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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Iowa Episode 3

When I last left you all, we were at the part of the trip where we were en route to Joker's Comedy Club, where TJ was going to be performing in less than 2 hours.  I realize that I have spent a lot of time in my last two posts building up to the actual climax of the Iowa trip: TJ's slow.  It seems almost monumental. Well let me tell you something, monumental was exactly how it felt.  This was the night that we had been waiting for for over 3 months.  The build up was dramatic and suspenseful.  We were at the climax. And now for the closing chapter of the Iowa saga:

As I've mentioned before, there was nothing that in Waterloo that took more than 10 minutes to get to.  Unless of course you have never been to Waterloo and have a tendency to get lost, as I do.  It didn't seem like it would be that hard, there is one Main Street and it's maybe 4 blocks long.  But if you drive all the way down it you end up on a highway.  
This is the actual Google map of how to get back to Joker's from the highway.
Yes, I have the humor  of an 8 year old boy sometimes.
We finally made it Joker's where I saw the following:

I have never felt more professional in my entire life.

Scott and I found TJ sitting upstairs in a corner, listening to Glee (of course).  She was calm and collected.  Not a nerve in sight (she may tell you differently, but that was certainly how it appeared).  Due to my faulty navigating, we were a little short on time, so we scouted out our best viewing positions, set up our gear and prepared for whatever was about to happen.  Shortly after 9 pm I saw TJ making her way downstairs, I turned my camera on and followed after her as she navigated through the crowd and to the stage, where a sea of family, friends, school mates and strangers were waiting with anticipation.  It was show time...

TJ has posted about the show in her blogs, so some of you have an idea of how the whole thing went.  But let me just say this:  The performance that TJ put on that night at Joker's was her absolutely BEST performance that I have ever seen (until she went out on the stage Saturday and out did herself, again!).  She absolutely killed it.  The crowd loved her and she loved them.  She was one of them and so foreign to them at the same time.  The laughs were big and the cheers were loud.  It is almost hard to write about because I can't find the words to say just how amazing the whole experience was.  

After both performances, TJ was SWARMED by her old friends (and new fans).  There was literally a line for over an hour each night of people waiting to congratulate, talk to, catch up with, take a picture with or get an autograph from TJ.  It was astounding, she was truly a superstar.
Old friends reunited!
TJ and family!

We stuck around late Saturday night after the show. At midnight it was officially TJ's 41st birthday.  Everyone had a drink in her honor.  The DJ played "Get Low", which if you don't know, is basically TJ's favorite song, and she made her way out to the dance floor.  It was a blast!

Happy Birthday, Teej!

In the days following the performances, TJ showed us what it was like to be an Iowan.  We traveled to her hometown in Newhartford.  Saw her old school and the house she grew up in.  We had "Maid Rite" sandwiches, which we were told is an Iowa staple.  We saw lots of corn (Scott really likes corn fields now).  

On the last full day of our trip we went out for an official birthday dinner with TJ, Myriam, and TJ's immediate family.  I had an actual Iowa steak and potatoes.  It was DELICIOUS.  TJ had to sit on a saddle whilst the staff of Texas Roadhouse sang to her.  It was HILARIOUS.  After dinner we made our way back to the lobby of our hotel to conduct our final interviews.  Honestly, this was the part of the trip I was most nervous about. First of all, I am not Barbara Walters or Oprah.  Interviewing people is not my strongest skill.  I hate being put on the spot, so of course I also hate putting others on the spot.  One by one we walked family members into our semi-private interview area while everyone else sat in the lobby.  I felt like an executioner walking each of these people to the electric chair.  (Okay, that's a little dramatic, I was just going to be asking them a few questions..) Sometimes in interviewing, you feel like a bully, but you have to keep pushing.  I feel very lucky to have had such cooperation and understanding from everyone interviewed. 

We wrapped up the final interview of the night and said our goodbyes.  It was truly a sad moment, I felt like we had become some sort of extension of the Huberg-Dewey clan. On the day we left we were able to stop by Jackie's house one final time for some lunch and a little wrap up.  And then before we knew it, we were on our way back to San Diego.  

