collisionwork: (Default)
Hiya, Bunky.

So I've been gone for many months from here, but intending to return. Just haven't felt like I had much to say, or rather, what I had to say fit better on Facebook. But some people might actually venture here from Zack Calhoun's blog Visible Soul, where I was just cyber-interviewed, and if so, here's the deal about this link and where it's going . . .

I'll try and get back to making this blog interesting again by discussing the process for my August season as it's going on. This year, I'll be doing three plays, Removal, a new one that seems to be becoming some kind of farce; Blvd de Paris, a classic play by Richard Foreman I've been wanting to get to; and Invincible City, a text created through improvisation by myself and David Finkelstein of Lake Ivan Performance Group, which David has already transformed into a piece of video art. The last two pieces will play on a double-bill.

So . . . as I work on these shows, I'll keep some of my process journal going here as I used to. I always seemed to work as both a place for dialogue and as a kind of promotion for the shows, so I should get back to it. The last few years, the shows have been big and I've been tired (and/or lazy), but I'd like to get back to an account of what goes into making one of these shows.

I also have some longer pieces I've been working on that might finally get done and wind up here. I've been working on something called "So Big It Can Never Be Catalogued or Appraised: Thoughts on Pieces of Citizen Kane" (which is exactly what it sounds like), and I put in a proposal that was (just today) sadly rejected for a book in the great 33 1/3rd series of monographs from Continuum/Bloomsbury Academic. My proposal was for the Mothers of Invention album We're Only In It For The Money, and I did enough research, thinking, and writing about that work (and related ones) just for the proposal that I should probably just write the book anyway and post in in pieces here.

At the current moment, I'm in the dressing room of The Brick supervising a tech for the Democracy festival that opens tonight. When not writing this I'm going through David's video of Invincible City and transcribing it, so I should be getting back to that. By the end of the weekend, I'm hoping to have all these shows cast, but that seems . . . unlikely. I'll let you know when I do. So more on the current projects soon.

Amazingly, when I went to open a new posting window here for this blog, I got a "Restore from saved draft?" window from LiveJournal. Yup, there was an old "Friday Random Ten" that I had typed up but not finished, long enough ago that the playlist of unheard songs I was working through had 9,456 songs in it (it now has 8,655). So from sometime in the past, and as a welcome back to this blog, here's a Friday Random Ten from January 6 of this year . . .

1. "Noisy Summer" - The Raveonettes - Chain Gang of Love
2. "Reach Out (I'll Be There)" - David Llywelyn - Schwabing Affairs-Delicate Tunes From Swinging Munich Movies Of The 60's & 70's
3. "Kissin' Boogie" - Beverly Wright with Preston Love's Orchestra - Fine Gals, Fast Women & Wailin' Daddies
4. "Dinosaurs" - King Missile - The Way to Salvation
5. "Jeannie (I Dream of Jeannie)" - Hugo Montenegro, His Orchestra and Chorus - Seldom-Heard TV Theme Lyrics
6. "Insane Asylum" - Kathi McDonald - Insane Asylum
7. "Rip This Joint" - The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main St.
8. "Walkin' the Dog" - Rufus Thomas - Atlantic Rhythm & Blues vol 5 1961-1965
9. "She's Fallen In Love With The Monster Man" - Screamin' Lord Sutch & The Savages - Cameo Parkway 1957-1967
10. "Y.D.M.S." - UK Subs - Occupied

And here's a playlist of all of the above (or as close as I could find):



collisionwork: (Default)

I did a Random Ten four or five days ago, meaning to finish and post it, but got caught up -- excitingly -- in the sudden definite go-ahead to bring back Gemini CollisionWorks's three August plays, ObJects, Antrobus, and Gone. So I've been having to work on scheduling the rehearsals and new shows, and trying to find actors to replace the ones who can't return -- 6 actors can't make it, and I have replacements for 3 of them; will be auditioning people over the weekend.

I'm going to try to keep up with updates on the shows, and with another Random Friday Ten tomorrow (well, today now), but I have to revise and get out the press releases and other stuff, and I may be stuck all day with that (as well as now having to go to the theater to meet a gas man to check our heater, which is making some impressively ominous noises.

So, in the meantime, here's 10 tracks from out of the 9,490 tracks on my ipod that haven't been played yet, with associated videos as I could find them...

1. "WHK - Rendezvous Records Spot" - Radio Spot - Psychedelic Promos and Radio Spots vol. 4
2. "In A Gadda Da Vida" - Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper - Frenzy
3. "Winter Afternoon by B.U. in Boston" - Jonathan Richman - O Moon, Queen of Night on Earth
4. "Snootie Little Cutie" - Bobby Troup - Ultra-Lounge 15: Wild, Cool & Swingin' Too!
5. "Baby, Scratch My Back" - Booker T. & The MG's - Soul Men/Play The Hits
6. "Colours" - Kaleidoscope - Kaleidoscope
7. "Creepy Street" - Walter Murphy - Cinemaphonic - Electric Soul
8. "Good Job with Prospects" - Actress - Circus Days vol. 3
9. "Fluff 'n' Fold" - The Launderettes - Every Heart Is a Time Bomb
10. "Geronimo" - Gianni Oddi - Easy Tempo vol. 2 - The Psycho Beat

And here's the whole video playlist of the above (with bonus track):



Now to give the cat his asthma medication...

collisionwork: (Default)
A quick update as I have to get out the door and to The Brick ASAP.

Tonight we have a year-end party at the theatre for our community, and the installation of some more of the super-secret Master Masons of The Brick (so secret, it cannot be talked about, merely written about on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and in program bios). As Master Tyler of The Brick, it will be my duty, as always, to cleanse the sacred brick. Berit, as Sister Bailiff, will ensure order in the sacred ceremonies. But now, I've said too much...

