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Michael Moore Phoenix press conference 13oct2004

Michael Moore was in Phoenix yesterday for the (thankfully) final debate between the Democratic party dipwad and the Republican party dillhole. We were in Phoenix, too. So why not pose as journalists, infiltrate the press room at the venue, and try to get a Wagner photo with Michael Moore?

Principally, four reasons not to:

• one of us thinks a "Torture is the new black" t-shirt is something a journalist would wear to a press conference

• the other thinks the same of an "I'm going to kick your ass ... and get away with it" t-shirt

• one of us is carrying a decomposing statue of a composer

• neither of us is displaying a press badge. (Because, you see, these press affairs, they're who-ya-are or at least who-you-know, kinda things, and though we were full-on who-ya-know enough to slime our way into the venue's backstage area, we weren't who-ya-know enough to score press badges to get us into the press room.)

Think any of that gave us pause? Not bloody likely.

The press conference was supposed to start at noon, the event at 1 p.m. At 12:55 the theater was full of people but the press room still had seen no sign of Michael Moore. What was worse, there was some sort of official person walking around the room asking the affilliations of journalists. We were hiding our non-press-badge-y selves behind a column and a large camera guy from Channel 15.

My theory is that the key in situations such as this is to look bored, like you'd rather be anywhere else than in a press room waiting for some celebrity to pop off about whatever.

Finally the Channel 15 camera guy turned around, held out his hand, and said, "I'm ... gonnakickyourass...." I thought for a second that he was introducing himself. Well, hello back, Mr. I'mgonnakickyourass. I'm Mr. Watchoutformylefthook.

Of course, he was just trying to read the rest of my shirt. You know, press-to-press camaraderie & all that. He was nice, and we were glad of the chance to blend in a little better with the rest of the crowd by joining in with the worldly wise, cynical journalistic chatter. And maybe it was that we were mid-chat with an Official Member of the Fifth Estate or maybe it was that at least one of us just looked too bored to bother with, but the official type never got around to inquiring exactly what sort of media outlet "Deuce of Clubs Dot Com" might be.

Just about then, Moore ambled in and took a seat.

(The blurry thing on the left is the column behind which we were trying to hide our lack of press badges.)

In the next photo, note the clock. To repeat, the show was supposed to start at 1:00 p.m. but the press conference has barely begun. Maybe now we know why shows so rarely begin on time.

Next note the camera guy, who seems to be about to snort coke or something. Anarchist. (This was a different channel's camera guy, not Channel 15's.)

Oh, yeah, and hey, there's Michael Moore, too.

Lacking the aforementioned requisite who-ya-know muscle, we lost out to the venue muscle in our bid to get a closer-up Wagner shot with Mr. Moore. We almost did, but some snotty busybody directed no-neck attention our way and we got ousted to the auditorium.

Regarding the event itself... it may be a byproduct of my Babdist upbringing, but I find it intensely uncomfortable whenever I find myself among a crowd of likeminded people -- even if I agree with them. And this turned out to be basically a Kerry rally, with the ambience somewhere between a rah-rah AmWay meeting and a World Wrestling Federation match. These were the kind of people intent on making their voices heard -- literally, by constantly shouting out slogans and clapping as obnoxiously as it is possible to clap. But for the difference in slogans and stickers I might've thought I was at a Libertarian party meeting. Or a revival. Lotta weirdos. I think the usual expression is, "There's one in every crowd." In this case, however, it was pretty much the whole crowd.

There was a soldier guest speaker, some guy who'd been in Iraq, but who sounded so much like Trey Parker that everything he said sounded to me like "THEY TOOK OUR JOBSSSSSSSSSS!"

My ears can barely tolerate the sound of ordinary applause, but neither of us could take the hyperattentionseeking clapping of the surrounding robots in our original seats, so we ended up moving to a completely empty section behind the stage, where an unsuspecting TV crew left its bags near us. We left a note inside one bag (written on a page from a bizarre 99-cent-store Korean notepad): TV CAMERAS CAUSE BREAST CANCER along with the D.o.C. url. Soon we noticed the bags were gone & there I was sitting, making more notes in the same notepad. If you followed the url, hello journalists (and cancel that breaking story -- we were just kidding about the cancer).

We got bored. We left. Then we went to Tempe, site of the debate. We had a Message for The People.

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