30 September 2004
I got a little talkative last night with Testro. I guess I'm a bit of a lightweight. 2 beers and I'm slightly sloppy. How pathetic. As noted on this weblog on previous occasions: drinking in the middle of the week is not the smartest thing in the world to do.
28 September 2004
This play is very very funny. I had no idea it was this funny. "I make frantic sandwiches"?
Interviewer: What then?
Michael: What then.
Interviewer: What then?
An email from about fifteen minutes ago.
Hey Aaron. Here are an act 1 and 2 ground plan.
There's a black and white rendering too. Good luck!
Oh, just to let you know, you are a fucking genius for
casting Cyn as Delfina. I think thats what you did....
Anyhow, looking foward to the show--Im starting the
set on Thursday if everything looks OK. Thanks again.
Linda asked me to help out with voice (and offered me money) and that's fine by me, but I don't even know if it's possible at this point. I told her I would help out this week and then we would see about next week. I'm expecting to barely make it to Pomona by 6:30p when my rehearsal starts.
I don't think I have ever felt this confident about a cast of mine. Certainly not since Gross Indecency and that was a long time ago. Things just fell into place for me to have this cast and I feel really great about it. The best thing is that I did what Linda wanted me to do, too. She was so pleased that I cast Anthony and Celeste. I can't tell you.
Good thing I visited Jaime yesterday and got her markout. My life would have been sad and coffeeless this morning were it not for her.
Down in that basement
Murder my dreams
So I stop wanting
Murder my hope
Of him returning
Strangle the pride
That make me crazy
Make me forget
So I stop grieving
Scour my skin
'Til I stop feelin'
Take Caroline away
'Cause I can't be her
Take her away
I can't afford her
Tear out my heart
Strangle my soul
Turn me to salt
A pillar of salt
A broken storm and then
From the evil she done lord
Set her free
Set her free
Set me free
Don't let my sorrow
Make evil of me
27 September 2004
Michael: Kevin Gonzales
Livia: Jean something-or-other
Delfina: Cyn Pérez
Teddy: Jeremy Sherry
Chorus: Eric Isbell (because he needs to be in a show), Courtney Rowan (because she deserves to be in a show), Anthony Rutowicz (because he sooo should've been in Foreigner), and Celeste Hartman (because Linda really wanted me to cast her.)
Sally sort of talked me into casting four people as the chorus. I only needed three, but both boys were so good and then both girls were really good too. So, I had them read the chorus as a foursome and it felt very full. We shall see.
At any rate, I think it's a really good cast. No one is a true risk. Some are young, I grant you, but I don't think they will constitute real work like some people last year did in LLL or SIN.
I cannot really speak about how fucking excellent Cyn was tonight. She was fucking great. Seriously.
The rest of this is a really mean and bitchy joke I wish I'd thought of myself.
Someone: "Wow, with her and [Kow] you have all your bases covered."
Aaron: "Yeah, too bad there's no roles for livestock in the show."
Someone: "Wouldn't it be funny if you wrote a part for her and just had her stand in the corner and moo every once in a while?"
26 September 2004
I will not whine about A Midsummer Night's Dream. It is my own fault, and I have not earned the right to complain about it. I will, however, share a few thoughts I had during the (evidently) obligatory read-thru of the play:
1.What is the point of verse if you ignore the verse lines? Prose is offset by punctuation. That is its only marker. If you only pay attention to the punctuation in verse, you might as well be speaking prose. What value, then, does the verse hold? None. Silly as fuck. Especially when you consider, dear reader, that it is highly likely that Shakespeare did not give us the punctuation used in modern editions at all, and that it was added by later editors and possibly even actors.
2. God bless Leslie Rivers for doing her homework before coming to the read-thru. She was one of very few who did.
3. Linda's friend Catherine doesn't know one damn thing about how to act Shakespeare. She may be a lovely human being, but please, Catherine, shut the fuck up.
4. The director (who is really very hot) told us that he had cut the Hell out of Act V (to which I said," thank Heaven"--its structure is almost identical to that of Love's Labour's Lost--cut that shit). But when we began to read Act V, I noticed that not one single solitary line had been removed from the version in Quarto 1. Did I miss something?
