Jeremy's Ramblings, Babblings, and Other Pretentious Bullshit.
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
I'm listening to the book-on-CD of Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five". Ethan Hawke has just read to me (and only me) the paragraph about the lead character watching a World War II film backward, and described how the movie plays in reverse. Awesome stuff. This is why I couldn't be a novelist. I'm no good at coming up with those ideas that can only be expressed on a page (much less explaining them in a comprehensible way). Oh, well. The stage for me, I guess.
Monday, August 30, 2004
The opening weekend of the show went great. Audiences were small, but reactions were very good, and with more advertising, word-of-mouth and reviews, that should help things greatly.
Ever since doing this show, I've been re-examining a lot of theatre out there. During this time, a lot of theaters are announcing their upcoming seasons, and the director of "Gog/Magog" and I brought in seasons that represent opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to theatre that strives not to make a difference, but merely to either keep your brain occupied with lame humor for two hours, or make you feel that you've had a life-changing experience by unnecessarily shocking you. So, without further ado, compare and contrast. These are selected plays from the upcoming season of Santa Ana's Rude Guerrilla Theatre Company (I'm leaving out various productions like "Trainspotting" and "Boy Gets Girl", because these are proven well-written plays with actual non-exploitative messages). The descriptions of the plays are taken from the theatre's website:
* “Asian Acting: An Evening of One-Act Plays” by Aurelio Locsin. A wild assortment of World Premiere plays, dance pieces, videos and puppetry: A woman sits down for a last cup of tea before going to a Japanese internment camp; A porn star decides always being the “bottom” sucks; A man fights in court for the right to marry outside of his race; A timid woman decides to stand up to the bigots in her neighborhood…and in her family; China defuses the Cuban Missile Crisis; A serial killer and his victim have a little conversation before getting down to business; American Express visits the Thai sex industry; A Filipino fable comes magically to life. Directed by a variety of RGTC directors.
* “Collateral Damage” by Philip Osment. US Premiere! On the 10th anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing, comes this eye-opening and highly theatrical drama following Timothy McVeigh, his crime, the hundreds of people affected by it and Bud Welch, the man who lost his daughter and was moved to forgive her murderer. Directed by Dave Barton.
* “The Geometry of S&M Pornography” by Johnna Adams. World Premiere! A troubled young man with a stack of dirty magazines; a woman raised from the dead isn’t sure she likes her new “life”; a televangelist with a drinking problem; a disgruntled girl with a gun; an assassination plot; weird sex, a whole lotta money and a new religion. Directed by Dave Barton.
* “One Flea Spare” by Naomi Wallace. (Rights pending) While London is being ravished by the Plague, a young girl and a sailor sneak into the home of a rich elderly couple, trying to escape the disease. When the house ends up being quarantined and they are all locked inside, class and sexual inhibitions come crashing down as the prisoners wait for death to strike…or not. Directed by Scott Barber.
* “Some Voices” by Joe Penhall. (Rights pending) A young schizophrenic moves in with his older brother and falls in love with an abused woman. On top of the world, he decides to stop taking his medication and then things start to go horribly wrong. Directed by Steven Parker.
Now, granted, these plays could all be incredible pieces of work. I wouldn't know, I haven't read or seen any of them. However, in my experiences with Rude Guerrilla (which, to be fair, have been few and far between), they seem to overplay the shock value and underplay the emotional core of a piece (like Jeff Goode's "Poona the Fuckdog and Other Stories for Children", a play that should never have been written). But I do plan to audition for "Trainspotting" if they get the rights for it, so I'm not totally against them.
However, to present the exact polar opposite, here is - in its entirety - the upcoming season of Long Beach Playhouse's mainstage. This is perhaps the most safe, mainstream collection of plays that I have ever seen assembled into one year. Again, the descriptions are taken from the theatre's website, and are the stuff of great comedy:
* "The Solid Gold Cadillac" - Comedy by Howard Teichmann & George S. Kaufman. This endearing comedy revolves around a little old lady who is a minority stockholder in a giant corporation. At the annual stockholder’s meeting she asks embarrassing questions regarding the crooked practices of the conniving officers. In order to hush her up, they give her a phony job. Instead of complying with their wishes, she befriends the other stock holders and winds up in complete control of the corporation, proving to be more than a match for the wicked corporate cronies. One of the funniest and wittiest comedies about the foibles of American business. “Another big hit.” –N.Y. Mirror.
