collisionwork: (vile foamy liquids)
On the drive home from Ossining and Thanksgiving with family (mine & Berit's) some kind of illness started in my throat. As it was a sudden inability to swallow, accompanied by fever and sweating, I was worried for a while that I had developed a sudden allergy to something I'd eaten and was having a reaction (this happened to Berit's dad a few years back -- developing an allergy to crab in his mid-50s, and discovering this while driving a car and passing out). Nope, just some nasty viral thing that is annoying, hanging on, lessened to a vaguely tolerable level by DayQuil and NyQuil, and which I've given (as everything like this passes) to Ms. Johnson.

I'd complain that this always seems to happen while we're in the middle of a show, but as we're almost always in the middle of a show, this should not be surprising.

In any case, the medicine got me through the ante-penultimate performance of Kitsch last night, which had a combined good/bad audience -- good, in that there was a larger number of people who got and enjoyed the humor of the show exactly as we intended; bad, in that there was a smaller group of people who were massively rude and noisy -- quite a few came quite late, stomped around, and then (some of the same people) talked throughout the show amongst themselves and kept (loudly, from the back row) going in and out of the theatre in pairs in the middle of scenes. One older gentleman was annoying for a bit in constantly getting up and leaving the theatre and coming back, but it became apparent that he was having coughing fits and was trying not to disturb other people -- he also had the foresight to sit where he could get in and out of the place without stomping in front of everyone. Alexis Sottile nicely chewed one couple behind her out at intermission for their incessant talking (I think I heard the words "this is not your living room" and/or "this is not television" in there), but they just seemed affronted that she had the nerve to say something to them. {sigh}.

In any case, between Thanksgiving, illness, the show, and Berit wanting control of the one computer in the house with internet access yesterday (it IS hers, after all), the weekly stuff's a day late. Whatever. I'm too sick to care.

Kitsch, Or: Two for the Price of One, as mentioned, has just two performances left, tonight at 8 and tomorrow at 3, and it's been going better and better, for the most part. I would say I'll be glad to move on and have some time off, but B & I don't get much time off immediately -- The Brick's Fight Fest starts up immediately after. Berit will be leaving the performance immediately after tomorrow to go over to The Brick to run the tech for Ten Directions' Deck the Hallmans, which she'll also be running board for on the run. Monday, I'm scheduled for an 11-hour shift supervising techs -- which will probably go longer, as things will go overtime, I'm sure, and I'm also the lighting designer on the last tech of the day, The Ninja Cherry Orchard. I'm also designing lights for Piper McKenzie's Craven Monkey and the Mountain of Fury, which I probably agreed to offhandedly at some point and then forgot about until I saw my name in the publicity. It happens.

Between Hallmans, Craven Monkey, and Ninja Cherry Orchard, we'll be working with practically the entire extended "Brick Family" in the Fight Fest (except those who are saving themselves for Richard Lovejoy's January show), which will be nice. Almost wish I had a show in the Fest myself, but that would have been impossible this year. Have to work on the ideas and script for the show that came to me in a dream as a possible Fight Fest show in case the Fest comes back as planned -- Fat Guy Fall Down. A nasty little thing, that. Painful, unfunny slapstick. We'll see how this year's Fest goes . . .

And, on this late day, here's a weekly Random Ten from the 25,055 tracks in the iPod (with associated links, where available):

1. "The Joker Is Wild" - Jan & Dean - The Jan & Dean Batman Album
2. "Season Comes" - The Feebeez - Girls In The Garage Vol. 4
3. "Put You In The Picture" - Rich Kids - Ghosts of Princes in Towers
4. "Remorse" - Gerald Fried - Star Trek - "Amok Time"
5. "Six Dreams" - The Seeds - Future
6. "Beeswing (live 1994)" - Richard Thompson - Two Letter Words
7. "Baby Wachadoin To Me" - Walter Davis - The First Days of Funk - volume 1
8. "P.A.S." - Scritti Politti - Early
9. "Dr. Strangelove" - WFMU - Station Promos
10. "And I'm Glad" - The Interns - Tyme Won't Change: USA Garage Greats 1965-1967