23 September 2004
At my parents tonight, I noticed that the ketchup was DelMonte and I laughed. I asked my parents if they were boycotting Heinz. Naturally they are. So funny. They're crackheads, of course. But man do I love hanging out with just my parents. Michael and Deborah left around 8p and my parents and I just sat around chatting. It was really nice.
22 September 2004
At some point, the director invariably asks, "Where did you find that piece? It's quite extraordinary and such a perfect audition piece for this play."
The Right Answer: "After I read your play I thought about it for a long time and I couldn't quite come up with an audition piece that spoke to me, but then this monologue was in one of the plays I was reading just for fun a month or so ago and it just popped out at me and spoke to me and I knew that it was just what I needed."
The Wrong Answer: "Oh, I don't even know what play it's in. It was in a book called Monologues for Actresses with Dialects or Funny Monologues for Character Actresses or The Ten Best Female Monologues of 1999 or Monologues to Do If You Want to Impress a Director Who's Directing a Play About White-Trash Characters. One of those. I looked through all of those, but I can't remember which one had this piece in it."
We saw some really good auditions and some fairly boring ones as well. Actually, most of them were good. A lot of people did Alan Ayckbourn. There was some fun white-trash stuff. Someone did William Congreve's The Way of the World (but points docked from her: she had no idea what play it was from or who'd written it, and she couldn't have played Lady Wishfort for another 20 years at least.) And Jensen Kong did fucking Gaev from The Cherry Orchard!!! And it was funny. That was without doubt the best audition we saw.
I feel pretty confident that I'll have enough people to do my show. Everything is going to be okay.
21 September 2004
Further proof that a new season has begun... I had the following conversation with my boss at 4:10p this afternoon.
Aaron: Steve, I just got a call. I've decided to take a job in Burbank. They want me to start on the 30th. That's nine days from now and it's a Thursday. I'll do the A/R before I go.
Steve: "Um, ok. What time is Nancy in in the morning? We need to have a staff meeting."
They loved me at this company. I start next Thursday.
And I had the best fucking meeting with my set designer. I swear to god I love him. And he looks exactly like Daniel Radcliffe. But the set is going to be fucking fabulous. I even made a lot of changes to his existing set. Like, I had things to say and helpful suggestions to make and shit with the logistics of his set. It was the greatest meeting. The lighting designer still has not read the play. Sally and Dustin and I laughed about the play. They like it a lot better now that they have read it two and three times. They understand what the fuck it's about. And I decided for sure: no read-through with this show either. No one is going to get it on the first read, so it seems silly to read it. Now that I think about it, I don't think the cast ever read Arcadia together during rehearsal. Nope. We didn't. [God, that was a long time ago.]
And another random voice from the past called me today: this guy named Asa Kim who is/was a fighter pilot in the navy. It was so good to hear from this guy, though, and he didn't want to talk my fucking ear off either, so that was nice too.
I told you that breeze on Sunday afternoon meant something. I worked seven and a half hours yesterday without batting an eye and then I came home, did my laundry, and popped in Angels in America.
Fuck Joe Pitt. Seriously. And FUCK Louis. Fuck them both. There is no hate in my heart for the Roy Cohn of this play, but dammit there sure is hate for Joe and Louis.
All I can say about this miniseries (the first three hours of which I watched last night) is that it feels like an epic event while I watch it. I feel as though I'm tapped into something much larger than myself. This one of the most important things I've ever seen. I've read it at least twice already, but this is some kind of incredible achievement.
After the first half, Brittney and Cyn came over and we drank two bottles of wine on my porch. It was great fun. Then I got out my comforter and put it back on the bed. It was so warm and snuggly. To think a week ago I was having trouble sleeping because it was so damned hot. I think that's the main thing about winter. In the summer, I toss and turn. I can't get comfortable because I can't get cool. In winter, I can sleep normally. Turn the fire up. Toss on the blankets.
God bless Starbucks coffee at home.
