Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Tag: long strange trip (page 1 of 2)

A High Honor

For Your Consideration

Those are three important words in Hollywood, Enthusiasts. There’s “I love you,” and “Where’s the coke?” or “Ronan Farrow called,” but “For Your Consideration” has ’em all beat. They are a mantra of supplication, your opening bid for immortality (or a temporary version of it); those words are a magical incantation, Enthusiasts. Say it once: tuxedos; say it twice; gowns; say it three times, and Jack Nicholson’s sitting up front wearing his sunglasses inside. But if you say it juuuuuuust right, then your asking price quadruples.

Long Strange Trip, Enthusiasts, is up for an Oscar, sorta maybe. The acclaimed documentary has been placed on the Short List for Best Feature Documentary: out of 170 films, the voters picked 15 for further perusal and another round of ballots. On the 23rd (1/23/17, if you insist), the final five nominees will be announced and then the winner gets…excuse me, the Oscar goes to one of ’em in the dead middle of a four-hour show hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

Now, you and I and the Academy all know that LST is much better than those other 14 pieces of dogshit, but this is Los Angeles and “the movie actually being good” is only one of the interlinking qualities a film must possess to win the coveted golden tchotchke. (Fun fact: neither Chachi nor Greta Schacchi has ever been nominated for a golden tchotchke.) Winning an Oscar requires three avenues of attack:

  1. Quality.
  2. Bribery.
  3. Schmoozery.

Let’s take LST‘s artistic achievement as a givenand move on to number two: bribery. It takes a shitload of cash to win an award worth about $400 in gold plating. “For Your Consideration” really is a bit of a magical phrase: you have to slather it all over full-page ads in the Hollywood Reporter and Variety to let the town know you’re serious about being considered. You can’t just send out a mass e-mail or post on your Instagram account, nuh-uh. Full. Page. Ad. At least once a week in both rags from now until voting is over, and that’ll run you.

And parties. Gotta throw a party or two for the Academy. Cocktails for the rank and file, maybe host a dinner party for the influential folks, and this ain’t some Milwaukee kegger, no: this is a Hollywood party with extra expenses. Cocaine, and orifices, and alibis have to be provided.

You have to throw these parties because they are where you schmooze. Cajoling, wheedling, dealing from the middle of the deck, buttonholing, hollering, strategic negging, rumor-spreading, blackmailing, flirting, nipple-tweaking, negotiating in shaky faith, bullshitting, horsetrading, bird-dogging, begging, threatening, fetching the universe from within your ass, insinuating, massaging the facts, accusing the messenger, assaulting the bartender, and–if you feel it won’t hurt–just being yourself.

You know: schmoozing.

What we need, Enthusiasts, is a solid plan; a path to victory. (I won’t lie to you: I need this one. I think an Oscar can fill an Al Franken-sized hole in my heart. Let’s start out 2018 right.) Luckily, I have such a plan, and here’s what the key players need to do:

Amir Bar-Lev, Director You know what show biz is, Amir? It’s a game of inches. You win by inches, you lose by inches, and sometimes if you want something bad enough, you take some inches. Or give some. Basically what I’m saying, Amir buddy, is that you’re gonna have to fuck your way onto that stage. God gave you those blue eyes for a reason, and now you’re going to fulfill your destiny. Men, women, Martin Landau’s corpse: doesn’t matter what you think, pal; if they give you the green light, take your dick out.

(WARNING: this is the single worst moment in American sociopolitical history for a straight white man to try to fuck his way to the top. Nevertheless, I believe in you. Fuck for all of us, Amir. Fuck us up that mountain.)

Eric Eisner, Producer Eric, you need to call your father, Michael Ovitz, and have him do something.

Justin Kreutzmann, Producer Justin, you need to call your father, Bill Kreutzmann, and have him do nothing.