* "Arsenic & Old Lace" - Comedy by Joseph Kesselring. This tried and true family comedy is the story of two charming and innocentelderly ladies who populate their cellar with the remains of socially and religiously “acceptable” elderly male roomers, the antics of a dear brother who thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt, and the amazing activities of an older, more sinister brother. This classic Victorian comedy with its legendary glasses of elderberry wine, has been delighting audiences since its debut in 1941!
* "Play It Again Sam" - Comedy by Woody Allen. Our homely hero has this thing about Humphrey Bogart and his way with women, so much so that he conjures up Bogey who comes to his rescue with a bevy of beauties. Our hero is so gauche that he always stumbles abysmally on romance’s rocky road even with Bogey’s coaching. How he eventually fares makes for a delicious romp. “...audaciously brilliant...a great sense of character.” –N.Y. Times.
* "The Mousetrap" - Thriller by Agatha Christie. A group of strangers are stranded in a boarding house during a snowstorm, one of whom is a murderer. Is it a newly married couple, a spinster with a curious background, an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef, a retired Army major, a strange little man who claims his car has overturned in a drift, or a jurist who makes life miserable for everyone? We challenge you to figure it out! Another superb intrigue from the foremost mystery writer of her time.
* "Don’t Dress for Dinner" - Farce by Marc Camoletti, adapted by Robin Hawdon. A smash hit in Paris, London and the U.S., this breathtaking farce hurtles along at the speed of light. Within seconds we are drawn into a delicious web of marital treachery that accelerates as Bernard’s plans to entertain his chic, Parisian mistress. He packs his wife off to her mother, arranges for a cordon bleu cook to furnish gourmet delights and has invited his best friend over as a suitable alibi. It’s foolproof-what could possibly go wrong...? Everything!!!
* "The Tender Trap" - Comedy by Max Shulman and Robert Paul Smith. Charlie Reader, has an elegant apartment, a good job, and millions of girls—all eager to bring him food, tidy up his apartment and fall in with his every wish. Charlie juggles his girls till one frantic evening he finds himself engaged to two young ladies, and one amusing scene after another results until he finally manages to get rid of the wrong young lady and marry the right one. “Extremely funny...” –NY World Telegram & Sun.
* "The Odd Couple" - Comedy by Neil Simon. It’s time to see Simon’s most famous comedy (or see it again...it’s such a treat). Two divorced men, one a neatnik and the other a slob, try bunking together with tempestuous results. The New York Daily News stated “...fresh, richly hilarious, remarkably original, wildly irresistibly and continuously funny.”
* "The Amorous Ambassador" - Farce by Michael Parker. Spend an outrageous weekend at the English home of an American ambassador sweet-talking his wife, chasing his sexy neighbor and having his head turned by his daughter’s boyfriend, who is disguised wearing a dress. Throw in a clumsy secretary, a gung-ho military man and a butler to end all butlers and you are guaranteed an evening of madcap merriment from start to finish!
Neil Simon? Agatha Christie? "Arsenic and Old Lace"? All they'd need is "Our Town", "Blithe Spirit" and "Bye Bye Birdie" and then they can cover all of the bases. I'm unapologetic to them because I was in a production of theirs ("Ernest in Love", a musical adaptation of "The Importance of Being Earnest". Yes, really), and they have this attitude of class and sophistication that's quite surprising for a community theatre (but when a young Robert Mitchum and DeForest Kelley were in your productions, I guess you have a right to be...oh, wait, actually no, you still don't).
It makes me appreciate work at theatres like Hunger Artists, StagesTheatre, Insurgo and Vanguard, Orange County theatres that are able to balance entertainment and enlightenment. They give us interesting productions that make good use of local talent. So hats off.
