Awkward Press

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Archive for September, 2009

The Fantastic Mr. Fantastic, Part Deux

September 30, 2009 By: Category: Videos

Yes! New Fantastic Mr. Fox trailer, and it continues to look like something I will be viewing. In fact, it looks even more like something I will be viewing, because unlike the original trailer, this one has actual jokes. Between this one, The Men Who Stare at Goats, and Up in the Sky it looks like it’s gonna be one Clooneyriffic Christmas!

Kiss Shreds

September 28, 2009 By: Category: Videos

My office mate (or “office lover,” if you’d rather) Brendan just turned me on to this. All of the Shreds videos are pretty much amazing, but this one takes the cake. Pure genius.

Mark Green’s Awesome Ad Campaign

September 26, 2009 By: Category: Politics, Videos

Mark Green is the best. There’s no question about it. He’s a political scenester in New York who is apparently running for public advocate. He just made this ad that proves you don’t need any money to do something awesome:

A few years ago, I went to some fund-raising event that Kyle was performing at. It was at the nonprofit where FOA (friend of Awkward) Desiree Burch worked, and after the performances, the woman who headed the charity up gave a short speech. Afterwards, Kyle and I were riding in the elevator with Mr. Green, who had come to see the event. First of all, he’s a short, short man. Second of all, we got to talking with him, and Kyle asked him if he enjoyed himself.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “Especially the final speaker. What a doll.”

“Yeah, she wasn’t bad,” Kyle said.

“She’s my wife,” Mark Green admitted.

“Your wife is a foxy, foxy lady,” Kyle said.

To this day, I am unaware of whether Kyle had any idea who he was talking to, but it was a smooth move, nonetheless.

On Pompel and Pilt

September 22, 2009 By: Category: Videos, Websites

On Open Salon today, there’s an amazing story about a terrifying Norwegian kids’ show called Pompel and Pilt:

Pictures cannot fully express the diabolical psychedelia of this sinister black-and-white puppet show. Apart from the eerie theme music, which foreshadowed the stranger works of Tom Waits, there was the absurd dialogue. In general, the show appeared to have been written by some Samuel Beckett fan on acid. Even the titles of the five episodes seemed to suggest the futility of human existence:

1. The Repair Men Are Coming
2. The Repair Men Are Coming Back
3. The Repair Men Are Coming And Coming
4. The Repair Men Are Coming Again
5. The Repair Men Are Coming Back Again

Here’s a sample. It’s in Norwegian, so I don’t understand a second of it. Still, it looks pretty genius.

Military ID

September 22, 2009 By: Category: Greatest Hits, stories

The saddest place on Earth.

The saddest place on Earth.

Sarah and I went to Macy’s over the weekend. Ever since we moved in together, we’ve hated our towels. Even though we have pretty nice towels, our towel of choice is still the ratty old giant blue thing I’ve been using since college. Here’s the problem with towels: the fancier they are, the heavier they get. Heavy towels are the worst. They make you not even want to take a shower.

We went to Macy’s because we had returned a wedding present there a few years ago and we had a bunch of free money to spend. Macy’s has really gone downhill. When I was a kid, I remember it being one notch below Bloomingdales. Now it’s a sad collection of unfashionable, overpriced merchandise that is about on par with TJ Maxx. Although TJ Maxx is way better because it’s at least super cheap.

It doesn’t help that Macy’s is in the saddest mall in the world, the Eagle Rock Plaza. The Eagle Rock Plaza looks like it was made for a movie in which none of the stores were allowed to have real brand names. Some of the highlights include “Anna’s Linens,” “Dress Town,” “Fashion City,” and “MasterCuts.” It is both the saddest mall in the world and the best place I’ve ever been. This weekend they were piping karaoke renditions of popular songs through the mall, coming from some unseen location. I heard two different people sing Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” which I never realized was such a popular karaoke choice.

We managed to find our towels, or at least a reasonable approximation of what we were looking for, and I got in line. The short, fiftysomethingish woman with meticulously painted nails and giant sunglasses in line in front of me had written a check, and she was searching desperately for her license. I stood behind her patiently for about 5 minutes while she searched through every pocket and crevice she could find. “Do I need a license?” she finally asked. “Yes,” the woman behind the desk said. The woman behind the desk did not appear to be in any particular rush, either.

“I can’t find my license,” the fiftysomethingish woman said.

“Well, I have to put a number into the computer,” said the woman behind the desk. “I need an ID.”

The fiftysomethingish woman continued to look. Sarah whispered across the store, “why is this taking so long?” I shushed her because sometimes she says rude things a little too loudly and I get embarrassed, even though they’re usually things I’m thinking, too. Finally, the woman managed to exhaust every pocket she had.

“I can’t find my license,” she said. “Can I give you anything else?”

“ID, passport,” the woman behind the counter said, “military ID …”

“Oh, I have a military ID,” the fiftysomethingish woman said, immediately pulling a military ID out of her wallet.

I admit, I didn’t see that one coming.

