collisionwork: (red room)
Short entry as almost everything is the same as last week.

Time is getting tighter, however, until I HAVE to have these things done, and they just aren't all coming so quick, and I can't force them. Ah, well. They'll be there soon enough, and I'll just have to work faster on other things later.

I sat yesterday for hours staring at a screen, blocked (and, as usual, wasting time online hoping something would jog something). I'd finished the first 2 episodes of Spacemen from Space (of 6) and while I knew the way the plot in general had to move, I couldn't picture the exact scenes I needed to get it there. Of course, at around 3 in the morning, as I was falling asleep and about to go to bed, something happened, and in 10 minutes I was able to quickly outline the next episode and a half. Maybe I just needed to be drowsy.

And all else also percolates and arrives bit by bit . . .

I was thinking that the next week would interfere with getting work done, as I have to be The Brick's "executive producer" on the Tiny Theater festival next weekend, but as I'll be sitting around The Brick, supervising the rehearsals/techs, I can probably stay in the dressing room and typing most of the time.

And as for the Random Ten this week, it's once again from the "Brandnew Bag" playlist on the iPod - 3,292 tracks - of songs from favorite artists that haven't gotten a play yet on the device (here with links to the songs or something similar):

1. "Baby Won't Ya" - MC5 - The Big Bang! Best Of The MC5
2. "So Hard (extended dance mix)" - Pet Shop Boys - Behaviour
3. "Gomen Nasai (Forgive Me)" - Slim Gaillard - Laughing In Rhythm, #4 - Opera in Vout
4. "Stroll On" - The Yardbirds - Having A Rave Up
5. "Mojo Man from Mars" - The Cramps - Fiends of Dope Island
6. "Thursday Morning (stereo single version)" - Giles, Giles And Fripp - The Cheerful Insanity Of...
7. "Maybe You're Right" -Cat Stevens - Mona Bone Jakon
8. "Southern Hospitality" - Richard Pryor - Here and Now
9. "No Quarter" - Led Zeppelin - Remasters
10. "I Have Had All I Can Take" - The Siegel-Schwall Band - ...Where We Walked

And here's a video playlist of those songs (or, in three cases, something similar) with bonus 11th track:

And a couple of pictures of our little monsters -- here, on Berit's foot again:
H&M On Berit's Foot

And once again in conflict over their favorite pillow on their favorite chair:

And finally, here's what it's like trying to write a script at home with a VERY VERY needy kitty who doesn't care if his attentions are distracting:


Apr. 30th, 2010 10:17 pm
collisionwork: (hair)
Writing, writing, writing, wedding planning, writing, planning, etc., etc., later, rinse, repeat.

It's wonderful when the bits of Spacemen from Space come together as they should. It just seems that every couple of days, I get to the point where a character enters and says . . .

Well, SHOULD say something, but even though I know the information they need to get across, I can't find the right words. The problem with writing a pastiche like this is that I'm fanatical about getting the right tones and cadences for each character, whether gangster, cowboy, g-man, alien, or supervillain -- kind of a poetic UR-tone that contains the entire FEEL of this character's type -- and when the right rhythms don't come, NOTHING works. One character, Cowboy Adam, just re-entered two days ago, and it took me a day to realize the first word out of his mouth was the very obvious "Howdy" before anything else he had to say was able to come.

Interestingly -- as I always work with music or video playing, or I can't do anything, for some reason -- while the Michael Powell and Mario Bava movies I had had on in the background worked for me (rich material that I know so well I don't have to pay any attention to it usually is the best for this, as I kinda mentioned last week), and a day of my favorite "odd" movie musicals (Phantom of the Paradise, Jacques Brel Is..., and a few others) wasn't bad, it turned out to be marathon listening to The Firesign Theatre that got me in the groove again the last two days. I had thought that their dense wordplay would be far too distracting, but it turned out to be just the pull I needed to move me forward (and kept me aware that this IS meant to be a comic/satiric pastiche, not simply an near-exact copy of a 1930s cheesy serial).

A spate of insomnia kept me up insanely late last night, and while nothing came in writing, I WAS able to cut nine pages from the Devils script. It needs about another 10 pages to go before it's a length I'll feel okay presenting (three hours including two intermissions - it's big, but it HAS to be). These nine pages were fairly easy to cut. The next ten will be heart-breaking.

And the Wedding script also moves forward slowly, but is happening, and is acceptable.

I've also been The Brick's point person on the upcoming Tiny Theater Festival which is coming together nicely, with 12 pieces in two programs. Now I have to go buy and cut the PVC pipe to make the 6' square cage all the shows have to be contained in.