So here's the weekly Random Ten again (with associated videos), from the 8,439 as-yet-unplayed songs in my iPod . . .

1. "You're Under Arrest" - Serge Gainsbourg - de Serge Gainsbourg a gainsbarre
2. "The Body" - Sister Charmaine - 500% Dynamite!
3. "A Song for Europe" - Roxy Music - Stranded
4. "Can't Escape from You" - Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series, vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs
5. "Fuck Christmas, I Got the Blues" - The Legendary Tiger Man - Fuck Christmas, I Got the Blues
6. "Barnabas Theme from 'Dark Shadows'" - The First Theremin Era - Dark Shadows - The 30th Anniversary Soundtrack
7. "Swinging A-Go-Go" - Stiv Bators - Disconnected
8. "Adult Books" - X - Wild Gift
9. "Farewell to Today and Tomorrow" - The Fewdle Lords - Psychedelic States: Florida in the 60s
10. "Bucket Rider" - Polyrock - Polyrock

A mixed bag today -- classic, loved tracks from Roxy Music, X, and Polyrock, some pleasant ones I didn't know from known and unknown artists, a really great local garage track I didn't know (The Fewdle Lords one), and a truly horrific Serge Gainsbourg piece including some rap parts. Ugh. Here's the playlist:



Now to quickly make a party playlist for tonight (someone on staff already has one made, but it harms none to have a second ready) and get ready for the "sacred ceremony."

collisionwork: (music listening)
Reading, researching, wasting time on internet, waiting for B to wake up.

Today, more of the same. Plus, as mentioned, preparing a script for online publication. There are events and shows I'd like to get to, but I don't think that's going to happen. So it goes. I think today's westerns to watch (if we can get them all in) will wind up being Support Your Local Gunfighter, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, and maybe The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, none of which I've seen.

Still waiting to hear back from the casts of our August shows, ObJects, Antrobus, and Gone, about whether they'd be available and interested in coming back and doing the shows again sometime early next year to make up for the performances we lost with Hurricane Irene. So far, 11 of the 21 actors have responded, and those positively, so that's a good start. Maybe this will actually happen.

There's 24,779 tracks in my trusty iPod. And yet, even after 5 years of using it constantly, there are 8,483 tracks in it that haven't been played. Here's a random playlist of ten from among those unheard tracks (with links to online versions of the songs, where available).

1. "I Got Loaded" - Peppermint Harris - The Aladdin Records Story
2. "All Last Night" - George Smith - My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama
3. "Crazy" - 999 - 999
4. "The Bloody Assizes" - Julian Cope - Fried
5. "Wind-Up Toys" - The Electric Prunes - Lost Dreams
6. "Someday You'll be King" - MX-80 Sound - Out of the Tunnel
7. "Packin' Up" - Delilah - Lost Deep Soul Treasures volume 3
8. "Just Play Music" - Big Audio Dynamite - Super Hits
9. "Absolutal Bastard" - Las Comadrejas - We Are Ugly But... We Have the Music
10. "All Night Operator" - Bryan Ferry - In Your Mind

Hey, cool -- for the first time in doing one of these Random Tens, I was able to find a YouTube for every one of the songs (okay, the Julian Cope is a demo version, but close enough). Here's a spiffy playlist of all the above (with bonus 11th track):



Okay, back to figuring out how to make NECROPOLIS 3: At the Mountains of Slumberland read like a real script.

collisionwork: (missing)
Not much to blog about, or maybe too much. Still at work on my own new plays for August -- ObJects, Gone, Antrobus, and Invisible Republic #3 (which needs its own damn title but nothing has come up yet) -- as well as memorizing Mac Wellman's Terminal Hip. And keeping on top of things I'm needed for at The Iranian Theatre Festival at The Brick.

Berit and I have had a couple of useful dinner meetings to toss around the direction of ObJects and Invisible Republic #3. While I'm writing only fragments of these before going into rehearsal with the casts (once I have them), I need to understand the basic framework of each show, and the worlds they show and are, before creating them around the actors (also, I need to "see" these people in the world before I cast any actors for sure). So B and I have a diner meal (for some reason, sitting in a diner/coffee shop of some kind always works best for these meetings) and she helps pull out of me what I'm trying to do with each show, and then we throw ideas about the landscape of each play back and forth until it becomes more and more complete. Once I see the world, the characters, and the overall tone (and have some idea of the structural framework), I can bring the actors in and the incidents begin to show themselves properly.

The older plays Gone and Antrobus are more traditionally written -- Gone is finished as well; Antrobus needs a bunch of work and maybe some rethinking, but I pretty much know what it is. Gone, which I wrote from 1990-2005, is short and difficult, but now has a cast of two of my favorite actresses, Alyssa Simon and Ivanna Cullinan, which pleases me greatly. Alyssa agrees with me that the play is "impossible" but is equally excited to jump into this impossible work as I am. So with this and the nearly-as-impossible Terminal Hip, two of the five plays for August are cast and can proceed.

There have been a couple of Theater-blog-related items that have come up -- that is, debates, discussions and such in the other blogs -- that I thought of jumping in, but my blood boils easily, and my private responses thus far have tended to be merely unpleasant and unhelpful. Rather, Matt Freeman has dealt, as usual, far more fairly with the issues brought up in posts by playwright Mat Smart and CATT (Collective Arts Think Tank) and is able to express pretty much the same feelings as I without using phrases like "they should drown in their own vomit like the stinking dogs that they are." Thanks, Matt.

