collisionwork: (chiller)
A thought and sentence that got too long for a Facebook status update:

I was going to read a library copy of Richard Brody's big book on Godard, but after skimming the chapter on Contempt (and what passes for a section on Tout Va Bien), and finding the author has neither the interest nor ability to "read" the movies with any accuracy, doesn't bother to check if the shots he is describing actually exist in the films as he is describing them, and apparently thinks the meaning of movies is entirely based on the emotional, psychological, and social events surrounding their shooting . . . I will be perfectly happy to return the book unread, and not give it, the author, nor any of his opinions, any further thought.

(once upon a time, I would have finished any book on film, especially a rare big one that deals with someone I admire, but now I find I frequently seem to know a lot more than the authors, time is a lot more limited, and I have happily left behind the old compulsion to finish everything begun . . . and I recommend this attitude immensely)

Godard - Le Mepris 4

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: (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 . . .

Nostalgia

Oct. 23rd, 2010 08:12 pm
collisionwork: (music listening)
I missed my normal checkin post yesterday as Berit had commandeered Computer Prima (which IS, after all, HERS) for the day and night, so the Random ten was out. And in any case, rest turned out to be the order of the day following some cleanup of the storage cages downstairs.

And today was the first rehearsal (for me; Berit's been working on it for a few days) of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which was a nice start. I don't have the biggest of roles in the show, but it's one I like a lot, so it's a nice gig. Just a little work today, playing a scene where I'll be visible off to the side, but with my back to the audience, facing upstage into a video camera, as my face is projected out for the audience to see while I talk to Deckard on a videophone. So today, I acted to a wall, which is fine by me.

More to come as more happens.

And here's a Random Ten from the unplayed songs on the iPod:

1. "Kama Sutra" - The Bonzo Dog Band - The Doughnut in Granny's Greenhouse
2. "Absolutely Positively" - The Music Machine - The Bonniwell Music Machine
3. "The Guns Of Brixton" - The Clash - London Calling
4. "Millions" - XTC - Drums And Wires
5. "Capri Pants" - Bikini Kill - Reject All American
6. "Roll With The Flow" - Michael Nesmith - And The Hits Just Keep On Comin'
7. "I Will Not Make Any Deals With You." - Original TV Soundtrack - Prisoner File Number One
8. "I Was A Teenage Werewolf" - Movie Trailer - Monster Rock 'N Roll Show
9. "Livin' For The Weekend" - The O'Jays - The Best Of The O'Jays
10. "Gittin' a Little Hipper" - James Brown - Soul Pride: The Instrumentals 1960 - 1969

And here's the playlist of all the above videos:



And now that I've been cleaning out the storage cages, I've come across mounds of photos and programs and posters and postcards I forgot I still had. I've posted them to Facebook, but for those who don't see me there, here's a few of my favorites from the old days.

Me in 1992 as director of photography (16mm film!) on an AIDS awareness PSA being done by Gorilla Rep:
PSA Shoot - basketball

The front of the late, lamented (by some) Todo con Nada on Ludlow Street (here in February, 2000):
NADA front early '00

The front of the postcard for my production of Mac Wellman's Harm's Way at The House of Candles, February, 1998:
HARM'S WAY card front

An unused publicity shot of me for one of the Richard Foreman NO STRINGS ATTACHED festivals:
NO STRINGS promo

The front of the ForemanFest year two postcard:
NO STRINGS 2 card front

A noir scene from my production of Foreman's Café Amerique, ,me with Melanie Martinez, Peter Brown, and Tim Cusack:
CAFE AMERIQUE - noir scene

The inside of the "fake" inner program for Ten Nights in a Bar-Room -- from the post-civilization theatre company putting on the play within the play (and fighting off the flesh-eating zombies attaching the show and audience):
TEN NIGHTS fake program inner

The flyer for everything going on at NADA in May-June, 1999:
NADA May-June '99

Me and Yuri Lowenthal as the coroner and tailer in Clive Barker's Frankenstein in Love:
FIL - Ian & Yuri

Moira Stone in Frankenstein in Love -- I think I was trying to make this a shot in my A L'Heure series of photos:
FIL - Moira

A publicity shot for a production of Sam Shepard's Action that I never got to do (couldn't afford the rights). Bryan Enk, Christiaan Koop, Wendy Walker and me, mid-2000:
ACTION that didn't happen

And me being attacked by "the monster" as Douglas Scott Sorenson looks on in horror in the stage adaptation of Edward D. Wood Jr.'s Bride of the Monster in the EdFest:
BOTM - Monster Attack!

More than enough for now . . . time to relax for the night with some SoCo & Lime and a blu-ray double bill of Forbidden Planet and the 1980 Flash Gordon.

collisionwork: (doritos)
Well, the Wedding proceeds apace. Yesterday, we got the license. Last night, we had a proper rehearsal and staged the show. Today, we drop off our clothes for some minor tailoring. Finishing up our little checklist bit by bit.

It looks to be a good show. A fun wedding as such, and an okay piece of theatre. It'll "work" as both -- I was worried it wouldn't do for either, in it's attempt to serve two masters, but it'll serve them okay. I wanted to have it feel like one of my regular shows, which means that I can't avoid having a little "creepy" stuff that isn't really normal for a wedding, but whatever, it's one of my shows, so it has to be what it should be (though I'm a HAIR worried by having to win the audience back after some oddness at the start, but as Berit says . . . well, maybe I'll leave out what Berit says).

There's one section that might offend some family members, but it's necessary for it to be in there to be honest to ourselves. There's another section that will be DEFINITELY offensive to some family members, and we . . . won't be doing that bit at the wedding our families will be attending. We don't mind going a certain distance if we have to be true to ourselves, but the latter section is crossing a line just because we find it funny. The families get a couple of extra special bits in the show they'll see, so it all evens out.

Berit asked me yesterday what "this show" was "about." Since it IS a show, and therefore should have something going on underneath it. I guess if it's about anything other than getting us wed and sharing it with family, friends, and audiences, it's an "alternate look at romance, from among the non-romantic," or to generalize more, "there ARE other ways of doing these things." My productions more and more seem to be dealing with "the person who says no" as central, often-heroic figure -- the person or people who looks the status quo in the face and says, "I won't do that" (sometimes the shows are actually about the people who DO just go with the flow and are swept away in the tide to destruction, or at least stasis). I don't think this show is about it as some kind of heroic act, as it was with Ned Daley in World Gone Wrong or Grandier in the upcoming Devils, just one more restatement of the theme, "there ARE other ways."

