Tuesday, October 30, 2007

No Beer and TV makes DV something something...

In preparation for NaNoWriMo and also as a measure to help me save money, I finally turned off my digital cable today. I still have the internet and the basic cable service which is local channels and tbs. I was going to get he whole TV turned off, but since the price difference was 10 dollars, I am going to still have to demonstrate some self control and turn the TV off from occasion to occasion. Still, I'm hoping the savings (about 80 bucks a month) plus few shiny happy shows to distract me will help me get another first draft novel finished this month.

I was going to use the Animal Control narrative as the NaNoWriMo project, but since I've got a draft of that already done, I need a different story to flesh out. I think it will end up being one of 2 options.

The first idea(which I am leaning towards) , I have had these 2 characters in my head for a couple of years now. The first is a puppeteer in the fifties who is absolutely brilliant, but painfully socially inept. He would rather just sit in his studio apartment doing peyote dreaming up weird puppet shows. The fear of performance keeps him from doing the shows for more than just a few people at a time. Finally his peyote connection threatens to cut him off if he doesn;t start filming his shows so that somebody somewhere can see his art. The second character is an over the hill adult sex star dude with major skeltons in the closet who meets the puppeteer and envisions using the puppeteer's talents to corner the Hollywood special effects market. The puppeteer agrees to work with the aging porn king, but only if the porn king can get him a girl. What happens next? The porn king convinces a pretty young thing that the Puppeteer is the next best thing. The puppeteer, at the urging of the porn king starts making strange stop motion shorts in a very hans bellmer sort of mileau. Hearts get broken. Dreams get dashed. Maybe a little blood gets split, I'm not sure how it ends.

The other idea is to take a bunch of short character and scenario sketches I've had for a private detective character and turn it into a series of adventures about him. This would be fun, but It would be vinnettes rather than something like a novel, which is ok according to the NaNoWriMo so long as you get 50,000 words...but I don't know... I like the idea of taking November to workout the if and or buts on something bigger.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Animal Control by Bob Fisher

This weekend I finished the first draft of the play I've been working on lately referred to as the Axe-Man and before that called The Sandwich Man. It's got a better title inspired by my recent week in New Orleans. It is now called Animal Control. I still have to get it typed into the computer. It is all hand written in my notebooks thus far. The first draft came incredibly quickly for me this time around. I started by trying to write every scene with the fewest lines possible, not to get wrapped up in an attempt to be poetic, poignant, artistic, etc. Just figure out what happens in the scene and write that down on one page or less. But doing this in a day or two I had the complete outline on paper, well a little more than the outline, I had about 25 pages of a script. Then I started fleshing the play out. I'm happy with the first draft and hoping to organize a reading in December to hear it out loud.

We follow a street musician called Axe as he attempts to play his sax and get along in a city recently hit by natural disaster. Now that people are starting to return to the street, there are small scale turf skirmishes between street musicians as to whose stoop is whose. Axe who blows evenings on a bridge connecting downtown to the rest of the city, has to deal with with The Sandwich Man, a scuffed up seemingly homeless man who believes he is being terrorized by the FBI. The various street musicians and lowlifes start mysterious disappearing and no one can tell if it is the authorities taking them out, people just moving on to greener pastures, or if the recent plague of feral stray dogs roaming the streets is attacking/eating anything or anyone they come into contact with.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

FavoriteThing(s)ThisWeek



Katy Horan

Nothing to do with a R ...

...T

unless I'm a work of art that is...

worked out today and got on the scale. Since starting in August, I've lost 8 pounds. I am pretty damn pleased with that!

Art again

Despite my frustration on the topic, I do want to thank everybody even the folks I passionately disagree with about commenting on the WTF is art post a couple days ago. Also I want to apologize for taking things a little personally.

I asked folks to response honestly to questions I had, and in the majority I think they did. But just as the folks on the other side of the conversation have failed to be moved from their position, I too have been failed to be moved from mine.

My position is that invalidation of what an individual creates and deems art, is tied directly to our society's ability to express ourselves free from political restraint. I believe that criticism is essential to the value of art, but when something goes from being "bad" to being "invalidated" as artistic expression we are throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

My position is that to say that something is not art and there by narrowing the definition of what art can be, and then assert that your position doesn't enable groups to limit what Americans can hear, see, say, and do in their own homes within their own communities is misguided.

My position is that in a world increasing dependent and submerged in information, a world were most of what is "made" is never actually seen by the majority of its audience. Only what is "made" exists as art?

I think one could use such reasoning to suggest that only the remnants of a production could qualify as art meaning that the playwright has potential as an artist, but not the actors unless their performance was recorded in some way.

I believe that no one just sees Picasso's Guernica anymore, and to hold it up as an example of art that does not require contextuality, is a false statement.

I also wonder if the need to be critical is so essential to what gets defined as art, why doesn't the artist his/herself have the right to enter that discussion or even attempt to guide it?

I do believe that all it takes is one work of art to make one an artist, the weight of your work upon an canon might not have the same heft as more prolific artists, but just as a ball player who only gets one at bat in the majors in their career deserves to be listed as a major league ball player even if they don't get into Cooperstown.

