Oscars So Nice: Reflections of a Busker


 

12764708_10153440100530963_1547926741940864812_o

Oscar has left the building.  My neighborhood returns to relative Hollywood & Highland normal.  Before I head back out in the Vegas 90210 short shorts to protect Hollywood Boulevard from democracy and Jimmy Kimmel, I wanted to kinda sorta quickly share a few thoughts about last night’s notable Oscar’s ceremony.

12778891_10153444484580963_4311067638936696443_o
Keeping it real with LAPD brother law enforcers (one of whom appeared to be the last of the male Ghostbusters) at an undisclosed location in the vicinity of the Dolby Theater.

Bear in mind, I didn’t watch the whole ceremony in a pristine private screening room devoid of distraction.  I watched in a bar.  Because it was Sunday and that’s how Jesus would screen it.  As Chris Rock commenced the 88th Academy Awards, I manfully strode in my short shorts down a Hollywood Boulevard congested with star-struck tourists eager to catch a glimpse of what Joan Rivers is no longer here to assess.  (I took up some slack – “What Are Those” VIDEO).  Late I was, en route to my viewing party at Tinhorn Flats as Lt. Frank FFIREHS of Vegas 90210, taking photos with tourists from around the world delighted to behold the theatrical menagerie of nearly every iteration of law enforcement, from security guard to Secret Service … and yours truly in rainbow tactical leg warmers.  As frequently happens in my daily life, they wanted pictures with “Lt. Dangle”.  (Even though the real Lt. Dangle clearly distinguished me as … well, you’ll see shortly.)

Mark in THR
Mark Roman of Vegas 90210, snubbed by the Academy invite list, as seen in the The Hollywood Reporter Oscars Edition.

Because I’m that guy.  The one Thomas Lennon (aka “Lt. Dangle” of Reno 911!) calmly calls “bigger”.  The one with whom Nick Swardson (aka “Terry” of Reno 911!“) recently spread the news of sweat pants and Super Bowl Champion Minnesota Vikings glory.  The one Thomas Lennon (aka Felix #5 opposite the non-Academy Oscar of The Odd Couple on CBS) screams “MARK!!!” while doing a Wassup Drive-By on Hollywood Boulevard the other week.  As seen in The Hollywood Reporter.  That guy.  The smelly background actor busker guy who never had the decency to study at UCLA or USC film schools, frequent Julliard, or embellish the Bard with the likes of Sir Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren or Tom Hardy at The Globe (as directed by Shakespeare understudy Ben Affleck).

12744102_10153441348040963_5579097716075605031_n
We’re not gay and we make absolutely no case for it.  With Greg Proops (the Buddy Holly impersonator from Whose Line Is It Anyways?), after his live recording of The Smartest Man In The World podcast at the Bar Lubitch in West Hollywood.

With all due respect to Greg Proops (whose sober assessment of the vital impact of awards shows led him to retreat to San Jose for a vodcast), here’s a few quick thoughts and reflections, inadequately informed and hastily assembled, but without the Brian Williams compensation.

CHRIS ROCK EFFORTLESSLY ROUNDS THE BASES

VIDEO. Nuanced jazz, Chris Rock fired word picture bullets I expect to ricochet across the fruited plain.  Whatever seemed to to others to fall flat actually revealed and highlighted the very points Chris was making about race in America and what’s left to do for Hollywood to get better.  Too funny.  He killed.  As only a master comedian at the top of his game can.  Something I’m clearly not, as my freshman forays into the realm of Periscope (Mark Roman, Vegas 90210 – my handle) reveal.

LADY GAGA TAMES THE NOT SO ESCHEWED BARBARIANS

VIDEO.  When one earns their living in short shorts and rainbow tactical leg warmers, it is a rare opportunity to experience a tiny taste of what women (and some men) struggle with daily: unwelcome advances, sexist taunts and hate speech … to outright criminal assault and rape.  I notice in my daily conversations with other men that most guys are criminally clueless as to what most women have to endure daily.  With “Til It Happens to You” Lady Gaga demonstrated beautifully how art can heal, inform and inspire.  We only hope more men begin to grasp the message.  Men like the several passing strangers (unfit to be labeled “gentlemen”) last night making rude remarks about what they’d like to do with body parts of the elegantly dressed ladies in my Oscars after parties group.  The struggle is pervasive, relentless and real.  Gentlemen, we need rise above our primal urges.  Or withdraw from civilization.

REAL VEEP BIDEN CALLS FOR ACTION

Speaking of which, none other than the Vice President clearly stated HOW.  Not fictional VP Selina Meyer played by Julia Louis-Dreyfuss (behind whom you might notice yours truly in an upcoming episode) on HBO’s Veep.  ACTUAL Vice President Joe Biden.  A pledge is one thing.  Taking decisive action when the occasion requires is what saves lives.  It is how we all can Heroteer.

