Today AT WORK, doing some tablework with our Midsummer Night's Dream text, going over the more obscure expressions and sayings. Active discussion about Elizabethan language, somebody mentions calling Hippolyta a stale.
Well, you can't do that, I said, since that's calling her a hussy.
Director: (very kindly) No ...I don't think so.
Nobody else thought so. And it was a room full of people who KNOW this stuff.
Really? I said. Am I nuts? Am I now making up Shakespearean meanings of words?
I just looked it up in my personal copy of the linguistically badass Shakespeare's Words by David and Ben Crystal.
WHAT'S DEFINITION No. 3, Y'ALL????????
OH!!! OH I THINK I KNEW IT!
... I can never bring this up, of course.
bus ride from TERMINAL C to TERMINAL A
Plane ride from Newark, NJ to Chicago, ORD
Blue line ride from O'Hare to Grand
Bus ride from Grand to Navy Pier
8 hours of rehearsal which I swear was supposed to be only 6
cab ride from Navy Pier to Andersonville
performance to sold-out house
cab ride from Andersonville to home
home, cat, beer, checks arrived in the mail for me.
the coherent (maybe?) thoughts:
1. Doing tonight's show seemed like an errand I had to run on my way home. Something to take care of that I'd be able to finish up by 9:30
2. Good cab drivers come in waves.
3. Tonight, stuck in Lake Shore Drive traffic as I sweated bullets (and was 45 minutes late for my call), "Sign My Name" by Terrence0 Trent D'Arby came on the radio. My middle-aged Greek cab driver turned it up, shyly. We sat in traffic, singing along quietly and tunelessly together.
4. "Sign My Name" is overplayed as much as the rest of them, but it's really not a bad song.
Grumpy pig voted China's Favorite Animal
It survived May quake, but now 'lazier by the day' and keeps door closed
BEIJING - A pig that survived 36 days buried in the rubble of May's massive Sichuan earthquake has been voted China's favorite animal, but the attention has made him fat, lazy and bad-tempered, state media said.
The hog, trapped in a sty after the 7.9 magnitude quake, was bought by a local businessman who was moved by its ordeal and named "Zhu Jianqiang," or "Strong Pig."
The pig "vividly illustrated the spirit of never giving up," the report cited the webmasters who ran the poll as saying.
People come from all over to see the pig at its new home in a museum, the newspaper said, but it was becoming increasingly spoiled and ungrateful.
"It's gotten fatter and lazier by the day," it quoted staff as saying. "We used to take it out for a walk every morning and afternoon, but it's too lazy — and too fat — to do it."
And the pig is getting fed up with visitors, after initially being quite friendly.
"Now it just blocks the door to its bedroom when there are too many visitors outside. It's been increasingly difficult for us to convince it to open the door," the report said.
this picture is more impressive if you forget for a moment that we live in a basement. Our windows are a foot or so off the ground, though. This is a lot of snow.
Today on an ill-advised but necessary venture to the grocery store, I happily yelled, "I HAVE SNOTSICLES! DO YOU?" to Brandon. Then I wondered, as I frequently do, if I should be more concerned about being at least KIND of sexy to my husband.
I love the chains and keys dangling from her dress.
The sign for them said "angel/ghost." I thought it was a horrible idea at first, so creepy and evil looking, but then I just kept coming back and now I think it's the coolest ornament ever. Who's to say what the difference is between an angel and a ghost, anyway?
I joined facebook. Back in touch with a lot of ghosts.
Me: uh. Oh. I thought I could just ... leave .... a note.
Blog: You went to FOLSOM CALIFORNIA on a BIZARRE ACTING GIG and didn't even want to blog about it? What is wrong with you?
Me: ... later?
Blog: WAS THERE or WAS THERE NOT a middle aged woman who screamed at her son to grab your breast, which happened to be covered with about 40 logoed paper napkins, and that was the one clear moment when you thought, 'well, I'm not entirely sure what my job is, exactly, but this is definitely not a part of it'?
Me: ... that happened.
Me: And then I had a boob of mauled crumpled napkins.
Blog: maybe you want to write about it?