Ken Dornstein, Producer Ken, I don’t know you, so you’re going to be the tech guy. Every team needs a tech guy. You’re like Ving Rhames in the Mission Impossible movies, but–I am assuming–not an enormous black man. Or, if you wish, the one guy in Ocean’s 11 who wasn’t famous or Chinese. You get a van with all sorts of knickknacks and doodads, and you get to deliver tense, whispered dialogue like, “You’ve got twenty seconds,” and “I’m in!”

Alex Blavatnik, Producer Martial arts expert.

Nick Koskoff Master of disguise/help Justin keep his dad out of the process.

Martin ScorseseExecutive Producer Please don’t get accused of anything in the next few weeks.

Bob Weir, Bob Weir Bobby, put the guitar in the Tesla, drive to LA, and sing some cowboy songs for fancy people in a living room off Benedict Canyon. You’re our secret weapon. If you could bring Josh with you, so much better.

All right, everybody got their assignments? Okay, “Grateful Dead” on three. One, two–


–three. Yes?

Did you think to, perhaps, congratulate Amir and the rest of the team on an incredible honor?

Is that not what I’ve been doing for 800 words?

No. Not at all.

Well, that’s what I meant. Hollywood types are smart enough to read between the lines.

Something something cocaine joke.

Congratulations Are In Order

Awards are for wieners. This is a fact known by everyone who has never won an award. Are we discussing sprinting? Because awards should be given out in sprinting: one fucker hit the tape first. Boxing, too. The guy who’s not unconscious gets an award. Or contests. Elmira June sold more Girl Scout cookies than Susie May: you have a pre-decided metric or accomplishment, and whoever scores the highest, wins. Hot dog-eating competitions and hunger strikes can both be graded to find the singular “best” and that person or group awarded, yes, absolutely.

But art? An artist asks, What right have you to grade my work? Show me your portfolio, bring me your creations and let me judge you first. And, as a true artist has no rival but himself, he rejects others’ appraisals. The true artist creates his own award.

Hell, fuck art. Entertainment? Get out of my office with that foolishness. Actually: wait, don’t leave yet. Watch me masturbate.

Stop repeating this joke.

It makes me giggle.

It makes the nice people nauseous.

Yes, awards are for wieners, unless you’ve been nominated for one, and we have, so awards are fucking awesome and I love the Grammys. I have come to this revelation today, having learned that we are up for two Grammy Awards.


Yes. We. This is a team effort. Morale is low since Franken.


The Grateful Dead is up for two Grammys, Enthusiasts! Kinda! The Dead never won any of the shiny little doodads–they were never even nominated until after Garcia died–but, as usual, everyone’s favorite choogly band is doing its best work after becoming semi-defunct. The nods are in the categories of Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package (May 1977:  Get Shown The Light, Masaki Koike, art director) and Best Music Film (Long Strange Trip, a bunch of Jews*, producers).

Did you know that the Recording Academy is at the forefront of medical research into tinnitus prevention and treatment? That’s just one of the many charities that the fine folks behind the Grammy Awards fund; others include MusicCares, which helps aging musicians with healthcare bills, and the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which investigates hearing loss and provides low-cost hearing aids for Academy members. It’s like I’ve always said: the guy from the record company is the real hero.

What was that all about?

Those Grammy voters are good eggs. The salt of the earth. They’re salted eggs, man.

Stop kissing the Recording Academy’s ass. 

You’re right. We need to cheat. What if we buy twitter bots and launch a fake news attack on the other nominees?

No. Well, maybe. Who are we up against?

In the Package category, the one to beat is the re-release of the Golden Record they sent up with the Voyager.

The one with Johnny B. Goode on it?


How nice could itHOLY SHIT look at that fucking thing.


That’s tough to beat.

Hey, the May ’77 box comes with a whole book.

Yeah, I read it. I’m going with the spaceship. My God, the paper stock. I would blow that box set.


It’s sexy, man.

You’re getting weird. Odds are better in the Best Music Film category, though. But not great. This is going to come down to one thing.

Don’t say–


–me. No. You have nothing to do with anything. You’re almost irrelevant to yourself.

I will turn the tide in favor of the Grateful Dead. I have a plan.


