence, Boston and all points beyond on the post-NYC leg of the tour.

10:22 PM – BOB
We ended up hanging out with Raphael, Lara, Eric and Bryant.  We headed up to a fancy-ass building up near the Mayor’s mansion.  In the lower level of the building was a private screening room that seats maybe 50 people, a game room with video games, a billiards room and then this:

10:38 PM – CHAD
We spent this night way uptown… like further uptown than I had any business being… at the building where Payson’s parents live. There was a big ass game room and private movie theatre in the lobby and that’s where we spent the evening. I remember the first thing that struck me about the neighborhood was that 6-packs of tallboys were starting around just under fifteen bucks a pop in the corner stores. At first I thought that must really suck for the people who lived around there, but then I realized the beauty of it: The people who live there are rich anyway, and making sure that all the goods and services in the neighborhood cost twice as much as anywhere else in the city ensures that riff-raff such as myself that ends up there by chance will know that it doesn’t belong. Anyway, it was me, Bob, Payson, Lara Pan, Raphael, and Bryant. The game room was equipped with a golf simulator, which I’m sure Bob has ample video footage of, so I needn’t get into how one of these things works, but don’t worry, I’d never seen one before, either. Not everything was on the up-and-up, though. In perhaps the greatest tragedy of the entire trip, there was a video game system that had every arcade game of yore that you could possibly imagine… Battle Zone, Dragon’s Lair, all the Donkey Kongs… I’m not going to sit here and bore you with a fucking list, trust me, they had everything but the controllers were broken! I couldn’t play a goddamn one of them. I felt like that guy in the episode of The Twilight Zone who is an avid reader and goes down into his fallout shelter during a nuclear war with all of his books, but then breaks his reading glasses. We had a good time on the golf simulator, and I remember Payson nodding off in the private theatre watching The Blues Brothers. The private theatre, by the way, was nicer than about 90% of the places we screened the movies at on either of our two trips. Next place I move into, I’m going to make sure they have one. The golf simulator, I can take or leave but goddamnit, the video arcade better be in working order.

3:03 AM – BOB
Later, we did this:

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6:08 PM – CHAD
 Here it is, the sixteenth day of our trip, which also just happens to be Thanksgiving. Seeing as how I was up in New York City, this ended up being the first Thanksgiving I’ve ever spent without people in my immediate family (parents, sister, kids and whatnot) so I had to make alternate arrangements for Thanksgiving dinner. Say Bob, that reminds me… Next time you’re jotting down a list of the very few things you ask me to do on these trips, along with write the tour journal, change the music and keep the weed flowing, I feel like you can beef it up a little bit with shit such as pay to be on the road for two and a half months, ditch my son on a dog piss couch for weeks on end, miss shit like Thanksgiving and the better part of my kids’ Christmas and summer breaks, break things off with the only one even close to a girlfriend I’ve had in years, willingly go out and invite criticism and ridicule of my life and be a bad reflection on my entire bloodline in some people’s eyes… just little shit that probably doesn’t seem like a hassle to you or our fans who read about our exploits, but when recognized, they make me feel like I do more than ride shotgun and write funny stories. That being said, you’re absolutely right in that I’ve completely fucked off writing the tour journal and for that, I apologize. Furthermore, it obviously doesn’t break my heart too much to do any of the things I just listed, or I wouldn’t have gone on the trips to begin with, so yes, I’m completely full of shit and can’t wait for our next adventure. Where we going, Europe? That should be both easy to explain to my family and light on the old pocketbook…