Friday, August 27, 2004
My thinking quota was used up yesterday, so today, I'm going to give you a variety of lists (yes, I'm like the guys in "High Fidelity", yes, I was doing this before "High Fidelity" came out, and yes, "High Fidelity" is on my list of greatest movies about guys who make lists):
RECENT MOVIES THAT ARE UNLIKE ANY OTHER AND THEREFORE SHOULD BE SEEN BY YOU:
* "Gerry" (Gus Van Sant)
* "Punch-Drunk Love" (Paul Thomas Anderson)
* "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring" (Kim Ki-Duk)
* "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (Michel Gondry)
* "The Saddest Music in the World" (Guy Maddin)
* "The Triplets of Belleville" (Sylvain Chomet)
* "Lost in Translation" (Sofia Coppola)
* "American Splendor" (Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini)
MUSICAL ACTS I'D LOVE TO PLAY TAMBOURINE FOR:
* Bob Dylan (I would probably soil myself)
* Bjork (I would just make her say a lot of things in her impossibly adorable Icelandic accent)
* Ben Folds (We would have to have a piano duet)
* Nellie McKay (Where we'd subsequently fall in love and change the world, her with her songs, I with my plays. We would be a force to reckon with and the world of theatre and music would...Where am I?)
* Norah Jones (and after the show we'd go to hole-in-the-wall 24-hour diners and be shy and goofy together)
* Rufus Wainwright (I could be back-up singer and then spend the rest of the time just laughing at his jokes)
* Damien Rice (If, for no other reason, just to be a part of his incredible live shows)
* The White Stripes (They're really cool. I can't explain it any better than that. They're both just...cool)
TOP TEN ROLES I WOULD LIKE TO PLAY IN A PLAY:
* Hamlet (I know, it's obvious, but not insincere)
* Austin or Lee - "True West" (Each role is equally good)
* Rosenkrantz or Guildenstern - "Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" (Ditto)
* Vladimir or Estragon - "Waiting For Godot" (Ditto ditto)
* Charlotte von Mahlsdorf - "I Am My Own Wife" (trust me, it's a guy)
* Any well-written role in a David Mamet play. (Fuckin' A)
* Any well-written role in a Richard Greenberg play. (He writes great weird guys)
* Any well-written role in an Edward Albee play. (Preferably with one of his trademark monologues)
* George - "Sunday in the Park With George" (If Mandy Patinkin can do it, why can't I?)
* M.C. - "Cabaret" (Hells, yeah!)
* Allen - "Play It Again, Sam" (I AM Allen Felix)
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Okay, so I'm covering a lot of ground today. Here we go:
First off, I went to Starbucks this morning. I know, I know, crazy, right? My love of cold drinks and need of something to fuel me for the day (I've been running on about four hours of sleep every night) delivered me there.
Looking around, I realized how at peace I was. The old-school blues playing throughout the store, the ambient lighting, the faux-French posters, the New York Times on sale. It was an environment that helped calm me before my day at the office.
But wait just one moment, Gable! Starbucks is corporate! They're a huge corporation with offices just like the one I'm going to where people dressed just like I am now have meetings like the one I went to yesterday ("Overview of Central Services and Vendor Regions". I retained nothing from it) to decide to use those same faux-French posters in their stores ("The kids love that stuff," one of them says as he chews on the end of his pen and thinks about the Gentlemen's Club he's going to populate on his lunch break). I'm no better than the Wal-Mart shoppers, Nike wearers and Fox News watchers.
But then again, I myself am corporate. I work for a company whose name ends with "Corporation". I listen to bands that I hear on Indie 103.1, an "independent" L.A. radio station that's actually owned by Clear Channel Entertainment. I see most of my movies at an AMC Theater in Orange, buy most of my books at Borders and Amazon.com, my CD's (of mostly edgy but big-label bands) and DVD's (of mostly edgy but big-studio movies) at Tower Records, my fast food at Del Taco and Burger King. Support of corporations is deeply rooted in me from my days in Idaho, where I had no other choice. Now that I'm given the option, I've found that every hole-in-the-wall place I go to breaks my heart either by closing down (Angel Sushi, you'll be missed) or by - that's right - going corporate (a great art-house theater in Costa Mesa that ended up showing fucking "Troy"). I'm just like the rest of America, only with slightly more taste in what I choose to sell my soul to.