My wonder is rivaled only by my jealousy and an awful knowledge that if I worked harder, I could look like that too.
They were everywhere.
They shared our dressing room.
When we were out on the casino floor, they smiled at us broadly and kindly as we passed each other.
Me: They even SMELL good.
Adam: (in a rush) Thank goodness you said it. I couldn't say it without being creepy.
Turns out the gig I was in California for was a casino opening.
Let me tell you a thing or two about casino openings. I've done two now, so I'm an expert.
- Poor people with serious health problems come for free food, indoor smoking, and penny slots.
- free food and a lot of booze.
- a very unsurprising amount of fender benders in the many parking lots.
So I went back to the blog I had before that and continued it, because even while I had the second blog, I kept thinking of things that pertained the the first blog but wouldn't really fit with the second blog.
Now I'm about on par with my cousin who had a blog for himself, a blog for his wedding, a blog for his rooftop garden and a myspace account for his two cats.
...And I think he added another one when his kid was born.
When I worked as a writer, I was supposed to tag my sketches with a one-liner.
But you can't always think of one-liners.
All of us writers had this problem and kept adding and adding till we eventually were writing 6-liners.
I didn't realize till later that I, at least, was trying to make up for quality with quantity.
But I'm tired, stuffy, and a little concerned that my body isn't going to hold up well to 6 plane rides, 4 climates and 5 time zone changes in a two-week span.
Just got back from 74-degree Texas last night. I'm staring at the lone "7" on my desktop temperature readout and trying to visualize a digit after it. Some digit. Any digit.
I leave for Sacramento at 7am (apparently SOMEONE still has money to hire random performance art bullshit for their holiday party, ...and that someone lives in Sacramento).
Then back to Chicago to do a show then out to Oregon to kick it with the inlaws, then back to Chicago (via NEWARK, wtf) on a REDEYE to start rehearsal that morning for a new play, the biggest play I've done in years.
So I'm splurging on a massage this afternoon and I'm not gonna feel bad about it.
Do you like things that are funny?
Do you like to help children who need help?
Come see my play. The TimeOut Chicago blog recommends it. Many do. Come see it.
Monday night at 8pm at the Neo-Futurarium Theater. It is called "That's Weird, Grandma" and it's less than an hour long, very funny, and you get a free prize at the end of the show. I won't be in it much longer, so you should see it soon. Also I have to miss rehearsal Sunday morning, so see me come forget basic things like blocking and intros this week. AND I play the piano for 4 whole stories. Amazing. Come see how truly mediocre 'incidental music' can be. But the whole thing, the whole thing is genius.
It is fun for children who are 5 and over, but mostly adults come to see our shows and leave with their faces hurting from laughing so hard.
I think you'll really enjoy it. Or, as we like to say on our marketing materials, You Will Like It.
Do you have questions? I will answer them in the comments.
Thanks a lot, Carl Finch. I read that sentence 9 years ago and haven't been able to get it out of my head since.
Brandon: why are you second guessing yourself so much lately?Me too. Why so much lately?
Me: I'm doing it more than usual?
Brandon: yeah. I wish I could get you to stop it.
Maybe I've just been thinking about that phrase lately, and it's more accusative than empowering.
Hardly anyone out there is smarter than you.
There. I curse YOU with it.
If you fail to enchant new acquaintances at networking events, book the national voiceover accounts, or blog well enough to garner a huge following, know that other people are achieving those things, and they are no smarter than you. They are just somehow doing it better.
Unfortunately it also promised to involve traveling around in this.
instead of staying home with this.
Tonight was a kind of an Agent Appreciation night.
I'm lucky to have some pretty stellar agents. They are smart and tough. Sometimes I wish they were less tough, because they can be a little spiky sometimes, and I'm sensitive. But after all, if you're going to pay somebody to go out there and be the bad guy and stick up for you, don't you want a pretty tough bad guy?
All in all, they look out for me. And I absolutely owe them an enormous slice of whatever success I can claim in this field.
A lot of people didn't show tonight. It is really nasty out.
I knew I'd be glad I went.
And I'm glad I went.
I think I might be getting better about not trying to make a joke every 5 seconds when I'm nervous.
