It's Never Too Late to Mend!
The special screening of "The Blues Brothers" commemorating the 25th anniversary was loads of fun.
Sadly, the sound for the satellite feed was COMPLETELY screwed up for the majority of the live interviews and Q & A session. This should have been a real disaster, but most everyone in the theatre had a great sense of humor about it and while I can't say we were a well-behaved audience, we were one funny one during that time. Besides, they got the sound together in time for the film and after it was all over everyone received two free movie passes for our trouble.
Seeing "The Blues Brothers" on the big screen again was glorious. I actually cried a couple of times, I was so happy and filled sith sentiment.
The Blues Brothers is one of my all-time favorite movies, and it is certainly my favorite movie musical. There are only a couple of films I can lay claim to over 500 viewings and that is one of them ("Airplane!" is the other if you were curious).
I recall my mother taking me (age 10), my younger brother, and one of my classmates to see the film. Nobody knew how much profanity was in the movie and it was rather a source of conversation around the house. My parents were both pretty cool about judging worth & content and after seeing the film they knew that the film had more value as a comedy and as a music history lesson than a glossary of swear words and they never balked at the prospect of showing us the film.
We saw the film in the theatres a few times back when it was out and then many times on video afterwards. We had a friend with numerous connections to Hollywood at the time and we had a Beta copy of "The Blues Brothers" YEARS before anyone was even allowed to RENT videotapes. With that, we would watch the film, learn the script, study the conedy, and of course, become intimately familiar with the fantastic music within.
After seeing this movie so many times and one day finding myself making some money at gigs as Jake Blues, you would think there's nothing new for me to see in that film. WRONG!
Closer examination of the film on a theatre screen reveals that Jake's trademark black sunglasses are actually DARK BROWN! Yep, dark brown. Elwood's are black, but Jake wears dark brown sunglasses, frames and all, throughout the entire film. How's that for completely useless information? Of course, I could have found that out simply by searching online.
What else do you learn? Since there were very few ladies and only ONE black man in the whole theatre, I can surmise that "The Blues Brothers" is possibly the ultimate "white guy" movie. I found this a bit astounding since I know so many women that like the film and I get such great responses from so many people of varying races when performing as Jake. It was odd to say the least, especially during the Illinois Nazi scenes.
In any event it was a genuine treat to be able to see the film on the big screen and enjoy the movie with so many other fans. My childhood memories are still holding on strong 25 years later.
There's the "SHOW" and There's the "BUSINESS"
Most people forget about the business part of show business. I know that most ALL performers forget about that part and truly have no desire nor need to know anything about the business of being in entertainment. All any of us wants to is perform. Why mess with the money, the contracts, the taxes, etc.? I suppose that's why so many entertainers actually "get the business" when dealing with agents, producers, and the like. I think I tend to do the business end very well most of the time.
I'm involved in a situation right now that has a lot to do with the business end of my profession. It is one I can't really get into here in great detail. If it all turns to crap I can elaborate a little more. If it turns out well I won't add much because I may be creating a new business relationship in the process.
I can say that it involves a decent-sized contract worth a goodly amount of money. It also entangles some professional ethics, some negotiations, and the preservation of my reputation in the business, if not proudly proclaiming my understanding of the business, something many performers sorely lack.
In order to show that I'm not a totally green new kid on the block and am actually a seasoned performer with a knowledge of his value and worth, I have to run the risk of turning away a few thousand dollars. That part of the business really sucks. I can REALLY use the money, but not at the risk of losing a lot of position in the marketplace, strength, dignity, etc. Everything but one part of me says turn down the gig outright. The one part? The entertainer, AKA, the independent contractor. Can the entertainer afford to turn down the gig? Probably not. Can the professional entertainer afford NOT to turn it down? Same answer.
I was expecting a big knock-down, drag-out verbal assault with the person who is now handling this booking (a booking which I was supposed to be handling directly...that's part of the conflict). Instead I was armed with lots of wisdom and input from colleagues as well as some folks who have dealt with this person before. What happened was a potentially positive renegotiation that could result in...
A) Less money than I'd originally stated to the end client (which I expected anyway since nobody seems to take your first offer as "the price")
B) MORE money than what the agent tried to book me for (which I hadn't expected at all)
C) A bigger set of show-biz testes for me and a lot more credibility, respect, and most importantly, a clear statement that I am not a fresh-faced imbecile that can be treated like crap.
Of course, I won't know for sure if I can actually salvage this booking for a little longer. I now must wait for an answer from the agent. I have still resolved in my head that I won't get the gig and am more than at peace with the possibility of losing a very big paycheck in order to keep from getting screwed. I actually feel pretty good about either result and feel much better about my place in the business today. How can that be a bad thing?
In any event, some good blogger MOJO would be appreciated. ;)
I Forgot to Post This
Kellie, sent me some penguin news about 150 years ago. OK, it was more like two months back. Regardless, I forgot to mention it since I was so busy promoting the "March of the Penguins" movie, a task that has garnered me no thank-yous nor freebies from Luc Jacquet nor Warner Independent Pictures. No biggie. I just hope they know how POWERFUL my blog is. ;)
Anyway, since I am all about the penguins I thought I'd share it with you here. Now. Late. :(
Shedd welcomes baby penguins
Tribune staff reports
June 28, 2005, 12:03 PM CDT
The Shedd Aquarium today introduced three baby penguins born there in recent weeks.
The latest additions are a pair of rockhopper chicks, hatched June 15 and weighing about 11 ounces each; and a gentoo chick, hatched June 23 and weighing a little more than 3 ounces.
The chicks will gain between 10 and 25 percent of their body weight every day for the first several weeks of their lives, and will be fully grown in 75 to 90 days, Shedd officials said.
The rockhoppers--so named because they hop from place to place--are second-generation births in the Shedd's penguin breeding program. Their parents also were hatched at the aquarium.
