Monday, August 27, 2007

who let the stinky gorilla in the room?

I’m writing this blog from my brand new (I got it two weeks ago) computer. You’re reading the same highbrow literary goodness, but it just feels different writing it. I feel like a different person – a better person, if you will. I’ve been waiting for this computer since January, and after multiple manufacturing/release delays, I finally have my hands on one. I pretty much nabbed a golden ticket to Wonka’s factory.


I performed my first live show (solo) in over a year last night. I haven’t played in Indy since 2001. Here’s the setup –

A company called Gorilla Productions contacted me on myspace about a month ago. They said something to the effect of “blah blah blah Battle of the Bands come get your name out there August 26, blah.” (Note: Let me say that I appreciate Gorilla for finding me and asking me to be a part of this. I don’t blame them for the story about to be told. I’m thankful for the opportunity despite how this entry may or may not read).

So I signed up as a solo act. I was told I was the only solo act. This turned out to be erroneous and a reflection of events that will be explained in better detail shortly. On August 3, I was told I would receive tickets in the next few days (I realize that “few” is somewhat relative) that I would need to sell and market for the show. The more tickets I sold, the better time slot I’d get at the show. Sounds simple enough. Sounds great. I was on board.

The trouble began about August 17 (two weeks after that phone call) when the tickets finally arrived. The first problem being that the tickets took two weeks to arrive. There were 100 tickets in the bunch, and I had one week to sell as many as possible to try and not get the 6:00 slot. No one wants the 6:00 slot. No one would have been there, and more importantly no one would have been drunk enough to cheer like maniacs. (Note: maniacal cheering turned out to be the sole determining factor in who took the crown for this competition.)

I was still on board. One week and I had home-court advantage being that Birdy’s is a mere 15-minute drive from my house.

When the tickets arrived I noticed a subtle flaw in the ink-design. Instead of the tickets reading “Gorilla Productions presents Battle of the Bands featuring – Tyler Bender,” the tickets read “Gorilla Productions presents Battle of the Bands featuring – Tyler Beader.” You can see where I might get upset. How the F#@&! am I supposed to market myself and sell these tickets for a person that doesn’t exist? Whatever, I sold 47 tickets. Let’s recap…tickets are two weeks later than promised, and my name is that of an invisible person. Strike two, fellas.

Fast forward to the day of the show. I was told to show up at 4:00. I was there at 4:15. No one else showed up to the bar until 5:00. No one from Gorilla answered their phones. I was sitting outside by myself for a good while until the lovely Summer showed up at about 5:15. So I had to choose time slots. I chose 9:45. Great.

Well the band that sold the most tickets (or something) showed up at about 5:50 (10 minutes before showtime. They were stuck with a terrible slot and grumbled and bellyached until they got the time they wanted. Unfortunately, that pushed the rest of us back a half hour. This would have been fine had everyone known what time we were playing in advance rather than waiting for nearly 2 hours for Summer to juggle the times again and again. So I was pushed back until 10:15. I picked 9:45. I would not have picked 10:15. Strike three.

Remember when I said judging was based on audience cheering/reaction/applause? Well this whole contest is taking place on a Sunday night. That’s the day before Monday when 98% of America goes to work in the morning. So pushing this contest back at least a half-hour for two guys who couldn’t show up when they were instructed to, is somewhat (extremely) ridiculous. Not to mention that the allotted time for setup and take down was massively underrated. So the judging didn’t happen until midnight. Judging amounted to Summer going on stage and reading off the lineup on a sheet of paper and listening to people clap.

Thanks be to those that stuck around to cheer and clap for me during the “voting.” Jordan, Aubrey, Becca, Abby, Heather, Katie, Katie, Katie, Mitch, Andy, Mindy and Collin. They gave a valiant effort. Unfortunately for everyone an inexperienced teenage homeless man’s “New Found Glory” band that had never played in front of a live audience had the most people in the room at the time of the voting. So they won. Congrats on your victory, fellas.

