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Tuesday
Aug262014

THAT SUMMER SERIES: "THE AGENT"

My piece for the "That Summer" series. Coming soon (but here it is now for free!)

There was a summer not so long ago, when I very first got a start into show business. Not so much as a “hey, my buddy's buddy's buddy is doing a film in his backyard”, but I signed my first agent deal. I had no idea what to do after that, the agents would throw these parties and I didn’t have a clue how to act at them, I would wear this plaid suit to go with my hair that was always sticking up, trying to be Paul Westerberg from “The Replacements” (that "Paul"suit, sort of close, pictured above, 2nd pic? That's me and the man himself, I didn't tell him about the suit). That entire hot summer, I’d be wearing that ugly suit at these functions, this plaid wool 8 dollar suit I found at a Goodwill. What was I thinking.

There was excitement every single day, excitement with the feeling of the “unknown”, excitement at getting sent to an audition, or getting to New York City to go audition for MTV, to go there, having not much of an idea where to go, I knew MTV was on Broadway but WHERE was Broadway? It didn’t matter, I practically skipped through New York in excited nervous anticipation, WOW NEAT they sell bootleg movies up here? Only five dollars? OH OK! Every second, was new, exciting, blissful. MTV studios, full into the “TRL” era, was booming, I went in to audition for the MTV show, I GOT THE PART! OH WAIT NEVERMIND THEY JUST CANCELLED THE SHOW. Didn’t matter, there I was in New York City, there I was at MTV, there I was in my Paul Westerberg looking plaid suit, I couldn’t be stopped, I WOULDN’T be stopped.

That very next month, in Philadelphia, I’d gone and booked a role in a small film called THE BIG STORE. It wasn’t a Groucho Brothers remake, but still...a film! With trailers! And a budget! And makeup people! A "motion picture"! WHOA! I get to set as a soldier, and I think my part was cut down. It didn’t matter, I was on set! I was living at home at the time(because cancelled MTV shows and cut down film roles in indie films don’t pay anything) but I instructed any calls that came my way “Sorry, Tim’s not here….HE’S ON LOCATION”. I think my part in The Big Store ended up being me saying “Yeah….yeahhhhhh….yeah” in a scene of a craps game on a bus coming back home from the war. Sadly, the Academy didn’t take notice of my “Yeahs” BUT IT DIDN’T MATTER, every day was fantastic, every day was a brand new fresh adventure. A casting place called me “Want to be in a carpet infomercial in North Jersey for no money?” I said “YES SIR! CAN I WORK EVERY SINGLE DAY ON IT!?” and they said “Are you joking? Um, okay man”.

That summer also brought me a film that I’ll never forget, “TELL ME EVERYTHING” which unfortunately, like “The Big Store” would never come out, but you couldn’t stop me, it was this great “Punk Rock Girl meets Frat Boy meathead and LOOOOOVE HAPPENS” film. I played Frat Pledge Oat Bran, and I’m pretty sure, with a major film, with a character with an actual name, actual make up people, actual trailers, that my head was about to explode with joy. I’m not sure if I actually did it, but I think I even offered to go get the director and cast and crew coffee between takes. I was THAT excited.

Fall came around, and after a summer filled with all these show biz “first times”, little by little, I started to navigate my way around New York, I started to learn the routines of the “show biz” functions, and I ended up donating my Paul Westerberg suit back to Goodwill. With this business, success comes, failure comes, little parts of excitement come and go, but nothing comes remotely close to that summer not so long ago. Here I am a bunch of years later, and I look back on that naïve summer so so fondly, the music I’d play in the car on the way to these auditions (“The Replacements” of course) or how excited I’d be when I'd talk to my local hot dog vendor when I’d order 2 chili cheese dogs "to go" and “HEY I’M ABOUT TO BE IN A CARPET INFOMERCIAL, LOOK FOR ME SOMETIME ON LOCAL ACCESS AT 4AM!”

These days, when someone is about to get started in “the business” the first thing I say is “Have fun, do the work, but have fun, really enjoy these new people and experiences” because along the way, those are things that are special, those are things that you'll really really miss.



Tuesday
Aug192014

"THE BOOM. THE BIP. THE BOOM BIP"

“Tiny venue, intimate atmosphere, funny acts, surprise guests. Upright Citizens Brigade Theater has all the elements needed for a fun time.”- An audience review (Thanks YELP!)

