- Poetry Event Day. The dogs wake me up around 8-ish. I let ‘em out, then hear Jen rustle and rise as well. With the whole house in pre-event mode, we skip breakfast.
- I run into Mewes in the kitchen, where he’s smoking and playing some online poker at UltimateBet.com – his new favorite pastime. I watch for a bit before heading back downstairs to my office to check email and deal with the board folks who’re interested in attending the Poetry Event.
- Cookie and Catherine McCord arrive early to start preparing the food. – Jen asks Mewes and I to move a table from the foyer up to the deck, so we do so. Upstairs, I find Cookie and Catherine knee-deep in food prep and Jen setting up the outdoor martini bar. We all take a break and sit around on the deck, where I grill Catherine about her fiance’, Jon Gordon, our Miramax homeboy. Mewes is sitting with us, but he’s rocking UB on his laptop, somehow managing to make out the screen despite the massive sunlight beating down that makes it almost unreadable.
- Mewes joins me in my office with his lap-top, still in the thrall of UltimateBet. After months of seeing him play and hearing all about the heady wins and bad beats, I ask if I can give it a shot. He lets me play on his laptop for a bit, and I’m instantly hooked. I give him back his laptop and jump online on my desk-top, hell-bent on buying a downloadable version of Virtual PC for Mac (UB isn’t a Mac-friendly site) so that I, too, can become part of the poker action. Problem is, I can’t find anyone selling it for instant download. My only option is to head over to the Mac Store, but I dare not attempt it, ‘lest Jen rip my head off for trying to do something other than getting ready for the Poetry Event. I IM Mattt Potter who’s got Virtual PC on the G4 desk-top I bought him last year in exchange for editing the “Tea Party” doc, so he uploads a copy to our server site.
- While it’s downloading, I’m playing at the site on Mewes’ laptop. Jen comes in to the office to tell me it’s time to get showered and ready for the Poetry Event. After two warnings, I do so, and air-dry at the desk-top while I pull together some notes for each speaker’s intro, as well as some opening remarks.
- From about six o’clock on, as I hit and re-hit the IMDB for my intro material, the door phone’s ringing like crazy and I’m buzzing people up left and right. I finally head upstairs to give Jen the cordless phone so she can be on door duty. While there, I see Bryan Johnson, his brother Darren, and Brian Quinn – all of whom Jen’s recruited to work the bar at the event. Zak and Joey and their friend John are also on in the house, handling the door and the crowd.
- I go back downstairs and finish up my intro research. Chay delivers a beer which I slowly nurse while writing my Emcee material.
- Around 6:30, I print up my intros and the reading order Russell and I went over the other night. I head down to Gail’s office and cut the intros into little slips that I then staple together and organize into two piles of pre- and post- intermission.
- I head upstairs to an already crowded deck, packed with guests and attendees. I say hi to folks like Will Wilkins (SilverLurker from the board) as well as the man and legend Stan Lee, before being introduced to Barbara Hershey, who I brow-beat into reading a poem later in the evening. Then, I go over the reading order with Russell, who informs me of a few changes. I alter my anal little list to reflect said changes, then go over the change of order with the recently arrived Mark Hamill. I greet Bernard Hill and Peter Coyote before heading back downstairs.
- I hit my office, write an intro for Barbara Hershey, print up the new material, shoot down to Gail’s office, rearrange my handy intro packet, then climb back upstairs.
- Jason Lee is in the hizzy, so I chit-chat with him for awhile until we’re joined by the very funny Jeff Garlin. It’s almost showtime, so I head back to my room and practice my intro a bit in the bathroom mirror while sucking down another beer, trying to commit at least the opening remarks to memory. For some reason, I’m more nervous than I usually am to get up in front of this no-bigger-than-100-person crowd – probably because it’s not a stacked-deck like it usually is when I get in front of an audience. These folks aren’t a bunch of college kids who like my stuff; they’re parents of kids in the school and various supporters of the fund-raiser. But I’m safe; I mean, I’m in my own house. If everything goes wrong, it won’t be a far walk to my bed, where I can cry myself to sleep at the end of the night. With that confidence-inducing thought in mind, I head upstairs to start the show.
- The show goes incredibly well. We’ve got a packed house, and all the readers do an excellent job. The order went like this:
1. JK SIMMONS
2. PETER COYOTE
3. STAN LEE
4. MARK HAMILL
5. BARBARA HERSHEY
6. PATRICIA VELASQUEZ
7. JEFF GARLIN
8. ANJELICA HUSTON
9. HARRYETTE MULLEN
10. BERNARD HILL
11. RAVI KAPOOR
12. IAN McSHANE
13. JENNIFER COOLIDGE
As the night progressed, beers progressed down my gullet. For the first time in my life (and probably the last), I’m rocking the mic drunk. And to be honest, I was still on point and pretty funny.
- For a better record of the event, from the POV of Will Wilkins (aka SilverLurker), go here.
- The night ends with just me, Jen, Chay, Russell, Daniella, Brian Lynch and his date Carrie, Joey, Zak and John sitting around outside, snacking out of Cookie’s and Catherine’s awesome leftovers. All in all, it was really an awesome night. An event that plagued the fuck out of our lives for the last month went off without a hitch, and better than either of us expected. Already, the school and the parents were calling for it to be an annual event, and I’m right there with ‘em. Jen out-did herself.
- The Mistress of Ceromonies and I stumble downstairs, too drunk to fuck, and pass out to no tv whatsoever.