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

30 September 2005

To Venus and Back
You are: To Venus and Back!

You turn your attention to the realm of the
sensual, embracing a passion within you which
you previously thought had slipped through your
fingers. You transition from reality to
reality, soaking up the essence of each
experience and harnessing it. Now you must
channel those experiences into your day-to-day
experience and discover the larger significance
behind them.

Which Tori Amos album are you?
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29 September 2005

Quickie Update

Yeah... sleep. Not gettin' any.
Work. Doin' too much of it.
Hard Times. Going well but still to crunched to really enjoy working on it.

Car drama continues today with the return of the rental to its rightful owners and the need to get my Accord to a mechanic toute suite.

It's a shame there aren't more hours in the day.

25 September 2005

De Tweeling

I had a good cry this morning. Based on the novel by Tessa de Loo, De Tweeling (Twin Sisters) is a film about two twin sisters in 1920s Germany who are split up by their family after their parents die. It's an epic film that spans about seventy years from Nazi-era Germany to present-day Holland and it's the most heartbreaking, unsentimental drama I've seen in a long, long time. The story of these two sisters really got under my skin and snuck up on me. I sat in my apartment at the end of the film and just wept. I know tearjerkers aren't everyone's cup of tea (they're not usually mine, either), but I highly recommend this Dutch drama.

24 September 2005

Hard Times Casting

I have a cast as of last night and I swear I got everyone I wanted. It's as thought I didn't cast my show concurrently with Tales of the Lost Formicans, as though the cast for that show had exactly opposite needs to my own. Anyway, the cast:

Joe Ngo: Mr. Bounderby, Mr. Harthouse, Mr. Sleary
Cynthia Pérez: Sissy Jupe, Mrs. Sparsit, Rachael
Matt Guerra: Mr. Gradgrind, Stephen Blackpool
Mary Schneider: Louisa Gradgrind
Gabriel Bronson: Tom Gradgrind, Bitzer
Elizabeth Zambrano: Mrs. Pegler

It's like a dream cast for me, honestly. Linda gave me every single person I asked for and more.

22 September 2005

Auditioning: Day One

Auditions went excellently for me today and no mistake. I have about 60% of the cast sewn up. I decided last night that I want to cast six people in Hard Timesand I think I have maybe four or five of them right now, which seems sort of crazy for a first day of auditions, but that's just how Linda and I work with one another. It's actually really good. We're used to one another so much now that we pretty much finish one another's sentences in auditions and we know who we want between us. It's kinda cool.

Also, I made a new friend tonight, I think.

I decided NOT to see Southern California Shakespeare's King John because I got a frantic call from a cast member begging me not to see it until later on when the show is more sturdy on its legs. (I shan't say who so don't ask.)

I guess I should go to bed now. I have to get up at 5:00a, so yeah... um. Okay. Good night.

20 September 2005

All the King's Men

Last night I caught what we were told was the first-ever screening of Steven Zaillian's All the King's Men starring Sean Penn, Jude Law (who is very good), Kate Winslet, Patricia Clarkson, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo (who is given nothing at all to do) and Anthony Hopkins.
I know there was Oscar buzz about the film a while ago, but you can forget it. Boy does this flick ever drag. It has serious timing problems too: the audience is never sure when we are. There are these weird flashbacks to Jude Law's childhood that make no sense and serve only to mire the story further in memory and the past. The political message of the original film is lost almost completely, though the politics are the best thing in the new one. Sean Penn has a stump speech early on that really got my skin bristling: it is a thing of power and excitement, but the rest of the film is nothing if not frustrating and static. It's as though nothing happens at all in the movie: the continuity is such that you feel everything in the film is happening at exactly the same time. It's damned confusing.
It's very poorly directed, too. The audience was constantly laughing when it ought not to have been, and instead of the interesting "Sadie" character that got Mercedes McCambridge an Oscar in 1950, the director treats Patricia Clarkson's "Sadie" purely as comic relief. She has not one single scene of note. I don't know, there's a lot that I can say about this movie, but all I can think of is bomb bomb bomb. This movie was no good from start to finish and boring as Hell. Supposedly it is not a final cut, but I honestly don't know what Zaillian could do with it now. But any predictions we had for any of the actors in the movie getting Oscar nominations come January 2006 need to be let go of immediately. This movie isn't grabbing any nominations: not a single one. Mark my words.

