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Boardwalkers.

 

snake in the grass.

snake in the grass.

Brandon Plotz, 24, does covers for money on the boardwalk in Ocean City. He says the teenagers want to hear Jason Mraz, the Moms want to hear “brown eyed girl” by Van Morrison, and the dads always want the Eagles, but Brandon will not ever play the Eagles. 

“i actually pursued a lawsuit against Don Henley for abuse.”

 

Casual Men: Do you meet weird beach locals alot?

Brandon: Yea, today I met the weirdest guy.

CM: Wha’ happen?

Brandon: So i walk to the boardwalk every day past this guy that has an herb garden and i usually clip for myself a sizable sprig of parsley or cilantro that i chew on while i walk. So, i pick one off and I’m walking and i hear some footsteps behind, really clodding along…heavy thuds like big boots or something.

CM: Ok…weird…

Brandon: Yea so they start gaining on me, and i’m like ok whatever, but then they’re right behind me and the guy starts passing me, but doesn’t pass me all the way. He’s just ahead of me and keeps slyly looking at me, turning his head slightly you know. 

CM: What did this individual look like? Did he have a side part?

Brandon: No, no. He was like a ginger-thug. Red head with freckles, but like thugg’d out; big boots and big, shiny denim pants. Some weird black t-shirt with writing on it. Chinstrap, ginger strap of course, and a hat on. Maybe orioles i dunno. And this guy had something in his hands, wrapped up in a white t-shirt and it was moving around.

So he’s looking at me with his eyes brows going up and down, kind of smiling, like he wants me to notice him. I got the parsley sticking out of my mouth and he’s like 

“whats that?”

I’m like “sprig of parsley.” 

And i look again at what’s in his hands, squirming around and i’m like

“what’s that?”

He goes, real matter of factly “four foot black snake.”

We’re still walking along you know, like he’s just ahead of me and kind of turning his head to talk so i’m keeping it really casual too and not stopping to make a big deal out of it and i just kind of go

“some big snake, shit.”

He’s like “yea just caught it back that way.”

Im like “uh huh.”

He goes “you wanna buy it?”

CM: Did you?

Brandon: I didn’t have any cash yet, cuz i was on my way to the boardwalk.

 

living single.

living single.

Paul, 23, is my other brother. He is not only living the casual life, but he is casually living the single life. Since I am also living the single life, I asked if I could double date with him. I won’t say how my date went, but things did take a turn when she told me that Weird Al was “so stupid.”  When Denise, my brother’s date, was on the phone outside– I snuck in this hurried little interview.

 

Casual Men: Are you looking for a relationship?

Paul: Not in those words, no. I wouldn’t say I quite know what I am looking for. People that think they know what they want are usually uptight. These uptight-wads don’t know what they want, they only know what they can tolerate. 

CM: Interesting. So, then, in your words, what are you doing…

Paul: Well, ultimately I would like a girlfriend. You know that Modern Lovers song “girlfriend”…it’s like that, you know, I understand a girlfriend, so I would be remiss to ignore an obviously good girl with whom I could do sex with and hang out with. 

CM: You’re in a band. Do a lot of girls present themselves to you because you’re always out at clubs or whatever?

Paul: I meet a lot of people, lots of girls, and that is really my ambition with women I think. I am trying to meet as many people as I can until I find a rock and roll girlfriend.

CM: What is a rock and roll girlfriend?

Paul: It’s exactly what you think it is. There’s no qualification other than a girl who is into rock and roll and is willing to put up with late nights and space cadet behavior in exchange for an endlessly engaging and fulfilling relationship… essentially in exchange for the pleasure of my company.

CM: How sweet.

Paul: Where’s your date?

CM: I don’t fucking know. Talking to that guy in flip flops.

 

 

misgivings already at the restaurant. good mussels though.

misgivings already at the restaurant. good mussels though.

sup, frog.

sup, frog.

Theresa Reznor, 26, teaches children about animals that some might think are “gross.” Since I am essentially a child, I asked her about some of the creatures that I find most disgusting.

Casual Men: Whats up with bullfrogs?

Theresa: Bullfrogs are cool because they go through metamorphosis. When children ask me if bullfrogs give you warts I say “Bullfrogs only make you prettier.”

