October 20, 2006
Well, kids. The Austin Film Festival is in town. So, hopefully, I'll see Harry at some point tonight.
We started this thing about six or seven years ago, before anyone was calling them blogs. We thought it was funny that one guy was getting so famous by just posting what other people thought about movies, so we decided to post stuff about Harry.
Well, kids. The Austin Film Festival is in town. So, hopefully, I'll see Harry at some point tonight.
Saw Harry holding court in the Driskill Hotel. He was sitting at a table over in a corner. Poor dude was still in his wheelchair. Not quite sure what's up with that. I'd heard that he was going to get gastric surgery. I don't know if he ever did.
Accompanied by my trusty sidekick and squeeze, Nublet, I made my way to the Alamo Drafthouse for a special screening of "Willard", a remake of the 1970s classic starring none other than kick boxer extraordinarre, Crispin Glover.
I saw that the event was some kind of fundraiser for the Austin Cinemakers Coop. Normally I would tell these people to go fuck themselves, but I've always dug the Crispin, so I figured it would be worth a look.
Well, lo and behold, the first thing that we see upon entering the theatre was none other than the Emprasario of Exclamation Points!!!! himself, Mr. Harry Knowles. Actually, Harry wasn't the first person we saw. We first noticed his father aka "Father Geek" standing there. As was the custom with their Alamo Drafthouse screenings, Harry and pops were both clad in their best Hawaiian shirts.
We proceeded to find seats. We were going to assume our usual position behind Mr. Knowles and the Ain't It Cool Posse, but the seats surrounding them had all been marked off with masking tape. There would be no viewing of such treasured gems as the press kit from "The Cat From Outer Space" that we had seen the Posse ogling over at other screenings. We wound up sitting in the middle of the theatre with a pretty good view of the screen.
After a bit, Mr. Glover entered. He looked pretty much like as you've seen him in real life. Most celebrities have been suprisingly short when I meet them in real life. Emilio Estevez, for example, was about 10 inches tall when I saw him at the club I worked at. I gave him the "thumbs up" anyway and he flashed it back. But that is another story...
So it was pretty cool to see Crispin in person. But the problem is that the first thing that he did upon entering the theatre was to go talk to Harry. Ok - Harry put the screening together, so I'll give him that. But the problem was that Harry JUST HAPPENED to put himself in between Crispin and the rest of the audience. We couldn't even see the guy.
Now here is where we also noticed something interesting and where I must digress for a moment...
I've only seen Harry a couple of times over the past few years. But in each of those times, he was on crutches. Of course, I wish Harry a speedy recovery with whatever seems to be ailing him. I certainly don't mean to belittle his condition. Nobody is perfect. Lots of people make fun of Harry for his girth. For me, that is besides the point. Plus, I'd much rather make fun of Harry for crying during the screening of Armageddon that the studio flew him in to cover.
...that being said, we noticed that when Harry was standing up and blocking the rest of the crowd's view of Crispin, HE DIDN'T NEED HIS CRUTCHES. They were there, just sitting next to him. And they were Harry's too - he used them when he made his way to the front of the room to address the crowd for the screening, which was pretty damn good, I might add.
"Willard" for those of you who haven't seen the original, tells the story of a boy and his rat. Truthfully, I wasn't expecting much from the flick, but if ever there was a part The Glove was born to play, this was it. Go see the flick if you get a chance.
After the Q&A with Crispin, Harry addressed the crowd. He told us that Crispin would be out in the lobby and would sign autographs and get his picture taken with the audience. Cool. Then came the catch: "If you all will make your way orderly out ot the lobby, we'll make sure everybody gets a chance to meet Crispin".
Ok. No problem. Since Nublet and I had downed a couple of pitchers of DosXX, we decided to go ahead and get up and make our way to the bathroom and Crispin. And that's when it happened. As Nublet, I and a few other patrons made our way down the isle, Harry berated us for getting up out of turn.
LISTEN UP YOU STUPID GETTING TO THE TOYS R US AT MIDNIGHT THE DAY THAT PHANTOM MENANCE ACTION DOLLS WENT ON SALE PASSING AROUND THE CAT FROM OUTER SPACE PRESS KIT CRYING AT ARMAGEDDON FUCK: I'M NOT TAKING ORDERS FROM YOU!!!!
I don't know WHO IN THE FUCK this guy thinks he is. I'm sorry that dumbass studio executives think that you have some kind of mystical power. BUT I AM NOT ONE OF THEM!!
Did it even ever occur to you that "leaving in an orderly fashion" might include individual groups of people exiting the theatre in timely intervals?
I know that you get to be on film panels and get flown around and have stars come hang out at your house. But guess what? I DON'T FUCKING CARE. AND YOU'RE NOT GOING TO TELL ME TO SIT DOWN!!!
