Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Ballad of Jack and Rose

I ended up at The Ballad of Jack and Rose last night when I got the times for The Best of Youth pt II screwed up (more on that when I actually see pt II), and this new movie by Rebecca Miller (Arthur's kid, and director of Personal Velocity) was equally interesting and kind of irritating, I must say. I guess that shouldn't have have surprised me, as I felt the same way about Personal Velocity, but anyway.... That little pixie-faced actress is really weak in the lead, and Daniel Day Lewis (don't ask me where the hyphen is supposed to go; I would go to IMDB and find out, but it's the end of the day, folks; I'm tired), amazing as he is, looks really gross. I admire your commitment to craft Mr. Lewis, or Day-Lewis, or whatever, but do I have to see your spine in so much detail?? I was also a bit fascinated by everyone's eyebrows in the thing. The girl's (again, don't ask me her name; I'm tired) need some major work, and Jason Lee's were seriously freaking me out. Jason, you're really doing it for me, especially with the scruffy and the not-as-skinny-as-I-remember, but that's the bridge of your nose. I don't remember what Catherine Keener's eyebrows were like, but I do remember her ass in those way-hippy stonewashed jeans (and I don't mean live-in-a-commune-vandalize-development-projects hippie, either). Her hair was delightfully disastrous, too. I adore her immeasurably and will see her in just about anything, especially when she's in Being John Malkovich, so aside from her jeans I have nothing but love. Another costume highlight is Beau Bridges short-sleeve button-down/khaki pleated short combos, but as far as his eyebrows go, his hair was way more fun. In regards to parts of the film not hair/eyebrow/wardrobe-related, it was hit-and-miss, with some unusual developments, and luckily the shots of flowers and grass waving in the gentle breeze were kept to a minimum. Seriously Rebecca, if I want to watch a Terence Malick movie I'll put it in my Netflix queue. I'd have to say I found myself becoming involved in it, and occasionally feeling super dirty (ex: the copperhead under the bed scene -- that touch suddenly strikes me as a tad overly-symbolic, taken in context), but I don't know. I'm tired, y'all, go read Manohla Dargis.

The Princess Grace Application

Is complete!! Now I can go back to procrastinating about all the other half-finished projects I've got sitting around! I'm relatively pleased with my application, actually; I'm glad I started early. Of course, I still ended up sending it off on the postmark deadline, but still....

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Kiki and Herb will Die for You

This is the 3rd time I've tried to write this post, so I'm keeping it short, lest it get lost AGAIN.

Got the
Kiki and Herb live album from their "farewell" show at Carnegie Hall. Loving it, lots of laughs, because let's face it, folks, a drag queen singing gangsta rap (imagine an Ethel Merman impersonater singing the phrase "Wu-Tang muthafuckah!") is just plain funny. For those of you who don't know much about this act, here's a sample from their bio:

Kiki and Herb met in the Eerie Childrens Institute in Western Pennsylvaniain 1934. By the time they were in their late teens they were playing professionally on the Burlesque Circuit where Kiki,who had just given birth to her first child -a bastard named Bradford- was billed as "The Completely Insane Miss Kiki DuRane". In 1957 Kiki and Herb released their first LP "The Hazy Days of Kiki" to universal indifference.

In short, love them, wish I'd seen the show live, funny funny funny, aged showgirl, gay-Jew-tard piano player, here come Rufus Wainwright and Sandra Bernhard for the encore, laughing laughing, playing the Ruby Mansbach section overandoverandoverandover and I'm stuck out here in LA and I'm just going to have to settle for Marty and Elayne at the Dresden Room unless you come out to L.A. and do a show for me Kiki! Phew. Herb, we gotta cut that number!

New Theatre for Now

The Taper's new plays festival ended Sunday, as if my Holy Week wasn't busy enough! I skipped a worship service I was supposed to sing in to go to the first play, Jessica Goldberg's Get What You Need. I also saw Half-Life by John Mighton and Chasing Nabokov's Butterflies, by Kate Moira Ryan. These things are always interesting, but milling around the lobby and seeing people is all part of the experience, as well. The pros and cons of such milling around both happened for me on Wednesday night.

PRO: Running into Jamie Iglehart was great fun, as I haven't really talked to him since he got his BFA at Carnegie Mellon in 2001. We got to visit a bit and exchanged info -- hopefully one of these days I'll actually get one of these plays of mine read in L.A. and I can give him a call.

