collisionwork: (Default)
Well, we were GOING to be in Maine at this point, but the weather had other ideas . . .

More of the same, otherwise. Still writing bits and pieces of Objects and trying to find it. Reading library books for inspiration (the big Bernard Shaw play-reading fest is being held off until I'm in Maine, though). Making sure all will be well at The Brick while gone and getting things to the catsitter. Working on memorizing Terminal Hip. Was snowed in enough to have to stock up on supplies and spend a couple of days hunkered down here, with a bit of cabin fever (oddly, this is what we go to Maine for, but I don't get stir-crazy up there when not going out of the house; here, I get antsy).

Not much otherwise -- a great screening of David Finkelstein and Mike Kuchar videos last Sunday, with a huge house and great party afterward at Medicine Show. I'd seen 2 of the 4 videos before, and the other two -- David's adaptation of Shelley and Mike's piece starring David -- were especially outstanding.

I read the biography of the fascinating musician/performer Peter Ivers, which was full of interesting stories and information, and yet kept seeming to fall short of the full story -- there's something odd about a bio about someone who was murdered, and which focuses in no small part on the mystery around his death, that never once mentions the actual method of how he was killed. Not that I want a morbid fixation on it, but it just seems odd by its total absence (though there is almost a feeling that the book was written for the friends who knew and loved him, and who didn't need or want to be reminded of what had happened to him), as does the strange lack of real in-depth discussion of Ivers' few released albums. What is there in the book, however, is engrossing.

I also read a biography of Janis Joplin with wildly varied reactions. The author was good at addressing Joplin in the greater context of female rock/blues vocalists, tells Joplin's story without much of an agenda, and obviously she is to some extent a "fan," but her attitude was very much that of someone who doesn't really know or "get" rock or blues, and her view is mostly about placing Joplin in a societal/academic framework rather than an artistic one. She's very VERY good at carefully delineating how much Joplin's rep both during and after her lifetime has been continually downgraded through sexism, more than I had ever been aware (let alone the patronizing tone, especially from English critics, accorded a female white blues singer, which I did know about), but she doesn't let Janis off the hook for her missteps - in particular trying to move from primarily singing blues, at which she was better than first rate, to soul, at which she was good, but not really top-drawer. In main, the author is great with the subject as a woman and as a career, but never comes close to understanding her voice or music except from the most cold, technical point-of-view.

Also, right at the top of the book, she repeats the most scurrilous, undying false story about Elvis Presley (and an apocryphal racist remark of his) with a footnote saying she believes it, that Elvis never denied it, and trying to drag Greil Marcus into agreeing with her about its truth. The whole thing was debunked by Jet magazine as false in 1957 for chrissakes, including an outright denial from Elvis, and yet the story still lives on, especially in academia, for some reason -- probably because of some kind of snobbery that causes the attitude, as it was expressed to Marcus by a book editor when he tried, unsuccessfully, to prevent some equally untrue and racist words from being put, in print, in the mouth of Sam Phillips, that "in rock and roll, the vulgar is always closest to the truth."

So . . . I was a hair peeved at the book right from the start.

And now, for a better taste, out of 2,475 songs in the "unplayed" playlist in the iPod, a Random Ten for the week:

1. "The Family And The Fishing Net" - Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel 4 (aka Security)
2. "Unwind Yourself" - Marva Whitney - It's My Thing
3. "The Wicked Messenger" - Bob Dylan - John Wesley Harding (2010 Mono Version)
4. "Independent Woman" - Jackie Brenston & The Delta Cats - Sun Records: The Blues Years 1950-1958 vol. 1
5. "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" - R.E.M. - Monster
6. "Shoplifting" - The Slits - Rough Trade Shops: Post Punk 01
7. "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight" - Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart - Those Classic Golden Years 13
8. "Bucket T" - Jan & Dean - Hot Rod Heaven Vol. 1
9. "Good Rockin' Tonight" - Elvis Presley - The Complete Sun Singles: Volume 1
10. "L.S.D." - Manfred Mann - Mann Made

And the video playlist for he above (or as close as I could get):



Some photos from this week. First, cats -- Hooker is here contemplating Moni's ear prior to grabbing the girl for a forcible headcleaning:
Hooker Considers Moni's Ear

And here, Hooker has kitty ennui as Berit plays with her iPod:
Berit & Hooker Consider

Outside, in the snow, our street has less traffic than usual:
1-28 Storm - Avenue S West

Up the block, East 2nd Street becomes a fantasyland tunnel:
1-28 Storm - 2nd Street Tunnel

And at night, a trip to the supermarket is made much moodier:
1-28 Storm - Night, Supermarket & El

Well, if we're lucky, we'll be pulling out for Maine sometime soon . . . but luck hasn't been with us this week all that much.

collisionwork: (sign)

Away from here too long again. As mentioned last time, it's that slow time of the year where we're researching, thinking, and fishing for ideas about our year to come. So Berit plays games and waits for me to ask questions or make statements in between long stretches of me reading books, writing bits of dialogue that come to mind, or staring into space and trying to find the central, real idea that will coalesce these disparate fragmentary notions dancing around my head into an actual show or shows. When I come out with something, Berit can respond with her take on it and send me off into a more focused realm.

Nothing much has happened yet. I have a list of shows to potentially work on for August -- a new Invisible Republic dance-theatre piece; Gone; Antrobus; Terminal Hip; and Objects (or obJECTS or ObJECTS or (ob)/JECTS or whatever silly way I could try to indicate that the stress should be on the second syllable. I was thinking of working on NECROPOLIS 4: Green River, which is actually written, as well, but it's not feeling like the right year -- I'm trying to do smaller, shorter "chamber" pieces with casts of 1 to 8 or 9 actors, tops, and Green River is a large-cast piece.

I could, and maybe should, be focusing on the shows that are further along in creation, but right now I'm still trying to find the central point of Objects, as that's most interesting to me right now, even though I'm not at all certain what "that" is. I have a giant stack of plays by Bernard Shaw from the library to read as research for this, as somehow that seems important, but I have no idea why.

We'll take all the materials away with us to our little "retreat" up in Maine (and, it appears, another, shorter one in Croton-on-Hudson) in February and walk around and study them more in depth. Ideas seem to come better away from home, for some reason.

Some things do show up here -- now that I keep a notebook by the bed, I'm catching more things I would have missed once. I woke up really early after very little sleep today, and was lying there drifting in and out of a vague dream state, when an eight-line lyric came to me that needed to be sung by a chorus in Objects (and I didn't know there'd be a "chorus" in the show until then), so I quickly wrote it down (I won't repeat it here as it would just seem repetitive, vulgar, and silly without music or staging) before forgetting it. Good. For years I didn't bother with a notebook by the bed for such ideas, thinking that anything good that came to me in the half-dream state where I get my best ideas would come back to me when awake, and I've probably lost half of the good ideas in that stubbornness. Not letting that happen again . . .

OFFERINGS (DISCOURSE) - Prophecy

The next two days, I'm back in work with David Finkelstein, or rather, tomorrow we work -- more improvisation that he videotapes in front of a green screen so he can create his lovely video art pieces around them -- and Sunday evening, David will be screening three of his videos (one featuring me) and one by the legendary Mike Kuchar. There's info HERE.

Images here from David's Marvelous Discourse, which was created from the same text as, and used in, my production Sacrificial Offerings.

OFFERINGS (DISCOURSE) - Dike

And from the 2,529 songs in the "unheard, but should be heard" playlist in the iPod, a Random Ten for the day . . .

1. "Wig-Wam Bam" - Sweet - Sweet Originals: The Best 37 Glam Rock Songs Ever
2. "New York I Love You" - LCD Soundsystem - Mix Disk - Dad
3. "Big Yellow Taxi" - Joni Mitchell - Ladies of the Canyon
4. "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" - B.B. King - King Of The Blues
5. "The Hustler" - The Sonics - Psycho-Sonic
6. "Maybe He'll Know" - Cyndi Lauper - True Colors
7. "There Is A Ghost" - Marianne Faithfull - Before The Poison
8. "Look Good In Blue" - Blondie - Blondie
9. "It's Not Fair" - The Electric Prunes - Lost Dreams
10. "(I'll Love You) Till The End Of The World" - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Until The End Of The World

Nice list, and for two weeks in a row I've been able to find a version of the song on YouTube for nine of them, so here they all are in a big embedded playlist (unless you're reading this on Facebook):



And as for new cat photos . . . here's Hooker from last night at the other end of the couch, trying to get my attention:
Hooker Does the Cute Thing

Here's what happens when Berit picks up Moni, and the little dummy just keeps walking, and winds up on B's back:
Moni on Berit's Back

And here's what happens when Berit vacates her chair for just a moment to go to the kitchen to get something to drink, seeing this when she gets back:
Grabbing the Chair

And here's one from just a short time ago, as Hooker decided he had to sit on my shoulder for a while and help me write this entry . . .
Hooker Helps Me Write

Okay, back to some kind of dreaming . . . and wow, the snow that was covering our back patio when I started writing this has pretty much vanished already!

Onward

Jan. 5th, 2011 02:15 am
collisionwork: (goya)
The start of a new year, after a great and difficult last year.

