The BNAT 16 poster (fill in your own captions).
One of the application requirements was to take a photo of "the best O-Face of your life!!!" These would become our badge photos. Here's mine:
We were also asked to "recreate your favorite memory out of that movie that most leaps out at you from that list" of past BNAT films. I chose Ong Bak: Muy Thai Warrior, because, well, Tony Jaa, bitch.
Brian's movie photo was from Georges Melies' A Trip to the Moon.
The "BONUS OPTIONAL VIDEO CHALLENGE" was to make a PSA warning against talking, etc. in the movie theater.
My bonus video.
Brian's bonus video.
We got in!!!
This meant it was time to plan our Austin itinerary. It appeared the weather would be a factor but I still wanted to hit Franklin BBQ, the LBJ Presidential Library, the Willie Nelson statue on Lavaca St., and swim at Barton Springs. Brian, however, wasn't so hyped past the bbq stop. Bitches, man....
Then, during the week leading up to BNAT 16, while we still had to work, we were forced to endure the torturous photos popping up on the BNAT Facebook group feed of BNATers on their way to Austin, like Guy Copelevel.
And Josh and Emily Alder at the airport.
And Natasha and Chris Moore on the road to BNAT.
Finally our day arrived! After picking up Brian at four in the effing morning...
...and braving a goddamm Arctic storm...
...that nearly killed us before we even made it through Downtown L.A....
...we made it to LAX. Are we traveling today? You damn right we traveling today!
We always enjoy the holiday decorations of LAX.
This year's proved to be just as fun.
Have yourself a holly, jolly Christmas.
Yes, there is a taco truck IN the airport, as in 20 feet from our gate.
Before we settled down for the wait Brian showed off the magic of his down jacket: Now you see it...
...now you don't!
My friend is more amazing than yours.
A last look at rain-soaked Los Angeles.
Why are we so happy?
Because we have an empty seat in between us for the flight. Dude distance, baby!
For all your midnight grilling needs.
And for those that just want to go to sleep after the Witching Hour bbqing....
1. It does NOT look comfortable; and 2. Some of your "office mates" are assholes.
SkyMall didn't say anything about "flight mates."
After all these years I still haven't learned not to use the restroom when flying with Brian.
Are the peanuts included?
FYI: The 13 breeds available to "toast" are: Boxer, Bulldog, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshund, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Greyhound, Labrador, Poodle, Scottish Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier. Yeah, I looked it up.
Our obligatory airport escalator photo.
We ran into Wesley Dodd in the rental car area.
We hit up Avis and picked up...
...our $10 Priceline ride.
Yes, TEN BUCKS!
Then I got this ad in my e-mail. Five bucks!? We was robbed!
We hauled ass over to Franklin...
...and cut in line right at the door...
...thanks to these lovely ladies, Pam Nail, Lisa Rucker, Jessica Griffis and Sara Beth Segers.
Also big ups to Jason Gorber who got in line at 9 a.m., then graciously allowed every BNATter and his dog to jump in line.
This would be every BNATter...
...and his dawg.
Aaron Franklin himself, the king of Texas barbecue.
The beginnings of delicious art.
Much to our dismay we heard they had run out of sausage, but then this guy brought a platter-full from the back.
And this was just Brian's order.
You think I'm joking?
Heidi Zarse is a vegetarian. Andrew Wencer is not. Heidi missed out on Heavenly goodness. Andrew did not.
Our group was too large for one table so the ladies were joined by BNATters Andrew Kemp and Natasha and Chris Moore.
Hey Brian, what time it?
It's Tipsy Texan time!
Behold, the Tipsy Texan: Burgeoning chopped brisket, sausage slices, pickles and cole slaw! Man, oh man, oh man.
Jason Dubinsky and Wesley concurred.
Emily and Josh rolled in just in time for some bbq.
Art across from Franklin BBQ.
Andy and Wes hopped in the $10 Priceline whip...
...and we followed the ladies in Jessica's Camaro...
...to the LBJ Library.
We were (*clap clap clap*) deep in the heart of Texas.
LBJ's custom built 1968 Black Stretch Limousine.
Weighing 5,100 pounds, the limousine is equipped with a TV, telephone, and reserve gas tank.
LBJ liked to intimidate people with his height.
I got Mc-bitch-slapped.
Sparky Schulz' ice skates.
Dude may have to do some of his best acting in court soon.