That's more than I've posted in a while -- my weekly postings have not been happening as they should. In any case, from now on I'd like to at least keep the weekly Random Ten going to make sure I always check in that often. Here's ten tracks out of 2,463 in the iPod playlist of songs not listened to yet on that device:

1. "The Remedies Of Dr. Brohnicoy" - The Act - The Rubble Collection 10
2. "Saigon Rainstorm" - Peter Ivers - Nirvana Peter
3. "On The Air" - Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel 2
4. "Theme From 'Run For Your Life'" - Al Hirt - download
5. "Art School" - The Jam - Direction, Reaction, Creation
6. "Direct Hit" - Art Brut - Its A Bit Complicated
7. "Thriller" - Michael Jackson - Thriller
8. "My Baby Done Told Me" - The Robins - I Must Be Dreamin'
9. "That Was My Girl" - Funkadelic - America Eats Its Young
10. "There Was a Time (live)" - James Brown - download

Here's the full video playlist for the above (with bonus track and a couple of substitutions where there were no YouTubes of the track I needed). On Facebook, this won't embed, so you can either see it at my original LiveJournal post or by going HERE.



Tonight, off to board op at The Brick again for the wonderful Something Something Über Alles. Tomorrow, same thing in the morning, then seeing my mother-in-law in the afternoon, then a party in the evening. Sunday, weekly improvisation work with David Finkelstein. Seems like a lot in between the times of figuring out what to do next.

collisionwork: (sign)
Been gone from too long here -- primarily because our primary computer broke down after 5 years of mostly faithful service. I had been worried this was going to happen, and had ordered up an external hard drive to backup (and extend) the internal drive -- unfortunately it showed up two days after the drive crashed and would just crash every time it was booted up (due to "kernal panic," which Berit notes sounds like a line of EXTREME popcorn flavors).

So . . . we were down a computer for almost two weeks, and while we now have it back, with a spanking new drive, some nice system upgrades and other fixes, which is great, we are still waiting to find out if the last five years of our lives in digital data will be recoverable from the old drive (probably yes, we're told, but who knows).

Artistically, while worried about the loss of most of the Gemini CollisionWorks documents from 2006-2010, it's been an effective inspiration in continuing to write the play ObJects, which is in no small way about loss and the loss/divesture of personal possessions, and what it means when many of them are virtual, non-meatspace ones. So, personal potential disaster had led to a kind of artistic focus. Still, inspiration or not, I want my years of theatre and music stuff back.

The last thing done on the computer before it broke down was a little editing experiment that was meant to be part of a Film Noir blog-a-thon going on, but as the computer broke after uploading it, but before I posted it here, I missed out on the reason for making it. Still, it was nice editing footage again, even if it was stock footage from the classic noir D.O.A. set to the Rev. Fred Lane song "Dial 'O' for Bigelow" from the album Car Radio Jerome (which, after loving for years, I only realized was based on this film while making World Gone Wrong in 2005). So here's my little video, "Better Make it D.O.A." (which won't be visible, like all videos, if you're seeing this on Facebook; you'll have to go to the original Livejournal post):



While this main computer was down, I still wrote down an iPod Random Ten from last week in a notebook, and here's what it was . . .

1. "Peewee's Groove in D" - James Brown - Plays the Real Thing
2. "Miniskirt Blues" - The Cramps with Iggy Pop - Look Mom No Head!
3. "(I'm a) Road Runner (live)" - The Who - Who's Next
4. "Walk Like Me" - Blondie - Autoamerican
5. "Strike It While It's Hot" - Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks with Bette Midler - Beatin' the Heat
6. "Theme from 'Let's Go Native'" - Passengers - Original Soundtracks 1
7. "1978" - Kleenex/LiLiPUT - Kleenex/LiLiPUT
8. "Noses Run in My Family" - Martin Mull - Days of Wine and Neuroses
9. "Wild in the Streets movie promo" - trailer - Psychedelic Promos and Radio Spots 3
10. "Hair" - PJ Harvey - Dry

And here's the video playlist of most of the above, with bonus track:



Hmmn. I really liked editing that piece above, and every week there's always at least one song that I can't find on YouTube that comes up in the Random Ten, so maybe I'll try to keep my editorial skills up by taking one of the songs I can't find each week and making up my own stock-footage edit for it. So, maybe next week I'll have some kind of video to go with the James Brown instrumental (likely) or the Dan Hicks song (unlikely) in an entry to come . . .

collisionwork: (philip guston)
Maine has been good to us, but it's time to come on home to NYC. Work to do now, and we miss the cats.

Ideas started coming for the August month of shows from Gemini CollisionWorks, and have been notated and discussed. At the current moment, the August show plans consist of one full 2-act play, ObJects, another dance-theater/text piece in the Invisible Republic series (the previous ones were about propaganda and advertising, this one will be about marketing/branding), two short pieces on a double bill -- Gone and Antrobus -- and a solo performance (by me, the only thing I'll be acting in this year) of Mac Wellman's Terminal Hip (if I can get the rights). Apart from the Wellman, I'm writing the rest -- Gone is complete, Antrobus is outlined with a tiny bit written (and, unfortunately, currently trapped on the hard drive of a broken computer), and the other two, like Spell and Everything Must Go from 2008, need to be written primarily around the cast in rehearsal. So I have dream casts written out, and will start contacting people to start work when I get back to NYC.