19 September 2004
18 September 2004
For a fascinating deconstruction of what happened in November 2000 in Florida, pick up October's issue of Vanity Fair (with the gorgeous Jude Law on the cover). For me the most interesting part was the insider exploration of the workings of the United States Supreme Court and the alleged partisan behavior of Justice O'Connor. In a definite departure from his usual magnanimous public persona, Justice Anthony Kennedy is transformed into a character of surprising gall and ambition. Justice Ginsburg comes off as pallid and weak. And, not surprisingly, right-wing idealogue Justice Scalia reads like a bully from a fifth grade recess.
The magazine's interview with Jude Law holds few revelations, but Dominick Dunne's musings on Ron Reagan Jr. and (his pet topic) Martha Stewart are worth the read.
I hate it when I avoid watching a movie because I don't think I'll like it and then when I finally do watch it it's great. I feel like an ass when shit like that happens. Keep an open mind, motherfucker. So Do the Right Thing fucking rocked.
Last night I saw the west coast premiere of Richard Greenberg's brilliant play Take Me Out at the Brentwood Theatre in West L.A. The version in my head is better than the one Tito and I saw, though. Sometimes, directors just miss things. This kind of thing happens in Los Angeles a lot because so many actors do so much television. There is so much flat theatre here... and so many actors don't have voices. Damn tickets were expensive, too. Not that the play was bad, because it wasn't. In fact, the show is ingenious. It's just that this production was flat. There was, however, nudity. And a lot of it. Some kid from popular was naked. He was good in the show, too. And Jeremy Sisto. My favorite was the lead, Jeffrey Nordling. I should also mention Ryun Yu. Loved him.
It's so hot. Ain't nothin' to do when it's so fuckin' hot, either.
Do I want to go to a party in Pomona tonight? Not really. I shouldn't bail on Julie, but frankly I'd rather get a pizza somewhere and go catch Želary.
17 September 2004
Yesterday I had my first production meeting on Valparaiso! It's starting and I'm really excited about it. Talking to Dustin (aka My New Best Friend) and Sally about the show makes me love it all the more. Their takes on it were incidentally way off of what I think about the show. So it was neat to dissect it with the two of them. Good times. Once again, I am absolutely jazzed. I know this is going to be a strange show for people to watch, but this is a theatrical event and I think it's gonna be really cool. I can't wait to talk to actors about this show and discuss what I want to do and what they want to do.
The woman from Act-1 (aka My Other New Best Friend) called me yesterday at my parents' house (randomly). Her message said that Avjet is still looking at other people but they loved me and I am first in line. She thinks I'm getting this job for sure. Woo hoo!
I visited my parents yesterday. I had made peanut butter cookies for my mom, so I wanted to take them over there. We talked about English. It was fun. They said that they heard some people talking about "all intensive purposes." I brought up "mute point" and blogger Troy's use of "mash potatoes." My parents are very funny. I love seeing them when it's just the three of us.
Then I drove over to Jaime's work. Chris and Anita were there, so that was fun. We visited for a while and then I headed home and to bed where I slept for, like, nine hours. Hooray.
Tonight I'm going to see Take Me Out at the Geffen Playhouse! It's going to be so awesome.
15 September 2004
I think the interview went really well, but one never knows about these things. Business people can be kind of uppity, and I'm fun-loving and have strange hair so I never know how well I go over. Telling stories in a restaurant or a bar, I know I will be a hit. In a conference room where people ask semi-retarded questions like "Can you name three positive things and three negative things about yourself?" and "Do you mind having a woman as your boss?" I never know how much people like me.
Like I'm going to say, "I always tell my current female boss that she should quit telling me what to do and go home and watch her children. Well I guess society would say that my three negative things are I'm a neo-nazi and I kick dogs and I worship Satan."
This company, though, was easily the nicest company I've been to. They are some kind of $50 million company in Burbank that has a ten-person accounting department. When I left there, I felt like begging them to hire me.
I was late for work when I left the interview, and I didn't want to show up to work in a shirt and tie (because I always wear jeans to my current job), so I changed my clothes--shirt, shoes and pants--while driving from Burbank to Monrovia at 80 mph. It was my spy-adventure of the day.
14 September 2004
The man who interviewed me yesterday and said he would call me today did not call me today and so I will be going to the interview I have scheduled in Burbank tomorrow.
And my boss is in a rush to get some guy's tax return done by tomorrow, even though the man own's a small business and just got us his information yesterday. And so Steve asks me, "What time do you come in tomorrow, Aaron: nine or ten?" When I reply, "Ten," he says, "Would you like to come in at nine?"
