Satiristas in New York

Authors Dan Dion and Paul Provenza at Gotham in New York celebrating ¡Satiristas!

Week two of the ¡Satiristas! tour had us going to New York for a couple of events as well as some national media. The day I left was horrible, for so many reasons. First off, my laptop crashed, with an unfixable logic board. Thankfully, no data lost, and the repair wasn’t outrageous, thanks to the Christ-like qualities of the guys at the Apple Genius Bar, who have saviored my ass several times. But it wouldn’t be fixed in time for the trip. Props to Union Square Computer Repair for getting my data out within hours. Those guys rule.

Next challenge? Lisa drops her keys down the door gap and down an elevator shaft. Taxi home for my keys, back to car, pick up Parker, drop at school, pulled over by the po-po. He said he could have cited me for reckless driving and towed my car, but instead ticketed me because I didn’t have my seatbelt on, even though I was literally putting it on when he was pulling me over. I’ll fight this one, and SFPD never show up to testify in this kind of infraction (another bonus to living in SF- in Marin I’d be toast and insurance companies look down on the no-seatbelt thing.)

I was taking the red-eye, and before my flight Lisa and I went to the memorial celebration for legendary music photographer Jim Marshall. I’ll write a separate tribute post to him here someday, as he was a very close friend and if I can be said to have a mentor with my portraiture, he was definitely it. Held at the gorgeous Great American Music Hall, it was both rough and cathartic, with a performance by Joan Baez, and a very moving speech by his gal Friday Amelia Davis. Great to be with friends like Gaynell and Roy Rogers, whom we hadn’t seen since the memorials to Norton Buffalo, so these reasons for seeing each other must stop. I can’t seem to ever bring my camera to memorial shows. There’s something… I dunno… tacky and slightly ghoulish about it.

The open bar and emotional wrenching had me in not a good place, and the 90-minute delay of my flight to New York sent me right to the cocktail lounge, which I closed. 45 minutes later, I awoke at the gate as the plane was almost boarded, and immediately realized I couldn’t find my phone. Frantically searching for it, in the end my Sophie’s Choice was to catch the plane and leave the phone somewhere in the international terminal, which of course would never show up in lost and found. Fuck that day. In the ass. No lube.

Tuesday had to be better, and was. Much. Gotham is the Manhattan’s classiest comedy club, and for almost ten years now has had my photos exclusively up on the walls. Owner Chris “Midas” Mazzilli has always been a huge supporter, and agreed to have me to swap out my 80 portraits downstairs to include only photos from the book, twice as many as my new exhibition at UCB in LA.

Comedian Eddie Brill at Gotham in New York celebrating ¡Satiristas!

That evening was our reading and signing at Border’s Books in Columbus Circle, and it was very cool to see the window and register displays they put up for us. The event went well, it seemed, and a crew of us went to Coliseum for an after-thing. Finally got to face-to-face meet a colleague who also specializes in shooting comics- Seth Olenick. A talented shooter with great taste in comedy. Check out his blog here- he’s way more conceptual than I am, so our work is actually pretty complimentary. One of these years I think we’ll do an exhibition together.

Comedian Colin Quinn at Gotham in New York celebrating ¡Satiristas!

Wednesday was our show and signing at Gotham. It was a killer night, with some fantastic talent from the book showing up to support. Colin Quinn (taking time off from his Seinfeld-directed off-broadway show Long Story Short) , Lizz Winstead, Lee Camp, Eddie Brill, and the perpetually satiristical Jamie Kilstein did sets, as well as one from good friend and San Franciscan W. Kamau Bell, who has stepped up his game in a big way in the last few years, was in New York for his one-man show Ending Racism in About an Hour, and whom we’ve promised will be in the next volume.

Comedian Lizz Winstead at Gotham in New York celebrating ¡Satiristas!

Wed. Paul and I were on the Joy Behar Show on CNN’s Headline News Network. We both really like Joy for her spitfire personality and say-what-she-wants modus operandi. We’re still trying to get the producers to post our segment online, but if it hasn’t happened yet, it might not. We also did a love-in radio show with Danny Lobell and Comical Radio, which can be heard here.

Paul was booked to do the show Red Eye on Fox News. He wanted to bail, but I pushed him on. If I’d known what it was going to be like I would have agreed with him. The show is quite honestly ridiculous, a train-wreck of allegedly comedic commentary by mostly right-leaning pundits, complete with pompous bashing of progressives, dumb-ass video clips, and – yes- a “talking” New York Times puppet that they use as a straw-man when the comedy gets shallow- and believe me it never gets that deep. The talking points that they gave him with quips and comebacks could only be described as limp and sophomoric, and Paul ignored every one. That said, the staff and on-air talent were very nice and professional. I just don’t happen to agree with them on much- ok, any- thing. Plus Guttfield’s book is going to outsell ours by 100 times, so he doesn’t exactly need our approval.

The best thing, however, was Paul’s panel-mate Ann Coulter. You’ll have to see the segment to get the full effect, but the two of them didn’t exactly hit it off, and Paul nailed her when she claimed not once but twice that England wasn’t part of the EU. Another Fox show aired a clip just to discuss the body language between the two of them. After a commercial break Ann had switched seats with another guest ostensibly to get away from Paul, but in reality everyone discussed that it would be amusing to switch and not acknowledge it, going so far as to misidentify the new seating order. Paul was later voted the second worst guest by a Red-Eye fanatic-site and everyone was congratulating Coulter for having the courage to change seats, but the reality is everyone thought it would be kinda funny.

I hadn’t brought my camera, so had to borrow someone’s cel phone to snap the shot of Paul, Ann, and a copy of the book. She is freakishly thin and avian in person, but indulged us for the photo. What she didn’t happen to notice that on the back jacket was a quote from Robin Williams- “I think they’re using Ann Coultur’s pap smear for anti-venom now.”

Paul Provenza and Ann Coulter on the Set of Red Eye with ¡SATIRISTAS!
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