And again, the Random Ten for this week comes from a specific playlist on the iPod, rather than the whole thing -- the playlist is called "A Brandnew Bag," and consists of tracks primarily from favorite artists that have not yet been played since they were put on the iPod (usually over three years ago). So here's 10 out of 3,323 in this playlist (with YouTube or other links for the song or the closest thing I could find):

1. "Wonder When You're Coming Home" - James Brown - Think
2. "The Ballad of Johnny Burma" - Mission of Burma - Vs.
3. "Frustration" - Rocket from the Tombs - Rocket Redux
4. "Feeding Time at the Zoo" - Sarah Kernochan - download from her website
5. "The Journey" - John Lee Hooker - Walking the Blues
6. "Verb: That's What's Happening" - Schoolhouse Rock - Grammar ROck
7. "Main Title" - Herbie Hancock - Blow Up
8. "Don't Defile the Sacred Mountain" - Tom X. Chao - Micro-Podcasts
9. "Let's Make It Easy" - The Parliaments (as The Fellows) - Testify! The Best of the Early Years
10. "Frog Dick, South Dakota" - Bob Martin - Midwest Farm Disaster

And here's a video playlist as close to the above as I could come . . . (if you're on Facebook, you'll have to click the link to the Original Post to see this):

Tomorrow, I'll be working again with David Finkelstein on the improvised work that he transforms into video pieces. We've been primarily working with a new form of improv this year (which David calls "landscape" as opposed to the other "musical" style we worked in before) and it took a while to find my footing in this form. Last week, though, David found an image that not only helped me find my way in this form, but I think may wind up a breakthrough in my acting in other ways.

But that's a longer story for another day. Back to work.


Apr. 23rd, 2010 11:34 pm
collisionwork: (Default)
This week has been quietly spent switching back and forth between projects, doing little bits and pieces here and there.

The primary focus has been the continued writing of Spacemen from Space, which keeps coming in fits and starts -- suddenly I'll have 5 pages come out of me in one fast burst, and then nothing for a day. The characters inspire me differently -- there's 21 of them that I'm juggling, trying to keep the various plot threads in play -- it's inspired by and a parody of 1930s movie serials (in six episodes to run one after the other, but it's still a play, not meant to be split up into separate pieces), but because I'm trying to get in elements of several different kinds of serials, I have more plot and characters than you'd actually see in any one serial -- I have a "Commando Cody" - type figure ("Rocket Brannon"), a Gene Autry-type ("Cowboy Adam"), who both have assorted sidekicks, comic relief figures, and love interests, as well as some G-Men, some scientists, and two villainous figures, a masked supervillain ("The Lavender Spectre") and some aliens from the planet Ataraxia. A nice group. One character, though, has become a clear favorite -- "Chickie West," a tough-talking dame newspaper reporter. Whenever she shows up, she tends to take over the script for a little while. She talks in a constant rhythmic patois of 30s slang with melodic, machine-gunned cadences that are so delicious to write I have to force her offstage to control her (which is what the other characters are generally trying to do anyway).

I joking suggested in a status update on Facebook that I should maybe toss out the rest of the play and just write a series, The Chickie West Mysteries. A couple of people suggested this might be a more fruitful path than struggling with Spacemen, and certainly it's a spinoff I'd love to produce at some point, but apart from the character and her mode of speech, there's no there there -- I at least know where Spacemen is supposed to go - though my original outline has been considerably tossed out as I've turned out to be creating a far better structure on the fly - and have not one idea for another Chickie West series. So, that sometime later. Now, I keep plugging at Spacemen so it'll be ready for August to run in rep with Devils.

As for that show, it's still sitting there, waiting to be cut by about a half-hour. I think the two shows will work nicely in rep, as they are designed to -- they are both about anti-intellectualism and the use of fuzzy religious or spiritual thinking in stomping down clear, rational modes of thought and discourse, Devils in a nasty, unpleasant hit-you-in-the-face manner and Spacemen from Space in a completely hidden, comic, spoonful-of-sugar way.

I was also somewhat thinking of the way Ken Russell made two films in 1971 with much of the same cast and crew: his film version of the same play, The Devils, and the sweet and beautiful and meaningless film of Sandy Wilson's retro musical The Boy Friend, as if making one of those pieces meant he HAD to make the other one. I feel much that way, as if in order to allow myself to give in to the viciousness of Devils and the silliness of Spacemen, I have to do both.

