Saturday, August 27, 2016

A modern-day, folk hero to a generation of kids inspired by his genuine love for comics, and the interwoven connectedness brought about by his appreciation for authenticity, and manifested in respect shown to all people, from all walks of life. Kudos, Sir! Enjoy your day, and may your next 'revolution' be one for the ages!

Birthday wishes from Woody Hemphill.

Just wanted to keep a copy of this somewhere. One of the nicest things anyone has very said about me. 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

In Which Adam Sandler and David Spade Spend the Day with Robby Richardson

                       This is Adam and David.                                                             This is Me                                           

And this is the story of how we met up one fateful day last summer while Sandler and Spade were in town filming a little movie for Netflix called The Do-Over.

Now I am a huge fan of these guys. I spent many late weekend nights watching their antics on Saturday Night Live and I still watch their movies when they come out. When I had the opportunity to be an extra, I was all over it. 

Rose Locke Casting pretty much ran an ad in the paper which my lovely wife and hard boiled newspaper reporter sent my way back before school was out and I replied via e-mail with some basic info and my head shot.

I also to had to choose from a series of scenes being filmed. I opted for the High School reunion but also had the choice for Biker Bar extra but seriously pondered Naked Cadaver which paid double and seemed pretty easy work. For some odd reason both of my children begged me not to. It would be the Duchess who finally hit home with reminding me of what could happen if one of my students came across this and the embarrassing magic of photo-shop. Reunion it was !

How could they not love this jacket?
Armed with a cup of coffee and my wardrobe choices, I pulled into the convention center parking a little before six. Extras were checked for wardrobe, some got make up and touch ups on hair. I had to bring two suits for the crew to pick for as "my look." Oddly enough, they did not go with the burgundy tux jacket with 70s crushed velvet lapels.

We were then marched into two groups in one of the Westin Ball rooms where we were told a bit about the scene we were going to be  "a part of." We were all going Central High Class of '91 party-goers where Sandler and Spade would met back up after many years.

As party-goers we were divided into several groups of 12 then placed strategically around the room. I had joined one of the "Dance Floor "people so I had a great chance of being on camera. I had pulled into the Savannah Convention Center parking lot at 6am. I saw my first camera right around 11am.

Because of my height, I got pulled into a camera which would be directly in the line of fire. Yes!!!! I was thrilled. I also did not take into consideration that meant I'd be dancing for the next 10 hours.

The hardest thing I've learned after being on a movie set is how nothing is organic nor accidental. While it looks like people spontaneously burst into acts of singing and dancing, it's actually the product of several hours of rehearsal, moving the camera, moving the camera to different angles, moving the actors around, moving the extras around, and hearing the same damn song over and over and over and over and over and over.

Do you like this song? I do not. I find Marky Mark neither funky nor bunchy. But I was supposed to be an actor so far be it from me not to commit to the role. I can play a 40-something guy party it up at his high school reunion whooping it up. Nailed it.

Now for the question everyone wants to know. Did I see/meet Sandler or Spade? I did sort of. Shortly before lunch when everyone was starting to fizzle, Sandler came out and spoke to the crowd. He came off very laid back, almost shy. He thanked everyone for being a part of the movie and seemed
more excited to introduce the actor playing the DJ to the crowd than talk about himself. The DJ turns out to be be his nephew who, and I quote,"got all the good looks in the Sandler family"

While standing in line to go to lunch, Adam Sandler was sitting on a couch right by us. I took the opportunity to say hello and asked him how he liked Savannah. He was really cool and told us he dug Savannah but the heat was killing him. Picking up that he was busy, I left him alone and went off to lunch.

David Spade was also around the set quite but seemed to stick to himself. I never got the opportunity to say anything because he spent much of time chatting with the director, Steven Brill, or looking over his lines. He came off a little aloof  but not rude in the least.

I think that was the other thing I took away from my day on the movie set. Watching all those old Burt Reynold's movies back in the day always ended with a gag reel over the credits. It left a impression on me that working on a movie set had to be a blast and a laugh a minute. While no one was a Debbie Downer, I was struck by the seriousness and professionalism given by the actors and the crew. Everyone was beyond friendly and courteous but it was also understood time was money and there was a job to done.

