Jeremy's Ramblings, Babblings, and Other Pretentious Bullshit.
Friday, May 28, 2004
Maybe it's the gloomy weather (like I said to someone earlier this week, all of L.A. and Orange County shuts down when there's gloomy weather), or maybe it's the crappy muzak that they've decided to start playing here at work (they started out so well this morning with Bob Dylan's "Shelter From the Storm", then it went to The Carpenters' "Close to You", and now it's generic mall food court sap), but my mood is somewhat crummy, and I have come to a conclusion: people should stop telling stories about their families. I really don't care about that "really cute" thing your four year-old niece said the other day. I don't tell you the details of my boring life (unless you read these posts, in which case I do, and that's by your own choice), so please show me the same respect.
Oh, hold on, I have a phone call (okay, that statement is somewhat false. While I was, in fact, interrupted from writing this blog by a phone call, it was not at the moment of writing the above sentence. I simply stopped writing, took the phone call, and then returned to write that I was being interrupted, just so that I could have a somewhat smooth transition into my next topic. Sorry for leading you on).....
Okay, I'm back from my phone call (wink, wink), and I get some really good news. A good friend of mine - who goes by the name of Katie (she doesn't actually look like that. That's from a show she was acting in) and is currently studying theatre at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington - is in town and will be here until Thursday. This makes me extremely happy, because Katie is the definition of "cool" (cool: adj. ko-ol - to be a short, spunky brunette who is not only confident but treats others with respect). She's the only girl I can ever claim to have been in love with (ah, those good old high school days, when I had no clue about anything).
So that totally turned me around. My apologies to those with families. Say whatever the hell you want to about your niece, whatever, I'll live.
And in other news, I have a zit the size of Mount Rushmore on my face. I'm not normally one to worry about stuff like that, but this wanker is enormous. I'm more fascinated than disgusted by it. I'm telling you, it's amazing.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
I was born in the wrong time. I needed to be in the entertainment industry in the 1930's.
I have the DVD to "It Happened One Night", and one of its special features is the original 1939 hour-long radio play of the movie (before they had television, they would recreate the movie using the original actors). Listening to it last night, it reminded me of just how great of a movie it is. If you haven't seen it, you're missing one of the greatest romantic comedies ever.
I love the world of the 1930's Hollywood. The music was sweeping but not yet epic. The actors were both sassy and whimsical, and you believed that they weren't just playing a role. The movies were a world of hitchhikers, bus rides, cruise ships, newspaper offices, songs by Gershwin and Porter, lengthy tap dance routines, fast-talking women, cigar-chomping men, and curvy "dames" who were always able to hold their own in an argument.
Of course, if I were working in the entertainment industry in the 1930's, it would be imperative that I would be making enough to not be a victim of that pesky Great Depression (damn you, Hoover!). Just as a writer/actor for radio, something like what Orson Welles did. That's where I belong.
Sunday, May 23, 2004
Anyone familiar with Orange County is familiar with the Irvine Spectrum, and anyone familiar with the Irvine Spectrum will be familiar with the big ferris wheel (a ferris wheel in an outdoor mall? For pure ostentatiousness, come to Southern California!). I was there with some friends last night, and we all went on it. And while riding it, I realized two things:
1). Amusement park rides are enjoyable to the masses not only because they offer some sort of thrill ("Look at how fast/high/wet were going/getting!"), but because they are a safe bet. The one constant about a theme park ride is that after your journey is finished, you'll end up right back where you started. You won't be deposited in some ugly place you've never been before. You'll arrive at the destination you left. That offers a kind of security that few other thrills in life can offer.
2). A ferris wheel shouldn't be built in a mall. We get in this machine that takes us to heights we could not normally achieve, and what amazing sights did we get to see? The tops of buildings and parking lots. How depressing and anticlimactic was that after paying money, standing in line, and slowly being lifted ten stories into the air? I would rather have a ferris wheel at something like a national park. However, to prevent from taking away the beauty of the place, there can't be any traveling lights, bright colors or annoying music. Just the nature and the steel rotating frame. In fact, maybe a ferris wheel wouldn't fit in a national park, a large hunk of machinery in a natural habitat. Maybe there just shouldn't be ferris wheels since there doesn't seem to be any place where they truly fit.
Just a thought.
Thursday, May 20, 2004
So I am now (finally) in a show again. I will be playing Giuseppe Zangara, the fiery Italian immigrant who tried to assassinate F.D.R., in a production of "Assassins" in Fullerton. This will probably be my most challenging role yet, considering that I am a 22 year-old 5'8" baritone of mixed descent who is being asked to play a 33 year-old 5'0" Italian tenor. However, the choreography for my big song will be easy since I sing it in an electric chair. I am really excited for this show, since it's a good role at a good show at a good theatre with a good director. I'll definitely keep all of you (I'm still unsure if anyone reads these) posted as the show progresses.
It just feels so nice to actually be doing something with my nights. I've been in a funk for the past three months, just waiting for something eventful to happen in my life. And now it has. I haven't felt like I've had a purpose lately (as you could probably tell by my posts, which ranged from banal recounting to depressed rants), and now here's one, delivered to me just in the nick of time. Viva Italia!
