Real-life freaks and geeks gathered at Gallery 1988 Tuesday night for the opening of the A Tribute to Judd Apatow group show featuring more than 70 artists. There were artistic interpretations of almost every character from Apatow's films and TV shows, from the Freaks and Geeks cast to Baxter, the Spanish-speaking dog from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
As with every one of the gallery's themed shows, the line outside stretched down the block. But actors Martin Starr and Seth Rogen (we thought we smelled pot), not to mention Apatow himself, still swung buy and marveled at all the pieces. We asked the filmmaker if he had any favorites, and he pointed to Cuyler Smith's watercolors inspired by Anchorman and Superbad as among the ones he had purchased.
Singling out our favorites wasn't easy, but “by the beard of Zeus” — to quote Will Ferrell's Burgundy from Anchorman — we did. Here's our list of 10 highlights:
10. John C. Reilly was spoofing Johnny Cash in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and Jack White was impersonating Elvis. Jon Smith's The Wrong Kid Died screenprint and watercolor combines both the King and the Man in Black, referencing Elvis' eponymous 1956 album. The title also references one of the movie's running lines from Cox's dad, who wished it had been Cox who had been accidentally killed by a machete instead of his brother.
9. Plenty of love for the short-lived cult favorite Freaks and Geeks, including Julie Vickerman's Bionic watercolor. In the TV show's second episode, Starr's four-eyed Bill Haverchuck dresses as Lindsay Wagner from The Bionic Woman on Halloween. He and the rest of the geeks get teased, egged and have their candy jacked.
8. Jason Segel was the Zeppelin-loving, Bonham-is-God drummer in the freak half of Freaks and Geeks. Here, he's canonized in Ronlewhorn's Saint Segel print. The gallery covered up the naughty bits with a Post-It that read, “Lift if you're over 18!”
Up next: You wanna know how I know you're gay?
7. Luke Lombardo's You wanna know how I know? giclee canvas print plays with the “You wanna know how I know you're gay?” exchange between Rogen and Paul Rudd from both The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up (from the DVD extras), except we're almost certain it's “You like Coldplay.”
6. In Casey Weldon's O Captain! My Captain (shown in one of the gallery's previous exhibits), Apatow looks like he's up to his chest with the interchangeable faces (same brown 'fro, after all) of Ferrell, Rogen and Jonah Hill.
5. Mark Pingitore's Afternoon Delight painting — remember the scene in Anchorman when the cast breaks into Starland Vocal Band's “Afternoon Delight”? — likens Burgundy and the gang to the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. Cute, but also creepy when you consider the song is about afternoon sex.
Up next: Man-O-Lantern
4. JoKa's Man-O-Lantern (painted with toothpicks) looks like a prop from The 40 Year-Old Virgin. Steve Carell's character gets his chest waxed in the hopes of scoring with the ladies and screams a bunch of expletives and Kelly Clarkson's name from all the pain. We're not sure if the artist went through the same agony, but the hair and wax residue look real.
3. Anthony Petrie's The 40 Year-Old Action Figure comes complete with a packet of condoms, VHS porn, bottle of lotion and a swivel arm for wanking. “Girlfriend not included.”
Up next: Steve Carell
2. Anchorman was a Ferrell's vehicle, but Jon Defreest's Sweet Brick digital print reminds us that it was also Carell's breakout role in which he played everyone's favorite “legally retarded” meteorologist.
1. Rogen may be Apatow's go-to guy, but Anchorman was one of the filmmaker's funniest comedies. And here's Ferrell in Darin Shock's Anchorman mixed media piece. You can almost hear the baby-making jazzy flute. This should hang above the buyer's bed.