Friday, November 30, 2007

On attending the tale of Sweeney Todd/Some "Enchanted" Evening...

Heya muggles...

So I'm back in action now, and will be blogging furiously this week, and every week from this point on.

We're just gonna get right into it...

Today's blog is going to be about three reasonably zeitgeist-y productions I've taken in recently, and exactly what I thought about them:


Currently the tops at the box office, "Enchanted" is about a classic Disney princess, Giselle (played to perfection by Hollywood's newest and most interesting IT-girl, Amy Adams) who's ripped from her whimsical cartoon kingdom of heritage and thrust into modern-day New York City by the resident evil queen (Susan Sarandon... in a part that should have been played by Glenn "the jaw" Close... every evil female character ever should be played by Glenn Close... but that's neither here nor there...)

She's banished because she falls in love with the Evil Queen's stepson, Prince Edward (played by superfox James Marsden) who fears that Giselle will become queen and steal her throne. Determined to find his true love, Prince Edward transports himself into present day NYC and embarks on a wild goose chase to find her. This is all complicated by the fact that she's shacked up with a kindly divorce lawyer named Robert (played by Patrick Dempsey from Grey's), despite his better judgement.

Anyway - the whole thing is touted as a spoofy, farce-y, parody-y amalgam of every classic Disney fairytale involving a helpless, annoyingly wholesome damsel-type a-la Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, the list goes on and on and on... and it certainly is, for the first half of the film. It's very entertaining in that respect and for that time - seeing exactly how a cartoon princess would fare in present day New York all the while sending up fairy-tale conventions that we're all familiar with... yes.

The second half - and I can tell you EXACTLY where this begins... that fucking musical number in the middle of Central Park - is a different story. It turns into an actual kid's film. Which I was not prepared for at all. It completely lost its edge and turned into a paint-by-the-numbers fairy tale. For the last half-hour of the film, I don't think 30 seconds would go by without me turning to Yerxa next to me and whispering "Ug, well that's retarded..."

Being a kid's film, it was rife with logistical errors, which just drives me fucking nuts... as I'm somewhat of badge-carrying member of the logistic's police... among them:

- The first thing that had me scratching m'head: Where the balls did Prince Edward get money to buy that corned beef on rye sandwich? And various souvenirs? And pay for that hotel room (Furthermore - how did he know what a hotel was)? If Giselle didn't have any money, where the balls did he get it? Yes, since he's a prince, I can imagine he might have been carrying some gold coins, and I'll even go so far as to believe that his royal garments would be emerald and ruby-encrusted... still, one quick scene with him at a currency exchange/ruby appraisal kiosk would have made things that much more believable and that much less irksome for me.

- In the enormous musical number set in Central Park, entitled something like "How Will She Know" - which I just have enough problems with as it is, what with the fact that thousands of park-goers join in her choreographed number in the first place and think nothing of it, but I'll subscribe to that particular fantasy and stick to one gripe - in that song, she seems to speak-sing of a lot of dating/relationship nuances that wouldn't be factors in her native kingdom... "wearing a colour that will match her eyes" (cartoon's only have 1 outfit! That's a well-established fact!)... "dedicate a song to her" (on what radio station in your cartoon kingdom, asshole?)... and others... again... irksome...

- Idina Menzel was playing a winsome, romantic lead. WHAT THE BALLS WAS THAT ALL ABOUT? Giselle's wicked stepsister? I could certainly believe that. Bitchy salesgirl at Donna Karan who refuses to sell anything to Giselle a-la "Pretty Woman"? Totally could have played that. Kind-hearted garbage lady who points Giselle in the right direction of 37th street? Abbbsolutely. But not as the rival love-interest! I find her face so unusual... she has this really unappealing 'resting face' that she makes... what I mean by 'resting face', is the mug that she makes when she's not speaking or substantially reacting to other dialogue/action... it's this sneer or snarl or something... allow me to demonstrate:

Anyway... I enjoyed it enough, I guess. Amy Adams was frickin' amazing. Honestly... I can attest right here, right now that there have been two times this year that my pants have been charmed clear off me... once back in May, c/o this Norse fellow I met, and this particular night watching Amy Adams as Princess Giselle. She played everything heartbreakingly earnest and will no doubt be a lock for Best Actress, Comedy or Musical, come Golden Globes-time.

I don't know as if I'd watch it again, however. If I do, it'll ONLY to check out the deleted scenes to see if one of them shows Prince Edward visiting a currency exchange.

2.) SWEENEY TODD, live, at the Princess of Whales Theatre

Regarded as the holy grail of haute concept musical theatre, Sondheim's Sweeney Todd has a following amongst musical theatre nerds that borders on fetishistic. I can remember it was introduced to me via my first year drama teacher, Tim Fort, and that's precisely how I'd describe his fascination with it.

At any rate - it tells the tale of a famously talented barber Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street in turn-of-the-century Londontowne, who's back from a wrongfully-served stint in jail and vows revenge on the general population of London via slitting their throats when they're in his barber's chair. He's aided and abetted in this by his landlady Mrs. Lovett who turns their bodies into meat pies that are being gobbled up like hot cakes. That analogy would have been so much smoother if she had in fact baked them into hot cakes and not meat pies. OR if the expression was "they're selling like meat pies". Either/Or.

It was good. Not reeeally my thing - when I go to the musical theatre, I tend to be money-shot oriented... a-la flashy dance numbers and big black diva belting big notes like their life depended on it. This had neither. But it did have hot bitch Judy Kaye - pictured to the right. She played Mrs. Lovett, fresh off the heels of playing her on Broadway.

Do you know who Judy Kaye is? She's the original Carlotta from "Phantom of the Opera" - she won the Tony for that. So I automatically loved her for that fact alone. But she was pretty fierce and really funny. At the curtain call, everyone else in the cast was taking their bows very solemnly with a piercing stare and stiff upper-lip, and she comes flouncing out and does this grand curtsy, mouths "thank you" several times and waves to the balcony... I was like "LOVE HER!"...

What I didn't love was the fact that the entire cast was on stage for the ENTIRE show. And what's worse? They were supplying the instrumentation for the show... yes... the band was the cast, and the cast, the band... holy fuck. It was amazing, don't get me wrong. I just felt annoyed for the actors. I can remember when I was in my last year of high school, I was in a Sears Festival play (those of you who did drama in high school in Ontario know exactly what I'm talking about) called "10 Lost Years". Holy fuck. Wow.

It was a play about the depression in Canada. And it was called "10 Lost Years". Don't you just wanna fucking see it right now?! Ug. It was a play comprised of a bunch of random monologues and vignettes about depression life and featured an enormous (like, 25+) company of 15-18 year-old Brockvillian (read: uniformly white) youth, dressed like fucking hobos. And when we were not involved in a vignette or monologue, WE HAD TO STRIKE A TABLEAU IN THE BACKGROUND. Which means that for upwards to and including 20 minutes at a time, you could be frozen in a position pretending to read the newspaper or scrub something on a washing board. Have an itchy ball sack? Well it's gonna be a long evening for you my friend. It was excruciating.

Side note: In one of the performances of "10 Lost Years", a chair I was sitting on explosively collapsed and I was sent barrelling across the stage. It was hilarious. And I know that video footage of it exists somewhere - I recall Paul Roy captured it with his digital camera (what I have to assume was the first digital camera ever made, seeing as it was 2000)... I'd really like to see that shit...

Anyballs - THIS is why I felt so uncomfortable for the company of Sweeney Todd. I was like "AHHHH!!! THEY MUST BE SO BORED!!! I'd shoot myself in the head if I had to do that!". But I guess some people who are really committed to 'the craft' will do anything. I certainly wouldn't. This is why I'm not an actor. I couldn't care less about contributing to the effect of a tableau... alls I care about the applause and the star-fuckers. It's a good life.

So yeah... I think Sweeney's out of here soon... so go check it out before it flies the coop... or just go see the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp movie when it comes out... whatevs...

Thirdly: 2 GIRLS, 1 CUP


Make no mistake about it.

For the few, privelaged members of the human race who have not seen this, DON'T.

2 Girls, 1 Cup is the newest viral-video sensation sweeping the cyber-nation. It involves one girl full-tilt shitting into a cup, then sexily dining on it with her best girlfriend. Yeah.