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Right now I'm listening to the new album from The Streets, a 23 year-old English hip-hop singer who raps about the monotony and hopelessness of life in Birmingham. It's called "A Grand Don't Come For Free", and it centers around a thousand dollars of his that goes missing and he spends the album trying to figure out who of his mates took it. Great stuff. I also recommend his first album "Original Pirate Material".
So this morning as I was leaving for work I found a letter to someone lying in front of my garage. Since I live my life through other people, I read it. It was a love letter, and it was filled with some of the most beautiful amateur prose I had ever read. This guy was talking about how this girl was the only good thing in his life, and how he loved her with everything he had, and although he was away, he knew that soon they would be in each others arms, where they belong. I'm not doing the actual letter justice, but it was obviously written by someone who is filled with love and devotion for this woman.
Two things struck me about the letter: One, that is was thrown away (perhaps the feelings aren't mutual). Two, that I have never said something like that to anyone, nor has anyone ever said it to me. It makes me wonder what I have been doing with my life. I can tell you what will most likely win the Tony's this year, and what of the recent albums are worth buying, and which summer films will be the hottest. But I couldn't tell you what the eyes of someone in love with you looks like, or about great morning after conversations that I've had. I've been deeply in love only once, and that wasn't even returned, which ended up making me more closed off and distrusting.
I often have doubts about the life that I'm leading, and my friends always argue by saying, "You've done so many things." But that's the problem. I've done things. I haven't had feelings, just experiences. It's like the musical "Sunday in the Park With George" (a weird analogy, but I've been on a Sondheim kick lately) when the character of George says, "I care about things," and his lover replies, "Things, not people." I saw a movie last night called "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring" about the life of a Buddhist monk in Korea from childhood to old age. It was a remarkable movie that grabbed some real emotions from me, although it was a mostly plotless film. I was trying to figure out how such a quiet wandering film could take so much out of me. I realized it was because the emotions were handled in real ways, as opposed to the usual stupid cinematic ways, and that it was too hard for me to handle. It makes me wonder what I need to change in my life.
Oh, and in other news, I've decided to completely eliminate sodas from my diets. That's not going to be the aforementioned big change, but it's probably a start.
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
There are three films that I've seen so far this year that I'm sure I will still be talking about by the end of the year:
1). Kill Bill, Vol. 2 - When paired with Vol. 1, it is everything you wish a movie to be. Funny, romantic, sad, exciting, scary, beautiful, all of it. Any doubts I ever had about Uma Thurman have gone by the wayside.
2). Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - Charlie Kaufman is the best screenwriter in Hollywood right now, Michel Gondry the best director the field of music videos ever had, and Jim Carrey one of the most consistently pleasing and surprising of today's Hollywood stars. The trio - along with Kirsten Dunst, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson, Elijah Wood, and David Cross - managed to make a film that is odd and stylistic, yet surprisingly accessible.
3). Super Size Me - Morgan Spurlock's funny, stylish documentary is in the vein of Michael Moore with its in-your-face confrontation of the dangers of fast food. Centered around a self-inflicted experiment in which he eats only McDonald's food for thirty days straight, the statistics presented (along with the damage to Spurlock's body) are staggering.
Monday, May 17, 2004
Also, check out this site right here. This guy took the G.I. Joe public service annoucements (for those of you who watched the cartoon, that was the last two minutes of the show, when the real American heroes would take time out of saving the world to tell some bratty suburban kids not to play with matches) and redubbed the voices. It's random (along the lines of Adult Swim on Cartoon Central) and it's hilarious. I recommend numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, 14, 15, 17, 20, 22 and 24.
As I get ready for my third audition in two weeks ("Assassins" at Hunger Artists in Fullerton), I'm starting to worry. I wasn't able to get my last two auditions, both of which felt better than they must have looked (usually it's the other way around). I've all but given up on stand-up comedy due to my frustration with the environment. I play piano, juggle, and tap dance, but none of them well to make it professionally (people have argued this with me, but those same people do not have a knowledge of what it takes to be a professional pianist, tap dancer or juggler). I've been having success as a writer, but I had someone very close to me tell me that it's not the best thing that I do. So what is? All of these things that I don't do well enough to make a living in? Then what am I doing? Will I ever be an entertainer, or an office lackey who does theatre in his off time? I guess tonight might prove something to me.
In happier news, I saw the documentary "Super Size Me" last night, and it's awesome. I highly recommend to everyone. Yes, everyone.
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
I'll talk briefly about my auditions (that's not why I'm here right now). I didn't get "Equus", which is fine. It was a nice assessment of my talents, because I realized that the role was not mine to have. The characters that I specialize in playing are Hitchcockian. You know, regular guys thrown into irregular situations. A character as dark and humorless as Alan Strang requires skills that I as an actor honestly do not possess. And there were a lot of good guys there auditioning, so no harm done. My callback for the Young Playwrights Festival went well, and I'll probably hear from them in a few days.
