Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2012

The Vision in the Text

I was addressing (addressing, already I sound pretentious) a group of actors who were going to be performing my work.

I'd let them direct themselves, because I wanted to see what would happen when you remove a director from the theatrical experience.

I should mention that I don't hate directors, I just wanted to use this particular show as an experiment.

What would actors do if left to direct themselves?

It's not like it's the first time an actor's directed themselves, but it's not often that an actor gets to direct themselves performing a brand new piece of work that was written for them while the playwright looks on and chews on his fingernails.

(It all sounds sort of sideshow-ish, doesn't it?)

Overall, I was very pleased with the direction most of the performers took their pieces in, and it was helpful for me as a writer to see the actors' instincts at work.

The one that jumped at me more than once, however, was this sense that one of my least favori…

American Reunion, or How to Handle a Franchise

A third of the way into American Reunion, the latest in the American Pie franchise coming nearly ten years after its last installment (straight-to-video movies not withstanding), I was hit with a revelation.

I was morbidly depressed.

First off, I had no idea it had been almost a decade since American Wedding, the third movie in the franchise.  I could have sworn it came out in 2005 or 2006.  It seems the first sign of getting older is that everything seems like it happened much more recently than it actually has.  No wonder the movie didn't tear it up at the box office.  The target audience would be young guys in their twenties, and those guys were probably eight or nine when the franchise first began.

Then again, I guess they would be the major demographic for this movie.  That honor would fall to my peer group:  The "We Miss the 90's" Generation.

Many people have taken advantage of my age group's love affair with nostalgia.

Teen Nick recently had a huge success…

Taking Back "Slut"

There's a word that gets tossed around so often, and, subsequently, tossed off even more infrequently.

"Slut."

It's not as bad as calling someone a "whore," but it does indicate a certain level of trashiness, and, obviously, promiscuity.

This post is going to be mainly about the word in the context of the gay community, since, you know, I'm a gay man.

The worst part about being labeled a "slut" is that once that moniker is stuck on you, it'll stay there for, oh let's be conservative here and say--decades.

What's odd is that we find it hysterical when women act slutty.

I mean, c'mon, the Sex and the City women are practically our temple gods, and yet when we ourselves act that way, there's utter disdain.

And most of the time, it has nothing to do with morality or (try saying this without scoffing) chastity.

Most of the time it's one of the following reasons:

1)  We call a guy a slut because we want to dissuade someone fr…

There's Nothing to Do in Providence

I'm reading Less Than Zero by Brett Easton Ellis for the first time for a book club I'm in, and one particular thing keeps jumping out at me.

Everybody in the book is rich, connected, and constantly bored.

Now, I know it was the eighties and there weren't as many time-killing devices as there are now, but still--

This was Los Angeles, and these characters are ridiculously wealthy and all they do is talk about how bored they are.

I'm also aware that this is fiction, but it's surprising how much it reminds me of a lot of what I hear living in Rhode Island.

It's not uncommon to hear people complain that there's nothing to do in Providence.

Even I used to think that until I actually started going out in the city.  Now I'm not sure how anybody can say that.

I've been officially exploring the place I'm from for the past few years, and I still haven't even touched upon most of the restaurants or events that go on here.

I'm not going to be one o…

Art and Domesticity

I got into more than a few arguments with friends of mine when I posted a status saying "I've lost more friends to marriage than I have to drugs."

Obviously that was meant to incite people, but sometimes that's just because I incite people when I really just want to converse with them.

(Believe it or not, people are much more likely to get into an argument with you than they are to strike up a conversation with you.)

What I was getting at was, yes, drugs are bad and you shouldn't do drugs BUT I have a particular aversion to people who get into relationships, marriages, have kids, etc, and fall off the face of the earth only to reemerge every so often to cast judgment down on the likes of people who drink or do drugs or carry on in such undomestic fashions.

I'd like to know why it's okay to become an ice-cold, mini-van driving asshole but not a drug addict?

To me, they're equally disappointing.

One's lost their soul to addictive influences, and one…

When You're Sure That's All There Is

I read a really great book--the latest from the Story Project.

"All There Is"--a book about true love.

All the stories share the same theme, two people meet and fall in love.

That magic, instantaneous, "this is the one" love.

You'd think there would be at least one bit of helpful advice letting us know how they knew, but alas, that's not the case.

They just "knew."

It got me to thinking:

How are you supposed to know?  I mean, really know.

We all have those friends (or have been those friends) who fall in and out of what we think is love, only to insist to the people closest to us--

"No, really, THIS time it's for real."