Meanwhile, more and more of the cast I wanted to do Devils and Spacemen from Space can't do it, and I'm going to have to hold major auditions to fill those shows. {sigh} NOT what I wanted for these productions -- they will be MUCH harder to do with people I haven't worked with before, and will take me more time to get the actors in the tone I need. Oh, well, so it goes.

And here's this week's Random Ten from the 2,981 in the "Brandnew Bag" playlist of unheard songs in the iPod (with associated video links):

1. "Laser Love" - T.Rex - History of T.Rex—The Singles Collection
2. "Smokestack Lightning (live 1964)" - The Yardbirds - Five Live
3. "Up In Her Room" - The Seeds - A Web Of Sound
4. "Rio Grande" - Brian Wilson - Brian Wilson
5. "The King & Queen Of America" - Eurythmics - Greatest Hits
6. "The End" - The Doors - The Doors
7. "Introduction" - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - Cannibals-A-Go-Go!
8. "Can't Say Anything Nice" - The Ramones - Unreleased Tracks
9. "Did You See Me Coming?" - Pet Shop Boys - Yes
10. "Goldfinger" - Magazine - Maybe It's Right To Be Nervous Now: Real Life/Secondhand Daylight Era

And here's the full video playlist for the above songs (with only a substitution for the Brian Wilson track):



Don't have much in the way of good pix of the cats today, just this one of them on the couch . . .
H&M Couch Cuddle again

But here's a favorite video from yesterday, of a tiny orange kitten scaring itself . . .



Yesterday, we took care of some of the bureaucracy we had to before next week's activities . . .
City Clerk sign 1

And we spent a few hours in downtown Brooklyn. it would have gone a lot faster, but apparently someone else named "Ian Hill" once applied for a marriage license, so they had to send a fax to another department and get one back be sure it wasn't me (does this happen to people with MUCH more common names?).
Marriage Bureau

I was rather tired by the time we got back to the subway station, but it felt like a damned big step -- we have the document, now we just need to sign it with our officiant and witnesses and . . . that's it . . . we will be married.
Just Licensed

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: (crazy)
Having finished my work on Craven Monkey and Rudolf II, I spent the week organizing boring personal matters, mostly -- getting the car serviced, getting the cats their regular checkup, and so forth. And preparing for the first reading of Devils in a little over a week.

For that, we'll have 18 of the actors that I'd like to be doing the show reading 26 of the parts, and another 2 friends (Moira Stone & Robert Honeywell) have stepped in for two of the main roles where the actors can't be there (though, hopefully, they can do the eventual production). And I keep reading and rereading the script and having no idea if it will work or not. Need this reading. Desperately.

Some reviews coming in on Rudolf II already. I get nicely mentioned HERE and HERE. I won't link to the not-so-good review of the show, which doesn't mention me anyway.

Craven Monkey continues to get press love, which is great. I am a hair peeved (which is silly) that my lighting for this show, which I'm rather happy with and I think is more complex than Rudolf's (appropriately, as Rudolf all takes place in one room over many years, and in Monkey I'm having to create many, many locations with light only), gets no press love except for the word "evocative" in one review. Jules, the costume designer, who gets PLENTY of press attention on this (deservedly, the work is beautiful), apparently said I lit her costumes better than she'd ever seen before, so maybe I can (and should) just be pleased that I showcased the beautiful bodies, movement, and costumes quite well. Some nice shots of the show are HERE.

Also, work continues on the upcoming wedding, which becomes more and more like a really difficult production of mine with each week.

Well, here's the weekly Random Ten tracks out of the 25,443 on the iPod (with YouTube links to the songs where available or something related if not):

1. "Chocolate Sue" - The Moan - Nederbeat Dutch Nuggets 2
2. "Down In Mexico" - The Coasters - Atlantic Rhythm & Blues vol 3 1955-1957
3. "Down In The Alley" - The Jeff Healey Band - The Last Temptation Of Elvis
4. "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" - Wang Chung - Mosaic
5. "Sjungalaten" - Askadarna - Single
6. "Black Diamond Bay" - Bob Dylan - Desire
7. "Puzzles" - The Yardbirds - Little Games
8. "I'm Going to Memphis" - Johnny Cash - Unearthed
9. "Camarillo Brillo" - Frank Zappa - Overnite Sensation
10. "Got Love If You Want It (live 1964)" - The Yardbirds - Five Live

The iPod seems to be going through a Yardbirds phase recently (not just here, but all around). Fine by me.

As for recent photos, here's a "Holy Grail" prop that Berit constructed for Rudolf II from a Bed, Bath, and Beyond cotton ball-holder and cup from a bathroom sink-set, and painted:
Berit Makes a Grail

And here's Hooker, who somehow got himself all tucked in under the blanket next to Berit's leg (she complained later, "He stole the covers off me!"):
Tucked in on Berit's Foot

One of my favorite videos of the week -- Creed live in concert, "shredding":



And for a sad finale, here is Jean-Luc Godard's short eulogy-film for his friend Eric Rohmer (that is, if it's embedding like it should; it's not showing up in the preview -- if it isn't, it can be seen HERE). It is in French, of course, titles and JLG's narration. There are a number of attempts at a combined English translation HERE, which get most of it, but as Godard's narration is deliberately mumbled, even the native French speakers have trouble making some of it out (also, he refers to people and locations only he and Rohmer would probably recall, which doesn't help).

In any case, the titles flashed onscreen are almost all titles of reviews Rohmer wrote for Cahiers du Cinema in his (and JLG's) youth (sometimes under the name "Maurice Scherer," his real name), except the opening title, which seems to be the name of Godard's film here: IT WAS WHEN / NO / THERE WAS WHAT / YES.

He uses the interspersed "Yes/No" in his narration, as well, which seems to start as JLG trying to remember where he and Rohmer first met, and becomes a series of fragmentary memories of his friend -- the two of them as young men in love with movies, writing, listening to records, talking in cafes, etc.

In the final moments, as we see the 79-year-old Godard, he is paraphrasing the end of Flaubert's Sentimental Education: "Ah, those were the best times we had, says Frederic. Yes, those were the best times we had, says Deslauriers."


EDIT: Nope, not embedding. Follow link above . . .

Craig Keller at Cinemasparagus translates a passage by writer Jean-Marc Lalanne on this film:

Rarely have we heard Godard speak of such personal things, very simple and very exposed. The film closes with a furtive shot of the filmmaker, face slightly haggard in his webcam. With that, he's gone. You want to hold onto him. You want to hold onto both of them.

