Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A reading of St. John the Divine of Iowa from Another Country Productions

Saint John the Divine in Iowa
A reading of the screenplay by Lyralen Kaye
Directed by Lucas Lloyd

November 30, 8-9:30pm
Open to the public
Donation only

Presented by Another Country Productions
At the Factory Theatre at 791 Tremont St, Boston, MA for directions

When Reverend Alexandra McCartney, a progressive Episcopal priest who has fought for social justice through most of her career, begins working for gay marriage in Iowa, she doesn’t know she’s fighting for her own daughter. But when Sarah comes home and asks her mother to marry she and her partner, Reverend Alexandra finds it’s easier to live up to your values when they’re not tested at home or in your own conservative congregation.

Featuring Melissa Blasek, Emily Culver, John Greiner-Ferris, Ashley James, Lyralen Kaye, Karin Trachtenberg and Cindy Wegel

Friday, November 6, 2009

Image Theater hosts The 5th annual Keep Your Kids at Home Naughty Readings

C'mon people: support your local playwrights. See some new, interesting, and according to Image Theater's press release, naughty works.

Here's the scoop from Image Theater in Lowell, Massachusetts:

As you know, Image Theater is in the midst of its 5th year in this incredibly vibrant city of Lowell, and we are proud that, in that short time, we have produced the new works of over 60 local playwrights. We NEVER could have done this without your support and belief in the power and excitement of new plays by emerging playwrights and composers.

We are very happy to announce that this year, we purchased a brand new sound system to go along with our state of the art lighting system, giving us the ability to perform at venues all over Lowell.

As you know, we don't do anything predictable at Image. Instead of the usual auctions, etc... our fundraisers are always FUNdraisers... and this year is no exception...brand new sexy, silly, short plays by local writers and twisted, dirty ditties by area composers, all performed for you by some of the area's top talent in the wonderful atmosphere of Jerry and Finbarr's Old Court Tavern at 29 Central Street, Lowell We could all use some laughs these days... and we guarantee to deliver them!

Saturday, Nov 14th at 8PM.

Featured local playwrights are Meron Langsner, Steven O'Connor, David Schrag, Kelly DuMar, Jack F. Dacey, Karla Sorenson, Patrick Brennan, Michael Kimball, and songs by Steven Gilbane, Rene Pfister and Matthew Hanf

We are so appreciative of their writing talents and the time and hard work donated to us by our talented actors to give you an evening of fun, food and song...and some VERY crazy moments!

Admission is $25 and can be had by e-mailing under the heading "Tickets", or by calling 978-441-0102.

As all of you know, seating is limited, and the "Naughties" do sell quickly. Tickets at the door are $28, so save that extra money for a Guinness!

That's it... the "ever long winded" Jerry Bisantz is now done. We really hope that you can come, laugh with us and support Image Theater... "the new theater for new plays".

Jerry Bisantz, Ann Garvin, and Alex Savitzky

Image Theater

Made In Lowell

Why I Act

I'd like to share part of an email I received from someone I know from a past life. He and I worked at a software company together. He lives in England and he's talking about his feelings about a community theater production he's helping with:

Though I have been chaperoning my little 9 year old boy whilst he and my daughter (17) perform in a musical "Blitz".

My God! Attending the relentless rehearsals, and then running around backstage supporting the costume changes and ensuring they are ready for their cue is harder than I thought. But that is nothing compared to the conceptualising, project management, coordination, team work and sheer bloody-mindedness needed to actually produce, direct, and give the performance. This is just amateur, and its 'Total-War' the way the WWII countries fought. What you go through must be crazy, and yet...

The excitement, even in the wings before the curtain rises, and the camaraderie is tremendous. That plus the mental, physical, and social development for the kids has made it more than worth it. Though I have little idea whether they will do sign-up when they are next asked.

It's all that, and more. People who aren't in the theater (though this particular man has performed) find it all so exciting and stimulating.

The costumes, the scenery, the makeup, the props
The audience that lifts you when you're down

Yes, it's all there, and it will continue entice and thrill and delight. But I've found that if the theater is going to mean anything at all to you, eventually all the glamor (ha!) and excitement and camaraderie gives way to other things. Because guess what? It's not always thrilling and exciting. Some day you find yourself working with a director with whom you simply can't connect, for whom anything you do is wrong, no matter how hard you try. You'll work with people who don't share your creative vision--or have no vision at all. You'll work with actors who are self-centered and egotistical (the theater seems draw this particular personality) who, in character, you have to show love and concern for on the stage but in the dressing room you want to hit between the eyes with a 2x4.

But strangely, masochistically, you continue to work in the theater. For through it all, hopefully, you're growing as a person and an artist.

But there is something you can do to increase your chances of doing good work and having an enjoyable experience, and that's simply find the people who bring out the best in you and work with them as much as you can. I know for me, that means working with actors who are open, and if you don't know what that means, it's a level of intimacy that only certain people are capable of reaching. I'm not interested in actors who prescribe to the "remember your lines and don't bump into the furniture" method of acting. Who reduce acting to "just telling a story." Actors who are afraid to risk showing who they are on the stage, who hide behind the character, instead of actively living inside the character and within the character's world.

I first got an inkling of this way back when a director by the name of Jim Barton cast me as Freddy in a production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile at The Vokes Theatre in Wayland. He told the night of the read through that we all have been cast because of who we were. Interesting, no? Subsequent rehearsals left me floundering until one night I mentioned to Jim that I was struggling with character. What does he sound like? I anguished. How does he walk? Jim just smiled and said he talks like me. Walks like me. Me. I was Freddy. And I'm the Reverend Muncie in Looking for Normal and tonight I'm Victor in The Wonderful World of Dissocia. Acting is being. Acting is living truthfully in an imaginary world.

In a director I need one who has a strong vision for the script and the production, but also is a collaborator, one who looks to the actors for their contribution in terms of developing the characters and understanding the script. The word that best fits this kind of director--and the actors, too--is organic. Not wedded to their own specific preconceived ideas, open to exploration and discovery in the rehearsal process, more interested in internal motivations than outside gestures, inflections, or line readings.

As for the environment, I need one that actors call "safe." One where you feel free to explore and take risks. To put it in simpler words, an environment where you won't feel you're making a fool out of yourself if you try something. A place where the creative process is understood to mean that every idea is valid, every participant is respected for their talent, and together they have the power and potential to break new ground.

The excitement of an opening night, the allure of the makeup and costumes, will continue to attract people to acting. But it is the process and the promise for creative growth that keeps me.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Two weekends left for Kid Simple: A Radio Show in the Flesh

Kid Simple: A Radio Show in the Flesh
by, Jordan Harrison
directed by, Krista D'Agostino
Oct. 30th - Nov. 14th
Co-Produced by Holland Productions and The Factory Theatre
$15 Adult & $12 Student/Senior

In this quirky fable of innocence and experience, Moll, a girl who invents things, wins the science fair with a machine for hearing sounds that can't be heard. But when a shape-shifting Mercenary steals the invention (and her heart), she must embark on a quest to save noise as we know it. Accompanied by the last boy-virgin in the eleventh grade, Moll crosses chasms and rafts rivers into a world where sound is always more than what meets the ear.

Holland Productions and The Factory Theatre team up to produce Jordan Harrison’s KID SIMPLE: A Radio Play in The Flesh. KID SIMPLE transports us from the days of fireside radio dramas to a world of exhilarating science fiction and fantasy. The play premiered at the Humana Festival in 2004 where it was reviewed as, “The most inventive and satisfying piece…a thrilling abandonment of old school literalism.” – John Moore, The Denver Post. Krista D’Agostino, Producing Artistic Director of Holland Productions directs and Greg Jutkiewicz of The Factory Theatre designs lights and set.

