Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It is almost 9pm

and I am catching up on my blogs. Don't ask me why this is happening. Not because I don't know; mainly because I don't want to tell you. Well, not with any of my usual delightfully meandering details. As you might be aware I usually catch up on my blogs between the hours of 8:30 and 5:30...just brief little distractions of course, nothing too obsessive or off-task, of course. My change in blogging habits is both a good and a bad thing, I think. I suppose it's good for all the responsible, mature, slack-free reasons, but it's also bad, or at least it signifies something kind of bad. Well, at least annoying. And I'm not going to tell you what that is. Unless you ask me. In person. Or via email. Unless I get swamped with emails. Which I'm not really anticipating. Still....

Lest you be concerned, this need to put off my catching up on my blogs was initiated by none other than yours truly. I, in a fit of existential anxiety, am endeavouring to find that elusive happiness in pushing that boulder up that mountain, which is why I am only getting to you now, dear readers.

And let me tell you, the boulder that I have been assigned is one boring, bland, unattractive boulder...and the path to which my daily shoving is consigned is tedious and virtually free of pleasant scenery...and STILL...I SHOVE....

Now, one might assume that a young playwright just unshy of thirty who has a reading of a complex monster of a play, a Customary Monster, no less, would be spending his evening toiling (snare or no) away at his draft, attempting to fashion a smart-and-sexy period-piece like no Hollywood new play devotee (those exist...I promise) has ever seen. One would be wrong because this playwright is too busy CATCHING UP ON HIS BLOGS. For good and bad reasons. Which I will not share. Unless you ask me. In person. Or via email.

Blah blah. I have laundry to do. And I'm anticipating a most productive camp-out with my trusty I-Book at the Edendale Library on Saturday. And then there's the Bewitched DVDs I'm thinking about taking a gander at while I'm folding clothes. I know I know, but I left my latest L-Word DVD at my place and I'm doing laundry at JW's. It's the best thing he's got. Thanks to me. You're welcome, JW!

I kid about that crazy JW and his Bewitched, but don't you just want to roll around in Agnes Moorehead's eye-shadow? Or luxuriate in the flowey purpleness in which she so effortlessly wraps herself? Who am I kidding? All I want to do is skip through the discs and find the Paul Lynde scenes. That queen is such a stitch!

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Kittensnake

is kicking Frank's Wild Lunch's ass. And Frank's Wild Lunch is loving every blessed minute of it! Check her out here.

I turned 30

on Thursday. To celebrate both my birthday and Thanksgiving, JW and I drove up to the Central Coast, checked out Cambria, Paso Robles and the wineries there, the Hearst Castle, and serious herds of elephant seals. The whole trip made me wish I had a digital camera so I could show you how pretty everything was. Grape leaves in November are a sight to see -- sloping fields of autumnal colors. They're just marvelous.

On the way back we stopped in Los Olivos and had dinner, which made me want to see Sideways again.

Hope everybody had a nice holiday! I wish I were still having mine, but I guess I'll have to settle for enjoying the pics from the disposable Kodak I'm about to get developed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Come hear my play

when it's read in West Hollywood on December 11 at 2pm. Check Fell Swoop's website for details on location and a brief synopsis; the link is here!

Aron's Records

is going out of business! More details about Aron's closing are here. I'm saddened by this news, as I've always liked swinging in there for impulse purchases on my way home from work. Still, going-out-of-business sales are the best! I got two new non-sale CDs for 20 bucks!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Fell Swoop!

Check out my bio and script synopses on my writers group's new website here!

Good Night, and Good Luck

I really enjoyed this as it was happening, but when it was over, I thought, "is that it?" It's so beautifully acted and shot -- I even liked the sound -- and much of the writing is really intelligent, too. It has this kind of slow burn quality about it that is attractive, but I guess I wanted less smouldering and more fire...that is, its dramatic build seemed a little wanting.

Loved the scene with Patricia Clarkson and Robert Downey, Jr. in their apartment, though. She looks so great in a slip!

Edward Hogg in Measure for Measure

As promised, here's my love letter to the insanely good Edward Hogg, who played Isabella in Measure for Measure. (The Globe attempts to recreate Elizabethan conventions in their performance, so all the roles are played by men.) Mark Rylance is getting all the press for his unusual take on The Duke, and he certainly deserves the attention, both for his performance and his leadership of the company, but where Rylance's performance is surprising and playful, Hogg's is downright riveting.