CON: Never mind the con. GAWD it's a small world.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Netflix Love

I'm jonesing for the next L-Word disc to arrive in that little red envelope I've grown to love so. In the meantime, my adoration of Freaks And Geeks grows stronger with every disc that passes through the mail. Highlights of my favorite moments:

1. Bill wears the cutest outfit in the episode where he prank calls the coach! It's so out-of-character, but really fun; it's in the scene where he steals the phone numbers out of the counselor's office. That episode is so choice; a Bill-heavy and Kim-heavy episode all at once. Genius.

2. Who loves the coach, by the way? I DO! And not in a coach fantasy kinda way, although ask me again after a couple of beers and I might answer differently...and wasn't he Biff in Back to the Future?

3. Sam dancing in front of the mirror. Needs no further explanation.

4. Sam in Parisian nightsuit. Also needs no further explanation.

5. I may have to put the earlier discs back into my queue so I can once again enjoy the brilliance of A) Bill dressed as the Bionic Woman; B) Kim screaming at her parents and C) Bill drunk and watching Dallas.

Maybe I should just keep the Freaks And Geeks discs in my queue forever, on an occasional rotation, sandwiched in between subsequent discs of The L-Word and the 2nd and final season of Arrested Development once it joins my beloved Freaks in the annals of neglected quality TV alongside thirtysomething (when is THAT coming out on DVD?) and Twin Peaks (note to self: add to Netflix queue Asap!).

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Reduced blogging alert!!

Sorry folks; I promise it's only temporary. I have much to report, but Holy Week is killing me...figuratively, of course, although I keep thinking I'm seeing Mel Gibson lurking in my periphery with a stake, a mallet, and a camera crew. I'll try and play catch up once the holiday's over. Check back Monday!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Remember Jeff Gannon?

Man, those were the days, weren't they? Back when folks weren't exploiting Terri Schiavo to satisfy pro-life vultures and wringing their hands over the devastating effects of steroids in baseball? I miss Jeff Gannon! I want him back in the spotlight! Preferably being implicated in some dirty dealings with Scott MClellan, but hey, I'm easy. I'll take what I can get....

In the meantime, there's a fun interview in the NYT Magazine here. My favorite quotes are below.

Scott McClellan, the press secretary to President Bush, called on you and allowed you to ask questions on a nearly daily basis. What, exactly, is your relationship with him?

I was just another guy in the press room. Did I try to curry favor with him? Sure. When he got married, I left a wedding card for him in the press office. People are saying this proves there is some link. But as Einstein said, "Sometimes a wedding card is just a wedding card.''

You mean like "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar''? That wasn't Einstein. That was Freud.

Oh, Freud. O.K. I got my old Jewish men confused.

You should learn the difference between them if you want to work in journalism.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Steroids in Baseball

After ruminating all day on the troubling realities of steroid usage in our Major Leagues, I'm compelled to ask the question,

WHO CARES??????

Why is this at the forefront of our national discourse right now? I'm sure there's a potentially offensive PBS program that needs to get pulled from the airwaves or a new wildlife refuge that needs drilling somewhere.

On a lighter note, Wonkette makes some fun gay innuendo around a couple of pics of GWB and Flat Stanley here. My favorite part is her reference to FS as "this colorful little whore."

Gawker Media is getting so much free press from my blog today! And I'm sure all my scores of readers are flooding their sites with hits!!

Hillary is such a trooper....

What more must she endure? Thanks to Wonkette for this fun New York Daily News trash. Text is below; a link to Wonkette's post is here.

Lookin' for love on the Hil

No wonder Democrats can't get their message out: When Sen. Hillary Clinton held a conference call with reporters on Medicaid cuts yesterday, a reporter who put his phone down without hitting "mute" subjected listeners to his apparent flirting on another call.

When Hillary got on the line with reporters, she had to practically shout over this man's loud yakking in the background, The News' James Gordon Meek reports. She gave up after several minutes, complaining that the noise was "distracting" and "so unfair to all of you."

Seconds after Clinton got off the call, reporters heard the man identify himself as WLIU Long Island News Director Jim Asendio. He was on a call with a person "going to a bar" for St. Patrick's Day.