I will come up with a plan.



*Amir Bar-Lev, video director; Alex Blavatnik, Ken Dornstein, Eric Eisner, Nick Koskoff & Justin Kreutzmann, video producers.

Talking Points

Like Amir told you before Donna Brazile replaced him on the ticket, Long Strange Trip will be doing a few screenings in selected cities this week. (“Selected cities” always means New York and Los Angeles, maybe San Francisco and Chicago. Milwaukee never gets selected.) If you’re in the area, you should go by and–and I cannot express how sincere I am in this request–ask Amir stupid bullshit. Here’s the sign-up for San Fran; here’s New York. I would suggest saving the truly dumb bullshit for New York, as he will be goofy from all the travel.

“TotD,” you argue. “I am not a creative dynamo like you. For example, I did not come up with Sleepy Batman. I don’t know what to say.”

And I would reply, Who the fuck told you that you could have dialogue?

“I just assumed–” you say, but I cut you off and…


…shoot you in the face. For those of you whom I did not shoot in the face, these are some good topics and questions to annoy Amir Bar-Lev with:

  • Director’s Cut. (I would like to organize a flash mob to attend the Q&A and instead of singing or dancing, every single one of them asks about the Director’s Cut until Amir stabs someone.)
  • Quantitative easing and its effects on the international currency markets.
  • Has he ever met Kevin Spacey?
  • 20-minute story about your first show/how your dog needs LASIK surgery, followed by an attempt to pass the hat around the theater.
  • The plenty of youth, and the hardening of life’s winter.
  • Boobies.
  • If you were forced to travel back in time and fight a member of the Algonquin Round Table, whom would you fight? (Difficulty level: cannot choose Dorothy Parker.)
  • Bring some kitchen/household items with you to the screening and make Amir play Price Is Right-style pricing games with you.
  • Demand to see his feet, begin screaming the N-word. (Quentin Tarantino only.)
  • Do the silent letters in the word “doughnut” make you go “ugh?”
  • Make him work out the problem with the river and boat and the fox and chicken and the wheat.
  • “Didn’t I meet you in Vienna on a chilly Monday morning?”
  • And if Amir answers…
  • “You’ve got the weather right, but it was Tuesday in Munich.”
  • …then he’s your contact; exchange the microchip for the bearer bonds and get to the safe house.

The Glitz And The Glamour

As I told you yesterday, Enthusiasts, the instantly irreplaceable documentary Long, Strange Trip will be coming back to theaters for limited runs in New York and Los Angeles; I did not mention the reason. The spectacular film and its heroic director, FoTotD Amir Bar-Lev, are up for some prizes. The Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards has an illustrious history stretching all the way back to 2016, when trolley cars ruled the avenues and baseball was still segregated. So the critics have a chance to see the flicks before voting, they’re all screened in a theater before the show.

Literally none of that is true. You made all of that up. 

Who gives a shit?

History. History will care, and history will judge you for your intellectual malfeasance.

Explain to me what intellectual malfeasance is, and I’ll tell you why you’re wrong.

Just try to get information correct.

That is most assuredly not my job around here, bucko.

The awards ceremony is being held November 2nd; the Los Angeles run isn’t until the 3rd. 

There might be Time Sheath technology at play here.

There is not. You made up the thing about why LST is going back to theaters. You saw there was an awards show and you conflated the two ideas in your head without thinking about it any further.


Get your shit together.

I’m ignoring you.

The world’s ignoring you.

Anyway, the movie’s up for Best Music Documentary and Amir’s up for Best Director. The betting door at Offtrack Betting on the Dead (OtBotD) is now open.

Though I have seen only one of these films, I can confidently say that the one I saw was the best. Not a strong field of horses here, if we handicap with an objective eye, and no eye is more objective than mine, as not only have I not seen these films, I have not heard of them. Even with this paucity of facts, I’d hesitate to place money on LST in this one. Very tough to beat the Eagles of Death Metal in this one. On the other hand, I would still pony up a bet as the lead singer of EODM is a repugnant man who managed to make himself unsympathetic despite having been the target of a terrorist attack. You have to be an immense asshole to pull that one off, and Guy Who Isn’t Josh Homme is just that kind of asshole. This might split the vote, enabling a third movie to win with a plurality.

