Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Duluth Is Done

Well folks, "Duluth Is Horrible" is out doing it's festival thing. You can also see it by grabbing a DVD on my website. I've started working on a few new projects and therefore, I'm closing down duluthishorrible.blogspot.com. I thought about keeping it going and just changing the name. But it's really it's own book in the series of my life. (pretentious sentence).

Going forward, I'll be writing in the Gargiulog, which sounds like a gross disease, but will contain future stories from the wonderful world of Vincent Gargiulo Productions. See you there!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

DAY 18+: One Horrible Night

"Duluth is Horrible" made it's premiere Tuesday Jan. 11 at the Zinema in two screenings. There were about 50 or so people at the 7:00p show and an almost full house at the 8:30p. This is the first time DIH has screening publicly and in front of an audience. It appears people liked it but then again, most people (Minnesota nice or not) wouldn't come up to me and tell me I suck. Although one drunk woman told me she thought I sounded like a blithering idiot.

DIH was paired with my films, "KNFR From 7:00-7:30", "The Muppetless Movie," Toasters 'N' Moose: I'm Not Homeless Music Video" and the original Kickstarter video. These works are all quite a bit different than DIH which at least attempts to be dramatic. The 7:00p show was more somber. A few decent laughs throughout. I felt very comfortable alone on stage for Q&A, feeling a bit like a late night talk show host. This comfort has been an acquired skill, leading some to believe my Myers Briggs is an ENFJ but I'm not totally convinced.

As I walked out of the theater after the 7:00p show, I was bombarded with the swarm of people waiting outside for the next one. All this is to see my work? I was flattered and went all Oprah on the audience promising cars to anyone my finger pointed to. Because it's not Oprah till it's Oprah. My heart sunk slightly as I witnessed Duluth Mayor Don Ness walk in. I felt like an ashamed schoolboy.  I offered the audience 30 seconds of abuse (old Graham Chapman gag) and asked if the Mayor would like to kick me in the balls. The Mayor got a comeback in the Q&A when he asked if I wanted a job in the sewer system. Touche.

The 8:30 audience was more livelier and seemed to laugh at just about everything. DIH played to decent to big laughs throughout, which I find interesting since I find it incredibly depressing & sad, though not without humor. Dark comedy it shall be. Hard to gauge what people think of my other work. The things that always get laughs got laughs. My "No on Norse" got bigger laughs here than elsewhere it's played. Must be a Swedish thing. 

Afterwards I desperately tried to talk to as many actors & friends as I could. Alas, it was the only time seeing some of these folks for this trip. One day I'll learn to just take a vacation and not work on anything. Drinks were had as I basked in my celebrity. I don't feel bad reveling in it as I work damn hard for those few hours of success. That said, when it's over and I return to my Radisson hotel room, one goes through a depression that now you have to go back to your normal life. Flew back to SF today. My cat looks at me unimpressed and wonders why his litter box hasn't been cleaned. I have to return to my day job tomorrow at 9:00a. 

It was an amazing night and I hope it was foreshadowing bigger better things. Thanks Duluth. You let me off too easy.     

Monday, June 10, 2013

DAY 18+: Enger Management

Yesterday was supposed to be a shoot day. It was raining, at times hard. My actors were game. I was game. We went on and shot most of what resembles a woman staring at a nearly nude man with Japanese letters on him at the top of Enger Tower. Enger Tower is a giant medievalesque tower in Duluth and at the top floor, it was raining, cold, windy, and a terrible shooting experience. Memorable but perhaps I don't need such highlights.

The camera, a Canon 5d II, broke while we were out, getting the ominous Err 30, which according to online reports, means you're just fucking screwed. And such, after a hour's filming, the day was complete. Instead, I drowned my sorrows in wine, mexican food, and conservation the rest of the night. My lead actress knew of another filmmaker and I rented his camera for the rest of the shoot filming today. Then of course, my camera decided to start working again. But the damage has been done and I no longer trust my camera. Perhaps with counseling, we can work it out.