I don’t think I should have won. I think another band should have won. I do not think the band that won should have been in the top-5. Whatever.

My show went well. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. I accomplished my goals:

  1. Make a good impression on the venue – Birdy’s apparently really enjoyed my set and made sure to get my contact info from me before I left.
  2. Introduce myself to other local bands for the chance to play with them – A band called The Last Good Year (also the band that had my vote for the band that should have won) introduced themselves to me and asked me if I’d be interested in opening for them sometime. We exchanged myspace information and we were on our way.
  3. Put on a good show for the people who bought tickets to see Tyler Beader put on a good show. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. Even Mindy said she liked it. Mindy is the same girl that said that she didn’t like my music but was only coming to support me.

So after all of the dog and pony charades that took place over the last few weeks, it ended up being quite satisfactory. Again, I don’t blame any particular party for the craziness. It’s all part of the business, I suppose.

One piece of advice for production companies – please make sure you promote bands properly and don’t misrepresent them. Honor your commitment to making them look good. The bands will do their part in trying to make you look good by showing up and selling your tickets. When you make the voting a joke for a “battle” of the bands, then it doesn’t bode well for your reputation. When you print the wrong names of the band that are selling your tickets on your promotional pieces, it makes you look amateur. I had a good time last night. But it wasn’t because it was a great easy process and show to be a part of. It was because of the people that came to see me. It was because of the hospitality of the venue.

Thanks to everyone for coming to support me. I hope you enjoyed the show. Thanks to Birdy's for hosting. Thanks to Gorilla for putting the event on.

Check out pictures from the show here (thanks to Mindy for taking these)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Asterisks!: Where legends are born*

Barry Bonds finally made his history. 756. Or, to please some of you – 756*.

Did he cheat? Did he stain the ultimate sports record by rubbing Creams and Clears on his body? Did he sell out his ethics for money and records?

Hank Aaron previously held the record for most career home runs for over 33 years. No one doubts that Aaron did it clean. A lot of people doubt that Bonds did. Do I? I’d guess he used steroids. The reason I can’t be sure is because he’s never tested positive for steroids. He’s never failed a drug test. I assume he used steroids only because of this. He used to be skinny. Now the total weight of what he used to weigh has transfixed itself into his head, with the rest of his body looking like the Hulk.

But what would have happened had Mark McGwire broken the record? McGwire was one of the players who put baseball back on the map with his slugging in 1998. He broke Roger Maris’ record of most home runs in a season. He made baseball relevant again in America. He is also widely believed to have taken steroids throughout his career. We never crucified him like we do Bonds. He disappeared after his terrible appearance before congress, and we somewhat let him off the hook. He is having a bit of trouble getting into the Hall of Fame now, though.

Jason Giambi was celebrated in 2005 when he won the American League Comeback Player of the Year. This was the year after he was right in the middle of the same steroids scandal that Bonds is a part of. He didn’t admit anything different than what Bonds has admitted. Yet, we honored him that year.

Alex Rodriguez is widely believed to beat Bonds’ home run record down the road in his career. He’s the youngest to ever hit 500 home runs, and you don’t hear much about him ever taking steroids. It was only a year ago (and a few years leading up to now) that people loved to hate A-Rod more than any other player in baseball. He was a primadona, arrogant, selfish and the richest man in baseball. But now it seems that is all forgotten and A-Rod is a saint being cheered for his accomplishments and his pursuit rather than his off-the-field ridiculousness. I’m sure now that this chase is over, the media will go back to hating him, but it was just interesting to see how people forgot about him for a bit.

All because of Bonds.

It’s no secret Bonds is a jerk. Maybe that’s the reason people have such a hard time accepting the fact that he’s the one who owns the home run record. No one likes rooting for jerks who figure they’re owed something. Plus, Bonds never let the public in on his life. Why would people be happy about a guy they don’t even know, owning baseball’s most cherished record?