Now, speaking of which, THE SHOWS FOR THE BLANK THEATRE'S YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED!!! I freaking love this festival. They performed a play of mine a couple of years ago, and it's a phenomenol program. They choose 12 plays every year, and perform three every weekend for four weekends. All of the writers are between the ages of 13 to 19. The actors, directors, and mentors (who help the writers shape the play) are professionals who all volunteer their time to put together these shows. If you're in L.A. in the month of June and you want to see some good theatre, check it out.
I was on the selection committee to help choose the shows, and I am really excited about the line-up this year. Here are some of the highlights to look for:
"The Sandwich Conscience" by Yelena Moskovich (19 years old). This was my favorite script in the festival. It's a one-man show about a former Vietnam veteran who tries to maintain his sanity while making a sandwich. It's tense, heartbreaking, and beautifully written. This is a voice to expect great things from.
"Last Stop Downtown" by Tessa Leigh Williams (16 years old). The playing and replaying of a violent conflict on a subway. This one has great surprises, and truly scary moments. I enjoyed this script immensely.
"Anyone But Me" by Max Freedman (15 years old). A musical (remember this guy is 15) about a high school nerd who decides to form an alter ego to get chicks. This show has some of the most hilarious songs I've ever heard. It's a damn funny show.
"Rise Up" by Adam Westfall Cochran (17 years old). Speaking of musicals, this is a really fun show about a guy who is assigned to be the new Devil, and he has to return to Earth from Hell to keep Lucifer from stealing his girl. This guy is a talented writer, both with script and songs.
"Los Angeles Lullaby" by Kit Steinkellner (17 years old). Out of all of the dozens of shows I've seen and read in the YPF, no other writer is able to draw you into their world like Ms. Steinkellner does. This play is a moving, tender character-driven play. She is one that I expect to see some great writing from in the future.
"Castles Made of Sand" by David Watson (15 years old). Another really great writer in the making, and this broken home drama is proof. Mr. Watson is extraordinary in his immense ambition. I can't wait to see what he does in the years to come.
Anyway, I'll keep you updated on this as time goes on.
Saturday, May 01, 2004
DIFFERENT TYPES OF HAIKUS:
THE PRETENTIOUS HAIKU
Sun on the water
Wind blowing over hill and plain.
THE SELF-REFERENTIAL HAIKU
I am a haiku
With seventeen syllables
And nary a rhyme
THE INCOMPREHENSIBLE HAIKU
Kitty chat in June.
Streaks of peach impeach my reach.
Alone with my pudding.
THE SARCASTIC HAIKU
This haiku is great!
No, really, man, it's awesome!
Best haiku ever!
THE STAMMERING HAIKU
I, uh...I just, um...
Well, you know, uh...Wait, I...Uh...
THE DEPRESSED JUNIOR HIGH STUDENT HAIKU
I am sadness filled.
My girlfriend with some dumb jock?
Eighth grade really blows.
Grog kill his meal.
Have sex with woman and sleep.
Life for Grog is good.
"Aye, matey!" I say
Seeking two types of booty.
'Tis what brings me joy.
A HAIKU WRITTEN BY CHARLIE BROWN'S TEACHER
Wah waaah wah wah waaah
Wah waaah wah wah waaah wah waaah
Wah waaah wah wah waaah
HAIKU OF BASIC JAPANESE PHRASES
O genki desu ka?
Watashi no namae wa...
Konban wa, sensei.
HAIKU MADE UP OF BOB DYLAN SONG NAMES
Mr. Tambourine Man,
if you see her, say hello
just like a woman
HAIKU FROM SOMEONE SICK OF READING HAIKUS
Jesus, make it stop!
I am sick of reading them!
These freaking haikus!
So in the next 48 hours, I will go to two auditions. One is for the Young Playwrights Festival, in which I will be auditioning mainly for the lead role a musical (I can't go into much more detail because the shows have not yet been oficially announced. Just in case the people that aren't reading this and don't give a shit will tell other people). And the other is for "Equus", which I mentioned before. These are happening pretty much on the same day, would rehearse at the same time, and would perform at the same time. So I can only do one. Here are the pros and cons of each:
- A really awesome role that I am at least physically suited for.
- A lot of exposure (L.A. Times reviews them)
- A theatre that I've wanted to work with.
- There is "some pay" for the role (no specifics on the amount).
- Get to kiss an attractive nude girl.
- I'm not sure that I will actually be good enough for such a challenging role.
- It would take a lot out of me emotionally and I can't say that it would be "fun".
- Full frontal nudity for several minutes required.
- A fun role that I am perfectly suited for.
- A really cool show with hilarious songs.
- Good exposure (a lot of people go to this festival. Last year, I sat three seats away from Alyson Hannigan at one of the shows).
- A theatre that I love working with.
- Get to kiss a girl, though she won't be nude.
- No nudity required.
- It's in L.A., which is somewhat of a drive from Orange County.
- No pay (which is like any other show I've done).
- Only one weekend of performances.
So it's a dilemma. The pay and kissing nude girl ideas are nice, but not if I'm going to suck in the role and be nude whilst I'm sucking (that sounds wrong). Neither show comes along often. So I'm hoping I get cast in one and not the other so that will make my decision easier. You'll find out the results in a couple of days.