Job Frustration

I spent the day at Cal Poly Pomona for the most part. Nowadays, I'm part-time faculty there, if you hadn't heard. 'Course, I still work my forty hours a week at the airport, so it's a little difficult to spend the amount of time there that I would like. On a whim I called in sick to the airport and went to the school to take care of stuff for my employment (visit HR, buy a parking pass, that kind of thing) and try to meet a little bit with the production manager for my new show.

The meeting with the production manager was great. She's the new head of design at CSUP and she seems quite eager, excited and clear-headed. She also seems like she will be a really good teacher and a willing mentor to younger design students. It was kind of energizing, really. In fact, the whole day really excited me and I'm very glad I decided to spend my day working there.

As I was there I kept thinking how much I wish I could do it full time: be faculty at a university, even CSUP. I keep thinking: I don't make that much at the airport, not much at all, and even if CSUP paid me bare minimum for teaching, say, twelve units... while it wouldn't quite match up to what the airport pays me, I could get by. I could, and I would be so much happier. And it would only be twelve units. I'm not sure how possible that is, but that's what would have to happen. It'll be different, I guess, when I have a real degree that means something. Twelve units just seems like nothing.

I was in the department, meeting with Linda, meeting with Bill, talking with Joyce, talking with Marie, bothering Dennis, meeting with the new design lady (her name is Elizabeth), and then I met two new freshmen who were at orientation and I had a short meeting with a student who's going to be my stage manager for the show and then another student came up to talk to me. I have an office now, or rather I share one with the five other part-time faculty, but I was the only one there today so I had it all to myself. I took the student into the office and we just talked. She's juggling a lot this next quarter and needed to talk through her problems and asked my advice on how to do it and needed help finding an audition piece. This girl was struggling and I was actually able to help her out: in short, do my job as a faculty member and give this young lady advice and comfort and encouragement. Whenever this happens, I am reminded that this is where I belong: doing the job of a teacher.

It all seems so clear, but it is all so impossible in my present position.
See, they aren't paying me for twelve units: not even close.
They're paying me for one unit.
I can't afford to give advice; I can't afford to teach.
I can't afford to quit my other job.

I can only afford to show up at 6:30p after my hour-and-a-half commute from Burbank.

18 September 2005


Generosity, you may or may not know, does not come easily to me. I can be quite impatient and easily frustrated. You should have seen my parents' faces when they first heard of my ambitions to be a teacher. Picture utter shock and slight horror. The surprise was even greater to relatives who only know me superficially and remember me as an impatient, arrogant adolescent with no allowance for the rapidity with which other people could do things and an urge to hurry everything up.
But patience and generosity are things I have become more liberal in practicing. And now I can often be attuned to the needs of an actor or a student and occasionally just what they need to hear to help them and make them better.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I felt like sharing the effort that I constantly must make to be open to the rhythms of those around me and the speed with which they do things.

I saw Thumbsucker tonight and enjoyed it immensely. It's moving and funny and earnest (in a really good way.) The lead performance by a young man named Lou Pucci is heartbreaking and beautiful and I just want to grab him and hold him and tell him I'm proud of him. This movie made me think so many things about parenting and normalcy and trying to make things okay. Heartily recommended if you can handle the teenage angst angle.

AND I got a pass to go check out a sneak of All the King's Men tomorrow. That's what I'm talking about!

In case you were also worried that I wasn't spending enough time on Hard Times, I busted out my old "Long Notes" format of pre-working a play and started doing it. I'm about a third of the way through now and I will finish the rest of it before Thursday's big audition day. FUCK ME but this play is long.


If you want to see something that will knock your socks off, go here to see the new GOF trailer.

And the production values look very nice, but I'm not holding out too many hopes for Geisha after seeing this.

