Thursday, May 03, 2012

Schmuck Alert: May Lay!

Screen shot 2012-05-03 at 6.48.58 AM
Despite a strict diet of energy drinks and Boba Fett PEZ dust, most members of The Lenslinger Institute's selection committee lost consciousness around three a.m. Their mission: locate any mention of a spring ritual that calls for the assault of a senior photog. We couldn't find one. Yet there must be some reason behind the senseless attack of a Northwest-based news shooter. It happened Monday, when veteran KING 5 photographer Richard Departee began covering a May Day march in downtown Seattle...
“I found myself in with a group (dressed in) black, kinda Gestapo-looking thugs – face masks and dark glasses – I think as soon as they saw me it was like ‘Hey get out of here, you know, scum,’ and started pushing me,” he said.
Yup, no better way to spread your message than by taking a crack at the one person best equipped to share it with the masses.
“Then one guy took his one-inch dowel, a wooden pole with the red flag … he just took it back and popped me in the face,” said Departee.
What the hell? Down South, we celebrate the beginning of May with a fresh round of Mint Juleps. It just never occurred to us to dress up like Ninjas and beat the shit out of anyone who comes near! But that's how they do it Seattle. Perhaps the disaffected youth there should lay off the Starbucks and, oh, I dunno, GET A JOB! You know, something honorable like taxidermy or advertising. They could even set aside their rancor and pick up a news camera, maybe change the world one frame at a time, instead of bringing shame to their city with thuggish behavior in the name of, the name of, the name of... Freedom? (Didn't they see what that Braveheart film did to Mel Gibson? Dude's a lunatic!) Anyway, we here at TLI need our sleep so we're just gonna wish thirty year KING TV veteran Richard Departee a quick recovery and hope he someday gets a chance to shoot the perp walk of his assailant. In the meantime, come to Carolina, Mr. Departee! We won't take a pole to the side of your head but once we smother you with Southern hospitality and Sweet Tea, you may wish we did. As for those cowards in black...


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Songs of the Doomed

xfactor_023 Just when you thought I couldn't find a more surreal landscape to explore than the John Edwards trial, something called 'The X-Factor' rolled into town. It's no surprise, really. Back in 2006, that prickly Brit known as Simon Cowell brought American Idol to Greensboro and in doing do helped launch the career of Kellie Pickler, Bucky Covington and other artists whose music you don't buy. Now the man with a gazillion bucks but no properly fitting shirts is back! Sort of. Actually, Simon was nowhere to be seen today as no less than eight thousand delusional hopeful vocalists invaded the coliseum grounds and took Whitney Houston's musical legacy hostage. They also stabbed Etta James' memory square in the throat, but hey, what's a dead legend worth when you covered head to toe in body glitter? Don't answer that - just know that your not so humble lenslinger thought he'd seen it all. Remember, I've covered more Idol auditions than Paula Abdul even remembers attending and while we both may need therapy as a result, I've chosen to just bury the pain. Which is why I scoffed at the idea of an X-Factor audition in my fair city. What could possibly compare to the scads of nut-bags that turned out to shout in Ryan Seacrest's highly man-scaped ears? Isn't X-Factor just a retread of the same old song and dance academy that is American Idol?

Yes and no.

Looking out over the crowd today, I only had one question: "Who pulled the fire alarm at Wal-Mart?" It's the kind of thing I asked myself at every single American Idol stop, but as my eyes adjusted to all that blind ambition, I noticed a distinct difference... Over there, that guy working on his moonwalk - is that my mailman? And the lady spitting out Kesha lyrics - didn't I see her on a retirement village billboard? That's when it hit me: there's no age limit! It seems like a small thing, but it's huge. Whereas Idol kept laser-focused on crushing twenty somethings' dreams, The X Factor is out to humiliate Americans from every age group. Plus, every single crew member seemed to have a thick British accent! Why it's enough to make the likes of Toby Keith write another song about boots up asses. Nobody wants that! Nor does anyone really wanna witness what I did today. I mean, it's one thing to watch a pack of thirteen year old girls ape Lady Ga-Ga. It's quite another to see a man who looks as if he might have been an investment banker before retirement shake his pudgy butt through a gravely rendition of 'Poker Face'. Some things can't be unseen. Which is why I'll be taking a toothbrush to my eyelids for the better part of the evening, in hopes that I'll be ready next week when Rielle Hunter pops out of her limo in a sequined t-shirt and begins singing the chorus to 'Fame".

It could happen...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Indelibles

Pinkie and the Brain
Fire up enough satellite trucks in a row and you're bound to bend a few moonbeams. I can't explain the science behind it, but then again, high school algebra eluded me too. What I do know is that after only a few hours of continuing team smotherage, a certain sector of the citizenry begins making mountains out of mashed potatoes. Before you know it, your once placid media compound is invaded by caped crusaders. It happened Friday at Camp Edwards, when into the scrum undone came ... The Circumsizer.
At least that's what fellow photog Dustin Etheridge calls him. For all I know, his business cards really do read 'Un-Castrated Man' (I wasn't going to ask).  Whatever the case, he materialized mid-morning and while he wasn't exactly embraced by the camera community, we made sure his moped didn't get towed. For awhile he waved his sign and though he didn't appear on an ounce of television, he sure did pop up on a lot of photog's Facebook pages. Someone wondered aloud what his superpowers might be and from my thirteen seconds with him I can tell you stringing together three related sentences ain't one of 'em. But who needs a clear message when you got such moxie? I admire that ... from a distance.

Eventually, the masked man waddled off. Though we never quite knew what he wanted, we kind of missed him when he was gone. Took him awhile though. Dude moved like he'd been killin' villains all night. That, or with great power comes intense chafing ... I could never decide.