animehem/central casting 4

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

animehem/central casting 4

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So ever since that House of Moist show, Lesley and I have been pals. When she moved to Austin, she still came down to Houston to record. Often she’d come down to visit her father whose health was failing, we’d see each other then. Or when she could squeeze me in between bands she and Leslie would be headbanging to I’d meet her for a margarita or sushi.

Lesley hadn’t remarried since that Creed Temple Jam dude, a rocky union that produced a whopper of a daughter. That kid was deadly complex when she was six. By ten she and I were comparing notes on American Horror Story. She was as tragically hip as her mother. Apples, trees. Big surprise.

But there was this one guy who eventually came along—guitar player, natch—who Lesley had known since high school. And when their paths crossed again years later, they decided to get together for old times sake. They were just casual friends back then, so nothing was expected at this little reunion but, sure enough, halfway through their first not-date, they turned to each other, locked eyes, and that was that.

“I’m love you.”

“I’m love you, too.”

Next thing I know I’m getting a picture of Einar the guitar player (now-husband), her Taisa Farmiga-loving daughter, and Lesley, all in an white blanket of Canadian snow. Lesley looks beautiful, a little like Emma Frost—dressed in a white coat and ushanka hat, married and…pregnant.

This kid, a little boy, is equally as remarkable as the daughter is. Of course he wasn’t planned which makes his arrival even more wondrous.

Fortunately/unfortunately all this wedding marching and baby making is happening as Einar just signed on to be the guitar player in Kelly Clarkson’s band, as Clarkson is settling into another white hot phase of her career, selling out stadiums, slaying on SNL, and taking the occasional fat cash corporate gig. It’s rough on the newly married couple, but Einar’s doing what he loves with one of the best pop singers in the word who also happens to be one of the most genuine and kind. And while on tour, he’s able to get home to Austin every chance he gets so he can play newlywed. Naturally I don’t see Lesley as much as I once did, but when we do, it’s a treasured pleasure.

And copious amounts of liquor are consumed. Lesley is a margarita hound. I’m equally as passionate just not as prejudice. To me, all booze is great.

One fateful night, both Leslie and Lesley are at my house after going out for saki and sushi. We have more of the latter than we did of the former and decide it would be a shame to waste a good buzz, so we move to my place for after-dinner drinks, making the huge mistake of chasing down the rice wine mind wrecker with a crisp chardonnay and a nice velvety cab.

Almost every actor at the studio has been to my house. It’s small but warm, with a kitchen so tiny it would make a Brookly apartment look roomy. Seriously, the thing is the size of an airport bathroom stall. Still, this is where everyone crowds in and that’s where we are, catching up.

I’m hearing about the kids, that Einar is at Madison Garden that very evening jamming with Kelly Clarkson as she double bills with Reba McIntyre for two sold-out shows, and Lesley landed a guest part on Drop Dead Diva playing, of course, the coolest mother a transgender kid could hope for. Sequel (aka Other Leslie) gives us the lowdown on which rocker should pull a Sammy Hagar and get out gracefully while also providing the scoop on why the hell Bun E Carlos isn’t in Cheap Trick anymore and wants to kill Robin Zander, who’s really showing his age while Bun looks exactly the same as he did when Zander was the ladyslayer.

I’m updating the women on studio drama and that usual skinny. Speaking of skinny…

“You look really good,” Lesley tells me. And I’m thrilled anyone’s noticed.

“Power 90!” I declare, flexing.

I had fallen victim to the ubiquitous infomercial one night when I was working out with my martini glass and realized all those empty calories were starting to have an effect on my gut. There’s nothing worse than a skinny guy with a gut. You look like a cocktail olive. I swear, people have literally tried to put me in their drink. So I slurred/ordered the entire Power 90 DVD set so I could finally have a body gay men are famous for.

I will admit to you (as I did to the Leslies) that I have never made it past disc one of the entire Power 90 set but, hey, for me that’s still something of an achievement. Somehow I’ve even come to enjoy this whole working out thing and between Power 90’s smiling trainers, my newfound love of running (even when no one is chasing me), and the Men’s Health Belly Off Diet my bony bod has experienced a nice little makeover. I’ve always been to be able to eat like crap and drink as much as I do and not suffer too much physiologically or cosmetically for it. And, yes, I could still be mistaken for Kate Moss’ missing brother. But my slight gut is gone, I’m not as skinny as I once was, and what is there now is all muscle. I am cut, motherfuckers. Cut, I tell you!

