Sunday, September 30, 2007

Chicago Mammals

I got the site. Now I just got to get some content.

Someone else bought the old domain so here is the new one.

chicagomammals.com

Saturday, September 29, 2007

vicious
true
manipulation
magician
protector of truth and justice with a wink to the security camera
how many eyelids can this one man have?
this demon that asked me to make a deal
no...no I didnt know he was the devil when I took his advice and punched that homeless man in mouth and told him I was a cop and that
he could stand on my corner anymore. Not on my corner. Not anymore on my corner.
Who says its your corner? the devil winks with one eyelid and with another eyelid his lashes jut out like a lip in judgement.
So many eyelids
So many eyes
So much surveilance
To see the thing doesnt make it real
He's right
I have to feel it
I have to be made to feel it. The hand isnt real till i feel something within my grasp until that grabbing that touching that moment...the hand is only an idea only a phantom

but when you close your eyes and hide your fingertips and palms of your hands
when your tongue tastes nothing and your toes get forgetful (ahhh forget...again forget) the world doesnt go away

When i forget the world, it doesn't go away

Yes it does.

More Dream Axe-Man-ish

If you feel it, then it is real.

I remember I had a dream where my father cut across my face with a blade. I can remember the feeling of being cut, the sensation of the sharp blade coming across the cheek towards the nose. I remember the way it felt when the skin on either side of the incision let go of the other side and the oxygen blew across the same path as the blade. I felt the sensation of air touching flesh that had never breathed that way before. And the intense fury my father aimed towards me in the dream.

I felt that. It was real. Even if it was only real around here (spins fingers around the head) it is real enough. Real.

-A Dream can be real

I can't share it or verify it, but real.

And something that happened and I can forget it, forget how it felt. Then it isn't real. Then it never happened.

This is the way it is.
Something felt and remembered is real
Something forgotten never felt or even doubted then is not real

So If I can make you feel the dream, it is more real than the waking thing

-The waking thing? You mean reality?
-Fuck you. Are trying to be cute with me...

A Dream in world of the Axe-Man

I love being asleep. That is a great damn time most the time. I get to eat as much as I want and no body looks sideways at me. I can have as much coffee as I want as much sugar and half and half. Fuck half and half I can have the whole fucking cow in coffee when I'm dreaming.

I don't get the kickback in throat no matter. I can have coffee and beer and shot and can of gasoline on top of that.

Ohhhh I can taste those cigarettes in dreams

-Do you smoke?

Not so much. I had to learn for a part in a play I did back in good old days. The good old affordable days when I could be sure I'd sleep in bed. I dream of beds now. Ha!

Nah, the cigarettes right? Yeah, I was playing a part in a play I auditioned to impress this girl and some how I got invited back. They wanted me to play a professional wrestler, you got imagine you know back then I was broader in the shoulders I was a regular all star but this girl she liked poets, she like words and dancing and poets and paint on canvas. I owe all the bad things since then to being in love with a girl who loved poets. Her cunt was carrot she dangled in front of me and let me just get my bottom lip up against for a few stanzas. I got real good at spinning a line you know each metaphor for the way her shape looked under stagelights , a bra buckle that only the right brain could figure.

Damn I keep meaning to talk about how I learned to smoke. So they want me to play this professional wrestler who was an incarnation of the devil. Ha. And I guess I looked more like a devil smoking a cigar. So I had to learn how to smoke cigars. They just put one in my hand during the rehearsals and after weeks of it, I got to really enjoy it. And after rehearsal at the bar, I'd ask folks for a cigarette and smoke it with my drink, but after 3 or 4 nights of that the other actors told me that if I was a smoker it was time for me to buy a pack. I had to choose between beer and smoking. I choose beer.

Sometimes in dreams I can remember the taste of those cigars, and in the dream I crave it. I really crave it hard when I sleep.

So anyways that is why I love sleeping.

-That's not real

Stop. Alright. I felt it. That is just as good. If you feel it and you remember than it is real man.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sandwich Man is now the Axe Man




That is the name of the play/prose/story/showing I'm going to be putting all of my creative chaotic juice on top of during the NaNoWrimo.

It started with the idea called the Sandwich Man a tale about a street musician who lies about being a FBI agent to a hobo sandwich man protester to get him to leave the musician and his listeners alone. The hobo disappears, but is suddenly replaced by Men in Suits with dark glasses, ear pieces, who constantly talk into their cuff links. The Men in Suits then systematically put the musician through an kafka-like nightmare of seemingly unwarranted trial and persecution.



The major image was this old hobo I called the Sandwich Man. I could see him with this incredibly ornate sandwich board that doubled as outsider art/puppet and object stage. I saw him tell passers by stories warnings morality tales about people who get lost or taken. I overheard this old man certain that the FBI was going to stop him from telling his tales. They were listening and they didn't like what he had to say.



As more time pasted, I thought to myself well that is an interesting image but is it a story to be told? I thought about the man whose story this would actually be, the young musician, the horn player, and he became or is becoming the Axe-Man.

No matter how intriguing or phantasmagorical I find the possibilities of the Sandwich Man, It is the Axe-Man's story...that I have to remember.

Both of these men have chosen or been brought to a position in life where they have to use the open air as their forum of communication.

Things to think about connections maybe

homeless, what if all the homeless suddenly disappeared?
same as the street musicians? What if no one was occupying the streets, only using them to move from one point to another?

What sort of political threat is one man with a sandwich board? Why bother with him? Some might argue that they never really are bothered with. But, what if...what would a sandwich man have to do or say or preach so that he would be dangerous enough or perceived as dangerous enough that he would be stopped. Thing about this girl who went to the airport with a circuit board taped to here chest. I am not convinced that wasn't a performance, regardless of the reporting we are getting.

FTTW

DIY Trunk Show here
Saturday November 17th
Pulaski Park Auditorium
1419 W. Blackhawk
Chicago IL 60622

I'm all over this. Anybody else want to go?

Storytelling Question

It's called Storytelling
not
Storyshowing

i.e.
Is there a time onstage in front of an audience when it is actually better and maybe even a little more interesting to tell the story rather than show it?

(RLewis, you got me thinking on this.)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jack Kerouac

I'm a sucker for this sort of thing. Anyway it is the fiftieth anniversary.

My dad

So, I got a call yesterday from my folks. It appears that my dad is going to go in for a heart cathaterization today. He's had some chest pain for the past few days. He thought he had pulled a muscle in his chest. Mom talked him into going to the doctor. EKG Stress test later...and they think they may have to put a stent in one of his arteries. I'll know tonight how the whole thing went.

For me it seemed to come right out of nowhere. I've been using my health insurance lately to go and get checked up by the sawbones. It appears that my blood pressure is pretty high. Not unusual for me I think. I tend to be pretty stressed out, overweight, etc. But the doctor was really concerned and thinks I'm a candidate for medication.

Huh? He wants to make sure I don't have a history of heart conditions. I don't think so. Nobody in the family mentioned anything. But just to sure lets ask the folks one more time.

"No, bob. No history of diabetes. Well expect for your great grand father and my aunt. And no history of Cardiac trouble expect for your grandmother dying of congestive heart failure."

"So, mom, what your saying is that we have diabetes in the family."

"Well, yes and no. When your great grand father and great aunt got it, it wasn;t childhood diabetes. It was adult diabetes."

"Well, I'm an adult"

"Yeah, I guess you are"

"And what about this congestive heart failure"

"Well that isn't really a heart condition (by the way not true). It is more like fluid built up around the heart."

All this and now my dad is in the hospital. So who knows maybe my rigorous questioning made him second guess that twinge he was feeling and went to get it checked out.