And before the August shows, we of course have our June wedding, currently going by the title The Wedding of Berit Johnson & Ian W. Hill: A Theatre Study by Ian W. Hill & Berit Johnson (though actually, it's really solely "by" me, as usual, with input from Berit -- I just wanted the balance in the title, and maybe wanted to encourage B to give some extra input on this piece). I have lots of pieces for this, with no clear structure yet, except for the general structure you'd find at any wedding.

We've more been focused this week on the reception and so forth going on around the wedding-performance -- we will be doing four performances of this wedding-play in The Brick's Too Soon Festival: a "rehearsal dinner"/"critic's preview" performance on June 19; the actual "wedding," invitation-only, for friends and family with proper reception after on the 20th; and two encore/revival performances of the wedding later that week. Today we met with a woman at the restaurant where the reception will be to discuss seating arrangements, menu, and the like. It was a wonderful and calming meeting, which we needed. After that, we felt so good, and it was such a lovely day, we decided to amble down further in our neighborhood to Coney Island for lunch at Nathan's and a trip to the NY Aquarium, which was packed, primarily with Orthodox Jews, interestingly -- certainly a large demographic in this area, but unexpected on a Friday (though sundown is late these days). A full day, and now -- when this post is done -- back to real work.

As for this week's Random Ten, I'm picking it from a smaller section of the iPod. I've noted every week the total number of tracks in the iPod -- this week, it's 25,431 -- that the ten are randomly coming from. However, while trying to see what could be cut from the iPod to make space, I discovered that almost half of the tracks in this little device -- 12,021 -- have been sitting there and never been played. Which would seem to suggest that I wouldn't miss them if I cut them all, but a look over the list indicates a lot of good stuff in there (I don't load anything into the iPod unless I REALLY think I'd like to hear it on a random play while driving sometime), and I made another list of songs in the iPod that haven't got a spin that I know deserve to be in there (currently at 3,333 tracks).

So I've mainly been playing this list recently, while driving or walking -- and today was one of those days where the iPod just seems to KNOW what music should be the underscore, as our pleasant, ambling drive from Williamsburg to Coney Island was scored by the loud, Summery sounds of T-Rex, The Dictators, Black Sabbath, The Dickies, Cheap Trick, The Ventures, Tom Jones, and early Dylan and Stones. Perfect cruising tones.

And here's a Random Ten from that playlist, with links to YouTube videos of the specific song, or something similar from the band or artist:

1. "World Destruction (single version)" - Time Zone featuring Africa Bambaataa & John Lydon - World Destruction 12"
2. "No Head No Backstage Pass" - Funkadelic - Let's Take It To The Stage
3. "Caveman Raveman" - The Revillos - Attack of the Giant Revillos
4. "He Doesn't Go About It Right" - We The People - Mindrocker 60's USA Punk Anthology Vol 6
5. "What Do You Do When Love Dies?" - Dusty Springfield - Dusty In Memphis (Deluxe Edition)
6. "Papa Satan Sang Louie" - The Cramps - Fiends of Dope Island
7. "Miss Gradenko" - The Police - Synchronicity
8. "The Intergalactic Laxative" - Donovan - Cosmic Wheels
9. "Trouser Freak" - The Bonzo Dog Band - Cornology Vol. 3 - Dog Ends
10. "Tryouts For The Human Race" - Sparks - The Best Of Sparks

Hey, why not put together an entire video playlist of all the YouTube links above? Here you go, 11 videos (I've included a spare based on the song that came up next, and those of you on Facebook will have to follow the link to my original post to see this):

Only one (not-so-great) picture of our two monsters this week, here with Berit's foot on the couch . . .
Pile on Couch

But I have some shots from when I was in Maine of me with the aged cat, Bappers . . .
Chest Bappers

And the adorable young dog, Sasha . . .
Lap Sasha

This week, I discovered that some good background input to have on while I write are visually stimulating movies that I know very well and don't have to pay much attention to. So I've gone through much of the Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger (and Powell alone) canon, and have moved on to the films of Mario Bava. And so, with Kill, Baby . . . Kill! playing, back to work . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Pricks Up Front":


"Hearty Drinking Men":

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

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

collisionwork: (Great Director)
Three days just went by, all with rehearsals for Everything Must Go, so we were mainly taking care of creating the dance numbers, which I'm doing with more confidence these days.

