Friday, April 29, 2005

Speaking of....

I wish I'd discovered this item on Wonkette before I completed my previous post.

Irregardless

You people know this is not a word, right? Bill Gates doesn't, as was evidenced in the NPR interview with him this morning. Not only is he waffling about the gay rights issue, but he can apparently be the richest man in the universe and use non-words I last heard on an episode of Jerry Springer. Of course, our own president and the leader of the free world seems determined to refuse to correctly pronounce the word "nuclear," so I shouldn't be too surprised. Maybe I should start peppering my speech with non-words like "irregardless" and puttin the country back into my talkin so I can start earning the BIG BUCKS.

So I've been scolded

by a certain someone (initials J.W.) for being lax on posting. Maybe I need to do like Wonkette and have a guest editor while I work on my novel. Or play. Or actual job. Ehh, it's easier to just slap some mess up there and call it a day, I guess. Oh, and in case you were concerned, I'm not writing a novel, lest you worry I might be trying to push draft pages on you for feedback or something. But I do have a couple of short stories I've been working on, and I was wondering....

Actually, I've been rather preoccupied of late, as I landed a free ticket to Coachella and I've been trying to figure out how to go without knocking a couple of years off my life like I did last year. I know I said earlier I wouldn't do it again unless Pavement got back together, but hey, Malkmus' new album comes out next month and I'm seeing him in June, so that's close enough, right? Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing as many bands as I can pack into my time there tomorrow, especially The Kills. Go get their album; it's highly badass. I also hope to catch Rilo Kiley, Wilco, Weezer, Bloc Party, and is New Order playing tomorrow? I hope so. I've been instructed by a friend that I must buy their new album, and I was doing a little chair dance to "Blue Monday" yesterday. Unfortunately I'm not staying til Sunday so I can see The Arcade Fire and The Futureheads, but they're both playing in town in June, so I'm not too concerned. Now if I can just avoid being trapped in the parking lot when I'm ready to drive back to Los Angeles like I was last year, I should be O.K.!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

James Schuyler's letters

I was delighted to discover a review of a collection of letters by James Schuyler, my 2nd favorite of the New York School of Poets in Sunday's LA Times Review of Books. However, upon reading the review, I was reminded of The Elegant Variation's weekly and tough critiques of the thin newspaper insert when I realized how bizarre the review actually is. Since TEV gave the LATRB a break this week, I thought I'd offer a few thoughts about this piece, at least. It goes along well enough at the beginning, giving some info about the troubled poet's history and some great dishy quotes about drunken parties with Frank O'Hara and other cosmo types in 50s Manhattan, but somewhere around this paragraph, critic James McCourt seems to become more unhinged than Schuyler was at his most delusional:

The pulsations of Schuyler's ardor (especially under the influence of drugs and alcohol) could unhinge him, sometimes violently. When his sexual advances were repulsed, he thought himself ugly, which he was not, but the fear he instilled in some was more effectively repellent than any ugliness. In an ordinary man-child this is called throwing a tantrum, but in a child-man and the father-son poet, this reaction is called wrestling with the angel until the blessing, the refreshment, is won.

I'm okay with the first half of the paragraph, I guess, but what the hell does that last sentence even mean? He goes on:

Schuyler often went off the deep end (blame the irreparable loss of his father, whose son wrote a quantity of, in Pound's formulation, news that stays news). When he did, he didn't slither in, or poise on the low board to check his form; instead, he climbed to the top of the diving pylon, ran down the board howling, jumped into the air, clasping his hands around his ankles, and hit the water in a cannonball that emptied the pool in seconds, terrifying not only small children, but adults as well. Even the lifeguards were wary of approaching him as he surfaced.

Gee, thanks for illuminating that metaphor for me. So original! So specific! I see the young poet's madness in such an evolved way, now. Until I imagined poor schizophrenic Jimmy doing cannonballs in the neighborhood pool I was at a total loss!