We literally spent 1/3 of our time traveling to and from Iowa.  It made everything sort of a whirlwind.   That being said, it was an amazing whirlwind.  I know there is so much more to say about our trip, it's just hard to sort it out. (And I'm sure this is not the last time I will write about Iowa)  Luckily, we've got most of it on film!  But if I could have spared another week, I would have stayed.  I met dozens of new people and I loved every last one of them.  To everyone who showed up, introduced themselves,  welcomed us into their home, thank you SO much.  We couldn't have done any of this without you.

Here are some of the photos I took along the way:
There was a fireworks aisle in the grocery store.  God bless the mid-west.
Pretty Myriam!
Contemplative Scott
Mmmm, road kill.
Has anyone outside of Iowa ever heard of this product?
What qualifications does a beer have to have to make it friendly?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The adventures of B Naj and Teej

Hey blog readers. Thanks for checking in. Today's post will look at the adventures to B Naj and Teej--AKA TINY SUPERSTARS!!!!

I decided to use some photos of some of everyone's favorite famous duos as well as some random bits I found online to discuss and attempt to explain-----our journey. Ready? Here we go! Read the captions to get the story!

In 2006, I was Bridget's Public Speaking Professor. I've taught about 3,000 students over the years--there are probably 10 that I would do a project like this with--she is one of them.


She has always been too smart for her own good
In March of 2012 I posted something on facebook about making a documentary. Bridget responded and I thought that was pretty awesome. We met up about a week later at Nordstrom's Cafe and both of us proceeded to order from the children's menu. Within about three minutes--it was clear to us both that this was gonna be a good fit. We'd been facebook friends, but hadn't really spoken since 2006--that didn't matter. We caught up and reconnected right away. The film  project was underway. In the beginning--it was new and very exciting! We talked a lot about our plans, got to know each other, and were pretty stoked about the whole thing!

Girl you know it's true!
Nothing but fun and games!

Then--after a few weeks we realized that we were very different in a lot of ways. B thinks! I feel. B is private. I am public. B let's things go. I do not. B likes a laid back itinerary. I do not. B is an introvert. I am the opposite. Please--do not get me wrong--this can be a good thing--especially when working on a project, but it was an adjustment for us. That's when we began our search for balance--the search continues.
Bridget is on the left--me, I'm the spaz on the right

Balance is hard to find, but it's totally do able!
We are a mismatched pair but a pair nonetheless

head and heart--they can work together
Though I think being unstable can make the best art--balance is kinda essential too.  I guess it is anyway.                   
I'll also mention here that we are nearly a generation apart. B was one year old when I graduated from high school. Basically--I know more than her and she is a brat. LOL. I'm kidding of course--kind of! We see the world differently--and sometimes that makes things hard--sometimes it makes things awesome. B definitely helps me stay young--and I'm pretty certain I've taught her a thing or two.


Here are a few pics of some duos who made things work despite their differences:
Officer Fife was given one bullet that he had to keep in his pocket. Sheriff Taylor (Bridget) ran the town in a very laid back manner. Fife was always eager to press on--Taylor liked to go fishing and knew everything would get done in its own time

Music. Singing songs about summertime and how parents just don't understand can really be bonding. We both like the group fun.
Forrest listened to Bubba talk about shrimp for hours and hours. 

Larue was allowed to be herself--Gidget was too.  Both brought their own "spice of life" to whatever they did.
No need to explain. 
A common bond is always good to find--they both liked to beat the shit out of other people so obviously they should become friends. 

Coolness rubs off--it always does. I'm not even gonna say who is the cooler of the tiny superstars--it's pretty obvious to everyone.

Being bitchy at the same time is always a win win
B likes to be behind the scenes but is far more sexy than I., so basically--we are both Chuy and we are both Chelsea. B's sense of humor is pretty crass. I can smell her sarcasm from a mile away.

Hippie + Cholo is the same as a hipster + a gangsta/fag. Hey--it works for us.  I'm  wondering if smoking a joint would help us in times of trouble..........hmmmmm

 We are making a film together. This is a lot of work--in every sense of the word. I adore Bridget and know this film will be amazing--I like to know what's going on pretty much on a daily basis. She of course is constantly calm--or acting in a hipster "I'm too cool to care" way and pretty much keeps everything under her hat--though I've never seen her wear a hat. Hmmmmmmm. The problem is that I want to be involved in places I cannot. I know nothing about filmmaking--I'm the subject AND a co producer--so you can imagine why I'm confused most of the time. Maybe you cannot--either way--being both of those things is VERY difficult. "Sure you can film me." "Now what are you going to do with what you just filmed?" "When can I see it." "What's next?" Bridget's responses--"Cool." "You'll see." "Be patient, TJ, I'm really busy with work." Rolls eyes. LOL--you all get the picture. BTW--I an certain it is equally as difficult for B to be working with someone who is the subject and a co-producer!