And a while since I wrote here -- Xmas away, blizzard slowdown and hunker-down, and general lack of things to report kept me away. Xmas was great, the blizzard was lousy, the staying in from the blizzard was actually nice, and the lack of things makes me antsy.

The antsy-ness is leading to writing, a bit at least. I have a shortlist of plays I'd like to do in August, more than I could do, but I'm starting work on all to some extent, expecting some to fall away quickly so I wind up with just the shows I should be doing.

On the list now are Mac Wellman's play Terminal Hip, which I've begun memorizing (it's usually done as a monologue, as I'd do, and it will be the only thing I act in of my shows this year, if I can actually get the complicated 45-minute piece stuck in my head); my own play Gone, which I posted in two parts HERE and HERE, but I'm not sure I can get two actresses able to memorize that complicated one (David Finkelstein thinks it would be no problem, so I guess I'll give it a try); another original I've been working on for a few years called Antrobus, which isn't done (and what I have seems to be stuck on he hard drive of a currently un-boot-up-able computer), but would be on a bill with the also-short Gone; the next in the ongoing NECROPOLIS series, number 4, Green River, which is basically a long-form music video for the stage, following a couple of young fugitives in love across the country; the next Invisible Republic dance-theatre piece, which will be about Product Research and Branding (the previous two being about Propaganda and Advertising, so we're still in the same range); and a new original piece, provisionally titled Objects, which is what I'm mainly working on now.

Again, only four of these, tops, will make it to the stage this year, and, luckily, all of them are fairly small and uncomplicated, cast-wise, as well as being short -- unlike last year, where we found that producing 2 giant shows can kick our asses far more than four small-to-large shows. Each still presents its own problems for me to overcome, mostly as a director, so right now I'm concentrating on the writing of Objects, which, like Spell in 2008, I'll probably finalize writing in rehearsal around the actors. And while I have some dialogue right now, I'm waiting for characters and situations to make themselves known. All I know at this point is that somehow it feels to me like a cross between the plays of Shaw and side one of The Firesign Theatre's How Can You Be In Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All, and I'm not even sure what THAT means. But it's a start.

So that's the work for the moment. More on them soon.

And from the 2,525 songs in the special "not-heard-yet" playlist in the iPod, here's a Random Ten for the Week . . .

1. "Travelling Lady" - Manfred Mann - Chapter Three
2. "Trouser Press" - The Bonzo Dog Band - The Doughnut in Granny's Greenhouse
3. "All You Ever Think About Is Sex" - Sparks - The Best Of Sparks
4. "All or Nothing" - Small Faces - Iron Leg Blog
5. "I Lie Awake" - The New Colony Six - Breakthrough
6. "Down The Dolce Vita" - Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel 1
7. "Cornfed Dames" - The Cramps - A Date With Elvis
8. "Ever Present Past" - Paul McCartney - Memory Almost Full
9. "Po' Boy" - Bob Dylan - "Love and Theft"
10. "What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted?" - Baby Washington - Atlantic Unearthed: Soul Sisters

Aw, man! Almost reached my goal of a Random ten where I could find all of the songs on YouTube -- that last, obscure Baby Washington cover blew it. Oh, well, here's the full playlist, plus bonus track . . .



Enjoying my new digital SLR recently -- it's a bit better than the point-and-shoot we have, but the main advantage is the ease with which I can manually set f-stop/shutter speed/"film speed," as well as have it automatically bracket every shot I take. Of course, since the snow shots I took, the main focus has been, as always, the cats. Here's Moni enjoying their Christmas Box:
Boxed Moni

A typical evening at home of Berit, Hooker, Moni and me, computing and watching Big Cat Diary . . .
Kiities Live & Onscreen

Hooker enjoying the warmth from below and cool from the side on the windowsill . . .
Sleepy on Windowsill

And Moni walking on me and demanding attention . . .
Moni Stands On Me

Okay, I've been writing this off and on for about 14 hours . . . time to finally call it a day and hit the sack . . .

collisionwork: (mark rothko)
The year seems like it should be over, but it's not quite yet.

Androids is over, and was pretty damned successful. Then, the morning after that show closed, and I wasn't acting anymore, I went in to light design Bethlehem or Bust the very funny fight choreography-based retelling of the Three Kings part of the Nativity, a kids' show! (I haven't worked on too many of those)

That show opened on Saturday (I went in to tech it - having done a pre-light the previous day - at 8 am, did a cue-to-cue from 11 am to 1 pm, and it OPENED at 2 pm -- *phew*!) to a VERY happy audience of adults and kids alike, and it looks to be the second show in a row that I've worked on that will sell out most of its performances. Cool.

Tomorrow night, however, I have to go in and actually run the lights for the show, as both of the board ops who will be switching off during the run had unavoidable conflicts come up. Well, there go both of the potential plans I had for tomorrow night . . . and I'm a hair nervous about running it for a house with no practice, but it's a simple show, so there should be no problem. I will be helping out family during the day tomorrow, though, and I'm not fond of having to rush back from Westchester County to run a show in the evening, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

And here's a Random Ten for the week from the 2,533 tracks in an "unheard-as-yet" playlist in the iPod:

1. "That's All Right" - Elvis Presley - The Complete Sun Singles: Volume 1
2. "Woe the Luck" - Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks - Striking It Rich
3. "Romantic Me" - Polyrock - Polyrock
4. "Cyrano de Berger's Back" - X - See How We Are
5. "Rape Me" - Nirvana - In Utero
6. "The Trouble with Boys" - Little Eva - One Kiss Can Lead to Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost and Found
7. "After The Gold Rush" - Neil Young - Greatest Hits
8. "It's All Right With Me" - Tom Waits - Red Hot + Blue: A Tribute To Cole Porter
9. "Nashira" - Sun Ra - Blue Delight
10. "Fan Mail" - Blondie - Plastic Letters

Here's the video playlist for the above:



Berit kiped a DYMO label-making kit from the "kipple" on the set of Androids, and we spent some time labeling things around the house. This, however, may have been going too far:
Labeled Cat

Ah, well, off too finally take the air conditioner out of the window, as it's freezing in the bedroom (it hasn't happened yet as all of the props and costumes from the August shows have been piled in front of the AC, and getting to it will be far more difficult than has been worth it -- until today and the COLD). Let's hope I don't make the mess in there even worse...



collisionwork: (Default)
And late again, but having a nice rest after another weekend of Androids at 3 Legged Dog. It is, for me especially, a fairly easy show, and the whole thing now hums along like a well-oiled machine (usually), but it still somehow seems to take up for time and energy in the day than it should. It's been fun though - nice to act in a show that's getting such good reviews and that the audiences mostly seem to like (very different reactions from audience to audience, still can't gauge how they're going to react from night to night, however I now seem to have at least one sure-fire laugh line that always does what I want it to).

Which of course is also nice when you're consistently selling out a house of close to 100 seats. That makes for a good laugh from the crowd.

I was planning to take lots of behind the scenes shots at the show, but it wound up not quite being so photogenic backstage as I'd thought -- or when it was, there wasn't enough light or time to get a shot. Here's Moira watching Alex and Yvonne during tech:
ANDROIDS tech 1

And our fearless production crew (Berit in foreground) hacking their way through the difficult tech:
ANDROIDS tech 2

Moira appears to be sticking her tongue out at me as she and Trav S.D. wait and wait and wait (patiently) for the chroma-key to be worked out for their "Buster Friendly Show" segment:
ANDROIDS tech 3

And a blurry shot that still suggests how crazy the tech table/crew situation was out in the house as the show was put together, with lights, sound, live music, and projections all trying to be worked out together (as the set continued to be built, up until - and past - show opening).
ANDROIDS tech 4

The other night was the benefit party, and VJ Fuzzy Bastard did some slick video mixing on one of the screens for us:
VJ Fuzzy #1

And just the screens and set:
VJ Fuzzy #2

Only three more shows, Wednesday-Friday, and they're just about sold out. Nice.

Apart from the show, we've been variously watching a circling playlist of about 15-20 old TV shows on Netflix Instant -- Soap, Archer, old SNLs, NewsRadio, Black Adder, the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes episodes, etc.; definite TV comfort food -- while also making our way through the BBS Story box set (last night was Five Easy Pieces, which I'd never seen before, and WOW), and also gradually through a Netflix disk/instant chronological playlist of 130 western pictures from 1939 to 1976.

I don't know what the Western-watching is for yet, though I've started making notes of interest and taking down interesting lines of dialogue. A theatre piece might emerge from this. I was just aware that my knowledge of the Modern American Western Movie was less than it should be, and wanted to get to know the genre better. It was INCREDIBLY important for several decades, more than the regard it's held in now would indicate, and I think that understanding certain aspects of America itself, let alone Movies, isn't possible without a knowledge of the genre that most of us born post-its-heyday haven't got.

So we're up to 1947 or so, and about 8 movies in, I think. Actually, the WWII period wasn't all that great for Westerns (as film noir, on the other hand, was being created and thriving) and post-Stagecoach it took a few years for filmmakers to figure out how one actually made a "serious" film in the genre (it seems to have taken Ford's return with My Darling Clementine to get it really started). So we've been sitting through a bunch of "major" films that aren't all that good, but are still valuable to know. Who knows where this will go, if anywhere, but it's an enjoyable study.