It's a lot, but ideas are now flowing -- Berit and I had a nice Valentine's Day dinner where I laid out what I had to her, and we batted some things back and forth and they became more clear and possible-sounding. I am sure that one point of dispute will continue, about whether or not to use real paint onstage in one show where I'd like to have someone actually painting a wall over the course of the show -- I want it done for real; Berit is bringing up, correctly, every single possible problem, and there are many, in doing it for real, none of which are, as yet dissuading me -- but we have the start of a plan of attack for the year.

A favorite of the many bloggers I read is The Self-Styled Siren, who primarily writes on classic film. She is currently co-sponsoring a blog-a-thon, For the Love of Film (Noir), and you can find the first collection of links to blogs participating HERE. A first interview between The Siren and the great noir scholar Eddie Muller preceded the blog-a-thon HERE.

Now, if you know me or my work, you know about the huge part noir has played in both for a few years now, so I'll be joining in the blogging fun in the next few days by pulling out and revamping some of the writing on noir I've done here (and elsewhere) in the past few years, with a few rewrites and new material.

I should also note that For the Love of Film Noir is being done to raise funds for The Film Noir Foundation towards the preservation of the classic noir The Sound of Fury. Previously, the FNF has preserved Cry Danger and Too Late for Tears, among other works. When I started studying noir, I was able to rent Cry Danger and The Sound of Fury (under the title Try and Get Me!) on VHS tape from Videoport here in Maine. Later, when researching World Gone Wrong up here, I found the store had gotten rid of both great films in a VHS purge, and neither was available anywhere. Too Late for Tears, an average noir with WAY above-average performances from Dan Duryea and Lizabeth Scott, I found in a terrible print on DVD in a Brooklyn library (under the title Killer Bait). The Film Noir Foundation is dedicated to tracking down, restoring, and distributing these and other films in new, beautiful 35mm prints, as well as creating new DVDs. You can see Cry Danger (restored) and Sound of Fury (not) on Netflix Instant now, but there's no preservation like a new fine-grain negative and film prints for these works. The Film Noir Foundation deserves all the support it can get, especially from those of us who regard noir as a major part of film (and Art) of the last century. You can follow the links on The Siren's page (or here in the days coming up) to donate to them.

And, before leaving, here's a Random Ten from the North from the 2,407 tracks in the "prime unheard" list in the iPod:

1. "I'm Not Living Here" - Sagittarius - Present Tense
2. "Caribou (2005 acoustic live)" - Pixies - 2005.08.06 - Newport, RI
3. "Crazy Little Thing" - Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band - Clear Spot
4. "Anywhere I Lay My Head" - Tom Waits - Rain Dogs
5. "New Electric Ride" - Captain Beefheart - Unconditionally Guaranteed
6. "Another Country's Young" - The Gun Club - In Exile
7. "Groove A Little" - T.Rex - Dandy In The Underworld
8. "(You're Gonna) Wreck My Life" - Q'65 - Nederbeat The B-Sides 3
9. "Final Solution" - Rocket From The Tombs - Rocket Redux
10. "Dust My Broom" - Ike & Tina Turner - Bold Soul Sister

And here's an embedded playlist of most of the above, or something similar (unless you're seeing this on Facebook), with an extra one to grow on . . .



And while we can't upload the pictures we took here in Maine before we go, we were sent regular photos of our cats from the Fantastic Mr. Enk, who looked after our little beloved monsters while we were up here. Though sometimes the photos made us miss them more, as when Hooker just looks so very sad . . .
Sad Hooker (from Enk)

Same with Moni . . .
Sad Moni (from Enk)

Bryan did once catch them together waking up as he came in . . .
Both Kitties (from Enk)

Okay, getting late, and I need to get sleep in before driving over 6.5 hours in the morning . . .

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: (doritos)
Very little happening in the last three days or so, but a richness about what has happened that contributes to the simmering pot of ideas for work that is gradually congealing into something to be consumed.

More days of hurry-up-and-wait; big spaces between things that suddenly have to happen. And then several things that were supposed to happen went away, leaving me with gaps where even more waiting needed to occur. Now I'm waiting for the car to be serviced (nothing specific or bad, just the regular three-month-checkup) so I can then use it on a bunch of needed errands.

Last night, I went out to judge an evening of short plays for the NYIT Awards. I hope to write about this in the next few days, if there's time -- I'm supposed to keep it a secret about what I'm judging, and I'll do my best, though I'm sure anyone with google-fu would be able to figure out what I saw, but I'm not so much interested in writing about the specific plays I saw in this evening, but what aspects of Theatre, good and bad, I saw in them, and what I learned from the whole experience.

While zoning out occasionally from what I was viewing onstage, or trying to turn it in my mind into a more interesting piece than it was, I had images for an August show to be created. All I know was it involved screen projections of still images of the actors onstage, which in my head were Samantha Mason and Olivia Baseman, with simultaneous shadow plays behind the screens, in an office setting (yet again, always ALWAYS offices or jails, no idea why). Have to (literally) meditate on this further, but something in my head was whispering something about "all women" and Caryl Churchill, so who knows . . .

I'm also back into working on improvisation with David Finkelstein (Lake Ivan Theater Company) -- we met on Sunday and will meet again tomorrow. This past week we didn't do any videotaping (David having moved from primarily doing theatre pieces to creating improvisation on video in front of a green screen, then creating a dense world of audio and video around and based on the improv), as David just wanted to work on the improv technique we call the "Landscape" form with me and Cassie Terman. David led Cassie and I through a number of solo exercises that led to us doing an improvised duet, and one that seemed to be one of the most successful we'd all achieved in the form.

After spending 2009 working in the form David now calls "Lake Ivan Classic" -- what he's been doing for over 20 years now -- we spent all but one of our early 2010 work sessions exploring this new form that David has been finding for some years now. Our videotaping sessions in 2009 have led thus far to the creation of two video pieces by David, Marvelous Discourse - which was also featured in, and formed the text of, my play Sacrificial Offerings - and a newer one, Epistolary Fusillades.