I'm not sure how this became the sensation that it has. People involving their own fecal matter in sexual lisasons is nothing new - Scat porn has been around for quite some time. I'm not so sure why this one has taken off the way that it has. I'm going to have to assume it's because of how regular that chick is... that shiz came out of there like chocolate soft-serve... shoooot...

Anyway - just thought I'd mention it. I'll probably talk about it tonight, as I'm at the Rivoli and it's all-new material night, and I have no idea what I'm going to talk about.

Anyballs... smell ya later,

--- Aj

Friday, November 23, 2007

dalaS hctiB

Oy, muggles... I'm such an asshole... it's been WELL over a week...

And WHAT a week. Sorry I've been so MIA... in that I've been Missing In Action, not MIA as-in I'm an Indian female rap star (which I kind of am, so...)

As you may have gleamed, this past Tuesday saw the third installment of Bitch Salad bow. And what a bow! Does that even make sense? I'm just saying "WHAT a ____" emphatically for the sake of it. God, I'm such an asshole!... And what an asshole! ... I'll stop.

So I fully intended to make some sort of blog advertising that I had nude pictures of some actor or something as I normally do the day-of a Salad, but I didn't even have enough time to do THAT. It was intense.

Anyway - brief breakdown of the Bitches, a picture of them and I and what I said about them...

Firstly, Yerxa - who runs Front of House and introduces me before I go on (because if Bitch Salad is one thing, it's a family affair) - introduced me this evening as "Miss Golden Globes 2008"... which is funny, but a lot of people didn't get beyond it just sounding weird... the singular reason why it's funny is because that Miss Golden Globes 2008 has just been announced as being the unspeakably hideous Bruce Willis/Demi Moore collaboration, their eldest daughter Rumer Willis. Anyway...

Up first of the evening was Michelle Shaughnessy - whom I've known for like ever... well, not forever, but it kind of seems that way at this point... Anyway, it's kind of a habit (not a bad habit, per se, but not a good one either) of mine to talk about how long I've known friends of mine 'in the business' like I'm this 80-year-old former showgirl when in fact I've been 'in the business' for less than 2 years.

But I must subconsciously get off on doing that shit. It's actually nuts. So I pushed it full throttle and pretended to suck back a Viscount Mild (an old-lady cigarette, is my understanding) and was like "me and this gal go back to when we was both hoofers in the chorus back in the depression... turns out we share an ex-husband... OR 5... but alls well that ends well - one day we was sittin' next to each other at the slot machines and we just picked up where we left off..." - I was only sort-of kidding. I actually can't wait until I can say things like that for real. And I know that that's exactly what WILL happen to Michelle and I, specifically. See ya at the slots, Mich!

After Michelle's killer (albeit lengthy) set, I relayed an anecdote that Michelle had told me recently... a 'road story' of sorts that really illustrates the double-standard that women face in comedy... Michelle - whose act is very well-written and deals frankly with a whole whack of sexual topics - was on a gig recently with a headliner who's humour is renowned for ranging from demented to downright distasteful, and after the show, they're told "yeah... the girl was too dirty". A common gripe that female comics hear, when in fact they've been considerably tamer than their male counterparts. That actually gets me angry... and also fascinates me... You could say it angrinates me... much like the Fred Phelps' Army of Christians, but that's another blog for another time (hint: Next week! Yay!)...

Up next was Second City main stage mainstay, most recently seen on CTV's "Comedy Inc.", Aurora Browne.

Love, love, love, LOVE, love this girl. Met her pretty much exactly one year ago when she co-hosted the 'Cream of Comedy' gala and hit it off immediately. So comfortable were we, that - despite specific instructions by the producer's not to go into either her or other host Gavin Crawford's dressing rooms - I full-tilt used her bathroom. BUT SHE DIDN'T CARE BECAUSE WE'ZE JUST THAT FUCKING TIGHT, Y'ALL.

Yeah, she totally didn't know... but anyway - when I booked Aurora, who's a prolific sketch comedian and brilliant improviser, I asked her to do whatever solo piece she wanted to... somehow assuming that every improviser/sketch comedian had such a piece to execute on whim. I was wrong. DEAD WRONG. Well, not dead wrong... turns out this particular night would mark Aurora's standup debut. Which is just crazy. CRAZY! Anyway - it went famously. With guitar in hand, she literally riffed on a story involving feces (bum rain, anyone?) and abortion that would have made Sarah Silverman blush, Joan Rivers faint and well, let's not even talk about what it would do to Phyllis Diller. Whoa.

Anyway - at one point during the show I had made some joke about how I always circulate a memo amongst the comics to exclude any 'menses material' (which totally isn't true... well, that is to say it 'wasn't' true... it's totally getting put in place after this particular evening...), however, despite this rule, or perhaps in spite of this rule, Aurora went there. THERE. And following an impromptu protest by me in the back, she said something to the effect that I was spewed out of my mother's vagina in some bloody cyclone myself or something... to which my mother, conveniently present at this show, bolted up and hollered at me "That's not true! You can tell her you were born by C-Section!"...

And I did. And the jokes on who? Aurora Browne, that's who.

Up third was poster girl for MILF's everywhere, the divine, hilarious Shelley Marshall. I always describe Shelley as "Roseanne" from Roseanne meets "Karen Walker" from Will & Grace... and it's so true.

I entered Shelley to Li'l Mama's "Lip Gloss" - y'know, thinking she was really sassy and peppy and fierce and that song was also really sassy and peppy and fierce and ohhhh it was just a perfect combination. The first thing out of Shelley's mouth as soon as she gets on stage: "What the FUCK is this music? I don't know that fucking song!" Anyway... that showed me...

Shelley powered through an unbelievably tight set, as per usual and earned the invisible trophy of being my momz' favourite act of the night, as a matter of fact. Which speaks well on both of them... I think.

The next act of the night is one of my favourite comics-nay-PEOPLE in the universe... Miss Sara Hennessey...

Sara is the only "Sara" I know who doesn't spell her name with an "H" at the end, I think. They're very hard to come by. Like flying squirrels, or white tigers, or certainly white flying squirrels with stripes reminiscent of a tiger.

I remember Sara first came to my attention - and I can't even believe I remember/saw this, but I do/did - when she was profiled alongside two other 'up & coming' comedians as part of CTV's documentary/news magazine show called W5.

The story was on Humber Comedy School and a young, plucktacular Sara Hennessey was in her first semester, first year.

The show followed these three around - witnessing their pitfalls and getting a lot of definitive, serious quotes like "I know I'm gonna make it... this is my destiny" and shit.

I can't remember too much about her besides that I thought she was very interesting... and they also showed her at the Rivoli one night bombing and seeking counsel backstage from Jason Rouse. And then he pooped on her head or something like that crazy, foxy fellow Rouse would do.

Anyballs, Sara has reeeeally blossomed in the past couple of years. I just adore her style. Anyone who's seen her can tell you - it's conversational, and absurd, yet not crazy. She's very in control but not at all theatrical. It's really hard to describe but I absolutely love her style and her humour and can't think of anyone else I've ever seen like her. ANYBALLS - she killed it! KILLED it! Fucking fantastic and just a delight for me to see ---

Next up we had our running character piece c/o Kirsten Gallagher. This time around: Twiggy. Yes. Coming to dish on the finals of America's Next Top Model, Cycle 9, currently down to it's final 4 (but final 6 at this time last week). And MY OH MY wasn't that fucking timely, what with Twiggy announcing her departure from the show and all... to be replaced by Paulina Poriskova-a.k.a.-WHOTHEFUCK? Yeah. Anyway...

Final act of the night was one of my most favourite human beings in the history of molecules - LAURIE ELLIOTT!!!

God DAMN I love this woman. You'd be very hard-pressed to find someone in comedy that doesn't. She's one of the foremost comedians in Canada - she's won virtually every award given to comics in this country, a mainstay on every television show that features comics in this country and just an incredible, adorable, innovative live act that everyone should see.