While there were plenty of moments that made everyone chuckle especially when Sean Astin was in the room, it was never anything like this:

Shuffling back to my car a little before nine that evening, I had to change out my my black suit coat and khakis because i was drenched in sweat from he multiple takes of dancing to "Rude Vibrations" as our group began to refer to it. Sitting in my little Kia with the AC running was one of the most exquisite moments I think I had that summer next discovering Fireball whiskey and skinny dipping in our pool.

I peeled off my Reunion name tag and stuck on a place of honor in the car. All we had to do now was to wait and see if I'd get my big Hollywood moment.

Kim and I scoured the first few Do Over trailers as they dropped in spring. We literally went frame by frame to see but I never made it. Frankly, I had kind of forgotten about it.

It was a late Friday night in May and I was about to crash. Doing a quick Facebook check, an old college buddy asked me if I had seen The Do-Over yet because it had just premiered. It was late but when I mentioned it Kim there was "no way we were waiting until the morning,"

Sure enough, around 40 seconds in, I can be seen in the second row dancing and chanting my little heart out. One more item to be scratched off my bucket list. Mr. Richardson has now been in an actual  big time Hollywood movie.

About my SAG card.....

It was pretty cool experience. In many ways it was a long and grueling one but at the same time, it was one of those experiences that as the time went on, the work part seemed to lapse into all the cool stories to be shared. And I now have more than a few to share. I barely scratched the surface in this post.

Oh, and I got an awesome name tag.......

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Photo Bomb Tuesday Part II Johnny Harris Restarant pics

Something was nagging at me while digging up pics and organizing my own for the previous Johnny Harris Blog. After hit "publish", I later realized that I had these little beauties that I had scanned from the Georgia Historical Society several years back.

It's  a menu from the Maple Room in Johnny Harris. I am not sure of the year it comes from but if I had to guess it falls long before Don Draper was working in advertising..... 

Is there still such a thing as coat check? 

30 cents for an Old Fashioned? I'll take a dozen.

Obviously it's the prices that will catch you eye but take a second and look at the cocktails offered. It just goes to show you how the collective palate will change over time. I'd love to see Starbucks come out with a Absinthe Frappe......

I can't remember if this is part of the same Johnny Harris Restaurant menu.
 It's been a few years and I didn't catalog like I normally do with pics. 
Regardless, 60 cents is still too much for a bowl of Cream of Asparagus. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Photo Bomb Tuesday! In Which I Discover I am Not as Smart I as I Think I am Sometimes....

Being an almost middle class kid back in the 70s coupled with being raised by Baby Boomers who in turn were raised by Depression survivors, I never ate out very much until I was able to drive on my own. Fortunately my parents and grandparents all had mad skills revolving around a kitchen stove, grill, and a pot on a certain outside Coleman stove filled with fresh caught shrimps and crabs so I did not suffer.

Except regarding BBQ sauce. See both my grandparents and the Big Guy were absolute loyalists when it came to certain brands. My Pop swore by his hidden bottle of Crown Royal. My Grandma refused to budge on anything but Karo syrup in her pecan pies. My mother insisted on Donald Duck brand orange juice (though in all honesty I later discovered that was more of a budget thing). My Pop and the Big Guy became a dynamic tag-team grilling duo that the only real BBQ sauce was Johnny Harris Restaurant's in house made sauce.

Ignorance is bliss and for many years, I had no clue whether BBQ sauce varied in flavors from the tangy like I was used to with Johnny Harris to the dripping with sweetness Honey BBQ sauce that Heinz would offer and I got sample for the first time and my Aunt Kay and Uncle Jim's cookouts,

My father would just look at me as I would gobble down pulled pork soaked in Heinz Honey sauce like I was a cretin. As awesome as the Big Guy was, there were just some things you did not do in our home and go against the grain was one of them. In my defense, I had an unrefined palate powered by a subliminal effort to inject as much sugar in my bloodstream but then name one 7 year old who doesn't.

As a result,I have never been much of a fan of eating at Johnny Harris's Restaurant.

Before you say it, I know. I know. How can you be this die-hard Savannah Guy and not heap praise on this local landmark? Since my return to the promised land back in 2007, I have eaten there a few times. Each time I enter, I am enthralled by the dark polished wood, the ingrained smoke scents, and of course the ballroom. At 92 years old, the place literally sweats history.