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe

September 18, 2009 By: Category: Videos

In the interest of keeping my inbox spicky-spot clean, I am going to use Awkward Press as a repository for all the videos people send me that I don’t have time to watch. Segretto sent me this one with the announcement that it’s a fascinating video “if I have 20 minutes to spare.” Whenever I have 20 minutes to spare, I use the time to work on my award-winning line of cat-scented screen savers, so I have not yet watched this and cannot vouch for it. However, it prominently features Werner Herzog, and I can vouch that I would gladly give up my life to become a fly on Werner Herzog’s shoulder so I could watch him interact with the world all day, every day.

The story goes that when Errol Morris was working on Gates of Heaven, his documentary about a pet cemetery, Herzog told him he would “eat his shoe” if Morris ever finished the film. Morris did indeed finish the film, so Herzog ate his shoe at the premier. If that is not a promising premise, then there is no such thing as promises premises. Which is, incidentally, the name of my new band. Enjoy!

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe

The Marshmallow Test

September 18, 2009 By: Category: Videos

From Matt, via Isis the Scientist:

The Awkward Movie Challenge: Blue Velvet

September 16, 2009 By: Category: Greatest Hits, The Awkward Movie Challenge


According to Netflix, Mike and Jeffrey agree with each other on movies 84% of the time. In their weekly feature, The Awkward Movie Challenge, they search valiantly for that sweet 16% that results in big arguments and big laughs.


When we last left The Awkward Movie Challenge, Jeffrey and I were caught in a bitter, blood-spewing, movie-critiquing apocalypse over Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, a film most likely never intended to stir up such mutual loathing between close friends. Since then, Jeffrey flew out to the East Coast for the express purpose of discussing his feelings with me in person. Yes, there were tears, hateful words were spoken, punches were thrown (as was dinnerware), but there were also words of forgiveness… and a fair amount of cuddling. Now that the scales have been set level again, Jeffrey and I are ready to continue delivering those movie challenges you crave the way a junkie craves plunging a syringe into his scrotum to deliver that sweet, sweet fix.


We’ve decided that David Lynch’s cult classic Blue Velvet (1986) would be the perfect film to kiss and make up to. Lynch is my personal favorite director (some might accuse me of being a bit obsessed, but those people probably just know me very, very well), and I believe that Jeffrey has described Blue Velvet as his all-time favorite film (correct me if I’m incorrect, Dinz). So what, you ask, is the point of evaluating a film that both of us unconditionally love and I’ve been writing about ever since I was a college undergrad constantly inventing new ways to shoe-horn David Lynch references into my term papers? I don’t know. Perhaps the problem is that you ask too many fucking questions. I recommend you sit back and just allow the cool waves of fawning to wash over you like a lilting mountain breeze.


Jim Carroll R.I.P.

September 14, 2009 By: Category: News

Dear Mr. Jim Carroll:

I am sorry to hear that you died. If it weren’t for The Basketball Diaries, I might have quit the basketball team and gotten addicted to heroin and lived through a bunch of bad stuff and then written a bestselling novel about it and had Leonardo DiCaprio portray me in a movie. But I read your book and realized that wasn’t cool so I never did it. Also I can’t play basketball.

Lest I come across as flippant, let me just say you were a great writer and poet and you will be missed. In your honor:

This Monkey’s Going to Heaven

September 11, 2009 By: Category: Music

The new New Monkees

The new New Monkees

Just snagged 2 general admission tickets to see the Pixies Doolittle tour at the Hollywood Palladium! Who’s coming with me?

A story: Doolittle is my favorite record. It was released when I was in eighth grade, and I bought it shortly thereafter because I liked “Here Comes Your Man” and my 5th grade band teacher’s name was Mr. Doolittle, which is the best reason to buy a record. It totally blew my mind and turned me from a dabbler in rock and roll to a full-fledged music geek. A few months later, my friend Rion wanted me to go see Sinead O’ Connor with him. I was not a huge fan of Sinead, so I said no, a decision I would later come to regret … I am now able to admit that it would’ve been pretty cool to see Sinead O’ Connor when she was still all screamy and angry and not a kabbaleh priestess or whatever she is now.

Rion was mad at me because he was the kind of guy who would get mad at people and then show up the next day at school with candy and give everyone a piece except the person he was mad at. Years later, after we graduated from high school, he told me that he was so mad, in fact, that a few weeks after Sinead, he went to see the Pixies on the original Doolittle tour without telling me. It was like a dagger in my heart. A Pixies dagger.

A few years later, I got the chance to see them on the Trompe le Monde tour, but it wasn’t the same. It was in a seated venue, our tickets were crappy, and the band members hated each other. I also went to the last reunion tour in New York … it was my first date with my now wife … and they were good. But it wasn’t as good as seeing Doolittle.

With this tour, the Pixies are finally giving me the chance to reconcile my years of anger at having been left out in the cold the first time around. Now if Sinead would just do a Lion and the Cobra tour, maybe we could wipe that miserable fall of 1989 off the map forever.