Thursday, July 27, 2006

Off to Chicago tomorrow

Seeing two shows at Steppenwolf. I got lucky and scheduled a trip for a wedding on a weekend that their new plays series is in their second space! I wish I had time to see everything, but I'm just seeing 100 Saints You Should Know, by Kate Fodor, which I had the good fortune to read earlier this year; it blew me away.

I'm also seeing The Unmentionables, by Bruce Norris, on the mainstage, starring Lea Coco! Break a leg, Lea; looking forward to seeing the show!

Lance Bass

I wasn't going to blog about this, because boyfriend has clearly gotten enough attention over the past few days, but I started writing a comment on another blog and I couldn't stop, so what the hell....

As for Lance, I'm glad he's finally public about his sexuality, and if he makes it easier for one more kid to deal with his or her own sexuality, then all the better. If he makes it easier for someone who's gay to get a job, or keep a job, or be comfortably out, better still.

But here's my issue -- aside from the fact that this could not be less newsworthy right now, considering the state of world affairs -- suddenly the guy makes all kinds of news, the covers of magazines, gets all kinds of publicity, just for coming out of the closet. The only reason anyone still talked about him was because of the gay rumors (thanks to the nauseating Perez Hilton, et al). Now Lance is out and has just gone from ridicule and semi-obscurity to the covers of magazines.

I guess I find this annoying in part because we as a society feel that a has-been pop-star coming out of the closet actually is news. Seriously, I had no idea who this guy was until the gay rumors; I have a vague memory of the space thing, but even then I was thinking, isn't he some kind of Texas oil Bush crony or something? Ditto for that Reichen guy...I still don't know who the hell he is. I'm also disappointed that it's news career-closet-cases can capitalize on, like maybe Lance Bass, and definitely Tab Hunter and Richard Chamberlain when they have memoirs to sell, etc. Do you think those guys really cared that much about the social relevance of their going public?

In dollars and cents, perhaps.

Related: I love this post.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Keep your laptops close to you, people!

And back everything up! That means you, Wilson!

From LAist:

I was sitting at Starbucks in South Pas today, working on my laptop, talking to a client, when the door burst open behind me and a guy reached over, grabbed my computer, and took off running.
Read the rest of it here.

McSweeney's on "Sweet Child O' Mine"

I'm way behind the times on this -- Stereogum posted on it two weeks ago -- but I stumbled across it this morning and it seemed to fit in these pages. Below is an excerpt from "Notes on 'Sweet Child O' Mine' as Delivered to Axl Rose by his Editor," by John Moe.
Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place where as a child I'd hide—Delete. Fix. Do something. You'd hide in a place that reminded you of hair? Never show me such phrases again.

And pray for the thunder and the rain to quietly pass me by—Whew. OK, listen to me now: Thunder can't quietly do anything. It's thunder. And, more importantly, do you really want to come across as a wuss who's constantly on the verge of weeping and skittering into hair caves to escape from rain? Is this a song about love or climatic anxiety? You need to work these things out.
The whole piece is here.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Note to filmmakers

adapting plays based on Restoration theater:

Try to understand that character developments revolving around actors having artistic epiphanies do not require them to shake off their period-appropriate theatrical conventions so they might perform Shakespeare as if they had just stepped out of a drama class in the Valley. Thanks.

A few links

There was a cool article in yesterday's LATimes about Suzan-Lori Parks' 365 Plays/365 Days project. The link is here.

Feminary posts about Taking the Jesus Pill at King King in Hollywood here. I've been thinking of seeing this one. If you check their website, the show's described as "Southern Gothic Rock Opera" and a cross between Flannery O'Connor, Bob Fosse, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Sounds interesting, huh?

Do we like Kira Obloensky? The staging of her play Lobster Alice at The Blank is getting a lot of press because of the TV stars in it, but I think we're supposed to like her regardless of the fact that actors from Buffy and E.R. are in the cast of her show. And the play sounds fun:
In 1946, surrealist Dali spent six weeks at Walt Disney Studios, commissioned to create "Destino," a short animated film. The play is a speculation on what might have transpired between Dali and the animator assigned to work with him....
Alright, that's all I got for now. Back in a bit.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I'm loving the new Sonic Youth album

Rather Ripped. In fact, it may be their best album in over a decade (with the worst title ever, I'm afraid to say, but still). I am fond of Washing Machine, but the 25-minute free noise "Diamond Sea" makes me a little tired.