Shall we dance?

Unfortunately, I never dug the sauce and until recently had not been in to eating BBQ which thankfully, I've recovered from that last bit.

Last Saturday morning, I had to make a quick run downtown to pick up some dialysis supplies and while driving up Victory, I spotted this. Earlier in the week, Lyndy Brannen on Quality Rock 105.3 had broadcasted on the air about dropping by to grab a lamb sandwich and a slice of coconut pie. Two items I had not tried and was intrigued. As I drove by around 11ish,  I realized it was the 28th and my last chance ever to try what  many locals refer to as a Savannah staple.

Even at 11 o'clock , the line was already out to the street but we all waited patiently for the next thirty minutes and got to chat with many of the people in line near me. Most of them were much older and had great stories about dining here after high school football games, wedding receptions, and one elderly couple even had their first date here. All the news crews were out in full force. WSAV did  pretty good report. See if you can catch a certain local storyteller wannabe who had no idea he was caught on camera until he previewed the clips. Click here.

Over the past nine years, I've probably been in JHR around a half dozen times. Every time, I try sit in the main dining room just for the ambiance and I always think the same thing. "How often did Grandma and Pop come in here and did the ever dance in the ballroom?"
The dome like ceiling makes the acoustics perfect which was why the Savannah Songwriters would perform here all the time. Plus the ceiling had tiny white lights to give the illusion of stars at night, Unfortunately, I was using my cell phone and could never quite capture the shot just right nor could I find any on the net. Sorry.

This is my booth. Every time I've come in to grab a bite, I always feel like I'm walking back into the 40s and need an Old Fashioned in my hand along with my best girl at my side and a mystery to solve. It's a shame there are not more places like this here in Savannah where it still feels the same as it did fifty-sixty years ago.

My server handed me a special menu for the last day proclaiming, "The Final Transmission." Younger Robby would have figured a way to smuggle this menu out of JHR. Older, Present Day Robby was in too much of  a Carb Coma to make an attempt.

Do not push the shiny candy like red button, Stimpy.....
This is another item here at JHR which always enthralls me. Each booth in the main dining room has these buzzers which actually work. You use them to call over the waiter. Until May 28th, I 've never pushed one but fortunately my Brunswick Stew needed some Tabasco sooooo.......

So I ordered the lamb sandwich after a bowl of Brunswick Stew. At first, I almost just opted to do the lamb platter because the description for the sandwich read, " sliced leg of lamb served on toast with our original BBQ sauce."

The Savannah Foodie in me began to scream how could a sandwich be any good on plain toasted white bread and also that sauce? Fortunately something told my snobbish foodie shelf to take a long walk off a short dock and give it a go.

Man, I am so glad that I did because that lamb sandwich was outstanding. It was so tasty, I had eaten most of it before I I realized I had forgotten to take a picture.

And the sauce? Call it being caught up in the moment of saying goodbye to a Savannah landmark. Call it growing up and learning to let my palate enjoy different flavors even if they were so simply combined, but I loved. JHR sauce will never necessarily be my fave (that slot is allotted to B's Cracklin' BBQ ) but I am buying a bottle the next time I hit Kroger.

As I walked out roughly an hour later, I felt a little sad. Because of a childhood prejudice towards BBQ sauce, I had let the opportunity to enjoy something people much smarter than myself have been raving about for decades. Sadly, I found that one menu item that would have brought me back again and again on the very last day. #RobbyOutsmartsHimselfAgain. Oh well, live and learn.

This meal much like the Big Guy, also put me in my place. It's interesting that in a time where I pat myself on the back for having such a refined palate because I enjoy items like the pavlova at Savannah Coffee Roasters or the spicy black beans at Tortuga's Island Grille that a simply made smoked meat sandwich on toasted white bread that would stick out like it did. It's lesson to remember in which good food does not always have to be fancy food.

Oh, and JHR did serve a mean slice of coconut pie. I did manage to get a shot of that before attacking my dessert.
Don't mind if I do!!!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

In Which the Infamous "Bad Reputation at Weddings "Curse is Lifted

This is Tim                           This is me.        

