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  SUMMAH LOVIN'

That title. I know. I'm the worst.

 

But you know what was the opposite of the worst? Summahfest 2012 at Meltdown Inc on Sunset Blvd. An all day-ish comedy party dedicated to all things Summah.


Summahfest 2012
Credit: Tyler Ross
www.flickr.com/photos/theatrossity/ @atrossity

    First, some back story. A prologue, if you will. At the very least, an explanation of my dedication and fervor to and for Meltdown Inc. and their various productions. I am a fan. Correction: I am a Fan. A professional obsesser. Capital 'F' Fan. Over my short life (in the grand and baby[1] scale of things) I have "fan-girled [2]" over: Star Wars, Star Trek [3], Lord of the Rings, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Harry Potter, Dune (both the books and the amazingly hilarious and terrifying David Lynch film) and countless other sci-fi, fantasy and comic franchises [4]. In these instances my displays of adoration were limited to countless repeat readings/viewings and the occasional dressing up for a midnight premiere. And then my friend took me to a midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, complete with shadow cast (when people perform the movie in front of the movie - like a physical interpretation of the definition of "meta" [5].) I had seen the movie before, but this. This was like church. I was like a born again Christian at an evangelical service in Texas. I laughed, cried, shouted, threw rice, learned the call back lines and did the dances. Plus, drag queens. [6] It's simultaneously a sacred space where you are encouraged to "come as you are" (and be whatever you want) and a place for dirty old men to ogle under age adolescents. [7] I was hooked. My Fan-Ladyness evolved. I joined a shadow cast (first "Slugs in Fishnets," the UC Santa Cruz cast and then "The Bawdy Caste" of San Francisco [8]) and began performing. I did this for five years. Doing the math, (for 2 or 3 shows a month once on Bawdy Caste) that means I've seen the film over 120 times, not counting rehearsals, conventions [9] or good ol' home viewings.

                                          
Slugs logo co-designed by my pal Jesse Avshalomov and myself! The Bawdy Caste has been performing for almost 20 years, if you're in the bay area check them out!

            But then I moved to Los Angeles for grad school. I was taking a break from Rocky. I loved it but I wasn't in love with it anymore. Our time was done and now there was a weird, dorky, sequin-less void in my obsessive soul. I needed a new weekly ritual to sate my nerdy appetite (nerd-ppetite? I'll keep working on that,) also, to keep me sane in a world of dense-bordering-on-opaque "avant garde" theater.  Keeping balance in one's life is so important, after all. And then a college friend took me to "The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail" and I was born again....again [10].  



    A comedy show in a comic book store! They don't even have to change their advertising! "Comics!" ("Strike 2, Brittany." - you). The energy was just so....welcoming. Unlike most comedy clubs I had been dragged to, the audience at Meltdown was excited, positive, ready to laugh (as opposed to an audience made up mainly of tourists made cranky by paying a twenty dollar cover plus a two drink minimum *cough cough* Comedy Store. *cough.* *cough.*) and the comedians weren't bitter angry straight guys (or if that was their schtick, it was more of a mockery of those types of men rather than actually who they were.) I was in a room full of cool, nerdy awesome people watching more cool nerdy awesome people tell funny jokes! Plus alcohol. (Yay!) And this is going to sound weird but, it felt safe. Not that the jokes were "safe" (ie, mainstream, boring, pg, etc.) but that the space was. No one in the audience was heckling (it's happened since but it's a rare occurrence) and when a comedian did choose to interact with/riff on someone in the audience it was never cruel. Like I said earlier, it was welcoming. And that was exciting. (Especially in too-cool-for-school-LA.) And they do it every Wednesday. I had found my new church. The weird dork void in my soul was filled. I am now a regular audience member (with regular seating, 2nd row usually middle to left). So when they announced they were hosting their FREE (with RSVP) 3 rd annual "Summahfest!" ("Only squares pronounce the 'er'!" - me "You're a square." - everyone else) I was stoked. [11] 

            On to the actual event! Finally! The fun started at 2pm in the parking lot behind the store. Music was playing, people were busting out some sweet super soakers and sploshing down the WORLD'S MOST FUN LOOKING SLIP N' SLIDE (it was giant and inflatable). The Wien Truck was also in attendance, slinging their delicious dogs. My friend V and I both got "The Gunslinger," which is a bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with onion rings, cheddar cheese and barbeque sauce. It was summah decadence shoved in a bun[12]. If I could have one of those with a six pack every Saturday afternoon for the rest of my life I could die happy....and probably from a myocardial infarction. [13]  And I have to stop now or I won't be able to resist some inappropriate jokes.