Regardless of how good Rather Ripped is -- and it really is good; I splurged this weekend and got The Futureheads' new CD (which is perfectly listenable, but is all about track 4, "Skip to the End"), and Thom Yorke's Eraser (which is also listenable but kind of fussy)(I don't know why I chose the word "fussy" and I don't think I could back up that critique at all if challenged)(sorry, Erik, for ripping off your back-to-back parenthetical expressions thing)(it just seemed appropriate in this instance), and out of the three CDs, Rather Ripped stands head-and-shoulders above the other two -- there's just the tiniest allusion in one of the melodies (unintentional, I'm sure) that gives me pause.

Extra points for you if you made any sense of the above sentence.

Anyway, let me explain; on the album's first track, "Reena," Kim sings in her usual entrancingly bored alto, and for about 1 measure in each verse, there's the tiniest hint of Guns-N-Roses' "One in a Million" in the melody. It kinda gives me the creeps.

Forgive me

for not having a clue who this Ethan Embry person was until Go Fug Yourself cautioned him against heading down the Paul Giamatti road to shlubsville, but I have to object to their criticism of his current look.
This is no shlub, ladies. This is the superior audiofile who was over The Arcade Fire before I'd even heard of them. This is the indifferent CD buyer at Amoeba who makes me wince with embarrassment when he comes across the old Indigo Girls CD I've decided to unload. This is the guy I pray will cross the street at Sunset and Fountain when I'm stopped at the light there just so I can get a better look before he disappears into Akbar's hipster sea of ambiguity.

Fug Girls, I love you dearly, but please, leave my geek boys alone!

Day of Action on Iran

Yesterday marked the 1-year anniversary of the deaths by hanging of two Iranian teenagers believed to be gay. There were vigils in 25 cities around the world, including San Diego, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Provincetown, and Salt Lake City. Joe.My.God writes about the New York rally here and has a couple of good links; Doug Ireland writes about it here and here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I'm getting excited

about my trip to Chicago at the end of the month. It looks like Steppenwolf is doing some cool new plays! Any Chicago folk want to suggest other theaters/stuff to do?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Within the Unknown

was a success...or at least it was for me. Dunno how the theater fared, but it looked like there were good crowds for everything I attended. My play seems to be working better and better, but I still hear stuff I need to tighten up/fix/cut, etc. The feedback I got was all positive, though, so I was pleased.

In other good news, a couple of good theaters (on both coasts!) requested complete scripts of another of my plays, War And Jim. I've been frantically giving it one last proof so I can get it in the mail. I'm so glad I held off; I almost sent it right away, but I'm so glad I didn't. I've found over 10 errors in the manuscript! Yikes!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Last night -- an outline

In the Green Room at Jimmy Kimmel Live (thanks B and B'S FRIEND!) to see the Sonic Youth appearance on the show:

1. B and ME enter, make beeline for buffet.

2. B'S FRIEND approaches, says hi. We thank B'S FRIEND. Make small talk.

3. ME feels someone bump into him, looks over, notices a slender woman straining to reach for an extra mini-brownie.

4. ME says, in his most country gentlemanly way, "Oh, 'scuse me," before moving out of the way.

5. B makes bugeyes at ME and mutters something incomprehensible.

6. ME nods and smiles and continues chatting with B's friend.

7. B'S FRIEND goes to check on something.

8. ME asks B what the heck she said to him earlier.

9. B says "that was Kim Gordon you just bumped into. I was trying to tell you."

10. ME says in an overly loud voice: "I BUMPED INTO Kim Gordon?? I SAID EXCUSE ME to KIM GORDON??!!"

11. ME looks around, sees Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore, decides to lower his voice.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Customary Monsters reading this Sunday at 5pm

That's right! My new play that I've been blogging about for over a year now is going to be read as part of Unknown Theater's Within The Unknown new play festival:

WITHIN THE UNKNOWN is the Unknown Play Project's annual new works festival - featuring plays at various stages of development - and designed to give the audience an inside look at the development process of a new play.

WITHIN THE UNKNOWN will take place from Thursday, July 13th, 2006 thru Sunday, July 16th, 2006 at Unknown Theater in Hollywood.
Sunday, July 16, at 5pm
A Rehearsed Reading
Written by Kyle T. Wilson
Directed by Diana Wyenn
And if you really want to support new plays and see what I'm up to, come to the reading that I'm DIRECTING!