Beyond that - she's also one of the nicest people you'll ever meet in your life... I oft - YES, OFT - relay this anecdote about her: Ages ago, back in the bad ol' days when I used to bus up from Kingston (when I was at Queens) to Toronto to do the odd open-mic gig, I did this room called "The Pirate Video Cabaret", which was at Clintons. I think this might have been like my third time on stage in Toronto or something... anyway, Laurie was hosting this particular night, so it was my first time meeting her, natch. I'm sure I talked her ear off and was my typical overeager-nay-insufferable self with zeal shooting out of every known hole in/on my body, but she was just effortlessly patient and nice to me. I was on first - I had never been on first before - and after she did her requisite MC preamble, she introduced me... I'll never forget it: "Our first guest of the evening, I've never seen him before, but I get a really good vibe off of him... please welcome Andrew Johnston!"... I came on, bursting with energy (that was my thing), doing the same 7 minutes that I'd done to reasonably warm reception at every previous open-mic I'd done... and bombed. BOMBED. Wow. My Lai stylez. It was nuts. It was 7 minutes of silence. To get a feel for what that's like, I implore you - tomorrow, corral 3 or so people around you, instruct them to remain entirely silent, set your watch, and go "Blah blah blah" for 7 minutes. Yeah. Anyway...

I slinked out of there feeling EXACTLY like Bridget Jones did from that Tarts 'N Vicor's party in the first cinematic installment of her adventures. [Editor's Note: I was also going to draw comparison to Elle Woods' similar scenario in "Legally Blonde", but she got to deliver a clever burn to Selma Blair's character before she left, thereby redeeming herself. There was no redemption in my case.] Anyway, as I was slinking away, Laurie grabbed me, told me 'good set' (LIES!!!!) and said it was good to meet me. She totally didn't need to do that - God knows I avert my gaze whenever I pass by someone who hasn't done well - but she did. And my little amateur comic self appreciated that immeasurably.

Anyway - that's partly why I love Laurie. Even though she did menses material... She reminisces about jumping up and down on her bed singing along to Donna Summer's "She Works Hard For The Money" (why I didn't enter her to this, I don't know) and then suddenly realizes she got her period for the first time... I let it slide...

Following the show, we went out for karaoke at Crews.

This was made especially special due to the company that accompanied us. [Editor's Note: Could I actually not think of adjectives and verbs that didn't contain fragments of themselves within themselves? My God. I'm going insane. I blame the exorbitant amount of sheep embryos I've been breakfasting on lately, but that's neither here nor there...]

Most especial of all? ASHLEIGH JEFFREY! To the small handful of you who know who she is that read this: YES! ASHLEIGH JEFFREY IS ALIVE! She's married, teaching high school drama in Barrie AND has a fucking KID! NUTS! Ashleigh played the Narrator in the production of "Rocky Horror" that I was in back when I was in first year at Queen's... so nigh on SEVEN years ago this spring. Fuck.

I had been trying to track her down for years, but 0.0 people had her contact info. It was actually terrifying. I thought I would have to hire a private detective whose services had been used by the likes of Montell Williams or something... but, thanks to the wonder and glory of Facebook, we reconnected. So good to see her. SO good. She's fucking brilliant - one of the funniest and most talented people I've ever met... and apparently could have used the night out - she was the life of the party at Crews! Let me tell ya...

Although the official life of the party award had a few people vying for it...

Among them, Dini D - who did me both the pleasure and the honour of singing a revisionist take on Barry Manilow's "Mandy" to me, entitled simply, "Andy"... it was one of the highlights of my year and I'm not even kidding...

Here's Dini D, Me and Kitty stealing the signature armpit pose right from under that filthy bastard Beyonce's nose... and arm pits... whatever...

Other karaoke selection highlights of the evening, if memory serves, came in the form of Heidi flavouring us with "Jimmy Ray" (who wants to know? Remember that song? It was awesome!), me recounting the parable of "McArthur Park" and of course, Ashleigh's rousing rendition of "Groove Is In The Heart".

I would be remiss, however, if I did not make mention of Michael Yerxa's tribute to the men and women of IATSE - the official union of Broadway stagehands - when he took to the stage and delivered a heart wrenching version of "Under The Sea" from The Little Mermaid to them and their cause.

It was magical.


That's about it.

I'm sorry I've dropped the ball about blogging of late.

I promise to not only pick up the ball, but squeeze it firmly and jostle it tenderly-yet-sensationally in my mouth for the yuletide season.

I'm working on some sort of "12 Blogs of Christmas" type-thing... it should be festive... and more importantly, exclusive to those of you who celebrate Christmas. SNAP!


Tomorrow: I saw "Enchanted" and "Sweeney Todd" (the live musical, currently on at the Princess of Whales... not the movie... which I certainly won't be seeing after seeing the live show... but that's precisely what I'll be talking about tomorrow...)

Only 4 Models Remain,

--- Aj

Monday, November 19, 2007

Nobody Puts Aj In The Corner...

Really? REALLY? Is that the best that I could come up with? Really... hmmm...

Heya muggles... long time no see... this is the blog that I've been trying/intending to write since last fucking Thursday but for one reason or another 12, haven't been able to...


Wednesday night saw a small but effective sendoff for none other than everyone's dear friend, Aaron Kyte. Kyte rolls in the hustle and bustle world of regional musical theatre, and shipped his ass off to the Maritimes where he's in yet another production of "Anne of Green Gables" or SOMETHING maritime-y like that...

Good times --- We all sat around and tallied our lists of sexual partners so far in the '07 and each and every one of us (except for this lone engaged dude in the group) turned out to be far over our initial estimations. Highlight of this was when one April Wozniak needed to call her roommate to crunch some numbers she wasn't sure of... apparently, Wozniak has a sexual accountant. We should all be so lucky.

It's funny because in heterosexual scenarios of compiling a list of sexual partners that's surprisingly high, straight men would make their list, embellish it to high Haiti and dispense high fives and back-patting amongst each other, whereas straight women would shed a single tear, cross their legs, shotgun another glass of Baby Duck and repeat to themselves in their head, "WHO'S GOING TO LOVE ME WHEN I'M OLD?!?!?!"

Gay dudes (and their gay male friends trapped in a woman's body) are somewhere in the middle of that. I can't say there's not high fives and back-patting, but I can't say there's this overwhelming sense of accomplishment either... weird...

Anyballs, I think at some point someone said "story of my life" - that's the only way I can reason this coming up - and the whole "let's title the story of our lives as if they were made-for-TV-movies on the Lifetime: Television for Women network!" conversation came up.

Long time followers of this blog might recall a post I made over a year ago when, inspired by seeing advertisements for "Life Is Not A Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story", I casted my own Lifetime biopic, entitled "The Weight of Whimsy: The Andrew Johnston Story", and stocked the film with Lifetime regulars playing key people in my life. I don't recall any of my friends being terribly happy about their casting decisions... they'd all be like "Joaquin Phoenix should play me! Scarlett Johanssen should play me!" and I'm like "Number A.) Yeah, you reeeally overestimate how attractive you are and B.) I don't have Joaquin Phoenix or Scarlett Johanssen money! The reason that I cast you as Gabrielle Carteris is because that's all I can afford!".

Anyway, I think I turned this into a bit at some point (and promptly dropped it because it just wasn't working) whose 'punchline' revolved around naming Jeffrey Dahmer's hypothetical Lifetime biopic "The Heart Wants What It Wants: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story"... and then when I'd get groans for the audience, I'd scold them and say "Hey! You don't know what was going on inside his head... ... or his heart..." and I'd find it entirely entertaining because I'm thoroughly demented but others didn't and obla di obla da...

So yes. We revisited this idea on Wednesday night, and sniffed that Lifetime regular Meredith Baxter-Birney would be cast as Jeffrey Dahmer because bitch is in EVERYTHING Lifetime produces. Then I said I'd photoshop what that would look like - WHICH I TOTALLY DID TO THE LEFT, TO THE LEFT - and voila... I found a new, more effective way to photoshop people's faces onto things... and I just can't fucking get enough of it, let me tell ya... I honestly can't go half an hour without putting one of my friends' faces on someone else's body... it's disgusting and I might need help... but that's neither here nor there...

Following this biopic conversation, an interesting question was posed to the group: Would you have gone home with Jeffrey Dahmer? Because he wasn't unattractive - many serial killers aren't. Don't quote me, but I recall that Ted Bundy was a pussy magnet-nay-pussy electro-magnet.