The play features live sound effects by Foley Artist/Actress Joye Thaller, of The Post Meridian Radio Players and the acting talents of Joey Pelletier (Where Moments Hung Before, Boston Actors Theater; Blowing Whistles, Zeitgeist Stage), Mikey DiLoreto (Where Moments Hung Before, Boston Actors Theater; Aloha, Say The Pretty Girls, Holland Productions) Nicholas Chris (Emerson College) Brittany Halls (Emerson College), Crystal Lisbon (The Gingerbread Lady, Happy Medium), Cassandra Meyer (The House of Yes, Apollinaire Theatre Company), Kiki Samko (Dream of Life, Imaginary Beasts), Mac Young (Bad Jazz, Zeitgeist Stage; Aloha Say, The Pretty Girls, Holland Productions) and Matthew Zahnzinger (Blood Relations, Flat Earth Theatre).


In 2006, D’Agostino, along with two other Boston College graduates, founded Holland Productions with the goal of promoting the female voice on Boston’s stage. The company opened with co-founding member Emily Dendinger’s original work, Swimming After Dark. Holland Productions launched its first full-length season at The Factory Theatre in October of 2008 with Paula Vogel’s The Baltimore Waltz, praised by reviewers as “smart, sensitive and stimulating theatre.” Since then, Holland Productions has produced several full-length plays at The Factory Theatre directed by D’Agostino, including; local actress/playwright Philana Gnawtowski’s, The Halfway House Club (2008) and most recently Naomi Iizuka’s, Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls (2009) which received critical acclaim: "Under Krista D'Agostino's direction, this group of strangers...gels into one of the best ensembles to hit the stage this season." -- Kilian Melloy, EDGE


The Factory Theatre leapt onto the Boston theatre scene in 2007, reviving one of the city’s most unique theatre venues. Founded and managed by Greg Jutkiewicz, The Factory Theatre is proud to continue the tradition of providing a home for Boston’s best, and most intimate, fringe theatre. Their mission is to provide an environment to nurture and support local theatre talent and a space for those theatre artists that wish to create more courageous works. In 2008, their inaugural production of Mud by Maria Irene Fornes opened to critical acclaim: “Mud, unlike much summer fare, is blissfully unsafe and remarkably riveting. As for the company’s own mission, Mud brilliantly sloshes its way to pay dirt.” The Factory Theatre is pleased to host dozens of guest companies every year, including Holland Productions, Whistler in the Dark, Counter-Productions Theatre Company, 11:11 Theatre, Mill 6 Collaborative, Happy Medium Theatre, Independent Drama Society, among others.

Holland Productions is proudly sponsored by DMZCreations.

Highland Center, Indiana

The setting for Highland Center, Indiana, the new play I'm working on. The little house on the right, with the blue-green roof, is the "new" house, the fancy new house my grandfather built when he, Grandma, and Aunt Marcella (Babe) moved out of the two-story log house where my mother and her 10 brothers and sisters were born and raised. The "old house" isn't there, having been dismantled, numbered, and reassembled somewhere by some Yuppies who came through and bought it up. My relatives thought that was the silliest thing they ever heard.

To the right, across the driveway you can see remnants of Grandma's garden. Her garden stretched from the road to the end of that "scar" you can see next to that light colored field, where corn and hay was alternatively grown. (That "scar" is actually Concord grapes.) At the far end of her garden is where the old house stood.

The barnyard is overgrown with trees, but interspersed you can see the out buildings: the woodshed, chicken coops, storehouses, the smokehouse. I spent a couple of hot, searing summers on top of those buildings either painting them or tarring them. Right in front of the barn is a shiny circle: a corn crib.

You can see the locust patch that Hank and Billy cut through, and at the top of the image the creek that winds through the locust patch and behind the barn that they wade through.

To the left of my Grandfather's farm is Joe Diehl's farm. When my mother was a child, there was also a store and a post office at Joe Diehl's farm. On the other side of the intersection is Ronnie Hoog's place. (Hoog is pronounced with a long "o").

Anyway, cue the dead rabbit.

Friday, October 30, 2009

October 30 theater openings: some good stuff going on

Tonight there are a few good shows opening in and around the Boston area.

Company One's The Overwhelming is opening at the BCA.

Company One presents the Boston premiere of THE OVERWHELMING, an exotic thriller from award-winning playwright J.T. Rogers (Madagascar, White People). Seizing the opportunity to do research for his new book, Jack Exley uproots his family and moves to Rwanda in early 1994. As Jack, his wife and his teenage son encounter foreign culture and eye opening politics, they each find their own brand of trouble. Realizing that in this place no one is exactly what they seem, his family begins to unearth unexpected truths about this tiny, troubled nation... and about themselves.

October 30 – November 21, 2009
Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theatre
Wednesdays + Thursdays @ 7:30 pm
Fridays + Saturdays @ 8:00 pm
Sundays @ 2:00 pm

Holland Productions'Kid Simple: A Radio Play in the Flesh opens for a three-week run at The Factory Theater.

Moll, a girl who invents things, wins the science fair with a machine for hearing sounds that can't be heard. But when a shape-shifting Mercenary steals the invention (and her heart), she must embark on a quest to save noise as we know it. In a quirky fable of innocence and experience Moll crosses chasms and rafts rivers into a world where sound is always more than what meets the ear. Get tix here.

Apollinaire Theatre's The Wonderful World of Dissocia opens tonight in Chelsea (c'mon, drive over the bridge; it's not that big of a deal) for five weeks.

Lisa Jones is on a quest. She must retrieve one lost hour that has tipped the balance of her life. Her hour has been traced to the State of Dissocia, a wonderland ruled by its own eccentric logic, delirious delights and darkest danger. Will the curious inhabitants of Dissocia help her retrieve the lost hour, or are there reasons more complex for them to lead her astray?

This is a hugely original play, both magical and moving, that confirmed Anthony Neilson as one of the major voices in British theatre. Produced originally for the 2004 Edinburgh International Festival, The Wonderful World of Dissocia wowed critics and audiences alike, cleaning up at the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland.

And don't forget SlamBoston this Monday and Tuesday at the Factory Theatre.

Also, The Sparrow continues at The Stoneham Theatre until November 8.

After garnering critical and popular acclaim with The Sparrow's debut in Chicago, writer and original director Nathan Allen will direct the East Coast Premiere of this riveting fable.

Orphaned teenager Emily Book returns to the town she once called home to finish her final year of high school--but this time, she's carrying a secret. An ordinary teenager with extraordinary abilities, Emily must embrace her supernatural powers and confront the truth about her past. An exciting tale of teens and telekinesis.

And finally, if you've never checked out The Gold Dust Orphans, you don't know what you're missing. During the non-summer months they perform over The Machine in the Fenway. They just opened The Valet of the Dolls. I'll fit it in somehow.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

An 86-year-old WWII veteran testifies in favor of gay marriage in Maine.

Great quote: What do you think I voted for on Omaha Beach?

I think this man not only makes perfect sense, but also shows the compassion that we should show towards all of our fellow human beings. Ours is not to judge; ours is to simply wonder.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bill Moyers: Healthcare and the treason of the senate

Bill Moyers, I think, is someone who can be trusted. I guess the thing is, this isn't a new story. We know how crooked politicians are. (So crooked, they have to screw on their socks in the morning.) It's just that it seems that Washington has taken graft and corruption to Biblical proportions. It's overwhelming.

Don't watch this if you have a weak heart, because you just may blow a gasket. Simple, clear explanation.

Air date: October 9, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Peace through Musci: Playing for Change: One Love

More and more I'm getting excited about the idea of changing the world through the arts, whether it's music, theater, the spoken word, and any all combinations. The storyteller, the narrator, was a valued member of society around the campfire. It's time we brought that back.

This video is from the award-winning documentary, Playing For Change: Peace Through Music, comes an incredible rendition of the legendary Bob Marley song One Love with Keb' Mo' and Manu Chao. This is the third video from the documentary and a follow up to the classic Stand By Me and the incredible Don't Worry.