For those who don't know the play, Isabella is the virginal nun who is also sister to a man soon to be executed for fornication. Her introduction isn't immediate, and by the time she takes the stage, we've already been introduced to several loud, brash, and funny characters. When Hogg made his entrance in Isabella's severe black-and-white habit, his voice was muted, his gestures reserved. In his opening moments I was even a little concerned he didn't quite have the pipes for the stuff that the rest of the cast did. He proved me wrong with that one, though. His Isabella spends much of the evening stewing; she's quite severe, and when she takes on the corrupt Angelo (Liam Brennan), she is more than a match. Hogg gives one of those controlled, powerful performances at the center of a lively production that both anchors the piece and demands undivided attention.

And when Isabella is told her brother Claudio has been executed in spite of her efforts to stop it, Hogg does this silent-scream-slow-collapse onto the stage floor, folding into a black-and-white nun's habit puddle. I want to supply him with a pager so that I can fetch him and direct him to do this for me whenever I like. So goood!

Monday, November 21, 2005

I have much to report...

but today's been seriously annoying. Long story. Plus I forgot to put on deodorant. Keep your distance.

Maybe tomorrow you'll hear about my new actor crush from The Globe Theatre, Edward Hogg. Or about how I liked Good Night, and Good Luck, but didn't love it. or how my kickass writer's group, Fell Swoop, has a kickass new website that you should check out.

Until then, read my lovely and talented director friend's brand new blog, The Kittensnake. She's in Berlin and ready to direct the pants off of your opera, play, or musical pastiche!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Off to see

Measure For Measure tonight at UCLA Live. Will try not to cough my way through the production. Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Can't shake

this cough! I must have avian flu. Or TB. Seeing a doctor tomorrow.

The weird thing about this illness is that I tend to feel fine between about 9am and 9pm; the rest of the time I'm consumptive. So last night, as I puttered around my apartment waiting for my nightly hacking to commence, I decided to do a little reading for a change -- okay, in all truthfulness I decided this mainly because I'm between Netflix for The L-Word -- and I picked up my new volume of James Schuyler's letters.

For those who don't know, James Schuyler is a close second to Frank O'Hara in my New York School obsession. Plus he was the schizophrenic one, so there's extra drama involved. I owe my grad school thesis play to those two men -- along with Fairfield and Anne Porter -- and if I could find an excuse to write a whole cycle of plays inspired by these people I certainly would.

There's an idea....

The letters are just a joy to read. I was going to jump to my laptop last night to quote some passages that I found particularly funny, but I got distracted by phone calls. I'm sure I'll be doing that in the future.

I took a break from the Schuyler after all the phone calls and picked up my volume of Nathaniel West. Got about 20 pages into The Day of the Locust before more phone calls put a stop to that. It reads like a breeze, but I'm a little scared to get through it, honestly. I'm disillusioned enough about L.A. as it is.

Once I got into this rather heated discussion with a pretentious gay fiction writer about life in Los Angeles. He assumed that anyone with ambition to be a dramatist who was living in L.A. was soulless and a whore. And then he asked me where I worked out.

Note that he didn't ask me if I went to a gym. He asked me where I worked out. As if it was a given that I, a gay Angeleno, would be a member of a gym. When I told him I couldn't afford it, he expressed shock. And I'm the soulless whore.

(Of course now I'm a member of a gym. But at least I'm lazy and I never go.)

Okay, now that I'm finished setting up the pretentious gay fiction writer and belittling him, I'm sure you're wondering why I brought him up. I brought him up because, at the peak of this very heated exchange with him talking about how destructive and empty and cheap "the industry" is, all the while talking about his gym and his job with a certain production company that he declined to name, the pretentious gay fiction writer very snottily asked if I had read The Day of the Locust.

I lied and said I had.

I know, I know, I shouldn't have even dignified this condescension with a reply, but I felt cornered. While I'm often quite good at targeting the belligerent and insecure, I often lack the quickness to respond to them with the dismissal they deserve. So I lied.

He replied, "well then you know how it ends."

And soon I'm going to find out...which is another reason why I'm a little scared!

