Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

29 February 2004

Party over.

I have this thing.  The party's over.  Everyone please leave immediately so that I can clean up.  I absolutely detest having a dirty house.  If I had the energy to vacuum I would, but I am just frigging exhausted.  Party was good.  Oscar ceremony sucked.
I served devilled eggs (didn't know I didn't have curry until the very last minute, so the eggs had to be served with paprika...), this absolutely gorgeous lime-flavored pound cake in the shape of a rose, chocolate truffles made with amaretto, oven-roasted tomatoes with fresh basil and fresh rosemary, and my personal favorite of the evening: Peperonata with Goat Cheese Toasts which was this reduction of sautéed red pepper, red pepper flakes, shallots, and tomato that was served over toasted baguettes and goat cheese. It was supremo delicioso.  (Thank you Gourmet magazine.) 
The Oscars themselves were boring.  Not that I wasn't happy for The Return of the King, but it made for a no surprises ceremony which was, frankly, a snore.  No surprises at all... in any category.  (I suppose you could count Harvey Krumpet winning for Best Animated Short as a surprise, but who even gives a shit about Best Animated Short?   That's right.  Not a damn soul except the nominees.)  Theron.  Penn.  Zellweger.  Robbins.  Snore.
High points of the evening:  Opening song by Billy Crystal (Old Man River, Maria, My Favorite Things, and oh... I can't remember the other showtunes he sung, but they were damn funny.)  Nice tribute to Kate Hepburn by La Julia.  Blake Edwards' Oscar courtesy of Mr. Carrey. That guy who won for Harvey Krumpet thanking his boyfriend... go homos.  Everyone standing for Sean Penn... he earned that one.  The moment when the announcer loudly said "Johnny Depp" and the camera panned to him.  He had heard his name and wanted to know what was up... hilarious.  He is so above it all and cool.
And my favorite part of the night... Mitch & Mickey sing A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow.  Everyone at my house was asking, "Are they gonna kiss?"  It was great.
In attendance... Dave Ryan. Allan Fortes. Andrew Lin. Aaron Caloca. Debbye Eggeman. My constants Julie, Lisa, Anna, Jaime, Sarah, Derek, and Chris, and Chris and Julie's brother Scott (of Rumors fame).  Everyone asked about you Wah.  You shoulda come.
I'm tired now.  But the day was not a total waste.  I watched an incredible film on DVD courtesy of my new Netflix subscription: Gerry by Gus Van Sant.  That shit is awesome.  Seriously, some of the most interesting cinematography going right now is coming from his films.  Van Sant may be the most interesting filmmaker working right now, and I know he had a shitty period for a while, but he is doing things with movies that you just do not see right now.  Seriously good shit.  This movie was incredible.  I cannot believe he made Gerry and Elephant in the same fucking year.
Tomorrow I am going to see Rufus Wainwright at HOB Anaheim.

Quick Check In

Yesterday's birthday celebration for Derek was one of our nicest, I feel.  We were all getting along very well and we had a great time.  And I re-learned a word: bilious.  It's such a good thing that Sarah is among our friends: Jaime uses the non-word "bile-y" and I inform her of its nonexistence, to which Sarah responds that the correct term is "bilious" and launches into one of the evenings many disgusting stories, this one about bilious green vomiting, which is evidently an honest malady.  Who knew.

If you're keeping score, I'm not doing yoga today... perhaps tomorrow.  Yeah right.

I have much work to do today. This is supposed to be a quick check in before I begin all of the cooking and cleaning I need to do today before my guests arrive.  Yay.  It's Oscar Day!

Jimi Fucking Rocks.

After all the jacks are in their boxes
And the clowns have all gone to bed
You can hear happiness staggering on down the street
Footsteps dressed in red
A broom is drearily sweeping
The broken pieces of yesterday's life
Somewhere a queen is weeping
Somewhere a king has no wife
And the wind, it cries Mary

The traffic lights they turn blue tomorrow
And shine their emptiness down on my bed
Their tiny island sags on downstream
'Cause the life that lived is dead
And the wind cries Mary
And the wind cries Mary

Will the wind ever remember
The names it has blow in the past?
With this crutch, its old age, and its wisdom
It whispers no, this won't be the last
And the wind cries Mary
I love John Mayer's version. (Sally you have my CD, you hoe)

Oh god.

I think that anyone who knows me would have predicted this one:

You are Lucy!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
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28 February 2004

Example of How I Am a Freak

Why is it that the only exercise I get lately is from lifting groceries?  I will do yoga tomorrow.  I will do yoga tomorrow.  I will do yoga tomorrow.

I feel so optimistic.

I am such a freak.  I had built up the errands I had to run so much... I don't know why.  It is my house.  I just don't want to leave it if I have to go by myself.  It is a new thing.  Maybe it's 'cause I'm alone at home.  When I lived at my parent's house, I was always leaving, but I think it was so that I could be alone.  When I lived in dorms, there were always people around.  Now I am alone most of the time.  I like being home alone, it is the going out alone that I find objectionable.  Oh well.