At the same time, I'm doing it with more aches and pains than I used to have, so it can be frustrating. Years of injuries and bad treatment have left my knees and ankles a mess, so now that I'm 40, I'm finally beginning to work on being better to them, and more healthy in general (yeah, turning 40 and feeling crappy put a fear into me, so while I haven't exactly gone all health nut, I'm eating less, watching what I eat, stretching before I have to move, and trying to move more).

But I was able to work well enough this week, working in the new people to the created dances some more, and creating more numbers. We have 10 done out of 18, so maybe I can get the rest done at the next two rehearsals - some are difficult and some simple, so it'll probably take through the next three, up to our next "big" rehearsal the weekend after this immediate one. Ah, well, it'll work out.

An annoying day ahead, I figure. I have writing to do, and would like to just sit back and do it, but I have three or four appointments that will take me away from it for more time than I'd, and will take more time in travel than for the appointments themselves, probably.

I have to go to a printers and have a transparency made of the preamble of the Constitution to use in the photo shoot for the postcard for Spell (we could just put the image from the laptop through The Brick's video projector for basically the same effect, but I think a transparency on the overhead projector would look better and give us more control of the projected image and how we can distort it).

I have a phone interview with The Brooklyn Paper about the shows and myself (a "profile and preview" piece). Did a brief one yesterday with the always-interested Tom Murrin of PAPER for their online site - mostly about Harry in Love. Tried to sound interesting and say true things about the show that will sell it. Will try to do the same today.

Then I have to go to The Brick to audition a replacement for the actor I lost from Spell, which I hope works out (I have a good feeling, and I trust my instincts). I was glad that three other actors, who couldn't do the show due to previous conflicts, at least would have wanted to if they could (another two were more politely dismissive). Two of them read the script and were very very nice about it, which made me happy - as I wrote to one of them, "I was worried it would just seem like the work of a lunatic;" and he wrote back "It DOES seem like the work of a lunatic, and that's the highest praise I could give!" The other who couldn't do it just loved the concept as I described it, which is praise enough, as it's a hard concept to get across and not sound really confused. So, great on that.

Then, I'm supposed to do the postcard shoot with Moira Stone at The Brick, so I have to hang around there for a few hours after the audition waiting to do that when I should be writing (I could bring the laptop and write, but . . . I've found I don't work so great that way). I could work on my lines for Harry in Love, I suppose.

And I have to go pay The Costume Collection for the two costume pieces from Ambersons that actually got lost, dammit - a cap and a blouse. There were SO many pieces that it's not surprising, but I would think I could find them, as they couldn't be anywhere but The Brick and my car . . .

(later, after writing the above, I decided to put off the last two things - easy to do in the first case, not really something I should do in the second but I have to work - until tomorrow and next week, respectively)

Meanwhile, I would just like some damned time away from having to do all this stuff AROUND the shows I'm making so I can, you know, FINISH WRITING them, considering Spell opens two weeks from tonight and Everything Must Go opens the Wednesday after that.

Hello, Art Life. You're not what I expected.

And while I'm here, shuttling between writing this and writing the two scripts (also open on the desk top, so I can flit around from place to place as the inspiration strikes me), here's what comes out of the 26,089 tracks on the iPod:

1. "Bank Vault in Heaven" - Richard Thompson - You? Me? Us? (voltage enhanced)
2. "The Incredible Truth" - Foreign Bodies - Datapanik in the Year Zero: Terminal Drive
3. "Mystery Roach" - Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention - 200 Motels
4. "Sign on the Window" - Melanie - The Songs of Bob Dylan, Vol. 2: May Your Song Always Be Sung
5. "Juke Joint Honey" - Leo Gosnell & Smokey Mountain Drifters - Honkin' Billy
6. "The Right Time" - Ray Charles - Atlantic Rhythm & Blues vol 4 1957-1961
7. "Heartbeat" - King Crimson - Beat
8. "Farmer John" - Steve & The Board - Before Birdmen Flew - Australian Beat, R&B & Punk: 1965-1967 Vol. 3
9. "KLIF, Dallas - Beatles Kit Contest, 1965 aircheck" - radio promo - Psychedelic Promos & Radio Spots, vol. 7
10. "Mater Dolores" - El Vez - Boxing With God

And here's the best shots I could get of the kitties this morning . . .