He has completed the soundtrack to a third piece, Invincible City, which he played for me on Sunday, and I was blown away by just the audio of that one (when David finds an improv of ours he wants to turn into a video piece, the first thing he does is get the raw audio track of the improv edited - in the case of this new one, he apparently did NO editing to the original improv, it worked so well - and then create the music score, THEN the dense video overlays, so I get to hear the audio for them many months before the video is completed).

The 2010 Landscape sessions, while fruitful in exploration, were not so much so for the creation of new video pieces, and while David and I and Cassie will continue exploring that form in the next few months (and, judging from Sunday, probably quite well), David and I will be going back to Lake Ivan Classic more often, including tomorrow. So I've been reading up the old notes on that form to get myself back into that headspace after almost a year away from it.

Also, I'll send out invites closer to the date, but here's a first mention -- David will be premiering several video works by himself, including Epistolary Fusillades, and one by Mike Kuchar at a screening in January. Information is HERE

I'll probably finally have something to write on the improv work soon as well. I've begun keeping notebooks again of everything going on, as I once did. Frankly, I was completely grabbed by the concept and form of the Field Notes brand of notebooks -- they got me right in the center of my combo utilitarian/design fetishist hipster soul, with reminders of the print shop I worked in at my grade school, and I bought several packs to use. Their slogan, "I'm not writing it down to remember it later, I'm writing it down to remember it now," has wound up making a lot of sense to me, as I'm finding that the action of jotting down all my notes is making them all clearer and constantly more present in my head, as they once more often were. It may be, *sigh*, age, but it's definitely true that I'm not keeping as many things juggled in my head & memory as I once did without losing some, and thinking back on the period where I kept notebooks, I don't think I lost as many ideas then.

And keeping notes in the books has made me desire more (and have the ability) to share those notes here. So there'll be more of that soon -- often as just the raw data. Back to what this blog was created for - the presentation of the nuts-and-bolts work of making Art-stuff.

Meanwhile, back in the iPod, here a Random Ten from the 2,522 tracks in the "Brandnew Bag" playlist of songs not yet played on the device:

1. "Sleep Of The Just" - Elvis Costello - King Of America
2. "Rome And Bored" - Martin Mull - Normal
3. "Real Good Time Together" - Lou Reed - Street Hassle
4. "Boiling" - Minutemen - The Punch Line
5. "Eat to the Beat" - Blondie - Eat to the Beat
6. "Hooty Sapperticker" - Barbara & The Boys - Las Vegas Grind! - Volume 2 'Louie's Limbo Lounge'
7. "David Watts" - The Jam - Direction, Reaction, Creation
8. "Funky But Chic" - David Johansen - David Johansen
9. "Sticks and Stones" - Manfred Mann - The Best of the EMI Years
10. "Here Comes The Nice" - Small Faces - Immediate Singles

And here's the playlist of most of the above (or as near as I could get):



Okay, got the call from the garage -- Petey Plymouth is all ready to go. Now on to the busyness of the day . . . at 4.30 pm, with the sun fading . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's the video playlist for the above:



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And just the screens and set:
VJ Fuzzy #2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

collisionwork: (star trek)
One of those times of great busyness interspersed with periods of waiting is upon me again. This includes my performance in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, where I am onstage for 3 scenes of the 11-scene play, and in fact only "onstage" for one of those (in the other two, I am off to the side of the stage, facing away from the audience into a video camera as my face is projected out on "vidphone" screens for the audience/other actors to see -- and one of those is a quick two lines).

I don't mind; it's an enjoyable show to be around, I like my main scene a lot, and it's something to do, though I feel a bit more distant than I'd like from being TD at The Brick right now -- the Target Margin people have needed my help a few times now, and I've had to handle everything by cel, text, and/or proxy, as problems always seem to come up at The Brick during times when I am stuck on Androids, and not in the downtime around it. Luckily, the Brick problems have been handled fine right now, but not without stress.

On shows like Androids where I will have to spend a lot of time offstage (especially as right now when we are in a long LONG stop/start difficult tech period), I try to find a quiet, dim, solitary location somewhere where I can huddle between working moments and concentrate or relax (or both). As with my own Summer shows this year, the set for Androids is so huge and takes over so much of the space that there is not much in the way of "backstage" - there's space, but if you stay in almost any one place, you're going to be in the way of a projector, a camera, or someone's quick change/quick cross.

I could go to the dressing room for the actors between my scenes, but those scenes are a bit clustered together, and I'd rather not leave the space if I can help it while my performance is in progress (also, the dressing room is bright, white, and not very relaxing). So I've staked out an odd location, lying down on the wooden entrance ramp behind the set by the door to the theatre where the audience will enter. It's a little odd, but I'm used to it and don't care -- I've gotten used to cramming myself in whatever space I can backstage to maintain calm and distance during shows (I've spent the downtime during a few shows in coffinlike spaces below the stage platforms). Though, as often, my desired relaxation/meditative state is mistaken for exhaustion/sleepiness by others in the cast & crew -- it's not, usually, I just prefer quiet around the work as much as I can get it. Which isn't often.

While relaxing backstage, I've been studying Mac Wellman's beautiful monologue Terminal Hip, a "spiritual history of America through the medium of Bad Language," which I am hoping to have memorized and be able to perform for this coming August. If I get a page down every two weeks, I should have it memorized by May, which would be essential if I'm going to try and do the 40-minute-or-so thing as my only acting work onstage this coming year, as I'd like.