Of course, it was the easiest thing in the world.  I drove downtown.  Paid like $0.60 to park and then went into Banana. I bought the cutest fucking driving loafers for myself and a shirt for my friend for whom we are throwing a birthday party tonight.  I haven't bought shoes in sooooo long.  It felt so healthy (and decadent, but that's the story of my life).  The shoes were 15% off, but still a great deal of money.  The shirt was only $60.  One should always spend more on one's self than one's friends, I feel. 

Then I went to the grocery, and bought all of the stuff I need for the party.  Now I am home and I can clean and start making the truffles (yum!).  After I get my LJ fix, of course.  This is a sickness of some sort, I think.


27 February 2004

Oscar Talk

Easy money first:

Picture: The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King

Director: Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King

Supporting Actor: Robbins, Mystic River

Actress: Theron, Monster

Animated Feature: Finding Nemo

Visual Effects: The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King

It is my opinion that those listed above are the only locks.  If any of the above names aren't called the stars will fall from the sky.  Seriously.  Less likely predictions:

Actor: Penn, Mystic River  (Murray, Lost in Translation, is now the favorite, but I stick with Penn.)

Supporting Actress: Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog (Zellweger, Cold Mountain, is the favorite.)

Adapted Screenplay: Helgeland, Mystic River (tough category: anyone could surprise.)

Original Screenplay: Sheridan, In America (Coppola, Lost in Translation is the favorite and the only other script with a shot.)

Foreign Language Film: Les Invasions Barbares, Canada (though, really, who the Hell knows)

Documentary Feature: The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (though Capturing the Friedmans is thought to be real competition)

The rest are just guesses on my part

Art Direction: The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King

Cinematography: Serra, Girl with a Pearl Earring

Costume Design: Dickson, The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King

Song: "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" A Mighty Wind

Score: Shore, The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King

Makeup: Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl

Editing: City of God

Documentary Short: Chernobyl Heart

Animated Short: Destino

Live Action Short: Two Soldiers

Sound Editing: Master and Commander: the Far Side of the World

Sound: The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King

I think that's it.  My fingers will be crossed for Depp, Aghdashloo, American Splendor, A Mighty Wind, In America, and Master and Commander.


Why is it that I love to drink my own coffee, but mostly hate other people's? Yumm. Starbuck's at home!

26 February 2004

Bitch, Bitch, Bitch

I meant to go to see Andrew Cohen's show at the Greenaway Court Theatre.  I really did.  But I just don't like Cornerstone shows.  I was supposed to go with Lin but he bailed on me this afternoon when I called him.  I am such a sucka.  Oh well.  I should be used to that from him after all (I think with a sly smile on my face.)  Que será, será. *sighs*

So I came home and cleaned my room and paid all of my bills (okay not all, just the ones that were due/overdue).  Then I joined Netflix.  I am so excited about this Netflix.  I swear, if it's as good as it looks, I will be in geek-movie heaven.  I talked to Aaron on the phone today.  I told him he is spending far too much time with people named Kim.  I once had a girlfriend named Kim... never mind about that. I miss my friend Aaron, but I guess I will see him on Sunday at the bash.

The BASH.  Which I have not yet started planning.  I am such a fucking slacker this week.  I really should have the menu planned at least, but no.  I have to go the grocery tomorrow if I am going to get any good produce, too.  I really need to get with it.  It's just that Netflix is so distracting.  I just want to rent every movie ever made... so I compile a list of every movie ever made and then when I finish with one, they will send me another!  It is the coolest.

I also talked to Mike Steger... but not for long.  He starts asking questions about things where the answers do not interest him at all.  Then I start getting bored.  So I tell him I have to go.  The phone is not something I enjoy anyway.

My aunt wants to set up a Civilization match sometime in the next couple of weeks.  Is there anyone out there in LJ land who plays this game?  My family loves to play, but my dad and I refuse to play if it is just my aunt and the two of us.  It is too boring to play with the three of us because she is no damn good at it, and we get tired of playing each other.  (Mind you, she thinks she is fine at the game, and she never seems to notice that she loses every single time.)

I watched Sayonara this evening.  The 50s politics, as usual, I found sinister and frightening.  Ricardo Montalban played a famous Japanese Kabuki master... quite badly and with this awful accent that came out Japanese/Spanish.  Dreadful.  But Miyoshi Umeki and Red Buttons are stellar, and goddamn that Marlon Brando is cute and charming for days.  The flick is directed fairly well.  I resented the deus ex machina that allowed for the end, but the end was pleasing, and I will say that I kept thinking that the movie was going to do things that it didn't do, which is, in my opinion, good directing.  Not having read the book, I actually didn't know how it would end, so it was good that way.  It was directed by Joshua Logan, who directed William Inge's Picnic with my favorite actor William Holden and that fabulous Rosalind Russell in 1955.  This movie is much better than Picnic, but retains a lot of down-home charm still, courtesy of Mr. Brando.  What a fucking star!