"My Labotomy"

Did anyone hear this on All Things Considered last night on NPR? I kept checking the radio to see if anything interesting was on and changing it back to a CD when I'd hear them talking about the procedure. I tried really hard to listen, but it was kind of awful. Finally I made myself hear the last few minutes of it and found it kind of fascinating. There's a link to a related print story here, but you should listen if you can.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I got a response

to my email to the United Methodist Church about their decision to reinstate a pastor who refused to allow membership to a "practicing homosexual" today. But before we go on, can I just rant for a second about how ridiculous and demeaning a phrase like "practicing homosexual" is? It is...the phrase is important for reasons I'll detail in a bit, upon which time I'll continue my rant....

The response was a form email sent to the (I hope) hoards of people who sent emails of protest to UMC.org over the decisions (directed to do so, no doubt, by FWL in the earlier post to which I linked above). This form email contained a letter from the Council of Bishops, a portion of which I'll paste below.

The Judicial Council, our denomination’s highest judicial authority, recently issued a decision regarding a pastor’s refusing a gay man’s request for membership in the church. In the case, this man was invited to join the choir at the United Methodist Church in the community. As he became more active in the choir and the church, he asked to transfer his membership from another denomination to The United Methodist Church. Because he is a practicing homosexual, the pastor refused to receive him into church membership. The Judicial Council upheld the pastor’s refusal of membership.

While pastors have the responsibility to discern readiness for membership, homosexuality is not a barrier. With the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church we affirm:

“that God’s grace is available to all, and we will seek to live together in Christian community. We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.” (Para. 161g, 2004 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church)

We also affirm our Wesleyan practice that pastors are accountable to the bishop, superintendent, and the clergy on matters of ministry and membership.

Isn't it nice of the Judicial Council to say in print how welcome gay people are and implore families and churches not to reject us while it preserves the job of a pastor who refuses to welcome gays into church membership? Hey, at least they're saying all the right things, right?

Except for the phrase "practicing homosexual." It still says that.

This phrase is language from the church's Book of Discipline, which states that

Since the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, self-avowed practicing homosexuals* are not to be accepted as candidates, ordained as ministers or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.

See, they have to be specific with phrases like "self-avowed practicing" so that I can't call on a bishop to fire a preacher because he hauled out his showtune songbooks at the staff Christmas party. That pastor would have to disclose, in front of, say, a bishop, or documentary filmmakers, perhaps, that he or she is not only a homosexual, but living a (gasp!) homosexual lifestyle.

But let's forget for a moment the technical necessity for language like "practicing homosexual" to help the church properly administer the homophobic, two-faced nonsense of its Book of Discipline. What the heck kinda phrase is that anyway? Practicing homosexual? I like to think I was doing a good job of practicing when I was lip synching to Anita's lyrics while I was listening to my parents LP of West Side Story when I was about 10. Does that count?

Seriously, "practicing homosexual?" What are you guys, Catholics? Am I the only one who thinks that phrase sounds like we need a 12-step program? Could they be anymore pre-1973 APA?

A lunch poem

All kinds of writers were secretaries, weren't they?

If that--
Bukowski, for example.
Okay, so I don't like Bukowski very much.
I think you have to be straight
I don't know

but still, my point is....

Frank, another example.
At the MOMA.
At least until he moved up there
and started curating exhibits.
Of course, this was while he was
writing art reviews
and being given de Koonings
for his NY apartments
by...uhm...de Kooning.

I got a one-sheet the other day.

That's a start, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Squid and the Whale and Blue Velvet

There's a bit of a joke-spoiler in this post. If you haven't seen the movie, you've been warned.

I have to say that I lost it when Jeff Daniels suggests that his son and the boy's young girlfriend attend a screening of Blue Velvet with him, and even better is the fact that Noah Baumbauch knew exactly which scene in that film would be the most bizarre and traumatizing to cut to. Is it Dennis Hopper's gas-mask, velvet-chewing creepiness? No. Is it all the gunplay at the end? No. Is it Isabella demanding that Kyle MacLachlan hit her? No, silly, of course not. It's when Isabella winds up naked in Laura Dern's living room while Laura's parents are surrounding her, cuddling in Kyle's arms and repeating "He put his disease in me!" Meanwhile Laura's face contorts into an almost inhuman expression of horror. Watch her mouth during that scene; I wonder if she could possibly recreate that expression.

It's perfect in that moment; Walt's girlfriend might as well be Laura Dern in that scene, innocent that she is, being dragged into that dirty movie....