 Now, what do you need, some funny stories? How about this one… Like I said, I had to make alternate arrangements for Thanksgiving dinner, so I went with Raphael Vargas and Lara Pan over to the home of a couple they know in Manhattan, named George and Virginia. Raphael had explained to me that George was ex-special forces, and had gone on to be a bodyguard for Reagan and Bush Sr. Now, as a person with a notable reputation of his own, I know that you don’t just come right out and ask people about the stories you hear about them, you simply listen to what others have to say and learn what you can first-hand over time. So, as much as I wanted to, I made sure not to question George on how a Mexican (as in born in Mexico) could be whiter than me while also claiming to be Dutch, yet somehow rise to power in the United States Army and go on to protect two of our more notable presidents in recent history, but he did voluntarily tell me a story about how he bit off a guy’s nose in a bar fight and got charged with cannibalism. I mention all of this because it actually sorted out a lot of confusion I’ve had in my life. As you know, I’m a huge Arnold Schwarzenegger fan and love all of his movies. How much do I like him? Well, I typed out his name without using spell-check, if that tells you anything, but there has always been one thing that nags at me about his work. In many of his movies, he plays, like an FBI agent or a police detective, or even a member of the special forces and despite many other questionable plot points in these films, the one that always got to me was how an obvious foreigner could wind up with such a job. Well, meeting George put all of those doubts to rest for me. I mean shit, in Predator, Schwarzenegger played a special forces guy named actually named “Dutch” so for all I know, his whole fucking character was based on George.

 In continuance of the complicated demographics involved with this household, Virginia is from British Guiana (I think the whole thing might be called Guyana now) which, as you know, is a South American country that used to be a British colony largely populated by people originally from India, which was a British colony too, at the time. So ethnically, Virginia is of Indian descent. Throw in Raphael, born in Mexico City, masquerading as a Clear Lake, Texas socialite, and Lara Pan, who is a Croatian art dealer by way of Paris, France and you get what is probably the most multicultural event I’ve been a part of since the sensitivity training class I was forced to take as an incoming freshman at The University of Texas. Keep in mind; this is on Thanksgiving, of all days. I mean, the only thing missing was the Indians, unless of course you count Virginia, who is the wrong type of Indian, but uh…. not if you ask me.

 Thing is, Virginia has a daughter who was there, as well. She is in her early twenties and is absolutely fucking beautiful. Too beautiful, in fact. You see, I had to take a shit really bad the whole time I was at George and Virginia’s house, but Virginia’s daughter was so fucking fine, I made a blood oath with myself that I would never take a shit as long as she and I were in the same building. Before I elaborate on this particular conundrum, I want to explain to you how this is actually part of a much larger problem that Bob and I have dealt with on these trips… the problem of where to take shits when you’re in constant “guest” status.

 First, I want to throw an idea out there to the general public that any of you are welcome to take and make millions from. There needs to be an I-phone application for every major city that tells you where you can go take a shit… not just a public restroom, mind you… but a public restroom that is suitable for sitting down and taking a shit in. The way I envision it, it’d be like a google maps view of the city with a little GPS of where you are and then all the places you can go and take a shit in peace are mapped out.     In our travels, we’ve learned some tricks, I assure you. Libraries, for instance, are a great place to start. Just ask a bum, because apparently the only people who go to libraries anymore are bums and/or travelling filmmakers who need a safe haven to shit in. When Bob and I stayed at Bryant Jackson’s house over off Houston Street, we adopted the Mulberry Street Branch of the New York Public Library for just this purpose. See, Bryant’s apartment is laid out in a linear manner, to where you have the living room (where Bob and I slept) then the kitchen, then Bryant’s room, then the bathroom. To complicate things even further, Bryant’s shower is in the kitchen… something I’ve never seen before, to be quite honest. Now, I’m not giving Brant shit for his shower being in the kitchen; I’d love to live in his place, ok? But what that does is makes it impossible to even do the shit/shower combo where you go in and turn on the shower, take a quick shit and flush it, take your shower and then just hope that the steam of the shower and the fragrances of soaps and shampoos and the psychological reboot you get from bathing all combine over the amount of time you’re in there to cover up all signs of a shit being taken. Faced with this, Bob and I would just walk down to the Mulberry Street Library in the morning to do our bidding, because the only alternative was to basically go into Bryant’s room while he was sleeping and take a shit on his nightstand. I remember the first morning, Bryant woke up and we were gone, so he called me and was like, do you guys want to go get coffee and breakfast and all, and I told him sure. Then he asks, where are you guys, anyway? I told him we were at the library. He’s like, the library… are you checking out books, or what? I’m thinking, yeah we’re checking out books, alright… I’m thumbing through the Encyclopedia Shittanica as we speak.