I keep going to shitty restaurants for dinner.  I should save the money on the shitty places and take myself somewhere swell for dinner some night soon.  I keep wanting to go to El Cholo... Mmmm.  Perhaps I will call my parents tomorrow and make them take me to dinner.   That sounds like an excellent plan, I think.

25 February 2004

The Bodyguard

Right now I am listening to I Have Nothing.  Go ahead, Whitney.  Sing it girl.

Rain, Rain, go away...

My it is wet here.
I wish I could explain why I'm listening to the theme from Love Story right now, but I cannot. 

My roommate is so very polite.  He offered to take turns vacuuming.  Maybe my last roommate was just a bastard, which is why I appreciate very small things like this offer.  No more Love Story. I am moving on to something with more pep.

Tonight Wahima and I visited our favorite cheap-ass haunt: The Old Spaghetti Factory, where, amazingly enough we can have dinner for $10 apiece.  After this we talked for long times about Cloud 9.  I am feeling very conflicted about my good friend directing this show.  Perhaps this is because I am not directing a show.

It is weird, because I have been working on some kind of show since Fall of 2002 when I was in Othello... I mean, Othello, Gross Indecency, Closer, Hamlet, Fantasticks, ICFB, Crucible, Sin... it has been madness: unending madness: on which I evidently thrive.  Having free time is wonderful, but there is something lacking: work.  It is for this reason that i began to study theatre: to feed my desire to create.  Going to work at the accounting firm every day pays the bills, and it's a fine thing to do, a satisfactory way of making a living, but without anything else to create, to work on, to fucking DO, I don't know... I get kinda bored.  Plus, it seems like everyone I know is always busy working on some other show.  It's not like I'm not reading, because of course I am reading.  More than I have since fricking Othello.  I am watching movies too, but I feel like I ought to be directing something, or at least contributing artistically to some sort of endeavor.  I volunteered to help Wahima out, of course, but I don't know...

I guess I just feel lazy or useless or something... who knows.

Tonight I watched what my grandmother always said was one of her favorite film performances of all time.  Rod Steiger in The Pawnbroker.  I don't know what I was expecting, really, but man oh man, what a film!  It is early Sidney Lumet... not sure I know if this is true, but it is 1965, and the Sidney Lumet I know is the Lumet of Network and The Verdict, which are 70s movies.  Considering my affinity for Network, it is odd that I hadn't looked up this flick before.  Steiger is great in the movie, and the movie itself is a spare, unflinching tragedy in the Greek sense.  A sort of post-holocaust The Best Years of Our Lives with none of the happy ending stuff.  It's super-intense and incorporates that 1960s European influenced way of working: mood-heavy, sad, and an "every single day" sense to all of it.  It was totally powerful and I see why my grandmother liked it.

I finished my Nicky Silver kick today too.  The last play I read was Fat Men in Skirts, which is funny at times, but mostly undirectable.  Maybe I will re-read Raised in Captivity.  Pterodactyls could work too.  Not sure.


The Oscars will be here soon and I have done so little planning.  I have a fucking party to throw.  I really ought to get on it.

I am so tired lately.

Quote of the day

My co-worker says to me "Whenever you meet a man who's nice, you know he's gay. Straight men don't know how to be nice."
Is this true?
Is this a gay gene?
Wish I weren't at work. (Wish I had followed my horoscope's advice.)

24 February 2004

This evening...

I went to the wedding in Riverside of my sometime-friend Gareth, who is a particularly brilliant fellow.  The wedding was outdoors (bad choice) and the colors were a lovely deep red and the usual black/white combination (nice choice).

There were few flowers (budgetary concerns, I suppose, which is fine), but the flowers they had were very nice--red, and exact matches to the colors in the groom's tie and the bridesmaids' dresses.  The bridesmaids looked about 15 years old (odd).  The bride was stunning in a cream satin dress... I appreciate the cream, since she is after all pregnant, which no one mentioned, thankfully.  But the cream really was very beautiful, and she looked very happy.  The veil was white and pretty, the only white on the bride.

No mention of god during the ceremony, but references to Greek Wedding, San Francisco, I Corinthians 13, and Hamlet, for some reason.  To be fair, the Greek Wedding reference was  segue into the idea that the Greeks "had 3 different words for love."  They really had quite a few more, probably more like 5 or 6, but the 3 were sufficient enough for the discussion.  It got me thinking... for the Greeks, there was eros (erotic love), fileos (or however you spell it: brotherly love), and agape (pure love/god's love, etc.)  As discussed previously by, these hold no distinction for me!!!!  How ridiculous to have so many names for what is for me the same fucking thing!  If these 3 words are different, they are damn confusing.  The English got it right... they're all a part of one thing.