I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!
MAN OH MAN!! Two Harry sightings in less than a weeks time. What the hell is going on? Are Harry and I somehow linked?!!
Of course, when we walk into the theater, who should be sitting in the front row AVEC posse? Harry, naturally. It looks like his dad was there and some members of the AICN gang that I couldn't recognize. Was this the mysterious "Capone"? Perhaps the elusive "Moriarity"?
Before I continue with my report, however, I have to rant about something. Sorry, but this is really starting to piss me off.
I hereby declare that IT IS NO LONGER COOL TO WEAR A BLACK LEATHER JACKET! I'm not saying this because I am the King of All Things Cool. I'm saying this because it seems pretty obvious, yet for some reason these things keep proliferating. Examples? I work at a dot com. My supervisor worked in the publishing industry for a long time. In other words, he's more or less a librarian. HE WEARS A LEATHER JACKET.
Man, I could hardly believe it. Two Harry spottings in less than two months. And to think it only happened less than 24 hours ago.
It all started out - as it always does, with a trip to the old Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. We had actually visited the night before to see "Pee Wees Big Adventure", which kicks serious ass.
Turns out that my brother came into town. We wanted to show him the sights and what's more Austin-y than a movie theater you can drink beer at??!!!
Anyway, we sojourned to the Alamo and walked into the theater. There, in the front seat, was the Empresario of Exclamation points himself, Harry Knowles. He actually stood out pretty well because he always sits in the front row and he's got a pretty massive sized mane of red hair.
Long time readers of this column will recall that El Flojo, much like Harry, has a personal penchant for sitting very close to the screen. If you sit close enough, it's like watching a 3-D movie. Well, Harry was there in the front row - sans Posse - and I would be damned if he would stand in my way.
Which brings us to an interesting point. When we saw the show the evening before, the night was Harry-less, so, naturally, we took the prime "Aint It Cool Seats" normally occupied by the Aint-It-Cool gang. It was in these seats that we noticed something. You see, at the Alamo, in front of all the seats you have a little railing on which to set your drinks and food and whatnot. The railing in front of the "Aint It Cool Seats" was DANGEROUSLY loose. I had to be very careful not to bump into the rail, lest I send our tasty pitcher of Dos Equis (con lime!) flying!!! Had the AICN posse rigged the railing? Was this a trap for the intrepid El Flojo or perhaps some other patron daring to seat themselves in the realm of AICN-ocity?
So, there we were watching Pee Wees Big Adventure a couple of seats down from Harry and his pops. Things were pretty tight in the front row. My bro was on the end, so I decided to scootch down a seat so he could get a better view of the screen. Now there were only TWO SEATS separating me from AICNess. But apparently, that wasn't enough, because Harry and pops decide to scoot down another seat. I was sorely tempted to scoot down again - just to see what would happen - but contained myself.
Now, it was at about this point that the losers sitting behind us decided to try to impress Harry with THEIR geekocity. The guy starts rattling some obscure film crap for every trailer that runs by and the girl laughs WAY TOO MUCH at everything on screen. And, with God as my witness, even said "Tee hee hee" as she chortled. Luckily, however, Harry was not moved and ignored them for the duration of the show.
About halfway through the movie is when things heated up. Literally. It was pretty hot in the theater, so I took off my flannel and my baseball cap. I set the cap down on the railing in front of me. At this point, Harry took his one and only bathroom break for the duration of the film. Standing up, he starts to squeeze by me and, in the process, KNOCKS MY BASEBALL CAP OFF OF THE RAILING AND ONTO THE FLOOR OF THE ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE!!!! No "excuse me" or "I'm sorry". Just this simple act that can be taken as nothing more than a declaration of war.
So that's it. The gauntlet has been thrown down. I will not rest until my cap has been avenged. Other than that, Harry was very well behaved. He had a sundae and what appeared to be a pitcher of either Coke or Dr. Pepper (not to mention, Mr. Pibb, or Doctor B., or TAB!!).
Oh hell, I almost forgot the most entertaining portion of the evening. Once again, during the closing credits of the film, Harry played along on an imaginary keyboard just like he did during the screening of "TRON" a while back. And to be perfectly honest, I'll have to admit that Harry plays a pretty bitching air-keyboard. Maybe he was hoping that Danny was in the audience, would see him jamming and ask him to join the Oingo-Boingo reunion tour. But what really made the performance worthwhile was the way that Harry threw in a little "I'm conducting the air orchestra, too" with his index finger. Now - I know a lot of people who can jam with the best of them with one air instrument, but to rock the house AND conduct the orchestra at the same time?
I think someone missed their true calling.