Anyway, we all concluded that we totally would have gone home with Jeffrey Dahmer. And we got into specifics, too, as to how it would all play out. I was like, in dead earnestness, "Well, I wouldn't have gone up to him, he would have had to come up to me, because I'm kinda a shy. And like, I wouldn't really be that responsive to him at first because I'm sure I'd have other options to entertain - he'd be like my Plan C for the night. But then if he was like 'hey, are you on Video On Trial? You're really funny.' BAM!" There y'have it. I would have gone home with Jeffrey Dahmer and all that would be left of one Andrew Johnston would be my pickled genitals encased in a jar of preservational acid in the D-Bomb's pantry. It's just that simple.

So that was gruesome, and that was Wednesday.

Thursday I attended the North American premiere of "Dirty Dancing" - the classic movie adapted for the stage, presented by Mirvish Productions, whom I work for. Did I like it? Did I not like it? It really doesn't matter what the fuck I think because as long as I am under the employ of David Mirvish, every bead of sweat that comes off the man's brow is genius as far as I'm concerned.

Anyballs... I had never seen the movie before - I know, I know... it just never appealed to me. I knew of the iconic scenes, though... the lift, the armpit tickle, the crawling thing, the line "nobody puts baby in the corner", of course I knew of the Bill Medley/Jennifer Warnes classic "I Had The Time Of My Life"... but what I DIDN'T know was that the catalyst for this entire movie was this one bitch needing time off to go git' an abo'. And no one else could cover for her. So really, Frances "Baby" Houseman owes her entire self-actualization to Penny's aborted fetus. Butterfly effect? YOU decide!

The after-party was another deal all together. Holy fuck. Held at Circa, it was the open-est bar in the history of open bars. Holy fuck. I'm really looking forward to the day that I can go to an open bar and merely wet my whistle as opposed to drowning my horn, as it were... because y'all, I'm still rockin' the restraint of my 18-year-old self at these things. Wow. Anyway, it was fun. From what I remember. Unfortunately, I really can't remember much beyond talking to this woman from The Russian/Jewish Times (picture Golde from "Fiddler on the Roof"... yeah) and it is just beyond me how I got home that night. Whoosh.

Friday was a black hole of a day. You know when you get so obscenely hammered and should have puked but didn't so instead it feels like you've been on raft in the middle of an angry sea for decades? That was me. I don't know how I did it, but I went into work, ailing like I can't remember. And then slept soundly from 5 PM that day to 11 AM the next.

Saturday was quite uneventful as well - we went to some party at my friends' new bf's place. Then left it. Then made last call at Buddies. It was quite a motley crew there, unsurprisingly.

Last night was a first for me. In a few respects.

I was at Yuk's last night to play for some dude's PENSION party. Yes. His name was Bob, he had turned 65 and was receiving his pension. And I was on the bill to entertain him. Ha-Cha-Cha. So the entire set that I wanted to do was thrown clear out da winda, and I had to improvise.

Thank GOD I checked DListed that day and remembered one of the Birthday sluts who had also turned 65 that very day. I have a bit where I ask if it's anyone's birthday, then tell them who they share a birthday with and say I was it on Entertainment Tonight Canada and then do a bit on that - whatever... the important thing is that I had ONE morsel of common interest dialogue with this pension celebration. I was like "Bob, do you know who you share the EXACT same birthday with? None other than star of "Dynasty", Linda Evans. She too, turns 65 years young today."

And this got a fucking applause break. For real - it was BIG NEWS for these people. And I was like "I think I can safely say that this was the one and only time that dropping Linda Evans' name will have ever resulted in applause at Yuk Yuk's..." Anyway. It was hilarious to me.

But what's gonna be hilarious to YOU?!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Tickets are $7 and available at the door. I'd show up early. Like AT 8. I have a lingering suspicion that seating is going to be an issue tomorrow. Hmmm...

Anyway - see you tomorrow night! Yay!

--- Aj

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You Told Harpo To Beat Me?!


I watched "The Colour Purple" for the first time this weekend, and I've kind of become obsessed - er, pardon me - I'ZE kind of become obsessed, mista.

"The Colour Purple" is an epic tale from the pen of Alice Walker - the quintessential be-dreadlock'd, cowell neck sweater-wearing, over sized gold jewellery-sporting African American poetess/noveless - and starred both Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey in both their Oscar-nominated feature film debuts. The story centres around Celie - a poor, shy, unattractive black girl living in Georgia at the turn of the century who's raped and impregnated by her 'Pa not a'once but a'two time, then finally sold off to a man named 'Mister' (Danny Glover) to be his mammy.

I always thought a mammy was just an olde-tymey black maid a-la Mammy in "Gone With The Wind" or mayhaps Aunt Jemima, but apparently it's just like a being a wife against your will. So there's no pretense that they weren't strictly there to cook, clean, look after the chil'lins, and have sex whenever and wherever they massa done pleased so. Quaint.

Anyballs... the story follows Celie's journey to build her self-esteem in spite of Mister always trying to knock her down. She's flanked by a colourful cast of characters - none more colourful than "Shug"... a juke-joint chanteuse who doubles as Mister's mistress and apparently as Celie's lesbian lover, although that storyline isn't explored in the film.

At first I was all, "this is Brutal Rapefest 2007", but then I grew to love it; particularly whenever Oprah's character 'Sofia' punched someone in the face. That was pretty awesome...

*Sigh*. Add 'Sofia' in "The Colour Purple" onto the pile of roles that I should play but improbably (but not impossibly) won't.

I'm so obsessed with "The Colour Purple" that Monday night when I was at a show, this girl walked by wearing some unusual pants and I was heard to remark, "Look! That girl's wearing Miss Celie's Folkpants!"... I'm not exactly sure what "Folkpants" are, but they NEED to make a come back. Are you listenin', Old Navy? Good.

I might actually read the book now, my interest is that piqued. Or, at the very least, pen my own seminal coming-of-age novel about black women growing up in the south at the turn of the century. Only this time: it's THEM doing the raping. *HIGH FIVE*!

Anyballs... sorry I haven't blogged in the past two days... Monday I needed to tape a host audition for yet another Slice Network show... I can't wait until I find out how the cards fall with that one so I can tell you the premise of the show... it's a real hum dinger, let me tell ya...

Monday was Remembrance/Veteran's (well, the successful Veterans) day, and I meant to do a blog on that... so meh... full steam ahead.

I didn't wear a poppy this year. I don't know as if I ever wore a poppy. I'm sure I must have because I sort of flinch whenever I see someone put one on, which leads me to believe that I pricked myself with its unguarded pin-point at some point. Yes, I'm sure that's why, so yeah, I totally did.

Veteran's Day in the states is supposed to be about celebrating all the Veterans, but it's so not. It's only about celebrating the successful ones from World War's I and II, and the Korean War. Fuck Vietnam and super-fuck the misadventures in the Middle East. On that note, not much fan fare is made about the troops in Afghanistan here in Canada where we have Remembrance Day. But certainly fan fare and a solemn trumpet solo is well deserved to commemorate the lives lost fighting Nazis and the like.

Apparently I have an uncle, still alive, who was a war hero. Apparently he escaped from a Nazi camp. I know I've met him before - he seems pretty cheerful and quiet. Not the type that screams "I ESCAPED FROM A NAZI CAMP MOTHERFUCKER!!! I CAN KILL YOU WITH MY BARE HANDS!!!"... I don't actually know the specifics... every time my father - a bona fide war-history buff and card-carrying Civil War re creationist - tries to tell me, he falls into some never ending tangent about something loosely connected to the war, but ultimately related to the Civil War... then I say I have to go to the bathroom BUT TOTALLY DON'T... I just fucking leave and go watch TV or something. I'm such an asshole.

What makes me more of an asshole? On the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of this year, I was not having a moment of silence. No No. I was watching Whoopi Goldberg confront Laura Ingraham about free speech on "The View". Well, I was being silent. So I guess that counts.

And I'm sure I listened to the song "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" at some point during the day, and I certainly know all the words to it, so there's that. OH! And just last week a bunch of us watched "A League Of Their Own" for the zillionth time... which is a wartime movie, so that counts as commemoration, too!

We decided several things while watching this: A.) We're going to adapt "A League Of Their Own" for the Broadway stage, B.) We're going to approach Kylie Minogue about writing the score/using her existing songbook and re-writing the lyrics and C.) Cast it using our friends...

