DigsyDoodles I

I've been drawing for as long as I can remember (since I was 2, according to my Mom) and I've maybe thrown 5% of it away. I have it all. My dresser drawers at home were (are?) filled with stacks of drawings and character designs, mostly done in school during all the boring stuff. Here are some from my work notebook, some done during meetings, some done during sketch class.

(from Marvel Comics' X-Men comics)

(from Marvel Comics' Runaways)

(from Marvel Comics' X-Factor)

JET character design
(original character)

FORECAST & WOLF character designs
(original characters)


TV: Kid Nation "To Kill Or Not To Kill"

The true test came tonight for possible reality TV savior Kid Nation: will episode two live up to the hopes and dreams that the first episode so gently and awesomely planted into my noggin? My almost-tears at the episode's finale means that all signs point to yes. Soggy corn, chicken blood, frozen flannel, and an impending battle of Shakespearean proportions made this episode mighty fine television.

No matter how many physical challenges they toss at us (this week: outdoor plumbing!), Kid Nation is about the kids. Two more of the remaining 39 got my attention this week.

One of the many kids raised on a farm, Emilie is adept at breaking horses and all things farmy. Her passion for the animals led her to be strongly against the decision to kill two chickens so the kids can have something other that peach and bean dinners. Understandable, Emilie, since the kids getting a blood lust is a little too Lord of the Flies a little too early. But come on, if everyone keeps a level head (pun since the chickens get their heads cut off!), no one will go insane and get their brains splattered against a rock. They'll get to eat. Chicken. Mmmmm. Emilie managed to lock herself into a chicken coup twice in one hour of television. Is that a record? The first time was to protest the impending chicken slaughter, the second was just out of her pure love of the animals and her dismay at being demoted to a class that doesn't have coup access. Some little punk named Colton made a big fuss about it and a hissy fit ensued. By episode's end, I was sure Emilie would pack it in and pull a Jimmy, but she decided to stay because her mother told her to be a "rough and tough cowgirl." I wonder what Emilie's other mom had to say about that? Oh! Snap! No I didn't!

Poor Zach, poor poor Zach. Not only is he one of the few boys on Taylor's Zack & Cody obsessed pantheon of girlies, he's also the only one of them that actually likes to do his job as a cook. Zach was found in the kitchen slaving away with the green team (you know, the team that has to clean poo and pick up yellow's slack) and later confronted Taylor about just generally sucking. Taylor brushed it off with ice-queen ease and later complimented Zach on how hard he worked during the physical challenge. She calls him a natural leader which he hopefully will become when/if the revolt is led against Taylor. Zach should get a gold star for putting up with her.

Jerk Hole Greg really wants the gold star, and we find out why tonight: he's poor. He spends the second half of the episode cleaning and pitching in even though the blue team won upper class, a move that impressed some (Anjay and Taylor) and raised a couple eyebrows (both belonging to Mike). No matter how suspect his motives were, he did step it up and KILL TWO CHICKENS for the entire nation! Surprise surprise, Jerk Hole Greg knows his way around with a hatchet (yet he still vandalizes with chalk, hmmm?)! He also claims to have done a lot of "PVC work" which makes me wonder what this kid's summers are like. I think they're made of Taylor's nightmares. No matter, his behavior in this episode made me rethink the nickname Jerk Hole Greg until the last bit. After losing the gold star to Michael, Greg vowed revenge. He. Vowed. Revenge. Or to get even, I'm fuzzy on the wording, but for real, the rise and fall of Greg is so Anakin Skywalker right now, I'm PUMPED UP for next week!

President Laurel started slipping a bit this week, freaking out during the mission and expressing how upset she would be if they lost again. When they did lose again, Laurel managed to suck it up thanks to the help from everyone else. When asked why she was smiling, she responded that she "can't help but smile" when she's around those kids. Aww! She was next shown cleaning an outhouse for the fifth day in a row and said "work has to get done." Laurel is still the only council member with a right head on her shoulders but her momentary slip during the physical challenge has me wondering what is in store for her...