And here's a Random Ten for the week from the playlist of 2,519 tracks on the iPod that haven't gotten a spin there yet (actually, there's 10,994 tracks on there that haven't been played yet, but these are the ones I'd actually most like to hear), with links to videos for the songs, or as close as I could get by the artists (same album or period, whatever):

1. "Fish Eyes " - Shonen Knife - Happy Hour
2. "Around The Fire" - Pere Ubu - Worlds In Collision
3. "Red Rain" - Peter Gabriel - So
4. "Big Bands" - Sparks - Halfnelson
5. "Golden Brown" - The Stranglers - La Folie
6. "Moisture" - The Residents - The Commercial Album
7. "Hold Me, Hug Me, Rock Me" - Shocking Blue - Beat With Us
8. "What Is The Secret of Your Success?" - The Coasters - Fifty Coastin' Classics
9. "Hot Rock Theme" - Quincy Jones - The Hot Rock
10. "Shorty Falls In Love" - Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks - Original Recordings

And here's the video playlist of the above (or as close as I could get - and, as always, if you're reading this on Facebook you'll have to click through to the Livejournal to see the embedded videos), with bonus Linton Kwesi Johnson:



And, finally, I do have one new cat picture to share -- Hooker on a pillow that was new at the time (or at least, had newly appeared out of an old prop box -- I think we got it for Hamlet in 2007), but now already has an immense tear from end to end:
Hooker's New Pillow

Tonight, I schlep on over to The Battle Ranch to watch a runthru of Bethlehem or Bust so I know what I'm doing when I come in Saturday morning to light it for the FightFest right before it opens. This should be fun.

Can't believe this year is almost over -- it's been a long one. Did B and I actually get married only a few months ago, and then do the two biggest shows we've ever produced? Seems like years now . . .

collisionwork: (red room)
Out of the frying-Urbain Grandier pan, into the fire of Clown.

Today is opening day for The New York Clown Theatre Festival, 2010 edition, at The Brick. We've previously done full festivals in 2006, '07, and '08, and a mini-Amuse Bouche festival in '09 -- when we realized there wasn't enough new Clown work out there to really make this an annual fest, so we decided to go biennial, but we were committed (for funding purposes) to do one last year.

Berit and I weren't much involved in the first fest, but we were HEAVILY involved in years two and three, and somewhat involved in the smaller one last year. We actually wound up lighting and running board for the lion's share of the shows in '07-'08, but after the HEAVY summer we had, we've pulled back this year to just fulfilling our functions as Tech Directors of The Brick and supervising all of the techs for each show in the fest. So we're on that for the next few weeks, then we get a couple of weeks off to have our regular chill-out time in Maine, then we're back, earlier than I'd like, as we're both now working on Untitled Theatre Co. #61's adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? going up at 3-Legged Dog in November/December (which screws up the Thanksgiving I wanted to have, but oh, well . . .).

So, I've spent the five days since we closed not resting, as I would have liked, but working to get The Brick ready for the Clowns and supervising techs. Most of the August shows are now in the car, though I still have things to shove in there today (the robot legs, breakaway chair tops, and televisor panels from Spacemen from Space). So I'm in a rush right now to finish this, empty some of the car, shower, shave, and rush to The Brick to be ready for the pie fight that opens every year's ClownFest -- as with the '08 Fest, I made up the backing CD of songs that will score the various fights, so we get to see pie fights accompanied by "Kung Fu Fighting," "Yakety Sax," "Crazy Train," "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana, the Vulcan Fight Music from Star Trek, "Adoration of the Earth" from The Rite of Spring, "Beat on the Brat," and many others, ending with the finale of the 1812 Overture. This is always fun. But all time-consuming.

So, no time to consider the summer and the future just yet. We will in a few weeks. Though some ideas about what to do and change for next year are already bubbling.

But, in any case, here's the regular Random Ten out of the "Brandnew Bag" playlist of 2,781 tracks in the iPod that haven't actually been played there yet, with video links where possible:

1. "Cheap Emotions" - Rich Kids - Ghosts of Princes in Towers
2. "Terrible Lie" - Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine
3. "Downtown Soulville" - Chuck Edwards - Soulin' Vol 3
4. "Train Kept A-Rollin' (BBC session)" - The Yardbirds - BBC Sessions
5. "Down By The Sea" - Strawbs - The Very Best of Strawbs: Halcyon Days (The A&M Years)
6. "First Line (Seven the Row)" - The Deviants - The Electric Lemonade Acid Test vol. 2
7. "Two-Faced Love" - Richard Thompson - Mock Tudor
8. "APA Style" -Tom X. Chao - Micro-Podcasts
9. "Don't Cry Wolf" - The Damned - Music for Pleasure
10. "Last Song" - Marianne Faithfull - Before The Poison

And here's the full video playlist:



And Berit took some cat shots at home while I was working this week. Hooker found a new "fort" under the couch cushion, and Moni had to be nearby, and jealous . . .
Hooker's New Fort

And Moni did her two-level looking out the window again . . .
Split Level Moni

Okay, we're late . . . off to The Brick . . .

collisionwork: (tired)
So, yes, it's less than two weeks until we open Spacemen from Space and just about two weeks until we open Devils. And it's all coming together. Still a lot to do, but the time appears to be there. There will be some serious unpleasant crunch time for Berit and I at the end, probably, but . . . well, it happens.

Spacemen looks to be as funny as I intended, actually probably funnier. At least I'm not nervous about audiences just sitting there confused at it. It is definitely the silliest thing I've ever done, and I mean that in a very good way. Devils is looking fairly epic, but all the pieces we've worked are stitching together OK.

We have most of the set up, and it's big and odd, but I like it a lot. There were more sightline problems than I thought there'd be from the platforms, and I have had to, and will continue to, restage bits to be seen properly, but thus far everything's been improved by the changes, so good on us.

Today, I'm taking time away from the set to work out some more things at home -- more scheduling, lighting plans, so forth -- so I can have a mostly quiet day before the rehearsals tonight and all day Saturday and Sunday. Monday I go in to deal with set and lights, Tuesday I work on my performances all day (I have a big part in Devils and a teeny one in Spacemen), Wednesday is for sound design work, Thursday and Friday for cleanup on any and all of the above. Plus costumes for Devils. By that point, we start trying to run through the shows with as much tech/costumes etc. as possible.

We'll see if this plan actually works and happens . . .

Got an interesting little press mention for Devils on the Time Out New York site HERE (less than an hour after I sent them the press release!). I'm glad for it, though it's kind of exactly what I feared would happen when I put the warning in the press release -- "This play contains nudity, sexuality, extreme violence and torture, among other potentially disturbing elements. Not for children or people of sensitive natures." -- that it would be seen as a coy, "come-hither" publicity angle rather than what it is, an honest warning (considering the number of actors who didn't want to come near the play, even for great parts, for these reasons, I did think I should warn the audience). I mean, I certainly want asses in the seats, but I would rather not those asses be leaving en masse when stuff starts going down midway through Act Two, at the end of Act Two, or a little ways into Act Three (depending on whether their hangup is shit, blasphemy, or torture). Well, maybe at the end of Act Two would be okay . . . there is an intermission there after all.

Yeah, pretty much as I figured going in, if Spacemen is the silliest thing I've ever done, Devils is the heaviest. Though it's not without its own humor. Thankfully, or it'd be unbearable.

Meanwhile, back in the iPod, there's still an immense playlist of songs I have in there that apparently have never been played (quite a few of them, however, are upgrades - new masters or better copies - of songs I've had in there for years and heard many times). So here's a weekly Random Ten from that playlist of 2,903 songs:

1. "Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited" - The Move - Shazam
2. "Ballad In Which Macheath Begs All Men For Forgiveness" - Raul Julia - The Threepenny Opera
3. "Is It Love?" - T.Rex - History of T.Rex—The Singles Collection
4. "Bye Bye Baby" - Ronnie Spector & Joey Ramone - She Talks To Rainbows
5. "Eki Attar" - Huun-Huur-Tu - The Orphan's Lament
6. "Organ Blues" - T.Rex - A Beard Of Stars
7. "Drift Away" - The Rolling Stones - Clean Cuts - Vol. 1
8. "Cry Cry Cry" - Pere Ubu - Worlds In Collision
9. "Ballade de Melody Nelson" - Serge Gainsbourg - Histoire de Melody Nelson
10. "If He'd Love Me" - Nancy Sinatra - Boots

Ah, shoot. Just one short of finding all of the exact recordings I'm listening to on YouTube . . . after the more obscure Threepenny and Tuvan throat singing tracks (let alone the Rolling Stones bootleg cover), I thought I was home free. Didn't know a fairly common Pere Ubu track would break the run.

