lee “likes” eric johnson’s “cliffs of dover”

When I was in 6th grade, British guitar maestro Eric Johnson released 1990’s “Ah Via Musicom.” There’s a track on that album, “Cliffs of Dover,” which is like listening to a classical orchestra. It literally gives me goosebumps. It’s absolute guitar mastery. While there are a few live versions on the Interwebs, nothing beats this studio version. Unfortunately, there’s no music video for this song. So this slow, still montage will have to do. Feel free to search around Youtube for live versions if you don’t believe that one man alone can play this miraculous song …

lee “likes” Matt Stairs retweets

Matt Stairs retweeted me! (This was weeks before he was hired to be part of the Phillies broadcast team.)

Enough said.


* Yes, this Tweet is from February of 2014. This post is pre-dated on my blog here so the Eats/Shrugs can all be a row for your viewing pleasure. 🙂

lee “likes” PW interviews

When I was gearing up for the My Ruined Life Season 3 Premiere/Release Party/Concert, Bill Chenevert of Philly Weekly interviewed me for PW‘s style blog, which was a true honor. You can check out the original post from January 6, 2014, online here.
* Yes, this post is pre-dated on my blog here so the Eats/Shrugs can all be a row for your viewing pleasure.


Q&A: “My Ruined Life” creator Lee Porter

by Bill Chenevert

Lee Porter’s a busy guy. On the web. In addition to being heavily involved at the Azuka Theatre (”The Off-Broad Street Theater”), he’s been whipping up Web series’ galore and his pièce de résistance is about to debut its third season. To kick it off, he’s hosting a really bangin’ Underground Arts party on Wednesday night to get the word out and celebrate the third season’s launch. We cornered him to get some questions answered.

Season Three! Gotta say you guys have a great lil’ site that’s all clean and functional and user-friendly. Plug that web designer! Right now!
Indeed, we take great pride that our website is 100-percent original and slick. Web designing credit goes to my dear friend Mark Sokoloff, and our current coder is Paul Impellizeri, who also plays bass for the Philly band Wild Rompit.

How’d the idea for this series come about? Did you come up with that tagline, “Life is full of benches and theories. When your life is ruined, you sit on a lot of them?”
I had already come up with the name My Ruined Life when I was in Rittenhouse Square, and the bench idea came to me. Each episode is filmed on a different bench in Philly, featuring many of this city’s beautiful, diverse neighborhoods. It’s fun to recognize the neighborhoods and benches, which I scouted when going for a run or by recommendations from friends. The basic “plot” ofMRL is friends meeting on benches and complaining about their “ruined” lives. Yes, I came up with our tagline, and the deeper message is “As bad as you think you have it, life really isn’t that bad at all. So, let’s laugh at ourselves instead.”

Sure looks like maybe you guys have been actors and writers who’ve been in and out of service work. I would know absolutely nothing about that (Kidding: I, in fact, know all too well that shitty hellish cycle).
We all wear a lot of different hats, you could say, but that’s usually the life of the artist, isn’t it? For more info about our talented MRL family/team, check out our website for full bios of everyone involved.

Have you seen other web series online that have inspired you? Have you seenThe Outs, by chance? It definitely seems like there’s lots of growth potential in the idea of a “sophisticated” web series.
The web series is an interesting art. I think the difficult thing is expanding your audience. Today’s average attention span seems to be so short. Plus, there are millions of online programing choices. I’m confident that if you stick with it, and get just a little luck, people will eventually tune in. My favorite Web series have included smaller budget stuff, like Old Friends (whose team helped me get started with my first project fb4h.com) and Clark & Michael and larger projects, like Burning Love.

Do you guys shoot a whole season of episodes in one ambitious day or week? 
Yes, for budgetary reasons, we film and power-through each MRL season in two straight days. Our production team has grown so much stronger over the years. So, we’ve expanded from eight unique videos the first season to 13 unique videos in Season Two. This new third season consists of 16 unique videos filmed in just two days.