But for scientists, bullfrogs are incredibly helpful friends. BECAUSE Tropical frogs are probably one of the most sensitive animals in the world and react very rapidly to substantial changes in their environments. So you could say frogs are almost like eco-doctors, because their health lets us know about changes in an ecosystem’s health.

CM: What’s about… spiders?

Theresa: Ohh good one, well, because spiders are so intrinsically fascinating and evoke a natural curiosity and horror in people, I think they – tarantulas in particular, make unique and exciting pets..I think we should all learn to appreciate these amazing arachnids.

When spiders don’t feel like walking, they don’t have to. Young spiderlings can shred serious breezy gnar. When the wind picks up spiderlings can release enough silk to rock some stellar dynamic kiting, otherwise known in scientific terms as ballooning. Don’t be jealous you don’t have gossamer coming out of your backsies side.

CM: Ok. what about….bugs….

Theresa: Well butterflies are bugs. Butterflies also go through metamorphosis so some might say they’re exactly like bull frogs. Instead of singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes/Two Eyes and Ears, One Mouth and Nose”, I like to sing “Head, Thorax, Abdomen/Compound Eyes, Six Legs, and an Exoskeleton” because butterflies have way cooler bods.

Did you know that they’re legally blind? But its ok, butterflies, like all insects, are well adapted to navigate through the natural world. IN FACT, insects far outnumber almost all other animals, including humans. So now are you asking yourselves, “How can it be then, that insects are legally blind?”

Butterflies and other insects are considered blind because, according to human standards, they cannot see fine details, referred to as poor resolution. Insect resolution is 100 times worse than that of humans; but no worries, because thanks to those compound eyes made up of hundreds of tiny six-sided lenses and photoreceptors, they can detect ultraviolet light that is invisible to human eyes. Now don’t you wish you were an ultraviolet light detecting bouncing blind butterfly?

CM: Yea…

Hep Alien.

if you lead, i will follow.

if you lead, i will follow.

Alexis, 27, was on a TV show growing up. These days she’s performing as “Body Pile” and has toured with Prurient, Wolf Eyes, The Beast People, Magik Markers, and even opened for Throbbing Gristle in NYC. She is quick to describe her life in the underground of improv. music and sexual/intellectual exploration.

Casual Men: So, Rory Gilmore had a favorite tree at Yale for studying. Do you have a favorite place to play with your fuzz pedals?

Alexis: Well to have a favorite place for art seems a little stupid to me. It would mean you have an ideal way of creating… every space has a unique energy that yields something different. That’s why improvising is so essential to my way of making sound, so that I can adapt to the space and not be beholden to any composition made in another space.

CM: I remember when Rory jumped off of that really tall tower with Logan. Have you ever conquered a fear like that through performance?

Alexis: I try to steer my ship right into the mouth of the storm…or the whale…either analogy works. Fear can be both a storm and a whale. It can whirl you around and strike you with lightning, or it can swallow you and house you in it’s large intestine until you are consumed by acids and enzymes.

CM: Ok, seriously. Do you sometimes just want to watch old movies and veg. out on pizza, hamburgers, Eggo waffles, and tons of ice cream?

Alexis: I want to eat some LSD and watch Baraka… if that’s what you mean.

CM: Rory lost her virginity to Dean and they were listening to Satellite of Love by Lou Reed. What song did you really lose it to?

Alexis: Amish Paradise. I think… it might have been Rockabye by Sean Mullins.

CM: How was it opening for Throbbing Gristle?

Alexis: Entirely transcendent. Being around Genesis is like being in a womb and then like being born and spanked by a man in a white lab coat, and being transplanted to an oxygen chamber where you get injected with Shark DNA and become a strong beast, but then get injected with Dog DNA and become a sweet companion. I’ve really learned from them that magic is everywhere. We all have the potential for magic, in us, and through us. I have performed magic many times.

CM: Don’t you just want some coffee right now?

Alexis: Yea.

 

oh, brother.

oh, brother.