And no pictures, as the camera was stolen and the cats won't hold still for the iMac camera. So, back to being sick and resting up for tonight's show (and closing party, the day BEFORE we actually close).

collisionwork: (hair)
Well, the great big lousy awful jus'-plain-shitty news of the week has been that Petey Plymouth (aka "The Funambulator"), that beaten-up ol' 1994 Plymouth Grand Voyager minivan with the flaking-off paint and the constant breaking-down over one thing or another, was actually STOLEN (!!!) from 2nd Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A in Manhattan this past Sunday.

Berit and I are annoyed (that our ride is gone), pissed (that we had a few things in there we miss - nothing irreplaceable in the long run, but including several gifts to us that we valued -- a jigsaw, a digital camera, a nice new 3-piece suit -- not things we can just get again easily), and stunned (that of ALL the cars on that block to steal, they chose a beaten-up 1994 minivan -- WHY?!).

Here's the lost boy in happier times -- as usual, in front of The Brick, as once seen on Google Maps (they've changed the street view of Metropolitan Avenue since then), during one of the Clown Festivals:
Petey at The Brick on The Google

And unfortunately, as the car was actually my mother's, registered to her in Maine, the police aren't being too helpful in allowing me to even REPORT the theft as (understandably, yes) I have to PROVE that I have some connection to the car. Mom faxed me a whole bunch of documentation, but it wasn't good enough for them (faxes, that is), so I'm waiting for a package of original documents to arrive. As of now, even if it turned up somewhere, the police wouldn't know that it was stolen, or who to contact, as they wouldn't take the report. Great. All I can do (until I can actually make the report) is check online to see if the car's been towed or ticketed for being left in some other location, and be ready to grab it if it is.

The theft was a crappy end to an otherwise wonderful Sunday past, as we had a magnificent matinee of Kitsch at Theater for the New City (followed by a great Indian dinner on 6th Street for Berit and I). There were only 8 people in the audience, and I told the cast to just blow it out and have fun with it, and they did and gave the best performance of the run thus far. Until last night.

We only had 6 people in the house (which seats 85, so BOY does it look bare with less than two handfuls out there) last night -- there WERE 8 for a while, but right as we were about to begin a couple realized they were in the wrong theatre and left to go to the "correct" one next door. Damn. We also had a strangely vocal (with each other) young couple, one of whom left for the bathroom for a while during Part One, and then suddenly decided to leave altogether right as the lights came up on Part Two (after sitting there through most of Intermission). And did so with audible goodbyes and many kisses to the woman he left sitting there. Then, for whatever reason, having left, he came BACK IN midway through the scene, as the actors were, you know, working, and said goodbye and kissed his date AGAIN. Very distracting.

That said, the cast topped Sunday's performance with last night's -- which was fast, funny, confident, and energetic. I hope these qualities don't decrease as we get more audience back in (I know some of the speed will as we have to hold more for laughs again, rather than running on over the handful of chuckles we were getting last night). And I hope we GET more audience back this week . . . it seems like EVERYONE I know is coming to next Friday's performance. Everyone waits for closing week anyway, and now since we're doing a post-Thanksgiving ticket discount, people are waiting to take advantage of that, I think. The show's last two performances have been killer, I'd now like some others to enjoy this, too.

There's now a set of photos from the show, for those who are interested, HERE.

And here's this week's Random Ten from the iPod (with associated links) out of the 25,179 tracks in there right now . . .