So what’s up with the big kick-off event? TJ Kong (& The Atomic Bomb) and Work Drugs are great bands! How’d you get connected to those dudes (Dan & Nero, anyway)?
We couldn’t ask for a better lineup for our release party! I have been a huge fan of TJ Kong & the Atomic Bomb for four-some years now. I chatted with TJ Kong (aka Dan Bruskewicz) a few times and started reading at his monthly Writers Night in America at Jose Pistola’s. Now we’re good friends. I met Work Drugs’ Nero Catalano through my talented actor friend Davy Raphaely, who starred in my online project ProjectWink.com. I described how I envisioned our MRL theme song sounding like via email, and Nero did the rest. It’s a brilliant song, and Nero will be performing it live at our upcoming Underground Arts party.

Based on my experience in Philly, good people with creative minds always end up good friends, and that’s part of the fun behind this project. We’re friends having fun, not just looking for a paycheck.

That Brian Cowden is one handsome fella. That’s not really a question so much as a statement that I wouldn’t mind you elaborating on.
Brian Cowden (aka BC) is the man. His talents are amazing. He’s got the right look, as you allude to. The sky’s the limit for this guy. I admire Brian the most for not running off to NYC or L.A. like so many talented young folk do. He’s kicking butt in the Philly theater world because he’s true to his art and believes, as do I, that today’s talent can be “discovered” anywhere.

Wanna plug something happening/comin’ up at Azuka?
I’m a member of the board of directors at Azuka Theatre, and I first discovered most of my projects’ actors, including Brian Cowden and Kristen Egermeier, at Azuka performances. Azuka Theatre is hosting free readings the week of January 13th, so swing by and check out some outstanding actors.


* You can check out the original Philly Weekly post from January 6, 2014, online here.
** Yes, this post is pre-dated on my blog here so the Eats/Shrugs can all be a row for your viewing pleasure.

lee “likes” Phillies beer interviews

If you haven’t heard, I have chronicled the locations of the draft beers at Citizens Bank Park for two seasons in a row and counting. The spreadsheet I create for my food blog Chocolate Covered Memories has gone viral throughout Philadelphia every year. When I walked Citizens Bank Park during the preseason, Kyle Scott from CrossingBroad.com followed me around and interviewed me for a video piece that was on Comcast SportsNet’s Great Sports Debate. You can check out Kyle’s original post and video, which was originally published on April 4, 2013, by clicking here.
*  Yes, this post is pre-dated on my blog here so the Eats/Shrugs can all be a row for your viewing pleasure.


A Comprehensive Citizens Bank Park Beer List

Kyle Scott —  April 4, 2013

Yes and please.

Last year, local web series producer and food blogger Lee Porter put together a list of the beers at Citizens Bank Park. It got him and his website, Chocolate Covered Memories, quite a bit of attention from this site and many others. And what’s not to love? A list of all (well, most– more on that in a second) the beers at CBP and their locations? Like I said: yes and please. So, when Lee tweeted me a heads up last week that he would be painstakingly chronicling the 2013 selection during the On-Deck Series against the Blue Jays, I asked if I could join him, film his efforts, and put them on the site and potentially the Great Sports Debate (THURSDAYS AT 7 ON THE COMCAST NETWORK!).

Sure thing, he said.

My original plan was to get some footage of Lee, talk to him for a few minutes, and then get drunk with him. I figured he was just some dude who wanted to help you, the Phillies fan, get smashed more quickly, and with better beer. And while that’s not wholly inaccurate, I was immediately taken aback by Lee’s love of good beer… and general disdain for bad ones. For him, his list serves as a necessary personal guide to weed out awful domestics (Bud, Miller, Coors) and to find the best craft and locals brews, of which Citizens Bank Park has many.* After talking to him and his girlfriend, Suzanne, for about, oh, three minutes, it was quite obvious that Lee takes his list quite seriously.