The three chicks can be seen in the 40-degree habitat of Shedd's Oceanarium.
According to a Shedd news release, penguins are unique in the animal world because both male and female parents participate in caring for a chick, taking turns feeding it and sitting on it to keep it warm.
Copyright (c) 2005, Chicago Tribune
The Classic Rock All Stars
Last night I once again worked with The Classic Rock All Stars. As always, they delivered a great show for fans of great rock n' roll.
As it happened, I made mention of these fellas one year ago in my blog. Since just about as many people read my one year anniversary post as read my very first post, I thought I'd link to my very second post, "Sex, Drugs, & Rock n' Roll (Minus the Sex & Drugs)". Traditions have to come from somewhere and my tradition of mediocrity has STRONG foundations!
One Bloggy Evening: One Year Later???
Today, August 27, 2005 marks the one year anniversary of this blog experiment.
Since I am quite confident that nobody read the post that day I thought I'd link the first post, "One Bloggy Evening: Another Damn Blog???". I fully expect all of you to get caught up on everything you missed. ;)
Interestingly enough, I am working the Addison Community Days again this year (August 26-28). As if no time has passed, I find myself blogging and performing at Addison again. Even the headliner is the same. Perhaps I'll just recycle all of the posts from the last year and never write anything new.
In Movie News...
"The Aristocrats" is indeed, one of the best films of the year. Of course, anyone who has been reading this blog knew that already. However what you did not know is the film is expanding into more and more theatres, thanks to excellent box office numbers. In the Chicago area alone it is now possible to see the film at 11 different theatres. I am confident it has expanded across the country and will soon be somewhere near you. Please support independent films and more importantly, support GOOD MOVIES, and go see "The Aristocrats".
Here's some EXCELLENT NEWS! This Monday, August 29, at 8:30 PM (CST) about 100 screens nationwide will be airing the 25th Anniversary Edition of the greatest musical comedy ever created, "The Blues Brothers". This most excellent and historic screening celebrates the release of the anniversary edition on DVD the following day and will also feature a live Q & A session with Dan Akroyd and John Landis.
I haven't seen the film on the big screen since I first saw the movie 25 years ago and I already have my tickets. Naturally I'll be planning on purchasing the DVD right afterwards.
What makes this unusual is not only the hype for a DVD release, but the fact that the film screening and the Q & A is being broadcast to theatres via satellite and it is the largest amount of advance promotion for a DVD ever. Either way, it will be great to see a new and pristine print of the film with all the added goodness and such. Here are a few links where you can gather BB25 news.
http://www.bluesbrotherscentral.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=9518 (Listing of theatres)
Of course, no movie news would be complete if I didn't mention that "March of the Penguins" is STILL in theatres and making audiences happy everywhere. The box office numbers continue to steadily bring in good money and the film rarely disappoints.
When I went to see "The Aristocrats" the other day I found a great little promotional goodie for "March of the Penguins", The March of the Penguins Activity Book! This was designed to be at the theatres prior to the release and generate audience interest in the film, presumably among kids and families. It is filled with all sorts of penguin games, photos, and fascinating penguin facts. It is an excellent little bit of penguin fun and I happened to grab a handful of copies. So...
If you didn't get a copy of this great little collectible activity book and would like one of your very own e-mail me your mailing address and I'll be sure to send one along. I have a very limited supply of them so don't get angry if I run out by the time you contact me.
Check out the "cover" of the online version of
I am one HOT man! LOL!
Always Nice You Thought of Me
Even though the last time I wore a clown outfit or make-up was some time in 1993 I am always remembered by many folks as a clown. Frequently I am introduced to people as, "my friend the clown" (something I used to be), which may or may not be better than being introduced by my clients as, "the magician" (something I am not at all). I'll talk about the whole magician thing some other time.
Regardless, whenever there is a clown story or a cartoon in the paper, people often will bring my attention to it. In some cases it doesn't even have to have a clown in the frame. Just the name, "Andy" will do. I can't tell you how many copies of the above Far Side comic I've been sent over the years.
Lately I get sent penguin news and photos which is always big-time fun for me. I do still, upon occasion, receive the odd clown cartoon in the mail. Today was one of those days.
My Aunt Louise found one cartoon in the paper and was compelled to send it to me. Since I was rather amused by this one I figured I would share it with you here. I am confident I'll be finding many cartoons to share from years of collecting and receiving such things. Until then, enjoy this latest installment. I may not be a clown anymore, but I can still make fun of them!
By the way, if you created any of these fine works, don't bother suing me for some sort of infringement. I've got nothing and I'm paying tribute to your genius. So leave me alone and I will keep telling people you're funny. Don't make me tell them to stop reading your work. My fans are many and they are strong! ;)
It must have to do with the blog posts and my already well-traveled website.
I've been receiving many requests for an Andy Martello collector's card this year. However today alone was quite impressive and fairly unprecedented. I received about a dozen requests from all parts of the globe.
Bulgaria, Texas, California, Canada, Connecticut, Iowa, Italy - it is quite amazing!
I can't imagine why, suddenly there are so many requests from Texas. That's where the lion's share of the e-mails came from today. Hmmm...
Someday I hope to be as famous as I feel right now.
The Aristocrats, A Fucking Review!
I finally got to see "The Aristocrats" last night.
As you know I have been talking about this film long before it was ever released and I've also been urging people to go see it if at all possible. It is after all only being shown on about 90 screens nationwide (up from 9 screens a couple of weeks ago).
This film has been making great box office cash, boasting a very respectable #20 ranking last week ("March of the Penguins" was back up to #6 in case you thought I'd forgotten!) and it continues to bring in small but willing audiences.
It is no secret that I had high hopes for the film and there were certain predispositions for me to love this film, based on the genius concept of telling the tale of the dirtiest joke ever written and the look into the making of a good joke. However last night I did know that I would have to be able to view the film objectively in order to decide if I in fact liked it.