And here's the playlist of all the above (with alternate Ubu track) and a bonus track:



Just looked and discovered I hadn't posted any cat pictures for a while, so here's a bunch of recent ones. First, Hooker in front of our Beatles Rock Band drum kit, matching it nicely.
Hooker Is Beatles Kitty

Hooker & Moni on the windowsill, Moni having a nice stretch:
H&M Stretch Out on Sill

Hooker playing with a wedding gift (that was for them, not us) that has been very popular of recent with him (Moni had a brief interest in it when it first appeared, mainly in turning it over and gnawing on the base, but then she got more interested in the box it came in):
H&M with New Toy

And again, on the windowsill, sharing a happy nap:
Fuzzy Pillow

Okay, back to the combo of rest and work (more restful work?).

collisionwork: (Default)
In the last two days, various trips, calls, and emails have bought a cake and arranged for it to be at the wedding, settled a rehearsal schedule for the wedding-play itself, gotten the Actors Equity Showcase approval for the wedding, finalized the rights with Samuel French for performing Devils in August, put together the entire United Stages program for the wedding, conducted two on-line interviews about the wedding (one short, one VERY long, with two new follow-up questions that came in this morning yet to finish), taken the car to the mechanic for checkup, created a four-hour mix for The Brick's iPod of songs on the theme "too soon" to play between shows in the Too Soon Festival, and settled numerous other matters that have come in that I can't remember. And everything, thus far, has been falling into place incredibly well.

So it's been a GOOD couple of days of everything happening the way it should. Now I wait for the other shoe to drop. And now I also rush to get ready for the opening cabaret of the Festival tonight . . .

Here's a Random Ten for today from the playlist of unheard songs on the iPod (with video links where available):

1. "You Can Have Watergate But Gimme Some Bucks And I'll Be Straight (Parts 1 & 2)" - Fred Wesley & The JB’s - James Brown's Funky People (Part 2)
2. "I Wanna Get in Your Pants" - The Cramps - Look Mom No Head!
3. "Talkin' Loud And Saying Nothin' (Original Rock Version)" - James Brown - James Brown's Funky People (Part 3)
4. "Sittin' On A Fence" - The Rolling Stones - Flowers
5. "All Your Love" - John Mayall's Bluesbreakers - Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton
6. "I'm With Stupid" - Pet Shop Boys - Fundamental
7. "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? ("Mistaken Version")" - Bob Dylan - 1965 Single
8. "Look Back In Love (Not in Anger)" - The Yachts - D.I.Y.: Teenage Kicks - UK Pop I (1976-79)
9. "We Could Be So Good Together" - The Doors - Waiting for the Sun
10. "Lady Madonna" - Os Mutantes - Rato's Nostalgia Collection 21

(Berit woke up and started her day as the second song above was playing, and suggested every song from that one on as potentially appropriate for our wedding mix . . . she's so romantic)

Wow . . . nearly found a YouTube video for the actual recording of every song on today's Random Ten! Just that one obscure Dylan single blew it. Here's a video playlist of the whole bunch, with bonus track:



And some leftover cat shots from last week. A nice picture of Hooker's fur in windowsill light:
Fur Light

And another of the boy, enjoying my foot as a chinrest and hugging support while I write:
Floor, Foot, Grain

Okay, all goes well, but all goes QUICKLY. So off to the mechanic to get the car and drive on to create some more theatre . . .

collisionwork: (kovacs)
The Wedding is full speed ahead. Just about everything is arranged. The play is written and sent to the cast (with some additions/rewrites to come). The space is set. The reception restaurant is set. The photographer is set. I'm having a meeting about the cake today. The guests have mostly responded. My costume has mostly arrived, and the rest should come today by UPS. The additional chair rental for the theatre has been arranged.

A few things need to be finalized, mostly with the performance itself. It's proving pretty much IMPOSSIBLE to get the cast together for rehearsals and costume fittings. Argh. It's a wedding-play, and simpler than a usual play on the cast, but there's still work and staging that has to happen. Don't know when right now, but somehow we'll work this out.

Nice little promo stuff for The Too Soon Festival that includes bits about the Wedding at nytheatre.com and PAPERMAG.com. More to come, I'm sure.

I've had a good four days of mostly having my own time to get my own work done this week, but suddenly I'm back to engagements keeping me from the work for the next three or so days -- starting tonight with seeing Dénouement at The Brick tonight, working with David Finkelstein then at The Brick tomorrow, then seeing family on Sunday, then seeing the entire Cremaster Cycle at IFC Center on Monday (not the greatest timing, but it's there and I'd like to see it while I can, so . . .). Then I can get back to working on the shows and cleaning up the apartment (another immense job that must get done shortly).

In the midst of this, I'm getting back to planning out the August shows -- finishing the writing of Spacemen from Space and the cutting of Devils. And, hopefully, many of the cast members I'd like to do the shows will be on board. if not, I can look forward to a frenzied audition period coming up. {sigh}

And here's this week's Random Ten out of 3,108 songs in the "A Brandnew Bag" playlist in my iPod (of songs that have been sitting there for years without getting played). Another 10 down, maybe including ones I can drop to make room for the Janelle Monae EP and CD that just showed up in the mail (hooray!). Ten songs, with associated videos, for yer dining and dancing pleasure:

1. "Old Man" - Neil Young - Greatest Hits
2. "Merry-Go-Round" - Wild Man Fischer - An Evening with Wild Man Fischer
3. "I Must Go" - Squeeze - Cool For Cats
4. "A Big Hunk Of Love" - Elvis Presley - A Big Hunk Of Love
5. "Billy's Birthday" - Romeo Void - Instincts
6. "Bring Back Reality" - Snakefinger - Manual Of Errors
7. "Elizabeth Dreams" - Status Quo - Messages from the Status Quo
8. "Rebel Never Gets Old (single edit)" - David Bowie (remixed by Go Home Productions) - GHP Complete - CD12 Official Remixes Vol. 1
9. "Hang Fire" - The Rolling Stones - Tattoo You
10. "Wasteland" - Pere Ubu - Wayne Kramer Presents Beyond Cyberpunk

And here's the video playlist for most of the above -- it looks like I'll NEVER be able to find a full Random Ten list of mine on YouTube, but there are some good substitutions in there (and a bonus track) . . .



And kitty photos from this week -- Hooker enjoying the breeze coming through the window in our hot apartment:
Window Light

Moni curled up into a ball on undifferentiated fur on the couch:
Pile of Fur

And Moni leaning in to clean Hooker's head:
Cleaning Head

Time to go -- I have to see a woman about a cake . . .

collisionwork: (boring)
Well, I've been writing an entry off and on all day, amidst script writing and other work, and just realized it was really late I I was nowhere close to getting it right, so I'm bailing on that for now and just hitting the normal Friday posts (now early on Saturday).

The Wedding play is coming along much better now -- I thought I'd have it done this past Monday or Tuesday, but it's taking more time. At least I know everything that's going into it now.

Unfortunately, the next couple of days will take me away from writing for a bit, but in good ways -- working with David Finkelstein on Saturday and Edward Einhorn on Sunday and Monday. Some writing will happen here and there. Also, I have to get all the publicity stuff out for the shows this year. Oy.

Well in any case, I'm still working my way through the playlist of 3,169 songs in the iPod from artists I like that haven't been played yet. Here's a Random Ten for this morning from that, with video links of the songs or something similar where available:

1. "Everyday People" - Sly & The Family Stone - Stand!
2. "She's Alright" - Johnny Otis - Let's Live It Up
3. "Jose" - Stealers Wheel - Stealers Wheel
4. "The Very Next Fight" - Sparks - Hello Young Lovers
5. "Tale Of A 280-Pound Shoe Salesman" - The Knights - Strummin' Mental Part One
6. "Itchycoo Park" - Small Faces - Immediate Singles
7. "Cold Hard Times" - Lee Hazlewood - Cowboy In Sweden
8. "Godsong" - The Residents - Fingerprince
9. "I See In You" - Sagittarius - The Blue Marble
10. "Ramble On" - Led Zeppelin - Remasters

And here's a playlist of the 10 tracks linked to above (plus bonus 11th track):



Well, I know that videos don't stay embedded when this pongs over to Facebook, but it appears that photos I include in here are now vanishing from the FB "Notes" reposting. Oh, well -- if you don't see nice cat photos below on Facebook, click over to the original LiveJournal posting.

Here's Hooker in one of his two or three common positions. In a circle, asleep, matching the circle pillow he likes so much:
Circle Pillow

And another common pose from him, on the floor, wanting up onto my lap:
Sweet Eyes

And both of them trying to take the beloved spot on the toolbox to get our attention as we walk by:
Two Cat Toolbox

Just about 4 weeks and a day to the Wedding and Wedding. Back to some kind of work . . .

collisionwork: (star trek)
More work on scripts and at The Brick, off and on, back and forth, in fits and starts.

The reading of Devils at The Brick on Sunday was terrific -- not entirely, of course; there was plenty about the script that doesn't work right now, but it was terrific to have a good reading that made the problems (and, luckily, the strengths) apparent. I learned that, yes, the script is long, but it should be long, just not quite so long. Also, that it wants to be in three acts instead of two, with two intermissions -- I couldn't see where an earlier first act break could possibly fall until we read it, and suddenly it was like it YELLED "Intermission HERE, now!"

However, to be a still-reasonable length, including two intermissions, I have to cut about a half-hour from it, which won't be all that easy -- there's plenty of things that can be easily cut and still tell the story, but they're all things about class and character that make the story more interesting. I thought I had a five-minute sequence ready to be cut going into the reading, but unfortunately, the reading proved that the scene was necessary (I still checked with many of the readers and our one audience members, who agreed on this point, as is the insistent Berit). So there's some work to do. Not horribly difficult work, I think, but work.

