Can’t Spell Valentine’s Day Without VD

14 Feb

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Space Grapes

10 Feb

You hear about that African American woman who booted off the space station launch at the last minute? Was the going to be the first black woman to live on a space station, which mean that she was going to be the only black woman living on a space station. This sounds like the corniest Real World episode of all time.

“WHO KEEPS EATING ALL MY DEHYDRATED ORGANIC GRAPES! DO YOU KNOW HOW EXPENSIVE THOSE ARE?”

 

“Oh Sorry, me and the fellas ran out of liquor and we used them to make some wine. It actually came out pretty good. Sip?”

 

REAL WORLD.  SEASON 27 in SPACE! NASA IS MASA NOW

 

If someone were to ask me what I miss most about being single. I’d tell them that I miss the apple juice jar that I used to pee in at night that I kept by the side of the bed. I lived like a heathen before I met my girl.

 

Depending on where you are in life, sitting on your couch in your underwear, eating ice cream and watching basketball can be described as either the apex of freedom or rock bottom. I had a moment of serious self awareness one Friday night, where I was like man…..there is a really strong chance that I may never have sex again. THIS IS NOT BEAUTIFUL HOUSE THIS IS NOT MY Beautiful WIFE

 

BM

 

profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at Fullsass Studios. Follow him on twitter @goodassgame. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com. 

 

 

It’s Official

24 Jan

Thanks to a buddy of mine, I found out that my latest collection of poetry, Poems About Lawrence is available to purchase here and here. You can get it in paperback or on the kindle. Thanks in advance for supporting this project.

 

Best,

Edward Austin Robertson

Let Love Follow You Home (Treatment for a short film that will never be made)

13 Jan

Fade In:

 

EXT. Someone’s Backyard- Evening

 

There is a wedding in the backyard. Seated in the audience are various stuffed animals, and a homeless man drinking booze out of a paper bag.

“Here comes the bride” plays in the background. Waiting nervously at a podium is the groom DAVID, a nondescript brown man with beard stubble and an untucked shirt. His brow is sweaty and every 3 seconds he looks to sky in a nervous, furtive manner. He coughs and fidgets as the officiator, a tall gaunt Irishman is standing next to him trying to calm him down.

“Here Comes the Bride” abruptly changes to the “Imperial Death March” from Star Wars. The father of the bride, a tall burly white man, marches down the aisle in full military attire. He is dressed as a general from the Death Star Fleet. He leads the bride–whose face is covered—down the aisle as the music stops. David lifts her veil to discover it’s Darth Vader– breathing heavily. A light saber suddenly appears in her hand and she strikes down the officiator, knocking him and his clipboard to the ground.

The bride destroys the stuffed animal audience members in a tizzy; knocking over chairs in the process. Groom and homeless man look on in silence, horror, and awe. The light saber disappears and the bride walks up to groom. Both stare at each other; breathing heavily in silence. The bride pulls off her Vader mask, revealing her face. They start making out heavily. The homeless man puts down the 40 oz.  and gives a standing applause.
Dissolve to:

 

INT. Bedroom-dawn

 

David wakes up in his own bed sweating and breathing heavily. He looks at his alarm clock then turns his body to face a sleeping woman. He turns his eyes to the ceiling, slowly closes his eyes and takes a deep breath.

 

Fade Out

 

 

INT. Coffee Shop- Daytime

 

David sits in a coffee shop with an older dark gentleman—probably of Peruvian descent. The gentleman is well manicured with a fresh haircut. He is dressed in a suit and tie. David is dressed in torn jeans and a ratty t-shirt and an old pair of converse. They are playing chess at the table, drinking coffee and eating pastries. David eyes the board before he makes a move. He pushes a pawn forward.
GENTLEMAN
David how’s the story coming?

DAVID

It isn’t.

GENTLEMAN

What do you mean? (moves a piece) Isn’t it due in a couple of weeks?

DAVID

Yeah. I still can’t get past the first scene.

GENTLEMAN

Writer’s block?

