Friday, February 29, 2008

Sleep dust

I am weary. I've kicked up a lot of dust lately while trying to clean my apartment, and it seems to have kicked my allergies into overdrive. Plus I slept poorly last night. But I'm gonna try to drive to Kannapolis tonight. I'll arrive well after midnight. Laurie has offered to talk me in on the phone to keep me awake. Not that phoning while driving is a recommended way to improve driving safety...

Speaking of which, according to science.com the Mars watchers who thought they saw water flowing on that ol' red planet now realize it was a glitter dust avalanche instead. They are sad cuz they wanted water. I think avalanches of silvery dust are interesting in their own right. Once again some folks want life (or things which might contribute to it) on Mars, and I'd rather revel in the aridness of it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Why I'm Missing Everybody's Shows

I should probably explain this. My girlfriend lives far away, and I keep traveling to see her (and bring up some more of my stuff). I hope I'll get to see you folks work at least once more before I'm a Tarheel.

Waiting For Garfield

Garfield Minus Garfield takes a a well-known comic strip and takes it into Beckett territory. Oddly, I've never felt a comic came so close to capturing my home life.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Greetings, weary travellers!

Per site meter, most of the people who stumble across my blog are looking for one of three things (now that I've edited my blog to remove bats-spelled-backward and end the flood of navel bats-spelled-backwards fans):

1. The actor's nightmare script. Presumably people are hoping to find copies of Christopher Durang's one-act on the subject of the famous nightmare. Sorry; I've only written about my own nightmares.

2. Sissy husbands, sissy spouses, sissy aprons. Most of these are coming from England. Hope that puts some hurtful stereotypes about British men to rest. Hey, it's okay by me. Keep those aprons starched, guys.

3. My boyfriend won't touch me (or variations on that theme). This is the only one that surprises me. Are lots of women dealing with disaffectionate boyfriends, and turning to the net for answers?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My Improv Wish List

Thinking about improv today. My first improv troupe imploded in a burst of fragmentation and bloody fur. My second improv troupe has been like a semi-mythical beast, occasionally appearing before stunned onlookers, but mostly slumbering beneath the ground, leading to rumors that the beast is extinct/mythical. My next one is scheduled to do some opening benefit shows in May. Big hopes for this, but I'll be moving soon after. What I've seen of improv in Charlotte (one show) was painfully student-level.

What I want in an improv troupe:

It gets this article.

Long form improv that's actual improv, not ad-libbing around a preordained story structure.

Long form shows that are crafted through rehearsed improv, carefully honed. The best long-form show I ever did, Scandal Shmandal, masterminded by Chris Davis and the Solar Monarch, began with a few simple ideas. We played with those ideas for weeks, basically improving a whole show every rehearsal, keeping things that worked, letting the show take shape until we had something we couldn't wait to share with an audience. We weren't doing much real improv live onstage, but we used improv as a showmaking tool to create something wonderful that couldn't have happened any other way.

Performers have to have rich ideas, rich performance skills, in-the-moment awareness. They have to know how to use suggestions as the cornerstones of creation, rather than as irksome details to be referenced and dropped ASAP.

We're all learning, but beginners shouldn't be fundamental to the main shows; it
s not fair to anyone. Let students learn at a reasonable pace. When I started improvising I wanted to take a class or something before being thrust into the middle of a full-bore show. That wasn't an option in the 'Ham, so I had to go from audition to holding my own in paying gigs a little too fast... You gotta get on your feet, but a troupe that pushes fledgling performers out too soon is killing itself.

Something like Charles Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatre is what I want, but perhaps without a single writer.

Monday, February 25, 2008

My Secret Shame #775

When I first got my apartment I felt unshackled from all those bothersome rules of cleanliness, including those about hanging up one's clothes. I soon had a nasty mound of dirty clothes in an alcove closet between the bathroom and the hall. It turned into many connected mounds. Some nice clothes (that my parents bought me) wound up in that pile, and some of them stayed there until I decided I'd rather not bother with them... better to clean the same week's worth of clothes over and over, and let the surplus sit. Which it did. For years.