The Mae-Shi

Since LA Weekly and Spaceland have decided "Monday is the new Friday," I went to the last of The Mae-Shi's month-long Monday-night residency at Spaceland last night. It's free, so what's to lose, besides a little bit of my hearing? Don't worry, I brought along some trusty earplugs and had a great time. These little art punks know how to churn out a set that manages to balance itself right on the brink of chaos for a good 30 minutes or more. I love the titles of their songs; my favorites are "Takoma the Dolphin is AWOL" and "Hieronymus Bosch is a Dead Man." I couldn't tell you what those songs sound like, exactly, or if they played them at all last night, as it was all just really fast and loud and screamy, but it was still pretty damn good.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Hey, I got

quoted on LA Blogs! It's so nice to discover my site is read by more than just people who feel obligated to because they're friends of mine! Check it out!

LA Phil on Saturday

The highlight was easily Ravel's Concerto in G; I kinda nodded a bit through the Beethoven First and the big loud organ piece (Jongen? Jungen? I don't remember, and it's the end of the day or I'd look it up), but that Ravel was so much fun! As were the handful of kids watching the performance nearby. Some little girls were dancing in their seats, and a little boy in front of us was so exhausted by the whole thing his dad kept having to prop him up in his seat so he wouldn't fall out of the terrace section! To continue today's wardrobe fixation, I still don't understand the organist's black-and-red outfit and beige shoes -- I'm sure they're a functional pair of pedal-pushing clodhoppers, but can't you get them in black? I'm just sayin....

Happy End at PRT

You've got one weekend left to see the Brecht/Weil musical Happy End at the Pacific Resident Theatre, and you should, because in my almost three years in L.A. it's easily among the best 99-seat theater experiences I've had here. Everything about the show is top-notch, especially the three leads, Timothy Murphy, Leslie Fera, and Martha Hackett -- actually, I don't know that I'd call Hackett a lead, but she feels like one. I would have to allude to my Kung Fu Hustle post by saying that my favorite part of this show is also a costume choice, as Hackett's final wardrobe and wig recall Grace Zabriskie in Twin Peaks, and having her storm onto the stage waving a gun in that get-up just made it all the better! It made me want to trade Sarah Palmer impersonations with her after the show (LAURAHHH!!). Seriously good work going on there; I can't wait to go back and see something else.

Everybody stop what you're doing

and go see Kung Fu Hustle pronto! I don't even like martial arts flicks; in fact, I might be the only person on the planet who didn't get what the big deal was about Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon -- I even saw it twice just to make sure. But Mr. Chow's spoof is great, even for somebody like me who probably didn't get the majority of the references. It looks stunning, has lots of great laughs, and the story's like a little machine...and in a good way. I'm even willing to overlook the hackneyed gay stereotype that is the Tailor, basically because he kicks so much ass. I have to say my favorite part of the film, even with all the great jokes and visual style and general silliness, is the Landlord's and Landlady's costumes in the casino fight sequence. Perfect, right down to the lime green sandles smashing into that frog-guy's head!

Friday, April 22, 2005

My blogging powers

have been all dried up of late. Seriously, I've got nuthin. The Gawker Media sites aren't really doing much for me, I've been staying away from the music stores, haven't seen a play in at least a couple of weeks now, my Netflix discs have been sitting unopened in my apartment for the past week, it's all so tragic!

It's for the best, though, as I'm going through a productive phase in getting into the next draft of Customary Monsters. I've set a goal to write 5 days a week for the next month, and it's going well so far. I went to a workshop at The Odyssey Theater in West L.A. with John O'Keefe and had some helpful discussions with him and the other participating playwrights about the piece. And The Dirty Thirty Showcase was good in getting my head back into the play. A few days before that, I was sitting in a laundromat not wanting to read all the plays I needed to cover for The Taper, and decided to do some planning work on the 2nd draft after avoiding it for at least a month, and I basically just figured out all the new scenes I needed to write for the 1st act! Why hadn't I just done that weeks ago? I guess it all just needed some time to soak before I could throw in the fabric softener!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Free Fiona

There's a good article on slate.com about Fiona Apple's yet-to-be-released third album, Extraordinary Machine, and all the controversy regarding Epic's decision that it isn't "commercial enough." Hey, at least the title's better than the last one. Read the article here.

