The BNAT 15 poster.
One of the application requirements was to "take a photo embodying in some fashion you in your favorite film genre."
I used my son's Star Wars figures for mine.
My bonus video: "A Wipe Out-A-Thon!"
Brian's genre photo.
Brian's bonus video: "A Gangsta Lollipop!"
The good news: We made it!!! BUTT-NUMB-A-THON 15TH ANNIVERSARY LIST - The Victorious 135!
The bad news: The forecast. That's 60% chance of FREEZING rain on the day we fly in to Austin. Jesus.
Brian picked me up at 4:15 on a cold Friday morning. I hate the cold. I could see my breath. If you look at the upper left of this photo, you can too.
This is an un-godly temperature in California.
Riddle me this: If Brian punched in the address of our airport parking lot into his GPS...
...how did we end up off the freeway near Compton Blvd, 20 miles from our destination?
Answer: The GPS voice was turned off because, according to Brian, "I don't like being told what to do."
The good part of LAXPark is that it is a dependable lot for parking. The strange part of LAXPark is the photos on the wall. The best part of LAXPark is...
...this guy on the wall.
When we got to LAX Brian was asked to make sure his carry-on was the allowable size. After a bit of a struggle Brian was triumphant.
Good morning, Southern California.
Santa Catalina Island.
Time to leaf through Sky Mall for my Christmas shopping.
If you feel compelled to potty train your cat in this manner, you have too much time on your hands.
If you feel compelled to make someone work this hard for their gift, you are a dick.
I always imagined the inside of the TARDIS to be cold. Now I can be warm while in the TARDIS (see what I did there?).
Our obligatory Austin Airport escalator shot.
Our $12 Priceline whip!
On our way into town Jessica Griffis texted me with a little request from the line outside Franklin BBQ.
Hot chocolate with no store in sight? No problem.
It helps, of course, that Brian had the brilliant idea of stopping at a Super 8 motel and making six cups of hot chocolate in their lobby.
The best hot chocolate is free hot chocolate.
Hot chocolate delivered in 36-degree weather equals happy faces of Pam Nail, Lisa Rucker, Sarabeth Segars and a matching Jessica. Cutting in the looong Franklin line equals happy faces of Brian and myself.
A few minutes later we found Cameron Harrison wandering by and pulled him into line.
My favorite eatery in Austin.
Some sadistic bastard inside the restaurant wrote "warm in here" in the condensation of the window.
From outside we caught sight of Omar Salinas and Andy Howell enjoying the succulent barbecue. Sons of bitches.
When we finally made it to the heat lamp outside the door Brian took advantage of the opportunity.
I heart this place.
When we finally got inside we were met by two shit-eating grins. Did I mention they were sons of bitches?
Vanna White couldn't have done it better.
Even Brian couldn't believe how long the line still was.
The making of a Tipsy Texan! This is what it must have looked like when God created the Heavens and the Earth.
While Sarabeth and Lisa reveled in their barbecue purchase, not everyone seemed impressed...
...like this guy, for example.
But this guy was.
Behold, the Tipsy Texan in all its glory! *Cue the singing of Hallelujah by the angels up above*
I am in awe.
Then our taste buds followed suit.
Welcome to an integral part of the BNAT experience.
Well done, sir.
Across the street from Franklin.
With bellies full we headed to the Highland Mall for the swag bag stuffing. As we headed down Airport Blvd. we had to make a quick stop at Stallion Grill. Why?
Because this place was now a Big Kahuna Burger. I heard from my buddy Jules Winfield that they have tasty burgers.
Preach it, Jules.
According to Texas Monthly "the odds are much better that the signage and the equipment are for the From Dusk Till Dawn TV series, which is currently filming in Austin, and which is directed and produced by Tarantino BFF Robert Rodriguez."
When we made it to the mall, the flags showed how strong the wind was. And it was a cold wind.
They see me rollin', they hatin'....
After driving around the mall for a couple minutes we finally found the door to the bag stuffing.
Walking down the hall I saw a door with REDRUM on it. In the middle of taking a couple selfies in front of it...
...this woman suddenly burst out, scaring the shining out of me.
We finally made it to the bag stuffing which, it turned out, is also the studio where Ain't It Cool With Harry Knowles is filmed.
I just wanted to take pictures of all the cool stuff in the room.
Windy and Chris Bowlesby!
Cameron picked up Meghan Murphy from her motel (the same Super 8 from which Brian and I procured the six cups of hot chocolate. It's a small world, ain't it?).
I love how Harry and Patricia could hardly contain their excitement to see us again.
More cool stuff.
It was everywhere.
Jeremy Stomberg and Heidi Zarse helped with the poster tubes.