I actually feel kind of sick.  I watched Pieces of April (what a piece of shit).  It came out on video today, and was the very last of the Oscar movies I needed to see...  Patricia Clarkson was good, but no better than last year when she got robbed of a nomination for the wonderful film Far from Heaven.  Then I read Act I of Fat Men in Skirts the last of the Nicky Silver plays in this book.  Funny shit.  Maybe Nicky Silver will be the next play I direct.

I might puke.  I wonder why I feel so gross. Bleh.


Note to self:
Never get married outdoors at dusk in the middle of winter. It's fucking cold and dark and bizarre.


All I want to do right now is leave my job... no matter where that means that I go.
I want to go to Buca DiBeppo and eat a lot of food.
I want to go to Disneyland and play.
I want to go see The Return and Kitchen Stories and The Lord of the Rings (again).

However, I am on my way to a ceremony celebrating the marriage of some folks I know.  The bride and groom will be the only people I know at this wedding.

Oh well, maybe there will be a cute boy who isn't from Riverside but drove in similarly from Los Angeles.

For those of you who cannot attend the Oscar Party, I am sorry... but I will have fun without you.  (Come late if you want.  I expect the ceremony to go at least until 9p.)

I love my friend Allan.  He is so fucking funny.
I didn't accomplish much culturally tonight, but I did have a couple of lengthy phone conversations...
and I watched Lorenzo's Oil and cried... what a surprise.

When I get home... I want to stay at home.  Try getting me out of the house... just try.  I really want to go and see the Russian movie The Return, but it's only playing at the One Colorado, and I've vowed not to go there unless I can find cheaper parking, so that's just a good reason for me not to leave my house.

Tomorrow I am going to a wedding at 5:30 in the afternoon for the ex-boyfriend of my friend Jill in Riverside! 

Oh my.  I will be dateless, but at least I will look good.

23 February 2004

Fasten your seat belts...

It's gonna be a bumpy night.

Kelly Norris has my copy of All About Eve.  Very upsetting.

I'm at work.  We are having crises with my co-worker's family.  I am such a fan of tough love.  My co-worker doesn't believe in it. If my daughter went around totalling car after car, she would get a piece of my mind that's for sure... especially if she were twenty-one years old.  Sheesh.

The Dreamers

This evening I saw Bernardo Bertolucci's newest film The Dreamers, with Michael Pitt, Louis Garrel, and Ms. Eva Green.  The film is an NC-17-rated exploration of the 1960s, cinephilia, incest, and politics.  I didn't hate it.  I thought it was pretty much crap, though.  I guess I really think it didn't have much of a point.  It is well made, there is no denying that.  It is shot extremely well and the actors are fine, though Michael Pitt will never be anything other than annoying to me after playing that rat bastard Tommy Gnossis.  He is forever ugly.

What is this NC-17 thing about?  I mean... so there's nudity, so what?  There isn't really anything that explicit in it.  The gross-out factor is about the same here as it was in, say, American Pie, so I guess I'm not sure what the whole scary rating is about.  At any rate it doesn't matter, since I'm over 17 and I went to see a movie made for adults. 

I have to say this, though.  The movie is an extended study of complete silliness.  It is about these university-aged fools who, I suppose, really embody the spirit of the 1960s by not working and having sex all day long [that's sarcasm, folks].  This is what the 1960s were about: sitting in a bathtub with your lover and your brother while your parents are away and talking about Chairman Mao and Jean-Luc Godard.  These kids fight over whether Keaton is funnier than Chaplin and they reference Top Hat and Scarface and Queen Christina.  The parts where the old films are spliced in with the new are really cool... especially the Bande à Part sequence, which is very fun.  But mainly they are silly little people who don't do anything at all. 

There is plenty of nudity, though, and it is equal opportunity, though the bisexuality present in the book doesn't find its way into the film (much to my chagrin.)  It's the sixties after all.  I mean, how is kissing your girlfriend and getting her menstrual blood in your mouth any more risque than having sex with a boy?

Today I saw a play that had an infinitely more interesting view of the 1960s than this film: The Wind Cries Mary.  It is an adaptation of Hedda Gabler set in 1969 with Hedda as a Japanese immigrant married to an Academic at a university at a time when Academia was being called into question as part of the problem of the 1960s instead of part of the solution.  The play is fierce and vicious and unrelenting.  It was excellent.  I recommend it heartily:

After the play I had dinner with Linda Bisesti and we caught up.  It was very nice.  I haven't seen her in a while.

I guess I will sleep now.  I do not want to go to work in the morning.

22 February 2004

SAG Awards

JOHNNY DEPP WON BEST ACTOR tonight at the Screen Actor's Guild Awards.  None of the other winners were surprises: Zellweger, Robbins, Theron, Return of the King, but Depp is a big shocker.  Now, all of the different guild's nominations have a bearing on who will be nominated, but almost none of the guilds' winners have a bearing on who will win because the entire Academy votes for the winners.  This rule is only false when it comes to the acting awards, because actors make up the largest percentage of the Academy... about 23%.  So sometimes, the winners of the Screen Actor's Guild can show us what the Academy will do on Oscar Night (now 1 week away!!!)  Here's hoping Johnny scores next week.  (Penn is still the favorite--it's his 4th nomination without a win, AND he's actually showing up this year.)