This week's gold star winner and rightfully so. He made two more inspirational statements ("It could be worse, we could be living in Ethiopia" after losing all the water pumps) and solved the problem of the frozen water hole. His second statement was pretty awesome. He called out Taylor's "we're the youngest" BS and then gave them a compliment, saying he knew all of the yellow team personally and knew they had potential! Geez! Gold star, you, take it! And, to top it all off, he was more excited about calling his parents and said the $20,000 belonged to them! His mom, though, just had a small chuckle when Michael told her about cleaning outhouses and barely raised an eyebrow at winning beaucoup bucks. Oh Michael, cleaning kiddie nasty stuff, that's so charming! Oh, Housewives is on! Bye, honey!

I think we have a problem. What was cute last week has now turned dangerous. When Sophia (go girl!) once again called out the yellow team for their total laziness for the second meeting in a row, Taylor said the usual "we tried our best," "it's too cold" blah blah blahs, and then dropped the bomb. "YOU'RE ALL GONNA STARVE"!!! She just flat-out said she wasn't going to do her job! Her job of feeding people! What?! Pageant winners don't do dishes but they do do psychological warfare! DK responded to that by telling her to shut her disrespectful mouth. Applause for him! Taylor needs to learn a lesson or eleventy billion, and fast.

And that was about it for this episode. Sophia is still saying the stuff everyone else is to afraid to say, Michael is backing up his speeches with actions, Greg is about to get vengeance on the council, and Taylor is shaping up to be a cute little dictator. And no one went home.

Oh, and I forgot someone...


TV: Kid Nation "I'm Trying To Be A Leader Here"

Child labor laws be damned, this is the best show on TV right now. I can say this because The Office, 30 Rock and Lost don't start for at least another week (except Lost, I cry everytime I think about that February premiere). I have not been so genuinely moved by a reality program since Whip-Snap revealed she had no family on Who Wants to be a Superhero?. Which was, like, a month ago...but still, Kid Nation has the makings of a highly addictive reality show. As soon as Greg got in Mike's face in a very Sawyer/Jack struggle for power, I knew I was in for some pre-adolescent emotionally draining drama. Forget The Pick-Up Artist and America's Next Top Model, this is the real deal (by the way, totally rooting for the Yale chick and the girl with Asperger's on ANTM).

The premise behind the show is pretty simple and straightforward: 40 kids are dropped off in Bonanza City, a ghost town in New Mexico (that is actually a big movie set), and must then fend for themselves and create a "working society" and are grouped into four divisions (red, blue, green and yellow). Add a little bit of structure in the form of competitions to decide what groups get to do what jobs (upper class, merchants, cooks, laborers) and a bit of reward (a $20,000 gold star given to the kid who does the best job every week) and you have the makings for TV ROYALTY.

Here are some of the kids and my thoughts on them.

One of the four CBS-approved council members that lead the town, Mike got off on the wrong foot with everyone by not helping out during the Nation's mile-long hike to Bonanza City. However, during the physical challenge (which involved catching colored water and filling a glass container; how much more Double Dare can you get?), Mike stepped it up and led his Red Team to victory. Early on, Mike started to crack under the pressure of leadership, but his courage to patch things up with Jerk Hole Greg is admirable. Then again, this kid was the only one of the council that wanted a TV instead of seven more latrines to add to their existing one. And he solved Jerk Hole Greg's graffiti problem by yelling in his ear and running away.

Little miss beauty pagaent winner who, early on, talked about saving all the starving kids in Africa and of course doing something about Iraq. Widely acknowledged and agreed upon political statements sound even better when skipping out of the mouth of this Southern Belle in waiting. Taylor leads the yellow division with a little, well-manicured iron fist and, when not crying about wanting to go home, doing dishes, and having to sleep on the floor, she's chilling with the farm animals and being an asset to her team. Seriously, this girl fed some hoses to something or other under that big oil rig thing during the physical challenge. Her big drama was whether or not to go home after the first four days. She's decided to tough it out, which I'm glad about. She's going to provide some sass, I'm sure.