17 September 2005

Car Trauma Resolved... for the Moment

I was up before dawn this morning and by 7:15 I was waiting in line at the California Department of Motor Vehicles. I was expecting it to be a little like the pictures of lines in the old Communist Soviet Union: you know, people standing in line at government offices for various things that they need. But it was actually quite organized. Everyone stands in the same line, and then a guy behind bulletproof glass sorts the people and tells you what forms you need and gives you a letter and a number. The letter is to tell the people helping you what you need and the number is what order you are in. It's all quite detailed. And then they told me to sit and wait for my number to be called. I had to shell out $20.00 for the new license and I had to get my picture taken, but the DMV opened at 8:00a and I was home by 8:35. The rental car place didn't even open until 9:00a!
Enterprise fitted me with what looks like a brand-spankin'-new Chevy Cobalt (it replaced the Cavalier, so I am told, and is much nicer-looking than the Cavalier, which I always thought was trying to look like a miniature flying saucer.) Anyway, the Cobalt (oddly, a white vehicle) is a much better car than that Pontiac Sunfire thing rental car places usually give me.
The Autobody shop doesn't know how long it will take to fix the car, but I don't much care anymore. I have a rental! Hooray! And all before 10:00a.

And, now that I have time to work on Hard Times, do I? Oh no. I decide, instead to watch all of the extra features on my DVD of Howards End. I might be returning to my Merchant Ivory obsession.

Is anyone else in love with this song from Grizzly Man by Don Edwards? It's called "Coyotes" and I'm all about it.

16 September 2005


Now I feel really overwhelmed. On my way to work today my car started overheat AGAIN. I just had this problem fixed--so I thought--and $500.00 later it's freaking out again.

I STILL haven't sent the car in to get the interior fixed...
Because I need to rent a car before I can do that...
And I need to get a new driver's license before I can do THAT.

And I have shows to be at on Friday and Saturday night and a party to host after Saturday's show.

And let's not forget the looming threat of Hard Times auditions growing dark in the distance.
I'm at work now, and I don't even know how I'm going to get this hunk of metal called a Honda home from Burbank.

Bitch, bitch, bitch, I know, but times is hard right now.

15 September 2005

11 September 2005

Car Theft Update

I really feel like I should be crying. I feel sick and lost and violated. I've called all of my credit card companies and reported my missing stuff and I had the police out to file a report. I still have to call AAA and DMV and my insurance company tomorrow morning, and then I guess I have to start rebuilding what has been taken. This is such a mess and so sad. So stupid too because you know whoever stole my CDs is going to be damn well disappointed when they realize all of they've got is a bunch of Chopin, Tori Amos, and original cast recordings of little-listened-to musicals.


And my car was broken into this morning. My wallet was stolen as well as pretty much my ENTIRE music collection and my car's CD player. Also, randomly, the headset for my cell phone was also taken.

Now I have to spend the rest of the day on the phone calling people about this.

07 September 2005

Gratitude and the Annals of History

I feel like writing a little. Actually, I'm writing a lot lately; I just haven't been doing it in this space. I am doing the morning pages for The Artist's Way every morning and right this minute I am writing thank-you cards to all of my actors and to the staff of the show. It is good to always be grateful for the gifts that other people give me and not just be mindful of the ungenerous.
So much is going on and sometimes I feel so trapped... as though I am back to my childhood theories of being a Calvinist and predestination is the story of my life. And then I have evenings like tonight's. I ducked out of work fairly early (only 30 minutes of overtime) and headed over to Target where I walked very slowly and ponderously through the aisles, shopping for just the right cards and (eventually) a table lamp for the desk in my room.

Taking things slowly is the goal in my life I find most difficult to achieve. I went to my usual Thai restaurant for dinner because I've been cooking at home for the last two days and I didn't feel like it. I've also been reading a lot of The Gay and Lesbian Review. I am so grateful I get this publication. It's so insightful and it opens me up to a history I know I have but to which I don't get as much exposure as I would like. I don't even know how I heard about this publication, but I am always delighted to recieve it in the mail and I almost always read the thing cover to cover. It makes me want to read more and write more and produce, you know?: to share my work and create more work.

OK, back to my thank-you notes. I'm a little over half done and I need to finish so's I can finalize the program. I wrote all the actor's bios (no small feat, I assure you.) I am getting kind of excited for tomorrow. Writing thank-yous to the actors reminds me how talented they all are and how good the show can be when the actors are on top of their shit.


03 September 2005

Two Gentlemen of Verona Press Release

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Cal Poly Pomona is working with local professional actors to develop the inaugural SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL in Cal Poly Pomona's Studio Theater (Building 25, Room 110). The festival features performances of two early Shakespearean plays: romantic comedy Two Gentlemen of Verona from Sept. 8-17 and historical drama King John from Sept. 22-Oct. 2.