He offers me One. Measly. Hour.
"I cannot," I say. Just like that.
Besides, I have a job interview.
I got a phone call from (gasp!) Marcos Tello who is in a new show. He called me to personally invite me.
Wonders never cease.
He also informed me that he and Allan are hanging out this Friday evening and invited me to tag along. I can't go, though, because I will be
looking at naked men seeing good theatre.
13 September 2004
I'm imbibing Honey Wheat beer made by a company called Lawson Creek that I purchased for less than $1 a bottle. And it's good. Who knew?
My sister just called, and a I got a lovely email from my dear friend Jamie (Other) who is shacking up (down?) in AZ (oz? well, over the rainbow at any rate).
I had a job interview that actually went well today. I didn't know those were possible anymore?
I am reading a delightful book by Alan Cumming, the actor, a name you should all recognize. It is called Tommy's Tale and it is infinitely clever if at times slightly-earnest-while-pretending-not-to-be. True lack of earnestness (read: coolness) is so difficult. But it is a worthy first novel.
Am I really waiting for my real life to start? If so, I think that might be okay. I am only a very young man, as it is.
One of the reasons I simply adore spending time with Linda Bisesti and her husband Matt is that they don't mind trashing other people, even people for whom they might feel a slight fondness. It is important to remember that people's talents are quite separate from the people themselves, and Linda and Matt walk this fine line very well. They know how to trash people and say very nice things about them in the same breath. It's quite a gift, really. It was so lovely at their house yesterday. And when I'm with Linda and Matt we talk about the theatre, and not just this theatre and that theatre and Cal Poly theatre and the theatre we're each doing, but the state of Theatre with a capital T. It feel so good to be able to talk about it. We discussed community-based theatricalities and my theory that it is a dead theatre... or one that is dying on its feet if not already kaput. Anna Deavere Smith and Culture Clash and Moisés Kaufman are wonderful, worthy examples, and their theatre is new and arresting, but they are poets. So much community-based theatre is so much wanking, and so much is by people who can barely string a phrase together, and so they choose to use the words of real people. Because it's oh so real and oh so important and oh so fucking precious. (Send me your retorts; I expect to be fought on this. Don't be shy.) But I'm serious. It is the photography of theatre, and like so much photography it is the art of the untalented.
Deborah's call was very juicy. Chisme is so very nice. Especially in the evening. I am thinking of baking cookies tomorrow afternoon. I wonder. Will it be too hot for that? Let's hope not.
On the set designer: I called him today to see if he'd gotten a copy of VAL and he picked up the phone with this greeting "Hi Aaron." This is someone to whom I have spoken one other time in my entire life. This kid and I will be fast friends when we finally meet because I already love him. I talked to Sally today and she, thankfully, organized a meeting with my set designer and possibly my lighting designer. The lighting designer part is possibly because I told her to tell him that if he hasn't read the play he ought not come. There are two possible outcomes to this ultimatum and both of them are positive to my mind. He (a) doesn't come to the meeting at all and I have a productive meeting with my set designer and stage manager or he (b) reads the play (gasp from the chorus!) and has things to say at the meeting. I'm actually not sure which I would prefer, but (b) seems highly improbable, so it really doesn't matter which I'd choose if I had my druthers.
Does one capitalize druthers? What are druthers anyway. I must look it up.
Last night I drove down to Venice Beach to see my friend Linda Bisesti in a show called Fire Eater. It was about the potato famine in Ireland... and also Lesbianism for some reason. The two topics don't seem as though they go well together. And—big surprise—they don't. Linda was really good, though, in a small part. Her scene in Act II is probably the best-written piece of the show. The show is not horrible, but rather flat. The writing is interesting, but not good, if you know what I mean. On the upside, there is nudity. I do love nudity when I go see theatre,
especially when it’s not gratuitous.
Dialect always seems to be a problem with theatre in Los Angeles and this is so strange to me. I mean, why cast someone if they can't do the dialect?
At any rate, it was lovely seeing Linda, and we got to hang out for quite a while after the show was over.
