August | 2015 | THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID

Monthly Archives: August 2015

Deciphering The Drunken Notes I Took During a One Direction Concert

There was a groupon for One Direction tickets in Detroit, so naturally a couple of friends and I decided to make a night of it. I’m an OG fan of boybands in general, but don’t know much about One Direction (or others from this current generation) other than the handful of songs that get overplayed on local radio. But we hauled our butts to Detroit with the intention to hit the town a bit beforehand and bask in the teenybopper glory by night. And then we realized the doors opened at 5pm and everything was put in perspective. Cut to a few bottles of wine in the hotel room and three very determined grownup ladies who were running late for 1D fun.

Working up the liquid courage to embark on a teenybopper journey.

Working up the liquid courage to embark on a teenybopper journey.

On our way out, a young girl in the elevator asked if I knew where One Direction was staying. I earnestly asked her if she was tweet-stalking them and immediately wanted to teach her my ways. Between this, and the two 20-year-olds who sat next to us, trying to bond over the fact that we were “all too old to be there”, it was an eye-opening adventure in my own oldness.

I am 30 years old and was about to spend the evening in a stadium full of screaming, hormonal, teenaged girls. So I drank somewhat heavily before the show. And at the show. These are the notes I took in my tiny notebook during the performance:

1. “But…confetti in the middle of the crowd does not equal stage presence.”

2. “They’re just wandering around the stage.”

3. “Oh no. It’s Liam’s birthday. The screams. Which one is Liam?”

4. “Niall maybe plays guitar while the other three literally bop around.”

5. “They’re four songs in. Still no dancing or any semblance of rehearsed show.”

6. “Yes! I enthusiastically jumped in with the one line I knew from that one song!”

**Accidental empty page**

7. “Is this how dumb it seems from the outside? From up here, I’d be better off sitting at home in my underwear, listening to the albums on Spotify instead of paying $23 a drink to pretend it’s impressive for four barely legal Brits to literally wander around for two hours.”

**Starting to get into it, maybe?**

I'd be super happy too, if I were them.

I’d be super happy too, if I were them.

8. “…but the accents. The accents almost make up for anything.”

9. “HARRY THO

10. “Aren’t we letting these boys off easy? They do the bare minimum…”

11. “Welp. Typical boyband formula of “…Nobody loves you like I do”, except that’s all they have. No choreography or stage-shenanigans.”

12. “And the accents. THE ACCENTS.”

13. “Oh, that one is Liam. He says he’s turning 22 today. I feel weird.”

14. “Niall and Louis may need to consult a 2015 hair catalog.”

15. “I would watch two hours of Harry picking out the best avocado at the supermarket.”

Smolder, Harry. Smolder.

Smolder, Harry. Smolder.

16. “I 100% didn’t realize I was old until just now. WTF?”

17. “‘Little Things’ = Ed Sheeran <3” (I don’t know…)

18. “I got gas because my body needed to get something productive out of $45 worth of alcohol.” (Ok…I was referring to burping. I promise.)

And finally 19. “But maybe Liam. Liam Looks like a grownup man, sometimes.”

My tiny notebook actually exists.

My tiny notebook actually exists.

On the way out, I commiserated with the moms. “In our day, boybands danced and put on a damn show!”

The end.

Dead 7: The Inevitable Mashup of Boybands and Zombies

Like everyone else on the internet, I recently read a satirical article titled: “Joey Fatone to One Direction: Everything is About to be Terrible“. I laughed out loud in my office and had to explain my stifled snorts to the neighboring IT guys. I shared the funk out of it, quoting that sassy bit about Chris Kirkpatrick managing a Sacramento Best Buy. Because it seems so likely, it’s extra hilarious. Which is how comedy works.