Which also makes me a lot less obnoxious. And makes me sleep better.
Fox to adapt 9-year-old's self-help book (Reuters)LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Fox is ready to take advice from a 9-year-old.
The studio has acquired the film rights to "How to Talk to Girls," a cute 46-page self-help tome written by Alex Greven, a Colorado fourth-grader.
Greven wrote "Girls" as a handwritten, $3 pamphlet sold at his school book fair; he wrote it after he noticed his peers were having some trouble talking to the ladies, though the book is geared for all ages. Among this advice: Comb your hair and don't wear sweats; control your hyperness and cut down on sugar if necessary; a crush is like a love disease that can drive you mad; it is easy to spot pretty girls because they have big earrings, fancy dresses and all the jewelry but are like cars that need a lot of oil.
I'll just say that last phrase may be truer than you think, in ways that will surprise you greatly.
Why do I always talk about you when I get drunk?
Why do you taunt me with possibilities of wild blogging success, development of writing skills, and the admiration of my peers?
Oh my blog.
You are a harsh mistress.
Everyone hates it.
Except, apparently, my cousin Ricky.
Whose bio we stumbled on last night at a place on the South Side where Brandon was playing.
Angela (teacher AND DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMMING) - 3/4 page bio.
Ricky (teacher) - two pages.
I ridicule him lovingly.
If you bother to read his bio (beyond where he calls himself a "discriminating actor") you'll see a very impressive list of grants, publications, and productions. He's an amazing guy, as illustrated by the fact that you can stumble across some community center you didn't even know existed and learn that your friend works and teaches there (along with a dozen other places like it).
And, given the ridiculous length of that bio, although he sounds totally pompous, he does NOT seem inexperienced.
I have to write mine soon. In fact, it was due a few weeks ago (cough). Standard length in a program is about one paragraph, though it's always hard to know how big the paragraph should be.
Instead of the awake, logical mind groggily waking up, putting on its glasses, and pointing out that no, we are not walking from Kentucky to Chicago so you'll make it to the workshop on time, it has to admit that the awkward and dumb thing DID in fact happen.
All my logical mind can come up with to comfort me is to tell me that it's done now, nothing to do about changing it (you complete moron), go back to the sleep you don't really deserve if you're going to say such stupid things to people.
I lie awake more, cursing my awkwardness, then dream more about not having the right light bulbs to replace the ones I've burned out in my aunt's house.
Blog: YOU'RE GOING.
Me: I don't know.
Blog: YOU GOT INVITED to a big recording studio's holiday party. You want to work at this studio more. You want to know more producers. There will be producers there. And free alcohol. YOU ARE GOING.
Me: I'm going to try to impress people I don't know and end up sounding like a total ass. With a bad voice. A bad voice ass.
Blog: Sounding like an ass is also known as networking.
Me: I don't think this is a good idea.
Blog: There will be cute rock and roll boys from all the bands that record there.
Blog: Who you cannot hit on because you are married.
Blog: You're going.
Me: ... bad voice ass ...
I was invited to be part of a workshop on Saturday led by a fancypants international director WITH HIS OWN WIKIPEDIA ENTRY, LULU BULLSHIT TOWNSEND.
A little background on him - via wikipedia of course. This guy is
an English theatre and opera director, with a reputation for breathing new life into familiar stories.And he's in town with this show:
a multi-lingual production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in India. Although Shakespeare's English remains in key passages, the actors deliver much of the text in their own languages — a mix of seven from India and Sri Lanka (Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi, Sanskrit, Sinhalese). Supple created "a sexy, kinetic production with a circus-like atmosphere" using an "obstacle-course set ... of bamboo scaffolding and ladders, swaths of red fabric and ropes that the agile cast ascend and descend with little regard to anything as prosaic as gravity." The experimental interpretation was considered by some to be the best Midsummer Night's Dream to play at the RSC (Swan Theatre, Stratford).I saw that Midsummer last week.
I hated it.
I even thought the staging was lousy! Extraneous prop setups that detracted from the story, some straight up BAD ACTING here and there - look, I looooooove spectacle and acrobatics, but they should SERVE THE STORY, or else you're just doing a stage version of a Hollywood blockbuster. And the mechanicals? Dude. So many great jokes, just completely skimmed over.