Saturday, July 15, at 5pm
A Rehearsed Reading
Written by Hugh Fitzgerald
Directed by Kyle T. Wilson
Needless to say I'm just a tad bit more nervous about that than my own play, but we had our first rehearsal last night and it went relatively smoothly, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

The location of the theater is below; their website and more info about the festival are here.

Unknown Theater is located at 1110 Seward Street, three blocks East of Highland, 50 feet North of Santa Monica Boulevard.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Belle and Sebastian at the Bowl (FINALLY!)

So Thursday night JW and I met a couple of friends for Belle and Sebastian at the Bowl.I did my requisite cramming, pulling out Fold Your Hands, Child, You Walk Like a Peasant, which I bought years ago solely on the basis of its title, and running out to get If You're Feeling Sinister because my friend Kevin loves "Stars of Track and Field" so much (and so do I now, incidentally). I've never been the ideal Belle and Sebastian fan, I must confess; although I've always found them listenable, and I've always enjoyed how their song titles and album covers remind me of The Smiths, they've often seemed a little twee for my taste (God I hate that word and I hate that I just used it, but there it is). Of course, I felt that way before I saw them live.

We settled into our seats, surrounded by young hipster types who were passing joints and either talking through the songs or text messaging friends, stopping only to yell and applaud obnoxiously before completely ignoring the band. This is annoying; attendees of rock concerts, don't do this; there are other attendees there who are over thirty who actually pay money to go to these things because we want to listen to the music. I know it's strange, but that's what age does to you.

Now, that last statement might imply that we paid for these tickets, but of course we didn't. We usually do pay for our shows at the Bowl, but one of our friends is one of those nice people who knows people (but not in a silly Hollywood a cute, sweet kind of way) and we ended up not just with comps, but with these:More on that later, though.

Anyway, the band was GREAT. GREAT! Love the songs off the new album, love the song about Sookie in the graveyard, love them with the L.A. Philharmonic, love the lead singer running around in the crowd and having audience members apply make-up. I will see them live anywhere, anytime, if the opportunity presents itself. GREAT LIVE ACT. Adorable, playful, love love LOVE THESE SCOTS! We were a little anxious to get backstage before it got crazy back there, so we made our way out of the seats about an hour into the show and people were dancing in the aisles. We were all so charmed by all the cool kids and dorky straight white boys rocking out that we joined right in.

So we stayed out in the crowd through a great set before heading backstage before the encore. When we got back there, two things happened. First -- and typically I would save this event for last because it is better, but unfortunately I don't have a picture to add to it and I think it'll be cuter to end the post with pictures, which I do have for the other big event, so first -- FIRST, we're hanging out backstage with the cute little associate conductor, and one of our friends says in a quiet, almost conspiratorial voice, "There's Courtney Love."

And let me tell you, it was SO FUCKING COURTNEY LOVE. I'm sorry to swear but GODDAMN if Courtney Love didn't just come walking right past me, tottering on heels and in a trademark ratty dress, smoking a cig and talking to someone with the band (roadie? manager? assistant? wasn't sure). Seriously, all of us were within spitting distance, withing touching distance, of the owner of 75% of the Nirvana catalog, the embattled grunge rock matron, COURTNEY FUCKING LOVE, people. Her plastic surgery is visible. It is not pretty. She is pleasingly thin without looking unhealthy, and on Thursday evening she was refreshingly sedate -- perhaps sedated, but who's to say -- and she was looking for the band. Now, the funny thing about all this was that, on this night, backstage at the Bowl was really not that sceney a scene. The band went straight into their dressing room and shut the door, and the only other people loitering around were LAPhil folk, people who worked there, or folks like the four of us. And Courtney, of course, back there starfucking, trying to see this seemingly unpretentious group of Scots. I overheard one of the band's people saying, "was there someone in particular you wanted to see?" And she responded, "Well, I don't really know them, I just...." And she -- and her handler/assistant/babysitter, of course -- were pretty much ushered out of the way without coming near the band. Kickass.

