Billy Corben is disappointed he has been selected for the New Times People issue instead of the food issue. Fortunately, aside from being a person, Corben is also a sandwich.
Whereas Corben the person is Miami's leading documentary filmmaker, Corben the sandwich is twin slabs of brisket on Portuguese muffins with Dijon mustard, au jus, accompanied by potato latkes. Its creator, Danny Serfer of Blue Collar restaurant, claims the man and the sandwich named in his honor are very much alike: "The Corben is two sandwiches and two latkes, so it takes a while to eat, much like it takes Billy a while to tell a story."
Corben doesn't dispute that. "As with everything, as I get older, it takes even longer," he says. On February 24, he'll premiere The Tanning of America on VH1, a four-part hip-hop documentary that "is nearly twice as long as anything I've ever done."
But becoming a sandwich is not easy. And because most everyone else featured in the People issue is a person, we decided to give equal time to Corben the sandwich. The sandwich, after all, has a unique insight into Billy Corben.
"He is a degenerate film score buff," the Corben says of its namesake. "He loves film scores and also still collects action figures. But he hasn't swallowed an action figure for some decades now."
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Having spent considerable time in Billy Corben's stomach, the Corben is able to reveal that Billy Corben's near limitless vigor is the result of his compulsive chewing of Jolt Energy gum, "a lot" of which has been swallowed and remains deep within Billy Corben.
As a bloody wad of meat, does the Corben feel that it would have been better-suited to tell the story in Dawg Fight, Billy Corben's upcoming documentary about backyard mixed martial arts in South Florida?
The Corben clarifies that he is not a bloody wad "the way Danny cooks me. I'm not rare; I'm well-cooked." But, he says, "as a bloody wad of meat, I feel well-suited to telling any story in the state of Florida."
One area where the Corben is not sui generis, however, is in having been chewed up and shat out repeatedly by Billy Corben.