I'm off now to see Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers, which is rated NC-17.  I certainly hope it doesn't disappoint me by being tame.


Emotion in Discussion

As I am listening to a conversation yesterday, I realize that I become uncomfortable anytime this one girl begins to discuss something.  I think the reason for this is that everything that she discusses is so personal.  I begin to think about whether I want her to be less personal.  Should she be detached when she is discussing her life?  Is this what I want?  Do I want her to be able to discuss her own life without emotion?  Yes.  I do want that, but why?  Why does her own passion about her life need to go away for me to be comfortable in the conversation?  Am I emotionless when I discuss my life?  I guess I try to be.  Is this a good thing?  Or is it another example of me trying to distance myself from living a real, actual life?

What if it is just my own desire to follow by one of the Four Agreements: the one that says "Don't take anything personally."  This I try to do.  Am I upset because with her everything is personal?

What if sometimes the only way to get something accomplished is to take things personally?  Like in San Francisco.  I mean, if someone in my family doesn't support gay marriage rights, should I take that personally?

Toltec wisdom would say no.  Is it personal?  I want to say yes, but perhaps the Toltecs are right and to save my sanity I will say no.

I was thinking about Kushner a lot yesterday.  This conversation I refer to above was mainly about the abuse of women throughout history, and I kept thinking: how come nobody's mad?  It's like what Kushner says in Copious, Gigantic, and Sane:

I don't know why it is every woman isn't completely consumed all the time by debilitating rage.  I don't know why lesbians and gay men aren't all as twisted and wrecked inside as Roy Cohn was.  By means of what magic do people transform bitter centuries of enslavement and murder into Beauty and Grace?  One musn't take these miracles of perseverance for granted, nor rejoice in them too much, forgetting the oceans of spilled blood of all the millions who didn't make it, who succumbed.  But something, some joy in us, refuses death, makes us stand against the overt and insidious violence practiced upon us by death's minions.


Congrats to Los Altos High School Drama Department for putting on the Neil Simon show Rumors.  It is so nice to see some lesser-known Simon.  I say yuck to constant productions of The Odd Couple (in either gender, and yes, I remember directing it once upon a time) and Barefoot in the Park.  Give me Rumors any day.  My dear friend Julie's younger brother Scott was the lead.  He's a talented young man.  We all like him... he even comes to Christmas and other holidays.  Scott Evangelista... some day, he shall be famous.

After the show, my friend Jaime and her boyfriend John and I went to a bar for happy hour (okay, it was Applebees in Walnut, but for some reason I don't like to admit to this.)  It was very nice.  So nice to go somewhere with 2 other people instead of 6,000, like so often can happen.  You can actaully have a conversation when the numbers are down like that.  I love my friend Jaime like no one else.  She is a constant support and understanding ear. 

We had a waitress name Lisa.  She was cool.

I wanted to share something from Tony Kushner's adaptation of Corneille's The Illusion.  This may be one of the most beautiful things ever said in a play...

Pridamant: The theatre—all that effort devoted to building a make-believe world out of angel hair and fancy talk, no more substantial than a soap bubble.  You are moved at the sight of a foul murder—then the murderer and the murdered are holding hanfs, taking bows together.  A black-magic reconciliation.  It's sinister.

Alcandre: Oh not so sinister.  What in this world is not evanescent?  What in this world is real and not seeming?  Love, which seems the realest thing, is really nothing at all; a simple gray rock is a thousand times more tangible than love is; and the earth is such a rock, and love only a breeze that dreams over its surface, weightless and traceless.  And yet love's more mineral, more dense, more veined with gold and corrupted with lead, more bitter and more weighty than the earth's profoundest matter.  Love is a sea of desire stretched between shores—only the shores are real, but how much more compelling is the sea.  Love is the world's infinite mutability; lies, hatred, murder even, are all knit up in it; it is the inevitable blossoming of its opposites, a magnificent rose smelling faintly of blood.  A dream which makes the world seem... an illusion.  The art of illusion is the art of love, and the art of love is the blood-red heart of the world.  At times I think there's nothing else.

21 February 2004

Matinee Idols Named Monty

Today was not a day for yours truly to be mingling with folk, although I did have a pleasant conversation today with and was very helpful around 11pm.  But overall... my boss irritated me, my aunt called to explain why she didn't come see my show (could it be because she isn't interested in my work as an artist?  Of course.  Did she say that?  Um... no.), and then I had dinner with my family which was a disaster, and dinner with my family hasn't been a disaster in a long time, so it was a bit of a surprise.  Funnily enough, the worst part of the evening was not the part where my little brother criticized my fashion choices, but the part where my father actually got up in the middle of a conversation, donned his jacket and began to leave the restaurant to the shock of everyone at the table.  It was fucking bizarre.  I just wanted to be somewhere else.  I dare not bring up gay marriage at a dinner table, or I might have to actually get pissed off at them.  As it was, I was simply bewildered by my father's behavior and not fully upset.  Grrr.