I'll be going up to Maine for a brief spell to focus and write, and I'm looking forward to that, but before I go I have to finish some needed repair work over at The Brick, where things are moving forward as always. Berit is staying in NYC as she runs sound on Samuel and Alasdair:
A Personal History of the Robot War
, which I barely got to see, but DID hear when it was in our Summer Festival last year. It was a damned great show then, and I'm sure it's just been improved since then.

We've been without TV at home for a month or so, which as I said was great for catching up on music listening, but now I have some things to look at, so I did what I said I would last week, and pulled down the busted one and put up the semi-busted one (I forgot how many problems the old set had) and have been watching the original Twilight Zone series from the start, which I think might actually inform the script for Spacemen from Space more than a little now, though it's a very different genre.

And meanwhile, back in the iPod, here's a Random Ten from the 25,396 in there (with associated links):

1. "Come and Join Us" - Bob Leaper and His Prophets - The Pye Story Vol.4
2. "Saved" - Bob Dylan - Saved
3. "Devo Corporate Anthem" - Devo - Duty Now For The Future
4. "Love Life And Money" - Marianne Faithfull - Strange Weather
5. "Pass the Hatchet Pts 1&2" - Roger & The Gypsies - Funky16Corners Radio v.23 - Funky Nawlins Vol 3
6. "Paint It Black" - The Animals - Winds Of Change
7. "Poop Hatch" - Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band - Bat Chain Puller
8. "Sa Radd" - Caligula's Barn - Single
9. "Birdhouse In Your Soul" - They Might Be Giants - Flood
10. "Necronomania" - Manfred Hubler & Siegfried Schwab - Vampyros Lesbos (Sexadelic Dance Party)

Not the greatest cat photos this week, but they are brand new. Here's both of them by the window:
Cats in Lights

Hooker sleeping on the leg of sleeping Berit:
Sleep on Leg

And I tried to get a nice shot of Moni, but she just wanted to hunker down in her dark fort below the desk, next to the books and Super-8 movie projector:
Moni Haz a Fort

And now onward to more Twilight Zones, or maybe A Serious Man or Godard's Histoire(s) du Cinema . . .

collisionwork: (Judo)
And the script writing/editing has been supplanted this week (and next) by becoming a lighting designer again.

I had to go in and relight Craven Monkey and the Mountain of Fury, as the first two performances are running in rep with the current mainstage hit show, the Debate Society's You're Welcome, and the lights have been changed from the house plot for their show. So I went in, did some fixes, and it looks okay. Probably better than okay, but I was very happy with my original work on the show, and I'm not sure it's as good now. Actually, I think a few things are improved here and there (and some lights/gobos brought in by Debate Society I've been allowed to use have balanced out no longer having any changeable colored backlight). I just miss some of the subtlety I was able to get from the regular plot. I was going to go in for opening night tonight, but Snowpocalypse 2: Electric Boogaloo (along with a slight illness that's been hovering on me for a couple of days) makes this a poor idea for tonight. Tomorrow, probably, then.

I'm also now lighting Untitled Theatre Co. #61's production of Rudolf II, which will be fun -- it's a great space, and I have the assistance, assistants, and equipment to make it all fine and good (though I may not quite have the time I would like) -- but somewhat of an unexpected gig, and I tend to get oddly thrown, personally, by sudden, unexpected things popping up anywhere outside of my work (and I don't like them there either). Saw a runthrough of the show the other day, and it's simple and something I can do well, but, yeah, I am worrying about the time to do it as good as I know I can. We'll see. Basically, I'm lighting the whole thing on Monday and making fixes over the couple of days after.

Otherwise, I'm writing as I can, going over the Devils script in prep for a reading late in March, planning the wedding, helping Berit with her own work on Rudolf II, and having my weekly improvisation sessions with David Finkelstein (that I still need to write about). And listening to even more music than usual.

Speaking of which -- from among the 25,446 tracks on the iPod, here's a Random Ten (with associated links) for this week . . .

1. "One Of Those Things" - Dexy's Midnight Runners - Don't Stand Me Down - The Director's Cut
2. "I'd Rather Be Burned As a Witch" - Eartha Kitt- This October: A BenT Howl-O-Ween Mix
3. "You Bowed Down" - Elvis Costello & The Attractions - All This Useless Beauty
4. "Hawaii Five-O Theme" - The Ventures - Hawaii Five-O
5. "Ain't Going Home" - Telli Mills - Sin Alley, Vol. 2: Red Hot Rockabilly 1955 - 1962
6. "Here Come The Lies" - Sham 69 - Hollywood Hero
7. "Behind Closed Doors" - Charlie Rich - Love Songs
8. "Your Honor" - Regina Spektor - Soviet Kitsch
9. "Quicksand" - David Bowie - Hunky Dory
10. "Hey Joe" - Roy Buchanan - That's What I Am Here For

And I got some kitty pictures for this week. Here's Hooker being playful on B's lap as she computes . . .
Crazy Lap Kitty

And him being happy and stretchy-adorable by her foot on the couch . . .
Fuzzy Belly & Foot

So, yes, today was the surprise snow day that looks worse than the big anticipated one earlier this month. And it was a day Berit and I were going to drive around and get stuff for Rudolf II. I didn't think it was a good idea, but I agreed to drive to Staples -- by half a block from home, Berit saw why I didn't think it was a good idea (though this below is Avenue P, which was actually plowed, unlike Avenue S).
Snow Day 2 - Not Fun Driving

On the other hand, I was probably lucky to do this, as when we got to Staples, I discovered I had a flat tire, and probably had since I left home, and before -- and the Staples is only a half-block from the tire-repair joint where I get my alignments done. So the flat fix wound up being quick.
Snow Day 2 - East on S

I wasn't going to drive out further after that today, so we went home and B went off on errands by train. You can see how happy she is about it . . .
Snow Day 2 - Berit on Errands

And I took pictures from the subway stair landing . . .
Snow Day 2 - Up McDonald

And under it . . .
Snow Day 2 - Under El Snow

Before an odd brief break in the snow gave us blue skies and sun for a bit . . .
Snow Day 2 - Birds and Blue Skies?

And I came home to write this slowly and listen over and over to a favorite "new" song that I found among the thousands I have in the iTunes that I haven't listened to as yet -- I download tons of comps and can't get through them all, so I get surprised by discoveries all the time.

Here's a YouTube video featuring this song, "You Haven't Seen My Love" by Danny Hernandez & The Odds, from Michigan, 1967 (invisible on Facebook, but I posted it separately there). I'm as obsessed with this song as I was with Sagittarius' "Gladys" last year, but I have no show this year to get it into, unfortunately. I'll have the perfect scene for it someday . . .



Back to trying not to be ill and thinking about the work . . .

collisionwork: (Big Gun)
So on Monday I finished the Devils script to the point where I felt okay sending it to actors and discussing doing a reading. Sent it to the 27 actors who (plus me) I'd love to be the cast of the show, with a list of possible dates for a reading (and some notes to the effect that no, this is probably not the last draft of the script -- it's very likely too long and needs cutting, but we won't know where or how until the reading).

Found a date in late March when 19 of us can definitely get together and read it. As for the others, two of the actors are unavailable and/or uninterested, three are interested in the reading and/or eventual production, but can't make the date, two can probably make it but aren't sure, and another two aren't sure on any account yet, it seems (the last two especially concerning me right now, as they're the two female leads in the thing, and I'm REALLY hoping these actresses do the show). So we're moving forward on that. Now I can barely wait the month until that reading.

I read and reread the script and each time I keep having a different opinion of it. I'm hoping the reading will convince me 100% that I'm on the right track here. Still very self-conscious about the current casting of myself in what is really the lead role in the thing, for a number of reasons I don't want to go into right now. I'll see how I feel about that after the reading as well . . .

Trying to get into the other writing this week, with limited success. Some good ideas coming for Wedding, but not much apart from that.

David Finkelstein of Lake Ivan, on whose work I've been collaborating for the past year, has, as my director, given me a writing assignment, asking me to write something about our work from my perspective, for posting here and/or maybe on the Lake Ivan Improvisation Blog and Forum where David posts his notes, instructions, principles and thoughts. Wow, 41 years old and I'm suddenly getting homework again. I really feel on the spot.

I'm still trying to put my thoughts about this improvisation work that we do into the kind of words I'd feel fine with sharing (and that would, in any event, be useful to me in terms of learning from the work I'm doing with David, which is a good deal of why he wants me to write about it). The improvisational work I've been doing with David (which he videotapes in front of a green screen for potential future transformation into a video art piece) has been extremely useful for me as a director, writer, and actor this past year, and I'd like to maybe codify why a bit.

But that's a little hard for me sometimes when the work is so fluid and ever-changing. We're always learning more. We started work again after some time away two weeks ago, and wound up having some kind of useful breakthrough that resulted in a particularly fine group of improvisation pieces (for some reason, our improvisation duets usually wind up lasting around 45 minutes, consisting of several shorter "movements" of 10-20 minutes each). Last week, despite having prepared and focused on what we had learned the previous week (and reread David's blog entry on "The Improv AFTER a Great Improv," which was originally an email to me and a good "warning" piece), things didn't go so well. We discussed things afterward and pretty much reasoned out why -- and it may have come down to simple semantic issues, that words used in our preparation that were suggestive to David in one (good) way had quite the opposite effect on me.

