Wednesday, August 15, 2007

And they are off!

The Smokey and the Bandit scavenger hunt has begun! 16 teams signed up in advance, 6 had the intestinal fortitude to meet us at the world-famous Starlight Drive-In at 8 AM on a Wednesday. This is a pretty hardcore bunch of folks who are leaving Atlanta midweek on a reckless adventure from Atlanta to Texarkana, in pursuit of a 1970's era Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am. Spray-paint firebird modifications, team costumes, crash helmets and lots of moustaches graced this daring handful of sportsmen.

Here's some photos from the scavenger hunt kick-off moments ago. For those interested in what they will be up to on the road, it's a photo-based hunt. The list of items for which they will be hunting today is below:

40 Semi truck with a giant mural on the side
60 Semi truck with a mural of a stagecoach robbery
30 Jerry Reed CD still in it's packaging inside a truck stop gift shop
80 Two men in matching western suits
40 Your team in front of a vintage Cadillac convertible, 40 extra if it's red
40 Any vehicle modified with longhorns
40 Egomaniacal personalized license plate
30 Zebra skin hammock
30 Woman with curlers in her hair
60 Man that looks like Bandit
60 Man that looks like Big Enos
60 Man that looks like Little Enos
60 Man that looks like the Snowman
60 Woman that looks like Frog
60 Man that looks like Buford T. Justice
30 Vest with an American flag patch.
30 "CAT" cap.
30 Trucker with a hound dog
30 Black Pontiac Trans Am Firebird T-Top
30 Smoke belching out of a big rig smokestack.
50 Biker gang
20 As many different cops cars as possible (20 pts each)
20 Team member with two cheeseburgers and a glass of iced tea
20 Your team in front of a "choke & puke."
50 You trailing toilet paper out of your glasses coming out of a truck stop
40 Your car burning rubber
30 A Kojak with a Kodak.
50 Your team at Ole Miss University
30 Funeral procession
40 Hearse
60 You driving across a football field
30 Team Member talking on a CB radio
40 Two of your team members kissing in front of a babbling brook
60 Barroom brawl
60 Running over motorcycles
30 You driving while kissing a girl in your lap.
20 Your car in front of a state line marker (20 points for each one)
20 Your team in front of a "Welcome to Texarkana" sign
30 Your team at the Coors distributor in Texarkana
30 Team member on a forklift
30 Woman in a wedding dress.
30 Car scrawled with "JUST MARRIED" on the windshield
20 A sheriff wearing dark sunglasses
30 A Coors t-shirt
30 Three unsavory youths stealing a tire
40 Peanut butter in your ears
30 Team member with a Buford T. Justice moustache
30 A picture of you going 10-100

107 Performance of your team's CB Banter

1977 Total Possible Points

We'll be posting up photos from their adventures out on the road later this week. 14 more hours left in this year's Rolling Roadshow Tour. It's been an absolute blast, but now I'm starting to feel the siren call of my own bed back in Austin, Texas...

Smokey and the Bandit... GPS Style

We just got word from the Tomtom GPS company. First prize in tomorrow's Smokey and the Bandit scavenger hunt is still the Pontiac Firebird; second place is now a TomTom-1 GPS device, preloaded with the voice of Burt Reynolds giving you directions "Smokey and the Bandit-style."

Take a moment and simply process that. There's no dispute anymore. Tomtom without a doubt has the coolest GPS device. The Roadshow crew will be rolling with the unit on the way to Texarkana and I have a feeling that it's going to bring tears to my eyes to deliver this to the 2nd place winner of the scavenger hunt.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

2007 Rolling Roadshow: the John Waters Tour of Baltimore

For those of you coming in to Baltimore from out of town, we have compiled a list of John Waters points of interest: some filming locations, some haunts, and some simply must-see spots. There's a link to a google map for each location. Spend a day or two getting primed and ready for the marathon by soaking up the seedy underbelly of John Water's Baltimore.

Calvert Hall College High School
8102 Lasalle Rd
Baltimore, MD 21286
John Waters' alma mater.

Geometrics Hair Salon
523 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD
(410) 539-1080
Where John Waters gets his hair cut (he trims his own moustache).

Club Charles
1724 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21201
Art deco walls with bartenders in black leather and excellent drinks. A dive bar where John Waters apparently regularly appears.

The Atlantis Club
615 Fallsway

A low-down gay club with erotic dancers where the infamous teabagging scenes in Pecker were filmed (real performers from the club were used). In true Waters style, it's located right next door to the Baltimore City Penitentiary.

The American Dime Museum
1808 Maryland Ave
Baltimore, MD 21201
Another Waters haunt. Hairballs and unicorns are on display in a museum that's part Ripley's Believe It Or Not, part carnival sideshow. Waters is on the board of advisors for the museum.