I have to admit, the whole thing is upsetting. Not only that my dad is in the hospital right now for an overnight procedure due to heart issues, but that my folks seem to make so little of it, and that getting the information from them was like pulling teeth. Was it because they don't want to acknowledge that maybe we do have some hereditary health issues in the family? Is it because they know I have a natural streak of hypochondria in me? Of course, they weren't purposely trying to hide anything from me, but why is it that I had to hear about this only after my doctor suggests BP medication?

Family (points to head and makes crazy sign)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Seven Snakes - Chapter - Morning with Mother

The sun woke me up. Last night I got he man out of his hole and back in my bed, but in the dawn, the Man was gone again. I could hear Mother's ghost clearing her throat, sitting on the foot of the bed squinting in her worried way.

D-Where'd he go?

M-Outside again. Back to digging

(Mother signs and squints)

D- Don't
M-What?
D- Don't ruin it for me.
M-Fine
D- I want to savor this alright?
M-Savor away Girlie
D- The feeling of him and I entwined.
M- He seems pretty set on that cave he's at
D-Why is that?
M- He got a taste of the daughter, maybe he's trying to dig up yer old ma
D-Mother!
M- He got a taste fer my bones.

She laughes and laughes.

D- It's him and me. He's mine. It's like he and I have a secret we share when his weight is on top of me.
M- Just one night of bumpin has got you talking like a sailor?D- Forget itM- Girlie, I'd rahter see you step trepidaious. What if the weight of your secret crushes everything else around you?
D- what can I do but sucumb to his weight?
M- I'm fretting on it. Right now you ought be knee deep in a post game cuddle but the guy is out there digging a hole? What the hell's he doing? Digging for e'rl to buy you a diamond engagement ring? I doubt seriously. Besides how you going to have a secret with a man you can't even pick out of a line up? No doubt he's got the secret. He might could be a bit touched too. You think of that? Course not. You must be a wee bit touched as well. Giving yer cherry to a Man wont even let ya kiss him on the mouth, much less see his face.

Well at least the TV stopped screaming at me. I turned it back around, figured I must of been high on lovin' last night.

Before I headed out for the VA, I stopped by the hole to say goodbye to my Man

M- It aint a hole no more. It's a subway station.

She wasn't kidding. It had grown significantly deeper and wider since last night. My Man had been busy. I could actually walk down inside it without crouching over. I took a few steps in. I couldn't see my Man or the end of the tunnel, but I heard him down there digging away. I went further in until I could see no light from the opening. I called out to him. The digging stopped for a moment, but no answer came. Then the digging started back up. I didn't want to go any deeper in the tunnel if I couldn't see. I shouted to him that I would see him later that night. Finally he answered back yelling back to me "Tonight!"




Lameo Meme

For Paul

1. I have to buy t-shirts and coffee mugs everywhere I go. I am a sucker for any sort of shwag.
2. If I still had a car I would gladly drive an hour or two to get to a good glass of sweet tea or a bowl of cheese grits.
3. I love rodeo
4. I pretend to not get jokes all the time that I actually get. I don't know why it gives me such pleasure but it does.
5. Cracker Barrel Waffle House Steak and Shake

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Clay Continent Comic Book!!!

Is ths cool or what?!




I got a chance to speak via email last week with an excellent artist and true friend to the Mammals Theater Company, Sean Hopp. He designed promotional materials for the first production of Clay Continent, which we will be using again next spring. This dude is one of the best artists I know, and you should go check out his website. Hey maybe you could even buy some of his art!


Monday, September 24, 2007

A life well lived

Fear
There is so much fear
Stopping us
I mean
There has never been a guarantee
Health Insurance is no guarantee
Deep Breathing is nothing certain either
Who do you owe the greatest debt to?
Can you be certain that you have the time necessary to pay that debt?

There is the way in which fear is a great tool
It gives the ability to outrun the bear
But the fear that stops you from even entering the forest
Is a walking death fear
A fear that stops life
Even as it attempts to preserve it

Fear stops the story
And wear one brother falls from a cliff while climbing
Or another brother takes a bullet for something
Or two people make love regardless of reproduction
Or a child learns the power to change

what fear gives us instead is
Isolation
Weak kneed cup of coffee
The soft indentation on the couch
The catalog of regrets

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Inspiration for possible design in Clay Continent



Here we have examples of sculptural work by the artist, Eva Rothschild. I love the three figures above. The more I look at them, the more the almost seem like 3 characters in a play to me, or three puppets.



To my mind, these are excellent examples of the kind of thing I'd love to see more of in regards to stage design. Simple, strong, powerful, singular. I would love to emulate this sort of design when the Mammals do Clay Continent in April.



I suppose they is a possibility of a design this simple of this geometric seeming too derivative of Robert Wilson's aesthetic, but I'm willing to take that chance.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Writing Exercise - Foreign Country

I secretly harbor the hope of one day teaching or leading workshops for creative types. In the spirit. I am going to start journaling about (among my usual topics) writing, creativity, writerly habits, writing exercises, etc. Feel free to ignore or to attempt any writing exercises I post. it you do, please share or tell me how they are going, do you find them helpful, entertaining, or the exact opposite. Do you feel that a particular exercise has no merit, and why...Thanks DV

I am excited to see the new David Cronenberg film Eastern Promises. Over at bookslut, there was a post that links to books that Cronenberg used for research. Books with dark creepy titles that speak to mysteries of foreign soil.

I ask myself 'What if I were to wake up in foreign country?" Would I be able to provide for myself at all. I don't speak the language. I don't know if I have an sort of useful skills. I don't even know where I am on the map.

Writing Exercise - Imagine you wake up in a foreign country. Describe the domicle or shelther you woke up in. Describe how you got your first meal in this country. Describe the locale the setting. Describe the one person whom you can't speak with, but who seems confident that you belong in this country.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Why write? Because...

I'm alive
this moment
right now
I'm alive
And that is significant
I'm observant
In a fashion unlike most others
I want to be more observant
I need practice
How better than to catalog my observances

Sometimes
I observe the world
I am dissatisfied
I am bored
I am angry
I am convinced
I can do better
So I write down
A paradigm I prefer
A distraction
From my dissatisfaction
A Phantasmagorical pantheon
To make me smile
I am alive
Look what I made
It is so special to me
It is unlike what others make
I adore it
For a few brief moments
I remember
That I am capable
of something
worthwhile
something special
unique
I struggle but
I have left a few white pages in this world
better off than when I found them

Clay Continent Writing Exercise 2

Disclaimer - I may be using the comments I receive for this post as fodder for the Mammals Theater Company's upcoming production of Clay Continent.

Ok, I've got another exercise for you. I want you to write an insulting remark. Some thing one character could say to another to denigrate an idea, a political or religious belief, etc.

Here's the catch I want it in the form of a haiku.

For example...

There is some thing wrong
With your f cking brain I think
Your head e quals shit

Please shower my blog
With lots of insults galore
Or I'll hunt you down

;)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Awesome but off topic

Viva Caligula - OMG I'm in love with video games again.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Request - Clay Continent Exercise

Those of you who read this blog regularly, I have a request. I would like to give you a quick and easy assignment.

I want you to tell me about a time or event when you were filled with an irrational amount of fear and/or rage.

I will attempt to use these moments or let them inspire scenes between Jekyll and Hyde. I want to create scenarios similar to this one, which was inspired by the idea of having irrational Raoul Duke like response to a couple of bicycle cops I saw at the Panera.

You can also tell me about an image that you saw that again gave you desire toward irrational vehement response.

Just a couple of sentences...pretty please. Who knows, your irrational fear and loathing might inspire an excellent scene for my actors to perform come April 2008.