12 September 2004
I ought to read a book. That picture of The Empty Space has been sitting in that spot on my webpage for too long.
I finished In the Mood for Love today and I recommend this movie to everyone. It is so great and is obviously the inspiration for Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation. It stars the very cute Tony Leung Chiu Wai and the alluring Maggie Cheung Man Yuk (both recently of Hero fame). I cannot believe it took this long for me to see this movie. It's beautiful.
Drove out to Diamond Bar, visited with my theatre-carpenter friend Michael Jordan who is working on Knott's Scary Farm right now, and then did some work on VAL. We cast in 2 weeks. (!)
Then I headed down to Hollywood to see Justin & Elizabeth. We went to Santa Monica, where, once again, I did not buy anything. I have been so good of late. I promised myself that after I get paid for VAL I'll splurge and get myself a chandelier for the dining room.
10 September 2004
09 September 2004
WarGames. Lame. I love Ally Sheedy, but this movie was lame. I wish I could save the world with a game of tic-tac-toe.
Havana. Must we always see Cuba with a backdrop of 1958? The reason for this is that Cuba after 1959 doesn't include any white people. I'm tired of looking at this period in Cuba's history. Let's see something else. I still love Lena Olin, though.
Is Paris Burning? This was supposed to be a star-studded extravaganza. No. The audio is horrible, but that's beside the point because this movie (clocking in at 172 minutes) is fucking boring.
Down with Love. Down with this movie. It was cute for the first 40 minutes and then it went south in a real hurry. I really disliked Renée Zellweger in this film. Her acting is just bad. Ewan McGregor, however, can trick me into believing he's an astronaut any day of the week.
First Love. Boo to Deana Durbin (who looks exactly like Renée Zellweger would look if she ate every once in a while), and boo to this partial retelling of the Cinderella story and partial ripoff of Victor Schertzinger's One Night of Love.
Hero. Pretty... and pretty sentimental. I love Zhang Yimou, but this movie was boring. Hopefully his next film, House of Flying Daggers, is better.
It's a Wonderful Life. Whatever. This movie was good for a little while. But it's sooo sentimental and schmaltzy. I know everyone will say I have a heart of stone, but giving up your dreams to make other people happy is not "a wonderful life." It may be noble, and he may feel some sort of righteousness, but he's still not living his dream and he's still not happy. Jimmy Stewart was great, though. I have to admit.
The Bostonians. I usually like Merchant/Ivory. At least I think I do. The main problem with this movie is the always boring Christopher Reeve in the lead role. Thank god he doesn't do movies anymore. The lead girl and he have no chemistry and the lead girl is annoying in her own right. I can't remember her name because I'm trying to forget it.
Last night I watched The Passion of the Christ. I know everyone always says this, but the book was better.
I didn't care for the film for a lot of reasons. I felt like the film didn't really go anywhere dramatically. At all. He sort of just kept falling you know. I found myself yelling at the screen for him to "Stop falling!" I mean, that's obviously Gibson's point with all of the falling and the torture, but it doesn't go anywhere. The thing I yelled most frequently was "Jesus!" which I guess was inappropriate, but this movie is brutal. It's one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen. The final straw was a random crow pecking out a man's eye and then this shot of the crow's bloody beak and feathers: nasty. I was so repulsed.
Aside from the sheer brutality and torturous qualities of the film, I guess what I come away with is that the Bible itself—especially the King James Version, which is what Gibson used for the English translations—is so much more magical and beautiful than this film. There's this whole part in the scriptures when the sky goes completely black and the people can't see three feet in front of them. The Jewish dead rise out of the ground and walk the earth under the darkness, and people think they have seen Isaiah and some of the other prophets. The temple garment, a cloth that covers the outside of the temple and is about as thick as my car, is "rent in twain" in the King James Version: it was supposed to be impossible to have occurred and was supposed to symbolize Christ's triumph over Judaeism.
I loved the guy who played Pontius Pilate. I thought he was wonderful. I think the makeup might be some of the best makeup work I've ever seen on film: we'll see if the Academy can look past the film's controversial nature. The cinematography and the costumes were boring, though. Some color please! I was dying for some color. At least give the rich people some colorful clothes! When I thought about color during the film, it occurred to me that here was a man of the lower classes being murdered by a lower-class mob. None of them had any money. Few had education, and what are they doing? Killing someone. It reminded me of gang warfare.