DAVID

You can call it that. (Runs his hand through his hair while he looks at the board) Fuck!! I dunno…… It is harder than it looks to write a love story that doesn’t turn out sappy and predictable.

 

A light flickers off then on again then off. They are now playing in candlelight.

GENTLEMAN

(sits thoughtfully for a few seconds) Does this have to do with you never being in a relationship for longer than a few months?
DAVID

(laughs) I dunno man. I’d say the thing with Kathryn was real. I dated her for almost a year.

GENTLEMAN

You two broke up once a week if I recall correctly. And you were miserable.

David stares at the board for a few minutes while man moves piece on the board. Lights to coffee shop come back on. Candles disappear.

DAVID

(smiling wistfully) You might be right. Maybe I just want to create this perfect scenario to offset my misadventures in dating.

GENTLEMAN

(smiling) I’m glad you were the one to say that.

They exchange moves as Opera music is playing softly in the background.

GENTLEMAN

Check.

DAVID

Fuck!

Candles go out.

Dissolves to:

INT-Café-daytime

 

Dave and the gentleman play chess while a ballet class is held just a few feet away from their table. being held in the coffee shop. Dancers are stretching against the backs of their chairs and against the table. The teacher is shouting out instructions to the class, but everything comes out sounding like German.

GENTLEMAN

How’s our little story coming?

DAVID

I figured you would ask. (Pauses) It’s a mess. It’s a fucking mess. It’s cheesy. It’s predictable. It’s trite. I’m a hack. I’m washed up at the ripe old age of 22. I should just quit school and get a job at Wendy’s. My degree is worthless. (Moves a piece then winces while gentleman takes one of his pieces)

GENTLEMAN

(laughs) A bit melodramatic don’t you think? What’s really bothering you David? (takes hard look at Dave) You irritated about sleeping with Rena the other night?

DAVID

(incredulously) How did you know about that? I didn’t tell anyone that happened.

GENTLEMAN

(Smiling): You tell on yourself bub… She has a boyfriend, that she lives with, doesn’t she?

DAVID

Yeahhhhhhhh……I’m a moron. I ran into her at the bar and we were talking, laughing, and getting along. She had some pot on her and we went to my house to smoke some of it. We were listening to records and it got late, and she was getting ready to leave and we hugged……..(shrugging) yadda yadda yadda I made her waffles for breakfast.

DAVID

It just happened man what can I say?

A dancer comes from behind him and puts her hands over his eyes. Dave doesn’t seem to notice. Old man moves two pieces. Dancer flutters away.

GENTLEMAN

You going to try and get back together with her?

DAVID

(Looking down at the board confused) And how would that work out?

GENTLEMAN

I’m going to give you some free advice David. Two crazy people should never ever date. This is how people get hot grits poured on them while they are taking a shower. Someone usually ends up dead or in jail. The odds are against you son.

DAVID

(moves his piece) I know. You’re right. But the sex is pretty good. Why do you think we stayed together so long?

GENTLEMAN

If I remember correctly, you said she was dull, boring, and a little psycho.

DAVID

Not in the sack.

GENTLEMAN

Someone once told me that psychotic and sexual are usually next-door neighbors. Besides you said she was stupid.

DAVID

But she’s been reading the books I gave her and listening to the CDs I gave her for her birthday. She’s not as dumb as she used to be. Besides, dumb is a relative term. Isn’t it?

GENTLEMAN

Get back with her. She’ll bore and annoy you until you break up with her. Then you’ll feel guilty and get back with her and then you’ll break up with her again. Just leave her alone man. For both of your sakes. There is a reason you broke up the first time.

DAVID

But it’s so easy with her. She already knows my fucked-up quirks and still she loves me. That counts for something right? I don’t have to go through all that “getting to know you shit” again. I can just be. I’m too lazy to start all over again.

GENTLEMAN

Ahhhh. This is a benefit concert and not a reunion tour?

DAVID

Exactly.

The Instructor shouts out instructions as the class begins. Rommstein starts playing ever so softly in the background.

