Monday, January 23, 2006

The Electronic Mistress Deigns to Tickle My Nipples

I spend all damn day and night in front of a glowing electronic rectangle. It feeds me, entertains me, makes me feel close to my friends and alienates me from my neighbors. Here's why:

The Great Zucchini

Gene Weingarten is a humor columnist at the Washington Post. He writes a weekly column, hosts an online chat, and occasionally coughs out feature-length pieces so brilliant that I consider having them tattooed on my face in bold, bold letters.

The Peekaboo Paradox is, frankly, a work of immersive journalistic genius. It's a profile of Eric Knaus, bka The Great Zucchini, an insanely popular children's entertainer here in D.C. He pulls in over 100 grand a year by making kids wet their pants with laughter at birthday parties. He owes almost all of this money to bookies, and is in the grips of a terrible, terrific gambling problem. He's warm, sensitive, demented, and fucked up like all great artists. Weingarten really communes with him in this piece and gives us a loving, sensitive portrait of an unlikely artist and hero. For real.


But once you read that, make sure and read the today's transcript of Gene's online chat. He fields a lot of negative comments and criticism, gives us outtakes and a look behind the scenes. The story gets multi-dimensional when Knaus himself and several friends post, and at one point an available mom hits on Knaus right there in front of everyone. It's the new new electronically enabled journalism at its greatest.

Stairwell 1

Mr. Babylon is an ESL teacher in the Bronx somewhere. His kids are immigrants, thugs, ADD cases and general misfits, and sometimes he hates them. Underneath that frustrated veneer is the loving passion of a man who is on a righteous path. Mr. Babylon chronicles his temptations, frustrations, failures and successes in such a raw, honest and real way that I keep high-fiving my screen at work and leaking silent tears of laughter. It's true. Until I get through his archives, I'm not gonna get a damn thing done.

Forgiven Onesheet

My man Eric Bryant was the art director on Forgiven, which is now screening at Sundance. He made that poster you see up there. Nice, huh?

The film itself is a lean, indie film about a black man on death row who is pardoned as the attorney who wrongly prosecuted him runs for public office. It's written, directed by, and stars Paul Fitzgerald, a friendly, funny, and insanely gifted man in his late thirties who has worn midriff-baring sweaters to New Year's Day parties in Brooklyn for at least two years in a row. Clearly this man knows the meaning of risk. He's got the skills (and the abs) to pull off all these stunts and land on both feet smiling.

Here's a link to a trailer for the film...and here's Eric's Sundance blog, featuring occasional posts by Paul Fitzgerald.

That's all I got for now.


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