Anyway, I'll stop there for today. Thanks again everybody for your indulgence.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Question

If someone were to draw up a History of Artist Oppression (I'm sure to some of you this is a potentially ridiculous project) what would be some of the key bullet points in the history's timeline

for example

Degenerate Art Exhibits in Germany
Hollywood Blacklist
NEA Four
Pre-Glasnost Russia
John Lennon and the Beatles talk about Jesus
Vonnegut and potential banning of Slaughterhouse-Five
Bert Williams having to perform in blackface

Times where the artist had to deal with a relevant, concentrated effort by an entity, fraternal or political or any individual with enough clout to be heard...where the artist's work was attacked or deemed unsuitable or unworthy or obscene. Where someone or something attempted to silence the artist. Or subvert or control the artist.

I'll admit that all this talk about Stelarc has spurned on this thought, but I'm going in a more personal direction with my energy on this. I just want to find way to investigate and document what I perceive to be historic precedence about how "artists" are commissioned attacked approached, and or used. Please give me a list...please please...

Play's I'd Like to See

A one act musical about a dogcatcher who loves his job. Let's call it...

You can Only Catch Rabies Once in the Same Week.

WTF is Art? Oh No!!!Oh Dear god no!!!!!!!!!.....

I am having a hard time trying to decide how much energy I am willing to give to the recent Chicago blog attack labelled as an attempt to clarify what is art?

I waited till late in the game to bother weighing in on the whole smackdown months back about how elitist and insulting to middle rural based Americans most Metropolis-centric arts are.

Whereas I believe the sincerity of some of the posts and opinions, I'm not sure it is a conversation I can have with certain people. In a metaphorical way, it is like suddenly realizing a close friend is vehemently in opposition to your position on pro-life vs pro-choice. From an intellectual place you can distance the relationship, but from a personal and emotional place, you begin to have doubts about anothers' core beliefs and whether of not you actually know the person that you thought you knew.

In some instances I actually hope that even if I can't discern it, that there is a place were sincerity ends and provocation begins.

Also, I have to remember the shaky position that a blog post currently has in the spectrum that is our culture. Sometimes a blog post isn't a platform for advocacy (or anti-advocacy which is personally were I believe all these arguments actually lead). Sometimes, one individual wants to share a deeply felt thing with others. Sometimes communicating a personal preference is just that and not necessary a manifesto or a call to arms, etc.

So given all that I'm still trying to figure out how to respond to Don and Tony's recent post. Or if I even should...

I've debating the possibility of bypassing Stelarc as a whole and instead throwing all my rhetoric towards defending Don's Cans of Crap as art...in order to solidify my point. I have thought about expounding about how the eventual endgame in these sorts of arguments are cultural movements that stifle expression. It is relevant and important to ask oneself "if my opposition in the debate were to not only concede my point, but also act and or legislate on said point...what is the end result?"

But instead I'll start by asking a question. When we write these diatribes about WTF is art, are we speaking as audience members or a fellow artists? I think that is a very important distinction.

That's all for now. But Don, Tony, please answer my question and anyone else out there?

Monday, October 22, 2007

A little more

Writing Again

I had a wonderful experience this weekend. I sat down and wrote the first nine scenes of a play.

I used to do this with greater frequency. Brevity to the scenes was always the key. I knew what each scene was about, but I purposefully put down as little information as possible as few words as possible while still giving the piece a sense of forward motion.

I remembered Maria Irene Fornes' script Mud, A script that I love by the way, and how spare the actually text is. The story unfolds in perhaps an hour or less but i think it is like only 20 pages long.

I also hear a quote from Orson Welles about making the audience use it's imagination.

So, what about it? Does anyone else out there ever just try a bare bones approach. Forget being fancy and just tell the forward progrgession of the story as simply and as quickly as possible?

I do remember this coming up at NTFD.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

possible promotional materials





Any thought folks? Good, Bad? I was going to add a chimp. I still might.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Just for fun



I bought one of those computer tablets and did a little drawing. What do ya think?

Why

If risk is ultimately unavoidable, if risk is inevitable then...

For what is the risk worthwhile?

Why do you put yourself at risk for art?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And a Duck goes quack! Now what?

We must be careful when it comes to mutual commiserating. Be wary that we don't slip into mutual admiration at our own best intentions.

I mean ask yourself the question who out there wants to bore people in the theatre.

Well meant manifestos followed by online high fives give catharsis. Now we (myself included) have to focus on what we do, what we will change in specific terms.

Use simple sentences.
Direct.
Focused.
Simply.

Know that it is ok to take paragraphs to figure it out, to word it out...but

What do you want in a sentence!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Images from New Orleans

I took about 150 pictures while in NO. I'll be posting some of my favorites through the next week or 2, sort of my method for savoring the aftertaste of my trip. I truly now know what it means to miss...well you know the cliche.



The Indian Killer before twilight



Love among the ruins



So much white powder at the Cafe Du Monde, I felt like Al Pacino.



Anne Rice's kind of town



Did you remark that door?

