Monday, October 02, 2006

Jihad Jerry , Jews & Wells & Joe Montana

Friday morning I had to get down to the new Adidas store by 6:30 am to help build a cage that Joe Montana & Gavin Newsom could throw footballs into on Market St. I woulda taken pictures of this photo op for ya'll but I left my camera in the bar I had skiddaddled out of an hour before I had to be assembling their stage. There's nothing like shaking off a buzz while watching Gavin Newsom and his very shiny waxy hair helmet wander around in his stocking feet admiring various sneakers. Joe_Montana.jpgGavin & Joe both had their feet "scanned" by some new fangled Adidas technology hooked up to plasma monitors, and apparently the red dot in Gavin's sole imprint shows he puts a lot of pressure into his step . At some point an Adidas store rep got the mayor fitted into some custom kicks ( retail value approx $250).



Gavin was earlier quoted by KRON TV as saying of the new mall

"Shopping centers represent an energy, a vitality. They represent a sense of community beyond just the experience of shopping."



Tell that to the crowd of freeloaders who stole a palate of 1000 commemorative umbrellas from under the noses of overwhelmed Bloomingdales staffers...





Meanwhile, while Joe & Gavin yukked it up for the media, I perused the scone selection at the Adidas hospitality table, and after an hour or so of painfully forced smiling & mingling Joe & Gavin split. As the former 49er QB passed through the crush of the velvet ropes, a middle aged woman in the horde got all pissy that Joe didn't hang out & say Hi to her personally.



I said

"Well he actually signed a lot of autographs & was here for over an hour, what do you expect, after all it's just a publicity stunt...



She said

" Well I think it's lousy"





Last week the same sort of strange promotional forces somehow plopped me into the middle of a different surreal encounter with hundreds of BORAT fans at The Metreon, and an encounter with the film's controversial star ...



While already late for a 4:30 appointment on a BART train going through a tunnel from SFO, my cellphone rang and somebody needed help with an event that night at the Metreon...



Some sort of movie event, MySpace... garbled voice, fritzed out line, dropped call...



I text messaged back when I hit the surface, and agreed to get down there to help after my last scheduled obligation ended at 7:30, and figured I could make it down there by 8:00 pm as requested.



I am basically in the dark still, but head downtown as a brisk foggy dusk starks to take the city in it's chokehold...



When I get to the Metreon, there's a line snaking around the building... hundreds of people long, up and down stairways, while busy promo folks for 20th Century Fox Pictures & MySpace scurry about. One particular PR heavy from Hollywood pulls me aside and starts going over the details, hands me a wireless mic and then asks if I can keep a secret?



Apparently unbeknownest to most of the crowd is whether the star of the film, Sacha Baron Cohen will be making a surprise apppearance.



500+ people are already at this event, more are being turned away at the door due to an invite on MySpace circulating in an online group called Black Carpet Screenings. No mayor, no super bowl QB to distract the teeming throng... so I am called into action as a portable temporary stand in celebrity...



I'm given a black MySpace t-shirt to wear and told to "go work the line", and I shake hands, and chat up the kids. Some of them aren't even kids...weird. A camera crew begins following me around, and I walk up and down the crowded halls of the Metreon, meeting and greeting the assembled, some who report they've been there hours longer than I've even known about the whole shebang.



I am vaguely familiar with the character 'Borat", having seen an online clip awhile back, but these folks are fanatic. They are well versed, hungry for more, they do impersonations, and they quickly grab all the promotional flyers I have to give out, some demanding two or three.



Worst of all, they want to know if "Borat" is coming. I try my best to bluff, but apparently the word is slipping out... or something is up. Some 25 five cities in 6 countries are getting a sneak preview via MySpace invites tonight. The diehards have been following the hype for days, eagerly anticipating this event and many have read that "Borat" ( aka Sacha Baron Cohen) will be making an appearance at one of the screenings. They tellingly note the camera crews and photographers, and smell blood. I just don't want it to be my blood.



Keeping tabs online all day, some of these fans even know that "Borat" has yet to appear in any city on the east coast or in Europe. Another person in line reports to me that he heard a security guard in Jack In The Box saying a "star" was coming down on his radio. I keep a poker face, try to blow off the talk, dash their hopes & dreams, play dumb etc but I realize these fans are not kidding around... such is the power of celebrity, and comedy and uh, all that "BORAT" stuff.



After awhile we manage to give wristbands out & squeeze as many folks as we can into the joint, and another hours passes as the crowd goes ever more impatient. There's a podium with a teleprompter set up near the screen and I'm surprised how many people ignore this and move towards middle rows and to the back. I get up and rewelcome all the folks, working the screening room aisles with a wireless mic, chatting up folks, stalling, and telling dumb MySpace jokes...



The blogosphere has already been ranting about this for daze since it happened last week, and i'll let the 18 yr old kid from hayward who goes by the name "izilla" recount his perceptions at the time:

"the guy from myspace that was running it, was being total dickwad, saying stuff like 'oh, i'm sure if borat was here tonight he'd add you all back as his friend!' and me and steven were dying in tension, but i noticed a podium when i first walked in, so i had high hopes,





I can sense the audience impatience, heck I can sense my own impatience, and I'm forced to keep up a charade, doing that hardest of show biz routines, killing time, everyone's time. Eventually a Fox PR guy tells me that the "star" will be here in a few minutes, hopefully saving my ass from an angry horde of disappointed geeks. A few minutes pass & I'm given the cue to go up & announce him, the crowd cheers, and we look around... and he doesn't appear. Gulp!



