On August 8, 2003, I became the indie grand champ of National Poetry Slam held in Chicago. The event moves around every year. This year is the 25th Annual NPS and it will be held in Oakland on August 5–9! Hundreds of the best spoken word artists from all over North America will meet to compete in the East Bay in a party-festival of words, games and excitement!
@robbieqt and I and coffee and #oakland Pure. Suck. (at Jump’n Java Coffeehouse)
Tristissima and I at Chaos. #oakland (at Chaos in Oakland)
Earlier today: @bigradinmonster beautifully scream-singing to Bruce Springsteen’s “Rosalita” as we enter #oakland (at Streets of Oakland)
This project started almost a decade ago. The creation myth of this movie is that my friend, Jamie Dewolf, sat in the Oakland, CA bar “Cafe Van Kleef”, in which he was surrounded by local filmmakers, and spun a tale. A tale of a finished script about a wonky crime caper starring a bunch of local weirdos, poets, perverts, vagrants, strippers, and manic dick swingers. After everyone at the bar agreed that this was worth a go, Jamie, that very evening, set about writing that previously mentioned finished script. And as the saying goes- “What a motherfucking ride.”
Oh, what a ride it was. (Trust me on this one. They actually let me act in it after knowing I have never acted in anything just because I was one of the weirdos, or poets, or perverts…)
First off, the folks behind the scenes, the people who really did the work, like Phil, Brains, Josh, and Jamie, gets all the credit. These guys, who put in so much work into this movie whenever they had a spare inch, are the ones who deserve a standing ovation. They fought for this movie. Who can say that they spent almost a decade on a singular thing that everyone thought was too grand in scale to succeed? I certainly can’t, so color me “Bravo, you odd-looking miscreants. Bravo. Down to the frayed edges of your clothing and up to the wrinkles in your smiles, Bravo.”
They did all the work. Speaking for myself and being completely honest, during the filming of my scenes, and without exaggeration, I was either kind of drunk, really drunk, or on my way to freestyle my dialogue with mime gestures. I didn’t do any fucking work. I definitely came from the school of “I got this, I got this” acting with a minor in “how can we make this line have less syllables?”. These guys, the crew, had to deal with my shit and somehow edit my train wreck into something cohesive. Again, and this can’t be said enough, if anyone deserves a congratulations it’s the crew.
I suspect everyone involved has their unique story about their time spent on “Smoked the Movie”, about their ride, and I would sincerely want to hear about it. Personally, I always wanted to tell mine but not in too much detail because its none of your nosy business. Instead, I want to present to you a list that is zig-zag, out of order, and contains very little detail. A list that I hope will help illuminate my small corner during the time it took, from the beginning to right now, to get this movie done. Hopefully this list serves as a metaphor for the scope it took to get a no-budget, genuinely independent, rag-tag movie into the hands of cool kids.
-I have lived in 8 different apartments.
-I moved to Minneapolis for 6 months before the movie was finished.
-I have been in 3 long term relationships.
-I stopped smoking weed and switched from Jack Daniels to Jameson.
-I couch-surfed (aka Lightweight Homeless) for a total of a year.
-I lost 100 lbs.
-I’ve worked at 11 different restaurants.
-I’ve been fired 4 times. Once for good reason, three times because ding-dong bosses hate competency.
-I’ve been to Italy, Fiji, New Zealand, held at the Vancouver border twice, and traveled to most of the United States.
-I have yet to wash my movie “costume”.
This Saturday, September 29th, after multiple one-off showings up and down the West Coast of North America, “Smoked the Movie” will finally have its showing a few blocks from where it began; in downtown Oakland.
I live in Los Angeles now but in a few days I will leave this sun-drunk desert (home of the original “snorting cocaine off dicks” party) and make my way up to my old neighborhood to witness the carnival of local show business.
It’s Town Business like it should be. Finally. And I’m good god damn excited about it. Hopefully, I’ll see you there.
P.S. Full Disclosure and in honor of “Smoked the Movie”- I am very drunk and every sentence above should be read with a slick smile and a sexy wobble.
- Tue. June 5 - Santa Clara – I’ll be performing at Barefoot Coffee
- Wed. June 6 – Berkeley Slam Feature
- Thu. June 7 - Oakland – Tourettes Without Regrets
- Fri. June 8 - Downtown San Jose – Oversocial Mofo Revue
Help me spread the word and draw people to these venues via your favorite social outlets!
Don’t mind if I do! (Photo taken by me in Oakland, California; June 2011)