Here's how the cards fell:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

As team Chaperone Miss Cuthbert, Gail...
As 2nd basewoman Vivian Ernst, Kirsten...
As outfielder 'Mumbles' Brockman, Sheanna...
As pug-faced powerhouse hitter Marla Hooch, Kyte...
As heartbroken widow Betty "Spaghetti" Horn, Anth...
As 'Queen of Diamonds' Dottie Hinson and spotlight-stealing kid sister Kit Kellar, real-life sisters Meaghan and Heidi Brander!...
As beauty-queen turned shorstop Ellen-Sue Gotlander, Nicole Arbour...
As 1st basewoman/coffee-maker extraordinaire Helen Hayley, Muff...
As hardened team captain and has-been baseball legend Jimmy Dugan, Lariss...
As outfielder Connie Calhoun, Dini Dimakos...
As former dime-a-dancer "All The Way" Mae Mordabito, ME...
As surly 3rd basewoman Doris Murphy, Yerxa...
As Saskatchewanese centrefielder Alice "Skeeter" Gaspers, Deano...
As outfielder Neezer Dalton, Marianne...
As rightfielder and Stillwell's mother Evelyn Gardner, April Wozniak...
As shortstop Marbleann "Beans" Babbit, Andrea Caswell...
As recovering illiterate Shirley Baker, Katherine "Kitty" Ryan...

Phew. That took a lot out of me.

Also... LESS THAN 1 WEEK AWAY!!!!!!!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

It's gonna be huge. Look for an interview I did with Paul Bellini in tomorrow's Fab magazine!!!

--- Aj

Friday, November 09, 2007

Hocus Poke-us Retrospecticus

Is it Friday already?

I meant that facetiously... this has been the longest week EVER... and it's ooonly getting longer...

Well no, it's not really. It's effectively over today after I'm done postering the village and the gym. I might stay in tonight. I haven't decided. I probably won't, but I might.

This is boring. I'm sorry.

Now...... an unfashionably late recount of our annual Hallowe'en fete two weeks ago, "Hocus Poke-us"... with you penis!

Every year, it seems, the costumes get more and more brilliant and more fun is had... this year was in fine keeping with that rule...

Here's Kyte and Gail as Pete Doherty and Wonder Woman, respectively.

Gail opted for a classic, straight-forward approach, channelling Lynda Carter, and let's be honest... who the fuck can't appreciate that?

Kyte, on the other hand, kept it current as male trainwreck-du jour Pete Doherty, dousing himself in artificial vomit whose recipe I can't remember, but it was very well thought-out.

Something tells me it had maple syrup in it, but don't quote me...

Here's the lovely April Wozniak paying homage to the lovlier Divine... John Waters' muse and "Edna" in the original film version of "Hairspray".

They broke the mold when they made April Wozniak, let me tell ya.

While every desperate bitch and her mother was dressing up like a sexy cat this Hallowe'en, April Wozny up and does THIS - BRILLIANT!

And a rather obscure reference, too.

Meh. If someone didn't know who Divine was, we just told them she was Anna Nicole Smith and they were very rarely any the wiser...

Here's Anth and Cliffy Richie as Prince and Pugsley from "The Addams Family", respectively.

Well, I think Anth might be a cross betwixt Prince and a stunned marmasat... he's got a very wide-eyed, rainforrest creature look about him in every photo that I schnapped of him... Hmmm.

Cliffy Richie's not the only homo I saw donned in Pugsley-gear this year... Not that it was this super-popular costume or anything, but I guess I'm just surprised that it was go-to for more than one... Again, hmmm...

Dinilightful DiniLicious Dimakos hit the nail on the head as Britney Spears, present day.

From the cheetos to the Venti Frappucino, there was absolutely no mistaking her.

Methinks the only thing that would have made it more obvious that she was Britney Spears would have been for her to walk around naked from the waist down holding a chandelier catalogue.

Because if there's one thing that Britney Spears loves, it's chandeliers, apparently...

Here's Muff and I as just a regular-old Policewoman and Yacht captain (I FINALLY GOT A CAPTAIN'S HAT!!! SCORE!!!), respectively.

We weren't anyone specific, but if pressed, I guess you could say that I was "Sexy Gavin McLeod from The Love Boat" and she was "Sexy Cagney AND/OR Sexy Lacey"...

Whatever lets ya sleep at night...

The award for costume of the night, however, could have gone two very different, distinct ways...

A.) Heidi Brander as Zanessa - Zac Efron and Vanessa Anne Hudgens...

Yeah. It's pretty fucking brilliant. Agreed.

One side: Basketball champ Troy Bolton - Zac Efron's character from the "High School Musical" franchise...

The other: Plentifully-beaved superskank Vanessa Anne Hudgens... Zac Efron's current beard and co-star from HSM...

The one problem I have with this is that she had to include a bikini and didn't rock a googly-eye nipple and makeshift pubis.

So for that, Brander, you don't get costume of the night...

Sorry... but never underestimate the power of correct pubic hair configuration replication when putting together a costume...

I used to draw boardwalk chariacatures - you know those drawings you get done of yourself where your head is exponentially bigger than your body and you're doing something like go-karting or skateboarding? Yeah... I used to do those... - and I always realized that replicating the persons hair was the thing that really brought it all together...

I guess same rule applies to pubic hair configuration and Hallowe'en costumes...

Anyballs, the out-and-out star of the night also happened to be the host of the fete - Yerxa as Amy Winehouse...



... Yes.

Which one is which is what I wanna know - who's with me?

Yerx actually looked good as Amy Winehouse, which was terrifying...

Like, it was a very becoming look on him...

And because of that, here's one more...

Behold: Amy Winehomes.

You don't see his ballet slippers in it, but you get the point.

Best story that may embarrass Yerx but is just to funny not to tell:

The moment I saw this bitch I was like, "You're totally going to pick up as Amy Winehouse. It's totally going to happen".

And it totally did. Kicker: Leaving the dude's house in the morning, which was November 1st, he discovers his Metropass has expired - fucking Metropasses... -

So he gotta WALK HOME AS AMY WINEHOUSE in the unforgiving autumn morning sun...

Kicker on top of the previous kicker: one of his ballet slippers broke the night previous, so he had to walk home Cinderella stylez...

Anyway... that's it... have a good weekend everybody... and remember - 10 DAYS AWAY FROM THE NEXT BITCH SALAD!!!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

--- Aj

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Haute Topics

Okay... let's get down to bidness...


Yes. You really did read that right. On one of her increasingly few days of visitation with her children, Sean Preston & Jayden James, bitch left them in the car to SHOP FOR A NEW CHANDELIER.

It's certainly the most glamorous tale of child abandonment I e'er heard, I'll give her that much.

She really had no time to do this outside of the hour and half or something she's granted with her children per week? Really? REALLY.

Was a walkway in her Malibu estate inadequately lit and was she going to face a fine if she didn't remedy the situation, but instead of just getting a motion detector light she had to do it Britney-stylez and get an assfucking CHANDELIER?! Because that's the only excuse I could remotely digest.

I guess on the upside, she saved her visit to the marble column, ivory piano, killer whale caviar and French Revolution-era chaises lounge stores until after the kids was back wit' K-Fed.

Speaking of babies...


CNN's resident blowhard ballbuster Nancy Grace finally popped o'er the weekend, and gave birth to twins whose names escape me at present TWO MONTHS PREMATURE. I think the second born girl weighed in at something like 2 lbs or some shit. Which means that I've easily eaten Nancy Grace's 2nd born daughter's weight in Reese's Pieces before... on more than one occasion.

In her official press release, she proclaimed them as "two little crime fighters". Which is just SO tempting fate. Bitch, you know theyz gonna grow up to be the most fucked-up, anything-BUT-law abiding citizens ever. It really is Murphy's Law/karma for you falsely accusing people of things with hyperbole that makes a Chinese New Year's fireworks display seem under-the-top by comparison.

One the plus side, since they were born premature, they'll probably never have to worry about being fat. That daughter that clocked in a 2 lbs. could probably model in her teenage years. Hopefully she doesn't inherit Mommy's hair though. I'll bet that shit was ingrained into their genes. They'll both have Nancy Grace-hair...


