Tuesday, December 18, 2007

B-Fest Update No. 2

We've got the mini-van, tickets are secure (while we hold our breath on the money) and we look to be set in terms of plans. So instead of diving into the minutia of B-Fest planning, I want to write a little bit about B-Fest.

Have you been to the B-Fest site recently? They have an FAQ that's adequate in terms of nuts and bolts, but woefully lacking in terms of practical advice for surviving B-Fest. For example, the first time Chad went to the fest, he actually thought you couldn't bring food into the auditorium! HA!

I've come up with 10 pieces of advice, many of which I hope to follow in a month or so.

10. Reading the line-up doesn't help - we all go in cold. Even if you're familiar with the films and have seen them repeatedly, there's no way of knowing just how the fest audience will take a particular film. "The Apple," might have broken you in your living room, but at the fest, it's a party. Coffee may seem decent at home, at the fest, it's transcendent. One would think Zardoz, complete with a saggy Sean Connery in a wedding gown, is going to soar, but the fest may not abide. The mood of the fest shifts and melts like Robert Patrick at the end of Terminator 2. You can never enter the same way twice and you must leave in a different route than you came. All you have is instinct, and even then...you just don't.

9. Stay away from the guy with his own giant bug movie.

8. Take time for conversation. Yes, you can prove you've got a metal ass, but wouldn't it be more fun to take a spin and see the sleeping wimps, watch the bloggers at their craft and engage in conversations you can't have anywhere else? It doesn't have to be long, but sit and talk. It's like stopping to smell the daisies before Godzilla tramps on them.

7. Establish home base early. Why do you think the vets rush the auditorium while the noobs hang back? In hour 10-18 of the fest, before the giant love fest of survivors begins, territory can be a precious thing. Coats and bags, snacks and cups, all need to be utilized to dictate to others exactly where you are and where you plan to return to. Also, it's important to choose your seating carefully. The wrong people behind you can turn an experience into an ordeal.

6. Don't leave. Don't go back to the hotel for four hours to sleep, don't go somewhere else for ribs...just don't. Part of the appeal is living 1/365th of the year in the confines of the student center and nowhere else. The space really is benign, thank God, as strong architecture might drive you insane. But endure, in the building, unless it catches fire. It's part of the experience. Fresh air is overrated.

5. Dairy can help. The past two years, come hour 18 or so when I hit my second wall, a well placed cup of yogurt or stick of string cheese has vaulted me over the hump and onto the last feature.

4. Cheer during the following moments: -when the lights go down the first time -when the name Edward D. Wood Jr. appear on screen -the first time the dummy is thrown from stage right -the first time the wheel rolls across the floor -during "The Wizard of Speed and Time" -the first time the paper plates go up -after skits, no matter how lame -after the first USA chant -any time, and I mean any time Chuck Norris appears on screen.

3. Don't get your hopes up too high during the drawing. 400 and...400 and...400 and...

2. Buy a copy of the B-Fest album from Tim. Seek him out. If he wants money, pay it. Tip him, maybe. The mixing alone is usually worth it.

1. Geek out. Wear your nerdiest shirt. Don't comb your hair. Got an idea for a skit that seems great at the time? This is the time. All year we bite our tongues at times, do things that sting for a second because it goes contrary to who we are. At the fest, we are who we are, and people will take that or leave it. Mostly they'll take it, because we're freaks watching freaks in a freak environment. Revel in it, soak in it, breathe in the nerd funk and feel good about it. This is unlike any other time of the year.

Monday, December 03, 2007

B-Fest Update Number 1

Can they top Sean Connery in a wedding dress? Maybe.

Will they? We'll know in about 72 hours if A&O has their shit together.

So preparations begin in earnest for 2008, a mere 45 days away from the time of this post. And by preparation, I mean geekery to rival the collective line waiting to catch a glimpse of Billy West at a comic book convention. Geekery that would embarass Jonah Goldberg. Geekery that if you re-focused it and plugged it into a turbine, could power a medium-sized Midwestern city. Rich, geekery butter. That sort of geekery.

Lets get to it.


First thing's first: Chad, I presume B-Fest money is away to Skip. TELL ME THE MONEY IS AWAY! DAMN YOU PLAMBECK, WE GAVE YOU ONE...no...I won't say it. You don't deserve it. God knows it's been a rough year. It's just...never mind. No, I'm not mad. No, I'm fine. I'm not pouting. Listen, I'm not mad, I'm happy, OK? Well, how the hell do you know what I look like when I'm happy? God...just leave it...fine. Fine. OK. Yeah, I love you too.

What's different this year? It's not like we don't have this down. It's not like any surprises lie around the corner. What could possibly warrant preparation so far out? I'll tell you.

DIFFERENCE NO. 1 - I've got my mother-in-law's minivan on hold for the trip, meaning we'll actually have places to put things if we want. There's also a back seat to sleep off Dorito benders, and a fairly decent chance it will get us there and back. Fairly decent. Like, 85 percent. We'll get it looked at.

DIFFERENCE NO. 2 - What we do when we get to Chicago is sort of open-ended, isn't it? We have invites to "Cloverfield" and pancakes on the 18th (I like the pancakes, not so much the J.J. Abrahms, though I like the idea of being on the inside of all the jokes that will undoubtedly come out of it), but I have a suggestion. It's something I'd really like to do on the 17th, but if you guys aren't into it, I understand.

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me, the NPR News Quiz is filming at the Chase Auditorium in downtown Chicago from 7:30 to 9:30 on the 17th. They haven't announced the line-up yet, but I love that show and would really dig going, and it would still leave that Friday before the fest open. It might be tough to get to the hotel, drop the stuff off and then make it to the Chase Auditorium, but I bet we could meet up with the BMMBers after the show at around 11-ish.

DIFFERENCE NO. 3 - We are NOT sponsoring a movie, but if this year has taught us anything, it's that we don't know how many more whirls we all have on this crazy old B-Fest train, do we? To that end, I propose a skit. I don't know what and I don't know when but I say we make an effort to make the most out of this B-Fest. I'm going to do a few covert things to help my enjoyment of the fest, but I want to be in a skit. That will be easier to figure out after A&O announces the damn line up, but let's be thinking. It doesn't have to be a monkey suit, but some prep would be great.

DIFFERENCE NO. 4 - Is anything else different? Chad, are you getting the hotel and Matt and I are spotting you a tank of gas? Is that still cool? Does anyone else have any special needs, because the BHODMAS is nothing if not accommodating.

Last thing. I like thinking about B-Fest, so here's my B-Fest Update Moment of the...Update...Moment...(crickets chirping)...Number 1

I've been e-mailing some people for a few weeks now about movies in general, and one of them asked me what's the "damnedest thing" I've ever seen on screen. I immediately excluded porn, and told them it had to be a tie between"

-Watching a full-fledged unironic break dance-off erupt at a screening of "Breakin' 2" in 2005 (that's right, isn't it?)
-Watching Alice in Wonderland in a group
-Being lied to by the opening credits of "The Brain That Wouldn't Die"
-All of Mac & Me

The point is I had many more I could throw out there that very few others will ever see or experience. It's a good time and it's time to get ramped up.

Now pardon me, I'm going to go pout in the corner.