My girlfriend may be in North Carolina, but she still has her house here in the 'Ham. She's renting it out and the new tenant moves in on March 1. I have until then to use Laurie's laundry machines (with her blessing) to see how much of this musty old clothing can be saved. The next time those of you who know me see me, I may be wearing some clothes you've never seen before. I may also smell like a basement. I can't trust my sense of smell, so for cryin' out loud, spray me with lysol if you think it needs doing.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hank and the Green Knight

I'm almost done with Morte Arthur (finally) and it got me thinking about my Medieval Lit class in college. We read Gawain and the Green Knight, which involves the Knight Gawain going through a series of moral tests that he didn't know were tests, orchestrated by the mysterious Green Knight. Another guy in the class, Hank, was perplexed by this. He kept asking what gave the Green Knight the right to test people. IIRC our Professor made the case that the Green Knight wasn't to be understood as a peer, but as an anthropomorphic representation of God or Nature or whatever else puts us through our paces in life; Fate with a face on it. Hank wasn't satisfied with this answer, and made a little film (he was clever that way) adapting the story and placing Hank's question about who's the "bad guy," Gawain or the Green Knight, right up front. I remember thinking the film was cool, and I hope someone out there has it and slaps it on Youtube.

In that class we also read a lot of medeval theology, and Hank asked how we were to apply these readings to our spiritual walks. The prof answered that it was up to us, and we didn't have to; the point of reading it was to understand the people of the age, not to adopt their beliefs.

Hank loved to climb ledges, mountains, etc. He was planning to get a job on an oil derrick or something, but while still a student he fell to his death on one of his recreational climbs. It was a shame that someone so vigorously and actively pursuing answers and experiences about life (in direct contrast to my timid, cloistered approach to life) should be cut down so early.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Berries

Although Laurie makes awesome breakfasts, one day we went to breakfast at the diner in Kannapolis. She craved pancakes but had no mix. And (here's the key thing) she smuggled in blueberries.

I didn't notice if she used any syrup (Aunt Jemima... Laurie has been known to buy real high-octane maple syrup, but the diner just had Aunt Jemima), but with those berries who needs syrup?

I've always been nervous about sneaking one's own food into a restaraunt, fearing that the staff would take offence and give me the bum rush. What an absurd fear.

Then we walked around the block to the Memorial Park for Dale Ernhardt. Neither one of us care about NASCAR, but it's a lovely park, and Dale's big statue is quite appealing.

***

Saw some good theatre there. Saw some unappetizing theatre there. Really extreme. Really good or really not.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I Can Appolis!

I am in the quaint little Town of Kannapolis, just north of Charlotte NC, where my sweetie lives now. There's a cute little movie theatre (Haven't been in yet, but the old fashioned marquee is to die for) and a teensy diner with not-too-adorable fifties decor, a waitress witha brassy voice, and country ham biscuits.

Last night we went to a play: Edmund by David Mamet. A smart, stylish production. I'm happy to find good theatre here, but gloomy to discover it's more volunteer theatre. Still, one of the cast members has worked on Arrested Development, my fave sitcom, so it's possible to live here yet do pro work. Somehow... I was tempted to stay and pick brains after the show, but we were sleepy and as usual laziness won out over ambition. For the same reason, I'll stop posting here for the time being.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Self-Censorship

Every time I look at my sitemeter I discover that another batch of seekers has stumbled across my blog by looking for a certain topic. The topic is naval s--b, with a t and an a in between the s and the b. This annoys me more than it should (I mean, WTF?), so I've gone through this blog and --ed the offending word.

Second Post of the Day: Home Boy Hikikomori

I know where these goofballs are coming from, but I'm glad to have escaped the vicious cycle. Pity and frustration intermingle...

Link courtesy of Tom Spurgeon at comicsreporter.com.

Friday, February 08, 2008

3 Takes on Lovecraft

No time for a real post. Here's three different, interesting takes on one of my high school fave writers, H. P. Lovecraft, who is best enjoyed in high school.

M. John Harrison

Ken Hite's Tour de Lovecraft... he reviews every story in the Penguin collection.

Noah Berlasky.

Corrected for some of my most dreadful spelling errors.