Possible Jekyll Monolgoue

Jekyll - I was sitting by ourself in a booth at the bread and coffee cafe. I had scribbling notes for the past hour furiously. At least a half dozen potential chemical variations to the compund. Exhuastion was setting in. I had been running on my third and then my fourth wind. I needed something and since I couldn't well open a capsule of meth into cup of coffee, I opted instead for a sugar high. I went to self serve half and half bar and grabbed a half dozen suagr packets to take back to my little booth. I didn't have any appointment for another hour and wanted to load up on gluclose so as to fuel this scientific inspiration I had been pouring into the my nots of journal. Just after I sat back down at the booth, I saw a couple of bicycle cops looking for place to sit. I had been camped here since 10 in the morning, but it was now the hieight of lunchtime rush hour and comfortable seats were scant. Both of the cops caught my eye, he hovered like a dragonfly in hope that I was about to surrender the booth. I shrugged my shoulders quick as an apology for not leaving. One of the two cops didn't like that. I avoided his glare, my eyes wild with lack of sleep get a like a flounders. I had one aimed at the journal and my hand scribbling at the engima, the other eye landed on the bike cops hairy legs with vains bludging in rage at my mere existence, at my audacity at being alone in a booth at the Bread and Coffee Cafe at this time of day, it what I was being suspect must have been his favorite seat in the entire establishment.


I decided to go ahead and leave. I ripped open the sugar packets poured them into my coffee. My notes were dishelved and so it took bothhands to care them and my coffee. Hence, I left the used sugar packets on the tabletop.


Voice of Cop -You going leave that there?

Jekyll - What

VoC - You going to leave that mess on your table, you not going pitch it in trash

J-And then something happened. So far as I could tell I was still me. I sat Hyde sitting safely there in that corner we had made for him. But the words escaping my lips were not mine

Hyde-Not mine either

Jekyll - You sure

Hyde-Wasn't me

Voice of Cop - What did you just say to me?

Jekyll - You're hard of hearing too. I said what is this really about? Huh? I reminder you of some joker who fucked your wife and got away with it?

(to Hyde)

You sure that isn't you?

Hyde - Why would I?

Jekyll - Spite?

Hyde - If you aren't going to let me handle it, then leave me alone.

VoC - You know who you're talking to?

Jekyll - Are you going to arrest me

VoC - if you give me a good reason

Jekyll - So you're just going to harass me?

VoC - You know what I think? I think you're crazy

Jekyll - No, what's crazy is me having to tolerate harrasment from apublic servant over a bunch of empty sugar packets. No well balanced officer of law would ever stoop to such a trival enterprise. So I surmised you must be under some sort of emotional strain, like for instance a sense of extreme melancholy due to the ready availability of your wife's vagina to any tom dick or harry with a five spot and penchant for creampie

Hyde - Somebody is being a bad boy

Jekyll - OK that was not me...

Personal Assessment

It is during the month of September last year that I was planning my escape from both Atlanta and my previous employer. December 1st of last year was when I relocated back to Chicago from Atlanta with the help of some friends. So if my return to Chicago were a zygote then the baby probably would have arrived a few weeks ago.

So what happened during the pregnancy stage of my rebirth? On the artistic front plenty

1) My involvement as a writer in the Armageddon Radio Hour
2) Directing excerpts from Sammy and the Cricketman for the Mill's etc. fest
3) Completion and Reading of the First Draft of The Meatlocker
4) My involvement as Asst Director in WNEP's Soiree Dada
5) Editing the first five pages of my Freshman Novel effort, Seven Snakes
6) Beginning Preproduction on Clay Continent, opening 2008
7) Worked up to a workout of 45 minutes of cardio 3 times a week (the past 5 weeks)

None of these things would have happened if I had stayed put.

During the next 3 months as I move towards being back in Chicago for 1 year, what are my goals? Artistic and otherwise?

1) Complete 50% of the edited draft of Seven Snakes
2) Complete a second draft of The Meatlocker
3) Participate in NaNoWriMo and write a second first draft of a novel length work
4) Move my stuff still in storage in Atlanta back up to Chicago.
5) Lose 10 pounds
6) Incorporate some basic weight lifting in my workouts
7) Stop drinking caffinated coffee (ugh!!! good luck)
8) Get the Mammals website back online ($$$)
9) Develop a marketing plan for Clay Continent

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

First Five Chapters Seven Snakes

Including Chapter Zed, I've edited the first five chapters of my Novel. There is some formatting that is set in script form, but if I just change them with quotes, I got prose. I'm pretty excited. I might just get the edited draft done before November gets here.


Chapter Zed – The Old Skillet

How do these mice live out here on the Old Skillet? Perhaps they aren’t mice. Maybe they’re what’s left of the coyotes, dried up canine scabs self trying to steal a little government issue before they take their sweetest surrender. I used to think those rodents could burrow down deep, and that somewhere miles down underneath were ancient Indian aqueducts.

This patch has always been a hard place, but it wasn’t always the Old Skillet. People started calling it that after the military put down a camp. According to mother, when the buzzcuts moved in to the valley, the whole of the area surrounding has gone from the pits to the shits. The temperatures have been up well about average so much so and for so long, we're thinking about setting newer averages, less hospitalible averages.

There’s something about all them buzzcuts humping around that turned this spot of heavenly desert into a damn dust bowl. Once they were done, they picked up most of their gear and left for points elsewhere. The only thing they occupy now is the old VA hospital. And even that has been practically decommisoned. No longer a medical facility more like a non founded rest home for veterans from the various desert wars.


Chapter One – Mother’s Preparations

Mother picked the spot where she wanted me to dig. She wanted her grave to be within a grove of cacti that was just inside our property line. She didn’t have the back to move all that sand, but while I dug, she decorated the surrounding cacti. She used thumbleweeds woven with bright colored strips of cloth letting the resulting bramble catch the needles thus crowning each cacti. When the wind whipped away at the tips of the colored cloth each crown seemed like a burning scrub.

Mother – Did I tell you sent out invitions?
Daughter – To your own funeral?
Mother – Donkeyface was by to pick em up

Donkeyface was the closest thing we had to a postman out here abouts on the Skillet. We called him Donkeyface because calling him “face like a donkey’s ass” just didn’t have good enough flow. That, and he delivered post from ontop his donkey. Sometimes donkeyface would be on top his mount close to the noon hour when you had no choice but to squint, it being so bright so hot on the skillet, those times you couldn’t tell where his face began and the donkey’s ass ended. I weren’t too fond of Donkeyface.

Mother- So Donkeyface comes by and says
DF- Well I’m guessing these are special?
Mother- I said “Yeah” and he says
DF-What’ll they be
Mother- And like a green dum dum. I say what they are, and then he says
DF- I’d hate for any of these special postals to not get where they were intended?
Mother- What the Shit?!!

Once was a time you could get a parcel delivered using stamps. Nowadays on the Skillet, assholes like Donkeyface occasionally require bribes. So Donkeyface asked mother if he could have one more romp since she might be alive and kicking by the time he got back.

DF-Come on now. You know my mind.
Mother – Can’t be done Donkeyface. It’s that time of the month.
DF- No it’s not. You’re too old for it to be no time of no month
Mother- What do you know of it. Hell, tell you what. If you want I’ll go ahead and rub one out.
DF-I’m aok with that just so long as you got the palm spit for it.
Daughter- Mother?!
Mother- You need that to counter the dry air and resultant friction
Daughter- Mother, why are you telling me this?
Mother- That Donkeyface can be slippery. I want you sufficiently repulsed so as to avoid him being able to trick you into coitus.
Daughter-Well Mother, mission accomplished.

