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In search of Woody

Teacher pens film, song to nerdy idol

High school algebra teacher Keith Black might not look like the next pop star or movie idol - but he isn't about to let a small detail like that stand in the way of fame.

The self-described neurotic and die-hard Woody Allen fan is doggedly determined to become both.

"I want to challenge Woody Allen to a neurotic contest," said Black, 36, a Sheepshead Bay High School teacher who already has made headlines with his award-winning short film "Get the Script to Woody Allen," which chronicles his neurotic love life and ambition to meet his idol.

Now Black has teamed up with another Sheepshead Bay teacher to record a humorous single, "The Get the Script to Woody Allen Blues," which also is starting to attract attention.

"Who's crazier, the man with a thousand neuroses or the man who wants to be that man?" quipped Black, who actually once managed to slip a script to Allen as he left the Carlyle Hotel on the upper East Side after playing with his jazz band.

Black's four-minute song has already bween played on "The Joey Reynolds Show" on WOR radio. So what if it aired at 1 a.m.? Black hopes it's just the beginning.

These days after school, Black is busy calling radio stations pleading for airtime, just as he has brazenly pitched his film to honchos from Allen to Harvey Weinstein.

"I'll cold-call anybody," said Black, who lives with his mother in Old Mill Basin, Brooklyn, and is a king of self-deprecating one-liners.

"I have a dual personality: Getting a producer to read my script, that's easy," he added. "But calling up a girl? Ooh, that scares me."

Black's song parodies his nerdy character from his short film - who notoriously uses a two-for-one dinner coupon on a first date.

In a whiny rap with a thick Brooklyn accent, Black chronicles the lengths he has gone to meet Allen and make it big.

"Instead of quietly stalking and risking time in jail, I went and made a movie. Now, I'm trying to make a sale," he sings to a blues beat.

"It's on Showtime in Australia and on Northwest Airlines in the sky. But I'll miss it in those places 'cause I'm too afraid to fly."

Black, whose students have dubbed him "Dollar-50" in a nod to rapper 50 Cent, said the song started as a few lines he spontaneously sang out loud while writing math problems on the board.

His students loved it, he said, so he paired up with Adam Vicelich, the school's performing arts teacher, to record a song. With Vicelich writing the music and Black the lyrics, the two honed the song after school at their "office" - Knapp Street Pizza.

"We even ran the lines by the pizza guy," said Black. "It was just a spontaneous thing."

Vicelich, who is in a band called Closenuf, said they recorded the final song in just three hours in a studio at his house. "We were hysterical the whole time," said Vicelich, 31. "When you think of the blues, you think of an old raspy voice, and then Keith comes on with this Woody Allen-esque comedy voice that you don't expect to hear."

Pop star is just Black's latest career ambition. His first job after college was as a tax accountant, but he soon switched to teaching. Then, after a bad breakup, he began writing scripts and taking acting and comedy classes as a form of therapy.

Next, Black hopes to make a full-length film based on the same character and take Hollywood by storm - though there's one problem: his neurotic fear of flying.

Never fear, Black has a solution. He plans to use a two-for-one coupon on Greyhound to take the bus to California with his mom, Linda.

"My mom says, "So you made a movie, but you still can't make your bed,' " he sings in his song. "She says, "If I can't have a grandson, I'll take an Oscar home instead.' "

Excepts from 'The Get the Script to Woody Allen Blues'

by Keith Black

(Spoken) Dear Mr. Allen,
I handed you a script a few years ago at the Cafe Carlyle but you never called. I got to say, you kind of hurt my feelings. Look, I know you're busy making movies and everything. Well, anyway, here's a little song that I wrote especially for you. Hit it.

(Sung) I gave my script to your dentist,
and one to your barber man,
even co-paid to your shrink,
trying every way I can.
I thought your agent would be helpful
but he threatened to sue
Seems no one cares when you got those
Get the Script to Woody Allen Blues.

(Spoken) Woody Allen is my hero. He's the greatest director, actor, writer of all time. I love Woody Allen. In fact I was so depressed growing up 'cause I had 20-20 vision. My dream came true in High School when I finally needed my first pair of glasses. Woody Allen you're the greatest.

(Sung) I went to a Knicks game,
hoping for a chance we'd meet.
Almost fainted when I found out
it was over two hundred bucks a seat.
I even consulted my Rabbi,
but he had his own script, too.

Originally published on April 7, 2005

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