Wednesday, May 28, 2008

ZZZZZZ...

Sorry I haven't been posting... I'm a bit out of phase. Packing up my belongings... my apartment is dotted with columns of stacked boxes, like some kind of nerd ruin. I'm fixating on pulp horror stories for some reason. I'm having Antonioni-esque dreams. I'm in the "moving" zone, and it's an oddly liminal zone. As I type this I'm listening to an NPR story about squatters getting "cash for keys" from foreclosing banks, and for some reason some chimpanzee part of my brain is wondering if I can make use of this as a broke departing apartment resident, but that's why the chimp shouldn't dominate.

Recently read a short story by Clive Barker. It's a story about a 9-foot troll who eats people. It occurred to me that 9-foot trolls aren't on my list of things to fear, which puts it on my list of things to not fear. Maybe this is why I like horror so much all the sudden; if I'm not scared of it I'm Unscared of it, so boogums are calming. It's weird to think my sense of fear is so binary.

Also checked out Don Glut's DVD documentary I Was A Teenage Moviemaker. He's a guy who made short clunky monster movies in his Fifties childhood. All the movies star his buddies. In the doc Don Glut himself talks at us in his endearingly loopy way (Is he a deadpan wit or an oblivious oddball? Or a hybrid of the two? I can't tell, but he's amusing either way) and sits in front of a typical lurid horror movie poster, with a creature menacing a busty woman. No busty women in his teen flicks, whether because he wasn't interested or because he couldn't find any to play along, but plenty of creatures and non-sequiter plotting.

I also rented his other Netflickable flick, The Mummy's Kiss 2. It's soft-core porn junk, the kind with women kissing each other and whatnot. I'm amused by his switch from dopey all-boy monster flicks to all-girl smut flicks. It's an interesting metaphor for adolescent development.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Teeth

For years I used to clench my jaw whenever I was stressed out; I often had a sore jaw. I also seem to have ground my teeth in my sleep.

Ever since I took up with Laurie, I've stopped all this. My jaw appreciates.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Out

My Birmingham Departure Timetable has been moved up. My realtor doesn't allow one to stay a fraction of a month for a fraction of one's rent: it's all or nothing. I was planning to leave in mid-July; given the choice between staying to the end of July or splitting at the end of June, I was leaning towards the former but Laurie repeatedly insisted upon the later plan. Oh, all right. Anything for a quiet life. Can I get my junk out of town in time? Not having moved before, and having been rooted to this cheap apartment since before the world had heard the name Lewinsky, I am uncertain.

Leaving the 'Ham is essential: I'm moving toward love and new life, though I'll miss the life and loves I have here and I'll probably be back from time to time to see old friends. I'd like to balance the urgency of leaving with a calmer contrapuntal note, but events are pressing me toward a more intense and explosive rush of action... not my usual approach.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen the meth lab?

I have no idea how long this article will be on line, but it reports that several rural counties here in Alabama have a meth epidemic. Police are finding meth labs in every other trailer.

From the article by Mike Cason for the Birmingham News: "...labs have been found in Marion, Franklin and Lawrence counties in northwest Alabama, and Randolph and Chambers counties in east Alabama. Authorities in Cleburne, Calhoun and DeKalb counties also report the problem.

"Germanowski said the "one-pot" labs have not emerged as a significant problem in Jefferson, Shelby and Tuscaloosa counties."

According to this link almost every one of the meth-infested counties are dry. I think I see a solution to this problem...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The day I stole a Baby Coffin

In college I was assigned to be Assistant Stage Manager on a play of my Professor's own devising. The subject of the play was a white family that adopts a black baby, whereupon it turns out that everyone they know is a closet racist. It's a bit Young Goodman Brown, but it ends with the child dispatched via SIDS, which is narrative closure of a sort.

My only real task was to obtain a baby coffin, and get it for free. "Why not make a stage-prop baby coffin," I asked. Because we wanted authenticity, apparently, although we used a doll instead of an actual child for the baby.

I called every funeral supply company in Birmingham. They all informed me that they weren't in the habit of loaning out free baby coffins for the use of amateur theatrics.

I went to the theatre's technical director, affectionately known as The Milkman, and told him that I was unable to obtain a free baby coffin. He noted that it was almost five o'clock, so the company brass at most funeral supply companies would be gone. He called one out of the phone book, got the custodian, and informed said custodian that he needed to swing by real quick to pick up a loaner coffin. The custodian said he'd leave the door open for us, so the Milkman and I jumped in the Milk Truck.

VROOOOM

We screeched up to the company building, ducked in through the side door, grabbed a suitable looking baby coffin, thanked the custodian, and

VROOOOM outta there.

I learned an important lesson that day; if someone says you can't have something, bamboozle the custodian into thinking you can.

I suppose there's a baby in a Birmingham graveyard whose coffin was the centerpiece of a bad play.

Monday, May 19, 2008

hi bye

We were not born to survive, only to live.

Laurie came to visit this weekend, and we did some living!

But we left a play at intermission. The first time we've done that, and the first time I've done that in many a moon, but the show was a dire letdown despite a few good performances. Maybe I'm less forgiving of Birmingham community theatre because I'm trying to separate from it in preparation for moving.