A sidenote: I've always loved Blue Velvet, sick and twisted and weird and gorgeous and funny as it is. When I was a senior in high school I was in a class that was doing this film history segment and our teacher let each of us pick out a director and write a report and then screen the film for the class. It was a total waste of class time. Can you imagine? A bunch of high school kids watching movies for weeks at a stretch?

So the teacher sent home permission slips to cover herself with the R-ratings and whatnot, and wouldn't you know I picked David Lynch and Blue Velvet?

When it was my turn to present -- we'd already watched Hitchcock, Jaws, and Apocalypse Now -- our teacher barely tolerated me, with my indignant insistence that "This is Lynch's best film! We have to watch this one!" That was her M.O., actually...she thought we were all full of crap, but she knew any real resistance was futile. She made sure we knew she thought we were full of crap, though.

She was a great teacher....

Anyway, once we got around to watching, it was actually quite uncomfortable for me; I remember there being this freshman in our class whose family went to the church where my dad served as minister. What was I thinking?

There were a couple of days during our screening of the movie when our teacher called in sick, and we had this prim little substitute who refused to let us watch it. She said, "Your teacher is letting you watch that? I'm not gonna let you watch that movie! That movie is pornography!"

Let me tell you, this 17-year-old was OUTRAGED!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Thoughts on The Squid and the Whale

Just when I think I can't adore Laura Linney any more than I already do!

JW and I were driving home from the movie and he said, "She's not as pretty in this one as she usually is."

(Laura, forgive him, for he knows not what he says.)

I responded, first with a horrified gasp, and then with an exclamation. "SHE. IS. RADIANT."

In JW's defense, he was referring to her general lack of glamour in the film, and he does have a point. She's missing the hot blue eye shadow of Mystic River and she's not nearly so dolled-up and badass as she was on the cover of Los Angeles magazine all those months ago. But my Laura needs no adornment to convince me of her radiance.

Plus, I love it that her character is getting it on with her son's tennis coach. Even if it is skeezy William Baldwin.

In short, I love love loved this movie. That's about all there is to it. Go see it.

Another funny JW/KW exchange:

JW: So what's the deal with the squid and the whale?

KW: (slight pause as KW wonders how much of the film JW had to sleep through to miss that) Uhm, it's a metaphor for the parents' relationship.

JW: Well I know that.

So if anyone has been to the Natural History Museum and knows the honest-to-goodness story of the squid and the whale, let us know!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thoughts on Capote

A couple of years ago my friend Kevin gave me George Plimpton's oral biography of Truman. I've picked it up on several occasions and never let myself get involved in it, partly because it begins with his Alabama upbringing and people telling rather pedestrian stories of passing relationships with him in his youth. I think now I'll skip a chapter or two and get into the meat of his story a little more quickly.

After I saw the movie, I pulled out the book again and flipped to the index so I could find all the passages pertinent to In Cold Blood. What I found there was largely present in the film -- Truman's leading on of Smith, his near-breakdown around the time of the executions, Harper's phone call to the hotel, his last-minute decision to witness their hanging -- all these details were well-recorded by Plimpton and the people who were interviewed. But in these pages I found Truman's humanity, his terror, I really felt how conflicted he was about his relationship to the crimes. I have to say that I found Capote so icy, so mannered, and its Truman so consistently arrogant, deceitful, pompous, and condescending that I felt like I was watching a movie about a man selling his soul when it wasn't worth the change in my pocket. I could register little more than disgust at the fact that the filmmakers were asking us to be moved by his shedding tears as he lies to the killers and says "I did everything I could do." In fact, I never really believed a word the character said, even when he was plainly telling the truth.

Other things bothered me, too, like why in the world would Wallace Shawn, the editor of The New Yorker, be taking Truman's calls while the man's lying in bed in his pajamas? I didn't buy that scene for a minute. Upon reading the bio, I discovered that it was Joe Fox, Truman's editor, who played that role; I'm sure the film's Shawn is a compilation of the two historical figures. It makes sense for the storytelling, but it's still hard to swallow. And then there's Harper Lee. I love Catherine Keener dearly, I do, but I wanted more of her. The role seems sadly underwritten.

