Don't Ever Look Back

Ben calls me.

"Hey, I put together a mix."

I hadn't planned on posting mixes this year end, so I hadn't planned any media assets.

"Alright, give me a few hours."

Thanks to Alex Smith for being, uh, available, and accommodating. Michigan artists are the best.

» Download Ben's MegaMMX

He promises individual tracks and a video companion next week.

Track listing:

Adam Riff™ Television's 2010-11 Primetime Schedule

It is upfronts week, and today is ARTV's day to present. Without further ado…

8:00-9:00PM THE BENDS
9:00-10:00PM CLASS OF 2000

8:00-9:00PM HEAT
9:00-10:00PM PROTOTYPE

8:00-9:00PM SOLITARY
9:00-10:00PM NEW KOREA

9:00-9:30PM NO HEROICS
9:30-10:00PM ACHEWOOD


Note: We do not program on weekends.

The Bends
The genesis and journey of a rock band that will never achieve more than moderate success. (drama)

Class of 2000
Each episode follows one member of a particular high school's Class of 2000 in two alternating stories – one set sometime during high school and one set sometime after high school. (drama)

Follow the drama behind the scenes of a fictional pro wrestling federation. (drama)

A government agent loses an arm during a mission and agrees to alpha-test a bionic replacement arm in the field. (drama)

Fox Reality Channel may be dead, but its best show lives on. (reality)

New Korea
In 2050, North Korea is liberated, but what remains is deemed uninhabitable. Facing grave overpopulation in the rest of the world, however, the United Nations promotes the former country as a "land of opportunity." Welcome to the wild wild east. (drama)

Child Actors
The adventures of three friends, all former child actors. One is a successful adult actor, one is a struggling adult actor, and one is no longer an actor. In addition, the successful actor's son is a budding child actor. (comedy)

Rules For My Unborn Son
A twist on didactic family sitcoms inspired by the titular tumblelog. (comedy)

No Heroics
A revival of a short-lived British comedy. Think It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia with superheroes. (comedy)

An animated adaptation of Chris Onstad's popular web comic. (comedy)

Friday Night Curling
Weekly champions return until they lose. (sports)

Seven-Second Delay
Live telecasts of live music in its natural habitat. Its time slot allows for talent flexibility, from an opening act's set on the west coast to a headliner's set on the east coast. (music)

This Is It

With respect to The Gaslight Anthem

Thanks to Jon Wilcox for graciously assisting with the cover artwork.

I think the tenth annual Adam Riff™ audio almanac is pretty damn boss, but no one seems to share my musical tastes.

Give it a chance?

Side A (curated by Jon)
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Side B (curated by Ben)
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The Anachronist's Cookbook

At work today, "Civil War hippies" popped in my head and synapses began firing.

A film in which the 1960s collide with the 1860s.

Hippies, Black Panthers, et al somehow warp back to the Civil War era. A hippie sticks a carnation inside a Confederate soldier's rifle.

No, reconstruct the 1860s as the 1960s!

civil war = vietnam war
north = communists
militias in the south = weathermen = viet cong

Set the Battle of Antietam to Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower."

Present Lincoln's assassination like the Zapruder film. Re-create the "Ruby shoots Oswald" photo with John Wilkes Booth.

sds = slaves for a democratic society
william sherman = african-american
sherman's march to the sea = race riots

The peaceniks flee to California.

Working title: The Way We War.

Danny DeVito is a class act


I took a seminar this quarter called The Art of the Interview.

On May 10, our class of 16 interviewed Al Pacino.

Each person asks him two questions and after we go around the circle once, Pacino's attention will be up for grabs.

No one wanted to ask first. I wanted to sit next to Pacino just to say I did, so I said I'd ask first.

Before Pacino arrived, the professor asked me how I planned to begin the interview.

—What brings you out to Los Angeles?
—No! Don't waste time with stupid icebreakers like that. Jump right in. Give me a question you really want answered.
—Um… Why did you agree to appear in Gigli?
—That's good. Start with that one.


Pacino smelled like gingerbread cookies.

He wore a black suit with a black t-shirt and black leather shoes. Chest hair sprouted from underneath the stretched collar of his t-shirt. White specks littered the shoulders of his jacket. A button on the right cuff of his jacket hung loose, while the left cuff had no buttons at all, only a few dangling threads. Orange gunk stained his shoes.

In other words, Pacino looked like a slob. He was also tired. He couldn't keep his eyes open for the first few questions of the interview. Picture a corpse speaking intensely.