Argh. Rainy in Brooklyn today, and too much I want to do out of the house. And Hooker-kitty is hating me because of the eardrops I have to give him twice a day. {sigh}

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: (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.

collisionwork: (Selector)
I've been writing my regular weekly post for many hours now -- as it became hideously long -- and didn't get my normal Friday post in on the usual day. Also, that post is so long, I've decided to hack off the smaller ending and post it first. So, here's the normal stuff. Giant rambly Theatre post to follow . . .

And, back in the CLEAN world, here's what came up in today's Random Ten from the iPod (with links to the songs or associated work by the artist where available):

1. "I Wish" - The Platters - The Magic Touch: An Anthology
2. "The Loved Ones" - Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Imperial Bedroom
3. "Twenty Nine Ways (To My Baby's Door)" - Koko Taylor - What It Takes: The Chess Years
4. "Flag Night" - The Passage - For All And None
5. "I've Been Everywhere" - Johnny Cash - American II: Unchained
6. "Sun Kissed Chicks" - Jean-Jacques Debout - The Music Library by Jonny Trunk
7. "Disguises" - Minutemen - The Punch Line
8. "Naval Aviation In Art (quad version)" - Frank Zappa - QuAUDIOPHILIAc
9. "The Friendly Hopefuls Salute The Punks of 76" - The Friendly Hopefuls - Obey The New Wave (1980 and all that - UK DIY, etc)
10. "Cruising For Burgers (live 1971)" - Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention - Freaks & Motherfuckers

No cat photos -- not only because we're up in Maine (as I would have taken shots of our loaner dog and cat up here), but because I apparently forgot to bring the cable to connect the camera to the computer (D'OH!). Maybe it's in a bag I haven't looked in.

Instead, as we're away from home, some shots from a walk around that home neighborhood, or rather, a bit to the West, into Bensonhurst, where you can still find Scary Santa, with dead eyes and evil claws:
Santa Claws

And Denzel wants some Dunkin' Donuts, to go:
Denzel Runs On Dunkin

And next to an Acupuncture joint, you can find a "Tax Service" center that doubles as the "Universal Light Center for Cosmic Awareness":
Universal Light Center

And there, off in the distance at the Kings Highway stop, BLANK:
Bensonhurst - BLANK

Okay, too much time writing this thing [which I've mostly hacked off and will follow], and not enough on the playscripts. I'm really just avoiding the most boring parts of writing right now -- the opening pulling apart and outlining and so forth.

collisionwork: (lost highway)
We officially open the first show of our four August productions three weeks from tonight.

As we're incredibly ahead of schedule on several things and a bit behind on others (no more than usual, but still, behind), I'm variously either strangely euphoric or hideously depressed moment-by-moment all the time right now.

The casts are in pretty good shape, and one is in much more than that. Now I'm just all panicked about the tech stuff. Here's a picture of my breakdown of the sound cues for George Bataille's Bathrobe, which I've only scratched the surface of finding and creating:
GBB - laying out the sound cues

There you can see cues A through OO -- the breakdown goes up to cue NNNNN, that is, 118 sound cues in a 75-minute-long show. Whee. And I still have to record, process, and mix lots of those cues. Blood on the Cat's Neck is a bit better -- just 101 cues in 80 minutes, and most of them are just straight music needle-drops, with no additional elements.

Next, the incredibly complex Little Piece of the Sun soundtrack/score, which will be like composing an almost wall-to-wall underscore for the two-hour show, transforming samples and sound fragments into musical themes or at least tonal drones (and possibly also adapting some of the themes/drones for electric guitar as well, if I have the time).

So, as I may have mentioned before, I'm incredibly happy with where the actorial/performance elements of the shows are (though all need work, in different ways/at different levels), HOWEVER, the tech elements are making me unbelievably nervous to the point of paralysis - exactly NOT the reaction needed. I may just relax about it through the weekend if I can (not much time between now and Monday to do anything anyway, with rehearsals tonight, and both Saturday and Sunday afternoon and evening) and then just dig in first thing Monday morning.

Oh, right, I also need to get my lines down for Little Piece At least, having done the show 8 years ago, they seem to be coming back quick, and I've already been off-book for sections of rehearsal.

Here's three shots from this week's rehearsals. First, a large-cast shot from Little Piece, as a vision of Issa Kostoyev appears to young Andrei Chikatilo at Stalin's funeral:
LPOTS rehearsal - Kostoyev Appears

Most of the cast of George Bataille's Bathrobe is visible here (two of them obscured) as Frank Norris prepares to smash his glasses:
GBB rehearsal - About to Smash the Glasses

And a shot from Blood on the Cat's Neck that features the whole cast:
BLOOD rehearsal - Lover and Girl

A whole big album of rehearsal shots can be seen HERE. I'm pretty well done taking rehearsal shots now, I think, except for some more Little Piece ones, as I'd like to get a few with the entire cast in them.



And here's today's Random Ten from the 25,594 on the iPod (most of the additions since last week being the Nino Rota cues I'm using to score Bathrobe and the Ennio Morricone cues scoring Blood):

1. "Psychedelic Pill" - The Tyde - Gravel volume 5
2. "Pesadelo" - Patife Band - Corredor Polones
3. "Cry For Fame" - Dieter Meier - Cry For Fame 7"
4. "Bad News Blues" - Grahame Bond - Love Is The Law
5. "Gimme Some Lovin'" - The Spencer Davis Group - The Finer Things
6. "Toybox" - The Geraldine Fibbers - Butch
7. "Here To Here" - Peer Pressure - S/T 7" EP
8. "Civil Defense Spot: Excellent Chances" - Groucho Marx - Atomic Platters: Cold War Music From the Golden Age
9. "See Emily Play" - David Bowie - Pin Ups
10. "Past Is Past" - The Dishrags - Past Is Past 7" EP

I've taken too much time here today as it is when I need to get back to work on the shows, but here's some pictures of our sweet little kitties from this morning.

Hooker appears to be deep in thought (hah!):
Deep In Thought?

And Moni enjoys her cave amongst a pile of old props, fabrics, and supplies:
Moni Haz a Cave

And here's a couple of videos that have kept me sane this week.

First, a very SERIOUS PSA that is a bit FAIL because some celebrity spokespeople just don't work doing these kinds of things . . .


And sometimes, you just need a Scopitone of 1960s French interpretive dance to pep yer spirits up (and yes, the song, "Psyché Rock", by Pierre Henry and Michel Colombier, is the one Matt Groening gave to Danny Elfman as an example of what the Futurama theme should sound like, and someone on WFMU has used it as a sound bed for years). Here's Les Ballets Jackson with "Fiesta Hippie" (NSFW):



Back in a week . . . if not before . . .

collisionwork: (vile foamy liquids)
Waitaminit, it's Friday!