Rumble is about the role of Native Americans in rock and roll. I called him Morgan is about a trumpeter who shoots his wife. Contemporary Color is 90 minutes of color guards throwing flags around while Ad-Rock raps. The Grateful Dead is better than all of these things, especially that color guard bullshit. The Indian movie sounds interesting, but no one in the Grateful Dead fell victim to a series of plagues in the 16th and 17th century, so that makes them the winner.

Nobody in the Grateful Dead ever shot anyone, let alone their wives, so it beats the trumpet movie.

Why the pause?

I had to stop and think about whether anyone ever got shot.

Yeah, okay. It’s like: someone should have gotten shot.

By accident, at least. Mickey should have shot a teenager in the foot while yoinking merch. Or Garcia winging Rock in that basement they hid in.

It’s a miracle they made it out alive.

A lot of them didn’t.

True. What about the Clive Davis movie?

I think they’re making movies now for the sole purpose of padding out Netflix.

That means you’ll watch it.

Of course. I’m currently reading a memoir written by the drummer from the Spiders from Mars. I have a problem. Let’s get off of me. The topic is LST‘s odds, and OtBotD sets the line at 3-1. Gonna be tough to climb over all those dead French kids.


What? I’m talking about gambling. I’m being hard-boiled.

You’re being wicked. You’re a devil-person with wrong thoughts and you shouldn’t share them with the nice people.

May I continue?

To hell. You may continue on the path to hell.

Thank you. The other category we (this is now a communal undertaking) have a nod in is Best Director. Let’s see who we got:

First of all, Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, this is too many people. You should have eliminated Morrison, Nichol, and Orlowski right off the bat for having boring names. In a similar but opposed fashion, Agnés Varda & JR are disqualified for having too interesting a name. Evgeny Afineevsky is also out, and that’s a personal thing between me and the Russians right now. Nothing against Evgeny. Irene Taylor Brodsky has three names, so fuck her. Frederick Wiseman sounds like a old-time movie star who appeared in horror movies, so he’s scratched. Matthew Heineman is just as boring a name as Morrison, Nichol, or Orlowski; I don’t know why I didn’t group him in with the others; I apologize to you for the oversight. Ceyda Torun is Star Wars character, and therefore nixed.

Amir wins. Odds of victory: 3-1.

You gave him 3-1 on the last one.

I don’t actually know how betting works.

You are bad.

Yes. We end with demands. Amir will most likely be present for one or more of the screenings in New York and Los Angeles, so I have two:

Enthusiasts in New York

Please bother Amir and take pictures.

Amir in Los Angeles

Please bother famous people and take pictures.

I would also like to be thanked from stage, but have just decided that I will write the acceptance speech. It is forthcoming.

Back By Popular Demand

Hey, New Yorkers! Put down your bagels; stop spray-painting those subway cars and inventing hip-hop; Fleet Week is cancelled. I have news that will appeal to all from the Bronx to the Battery. (Real estate developers are now calling the Battery “NoBaBooBoo” and I don’t think it’s catching on.) Is it Springsteen on Broadway? No, it’s the Dead in the Village!

Hey, Los Angelenos! Stop sexually harassing each other at cocaine parties for a second. No, I don’t want to hear about your screenplay, or your sobriety. In fact, shut the fuck up and listen for once in your shallow, fruitless lives. The Dead! Yay!

What are you doing?

An ad. I am doing an advertisement. Long Strange Trip is being re-released to theaters in New York in Los Angeles in the next couple weeks.

You got paid to do an ad?

Maybe “ad” was the wrong word. I am doing a favor.

Of course.

The lovely young gentleman from the movie studio or publicity company or wherever asked me to. And, as you know, I am a team player.


