Best Popcorn Vendor - 2005
Joe Rukus at the Metreon
This performer puts the pop in popcorn. A fixture at the Metreon's weekend flicks, Rukus wheels his red concessions cart from theater to theater, belting show tunes and songs from TV (most recently, the theme to Gilligan's Island) and dispensing snacks and life lessons. He lists Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon among his influences; once he's inside a theater, he steps in front of the screen to perform his five-minute routine, a machine-gun monologue that changes every month and mixes homemade koans about the trials and tribulations of the human pursuit with a blazing inventory of the goodies on his cart. Popcorn. Icees. Milk Duds. Sour Patch Kids. M&M's. Gooooobers. If you want the good stuff, Rukus has got you covered. He ends every performance with this Auntie Mame quote: "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death." The message? Come stuff your gob with some sweet, sweet candy.