I reserved the right to judge the film as I would judge any other documentary. That is to say I would watch the film with the same eyes and critical criteria as any other documentary. Not that I am any sort of legitimate critic, mind you, I just don't want people to think I'm telling you to watch the film just because I'm a comedian and love the concept. In any event I watched this with the same important questions in my head asked whenever I watch a documentary film. I asked,
- "Does the story need to be told?"
- "Is there merit to bringing the story to the foreground?"
- "Does the film succeed in telling the tale properly?"
After watching "The Aristocrats" I can safely and confidently say with complete certainty that the answer to all of these questions is a resounding, "YES!"
As I expected, the film expertly displays the many intricacies and details that go into being funny and telling a joke well. The heart and should of this film lies within the simple phrase uttered by Penn Jillette, "It's the SINGER, not the SONG that matters", or as I put it a while back, "It's the JOURNEY, not the DESTINATION."
You truly see how the varying and different approaches to a simple, yet raunchy joke fit the personalities of the people telling it. If you are at all familiar with any of the 100+ performers giving their take on the joke, adding their insight, & offering a clinical analysis of the mechanics behind the humor you can see exactly why one version makes you laugh and one doesn't. You can learn great things about performance, lyrical interpretation, timing, professionalism, and the psyche of a comedian by watching the long-form examination of the joke known as "The Aristocrats." Were I a college professor teaching theatre, creative writing, speech...I would use this film in my lesson plan.
In this film I saw many aspects of the joke's history and relevance in the world that I'd not yet considered and I've known & told the joke for many years. I saw seasoned comedic performers kill with their own version only to overanalyze and roughly criticize their own performance moments later. I saw amazing reinventions and backwards approaches to the joke that made me envious of the creativity, and possibly most amazing, I saw a mime act out fisting and ass-fucking with great alacrity. You just can't get that from any other film.
Interestingly, the joke is only told in it's entirety a handful of times. There are very tame and clean versions, and versions so utterly filthy you can imagine the movie screen bursting into flames after hearing them. Within each performance and observation is an amazing peek into the madness behind the science of funny.
I say this again, now filled with the knowledge that this truly is a genius and extremely entertaining piece of work, anyone interested in the mechanics of comedy should see this film. Anyone who has ever been curious as to what makes a comedian laugh should see this film. Anyone who would like amazing insight and wisdom about the art of live performance should see this film. Anyone who likes a good dirty joke every now and again should see this film.
August 20 marked the anniversary of the death of my father.
Don Martello was a speech & drama teacher at Maine South High School in Park Ridge, IL for 25 years. Prior to that he taught college students in Hamilton, Ohio. He was also a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and fought in the Korean War, "The Forgotten War" as he would sometimes call it.
Among other things he was an avid reader, a lover of cigars and pipes, a guy who really liked a good bourbon, a huge fan of Thomas Jefferson and William Shakespeare, and a very funny man. He was a loving husband, a fine theatrical director, and most importantly, he was a good father to me, my two brothers, and my sister.
You may recall that I wrote two pieces about dad, prominently featured in the Father's Day Trilogy at Malicious Bitch & The Cheers. Here's an additional story about dad that may answer a few questions about me.
Both my parents played an integral part in my choice to become a professional comedian and entertainer. However I can recall one specific event involving my dad that was particularly important in forming my appreciation for humor and comedy, if not helping mold my own sense of humor.
A long time back, probably when I was about eight or nine - maybe even ten years old, our local PBS station was airing old tapes of various Ernie Kovacs programs late Sunday nights. Ernie was light years ahead of his time comedically and technologically with regard to television. The word "genius" gets bandied about far too often when discussing influential performers and comedians. In the case of Ernie Kovacs, the word is all too appropriate.
One routine that Ernie Kovacs was remembered for was the Nairobi Trio, a brief sketch that can only be seen to be appreciated. ANY explanation of what went into the sketch sucks all the humor out of the routine and certainly confounds & confuses the listener. It confuses him so much so that seeing the sketch after hearing an explanation causes the viewer to think you are nothing less than an idiot for finding it funny at all. If you actually see the sketch without any sort of warning about content, theme, & concept, more often than not you find it to be oddly fascinating (if not truly inspired genius) and it can range from "funny" to "HYSTERICAL".
The Nairobi Trio was one of dad's favorite sketches and it was, thankfully, preserved on tape and rebroadcast on our TV sets.
Being that it was late Sunday night and I had to be in school the next morning, it would follow that I was fast asleep in my bedroom at the time dad was watching and reminiscing with Ernie Kovacs on the screen. When he knew the Nairobi Trio was going to be on he came into my room and woke me up, explaining, "there's something important you have to see".
With sleepy eyes I came out to see what could possibly be so important that a career school teacher would wake up his son on a school night. Dad gave a brief explanation about who Kovacs was and told me to watch the Nairobi Trio carefully. I was mesmerizes by this odd little sketch and I laughed my fool head off. Once the segment was over, I was told, "Get back to bed! It's a school night. We'll talk about Ernie Kovacs tomorrow."
Indeed we did have a talk about Ernie Kovacs the next day and dad was kind enough to start taping the shows for me to watch. He woke me up because he knew I had a need to know what is funny and how to find funny in the strangest places. He wanted me to appreciate real comic inspiration and felt that if I could watch the Nairobi Trio and "get it" there would be some hope I could one day find ways to make my own kinds of funny and move on from "smart-assed" brat to "genuinely funny person".
There are many lessons I learned from my parents and specifically from my dad. As with all great truths and lessons, there are times when the poignancy and importance of the wisdom is not truly understood nor appreciated until years later. I call it time-released intelligence. As I have grown as a performer and a comedian over the years I have come to realize just how significantly and profoundly that sleepy Sunday evening and that few minutes of oddity known as the Nairobi Trio affected my life. It may not seem like much to some, but to me it is as important as anything I have ever learned, including the more traditional and conventional lessons parents are expected to teach, but usually don't.
