1:15 PM, Monday, June 27th, 2011
"Colorful characters are the backbone of any good story. "
That statement is how I've gotten through every up and down in my life... just write it up as another chapter and keep going. This one plays out like pure fiction, but it's the price you pay for being open, vulnerable and sharing your life online. The alternative isn't possible for me so I try and enjoy the ride.
There's only one reason I'm taking the time to write the is entry. If someone doesn't stick up for the eccentric loud mouth, who will? He decided to make this public, and I will give him the respect of responding only because I considered him a good guy 15 years ago when we knew each other. If this was someone I didn't know? This would never be touched...
If you look at the last song on the track list of the 2nd WTVN Late Show CD you'll see the song I used to end my show with every night: 'Andy's Closing Song'. Andy Bernstein was a local musician in Columbus in the mid-90s and used to call in my show all the time. Incredibly bright, did really well during trivia hours, and surprised me with a closing song for my show that was just flat-out awesome. I even wrote about it in my personal journal at the time (that is now online). I played it every single night I was on the air after that and had him down to the station several times.
The last time I saw him was in 1999 at one of my 4tvs shows and he just straight up slammmmmmmed it. Wow, even this is still online. All the way down to the physical set-up of the TVs. I sat and talked with him for a good 45 minutes while Jess and Marty tore down trying to explain the intricacies of the technology behind everything and that we and had actually all thought of his critiques before, it was just 1999 and what I was doing had never been done before so it was really, really freaking difficult to implement. 5 of the same guy performing live onstage with TVs in the analog world of the freaking 90s. Fuck.
Over a decade passed and just a few weeks ago he found me on Facebook and we began to catch up. I was really excited for him to see the movie. What a cool way to catch up on ten years, right? Good timing. From time to time on my Facebook page he would throw in some wacky sentence or two (his new stage name is "Drew Blank" - totally his sense of humor) and I really looked forward to seeing him.
When he got to the theater I was on the phone with my cousin trying to give him directions as he was lost. He immediately broke into song (dude can belt it) and though I was in the middle of my conversation I smiled and waved and then shook his hand when I got off the phone. Totally his style, and even though it was jarring as I was trying to give directions, it had been 12 years and it was very good to see him. We talked for a bit, all laughs and niceties. He gave me a tiny bit of shit about the $10 ticket, but I'm honestly used to friends and family bemoaning buying a ticket or DVD, etc. That may seem shocking to people who aren't performers, but most artists will tell you that friends and family almost always want to "be on the list" or "get a free copy" because they know you. I take no offense to it because I produced my first cassette in 1994 and it has never changed. And you always know who is going to bitch and who isn't. Fun to watch, really.
So the movie starts up and I'm at the bar in the back of the theater watching it on a tv monitor (this is the coolest theater in the world) and we're at the first scene where 2010 Adam is explaining the entire foundation of the movie to 2000 Adam. Andy comes running back and proclaims, quite loudly: "The symbolism of that shirt dude..." and I jumped. I turned to him wide-eyed and said "shhhhh" as I pointed to the screen, which felt painfully obvious 'cause we're in a goddamn movie theater. I mean, this goes without saying doesn't it? i just checked the file, it wasn't even three minutes into the movie. Andy stands there for a moment and says "Whatever dude!" and storms back to his seat. As he went back to his seat, the guy I was sitting next to gave me a crazy look and shook his head and I continued to focus on the opening to make sure the file was playing correctly (sync issues out the ASS) and once I saw that the dialogue was syncing up right, I finally went and sat down next to Talya to watch the rest of the film.
15 minutes later he gets up again, goes HOME and spends the next hour and a half (longer than the movie, mind you) writing this on my Facebook wall.
To anyone who has ever accused me of exaggerating the craziness in my life, I present that diatribe. That is epic. And even though he couldn't give me the respect of watching the opening scene of the movie, I will give him the respect of responding to his critiques instead of ignoring them because they're irrational. I've known him a long time, and he deserves that. I'm flying all day today, so I have the time.
