March 15, 2006

Balabananza, the Convention for Bob Balaban Fans.

BalabananzaThere should be a convention for Bob Balaban fans called Balabananza. Imagine:

People show up dressed as their favorite Bob Balaban character. “Look, I’m dressed like Enid’s Dad from Ghost World!” “Hey, check out that guy who’s dressed like Bob’s character Ted Marcus from that episode of The West Wing that he guest starred in during the 2000 season.” “Woah, that guy has every detail perfect from Bob’s costume in Gosford Park!”

There could be panel discussions with topics like:

  • Warren Littlefield vs. Russell Dalrymple - An examination of how one actor plays two NBC executives

  • The Wallace Shawn Controversy - Was it right for Bob to play William Shawn in Capote, when his own son Wallace Shawn is such an accomplished character actor?

  • My Boyfriend’s Back - What went wrong?

Bob’s costume from Close Encounters on display at Balabananza 2005
Celebrity guests on the panels could include people Bob’s worked with, like Brian Sawyer, director of Tex the Passive-Aggressive Gunslinger and that guy who played Guffman in Waiting for Guffman who I can’t picture for some reason right now (not Paul Benedict).

And there could be a whole area for vendors. You know, companies that sell Bob Balaban merchandise. Vendors like Balabanana Republic — the finest purveyor of octagonal-framed glasses — and Elmerson Entertainment, the video game company whose long-awaited terrorist-hunting game “Balaban vs. Taliban” is scheduled to finally hit stores.

It would be great. I can’t wait to go.

Update: Merchandise from Balabananza ‘96 is now available as part of the “Merchandise from Events that Never Happened” series.


I’d go - I love Bob Balaban. I’m a Balaban fan.

Hey - don’t forget cannibalism! (Parents)

Should the historical inaccuracies of Bob’s Harry Hopkins costume be ridiculed? Or would that be better discussed at October’s RuthMyersFest, the Robbinspalooza next Spring, or the semi-annual Children of the WPA Convention?

Don’t forget about Bob’s brilliant turn in Altered States.

Bob, I’m your biggest fan!!! I’ve read every single book! Will you keep writing more McGrowl books please?!

(Late to the party, as usual): Great idea! I’d go in a minute. I already have Bob’s autograph, because my brother met him once and got it for me. I’d really like to get one “in person”.

I’ve been a huge fan of Bob’s ever since I first saw him on stage in NY as Linus in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” in the 60’s (trivia: Gary Burghoff played Charlie Brown).

you fool! Guffman isn’t in “Waiting for Guffman”! remember? he doesn’t show up; they just talk about him and talk to a guy they briefly think is him. But it’s a great movie, and I would love to dress up as the music director at Balabananza 2009! “Corky’s out and I’m directing the show” what a classic, career making line!