 Anyway, the other place we were staying, Eric Payson’s high rise apartment over next to the Empire State Building, was a really clean, sanitary environment, ok? Especially the bathrooms, which were sparkly white and to be quite honest, I don’t know if they’d ever been shit in. Well, Bob goes and takes a dump one day, and thank fucking god, I was the next person to go in the bathroom because there were just shit smears all over the inside of the commode. I mean, it looked like they’d just run the Indy 500 in this fucking toilet. I came out and was like, Jesus Christ, man… who taught you how to shit, Linda Blair?  He goes I know, but what the fuck am I supposed to do, so I told him just keep flushing big wads of toilet paper down that motherfucker until it’s back up to first-world standards. Apparently, he’d never heard of this trick and was content just going through life as Yakov Smear-noff.

 Ok, I feel like the point has been made that taking shits on the road can be tricky business, especially in New York City. So, I’m over at Thanksgiving dinner with a bunch of wonderful people, and I have to take one of the biggest shits of my life, but am refusing to do so because there are fine girls in the house. What made it worse was that the food was excellent, but it was just killing me to eat it because I was about to pop like a fucking tick. I forced down one plateful of food, but everyone knows you’re supposed to eat at least two or three helpings at Thanksgiving, because that’s really the point of the holiday… to sit around eating profusely, not being able to believe how much fucking food we have in this country. I honestly feel like having to shit so badly and suffering like that added a human element to the holiday that completely changed my perspective on things for every Thanksgiving to come from now on.

 Eventually, Virginia’s daughter leaves to go have Thanksgiving at her boyfriend’s place somewhere outside the city, but I wasn’t out of the woods quite yet. First of all, I wanted to make sure that I waited long enough for her to be completely off the island of Manhattan, lest she double back to retrieve her sunglasses, mittens, you know, whatever. Secondly, and even more of a problem was a fact that the bathroom was just right there in front of everybody, so it’s not like you could just slip off to it and take your sweet time. You’d have to get up, walk right into the bathroom in front of everybody, and basically the clock would just start ticking from the minute you closed the door. I decided to break up the whole ordeal into a series of micro-shits, each one lasting no longer than it would take the average man to go into a bathroom, piss and wash his hands. After about my fifth micro-shit, it started to dawn on me that perhaps I was being a little oversensitive about the whole shitting in other people’s houses thing.

 Seeing as how this was Thanksgiving, The Longhorns and The Aggies played each other in football on national television later that night. Needless to say, watching the game this year was quite an unpleasant experience, and not just because George farted right in my fucking face. No, but seriously, I was sitting on the floor down at the foot of the bed and George and Virginia were up on the bed itself when George got up (I’m assuming to go to the bathroom) and as his ass passed over my head, the physical act of hopping to his feet allowed a fart to slip out right on top of me. We all thought this was very funny… me, Raphael, Lara, George’s Army buddy, Forrest, but Virginia got a particular kick out of it, because leading up to that moment, George had totally been the life of the party. He was extremely animated, making all of these puns and sexual innuendos, cracking the girls up and shit, totally on top of his game when his fart just brought him crashing back down to earth. I mean, don’t get me wrong, he hadn’t sunk nearly as low as me, having just had my face shit in, but he was right down there only a rung or two above me in the social pecking order after the incident. In conclusion, The Longhorns lost to The Aggies, capping off their worst season since at least 1997. There was a time when a season such as the one UT just had would have seriously ruined my entire year, but no longer. In fact, I wrote an article once about how everything is different now. I’m going to repost that article for you here in the tour journal, but not today… I’m going to wait for a day further down the road when maybe not so much was going on and Bob and I are short on material, so be on the lookout for it.

11:41 PM – BOB
I drove out to Long Island last night and had Thanksgiving with family today.  Nice.  The beach was cold as tits.

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11:00AM – CHAD
Well, we had a busy day today, what with the TV Show idea pitch to the Independent Film Channel and then another screening of Total Badass at reRun later in the night (I was allowed to attend this particular screening because my handler, Aaron, was in attendance). Before I get to any of that though, I have a little in-house business to attend to, if you’ll excuse me.