Ok, I'm going to start writing. And I hope you will have enough foresight and patience to read these comments until their conclusion, and before you delete them. I have known you since long before your "Journey" began. Every example of your work was a clear demonstration of the fact that you were completely self-absorbed. If it was yours, it was good. Sometimes you were right, and the self-confidence as a component of your character is essential for anyone creating anything. I was anxious to see what kind of man you are today, and what you are creating. The "Naive Again" video was pretty good, and the proposal song you posted was a nice piece of work...even if the video was a bit too private to play for strangers.
I'm used to this critique because I sing and write about my feelings. Therefore, absolutely, my songs and journal entries are self-absorbed. Slightly ironic timing since my last song was a marriage proposal to Talya and of course had he stayed to watch the movie there's a song about Hurricane Katrina, the Iraq war and bombing Iran... but otherwise, I have no defense. I usually write songs that are 100% about my feelings.
And on the video being too private for strangers? Can you imagine what an absolute smack in the face it would be to Talya if I didn't make her part of The Journey? She can't stop watching the video, giggling like a girl and sharing it with everyone. She's my number one priority and I actually bought a laptop SPECIFICALLY to make that video for her the day it happened so she could share it with her friends and family that couldn't be there. You really nailed that one, man. Doesn't the fact that Jess and Burgundie were excited to meet her and go to dinner with her after the movie speak volumes to how I have always treated the women in my life? Brother, you're so far inside your own head you're not even using your eyes.
I have only resumed my attempts at writing music recently, and I hope that some of it will turn out well. Perhaps a listener could be convinced to sit down and sample the one hour of results, culled from thousands of hours of effort. Within that hour, there are mere seconds of pleasure. Dumbed down by all the rest, perhaps the listener would miss those too. So nearly all of my work was remained private...not because it is valueless, but because it is not as perfect as I can make it. The last thing I am going to do is waste a second of anyone's time, or undermine the opportunity I might have of creating a good first impression with a new listener.
This tells you everything you need to know about Andy and his issues with me. If you are so down on your own art that nearly all of your work has remained private for fear of wasting people's time? I must be the mutha-fuckin' anti-christ. The time waster of the CENTURY. The epitome of arrogance because I create and share daily and have for decades. How on earth he was a fan of my radio show (which makes The Journey look outright lazy in terms of production) is beyond me. The bottom line is, if you feel like this about art? You will find issue with me because sharing feelings is the core of my art. And at the same token, if you only release songs when they're perfect and think I do the same (therefore you think I'm saying that all I release is perfect) you are oblivious to how I operate. I create and share the way most people take a shit. I don't do it for validation, I don't do it to become famous, I do it because I take things in, I get filled up and since I'm extremely open, I let them out. I have instruments, computers and cameras all around me and I pick them up like most people, well, sit on a toilet. I don't mean to be gross, it's just how a lot of artists operate. You take things in, process them, and spit them out. Now every once in awhile the business side of me perks up, looks at one of those creations and says "that is good enough to make some noise" and I then go through the steps of pushing and promoting it. But I create and share EVERYTHING and absolutely none of it is perfect. Ever.
Interestingly, I used to be like Andy and obsessed over every single thing that anyone ever heard... and then I got The Late Show on WTVN and had to fill 6 hours a night. Say goodbye to that issue. That time crunch made me what I am today and has fueled my entire life. Thank GOD. I would be completely insane if I held onto every single piece of art until it was perfect. I would be so constipated creatively I would lash out at other artists like a madman. I would become so self-centered that I would barely be able to focus on anything before jumping up and interrupting.
I walked out of the theater today after watching maybe 30 minutes of your work. If it was less time than that, it certainly didn't seem like it. If there were seconds of pleasure that I cheated myself out of, my loss... there had not been a single one up to that point. Just the private home movies of a self-absorbed man.
The trailer was absolute pablum. After the feature began, and my immediate boredom with it, two overriding impressions immediately became clear. The first is that you are a very talented video editor, and I almost laughed out load when you recounted the tale of an industry professional recognizing your ability. Good for him, he knows what he is talking about...and probably reached that realization within five minutes of first seeing your work.