Sometimes we clash

Me--but add crying

B's alter ego--cool--nothing to fear!
That's part of the fun. BTW--B has never really punched me. I'm the sensitive one--she just kicks it most of the time and I of course assume that means she is upset with something I've done. SIGH! This is B's alter ego and mine:
Another me--I couldn't decide on which spaz to chose.
Bottom line--we are Tiny Superstars. We are a brilliant pair with a lot of plans. This film is our baby--and we will make it work--We both have an amazing work ethic, a respect for each other, and have put a lot into Tiny Superstars. Great things are about to happen--believe that. Even if it looks like it might not work----------------------------->
They are disgustingly delicious

It  will.

 The journey has just begun--she called "shot gun" for this proverbial ride and I couldn't think of a better partner in crime! The film may take years--it may take six more months. All I know is we wanna have a good time and produce something that we can both be proud of. After all:

Thanks to Lincoln--we can't have slaves anymore--so shit might just take a lil longer!

Awesome duos who have changed the world in one way or another:
His name was Kenny--she insisted on calling him "Bud." It worked.

Upper class and working class--it's aiight--mashups

Stirred shit up a lil--

Ernie has always and always will let bert sing about pigeons--I will always let B talk about Indie bands

She called "shotgun" Everyone needs someone adorable along for the ride--

Bridget hates it when I wear a half shirt to events!

I have never seen this show but I know it's one of her faveorites


On my worst day--I think B would cover me up before I made a complete ass of myself. Well, maybe not--she'd probably just break out the camera. LOL

Frick and Frack

Weirdos--but rich weirdos nonetheless

Jerry wanted to punch George every single day--he never did. Wait--they ended up in jail. Oh well.

Dorothy and Sophia shoulda made a film together. They are our inner muses. I am often worried that B will put me into a home if I piss her off enough.

There are no words--it just worked.

You're makin my dreams come true!

Come together, Carry the Weight, Don't Bother Me, Don't Ever Change,  Don't Let me Down,  Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except me and my Monkey, Happiness is a Warm Gun, Here Comes the Sun, Hippie Hippie Shake, I'll Cry Instead, I'll Follow the Sun, I'm Talking about You, I'ts all too Much, In Spite of all the Danger, Junk, Let it Be, Madman, No Reply, Revolution, Run for your Life, Slow Down, That'll be the Day, Ticket to Ride, Tomorrow Never Knows, Wait, We can Work it out, With a little Help from my Friends, You Can't Do That, You Know What to do,  

What the fuck is wrong with people?


Stay Gold

I'm the Mary and you're the Rhoda
Yeah--we're you have a businesswomen's lunch special? Fine--we will jus order off of the kid's menu then.

We both like bowties--thankfully though--we are not this unattractive

Wanted by everyone--then and now

Our other inner muses--interesting--both of my inner muses are named Sophia.

Two kinds of humor

Oh Dr. West, did you hear about those two young white girls makin a film? Yes I did brother Smiley. It's gonna change the world. Tiny Superstars is gonna be a household name--wait and see.

Fuck it--let's just drive off the cliff.


Yes--we will be one of these! We might already be!

Well, we have done a lot in the last 4 months and it has been pretty amazing. Let's see--we hatched a plan to make a film, raised over $5,000, did the interview, filmed a fuckton of footage including shows, teaching, and interviews of friends, family and students, went to Iowa, and a whole bunch of other stuff. It has been an adventure and it seems that we are right where we are supposed to be. I'm not sure why I'm so worried then--I guess I'm not. Life is too short for that. Enjoying the process and looking forward to the next step. 

Thanks for lookin at all the snaps and for reading my post. Hopefully you laughed a little and got a little nostalgic. Bridget will be posting next week.

TJ--subject, co-producer, overly sensitive spaz, king of all things awesome, and banjolele player!!