But this is something I'll continue working on writing about to share here sometime soon.

As for the normal weekly business, here's today's Random Ten from the iPod, with links to YouTube videos of the songs themselves, or something related . . .

1. "Take Pity with our City" - Box of Fish - Trousers In Action 7"
2. ""I Guess I'll Peanut" - Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins - Sluggo!
3. "Harry, You're A Beast" - Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention - We're Only In It For The Money
4. "Misirlou" - The Deptford Beach Babes - At A Loss For Words
5. "Faith" - The Boy Least Likely To - download
6. "Sticks And Stones" - The Golden Ear-rings - Just Ear-rings
7. "7-Up Ad (Sitar)" - Promo - Psychedelic Promos & Radio Spots, vol. 8
8. "Imagination" - The Quotations - The Doo Wop Box I vol 4: The Doo Wop Revival (1959-1987)
9. "Lisbon" - Pere Ubu - St Arkansas
10. "Closing" - Philip Glass - Glassworks

The kitties have been very cute this week, but I've been thwarted from getting a good photo of them, as they always seem to know when I'm about to take a good picture of them (especially Moni) and stop being adorable just as the shutter is about to go.

And the one time when they were out cold and I could get a bunch of shots of them, and did, I used the flash and wound up with hideously overexposed shots that Photoshop could not repair any more than this:
H&M - Overexposed

But I did get an OK shot of Hooker doing his snake impression on the couch:
Hooker's Snake Impression

Besides my writing assignment for David, I should get back to more thoughts on Godard.
Godard - Le Mepris 4

I've finished up watching all of his features from 1960-1967, and continue to love and be inspired by his work, though I seem to have some different opinions from the majority on his "great" films versus the merely "good" ones (let alone the one absolutely awful one in there).
Godard - Made in U.S.A. 1

Seeing Two or Three Things I Know About Her when I was 17 did something to my head, set me on the path that got me where I am today, artistically. Maybe I should be pissed at it for doing that, but instead I love it all the more.
Godard - making the last shot of 2 or 3 Things

He certainly makes me want to get behind the lens of a motion picture camera again, I'll tell you that. I started seeing how much I could maybe find a 16mm sync camera on ebay for last night, found an okay one in my price range, but was automatically outbid. I'll keep looking.
Godard - Tout Va Bien 2

I'm getting film ideas again, which is nice, despite it being dead and all.

Breathless

Feb. 12th, 2010 01:07 pm
collisionwork: (hair)
More work on everything still taking longer than it should.

I'm close to finished with my work on the Devils script, and every day go back to it several times, and every time now I change my mind about what I think of it. Is it too big? Too unwieldy? Completely wrong for The Brick? For me? Sometimes I'm overwhelmingly happy with it, and then I look again and it's not at all the play I was interested in directing. I can't tell what it is anymore. Reading it right now feels more like Robert Altman meets A Little Piece of the Sun meets the 17th Century, and I'm not sure that's what I was intending. Sometimes it seems like an NC-17 version of something they'd do at The Pearl, and that's not quite what The Brick seems to be about.

I think the next step with this one is to set up a reading -- preferably with the "dream cast" I have in my head for it (27 people, oy), and some other friends -- and hear it and see what works and what doesn't, if anything. Berit also has to read it first when I'm finished with it -- I have all the scenes and dialogue in order now, but I need to write all the stage directions and clean it up so it makes sense.

The Wedding play is coming along more steadily. Luckily, a number of ideas for it emerged that have made the whole thing much clearer. I'm still waiting back to see if the entire "cast" can do it (Berit doesn't like me to call them the "wedding party," but really that's the "character" our "cast" will kind of be playing). Other planning goes on -- getting the dates set for the three other performances besides the "real" one, renting extra chairs for the "real" one, and so on and so forth. We've seen friends go through the pre-wedding craziness a few times in the past few years, and I overconfidently thought we wouldn't have nearly the trouble, as for Berit and I it would just be like doing a show. Now I've realized, Oh, right, Berit and I go completely nuts ourselves when doing any of our own shows on this scale, so it's going to be the same as doing an immense show for us, with the added fun of dealing with extra "spaces" and "designers" that are more outside our control than usual. Also, on the shows, decisions are a lot easier -- we're still at a loss on where to begin with what kind of cake we want -- we know several bakeries we like and will check out, but every time we discuss the cake, we get bogged down in too many possibilities. {sigh} Well, it's all happening. I just want it all happening faster.

And Spacemen from Space has stalled in the writing. I'm worried about getting it done now in time for this year. I need a second show -- I can't just do Devils as I can't afford the rights to enough performances to fill up the whole month -- and I've made it a rule that at least ONE of my August shows every year has to be an original written or co-written by me (The Brick also is really about new, original work, and I always feel a bit guilty about the revivals I do, no matter how changed or re-interpreted). But right now, this show just isn't coming out of my brain. Maybe when I get the others out I'll be able to focus better.

So in between writing, walking around the neighborhood, or sitting around feeling blocked and frustrated, I've been watching a lot of Jean-Luc Godard. But that's another blog post (to come shortly).

As for now, here's today's Friday Random Ten, with associated video links, from the 25,442 tracks in the iPod . . .

1. "What Can I Do For You?" - Bob Dylan - Saved
2. "Diamond Dew" - Gorkys Zygotic Mynci - Barafundle
3. "Lifetime Piling Up" - Talking Heads - Sand In The Vaseline
4. "When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky (alternate take)" - Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series - Volume 3: Rare & Unreleased, 1961-1991
5. "Too Much Junk" - The Alleycats - Dangerhouse Volume Two
6. "Rooster Blues" - Lightnin' Slim - Excello Story, Volume 3: 1957 - 1961
7. "It's Now Or Never" - El Vez - Graciasland
8. "Ain't No Tellin'" - Mississippi John Hurt - 1928 Sessions
9. "Deep Purple/'S Wonderful" - Dr. Samuel J. Hoffman - Ultra-Lounge 18: Bottoms Up
10. "East To The West" - Anti-Pasti - Rondelet Records Punk Singles Collection

And two cat pictures from last night. First the two, curled up and sound asleep together . . .
Double Kitty Curl

But then they woke up, and of course I couldn't get Moni to look at me no matter what (Hooker, as usual, obliged):
Piles of Fur

I had to go out and get groceries in the middle of the snowstorm a couple of days ago. And despite how I look in this picture, I enjoyed the walk (all the photos of me looking cheerful also make me look demented):
Snow Day

Someone had built a snowman in front of the building (not these people, who were playing with it; they wanted to know where it came from):
Snow Day - snowman

The day itself seemed to be black and white, and the snow on the branches was almost an eye-straining optical illusion:
Snow Day - close branches

But if you pulled back, you saw a pretty, snowy Brooklyn street:
Snow Day - 2nd Street

Finally made it to the supermarket, where they weren't bothering to clean up the outside too much:
Snow Day - at Kosher Corner

And, as always, time to get back to work . . .

collisionwork: (sleep)
Slow week of not much to report, or rather much the same -- writing on Devils and Wedding (Spacemen didn't have anything new happen this week), some small jobs to handle at The Brick, some personal errands to run and things to get done for the Wedding-Production itself.

I can tell already that while things are slow right now, this year is going to be a killer snowball picking up speed and inertia as it rolls. I keep wanting to jump ahead about two months and GET TO THINGS, but I need all this boring slog time to prepare everything that needs careful, thought-out, detailed work this year.

For fun "other" work, I'm going back to working on improvised theatre/video with David Finkelstein tomorrow and working with Marc Spitz on one or two new plays he's got going that need some work and feedback.

So I work and blast music. Here's a morning Random Ten from the iPod (with associated links -- you can hear more of these actual songs than usual today!):

1. "Giving Up" - Julie Grant - Count On Me! (The Complete Pye Sessions)
2. "Saut Crapaud" - Columbus Fruge - Anthology Of American Folk Music, Vol. 2A: Social Music
3. "Girls" - Iggy Pop - New Values
4. "Can Your Pussy Do The Dog?" - The Cramps - A Date With Elvis
5. "Baltimore" - Five Chinese Brothers - Rig Rock Juke Box: A Collection of Diesel Only Records
6. "My Confusion" - The Elite - Back From The Grave 1
7. "Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am" - Charles Mingus - Oh Yeah
8. "Sucked Out" - Superdrag - Regretfully Yours
9. "My Favorite Song" - The Kay Gees - Keep On Bumpin' & Master Plan
10. "Give It Back (live)" - The Dickies - Locked 'N' Loaded

And some new cat images this week - one each of the monsters. Here's Hooker in a new favorite place, a useless old tweed jacket of mine in front of the radiator:
Hooker Likes Tweed

Meanwhile, Moni keeps trying to get Berit's attention when B's playing with her new iPod Touch by standing on B's chest and licking her face:
Moni Better Than iPod Touch

As we were going to bed late Saturday night (rather, early Sunday morning), we became concerned about a growing smell of smoke in the apartment. It just got worse and worse and was obviously coming from outside. Eventually we looked out the tiny bathroom window and saw the entire area was covered in thick black smoke. As the wind blew it around, it became apparent is was coming from a couple of blocks north, but apart from that, we couldn't tell what was aflame -- and it lasted a couple of hours.