Hey Bob, I noticed you saw fit to add in that little snippet in yesterday’s journal and take a parting shot at the fact that I pray before I eat. Although I disagree with what you said, I fully understand the way you presented it. After seeing the way I argued circles around Raphael on video, I don’t blame you for not wanting to get in a direct debate with me about it… especially not a written one. First of all, I want you to know that I totally respect you and Raphael’s points of view as atheists or agnostics or whatever you fancy yourselves. In fact, back when I was about fourteen years old, I myself went through that great awakening period where I questioned religion, spirituality, god… all that shit. I even embraced hardcore atheism for awhile, but later in my teens I took the next step in thought evolution and realized that atheists are just as closed minded on such matters as they fancy bible thumping Jesus lovers to be, so I’ve always allowed myself to remain open about the subject. That all being said, nowadays I just don’t feel like the existence of god is something that can even really be debated… and not because it is something that can’t be proven or disproven, that side of things has gotten plenty of attention in theological arguments throughout time. My whole thing is that I can sit right here while I’m typing this and literally feel the presence of something beyond myself and my mind going on in the world around me. It’s not even something I can argue against. Since realizing that, whenever someone denies this “feeling” or “awareness” or whatever you’d like to call it, I have to assume one of three things is going on: Either that person really isn’t privy to this divine presence, be it through lack of cognizance (the range of their perceptions simply isn’t as wide as mine) or they’ve simply been denied this particular insight by the very forces at work beyond our observance, or they are just as aware of it as I am, but have spent their lives trying to deny it, just as I did back in my early adolescence. I certainly don’t begrudge anyone fitting in any of these three categories… I pity the fools.

I mean, I don’t even necessarily want there to be a god, ok? Things would be a lot easier for me if there wasn’t. Even when bearing in mind the fact that god being on my side is the very thing that puts me ahead of so many countless others, I sometimes think I’d be better off blissfully ignorant. The last thing I’d like to make clear is that when I pray before I eat and do the sign of the cross and all that crap, I’m not doing it so god will listen or grant me wishes or anything like that. In fact, I’m not doing it for god, at all. I’m doing it for everyone around me. I’m doing it so my kids will always remember that no matter how fucking insane and without reason I might have seemed to be, even I was humble in matters of spirituality. I’m doing it because it pleases me to know that there are people in the restaurant or house or wherever I’m eating who were under the impression that nobody prays in public anymore, and yet there is me, of all people, doing just that. I do it because I know there are people who see it and automatically assume they know something because they’re so goddamn smart. And finally, I do it because, with the possible exception of the fact that I never wear two matching socks, nothing about me drives the women wilder, whether they believe in god, or not.

11:01AM – BOB
A quick aside from the tour journal:  Dear Chad, as an agnostic, I’ve no need for debate.  By nature, I don’t really give a hoot about god’s existence or lack of.  On top of that, I took no shot at you praying by pointing out your sacrilege.  And I certainly don’t mind if folks choose to believe in fairy tales or old books or old men spouting off or wizards and witches or the words of “prophets” or even the nebulous “spirituality” (and it don’t make me no never mind that you pray before meals–but honestly, I’m not sure if I’m supposed to wait until you’re finished praying before I eat or what… and sometimes you do it twice, wtf? I’m hungry!  Damn these societal pressures!).  As long as the implementation of people’s various religious beliefs end where my rights begin, I’m all for folks believing whatever floats their animal infested boat.  But if my understanding of the drunken debate (most of which took place inside the pizza joint and isn’t captured on video) is correct, and it may not be as I was drunk, you misrepresent yourself as Christian.  This is a great tactic to instigate a religious polemic, I’ll give you that. Performing the sign of the cross lures people into a dialectic about the Bible (not about the existence of a god). Since you don’t seem to believe that the Bible is the word of god and Jesus is the savior (from what I’ve garnered in these discussions), but you do believe in a higher power, that’d make you a deist, not a Christian.  So the sign of the cross is a bit of a sacrilegious bait and switch, setting the debate up on false pretenses.  (I think that kneeling and facing Mecca would be a great way to pray before meals.  That’d get folks’ attention!)  Poor Raphael fell right into your well-placed trap when he argued against Christianity and was ill prepared when you switched it up on him.  He was stuck on the Bible, which is a different argument altogether.  I agree that both atheists and god-believers (especially of the organized religion flavor) are equally close-minded about this subject.    But, then again, I really don’t care, cuz I’m agnostic on the whole affair.  I will give you this: If there is a god (and that’s still a big IF in my opinion), I’d be inclined to agree with deists and not the fools and their books.  And you’re welcome for allowing you to bait me into a religious debate.  Sincerely, Bob.

