The official poster for BNAT 12. In adhering to the Dirty Dozen theme, the photo portion of the application asked for us to act out a crime punishable by death. Our crimes:
Francis: "Good morning, Pee-wee."
Pee-wee: "Hello, Francis."
Francis: "Today's my birthday and my father said I can have anything I want."
Pee-wee: "Good for you and your father."
Francis: "So guess what I want?"
Pee-wee: "A new brain."
Francis: "No... your bike."
Butch: "You okay?"
Marsellus: "Naw man. I'm pretty fuckin' far from okay."
Butch: "What now?"
Marsellus: "What now? Let me tell you what now. I'ma call a coupla hard, pipe-hittin' niggers, who'll go to work on the homes here with a pair of pliers and a blow torch. You hear me talkin', hillbilly boy? I ain't through with you by a damn sight. I'ma get medieval on your ass."
There was an extra credit option to the application: Make a video singing the theme song to the wildly popular (in 1970s Japan, at least) Mandom after shave lotion popularized by Charles Bronson (yes, one of the Dirty Dozen).
This is my 4:15 a.m. face that says I'm picking up Brian for our rendezvous with Buttnumbathon.
This is Brian's 4:17 a.m. face that says he's trying to scare me by hiding behind a parked car across the street from his house as I drive over to pick him up.
This is Brian's 5:00 a.m. face on the shuttle from the parking facility to LAX that says what the hell is he doing awake at 5 a.m.
As our shuttle pulled up to LAX we realized we didn't have any singles to tip the driver. Then I remembered I had two containers of Terri's mind-blowing chocolate chip cookies: One for Harry Knowles and one for our own consumption. We offered the guy his tip in doughy gold and he was more than happy to dig in. That was easily comparable to a five-spot.
A festive LAX.
A not-so-festive Brian after being ignored by the "lady" in the background to move as he was trying to get in line.
Brian struggled to collect his stuff while his pants were falling down after I told him he had to remove his belt as he went through security. I lied.
Once we found our gate we noticed a holiday display set up across the way. As the guards were easy to get past...
...in true James Tiberius Kirk fashion I had the conn while Santa was away.
I believe Brian is making some adolescent gesture that is creating some sexual innuendo to compare his manhood to the North Pole.
Why would they put this warning on the wing? I mean, it's not like we would ever see some humanoid out there. That would be...
...a nightmare at 20,000 Feet! (Yes, two Shatner allusions in just four photos.)
A December sunrise over Los Angeles. Why would anyone live anywhere else in the world?
What appears to be us flying over clouds...
...is actually a very cool thick fog bank blanketing the L.A. basin.
Entering Texas airspace.
While waiting for my checked bag (more on that later) I admired the sweet guitar art.
You Are Here.
For the first time in five trips to Austin we figured out we could get a ride from our hotel shuttle.
Although Brian figures out how to get a ride before that.
How do you spell "relief"?
I thought only L.A. had this kind of traffic.
After finally making it to our room Brian threw out his most seductive move; I had to remind him that I was just here for the movies.
We had a great view of Lady Bird Lake.
Then I decided to play with the timer on my camera.
Brian joined in.
I blocked him out...
...so we switched places.
The thing about using a timer is that sometimes we jumped too soon...
...sometimes we were too late...
...and sometimes one was early while the other was just right. Sorry.
Then there was the time the nipple was just right. Those were dark times for the republic.
I got sole, I'm superbad.
Going horizontal, son!
High on Buttnumbathon.
Again with the childish phallic references, Brian?
We took the road along the lake as we headed to Downtown.
There won't be any sweeping of the leg, Johnny.
Brian abused me with the first mom joke of the trip. Yes, Cummings St.
Bridge over shadow waters.
We strolled out onto a wharf.
It was a gorgeous day in Austin.
We are never there at the time of year when the bats take flight.
Guitar, Brian and the Capitol building on Congress Ave.
A better shot of the Capitol.
Pulling a Bonnie and Clyde on the running boards. All I'm missing is a Tommy gun. (Well, that and Bonnie).
We went down to the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz because what else would we do on the eve of a 24-hour movie festival but catch a flick.
Unfortunately, the movie that was playing at the Ritz, The Black Swan, was sold out. Brian checked the South Lamar Alamo listings as an alternative because that's how much we love movies.
We headed down 6th Street to find some grub, and happened upon an intriguing establishment named Bikinis.
Was it the UT shrine that compelled us? Nope.
