I. The Wonderful People
Never in my life have I been surrounded by so many people that were flowing with friendliness, goodwill, and positive energy. Shortly after the bulk of the group had gathered, it was apparent to me that there was an underlying theme that was going to direct the event: to make it a jocular and convivial celebration of Filmdrunk and the Frotcast. It was if everyone was determined to go around and make as many new friends as possible and have as much fun as possible and no looking back. The Hive Mind had been issued it's ultimatum, "Have fun.", and we all obliged.
1. The Frotcast Guys
(The husky Klingon in the middle used for scale.)
A. Vince-I could never say enough good things about this guy. He's like my little Italian cousin that make-a my grandma cry. I won't forget it as long as I live: I came through the door to enter the meet and greet, Vince turned around and noticed it was me and made a straight line for me with a manly bro hug.
B. Ben-Of all of the Frotcast guys, I had the most trepidation meeting Ben. He's a good-looking and modern young man that has his finger on the pulse of what is "cool or in" a hell of a lot more than a guy like me ever would be. I figured he would be polite with me, but might think I was a dork. I couldn't have been more wrong about a guy ever. Ben is genuine and enthusiastic, and he has a way of making whatever situation we are in is the most happening thing on the planet. He was also incredibly kind, he let me pull him aside a couple of times to ask about things or to introduce me to people I didn't know. Ben is the kind of "Winner" Charlie Sheen only wishes he could be.
C. Brendan-I wasn't sure what to expect from Brendan when meeting him in person. I was never a football player, but I was a weightlifter in high school and college and were "buddies" with athletes and football is basically my favourite thing in the entire world (so I figured we would at least have some common ground for discussion). My best memory of Brendan at the meet and greet is when he notices kinda cooling off by a window in the large room in the corner. He comes over by himself, we start shooting the breeze, and the next thing I know we are gabbing like two old college buddies that haven't seen each other in years. Eventually, I literally had to "stand him up", so to speak, to remind him to mingle with other fans there. Brendan is no "Gentle Giant", I would consider him more of a "Totally Fucking Awesome Giant".
D. Bret-In a way, I got the feeling that Bret felt a lot like I did with the whole situation: overwhelmed by the atmosphere of camaraderie. At the same time, he was a very warm person and I wish I could have had more one on one time with him. With a deep and enriching dude like Bret, a couple of shoe-horned in conversations in a single Saturday night probably isn't sufficient to fully realize what he is all about. Still, I know I met a great guy with a warm smile and very friendly personality.
2. Frotcast A Listers
A. Laremy-I didn't get to spend a lot of time with Laremy, but he seems like he is a really fun guy. I am also going to guess he has a penchant for Photobombing? He was a marvelous personality to have around and is quick and artful at sliding in little "backhanded jokes". I would say the only thing better than Laremy's (in)famous lists is his delivery of them.
B. The Frotcast Ladies-to a certain extent, I imagine being involved/engaged/married/or held captive by one of the Frotcasters is a lot like being married to a mad scientist that tries to find the most absurd and peculiar ways to perfect the art of a fecal transplant...you have to be pretty cool and understanding. At the Chicago event we had, from left to right, Alena, Laura, and Amiee.
Let me tell you that, without a doubt, those were three of the loveliest ladies I have had the gentleman's pleasure of making the acquaintance of. Now, when I say, "lovely", I don't mean that they are just pretty. All three were incredibly warm, polite, and inviting..."lovely" in ways that ascend physical beauty. My only regret is that I didn't allow myself to speak more with them, but my own personal code of conduct suggests that it can be unwise to inflate one-on-one interactions with attached young ladies, particularly if the significant other is occupied at the time. I fervently hope that I will meet up with one or all three again at some point and be able to sustain a friendly and meaningful dialog.
C. Evan of Doc Films-this is the dude that makes shit happen in Chicago's Hyde Park/Ida Noyes Area. I was amazed at how much a man so young had accomplished, he had the whole event under control and was still a gracious and polite host. Thanks for the nice pic of Evan, Ben!
There were about a half a dozen or so of us that sorta started gravitating towards one another during the party, and we all sat togetherish at the theater for the movie (you know, so all of the incoherent screaming would be coming from the same general direction. So, to my little group of buddies, (in no particular order: Ian, John, Richard, Justin, and Super Drunk Fake Burnsy [Just kidding, fuck that drunk guy!]), I dedicate the small, goofy collage above to our night of friendship and fun. The only let down was that, no matter how many times I asked nicely, Ian wouldn't let me rob him of his squirrel painting by Real Bret.
I was also humbled and honoured by how many people approached me and said, "Hey, are YOU Feklahr? You are so funny on Filmdrunk, I love you!" I was absolutely flattered more than I have ever been in my life, and it really opened my eyes to the fact that maybe there is more to me than the guy that just sits behind a keyboard...that I somehow extend beyond it.
II. The Setting
1. University of Chicago, Ida Noyes Hall
I would be negligently remiss not to mention the absolutely gorgeous, stunning, and beautiful setting we unwarrantably yet almost miraculously fortunate to have the event hosted in. I feel I could spend several days just exploring Ida Noyes Hall and not learning half of what there is to know about it. The beauty of the architecture stunned me so profoundly upon my arrival, I was worried I had come to the wrong place! If any of you reading can, I beg you to put this on your "tourist list" if you find yourself in Chicago. It is difficult for me to imagine a more regal and scholarly structure.
(The pub downstairs is fantastic, great local brews.)III. In Closing
My parting words really apply to the entire Frotcast Team, but I would like to emphasize it just a small bit more for Vince: You have been making a series of notable accomplishments since the Frotcast started two and a half years ago (and almost 5 years since Filmdrunk got going). It is my sincerest hope that you feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment with the event that was held in Chicago, because it was truly special and meaningful. I rebuke anyone that would tell you that "pride is a sin"! Only people without the drive, imagination, and desire to accomplish something fantastic would utter such nonsense.
Again, I thank all of you for one of the best nights/parties/experiences I have ever attended. The event filled me with happiness and I hold that cherished memory close to my heart. For one night a group of people were able to come together without prejudice and have fun without restrictions, and that is truly remarkable.
Oh, the movie was pretty good, too!
(The Iowa Hawkeyes are really BIG in Chicago! Wa'qa wa'qa!)