—Why did you agree to appear in Gigli?
—I know Marty [the director] and thought I would do a little bit. That's why.


I expected him to say a little more.

—Well… Coppola asked you to play Willard in Apocalypse Now as a favor to him and you declined. Martin Brest asks you to appear in the J. Lo-Ben movie and you agree. Why? Why the J. Lo-Ben movie and not Apocalypse Now?
—They weren't J. Lo-Ben then. They met on the picture.




B-But…but…you said…

This interview was going nowhere slow, so I moved on to my second question.

—The New York Times' A.O. Scott wrote that The Recruit belongs to "a very special genre: the Al Pacino crazy mentor picture," the sort of film in which Pacino is paired with a younger actor "to enact a peculiar generational battle" in which Pacino's character is "gestural and confrontational" and his younger co-star is "cooler, warier." What say you about this assessment of many of your films from the past decade?


—It's a way to make a buck.


I wanted to get something, anything out of him.

—Do you enjoy being paired with younger actors?
—Not particularly. Don't bother me either.


—Um…okay… Thank you.

The girl sitting beside me then asked Pacino about his sense of humor and he spent ten minutes responding.


—What's your political leaning?
—Do you agree with Shakespeare that "all the world's a stage"?
—I have a young daughter. She wants to be an actress. What advice would you give her?
—What does sobriety mean to you?
—Do you think time is linear?
—Can you recommend any restaurants in New York City?

My classmates asked some retarded questions. The same person asked the latter four.


During the open mic round, I asked Pacino why he's never worked with Martin Scorsese.

His response?

—I don't know.


—That's something I don't know, he added.


Determined to make him talk, I secured the last question of the interview and finally scored:

Do you think you deserved the best actor Oscar for Scent of a Woman?
I don't think that particular film deserved an Oscar for anything. I think I got that Oscar pretty much for my body of work. I was nominated eight times, so I think it had to do with the fact that I didn't get it eight times. It's not about deserving. It's about your time and not your time. Every once in a while, a performance stands out so strikingly that even if there wasn't any competition, they would give it an award — Raging Bull, On the Waterfront. Charlize Theron had a performance this year [in Monster] that cut through. Something like that comes along every seven, ten years though. Mostly it's not about deserving.

Don't you think you deserved to win though for Michael Corleone? You lost both times you were nominated for that role, to Joel Grey and Art Carney, no less.
I hate to sound pretentious about it, but it really didn't matter to me, and it doesn't matter to me now.

What was it like to finally win an Oscar?
It was really different for a couple weeks. You become very famous. Everybody knows that you won this thing. It's like winning the…Oscar. I recommend it to everyone. Like Brando said, they should have a category for every single thing we do. The Oscar for Best Doorman. People should have that. We try to have it on birthdays, where we become special and people tell us "We love you, make a speech." I see why. It's like a party for you.


Here are some highlights of the interview:

on being associated with gangsters:
I was once sitting by myself in a disco in Norfork, England. Why I was there, I don't know. I was just sitting there waiting for someone and there was a drunken English guy looking at me and he was looking for a long time and I looked up at him and he just looked at me and said, "Mafia." Well, you know, if it works for you, whatever. I don't care. I just don't care! Certain roles capture the audience's imagination. Those are the roles you get tagged for.

on The Godfather: Part III:
I hated that hair. It was a concept by a director. I resisted it. Diane Keaton, who was my girlfriend at the time, said, "Al, don't do it, don't do it." It was a mistake. It was the antithesis of what that character was and how I saw him and it offset everything. It's funny how that can do it to an actor.

on languages:
It's amazing how difficult it is to act in another language, particularly when you're dubbing. I speak Korean, for instance. I speak Korean very well. I can mimic it really good. But like Russian, I can't, because the tongue is in a certain spot.

on Tony Montana's mouth:
Did you see the way my mouth looked in Scarface? That was a different mouth than I have. That came from constantly exercising that kind of an accent. I didn't need makeup. I had the mouth.

on playing Tony Montana:
I liked the upfrontness about him, the fact that he didn't contemplate too much, the whole idea of being fearless in that character. I admired those traits in a strange way and enjoyed the experience of living through them. A dog once attacked me while I was playing Montana. This attack dog jumped at me and I bounced it in the snout. I couldn't believe I did that. Normally, I would have just ran for the hills, but instead, I did a little pap on the snout.