For me the film makes a lot of the same mistakes that Troy did. Continually talking about gods—"Lord" in Passion seems used to excess—does not make us as an audience believe in gods. I've read the Bible many times, and these crucifixion passages more times than I could probably count, but if you want me to believe something in a film, you have to show me. And so, like King Priam in Troy, the Pharisees and the Jewish priests come off as religious weirdos... like the Southern Baptists of my childhood, but so do Mary and Peter and Judas and John.
I know this movie has meant a lot to people. My brother, for one, seemed to think this movie was just the best thing since Old School, but I have to say I felt kind of tortured right along with Christ. It was really difficult to watch, and without resolution or even emotion really. I mean, the people were crying on screen, and I recognized the brutality of the Romans, but I didn't care. I didn't love this man like I loved Lothaire Bluteau in Jésus de Montréal or Djimon Hounsou in Amistad or Denzel Washington in Glory. And I wanted to care. I felt like I probably should love him, but the filmmaker hadn't done anything so that I would.
08 September 2004
John called this afternoon around 4. I didn't pick up. He text-messaged me. I text-messaged back.
4:21p "Hey fucker r we rollin?"
4:37p I dont really feel up to it. Is that ok? Did you talk to Bret? Im at work so I cant answer the phone.
5:03p "Dont be a pussy or a bitch or a queer. tom is rolling u big girl."
To this I did not respond. I couldn't think of anything appropriate to respond with. He sent me another message:
7:14p "Hey call me dude."
John then called me at 7:16p from a number I didn't recognize. Knew it was him. Didn't answer.
Called me again at 7:20p from his own phone and left "Hey, call me," on my voice mail.
Called me again at 7:30p and said "Hey, asshole, call me."
Called me again at 8:33p and sang "Asshole, asshole, call me: that's your new song."
I finally called him back around 9:15p. He had wanted to get a beer. Now he was watching the Angels and couldn't talk.
* * * * *
Instead of seeing John I drove down to Sunset and Vine and met my dear friend Madison. We sat at a coffee shop and suffered through a couple of open mic performances and then walked down to Borders where I didn't buy a thing (so proud of myself). It was just nice to see her and spend time with her and give her encouragement. The evening was buoyed by the fact that I found actual free street parking in this area of town. Who knew it was possible? Right place. Right time.
I started watching Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love today and I would've finished it but the DVD was damaged, so I sent it back to Netflix. This movie is fantastic. I cannot wait to see the end of it.
I'm always praising movies in this space. I don't feel bad about it, though, because I see about twice as many as I talk about here. It seems silly to talk about movies that are only so-so or crappy. So I only really remark on the good ones and the really terrible ones.
07 September 2004
Mira Nair's films include the Oscar-nominated Indian film Salaam Bombay!, which is a beautiful/gritty exploration of working-class people, especially women, in modern India. A year or two ago she had a film out called Monsoon Wedding, which was sort-of a musical and very highly respected. Her films also include Kama Sutra: a Tale of Love, a light-on-plot, high-on-visual-elements (including sex scenes) confection. Nair has also been asked to direct the film version of HP5 aka Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Word is still out on whether she has accepted the offer.
Her new film is Vanity Fair, the first adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's novel of the same name to come out in something like half a century. Like Nair's other films, this one is first and foremost a visual thing: the costumes are lavishly rendered and the makeup in the film would be interesting even without the film to help it along. There are peacocks and elephants and macaws, and most numerous onscreen: stuffy white British people. The film is set in Georgian England and centers around Becky Sharp (Reese Witherspoon), the daughter of a French chorus girl and a starving painter. Vanity Fair chronicles Becky's slow, arduous climb into British high society and her much quicker free-fall out of it.
Witherspoon is perfect for the role for several reasons. Her dialect is flawless, and though she is unmistakably American, this is an asset for ther character rather than a liability. Becky never fits in at these soirées and various events she attends, and Nair doesn't have to do anything to tell us this. Sometimes Becky is the star of the show, and sometimes she doesn't have a soul to talk to, but instead of us needing some kind of proof of this, we sense it on our own. This girl is just not the same as those other people on the screen.