1. "In the Mood" - Walter Horton - Sun Records: The Blues Years 1950-1958 vol. 3
2. "Forty Four" - Geoff Muldaur - Mix Disk from my Dad
3. "Heartbreak Hotel" - John Cale - Seducing Down The Door: A Collection 1970-1990
4. "Lookin' for a Place to Park" - Slim Gaillard - Laughing In Rhythm, #2 - Groove Juice Special
5. "Up & Down" - Mom's Boys - Pebbles Volume 9 - Southern California
6. "Ride Your Mule Part 1" - Marvin Holmes & the Uptights - The Git Down!
7. "Theme From 'The Traitors'" - The Packabeats - Highly Strung Vol.1
8. "Night Comes On" - Leonard Cohen - Various Positions
9. "Song to Woody" - Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan
10. "Leiyla" - The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band Part One

And from the now-gone digital camera, a few last shots . . . first a Friday Cat Blogging shot, with Hooker and Moni doing their occasional yin/yang act on the chair at the computer . . .
Yin-Yang Chair Kitties

And here's a shot from backstage at Theater for the New City a couple of days before we opened, as Berit paints "Vogelbaum's" painting from the show during one of our late nights of working . . .
Berit Paints a Prop

Now, off to napland before the long subway {sigh} ride into the city for the show . . .

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: (sleep)
In the past year or so (maybe back to the August, 2008 season), I've begun having a kind of recurring dream as I get to the "stress point" in the production of a show I'm directing/designing -- it's never the same, but it's the same kind of dream:

I'm driving my car, and someone else on the road is making a horrible mistake that will result in them hitting me if I don't suddenly do something defensive and correct -- they may have made a wrong-way turn onto the one-way street I'm driving down, and I'm suddenly heading into their headlights, or they're trying to merge into the lane right where I am, or whatever, but always I have a car coming at me and I have to dodge with care and precision. These aren't exactly nightmares, as I always do avoid the other car, and I'm never woken up by some horrible dream-crash, but whenever I eventually wake up, I don't feel so terribly rested. Quite the opposite, I feel quite tense and fearful. It takes a good rehearsal to pull me out of the feeling of dread that hangs over me after one of these.

As Trav S.D. said when I mentioned this to him after Kitsch rehearsal last night, these dreams don't exactly need much in the way of interpretation here, it's all pretty much on the surface (and I should mention that these dream near-misses ALWAYS occur on roads I know well and have to drive to and from rehearsal of whatever play I'm working on -- yesterday's nap-dream-accident occurred on Houston Street just West of the FDR Drive).

That said, Kitsch, which opens in less than a week, is coming together okay. We'll be fine -- I will have some serious stress in the next few days in getting the lights, sound cues and projections together, but I'll get it done (not as fast as I'd like, but in time to run them enough before opening). I'll be seeing David Brune, the set designer, and Karen Flood, the costume designer, at the space today as we all go through the stock at TNC to find what we can pull and use for our show and I learn a bit more about the lighting setup and what I have available to me that way.

Tonight we'll run the thing from top to bottom again, as we did on Wednesday. Monday we ran Part II twice, and Tuesday we did Part I twice (with some skips in each case for actors who weren't there). On those days, the two individual parts looked in good shape, but when we put them together on Wednesday, it didn't quite sing as much, but I think it was just an off-day, and people are still struggling with the lines at times, which doesn't help. Last night, I worked the staging of 7 of the song sequences with the singers of those songs (there are 9 songs in the show), and focused them and made them clear, so we're all happy with those now. Trav also cut several of the longer songs down, which was needed -- the songs were great on their own as songs, but as pieces of a larger piece of theatre (pieces which I had asked for, as Trav had cut them from the play for a bit, but I thought they would really add to the whole work overall), a couple of them stayed with us a beat or two too long.

In any case, I'm now suddenly rushed to get myself together to run errands and get to the theatre (and hoping that the earlier Yankees parade hasn't screwed up traffic TOO much in getting to TNC), so I'd better finish this up as fast as I can . . .