Over the years our family has tried to honor dad in a variety of ways.
At the site where he is buried we placed some of his more memorable taglines and phrases on his headstone. We even placed a bench by his grave so folks can find a calm and quiet place to sit at the cemetery, something that is often sorely missing. When you arrive at dad's grave you see words like "Illegitimus Non Carborundum Est", which is Latin for "Don't let the bastard grind you down." You also get a bit of a laugh when you read dad's standard joke when he was around many people, "I suppose you're wondering why I called you here today." Even if you didn't know dad you could feel relaxed and entertained in a place where entertainment is generally not found.
Years ago, I co-wrote a book for cigar smokers called the Don Martello Cigar Smoker's Journal. It was a family effort with everyone contributing to it's creation and production. This was an informative and entertaining cigar accessory designed to enhance the enjoyment of the gentleman's last true luxury, the cigar. We sold this book at stores across the country and imparted a bit of dad's wisdom to total strangers as they lit up their stogies.
Most significantly we created the Don Martello Memorial Scholarship, a scholarship for members of the Thespian Society. This was set up originally at Maine South High School and is now helping students at Maine West in Des Plaines, IL (another story for another time).
The scholarship, a meager but helpful $500.00, is awarded to the student that truly benefited from his or her experience in the theatre and performing arts programs at their school. It is not an academic scholarship and grades are not a factor at all. We don't even care if the recipient has plans to attend a college or other schooling. Dad never felt that you had to be a genius to get something valuable out of time spent within the arts and we are happy to pass that sentiment on.
The family picks the recipient out of the applicants and we look for someone who went through the theatre program and truly "got it". Past recipients have used the cash to start their own business, attend culinary school, and buy large quantities of beer. All have been grateful examples of what time well spent in the arts can bring to the world.
After my anniversary trip I was able to head to Darrtown, Ohio and visit my dad, something I haven't been able to do in almost 10 years. I miss the old fart now more than ever.
He never got to meet April and this was the best we could do. Without my knowing, she brought some of our wedding photos to leave at his site and I was brought to tears at her thoughtfulness. I also left him a fine cigar and hoped that somewhere down the road we'd meet again. In any event I know that I'll never stop learning things from my dad.
I rarely solicit anything other than "mojo" from anyone around this blog and I apologize for making mention of this here. We rely on the interest from the scholarship account and the generous donations from alumni and others to keep the thing going for as long as possible. We invite Maine South alumni, former students of Don Martello, patrons of the arts, and anyone willing to help out some good kids to donate & keep the scholarship alive and well.
If you would like to make a donation to the Don Martello Memorial Scholarship, you may e-mail me
for details or you can send a check or money order to...The Don Martello Memorial Scholarship
C/O Wyn Martello
501Mitchell St., Sawyer VillageGwinn, MI 49841906-346-6245
In the event you don't want to or simply can't donate a few bucks to the scholarship, let me say that I completely understand and neither I nor will my family make any sort of judgments against you. Money is tight everywhere and gas is about to hit $17.32 a gallon so don't feel compelled to help out. However, I should point out that if you were one of dad's students and you loved the guy even HALF
as much as you all said you did, it sure would be a great way to say thanks to the old man. Still, if you can't help out...no problem. Dad just wanted us to pass on a little message to you. ;)
August 17th marks the sixth anniversary of my wedding to April. I can't believe it has been six years already.
When we met, she was dating another guy and I was engaged to another woman. We sort of started seeing each other, indulging our need to do something "bad" I guess. It never got really bad, but we did spend about a week together when we probably shouldn't have. After that week I went to visit my fiance (long distance thing here) for the weekend and she went back to her guy.
As fate would have it, Bonnie, my fiance, told me she thought we should start seeing other people. Just out of the blue...we should start seeing other people. After three years...the nerve! LOL! I guess she had some need to be "bad" that I was unaware of too. That same evening, April broke up with her man. Both events happened independently and were not affected by the one week April & I spent together.
I headed home early and pulled off to call April. I figured, why wallow in sadness when I could bounce back in record time. She was amazed I was coming home early and more amazed that I was the one who got dumped. I wasn't as amazed at the being dumped part. That happened a lot.
I was amazed that she broke it off with her guy the same night and decided we should actually start "dating". I put dating in quotes because we didn't really date at all. We went a few places together, but in reality she moved in within a month and that was that.
I found out that IF she were to ever get married, she wanted to be married by Elvis in Las Vegas while wearing a red dress. I told her that if we were ever in Vegas together we'd get married. Not too long afterwards, we found ourselves in Las Vegas, thanks to a business trip I had to make.
We brought our bright red outfits in case we actually did get hitched, figuring that we could always back out if we so wanted.
We ended up shopping for Vegas weddings. There are many different wedding choices available, from the most elegant and extravagant, to the simple drive-thru service. We specifically looked at weddings in our price range.
As it happened, just having Elvis at your service, no words, no "Love Me Tender", no nothing other than an Elvis was an extra $150.00. To get the full Elvis package could cost as much as $500.00-$1,000.00. We decided that Elvis wasn't cheap, but WE WERE! Besides, the anniversary of The King's death was the previous day and that had to somehow be bad karma.
Ultimately we ended up choosing the A Chapel by the Courthouse. This is a tiny little dive, the perfect setting for a Vegas wedding . They offered all the same things as the bigger places. There was limo service to the courthouse, chapel, & back to the hotel. They had music (an old Sony boom-box with a bad cassette of the wedding march). There was a professional witness lined up (Evelyn) and a professional photographer (Hector) who would take a 12-exposure roll of film ( we would be allowed to take and develop the film on our own, saving more money). All this, including chapel fees and the like...$99.95! That's right, we chose the Earl Scheib of wedding chapels.