So, yesterday, I had one of many recent afternoon naps (they've become my new friend since starting rehearsals). During the nap, I had a dream that baffles me, since it is so crystal clear, has been the subject of a previous dream, and has nothing to do with seeing a movie (what far too many of my dreams are about). In the dream, I am driving down an empty city road lit by streetlights with wooden fences on either end, and it looks like a cross between the outside of a housing development and a business district.
I know this road, because I traveled it in a previous dream. I was driving from some sort of performance (possibly a show or a stand-up gig), and I was going to the Block at Orange, an outdoor mall I frequent. The road is exactly the same as it was in the previous dream, and so is one other thing: Her.
I drive past her as she walks down the side of the road. She is a young woman about my age. She is striking in a way that is different from most girls of Orange County. She wears a white jacket, has neck-length blonde hair, big sad eyes, and a mouth that once knew how to smile, but hasn't in a long time.
She walks with hands in the pockets of her jacket, eyes fixed at the ground in front of her. As I drive by, time slows down. She looks up at me, and I wave hello to her. She doesn't respond with anything more than mere recognition, time goes back to normal, and I pass. I think to stop and ask her if she needs a ride. Surely she remembers me from our previous encounter (in the last dream, she was driving down the road, coming from the same performance, and going to the same destination, so she at least knows that I'm not someone creepy). But for some reason, I keep driving, and watch as she disappears into the distance.
Why am I always on this road? And who is this girl? What/who does she represent? Why doesn't she have her car in this latest dream? When she saw me, how did she feel? And why does she look sad (not Marcia Gay Harden sad but just like something's on her mind)?
In other news, Eric Marchese is a horrible critic. He is a freelance writer for the Orange County Register, a position he has held for twenty years (what does that mean when the newspaper you write for doesn't even want to make you part of their staff after twenty years of writing for them?). He spends his life going to community theatre productions in Orange County, where people volunteer their time and work long and hard just to present a good show, and he doesn't even have the respect to write a review with the same sort of passion that those people are showing him (and he's getting paid, too, which is the really frustrating part).
I've read Mr. Marchese's reviews for two years now, and not one has ever said that a show was really good or really bad. He lives in the emotionless middle ground of a wannabe intellectual who believes that the only way to critique something is to detach yourself from the emotional experience of it. I have gained no insight from any of his reviews, and have now learned how to write a review in the "Marchese Format". It goes as follows:
* Explain history of the show that you were able to pull from Google.
* List theater where show is playing.
* Outline the plot.
* List major players and what you didn't like about them.
* List supporting players and, without expressing much opinion, list distinctive characteristics about said players.
* End with awkward closing, making your readers think there's a final paragraph they're not seeing.
* Sprinkle indifference throughout.
I actually met Mr. Marchese after "Assassins". I shook hands with him (which took some work, since I already didn't think highly of him as a writer), and then proceeded to go back to talking to a friend of mine. He lingered around our group for about twenty seconds and then, not seeing a way to include himself into the conversation, gave a cocky - and appropriately theatrical - "Bah!" and walked off, eager to find someone to give him the respect he thinks he deserves.
And, okay, I'll admit that part of the reason I feel this way is because he hasn't given my sister - a great actress of amazing honesty who has taught me so much about theatre - one good review since she started doing shows down here (not even for "In the Boom Boom Room", which she's currently kicking serious theatrical ass in at Stages Theatre. Go see the show...NOW!). But on top of that, I just think he's a cocky man whose reviews lack passion (he originally disliked Frank Tyron's amazing performance at the Maverick Theater's "The King", and then took it back once the show became popular).
