Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Another Couple of Plugs


I won't be able to make this tonight but if you're free, check it out.

Fine And Dandy Show (great mix of comedy and music)

Wicked Willy's - 149 Bleecker St, New York, NY
November 19th, 2008 @ 8 PM
Drink specials!!!!
Featuring comedians: Mo Diggs, Matt Nagin, Dan Fontaine and more...
Featuring musicians: Nadsat Fashion
Hosted by: Tim Montoya (not Inigo's brother)

Please support these guys; they work hard so you can exercise your laugh muscles.
Also, I may or may not have some new projects in the works (possibly even a second show in the works); I'll keep you posted. And hey if you like what you read, feel free to e-mail me: catocals (AT) Or better add, link to me on your blog (this would be where I'd put a helpful HTML code where you can automatically do it, but it's not there yet so instead you're getting this awkward parenthetical clause here).

Maybe I'll see you tonight; if not then tomorrow!

This Is Arta!

Those last couple of posts were a little schizoid; I've found some sort of grounding so there will be less of the doomy and the gloomy. Seriously thanks to all my friends I've talked/whined to this past Monday and Tuesday, I'm lucky to know you lords and ladies. So because I have to...

Calvin S. Cato (Game Show Network, Stand-Up New York, Naked Comedy Show) presents a wonderful blend of comedy and music in a cool Moroccan venue. We have comedians who've been featured on MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, and top comedy clubs in the city as well as musicians who've played at the top indie venues in New York City. Plus, there's belly dancing and hookah afterwards! Check out the only show that's like Casablanca in Technicolor.

TITLE: Nouveau Poor
LOCATION: Tagine Dining Gallery - 537 9th Avenue (just south of West 40th Street)
COST: Free
DATE: Thursday November 20, 2008
TIME: 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM
DRINK SPECIALS: Yes! Sangria discounts!
TAGLINE: 100% Talent, 0% Health Insurance

Eric Andre (Live at Gotham, Stand-Up For Diversity, Geico Caveman)
Boris Khaykin (Sirius Radio)
Harris Bloom (Gotham Comedy Club)
Joe Dixon (God Tastes Like Chicken, Pinetree Lodge Show)
Del (Caroline's, BETJ "My Two Cents", Comedy For THe F%&* Of It)
Nasry Malak (Comix, So You Think You Can Roast)
...and surprise special guests

I hope to see your smiling faces!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Late Late Movie: The Boys & Girls Guide To Getting Down

[NOTE: This was a post that was supposed to go up August 13th. And if you get a chance please check out Paul Sapiano’s MySpace and website. I had an (unfortunately) incredibly brief e-mail correspondence with him and he seemed pretty chill.]

This was back in the days when I had free movie channels. I was up ridiculous late on a work night and I caught the last half of this independent film called "The Boys And Girls Guide To Getting Down." Basically, the “plot” is a typical night on the town in LA. The movie is overdubbed with a man and a woman giving a “how-to” guide for surviving the party scene including how to find out about the afterparty, what drugs to take and not take, who to hang out with, when to take off the beer googles, and how to get the person you just slept with to leave as quietly and smoothly as possible.

You know something, the movie is really spot-on about 90% of their stuff. And what makes it feel so real and relatable are the casting choices. Sure it’s an independent film made with people who aren't the well-known stars Americans are used – but these people can all act, and do it really well. Admittedly, most of the cast is pretty hot, but it wasn’t like anyone was overblown hot or looked freakishly anorexic or muscular or orange-tanned. Maybe it’s just art imitating life but I could really believe that these are young adults acting like young adults.

I was really surprised at the frank portrayal of recreational drug use. And the distinction between sketchy and safe drugs…sooo true. I really liked how the movie spelled out drug dealer time in a way that was so painfully accurate it was embarrassing. The whole “I’ll be there in 20 minutes” extending to two hours of customers nail-biting and making multiple calls to the dealer (especially with that second call going straight to voicemail) is freaking hilarious if you’re in the know. Or the scene where a fool and his drugs are soon parted. And “The Next Morning” chapter: that was just fun. I know how that feels when it’s 10 AM and you have sleep mouth going on. You go outside in that bright sun and see that perky jogging guy walking his dog on the street and you just want to punch him in the face.