I attended Cal Poly's production of The Importance of Being Earnest after that.  There is much to say about the production, so I shall just get right into it, I suppose.  Now, when I saw it on Wednesday, the show was in complete disarray.  To friends, I referred to it as a disaster.  Friday was a different story, thankfully.  Act One, unfortunately, is still a disaster, and after sitting through it, I was feeling a bit strange about coming to the show at all.  "Perhaps," I thought to myself, "I should have spent my $8.00 on a churro at disneyland instead of coming here..."  But I decided to stay.  I also decided to move forward about ten rows.  Both were good decisions.  Act Two picked up considerably and even gave me a few chuckles.  There is simply no getting around the brilliance of "You have filled my tea with lumps of sugar, and though I distinctly asked for bread and butter, you have given me cake!"  Fucking ingenious, that Wilde.  There is also no substitute for being able to hear the lines.  Brittney Kalmbach (Gwendolyn) was markedly better in Act Two, as well, and that lovely moment when the girls realize they have been duped and become friends again is just a transcendent moment of the theatre.  It was well-played here.  And then Act Three was hilarious.  Seriously.  Samantha Dykstra, who seemed a little unsure of her footing in Act One (or was it because I couldn't hear her) came back with full force and had us rolling in the aisles.  Her timing, her facial contortions, her delivery, was for the most part hysterical. 

The costumes are at once stunning, gorgeous, brilliant, lavish, outrageous, and strangely still recall the period.  They are in a word "decadent," which, I assume was the main force behind the production design.

The set is a comic bit in itself, and I wanted to applaud after the first set change went well.  The way the set transforms to accomodate all three acts is an achievement in and of itself.  Do not blink in Act One and miss the painting of a rabbit covered in butter and syrup atop a stack of pancakes.  Hysteria.  I loved it.

Here are my beefs with the show... the men.  I just don't understand them.  Perhaps it would have been better had the roles been reversed: if Mr. Baldeon had played Jack and Mr. Abarca had played Algernon.  As it is now, Baldeon tries and tries to be as cool as the designers and director wants him to be, but it just comes across as effort.  He never actually succeeds at decadence or vacuousness or whatever he was trying to achieve.  He simply succeeds in looking like he is trying very hard to be cool (a quality I personally see in the character of Jack).  Abarca preens and bows and gestures and (sorry) mugs his way through the show as Jack.  There are never any stakes for him: ever.  I love the boy, but what was he doing??  I hate to even mention Mr. Weaver, so much did I dislike his performance in the show.  He seems to be rebelling against the character the entire length of his time onstage, as if he really resents being cast as the doddering old minister and refuses to play the part with any believable weakness.

Dialect... (Am I nitpicking now?) For the most part it's fine... all of the women are completely believable with theirs, but again, Mr. Weaver doesn't seem to be the least bit British.  He's doing a dialect, but I'm still not sure when or where it is from.  Mr. Abarca's dialect is firmly rooted in the lower classes of London society, and so seems quite out of place.  The dialect I liked best was probably Ms. Pérez'.  (In general, I thought she was quite good, as well.)  There were several glaring errors in dialect across the board, though, and these should and could have been fixed.

There also seemed to be a lot of sight gags in the show.  Now, generally I dislike these... they always seem to point to someone, and to take me out of the action of the show itself.  What I mean is, when I see one, I always think about the director instead of thinking about the story or reacting emotionally to the material.  These included for me the (continual) running on of the servant in Act Two, the shirtlessness of Algernon in Act One, the pillow/kneel sequence in Act One, and almost every single entrance and exit in Act Two (Algernon's unzipped fly, Chausible's stepping in something, Jack's entrance with unsuccessful exit, ad nauseum).  For me (and I may be in the minority on this one) they do not make me laugh, and pull me out of the action.  One of them, though was inspired and worked well... twice.  I lay the success of the gag with the actor.  I refer to the knife in Cecily's bustier.  Later the payoff is wonderful when Gwendolyn insults her and Cecily reaches for her chest.  We know that knife is coming out.  Damn funny.

I should include here the pinning of the green carnation on Algernon's lapel... come on.  I guess that was the concept, that Algernon was the Wilde persona in the play, but once again I have to disagree.  If you look closely, you won't find much difference between the characters onstage.  To restrict the Wildean ideals and humor to Algernon is to rob the other characters of their own Wildean tendencies.  Every character onstage is Wilde, not just Algernon.  Especially the women.  Character is not king in Wilde comedies.  Wit rules the business of the day, and characters are judged by what they do, not who they are.