I'm not going to say that he should stop writing (he's entitled to his opinions, like everyone else). Instead, I make a plea to anyone in Orange County who truly loves theatre to not read reviews from Eric Marchese (Paul Hodgins is the other, much better Register theatre critic, something that is evident in that he is given all the Equity shows to review). Instead, read Joel Beers at O.C. Weekly. He packs more humor and enthusiasm into one review than Mr. Marchese has in the entire past two years. Mr. Beers is also involved in the O.C. theatre scene as a playwright and director, something that I respect immensenly (and something that Mr. Marchese cannot claim).
I wish that he would read this. He won't, of course, but I wish he would read this before my show opens. And then I hope that he would come to the show, and proceed to rip me apart in his typical "I don't really care" style (I'll even give you a suggestion: "Gable's young age and lack of education are evident in his amateurish, juvenile performance"). I hope that he prints it in the Register, and that it gets distributed to the entire population of three million in this county, and that everyone reads about how bad I am in this show. Mr. Marchese, this is your official triple dog dare. I want you to do that just so that you can see how I will not be bothered by it in the least. That's how low I find you and your writing to be.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah...
So, a couple of days ago, my sister and I were talking about a local stand-up comic who has named himself "The King of One-Liners". We were wondering how many "Kings of One-Liners" there are out there, and who could really hold that title. We decided of working comics, Chris Rock takes the title, with Jerry Seinfeld as the Prince of One-Liners and Rita Rudner as the Queen of One-Liners.
Then an interesting question popped up. If we're taking the monarchy/comedian metaphor all the way, then would the Court Jester of One-Liners be funnier than the King of One-Liners, since he's the court jester? Here are our arguments:
SIS: The jester, being the jester, would already be funny. But since he's the Court Jester of One-Liners, that means he's double funny and therefore surpasses the King of One-Liners.
ME: The Court Jester of One-Liners is merely a metaphor, meaning that he is lower in class to the King of One-Liners. If the jester was better at one-liners than the king, than he would dethrone the king and become king himself.
What do you think? Let me know. Write me a message or leave a comment telling me your viewpoint. We'll settle this once and for all.
Oh, and my show previews tonight. Wish me luck, please. Except for you, Marchese!
Monday, August 23, 2004
So, I know I've been talking about "Gog/Magog" way too much (how many times can one man say "one-man show"?), but I had a dream about the opening night, which will be Thursday (for those who haven't read prior posts and bulletins).
I don't usually have dreams about things that I worry about. Instead, it's usually boring things like me going to see a movie that I didn't really want to see in real life ("Why am I watching 'Alien Vs. Predator'?"). Several scenarios were played out. They were all, oddly enough, in the round (an audience all around you, rather than just in front of you).
In one of the scenarios, I was performing it in a small theatre where the walls were painted with a really beautiful, serene, star-filled sky. This one was my favorite, and made the line about "Insanely beautiful stars in the sky, flashing lights in the distance" that much more poignant to me.
Another time, the cage was IN the audience, and a couple of minutes into the performance, someone on a piano started playing "Happy Birthday" for someone in the audience, and everyone turned their attention away from the show. Again, a connection, since I sing Happy Birthday to myself at one point.
A third time had some of the audience sitting in the cage with me (an allusion to the line "Perhaps you should be doing this", perhaps?), which made many of the themes and motivations in the play completely worthless.
A fourth time had me playing in front of a full house. Instead of starting the play off the normal way, I began first with a newly-written scene in which I wrattle off a random list of swear words (interestingly enough, I came up with "fuckface" in the dream, and so it will be included in the real-life version). Upon finishing the scene, and going to the actual beginning of the show, I found that half of the audience had walked out.
A fifth time (and final as far as my memory serves) had me talking to my sister before the show, and from what we said, I'm led to believe that I wasn't performing Jason Lindner's "The Gog/Magog Project", but instead Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh".....
SIS: You'll be the best damn Hickey ever!
ME: Well, yeah, I better be. It's four freakin' acts long.
