Take, for instance (you were hoping for a "for instance," right?) an incident that happened earlier this month. I'd recently booked one of my favorite local comedians for one of my MovieBoozer events. We'd been communicating via Facebook and all was well. Then I saw him out at a club. The normal half of me thought, "Oh, great - what a lovely opportunity to introduce myself in person." The weirdo half of me thought, "Why don't you just walk away?" Well, the normal half of me won out - until I approached him, and then the weirdo took over. (Damn you, weirdo - you are an asshole! Who gave you control?)
This is what I said: "Hi, I'm Jenna. I smell of booze and edamame." What in the fuck, weird Jenna? Was, "Nice to meet you" unavailable? And why did I think my breath would be a factor? We weren't in a small, enclosed space, nor were we going to be making out. Of all the things, why did weirdo Jenna reveal this tidbit? I still don't know. But it didn't sway this gracious guy. He gave me a hug and said, "You know, there're a lot of smells out there and those are two really good ones."
The normal part of me could've recovered and carried on a conversation from there. But no - the weirdo part still had control! So I stared at him for a moment, with absolutely no follow-up, until I shrugged and said, "Well, I can see that you're busy." And then I walked away! Why, Jenna? Why?!
I spent the rest of the evening in a tailspin, until I stumbled upon a way to beat weird Jenna at her own nefariously nutty game. Here's what I've decided to do: give her a platform. (If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.) So look for The Humiliation of Jenna Zine, coming soon to my YouTube channel. I'll talk about all the times I've said insanely asinine things, usually to famous people that I'd admire - and then we can all have a laugh.
[Photo: The time I met Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo. He was really nice!]
I've been a movie fanatic for as long as I can remember. Some of my fondest childhood memories include being bundled up in my footie pajamas, watching James Bond movies in the way, way back of our wood-paneled station wagon. Rumor has it that I peed my pants with excitement when an offer came from my aunt to see Alice in Wonderland. (In my defense, I was in the throes of getting potty-trained and I'm of the pre-DVD generation. Think of the mortification I could've been spared if I'd been able to watch movies on demand!) I absolutely lost my mind over Grease, which I also got to see at the drive-in. The soundtrack topped my "must-have" list and I even wrote a fan letter to John Travolta, requesting that he marry my aunt so that he could give me free disco lessons. I had an agenda, even as an 8-year old!
The release of Ghostbusters aligned with two very important events - my birthday and my "graduation" from 8th grade. How did I celebrate? With a pink cake in the shape of a ballet slipper and a cadre of girlfriends at the theater, watching one of the coolest comedies I've ever seen. I think this marks my first official "movie night" - organizing a large group of people, with the singular goal of enjoying a film together in a somewhat social setting.
The advent of the VCR put my film consumption on warp speed. (Well, semi-warp speed. My dad did his research and decided that Beta was superior to VHS. He was not wrong. However, the public did not agree and thusly the Beta section of the video store was a small slice of an otherwise massive pie. We'd find out much later that a secret deal struck between the porn industry and VHS had massively curtailed our video selections. Bonus: my dad obviously did not watch porn.)
Movies have always been a lifeline - clutching friends in fear as we watched Nightmare On Elm Street on repeat, hiding our faces as we giggled. Some of the best date nights with boyfriends over the years. Convincing my dorm to let me hold a movie night in our shared sitting room. Moving to Tucson and discovering they still had a drive-in, with a heavenly FOUR screens - all of which hosted double features. The joy of befriending an incredible woman named Christie Ortiz in Bisbee who shared my Pavlov's Dog reaction to curling up on the couch with a DVD. The fun we had watching all of those horror films together should've been illegal. Some of it probably was!
There were tearjerkers too. Taking my sister-in-law to see Sex & The City on the big screen comes to mind. Penny was dying of cancer and we used to joke that she couldn't pass away before we found out what happened with Carrie and Mr. Big. Heading to the theater that day was both a great joy and heartbreaking triumph. She wouldn't live to see the second one. Many would say that's a good thing. (Dark humor - she would've loved that!)
The thrill I experience when I watch a movie is something I've obviously been passionate about sharing with others my whole life. The funny thing is that I didn't realize it until recently. And when I did put the proverbial 2 + 2 together, I almost cried.
For the past several months I've had the honor of hosting a showcase at McMenamins Mission Theater for MovieBoozer. This has been my baby - bringing together my two loves of standup and 80's comedies. I pitched the whole thing, on both sides, from beginning to end. MovieBoozer said yes. And, thanks to Mike Wyant, McMenamins said yes. I've been given free reign to book the talent and the films. It's been a blast. (So far I've gotten to pair Barbara Holm and Shane Torres with Say Anything, Alex Falcone with Airplane!, and Amy Miller with Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Wednesday, May 14th will bring Sean Jordan and Working Girl together. Join us!)
But the real treat was when the past came into focus. I was sitting at theater during the first MovieBoozer at the Mission event and I had a flash of my younger self, organizing the Ghostbusters birthday. And then one memory after another came tumbling forward and I realized I'd been on a very long road to this moment. A huge event. A huge theater. Organized by my hand, and from my heart.
What a beautiful ah ha moment - the past and present, making perfect sense. It fits - and I didn't even know it. I can't wait to see what comes next.