Moni won't hold still for a picture, almost ever, but she will lick Mama's fingers:
Moni Likes Fingers

Hooker rests, his eye still a bit squinty from whatever caused his eyelid to swell up:
Still Slightly Squinty

And, from earlier this week, as a result of Hooker having to go to the vet, and having to get goo put in his eye twice a day, he gets a little "reward" in the form of The Best Thing In The World As Far As Cats Are Concerned, the GOOSHY FOOD:
Gooshy Food #1

Which means that Moni, the healthy little brat, always gets a treat whenever Hooker gets one of his not-infrequent health problems (we sometimes joke that she's doing things to injure Hooker because it means she'll get The Gooshy Food):
Gooshy Food #2

Yum, yum, huh? {gag}

Okay, back to writing about Terrorism and Advertising . . .

collisionwork: (welcome)
So, besides listening to songs titled after this day by X, Dave Alvin (well, the same song as the X one, in very different versions) and The Beach Boys, what else is there to do?

Well, I plan to spend most of it here indoors at home writing sections of my two plays that open in August.

One, Everything Must Go (Invisible Republic #2) is a follow up to Invisible Republic #1: That's What We're Here For (an american pageant), which was a look at how things may have not quite gone the way they should in the USA post-WWII, done as a trade-show patriotic revue. This new one is a dance-movement-speech-piece detailing a day in the life of an advertising agency, ultimately about selling and a country where everything has a price and the intrinsic value of anything is only equal to its market price.

The other show, Spell, is a cheery piece about a woman who regards herself an American patriot and has committed a terrible, murderous crime in, as she sees it, an act of revolution against a USA government that has become illegal and un-Constitutional and must be overthrown - she'd prefer a new Constitutional Convention, but feels that's even less likely than armed revolution.

So, appropriate work for this gloomy patriotic day, with the thunderheads coming in.

As should be noted and read this day, here are the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.

Sheila O'Malley over at The Sheila Variations is always good for posts on American History, and I'm sure she'll have more today - she's already posted yesterday on John Adams' letter to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776, and today on July 4, 1826 (the day on which John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died).

In non-patriotic but glorious news for film buffs, a NEARLY-complete print of Fritz Lang's Metropolis has been FOUND! Over a quarter of the original cut of the film has been assumed lost forever for years, and now about 85% of that quarter has appeared in a newly discovered print.

The story is at GreenCine Daily.

In any case, no new cat pictures today, unfortunately, but along with the Friday Random Ten, I'll do another music-geek meme that appeared in a couple of blogs I read today:

Post a List of Your Favorite Albums of Every Year from the Year You Were Born to the Present.

Never thought of this list before, and I'm as list crazy as most music geeks (see: High Fidelity), so here's 40 years of the albums I prefer, behind a cut, because that's a long-enough list to want to hide (and I'm sure more than a few of you won't give a damn anyway). I list some runners-up as well, because it was nearly impossible to choose in some years - and there are plenty of top albums for me that aren't here, the "runners-up" are just for time when I really had to sit and choose between albums for the top spot. I also chose to limit this to "pop music" albums, so as not to wind up having to decide if I wanted to throw Einstein on the Beach or various albums by The Firesign Theatre into my mental competition.

40+ Albums of Some Quality )

Damn. If I'd have known how long making that list was going to take, I wouldn't have bothered starting . . . that took forEVER!

And back in the iPod, here's a Random 10 out of 26,130 tracks:

1. "Down In The Valley" - Johnny Cash - Legend
2. "Garner State Park Concert Spot - Houston TX" - radio promo, late '60s
3. "Big Business" - David Byrne - The Catherine Wheel
4. "This Land Is Your Land" - Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper - Root Hog or Die!
5. "Gonna Leave You Baby" - Sammy Lewis/Willie Johnson Combo - Sun Records: The Blues Years 1950-1958 vol. 8
6. "Next In Line" - Johnny Cash - From the Vaults vol. 2
7. "You Can't Take It Away" - Tawney Reed - Backcombing
8. "New Special Squad" - Guido & Maruizio De Angelis - Beretta 70—Roaring Themes from Thrilling Italian Police Films
9. "Vacation in the Mountains" - The Cleftones - For Sentimental Reasons
10. "Girl in Tears" - Phluph - Phluph

Have a good 4th, friends . . . I'm now off, as always on this day, to watch 1776 again . . .

collisionwork: (prisoner)
Between now and August 3rd, Berit and I have only two days without a rehearsal, tech, or performance of one of our three shows opening July 31-August 2. Today is one, the other is the day after tomorrow.

We are SO going to collapse on August 4 and 5.

Well, this is as it had to be. Right now, I'm taking a break from redoing (and fretting over redoing) the rehearsal schedule for all three shows another time. I had to redo things the other night, and thought I'd got something workable, but I didn't have all the conflicts in, and now that I have more (but not all) of those, the new schedule's as bad as the old one. So back to work.