I’ve been working with the good and brilliant souls of Upright Citizens Brigade for the last few months in New York City. I’d felt that lately I’d been caught in a bit of “development hell” where things would get written, filmed and shelved…or things would get picked up, funded and sent into “turnaround” (aka a black hole where film and tv is NEVER EVER SEEN AGAIN) and in that sort of life, you can find yourself working non stop for a year or two, and yet never have anything come out, it can be a wildly frustrating feeling, because, as un-hipster as this may sound, I love it when my stuff gets seen, I love it when an audience connects, I like making audiences happy. It’s not cool sounding, but it’s how I feel, it’s why I do this line of work, I want to see you smile, laugh, clap, think, dance a little, I love it all. So when things got gridlocked and stuck “in development” I realized more and more I wanted to connect with audiences on a “live” level, get back to my roots a little bit, and that’s where UCB came in, the chance for that immediate gratification, the chance to work live and terrifyingly without a net, the chance to go goof off in NYC for a bit which is always a great feeling to go be around that energy of the big apple. What I DIDN’T expect with UCB, was the philosophies everyone had, the way a joke would be deconstructed and reconstructed with detail, pacing and purpose. The “why?” for the scene. All of this, on stage, all 100% improvised with crowds, roaming around NYC late at night, seeing TV stars, movie stars, comedians, widely known and not, and just some great improvisors who really cherish the art form of it… do this exact thing, giving monolgues, improvising scenes based around them, sitting in on each other’s scenes, it’s been an amazing sense of unity to be a part of and to witness. The equivalent is something like when you see “the rock and roll hall of fame” ceremonies on TV and at the end of it, everyone gets on stage for this huge jam session. Just these talented folks, working off each other to focus on doing a great job.


Just last weekend, in front of a packed house, right before show time, where there’s nerves, there’s all this energy, you can really feel the crowd, it’s a buzz…and one of my crew leaned over and said to me “I think I’m about to pass out” and then she went out, DIDN’T pass out but was hilarious and had a great show. Big crowds, no set plan, no idea what jokes and stories would be told? That feeling maybe wasn’t “I’m going to pass out” but maybe a feeling “oh wow, I feel ALIVE”.

Now as we wrap up these days of summer, I’m back doing a little of this “Hollywood” development stuff, I’ve been inspired to take a few half done projects with some of these characters in mind, maybe get them finished up or put a new spin on them. But for every bit of that, I’ll also be out there with that UCB crew and these good people, maybe popping up at the most random places, maybe off in New York, unannounced and fueled on 1$ dollars slices of pizza, cracking jokes and doing sketches late at night at any given time, 7 days a week…just looking to connect with the crowds, get that “buzz” looking to feel alive and most importantly, just hoping to make you all happy.

Take care and be good,

Tim

Tuesday
Aug052014

UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE!

10 Things About Tim’s Live Takeover of Upright Citizens Brigade This Weekend:

1. When is it? Saturday August 9th
2. What time? 1pm! That way you can get your face rocked off and STILL have time for other things like curtain shopping, eating sammiches and doing your weekend dance.
3. WHERE IS THIS MADNESS HAPPENING. Upright Citizen Brigade East! UCB EAST. They call it “THE BEAST” it’s at 153 East 3rd St in beautiful NYC
4. What’s it going to be about? SO MANY THINGS, and you tell us. If you want to talk about flapjacks, THEN WE WILL GIVE YOU SO MUCH COMEDY ALL FLAPJACK RELATED. So it’s your call. Tell us. We’ll do it on the spot. We have some funny mofos up there.
5. I’m not near NYC, when are you doing other stuff? 3 pilots! 1 biggie 2 medium sized and a film and tv show out this year.
6. How much? 5 bucks at the door. It goes to UCB East, I don’t see any cash for this, I’m doing this simply because I Luh You Man.
7. If I have to look at your big dumb face Tim, when’s the bar open? 11am-ish! I’ll join you after the show, I GOTTA WORK FIRST.
8. If I miss this, can I see it somewhere else? Yep write that address down for “The Beast”, I’m working on a special and will randomly and mysteriously be popping up there and all throughout the tri state area sometimes unannounced mostly for the rest of the year to test out some new material. I promise you haven’t seen anything like what I’m working on.
9. What can we expect? Fun. Whiskey. No pants. Likely a dance number. *Wu Tang Clan. (*FULL DISCLOSURE THERES NO GUARANTEE WU TANG CLAN WILL BE THERE)
10. What time should I get there? I think THE BEAST is a little tight, sooner the better. Hoot, holler, get as loud as you want, take off your shoes, get soulful.