She finished her decoration and I finished digging the hole. It was hot hard work, and when we got back to the hut I collapsed in my cot. In the morning, I woke up to find a note pinned to my shirt. I had a notion what it was, but I didn’t want to confirm it. So instead, I brushed my teeth, staring at the reflection of the note in the mirror. Then, I went and made coffee for two. I didn’t go to see if she was in her cot, nor did I call for her. I just sat at the table with two cups of coffee, the first cup light and sweet for me, the second cup the way she liked it, “stripped”. When I could procrastinate no longer, I pulled the note off my shirt and read it.

I went out to the hole. She was there inside, face down. I think she stumbled her attempt to get inside the grave. Her hip and neck were painfully displaced asif one or both had been broken during a fall. She was face down so I was spared any possible expressions of pain on her face. Still that was a hell of a thing to see. I’m not sure I’ve totally forgiven her for making me see her like that. A bit cowardly on her part. She didn’t want to wake me, but it’s alright to ask me to throw dirt on top of a corpse of a loved one all twisted up like that? I used the shovel edge like an axe and chopped down all but one of the cacti and threw them in the grave with her, aside from myself the only mourners she’d have. No one accepted her invitations. One cactus remained to mark the grave so I’d know where to plant any future tears I might want to shed.



Chapter Two – Mother Love


It was Mother who had taught me a love of westerns. She loved the men. Good guys, bad guys, it didn’t matter to mother so long as they walked tall, so long as they were “real men”. Her all time favorite was the man with no name, Clint Eastwood.

Mother- There aint no Eastwoods anymore. All that’s left is Eli Wallachs

In death, as while living, mother were half woman, half cactus. I held her hard as I could to me. The puncture wounds were a small price to pay to feel her against me, meat to meat, even for a few moments.

Mother – You’re a tough cause that is the way I raised you to be.

She would play a little game every time we watched one of his movies. When he made his very first appearance she’d stop still and stock of the man, breath in deep the fragrance of sweat, saddle leather, and hand rolled tobacco. Then she’d wag her finger at me, warning me off.

Mother- That’s my name girlie! You better watch yourself. Don’t you be eyein’ my man!

I’d tease back at her. I’d pretend I was working up the courage to be eyein her man. I’d get behind the TV and make her dare me to peak around the front and look at the man.

Mother- Then we’d chase each other around the hut with fly swatters, laughin’ and squealin’

Nearer toward the end of her life, after we had burned out most of the westerns we had on vhs, she took a more serious, reverent mood while watching westerns. Finally, there was one left, one left that we hadn’t yet worn out with love and rewinding. An old tape and even older videocassette player. Most of the time we could at least see the shape, the silhouettes of the men against the glass of the television screen, sometimes a fog of electrons would overtake the visuals altogether. Mother and I would huddle close to the television with our eyes closed. She wouldn’t permit even a hiccup. If she couldn’t see she at least wanted to hear. The music, the pauses, the voices of the men. She sat there in the dark holding me tight, and those deep voices gave her a sort of swoon. I too swooned. Everything I knew about men I learned from those old westerns or from listening to the octogenarians at the old VA hospital go on about their youth


Chapter Three – Veterans and the VA

The Octogenarians veterans at the VA were the only males I had seen in the flesh through the middle of my seventeenth year.

Mother – Not counting Donkeyface, but he couldn’t have been younger than retirement age hisself

My first memories are of wandering the halls of the VA hospital. Mother got a job there as a nurse.

Mother- I couldn’t leave her alone in the hut in the heat. The VA had ceiling fans at least.

Five floors of linoleum and cinder blocks. Grey curtains blowing through the sharp window panes. Desperate tongues wagging.

Mother- Often under funded though the years as of late

The whole building itself seemed to be signaling surrender.

Mother – Bed pans is what I remember. Bed pans high as the sky.

At all hours day or night, a soft sorrow filled moaning could be heard

Mother- A hundred cats releasing their last meows

A lonesome sound from lonesome men. Those invalids were like poorly made puppets in a horrorfilm. Rust covered mufflers and cattlebones held together with wires and gauze, suspended with old rope or misplaced fishing line.

Mother – from the start I had a notion that you were doomed to be a Florence nightingale.

I don’t remember, but apparently I was always adopting this old man or that old man the way other girls might take in stray kittens.

Mother – Some old bastard would be showing her pictures from his wallet, and she’d have poured some warm milk in its bowl and refreshed the dentureine.

Due to budget there were no regular physicians on staff, just five full time nurses, one for each floor. If a patient’s situation got bad enough the five nurses couldn’t handle it then a surgeon might get choppered in.

Mother – Usually just in time to confirm official time of death.

It happened maybe twice I can remember, both times it was a female surgeon.

Mother – What are the odds?

Mother and the other nurses always could use an extra hand, so once they sensed my compassion for these old guys, they starting teaching me everything they knew. Everyday, I followed them doing rounds, learning everything there was to know about being a nurse. This was the only school I’d ever know.

Years passed, the budget got smaller, the patients got older, the hospital population thinned. The staff was downsized one nurse at a time until only my mother and I were left to take care of twenty odd remaining octogenarian veterans.

Mother – You’re the last nurse left. Hell, with me gone you’re the only female on the old Skillet for a hundred miles in any direction.

Most of the old men were gentlemen

Mother – I don’t think there are none of em could get it up anyway. Still once you got them tits, sure gave those old bastards’ eyeballs a workout didn’t.

I always has gotten a lot of attention, but it with a few of them it did get a little ridiculous.

Mother – You got to be careful. You give some of these old guys a little care and they get ideas, I know those old sumbitches, a few of them would like nothing better than to break off a fingerbone in yer fanny.

Not all of them were horny old perverts but that didn't mean they were any less hard to handle.

Not all of them were perverts, but that didn't mean they were any less hard to handle, especially the one they called The Judge. They called him that because he would sit in self appointed judgement over all matters regarding the other veterans and the VA building itself. How he got those other old men to put up with his edicts and orders I'll never know, but the octogenarians willfully submitted themselves to his authority, even regarding their medications. Now, I railed and roared and threw a few punches at the wall once I saw some of the patients taking turns for the worse.

Mother - Nothing can be done to help some old dummies begging to dead

It didn't matter to those old fools that the Judge were just another half crazed octogenarian like the rest of them. They still pledged themselves to whatever he decreed, whatever he prescribed. I guess after all that time in the service they yearned for some sort of leader, some sort of chain of command. And the Judge was just too happy to oblige.

His most recent project was having the men convert the fifth floor recreation room into his judicial chambers. They all went along like dominoes.

Mother - I didn't give two turds for that. Far as I was concerned, they want to sit around wearing funny hats, planning for the Apocalypse, why should I bother. Some things just aint worth the spike in yer blood pressure. As I get older I choose my battles.

The Judge would preside on a make shift throne the men had fashioned for him. He wore this long dark terrycloth bathroom robe as his chamber clothes. The robe billowed on his tiny frame making him seem even smaller and more emaciated than he was. The most extravagant feature of his face were those eyebrows, inches of length to them. When he got all high and mighty indignant those brows would flap around like a couple of moths hot glued to his forehead.

Mother- The only conceivable excuse for growing them out that damn long might be to to draw attention away from that big old potato of a nose.

Let's not talk about his nose mother.

Mother - Hah! Sure girl! Anything you say!

After mother’s death, I wasn’t certain how I would hold up against all the Judge’s absurdities, but as the weeks went by both he and I realized despite it all, those old men really did need me to keep the VA from completely falling apart. That only was what helped he and I maintain a truce. That was until the man appeared.