The brainchild of Cal Poly Pomona assistant professor Linda Bisesti and lecturer Peter Uribe, the Southern California Shakespeare Festival will provide the local region a chance to enjoy Shakespeare's classic works each year, while providing collaborative opportunities and a creative outlet for professional actors and students from Cal Poly Pomona and local high schools.

Performing Two Gentlemen of Verona will be 10 Cal Poly Pomona theater students and alumni. Show times are 8 p.m. Sept. 8-10 and Sept. 15-17, with a reception scheduled Sept. 10.

"The company is trying something different with the Two Gentlemen of Verona," said Aaron C. Thomas, the play's director and a recent Cal Poly Pomona alumnus. "This show is an attempt to work in a way similar to the way Shakespeare would have been performed hundreds of years ago: that is, without sets, lighting and an over abundance of rehearsal."

King John will be staged by eight professional actors (including Bisesti as Queen Eleanor) along with nearly a dozen students. The show begins at 8 p.m. Sept. 22-24 and Sept. 30-Oct. 1. The festival closes with a 2 p.m. matinee Oct. 2. The reception will be Sept. 23.

"Shakespeare wrote about things that are so universal, they're still just as relevant today," said Uribe, who will be directing the King John performance. "With the things going on in the world today, I think people will find King John very relevant. The play asks some very interesting questions."

Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. For more information, call (909) 869-3900. Cal Poly Pomona is located at 3801 W. Temple Ave. in Pomona. Parking permits are required, and can be purchased for $5 at the Visitor Information booth along Kellogg Drive.

The cast of the Two Gentlemen of Verona is comprised mainly of alumni from Cal Poly Pomona. Of the ten cast members, five are recent graduates and three are currently in attendance at Cal Poly. The actors are all talented comedians, and a majority perform in various improvisational comedy troupes across Southern California.

The company is trying something different with the Two Gentlemen of Verona. This show is an attempt to work in a way similar to the way Shakespeare would have been performed hundreds of years ago: that is, without sets, lighting and an over abundance of rehearsal. Shakespeare's acting company would also have had no more than fourteen actors playing all the characters. The Two Gentlemen of Verona contains twenty-one characters, and we chose for this show to have a cast of ten, which means that actors play two and often three roles over the course of the evening. And I know it's a radical stance to take, but it is my belief that Shakespeare's comedies ought to actually be funny, and the company works with that in mind. Still, though laughter is our king, we treat Shakespeare's story and his language with the utmost respect and affection.

Aaron C. Thomas is a young, up-and-coming director and recent graduate of CSU Pomona. His credits at Cal Poly include Closer, The Sin Project: Four Short Plays by Thornton Wilder, Valparaiso, The Long Christmas Dinner and the compilation Voices from the Y Generation. He has also directed Gross Indecency: the Three Trials of Oscar Wilde for Alpha Psi Omega and The Taming of the Shrew for Prizm Productions. For Southern California Shakespeare Festival he has worked in various capacities on readings of Love's Labour's Lost, Romeo & Juliet, and most recently As You Like It. He is happy and proud to be a part of the inaugural season of Southern California Shakespeare!

01 September 2005

The Constant Gardener

I don't know what possessed me, but instead of going to sleep at a normal hour, I went with Brittney to go have Mexican food at El Cholo (I hadn't been there in forever, and it's so fucking good!) and then we sped our way to the Paseo Colorado to see Fernando Meirelles' The Constant Gardener based on the novel by John Le Carré.

I like the film the more I think about it. I haven't seen a film this audacious in a long, long time. Technically, the film is stellar. The editing and the photography seem to break new ground and the directing is really wonderful. My emotional response to the film doesn't really match this technical assessment, but the more I ponder it, the better the film gets. Politically, I think there is nothing out there like this movie. It's what Hotel Rwanda had the opportunity to be and failed: an accurate, unsentimental portrayal of poverty and violence in Africa and how much the West is to blame. The Constant Gardener is incredible, really. I was blown away. Now, if we could just do something about that title...

And now, on five hours of sleep, I am off to work at the airport, and from there I will be seeing Dead End at the Ahmanson Theatre thanks to my friend Danny. I cannot wait!