Previously this condition always involved razors or deadly edges of a sheet of paper. But this…this was something new for me. I didn’t have a concave chest, I had actual pecs. My chicken legs were gone, replaced by a very cocky rooster’s. Arms no longer stick-like, but instead boasted real definition and didn’t feel like veal. My posture was better, my shoulders stronger, I was really proud of myself. Modest gains to anyone else, but for me, this was the best I’d ever looked in my life. Ever. And I was way past 40.

So naturally, every time I saw some hot guy in my house only to realize it was me in a mirror, it was a reminder to take a selfie. It got out of hand, I’ll admit it. Every time I changed clothes, it would turn into an Avedon-level photo shoot. If I had hair I would have bought a wind machine. Disgusting.

The most astonishing area of my new hot bod was my ass. You name a euphemism for it, I embodied it. Junk in the trunk? Try junk yard. Bubble butt? You’d think Lawrence Welk designed my ass with a team from Hasbro. Need to set your drink down? Put it right here. Baby got back and shelf.

Now I’m not drunk enough to drop trou but I am loaded enough to whip out one of the more impressive pics from the portfolio I have on my iPhone and show both Lesley and Sequel. While scrolling, we come to a shot of my perfectly sculpted ass. Naked, of course. They howl.

They are drunk enough to be astonishingly polite, whistling and catcalling my efforts and sometime during the Steven Ass Appreciation Hour, Einar texts Lesley.

“I thought he was playing the Garden?” I look at the kitchen clock and, while a bit blurry, it most certainly was no later than 11.

“They just finished. He’s on the way to the hotel,” says Lesley while texting him back.

I’m a big walker in New York. I love that town. I will walk ten miles and wish it was ten more. I’m not a hiker but if I lived in NYC, I’d become one. On fifth avenue, but still. And I’m so drunk I’m assuming Einar is walking back to his hotel from Madison Square Garden because, you know, doesn’t everybody?

“That is so cool he’s playing Madison fucking Garden. I’m going to send him a picture of my butt.”

Now at the time, this seemed perfectly logical. Tesh! and Sequel are laughing and jumping up and down and encouraging this stupidity. Lesley can’t give me Einar’s number fast enough. Within seconds, Einar is mooned long distance.

While waiting for an equally clever reply, or perhaps even a butt shot in kind, our enthusiasm winds down. No response.

I’m a little hurt. For about two seconds. Then we open another bottle of wine and get back to drinking.

About ten minutes later, Lesley’s phone buzzes. She looks at the text. While she does, I lean back against the frig, just waiting to hear how impressed Einar is with my workout regimen. But then Lesley laughs.

And I’m a little hurt. Again.

“What? Why are you laughing?” I demand to know. “Did I get a bad review?”

“Ah, no,” Lesley says, those damn lips of hers curling into a Cheshire that could only be more unnerving if it was coming from her just-now disembodied head. Smiles like this are not usually followed with, “It’s a girl!” or “Congratulations you’re nominated!” Maybe I actually offended him.

Where would I get that idea?

Now I’m nervous.

“What’s it say?”

Sequel has already sidled up next to Lesley and, after reading it, finds herself hilariously aghast. Well, as animated as that can be coming from a woman who is so even-keeled I’ve wondered how she hides that dilaudid drip.

“Read it, goddammit!” I bark.

Lesley clears her throat and begins reading her phone. “Hilarious. We needed that.”

A question pops into my quickly sobering head: We? She continues.

“Tell Steven that Kelly thinks he’s got a great ass.”

What?!

I swear to God I can feel the color draining from my face only to rush right back instantaneously. My head feels like one of those really violent public toilets where some jet engine whooshes a whirlpool of such velocity you’d swear there’s a wormhole opening up. Then that same liquid vortex changsd its mind and it is engines full reverse. I go from faint to flush in about a second and a half. What follows is a ramble of grammatical carnage;How did she— I thought they were— But that’s—”

“You dumbass, they’re all on the bus together. They take the bus to the hotel,” she tells me, as if I am accustomed to knowing how rock stars travel from venue to venue. For all I know they could take the soul train. “I’m sure Einar started laughing and then Kelly was either walking by when it happened or heard it and wanted to see what was so funny.”