Anyway, I warmed to the show and to the concept.  I thought all of the women were good.  And I did laugh a good deal in Act Three, though I do think Acts One and Two are funny as well... just not in this production.

20 February 2004

Quick Thoughts on Friendship

This idea was spawned by an interview on "Fresh Air" with Errol Morris, who directed the film The Fog of War: Eleven....  They were kind of talking about people's ideas about Mr. McNamara before they went into the film, and how people have a definite disconnect while watching the film between the McNamara they know and sort-of hate and the McNamara of the movie (now an octogenarian).  I didn't have this disconnect at all, and that is of course because I'm not a child of the 1950s and I basically knew nothing of Robert S. McNamara before the film.  My approach to the man, therefore, is very specific.  I don't have much ambivalence about the man as he is now.  He seems like a man in deep grief with a keen knowledge of the actions he has undertaken in life.  He appears to me to be a man who considers himself a war criminal, but who was asked to do what he did by his society.

All of this to make the following point.  The relationships that I enjoy the most in my life are relationships that have always stayed new: relationships with people who haven't decided that they "know" me yet, but who are still trying to get to know.  I think this may be why we have trouble being human with our parents.  Our parents don't know who we are.  They only know who we were.

As a person who has changed a great deal over the last, say, five years, I value most those relationships I have with people who get my personality now.  There are people in my life who want me to be who I was, who are put off by my more zen attitude toward life, my love of teaching, my pursuit of theatre as an artistic form, etc.  As a gay man, my parents, in order to have a relationship with me, have been forced to get to know me all over again, and our relationship has benefited phenomenally because of this.  My Aunt Heidi, though, as an example has not tried this tactic, but has decided that the dreams she had for me were great and that I should probably stick to those.  Our relationship, naturally, has suffered.  My brother takes a similar tack with me.  He likes the way he used to think about me.  Some of my very close friends, I think, do the same thing.  They got used to the sullen, biting wit, and have no use for the smiling, more accepting Aaron.

All of us, I think, get sucked into having dreams for those we care about, but I think a key to having living, breathing relationships with these people who we love is to allow these dreams to change.  We must always get to know the people we love again: today.  They change... we all change.  (Yes, I know men change less).  Sometimes I think of how I felt about some of the people who I now consider my dearest most trusted friends.  I used to be so critical of some of them... but there is change.  I change and they change and in a whole other life (sometimes as short as a year later) we can be so close to one another. 

Hurrah for friends. 

I Want My Theatre to Be...


The goal of my theatre is to tell new stories. 

To make people laugh. 

To make people cry. 

To speak from my heart. 

To always try new things. 

To never decide "what theatre is."

To try not to repeat myself.

To always ask myself what I want my theatre to be.

Plays on my mind today:  Pterodactyls (natch), The America Plan, The Goat, A Fair Country, The Designated Mourner, Cloud Nine, Hedda Gabler, An Ideal Husband.  I think my next show will have to be something in the Silver/Albee/Greenberg/Baitz rich white folks vein.  I seem to keep bumping into it.

19 February 2004

Culture Ingestion

A. Cohen is in a play at the Greenway Court Theatre in H-Wood, but I decided I didn't want to go.  I caught a run-thru of Earnest at CPP last night and I am going to the opening tomorrow.  Plus I am supposed to see a Neil Simon show on Saturday and the new Gotanda show on Sunday, so I don't want to be all theatred out on Sunday, so I thought it best to spend another night in.  To be honest I was going to catch The Dreamers down the street, but by the time I looked at the clock it was already 9pm and by then I was feeling lazy.  I did send my Oscar-party e-vites, though.

At any rate, I had another culturally productive night.  I watched Kurosawa's Yojimbo: the Bodyguard on my roommate's gigantic television set.  It's such a pleasure that tv.  Kurosawa is a badass.  He must've invented Quentin Tarantino.  Tarantino borrows from Kurosawa so much it's almost as bad as Sofia Coppola and Wong Kar-Wai.  I heard this story about how Nia Vardalos' new script Connie and Carla do L.A. is basically a remake of Some Like It Hot, but Vardalos is saying it's based on her life.  Whatever.  Anway, Yojimbo was very cool.  I recommend to all.  Much better than that David Lynch piece of shit I watched last night.

After Yojimbo I read Pterodactyls by Nicky Silver.  I'm on a kick.  I have 2 more of his plays to read.  I find I like to be bombarded with ideas from one person over a short period of time.  It's more interesting to see someone's play in the larger context of the rest of their work.  I seem to do this by reading a whole bunch of their stuff at once.  Pterodactyls is searing, beautiful, and of course hysterically funny.  Silver's plays all seem to have at least 1 gay man (usually 2), siblings, a lot of monologues, a lot of witty banter, and basically the same character structures.  It is all very black humor, too.  That kind of shit always appeals to me.  Love it.  My collaborator and friend Aaron C tends to be bored by the kind of sick theatre I get really excited about, which is a shame... but anyway, here's a bit of Pterodactyls:

"That was Mr. Levie.  There's a problem with the rabbit pâté.  For the cocktail hour--it seems all the rabbits had cervical cancer and the pâté is contaminated."