Personally, I congratulate Bonds. If he took steroids, he made the choice to do so, but I also think that he was playing in an era of baseball that pushed him into making that decision. I think whether he’s good or bad, clean or dirty, people love watching him. It’s proven in attendance numbers throughout the years. People come to Giants’ games to watch Barry Bonds.

I don’t think we should be able to have it both ways. We shouldn't get away with hating a guy for what he’s doing, yet continue to pay money to go see him do it. That's precisely what America has done.

One of the biggest clich├ęs to ever hit the world of sports is that sports are a business. Someone is making money somewhere. Both the MLB and Bonds made a killing on whatever he did or did not do to beat the record. That’s all people really care about. It’d be nice to believe that people cared about ideals and ethics and morals when it comes to entertainment. We don’t care. Give us an entertaining product and we’ll keep coming back for more as long as we don’t get bored.

When Bonds’ career is all said and done, we will be able to all agree on one thing: Barry Bonds was never boring.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Nothing makes me want to get to third base with you more than a bunch of balls on a hot summer day.

It’s summer time. That can only mean one thing (not really). It’s baseball time! Unfortunately for me, I live in a city without a professional baseball team. The Indianapolis Indians play triple-A ball at Victory field downtown. It’s quite unfortunate that my favorite team is vying for first place in a different state, outside of “let’s go to a professional baseball game tonight” distance.

Nevertheless, I went to an Indians’ game a bit ago. Instead of sitting in chairs, I chose to sit in the center field lawn watching the backs of baseball players, whose names I will never know.

It was 90 degrees outside without a cloud in the Indianapolis sky. The only blanket I had was a fleece blanket. Enter sweaty-swamp-butt. I could either sit on the blanket and learn what Hell feels like, or I could sit directly in the grass and get eaten alive. I decided handling burning sweaty eyeballs and sweat-saturated clothes were better alternatives to scratching my skin off because bugs were living in my pores.

As I was profusely sweating all over myself, I noticed there was a love-stricken couple going at it (note: the picture is not of this particular couple, only a display of the behavior taking place) about 10 feet away from me. This couple was made up of zero attractive persons and certainly only one human. Regardless, it got me thinking about public displays of affection and how it makes everyone feel uncomfortable.

I don’t care if you’re at a minor league baseball game or if you’re at PDA camp, there should be rules and regulations to police this kind of behavior. I’m not talking about creating laws to make it a criminal act, I just think it should be a “citizen’s discretion” policy; as in – the citizens in the surrounding area of these people putting on these displays, should be required to choose between the following actions to provide justice:

A) Announce the play-by-play action as if it were a golf tournament. “You could cut through this sexual passion with a knife. It’s time to make a move. He’s playing it safe with the not-so-obvious route through the back of her shirt, rather than aggressively going straight for her dignity.” It’d be great.
B) Stand right next to the couple (like all up in their bidness) and make out with an invisible person, from seduction to finish (however you determine the end of a make-out session.) Seriously, if you were making out with someone, and noticed that there was someone standing a foot away from you making out with himself, would that NOT make you immediately stop? Think about it.

With that, now comes the list of what IS and IS NOT acceptable in the world of Public Displays of Affection. Since something either IS or IS NOT something, this scale will be pretty simple. The scale will be represented by either a (two thumbs up) for acceptable or (two thumbs down) for unacceptable. Sounds good.

1 – Holding Hands - Two Thumbs Up. This is easy. I don’t know anyone that gets grossed out or uncomfortable by two people holding hands, unless of course, those two people have hands that look like this. Yikes. Regardless, holding hands, or tossing arms around shoulders in public is sweet and affectionate whether it’s because a guy is leading a girl around, or just because they want to be close to each other but don’t want to be naked. It’s a perfect way to be intimate and important to each other, but not ridiculous enough to act like the world revolves around just the two of you.

