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Remember that time I was a puppeteer?

Ten years ago this weekend, I was the host / emcee of The New York Infringement Festival, a series of plays and one person shows held over Labor Day weekend in Greenwich Village. Someone (I forget who) had created this large puppet called Bushiva to parade around Washington Square Park. I don’t know if they had any specific performance planned, at least, I wasn’t given any direction when I was asked to help operate the puppet.

Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans that weekend, and if you remember, the initial government response to the crisis was far from adequate. Consequently, there were a lot of activist groups and politically minded individuals demonstrating when we arrived with this giant George W. Bush head. I decided to give Bushiva a voice right there on the spot and started fielding questions from pedestrians, offering satirical commetary on the policies and practices of our then president.

I’m not sure who shot and edited the video below, which was posted to YouTube some years ago and I came across recently. Even though the general public’s questions prompting the responses aren’t included, you can still get the idea. It would be great to have a look at the raw footage since I’ve never seen it, but I’ll take what I can get.

If the embedded video doesn’t load, click to watch
Bushiva at YouTube.


If you want to work in entertainment

In the last couple of years, I’ve been embracing this whole social networking, internet shit, and making contacts on various social networks. A lot of young people have been following me, and if they have something interesting or cool, I’ll follow them back. A lot of them have videos showing off their various skills: singing, playing music or sports, skateboarding, freestyle BMXing, doing gymnastics, dancing or any other number of things that kids do. I try to pass along an encouraging comment from time to time; to keep developing their talents, be mindful and safe, and so forth. I get the sense that many of them hope to pursue careers in entertainment, and it’s with that in mind that I write this. It’s not meant to be an end all, be all guide to the entertainment industry; it’s just my thoughts based on my experience. I’ll get to the advice, but to put it in context, let me tell you about Will.

Today’s Song of the Day is dedicated to a childhood friend of mine, Will. Will always dreamed of being a standup comedian. He still dreams of it, I suppose. Will’s problem is that he never really wanted to do the work involved in being a standup comedian. He just always assumed, incorrectly, that if he met the right superstar, that person would be like:

Yes, Will, holy shit, you’re the cat I’ve been looking for my entire life! You’re the sword, the stone, the holy grail and the whole enchilada!! How many millions do you want to star in my blockbuster franchise?!?

Don’t get me wrong, networking is definitely a part of the entertainment business. The thing is, you can’t just walk up to someone of stature, a total stranger no less, and ask them to just put you on without any track record, resume, samples of your work and so forth. You gotta show ’em what you got. It’s one thing to audition or invite someone to check out your show if you got one; it’s quite another to beg for the keys to the kingdom. Here’s some examples, right from Will’s Twitter feed:

This next one is the all time classic:

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Alan Johnston is free

Read the story or watch the video, both from BBC News.

Help free Alan Johnston

Free Alan Johnston

I was checking out the news and saw that Alan Johnston’s captors have released a video of him strapped in an explosive vest. Click here to watch the BBC report.

In case you didn’t know, Mr. Johnston is a BBC Correspondent who was kidnapped right off the street in Gaza on March 12 of this year. If you would like to learn more about Mr. Johnston’s plight or sign a petition to help free him, you can click the badge that I’ve added to the sidebar if you’re on the site, or click the one below:

Alan Johnston banner

See Michael Moore’s SICKO now!

Sicko movie poster

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language.

(Updated 5:21PM) I saw Michael Moore‘s Sicko a few weeks ago at one of the test screening things where you fill out the card at the end. I didn’t blog about it, because they would prefer that you didn’t until the movie is out and I can hold up my end of a deal. Well, the movie is not quite out yet, but it hit the internet for a while over the weekend. I had it embedded below courtesy of Google Video, but I had some lunch, ran a few errands and watched the first John From Cincinnati (finally), and it was gone when I came back.

It’s really fucking good, not as political as his others, despite what the advertising wants you to believe. I had one minor problem with it (maybe not so minor, depending on how you look at it, because if I was really a blockhead, that one thing would have negated everything that came before), which I won’t discuss until someone posts a comment and asks me about it.

In the meantime, feel free to watch the video below. It’s from a press conference at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, where he was promoting Fahrenheit 9/11, and was asked how he feels about it being distributed over file sharing networks without explicit authorization:

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