Here's this week's Random Ten from the 25,101 tracks in the iPod, with associated YouTube links so you can hear the song there, or something else by that artist (there are some quite good video links in here this week, I should mention, and songs that, if you don't know them, are worth getting to know):

1. "The World Spins" - Julee Cruise - Floating Into The Night
2. "Dick Tracy" - The Chants - Get Back Up Again 3
3. "Matzoh Balls" - Slim Gaillard - Laughing In Rhythm, #1 - Flat Foot Floogie
4. "Midnight Showers of Rain" - Willie Nix - Sun Records: The Blues Years 1950-1958 vol. 3
5. "You Let A Love Burn Out" - We Five - You Were On My Mind & Make Someone Happy
6. "Strange Weather" - Marianne Faithfull - Strange Weather
7. "Nenen Corta Essa" - Erasmo Carlos - Rato's Nostalgia Collection 1
8. "You're My Best Friend" - Queen - A Night At The Opera
9. "Don't Hurt My Little Sister" - Shonen Knife - The Birds & The B-Sides
10. "The Director Never Yelled 'Cut'" - Sparks - Exotic Creatures Of The Deep

And as for weekly cat-blogging, here's a recent picture of Hooker "helping me" at the computer, while I'm trying to get work done:
Hooker Helps Me Read Blogs

I'm looking forward to a brief, slightly "relaxed" day tomorrow, where I'll be working a little more with one or two singers in Kitsch on the last two songs, and then doing the improv theatre performance (and screening) with David Finkelstein that I hope some friends will show up at (check the link for details, folks).

Then, back to Kitsch full-time on Sunday . . .

And now, back to work . . . I'm going to put on some Mike Nesmith now to work to . . . excellent "chill-out" music . . .

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 . . .

collisionwork: (Great Director)
Phew. Rehearsals every single day for Kitsch. Getting tired, but there's work to be done.

And today, a day late (as yesterday was taken up with reorganizing last night's rehearsal due to cast member illness), I finally get to the Random Ten (out of 25,580) from the iPod, with links to associated YouTube videos where available . . .

1. "Skin Deep" - Stranglers - Aural Sculpture
2. "Valerie" - Amy Winehouse with Mark Ronson - Mix Disk - Dad
3. "Rubberleg Twist" - The Isley Brothers - Twist And Shout
4. "Percy's On The Run" - High Broom - Psychedelic Archaeology Volume 8
5. "I'm On a Boat" - The Lonely Island (feat. T-Pain) - Incredibad
6. "Little Bianca" - The Bitter Poet & The Sound of Angst - Rocket Red Fingernails
7. "Funny Anymore" - The Heartbeats - East of Croydon
8. "Super Good (Parts 1 & 2)" - Vicki Anderson (as Myra Barnes) - James Brown's Funky People (Part 2)
9. "You Better Get a Better" - The Beatstalkers - Decca Originals: The Freakbeat Scene (1964-1968)
10. "Cruisers Creek" - The Fall - 458489 A Sides

Work proceeds on the production of Kitsch: Or, Two for the Price of One, which opens in . . . whoa . . . just under four weeks. Yeesh.
Kitsch Poster

More info on the show HERE

Rehearsals have been a lot of fun for this show. I'm getting to pull out anything and everything I've ever learned from movie comedies of the 30s and 40s (and a few things from Warner Bros. cartoons as well). Double and triple-takes, slow burns, slapstick, comic sound effects . . . they're all showing up.

Theater for the New City has been a somewhat enjoyable place to work. I like the space itself, and the feeling of community you get there, which has been welcoming to me in faster order than I figured it would. Of course, with the easygoing atmosphere, you also get the kind of laissez-faire attitude that results in showing up last night to find the rehearsal room double-booked, so that we wound up rehearsing in a hallway. We still wound up doing perfectly good work that I was pleased with, but as the hallway was next to the bathrooms, we had to take an extended break from work and discuss blocking for another scene when a show upstairs broke for intermission and our working space became a corridor again. The work was still excellent.

Still, I am enjoying the feeling of "going to work" in a theatre that I'm not on staff at for a change, as well as visiting an old neighborhood of mine every day. I used to live around the corner from TNC on 10th Street, and I've been revisiting some of the restaurants I used to go to regularly for take-out while there (the food at Paquitos, where David Mcintyre and I got burritos every night while we were writing Even the Jungle, tastes exactly the same 18 years later). A lot more Indian and Ruben's Empenadas in the diet than usual. The area's a lot more gentrified, of course, but not as much as I had figured, actually.