The future President of the United States of America. The leader of the green division, Laurel proved just how awesome she is by selflessly counseling pretty much every single whiny and crying kid, including her co-leaders Mike and Taylor. She's personable, open-minded, observant, wise beyond her years, and the only member of the council that acts like a leader. When picking her team, she snatched up Michael and Sophia, the two kids who had previously shown just how awesome they are (more on them in a bit). She didn't even have first pick, the other leaders were just more superficial about their choices. Sure her team came in last place during the physical challenge, but no other leader could have handled being stuck with the lowly task of laborers (Taylor has to stay clean at all times and both Mike and Anjay were too busy being testosteroids about the challenge). Laurel accepted the meager pay the job brings and will surely work hard and help her division. She's an inspiration. I'll vote for her in thirty years.

The revolutionary of Kid Nation. She immediately took control of a dire situation upon arriving in camp and made dinner for forty kids (after Taylor created one big and uncooked pasta chunk) and followed suit the next morning. She is the steadfast voice of reason, claiming that sometimes she feels surrounded by dumb people. She also has a whimsical side, choosing to do goofy dances in the street for nickels in order to buy a vintage bicycle at the town store. She works the hardest and has a truly adult outlook on the whole thing. The best thing about her? She was pretty much the only person who said she wasn't happy with the council at the town meeting and still got the $20,000 gold star. I love that she was brave enough to speak her opinion and I also love that the council was mature enough to reward her for her amazingly hard work, despite the honesty. Along with the gold star, the winner gets to call home to tell their parents. Sophia's voice when calling home got to me. She was so overwhelmed, she seemed like she was going to tell her mom that she had lost an arm in a tragic pancake making accident. A very real moment caught between a revolutionary and her frizzy haired mom. Next week says "Sophia continues her campaign against the council," making me think she's going to get even more aggressive. Who cares, she's already got $20,000. I say give'em hell! She'd make a better leader anyway.

This kid was pretty much absent for the entire episode except for two instances where he proved to be Laurel's future speech writer. Twice in the episode he stepped up, shut everyone up, and gave motivational (to 8 year olds) speeches that calmed everyone down and gave the council an opportunity to speak (instead of the council doing this, since Taylor was too busy trying to remember all the words to a Hannah Montana song and Mike was buried in his deep inner monologue). The gold star question came down to either Michael and Sophia, and it was a tight race indeed. Right after Sophia lashed out at the council for the yellow division's non-existant dish washing job (Taylor doesn't do dishes people!), Michael stood up and gave his second inspirational speech, seemingly sealing the deal for gold star-hood. He didn't get it (maybe because all he can do is talk) but I'm sure he will soon. As long as he can, you know, move something other than his highly influential mouth.

I've talked about Jerk Hole Greg some. This kid yelled at Mike during breakfast, got in his face, and created a very tense moment. The best part? Greg putting his finger over Mike's mouth, laughing and walking away. SAWYER AND JACK! Real tension! Later on, after being divided up, Greg and his cronie Blaine (was there ever a more jerktastic name?) wrote "Go Blue!" over all the other bunks. Greg is 15 and he's taunting 8 year olds. Oh wow, someone needs a reality check. Of course after seeing that $20,000 is up for grabs, Greg has decided to get one. I can't wait to see what his definition of working hard is, maybe stealing kids' push carts so he can do their work?

The first kid to go home and he was downright awesome. He loved hanging out with the older kids, hunting jackrabbits, and everyone loved him. Their earnest pleading with him to stay, ugh! So touching! But, as he said, he doesn't feel cut out for this show and he misses his family. Go home then, kid, you did the best you can do.

I love this kid. He's the only one on the show, so far, that seems to be socially awkward, a misfit, a goober, and downright annoying. I reiterate, I love this kid. He has a raspy voice equivalent to a 65 year old cigarette enthusiast and insists on always wearing a cowboy hat. When he got paid the highest salary available for being on the winning red team, he spent all his money on a big hunk of dark chocolate and a book by Shakespeare. I can't wait to see what crazy antics this kid gets into, he's like a walking Hannah Barbera cartoon.

Those are the kids that made themselves apparent to me. As the weeks go by, I'll profile the other kids that rise to the occassion and prove to have a personality. Until then, I'll be looking back at this pilot fondly. My Wednesday nights are set, so hang on.