Released in celebration of Bob Marley's birthday on February 6th, this tribute to the legend is performed by musicians around the world adding their part to the song as it traveled the globe.

Check it all out here.

Playing For Change | Song Around The World "One Love" from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.

The Theater Offensive presents: Come As You Are! Celebrate Queer Sex

40 years after Stonewall, what are queer sexual values? In an evening of quickies, sex takes center stage and your ideas take the floor. Check out what diverse Boston artists have created on the topic to kick off your conversations.

Come As You Are: Celebrate Queer Sex! is our nationally coordinated, locally produced performances series. The Boston run of Come As You Are is the world premiere of the project and it will go on to be produced in 9 cities (and counting) across the country.

Discuss diverse queer sexuality with others around the world, follow the progress of the project, and see the work created in other cities at

World Premiere!
Oct 25, 7:30pm
Oct 26, 7:30pm
Club Café

Project Directors:
Abe Rybeck
Eugene Tan

National Producer:
Eve Alpern

Diego Arciniegas
Sean Edgecomb
Renee Farster
Summer Williams

Featuring works by:
Adult Children of Heterosexuals: The Band
Xray Aims
Toni Amato
Leo Cabranes-Grant
The Five Lesbian Brothers
Renita Martin
Chris Meffert
Caroline Prugh
A Street Theater Named Desire
Adam Sussman

Get tickets here.

Kid Simple: A Radio Play in the Flesh

Here's the latest from the good people at Holland Productions. They're productions are always fun, quirky, and thought-provoking.

Kid Simple: A Radio Play in the Flesh
by Jordan Harrison

Directed by, Krista D'Agostino

Oct. 30th - Nov. 14th
Co-Produced by Holland Productions and The Factory Theatre
$15 Adult & $12 Student/Senior

New Urban Theatre Laboratory debuts tonight

Jackie Davis's new group debuts with a fund raiser tonight. I'm so bummed I'm going to miss this. I'm loving all the new groups that are putting out all the new work in Boston. But alas, I'm be struggling once more on six-inch heels tonight.

But do check it out if you can.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Here's the skinny on the next SlamBoston



SLAMBoston: Diverse Voices in Theatre
(a trademark of Another Country Productions)

Monday, November 2nd @ 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 3rd @ 8:00 p.m.

The Factory Theatre
791 Tremont Street
Boston, MA

Tickets: $17


Directed by Bevin O'Gara

CHRISTMAS VISITS by Charles Watson
Directed by Megan Atkinson

MINOT LIGHT by John Greiner-Ferris
Directed by Vicki Schairer

A FAG'S LIFE by Kyle Walker
Directed by Dawn Simmons

ZOOLOGY by Emily Dendinger
Directed by Bob Mussett

HER DYING WISH by Philana Mia Gnatowski
Directed by Catherine Bertrand

ORI AND ADDISON by James Ferguson
Directed by Kenny Fuentes

With Dosha Ellis Beard, Santio Cupon, Michael Dewberry, Derek Fraser, Erika Geller, Christie Lee Gibson, Zach Handler, Catherine Hirsh, Daniel John, Rory Kulz, Rachel Kurnos, Chris Leon, Joan Mejia, Maria Mendes, Stephen Radochia, Scarlett Redmond, and Eric C. Rollins.

About SLAMBoston: Diverse Voices in Theatre
SLAMBoston: Diverse Voices in Theatre was developed by Another Country Productions to bring the diversity and excitement of the poetry slam format to live theater in Boston. In keeping with its conception, a slam is always rowdy, is always facilitated by an emcee, is always scored, and is always as fully diverse as possible.

About Holland Productions
Holland Productions was founded in 2006 by three Boston College graduates looking to promote the female voice on Boston’s stage. The company opened that July with co-founding member Emily Dendinger’s Swimming After Dark; a story of love, literature, and ownership. Now in its second season at The Factory Theatre, Holland Productions continues its commitment to the advancement of female artists in the theatre. The company produces plays by contemporary female playwrights and those by males which feature substantial and challenging roles for women. Holland Productions strives to advance females in all disciplines of the theater and encourages the participation of female designers and staff on every production.

Lookin' on the bright side

I've been hugely remiss in keeping up on this blog. It's one of those things that are in the back of my mind all the time...write on the blog, but obviously it's not something that I really want to do because, well, I'd do it.

For any and all who care, I've been very busy and life is good, for the most part. The busy part is probably the biggest reason why I haven't updated Action Bob Markle. There are just too many other projects calling for my attention, too many ways to better spend your time and life than updating a blog.


I have two plays moving forward. Minot Light is opening in SlamBoston on November 2nd and 3rd. There's an interesting story about the creative process behind this, that I'll share at some point.

Red Dog has been cast and I'm so excited about the two actors who will be doing the reading. I saw Melissa Barker for the first time in NXR's Shhh! and I was so impressed by her work. And Victor Shopov will be reading the part of Him Two. I haven't had a chance to tell him yet, so maybe he'll read it here, that halfway through the writing of Red Dog I started thinking about him for that part. You can only imagine how thrilled I was when I learned he accepted the project.

The Wonderful World of Dissaocia is offering up its own special blend of challenges that are taking up an enormous amount of energy. As an artist, right now I'm frustrated. But I have absolute trust in the people I'm working with on the stage. That trust, and a belief in my own talent should pull it through. Enough said on that subject.

Life continues to muddle along. Our apartment is still in a state of flux, even though the contractors left a week ago. Our home life has been in an upheaval since June--yes! I said June--and it's gone past the point of being just wearing. I'm not saying our landlord is taking advantage of Sue's and my good nature, but...well, I guess that's exactly what I'm saying. I'm definitely a live and let live kind of guy, and I think one of my faults is I cut many people a wide margin of slack when they really should be slapped upside the head because they are so clueless. But again, my Libra nature almost compels me to want peace at any cost, and also be liked.

I've always looked at my home as a sanctuary from the Big Bad World. Typical Libra that I am I love my creature comforts, as simple as mine are, lately I've needed an extra dose of calming.

Despite one or two thorny issues in my life right now--as indicated by a troubling dream I had the other night. (Note: I believe dreams are some of the best indicators of the state of the soul.) I am loved, and I love. I don't ask for much, but get heaps in return. I have some work with some really cool people on some really exceptionally cool projects (self-imposed non-disclosure keeps me from revealing what they are.) I am probably as healthy as I've been in a long while (knock on wood) and there are so many good things on the horizon.

It's just the way I look at things, I guess.

Friday, September 25, 2009

SLAMBoston Auditions Saturday, Oct. 3

I've acted in the Slam maybe four times now. Every time a great time. Great, crazy audience. Judges that judge you Olympic-style--9.5; 9.8; 9.3...I've won the Slam once (a great thrill, because the Slam really is ten minutes of getting shot out of a canon) and yes, one of my plays, Minot Light is entered in the upcoming Slam.

So, get out there and audition.