Boy did THAT week pass quick. But, luckily, productively.

We are now into less than a month before the shows all open, and, fortunately, they're all in pretty good shape. All need work, and in different ways, but it's happening. From now on until opening, Berit and I have at least one rehearsal a day for a show -- on Sundays (and Saturdays after tomorrow) we have two rehearsals for different shows.

It's tiring, but actually worth it -- at least I feel more like it is this year than I have the last two, where I've spent a good deal of the month asking myself if the ultimate reward of the shows was worth the work and exhaustion of this month before they go up. Yes, it always is, but at least this year I can feel that way in the hours outside of the rehearsal room (I'm always happy when I'm in rehearsal, but more and more often I've been spending the hours before rehearsal dreading the work to come and just wanting to quit this whole process; this has, for some reason, not been the case this year).

Me last night, directing:
BLOOD rehearsal - IWH Directs

So every day Berit asks me "which one is it today?" And I check to be sure myself and we grab the correct script or scripts from the pile and go off to either The Brick or Brooklyn Arts Exchange for rehearsal (in the past, we've also been at Champions Studios or The Battle Ranch, but except for one more time at the latter, we're down to just the two locations now).

Here's what I was directing last night in the photo above -- half of the cast of Blood on the Cat's Neck, at BAX (two others were there, but not in this shot):
BLOOD rehearsal - Half of the Cast

That's Rasheed Hinds, Gyda Arber, Shelley Ray, Roger Nasser, and V. Orion Delwaterman, in the middle of the opening "monologue" section" of the Fassbinder play.

Here's a shot from two nights ago at The Brick, rehearsing the "racetrack" scene of George Bataille's Bathrobe -- our first night together with the full cast (which we're fortunate to have for the rest of the rehearsal process, amazingly), and here's 6/8ths of them -- Bob Laine, Sarah Engelke, Liza Wade Green, Bill Weeden, Justin R.G. Holcomb, and Timothy Reynolds (with Berit's hands and stage manager script lower right):
GBB Rehearsal - 6:8ths of Cast

More recent rehearsal shots can be found HERE.

We've now had a chance to stumble through each of the shows a few times, and what needs to be worked in each one is more and more apparent. Bathrobe just needs to be gone over start to finish as much as possible with the full cast, now that we have them, so that everyone can remember the dream logic of the play that links the bits together -- people keep forgetting what's happening and why, as we haven't been able to connect the bits of this fairly abstract play together too well as yet. I think repetition will help (French for "rehearsal," I'm told: répéticion). The pattern needs to be felt in everyone's bones.

Blood is in the strongest shape of the three now, and is at the stage where it's all about lots and lots of niggling little notes to the actors about pace and word emphasis. And this will keep up all the way through tech and after into performances, I get the feeling.

A Little Piece of the Sun needs aspects of both the above to be worked on, but not to the extent of the other two shows -- the pattern needs to be felt more in everyone's bones, and I need to fix the tone of many little bits. Just not as much of each as in the above shows.

Actually, pace will be the continuing problem, I think, as it ALWAYS is for me (I get physically ill when the pace is off in my shows; it upsets me more when it's "wrong" than almost anything else). I know it's been drilled into actors more and more that "faster is always better," but it's not true, and especially in my shows. Cue pickup is usually meant to be quick (and if it isn't, I'll tell you), but too often I'm asking the actors to PLEASE slow the damned lines down for chrissakes! When you do shows that are fairly meditative, many beats need to have time to land and be thought about for a moment before the next one rushes in, but more and more I'm really having to demand that actors slow the hell down. I don't want milking of lines and moments, but I want the impression sometimes that what is being said is being thought about before, during and after it hits the air.

We have another 6 or 7 rehearsals for each show, followed by two tech days each and a private invited preview before proper opening, and I think all will be set fine by then.

And the 4th show, Sacrificial Offerings is going at its own, slower, pace as it's a short, easier show (we start our tiny rehearsal process in a couple of weeks). I just cast the fifth actor of eight in the cast -- Ben Robertson, like me a graduate of the Northfield Mt. Hermon School, Class of 1986! I think we last acted together at the age of 15 in Lanford Wilson's The Rimers of Eldritch at NMH. With him in that show and Aaron Baker (NMH '86) in Little Piece, I'm now directing 2 people I've known over 25 years in two different shows. Weird.

David Finkelstein last night gave me the draft of his video version of the same text - now called Marvelous Discourse - to be used in the middle of my play version. It's unfinished, but quite wonderful, and will work well for what I need it to do in my stage piece.

Tonight, Little Piece at BAX. More little things to fix. Whee.

And so, this week's Random Ten from an iPod now full of 25,570 tracks (with links to the songs or something similar):

1. "Monks" - King Missile - Failure
2. "All Messed Up" - Jess Hooper - Tennessee Rock 'n Billy 1955
3. "Heroes And Villains" - Brian Wilson - Smile
4. "Surfari" - The Boardwalkers - NPR's International Beach Ball
5. "Dreamer" - Joyce Harris - Domino Records Story
6. "Everybody's Got A Little Devil In Them" -Tommie Young - Soulin' Vol 1
7. "Didn't I Do It Right?" - Gary Glitter - 22 Of The Best
8. "Don'cha Know" - Bill Cosby - TV Characters Sing Just For You, Vol. 1
9. "Wurlitzer Jukebox" - Young Marble Giants - Colossal Youth
10. "Roadrunner" - The Heinz Kiessling Orchestra - Like A Breeze

And, yes, some newer kitty pictures of the little monsters.

Here's a drowsy Hooker kitty napping on the sleeping Berit:

Drowsy Boy on Momma

And here's BOTH kitties napping on the sleeping Berit (these are the easiest times to get pictures of the brats, when they're curled up and sleepy, which usually means they're sleeping on top of one of us humans):

H&M Wait for Mommy to Wake

Now, time to get laundry and nap before rehearsal. More shots from the rehearsals soon . . .

collisionwork: (philip guston)
We wound up having to cancel last night's rehearsal (too few actors could make it), which was nice on another hand as it meant we could spend a few hours at Coney Island helping Sarah Engelke (who has appeared in GCW's The Magnificent Ambersons and Everything Must Go) celebrate her birthday along with her fiancee Timothy McCown Reynolds (who was in Ambersons and Temptation for us -- and both of the couple are currently in George Bataille's Bathrobe coming up in August) an a couple of other friends of theirs.

It was only actually about three hours of leisure time, but it felt like a long, lovely, incredibly pleasant day at the seaside.