We waited for nearly an hour for Reverend Stone (we called him Reverend Stoner) to arrive, which I'm told was way too long a wait and nervously decided if this was the right thing to do. The chapel videotaped the service on an old JVC video recorder, which Reverend Stoner crashed into once during the service (VERY FUNNY TO WATCH!). Hector snapped away the whole time.
After about 3 minutes we were all married. All told, including gratuities and the purchasing of the videotape we spent about $200.00 and we're just as married as all the folks who spent tens of thousands of dollars. Of the 12 photos, two of them turned out most excellent and a few more were pretty good and from what I can recall about EVERY wedding I've ever been to, that is a great ratio!
The wedding service was the first purchase I made on my MBNA credit card. Much like all the other experiences I've had with women over the years, I'm STILL paying for it today! ;)
There's considerably more to the story of our meeting and the wedding, but I've blathered on long enough. Let me just say that I'm far from a perfect husband. April is not without her quirks as well. I can't even say that either of us would do it all over again if we had the chance nor can I say that we'll be together forever. I can say that I could not imagine spending the last six years (seven in total) with anyone else and I have no plans on spending the next chunk of years with anyone but her. She's the reason I'm alive today and given that she accepts my job, my penguin obsession, and my Louie Louie collection I think she's pretty damned cool.
We're taking a day trip to the Cincinnati Zoo and celebrate. We've never been to that zoo before and since we enjoy adventures of all kinds, we're pretty excited. They've got TWO species of penguin I've never seen before (The Black-footed & the Little Blue penguins) and they also have manatees, a big favorite of April's. Cincinnati is an unusual place to go and celebrate a wedding anniversary, but then again, we're something of an unusual couple.
Labels: A Chapel By the Courthouse, Andy and April's Las Vegas Wedding
Shakespeare's Not Dead
He's just been watching way too much American television.
I can't get enough of this site. New link partner, Shakespeare's not Dead continues to make me giggle with the many clever and oddly disturbing poems within. In some strange way, this site reminds me of the equally bizarre, Fat Chicks in Party Hats. I don't know why. Hmmm.
Jose seems to have been irreversibly damaged by American television programs, as you will plainly see when you read his poetry. The Love Boat, Star Trek, Hill Street Blues, and the evil mastermind, Mickey Mouse all play a part in this man's eclectic world. I am hopeful you will read his work and enjoy it as much as I do.
Currently my favorite work is titled, "Nobody Reads Poetry".
I don't write much poetry. That's probably because when I do it turns out...wrong somehow.
"The Aristocrats" is only being shown on NINE SCREENS nationwide! I'm not sure that even qualifies as "limited release". I think that is more like "jerk-off...release". Ah well, as the song says, you've got to "build a mountain from a little hill".
Needless to say, with so little support, especially from crooks like AMC theatres, I cannot boast any sort of Top 20 strength for the film. I can however boast a TOP 25 appearance!
Even with nine stinkin' screens showing the damned film, it managed to hit number 24 in the top-grossing films for the weekend (other reports have it hitting as high as #21). It averaged about $60,000 per screen in box office in the first 4 days of release, when there were only 4 screens showing it.
I plan on checking it out this week and will have a full report later.
Depending upon who's numbers you trust, "March of the Penguins" is either number 6 or 7 for the week. Either way it has actually made MORE money than in previous weeks, taking a lower overall placement thanks to newer films like "Four Brothers", "Sky High", and "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo" hitting the market. We'll see which of those films is around next weekend.
Story at indieWIRE.com
Blog THIS, Pal!
Gordon is a guy I met many years ago at the No Exit Cafe, a coffee house in Chicago. Back then, you could find a cool little comedy open mic every Tuesday. I haven't been there in a long time, but I'm confident thay haven't had comedy there in a long time.
When I showed up the show was hosted by a guy named Brooks Palmer and he was famous for annoying all the "real" comedians with his dry delivery and quiet demeanor. I kinda liked the guy. When he was funny, he was very funny. When he wasn't funny I assumed he was too hip for the room. More importantly he was a nice guy working for free sandwiches.
Gordon was working out new material as was most everyone there. I was working on some new things specifically for a stand-up only act. That is, I wanted some material sans juggling and the like to add to the flexibility of the act I'd been working for years.
What was most unusual was the presence of this 175 year old man named Stanley. Stanley used to show up every week and read jokes out of an old joke book. That is, he'd read those jokes when he ran out of his "A-List" material. His original material consisted mostly of puns and disjointed nonsense, all starting with the line, "I was walking down the street..."
I don't remember much of Gordon's material other than his "cunning linguist" line. I do remember that he was a very nice guy with a good sense of humor.
While surfing SciFiDaily awhile back I found Gordon's profile and thought he looked familiar. I contacted him and BOOM! New blog friends for all.
Please read Blog THIS, Pal! I'm sure you'll find something worthy of your time there. Oh look, here's a great post! ;)
The U.S. Finally Does Something Right
It bears mentioning that the original French version of "March of the Penguins" is markedly different from the version charming audiences and setting records throughout the U.S..
The U.S. distributors saw the film and said that the only way they'd consider releasing it here in the States was if it went through a major overhaul, making it more palatable and enjoyable for an American audience.
In most circumstances this means the death of a fine film. The director's vision becomes extremely compromised and the beauty and meaning are all lost. However, in this instance I do believe director Luc Jacquet will forgive the silly American film company.
As it happens the original version, while still featuring the same beautiful camera work and footage, presented the Emperor Penguins in quite another light. These penguins actually talked!
Yes, that's right. There was dialogue written for and dubbed in later for the penguins on screen. Entire conversations and plot points were created to make the film seem like a wacky misadventure. Oddly enough, you would expect this type of maneuver from the American film company as opposed to the refined & cultured French film makers.