Sick, right? I love it.


3 Things:

1. Not that I am a huge fan of George W., but what in the bloody Hell does whether or not he served his time in the National Guard in the 1970s have to do with anything belonging on the national table for debate.  Daniel Shore went on and on about this recently on "All Things Considered," and I started to become really mad.  "Can the man run the country to your liking?"  That's a good question for the national debate.  D"id the man fuck up in the 70s?"  Not so good a question; as a matter of fact: completely and totally irrelevant.

2. Some fucker who is a Republican in the House of Representatives was on "All Things Considered" talking about the so-called morning after pill and he said something to the effect of this: I asked the FDA to hold off on approving this pill for over the counter use (the FDA has indeed postponed for 90 days over-the-counter sale of this drug) because I don't think we've talked about this enough.  The FDA committee studying the drug recommended that the drug be approved for such use by the FDA last week, but I think we need to really talk about the implications of this more.  And then he says... This is a decision that needs to be made at the highest level (he has asked the President to step in.)  WRONG, buddy.  This is a decision that needs to be made at the lowest level.  That is what choice is all about.  That is what freedom is all about.  The pill would cost over $50 as it is; it's not like kids are going to be popping the pill like candy.  Just one more way in which the Republicans go against what they say they are for: freedom.  I know, why don't we keep helpful medications away from the people!  Great idea.  I wish I had got this congressman's name.

3. One more thought on John Kerry...  How did Kerry vote when it came time to go to war with Iraq?  For it.  That's right.  It is he who took us to war as much as it is Mr. Bush.  Who you is is how you votes.

I'm fricking Siddartha

You're Siddhartha!

by Hermann Hesse

You simply don't know what to believe, but you're willing to try
anything once. Western values, Eastern values, hedonism and minimalism, you've spent
some time in every camp. But you still don't have any idea what camp you belong in.
This makes you an individualist of the highest order, but also really lonely. It's
time to chill out under a tree. And realize that at least you believe in

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

OK, I'm addicted to this now.

Or maybe it's just that I am at work and I don't feel like working... I have a long entry in my head about working with actors and what I say to them and how they feel about me. I love actors: they are such sensitive wonderful creatures, and they need so much attention. I will write about it later, I suppose, but I am busy pretending to work.

Gay Marriage

Can someone please explain to me the harm that homosexuals will do to the institution of marriage? What damage could we possibly do that heterosexuals haven't already done? For support, I call upon Elizabeth Taylor and Britney Spears. I didn't used to be all gung-ho on the whole gay marriage thing. I used to think we homosexuals might be better served finding new ways to celebrate our unions other than the ones created by heterosexual society. But people everywhere seemed determined to make this an issue, and I can only be on one side of it. There is a fabulous show by solo performance superstar Tim Miller about gay marriage called Glory Box.  Everyone ought to read it.  It's good shit.  Heartbreaking and wonderful... and he's just one man.  Visit:

He's amazing.

Needless to say, I am not a big fan of Mr. Bush right about now.  And don't those democrats owe Howard Dean a little something.  Now he's droppeed out of the race... crazy considering he was the one who convinced the dems that they could actually fucking WIN the election again.  All of them had given up hope until Hilary runs in 2008.  Plus his contributions in terms of fundraising on the grassroots level.  He really has been a progressive anti-establishment voice.  And then the dems all went with Kerry... about as established as you can get.  Very disappointing.


I have been having most productive evenings since my show The Sin Project closed.  Such a relief to have it over, and yet a bit of a disappointment that I have no actual work to do in the evenings.  Well, not creative work anyway. Last night I watched a very excellent film by Peter Yates: The Dresser, and then in preparation for a show I am going to see on Sunday called The Wind Cries Mary, I read one of the author's (Philip Kan Gotanda) earlier plays: The Wash.  It was okay, and works like most of his other early work--in short scenes that are kind of heavy and only occasionally funny: he is absolutely successful at what he does, I am not sure that I find it particularly entertaining, but then The Wash does focus on older people, and I have a bit of a prejudice in general toward the elderly. This is because I do not understand them.  At any rate, after reading the Gotanda play, I headed to the cinema to see The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (quite the title, n'est-ce pas?).  Good film. $6.50 for the movie and $5.00 for parking.  Ridiculous.  Fucking Old Pasadena.  I am not going to that cinema again unless I find reasonable parking.  That made the movie $11.50!!!!!  Forget it.

Tonight I watched the horrible Lynch movie Wild at Heart. My god, can you say "bad cinema?" And then I finished a play by Nicky Silver called The Food Chain. Fucking funny, let me tell you...  I'm going to bed now, but this "not working on a show thing" while new and slightly distressing does seem to give me a lot of free time for ingesting culture.