Wouldn't it be easier to have a definite way of knowing?

I've come up with a list of things that could happen that would let you know that you're definitely in love.

In no particular order, they are--

~ A trumpet
~ A chorus singing (cliche, I know)
~ A chorus singing Megadeth (there ya go)
~ A small man tu…

Soft

So here's a story I'm embarrassed to tell.

Years upon years ago, when I was in the midst of a slut phase that should be ending...any day now, there was a boy I used to see out and about who I found to be incredibly attractive.

(Let's call him Sally.  That way you know it's not his real name.)

He also seemed fairly popular around the scene (is that the right usage?  "around the scene," "in the scene?") and so it took a little while just to get myself noticed.

As soon as I did, however, we really seemed to hit it off.  We went out a few times, and I was looking forward to the inevitable sexual circus that was bound to transpire.

That's when one of my friends dropped the bomb on me (baby):

"He can't get hard."

Sorry for the informal nature of that statement, but I felt it was best to cut to the chase.

"What do you mean he can't get hard?"

Apparently Sally got around quite a bit (hence the popularity) and apparently while…

What We're Doing to Reviews

One thing is for certain:

Getting a bad review will not help sell your show.

Or will it?

I mean, think of Spiderman...

Okay, but let's talk about things at the regional level, since anything at the Broadway level is so wild it's like trying to explain chaos theory.

Actually chaos theory and theater are sort of--

Anyway, a bad review doesn't help.

A really bad review may even tank a production, and a few really bad reviews could probably shut down a small theater.

But what about good reviews?

If a bad review doesn't help sell a show, does it stand to reason that a good review would help sell a show?

Sadly, it doesn't seem like that logic is true, and we're the reason behind it.

Well, when I say "we're" what I mean is all of you and not me.

Because I'm the author of this piece, so of course, I'm innocent.

The way I see it, there are two reasons why a good review wouldn't help sell a show:

1)  The content of the show sounds unappealing.  …

The News as a Reflection

I see these statuses all the time--

"This many people have died in a war, but the news talks about the Kardashians."

or

"This didn't make the news, but J.Lo's latest wedding did."

or something to that effect.

You get the point.

People always want to complain about what they see on the news.

I don't.

For one thing, I don't watch the news, but I don't blame the news for that.

(You follow me?)

The news is a reflection of what people want to hear about.

That's evident from the slant Fox News and MSNBC put on the things they report.

A friend of mine once said his conservative roommate loved Fox News because "it gave him the news the way he wanted to hear it."

So when we whine about the news or what's reported on it, we have to remember that we're the deciding factor of how the media manipulates us.

Everything, and I mean everything, is the result of ratings and money.

Don't watch the Kardashians and people won't feel the…

These Precious Slots

Every year I get so excited when theaters announce their seasons.

Well, maybe I should amend that:

I get excited, and the a lot of the time, I get furious.

Maybe "furious" is too strong a word, but maybe not.

Often I hear myself saying "Why would you do [old tired show] again?" or "Why would you do [fluffy nonsense] instead of [show of merit]?" or just "What IS that?"

Perhaps I'm getting too upset about it, and yes, I understand that theaters need to make money, but whomever came up with the rule that a show can't have artistic integrity AND make money should be shot.  It's simply not true.

Very few Broadway or off-Broadway shows make it without a certain degree of critical praise.  And yet out in regional theater land, we believe that if it isn't Lend Me a Tenor, it's an artistic risk.

(Sidenote:  I hate Lend Me a Tenor.  Any show with blackface in it, regardless of whether or not it fits into the context of the show, is not…

How to Screw Up Pasta Primavera

In an effort to not be the worst cook in the world, I decided that I needed to try making something simple, by-the-recipe, with no deviations.

After trying to go food shopping for a week's worth of meals, I realized that baby steps were the only way to go.  So I picked the easiest dish I could:

Pasta primavera.

Granted, it was extra-cheesy pasta primavera, but hey--what's a little extra cheese?

I love cheese.

Cheese can't screw up a meal, can it?

Oh yes, my friends.

Oh yes, it can.

This time around, the food shopping wasn't the issue.  Quite the opposite, in fact.

I got everything I needed--

Yellow onion.
Zucchini.
Eggplant.

The right kind of pasta.

I even bought the exact sort of pepper that was specified by none other than Martha Stewart herself, in my favorite cooking magazine "Everyday Food."

So what went wrong?

Well, seeing as how there were only about four steps in the recipe, I'd say something went wrong between steps one and two.

Or maybe before s…