Before I go any further, I should say that I quite enjoyed myself at this film. It has gotten fair to middling reviews around town, and no one I've spoken to has loved it, but it's actually a rather enjoyable piece of film, and as a study in Georgian class sensibilities it definitely has its value. Eileen Atkins is very funny as Becky's benefactress early in the film, and Jim Broadbent gives an excellent performance in a role that should have been smaller.
The problem with the film is the script. Julian Fellowes' adaptation of Thackeray's novel is a bit talky. Fellowes also follows the story of Becky's friend Amelia (Romola Garai, who I hate) as a sub-plot, and she composes a good proportion of the film. The trouble is that Amelia is not the least bit interesting, and has nowhere near the wit and grace of Becky. Romola Garai is, not surprisingly, considerably uninteresting in the role. I am not overstating this point. The book is subtitled "A Novel Without a Hero," but the point of that would not seem to be that there are several protagonists. Quite the contrary, Becky should have been Fellowes' focus from the get-go. The entire subplot with Amelia is a distraction from what is going on in the novel.
Thackeray is trying to give us an anti-heroine with very questionable moral character. He adds to this a society where a woman with these questionable morals can get ahead. Fellowes tries to humanize the story (and the nobility) with this Amelia storyline and instead of accomplishing this it just gets in the way of what Thackeray is saying.
But the movie is good. It is hardly ever boring, and chock-full of visual stimuli. Witherspoon is engaging--not cruel enough for my taste--but I rarely get my heroines as cruel as I like them. Broadbent and Atkins are both excellent in their supporting turns and James Purefoy is fair as Becky's longsuffering husband--if a little brooding. Recommended.
06 September 2004
Someone mentioned "Purple Rain" today, so Aaron, having returned from Vanity Fair, has turned it on. I love this song. I'll review Vanity Fair tomorrow, I think.
Steve's flight back from Brazil has been delayed by the hurricanes until FRIDAY. I cannot believe my luck.
I fear he might be right and this makes me sad. I hate GWB so very much. But if the GOP runs McCain and Guliani in 2008 that would be nice.
05 September 2004
04 September 2004
He hates posting shit like this on here.
Last night he did his homework for The Motorcycle Diaries and rented Walter Salles' last movie Behind the Sun. It's beautiful, spare and tragic. The cinematography is absolutely breathtaking. Rodrigo Santoro might be the most beautiful man in the world.
This morning he watched Sydney Pollack's Havana with Robert Redford & Lena Olin. That Lena Olin: she's smoking hot and such a good actor. The movie that sold him on her was Paul Mazursky's Enemies: a Love Story from 1989. He'll have to rent The Unbearable Lightness of Being soon. He's told that's her best movie and he feels like seeing more of her. He wonders why she doesn't work as much as she used to in the early nineties. Got old, he supposes. Everyone does.
Today, The Passion of the Christ arrives and he's hoping he'll like it.
The thing about living alone is that one has so much time for so many things. He can do all of his laundry, bake three dozen cookies, dip each of them in white chocolate for Chrissakes, watch an old movie, listen to This American Life, and read Eugene Ionèsco's Rhinoceros: all before 5:00p.
03 September 2004
I finished Peter Brook's The Empty Space just now and I want to share how Brook ends the book:
In everyday life, 'if' is a fiction, in the theatre 'if' is an experiment.
>In everyday life, 'if' is an evasion, in the theatre 'if' is the truth.
When we are persuaded to believe in this truth, then the theatre and life are one.
This is a high aim. It sounds like hard work.
To play needs much work. But when we experience the work as play, then it is not work anymore.
A play is play.
I know that to reduce (a hateful word) Mr. Brook's amazing treatise on theatre into this small section with which he summates the book is to be unfair to the whole of the book. This section is by no means the most moving or emotional or grasping part of the book, either. The Empty Space is a book that ought to be taught to directors around the world. Some of Brook's conclusions about the theatre and challenges to theatre artists are the most incredible I've ever read.