*According to CraftBeer.com, Citizens Bank Park had one of the largest selections of craft brew in the Majors in 2012, and that list seemingly grew this year.

A full-season ticket holder with his family, Lee, who produces an award-winning web series called My Ruined Life, goes to about 40 Phillies game each summer and, as a beer guy, needs to know where he can find the best CBP has to offer. Last year, for the first time ever, Aramark changed tap handles at the kiosk behind his section. That’s what inspired him to spend an entire game going around to every. single. beer. stand. chronicling what was available on draft, in bottles and cans. When he posted his findings on his website, it just sort of became a thing.


“Philadelphia Inquirer’s Craig Laban had written an article a few years ago that, in his opinion, the best beer in the ballpark on a hot summer day was Sly Fox’s Royal Weisse, which was then only located at a beer kiosk behind section 139 in left field. When it was extremely hot and the game was a boring one or a blowout, I’d trek out to left field and get a couple of those Royal Weisses and bring them back. I was thrilled and shocked when they moved that to my section. I figured if they changed tap locations for that beer, there must be others. So I figured I’d chronicle it all.”

“It usually takes one full game to [do it]. Then another game to double check everything. And then I try to double check any changes every week or so. I consciously walk around double checking drafts. I get updates from fans once in a while. The first few weeks of the season, there often are many changes. Then, by June, the drafts are usually in check.”

But here’s the thing: Lee’s list doesn’t include every beer. No, sir. You won’t find Bud, Bud Light, Bud Light Lime, Bud Light Gimmick, Miller, Coors and the like. If you drink that stuff, Lee doesn’t like you (I’m kidding– he’s actually a very friendly guy… but he probably does look down upon you, just a little bit). The list has a very specific cutoff: Stella. Lee calls it the last beer in the ballpark that he’d drink.

A beer snob? Maybe. But Lee wants to help you (and himself) find the good stuff.

Here’s an extended version of the video that appeared on Great Sports Debate. With outtakes.

And here it is: The 2013 Citizens Bank Park Beer List. Be sure to bookmark this page, as Lee will update the list throughout the 2013 season.

Lee is a Fishtown Beer Runner (a local group founded on the theory that one pint of beer is better for you than water after a long distance run, which is something I would totally test out if I could run more than seven feet). He used to work in the beer world. He knows his stuff. Obviously. And like I said, he takes this very seriously. As an example, when I asked Lee to send me his favorite beer in each area of the ballpark so I could put them on a seating map of CBP, I got the following response: There’s a decent chance they’ll move brews in the first homestand or two (they’ve done that before), so the map would need updating STAT, if so.

Good point.

But I got him to tell me anyway.

As it currently stands, these are Lee’s favorite beers at Citizen Bank Park, by location:


Lee also has some immediate observations based on the On-Deck Series (I hate capitalizing that):

  • The new, expanded and renamed Alley Brewing Co. beer bar in right field corner is awesome. It features 10 draft beers on 18 different taps and an extensive craft bottle and can list. Expect many changes to take place here game-by-game and will update the list as often as possible.
  • Based on exhibition games, during each game, one high end craft beer is poured in a special Phillies plastic cup. This was Goose Island beers (which is from Chicago), but it will likely change quite frequently.
  • Victory Summer Love has replaced Victory Hop Devil on draft almost everywhere, which will be better for the really hot months.
  • Victory Hop Devil and Victory Headwaters Pale Ale are available in bottle almost everywhere, which is amazingly awesome.
  • Nice addition of Allagash, Ommegang and Philadelphia Brewing Company bottles in many more locations.
  • The newly named “Your Dad’s Beer” kiosk behind section 103 features, among others, Miller High Life and PBR cans.
  • They’ve added a full bar, including frozen margaritas and daiquiris, to the Budweiser rooftop bar in center field above Ashburn Alley.

Basically, Lee is doing the work so you don’t have to. Which will give you more time to drink.

Lee’s 2013 Citizens Bank Park Beer List.