Howard Kremer, King of Summah!
Credit: Tyler Ross www.flickr.com/photos/theatrossity/ @atrossity

            The show! Hosted by Howard Kremer, the "King" of Summah. Howard Kremer, clothed he looks like bat boy, but slap a pair of tiny board shorts, a tan, and pair of square-framed hipster glasses on him and suddenly he's James Darren in Gidget. Or, as my friend V said "I don't recognize any of these comedians with their shirts off!" Something not normally said about comedians in any sort of excited tone, but this is Hollywood and everyone, comedians included, is apparently at the peak of physical fitness[14]. So kudos bros. [15] Anyways, Kremer is a delight and the band that was the opening act, "The Manx," was strange and wonderful. Banjos and Ukeles and GWAR songs.


The Manx!
Credit: Tyler Ross www.flickr.com/photos/theatrossity/ @atrossity

    What would you call that? Folk-core? Gwar-core? Whatever it was, it was pretty bad-ass. Then, the comedians: Johnny Pemberton, Ed Salazar, Jonah Ray, Kumail Nanjani, April Richardson, Steve Agee, Paul Danke, and Ron Funches! That's a lot of folks and they were, with maybe one exception, all extremely funny so here's a quick one sentence summation for each one:

 

Johnny Pemberton: Edward Norton's awkward younger brother.

         
Ed Salazar, The Sheriff of Summah!
Credit: Tyler Ross www.flickr.com/photos/theatrossity/ @atrossity

Ed Salazar (The Sheriff of Summah): Should wear tiny spurs more often. And tiny hats.

 

Jonah Ray: Co-host of "the Meltdown," also a giant snarky hipster beaver.

    
Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjani
Credit: Tyler Ross www.flickr.com/photos/theatrossity/ @atrossity

Kumail Nanjani (plus Emily): Who thought sideburns and Elvis hair could be so innocent and adorable?


April Richardson
Credit: Tyler Ross www.flickr.com/photos/theatrossity/ @atrossity

April Richardson: Funny, but beautiful pin-up models shouldn't complain about being mistaken for a dude - even if it's happened. (At least not in front of girls that aren't as pretty as she is.)[16]

 

Steve Agee: giant ginger hipster beaver.

 

Paul Danke: His condescending-aggro tone was off putting, but he made me laugh a couple times.

 

Ron Funches: If the sun had a face, it would be Ron Funches'.

 

So, in summarizing this awkward, weird blog/review/love letter to Summahfest and Meltdown, let me first say: sorry this was so long. Second, I hope no one from Meltdown reads this because I probably sound like the brown nosing kid that tries too hard to make friends with the popular clique in high school. But I am sincere. I am a Fan, and a fan. And I think all 50 of my facebook friends who read this should be too. Hurray for Meltdown and hurray for Summah!


Johnny Pemberton and audience. (If you're brave enough, look closely and you'll see me at the far end.)
Credit: Tyler Ross www.flickr.com/photos/theatrossity/ @atrossity



[1] Scale in this instance being measured in pianos.

[2] I hate this term. I am a fan-woman, nay a fan-lady darnit! Show some respect.

[3] I have Original Series Star Fleet insignia earrings. Boom. But, don't let that fool you, I'm a TNG girl all the way. Picard4Life. (Sorry Shatner.)

[4] Anne McCaffrey's "Dragon Riders of Pern" and Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series, you get my footnote of shame.

[5] Or, Inception.

[6] By that I mean protestant church. As Tallulah Bankhead once said of catholic priests - their gowns are fabulous but their purses are on fire. *Snap.*

[7] It really is exactly like church.

[8] HOLLA!

[9] Rocky Horror Conventions: Sexier than ComiCon and also much much scarier.

[10] Just one more and it could be.....Birthception!

[11] I know, you thought that intro would never end.

[12] Somewhere, Tom Cruise's buns are tingling with excitement.

[13] Infarction: a heart attack within a heart attack within a heart attack.

[14] Except for me. Also when I say "peak of physical fitness" I mean, they don't have a beer gut. I set my standards looow.

[15] Do Kudos still exist? I'm talking about the chocolate covered granola bars. Cause if they do, I'm pitching "kudos bros" as their new advertising tagline.

[16] And by girls I mean me. Insecurity on the internet, what!


Posted By Brittany on August 07, 2012 04:17 pm | Permalink 
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