The folks at Warner Independent Pictures saw the film and, thankfully, decided to adapt the "story" by adding narration and presenting the film in a more traditional documentary form. The result is the beautiful and Oscar-worthy film I've blathered about for weeks now.
Interview with Luc Jacquet
Can Somebody Please Tell Me Why I'm So Popular in GERMANY?
I've received quite a few e-mail requests for autographs and collector's cards lately. I'm not swamped or anything, but the volume has certainly increased. Nearly ALL of the requests have come from people in Germany.
I've never worked in Germany. So far as I know, I've never taped anything for German television. I'm fairly sure that other than regular visits to the Schnitzel Platz down the road I have no real connection to Germany at all.
Suddenly I'm HUGE in Germany!
A Vegas Brothers t-shirt & a Flying Penguini kit goes to anyone with real evidence as to why I'm suddenly so popular in Germany.
I suppose I should just assume people are finding me online. I used to get many requests from Indonesia for my cards and I haven't been there either.
Not that I'm Complaining...
...but how come I've never received any fan pics LIKE THESE?
I know the answer, but I won't share it with you now.
Mostly I wanted to give the boys at Fu-Qtoo a little shout out. Maybe somebody will buy one of the Andy-inspired t-shirts before I die!
You know, Naomi, the Uber Bitch herself, promised me some sexy fan pics a LONG time ago. I guess she's been too busy drinking way too much and posting lots of back-room nasty (but GOOD nekkid nonetheless) photos of herself on her blog to remember little old me. She even took down the link to my site. I guess I'm not some naked babe porn link dump so I don't matter anymore, even though I pimped her blog like crazy and commented often in the early days.
It is good to have you, my loyal friends and readers around, even though there's really only about 6 of you reading and commenting.
Look at all the content I've provided today! Good Lord, I rock!
Time to Watch The *&%$#@! Aristocrats!
There are currently only four theatres in the Chicagoland area showing the new documentary, "The Aristocrats" As you know, AMC Theatres backed out of their contractual agreement to run the film and it will be harder for this film to succeed. At least for now, it will be difficult.
However, based upon the success of "March of the Penguins" I am confident my constant badgering and ranting will encourage my readers (both of them) to run out and find a screen brave enough to run this film.
What's that? You're a total pussy-prude freak? No problem! Let me give you a more clinical explanation as to why you might want to watch about 100 different comedians tell the same dirty, often filthy joke.
The joke is not the real story here. The beauty of a film like this has little to do with the joke and more to do with the telling of the joke. In short, it is not the destination, it is the journey that matters.
The set-up and punch line are always the same. What makes this a brilliant concept is knowing that there's a certain jazz feeling happening within the telling of the joke. Each comic, creating their own dirty interpretation off the cuff, gives their own nuances to the world's oldest and dirtiest joke. Sometimes the joke works. Sometimes it fails. In all cases you, the layman, are privy to a unique glimpse into the science behind comedy itself.
Watch the comics interpret, create, and sell their wares. Study the delivery and the method behind each sentence. Ask yourself why one person's version is funny and another's isn't. You can use the same techniques in any form of public speaking, whether it is a social conversation or a big business proposal. You will learn something valuable if you watch this film.
In my many years as a performer I've come to find that most every idiot on the planet likes to think that he or she is funny. They also like to think that anyone can do my job. Those people are usually WRONG! Funny isn't easy and by watching a film like this you should get a beautiful look at the mechanics behind telling a joke well, even if it is a stupid and disgusting one.
This film will prove to be both educational as well as hysterical. You're told ahead of time that there is nothing but profanity represented here. You have nothing but your own asinine puritan lunacy keeping you from watching the film. Of course, your gut instinct and uncontrollable curiosity will win in the end. I would just prefer that you watch it in the theatre and help support the documentary film.
How Could I Not Love this Blog?
I was ordered by Funky Freddie to check out this blog. Since Freddie scares me I do what he says most all of the time.
When I arrived at the site I found a post about these adorable Gentoo Penguins seen in the photo. The post was titled, "Penguins Rock!" I didn't have to bother reading anything else. So far as I was concerned, the OC Hairball Blog is on my personal "Required Reading" list!
Should the owner want to do a link exchange I'll happily add the blog to the permanent links list. It has many a fine and unusual listing of internet finds. Good reading for all, indeed!
Snazzy New T-Shirts!
As you can plainly see, I have received my prizes from the lovely Jessika. What I wasn't expecting was a second shirt with the "WINNER" graphic I created for my blog. So in essence I got two t-shirts for submitting some silly essays to her contest. Not too shabby!
The shirts are comfy and they look very cool. I just wish I looked better in them.
I sent Jessica a Vegas Brothers t-shirt as a thank you. I don't expect to post any photos of her modeling the shirt though. I requested some particularly naughty poses and being a gentleman, I must keep those photos to myself, should she choose to send any. ;)
Thanks for the prizes!
My Weekend in Wisconsin
I've talked about this sort of thing with other performers and industry types before. Some gigs you take for the money. Some bookings you take to help your career. Some are jobs you take because YOU
want to have some fun. The National Mustard Day
festival is one booking I took purely for my own enjoyment.
As many of you well know, I LOVE
the Mount Horeb Mustard Museum
. Every year they put on this great little festival without ANY
help or support from the town, made famous by the Mustard Museum . They try to get sponsorship from the various vendors with some success but the majority of the cash put up for the FREE HOT DOGS
(and the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile
!), the games, the food, and other giveaway items comes from the Museum. Naturally they didn't have a lot of cash to spend on a professional entertainer like myself that some of the other fests do. This didn't bother me. I was willing to work for MUSTARD!