Here's Sarah and Timothy right around the start of the day's festivities:

Sarah's First Birthday Drink

There had been some worry about thunderstorms, which had been predicted to show up at 4.00 pm, right when we were all going to meet, but . . .

And They Said Thunderstorms Were Coming...

. . . it didn't quite work out that way.

I brought our camera, and had a fine old time shooting pictures like I haven't done in years, so, behind the cut, a giant load of shots from a lovely, fun afternoon/early evening had yesterday by Berit and I with friends.

(and this is only a third or so of the shots, all of them can be seen HERE or HERE, the latter with tags and commentary):

Sarah's Birthday at Coney Island - 07/01/09 )



collisionwork: (mystery man)
The penultimate episode (#11 of 12) of Bryan Enk & Matt Gray's serial Penny Dreadful went up at The Brick this past weekend, and was one more and still bigger success. Matt & Bryan have wound up with an entertaining and excellent piece of melodrama with a real following, and it's exciting to be a part of it, and feel the excitement of the returning audience members who just want to know what's going to happen NEXT!

It almost makes me want to try and work out Spacemen from Space as an actual monthly serial to do at The Brick, but that piece - though it's a play broken up into 6 serial "episodes" - wouldn't actually work in serial form without major changes (and there'd be no way to keep the cast together as needed, month-to-month; Bryan and Matt have been able to work around actor conflicts in a way my story couldn't).

Work continues on Spacemen and the other August shows; nothing more interesting to report there. Casting work continues on all of them, to various extents -- suggestions come in, meetings are set up. About a third of the people I wanted for the cast of Spacemen are interested, but either can't confirm or don't think they can do it. {sigh}

I'm meeting this weekend with Trav S.D. at Theatre for a New City where I'll be directing his play Kitsch: Or, Two for the Price of One in November - it's a version of The Comedy of Errors set in immediate post-Wall Berlin, with the sets of identical twins (sent to either side of the Iron Curtain) being babies formerly experimented on by Nazi doctors. Very funny. Really. And it'll be a big thing for me to direct/design at TNC -- a new space, a different kind of play.

So I have a bunch of great plays coming up this year. I am really, really looking forward to getting started this Friday with the first reading of A Little Piece of the Sun by the full cast (assuming I cast one last role by then; I'm seeing a couple of people tomorrow).

Unfortunately, I have to undergo a little medical procedure on Friday before that. It's nothing major, but not all that pleasant, and I do have to be knocked out for it. I've already postponed this once, and it's a pain to reschedule, and at the same time it's almost impossible to get the whole Little Piece cast together right now, so I can't really give up either of these Friday appointments. I'm hoping I'll be recovered enough by Friday night to properly supervise and participate in the reading, and that Berit won't wind up having to read my part.

I may be continuing to think and act like I'm ten years younger and can do things like this with near-superhuman stamina. I'll find out two days from now just how much stamina I have, I guess . . .

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera to the Penny tech this weekend before the shows, so I didn't get any good shots of my own. Bryan took pictures though, and has posted them on the Penny Facebook site. I downloaded a bunch and cleaned them up as best as I could, but their still not quite what I could have gotten with my own camera.

But I was quite pleased with the look of this month's episode ("The House Where Bad Things Happen" -- a quote from me about the Cyrus Pierce house, where the episode I directed - and this one - almost entirely took place), so here's some of the better shots I could fix from what Bryan took:

PENNY DREADFUL #11 in 15 Photos )



The FINAL episode of Penny Dreadful, "The Last Century," plays at The Brick Saturday, March 28 at 11.00 pm, and Sunday, March 29 at 2.00 pm. We're trying to arrange a THIRD show on that weekend as well, as this will be a big finale (probably in two acts with intermission) and we've been selling out all the shows the last couple of months, even without all of our audience "regulars" able to make it to each performance (hell, now that we've had 65 actors appear in the serial since it started, we could more than sell out one house just with all the Penny Dreadful alums coming back!).

And can I say that I'm really REALLY jazzed that Matt & Bryan have asked me to return as a "special guest director" for one sequence in the final episode? Kinda like Tarantino on Sin City.

Can't say much about it yet - hell, I don't really KNOW anything about it yet - but I guess I get to come back and deal with some of the things that I supervised in the full episode I directed, #5: "The Deb of Destruction, or The Poor Little Witch Girl." Bryan knows I'm drawn to the darker, unsettling or scary parts of Penny, so I'm hoping and thinking they're giving me something good and NASTY to design and stage next time.

Bryan and I are the spoil-sports with Penny. We want to unnerve and upset people while entertaining them with this, and we get a little pissed sometimes at the large amount of laughter the show is getting in - to us - inappropriate places. Yes, it's a melodrama, deliberately overplayed to a certain extent, and over-the-top in general, and with plenty of intentional laughs in it, but we have more and more been getting an audience that comes in a bit drunk and rowdy and finds EVERYTHING funny.

So with #11, there was, in the writing and design, some real effort made to dampen this aspect. Three continuing characters were killed off, including the nominal hero (whose wife had been horribly killed in the previous episode). The two most audience-pleasing comic characters have also been offed in the last two episodes (one, as I had hoped, getting the "Scatman Crothers in The Shining" treatment, rushing to save the hero for the two episodes previous, then getting blown away almost instantly on showing up). As Bryan and I kept saying as we dry-teched #11, at times making it as assaultive as we could in lights and sound, "We're not fucking around here, folks." This is a gaslit, moody, pulpy melodrama, with quite a few deliberate laughs, yes, but it is also a work of horror.

So next time at Penny . . . The Paradise of Destruction . . . ANARCHY!
PENNY DREADFUL - Abigail Pierce and the Paradise of Destruction

. . . heh-heh-heh . . .

collisionwork: (Deeeeaaad!)
Well, here we are, back home in Brooklyn, to a messy home that needs cleaning and a pair of cats that missed us A LOT and won't leave us alone now.

Nice to be back, but I may go away a little bit again next month to do the writing of Spacemen from Space, once my research is done.

Today, we watched all 12 episodes of The Lost City, a 1935 serial that makes the insane The Phantom Empire look like a model of narrative coherence and thematic clarity. Wow. Brilliant and crazed (and, yes, racist as all get out). Can't wait to show this one to the company of Spacemen from Space, once I get that show written and cast. I have another 5 or 6 serials in the DVD pile to get through now as research before I can get to the actual writing of the piece.

