Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Here's the latest cinematic effort by my favorite art-damaged punkabillys in all of Anniston, Alabama. I sent them $30 to join their fan club and then never got anything, so I consider myself a financier of this film.

Caution: non-narrative artypants goobledygook with dead animals and an uncomfortable-looking turtle. Harmony Korine fanboyism.

But it has some lovely images.

* * *

P. S. save people not banks.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

mysteries great and small

Today my car started freaking out on me. When I finally got home I comforted myself with the reassurance that getting called back for an audition was something I accomplished, while my car trouble was merely something that had happened to me.

Once I wouldn't have thought that. My accomplishments seemed to arise out of the same bubbling Pool of Fate from which car troubles surfaced; or, car trouble seemed to issue from me as surely as my accomplishments did.

Perhaps this fatalistic view is more accurate; we are merely subroutines in the program of life. But it's unhelpful, so I'll stick with my newfound distinction between what I do and what happens.

* * *

There's a bunch of garden stuff I was supposed to gather up and put in the shed a few days ago. Tomato cages, rabbit fencing, bird netting. It started raining, though, so I just dumped it on the grass and went inside.

Today I went out and found the whole tangled mess had been stacked by the fence in a tidy fashion. Laurie's outta town, so she didn't do it. So who did? Brownies? The cat? Maybe whoever slashed Laurie's tires wanted to makeup for it with a small anonymous kindness.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Called Back To a Good Place

I've rewritten this post because the original version was some of my most cluttered, unreadable prose. Anyway, I auditioned for a professional Shakespeare touring group today, and it was a marvelous experience. I may be commiting a faux pas by posting about it, but the director was interested in a collaboration, so she gave me direction and gave me feedback in the audition. That's the way to do an audition, by cracky! Now she knows what I can do for her, not just what I can do on my own.

I've been called back for next week. If I get this job it'll mean low pay, absence from home, and hard bus rides in unfamiliar rural settings. It'll also mean doing the work I've wanted to do for so long.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I Is Sick

Obviously it's too bad about the new Great Depression and all, but at least it came in time to head off Gidget Goes Alaskan at the the pass. That is to say, it was looking like the election was really going to come down to a big high school style popularity contest, but now that things have gotten manifestly scarier, folks will remember this election is about stewardship of the USA, not Whom-do-you-identify-with?

Interestingly a quick scan of Yahoo's Opinion page shows right-wing columnists are desperately trying to steer the conversation back to how mean libs are for picking on that nice Sarah Palin lady. It can't last; soon they'll have to start blaming the Left for deregulation and corporate greed.

BTW sorry I haven't posted lately. Aside from gossip about venal Kannapolis shenanigans that I daren't post at this time for fear of getting Laurie and/or me in big trouble, I don't have many updates. Plus I been sick. About the most interesting topic I could think of to blog about recently was a thing about how Yes (my favorite band in high school) has gone from being a creative unit to an innit-4-the-$ nostalgia act. You don't really wanna read that post, do you?

Next Day Postscript: Okay, Gidget Goes Alaskan is a cheap shot, but picking her as Veep was a cheap shot too. And while I respect people who think that McCain has more to offer in the way of stewardship than Obama (and I see the point) I hope Obama will win the election and rise to the occasion.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Spurn of the Screw

Laurie has offered many useful insights regarding Turn of the Screw, but one of the most important is that my British accent sux.

This came as a shock right out of Turn of the Screw itself. In my younger days I was a Doctor Who and Monty Python nerd, preening myself on my Brit accent. I used it in public, and folks on the street asked if I was British. I played Limeys onstage, and knowledgeable directors praised my Britspeak.

Wha' Hoppen?

At some point I was old enough that the "American boy faking a foreign accent" shtick wasn't cute anymore, and I had to wean myself. Or perhaps my accent was never really that good... just a dumb kid thinking he was good at something, and a bunch of folks who either fell for it or were too polite to correct me. Laurie does not suffer from the average southerner's excess of politeness, for which I am grateful. I'd rather get constructive criticism now than on opening night.

But consider Clive James on Tony Curtis's famous "Yonder lies duh castle of my fadduh" line:

"...Here was... a living god... with an even more acute case of the stylish energy that the Americans had so much of they could hand it out virtually free to the less lucky nations... I even liked the way he said the line. I was practicing his intonation when I went home to my muddah... Tony Curtis weighed a line for its rhythm and melody, and said it as if it could be said in one way only, and no uddah."