As did Lisa, Jessica and Sarabeth.
Jay took to chillin' like a villain by many of the cool film posters.
More of the eclectic decoration.
This guy's collection is so awesome.
Sweet poster and candlesticks.
Tony Salvaggio and Leigh Price were in attendance.
As was Gollum, Pam Grier and the Maltese Falcon.
More cool stuff.
Melissa Kaercher had the same idea.
There were delicious powdered sugar-covered cheesecake thingamabobs.
More cool stuff.
And some scary shit, too.
People were hard at work getting the bags filled.
A well-oiled swag machine.
Derek "Stuntrocker" Mahr was in the house!
Henry Ford would be proud.
There was a problem getting the bags over to the Ritz, so my $12 Priceline ride came in handy.
At a red light I had to take a picture of the cool Austin schools logo.
Brian and I followed Kristen Bell to the Ritz where we began the transfer of bags.
All that talk of rain didn't deter the sun from shining his face.
After we dropped off the swag we headed out to meet Jason Dubinsky at work.
First, though, it was time lounge in the lobby.
Then we hooked up with the Facebook Kid. See those drinks?
All free, all day!
Better yet? Free ice cream! Get me an application, stat!
Muthafukn Choco Taco, biyatch! LIKE!
This dude gets fed free food all day. Lucky bastard.
Jason gave us a tour. Here is a "work" room.
They have whole walls on which people write anything they want.
Joshua Joe got greedy in taking up a big area.
That's how I roll.
Brian left his mark.
Scott Pepper also works here.
I dig this sign.
They even offer free toothbrushes in the restrooms, perfect for someone about to sit a movie theater for 24 hours.
Of course, while I was there I checked in AT Facebook ON Facebook. That's how meta I am.
When Jason got off work we headed out for some dinner. Heading down South Lamar I pulled over to take a couple pictures of the Alamo Drafthouse parking lot.
I've heard a lot about Torchy's Tacos.
Today was the day.
I ordered the Mr. Pink...
...and the Naughty Santa.
The Naughty Santa gave me a naughty bowel movement later.
We hung out at Jason's place for a while and Lola and Bruce came home. What a beautiful family.
Then Brian and I headed to the BNAT pre-party at Pinballz.
I met Samuel Griffin, an environmental scientist, teacher and all-around cool guy.
Harry was holding court.
The crowd mingled.
Cathie Horlick road tripped from L.A.!
JJ Weber, BNAT virgin Cheryl Addams and Holly Blaine schmoozed while Samuel and Cameron hung out in the back.
Chris, Samuel and Cameron.
Romeo Azar and Jessica Cargill joined the group.
Everybody wanted a piece of Harry.
I chatted up Jay for a while.
Windy + Brian + Melissa = Serious Monkeyshines!
Windy crazy photobombed my shot with BNAT-virgin Justin Rightmer.
I always look forward to a photo with Tim League for the look on his face. Bonus points for the Brian Setzer hair.
That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean Pinballz!
O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
I just stuck my camera in the air and I reeled in Lee Vanwallene's beautiful grin.
Yep, just like what Melissa was doing.
While taking a very nice group photo of Desirae and Brandon Toohey, Stuart Thompson and Chris Calilung, Windy, JJ and Lee dropped a sweet triple photobomb.
Brian looked on as Harry educated the youngsters, Cheryl and Justin, on the deeper meaning of Buttnumbathon.
Whatever it is Heidi Zarse is selling, Kristen Boykin ain't buying.
The Mississippi girls graced us with their appearance.
Color Brian impressed by Kristen's double-fisting skills.
As we were leaving Brian was even more impressed by my skills: Parking Level 99.
The next morning I looked out the window and it looked cold.
That's because it WAS cold.
Breakfast took us to Magnolia Cafe.
This wasn't window art but the actual weather.
We found Chris Jones and Patricia and Tim Wick doing their best Andy Warhol impersonation. They had other plans that morning so they couldn't wait for the rest of the Minnesota Crew to show up.
Soon the rest showed up led by Windy and her fabulous Jaws shirt.
While Windy and Melissa seemed happy with their food, it appears as if my camera stole Jerry Bjelojac's soul while Chris' Chirophobia was acting up.
Everything you need to know about Windy can be divined from the manner in which she eats pancakes.
A little later the Atlanta Crew rolled up in their Dutchmen Express: Bernie Johnson, Glenn Leavell and Darrell Golliher are true road warriors.
Windy's memes were in full effect.
Was it that evident that Brian was none too pleased about being up this early on BNAT morning? It was to Windy.
Add in Darrell's wife, Ed Kelly and Jen Hoyt, and Atlanta was complete.