Does anyone feel that I'm thinking about this show too much?
Friday, August 20, 2004
Every so often, being a 22 year-old male, I get this urge that makes me restless and somewhat cranky. The dominant theme in this urge is the following:
"I WANT THE SEX, AND I WANT THE SEX NOW!!!"
I am quite good at controlling my hormones, but occasionally, like one of those street lights that has burnt too bright for too long, the tension gets released and asks (nay, BEGS) for a sexual partner. Right now I'm listening to the soothing, sexy voice of Bjork to pacify those feelings (in one of the tracks of "Vespertine", it sounds like she's whispering right into your ear. It's a neat effect that gives me shivers every time). That will have to do since I can't really do anything to help that here at work...or outside of work...or in any aspect of my life. Excuse me, while I have a soft cry.
--------- TIME LAPSE ---------
*SNIFF, SNIFF* Much better. Anyway, where was I? Okay, while this may not sound like good news, it really is. Last night, I participated in the Orange County's Funniest Person Contest. I did not qualify for semi-finals, but I did make the audience laugh a lot (and one of the judges, who apparently hosts an XM radio show, wants me to be to be in a comedy night that she'll host sometime down the road). Which is exactly what I wanted to happen. I didn't really want to do the contest, but I did it, I pulled it off, and now it's done. I don't have to worry about it anymore. Now I can focus on "Gog/Magog" and...oh, yeah...you guys don't know this part yet.....
I just found out yesterday that my full-length one-act "American Way" is going to receive a three-week production at the Blank Theatre in L.A. If everyone we want can commit, then it will be an awesome show. I'm really excited about it. And...yeah. That's all I have to say.
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Coldplay. A little over-played and over-praised? Certainly. Credited for their "wholly original" style of music, which is actually just what several English bands - like Radiohead and Travis - are doing? Definitely. Still a good band, whose two albums I enjoy a great deal? Oh, you know it.
So, last night, I had a rehearsal for "Gog/Magog Project". I'm telling you, if you're in the O.C./L.A. area, and feel that modern theatre is in a very sorry state, then this is a show to see, as it not only addresses that problem, but attempts to correct it by being one of the few one-man shows that isn't self-indulgent.
Anyway, last night was simultaneously rewarding and scary, because my incredible director, Kelly Flynn, pushed me farther than any other director has ever pushed me for any role. I'm used to playing character roles in musicals or comedies (or musical comedies), and the work with the director usually comes down to "Yeah, you just keep doing what you're doing." I've become quite used to getting very few notes in a show, not necessarily because I'm doing everything right, but because I'm not doing anything wrong (if that makes any sense).
But now, Kelly - working his hands like an old-school magician with a deck of cards - was pulling things from me that I didn't know I could do. It was kind of scary to feel sincere emotions pouring out of me, since I usually am more about technique than sincerity when I'm on stage (I was thinking of how far I've come from a year ago, when I played Jack in "Into the Woods" in a performance that I felt was pretty standard and wooden).
Now comes the difficult part: Keeping that up for another month. I have 13 performances (counting the "preview", which I've ranted about before) that have to be just as genuine and intense as last night was, if not more so. We'll have to see if I'm up to the challenge. If I can, this will be perhaps the most rewarding show I've ever done in my 13 years of theatre.
And finally, as I conclude this entry and get ready to post it, I think about last night, when a friend of mine resisted my attempt to get her to join MySpace.com, stating that most people with online journals have "nothing better to do". Okay, that's probably true (I mean, I'm doing this during my break at work. What else am I going to do, admire the fluorescent lighting grid?), but I'd like to think it's her loss. Yeah, HER loss, dammit!
Now excuse me, while I take out Coldplay's first album out of my CD player and replace it with their second album.
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
"Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten
From the Battery to the top of Manhattan..."
As the sound of Beastie Boys fills my ears, I am reminded of a theatre friend of mine, who told me recently that the reason white suburban kids listen to hip-hop is because their existence makes them feel unfulfilled and normal. By listening to hip-hop music, they believe that they are cooler and more edgy.