I personally have overcome my shame at being a fan of Miss Apple; this epiphany might've coincided with my curiosity about Bronski Beat and my embrace of portions of Madonna's discography. No, I think it happened even earlier than that, when I was living in Houston and I realized that "Criminal" is a great pop song, dirty-bathtub-and-creepy-Calvin-Klein-ad-campaign-video-stylings aside. To this day I still fantasize about singing it in karaoke bars. If only I could tolerate karaoke bars.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I might love him a little less now

I read that article I just posted a link to a little closer about Paul Koering, and he also says this:

Koering says he supports the Defense of Marriage Act Minnesota has on its books, which prevents the state from recognizing gay marriages. But he feels that a constitutional amendment takes things too far. He says legalizing gay marriage at this point would be moving "too fast."
"Society just isn’t ready for that yet," he remarked. "You can only push things so far – things only change so fast. I think they’ve changed fast, and they’re changing even faster, and there’s a rush of these people to have a constitutional amendment because they know that society is changing and people’s hearts are changing."


Okay, that's a bit lame. But still, he used to fight back tears after a hard day of milking the cows!

I Love This Republican!

I learned about this through lacomfidential.com, which linked to a story about Minnesota state senator Paul Koering, who has come out and endorses outing gay politicians who support anti-gay legislation. You can read a bit about it at a blog I always intend to read more, Towleroad. Here's a quote from the story at rawstory.com:

As a farmer for fifteen years, Koering worked hard for his Senate seat, and the decision to announce that he is gay could mean he’ll eventually be out of a job. He campaigned for the same seat for seven years, finally defeating a long-term incumbent in 2000.

“There were nights that I would finish milking and I would go to bed and I would cramp up – I would almost cry myself to sleep,” he said of his long crusade for his seat.

I'm sorry, but that's just adorable.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I swear I Swear I SWEAR

I saw Joni Mitchell eating by herself at a sidewalk table at Crustacean in Beverly Hills last night. Thank Jesus I was being an obnoxious Angeleno and gabbing on my cell as I was passing by, otherwise I might've made an ass of myself, breaking into an impromptu "Help Me" or something. Instead I ended up disrupting her peaceful dinner and annoying the hell out of her with my loud phone convo. Yeah, I think that's the better option.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Louis XIV

I had a handful of CDs in my hand at Best Buy, but limited my impulse CD purchasing to one disc (I know, such discipline!), and of course I settled for the least expensive of the bunch, Louis XIV's The Best Little Secrets Are Kept, over consistently satisfying Beck's Guero and Hot Hot Heat's Elevator. Hot Hot Heat would've won out if it were remotely on sale; Make Up the Breakdown is damn fun and one of those CDs that's blended with fond memories of summer 2003 to take its rightful place in the soundtrack of my life (cue strings -- never knew I was such a sap, didya?). But HHH was 15, Beck was 14, and XIV was 13, so I went with Louis XIV, and I learned that you can never pay too much for quality, my friends. It's an okay disc, as glam Bowie knock-offs go, and I like the way the guitar sounds on it, but it's about as thin as Lara Flynn Boyle after a trip to the ladies' room. There are about 5-6 out of 10 decent songs on it, and I'm expecting it to end up in a box I'll eventually sell to Amoeba right next to Ambulance Ltd. and VHS or Beta.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Play Without Words at The Ahmanson

I was surpringly bored by this. It wasn't nearly hot enough, funny enough, or gay enough, and lacked a lot of the spirit of play and imagination I saw in Bourne's Nutcracker! I wasn't terribly interested in its story and seriously had trouble staying awake in the second act. And the only dancers to disrobe were the boring blond guys! The most provocative costume I get with the hot bad boy is a tank top and some pj pants? Lame. Oh well, at least we get Swan Lake next season!

Friday, April 08, 2005

Never too much Gannon

Wonkette has posts here and here about his appearance at the National Press Club panel discussion today. Here's an exerpt:

Most popular question for Gannon from an off-camera audience member after the panel ended. "DID YOU EVER SLEEP WITH SCOTT McCLELLAN? JEFF, DID YOU EVER SLEEP WITH SCOTT McCLELLAN! DID YOU EVER SLEEP WITH ANYONE IN THE WHITE HOUSE, JEFF? DID YOU EVER SLEEP WITH ANYONE ON THE WHITE HOUSE STAFF PRIOR TO GETTING YOUR PASS?" ANA, ASK HIM IF HE EVER SLEPT WITH SCOTT McCLELLAN?"

There are links to other articles in her posts as well, one of which quoted Jeff G. as saying the following:

"I was about the only news source providing that information without a filter. There is nothing wrong with reporting what the administration says about a particular issue. ... Why does everything have to be looked at through a lens that represents every point of view?"