It's funny; I had this nagging suspicion that I would find Capote problematic. I don't really know why...perhaps it was overexposure, or hearing and reading too much of the filmmakers' approach to the subject matter (which always sounded rather simplistic to me), or just the fact that Philip Seymour Hoffman looks so much like Philip Seymour Hoffman trying really hard to do Capote. He is good, and I did get used to his performance far more quickly than I thought I would, but I never felt any kind of connection to the character, a character who happens to be a literary figure that I have a certain affection for. Perhaps I was unprepared for such a dark portrait of him, but I don't really think that's the case. It's not as if I was ignorant of the man's nasty qualities. I didn't even need to leave the movie liking the guy; I just wanted to get a rich, moving sense of his humanity. And I didn't get that.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I'm still reading the L.A. Weekly

as you'll soon be able to tell, because I'm about to link to a funny article about a Silver Lake-based soap opera I barely knew was on the air before UPN canned it. Sex, Love and Secrets, starring Denise Richards...I guess I should've been paying more attention, because I probably would've tuned in to any nighttime soap opera starring Denise Richards, regardless of where it was set.

I remember reading online how the S.L. hipsters were all up in arms about all the filming cramping their style on their way to Rudy's Barber Shop for bad haircuts, but I didn't know the show had already come and gone from the airwaves.

The Weekly article is worth a read, if only because Steven Mikulan elevates the show into something that sounds far more interesting than I'm sure it is by talking about it in dismissive terms. I'm not sure how he does that, but it's most impressive. Check this out:

It’s not easy to describe what happened in SLS, because the central characters all seemed to materialize in one spot spontaneously, as if flash-mobbed into existence. They listened to bands and watched the L.A. skyline morph in time-lapsed montages outside the windows of their fabulous pads, as the parade of crotches and high heels passed by at Sunset Junction. They didn’t use drugs or discuss politics — or even acknowledge a wider world outside of what the show’s ad called “L.A.’s hippest neighborhood.” In the tradition of most soap-opera characters, they were passive and pursued by others — even Charlie was attacked and handcuffed to a bed by feral stewardesses. The only plotline that seemed to develop was the fact that earnest Hank and Rose were on the rocks because a dead boyfriend of Rose and Jolene’s turned up not dead and returned to L.A.’s hippest neighborhood. This allowed Jolene to work her mischievous magic by manipulating everyone in Rose’s orbit. Everything else was parsley....

Perhaps the show’s biggest crime was to occasionally employ the smug voice-over of a woman pontificating on the predatory antics of the animal kingdom, sort of like having Sarah Jessica Parker, in her Sex and the City voice, narrate a Walt Disney nature documentary. It was supposed to be ironic....

It almost sounds like a sort of pop art fable, doesn't it? Is it just me? I don't know. Maybe it's just the kind of show that's best when you turn the sound down and make up your own dialogue. I'm sure I'll be able to Netflix it in a couple of months and find out for myself. Either way I bet it's better than Desperate Housewives.

Midnight movie?

I just read in L.A. Weekly about this bizarre movie that's getting a midnight screening at the Sunset 5 in WeHo. Anyone want to see it with me?

Dangerous Men evidences one of the most eccentric, hermetic, idiosyncratic sensibilities to be found in the filmmaking canon: Background paintings leap out of frame. Key exposition is delivered away from the camera. Actors appear to repeat key speeches phonetically. Kung fu sequences employ reverse zooms, sucking the action out of the scene. Sex acts invariably involve massaging of knees and licking of navels. A biker bar prominently features an espresso machine.

At one point, the movie’s Ms. 45–style vigilante kneels on the beach, lost in her thoughts, as a tender ballad declaims something about “the splendors of the moment”; as the camera pulls back, we see the lyrics of the song written in the sand — in cursive writing. The sole name cast member — the late Carlos Rivas, who played Lun Tha in the movie version of The King and I — holds a conversation on a phone that is clearly not plugged in, his script on the desk in front of him, his lines highlighted in yellow Magic Marker. A doorway in a crowded bar leads onto a deserted beach as inexplicably as the inside of John Malkovich’s head leads to the New Jersey Turnpike.

The car is fixed!

And I'm not even broke! Yet.

And JW and I are going to see Capote tonight, finally. I'm trying to keep my expectations under control so I'm not disappointed -- don't get me wrong, I'm very excited to see this, but I'm also a little scared of the hype.

There's one thing of which I'm certain, however: regardless of the film's quality, I'm sure to learn lots of fun new things to do with bourbon!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Better today

So I went home, made dinner, took some NyQuil, and threw The L-Word into the DVD player and passed out by 8:30pm. Thought about calling in sick this morning but I'm pretty much fine now.