Hey, you like icicles?
How do you like THEM icicles?
With happy tummies it was time to head to Buttnumbathon! Just locate the Capitol building and drive.
After parking we ran into Pam and the delightfully bow-topped Dshanya Reese.
Then Brian realized he was missing his beanie so we had to head back to the car.
There we ran into Ben Martin, Cathie Horlick and Dave Wilson, the latter two having driven from SoCal in her new Nissan Versa.
BNAT 15, baby!
Time to pay the piper.
Money well spent.
BNAT family reunion.
The illustrious Kristen checked us in.
Name tags in hand, it was GO TIME!
The Ritz has two screens, and I don't think it was a coincidence that the stand-by line was on The Hunger Games side. As much love as I have for the Mississippi girls, from the looks of him my money is on the dude.
We scoped out the scene in the theater.
Doug Benson rolled in and posed with his smokin'-hot companion. Oh, and some chick was with him, too.
So we found our seats. Or should I say the area where our seats were supposed to be. Apparently, the upper right-hand corner of the theater is wheelchair accessible.
Heading back to the lobby we met Guy Copelevel, the Minnesota dude who had been keeping the Facebook group in rapt suspense analyzing every aspect of his road trip to BNAT for stand-by line. The smart money had him as a no-show. The smart money failed to do the math correctly.
Harry was ready to defend the universe (and Melissa) in his suh-weet Voltron hoodie.
Wesley and I are smile brothers.
The anxiety of the stand-by people was growing.
I use the term "anxiety" loosely.
It appears the demise of Kristen and Stuart is imminent at the maniacal hands of Windy.
I do NOT use the term "maniacal" loosely.
Jerry, Cargill and Windy waited for the festivities to begin.
Meghan brought more of her sweet BNAT-themed buttons to generously hand out.
She had an impressive array of Breen offerings.
Chris and Natasha Moore narrowly made it into town.
Back in the theater there were still no seats for us, but Harry was testing the camera set-up for his presentations since he would also be watching from the top row.
I ran into this Asshole, Tony Vespe.
He comes from a long line of Assholes, including Gunner's Mate First Class Philip Asshole and Major Asshole.
Meanwhile, down by the stage Meghan was looking to Melissa for the key to enlightenment.
Them Knowles Boys were ready to do this!
When Jason came by with Master Bruce to wish Lola luck with stand-by, I'm not sure what freaked me out more, Jason's psycho smile...
...or Lola's stalker grin.
Cathie found Mark and Candace Roma who had returned to the promised land from Florida for BNAT.
Between Brian's Kirk sweater, Lee's pure-money grin, and Chris' Ron Burgandy-onesie, there was too much awesome going on here for words.
Then Lee took it to another level by dropping trou from pure BNAT anticipation. Also, if you can tear your eyes away from Lee you'll notice Brian's Star Wars pillow to the right: Yep, our seats were delivered. Kristen Bell to the rescue!
Windy offered a free lesson on the Shatner method of acting, much to the chagrin of Brian and Heidi.
The natives were getting restless, waiting for the stand-by hopefuls to be chosen.
Lola earned a golden lanyard!
As did Jessica and Lisa! (Why does Cathie look way happier about it than Lisa?)
And for the second year in a row Sarabeth earned a stand-by entrance!
Our row-mates, Brandon, Desirae and Emily Boykin.
While we waited for the show to begin...
...someone was actually calm enough to work on a crossword puzzle.
Harry began BNAT by giving out Jeff Mahler's phone number, then encouraging us to call him and wish him a Happy BNAT.
Jeff even replied.
BNAT 15 opened with Martin Scorsese' The Wolf of Wall Street. At one point in the movie Leo DiCaprio's character, Jordan Belfort, has a semi-clad marching band play for his people.
Harry Knowles did the same for his people.
Including the semi-clad part.
The band provided the music while the BANT crowd serenaded Harry for his birthday.
Windy (with shark shirt) and Scott.
Lisa, Sarabeth, Jessica and Natasha.
Holly and Lola.
We ran into our boy Jorge again. Jorge works security for a major movie studio. Whenever we see Jorge we know we have a premiere coming (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug this time). We enjoy seeing Jorge.
Brian called home to check on the family.
I love Austin.
I gave Heidi a time and a place, she gave me a five-minute window. Anything happens in that five minutes and she was mine. No matter what. Anything happens a minute either side of that and I was on my own.
During a break I noticed a festive hullabaloo across the street so I crossed over to investigate. It was a Santa Claus pub-crawl.
6th Street, baby!
The drunk Santa perspective.
I really enjoy the Drafthouse decor.