I also have to get in more work on the script for Everything Must Go today, which is waiting until I finish the sched. I got on a real roll with it yesterday, but had to quit to print up what little I had and actually get to rehearsal for the show. I got to hear three pages of dialogue spoken, and it sounds good, so I'm continuing in the same vein. Amy Liszka, who had to leave the show, found her own replacement, Tory Dube, who came in and took over excellently yesterday. We staged and worked the opening and closing scenes - the entrance and exit of the cast from the office - and got them as solid as they can be right now.

I was a hair chagrined by Tory's recounting of Amy telling her about working with me - which was similar to what I've occasionally heard from other actors auditioning for me who have friends who have worked on my shows - which was along the lines of "X said that it was a lot of fun, but kind of bizarre, and sometimes unnerving and weird, and you don't know where it's going and don't think it'll work, but just trust in Ian and do what he wants and it'll all turn out great." This always makes me want to say, "Well, you know, I do sometimes fuck up," but that's just NOT the right approach to take when meeting a new actor (or around your regular ones, for that matter). I'm glad I engender trust, at least. I think I've earned it.

So today is for schedule and EMG, Friday is for Spell writing. Tomorrow, another rehearsal for Harry In Love - the only rehearsal where I'm sure of the show, date, time, and place right now . . .

Elsewhere in the online world . . .

Episode 6 of Bryan Enk & Matt Gray's Penny Dreadful, "The Earth Shook, The Sky Burned," directed by Michael Gardner and featuring my performance as George Westinghouse, is now online, along with all the previous episodes of Season One. Catch up with all of them at the Penny Dreadful site HERE. The page for this specific episode is HERE, and the video came out quite nicely on this one.

Courtesy of [ profile] flyswatter, an update from the world of toys I wouldn't normally know about - specifically about the Playmobil line of figures, which I never had as a kid, but for years thought I did -- I've been confusing them with the Fisher-Price "Play Family" line, also known as "Little People;" I had plenty of those classic stubby little figures that fit into holes in their vehicles or playsets, as well as some of those sets, the airplane, the garage, the airport, etc. Loved those, and while they've been updated to charmless unrecognizability (the ones from my childhood were too easy for stupid kids to choke on, apparently, like so many cool vanished toys), at least they haven't gone with the new topical route that Playmobil has.

For Playmobil has decided to add some new little items to their line to help children get used to the USA that we now live in, These are the Playmobil Police Checkpoint and the Playmobil Security Checkpoint. Nice.

Oh, and hey if those aren't educational enough, you could also get Little Rusty his very own Scan-It Operation Checkpoint Toy X-Ray!

The few comments on each of these at those Amazon links are also worth reading . . .

Back to work . . .

collisionwork: (swinging)
Here I am, still in Maine - took longer to deal with the car inspection than I figured, they had to order parts - about to drive off in an hour or so, but I might as well get the Random Ten for the day done. Won't be able to do any cat stuff until much later - probably tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I left my nice headphones back in Brooklyn, so I have to listen on some old ones I found lying around in Mom's house, which are incredibly tinny and make everything sound like I'm listening to everything with my ear up against an old AM mono transistor radio.

Which is not necessarily a bad thing - I know that the finest recording studios used to keep (maybe still do) a crappy mono car or radio speaker patched into the board to pump mixes through, the idea being that a song should be able to sound great on the best and worst audio delivery systems. In practice, I've found this to be more true than not.

So here's ten from 25,559 in the iPod, tinny and reduced:

1. "See You in the Boneyard" - The Flesh Eaters - A Minute To Pray A Second To Die
2. "The Riddler" - Frank Gorshin - 7" single
3. "Space Monkey" - Patti Smith Group - Easter
4. "Chills & Fever - The Serfmen - Garage Punk Unknowns vol. 8
5. "Willie Moore" - Richard Burnett & Leon Rutherford - Anthology of American Folk Music, volume 1: Ballads
6. "RIP" - Alien Sex Fiend - Return of the Batcave volume 1
7. "Guess Things Happen This Way" - Johnny Cash - Best of Sun Records Volume One
8. "Bull Dog" - The Shangri-Las - Myrmidons of Melodrama
9. "Before You Accuse Me" - Bo Diddley - The Chess Box
10. "Let's Twist Again" - Chubby Checker - Beat of the Pops 01

Yup, all sounded good in the crappy headphones. Of course it makes sense for all the pre-1970s singles up there - 7 out of the 10.