Otherwise, the August shows progress fine. First reading of Little Piece in two weeks, finishing up casting and setting up readings of Blood on the Cat's Neck and George Battaile's Bathrobe. More tech for Penny Dreadful next week, and a reading for Edward Einhorn. Rehearsal with David Finkelstein and a Brick Staff Meeting tomorrow. The year speeds up.

Today's Random Ten, from a current 26,108 tracks in the iPod:

1. "Incense & Peppermints" - The Strawberry Alarm Clock - Incense & Peppermints
2. "Hello, I Love You" - The Doors - Waiting for the Sun
3. "Record Ban Blues" - Dinah Washington - Mercury Blues & Rhythm Story 1945-1955 - East Coast Blues
4. "Sundown" - Don & The Galaxies - Songs The Cramps Taught Us Vol. 2
5. "Dog Door" - Tom Waits - Orphans: Bastards
6. "Ne Boude Pas" - Richard Anthony - Rato's Nostalgia Collection 28
7. "Another Generation" - Fishbone - Fishbone
8. "Balansa Pema" - Jorge Ben - Samba Esquema Novo
9. "Intro" - James Kochalka - Superstar
10. "All By Myself" - Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers - L.A.M.F. Revisited

No new photos of our own cats to share. I was going to embed a killer video of a Bengal kitten fighting over food here, but it's un-embedable -- you can see it HERE, though (the various videos up on YouTube nearly convince me that someday I'd like to have a Bengal, but on the other hand, they're cute and entertaining in the videos by being boisterous, loud, and mischievous, so maybe not . . .).

Oh, but here's a kitten in Goa, India, that REALLY wants some food . . .


And here's two news anchors (Robert Jordan & Jackie Bange) at WGN Chicago who have, over years, been gradually creating a little routine to get them through commercial breaks, adding on to it bit by bit. They're going to have to start doing it faster if they keep adding to it . . .


And I've been wanting to see the full version of Mike Jittlov's classic 1979 pixilated short The Wizard of Speed and Time for years -- it was cut up a bit when used in a 1979 Disney TV special, Major Effects - a tie-in special to the upcoming release of The Black Hole, and Jittlov redid the whole thing when he expanded the short into a feature about trying to make the original short. What I remembered of it was very influential on me when I did a bunch of stop-motion/pixilation work in the Animation Departent at NYU/Tisch School of the Arts.

Here's the original full short film:


Melanie Martinez - a favorite actress of mine to work with, as director or fellow actor, and who was in the first three or four plays I directed - posted a photo of us on Facebook in her husband Mark Newell's short video comedy Rock Star, where I played an aspiring Rock God with a lot of talent and no sense of coolness or how to project the proper image. As usual, I hate my performance in the video and how I look (of course, the point is that I look fat and unappealing, but still . . .), but I'm pleased that even for the purposes of acting, I got to stand onstage at CBGB once before it vanished and play guitar (my '82 Les Paul Studio).

So here's Mel (with the '75 Fender covered in Japanese Monster stuff, and the killer platform shoes), me, and Matt Pavoni as "Pandemic Aura" . . .
Onstage at CBGB

Okay, now I'm off to The Brick to help a company with some tech problems . . .

collisionwork: (philip guston)
Well, Portland again, and as nice as usual.

Missed any other updates on Friday. It was a tiring drive up from NYC, and I just felt like relaxing, and then got into working on the George Bataille's Bathrobe script and good things were happening, and next thing I knew it was bedtime.

Much the same on Saturday. And I'm hoping for the same later today. Along with some movie-watching research.

For those who don't know, when doing one of Richard Foreman's plays - generally, there are exceptions - Richard prefers that you start with the text as he writes it, that is, just dialogue and occasional stage directions that he has written in one-page fragments, and then scrambled up and reordered and played with until he's decided that it's "a play," and then you create your own characters, settings, plot or action, etc. So I had a copy of Richard's typescript for George Bataille's Bathrobe (it's never been published in one of his book collections) and I transcribed the pages into the computer, along with some of the fascinating mung in Richard's notes around the typewritten text -- there were lots of handwritten corrections and alternative lines in the margins, and I've included everything I possibly could in my production draft as I could.

Reading over just the dialogue, elements of characters and story emerged, and gradually I had a list of characters (and actors I wanted to play them), a definite setting, a sense of how the feel and movement of the show would work, and the overall structure. However, I still don't know WHO it is saying WHICH line a good deal of the way through the script, so I'm now going through and figuring out all the details, assigning the dialogue to the correct characters, and writing in the stage directions so the actors will know what they're supposed to be doing.

On the other shows, A Little Piece of the Sun has 13 out of 14 actors cast, and I'm waiting for some promised recommendations to be emailed to me on the last actor (I got no one I know right for the part). I'm setting up a first reading for later this month on that one. The Fassbinder play, Blood on the Cat's Neck, has had it's production draft typed up and finished and has been sent to the proposed cast -- 7 of the 10 actors contacted are in; I'm waiting to hear from the other three (though two of them told me in person not long ago it sounded good to them).

So I just need to finish Bathrobe and Spacemen from Space, which I have to write from scratch, a main reason for coming up here to Maine, as I write better away from home.

I was also hoping the great big videostore in town, Videoport, would still have some of the tons of old movie serials they used to, so I could rewatch them as research for Spacemen, which is structured as a cliffhanger serial in six chapters. I had rented them all from the store about 10 years ago. But now? No dice - they were on VHS, and no one ever rented them, so they're long gone. The only serial they have now is the 1949 Batman & Robin, so I got that. I'll have to watch more of the serials I need to see online, which I find annoying and difficult to focus on.

So later, serial. Right now, a Random Ten from the 26,125 tracks on the iPod:

1. "Kidnapping" - Karl Heinz Shäffer - Stereo Ultra
2. "Ain't No Cure For Love" - Leonard Cohen - I'm Your Man
3. "Heavy Water" - Ray Davies, His Funky Trumpet & Button Down Brass - The Sound Spectrum
4. "To Win Your Love" - Laurie Wade's Cavaliers - Ugly Things #2: Australia's Indiginous Garage Dwellers
5. "So What!!" - The Lyrics - Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era, Vol. 3
6. "The Curse Of Millhaven" - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Murder Ballads
7. "Berlin (live 1978)" - Lou Reed - Take No Prisoners
8. "Ultra Twist" - The Cramps - Flamejob
9. "Jailhouse Rock " - The End - Pebbles Volume 6 - Chicago 1
10. "Somebody Somewhere (Solo)" - Andy Prieboy - online single download

Looking for a sharable version of that last song, instead I found Edwin Vacek's excellent homemade/found footage videos for three other recent online song releases by Andy Prieboy, the second frontman for one of my favorite bands, Wall of Voodoo. He hasn't put out an album, unfortunately, since 1995's amazing Sins of Our Fathers (one of my very favorite records), but he's recently released 6 new songs (plus three variant versions) on his website, including the above song, and these three below (one of the songs not here, "Shine," to my pleasant surprise turned out to feature the other WOV frontman, Stan Ridgway, on harmonica!).