Divine's Grave
Prospect Hill Cemetery
9720 York Rd
Cockeysville, MD 21030
(410) 252-8462
The grave reads HARRIS GLENN MILSTEAD, "Divine." Check out the Dreamland site for the specific location within the cemetery.

"The Avenue"
West 36th Street
Baltimore, MD 21211
Asked to pick a spot that exemplifies his kind of Baltimore, John Waters chooses Hampden, the working-class neighborhood where he filmed parts of "Hairspray" and pretty much all of "Pecker." Its centerpiece is "the Avenue" -- formally West 36th Street -- a strip of cafes, galleries, thrift stores and antique shops.

The Ottobar
203 Davis St, Baltimore, MD
(410) 662-0069
Another John Waters haunt, which he has dubbed "a great rock 'n' roll, punk hangout."

Cafe Hon
1002 W 36th St
Baltimore, MD 21211
(410) 243-1230
'40s-style creamery known for its "Much Better than Mom's" meatloaf, vegetarian Mexi-Hon Salad with black-bean stew, home-baked pies and ice cream topped with tasty hot fudge from a secret recipe salvaged from the cafeteria at the landmark Hutzler's department store, which closed in 1990. Sometimes the waitresses sport '60s-style beehive hairdos; they always call you "hon" or "sweetie."

728 S. Broadway
Stop by on Tuesdays and Saturdays after 2 p.m., when they can visit with owner Bob Adams, a Waters pal of such long standing that 1972's "Pink Flamingos" was filmed on his farm. Adams has made cameo appearances in most of Waters's films, most notoriously as Ernie in "Female Trouble." The store's shelves are stuffed with videos, vinyl and tape, assorted knickknacks and memorabilia, while the walls are full of posters and artwork from Waters's films.

Atomic Books
1100 W. 36th St.
Baltimore, MD
Home to "Literary Finds for Mutated Minds." "That's where I get all my fan mail, so people don't have my address," Waters says. "It's a great store -- they have extreme books of all types!" The store keeps a supply of books autographed by Waters.

Holiday House
6427 Hartford Rd. at Pinewood Avenue
Baltimore, MD
A real biker bar in the working-class 'hood of Hamilton. Selma Blair's character in A Dirty Shame, Ursula Udders, works as a well-endowed topless dancer here, and many real motorcycle riders were used in the filming. Be sure to pop in to the Hell Bent for Leather store one door down.

The Drinkery
205 W. Read St.
Baltimore, MD
In the Mount Vernon area is one of Baltimore's oldest gay bars. Just outside is where Divine performed the infamous dog feces-eating scene at the end of Pink Flamingos.

10 Ft. Statue of Divine
American Visionary Art Museum
800 Key Hwy.
Baltimore, MD

Perry Hall High School
8100 Ebenezer Rd
Perry Hall
Maryland, USA
Used for scenes in Hairspray.

Mergenthaler Vocational Technical School
3500 Hillen Rd
Baltimore, MD 21218
Also used for shots of the Hairspray High School

The Parkville Convenience Store
7501 Harford Rd
Parkville, MD 21234
(410) 444-4702
Called the Park 'n' Pay in A Dirty Shame, is where Tracey Ullman's character works. Dorsay tells us, "It was run by a wonderful Indian family who didn't have a clue who we were until we hired a translator to explain what we were doing."

The Harbor Court Hotel
550 Light St.
Baltimore, MD
On Baltimore's inner harbor is the site of much action in Cecil B. Demented. It's also where real-life movie stars often stay when they're in town.

The Dreamland Lot
313 Morris Ave.
Lutherville, MD
Where John Waters shot most of his early films, the expansive backyard of his parents house.

Bengies Drive-In
3417 Eastern Blvd
Baltimore, MD 21220
Where Melanie Griffith defiantly set her head on fire at the climax of Cecil B. Demented.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Rolling Roadshow Tour 2007: third dispatch

There are few pleasures in life more complete than sitting in a hotel room on a sweltering Kentucky night, watching THE GOLDEN GIRLS on Lifetime Network and nursing the bruises and damage of the Roadshow Tour. Our most damaged soldier is likely Tim League, whose fearless pie-eating prowess at STAND BY ME stretched him to the literal limits and left the Oregon blueberry industry in a serious slump. The entire town of Brownsville brought out an unimaginable level of hospitality and energy to the show, resulting in an event that managed to warm even the ice-cold hearts of the Alamo staff. Every citizen of that place is a damned superhero. And our own Tim Doyle charmed a large portion of the local female populace.