Wednesday
Jul162014

"4-5-6-7 ALL GOOD CRETINS GO TO HEAVEN"

Last weekend, we lost the great “Tommy Ramone” the last original of “The Ramones”.

Tommy had been SUCH an integral part of my music collection VERY early on, but I just didn’t know it.

I’d always been a Ramones fan, as far back as I can remember, I think around the time I got MTV (which for me I was a teenager, I just never had cable, people make early Nickelodeon jokes and I just smile and stare at them blankly) so MTV had a show called “120 Minutes” and I watched it obsessively (to be fair, I watched “Headbangers Ball” and “YO MTV RAPS” obsessively too) but the second I saw that Ramones video “I WANNA BE SEDATED” I was hooked. These guys, they made this wonderful catchy tune, and I immediately had run out to get a few of their records…my first haul of Ramones records was “LOCO LIVE”, “HALFWAY TO SANITY” and “BRAIN DRAIN”…eventually to take it easier on my thin-pathetic- almost empty- teenage wallet, I bought “RAMONES MANIA”, and “ALL THE STUFF AND MORE” VOLUMES 1 AND 2, each one had 30+ songs, so it was easier as I was making 4 bucks an hour at “Pats Cards and News Shop”, where I started working at 14 years old, pretty much to fund all the music I wanted to buy. Should I have maybe saved for a car or some cooler clothes than the ones I was wearing? YEAH PROBABLY, but I didn’t. I bought tons of music instead. The Ramones, WOW. These were amazing sugary pop songs, thrown into a blender and turned to “frappe”, I was hooked, and I mean REALLY hooked. No girls liked me, and at 14-15 years old, I certainly didn’t have many cool things to do anyway, so I specifically remember on Saturday nights, playing those records over and over, and even putting it on “shuffle” so I can hear them in a different order. Then I would make a compilation mix of songs I liked, as I had to be at work the next morning at 6am or whenever to start assembling the Sunday newspapers at “Pats Cards and News Shop” (Sunday papers all arrive in sections, so you have to assemble them and get your hands filthy and black from all the ink) I brought a boom box with me and I played these Ramones compilations, which mostly, no one wanted to hear. I mean it’s 6am and you have some fast talking 14 year old in your ear babbling about Ramones deep cuts, I don’t blame my co workers in that era. It started then, pretty much coinciding with when I discovered “THE REPLACEMENTS” (which I equally played to the point where no one let me control the music selections any longer) my first Replacements record was called “TIM” and I played it in my headphones over and over and over. Something about it. I read the liner notes, saw it was produced by TOMMY ERDELYI, who was also thanked on a SMITHEREENS record I was also playing non stop. So here we are, my life’s soundtrack (well at 14-15) was The Ramones, The Smithereens, and The Replacements, and somehow it ended up all being connected, this Tommy Erdelyi WAS Tommy Ramone, Tommy Ramone WAS Tommy Erdelyi! If he wasn’t drumming or producing the Ramones, he was getting thanked by the Smithereens or producing that amazing Replacements record (he actually produced a couple of them) so for a lot of years in my young life, it was tough to find something I wasn’t obsessing over in which this guy WASN’T somehow connected.

With art though, that’s the great thing, it’ll last forever. We lost Tommy Ramone, but his music will last forever, and any memory of my teen years til now (I’m currently 406 years old) will always have that feeling, that excited “new” feeling of hearing that music, I’ll never ever forget that feeling, and I’m so thankful this guy was around. He’ll be missed.

UPDATED: I just remembered this Ramones story. I was maybe a little older, still teenaged, and they were playing this dive venue in NEWARK DELAWARE called “THE STONE BALLOON” (Springsteen and Metallica played there) and I asked the bouncer if I could come in. He said no. I promised I wouldn’t drink and that I’d just see the gig, hands in my pockets, I’d even stand next to him to he could see I was behaving. Then I said “I’ll be so quiet!” and they kicked me out. It was worth a try. The Ramones are now all gone, and the Stone Balloon was plowed over and rebuilt as “the Stone Balloon Wine Bar” I’m actually unhappy at all of how that turned out.


Monday
Jun092014

"NEW YORK CITY WANNA FLEX YOUR MUSCLE"


"Keep on moving through all this hustle, head up, heads down through all of the bustle, New York City wanna flex your muscle" -Matisyahu

NYC! Upright Citizens Brigade: where even the urinals are funny. Looks like this'll be my summer home, I'll do all the same stuff I do at home, act a fool, make up songs for the dog to sing etc etc, the only difference is people will be staring at me saying WTF. Actually that's pretty much exactly what happens at home too.