What’s the best way to make the Tea Party go away? By not proving their paranoia right. I’m probably even more outraged than they are, because the IRS singling them out just feeds them.
Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category
Well, to me anyway, that album would be “The Tenement Year” by Pere Ubu.
I was listening to this disc yesterday yet again and marveling over how beautifully it comes together, the squeaks and squonks of this offbeat band coalescing into an propulsive pop masterpiece that pulls into close rivalry with the best of Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks as idiosyncratic wordplay crashes against thunderous guitar and drums and musical textures that absolutely thrill and soar.
Then I happily found this encomium from a kindred spirit, celebrating the album’s 25th anniversary. Had it been 25 years? Yes, it had.
I highly recommend you read that remembrance, above, and then watch this video. If this doesn’t fill you with joy and wonder, we’re not on the same wavelength. Listen to those twin drum sets consorting and jousting with each other, to the tasty guitar fills, to the unexpected synthesizer sine waves that somehow buoy the oddball poetry of the words. It’s all deeply, deeply satisfying. And, as one friend said after I emailed him the link yesterday, “Good video, good song, and great dance moves.” Yes!
My play “The Size of Pike” opens this Friday at Moving Arts here in Los Angeles, where it runs through June 2nd. You can learn more about that, and get tickets, here. This is the point in the post where I subtly entreat you to please come see it.
And you might check out this piece that I was invited to write, which gives some of the backstory, as well as my take on how enchanting the outdoors truly are.
While I’m on the topic, the editor of that piece was Don Shirley, a longtime theatre critic and editor here in Los Angeles. I had no idea Don would be editing that, or even that I’d get an editor. What an enormous treat actually to be edited, and by an editor I respect! I read the LA Times and the Wall Street Journal every day, in print editions, and innumerable newspapers and magazines online, and I had given up hope that there were actually any editors left. (Most days, you wouldn’t know it.) Don emailed me with four questions and suggested changes, and I agreed to every one of them. Want to know why? Because they improved my piece. Here’s the definition of a good editor: someone who improves your piece. (And we know what a bad editor does.) He even took the time to go online and check something he wasn’t sure about at AMA Manual of Style, and to send me the link so I could check it out myself. I’m taking the time here to note all this because I’m grateful, and because I was further flattered to hear that he’d been reading this blog, so maybe he’ll see this.
Among other things, the play is about traditions and skills that are lost. Glad to know that copy editing is not one of them.
This commercial, for a transmission shop here in Burbank, beats anything Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce has ever done. And for obvious reasons.
Here’s a claim that I flat-out don’t believe: that the “craft beer industry” is more important to the San Diego economy than Comic-Con. Here, read the piece for yourself, as found on the freelance entertainment site Examiner.com .
The article tabulates the craft beer industry as putting $299 million into the San Diego economy, while Comic-Con purportedly contributes only $180 million.
But lets look at this another way, in per-day revenue. If these figures are true — if — then craft beer, which is a year-round endeavor, brings in $819,000 a day. (And a lot of that is no doubt attributable to those sweaty fanboys in town for Comic-Con.) That’s not even enough for Lex Luthor’s latest battle suit. But comics, with their annual event lasting only five days, bring in an astounding $36 million per day. That’s Zuckerberg money.
So when it’s comics vs. snooty beer, the ales pale by comparison.
Here’s how one man came to eat in 6297 Chinese restaurants (and counting).
I was going to post all sorts of things on this blog tonight, but wound up writing 10 pages of my new play tonight instead.
Late last year, I started going to the gym regularly. Mostly to deal with chronic pain I’ve been experiencing since a car accident (not my fault) two-and-a-half years ago. It’s not something I talk about too much, and it’s not something I believe I’ve written about here before. At first, I started going to the gym just to loosen up, and to sit in the jacuzzi as often and for as long as I could. But then, sometime in February, something started to happen: I started to feel like I needed to go to the gym. Like I had things to work out. And now I’ve further turned that corner: Now I’m someone who looks forward to going to the gym.
For years, I posted on this blog every day. Every single day. Lately, it’s been more sporadic. I’ve wondered why that is, especially since I write every day. It’s not always playwriting (or, clearly, blog writing), but every single day I’m writing something, some of it for a fair amount of pay, some of it for some small amount of pay at some point (those tend to be plays), and some of it, I’m sure, for no pay whatsoever (those would be poems and short stories, which I haven’t even bothered to send out for years now). The itch I now get when I don’t go to the gym or get some other physical activity — the sense of feeling “rammy,” as the adults used to say about the overly rambunctious son of my father’s friend — is akin to the itch I get when I’m not writing.
But here’s what I think spurred an unexpected 10-page writing session on my play tonight: the miracle of seeing four compelling, enjoyable, thought-provoking plays recently, which were like finding water after being in the Mojave of bad theatre for the past two years, and the resumption of my playwriting workshop today. My workshop is stuffed with good writers writing good plays. When you’re in the room with that, you’d have to work not to be inspired by it.
The play I’m writing is a memory play. That’s not what I normally do, or, more appropriately, it isn’t what I’ve mostly done. (Or done at all?) But that’s what this play is. Tomorrow, we’re removing the seats from Moving Arts, the seats that we installed in 1993 or 1994, the seats donated to us that came from a silent movie house in the Bay Area where they were installed in 1916. We’re doing that because we’re putting in new seats. Parting ways with these seats that we’ve had for 20 years, and which have seen almost 100 years of audience derriere, will certainly spark more feelings fit for a memory play. But I’m excited to be part of taking them out for two reasons: because a number of them are going to a good new home where they’ll be cherished; and because while it’s good to appreciate the past, the future always beckons. And we’re already there, all the time.
Farewell to stage star Elaine Stritch. She’s still among us, but no longer on stage.
I love her sass. Her comic vinegar has always reminded me of my aunt who felt her leg cast went too high for her comfort — and so, banged some of it off with a hammer.
I’m glad I got to see Ms. Stritch in “A Delicate Balance” on Broadway about 20 years ago (where she was clearly too old to be talking about wearing a topless bathing suit, but I still didn’t care) and in “At Liberty” 10 years ago here in town.
She’s a character. I hope that all of us who think this is her final exit from the stage are somehow proved wrong. But I think her looming move to Birmingham, Michigan at age 88 tells us what we need to know.
Two notions I find especially interesting here:
First, the idea that David Bowie is someone we project onto: “The truth is, when you get Bowie fans in a room they have absolutely nothing in common.” That may be true — but isn’t the same true of other major groups from that time, like the Rolling Stones? We now live in an era of niches; we used to live in an era of mass markets. So perhaps Geoffrey Marsh hasn’t recognized this changing dynamic and is projecting onto his exhibit what he wants to see.
Second, I’m intrigued by the idea that Bowie’s 10-year “disappearing act” was actually performance art, and Bowie trying to play Marcel Duchamp. But, again, that sounds like someone in the visual arts telling us that it’s all about visual artists — so, more projection.
My further thoughts about these two points: I think all artists are what we project onto them; and I doubt that even David Bowie could tell you with surety why he took off 10 years. He just did.