11:22AM – BOB
We have a meeting at IFC today.  Right before the tour kicked off, Mia Cevallos, the badass film tour producer and the anchor back in Austin who is keeping this tour alive, bounced an idea off me.  She thought that the tour itself would be a good premise for a TV show.

It’d basically be Chad and me driving all over the country, exploring the cinematic landscape as filmmakers on the road and partying our asses off.  If you’ve been following the tour journal, you already know that crazy shit happens on the road.  Chad and I have spent a lot of hours in the car, stoned out of our minds, cooking up ideas for the show.  It sounds to us like a good match for the Independent Film Channel, as it has independent filmmakers at its core, has a bit of a travel-show vibe to it and will feature America in all its fun, craziness and glory. The one fault with the show that I have is that the idea of getting in front of the camera has no appeal for me.  In fact, it sounds like a pain in the ass.  But, I figured that if the show was a go, it’d help me get films made, and the sacrifice might be worth it.

Despite making films since the mid-nineties, I have very few connections in the biz.  Mostly cuz I don’t like people.  Or some shit like that.  But Chad, as it turns out, has a friend with an “in” at IFC.  And through Chad’s connections, we landed a meeting.  We’ve been trying to figure out the best way to go about pitching a show.  Neither of us have done it before.  Neither of us have cable TV and don’t know what the hell IFC plays.  But we figure that IFC stands for the Independent Film Channel and you can’t get much more independent than us.  So it should be a perfect fit, right?

We’re also not sure how “prepared” we should be. Should we have a clip to show? Should we write something down on actual paper?  I mean, a lot of our successes come from just being good on our toes.  Spontaneity and shit.  Chad and I did talk about the show for hours on end, so we figured that we are prepared enough.  We also made assumptions about what IFC is and what IFC wants and shaped our “pitch” to match these assumptions.  We figure to downplay the raunchy/nasty/illegal parts of the show and highlight the intellectual side of things.  These “independent filmmaker” types can be quite high-minded, so I’ve witnessed.  The long and the short of the plan is the old good cop, bad cop routine.  I’ll be talking about the show’s overall structure and why it’s good for IFC and Chad will highlight the crazy and fun things that happen to us on tour.  On our walks across Manhattan Island over the past few days we’ve been working up the pitch.  One key factor is that since Chad will be, more-or-less, the host of the show he’ll need to charm their pants off.  It is a woman we’re pitching to, so he’ll charm her pants-suit off, I guess. We’ll need to convince her that we’re (and mainly that Chad is) charming as fuck and people will want to watch us act a fool for weeks on end. And I’ll work the filmic angles.  Together, we’ll paint a picture of a show about touring filmmakers exploring the American cinematic landscape and partying balls along the way.  It’s good for the thinky-side of the brain and the party-side of the brain.  We can’t lose.  And we’re on a fucking roll.

We filmed some stuff up to, during and after the meeting.  Witness:

2:30 PM – CHAD
Ok, so we had our big meeting with the Independent Film Channel people. Going into the meeting, I had to do some thinking because I figured it was going to be hard for Bob and me to both do the talking without seeming like a couple of disorganized idiots who would say anything to get their own TV show, whether they deserved it or not. Since we had been in The New York Times, and were basically the toast of the town, I assumed that the brain trust at the network would be familiar with our work and would realize that although I might be very entertaining and a brilliant writer and all of that, it’s actually Bob who has the technical wherewithal and ability to film, edit, and produce a finished product. On this assumption, I decided that it would be best for Bob to handle all of the industry double-speak and jibber jabber while my presence alone assured them that my talents would be at their disposal. Plus, I had to film everything at the meeting, in an ironic twist from everything I just said. Anyway, turned out that approach wasn’t such a good idea, after all:


(Coming Soon – Additional Footage)

2:44 PM – BOB
Well, that completely backfired.  It turns out that the show they wanted was the one that we didn’t pitch.  They want the funny/party-balls show. In our ignorance, we figured to play nice in order to get the green light on our artsy-fartsy film show about touring filmmakers and then sneakily tweak it into a show about making a film show that turns into a party show that turns into a vehicle for getting famous. It was a solid plan.  Or so we thought.

