Tuesday, January 29, 2008

So I've gone from

not even having an antenna to SERIOUS TV. DVR, 200 channels, the whole bit. What new shows should I be watching?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday morning semantics

I'm at my favorite coffee shop and irritated at myself because I can't find the notebook I need to get started on the script I was going to begin today. I just hope I find it; I had a lot of writing in there!

On Friday I saw a play that's gotten good to rave reviews in town. One of the characters in the play is a biological male who has taken up living life as a female. Nowadays, we call those people transsexual or transgender.

After seeing this play, I recalled that at least one of the reviews I read described this character as a transvestite. Although this is the oldest of the three trans-related words (early 1920s, according to dictionary.com) and appears to retain some of the catch-all definition it surely was used for, nowadays it is typically reserved for people who fetishize clothing of the opposite sex and receive sexual gratification out of cross-dressing.

The word transsexual arose in the 50s, around the time of Christine Jorgensen. "Transgender" is the newest word, originating in the 90s, presumably because of a need for a word less closely associated with sex reassignment surgery...that, and maybe the rise of Queer Theory, but never mind.

The reviews in all three of the major papers for theater criticism -- the L.A. Times, the L.A. Weekly, and L.A. City Beat -- refer to this character as a transvestite. I also found a web-only review that used the same term. Backstage West referred to her as a "tranny."

All of this is particularly interesting to me because I have this trans-themed play that I keep putting off writing -- so much so that I have this free morning and that notebook I need has writing on a different play altogether, and I sit here blogging about trans-sensitivity issues rather than writing the play I want to write, but never mind. Some time ago, after my initial research on the matter, I discovered this article called "Does the Media have Gender Insensitivity Disorder?" by Katrina C. Rose. She writes:
In 1996 a pre-op Transsexual was killed in a grisly head-on collision on a Houston freeway. Although the driver of the other vehicle was unquestionably at fault (traveling the wrong way on the freeway at a high rate of speed), the media was more concerned about the gender, and, of course, genitals of the victim, derisively referring to her as having been in drag.
I was reminded of this piece (click here and scroll down for the whole article) when I went back and read all the reviews and their incorrect description of the character. As you can imagine, I got my dander up and was about ready to dash off corrective emails to all of the critics.

And then it dawned on me. All these critics are writing off of a press release. They should still know better, but there's a good chance they were just using the character descriptions provided to them.

My suspicions were confirmed when I went to both the theater's website and the program and found the character (half of the play's love story, mind you) described as a transvestite. The production is a world-premiere and the writer is playing one of the lead roles, so one can't really argue that he was uninformed of this choice.

My guess is a lot of people consider words like "transgender" and "transsexual" should be reserved for those actively making the transition to the opposite gender, with surgery the ultimate outcome. I assume that was the prevailing understanding of the folks involved in this well-intentioned production. It's uninformed and outdated, though, which, in the days of ENDA and Congress' battles over including transgender protection in equal rights legislation, is unfortunate, to say the least.

Of course, the only thing I can conclude from all this is that, while I get bogged down in research and details, some other (apparently less-informed) writer gets raves, full houses, standing ovations, and an extended run.

I'm going home now.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

L.A. Weekly says GO to IL BIDONE

I promise I'll get back to posting more than just advertising, but check this out:

The L.A. Weekly calls IL BIDONE "an impressively mounted production, executed with aplomb by a solid ensemble. Okulus Anomali's music, Fionnagan Murphy's sound, Jeffrey Elias Teeter's lighting and Janne Larsen's set blend to create a haunting aura that is both whimsical and harsh. It's an ironical backdrop to what ultimately emerges as gripping human drama."

The whole review is here.

Rushforth Productions' adaptation of Federico Fellini's IL BIDONE enters its second weekend tomorrow, 1/24. Performances are at 8pm at Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90057.

For tickets, visit www.rushforthproductions.com or call 213-455-1495.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

IL BIDONE starts tomorrow


by Federico Fellini

Screenplay adapted for the stage and directed by ensemble member Patrick Mapel. Featuring ensemble members Dean Chekvala, York Griffith, and Sarah Utterback. Along with Alexandra Billings, Katharine Brandt, Michael Dunn, Ralph P. Martin, Ben Messmer, and Andrea Tzvetkov.

From Italy’s most masterful and prov0cative filmmaker comes a tragicomedy set among the petty swindlers and con-men of post-war Rome. Join us as Rushforth Productions brings Federico Fellini’s world to the stage.