He sent me a very pleasant e-mail about the matter, and I sent one back demanding that he watch me shower.

That’s why they call you Johnny Showbiz.

I’m a Hollywood dynamo.

At least tell the nice people who live in those dreadful cities where and when they can see the film.

It’s playing at the Laemmle in Beverly Hills from 10/13 to 10/19.


The Village East Cinema from 11/3 to 11/9. That’s in New York.

The Enthusiasts are capable of deductive reasoning.

Some. Some of them are.

True. This was a nice thing you did. Like a mitzvah.

Yay. I did a mitzvah.

Not what I said. I said it was like a mitzvah. You didn’t feed anyone or anything. 

I’m a hero.

I hate this life we lead.

Deadheads Gonna Deadhead

Dear Amir so-called Bar-Lev:

I take time out from yelling at David Lemieux about the lack of 80’s releases to bring to your attention the MANY errors, mistakes, foul-ups in judgement, OMISSIONS, and lapses in your recent “film” Long Strange Trip.

Before I begin, let me state my credentials: I am a TRUE Deadhead. I saw Pigpen perform. Bobby snaked THREE of my girlfriends: once in Cincinnati, and two in San Diego on non-consecutive tours. Dick Latvala once called me a “pissheaded little bastard.” I fraudulently enrolled in West High in Anchorage to get better seats for the Alaska shows. I orgied with Healy. I am a REAL Deadhead, unlike some so-called Bar-Levs I could mention.

How could your movie be so long and yet leave so many things out!? Things that I wanted to see, and therefore should have been included!?

I have watched this film eight times, and gotten more furious with each viewing. Allow me to enumerate your many, many failings.

Vince A lot of people LOVED Vince, Mr. Director Person, and if it weren’t for the DNC rigging the game against him in favor of Bruce Hornsby, then he would have been the nominee. Where was he? Is he included in the Director’s Cut which, despite loathing your film, I would very much like to see?

Mickey’s Dad What the fuck is it with you, man? How could you leave this out? This was a PRIMAL MOMENT in the history of the Dead. What were you doing, making artistic choices to suit the chosen narrative structure and forced to cut things? Yeah, like that’s an excuse.

4/6/94 Miami. Great fucking show. Why was this entire concert not included in your movie? Is it because you don’t know what you’re doing? I can think of LITERALLY no other reason to not feature the full show in your movie.

Woodstock If for no other reason: it’s an obscure topic.

Phil’s Fatness With only your “documentary” as a guide, no one would have the first clue about how chubby-wubby Phil got in 80’s, and THAT’S IMPORTANT.

Jerry Garcia Could’ve used more Jerry.

I Was Not Interviewed I was not even CONSULTED, Amir So-called So-called! Al Franken gets a half-hour and what do I get? Nothing, that’s what. Althea told me to tell Al Franken to suck my balls.

In conclusion, I am dreadfully disappointed with this complete failure of a film which I am about to watch again.

Until my next letter in which I will complain about the lack of bonus features for me to complain about,
Some Internet Fucko

Steve Silberboy

Excuse me, but you can’t be here.


Randos need to be supervised by a Grateful Dead at all times. Or at least John Mayer.

“I’m not a rando. You own several of my books.”

Ooohhhhh. Wow, sorry. You do not look like I expected, Mr. Pynchon.


Are you one of the Brontë sisters?

“I said that you own several of my books.”

Got me there. None of those women are allowed in my house. Okay, I’m stumped.

“Steve Silberman.”



I really don’t think so. Steve Silberman wears suspenders.

“You can’t be this stupid.”

Oh, yeah? Try me.

“I am Steve Silberman, best-selling author and recent interviewee of Amir Bar-Lev from the documentary Long Strange Trip. There was a lot of extra conversation that didn’t make the movie, so I transcribed it for

Lemme check.

Yup, it’s All the comments are yelling about how you should have transcribed a conversation from the 80’s.

“It’s as single-minded as Breitbart in there.”

