Sunday, February 13, 2011

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Jim & Rocky's Barback Pro-Am

Last week, Rocky Yeh — bartender at Seattle's shuttered Vessel and no slouch in the consumable vice department — emailed asking if I'd like to barback on screen. He and coworker Jim Romdall are traveling down the West Coast to throw down the barback gauntlet wherever they alight to local liquor types. The resulting videos will be posted on the Small Screen Network.

Now, I'll put my mug on camera here and there: for news crews, documentaries, and various broadcast and academic hoo-haws. In fact, if you look closely at the movie In Her Shoes, you'll see me in an uncredited role as a cheesemonger. That shoot was a lot of standing around, bullshitting with Toni Collette and Brooke Smith in between takes, and not doing anything particularly taxing.

Jim & Rocky dispatch a pig
Rocky would have me compete with actual bartenders to see how long I could keep up. That'd be like shooting fish out of a barrel — with me as the fish. So, while I politely declined, I did like the idea of catching up with the boys while they're in town. Next Sunday, February 20th, they'll be at El Dorado in San Diego. Look closely and you may just see me as in an uncredited role as the whiskey drinker.

Jim and Rocky write:
Come watch (and follow) Geoff Kleinman (@drinkspirits), Jennifer Heigl (@dailyblender), Quinn Sweeney(@M_Quinn), Humuhumu Trott(@humuhumu), Ron Dollete(@lushangeles), Tatsu Oiye(@toiye), Chuck Taggart(@sazeracLA), Marleigh Riggins Miller (@nerdling), Stevi Deter (@smd) and Paul Clarke (@cocktailchron) compete in their respective cities! 
You can follow their shenanigans at the Jim and Rocky Barback Challenge Facebook page.

Pro-Am Schedule and Locations

Portland (Jen Heigl and Geoff Kleinman)
Irving St. Kitchen February 13th 6pm-10pm
Pope House February 14th 8pm-close

San Francisco (Quinn Sweeney and Humuhumu Trott)
Cantina February 16th 6pm-10pm
Cantina February 17th 6pm-10pm

San Diego / Orange County (Ron Dollette and Tatsu Oiye)
El Dorado February 20th 6pm-9pm
320 Main February 21st 6pm-11pm

Los Angeles (Chuck Taggart and Marleigh Riggins Miller)
Bar Kitchen February 23rd TBD
Caña February 24th TBD

Seattle (Stevi Deter and Paul Clarke)
Rob Roy February 27th 7pm-Close
Needle & Thread February 28th 6pm-Close 


Anonymous said...

I still think you're being a great southern nancy for not having a go at it.

Matthew Rowley said...

You know, I had been thinking of opening a bar near a med school called Matty's Prescription Pad (nobody, but NObody, drinks as much as med students).

Now? Now, maybe it should be a gay bar called the Great Southern Nancy.

I am reminded of a book called "The Servant" by Alistair McAlpine, onetime advisor to Margaret Thatcher. The book was penned as a companion piece to Machiavelli's "The Prince" and broke down a devoted servant's role. Among his numerous deviousnesses, McAlpine advises to stick to those topics one knows and not pass comment on those one doesn't. Say what you will about Thatcher's reign, that right there is some solid advice (even if he pinched it from Lincoln).

So if you want to come to town to film a challenge about writing, editing, moonshine, distilling, pastry, advertising, PR, charcuterie, book collecting, museological theory and practice, pickles, or even cheese, I'm game.

But barbacking? I'll leave it to the professionals, the swift, and the young.

Chuck T. said...

Funnily enough, Rocky forgot to mention the part about how it's being filmed until after I had already been roped in.

"I wanted a mission ... and for my sins they gave me one."

Matthew Rowley said...

Oh, I assumed it would be filmed, Chuck — why waste an opportunity like that? Had lunch with M&D yesterday — We talked about all kinds of things (including your interaction with an impatient NOLA cab driver and a gas truck), but failed completely to talk about this ProAm. At an hour and a half, lunch was just too short.

Stevi Deter said...

Wait. What. Film? Damn you, Small Screen Networks!

Matthew Rowley said...

@ Stevi — "I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. Yeh."