Telstar 1 was launched on top of a Thor-Delta rocket on July 10, 1962. It successfully relayed through space the first television pictures, telephone calls, fax images and provided the first live transatlantic television feed. Though no longer active it remains in orbit.
And so it goes.
Did I mention the animatronic LBJ?
Y'all get to listen to his comedic banter.
Robot president humor.
Anyone else thinking Westworld?
Harry S Truman got a spot.
The lobby area.
For all the great things LBJ did...
...there will always be Vietnam.
The voyeur in me likes this.
Of course I get to sit up front.
She was unamused.
Tragedy handed LBJ the position he always believed he deserved.
The headline and photos on the left makes it seem as if LBJ is the assassin. Another conspiracy theory?
The Oval Office.
Through the window you can see Texas Memorial Stadium next door, home of the University of Texas Longhorns.
Lady Bird Johnson has her own section.
Norman Rockwell memorialized her.
It's clear now how Lady Bird got her way.
How many BNATters can you fit in a presidential library elevator? Too many, if you ask the elderly couple in the corner.
EFB and LBJ.
That was fun.
We checked into our hotel and watched the news for a while: Apparently California was about to get swept away by a "monster storm" while we were in Texas.
For dinner we met up with the LBJ crew at Casa Chapala.
Jason and Bruce rolled in with Ashley Friedlander.
The best part was the boys trying to have a conversation...
...while the Mariachis took care of business.
By the way, the food was muy sabroso.
My favorite part of this photo is the stone-cold gangster stare competition:
Usually Lisa wins this...
...but Ashley crushed it this time.
Time to climb Mt. Daddy.
Then to Pinballz for the pre-party.
Guy Copelevel in the house!
This is like the end of Romper Room with the magic mirror: I can see Windy Bowlesby and Rod Nunley and Jessica Cargill and Romeo Azar and Tim Wick...
...and Meghan Murphy and Melissa Kaercher.
...and Lee Van Wallene and xxxx.
...and Marcus Owens and Patricia Knowles and xxxx and Chris Moore and Sarabeth Segers...
...and Naughty Jessica and Peek-a-Boo Lisa.
I even see the corpse of Harry Knowles (and no, he didn't blink; we took another photo right after this one with the bastard's eyes closed). Yeah.
Filip Tegstedt tried to mesmerize me.
Pam was killing it on Galaga.
Tami Cerny was my Secret Santa and brought me one of my favorite heist films, Rafifi.
I met BNAT-newbie, Isaac Moreno.
I was Lola Hensel's Secret Santa, and I brought her the deluxe edition of Saga (thanks to Brian for the heads up on this one).
Romeo avoided making a Wookie mistake by giving Josh an epic Secret Santa gift.
Jessica Cargill, David Jaffe and Alan Cerny talked over Secret Santa gifts.
Anna Harrod chatted up Brian.
Brian and I took a selfie with Andy Howell and Derek "Stunt Rocker" Mahr.
The Grrrl Power table.
Is that a SMILE on Lisa's face? Emily and Josh think so.
Romeo and Courtney Azar are not only excited for BNAT 16, they are also expecting their first child! Perrin Klumpp, however, is not impressed.
Brian ran into Cheryl Addams from New York, enjoying her second consecutive BNAT. I enjoyed Alan Cerny's photobomb.
Christopher Jones is in the zone... Battlezone, that is (thank you, I'll be here all weekend).
Got me a selfie with Mark Fulton.
While Jen Bryan-Kelley's Secret Santa gift is superlegit, it's sad that she won't be around to enjoy it much longer.
Beth Link, Ben Martin, and Jennifer and Perrin Klumpp hanging out.
Lee looks likes he's on tilt (a million of 'em, I tells ya).
Filip, Samuel and Dannie Knowles talked it up.
"Make sure Eric and Brian are treated like princes," Harry warned Tim League. "I consider them BNAT royalty." True story.
Ed Kelly took care of pinball bidness while Darrell Golliher and Bernie Johnson looked on.
Rumor has it Jay Knowles is a huge Jar Jar fan. Meesa jus' sayin', suh.
Mark Roma: American Sniper.
The traditional Swedish form of saying goodbye, I presume.
Melissa and Patricia Wick.
David was burning through his tokens.
Master Jay was busy kicking ass.
Brian and Jason: Kings of geeky t-shirts.
Jessica, Andrew and Heidi.
The Romas were pinball wizards.
Tami, Courtney, Filip, Romeo and Eastern Yoo were just some of the old and new friends that make up BNAT.