This might seem not a major memorizing problem, but Mac's monologue is an abstracted form of English (not at all "gibberish" as one annoying reviewer I found online called it), so it's almost 20 pages of lines like these (the opening lines, which I'm copying from memory, I think correctly):

Strange the Y all bent up and dented.
Blew the who to tragic eightball.
Eightball trumpet earwax and so forth.
Pure chew, loud thump, and release pin.
Grabity gotta nail him too sure.


And so on for 20 pages. So it's a difficult learn. I know what most of it means, at least to me (not literally, but emotionally and through-line-ly), so if I keep that in mind and get the rhythms into my muscle memory it seems to stay in there. I have most of the first page down already. Once we start actually running the show with the proper light cues however I probably won't be able to see to read through most of the show, so I'll just lie down and concentrate on what I already know during those times. So this is a nice quiet meditative thing to do as I lie on my itchy wooden ramp.

And, while I'm not regular enough here to continue to make this a "Friday Random Ten," here's the next in a random-day Random Ten, from the "unheard" playlist on the iPod:

1. "Crimson And Clover" - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - I Love Rock N' Roll
2. "I Get Wild/Wild Gravity" - Talking Heads - Speaking in Tongues
3. "Key To My Heart" - The Coasters (as The Robins) - I Must Be Dreamin'
4. "Girl God" - Redd Kross - Show World
5. "Why Do Girls Love Horses" - Adam Ant - B-Side Babies
6. "Un'avventura" - Wilson Pickett - download
7. "Direct Action Briefing" - 999 - 999
8. "Treat Her Right" - Otis Redding - The Soul Album
9. "Friends" - Gary Numan & Tubeway Army - Tubeway Army
10. "North Winds Blowing" - Stranglers - Aural Sculpture

Here's a the full video playlist of the above (minus the Robins track, which you can see if you watch this on YouTube rather than here):



Now, after a long lazy day of getting myself together here, I am late to clean up and get to the theatre. Grrr. On my way . . .

collisionwork: (prisoner)
Missed a week's update while working on other matters -- both Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and some personal things. Berit and I now have two large, lovely cabinets in our living room and have to rearrange our whole apartment around them. The apartment needed it anyway (and has needed it for the past 7 years), so it's a good move.

Today I had a good time over at 3 Legged Dog, where Androids is going up, helping out by setting up the sound system -- the show uses 7 wireless mics, so I had to get the mix board, the receivers, and the mics all in order and arranged. Certainly a pleasure to work with the VERY nice equipment at 3LD.

Androids unfortunately does appear to be keeping me away from seeing, at least this week, work from one of my favorite theatre companies FINALLY happening at my home base, The Brick, as Target Margin brings their lab series -- which I got to help make happen at NADA a couple of years in the late '90s -- to the space. This week, it's a play by Kandinsky, next week Mozart, the week after that, Clyde Fitch. Maybe I'll get to the Fitch . . .

And today, a Random Ten from the as-yet-unplayed playlist in the iPod -- now down to only being 6.1 days long!

1. "69 Année Erotique" - Serge Gainsbourg - De Serge Gainsbourg A Gainsbarre
2. "I Can't Wait Until I See My Baby's Face" - Dusty Springfield - One Kiss Can Lead to Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost and Found
3. "Bongo City" - Slim Gaillard - Laughing In Rhythm, #4 - Opera in Vout
4. "Our Drab Ways" - Jonathan Richman - Because Her Beauty Is Raw And Wild
5. "Coca-Cola Commercial 1969 #2" - Ray Charles & Aretha Franklin - Coca-Cola Commercials
6. "Below The Belt" - Minutemen - Post-Mersh, Vol. 3
7. "Shall We Take Ourselves Seriously?" - Frank Zappa - Buffalo
8. "Time Will Show The Wiser" - Fairport Convention - (Guitar, Vocal)
9. "Did You See His Name?" - The Kinks - Club Au-Go-Go 10
10. "Street In The City" - Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane - Rough Mix

And here's the full video playlist of the songs above, or as close as I could get to them . . . (as always, if on Facebook, check the original post on LiveJournal to see the video):



And now back to catching up on a suddenly full inbox of email (I'm beginning to have to work with companies for the December FightFest at The Brick).

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: (mary worth)
Well, missed a weekly checkin last Friday . . . Berit and I were away in Maine still, but with so little happening, except for us vegetating and considering the past and future while letting the present amble by for a bit, there seemed to be less cause than usual to check in. Also, while we had two computers with us on the road, Berit had commandeered the better one (which is the one I kinda need to do the Random Ten properly) last Friday, and I was happy to skip the week.

More and more there may be less cause for this blog, especially during the downtime from our own season. When I started it, it seemed needed because all the theatre blogs were very theoretical and high-minded, and I wanted a journal of the practical day-to-day aspects of making theatre, including accounts/thoughts on the things in my life that feed me and make me able to do the work. Now, those theatre blogs that are still around are pretty much just as informal and informational, so I have less to say.

Of course, what I'd like to say most of the time now is more theoretical and high-minded. Ha ha.

But I will keep it all going, as I like the weekly checkin, the Random Ten, the place to post cat pictures, and a place to set some of my thoughts on what I do in public.

I still have thoughts to process on my work this year and put out, both regarding my three pieces, and how they worked and didn't, and my continuing improvisation work with David Finkelstein, which wound up, as I hoped and expected, affecting my acting in my own pieces, and for the better (when I remembered to use the process, and didn't get distracted into my worst actorial habits). I still have to find the right way to put these thoughts in order before I share them. But I will share them.