Chapter Four – The Man

As dusk approached, so too did the Man. His features were concealed. Below his sharp angled blue eyes was a long deep red cloth wrapped secure veiling his face like a bandana would. He wore steel toed boots and a long duster unbuttoned. You could see his was armed. I don’t know much about guns, but he wore at least two of them and a belt full of bullets.

I was just inside the VA’s entrance when I saw him standing in the stone garden in front of the building. He was staring straight and vacant toward the building. I stepped outside. As I walked toward him, he did not turn to look at me. This was a surprise to me. Being a seventeen year old and the only female in a world of dying old men, I’m used to everyone turning to look at me. I don’t say that to brag. It just is. So when the first truly tall young man, the first man who might seem like he could actually do something with a woman, when you don’t capture his attention it skewers your reason. Reality does a cartwheel. It confused me. I wasn’t sure how to feel. I slowed down, and gave him every opportunity to snap to it, to a steal a gaze, but nothing doing. He stared straight and vacant toward the building. I know it’s silly, but I even turned around and walked a full circle around the man

Mother – Trying to bait him to take a stab at that ass with his eyes

I am embarrassed to admit it, but I needed something from this man. I did. I needed his…attention. I needed it to confirm something. I don’t know…In order to feel that everything was as it should be.

Mother – They are worser things girlie

Suddenly he slumped. Instinct made me leap towards him. He was cold and hard to get a hold off. I dropped my shoulder into the crevasse of his armpit to stable him. That was when I found his wound. Those ribs were a mess, not so much blood, but you could tell he flinched so at contact. I slowly attempted to spin us, and the wind caught his duster and it flew up into our faces. I could see nothing, but had us facing the entrance of the VA. Then the breeze fell and the jacket’s length dropped away from our faces. I saw a dozen of them octogenarians blockading the entrance. They were welding an assortment of blunt objects, walking canes, broken table legs, a pool cue. I jerked my head to one side, gesturing for them to get out of my way, but they held ground.

“I have an injured man here.”

They shook their heads in unison and a finger pointed up towards a fifth floor window. There perched the Judge. He was as worked up as I had seen him.

Mother – Till that point.

Judge – My dear!!!

His bellow was as thunderous and it was condescending. He was using the rec room karaoke machine to project his voice.

Judge – We will have no desert Bedouins within these walls!

Daughter – But he is injured

Judge – These veterans didn’t survive the desert wars so that we would suffer Bedouins!

Daughter - I have an obligation to care for anyone in need

Judge – Then do so. Anywhere but within these walls!

Daughter – Judge! Be reasonable!

He then took his nerve mallet and smashed it against an empty bed pan in gavel fashion. The karaoke machine’s disco echo effect sustained the sound for minutes, during which a number of the Judge’s most ardent howled like coyotes.

The man was coming back to consciousness, now his fingers slid to my elbow and softly squeezed so as to brace himself. He leaned onto me, and with me as his crutch, we staggered back toward Mother’s hut.


Chapter Five – Dreams of Mothers

It was a couple of miles between the VA and the hut. He was unconscious again, but breathing. He had a small opening cut in the red cloth. Small loose threads along the cut’s edge would rise and fall with each minute moan he made. I was still supporting him weight and air would funnel from the cut onto my neck. My blood knocked hard against my sternum.

Finally we arrived. I had to drop him on the couch. I was lucky to even be able to get him back to the hut. I headed for some water in our kitchen and collapsed after a few steps. He had been so heavy so solid. He was solid in a way I had never known. Those octogenarians were about as solid as a sack of dirty laundry. Not one of them could weighed more than a buck.

I got back to my feet and gathered water and what not to dress his wounds. I turned him over on the couch so he was face up, and he began to come around again. He opened his eyes, but still he would not look at me. He just lay there though letting me attend to him. His eyes now were looking vacant at ceiling. Those eyes had that quality of a well gone dry.

As I unbuttoned his shirt and cleaned the sweat and blood off his bruised ribs, I couldn’t get a thought out of my head, the memory of Mother chasing me around the hut so that I won’t be eyein’ her man. Something was spinning in me between the ears and in the stomach. Anxiety? I was have to hold back to not giggle not twitter.

Mother – Careful Girlie. Remember that Donkeyface once were young too.

Man – I’m lost

Daughter – I know

Man – You look lost too

Daughter – I was just…daydreaming

Man – What did you dream?

Daughter – I dream often of my mother

Man – I dream of a mother, my mother? Yes

Daughter – Where is she?

Man – I don’t know. I think my mother is nowhere

Daughter – Nowhere?

Man – Maybe she is in heaven

Daughter – With my mother

Man – You lost your mother too?

Daughter – Yes

Man – How was she killed?

Daughter – She wasn’t killed. She just died.

Man – She is dead, but she was not killed

Daughter – Yeah. She died of natural causes

Man – I don’t understand

Daughter – She just ran out of time. Like the glass runs out of sand

Man – I didn’t know people could do that

Daughter – What?

Man – That people could just die without being

He motioned to his guns still holstered to his waist

Daughter – You’ve never had someone just die on you?

Man – I’ve seen death by bullet, by knife, by explosives, by dozens of means. But dying without being killed? Just suddenly stopping…I don’t recall having ever seen or heard of that.

I thought I saw another injury just beneath his long red bandana. I tried to tend to it, but he wouldn’t allow me.

Man – No

Daughter – You’re hurt

Man – No, no not that

He got up suddenly stronger then he had originally appeared and moved toward the door.

Daughter – Wait

He stopped.

Daughter – What’s wrong

Man – Leave it be.

Daughter – I don’t want you to go

I moved toward him. He seemed a bit dizzy, getting to his feet so quickly had caught up with him.

Daughter – I want to help

Man – Alright

I went to help him back to the couch. I put my arm around him. Then, his arm was on my waist, and a finger fell onto a half inch of skin along my spine just above my beltline. The small of my back turned to quicksand and wanted all of hand to slide on in. I got scared, but I didn’t pull away. Now my hand was on his chest. I looked into his eyes, they still were homeless eyes lost. But, his breath gave him away.

Man – Yes

Daughter – I want you to kiss me

Man – No, not yet

Daughter – Please

Man – Shhhhh…not yet, not yet

Daughter – Why

Man – I’m scared

Daughter – Me too, I know

Man – I’m so afraid

Daughter – Why?

Man – I don’t…I’m afraid I’ll hurt you

Daughter – No

Man – I don’t want to devour you

Daughter – (small laughter) I want you. It’s ok. I want you to use your mouth

Man – I’ll try. Close your eyes

He made me promise. I did so, and then I closed my eyes. He moved in an inch at a time, close and then closer. I felt fabric collect by my toes. We fell unto the couch. Raw callused palms cupped my breasts. Something warm thin and slick like a wet leather braid slid across my chest. I shivered. He sensed my temptation to surrender, to break my promise, to open my eyes and witness this strange sinous movement. His right hand sprung from my left breast to cover my eyes. He used his elbow to press upon where his thick rough fingers once were. I found myself begging, pleading, and enjoying the begging. I wanted to see his face and to kiss his mouth like in the movies. But I never opened my eyes, even when I felt that cold smooth motion sucking up my body like a silken stocking.

Mother – I don’t know how it happens. Maybe it’s just proximity. You might even hate the man, really loath him. But then he gets in, gets in close. You can feel those muscles and bones. He breathes on you. You go soft and climb on top of him like a motorcycle. He gets that dick in…and shhhhhit… Still be careful girlie. Maybe he gets in too deep like a parasite. A walking talking infection that just wants you to cook and clean. What if you can’t hurt him back? What if you can’t push him away? Afraid life would be worse without his occasional affection? This shit can be sweet, but girlie it can be a curse too.