Second -- and I know I can't top Courtney Love, but I do like this detail too -- through a series of circumstances that I'd rather not go into I managed to come away with not just the rehearsal list for the show----but also the setlist for the show:In the pictures above, you'll note that the rehearsal list is easier to read than the actual setlist, but if you're curious as to the order in which everything was played, the numbers on the left of the rehearsal list are the order of the show on Thursday. Those notes are the associate conductor's. Nice, huh? Unfortunately there's no list for the encore, and the songs they played band-only aren't on the rehearsal list either ("Sookie in the Graveyard"). As for the encore, I didn't really hear it anyway because I was backstage, but I did hear "The Boy with the Arab Strap" over the backstage speaker, and I also heard from folks afterwards that fans rushed the stage and the whole thing turned into an even bigger dance-party than it already was. That would've been fun to see, but never mind. Courtney Love was fun too.

I just wish they'd played "The Stars of Track and Field!"

UPDATE: NME has a fun story about them here.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Can someone please explain to me why George C. Wolfe

is in The Devil Wears Prada?

Okay, so I may not get to Belle And Sebastian

until tomorrow. But it'll be fun...promise!

I have some

blogging to do today about last night's Belle and Sebastian show at the Hollywood Bowl, but it comes with pictures, which I can't get to at the moment, but seriously, come back and check, because it was a fun night!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Kittensnake on my Rolando!

Gurl, get offa him, he's MINE!

The Kittensnake blogged yesterday on Rolando Villazón, in a post called "Rolando makes it hurt." And you know he does! Anyway, here's a sample, about Rolando's Don Jose in Carmen:

Carmen is a great piece that can be ever so easily fucked up. I'm relieved to say that this wasn't the case this evening (despite the chorus staging at the top of Act IV). The problem in Carmen, is that for the second two of the opera's three hours, the major dialogue between the two protagonists goes something like this:

Don Jose: I love you so much, Carmen.

Carmen: Hmmm, what? Yeah...okay great. Super.

Don Jose: You don't're my life, my one, my everything!

Carmen: You sound like a fucking pussy.

Don Jose: A pussy? Devil woman! Does that mean you don't appreciate my forebodingly unstable yet fiery Spanish passion anymore?

Carmen: Not really.

Literally. Two hours (Longer in the French cut). Albeit relatively more eloquently stated. In the final duet between Carmen and Don Jose...there's a really dangerous line that, in the worst of circumstances (which I've also been honored to have witnessed), can trigger scornful laughter from the audience. After, I repeat, TWO HOURS of this kind of back and forth, the orchestra goes suddenly quiet, and the tenor, Don Jose--now totally mad from unrequited love and having forsaken all things sacred in his life outside of Carmen (duty, honor, religion, family) whispers: " don't love me?"

Villazón sold it. Totally. Even I, one of the most cynical, critical assholes you can find concerning this kind of thing, was speechless at his portrayal. I bought everything he was selling, in every color he had in stock.
The entire post is here.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson

I consider myself lucky to have heard Lorraine Hunt Lieberson sing. Her performance of her husband Peter Lieberson's "Neruda Songs" is one of the many highlights of my Disney Hall concert-going. LATimes writes about her passing here; NYTimes writes here.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Thoughts on Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man

1. Concert movies in theaters are SO NICE. I always end up seeing them on DVD. I should stop that. And yes, I know this isn't entirely a concert movie -- I did just see it, after all -- but much of the concert footage is so rich and moving, and when it isn't, I can always put my head back and close my eyes and wait for Cohen's Godlike bass voice to wake me up for the next interview segment.

2. God, that Chelsea Hotel song about Janis Joplin giving Cohen head is so gorgeous when Rufus Wainwright sings it.

3. Why does that mary always make me cry? I love you Rufus.

4. MARTHA! I love you too. I don't even remember what your big song was in the movie but it was stunning.

5. Could somebody please give me fresh ears to hear "Hallelujah" with? I can't listen to it anymore. I sit there acknowledging the greatness of the song but I have heard it way too much now. Rufus, put it away! And all the rest of you pop stars, STOP COVERING IT! Then in 20 years I'll hear it like I haven't heard it in, oh, 20 years!

6. Bono, thank you for only being mildly ridiculous in this one.

7. Christopher Guest has ruined me for arts documentaries. Pop stars talking to the camera in reverent tones about other artists is forever comical to me now (see #6).

8. ANTONY! I've MISSED YOU! It's great to see you again! And your hair is so pretty!

9. Jarvis Cocker, thank you for the comic relief. And your hair's pretty too!

10. Leonard Cohen, thank you for being so self-effacingly brilliant. I love that you've written a lifetime's worth of ENORMOUS songs and you have the air of a tradesman. Who's into eastern religious practices and quotes the Bhagavad Gita, of course.