Just a quick note. He wasn't talking about the movie trailer that I released, I too was confused about that when I first read it. Once I looked up "pablum" (mucho props to you for that one, I'm like RAINMAN in scrabble and you totally stumped me on that word) I saw that it meant "baby food" and I realized he was talking about the short film I showed before the movie started. I played the first video my father and I did when I was 9 about driving to George's Coney Island. It was basically a big thank-you note to my father for inspiring me to tell stories through video. Clearly, it had a profound effect on me. I thought he'd get a kick out of seeing it video on the big screen. He did. And even though the voice-over introducing it explained that verbatim, Andy kinda missed the point.
And the content? Who is editing that? Perhaps a screening at a family reunion would sell, where there is a reason for the viewer to have some emotional connection to the man behind (and in front of) the curtain. You made zero with me, and I am someone who knows you and was anticipating this debut. I am not a stranger to whom you must make a valuable first impression.
It strikes me as odd that he would say this when we were at an actual movie theater where several people that didn't know me had just paid $10 and came up to me after talking about how intense and inspiring it was. But remembering the times I spent talking to Andy in the 90s, he's perpetually in that "demo mode" of trying to make something that will impress an exec or person of power and I guess he didn't realize that those people will get the trailer I made, not the full movie. Why he expected something geared towards an industry professional when he's sitting in Columbus Ohio is beyond me.
And other than the quality of the video editing, and with respect to the content I saw, there was one very powerful piece of imagery you created. If you did it intentionally, I curse you to hell. But I don't even think you know what you did, or will even care. So I'll just conclude that you stepped on your dick, in front of a bunch of your closest friends.
The repeated shots of the young man sitting in a darkened room, adorned in a simple striped shirt.
Hey Adam, anyone ever ask you if you were a Jew? You kind of look like one. I am, a Jew who will one day play his music at a family reunion. Too bad there won't be entire branch of the family tree there to criticize my work. I like criticism.
So I abruptly got up to point out to you how powerful the imagery was, and how a lot more people other than Jews with dead relatives would make the same realization. And what I got is what me Grandma would call "shooshed" by you. Because you engrossed in the umpteenth viewing of your own masterwork.
Holy fucking wow. I mean, jumping frogs of Tallahassee, fuck me in a field running - WOW. What the fuck was that and where the hell do I start? First, you should've listened to your Grandma and not talked in the middle of a movie. I don't think there's a more universally accepted rude act on the planet. It was the FIRST SCENE. And because of his inability to focus beyond one thought, he missed THE ENTIRE SCENE that explained what the movie was about. Now, about the concentration camp allusion...
Absolutely fascinating. Seriously. I would have loved to have him watch the movie and then explain it through his eyes. His brain isn't based in reality at all and I think that's kinda badass. I wish he would write more of his thoughts, because in a million years I wouldn't have seen that. Talya is Jewish and that comment blew her away. Her mother is Jewish and come to think of it, Laura Adler, my casting director friend is also Jewish and no one could have dreamed of that because they were able to process the fact that I didn't choose that shirt for the movie, it was simply what I wore in 2000 when I made the drive to LA. In fact, I wore it almost nightly while on WTVN!
I'm not sure he even understood that. However, because he didn't? He saw an old black and white image of a guy walking into a dark room wearing an oversized shirt and he flashed back to concentration camp images. That's unbelievably fascinating to me. It's like what would happen if you ate shrooms and watched Finding Nemo. Not the best way to critique the film, but I bet the creators would love to hear what you saw. To the point however, of course that wasn't the point. The room is dark because I was hiding the fact that it was my living room, and it was in black and white to differentiate between intercutting from the video blog stuff, which is in color. But now that it's in your brain, what do you see?
Kinda spooky, right? But again, if this were to even enter your mind, all you would have to do is listen to the rest of the scene and you see that not only was it unintentional - what fucking statement would I be making if it were? Most people think for a handful of seconds and realize, that's simply what I thought was appropriate fashion ten years ago. Haaaaaaaaaa.
Now you can show your movie to people, and maybe they will sit through minutes or hours of pablum for a few seconds of pleasure. And maybe some of them will think "What's the deal with the concentration camp scene? Is he making some kind of statement?"