Can I just say how happy I am that Sandra Bernhard is on season 2 kicking bad writer Jenny's ass a little? I'm only two episodes in, so don't spoil it for me; I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that they don't end up sleeping together. Or if they do it resembles that bit Sandra does in her stand-up about Britney Spears, with her showing Britney the ways of the world after a blissful afternoon in the Valley sipping on Ice Blendeds at Coffee Bean and frolicking through Costco. Work something like that into Jenny's storyline and they'll be onto something!

Better yet, let's just leave Britney in and turn it into her follow-up to Crossroads. I know she's a little the worse for wear these days, but put her hair in pigtails, dress Sandra in a severe black pantsuit, and I'm so there on opening night!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

This may make me a

sucker for the indy trendy, but I ran out and got Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's debut album over the weekend. It wasn't blind faith in the hipster masses that made me do it, though; I heard the band's live set on Morning Becomes Eclectic a month or two ago and really liked it. Now I've got "Upon this Tidal Wave of Young Blood" on repeat in my head ("they are going out to bars and they are getting in their cars"). In short, the disc is good, and it's nice to have a mush-mouthed pop star again...seems like it's been a while since I've had to struggle to figure out lyrics. Or maybe it's just been a while since I've cared.

Oh, speaking of, I also snagged Deerhoof's new album, Apple O (anybody want to see them live at The Echo with me Thanksgiving week?), and I wish I had a clue what the heck Satomi Matsuzaki was singing; I guess I need to sit down with the booklet and read all the animal and food imagery she must be chirping about. I did make out "Panda Panda Panda," though. That's pretty easy to get.

Ugggh

To quote a friend from my college days, "I feel like the hog's asshole." Don't ask me where that phrase came from....

Come to think of it, I think its etymology can be traced to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where I'm sure it came bubbling out of the crazy water there and got gulped up by the mouths of all these H.S. natives I knew who were classmates of mine at Hendrix. All of them would use the phrase to describe how bad they felt when they skipped class for legitimate reasons. And when they had hangovers.

I'm sickly with that kind of low-grade, drip-in-the-throat, achy, want-to-go-home-and-take-some-NyQuil-and-throw-in-my-Netflix-of-The L-Word-and-pass-out-until-morning kinda way. The kinda sick where I don't know that I feel bad enough to merit going home early or calling in sick, but I seriously do not want to be working.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Another blog

Playwright/screenwriter/friend Sallie's got one. You might remember her from my fun Halloween pics a few days ago. The Fish in the Percolator is here.

Customary Monsters is BACK!

For now, anyway. I think I'll stop sweating about this reading happening when it's over. Then I'll probably be sweating about the problems in the script, but there's a surprise, right?

Anyway, we're looking at Sunday, December 11 at 2pm at Working Stage Theater in West Hollywood, which is located at 1516 N. Gardner. Mark your calendars!

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

is really good, smart, fun trash. Go see it.

It's so nice to see Robert Downey, Jr. back in action, too. And it's nice to see Corbin Bernsen somewhere besides The Grove, because that seems to be the only place I ever see him anymore. And that usually happens right before I get the giggles.

That's Frank O'Hara

over on the right, in case you were wondering. I've always loved that picture.

Friday, November 04, 2005

fingers crossed

I'm going to look at a space tonight for the reading of Customary Monsters...if it all works out it'll be for early next month. Everything about it sounds great. We'll see.

I'm starting to think this might've worked out for the best, because now we'll have a month to get the word out, plus a couple of actors I wanted to use who weren't available might be. Are you reading this Henry??

Also I came up with a couple of kickass ideas for draft 5 during the commute yesterday that I probably wouldn't have managed if the reading were in the original early November date. You know, those kind of obvious, "oh, that's how I can do that!" ideas that it takes you 4-5 drafts to actually realize? This script has been full of those. Things like...
"Oh, you mean I can just cut the awkward time shifts and make it all happen at the same time? Wow!"

OR
"Oh, you mean Father doesn't have to die by the end of act one? He can die later? I never woulda thought!"

So many revelations. The mind just reels.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

the Mae Shi in the LATimes

Today's LATimes is calling L.A. band the Mae Shi a "buzz band," which means they're over, right? Just kidding, and I don't care either way; I still like 'em! Read the article here. My favorite quote is below.

