Monday, March 22, 2010

March 22, 2010
Back in the office after a heady weekend at The 20th (and perhaps, last) Festival of The West.

Special thanks to John Larkin who gave me his photos of what The Apache Kid would look like if he was 60.

Talked to Johnny Western (who was chatting with James Drury of The Virginian TV show fame), and had a wonderful time chatting up Goldie Taylor, Buck Taylor's wife. She is so damn cute and fun. Buck was quite busy selling his paintings and I only got to talk to him when he tracked me down away from his booth. He's the actor who's up for one of the roles in True Grit II and I hope he gets it.

Also talked a couple times with Michael Dante (Winterhawk) who claims he's the only actor to portray both a good and bad Native American and a good and bad cowboy outlaw. Talked briefly with Peter Brown (Lawman). He's still busy with his new concept show "Shootin' The Breeze" and his producer told me they taped a bunch of stars at the show.

I missed talking to Barry Corbin (Northern Exposure, Lonesome Dove, No Country For Old Men), because I wanted to tell him how great he was in NCFOM, and I missed a couple panels I was supposed to be on (we couldn't hear the PA from our booth and, of course, we were slammed with people, all talking all the time).

Marty Kove (Wyatt Earp, Rambo, Karate Kid) came by the booth and we had a nice chat. He is a very handsome dude and he was with a stunning starlet-type named Terry who had huge, very visible talents.

Speaking of huge talents, one of the prettiest women I have ever known, and a celebrity in her own right, came by the booth and she, unfortunately, has been botoxed to the gills and it was, well, just weird. It's like they have a frozen mask on. Felt bad for her. This mutated look is brilliantly parodied in Christopher Guest's latest movie For Your Consideration, in which Catherine O'Hara, as an actress up for a possible Oscar, plays half the movie as herself, then shows up on a Jay Leno type show and is suddenly changed (we don't see the transition, we just see her with the "work done"). At the end she teaches acting and implores her students to be "happy in your own skin." Devastating, but then I would expect nothing less from the guy who created, wrote, directed and starred in This Is Spinal Tap

The one guy who I would never have recognized is Tommy Kirk (Old Yeller, The Shaggy Dog). He looked like an accountant. But he was quite gracious and funny.

Clint Walker (Cheyenne, Yellow Stone Kelly, The Dirty Dozen) is a very nice guy. The lines at his table were long for the entire weekend. William Smith (Conan the Barbarian, Falcon Crest) had a few lined up as well.

My staff did a wonderful job. Nobody gets paid for this and they are spending their weekend time to help out. Everyone was great at hawking, but I have to say Abby Goodrich surprised me the most. That girl can hawk ("Get your True West magazine right here! Yes you! Come on, step up! Don't Be shy?").

Met a couple people who kind of blew my mind. Cheryl Manley Lott from Philadelphia is a Muslim-Native American who loves the Wild West. She had on the tight, head-scarf, long dress, with high top mocassins. She was with Maureen and Al Pride of California City, California and they wanted to know about black cowboys. Al is African American, Maureen and Cheryl are not.

Speaking of African Americans, we had probably a dozen come by the booth and rave about the magazine and my work on the Westerns Channel. All were dressed in full Old West gear. Really kind of hopeful in this brittle mash-up we call The United States of America.

So much talent on display, it's sometimes hard to figure out how everyone got to that tent on this particularly beautiful weekend on the Sonoran Desert. Gee, I wonder what ol' Shenk has to say about this?

"We've traditionally regarded superior talent as a rare and mysterious gift bequeathed to a lucky few. In fact, science is revealing it to be the product of highly concentrated effort."
—David Shenk, in The Genius In All of Us: Why Everything You've Been Told About Genetics, Talent and IQ Is Wrong

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