So we're pretty good on this show, but I'm still a hair concerned about having all the design elements and music set in time without last minute craziness. I'll catch up on that on Monday (which is now a "day off" from rehearsal, but not from the show).

And as for today's cat blogging, here's a shot from last week of how I prefer Hooker to join me when I'm on the computer and trying to work or just enjoy myself -- this way I can pay attention to both the computer and the cat . . .
Shoulder Kitty

And, from this morning, here's how he likes to get attention from me while I'm on the computer, where he makes it clear that he is more important than whatever I'm trying to do online . . .
H Wants Attention Again

Time to begin psyching myself up for tonight's rehearsal . . .

collisionwork: (vile foamy liquids)
We're two rehearsals into Kitsch now, and it's been a good start. We've staged about 26-27 pages of script (out of 101 total) and the tone is becoming apparent. There were concerns about a few things, and whether they'd work or not -- will it work for this farce, which takes place in Berlin in 1989 after the Wall comes down, for some of the characters to have "stage-German" accents and for others not to? Yes, it will -- that are being answered as we try things.

There are still tonal things that need to be modified and worked out -- how far exactly to go with those accents; how far to go with the "swishiness" or not of the gay characters (in this farce, it seems right to go to almost Mel Brooksian levels, especially to contrast one gay twin from his straight brother, but there IS an offensiveness line that can be easily crossed); there's a lot of Brechtiness in the script, but how much Weimar/Brecht/Weill do we bring in vs. how much actual 1989? -- but we're only two rehearsals in with 24 to go, so we have some time to work things out (not too much, though).

Simple scenes thus far, for the most part. I was a hair stymied by the brief exposition transition from the prologue to the first scene of the play proper last night, when an idea came up that I hadn't considered before that looked to change my whole view of staging the section -- I had a visual gag planned for the scene, but a bit of prop handling I hadn't fully worked out led to the creation of a different gag, which was a less "sure" gag than the first one (that is, it could REALLY work or REALLY fail as a piece of humor, and the first one was a fairly definite laugh, or at least chuckle). So I had to decide between a gag that would work that I had planned, or one that could either work better or fail miserably, but which would also solve a problem of getting some props offstage (a major pain). An offhanded suggestion - more a joke about it - from Josh Mertz led to a solution that combined both gags into a better one, albeit one that's still unsure of a laugh (and brings up the question, when you throw a baby offstage, is it funnier if it's just tossed, or if you hear the sound of the baby going "Waaaaaaa!" as it arcs away?).

Monday will be a sudden jump in difficulty staging-wise, though, as I'll have almost the entire cast there for the climactic scene of the farce in which everything comes together. This involves 16 to 18 actors (not sure yet) with a whole lot of extremely specific blocking which must look chaotic, including the use of four "fake shemps" disguised as half of the four sets of twins the play centers on (it's basically The Comedy of Errors with two extra sets of twins, broken up in infancy and sent to either side of the Berlin Wall, all finally meeting up and causing confusion on the night it comes down - a nice classic farce, with a pedigree that goes back over 2000 years).

In any case, it's underway and won't be stopping now.

Back on the iPod, here's today's Random Ten (and associated YouTube links) out of 25,552 tracks:

1. "Dilated Eyes" - The Gregorians - You Deceived Me: USA Garage Greats 1965-1967
2. "Joey's On The Streets Again" - The Boomtown Rats - The Best Of The Boomtown Rats: The Millennium Collection
3. "King of Comedy" - R.E.M. - Monster
4. "Last Dance" - The Mekons - Fear and Whiskey
5. "The Picnic" - Johnny Mandel - The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea soundtrack
6. "Love Me" - Koko Taylor - What It Takes: The Chess Years
7. "30 Seconds Over Tokyo (live 1993)" - Pere Ubu - The Late Show
8. "CBS Marijuana Special" - Radio Promo - Rock'n'Roll - The Untold Story Vol. 6: The Jivin' Novelty Party Record