Here's the scoop:

Holland Productions Audition Announcement

SLAMBoston: Diverse Voices in Theatre (trademark of Another Country Productions)

Holland Productions is seeking actors for the November production of SLAMBoston: Diverse Voices in Theatre (a trademark of Another Country Productions) to be held at The Factory Theatre

Casting Breakdown

CHRISTMAS VISITS by, Charles Watson Malcolm: 19 M; African-American; Lorine: 48 F; African-American; Malcolm's mother

ZOOLOGY by Emily Dendinger Maggie: 29 F; working woman Luke: 30 M; Maggie's husband

A FAG'S LIFE by Kyle Walker 5M Ellis: Early 30s, African-American, someone effeminate visual artist Buff: 40s, Caucasian, publisher of a gay men's style magazine; an Australian accent that may or may not be real Todd: 20s, Caucasian, trick, "gangsta" wannabe Rick: 20s, Caucasian, character in Ellis's comic Tyler: 20s, African-American, character in Ellis's comic

ABSOLUTION by Thom Dunn 2M Donnelly: 50s/60s; a clergyman Simon: mid-20s

MINOT LIGHT by John Greiner-Ferris 3W Stephanie: 20s-30s; a lesbian Andrea: 30s/40s; a lesbian Susan: 20s/30s

HER DYING WISH by Philana Gnatowski 2W Jess: Mid-20s Jillian: Early-30s; Jess's sister

ORI AND ADDISON by James Ferguson 2M Ori: 30s; nervous new father Addison: Slightly younger than Ori

Audition Dates: Sat. October 3rd
Audition Times 12-5
Audition Location: The Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont St., Boston
Aud Requirements: 1 minute monologue
Rehearsal Start Date: October
Production Start Date: Monday November 2nd & Tuesday Nov 3rd
Audition Contact Name Victor
Contact Email
Please email to request a slot between 12-5 pm.
All performers including those of color, seniors, women and performers with disabilities are encouraged to audition and will be given full consideration.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Save Oct. 19 for New Urban Theatre Laboratory

The New Urban Theatre Laboratory exists to use the experimental power of theatre to investigate the stories and voices of those who exist on the margins of society. We seek to bring the stories of the underrepresented to the forefront using the active ingredients of honesty and insight mixed in with equal parts sadness and joy, myth and mysticism, farce and cynicism and above all, truth.

Based in Boston Massachusetts, The New Urban Theatre Lab is also dedicated to exploring new ways that theater can build relationships with local business, and help promote the health of the economy.

Exquisite Corps Theatre opens tonight with Infiinite Story

I'm hoping to check this out. Exquisite Corps is one of the many new theater groups that have sprung up in Boston. Infinite Story is their second production, if memory serves right for me, and the process of making the show, was very organic, much like NXR did for Shhh!.

Four playwrights and 13 theater artists met for a weekend of brainstorming to put together four original plays. Tonight's production of four plays is the result of that collaboration.

You have to hurry. The production runs just this weekend.

Here's the scoop.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


An interesting bit of theater...

Check out Audrey Ryan this Thursday (9.24) at TT the Bear

I saw Audrey Ryan open for The Bittersweets at Club Passim a couple of months ago, and strongly suggest if you get the chance to see her perform to take the opp. I'm on her email list and got this. Just read it and you get an idea of what she's like. Check out her music here.

Here's a YouTube vid of her from a few years ago. She's an eclectic performer. The night I saw her she played accordion, a few percussion instruments, and she worked with a digital loop gizmo to accompany her music.

Here's her email:

So even though I promised to cease playing local shows before my CD release on October 17th I still got offered a few I couldn't resist. I'll be playing tomorrow night at TTs the Bears with Elizabeth and the Catapult which is an indie rock outfit from NYC.

Thursday, September 24th @9pm
TT the Bears
Brookline Ave, Cambridge
9:15 - Audrey
10:30- For Orange Nichole
11:30- Elizabeth and the Catapult

Tix are $10 and it's 18+

I also recently did something I've never done before which is agree to be apart of a "competition" or more specifically a battle of the bands. In general I find these sort of things to be sort of asinine, after all how can you compare different kinds of bands? It's usually apples and oranges...but anyway, I did the first round of the "River Rising Star 09'" competition sponsored by The River 92.5 FM and well...I won...

so the finals are next month on Thursday, October 15th, venue TBA... However, I'd like to emphasize that I'd really just like all my friends and other people who appreciate my music (don't like the word "fans") to come to my dual CD release and documentary premiere of "the Loft Show Upstairs" movie. This is the show not to miss so please put it on your calender, plus there's even free beer and wine!! So how could you not go?

Saturday, October 17th @7:30pm
The Sanctuary @ the Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church
155 Powderhouse Blvd.

(near Tufts, public transportation from Davis Square, or bus to Teele Square)

$5 general admission;
$10 admission and copy of new CD “I Know, I Know”

7:30pm- opener “Gretel”
8:30pm- Audrey Ryan
9:45pm- screening of documentary “Loft Show Upstairs” (40 minutes)

We will be providing free snacks and drinks including beer and wine while supplies last.


And here's a bonus: A YouTube vid of Elizabeth and the Catapult.

Comfortable in my own skin

Sue said two things today that made me feel so good. The first was that the house smelled so good with cooking last night when she came home. Yesterday I made granola and soup and bread, all part of Sue’s and my desire to feel good and live healthy so we can do the things we like to do.

And this morning while we were talking, she said that I was her best friend.

I’ve always had just one best friend (Sue said she’s always been the same way) just one person who I spent all my time with. Plus a few others close friends, but only about four, no more than five. I guess I value quality over quantity. I’ve never been a joiner, prefer being a loner, watching from the fringe, and never liked traveling around in large groups. On the surface it’s just too complicated and too much pandemonium for me, but that makes me look shallow. It’s simply in a large group you can’t do the one thing that I love to do, and that’s have a deep conversation, one on one. Baxter, and don’t ask me how he knows things, but he knows things, said the one thing that I’ve always craved my entire life is intimacy. I like close, and the closer to the bone we get, the better I like it. But it takes a long while to get where you know who you are, and not just what you want, but what you need. Or it took me a long time. Maybe I’m just a slow learner. Maybe there’s more for me to understand about myself. Well, of course there is. But feeling good inside your own skin gives you so much calm strength. I’m not perfect, but it would take a lot to take that away from me now.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The upside to a down economy

I was reading a news article yesterday that Amish view the current economic downturn (CED) as a blessing. It's forcing them to return to their core values, making those who abandoned the farm for the factory and the town, who turned to a wage-dependent job instead of a family business, return to the Amish religious and family-centric life.

Sounds all good to me.

The Industrial Revolution was what broke up the family to begin with, Shanghaiing the majority of the United States' population from Walton Mountain with three generations living under one roof and paying with cash, to the fast life of the city that ultimately ended in a soulless existence living off credit and using either drugs or the television to numb the frayed nerve endings.

I read about another family that eliminated $106K in debt over five years. They racked up that kind of debt, not by fast living, but simply buying new: new cars and clothes. They didn't even own a home. I've never understood people who pay thirty grand for a car when you can buy something used and serviceable (that means a beat up old pickup) for ten grand. But that's still a lot of Gap sweaters and Abecrombie hoodies.

Long ago, my grand plan was to own a small farm--no more than 12 or 15 acres--and garden and raise one or two head of livestock that I could prod into the truck and take to the slaughter house for storage in my freezer. I wasn't a crazy Unabomber type. It was just a continuation of how I saw many of my relatives, who lived on farms in Indiana, live. You're hitting the jackpot when you live a life like, being close to nature and the seasons taps you into a spirituality you won't get in the grandest European cathedral. You're healthy, wealthy (with a good life) and wise from good, fresh, organic food, fresh air, and just the right amount of exercise. You go to bed with a clean conscious because you're tired and you know you've put in a honest day's work. Again, I wasn't talking about going off the grid. I was just thinking about simplifying.

Well, I don't have a farm, love living near the city because of all the intellectual pursuits it offers, but my (and Sue's) instincts to always simplify a bit more have served us well.

Since getting laid off back in December, I've fully realized that I'm happiest working at home, on my own, working with clients to promote their products that I can really believe in. I knew it, it just took another two years in a cube to really drive that idea home. Not that I wouldn't still take a staff job with a company. It would have to be the right one, with the right people, that's all. In the meantime, working at home has let me simplify, and live life more like I like to live it, even though I'm not living it on a farm.

Today is a good example. Right now I have projects with Saucony and MIT's Sloan School. I honestly believe that those two organizations make the world a better place--the Sloan School obviously through education, and Saucony by helping people stay healthy. It's a great day when you can get up in the morning and look forward to your work, because for the longest time I didn't.

