Not a Polish Joke
He may have served you a drink once upon a time at a Turtle Creek-area bar, or perhaps he integrated your company's software. That was awhile back, before Josh Barker left Dallas for Los Angeles to become an actor, before he built a small résumé (in such films as Sometimes a Hero and with guest spots on J.A.G. and That '70s Show) that climaxes, for now, with a role in the rural fairy tale Northfork, about the man-made flooding of a Montana town in 1955. (For a full review, see page 50.) In short: great movie, amazing cast and a helluva break for a guy from Dallas who got the part when Mark and Michael Polish, the brothers who wrote and directed Northfork, decided they didn't need a Friend.
Before you got the call, Matthew Perry was being considered for your role?
I met with Mark on a Wednesday, talked about our dogs--we both have boxers--and at the time they were holding for Matthew Perry. They'd given him a 2 p.m. deadline, then called me at 1 and said, "Screw it, you're in."
I couldn't have seen him in the role.
People have said that, but they were stacking the names. Films sell with people's names. They go see it because they love Nick, they love Jimmy, and one more name wasn't gonna hurt.
The movie's brilliant, but Entertainment Weekly hated it.
They gave it a D minus. I don't think they watched the film. That's not me being involved in it. They just didn't get it at all. I felt like they had an ax to grind with the Polish brothers.
You left here in '99. What were you doing before moving to L.A.?
I was with Andersen Consulting doing systems integration. Say you have a company with a financial system and a sales and distribution system and accounting system, all those have to...
Stop. You're giving me tired head.
Right. It bored me to tears. I was miserable.
So, this must be like going from Triple-A to starting in the majors.
Exactly. There was an after-party Paramount Classics had at Sundance, and the response I got there was fantastic. Hollywood will see it for sure. Whether Middle America does is another question. My expectations are to parlay this into additional work, because this is the beginning of my career. I am proud to be associated with a piece of art, because I got into acting for the art. But I also want to make a living, and hopefully I can do that. --Robert Wilonsky
A relative offered me a trip to Jamaica, and although I'm not a beach person, I took her up on it for the free vacation. Having no idea what I was in for, the two of us and some other friends arrived at the all-inclusive resort Hedonism III in Montego Bay. If you don't want to read ahead, I'll sum it up for you: frightening then, funny now, and clothing should never be "optional." Here are some things we kept track of during our stint at Hedo III and its island home:
Porters selling pot to arriving passengers: 4
Cigarettes smoked before receiving lewd comment: 1/2
Minutes on terrifying bus ride to the resort: 100
Naked people seen in first 10 minutes after check-in: 6
Said naked people who qualify for senior citizen discount: 3
Mirrors on ceiling in hotel room: 2 (one over tub...ew)
Times a staff member replied with "Ya mon": too many to count
Staff members who actually say "Ya mon" away from tourists: 0
Times I flew on a trapeze: 2
People total who should not have been naked but were: 60
Times I was nude: 7
Times I was nude and not in the shower: 0
Balconies with direct view into our bathroom: 1
Naked people participating in a "shaving cream bikini" parade: 30-plus
Ingredients in my favorite tropical drink "the Hummingbird": 8
Exposed breasts during Saturday's resort feast: 6 pairs
Cases of "even if it's made in your size, that doesn't mean you should wear it": 30
Hairy asses during impromptu nude parade No. 2: 6
Dio look-alikes: 2
Folks who look like they should have been in Cannonball Run: 10
People seen actually engaging in sexual activity: 12
Length, in inches, of most "impressive" junk (estimated, of course): 8
Naked (yes, fully naked) people on my snorkeling tour: 2
Couples that got engaged during trip: 1
Nude calendar shoots on the premises: 3
Visible piercings on one of the models: 7
Signs along road advertising "Cock Soup": 1
There is a law, and you can look it up if you want, stating that if you have a reality show, you are required to feature at least one person from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We're not sure why, but it's true. The latest member of the group is one Matthew JC, the singer-guitarist for locals Pulling Wool who was recently given the boot, after two days, from Fox's Paradise Hotel. MJC is prolly better off without it, since we have a feeling that in Fox's version of Paradise, the crabs aren't just on the beach.
So you didn't last too long, huh?
What's the "thank God" for?
My life was just up in a heaval. I was gone for, like, a week and a half, and I come back, and they're like, "OK, you're on the show two days from now." I'm like, "Aw, shit." So we had to cancel our big Taste of Dallas show. We stopped playing in April to rework stuff from our management, and we were about to come back. But we put everything on hold. And when I got there, it was just like another vacation.
When you found out you were going on the show were you thinking, "Maybe I could get some exposure for the band?" Or, "Maybe I can hook up?"
Hands down, the first thing I thought about was, "I'm wearing my Pulling Wool T-shirt." And I got Fox to license all of my songs, so I couldn't play cover songs, I could only play originals. When I got down there and they got me my guitar--you know, when I actually won and got to be on the show--I put on, like, shows for them for, like, two nights. And, of course, they show the stupidest song on air. They didn't even play my good shit. But, at the same time, the message board [on paradiseonfox.com], man, there were so many awesome, awesome remarks from people that they've checked out our Web site [www.pullingwool.com], listened to our songs. Our Web site went from 900 hits a day, 1,000 hits a day to maybe 15,000 hits a day.
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So what does the "JC" stand for?
Well, my middle initial is John and my last name is Cehi. But since Cehi is pronounced "chay" and spelled c-e-h-i, no one can ever get it right. So I just figured "JC" kind of fit, and from a business standpoint, it's a lot easier to remember.
Oh, OK. I was thinking it might mean "Jesus Christ."
They even asked me that question. Everyone was like, "Do you think you're some kind of God?" For the love of God, it's my initials, people. --Zac Crain