The next day I went out to check and found it was the hardware store and deli up that block that we go to. Apparently the fire started in the hardware store . . .
Burned Frankson

And since the deli is cradled in the "L" of the hardware store, it was a goner, too.
Burned Corner

A pity -- we weren't so fond of that hardware store, but it was at least convenient, especially since the hardware store we much preferred ALSO burned down some time ago (photo here last week). The deli was the nearest 24-hour one, and a good place to stop on the way home from rehearsals or shows to pick up needed groceries. And the guys there were nice and always remembered us (and if either of us came in solo, would ask about the other). The building will have to come down, I'm sure. I better get up there soon to get a picture of the Vaughn Bode-influenced graffiti mural on the side that looks to have been there since the 70s., though that'll be hard now that they've walled in the whole place.

Meanwhile, I go out for walks every night and take pictures of my neighborhood, mainly interested in light, and signs, like here on Avenue U:
Harold's for Prescriptions

As I walk during "magic hour," the sky, and the geometry of humanity against it, has become the most interesting thing for me:
Lines

As well as any old or unusual signs I can find:
Manny's Mens Shop

Time to get myself and go out earlier today so I can do the shopping at the local supermarket (Kosher Corner) before it closes for Shabbos. There's supposedly a storm on the way. Better stock up . . .

collisionwork: (sign)
Well, we've been back home for most of this week, and as I'd hoped (and often happens), I was able to get into a productive, creative rhythm up in Maine that I'm continuing here at home.

I hope we get to go back up again for another week or two when things free up here (Berit's stage-managing a show right now), which won't be for a while. Fine by me, as I was reminded why January isn't necessarily the best time to visit Maine:
Petey After Snow

Actually, that's glib -- the snow was light and lovely, and we were warm and toasty inside. Except for the time when I had to go out driving in a snowstorm as we were out of food -- I had been waiting for the snow to stop for two days so I could go out, and it didn't. Luckily, they know how to keep roads clear in snow up there.

So I worked on the three scripts, but not as much as I'd hoped on Spacemen and Wedding. Got a good deal done on Devils though, with some help from the loaner cat we spoil up there, Bappers:
Ian & Bappers 2

Back home in Gravesend, I spread out all the cards I made up, breaking down the scenes and bits I want to use from the three versions of the Devils of Loudon story and try to find a structure that works for the production I want to do:
Structuring The Devils

And again, help from a feline is appreciated. Here, I'm asking Hooker if I should have either three or four exorcism scenes, with the last causing some massive chaos so Act One will have a real big finale . . .
Hooker Helps Write the Script

And every day, in the late afternoon, I take a break from the script work and take a walk. It helps me get up and DO this if I take the camera and think of it as "Picture Time," so I've been getting some nice images of the Gravesend/Bensonhurst/Sheepshead Bay area in which we live. It's not Art, but it keeps my eyes engaged, energized, and happy.

Sometimes I shoot because I like the light:
Do Not Enter Sky

(above, Avenue R; below, Avenue S)
Avenue S Sunset

I've always been fond of the contrast between fading natural light and rising artificial light:
Light & Furniture

And sometimes I'm just documenting the features of the neighborhood that I like. Such as the actual still-operating porno theatre attended by some of the Orthodox Jewish gentlemen in the neighborhood, across from the Kosher candy store with the unfortunate typography (I think it's supposed to be "Kandi KING," but the candy piece standing in for the final "I" makes me think the place has something to do with rampaging giant apes):
Kandy Kong & Porn Cinema

This one below used to be the best hardware store within walking distance of home. Berit used to get lots of supplies, and found many other useful items, for our shows here. One night we drove past and it was surrounded by fire trucks, with huge flames and clouds of black smoke pouring from the roof and every crack. The next day they had the sign up on the smoldering building (the NEXT DAY, a PROFESSIONALLY-PRINTED sign! that's industry!) saying they be back, but that was at least 2 years ago, so I don't think we'll see them again.
Mikveh On Premises

We also were, at first, a little weirded out by the "MIKVEH ON PREMISES" sign. At a HARDWARE store? I've since seen the same sign at a hardware store up on 18th Avenue, and that's a much less Orthodox neighborhood than ours, but really?

I guess if you're out, and you need a mikveh, hey, why not? Hardware Store. Sure.

So work proceeds. I may have gotten the lucky break I was looking for in writing the Wedding when we stayed in Mattapoissett with Berit's parents for a night on the way back from Maine. They had gotten a kinda-cheesy, but still actually helpful, book from the library that was to help brides prepare for their wedding, and some of the text, and Berit's reactions to it, were nicely theatrical. Something I can use.

And the music keeps playing while I work. When I work in giant blocks of time for many days in a row, I like to listen to HUGE playlists containing the entire (or almost-entire) recorded work of a favorite artist, in chronological order or recording -- for some reason, it keeps me going and gives me . . . continuity?

Thus far, I've recently made it the complete works of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen (with a break at 1979 for The Monkees; there's only SO much Cohen one can take in a row), and we're currently up to 1985 with The Rolling Stones (and THIS is a depressing playlist, ultimately, but I'm determined to go all the way to the bitter end). Berit is VERY patient. Maybe next I'll go for The Velvet Underground, which will be much kinder to her (as long as it's not Beefheart, Zappa, The Residents, or Elvis Costello, she should be fine).

But right now, a break from the decline of the Glimmer Twins to do a Random Ten from the 25,435 on the iPod, with associated links, where available:

1. "Blue Law" - Filth - Split 7" EP
2. "Boomada" - Les Baxter & His Orchestra - Swing For A Crime
3. "Let's Find Out" - Armando Trovaioli (feat. Isabel Bond) - Beat at Cinecittà Vol.3
4. "Dirty Love" - Mandre - Mandre
5. "Beautiful New Born Child" - Eric Burdon & War - The Black-Man's Burdon
6. "Pat's Song" - The Peppermint Trolley Company - Fading Yellow volume 7
7. "Baby Blue" - The Groop - Woman You're Breaking Me
8. "Ando Meio Desligado" - Os Mutantes - A Divina Comédia Ou Ando Meio Desligado
9. "Guess Things Happen That Way" - Johnny Cash - The Complete Sun Singles: Volume 3
10. "Almost Black, Pt. 1" - James White & The Blacks - Off White

You already got some cat photos for today, but here's another of a crazed Hooker trying to eat his own tail in Berit's lap:
Berit & Crazyball

Okay, back to work. Now I have to go through the Aldous Huxley Devils of Loudon book pulling out anything I want to use in the show that Whiting didn't use in his play or Russell in the movie.

Caesura

Jan. 8th, 2010 04:41 pm
collisionwork: (missing)
Missed my weekly Friday posts the last two weeks -- one day was Christmas, and the other was a strangely-frenetic January 1 (usually a day for NOTHING), though I got that "Favorite Movies of the Decade" post in, but I'd been working on that all day off-and-on on Dec. 31.

I've been recharging, planning out some of next year's shows, and wondering what I have to say here. I've absented myself from a lot of the theatrical discussions this blog was originally created to address, in part. And I'm aware no one reads me here much anymore, anyway (my Facebook presence has become far more active and taking up more time).

The conversation in the theatrical blogosphere has gotten both more interesting and more frustrating to me, as the issues discussed have been both "coming closer to home" and also "non-essential" to me and my work. I have things to say in the discussion, but have to watch getting sidetracked into annoyance and invective -- obvious things are being belabored, stupid, untrue things are being stated as fact by people who don't know any better (and often should), and while good points about problems are being made, no one seems to have any constructive, solution-based ideas.

And in any case, I'm here and making theatre that I'm happy with and proud of, both my own and others that I help supervise at The Brick, so much of the discussion is entirely beside the point to me. Problem, what problem? We make theatre. We're here, and we're not going away, and we're getting bigger audiences and financial support constantly.

But I'll probably have something to say about the discussion (as much as within the discussion) soon -- I'm going up to Maine to work for a while in a while, and my longer thoughts on THEATRE always seem to occur while I'm up there recharging my batteries. In the meantime, the more interesting facets of the discussion are going on over at the blogs of Isaac Butler, Matthew Freeman, and the newly-non-pseudonymous J. Holtham. Many good thoughts there (and quite a few stupid ones, in the comments, at least).

And, back again, here's a Random Ten from the iPod for this week (with associated links):

1. "Ban Deodorant Spot" - The Repulsives - Psychedelic Promos & Radio Spots, vol. 6
2. "Don't Get Your Hopes Up" - Jacqueline Humbert - Dust
3. "Il Giorno Del Cobra" - Paolo Vasile - Roma Violenta: la Cinevox si incazza
4. "Afraid of Losing You" - Mashmakhan - CherryStones: Hidden Charms
5. "Decepticon" - Le Tigre - Mix Disk - Devon
6. "'I Got Dem Ol' Cosmic Blues Again' LP Ad" - Janis Joplin - Psychedelic Promos & Radio Spots, vol. 3
7. "We Got A Long Way To Go" - Stained Glass - Mindrocker 60's USA Punk Anthology Vol. 9
8. "Right On Jody" - Bobby Patterson - Devil's Blues - New Edition
9. "10. "Studio Blues" - Link Wray & The Wraymen - Walkin' With Link

Hey, we got a camera for Xmas to replace the stolen one! So we're back to cat pictures. Here's Moni upset with Berit for playing with her new iPod Touch instead of her:
Evil Moni Plots

Hooker curled up happy at Berit's feet:
Sleepy Puff

And the two of them, quite happy on the couch:
Cold Night Curl-Up

Time to have my pre-show nap now (Ninja Cherry Orchard tonight). More soon. Really.

collisionwork: (Great Director)
We opened Kitsch on Thursday, and, amazingly, all is going pretty well for such a complex show that was rehearsed in so many pieces, and never got a run-through with the full cast until opening night.