MY SCORE: ***** (out of 5)


Apples & Emmys

The Apples in Stereo love playing New York City, so much so that seeing them live has become commonplace where only a year ago I considered seeing them a miracle. Four times in just under a year, pretty rad. This concert was different from the first three; it took me to Williamsburg which, as far as I can tell, is a ghetto crack den that just happens to sell insanely upscale furniture and super expensive clothing-to-look-homeless-in (American Apparel). I was not charmed by the dead end street filled with hollowed out buildings the Music Hall was on, nor was I charmed by the delay in letting people in. I wandered around that street for two hours.

The opening bands, Old Soul and Aqueduct, were okay. I didn't mind Old Soul and found them to be fun to watch, same with Aqueduct except I was shocked at how many people were there to see them and not Apples. Aqueduct's frontman was very charming and funny, but I got tired of the music as the set wore on. I wanted Apples. Mmmm...

John Dufilho, the drummer, went onstage first and waved at me. And I'm sure it was me since, after Aqueduct, the auditorium mostly cleared out to get more drinks. Also, bassist Eric Allen said "Hey man, how's it going?" to which I responded "It's going great!" because I am a spaz-a-mataz. So I guess being The Guy Freaking Out In The Front Row at three Apples concerts in New York City over the last year has gotten me some sort of recognition. Robert Schneider, lead Apple who I've now met twice, came out and the guy next to me struck up a conversation with him. Robert introduced himself to the guy, looked at me, and said, "What's your name?" "Brett." "Yeah, have we met before? I know you." "Yeah, I let your wife in at the Bowery." "Oh yeah! Thanks, man!" Robert then noticed that someone had left a small black plastic bag with two Marbles (Robert's solo project) CDs in it on stage. Robert gave me and the guy the CDs. Because he's the best.

The show was awesome, of course. My usual show-favorites were all there ("Go," "Rainbow," "What's The #?," "Ruby") and the band ran through their normal set of songs. They played "Beautiful Machine" from the new album for the third time ever, which Robert dedicated to his wife who was present (and sold me the Apples t-shirt I am wearing right now). Robert also pointed out that exactly 30 years ago from last night, he entered the US from South Africa and became a permanent resident. Cool moment. For the encore, Robert came out and did "The Afternoon," the first time I've ever heard it live, and the band came out to rip through "Tidal Wave," during which Robert pointed at me while singing. I was furiously jumping up and down, grin on my face, shouting the lyrics. I got a handshake from my favorite songwriter ever and they left the stage.

Setlist (not in order)
The Rainbow
The Afternoon
Tidal Wave
Can You Feel It?
Same Old Drag
Play Tough
Sun Is Out
7 Stars
Open Eyes
Beautiful Machine
What's The #?
Do You Understand?


The Emmys were last night and I ended up enjoying them...mainly because I was fast forwarding through 80% of it this morning at 1:45 AM. I was overjoyed to see Terry O'Quinn win for his work on Lost. Rainn Wilson's bit with Kanye West was funny and another fave moment, but that might have just been because of the Rainn Wilson involvement. The real highlights of the night came from seeing UCB people on TV. Peter Gwinn, my teacher from my Del Close Marathon workshop, got to slap Stephen Colbert during their nominee video. 30 Rock, the best comedy of the year in truth and Emmy Land, won and I spotted both Jack McBrayer and Donald Glover, two performers I see often at UCB. I've felt a special kinship with 30 Rock since it debuted alongside my own move to New York and the start of my career in television. This kinship has grown now that I see people I've been taught by and see perform on there on a weekly basis. This win was special...right inside my heart pump. I can only hope that this and the Seinfeld cameo boost the ratings to a healthy level so the show doesn't become the new Arrested Development.

Yay television!