Brian was bored so he decided to place an order for Jessica, then leave it at her seat for her waitress. I hear this is an Alamo Drafthouse delicacy.
The Wicks and Bowlesbys.
Perrin and Jennifer Klumpp, Melissa, Jerry and Romeo (and their big-ass drinks).
After we watched his new film Cheatin', Bill Plympton hung out in the lobby to sign his art for fans.
Mike Saulters and Holly got theirs.
I grabbed Andy for a quick selfie. (A year ago that sentence would have been obscene. Thank you Oxford English Dictionary.)
After we watched Popeye, Tim League informed the audience that Kevin Biegel had bought a round of tequila shots for everyone. We were to take the shot then get smacked across the face by our seat partner. The slappee would then reciprocate, become the slapper. Welcome to Slapshots, the apparent hit of Fantastic Fest this year (pun intended).
While I was too late to see Kristen slap Tim, I did record the latter exchange.
After we watched Digging Up the Marrow Adam Green and Alex Pardee talked a bit about the film. Alex also told a story about some crazed fan that approached him at a signing, said, "I've been waiting to show you something amazing", and then sliced himself open. Fuck. Here's the story. (Thanks to Lee Vanwallene for the link.)
Then Alex hung out in the lobby and handed out some of his creepy, cool art to BNATers, including Brian. I wanted to walk up and ask, "I've been waiting to show you something amazing" but chickened out.
The line was long. (Hi, Heidi.)
Holly, JJ and Giovanni also picked up their Alex Pardee art.
Adam Green wrote, directed and starred in a scary film. Seriously, Brian and I screamed like 8-year-old girls trapped in the bodies of 18-year-old girls about to be raped. But even scarier?
The sun was up.
It was around 9 a.m. and Cargill was feeling it.
The weather was still holding. Thank the lord for undependable weather forecasts.
Tim introduced The Fruit is Swelling, a Category III soft porn sex Hong Kong comedy version of Tom Hank's Big. And it was epic! I especially enjoyed how many people hung out in the lobby to avoid the film.
The film was the talk of the break and beyond.
Harry introduced the last film of BNAT, The Wind Rises.
Then, sadly, 26 hours later, the end was here.
People gathered to wish Harry a happy birthday again.
"See you next year (hopefully)" was exchanged between BNAT friends.
Hugs, photos and even flowers (?) were called for.
BNAT is made of the greatest people across the land.
Happy trails, Ed!
Brian and I were literally the last BNATers to leave the building. This is what happens when one has no local bed to enjoy.
Butt-Numb-A-Thon 15 in all its glory!
Here is Harry's Fake List.
Here is Cathie Horlick's write-up.
Brian and I had a few hours to kill so we decided to hook up with Jason Dubinsky. While waiting for him I noticed Austin likes to put things on top of its buildings.
Brian and his half-assed, one-armed jump. It's a giant cupcake, man!
Nothing inspires me to get a tattoo more than a giant biker-capped skull on an octopus.
Jason showed up and we headed to Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew, a joint that came highly recommended.
Allen hooked us up.
Jason surveyed his meat (a common occurrence, from what I've heard).
...to boldly eat more than any man has eaten before.
For the record, despite the smile, this place came nowhere close to Franklin BBQ. Just a humble Californian's opinion, so take it as you choose.
Then the real fun began. We headed to Ginny's Longhorn Saloon...
...for chickenshit bingo!
But first the musical entertainment.
Hank Williams VII, I believe.
Or The Derailers. Whatever.
A perfect honky-tonk band.
Loved the license plate siding.
And the antique Texaco outdoor decor.
And, while it never rained, it was still damn cold.
The prepping of the chicken cage signaled that fun was around the corner.
We bought our bingo numbers from Teri...
...claimed front row spots for the excitement (and excrement)...
...and off we went!
Not the view I was hoping for.
Six minutes later, number 22 was the chickenshit winner. Sadly, none of us had that ticket.
That's Texas-sized chickenshit, son.
We said farewell to Jason, drove to the airport, dropped off the rental car, and settled in at our airplane gate. I sent out a Facebook invite for our post-BNAT par-tay, but, strangely, no one showed up. Bonus points to Brian for the Breen button. Minus points to me for forgetting our BNAT posters in the trunk of the rental car. *sad face emoticon*
Brian was either inspired by The Agony and the Ecstasy or he wanted me to draw him like one of my French girls.
Then (and this is no exaggeration) less than a minute later, the dude was out.
When we boarded Brian discovered he had a seat over the wing... wearing that sweater. It was going to be an interesting flight home.
Brian cut me a check for airfare and hotel. So much for "What happens at BNAT stays at BNAT."