My co-worker Marsha thinks Pacino looks like a cardboard cutout and I look like someone photoshopped me into the image.


Senior year of high school, I vowed never to step foot in the state of Michigan.

Recently, I visited Michigan for the fourth time in less than a year.

Everything I say is bullshit. Do not listen to me.


It was 4:30 AM Saturday.

Tony, Jord, Eric and I were hanging around in Tony's room, waiting for the "behind the scenes" trailer for Pauly Shore's new movie to load. In the meantime, I visited to see if any screenings of the movie in the greater Los Angeles area had been added. No screenings had been added since the last time I checked, but listings showed that the movie would be screening that weekend at a comedy festival in Montreal.

I wanted to see the movie. Jord wanted to see the movie. Tony wanted to see the movie.

—Let's go to Montreal, said Jord.
—Are you serious?
—Yeah. The movie's showing today at 7:15 PM. If we leave now, we can make it. Road trip to Montreal!

Total Distance: 571.53 miles
Total Estimated Time: 9 hours, 26 minutes

Thirty minutes later, we were on our way to Canada — no passports, no birth certificates, no sleep, no knowledge of whether tickets for the movie were still available.

Eric, unfortunately, could not join us because he actually has parents, and they wanted at least two hours notice before any impulsive road trips out of the country.


Tony asked me to get him a bottle of water.

I rummaged through a paper bag full of hastily-packed food and handed him one.

—You brought Pepto-Bismol? I asked.
—Yeah. Just in case.
—In case of… All right…


We stopped at a Tim Hortons (the Canadian equivalent of Dunkin' Donuts) for breakfast. Tim Hortons and Wendy's franchises are everywhere in Ontario. I've never seen a Wendy's in California.

I bought an iced cappuccino and donut holes. The food was awful, real bland.


About two-thirds of the way to Montreal, we stopped to get gas. I peed, Tony bought a postcard. As soon as we left the gas station, my stomach became upset.

Shit, I thought.

—Jord, I need to go to the bathroom.
—What? But we were just at a rest area…
—Well, I didn't need to go then!

Jord got off the highway at the next exit and stopped at some podunk gas station wherein I unloaded my wares.

Splish. Splash.

Fuckin' Tim Hortons, I thought. The previous day, I had only eaten two slices of bread and three slices of cheese pizza. It had to be what I had from Tim Hortons that morning.

Fortunately, there was some Pepto-Bismol in the car.


When diarrhea strikes, aftershocks always ensue.

—Jord, heh, I need to go the bathroom again.
—I can hold it though. I'll wait until we get to Cornwall.
—Are you sure?

As much as Tony and Jord claim that they would've been more than happy to stop any time my bowels needed attention, I didn't want to be a nuisance. Hey, Tony gets annoyed easily. I didn't want this road trip to become that commercial for Imodium AD in which a father makes frequent stops at public restrooms on a family trip. Less is more, right? I could endure abdominal pain for an hour, I thought.

Just outside Cornwall, however, I tapped.

Upon exiting the highway, Jord drove for an excruciating three minutes through countryside before arriving at a Subway, where he took his merry time parking. Then, Tony got out of the car in slow motion and pulled the passenger seat forward to let me out.

As I was charging into the Subway, I sensed some premature evacuation in my pants.

Inside the restroom, my worst fears were confirmed.

Call it "over-excitement."

I have this theory that when you desperately need to defecate, your control over your anus is inversely proportional to your distance from a toilet — that is, the closer you are to a toilet, the less you're able to stop traffic.

Still leaking, I sat down on the toilet to finish the job. My ass cheeks smeared watery feces all over the toilet seat. I tried to salvage my pants, cupping the cotton bowl of poop fondue between my ankles with my left hand in an effort to stave off any further interaction between my boxers and my pants. Meanwhile, my other hand busily mopped my ass.

Someone knocked on the door.

—Hold on!

I carefully took off my shoes, socks and pants and threw my soggy underwear in the small trash can under the sink. My lower body was plastered in excrement. I wanted to shower; I settled for paper towels.

More knocking.

—One minute!

I washed my hands thoroughly and made sure I had adequately cleaned up the restroom before leaving. A pudgy old man greeted me at the door. Poor fellow.

—I…shit my pants.
—Did you shit your pants in the car? Jord inquired, nonchalantly.
—No. It happened on my way in.

I expected more of a reaction. The two Wankers acted like people shit their pants all the time around them.

In retrospect, maybe I should have shit in the car.