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: (GCW Seal)
Email just sent to two cast members of Spell, slightly edited now for more clarity:

Dear [ACTOR X] & [ACTOR Y],

Thanks for promoting Spell - [ACTOR X], I LOVE the image on your blog!

However, you both credit me with creating Kill Me Like You Mean It. I had NOTHING to do with that show except enjoying it a lot and being interviewed online by its creator as a fellow "Noir" theatre creator (which is possibly where my name got tangled with this show somewhere on the net)

Please remove this credit, as I'm sure Jon Stancato and Stolen Chair wouldn't be happy about it.



(if you want to use Kiss Me Succubus, or At the Mountains of Slumberland instead, please go ahead)

collisionwork: (kwizatz hadarach)
Shows that are up or coming or upcoming from collaborators and friends that you should see and they will be fun and relatively cheap and then you can smile and have a good time and then have maybe some cookies or something and a nice glass of something tasty and then we can have world peace or something:

Matt Freeman's When Is a Clock? has opened. The last two pieces I saw of his at The Brick were terrific and hysterical (An Interview With The Author and Trayf) and I plan on seeing this one . . . whenever the hell I can. If, unlike me, you're not rehearsing, like, six shows right now and have some free time, see the damned thing. Runs April 15 through May 10 at Access Theater.

More info is HERE; tickets are available HERE.

James Comtois' Colorful World opens at 78th Street Theatre Lab on May 8th and runs to the 31st. I think they were rehearsing next door to us at Battle Ranch last night -- Michael Gardner asked, "Did I hear Jessi Gotta's laugh?" Apparently so, as a big mess o'cards got left there afterwards. It's a riff on superheroes in a recognizable, real world in the vein of Alan Moore's Watchmen. Again, hope I get to see it.

If you can, tickets and info are HERE.

Coming up at CSV-Milagro shortly is the new entry in Stolen Chair's "Cinetheatre Tetrology," The Accidental Patriot: The Lamentable Tragedy of the Pirate Desmond Connelly, Irish by Birth, English by Blood, and American by Inclination, created by Jon Stancato & Co., which combines Errol Flynn swashbuckling films with Greek Tragedy. Really. April 25-May 17.

Info HERE, tickets HERE.

And at the home territory of The Brick . . .

The season finale of Penny Dreadful - Episode 6: "The Earth Shook, The Sky Burned" - will play this Saturday at 10.30 pm and Sunday at 2.00 pm. I'm lighting this one with Berit, as always, and also acting in this one as George Westinghouse (a comment on my usual position as supplier of power to the show?). It's a corker of an episode to end the season with, and will have people eagerly awaiting the return in September.

Tickets are HERE.

Finally, Babylon Babylon has a final preview tonight and opens tomorrow (with big party to follow).

I've been describing this one plenty (as I've also lit this, though it still has another name on the homepage . . .), so I needn't say much more, but the show has really turned out well, and it's quite exciting to see so many good actors (31!) all working together at the same time on the same stage.

Here's a photo from production photographer Ken Stein, taken at the first preview:

Babylon Babylon - The High Priestess 2

I have a bunch more nice shots from the show, but I'll put them all behind a cut here for easier loading . . .

Hail Ishtar! - photos from final dress and first preview )

This show runs from April 18 to May 10. Blog is HERE, tickets are HERE.

That's all for now. More tomorrow. See some theatre.

collisionwork: (Ambersons microphone)
Well, I - or extensions of me - have been showing up elsewhere online.

In the one that I was expecting, and had mentioned before, the interview I did with Jon Stancato of Stolen Chair Theatre Company is now up at ArtRadio: -- you can hear it HERE.

I think this is a pretty good half-hour discussion (they thankfully cut the 30 second lull where I went up on anything to say, having jumped to the "finale" question five minutes too early). It mainly works because Jon is so together in talking about his company and their work - I just have to suggest something slightly and he goes off into talking quite articulately about it, and without sounding "prepared."

As for me, Berit just cracked up on hearing my intro, saying that I had completely gone over-the-top into "NPR-land," and that I sounded like I was in one of those Alec Baldwin SNL sketches about the "Schwetty Balls." Yeah, true. I think I was a hair nervous to start, and put on a "radio voice" to feel comfortable doing this (it's not a Firesign Theatre voice, but it comes from the same part of my brain that pulls out those voices and characters so easily). I get looser and sound more like myself as the program goes on. Though Berit also points out my annoying "you know" vocal tic. Ugh.

I was worried immediately after the recording that I had "inserted" myself into the discussion too much, which was supposed to be about Stolen Chair, of course, but as Jon had specifically asked me to do this as a fellow theatre artist, I felt I had to turn it into a discussion a few times rather than a straight "interview." Still, I was really uncomfortable about it right after the recording, but listening to it now, it seems like just about the right amount of me in proportion to Jon.

I wince a bit at the way I say I've been doing this much longer than Jon, 10 years, and he notes that he's been doing it for 6, which isn't so much of a difference - but I think I was including in my head the 8 or 9 years or dithering around as solely an actor and techie-for-hire before I got myself together to start producing and directing my own shows, which he (smartly) never went through. I still felt like "the old guy" who took forever to get himself even slightly together (and still really isn't) talking to the younger guy who was really together right out of the gate and is on his way to bigger things.

In the end, a nice piece about Stolen Chair, I think.

To my surprise, one of my snow photos of Gravesend, Brooklyn wound up in a post at a favorite Brooklyn site, The Gowanus Lounge.

Then I was surprised to find my digital camera videos getting more hits than expected on YouTube. Not much, but not what I expected just from posting them here. Turns out they had also wound up in a post at Gowanus Lounge. Nice.

I've seen five people thus far in auditions (and, amazingly, all good thus far) - seeing more tomorrow and Saturday. Today, Wednesday, and Thursday, I'm lighting and acting in a short video for Daniel McKleinfeld. I think I'm coming down with something (I have an odd-feeling throat, as does Berit - she thought it was just from working long hours in the moldy basement of Walkerspace, but it's looking less likely), so I should stay well away from auditioners and fellow actors.

And I have to get to work on Penny Dreadful. Let alone finish with casting my shows. How did I get this busy right now? I was supposed to be able to leisurely get my shows together right about now . . .


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