"God, you sound sweet," Asendio said to his phone mate."Five-four? Okay, I'm 6-foot-1. You have a what? A little cushion? You have a nice, round a-? What's your chest? That's not small. I'm more of a thigh and an a- man. ... Don't get into any trouble, and if you do, call me."

First Buffy, now Catwoman?

In their continuing milkage of the fall-out from the New Yorker article about WMA president Dave Wirtschafter's profile (both Buffy and Catwoman ditched the agency as a result), Defamer opened a post with the following sentence:

"William Morris is bleeding clients like a hemophiliac 17th century French monarch at a paper-cut convention."

The whole post is here.

Lil' Kim, NOOO!

I'm fully predicting a Martha-style return from the slammer that will make middle-America swoon and cause stock in her ghettofabolous clothing line to go through the roof. She has a clothing line, doesn't she? If so, of course she does. If not, why not? Aren't all rappers supposed to have clothing lines? Regardless, I think she should start thinking ahead and schedule a guest appearance on The L-Word to complement her emergence from prison. Has Martha done that yet?

The MSNBC story is
here, complete with cute picture. The NYTIMES story is here. I'm posting my favorite highlights from the article below.

During the two-week trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan, Ms. Jones sought to sway the jurors by recounting her ascent out of a broken family in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, to become the diamond-decked Queen Bee, as she calls herself, of rap. She appeared in court neatly turned out in ruffled blouses and proper suits, and tried to show that in real life she was not like the trash-talking Lil' Kim.

"It's all just entertainment," she said of her rhymes evoking violence and raunchy sexuality.

The verdict brought the final unraveling of a rap family that came together in Bedford-Stuyvesant and became the Junior M.A.F.I.A., with Notorious B.I.G., Christopher Wallace, as its patriarch. Ms. Jones said that Mr. Wallace first heard her rap more than a decade ago on the street in Brooklyn. After he was killed in a 1997 drive-by shooting in Los Angeles, she gathered the clan around her and became a solo performer.

Poor Lil' Kim! Look at how she's suffered! She pulled herself up by her thongstraps! Will they give her cute/scary outfits in prison? Photo ops? Brandy, what are we going to do???

Striped shirt

I saw this on Defamer and thought I'd share. It's funny. I think this is my favorite part:

"I will valet tonight!I will treat the valet with contempt and make sure that he knows that I am superior to him in life! I will tell him to 'Take it easy on the brakes, Champ'!"

I don't know anything about this PhatPhree website, but I'm sure I'll spend a good portion of the work day checking it out....

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Happy St. Paddy's Day

I have no plans. Anyone going out drinking? Just kidding. Sorta.

So I'm among the 5 million+ who've bought a DVD of The Incredibles. I love ElastiGirl THAT MUCH. And not like that either...not that the thought even crossed your mind. Brad Bird just might be my new screenwriting hero. I don't know why I haven't seen The Iron Giant yet. I'm going to go put it on my Netflix this instant!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Anne Lamott at Duttons Bev Hills

I got to the bookstore 30 minutes early for her appearance to promote her new book, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, and the place was already crowded. I went to buy a book and they were issuing line numbers for the signing; I was number forty-friggin-five! Still, Anne was funny and lovely as I had expected, and I had a good place to perch and watch her read. She's great with an audience; funny and digressive in her answers to questions, and she peppers her speech with these earth-motherish metaphorical details; references to sand and shells and rocks and water abound in her conversation as much as they do in her writing. I'm such a fan, not so much in an idolizing, "I-wish-I-could-write-like-her" way, but in an "I'm-happy-she-does-what-she-does," "we-need-more-outspoken-left-wing-Christians-in-this-country-with-great-senses-of-humor" kinda way. She was also inspiring as a writer last night, saying she's written five days a week for the past 30 years (since she was 20, basically), which made me wonder why the heck I haven't been doing that. She mentioned that she always tries to write at least 300 words a day, and every time she'd rather have a cup of cocoa or watch CNN she tells herself to just sit down and write 300 words first. Then she read a section from Bird By Bird, her "writing manual," that reminded me how good and helpful that book is for writers. I didn't stay for the signing, as I was starving and had been standing for an hour-and-a-half, but I gave my number 45 to somebody who needeed it and went home and wrote 400 words before going to bed. I have to remember to find that copy of Bird By Bird and effing re-read it!!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Princess Grace blues

I've got a couple of things I could blog about today (seeing Noah Haidle's Princess Marjorie at South Coast Rep, Anne Lamott at Dutton's in Bev Hills tomorrow night), but I'm starting to obsess about getting a good personal statement out for my Princess Grace Fellowship application, so I think I'm going to work on that right now. I've already written one draft that I'm scrapping, so here's hoping this new one goes a little better.

