Sorry this is so late but Happy Birthday to J. Elvis Weinstein!
It’s amazing how much that guy sounds like Josh!
What’s that? You say you’re looking for a band to satisfy all your jazzy, bluesy, soft-rock needs? Look no further than Steely Dan, the gnarly band with the naughty name. I chose “Peg” to introduce the show portion of my report because of its references to pictures, names in lights, big debuts, and favorite foreign movies. Also, I really like the song.
I try to catch the good folks at Cinematic Titanic (CT) whenever they come through the midwest because they are hilarious! Also, all my favorite nerd buddies tend to gather there so it’s totally win-win! For those unfamiliar with CT, some of the folks from the show Mystery Science Theater 3000 have reunited to mock terrible movies in a live show. Yes, it’s every bit as awesome as it sounds.
The warm-up showcases the individual talents of the performers. Mary Jo Pehl opened the festivities with some stand up then Frank Conniff came out and did some more comedy. They seem to have given Frank a bit more stage time for his stand-up act this year which is great. He was always funny but I definitely prefer this slightly longer set (I think ‘set’ is the right word). Next came the very funny Trace Beaulieu reading selected poems from his new book “Silly Rhymes for Belligerent Children.” Follow the link to pick up a copy! Then came J Elvis Weinstein doing his fantastic Elvis Costello impersonation. Next came Joel Hodgson (he of little web presence) who did a fabulous magic trick! Finally J Elvis and Joel wound up the opener with a sing along of the “Mystery Science Theater 3000” theme song which was, of course, a real crowd pleaser. The best part about the opening act was the fact that they let folks record it! You can watch the opener for the second show on YouTube.
The stinky movies of the evening were “Alien Factor” and “Rattlers.” I’d seen the both before but they always change the jokes up a bit to make things more topical or replace jokes that didn’t work. They get funnier every time you see them. The second look at “Rattlers” was especially helpful because the first time I saw it I think there must have been something wrong with either the copy of the film or the projector because large sections of the movie were completely black. This time I could see the whole thing in all its crappy glory!
After each movie the Cinematic Titans do a meet and greet for the fans. You can shake hands and get stuff signed and take pictures with the cast. I’ve been to so many of these shows they know me by name. I had planned to go through the receiving line twice. Once just to say ‘Hi” then again to ask a couple of questions. I wanted to ask Frank how he became a jazz fan and I also wanted to know what got Joel interested in magic. I went through the line after the first show and said my howdy but, unfortunately, I was cross-eyed tired by the end of the second movie so I didn’t feel up to standing in the line twice. Instead I spent the rest of my energy gabbing more with the fantabulous crowd I came with. I even got to talk with the dear and charming RAD, hubby to Mary Jo. None of us wanted the evening to end but I was getting too tired to stand and I still had a short drive back to the hotel. We all reluctantly said goodnight and thus ended our fantastic Detroit Tweet-up adventure. But wait! There’s more! Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion modestly titled “Tweet-up: The Journey Home.”
Here’s a handy geography tip for the gentle reader: Minneapolis is NOT the same as Milwaukee. I’m sure you’re all as shocked to hear it as I was. Not only that, neither city was even willing to consider relocating to save me a little cash on the non-refundable hotel reservation I accidentally made in the wrong place! Yeesh, some municipalities! I had to fake cry my way through about seven phone calls to get a refund. But once I got booked into the right city and state, I actually did “make it on my own” to the hotel without incident.
My internet friend gang was already pretty stoked that we were going to get to meet each other and see some of Minneapolis and see w00tstock. Then serendipity smiled on the nerdy and we found out we could also see J Elvis Weinstein at the ACME Comedy Club! Mr J was performing with the very funny Chris Bliss. Only Super Geeky had heard of him in our group but apparently he’s quite famous. The two performed tag team style. They went for 90 minutes and I don’t think I stopped laughing once! Then when the stand up was done Chris did the amazing routine in the video. The crowd went wild of course. They closed the show with Chris juggling to a Fat Boy Slim song sung by Josh. Josh even got into the juggling a bit too. It was awesome! I know I saw some folks with cameras out bootlegging it but unfortunately no one’s uploaded it to You Tube that I could find. After the show Josh found us and chatted for a bit. Unfortunately we had all gotten up at the crack of dawn to get to the show on time so we were all pretty brain dead. I don’t think anyone said anything brilliant but I hope we were at least coherent! I attempted for the fourth time to get a pic with a Titan. I am convinced I’m cursed though so I’m betting that picture will never see the light of day.
Mall of America! Okay, it’s a totally touristy cliche thing to do but half of our group came from far flung corners of the Midwest and we wanted to see it. We had a blast! We got to fondle a cardboard vampire, take photos with a life size Lego Boba Fett and I got a high five from a bright blue land shark! After we finished exploring the mall we went to the very fine aquarium in the basement where the gorgeous, funny and talented Blablover5 (Introvertedwife on Twitter) shot the video for this section. We ended the evening at the Rain Forrest Cafe sharing fresh warm donut holes with chocolate and caramel dipping sauce. Nothing like sharing a mouthgasm with friends.
The tourist portion of our group started the day off at the Science Museum of Minnesota. They were having a Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit which was quite awe inspiring even for a heathen like me. We also had the pleasure of exploring a science museum with actual scientists which is entertaining as well as educational.
Next it was time for our entire group to meet for a pre-show dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory. CT forum was represented by Blablover5 and her Mister, Splatnuk, and yours truly. Twitter’s own Spideyo came along with his beautiful wife and their pretty daughter. Facebook was represented by a lovely woman who doesn’t frequent this forum or Twitter so, as far as I know, she doesn’t have a nickname I can use. The food was good and the company was even better.
I had absolutely no idea what w00tstock was when I bought the ticket to see it. I just knew some cool people I really liked would be in it and some other cool people I really liked would be there watching it and I knew I wanted to be a part of that. It turns out w00tstock is a show which celebrates nerdiness in all its glory. I loved every minute of it. The clip features the show’s entire cast on stage singing a generic national anthem. Hard to hear but very funny!
I drove home. I don’t live in Chicago but hey, close enough. Besides I figure I really oughta get some actual jazz into this post.
I am beginning to formulate some reflections on the power of nerd gatherings. I really must write them out some day. Maybe I will after I go to my first Con.