They have so darned many different and delicious types of mustards available there, I rarely exit the place without spending a lot of moolah. We use it all in various recipes here so it is never considered a waste of money to us. All I wanted was a little gas money and some mustards to be named later as payment for one show and some strolling entertainment.
Barry & Patti, owners of the museum, are arguably the nicest people on Earth and they put on one heck of a fun fest! They made me feel right at home and were very appreciative of the time I spent at their small festival. They allowed me to take more than any man's fair shore of tasty condiments home with me and they even awarded me a diploma from Poupon U.
, the world's foremost collegiate authority in mustardology.
Alongside some edible products I was also treated to some fine wearables. Check out these kick-ass medical scrubs. How comfy are these? You KNOW
you're jealous of me! I imagine these will be quite a hit for the college kids around Wisconsin and elsewhere.
After bestowing upon me the goodies they even presented me with a check that was CONSIDERABLY
more than the allotted gas money we'd agreed upon. I couldn't believe the generosity of these folks. They made it perfectly clear to me that my work was appreciated and that I was welcome there any time. I believe I know where I'll be spending the first Saturday in August for many years to come.
I also took some time to watch "March of the Penguins
", see the sights in Baraboo, play some slots at the Ho-Chunk Casino
, and found a great cheap motel near my next day's destination, Watertown, Wisconsin.
The Watertown Riverfest continues to be one of my favorite festivals to work. The setting is so beautiful and the people are always friendly. This year I was fortunate enough to work when Peter Noone
was there. I was within "spitting distance
" of the guy, but I opted not to spit nor bother ole Herman. I saw many women in their 50's and older running to get a glimpse of the man. I couldn't decide if it was sad or cool to watch these aging women act all giddy for Noone. I chose to find it sad for the ladies and cool for Peter Noone. Why not?
Anyway, with the good food, the fine friendship, the beautiful weather & scenery, and the accompanying satisfaction of making a living at a job I love, I had one GREAT
weekend in Wisconsin.
Labels: March of the Penguins, Mount Horeb Mustard Museum, National Mustard Day, National Mustard Museum, Oscar Mayer Weinermobile
Fewer Posts for the Next Couple of Days
Working my ass off the next few days.
Two gigs on Tuesday, one Wednesday, two Thursday...all Blues Brothers gigs...all within a few blocks from one another.
It started with a trade show booking at Navy Pier, that's why there are three days of bookings.
It was GOOD fortune that we were able to pick up additional gigs on Tuesday & Thursday. It was even BETTER fortune that those gigs were close to the Pier. The BEST FORTUNE of it all was that they were all Blues Brothers bookings. No costume changes. No muss. No fuss.
Of course I'm busy most of the day and pretty tired afterwards. I'll get time to talk about the Mustard Day Fest and all of the happenings of the past weekend soon.
Did Somebody Say...PENGUINS?
Read it and weep, suckahs! After being increased to nearly 1900 screens (still among the lowest number of screens for the top 10 films), "March of the Penguins" has climbed to number SIX in total box office sales for last week.
While on my Wisconsin trip this weekend (posts & stories later today) I found myself with some time to kill. Naturally the choices came down to my old standards...strip clubs or "March of the Penguins". LOL!
I decided to save a few bucks and see the film again as opposed to shoving bills into Bambi's g-string (Bambi is a skank anyway!). I know I'm penguin-obsessed, but that film just has a fine soothing effect on me and I'm always happy during and after a viewing so why not see it one more time?
This time I made a most interesting observation about the film. At all screenings there have been families with young children in the theatre. As you know, I really dislike kids in general and you can imagine how much I hate obnoxious brats in a movie theatre. Every time I've gone into the theatre and seen the kids I was worried that the film would be interrupted by impatient, noisy monsters that had attention spans too short for anything other than a quick game of Grand Theft Auto. Instead I found quite the opposite.
In fact at every screening, the kids (of varied ages) were the picture of good behavior. They laughed at the appropriate times, were scared at the right moments, and most importantly, they watched the film and LEARNED something valuable. There was no unnecessary chatter from the little tykes and if they did have any questions or comments, they were very polite and quietly whispered their comments to their parents. In short, they were the perfect movie patrons.
So when you are considering if a documentary about the mating ritual of the Emperor Penguin in Antarctica is "worth it" for whatever reason or another, remember that we live in a world where most parents complain about a dearth of wholesome, valuable, and educational entertainment options. "March of the Penguins" has proven to me that there is at least one film that is all of those things AND it is certainly enjoyable and appropriate for the entire family. Adults will not be subjected to lame Disney songs and unintelligent dialogue designed to talk down to the kids that are watching. Beauty and knowledge are expertly presented in 85 minutes of cinematic splendor. You as well as your kids will have a great time watching this movie, as a family.
March of the Penguins - Number 2 US Documentary
I just received an e-mail from my good friend, Kellie. It looks as though Warner is DOUBLING the number of screens showing "March of the Penguins" and for good reason.
I'll just let you READ THE STORY yourself.
I will only take partial credit for the success of this film in the states. I really only have about 25 regular readers after all. ;)
By the way, Becky, it is far more worth watching than "Must Love Dogs". LOL!
Next big film to watch for..."The Aristocrats"!
Will Work for Food
Last week I found myself in Whiting, Indiana to perform at the Pierogi Fest. They've been trying to get me there for three straight years and this year I was FINALLY available to perform and boy was I glad to go.
April LOVES pierogis and I certainly can wolf down a few on my own. I wanted to make sure to get this booking so she could come along and enjoy one of her favorite foods from some 30+ vendors.
This week I am back in beautiful Mount Horeb, Wisconsin for NATIONAL MUSTARD DAY. This is, of course brought to the world by the fabulous Mount Horeb Mustard Museum. As you may recall, the Mustard Museum is among my favorite places on Earth and I happily jumped at the chance to work this festival. I'm even accepting much of my pay in mustard!