I'd write more about it now, but I'm rushed as I've agreed to be an IT Awards judge for a show I'm seeing at a matinee in Queens this afternoon, and still have to type up and email my note son last night to the cast. So I'm attending two 2.5 hour shows today -- one as judge, one as director/tech operator. Long day. At least after tomorrow's matinee I'll have a few days off.

I'll try to write more then.

Here's a nice Random Ten for the day (with links so you can hear most of them yourself) from among the 25,159 tracks on the iPod . . .

1. "Eighties Fan" - Camera Obscura - Rough Trade Shops: Indiepop 1
2. "Messin' Around" - Little Killers - The Little Killers
3. "Love Me Like A Reptile" - Motorhead - Ace Of Spades
4. "Guess Things Happen That Way" - Johnny Cash - The Complete Sun Singles: Volume 3
5. "Example #22 (live)" - Laurie Anderson - United States Live Part 3
6. "Pidgin English" - Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Imperial Bedroom
7. "The Laughing Man" - John Carter & Russ Alquist - Tektites - Vol II
8. "My Real Gone Rocket" - Jackie Brenston - Sun Records: The Blues Years 1950-1958 vol. 1
9. "Mozambique" - Bob Dylan - Desire
10. "Love's Gone Bad" - Chris Clark - One Kiss Can Lead to Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost and Found

And a shot from just a few minutes ago, as Hooker once again paws my shoulder as I try to do my online work . . .
Hooker Paws My Shoulder

"Why those kittehs no get cheezburgers? Give them the cheezburgers if they wants dem! Now cn we looks at 'Fuck You Penguin'?"

Off to the first of today's two shows . . .

collisionwork: (escape)
Because of people's Halloween plans, as well as the annual crazy huge Halloween event at Theater for the New City, we've wound up with a few unexpected days off from working on Kitsch (while Trav has been working his songs with the singers). Berit is using the time to try and adjust her sleep schedule to something reasonable by the time we're back in rehearsal on Sunday (and at the same time avoiding the scary theatre and movies I plan on seeing, which are not to her taste anymore), and I'm going off and seeing other peoples' shows that I was expecting to have to miss.

Last night, it was Up for Anything by Marc Spitz at The Kraine, which was about as funny as expected -- I was in a reading of it earlier this year that was quite hysterical. It wasn't quite as funny at the start as it was at the reading -- certain pace things that work perfectly when a play is read don't work as well when it's on its feet, and the first section of the play seemed a little rushed and a bit TOO frenetic, but as it settled down a bit it all evened out.

And favorite Gemini CollisionWorks actors Alyssa Simon and Ivanna Cullinan were in there (along with Yuri Skujins, an old acquaintance I haven't seen in many MANY years) doing great work, so I was VERY glad I got the chance to see it, which I didn't expect. Wound up sitting with and talking with Tom Murrin of PAPER Magazine, a GCW supporter from way back, and we were good audience members to have laughing in the front row, I'm told. The show plays through tomorrow, if you're able and inclined to see it.

Tonight, I'm off to The Brick for the annual Blood Brothers show from Nosedive Productions -- I lit last year's and had a good time on that (and on their Infectious Opportunity, which I also lit). I'm not sure I'm in the mood for gore tonight, but I'm gonna get it, I'm sure.

The beloved CollisionWorks iPod is . . . acting up. It's going on three years old, and I've read in many places that three years is about what you should expect from an iPod, so our heavily-used baby may be on its way out. Last night, for the first time, it began repeatedly freezing or shutting down for no apparent reason. At the same time, I had just cleaned out a little space to put some tracks on there, and wound up then stuffing it to less than a MB of its life, so it may have been a space issue. I did a big cleaning today, giving it 2.5 gigs of safe space (a gig of which I then filled, of course).

So, from the something like 24,996 tracks on the damned thing now, here's a Random Ten for today, with associated links:

1. "Two Daughters And A Beautiful Wife" - Drive-By Truckers - Brighter Than Creation's Dark
2. "Caryn Shaffer" - Wesley Willis - Greatest Hits Volume 2
3. "Mama, Mama -Talk To Your Daughter" - Magic Sam - West Side Soul
4. "The Dreams Of Children" - The Jam - Direction, Reaction, Creation
5. "The "In" Crowd" - The First Gear - Jimmy's Back Pages...The Early Years
6. "Push Button Love" - Internationals - Lost Deep Soul Treasures 5
7. "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" - The Ramones - Rocket To Russia
8. "Do I Do I Do I" - Richard Berry - Baby, Please Come Home
9. "Bonus Pay" - Pat Hare - Sun Records: The Blues Years 1950-1958 vol. 8
10. "Eighties" - Killing Joke - Night Time

Tomorrow, Halloween, I'll be spending some of the day in rehearsal for the improv performance I'm doing with David Finkelstein a week after - as you can read about HERE.

After that, it's off to Millennium for Sinister Six Must Be Destroyed . . . but I haven't the time to write any more now . . .

So, since I have to run to get to the show, here's a quick grab of a recent shot of Berit and the two kitties, who have been quite annoying sweet recently (as I've been writing this Hooker has been casing me and leaping up on me quite a few times, despite the fact that there is no lap to jump into, and if I don't catch him, he'll just fall to the floor, which has been what's happening):
Berit Is Good Pillow

collisionwork: (goya)
We've been continuing to rehearse Kitsch every night, though we've wound up with some unexpected nights off as we've lost the people or space we'd need to rehearse. Frankly, this one is tiring enough to put together that the nights off (and we get one tomorrow, hooray) are probably more productive for me in giving me some rest and time to consider the work.

Still, we're actually a little bit ahead of where I thought we'd be at this point, mainly because the actors are picking things up fairly quickly, though I'm going to have to constantly be vigilant about everyone's timing in this precise farce (a pain, when it appears at this point that we will NEVER have the full cast of 19 together at any one time until the ONE night before the show opens . . . {sigh}).

Up until recently, we've mostly been rehearsing in the chilly basement of Theater for the New City, amongst old props, costumes, and set pieces. Here's Josh Mertz and Avery Pearson as Violet Vogelbaum and Heinz Bruderlieben, having a lover's spat in the Klub Katzenratzen:
KITSCH - rehearsal - Violet & Heinz

And here's Roger Nasser, Esther Silberstein, Josh, and Avery from the other side, as another spat between Violet and Heinz is watched by Klaus Hanswurst, busboy, and Schwamm, the Klub Katzenratzen singer:
KITSCH - rehearsal - Klaus-Schwamm-Violet-Heinz

This past week, and hopefully for most of our remaining rehearsals, we've moved upstairs to the actual space the show will be in, the vast (for me) Johnson Theater. Here's Berit (can you spot her? she's actually standing in the same "place" of the set as Esther in the picture above) in the midst of our rehearsal set . . .
TNC - Johnson Theater with Rehearsal Set

That's a lot of space to fill, but it's looking good thus far. Sounding okay, too -- I was worried about echo making the lines muddy, but it's not too bad, and once the back curtain is pulled and our set is in there (and, hopefully, an audience) the reverb should be decreased to a perfectly fine level.

Tonight, Sunday, and Tuesday we're supposed to be in this space, and I've called as much of the full cast as I can for those days (which means 10-14 people, depending on the day) so we can put the pieces of the show together -- but there's always the chance at TNC that we show up and need to be moved to a smaller space (one night, as I noted, we wound up in a hallway), so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we get to keep working in the Johnson, as it makes the show a lot clearer.

So . . . we're okay on this, but not so much that I can relax.

Meanwhile, back in the iPod, here's today's Random Ten (with assorted links) from the 25,580 tracks in there . . .

1. "Hope" - Kristin Hersh - Strange Angels
2. "The Director Never Yelled 'Cut'" - Sparks - Exotic Creatures Of The Deep
3. "Speak To Me" - PP Arnold - The First Cut
4. "That Is Rock & Roll" - The Coasters - Fifty Coastin' Classics
5. "Peekaboo! (muzak version)" - Devo - E-Z Listening Disc
6. "Sinners" - The Cramps - Flamejob
7. "Anybody Seen My Baby?" - The Rolling Stones - Bridges To Babylon
8. "Devil In Disguise" - Elvis Presley - Beat of the Pops 02
9. "If I Didn't Love You" - Squeeze - Singles 45's And Under
10. "You Should Know" - The Sevens - The Sevens

And yes, some recent pictures of the kitties . . . Berit having some cuddle time with a sleepy boy . . .
Berit & Sleepy Boy

And Berit tried to get some late night reading in, but has some friends that won't quite let her . . .
Night Time Reading with Cats 2

Okay, and now I have to get myself ready for our first "full cast" (11 out of 19) stumblethru tonight -- still figuring out where everyone goes much of the time . . .

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