The group of XXX, XXX, Samuel and Tony was too metal for only one devil's horns! Ronnie James Dio would have been proud.
For whatever reason there was a rolled-up carpet in our hallway when we got back to the room. For whatever reason the next morning I blocked our doorway with Brian still inside.
We woke up to discover "CHAOS IN CALIFORNIA!"
At this rate there won't be a state for us to return to.
There also won't be any post-BNAT Barton Springs swimming due to the lightning forecast.
BNAT morning began with three awesome moments: Brian's Billy Dee smile, his Lando tee...
...and our Texas waffles.
After breakfast we headed out on a search for the perfect birthday card for Harry.
Texas loves its Boys.
We found a space in the Alamo Drafthouse parking structure next to Ray Parker.
Ecto 86. Sweet.
Diana De La Torre, Daisy De La Torre and Lee were ready for our cinematic slumber party.
We ran into Dshanya Reese in the structure.
Construction was still proceeding on new lofts.
But the Drafthouse...
...and The Highball were fully armed and operational battle stations.
Andy, Wes, Heidi, Samuel, Tami and a Buddhist Guy were hanging out.
The new Drafthouse had the same look
In the pre-BNAT lobby chaos...
...Scott Pepper's hair held its own.
Meanwhile, Harry wasn't afraid of no ghosts.
Harry (and his open eyes) and Patricia.
It was time to pay for BNAT and pick up our name tags.
Before we headed back to the car to drop off our swag we got a picture with Kristen Bell during the calm before the storm.
Either parking skills are not one of the Mississippi driver's license prerequisites or Jessica Griffis enjoyed her hotel mini-bar this morning.
I imagine she was "speechless" when she later found this soundtrack under her wiper.
We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of BNAT.
The new Drafthouse kept the old awesome and added some new awesome!
Awwww yeah! BNAT 16 is here!
Yep, she will always be at Buttnumbathon.
Brian and I scoped out our front-row seats.
All hail God of Buttnumbathon!
I guess all the cool kids were in the second row, including Brandon and Desirae Toohey, Emily Boykin and Patricia Knowles.
But we all know where the party's at: Row One with the Atlanta crew! Because they rotated seats after each film I had the pleasure of sitting next to Darrell, Bob Jones, Bernie, Jen Hoyt, Ed and Glenn Leavell TWICE over the next 24+ hours.
And then it began. After 12 months of anticipation, Harry started off BNAT 16 with Burt Reynolds in Hooper! He followed that up with...
...Sam "Bad Mother Fucker" Jackson and Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Did I stutter?
My only complaint is that both SLJ and Harry photobombed my picture of Brian.
Melissa, Chris Bowlsby, Jamie Wesson and Jennifer Gray during a break.
Does the carpet look familiar? What about the kid?
Here's the front view.
A gorgeous Austin day during the break.
Even the manhole covers are cool in Austin.
Her name was Lola, she was so bloated....
Melissa and Windy are the kind of people that make BNAT such an incredible experience.
Now back to your sponsored program.
Wes, Windy and Brian: BNAT incarnate.
Early evening break...
...and the lights were on.
Meet KB from KC reppin' NY.
I love this place.
Harry introduced another awesome film.
Mad props to Guy who drove from Minnesota to Austin without being on the acceptance list. While the fortunate ones got in, he was one of the others who wait in the Drafthouse lobby for hours... and wait... and wait... and wait....
Ever since I saw the photos of the newly renovated South Lamar Drafthouse this is one of the things I've been looking forward to.
Apparently Tony was displeased that I referred to him as "Brian's nosepicker".
Take two was even funnier...
...thanks to a Dubinsky photobomb.
Why was Cameron from Modern Family dressed as Santa Claus? I think they were showing A Christmas Story across the hall.
The view from the side.
Jamie, Brian, Meghan, Melissa and Jessica hanging out.
This sparkly gold chair suddenly appeared next to Wes. Considering Wes has become Harry's whipping boy in the absence of Jeff Mahler, you can appreciate his trepidation.
No worries, the chair (plus a deluge of confetti) signaled the arrival of Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogan to discuss The Interview.
There were also Kim Jong-un banners that unfurled during the pair's entrance. Photo credit: David Jaffe
Not to make anyone jealous here but...
...Evan's gaze found its way straight to my soul.
Again with the photobomb?! Don't these celebrities get enough exposure without ruining my pictures?
Everyone in attendance received this kitschy intercontinental missile cup.