As you saw, Chad videoed the meeting.  And maybe it was the trying to film the meeting that led to this, or maybe it was the wake-and-bake but Chad froze up and mostly sat silently through the entire meeting.  Left me hanging.  His contribution of the flavor, the fun and the crazy part of the show was nowhere to be seen or heard.  For days, we had formed a tandem plan of attack akin to business in the front and poker in the rear style of good times.  I was to cover business, Chad gets to poker. In the end, it was a bunch of me yapping about the film-tour aspect of the show, waiting and waiting for Chad to jump in with the crazy tales. The plan, as it turns out, was not being executed according to the plan.  It was way too far leaning toward the thinky-side of the brain. Massive failure.  No show.

So yeah, I blame Chad.  But I honestly wasn’t fond of the idea of getting in front of the camera anyway, so I’m not too bummed.  And aside from the 40 minutes of their time and the free bottles of water we scored, we did learn something, so all is not lost. What we learned was that The Independent Film Channel is no longer the Independent Film Channel.  It’s IFC.  Like the toxic “Fried” in Kentucky Fried Chicken, the F-word has forced a change over at the once-Independent Film Channel.  It is now known as IFC.  Our idea, we were told, is five years too late for IFC. They are no longer interested in being a channel about independent film or filmmaking in general.  They want comedy.  They love lowbrow.  How the fuck Chad and I pitch a show that is not lowbrow or funny enough for anyone is beyond me.  Going in, we thought that we had to trick the Independent Film Channel into giving us money by being more highbrow.  Oops.

But, what the hell, we took a shot. Something ventured, nothing gained.  And we filled up an otherwise empty Monday afternoon in NYC.

7:17 PM – BOB
We headed back down to Brooklyn for the screening tonight.

Aaron Hillis, the booker at reRun and film writer scored me a copy of MovieMaker Magazine.  I wrote an article for their current issue, the annual “Complete Guide To Making Movies” issue.  I hadn’t gotten a hard copy yet, so I was glad that Aaron hooked me up. I took the opportunity to film Aaron’s take on the “stunt.”  He caught some flak for it, but all is well now.  Here‘s his angle:

11:47 PM – CHAD
The screening tonight at reRun was great. Just when we thought nobody was going to show up, we get there and the first person we see is Austin’s own Billy Bishop. Bob and I were like, holy shit we can ‘t believe Billy came to see the movie while he was up here in New York for Thanksgiving, but it turns out he was just there to drop off some t-shirts and posters that ReRun had ordered from him for their 2007 Film Festival. No, but seriously, Billy and Suzanne Bishop were both there and they even brought Joey Edwards, for good measure. Austin expatriate, Carolyn Malerba was there with her fiancé Jason, who owns Fresh Salt, a bar on the very southern tip of Manhattan. There were also some new faces, namely a couple of young guys named Gene and Joseph, who I started thinking of as “Punk Rock Gene” and “Jet-Set Joseph”, respectively. Jet-Set Joseph basically assured me that he was partying all over the country and would be attending most if not all of our screenings in the northeast and throwing down with us in every city. Punk Rock Gene totally saved my ass later that night, because the subway I had to take home was re-routed all to hell and I just happened to run into him down in the tunnel. I was way too fucked up to have ever gotten back to where I was staying without his help. Speaking of where I was staying, it was with Eric Payson and his girlfriend Emily at a high-rise apartment across the street from the Empire State Building. Payson had been out of town the whole time, marooning Emily in the apartment with me and Bob. When I finally got back to Payson’s house early the next morning, he had made his triumphant return. I remember him trying to talk to me and shit, but I had absolutely no idea what was going on. I was a danger to myself and those around me.