They have a cause. You sure you’re Silberman? You look like the new bass player for Metallica.

“Jason Newstead?”

No, the new new bass player.

“Robert Trujillo’s 12-year-old son?”

No, the old new new bass player.

“Robert Trujillo?”


“Glad we got that settled. Was there a purpose to any of this?’

No. Wait: be more specific. I mean, the answer’s still gonna be “no,” but I want to know if you’re asking whether life has a purpose or this post.



“Leave me out of your bullshit.”

I make no promises. Steve?


That dimple is fucking adorable.

“Leave me out of your bullshit.


As The Boy Sings Round The Fire

Phil, tell that kid his marshmallow’s done.

“I’m not the boss.”

Yes, you are. You own the place.

“I just don’t want to.”

Okay. You saw Long Strange Trip?

“You mean Long Strange Crap?”

Oh, boy. Didn’t like it?

“Not even ten percent of the story. Really missed a lot of stuff.”

Like what?

“Well, you know the old saying: no Ned, no Dead.”

That is not a saying.

“Did you know that the Dead had an incredible softball team?”

I didn’t.

“Course not! Wasn’t in that so-called ‘movie.'”

It’s a movie, Phil.

“Fake documentary. What’s that jackass’ name?”

Which one?

“Mister director man.”

Amir Bar-Lev.

“Suspicious name.”

Please concentrate. You used to be so much easier to talk to.

“Anal Bear-Claws comes to the restaurant–”

Amir Bar-Lev.

“–and interviews me for like nine hours. I’m in the damn movie for a minute. And he didn’t even show the specials!”

The what?

“The specials. I got 200 pounds of short ribs I gotta get rid of.”

Well, that would have been a bit off-topic.

“Mm, yeah. Might have distracted from Franken pontificating about West L.A. Fadeaway.”


“They’re the same song. Listen: you got a four-hour movie, and there’s not a spare ten minutes to detail what an asshole Billy is?”

Again: off-topic.

“There’s ten minutes of Bobby looking at stuff. I gave Amal Clooney–”

Amir Bar-Lev.

“–a monologue of at least 90 minutes on the topic of Billy. I went over how he was an asshole, when he was an asshole, and to what extent he was an asshole. And evidence, too! I brought receipts.”

Why are you merely passive-aggressive with the other reporters, but just aggressive with me?

“Why would I give a shit about you? Pitchfork won’t even hire you.”



Marshmallow fall into the fire?


Told ya.

Career Opportunities, The Other Ones That Never Knock


Out in the water, a Mexican man with a beard drowns.


A man wearing an Army officer’s dress uniform sits at the bar. LITTLE JERRY GARCIA (6 years old, beard, smoking) sits next to him.

Hello, little man. I sure heard a lot about you. You see, I was a friend of your
dad’s. We were in Bataan together, we walked side-by-side. Lot of time to talk,
and I got to know him real well. If things had worked out different, then he’d be
talking to my boy. But this is how things are. And so I have something for you.

The man pulls out a guitar.

This guitar was purchased in Nashville by your great-grandfather for eight
dollars and two chickens. These were the old days, you understand. You
could buy a guitar with a chicken. Your great-grandfather, well, he jammed
all over the country with it. Your grandfather, when it was his turn to jam? He
did it on this guitar, but wasn’t so lucky. Wound up in a Disco Biscuits tribute

The man takes a drink.

Before he took his own life out of shame, he gave the guitar to the keyboardist.
Keyboardist died, though. They do that. The bass player, though, he got this guitar
to your grandma. She gave it to your father, and he used it to jam in the lounge at
the Luzon Holiday Inn. When the Japs came, he thought that was it for the guitar.
They got a glimpse of it, and it would be gone.

Another drink.

So he hid it. He hid it in the one place that he knew it would be safe. For five
years, your father hid this guitar up his ass. And when he died, I put
the guitar up my ass.

Excuse me, please.

You absolutely cannot be here right now. This is a screenplay.

I see that.

Look at the formatting.

Very professional. Stop doing this.