Peter, 17, is my brother. He’s off to the prom with a group of 7 hulking, fastidiously overdressed boys that all have inexplicably hot, blonde dates. Amidst a thick vapor of Axe body spray, these rap-lyric chanting dudes are embarking on a night of dinner at Macaroni Grill, grotesque dancing, and the symbolic celebration of their almost-pre-collegiate-young-adulthood; at the staggering expense of their/my parents. Rent is due, and I’m 25. Sigh.

CM: so you’re 17 huh.

Peter: Yea.

CM: whats up with that.

Peter: I’m 17 years old.

CM: you’re a teenager. you’re about to go to prom. Whats going through your mind.

Peter: Um, my date is hot…i have a bottle of Bacardi, Aftershock, and Cuervo…i have a hotel room…i have money…im really excited…i dont know. Do you like my suit?

CM: You look like you work at the Verizon store.

Peter: Shut up man, you looked so lame in high school.

CM: Excuse me?

Peter: Yea, now you’re mister “Oh im an artist, im an artist.” Your prom picture is at grannies house though. It’s embarrassing bro… embarrassing. You looked like a gross Luke Perry. You looked like Puke Larry.

 

hfstival 2001.

hfstival 2001.

CM: Ugh…how do you even know who luke perry is?

Peter: vh1.

CM: Of course. alright, alright. Lets move on.

What’s prom like now anyway? When i was in high school it was mostly about decadence…like buying the most decadent weed and smoking it out of the most decadent bowl that they sell in the most decadent head shop in baltimore.

Peter: That’s cool. We’re getting a limo.

ive been busy drinking miniature wine and farting at parties.

ive been busy drinking miniature wine and farting at parties.

After covering all my casual friends in Season 1 (spring of 09)… i had to go back out into the metropolis, i had stroll into the suburbs, and visit a lot of Pac Suns, Old Navies, and Talbots so i could find a bomb ass crew of new Casual Folks.

Just wanted to send word out there that ill be launching season 2 of casual men in summer 2009. there might be some faces you recognize this season. i might even get Adrien Grenier to talk to us about Jarlsburg grilled cheese sandwiches (you need at least 8 dollars worth of Jarlsburg in that thing)

thanks for hanging out with me.

andrew bucket.

now THIS!

"id like to get away from earth a while, and then come to it and begin over."- robert frost

"id like to get away from earth a while, and then come to it and begin over."- robert frost

Amy Darwon, 21, participates in environmental activism, works a community garden, spends plenty of time outside; riding her bike, hanging out in the woods, taking pictures, practicing meditation, and watching House, Lost, The Office, Its Always Sunny, Gossip Girl, 30 Rock, COPS, Law and Order SVU, and Celebrity Apprentice.

Casual Men: What keeps you sane?

Amy: Ha. what?

CM: Sorry. i just mean, what do you do when you wanna, you know, chillll out.

Amy: Yea, i watch movies and TV all the time. On the internet, you see.

CM: Yea, TV on the internet. Thats where i get my TV.

Amy: Its funny because i remember once my mom told me this ‘scientific’ study said (in nasal mom voice) “you’re never more brain-dead than when you watch TV” and she said that to deter me from television obviously but now i’m like shit man, can i PLEASE be brain dead for a little while, that sounds tight.  It’s like, i dont want to go to sleep or anything, but i dont want to be awake either, so i’ll just watch this reallllly stupid show for an hour and then i’ll go water my basil plant.

CM: Right, like a liminal space. For me: the dumber the show, the better…

Amy: That’s definitely true. If you try to watch NOVA or some like Edwardian period drama, you have to pay attention and become emotionally involved, but if i’m just watching House i can go pee, put my clothes in the dryer, and then come back and just be like “oh there’s tense music, the guy must be sick again…ok, cool here comes House with a banana bag, maybe this guy will go in to anaphylactic shock.” I dont even know what that means, and i dont even have to know to follow along, its so cool.

CM: So this time that you get to spend with yourself, its sort of meditative that way. Its like a new Bhuddism.

Amy: Im not sure if my mind is programmed to understand nature. I appreciate it and love nature, its beautiful, but i’m also a modern human and my mind sometimes needs to think like a magazine. TV is wonderful in that way.

CM: What makes you insane?

Amy: The food industry, and what Michael Pollan calls The Omnivores Dilemma.

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