TV ANNOUNCER: "See a CBS Special on marijuana, 'Get the Habit' -- stay tuned to this channel!"
9. "Rots-O-Ruck" - Richard Marino - Ultra-Lounge 18: Bottoms Up
10. "I Shall Not Be Moved" - Johnny Cash - Unearthed

And a couple of new kitty photos from the last couple of days . . . Hooker, who has become a NEEDY attention hound of a cat since our last time away, here with Berit on the couch . . .
H & B Couch Hug

And, just a few minutes ago as I write this, nudging me in the face and pawing at me for attention, jealous of the computer . . .
Wanting Attention

Maybe I'll get some new photos of Moni for next week; she never seems to stand still long enough for a good photo, though.

Tomorrow we have a day off of rehearsal for Kitsch (one of only two we have between now and opening weekend, the other being Halloween), which B & I will spend going up to Darien, CT - just a bit north of my ol' hometown - where my dad, Nils Hill, is in a group show with some pretty good company, to say the least (he's a painter, in case you didn't know, as is my stepmother, Ivy Dachman). I'm looking forward to the small day trip up into the home state.

Also, in other events, there are 2 shows opening this weekend from friendly creators and spaces you might check out:

1. Titus Andronicus from Danse Macabre Theatrics at my homebase The Brick (looks to be Frank Cwiklik's usual intoxicating and overwhelming blend of staging and media); and,

2. Marc Spitz's new comedy Up for Anything at The Kraine, which I was in a reading of not long ago -- it's hysterically funny, like most of Marc's work (I've directed/acted in two of his plays, The Hobo Got Too High and Marshmallow World, and loved it), and has a really terrific cast (including CollisionWorks favorite Alyssa Simon).

And a first notice: Some of you may have seen my show Sacrificial Offerings this August, the text of which came from improvisational work by myself and David Finkelstein, who has been doing this kind of work for years as Lake Ivan Performance Group.

The play also contained a video by David called Marvelous Discourse, which was based on the videotape of the same improvisation that created the text of the play (David's notes on the video are HERE).

Well, there will be a screening of that video, along with another video of David's, Terrifying Blankness, created with a different improv partner, at CRS on Saturday, November 7 at 8.00 pm.

And most excitingly for me, David and I will also be performing a live 15-minute long improvisation that evening. I have been refreshed and rejuvenated in many ways by the work I've been doing with David this year, and the idea of doing some of this improvisatory theatre work live (the first time, for me) is something I very much look forward to. Details are at the links above; more info as the date gets closer.

Okay, time to leave the computer and prepare for tonight -- just found out I'm short an actor I expected, so revisions to the schedule must be made . . .

collisionwork: (red room)
What th--?

Well, for goodness' sake, I forgot the weekly blog post yesterday.

And I won't have time to do it for real until tomorrow -- at least the music/photos/video part of it.

So, anyway, I'm back in NYC, and gearing up for Kitsch at Theatre for the New City. Today, Trav and I met with David, the set designer, at the space and discussed possibilities. I mentioned what I needed and David suggested possibilities that suggested additional avenues of approach, so I think we're all on the same page with this piece.

It's nice to collaborate sometimes -- but I don't think I could let go of too much more of the design of my own shows; I HAVE to do set, light, and sound for those, it goes hand in hand with the directing. Kitsch is purely about direction as craft -- how do I stage THIS script to get every drop of what's on the page out of it with THIS cast. That will be MORE than enough to do with this large script and cast (19 in the cast; 4 or 5 still uncast).

So today, I'm at The Brick for the most part - running box for the 3 pm matinee, supposedly having a 5.30 pm meeting (no one showed up), and training the box person for the evening show whenever she shows up. I'll probably have to stick around until the show starts just to be sure the box person actually understands everything I show her, then I can effoe home.

