Freudian Slips: Out of My Gourd...Smashing Pumpkins

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

October 11, 2010

Out of My Gourd...Smashing Pumpkins

A total of seven handpicked actors and models gathered on hallowed ground along the Delaware/Maryland border at a ground zero site called The Chunk for an unusual photo shoot. Hired by the Discovery Channel to work as a model for a print ad campaign, this was unlike any entertainment gig I had done before.
The models were a crosssection stereotype of rare breeds who gather every year the weekend after Halloween to hurl…pumpkins. Hurlers launch pumpkins from contraptions like slingshots, catapults, and cannons not just for shits and giggles but for notoriety in the form of trophies and charted world records. Last year, seventy five thousand spectators attended these outrageous pumpkin shooting world championships. From the little taste of pumpkin that I got, hurlers seem to be a mixed bag of diehard competitors, nuts and bolts engineers and pseudo athlete.
I entered the scene to promote the benchmark silver anniversary of the celebrated event. Television crews will be filming the live event called Punkin Chunkin then slicing it up to be aired on television. While everyone’s pumpkin pie is trying to digest Thanksgiving night, pumpkin hurling can be seen at 9pm on the Science Channel. For anyone who thinks Smashing Pumpkins is just an alternative rock band or something to do on Mischief Night, think again. Since Punkin Chunkin scored the Science Channel’s highest rated episode in 2009, they have seeded a plan to promote the pumpkin gut out of this year’s event. Thanks to the laws of gravity, it’s guaranteed to be a smashing success.
After surviving this shoot, I have utmost respect for any model showing wares from runway to pumpkin patch. The wardrobe department changed and propped the models out to the fabric maximum with accessories like horned pumpkin helmets, hardhats, sledgehammer, binoculars, rebel flags and those giant foam fingers you hate to sit behind at sporting events. We are wearing fling not bling. We posed for hundreds of individual and group photos…flashbulb popping pictures with your body positioned in awkward poses while holding props and manufactured faces that had to seem as natural as a second skin.
As compressed air from a decorated cannon launches pumpkins across the grey sky behind my frozen pose on hay bales, the deafening wind wooshes serve as an uncanny backdrop to the photo shoot. Invisible to the naked eye, participants follow the pumpkin’s trajectory with field binoculars across a beaten field that appears to be setup more like a medieval battlefield. Not a closed set in the least, the practitioners hooting and hollering sounds genuinely contagious. Crew members strategically throw smoke bombs behind me to create ethereal photos. A famous pumpkin hurler named Fat Jimmy is next to me scratching his ZZ top beard like a caricature of himself. Huge flashbulbs pop again in my ears and eyes. When I blink, my mind’s eye catches a glimpse of the action like an out of body experience. I think to myself that I must be out of my gourd even though I am right where I want to be…in the thicket of things.
The rumors on the set place this campaign ad on roadside billboards and in magazines such as Rolling Stone and ESPN. I temper my premature excitement on the set. To not get a big head, I may have to keep it stuffed inside a pumpkin helmet right through the Thanksgiving holiday.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love it!

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great story

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:42 PM  
Blogger lady_rose said...

ya know, some say those pumpkins fly as far as the moon...

7:41 PM  
Anonymous akpharm71 said...

One of my favorite events of the year is watching the Pumpkin Chunkin competition and have always wanted to be there for the actual event. Must have been a blast!!!

12:44 PM  

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