Got some good writing done on Spell while up here. More work needed on Everything Must Go - Berit sent me some notes of things that had gone on at the last work session for EMG that would have helped me get some work done, but I got them too late one evening to get to work on it, and by that point I was on a roll with Spell and didn't want to break it.

The more I research some of the political history that has to go into Spell the more I am daunted by trying to deal with it all - trying to sum up sides of massive, decades- (or centuries-) old arguments in a few minutes of conversation that's meant to serve the play in other ways anyway. I'll find it - I was just starting to - but research leads to more research more often than it leads to solutional writing.

I'll crack it. Just . . . daunting . . . right now.


May. 3rd, 2008 12:36 am
collisionwork: (comic)
Just finished about six solid hours of writing/editing/conceiving work on Spell, with another hour or two spread out earlier in the day. Feels good.

Sent off the 22 pages of material I now have to the cast, to give them something to look at and think about at this point.

Here's the first page of what I sent:


Moira Stone - ANN
Fred Backus - Doctor General Jane (aka 2 JANE)
Alyssa Simon - General Doctor Jane (aka 1 JANE)
Jorge Cordova - ANDY
Iracel Rivero - WITCH 1 (Cuba)
Rasha Zamamiri - WITCH 2 (Palestine)
Jeanie Tse - WITCH 3 (China)
Gavin Starr Kendall – The MAN
Olivia Baseman - Fragment 1 (girlfriend aka FRAG 1)
Sammy Tunis - Fragment 2 (woman of business aka FRAG 2)
Liz Toft - Fragment 3 (worker aka FRAG 3)

SEGMENTS currently conceived (not really in any order yet):


Opening – swinging lamp over ANN as she sings “Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray,” stopped by 2 JANE, then buzzer, siren, explosion and screams.


First Interview – same dialogue done four times between ANN and 1 JANE/2 JANE from different perspectives.


Light Bulb Discussion


The Bedtime Ritual (with diagnosis speech from 2 JANE) – midshow relaxation/expansion


The Firing Squad Dream Sequence (relates to following sequence listed – “Piggies”)


The Witches or Fragments Become Manson Girls


ANN as Patty Hearst as “Tania” (connect to Che Guevara’s “Tania”?)


ANDY’s revolutionary speech (with James Brown cape routine)


The introduction of the FRAGMENTS and their positions


The MAN and FRAG 1


The MAN and FRAG 2


The MAN and FRAG 3 (includes stereotyped “chasing the secretary round the desk” sequence, set to “Yakety Sax” – 1 JANE makes ANN back up and tell the story “right”)


The Male Gaze lecture – ANN lines up the women downstage – the men gather upstage to be manly and laugh together


WITCH 1 spell sequence


WITCH 2 spell sequence


WITCH 3 spell sequence


ANN and 1 JANE/2 JANE discussion – Cuba


ANN and 1 JANE/2 JANE discussion – Palestine


ANN and 1 JANE/2 JANE discussion – China


ANN and ANDY on trains, travel, and getting to know the country


Finale – ANN accepts her actions – exit – “Just Another Day”

When I have some that excerpts well, I'll put it up.

So, a couple of good ass-kicking images that brightened my day . . . first, from LP Cover Lover, a man who kicks arse for the LORD!

I Kick Ass For The Lord!

And from Photo Basement, Batman kicks ass because he's full of PAIN!

My Parents Are Deeaaaaaaad!!!

And in video land, this young man's "Pyro System" could kick someone's ass, maybe his own . . .

Darwin Award waiting to happen . . . )

Gary Cooper kicks cyborg ass!

High Tech Noon )

And the Mean Kitty is just ass-kicking mean . . .

Hey, Little Sparta )


collisionwork: (lost highway)
Back in Portland, ME for a few days, and the last of my dentistry work, I hope.

My bottom wisdom teeth were pulled four hours ago. One went easily and there is no real pain on that side at this point. One didn't want to go, required some unpleasant struggle ("Ooh, had a little hook there on the root, that was the problem" said the very skilled Dr. Killian D. MacCarthy), and, now that the novocaine has worn off, the empty socket on that side hurts like a sonovabitch. The lovely lovely vicodin I took earlier isn't having its normal excellent effects (or maybe it is, and without it I'd be screaming or something).