Later that evening my phone alerted me that someone was embarking on their first ever live Periscope feed. That someone was Chris Kirkpatrick and I stopped everything. I mean everything. I all but threw my half eaten slice of overpriced artisan pizza at my cat’s face as I struggled to command the posture one needs to screenshot a live feed at exactly the right moment. The timing of his reemergence into social media and society in general was impeccable. He was subtly screaming, “I’m not scrambling to cover Travis’s shift at Best Buy, I’m in a dilapidated apartment with Dan Miller of former O-Town fame!” Or, that’s what he would have screamed were he as self-aware as most of the internet believed Joey Fatone to be after they failed to read a byline. Seconds later, I noticed a tweet picturing Erik Michael Estrada, Joey Fatone and Howie Dorough hanging out together in adjacent phone booths. My boyband radar was on full alert. For boyband-beginners, that means O-Town, NSYNC and Backstreet Boys were all making outdated phone calls simultaneously. And somewhere on a gross, deserted road, other O-Town and other NSYNC were hiding in a drippy room and responding to a quickly scrolling onslaught of misspelled greetings. Something was going down. Something big and full of dreamy eyes and left-behind glory days.

The aforementioned screengrab. Boybands Untied.

The aforementioned screengrab. Boybands Untied.

The straw that broke the camel's back.

The straw that broke the camel’s back.

So I investigated. I took to twitter and the ‘gram to figure out if there was something on the horizon that would require me to stock up enough money for five or six different Meet & Greet packages.

Here’s what I learned:

There is no conglomerated mega-tour with enough pelvic thrust to set time back an hour. Which is what I originally hoped. There is, however, a made-for-TV Zombie Western being filmed in Butte, Montana. Which seems both worse and also so much better than the alternative. This film was written and is being directed by Nick Carter, the still-bopping heartthrob of the Backstreet Boys. A self-described lifelong fan of anything Sci-Fi, Nick has always dreamed of putting his nerd knowledge to use and creating something that would confuse and concern grownup boyband fans like myself and go straight to the SyFy channel. Which is exactly what “Dead 7” is set to do.

Hints droppin' all over the interweb.

Hints droppin’ all over the interweb.

Produced by the disturbed geniuses behind the Sharknado franchise, “Dead 7” promises a cast that’s bursting at the seams with dad-bodied pop singers from the early 2000s. Confirmed participants range from The Backstreet Boys’ Howie Dorough, AJ McLean and of course, Nick Carter, as well as Erik Michael Estrada, Trevor Penick and Jacob Underwood from O-Town and Joey Fatone of NSYNC and Bosley Hair Restoration acclaim. Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees caps off the crooning cast, but rumors of Chris Kirkpatrick (NSYNC) and Dan Miller (O-Town) are floating around as a result of my Periscope screen grab and deductive reasoning skills. There was a rogue tweet between Nick Carter and One Direction’s Niall Horan, asking if he’d like to play Nick’s character’s little bro, and there are rumors that Jordan Knight of the incomparable New Kids on the Block is at the top of the casting wish-list, but no confirmations in either camp. Which is disappointing in the way a failure to span literally three decades of boyband bopping can be.

What I gathered as fact is outweighed by the sincere hopes I have for the production, however.

A pretty accurate chart of the expected cast of "Dead 7"

A pretty accurate chart of the expected cast of “Dead 7”

I hope LFO helped write the screenplay, so all of the dialogue rhymes but makes absolutely no logical sense. Hardened cowboys walking around talking to terrified townspeople, saying things like, “Boogaloo Shrimp and pogo sticks, your life is in danger if these zombies don’t quit. Ruby red slippers and a bunch of trees, I’ll drive the horse, just toss me the keys.” If you’ve ever heard LFO’s summer banger, “Summer Girls”, you’re familiar with the complete lack of logic in the verses. And the chorus for that matter. “New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits, Chinese food makes me sick, and I think it’s fly when the girls stop by for the summer.” It’s just a long series of random statements. With any luck, so is this film. 

I hope that every twenty minutes, a baritone bro breaks away from the action and begins a classic boyband soliloquy. Addressing the womenfolk in that low, painfully forced sexiness that Boyz II Men’s Mike made famous, but that BSB’s Kevin Richardson and NSYNC’s Lance Bass continued with fervor. “Girl. You know I’ll always love you. But girl. I can’t go on like this. There are zombies everywhere, girl.” I hope with all my heart that the reunited members of O-Town keep up their gratuitously sexual vibe, and that every six seconds one of them is forced to say a line from the disgustingly named hit, “Liquid Dreams”. One of those zombie ladies is bound to have a body like Jennifer (Lopez), right? I hope, upon hope that any mass zombie killing is done in complete, funky-fresh unison. Except for anyone from 98 Degrees, who will naturally be about two or three beats behind the rest, awkwardly and un-rhythmically stabbing at rotting heads and muttering about “Una Noche”.