We also started work on the UTC#61 production of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? last night, which Berit's stage managing/prop designing and I'm acting in. Just a first reading and some text work on two of my scenes -- I'm not in it much, but the part is good, and the show looks to be good too. It will be great to work at 3LD, with all their advanced video projection technology (which is a major part of this show).

In the meantime, here's a Random Ten for this week, from among the 2,688 tracks in the iPod from favorite artists that haven't been played yet . . .

1. "I Just Want To Have Something To Do" - The Ramones - Road To Ruin
2. "Hey Now" - Talking Heads - True Stories
3. "Cannon Song" - Raul Julia & David Sabin - The Threepenny Opera
4. "You Tripped At Every Step" - Elvis Costello - Brutal Youth
5. "Betrayal Takes Two (1977 demo)" - Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Time
6. "Reaching into In" - Ken Nordine - The Best of Word Jazz Vol.1
7. "My Kind of Woman" - Edwin Starr - Northern Soul: The Cream of 60's Soul
8. "Greenwood, Mississippi" - Little Richard - Get Back Up Again 5
9. "He's the One" - Ike & Tina Turner - MOJO: Raw Soul
10. "Making Flippy Floppy" - Talking Heads - Speaking in Tongues [Remastered]

And while we have no new cat pictures as yet, I have some shots from Maine of me with Sasha the Dog:
Sasha & Me 2

It was hard to get her to hold still long enough to not just be a blur, but we got a couple . . .
Sasha & Me

And here she is with Christopher Lee in The Devil Rides Out behind her . . .
Sasha & Christopher Lee

And okay, I have no pictures of my own cats, but here's two kittens playing a special Halloween organ duet . . .



collisionwork: (philip guston)
Berit and I are currently, happily, away and kind of "off-the-clock."

Well, "kind of," as it's always during this time away that we have the ideas/inspiration/research time to consider what we might do for upcoming original theatre work.

As we don't have TV at home, we watch a lot when away, to, as B says, "surf the zeitgeist" and see what is out there. Watching lots of commercials suddenly brings a lot of things into focus (the Watchmen-Ozymandias technique). Commercial-watching right now has become unbearably sad and depressing at times -- I'm reminded on Daniel McKleinfeld's comment about seeing the Carter-era commercials on a bootleg of the Star Wars Holiday Special and the litany of "Please please please buy our American products!" underlying the commercials making him understand why Reagan had to happen. There is palpable fear, despair, anger and entitlement going on in selling stuff right now. Somehow this will all wind up in Invisible Republic #3.

But that's for later -- here, in any case, is the Random Ten for this week . . .

1. "Don't Come Back" - Mary Weiss - TwilightZone! Jukebox vol. 10
2. "Stand! (mono single version)" - Sly & The Family Stone - Stand!
3. "How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away" - Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks - Love Is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-1967: The Man Can't Bust Our Music
4. "I (Who Have Nothing)" - Ben E. King - Atlantic Rhythm & Blues vol 5 1961-1965
5. "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream" - Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home
6. "Tempted" - Squeeze - Singles 45's And Under
7. "Feeling Strange" - The Plimsouls - Kool Trash
8. "Mr. Freeze" - Jan & Dean - The Jan & Dean Batman Album
9. "I Tried" - The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation - Doctor Dunbar's Prescription
10. "Surfin' Bird" - The Cramps - Gravest Hits

And here's the video playlist for the above (which, if you're on Facebook, you will have to go to the original LiveJournal post to see):


And a little infomercial of interest:


And that's it for now . . . back to more episodes of House or whatever . . .

collisionwork: (Default)
Off and on work at home and at The Brick. As the ClownFest has progressed, there has been a little less each week for B and I to do, and now our work is pretty much over and done, except for the Clown Funeral on Sunday (where, I have just now been told, I am to play the Voice of God). Then, Sunday night, I've agreed to light one of the shows from this festival in its run over at The Kraine, so that'll be a last little job to do before we go off on our 2-week or so vacation in New England.

So the time off and at home has involved research into the history of marketing and branding for Invisible Republic #3, reading The Complete Peanuts, and watching old Thriller episodes for relaxation. Unfortunately, the more I watch Thriller, the less it becomes relaxation fodder and the more I want to do something like that, so I'm getting more ideas that may just be taking me down a dead end that I shouldn't bother following.

I kinda love the idea of trying to put together a modern version of one of those black-and-white 1960s horror anthology shows that I'm such a fan of -- besides Thriller, I think happily of One Step Beyond, The Outer Limits, and of course The Twilight Zone and in a slightly-different but connected way, Alfred Hitchcock Presents. A web series that could be done cheap, in DV, with a gothic air yet modern setting. All in Brooklyn (don't know why, but I like the idea of limiting it to the borough). Maybe call it Avenue X or something like that . . . suggestive of mystery and location but not TOO specific (Gravesend would be too on-the-nose). I'd want to kind of be the "John Newland" of the series, as story editor/showrunner, on-camera-host, occasional actor, and general supervisor (though instead of directing all of them, as Newland did with One Step Beyond, I'd rather DP/edit all of them, to keep them visually and tonally consistent). I've been raiding online archives of PD horror stories, to see if there's anything there that could be usefully adapted to such a project.

The problem with this good idea for a project (and why it may be a dead end) is that a great deal of what interests and fascinates me in the style of these inspirational programs is dependent on the conditions under which they were created, that is, in 35mm black-and-white film on Hollywood backlots, with the kind of control and support that comes from backlot shooting -- as well as original music scores composed by the likes of Jerry Goldsmith and Bernard Herrmann and performed by talented studio orchestra players. Shooting under more documentary-like conditions on Brooklyn streets and locations, no matter how well-controlled, wouldn't have the same "otherness" that was a big part of the effectiveness of these shows.