This past weekend, Tim and myself had the honor of being groomsmen in our great friends, Jeff Doke and Susan Perry's wedding.  Doke and Susan are two of my closest friends so this was a very special occasion. Not only was this, as the Soaps put it, "A Very Special Wedding" but it was also the first time Kim and myself were both in a wedding party together. It would be an outstanding weekend filled with a celebration of love for my two friends along with reunions of old ones not to mention Kim and the kids getting to meet several important people from my younger and more rampant years.

Unfortunately, there was an elephant in the room, partly of my own doing and partly because stories have a life of their own. As they get retold, these stories sometimes get larger.

You see, Tim and I have a bit of a reputation regarding our attendance in weddings as a :                                          

Guilty as charged....

With that being said, it's pretty obvious that there was just a tad bit of pressure hanging above us. No worries. Doke is a pretty easy going guy and I had rented a golf cart in which I ended up tricking out over the weekend so I knew I could outrun Susan. (Sorry Susan, while you never once acted like a Bridezilla not to mention  a perfect lady as well as hostess, I'm still a little scared of you. I've learned to never cross a Brunswick girl......Love you, Mrs. Doke)

The wedding took place on Driftwood Beach which in my humble opinion is one of Georgia's most gorgeous beaches and also not well known. It is a very special place to Susan and Doke so that only added to the beauty of the "day".

Oddly enough, Driftwood Beach's name is not ironic.....

As the Big Day drew closer, Doke put out an All-call for there to be be as much Anti-Rain Voodoo as possible. I contributed by packing my rain jacket the Big Guy gave me for Christmas one year, Every time I pack that damn jacket, it never rains. I've probably worn the stupid thing less than a few times. Our friend, Courtney, claimed to do to perform a series of elaborate No Rain Dances back in LA where she lives now. Fingers were crossed and everyone quietly hoped Doke had a Plan B as the chances of rain did not seem to subside.....until the very last minute.

Our good friend, John Trotter does a daily sketch and for Saturday, Doke and Susan's Big Day, Trotter drew this:

There was much joking around during lunch about how dusty every one's villas were as they checked their Facebook because it was impossible to look at Trotter's cartoon and not tear up. We could all feel the impact this wedding would have on all of us. It didn't matter whether it rained or not, All that mattered was to watch our friends tie the knot and start their new lives together with their families.

 It's a cheesy thing to write much less say out loud, but as I looked at this sketch, all I could think was that line Steve Martin said in L.A. Story about how he'd stop the polarity of the earth, roll in fog, etc. etc. to keep his love from leaving. I kept thinking of how much Doke would do anything to give Susan the wedding she never had.

And it went off without any huge hitches. A few few people were late. A couple of folks needed last minutes rides to the beach but by 4 o' clock, everyone was at their respective wedding posts:guests and attendants.

Best use of a pallet ever.

I'd also like to mention how Tim and I created nor caused any wedding drama, disaster, discourse, disturbances, divorces, division, damages, destruction, debates, departures, and keeping with the "D" theme:   duets.

Now there were a few close calls. Tim had originally planned to show up at the rehearsal wearing a pair of these

The Tim I knew from 10 years ago would have shown up wearing this with myself alongside wearing a cape as had been bandied around jokingly. But we're older now. We have careers, families, responsibilities, house payments and such. We have matured. So much in fact, we waited until the cookout after rehearsal. It actually went over really well.

Tim wore one and then handed me the other. I honestly am saying I had no idea just how comfortable wearing a pasty would be. Surprisingly comfy and it doesn't hurt when you pull it off (well, except for chest hair but I wouldn't think would be an issue for the intended use.). They are also surprisingly affordable, though to be honest, I've never really considered just what a pasty should cost. Check it out on Amazon.

 Everyone always says how it was a beautiful wedding but this one hit home for myself. Watching Doke and Susan exchange their vows was almost too much. Both of them had been through enough to be in a Meredith Baxter-Birney Lifetime movie so when vows were read, the tears started streaming.

All of us had stood beside both of our friends through some pretty crazy times but somehow these crazy kids made it and everyone recognized the power of what Susan and Doke feel towards each other.