Lee Porter is the writer/producer of Philadelphia’s award-winning comedy web series My Ruined Life and is the founder/editor of the food blog Chocolate Covered Memories, which features interviews with, and recipes from, national food industry folk and essential Philadelphia food/drink spreadsheets. This is Lee’s second year compiling the Citizens Bank Park Beer List, and he looks forward to enjoying many more great craft beers and Phillies wins.


* You can check out Kyle’s original post and video, which was originally published on April 4, 2013, by clicking here.
**  Yes, this post is pre-dated on my blog here so the Eats/Shrugs can all be a row for your viewing pleasure.

lee “likes” geek interviews

When Season 2 of My Ruined Life came out, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Geekadelphia. Check out the full interview, as originally published on Geekadelphia.com on February 7, 2013 by clicking here.
* Yes, this post is pre-dated on my blog here so the Eats/Shrugs can all be a row for your viewing pleasure.


Q&A with Lee Porter of Philly-Based Web Series My Ruined Life

By  | on February 7, 2013

Philly’s Retro Peel Productions are on a roll. Their Philly based web series My Ruined Life has recently returned for a second season of ennui/character-based laughs that builds on the momentum of the first.

Writer/director/producer Lee Porter was recently kind enough to take time from his increasingly busy schedule to speak about My Ruined Life, how the series really comes into its own in this new season, and getting mentioned on Twitter by Questlove of The Roots.

How do you feel about the reception that My Ruined Life has received so far?

The reception to MRL has been really great. In just our first season, we were named “Best Web Series Shot in Philly” and “Audience Favorite (Web Series)” by FirstGlance Film Festival. It’s always nice to hear that your friends and family like your work. But getting recognition from an unbiased national film festival, based out of Hollywood? That really made us feel legit, assuring us that we’re onto something here.

All the Philly sites, including Geekadelphia, were really awesome about getting the word out last year. That meant a lot, too, as we were the new kid on the block. So the immediate love was greatly appreciated and heart warming.

Did you approach the second season any differently from the first? Where would you like to go with these characters from here?

The second season definitely has a lot more substance to it than the first. First of all, we added a new character Kristen (played by local actress Kristen Egermeier) into the mix. We learn more about Nate (played by local actor/comedian and Web series host Nathan Holt), his job and his relationship with The Man in Tuxedo with Beard (played by local comedian Greg Bailey). Brian (played by local actor Brian Cowden) continues to steer this comedy ship, so to speak, while getting much more animated by all of the wackiness around him. We have multiple cameos of recognizable Philly faces, too. So there’s a lot more going on this season than just two guys on a bench, waxing poetic about baby wipes.

What we’re doing with this series, at this point, is a challenging tiptoe, comedy dance along a balance beam. On the one hand, our loyal audience understandably wants to learn more about these characters and be invested in some sort of journey. On the other hand, we’re still growing our audience base, so we need to make our episodes, even in this second season, accessible to brand new viewers. Combine all of that with the short attention span of Internet viewers, and it’s definitely a balancing act. I’m confident that our second season offers much more depth than our first season, while, at the same time remains easily accessible to brand new viewers.

Someday, hopefully, given the resources and a larger audience, we can expand on the depth and plot. At the same time, they’re two-minute comedy bits. So we simply want viewers to recognize and feel connected to us, and we want to make people laugh.

How would you describe the series to someone who has never seen it before?

The premise of the My Ruined Life series is simple: two friends meeting up on a different Philly bench each episode, discussing (or often complaining) about their “ruined” lives, be that their jobs, their interactions with women or some wacky neurotic quirks of theirs. Now in Season 2, we see them interacting with others, some real and some imaginary characters.

We film all over Philadelphia. So we always shoot on different benches in different neighborhoods throughout this gorgeous city of ours. While our show purposefully avoids the standard Philly references and jokes (no cheesesteak jokes ever), we love our connection to Philly. Our local audience gets a kick out of seeing which neighborhood each episode is filmed at and what benches we’re on. I’ve had people come up to me and say, “My apartment was in the background of your show.” So we get a kick out of being Philly-centric and identifiable to Philadelphians, while being accessible to someone who’s never stepped foot in this city before.