Friday, March 11, 2005

New titles

I was going through Hamlet last night, and I had a list as long as a yardstick, but I can't remember any of them now, except Hyperion's Curl and That Monster Custom. The latter is apt, but kind of awkward, so I've been playing with variations, and I'm liking Customary Monsters.... I'm not totally sold, but it's got potential. How cute is Hyperion's Curl, though??

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Sheila Callaghan

I've become marginally obsessed with reading this playwright's website and blog. Perhaps because I'm applying for a Princess Grace Fellowship and she won one in 2000, but she also keeps coming up in conversations with people. Okay, I keep bringing her up, partially because I'm marginally obsessed. I'm only familiar with one of her plays, which had Justin Timberlake and "The Apartment" as characters, which I heard read at Moving Arts. Sometimes I wonder if her kind of stylistic playfulness and intensely poetic language is the only type of script that gets any attention with such things -- fellowships, grants, readings, contests, etc., at least the major ones, anyway. And then I get all weird because I don't really do that like she does or Adam Rapp does or Jordan Harrison does or whatever other up-and-comer I could name-drop and then I start to feel inadequate and wonder if I shouldn't stop websurfing altogether!!!

Henry's right! That road's a dead-end!!!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

You wish....

It is with more than a little shame that I post a picture I found on Andrew Sullivan's website, but at least I linked to it through dear Wonkette. It's not bookmarked! Not a favorite! I promise! The pic's funny, regardless of where I found it, alright?!

I miss Choire Sicha!

I'm glad Anna Marie Cox is back on Wonkette, but I do kinda miss "the Oscar Wilde of the internet" now that he's not guest blogging anymore. His most recent post on his website made me smile this morning. I'll withhold whether or not I can relate to the sentiment. Oh, who am I kidding, when could I ever NOT relate to that sentiment? I could never really be a bear, though. I don't have the facial hair for it. I'm too into deodorant, besides, and I stopped wearing flannel when Kurt died.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Kings Of Leon, etc.

Got their new CD, Aha Shake Heartbreak the other day. The Followill boys have put out a great 2nd disc; their drunken lapsed Pentacostal preacher daddy should be proud. I wish they hadn't landed that opening slot touring with U2 so they'd do more club dates and would show up here at The Troubadour again. Saw them play a great set opening for The Strokes in 2003, and their performance is the only thing that saves that show from being the worst concert I've ever attended. Actually, even with Kings of Leon's cool opening act, I still think that was the worst concert I've ever attended; I don't remember ever seeing another show that went that badly...seriously. After my current fave rockabillies walked off stage, I was subjected to an hourlong set with singer Julian Casablancas rasping through songs and then stomping around and knocking over equipment. Even that Hole show I saw in Houston had more professionalism, and that included Courtney Love having a screaming, cursing fit because some frat types in the front were flipping her off.

More great shows at Spaceland, btw:

Thursday, 3/24 -- Earlimart
Saturday, 3/26 -- Ima Robot
Wednesday, 3/30 -- Midnight Movies, On The Speakers, and Bedroom Walls

Who wants to go with me? The Wednesday show sounds the most feasible. I'd love to see Ima Robot again, but it's Easter eve! Not the best time. Earlimart's Maundy Thursday, but I'd still go.

Busy Weekend

Hey, lots to report, so here goes.

Friday, 3/4 -- The Caretaker at The Zephyr Theater

"Pick-of-the-Week" status and a nice performance by Robert Mandan aside, this exhausting production of Pinter's play is dead on its feet. There's no real tension, no menace, no build; Pinter's territorial squabbling is supposed to be terrifying! I blame director Matt Gottlieb, for directing mental cripple Aston to make eye-contact with nothing but his shoes, and peppering the show with lengthy, soporific blackouts that kill any sense of momentum. Directors take note! The audience doesn't need to sit in the dark while a hand prop is reset and the actors move on and off stage! Geez!!!