Anyway, at intermission we stood outside the theatre, planning to flee, but I spotted an old college chum (let's call her Carmilla) who was warm to me in those school days. Carmilla and I parted on cheerful terms, yet I found her flinty and unwelcoming today. She leaned against the wall of the theatre, smiling stiffly and giving me strained, cheerless replies, and it seemed to me that the theatre, which had been a second home to me for years, was speaking through her, threatening rejection if I abandoned the show.

We left anyway. I've left shows at intermission before, and returned to do shows at the same venue. Laurie and I went out to eat, had a jolly time, and look forward to my final move to North Carolina.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mondo Gummo

I wanna write about some specific things I find endearing about my girlfriend, but she might prefer that I didn't, so I won't.

Instead I'll say a bit about Gummo, a movie I've been watching (in my typical way... not enough time to watch a flick from start to finish, so I watch a bit one night, a bit more another night). Judging from the movie's entry on rotten tomatoes everybody who saw it thought this film was either a masterpiece or the Devil's Handiwork. Have you ever felt like the last of the non-drama queens?

The film takes a Mondo Kane-ish semi-documentary approach to the lives of various white-trash types and makes me feel like I've gone back in time to high school. I had a fairly privileged upbringing, but I spent time with the white-trash (I use that term non-pejoratively, like Dorothy Allison) crowd. The documentary parts of the film where the author just interviews various oddballs have an authenticity that the staged sub-John Waters shock stuff often lack (although getting a guy drunk and letting him whine belongs on Youtube, thanks). Most of the overtly staged stuff feels like any old student film. Director Korine has a lovely visual sense, and his blending of film stocks and oddly synced sound feels like a sensible development of the Natural Born Killers hothouse style. A DVD bonus interview with Korine is a bit like a bargain-basement version of those loopy interviews Dylan used to do when he'd make up odd stories. Here's hoping Korine goes deeper into his off-center explorations of overlooked lives and drops the cheap provocations, which I regard as a distraction from his real talents.

* * *

An anecdote about white-trash high school buddies: John W. was a high-I.Q. fatboy who, in his own words, didn't apply himself. Midway through college I went to visit him in his new apartment in some cheezy neighbourhood of Chattanooga. Turned out he had married a morbidly obese woman who was old enough to be his Mom. They shared the apartment with her two sons, both of whom strongly looked like John's brothers. One wall of the apartment was covered with stacked-up TV sets. Each set had a picture problem, so they'd turn them all on and read across, trying to dead reckon between various v-hold challenged and staticky sets what was happening on Babylon 5 this week. I left, man. Never saw John again. Hope his TVs didn't fall no him.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Passing Time

Between burnt skin, peeling skin, and formerly fake-tattooed skin that resisted burning and bears the marks in negative of the erstwhile tats, my upper body has some odd patterning all over it. I'm also rockin' the spare tire, so I look like a decorative Buddha.

I'm really excited about moving my Birmingham departure into endgame. I'll be packing up and clearing out, with a tentative departure date in early July.

I'm currently fixated on the poetry of Derek Walcott. I listened to a CD of poets reading their poetry (The Caedmon Poetry Collection) and particularly liked his material and voice. I went to the library and found that he's quite prolific... they have a slew of his books. His work is deft, challenging, but accessable, sweeping in its scope but particular about details. It has historic and mythic heft, yet feels utterly personal. His poetry is my latest textbook for appreciating the world.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Burn Sizzle Fry

Sorry I've been away. I got sunburned pretty bad doing Macbeth. Better luck than John M., our Macbeth, who busted his head in a stage fight during the final show, but picked himself up and finished the play with brio. Go John! Anyone blaming this on the curse of Macbeth is invited to stage any other violent show in the concrete-and-steel danger zone of Sloss and see if they can squeak through without injury.

Anyway, the show was a triumph across the board, and I'm delighted to end my Birmingham theatrical career (give or take a possible forthcoming improv show) on such a high note, although my own involvement was pretty much limited to an over-the-top speech near the beginning. I suspect I pushed it a little too over the top in the last performance, but I love the First Sargent's bit and intend to use it as an audition piece.

Belly dancers played a role in the show. I envied the nuance and control they had over their arms... wish I could approach such delicate dexterity! I thought I recognized one from my school days, but realized the slightly prudish and shy gal I remembered could never have metamorphosed into a tatted-up belly dancer.

After the show I read the program and found out that it was indeed her. Of course.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Per our director's request, the Solar Monarch and I got a haircut and shave yesterday. The Monarch was kind enough to give me the hookup, as one of his coworkers is a licenced barber. She did a nice job on us. I look kind of masculine, which makes me uneasy.

We also got spray-on tattoos so we'll look suitably primal. I had to put baby powder on after showering to keep them from smearing. I'm more of a baby powder guy than a tats-and-butch-beard guy, but that's the magic of theatre.

Our Macduff regaled us last night with the tale of his second-biggest theatrical prank, and his third-biggest theatrical prank. I demanded that he speak of his biggest theatrical prank. He shook his head somberly.

"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."-Wittgenstein.
I have been asked about a "feed." I think I have a "feed" now.

Here is my "feed" unless I've screwed this up. I still don't know what a "feed" is.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

New link: suicidefood. If you've ever wondered why pigs on BBQ signs seem so cheerful about this whole BBQ thing, you're not alone.