If you like 'em, think about picking them up from Prieboy's site.

"Pricks Up Front":


"Bands":


"Hearty Drinking Men":


The one bad thing about coming up here is that, despite having loaner cat Bappers and loaner dog Sasha here to enjoy, we still miss our own little monsters, even if we know they're being well looked after by Tante Christiaan and Unca Bryan:
H&M Pose, Look Away

I do have something like 10 videos saved up that I haven't shared as yet, so in lieu of new stuff the next week of so, I'll dole those out bit-by-bit. Back with those soon enough . . .

collisionwork: (boring)
And the year in seeing and doing stuff takes off hard this week . . . big entry, here . . .

This past weekend we put up Episode 10 of Bryan Enk and Matt Gray's Penny Dreadful serial at The Brick, which went just as well as all the other episodes, and played to another two huge houses (the first of which, as happens sometimes when you do this kind of serial work that veers wildly from the comic to tragic, and your audience is made up of a lot of friends, tended to laugh in inappropriate, sadly-emotional moments as well as at the actual jokes).

Berit was back co-designing the lights with me on this one, as well as running the board, which was good, as I had to reprise the part of George Westinghouse as a . . . dream? ghost? some other kind of supernatural spirit? . . . that appears to Nikola Tesla. Two more episodes to go, and a lot of plot to resolve -- we're all waiting to see how Matt & Bryan end this saga.

The episode summaries (through #9) and video recordings (through #8) are up at the page linked above. The next episode, I now see, has been given the title "The House Where Bad Things Happen," and I think that's actually a quote from me about the setting for the episode I directed (#5) which almost all took place in the house of a VERY dysfunctional family, where we look to be returning next time (my episode also came to be known as Penny Dreadful: Fire Walk With Me, which gives an idea of its mood, one I expect to come back next time as well).

Here, behind a cut, are my own usable photos from this episode -- if you're on Facebook, you can join the Penny Dreadful group for an even better collection from this episode (and all the others).

DON'T . . . BE . . . afraid . . . )



Wednesday, Frank Cwiklik and Michele Schlossberg of Danse Macabre Theatrics and Do What Now Media put up a special show, 0109, to celebrate ten years of making theatre in NYC. It was a collage of video and live excerpts from past shows, dance numbers, music, and a new extended comic sketch about how DMTheatrics makes theatre. There were several themed video presentations as well, focusing on aspects of the DMTheatrics style -- a collection of fight scenes, of girls dancing, and of lots and LOTS of cursing (how Frank could leave out my cry of "FOUL FUCKING WINDS!!!" from Bitch Macbeth in that montage however, I will never understand). I appeared in Bryan Enk's original part as "The Candy Butcher" in an excerpt from Who In the Hell Is the Real, Live Lorelei Lee?, which went quite well (it was supposed to be a big secret that I was appearing, but I think word got out a bit).

With the end of the evening came the onscreen announcement that Danse Macabre Theatrics (dead as a company since 2004) is once again back in business, with a list of upcoming productions. Bravo. More from them soon, I'm sure.

Yesterday was an overload of information, starting with an afternoon screening of Godard's Made in U.S.A. at Film Forum, which I had discovered was the last day this almost-never-screened film was playing in a new, restored 35mm print (I last saw this widescreen film in an atrocious, almost-unviewable, and quite incoherent and cropped 16mm print in 1988 or so). As often with Godard, whichever film of his I've seen most recently becomes not only my favorite Godard film, but one of my favorite films of all time, for a few weeks, so I'm still buzzing a bit from this one. I hope it gets a DVD release (Criterion? Please?) sometime fairly soon so I can see it again, preferably with its twin (shot, literally, at the same time), Two or Three Things I Know About Her (my FAVORITE Godard, and a film that changed EVERYTHING for me when I saw it at 17). At least as I saw it yesterday, Made in U.S.A. was a definite end to the crime-movie-loving Godard, a summary of everything he'd done in that style up to 1966 (though it almost has a sci-fi quality in being set two years in the future, in September, 1968), all mashed up and making very little sense except for cinematic sense. It is dedicated to Sam Fuller and Don Siegel, but no one, as far as I can tell, has ever noted the similarities to Siegel's 1964 remake of The Killers (here with Anna Karina in the Lee Marvin part), so I'll just say the Godard was certainly aware of the latter film.

The website The Auteurs has has a number of essays about Made in U.S.A. recently, the most recent being HERE. A good introduction to this great film.

As I said, Godard leaves me walking on air and open to all possibilities for a while after seeing his best films (especially if it's one I haven't seen in a long time), so today as I've been working and writing, I've had, once again, a mini Jean-Luc Fest in the background, with all of his films that I have a copy of (thus far, Contempt, Band of Outsiders, Alphaville, and after a break to do the Random Ten below, I'm onto Masculin-Feminine -- I may not get to the last, Tout Va Bien/Letter to Jane until much later this evening).

The Godard was followed (after dinner) by the new show from Stolen Chair Theatre Company, Theatre Is Dead and So Are You, which, I want to state immediately, was TERRIFIC and you SHOULD SEE IT. You've got one more weekend; follow the links.

It's about death, and it's very very funny, though maybe you need to be able to find the various thoughts about death both very funny and very disturbing (often at the same time) to appreciate it -- I found myself laughing a lot, but also torn and slightly upset by remembrances of human deaths I have witnessed in person or been near to, memories of the funeral home run by my grandparents and the bodies I saw there (which generally gives me a cold, dispassionate eye to mortal remains and cremains), and the increased sense of mortality that has hit me the last few years. A good mix of emotions for a show to give you, though I got the feeling that some people in the audience weren't as pleased by some of what was brought up. Whatever.

One reviewer somewhat dismissed the show as having been done before, and better, by some famous names (a dicey reason for critically dismissing anything, really; at a certain point you can dismiss anything, including masterpieces, as treading ground covered by earlier masterpieces), but what this reviewer was focusing on was far more the "frame" of the work rather than the actual content -- we are presented with an onstage wake conducted by a vaudevillian acting troupe for their fallen leader, who lies in a coffin at stage center (a coffin with many wonderful magic properties, as it turns out); a wake which fairly quickly is somewhat of a wake for Theatre itself. but once the discussion of Theatre as a dead art form is run through, we are taken to a deeper, darker level that is the real meat of the show, our feelings about Death Itself.