What made it amazing was that the movie could have easily taken the “we’re glamorizing our 20s lifestyle” or the “oh my god, what the hell is wrong with these kids” routes but instead it goes for a more honest, more cerebral routine. This is the strength of using the how-to guide as a frame. It’s a nice way to analyze the character’s actions without being overly preachy. Not to mention, the humor was funny and clever without descending into the toilet. Seriously, there was some good writing behind this.

The only downside was the T & A, which really gets gratuitous after a while and sometimes isn’t even in context. Perhaps it’s a ploy to retain audience attention but it gets grating. E.G., why does a study of the effects of moisture on cocaine involve a woman shaking her ass for 1 minute?

Totally minor nitpicks aside, this is one of the better indie films to come out of 2006. And Mr. Belding is in it as a cameo! You can’t not love Dennis Haskins! Cato rating: 7 out of 7 Cs!!! And I for one will be spending 30 minutes on Google and eBay figuring out how I can purchase this sleeper classic.

You Can Love Obama But Not Be In Love With Obama

I'm definitely glad that Barack Obama is now our president, not just for the historic value, but because I can finally stop getting e-mail for me to "do X for Obama."

Case in point, about 2 weeks ago my co-worker, who is an Obamaniac (or some sort of Obama portmanteau), found an article online about people who were fasting for Obama. The group, cleverly named Fasting For Obama, was comprised of people who refused to eat until Obama was president. And my co-worker was convincing me that that is a great way to show support. Newsflash: no it isn't. Do you want to know how I supported Barack Obama? - by voting for him in the election.

Seriously people, this is a democracy and not a cult. I'm not going to starve for Obama, or get circumsized for Obama, or drink the Kool-Aid for Obama. This isn't Obama's gate; it's an election to be US President. I show my support by walking to the booth and pulling the lever. Bam! Three minutes worth of support. Again that's how democracy works.

I wish people would stop being fanatic converters. Is this just written in our genetic code that whenever humans see a charismatic leader, they feel a need to go to extremes to praise him or her? Why do people have to go "I love XYZ so much that I'm going to be a blind follower/jumpsuit-wearing nutcase?" And the sad part is that quite a few of the people who are Crusaders for Obama probably didn't vote for the election because they caught some illness from Standing In The Arctic Circle for Obama or their organs shut down from doing nothing but Drinking Water for Obama.

All I'm saying is this: Barack Obama is a wonderful person but he is NOT the Messiah. Just because both he and Jesus have hair like wool does not mean Obama is turning water into wine. Calm down Super-Dems. Just. Calm. Down.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fact or Fiction

I'm running out of options.

There's a logic rule about how unemployment works. It's something along the lines of "the longer you're unemployed, the harder it is to get a job." It's ironic but it is true. You lose your job, and then you send out resume after resume in the vain hopes of getting a callback. You go through unemployment and underemployment until finally you score an interview, five months after your last permanent job. You come into the office dressed in recently dry-cleaned attire and the first question to come out of your employer's mouth is "Well, why have you been out of work for so long?"

This is the most humiliating question any human being can ask another human being, especially when it comes to entry-level. What do you say? Can you respond bitterly? Can you quote statistics? Can you tell a joke, a lie, the truth? What's the point of that question? There's a bad economy, you're living off spaghetti and Ritz crackers because your college degree that was supposed to set you ahead of the pack now places you squarely in the middle. You compete with snide late 20-somethings possessing Master's degrees, trust funds, and parents with summer homes. Hell, you compete with bratty 18 year olds who have mapped out their life to the age of 57, where they'll die of a jogging-induced heart attack.

How dare they? - you think in the lack of privacy of your apartment that you share with four people, a dog and a cat. Think about that: 7 living animals and only one bathroom. You are living with seven things excreting all sorts of gases, liquids, and solids and you think "How dare these people cut ahead of me in line for this position." Who are these 20-somethings with no heart and even less mettle, who probably won't stay the year at company X? And then you flash-forward to the interview, to this employer who asks you "Why have you been out of work for so long?" You look at the floor, at your resume, at the potted plant in the corner, leaves brown at the edges. There isn't an answer. You're out of options.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Nouveau Poor - Tagine Dining Gallery Show Tonight @ 8 PM

We have a new president and a bright future ahead of us. What better way to celebrate than to check out some diverse comedy? So come on down and check it out. An dif you don't you'll make Obama cry.