I wanted to argue, because - while not a connoisseur - I have a handful of hip-hop albums in my collection. However, I couldn't. It's absolutely true. I want to be cooler. It's why I listen to hip-hop albums. It's why I read Kerouac. It's why I watch spy movies. It's why I like performing at Hunger Artists Theatre more than at Westminster Community Theatre. It's why I like hanging out with the teenage girls in "Assassins" who seem to have a crush on me (besides the more obvious reason that they are both interesting, funny individuals). Doing these things make me feel like a much more interesting person than I probably am.
This is one of the reasons that I admire open fanatics of Star Trek, Buffy and Farscape more than most people do. Most of them realize that their obsession is not considered "cool" or "hip" or "keen", or whatever you damn kids say nowadays. And yet, despite the damning label that puts on them ("You're a 'Farscape' fan? Ohhh. Check, please."), they continue with their practice. Why? Because to do otherwise would contradict their personal ideals. How can you not admire that?
This is the main conflict of my lifestyle. I often claim that I don't care what other people think, that I live my own life, that I play by my own rules as to what to wear, what to watch, what to listen to. Yet, is it a just a coincidence that I listen to the best-reviewed albums, go to see the best-reviewed movies, wear t-shirts with only the funniest slogans? Am I just as bad as the fans of Britney Spears, "Fear Factor" and "White Chicks"? Instead of embracing the mainstream, I embrace only what has been proven to be high-quality. Isn't that basically the same thing? Living my life through what other people tell me to enjoy? And is my dislike of George Stevens, Tennessee Williams and The Shins simply a chess move strategy to try to "be my own person" to those who might try to call my bluff?
As I now listen to Nellie McKay (whose incredible album I would not have bought had it not been for a "Grade A" review in Entertainment Weekly), I wonder what my life would be like without Roger Ebert, L.A. Weekly or metacritic.com. Would I avoid the entertainment industry altogether? Would I stay at home all the time playing Spider Solitaire on my computer and masturbating (perhaps the two things in my life that I discovered I enjoyed without anyone else's help)?
Let me think about it. In the meantime, I'm going to find out what Rolling Stone said of Badly Drawn Boy's latest album.
Monday, August 09, 2004
From Jason Lindner's "The Gog/Magog Project". This show is exquisitely written, and this is one of the highlights for me:
"Let's face it. This night, this important night...what are you all doing here? Why aren't you at a movie? Why do plays anymore? Why come see them?
Another play with a love triangle and a drunken, drugged lesbian that comes in in the first act. Or a sap-filled drama with a resolution involving some benevolent mystic force that stands on a box and shows us the errors of our racist, sexist, anti-animal, anti-poverty, pro-hatred, pro-sickness, anti-Right On ways. Smacks us on the upside and says, 'Don't you understand how ignorant you are?' Smack smack smack.
Either that or some sugar-filled comedy where Jews shout and Catholics and Protestants try to outpuke each other. Or comedy extravaganzas trying to show how every taboo can be subverted. Oh, man, I love it every time I see them eviscerate a raped child on stage! They really put the boot in there! Well, it's satire. You are all so anti-Right On.
'Not me!' you scream. 'Not me! I'm so Right On, it hurts. Because to be this Right On, I sacrifice. I smell like Right On. I smell like homosexual sex and tear gas from an Alabama civil rights march. That's hard work. Have to buy all the shampoos and body washes. Watch the videos, and buy the breakfast cereals, and log on to it, and hook it into my brain through a really high colonic letting the Right On get into every pore and orifice. How dare you say that I am not Right On.'
There they are...A hundred Right On blobs watching this Right On play, and right about intermission everyone has been straining in half-light to read the bio of the lighting designer because of the absolute deathly boredom that comes with culture. That is sick, isn't it? Culture has become a synonym for boredom. And the same blobs come to see the performance again and again just to prove to themselves that they are Right On, Right On, Right On that yellow brick road. That road to Victim Valhalla. Where everybody gets to die over and over again from nothing. Hit by that invisible misery-seeking missile. No one is ever guilty because we all got it just as bad. No race guilt, no class guilt, that's Victim Heaven.