GENTLEMAN

Think of it this way David. Sex with the ex is comfortable. It’s like going to a city you’ve been to dozens of times. You know the high traffic spots and one-way streets and it’s easy to navigate without getting lost. But what is left for you to do once you’ve eaten at all the best restaurants and you’ve done the touristy stuff. Sure, it feels comfortable, but if you were going to settle down there it would have happened already. (Moves piece)

DAVID

I’m picking up what you’re putting down but it’s just not that easy.

Instructor’s volume gets louder as music gets louder.

GENTLEMAN

It’s not? (moves piece) Check!!!

Music becomes deafening.

Dissolves to

 

 

INT.Cafe-Evening

David and a co-ed are studying for their linguistics exam at café. She is tall and long limbed with big breasts and brown hair. They pack their books into their bags as they prepare to walk outside.

 

DAVID

Well that about covers it. I think we’ll both do fine on that exam tomorrow. Time to go      home and blow off some steam.

COED

Oh yeah? What do you normally do to blow off steam? I usually go to 80’s night at the Groovy Mule on Thursdays, but other than that I don’t get out much.

DAVID

I usually smoke weed and listen to records on my turntable. But I could be talked into doing something else.

COED

(eyelids perk up) You have weed?

DAVID

(Smiling) And a turntable. Want to come over and get high and listen to some P-Funk?

COED

I think I would David.

Dissolve to:

 

INT. Bedroom-Night

Dave is shirtless and lying on his back. Funky jazz is playing in the background. Woman is in bra and panties wearing workman’s goggles. She straddles his stomach. She produces an egg from her cleavage and cracks it in half, letting the yolk fall onto Dave’s chest. Then she produces an egg beater and spins the stirs on his chest, splattering it everywhere. The camera pans over to the corner of the bedroom where an actual jazz band is playing music.

Dissolve to:

 

 

INT. Bedroom-Night

David wakes up. The alarm clock reads 3 AM. The coed lies next to him; fast asleep.

 

 

INT. Cafe-Daytime

David and the Gentleman are playing chess again.

GENTLEMAN

Maybe you’d play better chess if you weren’t stressing out about your story. It’s due next week isn’t it? Why aren’t you working on it? (makes a move on the board)

DAVID

Yep. (studies his next move) Doesn’t matter I’m already fucked. I need this break though. Gives my brain time to breathe.

GENTLEMAN

Speaking of much needed breaks. How did your date go?

DAVID

It was nice. Sarah is fun. Intelligent, beautiful, and super cool.

GENTLEMAN

Then why do you look so unhappy?

DAVID

I’m not. She’s fabulous. She’s just a little too fabulous. She’ll find out how warped I am and not want to see me anymore. I’m afraid she might be a little too nice if you know what I mean.

GENTLEMAN

You don’t have to pee on every chick you meet.
DAVID

(laughs) No what I mean to say is that eventually she’ll get tired of my jokes, and I won’t be as entertaining after a while. She’ll get bored. I can tell. I already feel like I’m a Cutco salesman trying to sell her on all the reasons why she should sleep with me.

GENTLEMAN

Aha!! (moves piece)

DAVID

(looking exasperated) Don’t tell me you have checkmate.

GENTLEMAN

No. Not yet……..but I think  I have you figured out. You’re intimidated by her.

DAVID

Yes……. No….. Maybe….probably so.

GENTLEMAN

You’ve found someone who can match your intellect and it scares you. You can’t manipulate her with your mind games. You’re worried that she’ll see through your shit, and she might actually get to know you and not like you….or worse…she’ll get to know you and still like you.

DAVID

(stares ahead silently)

GENTLEMAN

If you aren’t careful, you just might have a relationship on your hands.

DAVID

What makes you think I don’t want one?

GENTLEMAN

What makes you think you do?

DAVID

(Rolls eyes) This motherfucker thinks he is Carl Jung.

GENTLEMAN

Why do you date girls who have all this emotional baggage David, or tolerate girls who don’t quite measure up in intellect? It’s not just for sex. You and I both know that the juice ain’t worth the squeeze with half these young ladies. You ever wonder if maybe you just want someone to kiss your ass?