Every news source in the world was reporting that Rosie O'Donnell was in heated talks to host her own political talk-fest on MSNBC that would go up in the Thursday, 9 PM time slot against CNN's Larry King Live (when is that bitch gonna die? Seriously! It's time.) and Fox News' Hannity & Colmes.

This would have basically been the greatest thing ever. My God I miss her. "The View" sucks my taint nowadays. Whoopi has some moments, like the other week when she got in Hasselbeck's face over abortion, but lately it seems like edge-less conversations about lady-parts amongst 40+ year-old curmudgeonettes at a breakfast nook and Barbara Walters thinking that people care about her life waaaaay more than anyone does/ever has. Like the Hallow e'en episode was all about her father's night club back in the 1940's. NO ONE GIVES A FUCK!!! YOU'RE 109 YEARS OLD AN NO ONE GIVES A FUCK!!!


Anyballs, Rosie O'Donnell is desperately needed back on TV in a political mouthpiece capacity - period. I live for it. And going to her blog isn't enough for me. It's far too "peering through a keyhole into a lesbian's craftroom". But I still go there every day...

... Which is where I found out, in the latest posting, that the deal FELL THROUGH. FUCK! I'm sure it's because she wanted some outrageous sum of money, as she always does. And do you know why she does? Well, that will be detailed when I review her book in the inaugural and perhaps lone edition of Andrew's Book Club later this week when I take a look at Rosie O'Donnell's "Celebrity Detox"!!!

Anyways... bottom line: that shits' not gonna happen. = (


The Bonnie Raitt.

There's nothing that says tiger-in-the-sack YET wise-beyond-my-years like a thick mane of red with a tiny puff of grey.





I don't know why I included this. I saw an add in today's "24" for some CBC show "The Lion's Den" - which is like "The Next Great American Inventor" or whatever the fuck it is in the states - and the lone female on the panel was also sporting the Bonnie Raitt... red hair with a white poof... and I was all "how the fuck do ya get that? I want that." And thought I'd blog about it. Which brings us to where we are now. Cosmic.


I'd just like to send out condolences to the friends and family of Douglas Scott - a Mountie who was tragically shot and killed up in Nunavut recently.

In the latest of a string of violent acts against authorities via locals, he responded to a drunk driving call - some bitch tore his car into a house, y'all - and was brutally gunned down by the driver upon arriving at the crime.

Why is this of importance to me? Because he was from Brockville... and so am I... and there's a shared bond betwixt those who hail from the mighty BrockVegas.

I was watching Global news today at my gym and all of sudden it showed a correspondent reporting live from Brockville and I'm all "Y'ALL! I'M FROM BROCKVILLE! What the fuck?!" and they reported this story...

They were reporting live from his high school, which they deemed "the local high school in Brockville"... as if to imply that there was only one... WHICH THERE SO WAS NOT... they were reporting from Thousand Islands Secondary School, or, TISS (ribald trivia: it used to be called Thousand Islands Technical School, or, TITS. Yeah, they changed that), and there are in fact THREE high schools in Brockville. TISS, Brockville Collegiate Institute where yours truly went, and St. Mary's Catholic High School where no one except for sexual predators, shift supervisors at Wendy's and girls who sweep up hair at hair salon's that offer 23 dollar perms went.

Brockville's high school rivalries aside, alllll my love and prayers go out to the friends and family of Douglas Scott. He's got a facebook group if you're so inclined to join, which I was, SO DO IT!

Anyballs... that's it...

Tomorrow - week's of aggressive/annoying hocking of the next Bitch Salad begins! JOYOUSNESS.

--- Aj

Monday, November 05, 2007

That LA Blog

So, um, hi.

It's kinda been 11 days or some shit. Sorry. I was on vacay.

In the sunny city of angels herself, Los Angeles! (pronounced: Loth Angeleth, for reasons that will become all too clear as this blog treks on...)

Here's a day-by-day recount of how the shit went down:


Best idea ever? Getting a 6:30 PM flight following the out-and-out debauchery that was Saturday night's Hocus Poke-us Hallowe'en fete. Boy-O it was a good time - a good time whose goodness will be detailed in its own hearty-albeit-belated blog sometime this week.

Anyballs, I haven't flown in a very long time - like the last time I flew would have been for a Johnston family vacay and in a pre-9/11 world at that, so this was going to be a very foreign experience for me. I cautiously check in, go through customs where they bombard you with all these questions like "where are you staying" and I'm all "A Ramada Inn." and they're all "where?" and I'm all "okay... y'busted me... I'm staying at Ron Jeremy's house..." and then I'm all "kidding".

I had a bunch of bananas with me as I either took them with me in hopes that I could bring them on board or they would rot in my apartment for a week. I didn't know if they would be classified as material that could be a bomb, but to my pleasant surprise, customs lady let me bring them through.

That day, I scrambled to fill my iPod with music that I hadn't heard in a while that would keep my interest as piqued as it could be for the 5 hour flight. This scrounging resulted in me stumbling across a Journey's greatest hits album that I COMPLETELY forgot I had... so Journey's lesser known hits were happily filling m'ear canals for most of the wait... "Faithfully", "I'll Be Alright Without You", "Separate Ways"... the list goes on...

The only piece of literature I had with me - looking back, a VERY ambitious assumption that this would be all the in flight entertainment I'd need - was Rosie O'Donnell's "Celebrity Detox" on gracious loan by one Miss Dini Dimakos.

What did I think of it? TUNE IN LATER THIS WEEK for the first every installment of Andrew's Book Club, in which I review it. I can already anticipate it being the best blog ever. Yeah.

Anyway - I basically crap myself as we take off... it's been so long I totally forget what it feels like... taking off, that is. Not crapping myself. I know that feeling faaaar too well. It's like rapidly ascending a roller coaster only there's clearly no tracks beneath you. I start sort-of-dangling my feet in recognition that there's 0.0 ground beneath me and feel myself settle into that "I wanna get off, I wanna get down, Ehn! Ehn!" reflex... and that lasted like 2 minutes then I was golden.

I read some of Rosie's latest tome, which again I will review later this week, listened to some Journey and in little-to-no time we was there. This is what I saw out m'winda...

It just doesn't end. Just this never ending, sprawling field of lights... and I think I actually said to myself out loud, "wow... so it is real".

I get to LAX, get my luggage without very much incident at all, then make m'way out to the shuttle station. I'm astoundingly pleased that the first person I meet there, the shuttle attendant, is a sassy Comptonite named LaQuesta (well, I don't actually know what her name was, but it might as well have been)... She had gold teeth, a ring with her name on it that spanned her entire knuckle and a ghetto dialect that I only thought existed in Tyler Perry movies...

I must have mentioned that I was from Canada at some point, which she found very amusing - as most people I met there did... there's some adorable novelty that American's have developed with Canadians and automatically their tone becomes different. Like "Really? You is? Cool!" - anyway, she says to me "yeah, I gots some Canadian money. I gots a fi' dolla bill... who dat up on it? (points to picture of Wilfred Laurier on the front)... is dat one of yo priiime ministers?" --- Yeah, I think you can imagine, right now I'm dying. DYING. DDDDYYYYYINNNNG!!!

She then asks - or rather, AKS'S - me if it's my first time here. Which it totally is. And she recommends that I go to a place up on Sunset called "Saddle Ranch". They've got a mechanical bull. She was there the other night and got so drunk she fell off it and "bruised up [her] shoulda". Then she showed me. It was a pretty nasty bruise. I said that I'd make it my business to get there at some point.

So this shuttle zips me from LAX down in Inglewood-up-to-no-good-HEEEY! (where Tyra Banks is from... which is why I know that it's called Inglewood-up-to-no-good-HEEEY! because she pronounces it so every chance she gets), through downtown LA (which is like 10 skyscrapers comprised of mostly banks and law firms), finally up to where I'm staying, at a quaint l'il Rrramada Inn at Santa Monica & Vermont.

I get there and my friend Mike, whom I'm staying with, immediately hands me a margarita made of some Jose Cuervo that he's purchased for THIRTEEN DOLLARS. Yes. A litre of Cuervo costs some shit like 40 dollars at the LCBO. Yes. It does cost 13 fucking dollars in L.A. More startling liquor price comparisons to follow. I think you'll find yourself shocked and/or appalled.