Sue and I get some nice quality time together, even though both of us keep very busy. We got up. Sue jumped in the shower while I put the coffee to brewing. I was heading for our home office here later in the day, but because I wasn't racing to get to an office--grinding my teeth to either catch the T or leaving to sit in the parking lots that make up the highways and beltways that circle and crisscross Boston--Sue and I had time to talk and enter the day slowly.

Someone I know who is way up there in an ad agency described his job as trying to drink from a fire hose. Now he says he can't even do that. Our jobs are killing us--literally. The pressure and the anxiety that's out there is lethal. And what's funny is I have anxiety in my life, too. I worry about money, where the next paycheck, project, client is going to come from. It's not easy right now at all. But it's anxiety that I can handle because I feel in control of it. Most who have jobs right now don't feel that way, and they're going to need their paychecks to pay for their heart transplants.

I have a nurturing side. When my first-born came into the world, I wanted to stay home and take care of her, but I was the primary wager earner, which meant I was making a lot of money basically doing something I didn't want to do at a place where I didn't want to go. I finally landed a job where I could telecommute, was able to work and take care of now two kids, but the job was extraordinarily unrewarding, even worse, destructive. Living life in a way you're not meant to live it can not only destroy you, but damage the people around you.

I think this American life we fell into, where both parents go off to work because they "need" two or four big,expensive cars, a big-screen television with every premium package from the cable company, a huge house filled with every finest of everything sapped our souls and damaged our families and relationships beyond repair. I'm not saying live like the Amish. I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying we need to live more simply and pay attention to what's important to a healthy life, both spiritually and physically. And more than anything that means paying better attention to our loved ones, and reducing the amount of stress that's in our lives and giving back more time so we can do whatever it is we as individuals do to feel enjoyment in our lives.

So now that I'm home, I can take better care of Sue and myself. This morning I made pancakes, and at the same time made a batch of granola. Towards noon, I took a break and went grocery shopping, came home, put together a batch of chicken soup that I can now smell simmering, and threw ingredients in the bread machine for fresh, healthy bread. Sue's got a crazy job, but it gives me a little bit of solace that I stay at home if I can work to make her life a little easier or more pleasant. And that makes me happy.

Not doing anything Thursday?--check out Holland Productions' kickoff

Got this from Krista.

Holland Productions is kicking off their 2009/2010 season with a benefit at Kitty O'Shea's. I can't make it, I have rehearsal that night, otherwise I'd be there. (Okay, now there's a reason right there to go!) If you're not doing anything and want to hang with some really good people and support live theater and new voices in Boston, here are the details.

Kitty O'Shea's
131 State St.
Boston, MA US

Thursday, September 24, 7:00PM

Help Holland Productions kick off our 2009-2010 season and raise money for our upcoming show, Kid Simple: A Radio Play in the Flesh by Jordan Harrison (October 30th - November 15th at The Factory Theatre)! Join us for a night of food, fun, and live entertainment.

Raffle on great items including those donated from The Friendly Toast, Good Vibrations, Rotary, Hypothesis, and the SpeakEasy Stage Company!

Bid in our live "Date Holland Productions" auction.

$10 at the door (includes a raffle ticket)
Cash bar

We'll see you there!

About Holland Productions: Holland Productions believes in honest theatre; theatre that engages the heart, cultivates creativity, and dissolves boundaries. We believe that theatre is truly a collaborative process and we strive to create work where all those involved, from actor to audience, can bring individual experiences to explore. It is our goal to provide a forum for the ideas of contemporary playwrights and a channel for the female voice. Through smart, sensitive, and stimulating theatre Holland Productions is committed to challenging the complexity of reality.

About Kid Simple: A Radio Play in the Flesh: Moll, a girl who invents things, wins the science fair with a machine for hearing sounds that can't be heard. But when a shape-shifting Mercenary steals the invention (and her heart), she must embark on a quest to save noise as we know it. In a quirky fable of innocence and experience Moll crosses chasms and rafts rivers into a world where sound is always more than what meets the ear.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dumb joke

My mother came from a big family due to my grandmother being hard of hearing.

At the end of every day, grandpa would say to grandma, "Well, do you want to go to sleep or what?"

And she'd say, "What??"

The Longest Way

Check it out. This guy walked for a year--4646km through China and recorded the changes to his face--actually his whole head and deameanor. Really cool soundtrack and editing.

The Longest Way 1.0 - one year walk/beard grow time lapse from Christoph Rehage on Vimeo.

Deadstring Brothers--Sacred Heart

Saw Deadstring Brothers over the weekend at the Middle East for the Rolling Rock Beer-B-Q sponsored by Bloodshot Records. Yeah, I actually went to something by that name. Five bucks and a bunch of bands including Graham Parker and Bobby Bare. Jr.

Anyway, despite the lousy sound system that plagues the Middle East (and always makes me think twice about forking over even such a paltry sum because you know it's gonna sound bad) I was glad to get turned on to these guys.

Wikipedia says their sound is reminiscent of the Stones Exile on Mainstreet. Okay. Yeah, I've always liked it when all those English musicians incorporated the U.S. South into their music.

Here's their MySpace link

It Might Get Loud--great flick about the creative process

It Might Get Loud is one of the best films I've seen in a long time. I was hunkered down in my seat and was so quiet--wasn't fidgeting because of my back--that Sue thought I was asleep. Nope, just really absorbed.

Take three guitarists at different phases of their lives: Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, The Edge from U2, and Jack White from The White Stripes and The Raconteurs, put them on some couches and let them talk about their guitars. Pretty simple concept.

What you get, though, is a lively discussion on the creative process from artists, one who is solidly ensconced in rock and roll's history, another at the height of his creative path, and a youngster, well on his way but still feeling his way along. What you get is a deeper appreciation for each one of these musicians and their body of work, and how they individually used their guitars to share what's inside them.

Jimmy Page is peaceful and almost avuncular, looking back on his life with The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin. He reminisces on what IT was like. The Edge talks mostly of not only how he works, but why he plays and writes. Jack White talks about his roots and how he's constantly going back to them.

Check it out if you're into music or if you're in any way involved with the creative process.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Just Another Day in Red Sox Nation

Yep, that's yours truly delivering eggs to Dot. The director, camera operator, and the rest of the crew did a great job.

Spec RED SOX commercial; directed by Paul Van Wart (Werk Bros., LA)

Casting by Kevin Fennessy, Kevin Fennessy Casting, imdb:

Category: Comedy

Tags: Red Sox Yankees Suck comedy Dot Dwyer John Grenier-Ferris Jae-Omo Zubhuza Rob DiNinni Bradley Van Dussen Avery Hatch

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Low Anthem kicks off west coat tour

An email alert from The Low Anthem gives good news to all those people on the West Coast.

Here it is:

Greetings friends from your tired, sweaty LA road dogs.

It has been our pleasure to play shows for you this summer, all across the midwest, east coast, and New England. But, you may ask, why this coastal bias? When will we make the westward trek? The same path our forefathers traveled so many years ago? When will we cut the bullshit and smell the redwoods? And you may ask, when will we walk down Cannery Row and Sunset Boulevard? When will we cross the mighty Rockies, and swim in the Salt Lake?

Well, my friends, the time has finally come!

We proudly announce our first ever WEST COAST tour this fall in late October and November. We will share the road with compadres Blind Pilot, a fabulous band from Portland, Oregon, best known for playing beautiful organic music and touring on road bikes. If you're schooled in the secret arts of Facebook, do not tarry to use your well-oiled fingertips to let your friends in far away cities know about the tour.