It’s short comedy bits, ranging from 40 seconds to four minutes, usually about two minutes each. And it need not matter if you’ve been watching since the beginning or are just jumping in now. The show started as a way for me to showcase some of my favorite jokes, which are bits from various screenplays of mine. It’s taken off to be much more than that now though.

In this day and age, in this economy, I think it’s important to take a step back and laugh at life. Our lives may not be perfect, but hopefully we can ease people’s moods, make them laugh and forget their complaints for a couple minutes and maybe even reflect that, no matter what, life is good.

Recently, Questlove tweeted about the show. How did you find out about this, and what was your response?

Man, was I pumped about that. We all were. The second he tweeted about our show, my cellphone blew up. A bunch of friends had seen it right away. So I got a kick out of that and fell asleep counting imaginary Questlove drumbeats instead of sheep that night.

Questlove is an absolute hero to me. I hate to date myself to you youngins’ out there, but I’ve been listening to The Roots since 1995. I saw them open for the Beastie Boys and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at the now-demolished Civic Center in May of 1995, I believe, on the Ill Communication tour. I mean, can you imagine The Roots opening for Jon Spencer Blues Explosion now?

So without spoiling the joke, there is a reason that Questlove likes this season’s second episode “Quest.” That two-minute episode is actually based on a full screenplay of mine. The premise is two Philly guys desperately trying to get in touch with Questlove for two distinctly different reasons. So the screenplay is filled with scenes featuring Quest, Black Thought, Jimmy Fallon, the entire Roots gang, including former bassist Leonard Hubbard. Hopefully, Quest, The Roots and Fallon team keep watching our show. And who knows, maybe one of them will want to read the full script. Man, that would be “The Ultimate” … I mean, sick.

Will there be a third season?

Absolutely! Is Geekadelphia ready to pay for it?  Haha. In all seriousness, it costs a lot of dinero to fund this project. For Season 2, we received tremendous support from friends, family and fans, backing our Kickstarter campaign. Ideally, I’d like to get a corporate sponsor or an executive producer on board for Season 3. I know most of our cast and crew are one hundred percent committed to this. My cast and crew are always family to me, and this gang is extra special and such a joy to work with. More than anything, if Questlove is digging it, heck, there’s no reason not to keep going, right?

What, if any, other projects are you currently working on?

Right now, I’m busy wearing my producer hat – marketing MRL – while also wearing my writer’s hat. Winter time is my favorite time to write. I’ve been working on a play that I’ve promised myself I’m going to finish. I’m working on my third novel. Both of those involve the modern food world. I’ve got a TV pilot I’m working on that I’m hoping to finish this winter. And I’m always working on new bits for the MRL gang. So yeah, I’ve got my hands full. And when I’m not busy writing and producing, I can always sit on a bench and complain about my “ruined” life, right?

My Ruined Life episodes are released almost every Sunday evening. For new episode announcements and news updates, follow My Ruined Life on Facebook.


Check out the full interview, as originally published on Geekadelphia.com on February 7, 2013 by clicking here.
* Yes, this post is pre-dated on my blog here so the Eats/Shrugs can all be a row for your viewing pleasure.

lee “likes” kitten shoutouts

We (My Ruined Life) received a very cool shoutout from the always-funny Anna Goldfarb of ShmittenKitten.com.

Check it out by clicking here.



* Yes, this shoutout is from February of 2013. This post is pre-dated on my blog here so the Eats/Shrugs can all be a row for your viewing pleasure. 🙂

lee “likes” questlove tweets


Enough said.

Check it out:

* Yes, this Tweet is from January of 2013. This post is pre-dated on my blog here so the Eats/Shrugs can all be a row for your viewing pleasure.