All that aside, I was intrigued by the script itself, specifically in how strongly it must've influenced Mamet's American Buffalo, and there was a great stage picture about halfway through the show, with Mandan's bum Davies wearing a red smoking jacket over his dirty rags and holding his pipe thoughtfully, while ambulatory vegetable Aston shuffles into the room, dim smile on his face. So mid-20th century! I loved it.

Saturday, 3/5 - Musicians From Marlboro at UCLA

What a lovely concert! It started with Mozart's String Quintet in B-flat major, K. 174, continued with Henri Dutilleux “Ainsi la Nuit” for String Quartet and ended with Mendelssohn's String Octet in E-flat major, Op. 20. The Mozart and Mendelssohn were both quite satisfying, with the cello lines in the latter being particularly infectious and fun to watch being sawed out by the players, but the highlight for me was with this guy Dutilleux. Whoever he is, he had me in knots for his entire piece. Another very mid-20th century artwork, difficult, dissonant, and riveting. I got tickled at the elderly couple sitting next to me during the piece; before it started the wife leaned over to her husband and said "the next one is modern, unfortunately," and as it was being performed and I was mouthing repeated, rapt "ohmygods" at most of the things the musicians were doing to their instruments, the couple was either sleeping or yawning. I used to either react with the same kind of disdain (or my own kind of befuddlement), but lately the modern stuff is really engaging me. There's an intensity to hearing those kinds of pieces live that is pretty damn exciting.

Sunday, 3/6 -- BAAL at M-Bar

Thanks to Henry for recommending this; it was a great evening. M-Bar, with its plush leather banquettes and blood red, well, everything, is quite a treat with or without a decadent Bertolt Brecht play thrashing about all around you. Caden and Ryan and I had a nice time catching up and having the buffet before the show, and Elijah Alexander stomped, shouted, and sweated his way through the show and restaurant for an hour with so much commitment and energy he ought to go join the cast of The Caretaker and liven it up a bit. I did get a bit scared from time to time during his many stumbles past our table, though. Seriously, careful with that whiskey bottle, Baal!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Jermain "Bad Intentions" Taylor

I was just alerted to this Little Rock boxer's existence. He's apparently some middleweight hotshot or something. Don't worry, I'm not getting butch over here or anything. I haven't read either of the articles I'm linking to here and here. And I only looked at his website to see if he's hot. Just like to applaud my Arkansas rockstars, even if I don't really know who they are! Thanks for the tip, Glenn!

P.S.: Okay, so maybe I have been reading some of these articles. But what's with the picture of undisputed middleweight champ and potential Jermain Taylor opponent Bernard Hopkins with Howard Eastman in this one? Maybe I should start following boxing after all!

Untitled Victorian Play

That's right, kids! It's finished! The script I toiled on for a month to participate in The Dirty Thirty is now a complete draft with no title! I'd have some kind of contest here to name the thing, but that seems less than feasible.... Although I have been thinking of finding a title from one of the 5-10 phrases in Hamlet that haven't already been pilfered as titles by novelists, playwrights, or Hollywood hacks; remember Outrageous Fortune, starring Bette Midler and Shelly Long? Yep! That's from Hamlet! So here's a challenge for ya. Find a good phrase or a paraphrase of a line in Hamlet that's fit to be a title, and post it in the comments section. Here are the only unused ones I've come up with so far:

The Inward Man
Infinite Faculties

The latter I quite like, actually, although it seems more fit for a David Lodge or Robertson Davies liberal arts satire than a play about Victorian profs who fetishize the working classes and fall for their students. Anyway, feel free to participate if you like, and I'll add some from time to time as I discover them.... Of course, after all that work, I'll probably settle on a Beatles song title, but you never know.

My writer's group -- the NoHo Writers' Group, as I have christened them -- met at Aroma last night to discuss the script, and the discussion was heartening. All seemed to like it and think I'm on the right track, although I've crammed this thing so full of plot and theme and eccentric characters it did take some concentration to keep up with everything folks had responded to. Still, I took lots of notes, and I hope to start on the rewrite shortly.

FYI, there is a tentative date for the Dirty Thirty Showcase, an evening of short excerpts from the scripts by the writers who participated. Mark your calendars for April 10 so you can get all the dirt!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

My letter....

I told you I was going to write L.A. Weekly's Steven Leigh Morris a thank-you letter for his review of The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?! Read it here (scroll down to the bottom).

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Okay, I don't have

much to report. So I thought I'd post pics of my nephews! Here! and Here!