DAVID

(Moves piece and sighs) I quit dating Kathryn cuz she was too ditzy, and Rena was overwhelming. Both were high maintenance in their own ways. Can we just play chess for a while please?

They look at each other. The gentleman shrugs and then studies the board

GENTLEMAN

(smiles and looks up from board. Moves piece.) Checkmate.
Dissolves to:

INT- Dark Basement
David is tied to a chair with a gag in his mouth.
In walks tall dominatrix woman holding bubble wrap in her hand. She slaps him then removes gag from his mouth.

DOMINATRIX

Are you going to give me what I want?

DAVID

I have no idea what you’re talking about.

DOMINATRIX

Maybe. Maybe not. But we’ll see where you stand in just a minute.

She shows him the bubble wrap. Then starts popping them slowly—one at a time.

DAVID

No not the bubbles! Anything but the bubbles!!!

DOMINATRIX

You want to pop it don’t you?

DAVID

Yes! Oh God yes. Yes, you bitch. I want to pop those fucking bubbles. (He starts squirming to avert his eyes)

DOMINATRIX

I bet you’d do anything for me to let you pop it wouldn’t you?

DAVID

(Shaking head affirmatively) I would, but I don’t have it in me to do what you are asking me to do.

DOMINATRIX

(She starts popping more bubbles) Oh come on. It’d be a shame to pop all these bubbles by myself. Where is the fun in that?

DAVID

(Yelling) Please! I will do anything you want but that. Just stop popping the bubbles. For the love of God stop popping those bubbles in front of me like that! Have you no empathy?

DOMINATRIX

One word. David. Just say it.

DAVID

No! I can’t please. I’m begging you. You don’t know what you’re asking.

DOMINATRIX

Alright. You leave me with no choice. (Starts stepping on bubbles)

DAVID

(sobbing by now) Okay! Okay! I’ll do it. Just don’t pop anymore. Please. I’ll give you whatever you want.

DOMINATRIX

Give me what I want David.

He spits out ring. She picks it up and wipes it off. Pushes it onto her finger and walks out the room. David finds himself magically unbound and he tears into the packing bubbles; rolling around in it, and popping the bubbles in a loving caress.

Dissolves to:

 

 

 

 

INT. Café-Daytime

 

David and the Gentleman play chess at a table.

 

GENTLEMAN

So how was coffee with Kathryn? Did you find it…..healing?

 

DAVID

Not particularly. Wasn’t sure if I needed to throw up or cry. When she told me she was seeing someone else it felt like she’d kicked me in the balls.

 

GENTLEMAN

Well what did you expect?

DAVID

Closure I guess. It seemed very apropos to meet up at the same coffee shop we’d had our first date, but things went south from the moment we’d sat down together.

 

GENTLEMAN

Like how?

DAVID

She’s become so….cold. It felt like it was back to square one again—as if we’d never known each other.

 

GENTLEMAN

 

Let’s be honest for a second. It’s not like you were going to marry her, and that is what she wants…..from someone.

DAVID

Even if she wasn’t right for me, it doesn’t change how I feel about her. What hurts the most was how cold she was about the whole thing. You know what she said? She said “Yea we had us some good times, but I’m much happier now.

 

GENTLEMAN

(winces) Yea brother. Cold blooded. So what now? You gonna give it another go with Rena?

DAVID

Nah. I need some time off from the ladies. My creative writing project is a week late and I need to use what little brain I have left on that.

GENTLEMAN

That’s good David. You should do that. And Kathryn, think you’ll talk to her again?

 

DAVID

Eh. I’m sure I’ll see her around, but I don’t need to expose myself to that again. That just made it easier to let go.

GENTLEMAN

Hey I’m proud of you. I’d hug you but for some reason I can’t seem to stand up.

 

DAVID

Yea me neither. For some reason my legs feel like they are strapped to my chair.

GENTLEMAN

Chess then?

DAVID

Sure. Set them up.

 

GENTLEMAN

But they are already set up. (points to the table where a chess board appears out of thin air.)

DAVID

Okay who gets first move?

 

GENTLEMAN

You be white for once.