And for those in the fine city of Providence, RI we have a very special hometown show for you to kick off our West Coast tour. On Thursday, October 15 we will be playing the historic Avon Cinema on Thayer Street. The show will start at 8:30 PM with Death Vessel opening. Advance tickets can be purchased for $13 at the Avon during box office hours, or on our website.

Also, we will be playing a show next week at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA on Thu, August 27 with our dear friends, Surprise Me Mr. Davis. The mutually agreed upon theme is anything goes - Mr. Davis will be playing our songs, we will be playing theirs, and eventually all inhibitions will fall by the wayside and who knows who will be getting up on stage together. Davis is the frankenstein band of hometown boys The Slip and Nathan Moore, and recently, Marco Benevento.

And for our old-growth friends in the rest of the Northeast, we will be at the Bell House in Brooklyn, NY on Wed, August 26 w/ Surprise Me Mr. Davis. Then, we return to Philly to play a FREE concert for the WXPN Artist to Watch series in Kennet Square (Sun, Aug 30). Thanks to everyone for all your support!

Love to all!

Jeff, Ben, and Jocie

New web news:

TLA on Twitter!


New York Times Popcast

Time Out NY Video


Go here for tickets

August 26 Brooklyn, NY Bell House ^
August 27 Fall River, MA Narrows Center for the Arts ^
August 30 Philadelphia, PA Kennet Square FREE - WXPN Artist to Watch


October 2 Austin City Limits
October 15 Providence, RI Avon Theater!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
October 17 Seattle, WA Chop Suey
October 18 Portland, OR Lola's Room at the Crystal Ballroom
October 19 Eugene, OR WOW Hall*
October 21 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall*
October 23 Los Angeles, CA Troubadour*
October 24 San Diego, CA Casbah*
October 25 Tucson, AZ Plush*
October 27 Austin, TX The Parish*
October 28 Dallas, TX Granada Theater*
October 29 Houston, TX Bronze Peacock at HOB*
October 30 Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon*
November 2 Tallahassee, FL Club Downunder*
November 3 Orlando, FL The Social*
November 4 Atlanta, GA The Earl*
November 5 Nashville, TN Mercy Lounge*
November 6 Asheville, NC University of North Carolina*
November 7 Norfolk, VA Attucks Theater*
November 9 Carrboro, NC Cats Cradle*
November 11 Washington, D.C. The Black Cat*
November 12 Boston, MA Paradise*

* with Blind Pilot
^ with Surprise Me Mr. Davis

Viva la Vinal Festival in Somerville this weekend

And speaking of Audrey Ryan, she sent this out to to her email list the other day.

Free music; you can't beat that.

Here's the body of her email:

So this weekend is Viva la Vinal Festival 2009, lots of FREE music and fun so come bring your blankets or chairs and spend an evening in a beautiful garden setting…

Friday August 28 & Saturday August 29 from 4-10:00 pm
(rain date August 30)

In the garden at…
The Somerville Community Growing Center
22 Vinal Ave., Somerville (near Union Square)

Please come join us at this annual neighborhood event as we celebrate the Growing Center and our local artists and businesses.

• Live world, folk, bluegrass, Americana, and singer-songwriter music from local artists
• Children’s music by Charlie Hope on Friday August 28 from 4-5 pm.
• Raffle featuring prizes and gift certificates from local businesses such as the Sherman Café, Hub Comics, Grand, Precinct, Block 11, the Independent, Cantina Mexicana, and many other local Union Square businesses.
• Concession stand with affordable snacks and beverages to help benefit artists and the garden.

The festival is free to the public and all ages are welcomed. Donations are
accepted to support the event.

To check on weather cancellations please call 617-320-0538 or visit and click on ‘calendar’.

Viva la Vinal Schedule 2009

Friday August 28th, 4-10pm

4:00-5:00- Charlie Hope (Children’s music)
5:00-5:45- David Wax Museum (Somerville folk-Americana band)
5:45- 6:30- Abbie Barret (Somerville folk-country artist)
6:30- 7:15- Akshara Percussion Ensemble (traditional Indian music)
7:15- 8:00- Dan Blakeslee (Boston indie folk artist)
8:00- 8:45- The Accident That led Me to the World (Northampton folk)
8:45- 9:30- Jennifer Greer (Somerville indie pop singer-songwriter)

Saturday August 29th, 4-10pm

4:00-4:45- Julie Dougherty (North Shore folk singer)
4:45-5:30- Chuck Muldoon (Portland acoustic instrumental guitarist)
5:45- 6:30- Rakiya (Cambridge world music band)
6:30- 7:15- Audrey Ryan (Somerville indie rock singer-songwriter)
7:15- 8:00- Danielle Miraglia (Somerville folk-blues singer)
8:00- 8:45- Seymour (Portland indie folk band)
8:45- 9:30- The Points North (Boston bluegrass folk act)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rod Picott and Amanda Shires--a great opening act

There's nothing like a really good opening act. One that surprises you. One that you can put on your list and watch and start buying their music and you can say I knew them when--and that when was when they were an opening act.

I first heard Bobby Bare, Jr. when he opened for Lucero. Audrey Ryan opened recently for The Bittersweets, and she's a local musician worth learning about. Of course, there was this English country singer who opened for The Cowboy Junkies who actually stopped mid-song because he said he wasn't singing the right words, though I don't think anyone had noticed.

Last night we went to Club Passim to hear Paul Burch. There's always a silver lining to every dark cloud, and not working very much lets me spend a lot of time on Facebook. Wait, that's not really a good thing, is it, even under the auspices of "looking on the bright side." But I was hanging on Facebook yesterday and Club Passim gave two tickets to the first three commenters, so I found myself on the Red Line into Cambridge. And that's how I heard Rod Picott and Amanda Shires.

I guess they met up in Austin. He's from Maine and she's a fiddle player from Lubbock. Now they live in Nashville and play together sometimes, and now they're touring, joking last night that they are calling their tour the 100,000 mile tour or something like that. I guess they're driving around, starting from Nashville, in an old Jeep, and they'll end the tour when the Jeep rolls over 100,000 miles. Anyway, their music--I'm new to them but I think most of what they sang was written by Picott, though there's one murder ballad that Shires wrote--their music can be called kind of country ballads--stories about real life people and heartache with a bit of wry humor tossed in.

She's got a blistering Texas twang voice that she uses with mischief; his is more gravel and barbed wire, but they sound good together, the differences in their voice complementing the other: hers pulling his out of the funk and his keeping the songs serious.

Nice surprises. Check them out if you're looking for some real country tunes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Structural Engineers needed in Boston

One of my Facebook friends wrote to me with this.

These are tough times for everyone. If you know anyone who is a structural engineer, pass this along. Or even better, just pass it along; let's get viral. Maybe someone will get work out this.

Here's the job:

I am currently looking for Structural Engineers (ES1) to work for my client in lovely Boston, one of the biggest names in the transportation industry. Must be PE and a minimum of 1 year of experience. Work is across Massachusetts, depending on projects.

If you know anyone.... thanks!

Everybody Knows--Dixie Chicks

This song has been rattling around in my head for a couple of days.

I think it's a quintessential trait of a person born in the United States to think that they can reinvent themselves, move somewhere else and start a whole new life, regardless of the past. It's steeped in our popular culture, and is becoming more prevalent as fame transcends talent in our collective psyche. Having been subject to enough people in my life who played judge, jury, and hangman, I can fully appreciate this.

But you can't run from the past. Yeah, the past is done and gone, but it would take a colossal, psychotic effort--repression worthy of Sam Shepherd or Tennessee Williams--to pull it off. And there's a big difference between nuts and nutty. Nutty is okay, but run like hell from nuts.

Anyway, no matter how crazy the person, there are still cracks, and the past will seep in somewhere and do it's work.

Sometimes, the best thing to do is turn around and face the past bearing down on you like a herd of half-crazed wildebeests. It's gonna hurt, but once the herd passes, you can (hopefully) dust yourself off and resume your journey.