Chapter Five – The TV

The sound of TV static woke me. I reached for the knob and turned it off. The Man wasn’t there. I called out for him, even though I didn’t know his name.

Daughter – Man? Man?!!

Before when I made him my promise and closed my eyes, my old odd ghost mother had been sticking me with her needles, whispering, warning me off of the man. Now that my eyes were open again, I felt alone. I was so hollow, so mad. I screamed out and started throwing things. I was still calling out for the Man when the TV turned itself on. The white noise was drowning out the sound of my tears, so I hit the knob again to kill the static. A couple of seconds pass and the damn thing turns back on again teasing me like a little kid. Enough is enough so I unplug the TV from the generator socket. The static screen blinks off, but the TV’s innards would not shut up, as if the circuits and tubes were chanting with a deep choppy sore throat. Had the TV turned into a bomb? Was it going to explode?

Still unplugged, the TV turned itself on one more time. Instead of static though, it was like vapor rising from beneath a black eye patch. Vapors and no sound. Through the vapor, a pair eyes appeared on the screen. Those eyes were locked right on me, I moved away slowly and they followed me around the room. Then, a mouth appeared. It’s lips were moving but I heard no sound.

I cautiously approached the volume knob and turned it up but with no effect. Now a hand and an ear appeared on the screen. The hand pointed a finger at the ear. The finger slowly spun round and round the curve of the ear, then the hand pointed to my ear as if it wanted me to mimic the gesture. I was unsure and scared as hell but I did what the TV asked me to. I slowly spun my finger around my ear, and the volume of the TV mouth got louder spin by spin, as if I were turning up the volume inside my own head. The TV mouth now had a voice. I heard it distinctly speak.

TV Mouth- **Young woman** young woman**I am trying to talk to you**This message is specifically for you**Upon receiving this telepathic transmission you are know legally responsible for comprehension of it content**Any attempt to disrupt, disconnect, monitor, or intercept federal psychic dial up is punishable up to 5 years in a military or non-nationalized prison facility**You**Young woman**I am trying to talk to you**Young female in the tan medical scrubs**

We are all used to the TV talking at you, but when a unplugged TV starts talking TO you especially after having given up your virginity to a masked man who wont let you open your eyes, I’m confident that could mess anybody up.

I stopped spinning my finger, and the voice dropped out of my head. Then the TV got real mad. I turned the screen toward the wall so I couldn’t see it. Then the TV got real mad, humming and vibrating and pounding the floor. So I fled the hut. I ran outside.

I ran outside. It was still night. Then, I saw the man a couple dozen yards in the distance. My heart hit the inside of my ribs. My eyes started to leak. I wanted him so badly, and there he was. But, he seemed to sink slowly into the sand. Could I trust my eyes? There wasn't any quicksand on the propeorty. Something was pulling him away from me. The Phantom TV already had me wound so tight I couldn't stand it.

The man's head went under. I ran for him. I was out of breath when I saw a small glow escpaing from a deep hole. He hadn't sunk. He'd descended, or was pulled in. You could hear the sound of scrapping and digging underneath. I knelt at the mouth of the hole and called out to him. Silence. Then he slowly came up into view. He had nothing on but dirt, pants, and that red bandana still covering his face.

D-Are you ditching me?
M -I don’t have anywhere to go. No one wants me. Not now
D-You left me alone in there

He wasn't paying full attention to me. He picked up a handful of sand and started rubbing in onto his biceps and forearms.

D-I was scared
M-Of what?
D-Don’t go.
M-I wont
D-Please come back inside. Come out of your hole.
M-But it feels good. Soothing. My skin, my flesh, everything feels better now underground.
D-I want it again. I want you to do it to me again.
M-Especially at night. The sand is so cold, so refreshing.
D-I’ll do anything you want if you do that to me again.
M-I don’t know if we should
D-Didn’t you like it
M-I liked it. A lot

I smiled. So did he, but just for a bit.

M-But when it was finished I was filled with something. Full of needles. Full of grease. Full of dark.
D-Was it ever like that before?
M- There was no before
D- Be with me
M-I am with you. I am. I just need to stay inside this hole
D-What can I do to make you feel better to keep you too me.
M-Show me you. All of you. Take off your clothes. Show me your beauty.

I turned my back so that I couldn’t see mother’s mound. There was no else on the desert but us. I took off my shirt and got goosebumps in places I never knew you could. I liked how his eyes were fixed straight at me. Still in his hole looking up, just me and the moonlight. I heard him moan softly. He reached into a pocket of his pants and pulled out a flute.
He played it and I moved to the music. He was beneath me. I was above. My hips were moving and my breasts were moving. I touched my self and let him tell me with his eyes what I was suppose to touch next, and after a few minutes, I got him out of that hole.

Seven Snakes

I ran outside. It was still night. Then, I saw the man a couple dozen yards in the distance. My heart hit the inside of my ribs. My eyes started to leak. I wanted him so badly, and there he was. But, he seemed to sink slowly into the sand. Could I trust my eyes? There wasn't any quicksand on the propeorty. Something was pulling him away from me. The Phantom TV already had me wound so tight I couldn't stand it.

The man's head went under. I ran for him. I was out of breath when I saw a small glow escpaing from a deep hole. He hadn't sunk. He'd descended, or was pulled in. You could hear the sound of scrapping and digging underneath. I knelt at the mouth of the hole and called out to him. Silence. Then he slowly came up into view. He had nothing on but dirt, pants, and that red bandana still covering his face.

D-Are you ditching me?
M -I don’t have anywhere to go. No one wants me. Not now
D-You left me alone in there

He wasn't paying full attention to me. He picked up a handful of sand and started rubbing in onto his biceps and forearms.

D-I was scared
M-Of what?
D-Don’t go.
M-I wont
D-Please come back inside. Come out of your hole.
M-But it feels good. Soothing. My skin, my flesh, everything feels better now underground.
D-I want it again. I want you to do it to me again.
M-Especially at night. The sand is so cold, so refreshing.
D-I’ll do anything you want if you do that to me again.
M-I don’t know if we should
D-Didn’t you like it
M-I liked it. A lot

I smiled. So did he, but just for a bit.

M-But when it was finished I was filled with something. Full of needles. Full of grease. Full of dark.
D-Was it ever like that before?
M- There was no before
D- Be with me
M-I am with you. I am. I just need to stay inside this hole
D-What can I do to make you feel better to keep you too me.
M-Show me you. All of you. Take off your clothes. Show me your beauty.

I turned my back so that I couldn’t see mother’s mound. There was no else on the desert but us. I took off my shirt and got goosebumps in places I never knew you could. I liked how his eyes were fixed straight at me. Still in his hole looking up, just me and the moonlight. I heard him moan softly. He reached into a pocket of his pants and pulled out a flute.
He played it and I moved to the music. He was beneath me. I was above. My hips were moving and my breasts were moving. I touched my self and let him tell me with his eyes what I was suppose to touch next, and after a few minutes, I got him out of that hole.

5 Strengths

For Don

"Make a list of five strengths that you possess as a writer/artist. It's not really bragging, it's an honest assessment (forced upon you by this darn meme). "

Something inside me actually feels a bit crummy about this meme. I don't know if I agree that it is not bragging. My fingernails have been excavating at my palms this morning over whether or not to do this, then a why not crept in. so here it goes...

1. I know that "Auteur" is not a dirty word
2. I don't have time for "cute"
3. I know when not to be self indulgent
4. When I am self indulgent it is the best kind of unapologetic self indulgence
5. I know how to listen

I already regret this vicious naked pose.