Harry's birthday gifts included a Proton pack.
I don't have any idea what movie they were showing across the hall this time. Does it even matter?
Windy didn't think so.
This place is awesome in the middle of the night.
At the time I thought my favorite part of this photo with Scott Pepper would be Scott Pepper. Nope.
Tim League introduced Rian Johnson.
Rian then gave us the plotline of Episode VIII (or maybe that was a fever dream).
Then Gary Huggins talked up his Christian faith, only to pull a fast one on the crowd with a freaky sex doll video, Le Toy Shop.
During the early morning break Brian and I headed over to the Highball to check out the renovations firsthand.
The Mario Room.
The Star Room.
The Death Room.
The Vertigo Hallway.
Light fixture reflection.
Brian, having been duly inspired by the earlier short Dark Town After Dark, decided to put in a special order, leaving it at Harry's seat.
Patricia saw him doing it and curiosity lead her to investigate:
Busted! (Ok, he mixed up the lyrics a bit, but it's the thought that counts.)
Windy was also inspired by the choreography of Dark Town After Dark, so much so that she did what only Windy could do.
Here's the original. Skip to 2:35 and compare the moves yourself.
Tony Vespe, my brother from a red-headed mother!
The BNAT 16 poster, with captions.
Daylight brought out the yoga master in Mark Fulton.
"Hmm," thought Heidi. "I may not have the sweet sandals..."
"...but I've got a sweet Half Moon Pose."
Always a pleasure to see Tim League.
The sun was shining bright on the crowd.
XXX and Josh Emmanuel were taking the 24-hour movie thing in stride, but newbie Chris Shatraw looked like his soul had been stolen.
A BNAT who's who was hanging out.
I met Eric Martin enjoying his first Buttnumbathon.
Then it was time to settle in for the stretch run.
Then it was over. As The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies credits rolled, Harry wrapped up BNAT 16.
The crowd streamed outside to reflect on one of the best Buttnumbathons ever.
When Aaron Mutter pulled up in his Ecto 86, a parking structure mystery was solved.
Aaron and his son released Vigo the Carpathian for a photo op.
As a parting gift to Brandon and Desirae...
...Brian released the Blue Steel.
You will not find a better group of people with which to watch movies (yes, I'm looking at you, Mike Saulters).
Post-BNAT panorama. I love this place.
Shot from inside the lobby.
Harry got to open his birthday gifts.
A parting photo with XXX, Barbara Kennedy and Mike Saulters.
Out of nine Buttnumbathons I have been to, this year's line-up was my favorite.
After BNAT Brian and I followed Samuel out of the structure giving me an opportunity to admire his bumper sticker.
Why so serious? It began to rain when we got to Barton Springs and Brian had chosen not to bring swim trunks (or hot chocolate, let the record show).
But rain only added to the fun. Photo: Guy Copelevel
No Brian Day? No worries. Samuel and I had a back-up Brian. Brian Behm, to be precise.
That's right, ladies, I said Brian Behm.
I bought these sweet board shorts at a thrift store for $3.99 specifically for the trip to Texas. USA, y'all!
Truth be told, the water was a wee nippy. Photo: Guy Copelevel
But we acclimated fairly quickly. Photo: Guy Copelevel
Soon it was perfect. Photo: Guy Copelevel
It was diving board time.
I believe I can fly! Photo: Guy Copelevel
I believe I can touch the sky! Photo: Guy Copelevel
Samuel busted out his Greg Louganis meets Tasmanian Devil moves.
THAT was a refreshing post-BNAT excursion.
The threatening weather simply added to the experience.
I hope to see you again next year, Barton Springs.
On the way to airport we stopped for a quick bite at Whataburger, a place I'd heard about but doesn't have any locations on the West Coast.
More like Whataboringasslookingburger.
Turns out the burgers are passable.
The lack of sleep for 36 hours began to take its toll while waiting for our flight.
But we were reinvigorated by the empty seats on the plane. This lady apparently took offense when I traded my middle seat between her and Brian for an open row across the way.
Los Angeles: Home sweet home.
A couple days after BNAT 16 the shit storm hit surrounding The Interview.
Ironically, there were to be no more interviews for The Interview.
Then no one could see it.
But BNATters like Rod Nunley rallied.
Scott Pepper joined in with the symbolic FU to both Kim Jong-un and Sony (though he did it from his underground bunker?).
Mike Saulters was a bit less subtle.