The Texas Chicken Club sandwich? Nope.
The fish tacos? Nope.
After dinner we made our way down to the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, the same place we would be numbing our butts the next day.
Not only did Brian find a Tron game in the lobby...
...but it was free to play!
Brian's got sick Tron skills.
Theater 1 was closed for maintenance, as in BNAT, baby!
We watched Rare Exports. Long story short: On Christmas Eve in Finland, Santa Claus is unearthed in an archaeological dig. Soon after, children start disappearing. Yeah, just from the poster you can tell this isn't your traditional story involving a Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time.
Because this was the Alamo Drafthouse we were treated to several fun shorts rather than painful previews.
This included a little bit from Pee Wee's Playhouse.
After the movie I was attacked by Feral Santa Claus.
Brian was able to save himself with the help of a sawed-off shotgun, compliments of the Alamo Drafthouse.
The Alamo even had an official photographer taking pictures of people.
I love this place.
We had about an hour to kill before the BNAT pre-party so we strolled down South Lamar, happening upon the Saxon Pub. Any place with a giant suit of armor outside had to be good.
The Saxon Pub was hopping.
We continued on and found Slick Willies.
Brian decided to put a Slick Willie smack down on me.
Takin' care of business.
Just how I called it.
Brian scores for me.
That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean Monopoly pinball.
Brian had Tron as a kid, while my video game poison was Galaga.
High score, playah, even with a loose joystick that felt like it was going to fall off.
Time for the pre-party at The Highball.
The joint was jumpin'.
We immediately headed over to see Harry, patiently waited for the sea of conversing people to part, and gave him his annual batch of chocolate chip cookies. Dude rewarded us with another awesome photo op.
Harry's Mandom video.
When we saw Harry's sister, Dannie, I asked her for a photo while Brian reminded her of the year she fell asleep during the "Che Incident of 2008." I think she was happier with me.
We ran into Natasha and Chris, a really cool couple we met last year.
Chris and Natasha's Mandom video, which I thought was the funniest of all.
We met Jamie Paisley who, it turns out, lives just a few miles from us and works for USC.
Jamie's Mandom video, which I thought was the coolest one.
The BNAT drinks for the BNAT pre-party, named after movies we all hoped would premier the next day (except Teen Wolf, of course).
Jamie kicked out the jams.
Brian showed us how it's done.
Tom flew in from Austria to watch movies. That's balls out.
Filip from Sweden and Holly from the ATL were in the house.
Evan rolled in then rolled down the bowling lanes.
There was always a crowd around the Man of the 24 Hours.
I stuck my camera in the doorway of one of the karaoke rooms. I'm not sure what's cooler, the Def Leppard poster on the wall or the Journey song on the monitor.
At the bar we found Lisa and Jessica, our homegirls that drove all the way from Mississippi again... for the BNAT standby line. I love the energy of these ladies.
The girls show how Mandom is really done. I'm still amazed they didn't get a BNAT nod.
Benni flew in from Germany with just over a week's notice after he won admission to BNAT for his Tronitized version of Aliens.
This is Benni's Tronitized video which he worked on for three days straight. Click on the full screen button to get a true appreciation. The other entrants can be found on this Ain't It Cool News page.
Considering BNAT was starting at 11:00 a.m. the next morning, it was getting late. People started heading out.
Even though they did not get into BNAT, Jessica and Lisa still brought Harry birthday gifts, including a bottle of wine that is produced in the region of Mississippi where they are from.
Brian chatted with Natasha and Chris.
Then a bunch of BNATters headed across the street to Gourdough's, a trailer that is summed up by it's motto: Big. Fat. Donuts. (See, gordo is Spanish for fat, so there actually is truth in their advertising.)
Take a close look at this menu.
Who is their right mind would ever ingest something as unholy as these confections?
There was a whole bunch of late night BNATters tempting the myocardial infarction gods.
Brian's tasty dessert, "Bring the Heath," was almost ready, it just needed a heaping scoop of ice cream.
Ok, now I enjoy my ice cream more than most people that walk the Earth...
...but when the ice cream is topping a large donut covered by cream cheese icing with Heath Bar chips, you've virtually guaranteed yourself a lifetime membership to Diabetics Anonymous.
Chris already knew the drill when he ordered the "Flying Pig" which included bacon with maple syrup icing.
Did I mention that was six strips of bacon? Thankfully Chris survived because he and Natasha were kind enough to give Brian and me a ride back to our hotel.