2 Invading personal space – Two Thumbs Down - If you’re going to sit on your boyfriend’s lap because there isn’t anywhere else to sit, that’s okay. If you’re going to walk through the mall with your hand in your boyfriend’s back pocket like you’re 14, that’s not okay. If you’re going put your girlfriend up on your shoulders because she can’t see at a concert (and I’m not the one standing behind you), that’s okay. If you’re going to give full body massages at a party or small gathering, that’s not okay. This one is really a toss up. So screw it, if there’s ever a toss up, I’m going with Two Thumbs Down. Better safe than sorry. I’d rather you take the hit and stand up so your girlfriend has a place to sit, than unexpectedly come across your girlfriend with her hand on top of your crotch in the mall foodcourt. Sometimes you give, sometimes you take. This time, I’m taking.

3 – Kissing – One Thumb Up, One Thumb Down – I’ll give on this one. This is risky business. The only time kissing is appropriate in public is when you are A) greeting your significant other, B) leaving your significant other. You come home from a long day of work, and all you really want is some sugar from your girl. Go ahead and kiss her to say hello. However, anything beyond 1.5 seconds is deemed unacceptable and at risk of receiving judgment from Citizens’ Discretion policy. Besides, behavior like this is what leads to melees like the one I saw at the baseball game. You’ve gotta keep it in check.

4 – Pet Names – Two Thumbs Down – Not only should this embarrass any dude whose girlfriend calls him “Cuddle Cakes” in the utmost seriousness, but it should downright make everyone (even the people calling and receiving the name) nauseous. I would be less suspicious of Michael Vick searching for the perfect Pit Bull pup at the local Humane Society, than I would of Cuddle Cakes’ manhood. Pet names are fine in the confines of your own home if that's your bag. Pet names are absolutely not fine anywhere else.

5 – Babying – Two Thumbs Down - Apart from fetching your partner a drink, or providing the warmth of your jacket to her while you freeze to death, babying someone is just unacceptable. People were taught how to feed themselves at a very young age. There is absolutely no reason to revisit this time of our lives by feeding each other. You’re adults who can shovel the piece of cake into your own mouth. Along with this, society has no place for someone talking to their partner like they’re 4-years-old or unable to look after themselves the big big world we live in. I understand serving each other is endearing. There is a happy medium between selfishly bringing Chinese food home for just yourself, and breaking out the chopsticks to feed your partner each piece of rice.

6 – Butt Smackin – Two Thumbs Up - Okay I just really wanted to search Google for some good butt grabbin pics, I admit! But this is acceptable behavior. This is also debatable behavior as to whether or not it can be considered PDA. Guys have been smackin rear-ends for ages in the locker rooms and on the fields of sport. This has become less of a sexual act and more of a “job well done” encouragement. There is always room for positive reinforcement and encouragement in the realm of relationships. Anytime you want your partner to “go get em’ tiger,” this is perfect and appropriate, by all means...smack the butt.

7 – Saying “I love you,” – Two Thumbs Down – The only time a declaration of love is acceptable in public is for monumental occasions. Saying “I love you,” is a significant personal milestone for relationships and should be kept personal. If you love your boyfriend, telling him in front of all of his friends is not even close to the best way of showing him. As soon as you leave the room, chances are, you will take his honor, spirit and self-admiration with you. It’s not that he doesn’t love you. He probably does. But don’t make him remind you in front of other people. You should be the only one that hears him if he utters the word “love.” The only acceptable venue for this declaration to take place would be hospitals. Hospitals trigger a lot of emotion, and no one is going to give you grief for being emotional and spewing love words in a hospital. I guess huge celebratory occasions, like the birth of a child or the engagement of love birds could suffice as well. I guess.

Recap: Holding hands: good. Everything else: probably not good.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to heed my warnings. Now that the Citizens’ Discretion policy is in place, I’d hate to see you ruthlessly embarrassed at the hands of policy abiding people who are endlessly embarrassed for you because of the red suction spots on your neck and the tent you seemed to have pitched in a public place.

The Indians lost, by the way.