Well, if that's the kind of self-serving bullshit you are looking for, it is going down! There will be a revolution, and theatre will not survive! It is you who have destroyed it, you self-serving sons of bitches who can't abide to hear one thing you don't already know you agree with!
Theatre that was once an instigator for social change - so dangerous that when the revolution came, the artists were the first to be tortured - is now an ever-turning wheel of bullshit that serves itself feces by the shovelful and loves itself for it. It is a purulent, pus-filled gas bucket and needs to be put out of its own misery. You have murdered the theatre, and I hope you rot in hell for it! Now let me out of it! This is the end! Theatre is dead!!! THEATRE IS DEAD!!!"
Sunday, August 08, 2004
Ten days in between me posting on this site??? What have I been doing all this time? How were people able to get their ramblings for the past ten days? Well, never fear, for I am back!!! *CRICKETS CHIRPING* Hello?
Anyway, these are some things that in the past week, I thought to myself, "I should put this on my next Blogger post" (I no longer live my life just to live it. I live it so that I can put it on my Blog):
* The main reason I've been gone so long is because I've been working on memorizing the one-man show (which I got, by the way). Now that I finally accomplished it, I can relax. Now the next step is polishing and perfecting it so that I can (hopefully) wow the crowd. I'm not a fan of talking about the show to other people, even though they want to know about it, and congratulate me. When I was younger, it took very little for me to start getting a big head (in the fourth grade, I used to make signs saying "Jeremy Gable: Natural Born Actor!" Yes, for real), and there's nothing like having a You Play (all you, all the time) to get the ego coming back. So perhaps some of you could talk me down. A couple of comments like "Dude, get over yourself!" and "This show will suck because you blow the big'un!" help.
* Last week I went to Medieval Times to support one of the members of the "Assassins" cast, who works as a princess there. In case you don't know of it (or haven't seen "The Cable Guy"), Medieval Times is a dinner-and-a-show place where you get to eat "baby dragons" (cornish hens) and "dragon fingers" (barbecued ribs) with your hands while watching a Medieval-style tournament. I went with a large group of people from "Assassins", expecting to see a show that would be both entertaining and kind of cheesy. Well, when the show started out, I felt the wonderful cocky confidence of being right. Knights came out and rode around in horses, a wizard predicted doom in typical Donald Rumsfeld fashion ("Whether this terrible force is in the form of a human, and whether it's from the past or the future, I cannot tell." I was half-expecting him to raise the Medieval Terror Alert to orange). But then, the knights started fighting. I tell you, ladies and gentlemen, I turned into a ten year-old boy. There was no irony, no cynicism. I was cheering loud and proud and really getting swept up in the chivalry. Swords clashing, sparks flying, lances exploding, beautifully choreographed fights being played out on horseback in front of me. It was a wonderful experience that I didn't expect to have. Now I can't wait until Pirate Dinner Adventure opens next door to it next summer.
* Yesterday, I visited the Santa Ana Zoo with the director of the one-man show to do research on caged animals, since I'll be one for the show ("You're gonna suck in this one, Jeremy!"). Zoos have always given me this simultaneous feeling of wonder and depression ("Wow, it's a howler monkey!......Who's spending his life in a small cage in Santa Ana"). But not only is it a great place to observe animal behavior (emu poop is liquid and foamy), but it's also a great place to observe human behavior. As a joke, we walked by the playground and observed the kids "in their natural habitat". But there was one example of a kid who was leaving the zoo with his mother. He didn't want to, and was crying up a storm. The mother put him down so that he could get in the required screaming and running around (both of which were plentiful). Then she picked him up and with a calm wave "goodbye" to the zoo, he went to the car in a very reserved manner.
* Why do girls let guys do shitty things to them just because they're attractive? And vice-versa, for that manner? Looks fade, and generosity is in a defecit.
Anyway, that's my time. I'll try not to stay away so long again.