On the other hand, I could experiment a little and see if I could find a style that works. After all, I was most inspired towards a project like this by watching Thriller, rather than Zone or Limits, which I've watched over and over for years without any desire to do anything similar. The noirishness of Thriller was the inspirational part.

Zone, despite its frequent darkness, still takes place in an Ordered Universe, where things are basically right and good and the Dark Things are definite aberrations -- very much a part of turn-of-the-60s New Frontier thinking. Limits is basically a neutral, scientific landscape, where things just happen because that's how it works - things just happen. Thriller is a TV extension of the noir world -- a dark, chaotic place where Fate puts its thumb down on the good and bad equally, and violence, fear, and despair are the real state of humanity, bubbling below the surface, and any sense of order is a temporary illusion. This appeals to me as a tone for a modern version of one of these shows. Perhaps it would work in the combo artifice/realistic tone of something like Touch of Evil. I'll have to see what looks right.

Outside of that, I'm also compiling a playlist of songs that suggest dance pieces to me, for potential use in Invisible Republic #3.

Meanwhile, here's the weekly Random Ten from the tracks sitting in the iPod that haven't been played yet (after I remove these 10, and the bonus track, now down to only 2,699 tracks and 6.2 days of listening!):

1. "Definitive Gaze" - Magazine - Real Life
2. "Death Of A Nation" - Phluph - Phluph
3. "One More Try" - The Rolling Stones - Out Of Our Heads
4. "Dead Man's Party" - Oingo Boingo - Best O' Boingo
5. "Soul Kitchen" - The Doors - The Doors
6. "Roll Over Beethoven" - Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode: His Complete '50s Chess Recordings
7. "Water Over the Dam" - National Rifle Association - A Legacy of Conservation
8. "She Has Funny Cars" - Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow
9. "Try To Understand" - The Seeds - The Seeds
10. "Hypnovista Trailer" - Movie Sample - The Wild Wild World Of Mondo Movies Music

And here's the video playlist of the above (and for those on Facebook, as always, you have to click through to the original LiveJournal blog to see the videos here):



And here's a playlist of songs that are being considered for Invisible Republic #3. Unfortunately, I could only find live versions of the Yardbirds and Zappa tracks that aren't all that similar to the recordings I'd use (and I couldn't find the Richard Thompson track at all), and I used a live version of the Who track because I like the visuals too much, but here are some possibilities for the show as it stands:



And I'm really really pleased that after being discussed and planned for quite some time, The Brick is finally able to announce The Iranian Theater Festival, next March. This is a Good Thing.

Back to Thriller . . .

collisionwork: (Ambersons microphone)
Well, we're about midway through the ClownFest at The Brick, and Berit and I are marking time until it ends so we can go away on our little retreat and figure out our next theatrical moves.

I don't want to get too specific even in my own mind about what they are as yet, as I want to start creating them beginning at the start of next year, with, in most cases, the casts as close collaborators. Getting them too firm in my head will spoil some of the possibilities there.

That said, I'm looking to work on four or five shows over the course of next year. Which ones will happen and when should stay up in the air. I just want to start work in January with several different casts and build gradually and hopefully have some or all ready for the August season.

I'm looking at making a new NECROPOLIS show, probably #4, Green River (a road-picture long-form-music-video for the stage), which has been bubbling around in my head for 7 or 8 years now. A new Invisible Republic piece -- more dance-theatre about 20th-Century stuff. Previously I've done "propaganda" and "advertising" in this series; Berit has suggested marketing/branding for this one, and I'm going with it (this seems close to advertising, but some study shows it isn't, it's its own whole scary discipline). I'd like to finish my long in-process post-civilization play Antrobus and do it, and maybe one more play like Spell, written around the cast and what they suggest to me. And then maybe Fat Guy Fall Down for the FightFest. Maybe.

But ALL of this is still a big optional question mark in my head and the air. Just places to start. Don't know if I'll act in ANY of the shows this year. Maybe just voiceovers. I'd like to stay out of these. Just write/direct/design. That's enough.

And back in the iPod, a Random Ten from the as-yet-unplayed tracks in there as of today:

1. "Cheaters Don't Win" - Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks - Last Train To Hicksville
2. "Contort Yourself" - James Chance & The Contortions - Buy
3. "Just Let Go" - The Seeds - A Web Of Sound
4. "Bad" - Cozy Cole - Las Vegas Grind! - Volume 3
5. "Stairway To Heaven" - Led Zeppelin - Remasters
6. "My Old Kentucky Home" - Randy Newman - Lonely At The Top: The Best Of Randy Newman
7. "Money Won't Change You" - Aretha Franklin - Lady Soul
8. "When The Whip Comes Down" - The Rolling Stones - Some Girls
9. "Swing The Big Eyed Rabbit" - The Cramps - Flamejob
10. "Are You Ready?" - Sly & The Family Stone - Dance To The Music

And here's the full video playlist . . .



Not many new cat photos recently, but here's one of Moni. She's in one of her "forts" - this one is the box our printer came in, which I though I had stowed out of reach of cats prior to throwing it away. Moni was able to climb up, and finds the styrofoam a comfy bed, so now I'd feel guilty about removing the thing. It is, however, precariously held in place, so it may eventually fall down anyway (hopefully, not with her in it) and be no longer a safe retreat for the kitty:
Moni's Fort

Today has mostly been a day off -- a brief trip into the city to pick up some things and back -- and a much appreciated one. Back to all that rest now . . .

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