"We'll play to five people in Oklahoma City, then get 150 for a show in Little Rock, Ark.," [Jeff Byron] says.

I bet they played Vino's in Little Rock. I miss that place!

UPDATE: I just checked the band's website and it's Whitewater Tavern that they played. I miss that place too! Whitewater doesn't seem to have a website, but here's my college newspaper's commentary on the place, featured in a column called "Central Arkansas' Finest Dives." How cute is that?!

Whitewater actually got name-dropped in a short play I recently wrote -- a play that was actually set in Little Rock's other great dive, Midtown Billiards, which is also featured in the Profile article I hyperlinked above. Check the link for descriptions of both, but I have to paste the commentary on Mid-Town, which is priceless. Read it below.

The only downside to [Mid-Town Billiards] (which I actually find kind of charming) is that it is incredibly seedy with an odd mix of people: old women wearing clothes about the size of dishrags and "grinding" on any drunkard who stops to pay them attention, upper middle class business types who act like they're only there for the pool and not because they're closet alcoholics, redneck couples who make out a lot, and the random crackhead who says funny things like, "man, you should see the pool table I got in my mansion. I won a $5000 game on it a coupla' nights ago. Lemme get a smoke, man, can I have a beer?"

Charming? You find that charming???

You and me both, my friend....

My car

has had this ugly ugly dent in it for almost a year now, and I am determined, DETERMINED, to at least get an estimate this weekend. It's not that I'm lazy...okay, so I'm lazy...but I think of the cost and I know it's purely cosmetic and I just can't bring myself to do anything about it. But the other day a friend of mine was walking to the parking garage at work when I was driving past and I saw her mouth "GHETTO" as I was driving past, and I felt a little spurred to action. Now, when I say "the other day" I really mean a couple of months ago, but it's a process, yeah? Determined. DETERMINED!

Other things to do this weekend:

1. See a movie that isn't Capote. Must wait for JW (who's out of town) for that one. Been waiting for JW for for a month now. About to resign myself to a Netflix viewing.

2. Go see Sheila's other play.

3. Sing in evensong service that includes the Faure Requiem on Sunday at 5pm at All Saints' Beverly Hills. Come if you want.

4. Try and figure out this stupid reading! Might happen in December. Fingers crossed, keep you posted, etc.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Halloween Post-Mortem



My lovely hosts, Sallie and Justin. All these photos were taken by the lovely Sallie (or with her camera), who was sweet enough to let me join her flickr network so I could steal her photos for my own selfish use.



Fellow playwright blogger Clark with Justin. He clearly spent far more time and effort on his costume than I did.



So the costume was a little last-minute. If my choir director is reading this, sorry. I promise I won't make a habit of wearing my cassock and surplice to parties.

And yes, that is fire that I'm breathing. I blame the tiara.

My email to www.umc.org

I was SO irritated after reading yesterday's news article about The United Methodist Church Judicial Council's decision to defrock a lesbian minister and force the reinstatement of a homophobic minister who wants to keep gay people from joining his church. So irritated, in fact, that I went right to the national church's website and sent an email. The text is below.

I am writing to voice my digust at the Judicial Council's decision to defrock Rev. Irene Stroud and reinstate Rev. Edward Johnson. I would admit to little surprise at the actions against Stroud, but it is unfathomable that the church on a national level would reinforce a decision to bar a gay person from becoming a member of a church.

I am a son of a Methodist minister who was raised, baptised, and confirmed in the church, and I am a gay man, and I can say without hesitation that it is this kind of exclusionary, homophobic, discriminatory action that has led me to seek a church home in another denomination.

Sincerely,

Kyle T. Wilson

That "little surprise" line might require a bit of explanation. The Judicial Council was following the position stated in the church's Book of Discipline on the issue of homosexuality in kicking Irene Elizabeth Stroud out of the pulpit. If you'd like to read more about what that position is, you can find it here. You can imagine what I think of the integrity of the Book of Discipline on this issue. "Fence-straddling, incoherent, contradictory, hypocritical garbage" is one way to put it. Even so, it is the position -- church law, even -- which is why I would admit to little surprise on that issue.

However, to force a conference to reinstate a pastor who thinks it's right to keep a man from becoming a member because of his sexual orientation is just absurd and awful. What's next? Are they going to start handing out questionnaires? Honestly!!

