The small contingent of blogg…uh, new medians… uh, Web nerds trickled into the Cricket Club one-by-scurvy-one last night. Our mission was simple. Infiltrate the “Politics With A Punch” panel and ask Harry Shearer politely to be the keynote speaker at this year’s Rising Tide Conference. In attendance were a Rogues Gallery of bloggers: Jeffrey, Erster, Karen, Dedra, myself(w/ Romy) and DSB. We were seated at a small card table surrounded by 6-foot rounds with “reserved” signs all over them. Political propaganda was strewn about displaying some of the best aesthetician work in GNO. A woman with large, prominent breasts, moved about the crowd.
Jeffrey, Romy and I were seated with the WGSO people and they were all nice folks.
Jeffrey and I were lamenting the lukewarm Heinekens and discussing our “Borat” type plan-B if Shearer denied us when it was noticed the intrepid Erster had already roped Shearer in to convo. I saw that the move was being made and stood up to deliver the only prepared statement I had to endear him to our camp.
“I just learned that you were the original Eddie Haskell in “Leave it to Beaver,” I said.
“Yes, yes,” he replied.
“Proof that not all child stars…” I started.
“…grow up to be fucked up?” he answered.
We laughed and then I sat down and just left Erster to do the dirty work. Some capo regime I am eh?
So we got a definite maybe from Shearer. Seems he has something else going on that weekend. Some sort of democratic national convention or something. Harry, if you are reading this, I still have your prize for being awarded “Official ‘Harry’ of New Orleans” and would love to give it to you at Rising Tide.
After being admonished by Stephen Sabludowsky for talking too much and being told “don’t speak” during the panel and not to record anything, the show was set to get under way. In describing Sabludowski I can only say he has the good looks of a homeless Harry Dean Stanton and the shining charisma of a heavily medicated Joe McCarthy.
The show was started and Jeff Crouere did his best Jay Leno monologue and I contemplated tossing the lemon from my cocktail on stage in some sort of gesture. The panel included Lee Balinas, Larry Beron, Jimmy Farenholtz (Hey! Need a Web site?), John LaBruzzo, Shearer, Kenya Smith (Hey! Need a Web site?) and Rachel Wulff (who Romy commented was giving off some serious Jane Curtain “Weekend Update” vibes).
What followed was like some sort of roast where instead of Ronald Reagan or Jackie Gleason being sent up it was the citizens and peoples of greater New Orleans. At one point, someone mentioned the ongoing Ahley Terry incident and Beron stated it wasn’t a funny subject and I though to myself, “none of this is a funny subject.”
Jeffrey was literally writhing in his chair, presumably from the pseudo-snarkiness of it all.
Speaking of writhing, LaBruzzo was really taking heat. You know it’s bad when the host has to garner applause for him by lauding him for simply showing up for the skewering. The pay raise deal already had folks fired up and then he proposed more offshore drilling and never really found his way into the crowd’s good graces. Hey John, the common folk don’t want more drilling no matter what revenues it is purported to bring. The reason why is because no one believes there will be any revenues left to trickling down to us common folk. So while politicians may love the idea, us Japanese two-door folks would rather just have alternatives. Since, as we all know, oil is a finite resource and we have been on its tit for too long. And hey, it’s not like we even have to come up with an alternative, let’s not burn through what we have left at such a retarded rate.
Anyway, a few more details were discussed and then it was turned over to the crowd for short questions. I was pretty fired up by this time but couldn’t think of anything witty to say to keep with the supposed biting and sly tone of the event. See, whenever I talk about politics, it always leads to me accusing them of being corrupt and then I start babbling about guillotines and new calenders and then I lose focus.
A lady appropriately named Margarita who I could only describe as being some sort of Charro Gabor got up, lamented that she set her hat on fire earlier in the evening among some other sort of sloshed rhetoric. This was actually the funniest moment of the night.
Discussion returned to the panel where each person was allowed an “outrage of the month.” Kenya Smith’s was “citizen complacency” which prompted a verbal outburst from Karen. As we were leaving, we ended up asking Smith what exactly he meant by that and he stated he would rather people come out and get involved in any way rather than sit at home and ignore everything. I thought to myself, “He must mean like pouring tea into the harbor, storming the prisons and shipping the leaders off to Siberia!” But come to find out he just meant get out and vote. It occurs to me that citizen complacency is probably what allows crooked politicians to perpetrate all their deeds and, since I am of the school that they are all crooked, one must eye with suspicion any challengers who wish for the folks to be more involved. I’m watching you Kenya Smith.
For tricksters like myself and the rest of the bloggers, the night was rife with material. It was quite fun to observe the entire scene. I might even go again now that I have a $5 off coupon from the program. I do think it could be included by allowing more audience participation. A few times I wanted to holler out like they do on those rough days in Congress but since I was told “Don’t speak” by Sabludowski, I submitted to the wishes of the organizers. But it would be more fun if we could cut through some of the bullshit and get to what the people really want to say instead of some haphazard q&a at the end.