I'll stop now. I specifically try never to critique theater in this blog. Of course there were good parts (the end was just beautiful) and some great performances, but after you read that paragraph, don't you expect to have your mind Sri-Lanka-blown? I did. It was not. Well, it was blown the other way.
And on Saturday I'll get to meet him and work with him - which I still think is pretty incredible. And in the grand tradition of love-the-artist-not-the-art, I sort of expect to like him a LOT.
I hope he doesn't think I suck as much as I thought his show sucked.
Oo!! oooooo! Did you see that he did this??
he directed Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench in Coriolanus.Oh man.
How did he handle the scene where King Coriolanus talks to his spirit guide, an EAR OF CORN? I wanna know.
This is what I always get called in for:
Example: Janeane Garofalo. PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR STRONG IMPROV-BASED ACTRESSES WHO CAN BRING MORE TO THE CHARACTER THAN WHAT IS WRITTEN ON THE PAGE! PEOPLE WHO CAN BRING THESE INANIMATE OBJECTS TO LIFE!
Our script sucks and we know it! Get people who will make it sound better than it really is!
I prefer this to the alternative, which is:
WHAT WE WROTE IS GOLD, SOLID GOLD, and if it sounds pathetic and completely lame, it's just your fault for not channeling the pure genius of our words.
"Do you want to know why I like Carmen Electra? I'll tell you why right now."I suppose you could say that an arched-back pose with lace-up jean-shorts hotpants is kind of awesomely campy. Especially if Joe is right and she KNOWS how hilarious this is. I got to play Bianca in Taming of the Shrew twice. Bianca is - okay, CAN BE PLAYED AS - a total hot twit [who turns into a mouthy drunk at her own wedding]. I don't get cast in those parts very often, but when I was playing Bianca, I struck a lot of these poses:
(pauses for effect and to raise a finger in a very didactic pose)
"She did Taco Bell commercials. THAT's why. She knows what a campy celebrity she is and she just GOES with it."
She must have had a spit bag the size of Idaho when she did those Bell commercials.
...Furthermore, after some research that really PROVES how I have too much free time, she does Taco Bell commercials with a freaking WIND MACHINE on her the entire time.
More and more I'm learning about embracing who you are and not apologizing for it.
Especially when that includes lace-up jean-shorts hot pants.
I'm going to be honest, Dean's blog is pretty weird and this is the most coherent post he's possibly ever written. But he is a hell of a photographer (among other things) and did a fascinating job of imagining his life in snapshots in strange towns half a world away.
Anyway, here's what he has to say about his reflections on several months' worth of international performance, travel, and exploration:
I could rattle off self righteous rules about the world that I feel I've discovered, only to, weeks later, regret sharing them as I once again realize how naive I was.Good call, Dean.
Discoveries as such are best kept to oneself. Especially ones that contain words like "Should" or "Try" or "Always".
And I particularly enjoyed this imagined life:
The ghost of Christmas future showed me this. Notice how much money I'm making.
Then I saw the tag that came with it:
Oh, seriously. Who the hell is Lulu Townsend.
I hope to work with you soon!! I'm sure we'll have something coming up.I love her.
You're my fav VO in town.
Let's go buy some shoes.
Say what you will about 2008, but this is the year the U.S. elected a black man president and this also happened:
JAPANESE SCHOOLGIRL SIGNS PRO BASEBALL CONTRACT
A 16-year-old Japanese girl signed with a regional baseball team Tuesday, becoming the country's first female professional baseball player.
Eri Yoshida, a knuckleball pitcher, will play for the Kobe 9 Cruise in a new independent league starting in April 2009. The team selected her last month along with 31 male players in the league draft.
Now I see the importance of embracing your success. Yes, she's playing for a farm team. But you know who else started out playing for farm teams? A LOT OF FREAKING GREAT PLAYERS, that's who.
"I still don't feel like I've really become a pro baseball player, but I want to do my best," Yoshida said at a news conference after signing her contract.
Congratulations, Miss Yoshida.