What the hell? Why isn’t she back at the Garden dressing room being all diva with Reba? And why is Einar waving his cellphone in the air, mooning me without my permission. People have no sense of decorum when it comes to receiving nude selfies.

“TESH! I don’t want your theories!” my voice sounding all high and pinched and Jewish as I for some reason go into a kind of Jerry Seinfeld default. “Call him right now and find out what the fuck happened. Oh my god.” My wild eyes turn to see Sequel standing there with her own cat-that-ate-the-canary grin.

“Kelly Clarkson thinks you have a hot ass.”

“Shut up!” I’m mortified.

I mean, it’s Kelly Clarkson. It’s not like Courtney Love or anything. Hell I could have posed like Mapplethorpe’s notorious whip photograph for Courtney Love and it wouldn’t have even registered on her…well, whatever “guidance system” she’s got working up there.

“Well what did you think was going to happen?” Lesley asks instead of calling her husband as she was ordered to. “That he’d just shrug and ‘whatever’. You sent him a picture of your…”

“Butt.” Sequel finishes the sentence for her. “I think the term you’re looking for is BUTT.”

You can shut up. And you can call him. NOW!”

“Oh alright.”

She punches the number and I’m this close to losing my entire shit… But then I have to wait for the string of Sweetheart, I love you’s and How’d the show go’s and my backside is all the way in the back of this conversation while I’m melting down knowing that an American Idol saw my bare ass and…

And was totally turned on by it!

What the hell is the matter with me? I’ve been looking at this thing all wrong. Now I go from humiliated that Kelly Clarkson saw my butt to imagining her accepting the Grammy for Song of the Year, wondering if she’ll thank me for inspiring it. Lesley’s phone conversation interrupts my reverie.

“No,” says Lesley with unnerving severity. Then, lighter. “No! You’re kidding. You saw her get flustered? What did you do? Did the driver crash the bus?”

Flustered? Who’s flustered? What, now my ass is causing bus collisions? That’ll be a nice headline. “CARTOON DIRECTOR KILLS ROCK STARS WITH HIS ASS.” This is nuts. My internal command center is bringing back the alert mode. Everything is flashing yellow now.

“Okay. I love you too.” ETCETERA. God, I hate newlyweds. Finally she disconnected the call.

“Well?”

I think even Sequel’s a little bit dog-eared alert on this one. With good, mortifying reason apparently. In between Bubbles the Laughing Girl and the elongated time it takes her to tell us the story, her gasping for breath and all, I’m able to piece together that this whole debacle went down something like this:

The text is sent. A blindsided Einar erupts into laughter, which is of course noticed by Kelly Clarkson. Kelly Clarkson then bursts out laughing and as she’s walking away, makes this nice comment about my buttocks. This is then heard by Reba fucking McIntyre who only half-hears or half-understands what’s going on and so, to have the missing blanks filled in, she is directed toward Einar who still has my round luminous ass shining on his phone like it’s the Ark of the Covenant. It’s so bright Indiana McIntyre comes in for  closer look. Drawn like a Nashville moth to the flaming of my butt.

Now I don’t know Reba McIntyre. Years ago, she was just another country and western singer to me. But then she made the greatest strategic move of her career.

She starred in Tremors.

  Tremors is a cult classic about giant underground worms with teeth that is so much greater than it needs to or has a right to be. It’s like Jaws with a lower budget, sand instead of sea, and worms instead of Bruce the shark. It was not directed by P. T. Anderson. It’s a worm movie with Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward as dim bulb handymen in Perfection, Nevada, population 14, one resident of which is a fairly common-sense but definitely paranoid government conspiracy theory survivalist with a basement full of so much firepower the movie could qualify as a PSA for the NRA. The entire movie is a pretty clever worm-and-mouse flick but, you know, while the script was making the rounds in Hollywood no one was confusing it for Mudbound.

But someone gets this cheesy throwback to a 50’s nuke monster flicks to the desk of the woman who was arguably the biggest country and western singer in the world at the time and apparently she must have said something to this effect:
“Yes! Perfect. This will be my foray into film acting. Shooting giant graboids along side the Dad from Family Ties. Tell Focus I’m passing on The Loretta Lynn Story for this.”

 

 

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

animehem/central casting 4

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

animehem/central casting 4