I got to shake Martin Freeman's hand today. For those of you who don't know who Martin Freeman is, I'll let Wikipedia clear that up for you:

"Martin Freeman (born September 8, 1971) is an English actor. He is most famous for his roles as Tim Canterbury in the BBC's Golden Globe winning comedy The Office, and as Arthur Dent in the film adaptation of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

He was a guest on an XM Radio program today and I got to tag along and escort him up to the fifth floor. I made sure to introduce myself and, when leaving, I stuck my hand out again and waited for him to notice, thus getting another shake (this wasn't awkward, the wait time was only a second). I did NOT reveal any of the following facts:

1. I cried at the series finale of the UK Office.
2. I contemplated making an action figure for Tim Canterbury (his Office character) out of a Fox Mulder and Arthur Dent figure.
3. A picture of him as Tim appeared in my 'heroes' section on my myspace page for years.
4. I was cast to play him in a stage production of an episode of The Office. I was cast by myself and this idea only made it to the early levels of planning, but the whole thing was cast (David, Gareth, Dawn).
5. I was him for Halloween.
6. I run one of the first, if not the first Tim Canterbury myspace profiles.

He's short (5'7" according to his imdb profile) so that makes him infintely cooler in my book. A good day.

"Coal Miner's Daughter" is a great great movie. This and "Walk The Line" both make me think of/miss home. Is there a southern-film genre? I think I'm running out of country superstar biopics to watch, and I really don't even like old country music all that much and I hate new country. I just miss the Southerny aspects of my old life.

"Manband" has been an awesome show, the three episodes I watched. It was both insanely cheesy (the music video, "Whatchu think'bout nights in manHYATtin") and touching (Color Me Badd guy has a drinking problem and a catty wife! LFO guy has Leukemia!). Even though their songs are so 1997 and their voices leave a lot to be desired, I want them to succeed.

The new Go! Team album is too much fun, but of course not as strong as Thunder, Lightning, Strike. It's still better than Challengers and Kala, so it might be the album of 2007 after New Magnetic Wonder.

My 401 class show was yesterday. I think I performed strongly and I, for the most/most important part, had fun. 401 was filled with mixed emotions and some really tough scenes, but Delaney was a great teacher who gave some of the best notes I've ever gotten. He was always honest and also surprised me with how friendly and open he was. It was a good experience and I hope to start 501 soon.



I don't blog much because I always turn blogging into An Assignment. When my year in New York anniversary came up (August 18th), I had this big idea to map out my year and discuss the highs and lows in a very thought out manner. This was like a research paper. Why would I impose that on myself? From now on, this is going to be off the cuff, loose, totes cazh (casual? Is that the right abbrev?).

Labor Day weekend was ginormous. I had both Friday and Monday off, something that I definitely needed. I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately, so having a solid two days with nothing to do was amazing. I slept, watched South Park and X-Files, started reading the $40 worth of comics I bought on Saturday, and fiddled with the iPod. All things I don't do enough of.
Bad Data debuted on Saturday at Under St. Mark's with Sherpa and Shark Tank and it was a lot of fun. It went well, we got lots of laughs, and I feel like we're a worthwhile entry into the ranks of the indie improv scene. Afterwards we went to Grassroots for a while and then hit up Beauty Bar for a late night danceathon. This is what I want Bad Data to be known for: the group that has a great time after their show is over, doing more than drinking in a bar. For real, we celebrated on Saturday night and it was one of the most fun nights I've had in a while. For the first time, or one of the first times, New York felt a bit like home. It would have been better if "This Is How We Do it" had been played.

A year ago around this time I posted this blog. I'm glad that both of these blogs contain dancing and fun times, but only one of them contains Late Show. I almost feel like (or screw almost; I do feel like) I'm a former high school athlete looking back longingly on his high school glory days. Late Show was my high school, my crowning achievement accomplished way too early in life (stop laughing, Ashley) and etc. etc. And okay, I know Late Show isn't the be-all-end-all but every day that I'm in New York I owe to that internship. I would be in Tennessee still, working for NewsChannel 5 right now if I hadn't been whisked away to the land of research. Because of that internship, I feel like I'm a lot closer to an awesome career in television, a career that would be almost unattainable from the position of a camera operator in Nashville. I've just replaced Late Show with UCB...but I still kinda yearn for the days that I had both.

My friends have a podcast. It makes my day.