Before sleep I got in a bit of light reading, especially since I'm almost positive Gourdough's is mentioned in the book of Revelations.
The next morning I made a weak attempt to scare Brian.
I will never outdo the 2005 scaring I gave Brian when we were in Austin for BNAT 7. Never.
We picked up a birthday card for Harry.
Yes, we got him an actual bottle of Mandom. I wrote to Harry that this was what I called the Three-Strike Mandom. I had ordered it so we could use it in our Mandom videos but it was back-ordered in Japan so it came after the submission date: Strike One. Then we saw in his video that Harry already had a bottle of Mandom: Strike two. Then LAX wouldn't let us take it in our carry-on luggage so we had to pay $25.00 to check one bag with those highway robbers of the sky, American Airlines: Strike three.
Ultimately, though, it was all good because we were heading out to watch some kick-ass movies for over 24 hours. Buttnumbathon, baby!
We took a taxi down to the Alamo.
As Brian described it, the biggest woman in the world with the smallest backpack in the world.
We rolled up at 9:30 sharp and picked up our swag.
This is what giddy looks like.
Brian immediately looked through the BNAT yearbook.
BNATters kept arriving.
As did those braving the standby line.
Patricia and Harry checked in around 10.
Others perused their programs.
Brian procured a copy of Nordling's Unofficial BNAT Soundtrack. He made 125 copies and handed them out for free. Very cool gesture to the BNAT community. More on Nordling later.
The madding crowd socialized before being allowed into the theater.
Holly repped her sweet Mandom shirt, and handed us her current White Girls Can't Mix CD.
Holly's Mandom video.
Then Jessica and Lisa showed up and picked up their standby tickets. Sadly they did not make it in but don't cry for them Mississippi, they bought tickets for the Hobbit Feast the next day: Nearly 12 hours watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy with an awesome all-day menu. Not quite the Buttnumbathon experience, but pretty damn cool on its own. You go girls!
This is Denis from Ireland. Yes, Ireland. He came here without a ticket. Yes, without a ticket. How do you say Mandom in Gaelic?
From inside the Alamo lobby.
The last time we saw Tim League was the night before BNAT 1138 when he was being rousted by Austin 5-0 down on 6th Street (he claims he was working with the police but I don't know....).
Brian in Seat 1819 with his BNAT neighbor Anna.
Chris and Natasha getting comfy for the start of BNAT 12.
Jackie stopped by to chat for a couple of minutes before we began.
Tim League started BNAT off by explaining to Jeff Mahler that the only print of his favorite movie, Teen Wolf, was essentially destroyed by years of pranking Jeff. Instead they would begin with a stand-up comedian named Gravy. (photo courtesy of David Hill)
Not just any stand-up comedian, though, a stuttering stand-up comedian who hurled insults first at Jeff, then at the entire crowd of movie geeks. He had a call and response shtick where he would say "Gravy" and the crowd would yell out "Gravy!" (photo courtesy of David Hill)
(photo courtesy of David Hill)
Then Harry got things going by introducing what turned out to be my favorite movie of the Thon, True Grit. (photo courtesy of David Hill)
The first break was around 3:30.
Four and half hours in Filip was going strong.
I caught up with Amy and Derek for a photo.
Here is Heidi and Amy's Mandom video.
The BNAT crowd received an early Geekmas present when the brainworks behind Cowboys & Aliens showed up. Writer Robert Orci, director Jon Favreau and producer Ron Howard brought us a rough cut of the first 40 minutes of the movie. Seriously, how freakin' cool is Buttnumbathon? (photo courtesy of David Hill)
Favreau making his point. (photo courtesy of David Hill)
Howard amused by it. (photo courtesy of David Hill)
The next break was around 6:30 p.m.
The fresh air was invigorating.
I ran into Melissa in the lobby.
Melissa's really funny Mandom video. I love her ironic sense of humor.
We had our next break around 10:20 p.m.
This guy (I think his name was Elijah or something) came up and begged me to take a picture with him. I was kind of busy but he seemed so sweet and sincere, and his eyes were so mesmerizing, and his smile was so tantalizing, that I figured what the heck, it was the least I could do. Who knows, someday it could be me making the request.
At the 3:30 a.m. break I got a picture with Giovanni and Jay, Harry's nephew and father. They are the youngest (10) and oldest (65) participants of a Buttnumbathon. Isn't he just the cutest thing? And Giovanni is ok, too.