Tell me now if you came sneaking up behind
Would you know me and see behind the smile
I can change like colors on a wall
Hoping no one else will find what lies beneath it all
I think I hide it all so well

Stepping out, everyone can see my face
All the things I can't erase from my life
Everybody knows
Standing out so you won't forget my name
That's the way we play this game of life
Everybody knows

Looking through the crowd
I search for something else
But every time I turn around
I run into myself
Here I stand
Consumed with my surroundings
Just another day
Of everybody looking
I swore they'd never see me cry
You'll never see me cry

Stepping out, everyone can see my face
All the things I can't erase from my life
Everybody knows
Standing out so you won't forget my name
That's the way we play this game of life
Everybody knows

You say I'll pay the price
That's the chance that I'll take
Though you may think I'm telling lies
But I just call it getting by

Stepping out, everyone can see my face
All the things I can't erase from my life
Everybody knows

Standing out so you won't forget my name
That's the way we play this game of life
Everybody knows I am just barely getting by

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sugar Mountain--Neil Young

Up until only maybe two years ago, if you had asked me how old I was I would have paused and run a number line through my head, matching the line against reality. There would have been a click somewhere around 17, but then I'd fast-forward to my real age. Somewhere in my psyche I honestly believed that I was still 17. Or that life stopped at 17, or that I stopped growing then...or something.

Now, I feel my age. Not old. Just my age. My real age. And there's something very satisfying and something right and real about all that. I'm at a place in my life and it's here and it's today.

And I love this song, and it's feeling trying to go back, of trying to live somewhere where you're not.

Oh to live on, Sugar Mountain. The nostalgia, the sweet feeling, for sure, but also the sadness and the melancholy.

Oh, to live on sugar mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons,
You cant be twenty on sugar mountain
Though you're thinking that you're leaving there too soon,
You're leaving there too soon.

Its so noisy at the fair
But all your friends are there
And the candy floss you had
And your mother and your dad.

Oh, to live on sugar mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons,
You cant be twenty on sugar mountain
Though you're thinking that you're leaving there too soon,
You're leaving there too soon.

There's a girl just down the aisle,
Oh, to turn and see her smile.
You can hear the words she wrote
As you read the hidden note.

Oh, to live on sugar mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons,
You cant be twenty on sugar mountain
Though you're thinking that you're leaving there too soon,
You're leaving there too soon.

Now you're underneath the stairs
And you're givin' back some glares
To the people who you met
And its your first cigarette.

Oh, to live on sugar mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons,
You cant be twenty on sugar mountain
Though you're thinking that you're leaving there too soon,
You're leaving there too soon.

Now you say you're leavin' home
cause you want to be alone.
Ain't it funny how you feel
When you're findin' out its real?

Oh, to live on sugar mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons,
You cant be twenty on sugar mountain
Though you're thinking that you're leaving there too soon,
You're leaving there too soon.

Oh, to live on sugar mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons,
You cant be twenty on sugar mountain
Though you're thinking that you're leaving there too soon,
You're leaving there too soon.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Whister in the Dark staging a reading of my play!

I got some great news Friday night in an email.

Whistler in the Dark, as part of their Whistler Wednesdays stage readings, accepted Red Dog for a staged reading, scheduled for March 3, 2010.

I'm so excited (and honored) to have my play accepted by a group who is giving new voice to theater in Boston.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ah, the blogsphere

Ah, the blogsphere.

I used to write on this blog sometimes five and six times a day. I was steeped in the digital world, but more so, I was sitting in a cubicle bored to tears most of the time with thoughts and ideas and impressions rattling around in my head and this space was the best outlet for them.

But more and more I'm just living life right here in the "real" world. Not that I'm still not fascinated by the digital space. I still am, probably more than I've ever been. It is my little window to the world. I'm still unemployed, and while for some crazy reason I'm really not worried--how can you worry about something that is so far out of your control, like this financial crisis, as the Europeans so eloquently call it? It's like worrying about the weather. So, while I keep myself so busy sometimes it's almost laughable. I'm out of work yet there still aren't enough hours in the day for me to get everything done, from looking for work to taking care of the apartment and the meals to writing and continuing to just improve myself as a human being. Yes, that last one takes up a lot of time and energy. (That's a joke, son.)

And sometimes I feel a little guilty that I don't write here more. I know there are followers; some people subscribe, some people lurk, and others drop by occasionally to see what's up in my life--idle curiosity, perhaps, but it's nice that people are thinking of me. Just as I think of people in the periphery of my life.

It's not an excuse for not writing here, but I'm busy trying to figure out what to do with my life, how to do the things I want to do, how Sue and I can live our lives the way we want to. There are classes I'm considering including more acting classes and writing classes and auditions. Thursday I have a job interview for contract work that I have to prepare for, which would be great if I could land it because it would be the kind of work I used to do before I quit freelancing and went back to the agency. I loved the freelance life, the freedom, the stimulus from meeting new and interesting people, and learning about new subject matter and details for things I already know about.

Red Dog is out in a few hands now, hopefully being read and not just taking up space on a hard drive somewhere. It's at a few theaters for consideration for readings, and I'm hard at work on another play now that deals with all my favorite themes: abandonment, trust, family. That's all I'm going to say right now, because you don't want to show something to the world when it's still in such a formative state. The air seems to shrivel things. But I'm just as excited about this play as I was about Red Dog. I love the pure joy of simply writing.

And right now I have four pieces of chicken marinading in the 'fridge that I'll cook on the grill later and put back in the 'fridge for a meal later of cold chicken and salad when Sue gets home. I tell you, when she walks through the door, my heart just sings, and I love seeing the look on her face, too, when she sees me. I say I'm lucky, and she says she's lucky.

I try to keep things open. For the longest time I had my Facebook page closed up only to friends. But then it occurred to me that one of the things I like so much about the digital world is the idea of its openness. Again, that shared experience that we all have, whether we want to admit it or not. Being closed is not the way to go in the new world, and so I opened my page up to the world, and have had some good results. I've "met" new people, musicians and artists and actors and others in my field and though we've never met face-to-face we've shared ideas and personally, I've learned and grown from them.

But openness can be a bit creepy, too. There are those who will always abuse anything. I have a lurker on this blog, someone in Australia, and all the signs of a creep are there. He hits the blog pretty regularly, and he seems to be searching for anything relating to Sue. For a while he'd keep going back to pictures I posted of her and used the keyword, lanka, as in sri lanka where Sue lived for awhile. It was weird to see the connections. I removed the pictures, and it seemed when he realized they were missing he immediately used the keyword "sex" to look for things on my blog, which I thought was a rather poignant, primal, word association. Now he sits on the blog for a good hour, pouring over the posts date by date. Anyway, this is the dark side of the Internet, and just like all new things in the world, we have to adjust and learn, which is the one thing I love doing.

As I started with this post, ah, the blogsphere.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Time Bandits play at benefit for Parkinson's Disease at Marlboro Fish and Game

Yesterday, just off Rte. 495 North, heading west on Rte. 20, through three sets of lights and a right onto Boundary Street, and after a scant 50 yards turning right onto Elm Street before going a quarter-mile onto Muddy Lane, a good thing was happening in the world. Good people go together for good times and music and food to raise as much money as they could to fight Parkinson’s Disease. It was at the Fish and Game Club in Marlborough, Massachusetts, a place not many people frequent. It's a small club made up of people who are not members of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Boston Symphony, or Club Passim. They enjoy hunting and fishing and family. The lead singer of the band, Time Bandits, a group of friends who play '60's and '70's covers, organized the benefit because one of her parents has Parkinson's. So Time Bandits got a gig (it was their first or second, depending on how you look at things) and it was a beautiful summer Saturday and I wish I could have spent more than the hour and a half that I did spend there because it truly was fun: Fun to see the band up and going, fun to see people enjoying themselves in a very simple way with food on the grill including pulled pork made by the lead singer, and kids having fun, particularly one who's father is the drummer in the band and it must be amazing to see his father playing, and it's even more tender to see the unadulterated love the little boy has for his father, and to see my friend, Joan, wowed by her husband (he's in a real band, she confided to me) who she hadn't seen play yet.