Yes if they ignored the entire opening and didn't wait the 4 minutes it takes for the film to be in color, maybe they will think of a concentration camp. My opinion is you're a bit sensitive to Jewish issues because of your heritage and mixed with a severe inability to focus, you stopped watching, got up and tried to discuss that with me in the middle of the scene.
I don't wear my heart, or my heritage, on my sleeve.
Yes, you clearly do.
Most times I don't even wear sleeves. Sure as hell can't spell synagogue without the message editor's help. So here's my message to you, Mr. Editor. You can apply your screen editing expertise and change the color of the interrogation victim's shirt. That will be a big improvement. Then you will just be wasting peoples' time, instead of unintentionally insulting them to boot.
There's no color to change, it's black and white. And if I only added color to the shirt that would be distracting as hell and everyone would be thinking, "why is only the shirt in color"? It's a non-issue to begin with, but even if it were... I'm not sure there's a solution without reshooting all of those scenes because of how it was shot.
What's more likely is that you have already stopped reading, or have concluded that there is something wrong with me because I see only negative value in what you created.
I actually thrive on the negative stuff so I can learn and improve. There's actually a documentary about it you should see. :-)
Or that you are too self-absorbed to alter your masterwork, even if it is simply boring and insensitive. I got time to waste on important stuff, which is why I just sat here and spent all this time dressing you down. The sleeves ain't workin' for you, pal.
What I didn't have time for was another minute of your movie. An industry professional won't give it five, and you won't be making any second impressions.
An industry professional, Laura Adler, was the first person to see it, was blown away, and is setting up a meeting with the head of casting at HBO for the second week in July. How lucky I am that as a Jew, she wasn't offended by the concentration camp scene. <shakes head> On top of that, you walked out of the movie before my work was shown on MSNBC, I was booked on America's Got Talent, I spent a year nationally on CBS, did short films on The Price is Right and The Young and the Restless with my characters, was offered my own late night show, and got a pilot on Comedy Central. I do have an inkling of what "industry professionals" want to see. In fact, I believe with the resume I just listed you could argue that I'M an industry professional. Again, the timing of your comments are impeccable.
Of course, I could be totally wrong.
Could be.
The tedium of your life and the portrayal of it could become a cult classic. For the brain dead. Or the Skinhead. Write jingles, edit video, make your beautiful bride a happy women and have a great life. There's some good imagery I will carry with me as I walk out of this room. Spare me the details.
Wow, just caught the "skinhead" line. Seriously, your timing of implying I'm anti-Semitic LITERALLY the day after I propose to a Jewish woman is fucking legendary. Be on the lookout for the "This is It" Michael Jackson Tour coming to London in '09.
But given everything I just mentioned, not thinking about Talya (who you met) before you made your comment is par for the course. You don't seem to be capable of focusing on something without sharing every thought you have, every second you have it. That's a sign of being creatively constipated, being on some sort of drugs, or just being immature in social situations. The last time I shushed someone for talking that soon into a movie they were 6. I'm not trying to make a joke here, that's the truth. It's frustrating for me to witness because you're really intelligent and see things from a completely twisted point of view. I would've loved to have talked to you about the movie. Now I'm probably never speaking to you again because it's exhausting to connect with someone who is so self-centered they can't even sit through the first scene of a movie.
My hope is that you look in a mirror for a second and realize that I'm not the only person who has said this to you and that unlike most, I haven't responded with hostility as others may have. In fact numerous friends and family came up to me completely freaked out because you introduced yourself to them like you knew them and you scared them. I explained you were just a a strange bird that used to listen to my show and I mentioned that you wrote my closing song. Unfortunately, it seems they were a better judge of character than I was.
I'm not the enemy man, your own head is. I took the time to respond to everything in this entry because even though your rant comes off unstable and crazy, I remember the nights we spent talking on and off the radio in the mid-90s. You have a lot of talent and a lot of good music to share so for the good of your own head, share it with some people already! 'Cause until you do? You're completely full of shit.
Alright, time to close another Journey Entry. And there's only one way to do it, Andy's Closing Song.
Man, those old pictures bring back some memories. Burg took those in early 1997. Good times, good tune.