Calvin S. Cato (Naked Comedy Show, GSN) presents a wonderful blend of comedy and music in a cool Moroccan venue. We have comedians who've been featured on MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, and top comedy clubs in the city. Plus, there's belly dancing and hookah afterwards! And there may be a tarot card reader too - it's something for everybody! Check out the only show that's like Casablanca in Technicolor.

TITLE: Nouveau Poor
LOCATION: Tagine Dining Gallery - 537 9th Avenue (just south of West 40th Street)
COST: Free
DATE: Thursday November 6th, 2008
TIME: 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM
DRINK SPECIALS: Yes! Sangria discounts!
TAGLINE: 100% Talent, 0% Health Insurance

Diana Saez (Sarah Palin Vlogs, MTV)
Jonathan Powley (Semi-Finalist – NYC’s Funniest Comedian Contest)
Maria Shehata (Comedy Central’s The Watch List)
Donny Mitchell (Brooklyn’s Best)
John Wells (Organic Funny, opened for Robin Williams)
Angry Bob (Last Comic Standing)
Kyle Bostic (Broadway Comedy Club)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Oh. Mah. God. If I were a [more] emotional person I would be moved to tears. I have been up since 5:45 AM, I haven't showered and I just got home and finally took off the clothes I've been wearing for two days straight. I did a casting call for NBC's Stand-Up For Diversity and I didn't get it. My phone broke, my internet wasn't working, I've spent 5 hours on public transportation, I've been to 3 boroughs, I've been sick as a joke.


And it happened in my lifetime! Finally, even if it's just symbolic, there is a non-white WASP as a president! Yes!

And I can remember where I was. I was in Astoria at a beer garden, supposed to do a showcase and I saw it live. I heard it live. It happened right in front me. History. I took the bus to get home; it went through Harlem and everyone was cheering. Together! All races, all colors, all creeds, all genders. I'm not even saying it to be poetic; I saw an actual VARIETY OF PEOPLE, who were outside celebrating together! It's just so beautiful right now. I, I honestly have no words.

I don;t want to hear jinxes or anything. Not this week. The people voted for something different. And it gives me hope.

And on a petty note, for the McCain campaign (and especially Sarah Palin), here's a little diddy from Bananarama (temporarily re-titled Obamarama). You know the song:

Banarama - I Heard A Rumor

Monday, November 03, 2008

Halloween 2008

Even though I was sick and spewing yellow-green Exorcist bile from my nose, I actually went to the Halloween Day Parade. And I've re-learned a lot of things I forgot about New York City parades.

(1) Parades are a lot of fun if you like being shoved around by cops and stepping over puddles of urine and vomit. Seriously, I've never seen so many congealed body fluids in one place before.

(2) No matter how narrow or crowded a walkway is, tourists will always manage to hold a throughway up by taking a picture. And worse, tourists will section off entire swaths of sidewalk to do this. Listen Mrs. Normal Ohio, you're not Annie Leibovitz, okay. You don't have to create a "perfect layout". The only people who are going to see these pictures are the people you force to view your boring slide show.

(3) Parades are also cool because you get to be gated in like cattle. I know that nothing feels more worthwhile than being treated like livestock for 3 hours.

(4) Police officers are NOT THERE TO HELP YOU. Ever. Apparently, their job is to yell at you whenever you ask a question.

Me: Which way is the exit?
PO: Move it along before I mace you!
Me: But I can't go anywhere.
PO: I don't have time for you!
Me: But I just want to get out of this.
Me: Did you transform into Sasquatch?

New York City is the only place where you can't tell whether people are actually dressed up for Halloween or just crazy. Case in point, I saw a guy wearing a Litle Bo Peep dress, fake eyelashes, opera gloves, and fishnets. I shouted "Hey great costume!" To which he responded with, "Oh no, I'm just a prostitute." Which made a lot of sense since he was giving out price quotes on handjobs.

There were a lot of skanky bees out that night. More so than sexy police officers, sailors, angels, and devils. Of all the "sexy" costumes out there, why would you dress as a sexy bee? Insects don't even have breasts. It makes no sense.