A few Christmases ago when Doke had not reconnected with Susan yet, we had driven together to a friend's dad's funeral. When we came back to my house afterward, The kids were being sweet while Kim greeted me at the door with a kiss followed by one of her patented smart ass quips. Doke looked wistfully and said, "This is what I want for myself someday."

As Doke opened up his moleskin notebook and read his vows to Susan, I kept thinking to myself. "Well Ol' Boy, you certainly got what you wished for and much more. Well done, sir."

 It would be at the reception not only filled with good food, laughter, and flower girls dancing to
catchy little ditties like the Chicken Dances and the Cha Cha Slide. It would be the location where Tim and I would have to go through our final labors to prove we had grown up and were no longer a danger to bachelor parties, wedding ceremonies, and receptions.

Scott Ryfun is one of Doke's buddies down in Brunswick and does a popular radio show down that way. He is neat guy as well as the creator of the podcasts, My Star Wars Story and the notorious Dinner 4 Geeks.  As the reception was winding down, Ryfun sought me out and said with a grin, "We need a criminal. C'mon." Ego stroked, I went along.

Curiously I followed Ryfun outside to meet up with another of the Dinner 4 Geeks commentators, Ryan. It was Ryan who shared how he had gotten a hold of the bridal suite room key and we were minutes away from going and trashing it. The following conversation occurred pretty much like this in a short narrative in which I've entitled:

Scenes From a Wedding Reception

ME:  (without hesitation) Nope. I'm out
RYAN:  Where's your balls? C'mon it will be hilarious.
ME:  My balls are exactly where they've always been. I'm no afraid at all. I'm just staying out of this.           Tim and I have garnered a tad bit of a rep at these things and I am lying low.


TIM:  Hey guys, what's up? Ryfun said to meet out here.
RYAN:  We're about to go and mess up Doke and Susan's room.
TIM:   (without hesitation, part II) Nope. Have fun.


TIM:   Did we just...?
ROBBY:  Yep, We're getting old.
TIM: I don't think it's that so much as you and I are determined to not have anyone cursing when our             names are mentioned this time,


What were the odds that the Groom's cake would be Star Wars related? Hmmmmmm...

Our final test would come when the lucky bride and groom were preparing to leave. There was this idea in which all the guests would line up outside in two rows and much like a royal military procession where swords are crossed, the happy couple would meander their way on out.

This is an adorable idea. My first thought was instead of swords, we'd all hold toy light sabers due to Doke and Susan's love of geek culture. Imagine my shock when Kim explained we'd all hold these mongo-sized sparklers overhead as the Dokes would pass under us.

I love my friends. They are amazing people. Seriously. But I also recognize that once alcohol has been added to the equation the resulting sum using ends in some sort of call to an emergency service. Add to this equation the variable in which I am a fire bug especially after a few libations, then game on.

No wedding parties were harmed in the making of this photo....

Somehow the Dokes were able to do not one but two passes (for photo reasons and not some perverted Red Rover fantasy) without incident. I spent most of my time trying not burn any around me and the other half trying to keep Littleman from putting out my eye.

The rest of the evening went off without a hitch and was quite fun. I got to smoke a Cuban cigar while hanging out with Stu and Kevin, Courtney's husband. Everyones' kids had a blast running around together.  Kim and I spent much time with everyone hanging out in the Villa's pool and passing the bottle around. The Dokes even came by and the evening very slowly turned into an "I love you, Man"-Fest. It was awesome.

Now don't get me wrong. This weekend was certainly all about Susan Perry and Jeff Doke getting married. Frankly, Kim, the kids, and myself had so much fun, it reminded me how special wedding can be. I revisit what I said earlier about that Christmas break back when Doke was single and wanting to find that girl who was just right for him.

There are some couples you meet in life and you know they gel just right. Pardon the Forrest Gump reference but you guys are each other's peas and carrots and I am thrilled that I got to be a part of this very special day. Thank you both.

You did it, Doke Well done, sir.

And I did nothing to fuck it up this time. Curse broken. I'll have that top shelf margarita, please.

These are is probably my favorite non-wedding related pictures of the weekend in which Kim took
About that time the Duke Boys decided it was time to groove......

Also love this one of the Duchess at Tortuga Jack's
"Waiter, I ordered the large...."