Sometimes the world is pretty simple, and when it is, I love it.

Check it out.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Growing up, and the importance of not owning a Blackberry

My father used to tell me to stay in school so I didn’t have to do what he did for a living. He was blue collar, and unloaded trucks for his whole life. He came home dirty and tired every day, and never made more than $10,000 a year. Ten thousand a year was squat even back then when a loaf of bread cost a quarter. So, I went to school and worked in offices most of my life, and didn’t come home dirty and tired like he did. And he would have said I did all right for myself.

And now I tell my kids the same thing my old man told me. Go to school so you don’t have to do what I do. Or more, what I did. I always had good jobs, until recently anyway when this depression has pulled the rug out of every one in five worker. (Those are my numbers and I don’t have any proof of them other than I what I can discern from the media.) But I worked for a lot of companies that I really didn’t like, didn’t like a lot of the people or what the company stood for even though my father would have thought they were pretty cushy jobs.

All this comes to mind as I talk to my two daughters about their summer jobs, and about money. One daughter loves her job, but doesn’t make any money. The other one hates her job, but makes good money. Sounds like the plot of a fairy tale, doesn’t it? And the one who doesn’t make any money decided to buy a Blackberry and be an adult and wants to start paying bills, and the other one texted me the other day to say she now understands why I hated sitting in cubicles all my life.

I said to the one who bought the Blackberry that paying bills isn’t all what it’s cut out to be. That what most “adults” do is simply work to pay bills. All that hard work goes to taking money in one hand and handing it off to someone else with the other. And the more money you make the more you buy (or in the recent past—charged) and you got into a terrible millstream of simply working to keep your head above the water. I told the one working in the cubicle I guess it was best she learned that lesson for herself, as much as I hate knowing she has to learn that lesson.

I wish I could simply put my two kids on a path that I felt was best for them, but we can’t live other’s lives for them, even our kids. The point on this path both my kids are on is pretty standard for white middle-class kids raised in the suburbs. They start out pretty much buying into the status quo--or what used to pass for the status quo. I’m afraid I’d freak my kids out by telling them it’s all gone now, just like I used to tell them the reason not to drink or do drugs was because we know where those roads lead. Be creative, I told them, and make new mistakes. If my kids were really smart they’d do that now: forget jobs and school and bills and Blackberrys and sit back for awhile on some mountaintop or some beach somewhere and figure out where this new world is going, then go there and meet it coming around the bend. But of course, that’s easy for me to say. It’s always easy being an armchair quarterback.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Son Volt--Medicine Hat

Today, one of my Facebook status lines was that I think I'd take Jay Farrar over Jeff Tweedy.

This song is the reason I said that. I had just heard it, and while I love a lot of the innovation that Wilco did/does, I guess deep down I'm just a traditional mofo. I love good, clean, solid American roots music. And I love Farrar's voice.

There will be droughts and days inundated
Unveilings free from saturation
Departures raised with no masquerading
There will be teachers that die by their own hand
Pundits that push headlong for atonement
Friends and followers devoted to living
There will be watchers that ply for new confines
Those committed to society's circles
Unwary cogs with no cadence of virtue
There will be right
There will be wrong

Drop of the hat, and it's already started
Just like that, and the deed is done
What I'd give for that hat to be medicine
The time is now to be on the run

There will be machinations unforeseen
Sleepwalking sense from a bad dream
No promenade walk in the parkway
There will be catchwords filled with infection
Circulars to prop up occasion
No golden mean to prop up the footsteps
There will be levels on high hills that appraise
There will be unchanging certainties
Barometers that follow the stampede
There will be right
There will be wrong

There will be signposts of indication
Semaphore go signs and warnings
Hailstone halos and country-blues wailings
There will be strains that break out of straight time
To pave with grace different roads to the same place
No consequence to repay what's been given
There will be layers of means to an end
Drawn-out days before resolution
Dregs will rain down from all directions
There will be right
There will be wrong

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Don't keep NXR's Shh quiet. Great new theater in Boston.

I checked out Shh!, New Exhibition Room's latest production, free at Playwright's Platform. Go see it, and not just because it's free, which is amazing. Normally you'd be shelling out somewhere around 25 bucks for theater of this caliber.

Shh! examines censorship. It's all, as they say in this Web 2.0 world, original content. NXR auditioned an ensemble and together they collaborated to write and make this show. Original content, to my way of thinking, is the way to go in this world. I mean, do we really need another production of Best Little Whorehouse in Texas? How about breaking some new ground, people?

Shh! is not the end-all word on censorship. I don't think they meant it to be that. Shh! is a series of skits that are very fast-paced, high-energy, and very entertaining with the idea of censorship sometimes obviously and sometimes-not-so obviously holding them together. Sometimes the role of censorship in our society is right out there, as when Shh! lays out the history of censorship in America. And sometimes it's a bit more subtle, as with a series surrounding a nudist, that seem to address the idea of self-censorship. Almost always, though, Shh! goes for the humor, which makes for a very entertaining night. Shock isn't the intent here at all.

Since it is theater and it was written by the cast and producers, Shh!, as you'd expect, has quite the liberal viewpoint toward censorship. Except for one skit where a conservative suburbanite gives a quiet, impassioned, serious argument towards censorship, never does Shh! explore whether censorship has its place in our lives, which might have been an interesting take, given the obvious talent that appears in the show. One wonders what the ensemble, given its obvious intelligence and creativity, would have come up with when challenged with that question.

Bottom line? Go see it, and not just because it's free. At the very least, Shh! is highly entertaining. Prepared to be entertained (there's that word again), and maybe shocked or challenged depending on your own sensibilities.

NXR represents some of the new, younger voices in theater that seem to be growing in the Boston area. Just like years ago when young comics like Jay Leno, Steven Wright, Denis Leary, and Lenny Clark were honing their skills at area clubs and later defined the Boston comic, groups like NXR seem to be doing the same with their performances. If anything, for free, you just might see a bit of Boston theater history in the making.

Shh! is free, but you still need a ticket to get in. Get them here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

New Exhibition Room: Shh!! -- orignal theater in Boston

From Nora Long, one of the founders of New Exhibition Room in Boston.

Hey Everyone I know (pretty much)

I wanted to take this opportunity to personally invite you to my theatre company’s first show. We’ve worked fairly hard over the last 6 weeks to make a quirky, frenetic exploration of censorship. Everything in the show is true or an abstraction of something true, so I think the show is equal parts hilarious and terrifying. There will likely be nudity, gratuitous violence and definitely adult language and content, so this might not be the best show to bring grandma to. It would be great to see you. For those of you who are too far away to come, I thought you might be interested in what I’ve been up to.

Also, it’s free, it’s T-accessible, and there will be cookies afterwards – what more could you ask for in a night at the theatre? Get tix here.

You are, of course, welcome anytime, but it would be particularly awesome to have some friendly faces (and voices) in the house opening weekend (July 9-11). A few members of the press will be coming, so we want to make sure they see the best possible show, which is, in large part do to the audience.

In addition to the show, there will be a reading of a new play each Saturday at 4PM. The writers include John J. King, Theo Goodell and Rachel Kelsey. These readings are also free, and a great opportunity to hear some new work by some of the most talented local writers we know.

Feel free to forward this email around.

Hope to see you there.

Lots of love,

PS. If you haven’t seen it already, my baby sister made a couple of killer videos of our rehearsals. Check them out.

New Exhibition Room presents Shh!
July 9-25, 2009
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