DAVID

I appreciate that. Who knows maybe I’ll even take some of your pieces this game.

GENTLEMAN

Don’t get too ambitious now.

 

Camera pulls away from scene as David, the gentleman and the table get smaller.
Dissolve to:

 

EXT.Backyard-daytime
“When a Man loves a Woman” plays in the background as David and his veil-less bride walk down the aisle together. The bride is wearing sunglasses and holding a walking cane. Her free arm runs through Dave’s arm and as rests her hand on his bicep. A homeless man throws rice into air and catches it in his mouth.

Dissolve to:

INT. Living Room-Nighttime

 

David is fast asleep on the couch, wearing just his boxers. The television plays loudly in the background. The camera pans closer and closer to David until only his face is in the shot. His eyes are closed but his face breaks into a smile.

 

Fade Out
FIN

 

 

 

~Edward Austin Robertson

New Collection of Poetry On the Way

29 Dec

IMG_0037 (1)

My newest book , “Poems About Lawrence” will be available to purchase in a couple of weeks. You will  be able to buy it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Ingram, among other places. I will keep you posted. Until then, have a happy new year and enjoy this playlist that I made while editing the book.

Abrazos,

~Edward Austin Robertson

Much Delayed Thoughts on the Television Series Treme

15 Dec

 

Anyone attempting to watch the HBO show Treme without having visited New Orleans might mistake it for being too slow to enjoy. The pacing of the show is very similar in how things roll out in real life down in the “Big Easy”. Upon my first visit to New Orleans, it took a couple of days for my mind to downshift. Until that happened, I was irritated with how rapidly I became bored with every activity that my host suggested. Looking back on things, I can honestly say that I was a bad guest. Unfortunately for me it wasn’t until my final night in town that I synced up with the rest of the city.

I learned my lesson and did everything the right way during my second visit to New Orleans. I took my longboard with me to get around town, and I hit all my favorite restaurant spots (I’d put Parasol’s up against any other restaurant down there) and then some during Mardi Gras weekend. The visit was thorough enough that I decided that I never needed to go back, but it did make me want to watch David Simon and Eric Overmyer’s project about post-Katrina New Orleans.

Treme first premiered back in 2010, and ran for roughly 3 and a half seasons. The show’s name is based on a neighborhood in New Orleans; where a lot of the artists and musicians lived until the tragic flooding that resulted from Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2006. The story’s backdrop takes place post flood, approximately 3 months after the storm. Citizens who left before the storm hit are coming back to their homes, while those who stayed and survived, are picking up the pieces in their own ways.

Although The Wire has received a great deal of critical acclaim, and Simon’s most recent production,The Deuce is currently getting all the buzz, Treme in my opinion is the best written work of any of the David Simon projects. Though generally respected for his work on The Wire, in 2010, Simon still wasn’t the media darling that he is today. The Wire had reached a cult status, but a large segment of the television watching population had yet to brave the terrain that was laid out in that five season project. It was a little too rough around the edges for some people. I’d even heard people honestly admit that it was just “too real” for them. It is not a show for everyone, and Simon embraced his outside agitator status and continued to make projects that interested him.

The beauty in the show Treme‘s writing is that the writers aren’t concerned with pace or glandular titillation. The backbone of the show is the stories of the characters, and how they are connected (even divided) by the tragedies and turmoil that resulted from the storm. It is an extremely rich and ambitious pursuit. Each episode is rife with tender moments, anger inducing conversations, and moments of levity that have stuck with me since.

All the elements of a David Simon show are here in Treme. The use of music throughout the show is at times thoroughly subtle and precise (anyone remember that one bar scene from The Wire where the jukebox played Gram Parsons’ Streets of Baltimore?), but also inescapable. A song request at a Bar Mitzvah may tie in with the theme of that particular episode,  and may very well appear again in a different incantation at the very end of the show during a “Second Line” funeral march. Sometimes the show would brilliantly cut from a scene that was filmed inside the studio of a radio session, then bleed out from the speakers of a radio in the next scene. The transitions on these occasions are beautiful and seamless.