Without a filter? Are you kidding me? Good thing you don't have to take an IQ test to get a day pass to the White House Press Briefing Room!

Electricidad

I was lucky enough to be invited to opening night last night at the Taper. It's a really fun show and worth checking out. I'm not quite the Greek enthusiast I feel like I should be, but Luis Alfaro does some interesting things with the Elektra myth. My favorite part is when the lesbian sister who's joined a convent takes out her bigass earrings to duke it out with her chola sister. Pretty damn funny.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Mark Your Calendars!

The Dirty Thirty Showcase is coming up fast! That's right, 10 minutes of my new play, Customary Monsters, will be featured along with passages from eight other plays and screenplays. Details for the event, schedules for Sunday, April 17, at 7pm, are listed below.

On January 15, 2005 The Dirty Thirty began. Simply,twenty-two writers were challenged to finish acomplete screenplay in 30 days. Twenty-two brave soulsvolunteered for duty -- only nine made it through totell the tale. Please join us Sunday, April 17, 2005to celebrate their work at the Dirty Thirty Showcase.Tickets for The Dirty Thirty Showcase are for saleonline at www.virtuous.com. After reaching the site,click on the "Southern California" tab and The DirtyThirty Showcase is listed. Tickets are $6.00 ($5.00for the showcase plus a $1.00 service charge forvirtuous.com). The showcase will be held at Art ShareLos Angeles, 801 East 4th Place, Los Angeles, CA90013.

Why I love Michael Ritchie, vol. 1

The Taper and Ahmanson schedules were announced today. Annette Bening in The Cherry Orchard? All I can say is THANK YOU.

There's a nice article about him in the NY TIMES. I've read a lot of local people giving him grief about not having (or at least not communicating) much of a vision for the CTG, and I don't know about any of that, but I'm impressed with the seasons. Eclectic, topical, ambitious, and Annette Bening -- sounds pretty good to me. Plus he has great hair.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

New Jeff Gannon!!

You can imagine how ecstatic I was when I discovered new Jeff Gannon news at www.salon.com. In their War Room column, there is a brief article (scroll down) about a Des Moines Register article investigating the conspiracy theory that Jeff Gannon is actually Johnny Gosch, a Des Moines paper-boy "who was abducted in 1982 and reportedly forced into a child prostitution ring." Here's the best part of the piece:

Reports the Register: "The complete concoction goes like this: Gosch was kidnapped into a pedophilia and child pornography ring that serviced the upper echelons of Washington, D.C., society. He was brainwashed by the CIA, trained to be part of a top-secret escort program. Then, he became Jeff Gannon and was given a plum job as a White House correspondent with the online conservative news service to keep him quiet. Finally, he was "uncovered" by the bloggers.

Additionally, the newspaper notes, "[Bloggers] try to link both Bush presidents to this conspiracy, prove that Hunter S. Thompson's death was not a suicide and investigate a so-called government-sponsored pedophilia operation they claim continues to abduct children."

Could I have asked for a better news item this afternoon? Genius.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Doubt Wins Pulitzer

Shocking, yes, I know. What is shocking is that I think the play's deserving of the award. Actually, looking back at past winners, the 00's haven't been that bad for Pulitzers. We got Suzan-Lori, now Doubt, I kinda like Proof, and that Nilo Cruz thing is hit-and-miss, but whatever.... Oh wait.... Okay, so 2000's a loss, but still....

Jessye Norman

I knew we were in trouble when we walked into the lobby at Royce Hall at UCLA and there were signs posted reading, "At the request of the artist, the air conditioning will not be in use in the auditorium for tonight's performance." You have GOT to be kidding me. So I basically spent the whole evening nodding off, and was far less enthusiastic than the almost capacity crowd. She did nothing but art songs and spirituals, although she did do some Poulenc, which made me happy. Even though I've been known to be quite moved by a passionately sung spiritual, her renditions bored me; they just seemed sentimental, affected, and chestnutty. My date for the evening kept saying, "how about singing some opera?" She was so affected in her performance, too, and had this mask of phony surprised gratitude -- chin high, teeth sticking out of her face in a wide smile -- that bordered on the absurd. At the end of the evening, aforementioned date remarked, "remind me to avoid recitals given by aging divas." A good rule of thumb, I think!