Current fave raves: The Beatles' music in mono -- no, I don't have the new box set, much as I would like it; I have , uh, acquired the mono mixes in the past, digitized off the vinyl -- I grew up mostly with mono vinyl copies of the albums, and hearing it again this way sounds a lot more "right" to me (and I think makes the music sound a lot less "dated"). Here's a couple of examples (if you're seeing this on Facebook, you'll have to click through to the original post to see the videos):


SCTV Network 90 -- Newbury Comics in Portland was having a sale and I was able to get the complete run of this great show for $10 a box; well worth it, and glad to go through the whole run again. Two favorite sketches:



And a favorite song I've been obsessed with and playing over and over again recently:



Back tomorrow with an actual Random Ten.

collisionwork: (Selector)
Another week done gone by.

Work has slowed up a little bit on the August shows while I've been concerned with some other matters (and been a hair burned out from too much/too fast on those ones). I've been going over the script for the show I'm directing after the August ones, Trav S.D.'s Kitsch, Or: Two for the Price of One.

Trav has sent me a 109-page draft, but I have an older, 146-page version he gave me many years ago to look at (which he was surprised to discover I have, as he doesn't seem to have that version himself). So I'm going through both drafts and seeing if there's any little things in the long version I might want to reinstate, though Trav and I have agreed that shorter is better with this show (but we're going to put back in the songs, which were all cut from the short, and I've already caught one of my favorite jokes gone from the short version I'll ask Trav about putting back).

Trav and I visited the space at Theater for the New City where we'll be doing the show, and it was a revelation to me, as it was a huge space there that I didn't know even existed at TNC (I'd seen shows in another fairly large space at the rear that I had thought was "the big one," but nope). Probably the biggest room I've ever directed something in, which is good, as the script calls for (and should have) several two-level sets. Not sure if they have enough lights there, but we'll see. Now we have to set up a script reading just to hear the thing - probably not with the final cast, but we both need to hear this out loud ASAP.

More work on everything going on this weekend, including a work call at The Brick on Sunday morning to cover everything we can in the space for the insulation people who will be coming in to make our place more efficient all around this Sunday-Tuesday. A pain to deal with - especially right as a new show opens there this weekend - but it was the best time we had to take care of it, and it'll be done, and both the heat and cool will stay in better when we want them to from now on.

And I have to get back to finishing up the casting on George Bataille's Bathrobe and Blood on the Cat's Neck and writing more of Spacemen from Space.

Meanwhile, here's today's Random Ten, with associated links, from 25,806 in the iPod:

1. "Deixe em paz meu coração" - Brazilian Bitles - Antologia
2. "Widow's Walk" - Van Dyke Parks - Song Cycle
3. "Friends" - Robert Ashley - Dust
4. "See Emily Play" - Pink Floyd - The Pop Side of The Floyd 1967-1972
5. "Licking Stick-Licking Stick" - James Brown - Star Time
6. "Police Call - Stan Ridgway & Drywall - Work The Dumb Oracle
7. "Lordy Miss Lupe" - El Vez - How Great Thou Art
8. "The Giant Toad" - The Firesign Theatre - Dear Friends
9. "Lotta Boppin' (alternate version)" - The Rock-A-Teens - Woo-Hoo
10. "Something I've Got To Tell You" - Glenda Collins - It's Hard To Believe It: The Amazing World Of Joe Meek

As for the kitties, Hooker continues to enjoy lying on Berit and I while we're sleeping, as each of us discovers when we see the photos we alternatively take of this . . .
Papa Makes Good Bed
Wake Her Up!

When we're awake, he likes to play-fight, which is more fun for him than for us, as he doesn't get bitten . . .
Play Fight 1

Last night the two of them curled up with me as I took a break from reading and movie-viewing . . .
Big Hug

And for most of today they've been curled up together on the couch, variously hugging, or napping, or cleaning each other, or a combo, like here . . .
Closer Nap & Cleaning

Now back to cleaning out the iPod for a while . . .

collisionwork: (mystery man)
In honor of the holidays, a sober reminder of the true spirit of the season, with great respect, love, and best wishes to all, from both of us here at Gemini CollisionWorks, myself and Berit:

O Holy Crap

Merry Crimble and a Gear New Year!

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