So today is hopefully the last day of shooting and I can take some more vacation days the rest of the time. There's so many Duluth friends I haven't got around to seeing yet. I hope many come to the screening tomorrow night.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

DAY 18+: Pure Pleasure

I am filming Sunday & Monday a new project entitled "I Found Myself Stuck In An Experimental Film." It is a very short piece about a woman who wakes up and finds all these bizarre things keep happening to her. It's really just a pastiche of experimental films and contains some direct references that 10% of the population will get.

Today was spent picking up items & location scouting. This seemingly took all day somehow. There is a shot with some showgirls and pasties are required. I visited the town sex shop, Pure Pleasure, but they lacked sufficient quantities. Can someone explain why pasties are so expensive? I decided to make my own. My generic felt white pasties are drying from glue as I type. Other items bought today: white underwear, a loaf of white bread, a tuxedo jacket...ya know - the makings of a hot Saturday night.

I'm still getting used to the summer version of Duluth. It is nearly 8:00p and the sun is barely setting. Everything is green. No longer white. People wear shorts and seem less miserable. I saw minorities! It's a different town. I was thinking that originally I didn't care if DIH was shot during winter or summer. Now I see the movie wouldn't nearly be the same in summer. That coldness really adds something.

This isn't the most exciting blogpost but then again, how much mileage can you get out of going to Hobby Lobby? Well, I did go twice.

In Memoriam - The Abandoned Building Used For Horrible Productions

Friday, June 7, 2013


I don't recognize this place without the snow. I don't feel like myself without a parka. I am back in Duluth - Summer Version. I flew in to MSP yesterday and am here for mostly 1 reason: A Vincent Gargiulo Retrospective featuring the WORLD PREMIERE of “Duluth Is Horrible” –  the 17 minute plotless art film that OUTRAGED a city. Two screenings Tuesday Jun. 11 at 7:00 & 8:30p. Tickets & info here: http://www.zeitgeistarts.com/zinema-2/zin-now-playing/june-11-explorers-club-duluth-is-horrible

I’ll be dressed to impress, along with fellow cast, crew, & friends. Should be a great night. I’m here for a week and much of that time will be spent putting together a brand new project. I’ll talk about that later.

Yesterday was a long day. It started at 3:55am when a Super Shuttle picked me up on the way to SFO. Last time this happened, I was greeted by Today’s Top 40 Hits blaring out at me. This time, the driver picked out some sort of music more appropriate for an Italian restaurant or the “nature store” at the mall. For those curious, the latest Iphone app technology tells me it was “Rosas Del Amor” by Armik.

A nonstop plane ride – the only noteworthy story was overhearing a guy talk about visiting his son’s graduation. He only knew he had a son 5 months ago! My St. Paul friend, Cassidy, worked till 4 so I ran some errands mostly in Edina, MN. Why was I in Edina? Edina know. (Do you get it?) 

That night, Cassidy, her boyfriend Nick, and I went to an old vintage bowling alley where I showed off my patented “drop & bounce” bowling technique. I did not win in two rounds. I blame the hipster jeans I was wearing, making it impossible to fully break stride. In the end, Billy Jean (my bowling name) lost to Fuzzy Lumpkin (later DumpTruck) in two rounds. I thought changing my name to “Billy Jean 2.0 (The Kid Is Not My Son) – Do doo, do doo” was going to help.  It only helped me surpass the ironically named challenger, “Can’t Lose.”

Today was spent mostly on the road. From St. Paul I was only 90 minutes away from a place near & dear to my heart. I had to go. I had to go to Darwin, MN, which has a population of 350 people and is known for one thing.
The Annoying Tourist Pose
The Biggest Ball of Twine In Minnesota, made popularized by a 7 minute “Weird Al” Yankovic song that I’ve had memorized by heart since I was 10.  The ball is mighty impressive when you’re right in front of it. It’s 90 minutes away from anything and the opposite direction of Duluth, but it was worth it.

From there, it was tiny Minnesota country towns highlighted with bathroom stops at Wal-Mart, White Castle, and designated rest areas. I'm fairly sleep-deprived and will be using my Friday night to do very little.

Goodnight Duluth. I'll see you in the morning.