Clay Continent - What do you mean by Cadenza?

Up late last night thinking and scheming about Clay Continent

I was experimenting with different ways to lay to the text out on the page so as to make the tempo and timing of the simultaneous lines as evident as possible.

Usually the simultaneity takes shape in one of three ways

1) Two characters performing monologue
2) Two characters in dialogue while a third comments
3) All three characters performing monologue

I was also attempting to identify the spots within the text where the Cadenzas could take place.

From Wikipedia

In music, a cadenza (Italian for cadence) is, generically, an improvised or written-out ornamental passage played or sung by a soloist or soloists, usually in a "free" rhythmic style, and often allowing for virtuosic display. (Randel 1986)

Cadenza often refers to a portion of a concerto in which the orchestra stops playing, leaving the soloist to play alone in free time (without a strict, regular pulse) and can be written or improvised, depending on what the composer specifies.


The cadenza was originally, and remains, a vocal flourish improvised by a performer to elaborate a cadence in an aria. It was later used in instrumental music, and soon became a standard part of the concerto. Originally, it was improvised in this context as well, but during the 19th century, composers began to write cadenzas out in full. Third parties also wrote cadenzas for works in which it was intended by the composer to be improvised, so the soloist could have a well formed solo that they could practice in advance.

So the goal in this project is to have many Cadenzas written out in full that the performers can then pick from at various set times within the script. if we successfully prepare 2 different casts to do the show then the Cadenza possibilities are even more enormous.

Of course there are many possible things to aim at using this tactic

1)Immediacy - If the performers know when, but don't know what Cadenza will be performed it could create something intensely vibrant on stage.

2)Chaotic Gonzo Quality - There is something to the approach and emulation of Raoul Duke, that I think this sort of performance tactic might enable.

3)Variety - The performance piece stays fresh, stays alive because (within certain established parameters) It has the possibility of being new, being different every night.

Of course I am certain that these sort of tactics are utilized by improv troupes. I am not versed in improv terminology or technique, but I do have a number of collaborators who are, so I think we can successfully attempt this approach.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Poem

Is it because you aint a kid anymore
You don't hang out on the back porch
twittering hazardly under the feet of
drunken twentisomethings becuase well
you think it might give way?

Or becuase you don't go to bars
Where they don't card quite so much
but the bartender takes her sweet ass time?

Or becuase too much jagermeister
makes your GERD act up?

or is it that you're losing your hair
and despite what anybody thinks
in circles in cliques all of them
hair is of the utmost importance?

It doesn't matter
that you live
the kind of life
that they pretend to

Or that despite the depth and darkness of your soul
What's more important is black finger nail polish and edgy crew cuts

It doesn't matter that you've got enough mileage and content
to cut apart the fat from the bone

It doesn't matter how sharp your blade is
If the scabbard aint ornate

Told a gal that I kinda think is cute
That I used to be excited by the scene
but that they scene aint what it used to be
she said it aint the scene that's changed
It you. You've changed.
Shit
Double Shit
Triple shit on stick
I think she might be right

Papers

A little bird whispered in my ear this weekend that the Reader's theater reviewing staff has suffered some casualties this past week. It was suggested that the new ownership has begun moving in and cleaning house.

Now, I am of course using my amateur blogging status to report/write about something that is not necessarily been verified. I am not a journalist, and therefore not bound by the work flow that the 4th branch has chosen to adopt. Still, I have a voice, an opinion on this matter as valid as the next persons.

Some people might shrug their shoulders at this recent move by the Reader feeling that since the reconfiguration that the paper went through a few years back, that it has lost its teeth. Most of us in Chicago remember a time when the Reader was the paper in Chicago when it came to theater listing and theater reviews. The reason for this was the Reader's comprehensive quality. No matter whether you were a one artist operation opening your first show or Steppenwolf putting up a Malkovich vehicle, you were listed. One of the reasons why Chicago Theater is the scene that it is is because of this. Shows that Hedy Weiss wouldn't even list in Sun Times were getting reviewed by the Reader.

The Reader was a leveler of sorts. People could hear about your work even if your annual production budget was less than 5 or 6 figures. People could read ink on that work. Again that sort of promotion was one of the truly unique elements to our scene. NYC doesn't have that sort of comprehensive listing (Anyone remember Theatreweek magazine? I don't think even the blogsphere today is as comprehensive as that rag used to be in the 90's).

Some might say that I'm making a mountain out of mole hill, but Cassandra sees the hills burning. This city will lose a fair amount of what makes it a special city if we don't promote theater at all levels of production. And the Reader used to do that. I only hope that the new owners have something in mind other than the sort of coverage that selects the most important shows (i.e. this 90% of the time translates to the shows with big budgets) to the exclusion of the new comers, the risk takers, the people out there who used to perform in 30 seats spaces. If the truly small companies have no avenue to promote then their numbers will dwindle. Where once artistic individuals could speak, you will rather find more of those who are backed by an organization. It seems to me that there is a little less emphasis on the individual in our scene today. It seems to me that the resource we would wish for, the resource that we believe there once was in this theatrical expression, that resource is shrinking shrinking shrinking.

I see the sides of a goldfish bowl that once held a wide variety of specie every day getting to a place where it will only support the heartiest breeds. The water level is dropping maybe it is the natural act of evaporation or maybe someone somewhere I can't identify is slowly siphoning the water out. But, I see a couple of goldfish at the bottom who are slowly pushing the angelfish up out of the top like an commercial for childhood asthma.

Theater will never die. I am a believer in the empty space. But that should not be my excuse for not speaking my mind about something that I love. I love the Reader of yore. I love how it was a sustenance to many newbies in this city. I hope that it can continue to do so.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Buy The Ticket Take the Ride - CC Potential Variations

Hunter S Thompson Versus Raoul Duke

Is versus the word? Must one or many sides of a man die so that the single element the single man inside the body can live?

How far can I push it?

Who am I really?

Have I always been Jekyll

Or Have I truly been hiding from myself behind the mask of Jekyll

I am really Hyde

And if I am really Hyde can I surrender control to myself?

Is truth to oneself more essential than self preservation

How many masks can I create

Is my existence a creation of mythologies to hide from myself

Myself as a skull

So many things to hyde from to distract

So many words and images to put on a tombstone

Hunter S Thompson versus Raoul Duke

How many causalites lie in the path between me and myself and me and myself

The myth lives on, the man dies slowly in service of the myth

The man must face his own myth

How far will you go? Is it worth doing in halves?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Clay Continent - Potential Variation 1st Chart



Hyde – Enjoys the vulgar. Has a PhD in Scatology
Hyder – Feels guilt, but is unable to stop himself
Hydest – This one is violent. He has no capacity for anything else other than violence.
Hekyll – Not evil, just extremely stupid and prone to excessive insults

Jekyllish – This one knows better, but everytime he relaxs his muscles suddenly there is version of Hyde looking back at him from the mirror. This one believes that if he relents then Hyde will win.

Jekyllfish - Invertabrate version of Jekyll. He sees Hyde eating the Jekyllfish alive a la Japanesse Sushi Bar

Hydll, Jekyde, and/or Llydell - these are manifestations of confusion. Physical mutantious manifestations of fragmented personas/psychologies.

Hermaphrodite Hyde – Above all else, likes to be touched.

Dada Black and White

Why can't the world be black and white?






More can be found at Michael Brownlee's site












Monday, September 10, 2007

Just an update on my life to practice my typing

I am looking forward to Write club tonight. Feels to me like it has been ages since we had one. I think I'm going to have some Seven Snakes stuff for tonight. Maybe some of the scene between the lovers.