My number one hope for this potential cult-hit, however, is just that. That it becomes a cult-phenomenon and serves as a permanent reminder of everything I spent my adolescence (and every day since) obsessing over. A contemporary interpretation of every inch of wall space in my teenage bedroom. Or, if nothing else, proof that nobody should take themselves too seriously. Especially if they’ve ever spent time grinding in unison with four other adult men. Or drooling over those adult men from behind ill-shaped bangs and teenage hormones.

These costumes are confusing.

These costumes are confusing me about whether this is a Panic! At the Disco video or a Zombie movie.

With any luck, the Spice Girls will ride in like the American Cavalry and save the day with Girl Powa.

The End of the Tour: Cue Background (Part Two)

Before you read, check out Part One or the TL;DR (summarized) recap HERE!

endofthetourposter

As I trudged sullenly out of wardrobe and made my way back to the holding room, I had a horrible realization. Not only was my ample rear end wrapping around a thick denim seam in a way that made me extremely aware of my downstairs, but there was no way I was going to be able to sit down in the tiny desk again. Not with the “mom jeans” acting like a splint for my entire bottom half. I had a choice to make. Either I could painfully and slowly lower myself down onto the shiny chair or I could stand alone in the corner, displaying my 90s cameltoe to the room full of post-adolescents. I chose both. Intermittently.

Adding insult to jeans-related injury was my sister’s triumphant return from wardrobe. She was dressed in Mary Janes, tights, a navy corduroy jumper and a delightful cardigan. Her hair was pulled into a side ponytail and her bangs had been slightly curled into her eyeballs. She looked like the adorable-yet-unattainable rich girl who flirts with the professor to get an A. She doesn’t need to. She just wants to know she can. My sister is only three years younger than I am, but for some reason her character was an eager freshman and mine was an aesthetically challenged adjunct professor who didn’t wear makeup and kept her knit stocking hat on, indoors. Or maybe my character was just the hipsteriest hipster of all time. Ahead of the sweaty-head game. Notice how I’m using the word “character” to explain what we were. Rather than just hopeful celeb-stalkers trying to play it cool in the vicinity of Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg. Because that’s what we were, essentially. Just crossing our fingers and hoping to be steered into a spot near Jason’s infectious laugh. The one that sounds exactly like Marshall Eriksen. Who I’m convinced is actually the same person as real life Jason Segel.

If it seems like I’m writing about a bunch of filler and not getting to the juicy bits that were sandwiched in between the director’s shouted calls, it’s because I am. Because we spent 90% of our time on set sitting in the holding room, waiting for instruction and sizing each other up. Cliques formed. Pig heads were impaled on spikes. It was a whole thing. I was beginning to think we’d never get anywhere near a camera or a delightfully tall celebrity when at long last, an assistant to an assistant poked her head in and told us to line up and get ready for our first big scene. Excited murmuring filled the stale air and we marched out into the cold to meet the beginning of our inevitable fame. As we filed into the open air, we were grouped together in sets of “normal college campus clusters”. My sister, the well-dressed ingenue, was lumped in with a group of smokers and directed to stand leisurely outside the building, puffing on the cigarettes anyone and everyone happened to have on their person. I was paired, rather than grouped, with a lovely girl who had had an even harder time in wardrobe than I did. She was chubby, and I mentally dubbed her “other chubby girl”. I, of course, was the first one. Since fabulous fatties flock together, our direction was to cross the street, chatting away and walk toward the building my sister was guarding with a nicotine cloud. While we concentrated super hard on crossing the street, a car containing Jason and Jesse drove past, parked, and the two of them began walking behind us. Maybe there was dialogue, maybe there wasn’t. Everything happened behind our backs, and happened about fourteen times before everyone hit their mark and got it right. This scene, like the others we were lucky enough to be involved in, was just a transition scene. Just the guys, arriving at and walking into the college. Very important for realism. Not a great sign of our chances of actually ending up in the movie.