As I’ve said earlier, the characters are the most compelling part of the show. They have depth and warmth to them, and are written as well-rounded people. The twists and turns with the main characters are occasionally frustrating, often times surprising and sometimes even shocking. Unlike The Wire, where we only get small sliver of insight into the lives of each character, in Treme we are allowed to swim in their minds and breathe, eat, and sleep in the character’s psyches. Each scene lingers a beat or two longer for the viewer to reflect in real-time along with the people in the scene.

There is a good mix of fresh and familiar faces on this project–and plenty of cameos by real life artists (both from New Orleans and abroad) who you’ll recognize. Those of you Simon fans who go all the way back to his days as a writer on the 90’s NBC show, Homicide, will recognize Melissa Leo (who was adorable in her role as Detective Kay) as public defender and civil rights lawyer Toni Bernette. John Seda even shows up in later seasons as Nelson Hidalgo, a developer and venture capitalist who graduated from the University of Texas.

Wire alumni Clark Peters (Lester Freamon) and Wendell Pierce (Bunk Moreland) show up as central characters in the show, Peters as Big Chief Lambreaux, and Pierce as trombonist, Antoine Batiste. Both put on excellent performances of two complicated, but lovable men dealing with their new lives as best as they can.

Steve Zahn is one of the newcomers to the David Simon Mafia.  He plays DJ Davis, a spoiled trust fund hipster who grew up in New Orleans, but embraces the city’s historic jazz culture as much as a white man can without getting written out of his inheritance. Another one of the side stories is that of Sonny and Annie, a musician couple from New York and Amsterdam (another canal city built on indulging in one’s vices) who moved to New Orleans before the storm and decided to ride out the flood.

Simon and Overmyer do a great job of casting strong female leads in Khandi Alexander and the aforementioned Leo, who find a balance within their roles as women dealing with tragedy, through grace, anger, and sadness. It is impossible to not feel for their characters, but somehow you know they will push on despite their circumstances.

The show even has manages to soften the biting criticism of culture vultures and uptight New Yorkers, showing rather than telling the viewer why people from outside New Orleans often times just don’t get it.

Despite the lack of any major rising action, Treme is an extremely beautiful show that runs the gamut of human emotion. It is fun. It is boisterous and celebratory. It is funny. It will piss you off. It will make you dance and sing out loud. You will get frustrated by the city’s bureaucracy, and the by self-destructive impulses of some of its main characters. You may also find yourself shedding tears where you least expect to (there is one beautifully unforgettable scene in particular where a Japanese jazz enthusiast buys Pierce’s character a new trombone and Pierce tests it out for the guy in the middle of a public space by playing a song. For some reason the room got real dusty during that scene).

I love New Orleans for the same reason I love New York City, both are cultural landmarks where a black art form originated (New York birthed hip hop and of course jazz music started down in New Orelans’ Congo Square), but I didn’t realize how much I appreciated New Orleans until I watched this show a second time. David Simon gives us a poignant look into the racial and cultural politics that contributed to the misfortune that befell New Orleans; in addition to how those same politics were involved in the rebuilding (and re-branding) of the city. You won’t have to have visited New Orleans to get the show, but it certainly helps.

Almost 12 years removed from Hurricane Katrina, places like Houston, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are today facing the same questions and difficulties that inhabitants of the Gulf of Mexico faced back then. How does a place remain unique and lively when the people and elements that made it so are removed? What is the personal definition of home, and what does a person do when that home no longer exists?

In a way, it feels very appropriate to revisit this television series. It sort of slid under the radar, but it is no less important than anything else that has come out since 2010. The writing in Treme proves that often times the best part of a well written story is not the chaos itself, but the things that result from it. 

 

BM

profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at Fullsass Studios. Follow him on twitter @goodassgame. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com. 

Labor Day Weekend in New Orleans

1 Dec

Cigarette in hand,

drunk on brown liquor, and

exhaling into the slow swampy night.

I found myself finally at ease with the rhythm of the city,

as a wave of understanding washed over me.

I needed more Tom Waits in my music catalog.

 

 

~Edward Austin Robertson