Until this year Emily had held the crown for youngest BNAT attendee. She is a filmmaker whose next movie is My Sucky Teen Romance.
The trailer to Emily's movie.
I met Campbell, aka "Cartuna", the dude who does all the animation for Ain't It Cool News.
They finally captured Feral Brian.
I stepped out to catch of shot of the beautiful Austin sunrise.
It was 3D time!
Around 10 a.m., with one movie to go, Harry announces that we need to pack up our stuff because we're getting on a bus.
The crowd headed for the buses.
It was general admission.
After 23 hours in the dark the sun was very bright.
I caught a shot of Meghan McCain (yes, that Meghan McCain) as she was getting on the bus. I was too shy to talk to her because she once wrote that she is turned off by guys who voted for Obama. Oh well.
Where were we heading?
The infamous UT Tower to blast some fools?
That would be the Texas State History Museum that just happens to also house a movie theater. That's right, we were seeing Tron: Legacy. In 3D. In IMAX. Buttnumbathon, suckahs!
I think this guy might have forgotten to return his 3D glasses.
So we returned to the Alamo 26 hours after we first sat our butts down.
I put together a collage of the movies in order of appearance. The title of the third to last is blurred out because we were instructed not to reveal it. I figure if you recognize the poster you knew it was going to play anyhow. In any event, I've already seen it revealed prominently about 30 times online so the secret was out already. My favorite new movie was, as a fan of westerns, easily True Grit, while my vintage pick was, as an English teacher who took three Shakespeare courses in college, Chimes at Midnight. But I will leave the reviews to others. Nordling's review touched me for the personal and emotional details. The Haligonian was a BNAT virgin so his take added a different tone. Ben Martin's review was the cleanest and most professional.
Many BNATters headed to the Highball to watch Harry open his birthday gifts.
It was a nice place to relax and socialize in bringing closure to another BNAT.
They were serving $1 Mimosas, which would explain why that lady was holding two.
I ran into Patricia while trying to order Brian a Mimosa. I wonder if she and Harry conspired to make the same face for my camera two days apart.
I saw Tony Vespe across a couple of booths and when I took a picture of him and his money smile it came out like he was photobombing his brother Eric.
Brian was impressed that Giovanni survived his first BNAT.
The presents just kept on coming.
The Highball had some nice Sunday brunch music kicking.
Three notable things about this photo:
Harry's dad was checking out one of Harry' gifts, To Hell and Back starring Audie Murphy.
Brian finally got his Mimosa that I had given up on, but only after a tenacious Patricia waited out the bartender.
Brian and I won a BBQ tool set when Harry chose our Mandom videos as the best.
This wasn't just any BBQ set, this was "The True Man Package" from Man Cave. Unfortunately, with our bags and added swag there was no way we could take this huge box of stuff on the plane. I found Tim League hanging at the bar and gifted the stuff to him. Hopefully he or someone at the Alamo/Highball could put it to good use.
And when I say swag, I mean a whole load of cool stuff. And this doesn't even include the BNAT 12 poster, the True Grit poster and the Cowboys & Aliens poster signed by Jon Favreau.
Brian chatted away with Harry's dad and Steven "Capone" Prokopy.
Our taxi arrived and we said our goodbyes and thank yous to Harry, but I needed one last shot with his new sweet R2D2-Mickey ears.
To the airport, Jerry.
Brian tried to get us on an earlier flight but 6:40 p.m. was the earliest direct to L.A.
So with four hours to kill we started with food. Brian hit the Salt Lick for some artery-clogging fare.
After we ate we headed down to Gate 8 because...
...Santa was there offering free photos.
There were even a couple of Santa's helpers to add flavor to the mix.
Then I was ready for a triple scoop of Amy's Ice Cream.
We saw Simeon and Capone heading to their Chicago flight.
It was a beautiful ending to an awesome Austin weekend.
Brian killed some time with the BNAT yearbook.
Then crashed for a while.
Ah, the bright lights of a the big city. Hello, Los Angeles.
While waiting for the airport shuttle Brian busted out his Fleshlight from his bag. What is a Fleshlight? And why is Brian looking so sheepish as he holds it?
These were given to us near the end of BNAT, although I'm still not sure why. If you unscrew the lid...
...voila! This makes the TSA story with Drew McWeeny all the more funny. Seeing as we also went from Austin to L.A. I guess we should count ourselves fortunate. Anything else you'd like to know about the fleshlight you'll need to Google on your own (preferably not while you're at work).