The cast, performing this series of acts, scenes, comedy routines, and monologues, is excellent top to bottom -- I was especially taken with Liza Wade Green, who could leap from cute and adorable to deeply creepy with just a slight change of posture and expression, and David Berent, who I know and have worked with at The Brick in his position as leader of The Maestrosities, but whom I didn't recognize at ALL here until I read his bio after the show (big change of character). But the whole group is splendid in their ability to handle both the humor and the scary stuff.

If I had any criticisms, they are that occasionally projection was a problem, especially in songs, whenever people turned away from facing downstage even a bit (the Connelly sucks up sound pretty well), and the episodic nature of the show, as a collection of acts (and I say this as someone who likes to occasionally create shows in episodes and recognizes this as a structural problem whenever you do it), means that you begin wondering more and more how many more "bits" you have to go, even if all of them are splendid, Luckily, right around the time you feel like you've had almost enough, an extended tour-de-force Romeo and Juliet sequence (with the dead body as Romeo) comes up, and is pretty obviously the penultimate section of the show when it does, so you're ready for the ending when it comes, right when it should.

Again, terrific show. Wish I could see it again, but I won't be able to for the rest of the run.

I should also mention that my old friend Michael Laurence's one-man show Krapp, 39 has re-opened, and got a great Times review today, which it richly deserves. Another one I recommend.

Today I worked on the scripts of Spacemen from Space and George Bataille's Bathrobe, which are coming together. I also now have almost completely made out lists of who I want for almost all the parts, so I can start contacting people about interest and availability if I haven't already (and SFS has wound up with a World Gone Wrong-like 21 people in the company in order to pull it off right! Whee.).

Tonight we see Stephen Heskett -- our George Amberson Minifer in The Magnificent Ambersons -- in Mike Leigh's Ecstasy at The Red Room -- it's mostly gotten great reviews, and Stephen's been singled out for praise repeatedly. Good.

Tomorrow, it's the new opera by Robert Ashley at LaMama, Made Out of Concrete. I also have a rehearsal with David Finkelstein of Lake Ivan Performance Group, who has asked me to join him in creating some improvisatory duets that he will, as he's been doing for a while, videotape and transform into experimental video pieces. Doing this kind of work is new, exciting, and scary for me, and it's affecting my acting and other art work in positive ways (always staying connected to the source of what I'm creating rather than ever treading water by letting my skill just go without grounding).

Then, Berit and I are trying to get away to Maine to relax a bit and for me to complete the scripts as much as possible. Maybe a week or a bit more.

Whew. Today's Random Ten, from 26,125 tracks in the iPod:

1. "The Lonesome River" - Bob Dylan with Ralph Stanley - The Bootleg Series, Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs
2. "Julia" - The Beatles - The Beatles
3. "Shoot That Girl" - Hopelessly Obscure - 7" single
4. "10:30 Train" - Ugly Ducklings - Too Much, Too Soon
5. "Let Latin Commerce" - Sydney Dale - Dolce Far Niente - 27 Suave Cocktail Classics
6. "Le Grind" - Prince - The Black Album
7. "Standin' Round Crying" - Eric Clapton - From The Cradle
8. "Blue Jean" - David Bowie - Tonight
9. "Turkish Song Of The Damned" - The Pogues - If I Should Fall From Grace With God
10. "Angel" - Iggy Pop - New Values

And some kitty photos from today. Here's where Hooker's been almost all day -- as Berit says, "Being a kitty is SO tiring . . ."
Being a Kitty Is Tiring

Meanwhile, Moni lurks, waiting for an opportunity . . .
Moni Lurks

. . . to jump on Berit and demand attention while B is trying to play a video game (Godard film just visible to the right) . . .
Bugging Mom During Game Time

. . . which the little attention-grabber gets:
Getting Attention

And two final images, one from the terrific Lost City blog, a Woolworth counter menu from 1960:
Woolworth Menu

And the sunset two nights ago from our subway stop, Kings Highway, on the Culver line, looking across Bensonhurst from Gravesend, on our way to 0109:
Sunset Over Bensonhurst

More soon . . .

collisionwork: (lost highway)
The reading of The Confidence Man last night went fine - smaller audience than we'd hoped, and a lot less reactive than when we last did it -- Danny Bowes reminded me that it was April 1, 2007 in Coney Island, and that the show had run about three hours with no intermission that time - yikes! - it was almost 2 hours 30 minutes last night.

B & I are off very shortly for an all-day dry tech to have Penny Dreadful Episode 10 ready for tomorrow. It's a big, complex one, with a cast of 21 and two entirely different "mini-episodes" within it. And lots o' tech. And I return, acting, as George Westinghouse (so I've already shaved my beard back to the Westinghouse chops, which also worked well for the Melville reading last night).

The video of Episode 8, for those watching or catching up online, is now online HERE. Saturday night's performance of Episode 10 is sold out, but there are still some tickets available for the Sunday matinee.

Quick Friday Random Ten -- if I get a chance later tonight, I'll try and put some links to the music in there (but I don't think I'll find links to too many of these songs . . .):

1. "Shadow Of Fear" - Last Knight - Psychedelic Disaster Whirl
2. "She's My Baby" - Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I Might See
3. "I Feel Fine" - The Beatles - Past Masters, Volume 1
4. "One Of The Boys" - Mott The Hoople - All The Young Dudes
5. "Bad Little Woman" - The Wheels - Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond, Vol. 4
6. "The Day the World Turned Dayglo" - X-Ray Spex - Germfree Adolescents
7. "Is It Living" - Fems - 7" EP
8. "Chessboxin' In Suffragette City (feat. Wu-Tang Clan) - Man-Cat - The Rise And Fall Of Thuggy Stardust And The Hustlers From Mars
9. "Slave Of Desire" - The New Dawn - The 60's Choice
10. "I've Told Every Little Star" - Linda Scott - Mulholland Drive

And whaddya know? It's the return of Friday Cat Blogging!

Here, Hooker and Moni enjoy their current "favorite spot," one of their oddest - on the arm of, and endtable next to, the sofa, as Berit computes . . .
Computer, Berit, Cat Butts

Hooker in another favorite spot that gets him scolded and squirted with the water bottle - rolling around on the power cords for the computers and A/V equipment . . .
Hooker Likes Power Cords

And, hey, I actually got the little bastards to pose for a nice portrait . . .
H&M Pose, Stare

Gotta run - hope to see some of you at Penny Dreadful . . .

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