So, last week I took a gig so my wife could eat pierogis and this week I'm getting paid in mustard. Near as I see it I am the only entertainer around that truly will work for food. :)
The next day has me at a return appearance at another fantastic fest in Wisconsin, the Watertown Riverfest
For all the times I complain about how bad the business is, when it is good, it is very good. It has less to do with the money to me as it does the fun I have working. Riverfest is one excellent party held in one of the more beautiful places in the state. Last time I was there I worked with Those Darn Accordions
and The Fixx
. How can you not enjoy a time like that?
Labels: Mount Horeb Mustard Museum, National Mustard Day, National Mustard Museum, Pierogi Fest, The Fixx, Those Darn Accordions, Watertown Riverfest
I have not written anything new in the way of columns nor essays in awhile. Honestly, I've just had other things on my mind. This has not been a traditional case of writer's block at all. I'm just not all that enthusiastic about writing anything and I can't really say if work I have submitted to places like Malicious Bitch are even being read at all.
I used to submit at least one weekly column to The Cheers, but that place has just become so disjointed and unsupportive of the writers I don't see going back there. It was nice to be in a place with a regular deadline and new content expected every week and they did eventually post reader stats and things like that (which really got more people to read my work!). Unfortunately, they kept changing format, look, and focus. Couple that with numerous bouts of online down time and you never really got to develop an audience. However, they are useful to me in this instance.
Bud has been talking a bit about being blocked creatively. He's not really in a writer's block type of slump either, but it still applies here. Reading his blog I thought I'd link to my wife's all-time least-favorite Andy Martello column from The Cheers, "A Write of Passage". This column talks about my first minor tango with writer's block and I thought it to be kind of funny in a complete, random, non sequitur kind of way.
I'm linking as opposed to reprinting here so you can keep it in context with The Cheers and get the benefit of all the silly pictures. I apologize for the messed up punctuation. One of the many oddities with The Cheers is that nobody has the html code know-how to make sure apostrophes and things like that actually STAY IN PRINT! I'm also linking so the folks at The Cheers will be reminded of how cool I am. :)
In Case You Were Wondering
March of the Penguins held steady at #10 in the box office totals last week.
This film is on the fewest screens (around 770) of ALL the other films in the top 10, even the top 20 and yet it continues to draw crowds and amaze the viewers.
If you don't go see this film you clearly have no soul and will likely rot in HELL for all eternity!
A Quick Road Trip
Just got back from Toledo, Ohio. Toledo is the home of the Toledo Mud Hens and my FAVORITE hot dog joint on the planet, Tony Packo's Cafe! I should clarify and say that Packo's is my favorite NON-Chicago-Style hot dog on Earth. You really CAN'T compare Packo's to any other hot dog in the world as they are truly in a category all their own.
Every time I'm near Toledo I try to stop at the actual restaurant, but more often than not I have to settle for going to a local grocery store and buying packages of Packo's hot dogs and sauce to take home. Today I did BOTH! The hot dogs and Chicken Paprikas at the cafe are the BEST. The take home versions totally ROCK, but nothing can compare to being there.
My freezer was reasonably well-stocked on Packo's, but after today's trip I'll be good to go for a long time! Thank GOD for clients wanting the Corporate Plate Spinner!
I even stopped by the Mud Hens park gift shop (The Swamp Shop) and bought a few trinkets for my lovely lady.
Aside from some traffic delays on the way home it was a MOST EXCELLENT DAY! I got to make a living doing what I love. I ate WAY too much of my favorite food. I paid homage to a Minor League baseball team.
Oh yeah, Kim told me I was HOT. Of course, she gets all wet & sweaty for Mr. Clean so I can't really get too excited about that one.
Coolest Autograph Request Yet!
I got this e-mail today from someone at a High School in Uniontown, Ohio. I thought it was pretty darned cool so I thought I'd share it with you.
"Dear Mr. Martello,
We have created a motivational display for our students and we would like to include your response during the 2005-2006 school year. We are requesting some simple "saying" (like: Do what you love and you'll never have to work) that someone once shared with you or that you feel would be good advice to share with today's youth.
If available, we would appreciate an autographed photograph for our display. We ask that you respond to the address below."
OK, am I the only one who is scared at the thought of someone wanting advice from ME to "today's youth"? Honestly, I have much better advice to give than what is represented in the picture I sent, but that advice certainly wouldn't be quite what they're looking for. I mean really, "Never trust THE PILL" wouldn't look good all over some high school mural, right?
Below is the photo I made for them and my all-time favorite quote from ANCIENT (He died on May 13, 1997) jazz musician, Duke Madison.
Duke was a trumpet player who had to be about 140 years old when I met him at a hotel gig in Lexington, Kentucky. I was tagging along with my good friend (and current web designer), David Goldflies. David was the bass player for the Allman Brothers for many years and is one hell of an amazing musician.
He had this little gig subbing for the regular bassist in this tiny combo. The gig was kind of cool. Duke was playing his horn and occasionally singing in front of a piano, drums, & bass. The setting was next to a hotel fountain not far from the bar and there were a few tables scattered throughout the area. There was never many folks listening, but those that were there enjoyed the music they heard.
Duke took quite a liking to me for some reason or another. Musicians always seem oddly fascinated with comedians & variety performers and Duke was no exception. We told road stories to one another, laughed and shared wisdom from our journeys. I was about 20 or 21 at the time and he was very impressed I actually had any stories to tell.
Duke told me many things that day but the one I can never get out of my head is this,"You've got to do what you know before you know what you're doing!"Poetry! Sheer poetry!
A quick web search provides info on how you can help fund the Duke Madison Memorial Scholarship
. Thankfully I have provided you with this link
Below is a scan of the photo I sent out. I went ahead and printed the quote on the picture so it would be easier for you to read. I may use this sheet as a promo piece. Turned out pretty well.
Click Photo to Enlarge