02 September 2004
Sometimes I miss acting. One day soon I shall try to do a show: I'd like to do a show where I get to have a British dialect. Maybe it's the fact that Vanity Fair came out yesterday. There's something about all of those old books: Somerset Maugham and William Makepeace Thackeray and D.H. Lawrence and Jane Austen and E.M. Forster and I suppose Henry James and all of those people that just appeals to me. I love all of that old pageantry and classism. Or maybe it's the outfits that I love. I really need to see Maurice again. Maybe I'll buy it. I will see Vanity Fair one day soon.
I wonder why there are so few movies coming out this weekend. Labor day must be the weekend when studios don't release their movies. We're all just waiting for the good movies to come out... they start rolling the weekend or two after Labor day.
9/17: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Želary and Infernal Affairs (finally).
9/24: The Motorcycle Diaries, John Waters' A Dirty Shame and The Last Shot.
10/1: Shark Tale and Around the Bend.
10/8: Friday Night Lights.
10/15: Stage Beauty, I Heart Huckabees and Being Julia.
And I don't know about any of you, but I am definitely seeing the Christmas movie with Ben Affleck and definitely avoiding the one with Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis.
By the time November hits we'll be getting two or three movies a week that have buzz on them. And then the National Board of Review will release their top ten and start the Oscar Talk. I can't wait. I hate it when all the critics have seen all the films and I'm sitting around waiting for them to be released so I can be in on the movie-joy that is December in Hollywood.
Linda asked me to be involved in her production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Peter Uribe is directing again (he did a long-ish production of Romeo & Juliet last year). I think I might've already said yes, and I feel like I really should do it, even if I don't want to, just because I haven't acted in anything since February or so and I start to forget how to do it.
There's a song by Hem that says He holds on to what he knows so he takes ahold of me. Maybe that's what John is all about. He was telling me last night that he just doesn't know how to let go of his relationships. See, you would think that it would be easy for him to let go of me as a friend: we have dissimilar interests, and he doesn't like gay people, just as two examples. But I'm not. I didn't talk to him for six months, and then he calls up as though we're the closest of chums and wants to spend time together. Before 2 weeks ago, I had seen the man twice in two-and-a-half years. Since August 18th I have seen him three times. How does this happen?
And Jaime asks me how I can stand for him to speak the way he speaks: how I keep myself from exploding with rage at him for the way he refers (even offhandedly) to homosexuals. I tell her that I imagine physically receiving the things he says, holding them in my hand, and then dropping them onto the ground. If I don't do this, I won't be able to even look at him. "But how do you look at him the same?" she asks. "I don't." It's awful to say, I know, but he's honestly nothing to me. I can take him or leave him. He wants to spend time with me and so I spend time with him. But it's because he asks for my time and for no other reason.
But the interesting thing is that he spends time with me because he doesn't know how to let me go. If he lets me go he has failed. But the only way that I can spend time with him is if I let the things he says go.
And I write this here to publicly acknowledge when I do things like this: I changed my clothes because I was going to see him yesterday. I looked really really good yesterday before I went to visit him, but I was wearing tight jeans and a polo about two sizes too small. It looked great, but it was unmistakeably queer. I justified it to myself: I wanted to wear my brand new shoes, and the polo didn't go with the shoes, but it was the shirt that I needed to change. So I changed into a dark burgundy 1MX and my new pale leather shoes. I just didn't want to go see John looking like a fag. I mean, I did anyway, because I really don't have any straight-looking clothes anymore, but the effect was decidedly less gay. (And by gay I mean gay as in homosexual.)
01 September 2004
The woman is fucking brilliant. She is one of the funniest people I know.
I did a search for myself on the web. For kicks. Since I googled my stalking victim, Jaime suggested that it would be prudent to google myself just to see what came up. Four articles: Reviews of Hamlet, Taming of the Shrew ("Show Gives Shakespeare Good Stretch"), Picasso at the Lapin Agile, and Gross Indecency AND a bunch of pictures of actors in The Sin Project (must've been Kim's page.) There are however no pictures of me to be found through Google.
Lyrics by Muse:Don't kid yourself
And don't fool yourself
This love's too good last
And I'm too old train
Don't grow up too fast
And don't embrace the past
This life's too good to last
And I'm too young to care
Don't kid yourself
And don't fool yourself
This life could be the last
And we're too young to see