I've been working out for the past three weeks and although you might not be able to yet see a difference, I can feel the difference. I'm just feeling alot better. Feeling stronger. As I enter week four of returning to the gym after a 2 year hiatus, I have to remember not to push it too hard. Even a minor injury can dampen the spirits. Got to keep the spirits up for as long as possible. Cutting out the soda this week. i got 2 cans left at he house (I better enjoy thsoe 2 cans damn it). After those 2 cans, It is going to be water, tea, or milk (OK coffee too, but only decaf at the house.)



I think I am going to let the rest of the week just play out, relax, write, and not worry at all about Clay Continent until the 17th. That's when I'll get the first draft of the scripts out, and start some sit downs with the participates and figure out the pathway we are heading down for the April performances.



Also, I want to submit something to the 10 minute workshop for the chicago dramatist. the deadline is Friday. Ok so as I type this I'm realizing maybe I wont just relax and do nothing all the week.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Blah Blah Blah Theatre Blah Blah

Tonight WNEP's Soiree Dada opens at the Chicago Cultural Center. I've been attached to this project as an assistant director for quite some time now (since February or March I think), and that involvement effectively comes to an end tonight. Whereas I plan to attend future showings when the understudies get to go up, providing moral support on opening night is arguably my last real active participation with the production. It is now squarely in the hands of the cast and the stage manager.


This is the first such production/rehearsal process I have been involved in since the Mammals Theatre Company's last show, Save Me From Myself, performed in January 2005. So, I've been reflecting alot the past few days, trying to figure out what direction my life is heading in. I have a sense of what the next 12 months hold regarding production. But, sometimes it isn't just about the the next show. Sometimes you have to figure out what your soul your ego your being is aiming toward in a larger schemata. I guess this is what has got me furrowing my brow lately. What will improve the quality of my life so that I feel I'm living the best possible life available to me with the resource I have been given?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Clay Continent - Potential Variation upon the Original

How many Jekylls and Hydes can I have onstage at once?
Most renderings both onstage and screen have one actor who plays both characters. The first Clay Continent split the duties between 2 actors, and the effect is quite intriguing. Have two sides of an entity vie for dominance and control of decision, direction, etc...This is monologue in action, fuller dramatization of the internal conflict within us all.

So, we have the split personality or the ying and yang. We have duality incarnate onstage for the spectator...But is it possible or interesting to have representations of the various shades of grey personalities that might be within an entity?

Why should I be simply satisfied with the dichotomy of Good versus Evil?
Why not a vast variety of selves that branch out of the entity.
Rather than the family tree, the entity tree.
A scientist whose Christian Name is Henry Jekyll and many many branches shooting off of him?

Top 8 (or 9) theatre experiences

In response to Don's latest post

In no particular order

1) Richard Foreman's The Universe - First Foreman show I saw after reading about him. Not all of NYC still finds him relevant. However, when I lived there, my theatrical season axis was Foreman's spring shows. Also, I got to see James Urbaniak onstage before he voiced all those cool characters on the Venture Brothers.

2) The Green Bird by Julie Taymor. This was at the time the most visual most enthralling and entertaining piece of theater I had seen. It was one of the most fun and spectacular pieces I ever saw (just off broadway). Taymor at her best.

3) Rich Cluchey as Krapp in Krapp's Last Tape at the old Goodman. Amazing how this man had all of us eating out of his hand like tamed pets with so difficult material as Beckett. In Cluchey's hands, Krapps Last Tape becomes Beckett's most endearing script.

ps.Personally I miss the old Goodman when it was attached physically to the Art Institute.

4) Jump Cut Faust by the Builders Association. I saw this in a converted loft space in NYC very multimedia very fun very hip but still very honest and sincere. Great stuff

5) Houselights by the Wooster Group

6) Buried Child the Steppenwolf broadway production.

7) My Father the Chair by Greg Allen. I am one of the few people in Chicago (very few) who while I respect TMLMTBGB, It is not to my taste. But Greg Allen did a performance of the this very personal piece for many NYC folks at the Rat Conference way back in 1998 I think. And it was inventive and touching.

8) Fields of Mars by Gale Gates etal.

I don't think this company is still producing. But back when Williamsburg and DUMBO were just beginning to gain in popularity, They had a space in Brooklyn and what seemed like endless budgetary resource. They created this most environmental performance where we the audience literally become Alice in Wonderland, Watch a reenactment of Andrew Wyeth paintings on stage and then are usher onto the stage rather than down the rabbithole into a cavernous space where 5 surrealists performance sculptures were going on simultaneously. Many of NYC artists scoffed at it's overindulgence and obvious price tag, but I adored it.

9) That Proust Piece by Mary Zimmerman that was put up at the warehouse off of Ravenswood Ave. Why can't we have more exciting stuff like that?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Do You Dada? Hmmmm...I know some people who do



Photos: Michael Brownlee

As a concept couched in its historical context, I understand Dada. I admire it. I remember the first time I ever went to New York, The Whitney Museum had a wonderful breathtaking exhibit of Dadaist Art. Readymades, Duchamp Sculpture, Max Ernst pre-surrealism, Photo montages of Ball, Tzara, Duchamp, and many others.

I found dada to be liberating. I was tired of middle class conservative mind sets. I was tired of the predictability of the well made form and artistolean dramaturgy. I wanted to be disturbed to be shaken to my core. I wanted new forms or at the very least a wider variety then I was getting in my Theatre History Classes. I was filled with heady pleasure about what dada was what it could do. I wanted to be instrumental in the resurgence of this freeing approach. Viva la dada!!!!

And then I had my first beer...(that's a metaphor)

After I left college, the shine on the apple didn't last long. Perhaps 2 years and then I was ready to do something else. Where once I found freedom, instead I found nonsense. Where once I saw answers, I instead saw only a lack of commitment to even the idea of questioning.

I thought that dada in the end was more or less metaphorical training wheels upon artistic expression of dissent, something that the all riders had once used, but only the most petulant held unto.

Why then are you involved in a dada show? The answer is not simple or easy. My response is fragmented...

Jen Ellison performing the "Two of Us"

Even when I worried about the "out" dada might enable a dadaist, I knew that these people weren't trying to take it. They were trying to push themselves into something special something unique, it wasn't pretentious, it was wonderful. It was wonderful because of them.





The knowledge that the artists involved want to share with the audience, want to give them something unlike anything they have experienced before. Despite what you may think about the intent of a dadaist (at least a WNEP dadaist) They are not challenging for the mere thrill or feeling superior. It is out of love...tough love maybe. Out of desire for something different something seriously different (different is good)



What is Dada? An important question. An invitation. The audience will decide.

There is alot of wonderful performance and material and execution on stage at the Chicago Cultural Center. I don't want to market the show. That isn't my job. I will tell you why I think you should see the show. Because despite the challenge to conventional comprehension there is truth and wonderment and sublimity. There is virtuosity in the performance. There is well earned blood sweat and tears. These people are pouring their hearts and bodies into the work, and it is truly spectacular to see. This is, in the best sense of the phrase, a night of theater that you'll never forget (ok maybe I am marketing it).

I remember issuing a challenge at one of the very first meetings we had as an ensemble, a challenge that affected my popularity at the beginning at least. How does a dada show take a real chance? How does the dadaist risk themselves? How does a dadaist transcend the safety net that is dada? It wasn't up to me to answer that question? It was up to Don and Jen and any of the others who cared to listen to my questions.

I think they have succeeded in doing so. I am fiercely proud of this cast as I am of Don and Jen for being able to honor and perpetuate the best things about WNEP dada thus far, while at the same time push themselves towards an expression of WNEP Dada unlike anything I've seen them do thus far.