Our room is on the first floor, o'erlooking a courtyard not unlike the one from "Melrose Place"... so it's already SO L.A. But the terlet's leaking and the tub is clogged, so we'ze gotta move. We move up to the second floor, with a balcony giving view to a hardly majestic side street off of Vermont St. and 0.0 wireless reception... which is squarely why you didn't hear from me for the week. For realz... if we wanted Internet access, we needed to go and sit in the hall and have the Mexican maids look at us all cockeyed.


After getting to bed somewhere around 1 AM L.A. time, so 4 AM Toronto time, I get up sometime around 10 AM L.A. time, so 1 PM Toronto time. We go downstairs to check out our complimentary continental breakfast. Not so continental... egg paddies, damp sausages, a waffle bar facilitated by some Scandinavian woman (the lone non-Mexican member of the hotel's custodial staff, I'd wager) and some shitty cereal and toast. We have some, Mike goes off to check out the UCLA campus and I watch 'The View' for the first time in like 2 weeks as my VCR has been on the fritz.

After a workout in the perfectly serviceable fitness centre, I venture up Vermont to get some lunch and some liquor. What I find astounds me:

I march into a Jon's Marketplace. Y'all - I had only heard about this, and in dead seriousness, thought it was a myth, but no, t'isn't... You can buy liquor in grocery stores... There it fucking is... right across from the Michelina's in the frozen foods section...

And the prices. Don't get me started about the prices DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED. Pictured to the right - a bewildered/perplexed/roaringly pissed off Andrew Johnston crouching next to a 60 OF SMIRNOFF VODKA PRICED AT $15.99. FIFTEEN DOLLARS AND NINETY-NINE CENTS.

I immediately tell the Mexicali checkout personnel that in my country, Canada, the same thing goes for a cool $52.50. To which they yelled "Aiaiaiaiaia Papi!", flung off their sombreros, fired several shots into them and then Charo appeared to sing us out with "Felize Navidad". No. But they were very surprised.

Not near as surprised as I was, but still. It really makes me want to lead a probing inquisition into what exactly our liquor tax goes to. 'Cuz y'all, it must result in billions per day. FIFTEEN FUCKING DOLLAZ!!! FIFTEEN!!!

On my way back to the hotel, I now feel comfortable making three sweeping generalizations about this place:

I.) If you see 3 people at any given time in this neighborhood (which I later discovered would be classified as a bit of a no man's land bordering Hollywood, Los Feliz and Silverlake), 2 of them will be Mexican. That's the ratio. Or rather, the HoRatio, as it would be. Tee Hee.
II.) If you see 3 buildings at any given time, 1 of them will be a fast food restaurant. The amount of fast food restaurants in this city is staggering. Staggering.
III.) Out of those fast food restaurants, out of 3 at any given time, 1 of them is appropriated Mexican cuisine for white people named shit like "El Pollo Loco!" or something... loosely translated, the crazy chicken.

I get back to the hotel and Mike and I decide to do some sightseeing before I need to get back to the hotel and prepare for my first show... navigating through L.A. will be incredibly easy now, thanks to Mike's tasty new toy, a freshly unlocked iPhone. This thing is crazy. It's like something not even the creators of The Jetsons and Inspector Gadget combined could have dreamed up... you can do anything with it, I swear... anyways, we tour around Silverlake - which is like The Williamsburg/hot new spot for artistes... for real... artistes... we pulled up next to a cafe that had three 20-something dudes with John Waters' moustaches... lookin' good, pretentious douchebags - and go get a confectionery that has now changed my life... PINKBERRY...





Pictured to the left, to the left: Me upon the first tongue-to-PinkBerry contact. Wow. I can't even describe it... but I can try.

It's kind of like a lemon gelato or mayhaps, sorbet, crossed with the taste of a dense frozen yogurt, only not the calories because it was something like 70 calories a serving and fat-free.

Whatever it was, it was fucking delicious. It was something where I'd purposely drink something extra-fizzy before having it so I could burp up the flavour for hours afterwards-AKA-make it the gift that keeps on giving... Wow... it was good... if it ever becomes super-franchised, it'll be the Starbucks of ice-cream... woo-howdy...

Pressing on: I go to my first show and am RIDICULOUSLY early for it. Like 45 minutes. Which, anyone who knows me can tell you, is unheard of. I'm never early. I'm either on time by the skin of my teeth or unfashionably-nay-challengingly late... so we take off again and ogle the Roosevelt, Grohmans, drive past about 18 more El Pollo Loco's, and come back at quarter to. I go in and meet some of the other comics. Two other Canadian comics were on this particular bill: Rebecca Kohler and Jay Malone. Kohler I know from 'the scene'... but Jay Malone I had never met before. He's now based in L.A. and recently booked a pilot. I imagine it's probably been squashed now what with the writer's strike, but the accomplishment certainly deserves some huzzah's.

Anyballs, Monday night's show went GREAT! GREAT! About 25 people, but super-rowdy and generous. I was just happy that my material was working... I have this stupid phobia that the success of my material is life-or-death conditional on my surroundings and that it will ONLY work in Toronto/Canada but NO --- killed it! Yay!

I'm sure I had some help, however, in the form of one Miss April Macie, whom I'm pictured with to the right. She's the vivacious redhead from Last Comic Standing Season 4 and has a very aggressively sexual-yet-suuuper likable act. Anyway - we hit it off immediately and took to the alley behind the theatre where we proceeded to be assholes and talk amongst ourselves for the rest of the show. Whoops.

Anyway - LOVE HER. If I can somehow bring myself to change my myspace top friends one of these days, she'll TOTALLY be in them.

Following the show, Mike and I went to famed Hollywood Hotspot, the Chateau Marmont. It's a super-swanky and famous hotel up on Sunset in West Hollywood whose bar has been the catalyst for many a Young Hollywood DUI. My verdict: Meh. It wasn't any nicer than the Drake, per se. Like if any Los Angeleno asked me where to go in Toronto that was akin to the Marmont, I'd say the Drake, and I doubt they'd be disappointed.

Anyway, Mike savoured a Manhattan, I slung back a vodka soda, and we remarked that no one was that attractive. Isn't L.A. supposed to be the beautiful people Olympics? Yeah, not so much. Maybe they were all partaking in some week long convention in some emerald knoll behind a waterfall that was off-limits to pedestrians and tourists, and if that's the case, BOY IS MY FACE RED. But no... anyballs...


Mike went off to Burbank in the morning to tape an audition that he had to send back to Vancouver for a TV Movie he was up for, which meant another leisurely morning of a not-so-Continental breakfast, "The View" and a workout in the serviceable fitness centre.

That afternoon we set out for the beach - SANTA MONICA Y'ALL. Looking back, I really, really, really regret not having the Village People's "Go West" blaring in our car, because that's exactly what we were doing/where we were going.

It was just lovely. The smell of fish innards and seaweed took some getting used to, but after that, t'was fine. We went down to Venice Beach - where Romy & Michele lived in the movie that chronicled their respective high-school reunion.

It was quite something. I had never walked a warf as such. Every second stand was hocking henna tattoos, that I can remember. And there was a row where the vender's dissipated and it was homeless dude's instead - each with their own unique sales pitch on why you should give them money.

Props to the ones who just wanted it for booze. I guess I'm just of the mindset of supporting local bums before giving it away out of town... call me patriotic, but...

Following the Santa Monica excursion, we set out upon the Pacific Coast Highway - the very one where the likes of Mel Gibson and Nicole Richie have been busted on DUI's - and headed to the 'Bu. Malibu, that is. As Mike made us a reservation at Malibu's famed sushi establishment, Nobu.

We were early once again, so we pulled into the Malibu Starbucks in the heart of "downtown Malibu". I put that in quotations because there's not really a downtown. It's just kind of three adjoining strip malls. Anyballs - this Starbucks is the one that Britney is usually photographed at, so that was exciting/filthy. GET A LOAD OF THIS: There's no bathroom in it. Can you believe that? "But where does Britney do coke?" I wondered.