I went and had the work done - about 35 minutes in the chair, 25 minutes of which were filling out forms or waiting - got my prescription opiate and foodstuffs (soup, pudding, ice cream) at the Rite Aid and now I'm sitting back, waiting for a time when I can eat something and take more painkiller, and watching a rerun of the C.S.I. episode "Fur and Loathing" - the one about the furries . . . which has one of the single best music cues I've ever heard composed for episodic television - the only reason I'm watching this again is get to hear this cue - the rumpy-pumpy, sleazy-but-comic, circusy music that accompanies the "yiff pile" sequence is magnificent (okay, the scene just went by and the music isn't at all like I remembered . . . has it been altered in syndication from what's on the DVDs?).

So I'll be up here a couple more days recovering, watching the TV stuff I don't have at home, retweezing the rehearsal schedules for all my shows (many more conflicts have come in), and trying to write some substantial pieces of Spell and Everything Must Go, which I somewhat need to at this point to move those shows forward, though it'll be easier with EMG, as I've had three rehearsal/creation meetings for that one, and only one first meeting/inspiration session for Spell - which will also be a harder show to write, as I had thought it would originally just need a working knowledge of psychotic mental states (which I know something about) but has wound up requiring substantial research into the revolutions or conflicts of China, Cuba, Palestine, France, and pretty much any country that has gone through such an upheaval; the history of Pacifism; Kabbalah and Numerology; Feminism and The Male Gaze; and god knows what else will come up in creating this piece.

I'll post first draft pieces of the scripts as they appear.

I watched Cloverfield last night, which I expected to mostly like, and really loved it. I also watched Romance & Cigarettes, which I expected to really like, and didn't like it at all - fine actors doing excellent work in a badly-conceived and indifferently-executed . . . thing. Ugh.

Oh, and, courtesy of Bryan Enk, here's a picture of me as George Westinghouse in the season finale of Penny Dreadful:

PENNY DREADFUL - IWH as Westinghouse 2

It's now hours later from when I started this post - the painkillers are working, mostly. Time for ice cream . . .

collisionwork: (Ambersons microphone)
Last night, around 2.30 am (so this morning, really, I guess), I finished the script for The Magnificent Ambersons by Orson Welles: A Reconstruction for the Stage. That felt good. Been imagining this project for years now - always figured it would stay an idea or paper project. Glad I have an excuse now (The Film Festival: A Theater Festival) to jump it up into reality.

Magnificent Ambersons - Main Title

When done, I sat back, skimmed it briefly, felt good. Then had a snack and a drink, went over it for editorial niceties and spelling for a half-hour or so.

Magnificent Ambersons - Opening Montage

Then, around 3 am, I sent it out to three of the actors I knew I wanted for the show, who had already expressed a specific interest in doing it.

Magnificent Ambersons - Reading the Letter

I have other actors in mind, but I have to write more explanatory cover letters about the project before I send the script to them.

Magnificent Ambersons - Before the Iris

Went to bed, slept well.

Magnificent Ambersons - In the Garden

Got up, went over the script again, this time listening to Bernard Herrmann's original score in my headphones as I went, timing it out, imagining how the scenes would play with the music. Pretty heartbreaking, actually.

Magnificent Ambersons - Eugene's Speech

I read out the end credits (as Welles does in the film and as I will in the show) several times with the original music cue (unused in the release cut of the film). So beautiful. I had to finally just force myself to stop or I'd have been doing it over and over again all day long.

Magnificent Ambersons - In the Bathroom

I started collecting images from the film from where ever I could find them, as research and just for fun, as I can't watch the film right now, and spent some time cleaning them up in Photoshop.

Magnificent Ambersons - George Waits

(I have a bootleg DVD copy of the Criterion laserdisc on loan from Michael Gardner, but while it plays in The Brick's DVD player, it doesn't like playing in our PS2 or iMac - the two ways we have of watching DVDs at home right now)

Magnificent Ambersons - Sending Eugene Away

Got an email from Timothy McCown Reynolds saying yes to playing Eugene Morgan (the Joseph Cotten part) - if the rehearsals can be worked out and there are no conflicts. Huzzah! One down.

Magnificent Ambersons - Isabel's Deathbed

Kept at work. Got interrupted by Hooker the Cat having one of his epileptic seizures (first one since July, as far as we know). Calmed him down, held him, cleaned up the mess that happens with this. Made sure he was comfy. Went back to work.

Magnificent Ambersons - OW Directs

More emails about to go out. This is exciting. I'm actually going to do this damned thing.

Magnificent Ambersons - original poster by Rockwell

OK. Now I need to find that understudy for a Pagan Reveler that I need for Merry Mount on Sunday . . .


collisionwork: (Default)

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