end-of-the-tour_612x380

More holding room time lead to our second scene of the day. We were grouped and paired again, seemingly arbitrarily, but offensive nonetheless. Some lucky youngsters were chosen to be in an actual scene inside a classroom. They would be playing Jason’s doting students, hanging on his every word in their advanced writing class. I was not chosen. I was an actual student of literature and writing, so clearly I didn’t fit the description. I hope the bitterness comes through in that last sentence. Please take note of it, just in case. Other Chubby Girl was chosen to be inside the classroom, so the director’s assistants had to pair me with someone else of similar physical ineptitude. They paired me with the old lady. You remember her from the first sentence of this adventure, right? She was in her late sixties, at least, and had a crazy look in her eye that would normally be reserved for state fair psychics and caricatures of gypsies.  She didn’t seem to think our pairing was strange, though. She nodded at me knowingly, jostling her wiry, gray hair and getting pumped up to walk hurriedly past a door frame nine or ten times. Which is what we did. I’m fairly sure the two of us never even passed the shining light of the camera, though. So at least the world won’t know parts of a film crew thought I fit in better with an actual witch than college students. Except you. You’ll know.

The final scene of the day was an exciting mix of hurried hallway walking and pantomiming on benches or slouched against a wall. This scene was a bit more complicated and truly tested my acting skills. Rather than just walk aimlessly until someone yelled “CUT!”, I had two marks. One to start on and one to end on. And it had to be exact. Talk about pressure. After we wrapped on the walking filler, yet another of only transition scenes, we started the more complicated task of sitting and pantomiming conversation as Jason and Jesse meandered past us, engrossed in their actual, scripted dialogue. Still up to their cruel tricks, the ones in charge sat me down next to a sixteen-year-old girl. The bench on which we were perched was deep enough for about half of my butt, but definitely not the whole thing. Meaning I had to rely on the musculature of my thighs to keep me in an upright and seemingly sitting position. Another pantomime skill I picked up. The teen and I earnestly discussed our characters before background was cued. I would be her tutor and she a struggling math student. We had subtle hand gestures picked out and a muted conversation based loosely on her asking if I could lend my notes for an upcoming test. We knew we’d be on camera in this one, so we wanted to bring our A-material. We were ready. Once cued, though, the teen lost all motor function and cognitive ability. She began wildly gesturing and mouthing what seemed like only exaggerated vowels. She looked like Sofia Vergara having a seizure. Every time. I was fuming. I tried to talk her down and restore some semblance of human behavior but it was too late. We looked stupid.

Theendofthetour

Like another knife in my already wounded back, I glanced down the hall and noticed my sister had been situated right in front of the two stars. Between each take I witnessed her chatting casually with Jason and Jesse. Conversations I would later learn were about what she did for a living, the fact that I was her sister, and that her and I are the same years apart as Jesse and his sister, of former Pepsi Girl fame. They smiled and waved at me as I tried to tamp down the steam of jealousy and the urge to shove the teen right off the edge of the bench. As a result of my sister’s thrown bone, Jason Segel said “Hello, how are you?” to me as he walked back to his mark between takes. And I almost squeaked out an answer as I contended with the yards of denim that had been firmly lodged inside my body’s many creases.

The day wrapped, and after twelve long hours we returned our wardrobe (though I’m sure fibers from those mom jeans will be with me forever) and sleepily made our way back to our cars and the real world of Grand Rapids. The only spark left in us kept alive by the possibility of seeing our wedgied mom-butts blown up on the silver screen. A possibility that ceased to exist once I finally saw the film.

Our entire 12 hours on set was reduced to approximately 1 minute in the film. There was only about one minute of footage from the school AT ALL, let alone with us trudging around in the background. Remember Jo-bro? He made it in. His smiling face shines brightly (and in focus) from inside the classroom. 16-year-old Sophia Vergara made it as well, but didn’t get enough screen time to share her wild gesturing. My sister was nowhere to be seen at all, but my knee, elbow and at least a fraction of my chin was available for a split second. At least I think that was me. It could have been a disillusioned member of the faculty.