Nobu was lovely - not this terrifying, world-class dining experience that we expected, but very elegant and high-fallutin' just the same. The Miso Cod was basically the best thing I've ever had. And I'd never been hammered on Saki before, so I've got that going for me, too. As we left, we noticed two things: A.) IT GETS FUCKING COLD HERE! For realz... it was freezing! It cools right down at night, y'all! and B.) Paparazzi. Which means someone of importance was inside, but we didn't notice anyone... we thought we saw Helen Mirren, but it was just another well put-together older lady... ahhh well...

Following that, we ventured into West Hollywood to do gay stuff. West Hollywood - this supposed former gay mecca. Not so much. We went to the Abbey... which is like Woody's meets the Playboy gratto. The L.A. gays were nothing to shake a stick at. And by stick... well, it's not a very far fetched analogy to decipher...

The singularly greatest thing that happened was a rose seller came by - as every gayborhood has one... in Toronto there's a 3 foot Asian woman and a man who looks exactly like George W. Bush - and she was a very boisterous Mexican lady who would abruptly come up to you and yell "RRRRRRRRotheth!" ("Roses" with an 'r' rolled so sharply it sounded like a lawnmower motor and requisite Spanish pronunciation of 's' sounds so they're instead a 'th'). Apparently she's legendary around those parts.

And then we went to the Mel's diner at Hollywood & Highland and called it a night...

Fade out-

Fade in-

WEDNESDAY (Hallowe'en)

Early start to Wednesday as we decided to trek up to the Griffith Park observatory - the Planetarium/Planetorium where Rebel Without A Cause was filmed - which is waaaay up yonder in the Hollywood Hills and gives a majestic panorama of beautiful, sunny, barely-visible-through-the-toxic-haze Los Angeles.

For serious - that's it. And I fucked with that picture's exposure somethin' fierce.

The planetarium is still a functioning planetarium, but also an aerospace museum of sorts/tribute to itself. Inside there was a bunch of historical shit about Gallileo and the invention of the telescope and information about how stars are made and black holes and a whole whack of shit that was of 0.0 interest to our materialistic homo souls that just wanted to go down to Robertson and see if Lohan was anywhere to be seen.

So after getting tasty, tasty photos taken in front of the Hollywood sign - SCORE! - we headed out... and got a taste of L.A. traffic along the freeway on our way back.

L.A. is such a driving culture it just makes my head spin. There are buses, but it's not public transportation - it's private transportation. In that they're all privately owned companies that you need to pay for each time you use. And the only people who do use them are the lower classes - it's not a mixed bag like any East Coast city's transportation system.

There's an assload of radio stations in L.A., 18 of which feature Ryan Seacrest at the helm. Everyone drives with their window down in what I presume to be an effort to not only attract cancer, but actually romance it. If you can drive in the carpool lane in L.A., you're so fucking golden. EVERY CAR HAS ONE PERSON TO IT! It's nuts! I think half an hour went by in one sitting before I saw two people in a car! And this car issue gets nuttier...

That night, we decide to take part in the Hallow e'en festivities - it said something like 400,000 people descend on Santa Monica boulevard in West Hollywood bedecked in their Hallow's eve garb. We thought this was a gross overestimation - a classic case of "LA Spin". I can't tell you how wrong we were.

Here's something: THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A CAB IN L.A. I think we tried for a solid 40 minutes before flagging down a cab. $25 later we were in WeHo smack dab in the middle of an Agoraphobic's worst nightmare. Holy fuck. This crowd was insane. Jam packed. For those of you in Toronto: picture the Church & Wellesley festivites on Hallow e'en. The street is shut off for one city block from Wellesley to Alexander along Church, and reasonably populated with about a half-and-half mix of people in costume and people not. Now picture Church St. three times as wide, and that crowd times about 30. That was Santa Monica. It was a nightmare.

BUT OUR NIGHTMARE HAD JUST BEGUN!!! Around Robertson, we decide to bail and go get food or something. Simple enough. We'll go up to Sunset and grab a cab. Yeah, no dice losers. It was impossible. We were basically the distance between Keele and Yonge on Bloor from our Hotel. And every cab we saw was in vein. Another thing: they don't turn their lights off when they're in use, so it's just maddening. We had no idea what the fuck we were going to do so we just kept walking...

We didn't pass all the signs you see to your right, I just felt like A.) it would illustrate that sort of image of walking aimlessly through a city at night, B.) I had all these pictures of signs of places we'd been and there was no particularly appropriate time to post them, so meh.

We thought we were going to need to walk to Sunset and Highland and take the subway - yes, there is a subway in L.A. And I'd wager it's worse and less efficient than the TTC, so score, TTC. Somehow - an act of both our guardian angel is the only way I can reconcile it - we managed to catch a cab. It was the 50th cab we tried to get, and he was A.) free and B.) willing to take us to the far reaches of Hollywood-meets-Los Feliz-meets-Silverlake where we were staying.

The kicker: it was parked outside of SADDLE RANCH. Where LaQuesta told me I gosts'ta go! GIRRRRL! Talk about serendipity.

So we got in that cab and pledged to ourselves that we would never, ever, EEEVER do Santa Monica boulevard on H-Ween again, got home, by this time Mike had sobered up considerably, so we decided to drown our sorrows at a local Denny's.

THIS is why everyone drives drunk in L.A. Because there is honestly no other choice unless you have a driver. There's no such thing as going to a party, having a few too many and hoppin' in a cab. Nuts. I have a renewed sympathy for those busted on a DUI. Well, that is to say that I don't equate them to Nazi's anymore. Now they're more Klansmen in my eyes. So yeah, it's softened.


We decided to say 'fuck it' and sleep in after our very late night the evening prior. At around 3 PM we headed out to get a gander of Beverley Hills during the daylight. Oooh-Wee. It's pretty. It's like the Bridal Path meets Rosedale. In that it's huge fucking mansions in really high density. It was kind of surreal, I must say.

Of note: There's a prominent street named after Chevy Chase. WTF?!

Following that, we decided to take a leisurely put up Mulholland Drive. I wanna barf just thinking of it. It is a fucking crazy-straw of a road. It twists and turns so obnoxiously, it's like being on a really shallow roller-coaster for kids at 50 mph and for 45 minutes. Oy. I got super-sick. The view was great, though.

We came back to the hotel, Mike had a nap, and I worked out to the "Hairspray" soundtrack, so I was in a very happy place. We went to the show, I showed up at usual Andrew Johnston time - so 7 minutes before the show. We had a full house that night, apparently, full of suits who weren't so into it, but it still went great!

The best part? Two words: Cocoa Brown. Brilliant. BRILLIANT. Words can not describe. Picture everything I want to be when I immitate a black woman in my act/in general.

She actually IS.

Holy fuck. I told her about Bitch Salad and how desperately I want her to do it and she was like "yeah baby, I gots air miles." Oh my GOD. Amazing. Anyway - that's us to the left, to the left, suffice to say...

So after that, I chatted to some other comedians who weren't on the show, said bye-bye to the producer of the festival, Lawrin, and of course April and Cocoa, and Mike and I headed back to We-Ho for a last hurrah. We just ended up going back to the Abbey. And this girl dressed in a white trench coat and sporting a Rihanna haircut came up to us and gave us both coupons for Camel cigarettes - 2 for 1. Wow, again. You could never do that shit in Canada. Smokers are pariahs and cigarette companies have no rights at all. But yeah - they can just give the shit away in the states. Anyway, we spoke to her for a while, she left, RRROTHETH lady came back, I cackled at her uncontrollably, Mike and I spoke about the state of gays in Hollywood and we went back to the hotel. Pardon me: we actually went to a Carl's Jr. for some grotesque mutant burgers that were bigger than any burger every dreamt of being, THEN back to the hotel.

The flight out was entirely uneventful, and I mean that in the most positive way possible. I had to change over in Charlotte, North Carolina... which means that all the stewardesses were Nancy mother fucking Grace wearing a pantsuit with wings on it. The in flight movie was "Hairspray", so that was cool.

And that's pretty much it.

One word to sum up the trip: Demystifying. L.A. is now without the mystique that it used to have... it's no longer this sort of untouchable holy land where the big fishes are. It's just a town that industry happens to reside in. I'm certainly in no rush to move down there, I can tell ya that... but I'm sure I'll eventually have to. Blah. It won't be before I learn to drive, I can definitively tell ya that much...

Anyway - GOOD TO BE BACK!!!

Talk to you tomorrow... early and often!
--- Aj