San Francisco, California Praan Unplugged

I had the weirdest dream last night. I was at MC Hammer’s party with Tay Zonday and Dax Flame. We left and wandered the streets of San Francisco in the middle of the night; this big wad of internet pseudo-celebrity. Tay got annoyed at me cause I kept asking him to say "This is CNN," and Dax just seemed perpetually uncomfortable.

I parted ways with Tay and Dax to meet up with Free Hugs guy. We went to get a drink, but neither of us wanted to drink so we just kept on wandering through the city. We discovered our lives have basically mirrored one another’s for the last several years. It turns out he is also a cranky misanthrope who would rather be playing Xbox than spreading peace and love and joy to millions.

I have said some not-nice things about Free Hugs guy in this journal. I may even, in a moment of heightened crankiness, have suggested that Free Hugs guy ought to get kicked in the balls. I hope he would find that more amusing than offensive.

I no longer think Juan should get kicked in the balls. Maybe some of the more zealous disciples of his movement, but not Juan. I really like Juan.

Okay, so it wasn’t a dream. It was an event called YouTube Live, which the YouTube folks were nice enough to bring me down for. It was an attempt to recreate some of the most popular YouTube videos as live performances. Now of course this sounds like an unbelievably terrible idea. But for reasons I still can’t quite grasp, it wasn’t.

It wound up feeling somewhat like an old-timey variety show. There was song and dance for the most part, but also comedy, a Parkour demonstration, some egregious hugging, and projectile paint courtesy of the Mythbusters.

Ultimately though, this was the only essential performance of the evening.

Bo sat directly in front of me, which meant I had the opportunity to congratulate him on a brilliant song and also inspect him up close for any sign that he was lying about being 18 freaking years old.

I watched him standing mournfully outside the afterparties, so I’m pretty sure he’s less than 21.

At one point the YouTube folks asked me to perform on stage with Palbasha. That plan dissolved. It would’ve been nice to get her up there, but what I do isn’t all that conducive to the occasion. As I often say, my schtick is fun for about 10 seconds, then it starts getting weird. Personally, I was much happier spectating in obscurity.

Anyway, the experience planted the seed in my head that it’d be cool to hear Palbasha perform Praan outside of a recording studio. Then I saw this video…

…and realized Garry needs to get in on the act and create a piano arrangement to accompany her. Until now I thought that would just be a reduced version of what already exists, but I’m coming around to the idea that an acoustic version might have merit as its own entity.

Garry seems up for it. I haven’t even spoken to Palbasha, but I’d love to see it come together at some point.

Back in October I was prancing around Asia and being coy about what I was up to. It’s out now, so I’m free to talk about it. I did a TV ad for Visa in the Asia-Pacific territory.

I’ve only gotten emails about it from Australia and Hong Kong, so as far as I know, those are the only places it’s airing right now. They may expand it at some point to a few other nearby regions.

This project was a departure from how I usually work. There was a crew with camera people and lighting people. They picked the locations and set up the shots. There was even a guy who stood in my spot until they were ready for me. They took care of the music and editing and all that. It mostly just felt like a very very nice vacation for both Melissa and me.

If I were to ever pick up and start working on another video, the production wouldn’t be anything like that. It’d still pretty much be me and a backpack stuffed with gear. But I was happy to try things a different way and learn what I could from some very talented, experienced, professionals.

The response to my introspective book rant has awakened me to the fact that there are thoughtful, articulate people reading this and I’d probably be wise to utilize them somehow in my process. I’m thinking of how I can do that in a productive way that doesn’t expose my anxieties and insecurities.

I guess one way you folks can help me is to comment on which specific stories and places from my existing journal are of interest to you, and which ones are not-so-interesting. What I’m doing right now is going through old entries and trying to extract the funny and engaging from the tedious and self-involved.

Any input will be read and appreciated.