I’m auditioning.

This is why you’re not allowed to contribute to Pitchfork articles about the Dead.

I’m sure I don’t know what you’re referring to.

Sure, champ. Please stop this.

What if I told you that Garcia was going to be played by one of the kids from Stranger Things?

Which one?

The black one.

We’re done here.

Bar (Lev) Mitzvah

Hey, Amir Bar-Lev. Whatcha doing?

“Premieres, my man. Schmoozing. Going to parties sponsored by start-up vodka-delivery apps.”

We’re coming up on another tech bubble, aren’t we?

“Big time.”

Is this how white men dress now?

“We seem to have reached a consensus, yeah.”

I’m trying to decide which is more rebellious: the sweater on the sweaty guy, or the blue sneaks on beardface.

“Well spotted. Those two are the wild men of the group.”

Amir, I gotta say that you sound a more…how do I put this?


That’s how I would put it. Sane, yes.

“It’s done. I’m done. The movie’s out there and there’s nothing left to edit and there’s no one left to kidnap. When it first screened, my mind just…you know how you’re going around the turn on a roller coaster and your stomach isn’t where it’s supposed to be, and then the car straightens out and your guts slap back into place?”


“Like that. But instead of my stomach, it was my sanity.”


“I got a little out there.”

It was worrisome.

“Can’t go back to the library.”


“I had this idea that certain ideas were ‘hot’ and other ideas were ‘cold,’ and I started really thinking about that, and then I was awake for four days straight, and I went to the library and doused all the books with the ‘hot’ ideas with a fire extinguisher.”

Ooh, that’s not good.

“And several patrons.”

Did you think they were “hot?”

“No, I just wanted to spray old people with a fire extinguisher.”

That’s the first non-crazy part of this story.

“Right? You must be tempted to.”

Constantly. Or a potato gun to the chest.

“Sure. Oh, and then because there ‘cold’ books in the library–”

You set it on fire.

“–I set it on fire. How’d you know?”

Intimately familiar with insanity’s florid logic.

“But I’m all better now. Little vacation with the family. Seeing old friends on the publicity tour. Bought myself a blue shirt.”

It’s a nice shirt.

“Thank you. Listen, I’m glad we’re talking. You’re an incredibly gifted man, and I want you to write the screenplay for my next film.”

What? Really? Sure, I’d like to do that. Let me just–

Am I talking to the real Amir Bar-Lev or the semi-fictional one?

“Second guy.”

Dammit. No, I do not want to collaborate with a documentarian that doesn’t technically exist.

“We’ll do great things together. And I can pay you.”

With what?


Real money?


Knock it off. Who are these bozos?

“Tall guy on the left is Giovanni Thant. Owns all the Burger Kings in Düsseldorf.”


“Next is the third Weinstein brother, Marvin.”

I didn’t know there was a third one of those.

“He’s usually not allowed out. Weird case of sleep-induced Tourette’s. Just the filthiest stuff imaginable.”

What’s the problem? He’s not anywhere near asleep.



“Marvin’s conditions react in a sort of amplifying wave. Very unfortunate combination.”

I’ll say.

“Marvin is also a biter.”

He sounds great.

“Solid citizen. On my left is Cassius Hammersmith, a 18th-century sea-captain with many problems.”

That’s Justin Kreutzmann.

“No. Troubled sea-captain.”


“How do explain the shanties?”


“He means to make for the Horn, but the weather bedevils his e’ery move.”

“It could also be Justin.”

Who’s rocking the sweater?

“Eric Eisner.”

The fashion designer’s husband?


Cool. The other three?


Dude! You got your own randos?

“Past three or four weeks? Boom: randos everywhere.”

You deserve it, man. You’re a Grateful Dead now.

“Yeah, uh-huh, but: I don’t like it.”

No one told you to make the monster, Doc.

“You turned my shit around on me.”

I did.


This was nice. I’m glad you’re not crazy any more.

“My lawyers aren’t. Gave them a lot of work.”

Fuck lawyers.


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