Thursdays - Sundays / 8pm / $20
(Preview performances available January 17 and 18 for $15)
Call 213-455-1495 for reservations, or go to our website at www.rushforthproductions.com. Or heck, just email me.

This production is brought to you In Association with Bootleg Theater.


Join us for opening night January 19th and stay after the show for complimentary food and live music performed by the composer for the play, OKULUS.

Tickets for opening night are $30.

I finished it,

by the way.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I will finish

this script today. I WILL finish this script today! Just imagine me in my usual spot in my Sunday morning coffee shop, head back, toothy smile framed by perfect red lipstick, arms extended, shower of rose petals falling over my head. I lower my fingers to the keys and type with speed, ease, and joy. I WILL finish this script today!

I had the fakest celebrity sighting just a second ago. I was convinced Juliette Louis had strolled in here with unwashed hair, bad jeans, and a stained t-shirt on. It wasn't her. Still, you can't blame me for being mistaken, can you?

I spent several hours painting on the IL BIDONE set yesterday. You've all gotten your tickets by now, I assume. Oh wait, I'm handling box office so I KNOW you haven't. Get them here. Now. Seriously.

Okay, back to it. Must get back to work. My hair's wilting and my pantsuit's starting to wrinkle.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A few things

I've been determined to post but at a loss for what to write. So here's a hodgepodge.

I loved There Will Be Blood and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Thanks Glenn! I'll get those back to you asap.

The play I'm working on opens next weekend. Get your tickets now by clicking here. I saw a run-through on Tuesday and I was very impressed.

I decided some time back that I was completely over Hillary until she started to fall behind in Iowa, and then I got sad. I don't know if it's Clinton nostalgia or what, but now I don't know how to feel. I'm glad she's still in the race though. Don't know if I'll vote for her.

I was scanning an interesting blog I found through a link and I read this lovely post about Basquiat. Read it here.

More soon.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

I've more or less

outlined, scene-by-scene, the remainder of the script I've been working on and had resolved to finish by December 31. Some of the scenes are even written -- hand-written, that is. And I'm sitting here not typing it all up. I've got close to 60 pages on this thing, and I could probably finish this in a day or two if I'd just do it, but it's not happening for me at the moment. So I'm in my Sunday morning coffee shop blogging.

It'll happen eventually. It's just funny how skittish this script makes me. I don't know exactly why that is.

I saw I'm Not There yesterday afternoon. It's really interesting and a little confounding. I've got a copy of the screenplay, which I'm looking forward to reading now to see how it's spelled out on the page.

Oh, and I've become a Project Runway junkie. I caught a marathon of it the day after Christmas when I was home in Arkansas and probably watched about seven hours in one day. Of course I had no idea I was watching the first season from some 3+ years ago, but I'm absolutely crazy about Austin Scarlett and I want him to be my best friend and take me shopping and make amazing clothes for me. I Netflixed the DVDs and I'm subjecting JW to the entire season. He doesn't seem to mind terribly much.

There's a guy on the other end of the coffee shop who reminds me of a guy I went to college with. In fact, in the script I'm not working on, I named a character after this same guy.

Maybe I should take this as a sign to get back to work.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I have a lot of notebooks

lying around, half-filled, tucked in bags I don't carry as often as I used to, or buried in piles of papers and old magazines I keep meaning to go through. I found one today that had some writing goals I listed out sometime last summer. The list was completely long and kind of unrealistic, but as I looked at it I realized I could scratch off almost half of the items. It's nice to realize I get more done than it feels like I do.

I had another nice realization over my Christmas holiday. I've been pretty consistent with one notebook, and there are probably bits and pieces on at least four different projects in there. I've actually finished a draft on one of them and two others are half-finished. The thing I appreciated was just flipping through the thing looking for a clean page to write on. There's all this scribbling and outlining and notes in the margins and not a whole lot of blank space. Granted, most of it's probably unusable and a lot of it is crossed out or maybe even illegible, but it's good to have relics like that lying around when you feel like you're lazy and never get any writing done.

I was prompted to make a new goals list this afternoon, but this one was way more realistic. Two tangible goals with deadlines on two different projects, and another self-imposed deadline on a 3rd project, just because I think I can get it done. Hopefully I'll be able to scratch all these off the list so I can add a few more things to the list.