The United Methodist Church has a template on their website that allows you to send your own email. That page is found here. Have at it!

Very unique

You all know this is incorrect, right? "Kind of unique" is, as well. This is up there with s/he for me. Can we all work on this please? Good.

I bring this up because I was listening to NPR this morning and a reporter opened her story with a sentence that contained the phrase "very unique." I'm sorry, but I just can't get behind this sort of thing.

Listen, if we're having a chat and the phrase "a little unique" pops in, I'm fine, but don't subject me to it when you're reading me the day's news. I can tell you nothing about the story the reporter was reading because I was so distracted by the fact that "very unique" ended up on the air; it's not like it was in an interview and someone said it conversationally, either. Not only did a journalist write this phrase -- it was basically the lede -- but one could assume that an editor either took a look at it or heard it and did not edit it, either.

Unique is defined in Websters as "being the only one." This is why something is either unique or it isn't. Nothing is kind of unique. There is one or there are two.

NPR, are you reading this? I'm a big fan, but please pay attention! And then give me a job so I can help you with just this kind of thing. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

One of the many reasons why I'm an Episcopalian now

is detailed in today's NYTimes:
In a pair of decisions that bolstered conservatives, the highest court of the United Methodist Church defrocked an openly lesbian minister yesterday and reinstated a pastor who had been suspended for refusing to allow a gay man to become a member of his congregation.

The article is here.

I went to a beauty supply store yesterday

To buy hair product. This is not something I feel comfortable doing. Not because of the obvious girly implications...please...but because everything in there is so damn expensive. Last time I got my hair cut my poor hairdresser Debbie went to work on my mop with some clippers and asked with more than a little annoyance, "what are you using in this?" to which I responded with great shame, "cheap stuff."

So because I'm almost out of the crap I bought at Ralph's, and because I'm doing a better job of balancing my checkbook (can you believe it?), I thought last night I'd splurge and buy not so cheap stuff. Problem is, whenever I look at hair products that aren't labeled "Suave," I hear my dad's voice in my head saying something like "Hey Kyle, you ever see a 15-dollar jar of pomade? Look here!"

This requires some explanation.... Once Dad and I were zipping through a Neiman-Marcus to meet my mother at some big city mall. In the days before cell phones we'd always let Mom loose on the Hallmark and craft stores while we went to Radio Shack, and then we'd meet up for supper at the El Chico. So, following our usual routine, Dad and I got caught up looking at something or another and had to make a dash through Neiman's (this must've been somewhere in Texas...you know there ain't no Neiman-whatchamacallits in AR) in order to be about 10 minutes late to meet Mom. Even though we were rushing, Dad still had time to scoff at the decadence of all the clothing on display. Every so often he'd stop and check a price tag and say, "Hey Kyle, look here; this is a 200-dollar shirt. You ever see a 200-dollar shirt?" Or, "Hey Kyle, a pair of jeans for three-hundred-and-fifty dollars! I bet you never saw one of those!"

So there I was last night, standing in the beauty supply store, contemplating which $10-20 jar of pomade/wax/creme/paste to purchase so my hairdresser doesn't fuss at me again. Talk about decadent; I wanted to head to the florist on my way out and see if they had any green carnations. Anyway, I settled on some KMS gritty weird stuff that wouldn't have been my 1st choice, but because it was under 11 bucks, I figured if Dad showed up in the doorway to ridicule me I could at least say, "well heck, Dad, at least I didn't get the 25-dollar jar!" That's gotta be some consolation, right? To which Dad would surely respond, "I guess, but you still had to go to the beauty supply store to buy it. I'm going back to the Radio Shack!"

S/he

is not a word. I feel very strongly about this. I've been noticing this aberrant attempt at gender-neutrality popping up a lot lately here and there. Can we please make it stop? If we all work together, I know we can!

If you have typed or written this in the past, I mean nothing personal. I'm sure you're intelligent and sweet-faced, and your attempts at inclusivity are to be lauded. However, to paraphrase my esteemed college English professor Ashby Bland Crowder, "unless you're writing about a hermaphrodite, you have no business typing "s/he" in your paper!" "She or he" will do just fine, if you don't mind. Or "he or she." Or perhaps, with a little effort, the somewhat more formal but always elegant, "one," as in "One does not use the non-word s/he if one wants to write about other than a hermaphrodite, does one?" Dr. Crowder would approve, I think.