They Boo! They Hiss...



I throw in a "gotcha!!!" ... pretty sure everyone hates me now, even the cute girl who took a picture with me.



In fact I'm pretty sure they hate me because my reviews are in & the kids are not pleased said one who goes by the clever moniker Scamboogah

Once inside, we were 'entertained' by some total douchebag from MySpace who thinks he's funny because he's allowed to run company picnics or something. His act was tired after 30 seconds, so of course he went on for half an hour.






Then just when all hope is lost, I get the cue again... must've been a little miscommunication or a broken elevator or something. So I say "No really... and your friend & mine, the star of the film... BORAT!!!" and then , I wait, they wait, the PR guy waits, and he doesn't appear again... The despair in the room is palpable.



The audience is fuming, popcorn is being thrown...I am definitely not getting out of here without a police escort...



Said one MySpace member known as The Beast:

By 10:30 the movie had still not started and people were starting to take their aggression out on a David Spade-like Myspace Emcee who kept refering to himself as "LilMikeSF." He kept dawdling asking questions like "how many of you met through Myspace?" A question which several people awkwardly raised their hands to as the majority of people showered Lil Mike with incredibly offensive invectives and whatever candy they had.



Then just when all hope is lost, I get a third cue, a frantic waving of the arms from cellphone talking dude from LA, to do it yet again... ok, he's paying the bills, here goes one more try...



"Anyhow folks, we're just gonna get the film rolling, sorry that Borat could'nt be here... but oh wait..hey would you please welcome our special guest BORAT!!!!!"



I'm not sure anyone believed me the third time around...



According To The Beast

"By this point the camera crew and the posse of production people along with it had lined up near the podium and it seemed like Borat might be coming out. Lilmike finally announced that they were ready to start the movie literally seconds from becoming the first person to probably ever be lynched in San Francisco. "



I'll let fellow netizen Scamboogah recount the scene for you

"But at the moment everyone was about to storm to the front and choke this tool to death, Borat ran into the side of the theater and started kissing guys on the cheeks. The guy is totally fearless. He was getting mobbed and didn't seem to want security to get anyone off of him. "



And then there he was, coming down the side aisle, from a different door than I was expecting...than anyone was expecting. Hundreds of folks leap to their feet in excitement!! Borat, heads up into the crowd, high fiving people, and kissing males with his traditional greeting of kisses on male cheeks...





The place is an instant madhouse, almost no one is left in their seats, people are climbing down rows to touch him...it's a post modern Metreon miracle... Borat squeezes the top of my hat, and quickly I and my wireless mic are tossed aside by the swarming crowd like so much chafe during the winter wheat harvest in Kazahkstan.



Said the one known as the Beast in his blog

"The place went absolutely bananas, people were hopping seats to go up and hug him, everyone was taking pictures, girls were kissing him; I was literally stunned. I never thought I would be in the same room as Borat, my life feels marginally more complete."



After a few minutes of pandemonium, as Metreon security basic lose control and are overwhelmed by the affection for the actor...Borat assumes control of his fans. Some audience members begin an impromptu session of singing his theme song, a tasteless politically incorrect number from his homeland called "Throw The Jew Down the well" ...



In My Country There Is Problem

Now, I'm hearing the song for the first time, looking at all the glee as the audience recites the lyrics, and I'm truly flabbergasted... I had no idea... it's blowing my freaking mind!! Rupert Murdoch is paying for this??



I'll post a couple vids I took from my camera... you gotta see it to believe it.



Here he is singing...and attempting to exit through the swarm...





The film, it truly is a belly splitting and beyond outrageous flick that surpasses my expectations for even ribald comedy on so many levels. Borat interweaves actual unrehearsed scenarios, sorta similar to the Daily Show interviews into the film that go beyond my meager comprehension at times. The guy's got basically big balls that will shock at times, but I can think of no more twisted comedy that I've seen in ages.



The film itself is causing a bit of an uproar, with Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is not pictured, complaining to the state department, demanding diplomatic meetings with former President George Herbert Walker Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Energy Secretary Sam Bodman, multiple congressmen, businesses partners, and religious organizations, and even President GW Bush.



Long story short, the next day I looked up this event on MySpace and a bunch of kids were saying it was the greatest night of their lives...



I'm not sure I'd go that far... but I wanted to share it with ya because it was definitely special.. and I'll be back as paying customer as soon as "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" is officially released on Nov. 3.








Was perusing the web lookin' fer more absurdist action when I came across Jihad Jerry & The Evil Doers...


The album is called Mine Is Not A Holy War, now available as a CD at Amazon or digital download on I-Tunes

apparently the project of one Gerald V. Casale

if that name doesn't ring a bell...

maybe the fact that that he was the co-author of most of the Devo back catalog will...

dig an mp3 his latest schtick...

Jihad Jerry & The Evildoers - The Owl

here's a video clip of Army Girls Gone Wild...


0 peanut gallery sez::