THE BIG SHORT

VIDEO.  I’m in it.  In one of the Vegas conventions scenes I’m the featured suit on the down escalator.  Unlike Brad Pitt with all his Hamletesque dialogue, not letting Christian Bale, Steve Carrell or Ryan Gosling get a word in edgewise, I perform.  Without. Saying. A word.  Where’s my Oscar?  I’m also a recovering mortgage broker.  Unlike the dangerously accurate portrayal of mortgage broker douche bags in the film, I charged reasonable fees and become a mostly referral only business.  (I think there’s even a nice review somewhere on Yelp from a previous client.)  I didn’t make nearly as much money as some. But I made enough to be able to see and support my son on a regular basis (unlike the last several years).  And I was never really into it.  (Banking or sales or anything that makes the film Office Space so painfully funny.  And accurate.)  So when the events portrayed in the film unfolded (I remember vividly the day New Century expired), my new found poverty liberated me from sales and enabled me to pursue my passion.  Quite a full circle: to act in an Oscar-winning film that portrays the very industry I escaped … to become a performing artist.

CROWN PRINCE OF HOLLYWOOD:  LEONARDO DICAPRIO

VIDEO.  He’s earned the title.  Well played, sir.  Respect.

 

SPOTLIGHT AND A SPECTATOR

VIDEO.  Quite a compelling film.  It reminded me of All the President’s Men.  I’m a former student editor.  When I refused to stop publishing my independent newspaper I was expelled from college, defamed and put on the FBI’s Subversives List.  I’m also technically Catholic, practicing agnostic and recovering from the child abuse of religion (see “Son of Elmer Gantry’s Bitch“).  So this film resonated with me in ways several and powerful. And let’s not forget that Morgan Freeman not only announced the Best Picture winner, he offered this calm assessment of #OscarsSoWhite.

IN CONCLUSION

I’m so happy to be back in LA (since November), living in Hollywood, pursuing my craft.  The experiences my career continue to afford me only reaffirm that I’m in the right place doing the right things at the right time.  I may never be more famous than “limited-purpose public figure” per that federal judge in the Hillsdale College defamation suit debacle.  I may never be wealthy.  I may never again return to the income the State of Washington child support bureaucrats imagine I still have from a former industry of mine that no longer exists the way it did (as portrayed in a film that only just won an Oscar and was nominated for Best Picture).  I may not be able to do much for my son these days.  He may feel quite like the daughter of Bryan Cranston’s Trumbo in that clip during the Oscars.  And only for many good reasons.  But I can pursue my passion.  I CAN give my son that.  The example.

 

FFIREHS, the Man with 90+ Identities


The list keeps growing.  Truth IS stranger than fiction.  Tourists and locals passing my FFIREHS character on the Las Vegas Strip and Hollywood Boulevard have said all of these at least once.  “Reno 90210” is a recurring favorite, always uttered with absolute confidence.  As a narcissist I took distinct pleasure in hearing “be someone I know,” shouted at me in anger.  These people could very well be licensed to legally drive motor vehicles.  Many have children.  Just saying.  Yet I’m the odd one, in my short shorts sporting tactical calf warmers and a Barbie walkie.  Here’s the permanent list in progress.  You’re welcome.

Who is FFIREHS? Tourists in LA & Vegas Have 50+ Answers


I  street perform (understood as a “busker” by the world traveler or the literate).  My months old character is FFIREHS, a Sheriff sporting short shorts, cowboy hat and Barbie walkie-talkie.  Apparently I resemble Thomas Lennon.  I doubt this occurred to either of us a few years ago, conversing briefly at The Hollywood Improv after Tom’s set.  About Marc Maron, naturally.
FFIREHS has a few video shorts on NerdoTV (“Do You Feel Safe?” and “Hollywood Tights“).  His interview with comic Dr. Brian King has 87,000+ views since November 27.  But who is FFIREHS?  Fair question.  But why ask the man himself?  As any crime scene detective knows, the testimony of eyewitnesses is often more diverse and entertaining than historical reality.  Who is FFIREHS?  As overheard near the man in question, here are the 50+ answers according to tourists and locals seeking entertainment on the streets of Hollywood and Las Vegas:
Reno 911!
Sexy Sheriff
Reno 911
Lt Dangle
Ef Fir Eesh
Super Troopers
Super Cops
Scream
Dewey
Doofy
Reno 90210
Cowboy
Naked Ass
Naked Cowboy
Non-naked Cowboy
Brokeback Lake
Sgt. Dangle
Deputy Dangle
ranger
Texas Ranger
park ranger
Parks and Recreation
Reno 901
Cop 911
Lt Dan

Fresno 911
Lt. Dango
Reno nine eleven
Doppler Dan
Dancing Sheriff
Mr. Reno
Roy Rogers
(Smokey and) the Bandit
The gay cop
Winter Policia
Borat’s brother
camel toe
Roscoe from The Dukes of Hazzard
CHiPs
The Incredible Hulk
Village People
Crocodile Dundee
Thunder from Down Under
“That’s like the worst one yet”
“Where’s the food court?”
“I thought that dude was dead”
“Are you real?”
“You lose a bet?”
“That isn’t real”
“Nice shorts bro”
“What the eff you see kay?!”
“It’s gotta be tough, man”
“Aren’t you cold?”
“Where do I catch the shuttle bus to the Hollywood Bowl?”
“The Flamingo is blocked,  where can I park?”
“Where can I catch a cab?”
“When is the next Bellagio water & light show?”