FavoriteThing(s)ThisWeek




I don't go for adorable that often, but this is an exception.

Dioramas of Laura Plansker

Friday, October 12, 2007

NOLA and Pimms


Sometimes I come across a beverage and it forever signifies a time or place. For me the Pimm's Cup is New Orleans.

Fill a tall 12 oz. glass with ice and add

* 1 1/4 oz Pimm's No. 1
* 3 oz Lemonade
* Top off with lemon-lime soda (e.g., 7 Up).
* Garnish with a Cucumber wedge, Mint leaves, and an orange slice

If there is anyone in Chicago that knows a bar where they serve Pimms or a store where they have it please let know.

I have a ton of pictures from my trip. Coming soon!

Identity

I haven't read a blog post in a week, and it is incredible to ingest a week's worth of posts as whole rather than day to day. I've read about boredom, about risk, about why...

I am struck at how much we are struggling to identify purpose, we being the theater community.

We are hunters, all of us, hunting for a purpose and hoping to find an audience. We seek. And while we seek, we are transformed...

What transforms us?
The empty house
The sound of another speaking words we wrote on a page so long ago
The emotion of another
The doubt as to whether we are responsible for our own successes
The compulsion
The addiction
The desire to nourish ourselves and others
The full house on closing night
The sound of loved ones' applause

And how do these things transform us?
For me they either add or take away from my storage of hope

Hope that I can effect change
That my voice will be heard
Regardless of whether the words are full of risk
or if the story I tell is of interest to only a select few

What do you want?

Audience
Relevance
Accolades
Freedom from financial burden so as to pursue your dream
Hear your words aloud
Applause
Love

pick one...

but why only one?

As a actor a director a storyteller should tell you

Even if what we want is better defined as multifarious, it is simpler and therefore achievable to pursue a single want on stage

That truism is more enabling than the definition of risk or boredom or any other "key" is the scene, the audience, etc.

Your point of origin, your path to success should start with what do you want...do it in a sentence break it down.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Friday, October 05, 2007

FavoriteThing(s)ThisWeek

Click here for the pop surrealist motherload...maybe nsfw? Surrealist blood and boobs everywhere

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New Orleans and other stuff

Trip soon

Going to New Orleans for a week for work stuff. However after 5pm I got the french quarter and my stipend all to myself. Looking for to it. I've never been to New Orleans before. I just want to get some good red beans and rice maybe with a little sausage in it, maybe hear some good jazz, a get a little shwag. I'm easy to please with these trips.

Coffee cup - check
T-Shirt with Louis Armstrong or a shrunken head on it - check
Sweet Tea - check

We are staying at a really nice hotel. The only problem with that is that the really nice hotels usually charge for internet access in 24 hour chunks. I think I might even leave the computer at home for this trip. Last business trip, I took it and had to face the same thing. But this is also going to be in the heart of downtown N.O. as opposed to the last one which was north of phoneix in BFE with out anything around for miles. I could conceivable walk somewhere with a connection like a panera bread or what not. I'll have to look up and see iff there is any free wifi around there.

Other stuff

I'm currently trying to come up with a list of items Ithink would help small theater in Chicago, sort of my 2 cents on the post put up by Don today. I'll have a more comprehesive post about it in the next coming weeks. Whereas Chris Piat and Kris Vire deserve recognition for a great article, it at the same time almost depresses me that there is such a draught of this sort of journalism outthere that we have to vocalize our gratitude for the article in the first place. But the term "Chicago Theater for Chicagoans" really hit me hard as well as the notion that the city and its most prominant "advocates" aren't doing enough. I think it is an apt concern.

When I get back from N.O. it will be closing week for the Dada show. It is so strange that it is literally almost over. I've given it so much of my head space and now "bamf!" it has teleported into the ether. There are other projects to be sure, but this is the first one that I've been involved with from conception to closing since being back to c-town. It is making me relfective. Ah well.

I'm working slowly but surely on getting the Chicago Mammals website up to snuff. It is nice to have a site back up even if there is literally no real content as of yet. some Ideas I have for it are going to be comic strips related to the shows we are doing or working on. Video content, etc. I'm trying to think of the Mammals more as an entity of artistic expression and less as just a theater company. I may attempt once again to put serial episodes of work up...either text, audio, or video...Just have to wait and see how it develops. The site is there but it wont be officially up until December. Officially that is. If you go to the site you'll see our mascot, the upside down cow. You might notice it is just a skeleton right now, I've got to put meat on those bones. I need a name for the mascot as well...So those of you haven't clicked away as of yet...name our mascot....come on put it in the comments section...
do it do it do it!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

FavoriteThing(s)ThisWeek





Erik Sanko
makes awesome puppets

axe-man thoughts

So a voice comes to the Axe-Man maybe
A voice that tells him
he is his own best illusion
A voice not of pain
Not the voice of the sandwich man
.. For his voice is a damaged one a troubled one even through his honesty there is suffering that seems like the suffering one can not grow accustom to

A voice of a "helper" for lack of a better term
Virgil to Dante?
Obi Wan to Luke?
I dont know
Just thinking out loud