Next, we were off to pick up comrades Justin and Christi and scoot up to none other than Mt. Rushmore to present NORTH BY NORTHWEST in front of a few stony presidential faces. The amphitheater there was impressive and completely inaccessible to our standard projection set-up, but things were made good and the screening was miraculously pulled off with all the proper Roadshow panache. And a few long-distance Alamo pals crossed state lines to be there for the show, along with a few hundred red-blooded Americans. The after-party was at an old-timey ragtime bar where the musical entertainment told foulmouthed jokes and covered Neil Diamond jams on a Casio keyboard. If this doesn't sound like fun to you, get out of our house.

Now we're one day away from our most high-security presentation, GOLDFINGER at Fort Knox! We're preparing in Elizabethtown, and making sure that we're all gonna be able to clear the security checkpoint. Wish us luck.

The Alamo Rolling Roadshow Tour 2007 crew

2007 Rolling Roadshow Tour: Stand By Me

I must say, Stand By Me has been the highlight of the tour so far. In the history of the Rolling Roadshow, never before had we teamed up with such an enthusiastic, like-minded bunch as the Stand By Me committee of Brownsville.

We rolled into Brownsville the night before the show, and the excitement was palpable. There's only 1400 presidents of Brownsville, and every last citizen seemed to be involved in some way. Normally, we roll into a town and we're lucky if the local hipsters have caught wind of the event. The Brownsville posse seemed to have every man, woman and child within a 30 mile radius not just informed, but actively engaged in the event. Every storefront was decked out with Stand Be Me memorabilia and window displays, there were markers for photo-ops to recreate specific scenes from the film and signs posted for the various special events planned for the following day.

The rest of the crew sat down for a meal at the one restaurant on the main street in Brownsville, but at that point, I had been fasting for 24 hours in preparation for the IFOCE sanctioned world Blueberry Pie eating contest (more on that later) and ate just a side salad.

We set up our rig in the park and made it back to the Brownsville Saloon for our ritual post-set-up round or two of cocktails before calling it a night (my fasting technique allows for unlimited liquids).

The next day was a whirlwind: scavenger hunts, sock hops, hot wheel races, cast and crew reunions, classic car cruise-ins, and then the double feature of main events. First, at 6:00 PM, the IFOCE-sanctioned World Blueberry Pie Eating competition. This is the first (and maybe the last) hands-free event in the history of the federation. The field was comprised of 14 professional eaters, featuring some very strong regional professionals as well as veterans Crazy Legs Conti and Pat Bartoletti (#3 eater in the world, a dessert specialist and the odds-on favorite to take the event). In addition to these athletes, I also decided to enter my first professional contest. Borrowing a singlet from Alamo programmer Zack Carlson (formerly used in his victorious hamburger battle against an actual hog), some spray paint from the Brownsville Hardware Store and a completely inappropriate haircut for a 37 year-old man, the Glory Chomper was born. Every IFOCE eating competition begins with the crowd standing for the Star Spangled Banner. As there was no other flag, my pasty torso and skin-tight star-spangled singlet served as the American flag for the crowd of nearly 700 spectators. Every man, woman, child and competitive eater saluted my crotch for the duration of the anthem. This may have been the single greatest moment of my life.

I was totally psyched and ready: I had followed the "Joey Chestnut-approved" fasting method, I had my beverages ready and my swimming goggles on to protect against pie-splatter. What I wasn't prepared for was just how damn sweet blueberry pie is. I held my own for the first pie, the first "slice" was delicious, the second, very tasty, but as I licked the first tin clean, I had eaten all the pie I wanted to eat, and there was 6.5 minutes left in the 8 minute contest. Bartoetti was nearly finishing his second pie when I finished my first and my pace was slowing fast. Clearly, I am not a competitor in the professional eating arena and I am certainly not a dessert specialist. In the middle of the second pie, I was laboring. I was not full in the least but was 100% sick and tired of blueberries. The pros would only stop for liquids after finishing a complete pie. I needed to take the equivalent of a smoke break every 3-4 bites to drink enough skim milk to wash the taste of pie from my system. I finished the contest with 2.5 pies down my throat, about 3 pounds of pie consumed.

Pat Bartoletti took home the gold with a staggering 9.2 pounds of pie in 8 minutes, this after stopping earlier that day at Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland for a morning pastry binge. I think I will stick to the savory arena for my next eating challenge.

Following the eating contest, we all headed over to the screening location for the movie and watched Stand By Me and then back to the Brownsville Saloon for the Dewar's after-party. Sometimes the show days are so stressful and intense that the crew can only enjoy them after the fact, but this one I savored from beginning to end. Thanks to everyone who came out and especially thanks to Brownsville for partnering with us on the event. I cannot imagine another show on this tour being better than Stand By Me.

Photos from Stand By Me