Thursday, August 28, 2008

Quentin Mark Chuck Tarantino Klosterman

It's pretty rare that I actually get to sit down like a real audience member and enjoy something in the theater, but I've been lucky enough to be able to twice within the last week: once for a viewing of Pond Hockey during the Landlocked Film Festival (cool movie, produced by my friend Andrew who runs the Little Village... I'm not even a hockey fan but I was drawn in)... and again last night to see Chuck Klosterman.

It was a standing-room-only kind of night, which are my favorite kinds of nights here. Sidewalk a-buzz. Lobby packed. Ushers down front waving one finger in the air, signifying one last available seat.

The picture above was snapped from my seat in the fifth row, from my Motorola RAZR cellphone (which has one of the lamest camera phones I've ever come across).

I've read half of one of his books: Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs. I loved it, but I stopped reading it for no good reason other than I just don't make enough time to read. Based on the book, I expected Klosterman to be "too cool for school" - a little smarter than you and I, and not afraid to let you know.

Not at all the case. Very laid back, funny, natural, approachable and real. In fact, the way he described his approach to problems and other issues, he reminded me a lot of myself. Not that I'm nearly as witty or as good of a writer. I'm not. But I am almost his age...

I spent the rest of the night trying to place who he reminded me of: the sound of his voice, his mannersisms, the words he used.... hour after hour, racking my brain... it finally dawned on me around midnight:

Quentin Tarantino. He sounds exactly like Quentin Tarantino. Especially when Tarantino gets all geared up and enthusiastic, explaining some little semi-fascinating nugget of pop culture, flailing his arms about... Klosterman did a lot of flailing about. His commentary was thoughtful, funny and, most of all, humble.

Today at a lunch meeting, relaying the events of last night, I called him "Mark Klosterman," making me seem like such a knowledgable authority not only on pop culture, but on what's playing at the very theater I work at. Niiiiiiiiiiiice.

For another take on the evening, here's a review from The Daily Iowan.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rock stars are everywhere.

We just went through a pretty big transition over here at the Englert:

all new ticketing software and (almost) all new box office staff, all basically happening the same weekend.

I've done a few software transitions in my days and this has been one of the smoothest. The peeps at Iowatix were great to work with, the software allows us to serve our customers better (for example, alllllllllllll of our tix are online now - not just a few rows) and the efficiencies this new system will create seem to outweigh any of the inevitable "pain" that accompanies such a major shift in The Way We Do Things. It's not perfect yet, but we'll get close.

Thanks, customers, for being patient.

We also brought on four new Box Officers (a term that doesn't seem to get old for me), and they've been wonderful: bright, energetic, eager to learn, helpful and service-minded. Stop by to see Ashley, Nicole, Roxy and Sarah, who have joined Bryan and our wonderful volunteers Tom and Andrea to make up the best box office staff anywhere in the land. Get to know them here.

We also just hired a bunch of great people to work in our Front Of House Services area who you'll get to know at the concessions table this fall.

The job description for both of those positions called for "rock stars," and I'm glad to say that our newbies don't disappoint.

Chuck Klosterman tonight... people have been stopping in asking about it all day. Starts at 8:30, doors open at 8, get here early. Repeat.

Just signed us up for Twitter, so you can follow us there: I've been "tweeting" on my personal account for awhile now. Was skeptical at first, but am starting to realize the key: the more people who use it, the better it is.

Go technology.