I recently saw a classic British film called Black Narcissus, in which a convent of neurotic nuns set up shop in rural India. As a devotee of theatrical bogosity, I'm on record as enjoying the phony Indian accents the British actors in Indian roles employed, racial insensitivity aside. I think an engaging fake is as good as reality provided there's no confusion about which is which. But not everyone sees it that way,so I'd better hone my brit accents.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Welcome To North Carolina!

Page 1: Please fill out your full name, current address, previous addresses for the past seven years, and social security number.

Page 2: Please fill out your full name and current address again. Then list all your current and past employers. ALL OF THEM. If we find out you were a movie theatre usher or something for a summer in high school, but you didn't list it on this form, you will not be considered for employment.

Please include three references from each place of employment, and the full 9 digit zip code for each place of employment's physical location. PO boxes or mere 5-digit zip codes will not be accepted.

Page 3: Fill out your name, address, and desired position.

Page 4: Please write 1000 words about why you believe you deserve to be employed.

Page 5: Please fill out your name, current address, and check either yes or no to the following question:

Are you a registered sex offender, a nonregistered sex offender, a potential sex offender, or someone who ever accidentally found a cheap and repulsive swingers newsletter lying on the side of the road when you were a child?

If you answered no to the question above, do you believe you would be happier if you could honestly answer yes? Explain your answer.

Page 6: Fill out your name and address, then explain why you will be voting for Sarah Palin, or, after Election Day, why you voted for Sarah Palin:

Page 7: Fill out your name and address, then fill out any other names or addresses you have ever used, then fill out at least three addresses you have been to at least once over the past year.

Page 8. Name. Address.

Page 9. Handwrite your complete resume, even if you are including a printed copy of your resume. Then do it again on the back.

Page 10. How many months are you willing to wait for a response from this job offer? Explain. Then explain again in a different way.

Page 11. Go to a doctor and get them to fill this out, even though they probably have never seen this form before.

Page 12. Go to a lab and get a drug test.

Page 13. Go to a DIFFERENT lab and have a pregnancy and/or paternity test.

Page 14. Fill out your name, address, and social security number. Then do it again. And again.

Page 15. Go get some blank paper, make up your own form, then fill that form out.

Page 16. Fill out this form with information for forms.

Page 17. Explain in detail how the creation, filling out, and processing of forms creates a sense of progress and productivity.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Bride of the Screw

The script for our production of Turn of the Screw makes some interesting changes to the original story. In James things transpire in a perfectly balanced ambiguity, chilly and intellectual. In our play it's more of a melodrama, with accusations, arguments and agonized cries. In James the women are friends united against a percieved external threat; in our play the women are constantly veering into class conflict. In James the rational interpretation of events is left unspoken, conspicuous by its absence, but in our production Mrs Grose becomes an uncertain voice of reason.

I am sorry Mrs. Grose isn't friends with the Governess in our version, but perhaps a two-person adaptation with a minimalist production needs some interpersonal conflict to keep it from turning into an Edwardian Noh play. Then again, an Edwardian Noh play might be just what James would want. Probably not most of the audience, though.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Casting in Charlotte

"The audition process selects for the most blatant (and not even the most attractive) of the supplicants. As a hiring tool, it is geared to reject all but the hackneyed, the stock, the predictable-in short, the counterfeit." -David Mamet, True and False.

This comforts me when I consider all the auditions I haven't made recently. I'm also comforted by recent assurances from experienced members of the local scene that it's easier to get acting work in New York and Chicago than in Charlotte; partly because there's more work available, but partly because Charlotte theatre is so cliquey. Of course it's also possible that I just wasn't the best candidate for the jobs, but it's best not to dwell on that.

In my dollop of directing training I was told it's terribly important to ask auditionees to "Try it this way" or "Do it that way." In other words, see if they can take direction and accomodate the director's vision. No one's told me to do this in any Charlotte auditions, so I'm left to guess and trust my instincts. The results have left most directors cold, it seems. The directors all seem to be looking for someone who just walks in doing it right. Maybe there are enough talented folks in town that someone will stroll in and nail the director's vision right off the bat.

I recently lost a Childrens' Theatre callback audition for a villian role. I think the reason was that I seemed genuinely villianous. I guess they wanted someone who could communicate the notion of villiany without being too genuinely threatening.

Hope this doesn't seem petulant. I'm perfectly willing to assume that the directors in question made excellent casting decisions that simply didn't have space for me. I've been considering what I did in each audition that may have cost me, but since you don't really get feedback in this game I'm left guessing. I hope Turn of the Screw will draw enough local theatre folks that the exposure will get me into the scene. I'm really excited about this show and grateful to everyone involved.