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

29 June 2006

Haiku for My Friends

These are each for a friend of mine. If you want to know who each is for, you may guess and I will tell you if you are right.

I only miss you
After the onset of night
Far too late to call


Like the Autumn bite
I wish I didn't like you
As much as I do


If I am careful
Don't upset the cart too much
This could be always


Sometimes I stare in
Wonder at your back, your face
Such beauty wounds me


You really don't need
As much as you seem to need
The earth spins forward


Our relationship
Is new like Spring come to a field
All bugs and earthworms


Testing the waters
Has always been like diving
I know no restraint


Leaving Spring behind
I like you so much better
What could Summer hold

If you want more or you want one for you, make some noise.

25 June 2006

Movie Sum-up Post

I have seen about ten movies since I last wrote about one in this space. This sucks as a movie blog. I hope no one's here for that because I'm not very good at movie-blogging as it turns out. Nevertheless, I bring you reviews (albeit, short) of the ten films I've seen this year that I haven't written about.

This afternoon: Robert Altman's very musical extravaganza A Prairie Home Companion, which is full of lovely jokes, down-home humor and the brilliant non-sequitor-filled silliness of both Altman films and Garrison Keillor's weekly radio program. There are some really fun segments of the show absent from the film, but one cannot have everything and the movie is a delight from start to finish, featuring really wonderful performances from a whole cast of greats, but especially Meryl Streep & Lily Tomlin and Woody Harrelson & John C. Reilly as two singing duos. My favorite performance in the film is from Marylouise Burke, who plays the lunch lady.

Josef von Sternberg's Morocco starring the totally fabulous Marlene Dietrich in her only Oscar-nominated performance is fairly standard fare as films go... or so I thought for the first half hour or so. The film's plot is standard, but Dietrich herself is a force with which to be reckoned. The much-talked about scene with her performing a cabaret act in a tuxedo and kissing a woman full on the lips is in Morocco and I must confess that it took me completely by surprise and I was instantly in love. The movie is only okay, but Dietrich is incredible. I'm hooked.

Sudden Fear is a later Joan Crawford vehicle starring a past-her-prime Crawford and a supposedly charismatic and charming Jack Palance (!). For me the film failed on all counts, except that it features the compelling-yet-irritating Gloria Grahame (who I grudgingly love). I don't like Joan Crawford; I've decided. I know it's, like, sacrilege, or something. ...And here's the thing: I don't think it's a rational dislike of Crawford. I think I dislike her because Bette Davis so disliked her. As one of my co-workers said, I should start to hate half of old-Hollywood if my loyalty runs so deep: Ms. Davis could've paved a street with the names of people she despised, but I really think that's it. Still it isn't rational. I love Celeste Holm and Ms. Davis loathed her, so... I have no explanation other than I think Ms. Crawford can't act for shit, doesn't particularly have nice legs (a feature with which Sudden Fear seemed obsessed) and isn't particularly pretty--by any yardstick. Sue me in gay court later.

I really liked Jason Reitman's Thank You for Smoking. I thought it was very, very funny in an offbeat, irreverent, punishing sort of way and the script is really clever. The acting is good, for the most part, with some excellent performances from Robert Duvall and Maria Bello, especially. I loved the kid, too: Cameron Bright (from the lackluster Birth). Mostly this is just a funny, funny movie. Three things, though: 1) Katie Holmes looks like a little kid. I cannot believe her in any role. I couldn't believe her as a lawyer in Batman Begins, and I didn't buy her for a second as a reporter in Thank You for Smoking. She looks like she couldn't even buy a pack of smokes if she wanted to. 2) My boy Aaron Eckhart's hair. Couldn't they have hired someone to fix it. It looked awful throughout and he tried, like, three different styles. The last thing 3) is my favorite performance in the film: Adam Brody as Rob Lowe's assistant. He plays the role perfectly, with excellent timing and an excitement I am unused to seeing.

George Cukor's Born Yesterday features the performance that beat both Bette Davis's All About Eve turn as Margo Channing and Gloria Swanson's genius turn as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. I have generally avoided Born Yesterday for this reason (more solidarity with Ms. Davis: see above). But I was mistaken. This one's a crowd pleaser. The script is wonderful and Judy Holliday is absolutely wonderful. I adored her character and fell in love with her. It's a great star turn and worthy of all its accolades.

Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Cercle Rouge is the epitome of cool. I liked it even better than Le Samouraï. It's not quite as good as Army of Shadows, but, then, few films are. I find Melville's ideas about the prices men have to pay for the things they do slightly objectionable. I prefer Woody Allen's ideas about men (i.e. I like them to get away with things.) The films are so cool, though, that Melville has to be forgiven. Watch Le Cercle Rouge and your teeth will hurt the movie is so fucking cool. I swear to god.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is a sort-of remake of Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Allows, the film on which Todd Haynes based his gorgeous Far from Heaven. Fassbinder's film is beautiful and ugly, harsh, soft, shocking, horrifying, sad and dificult all at the same time. I became connected to the characters instantly and the emotional work that Fassbinder is doing is undeniable, but his filmmaking skill is so pronounced, his language so stark and stunning and his references to Sirk so clear, that it's hard not to pay attention to the look of the film and let go of the matter of the film. To do so would be to miss so much, though. Ali is a fascinating, subtle tale with much to say about German xenophobia and fear of "the other" in general.

I'm not sure why everyone is so apeshit about Jean-Luc Godard's À Bout de Souffle (Breathless). It's good, sure, and it's cool. Maybe I'm too old. The only thing I really loved about it was the ending, which is really quiet and subtle... I think that's what I don't love about the film: I feel like it isn't doing anything very subtle, or perhaps the legacy it has left has so overwhelmed the context of the film that I can't see the forest for the trees. Maybe it's been copied so frequently and so poorly that even the original lacks luster for me.

Okay... last one:

Terry Zwigoff's Art School Confidential is stupid. I may have laughed a couple of times. When it is exploring the nature of art and asking us what is good and what isn't, I found the film really interesting, but all of the silliness and its ludicrous cast of characters (every single stereotype imaginable) had no charm for me. I have a lot of bad things to say about this movie: almost nothing good in fact, so I'll shut up now. Suffice to say that I didn't like the film at all. Max Minghella is a cutie, but I hope he sticks to better stuff than this in future. And I so liked Ghost World...

Huge Sum-up Post That Says Much More Than It Means and Means Much More Than It Says

There are a lot of things to say right now. I'm moving away; I'm quitting my job; I'm selling my house; I'm working on a project for which I don't really have time. I feel like I am all alone in the world... and I'm still in Pasadena. It's like that Margo Channing quote—okay, I'm being dramatic here, and Margo isn't even talking about being a single gay man, but when she says, "And in the last analysis nothing is any good unless you can look up just before dinner or turn around in bed and there he is," I feel like I know what she's talking about. No. I am being silly. I am not forty and I am not a fading star or any of that melodramatic nonsense (and I don't have Joseph L. Mankiewicz writing me brilliant one-liners.) No. But I am single and I am tired of being alone. Never mind; Margo Channing wasn't any of those things. I don't know what I'm talking about. It would be nice to be held, though. I kind of miss that.

20 June 2006

Father's Day

The Father's Day show on This American Life has to be one of the most poignant, beautiful things I've heard in a very long time. Listen Here. My favorite bit is Act Three. This is such good fucking radio, people.

19 June 2006


Tonight I went to a showcase for my friends and . They're taking classes with Jack Stehlin of Circus Theatricals and tonight (and next Monday night) was an evening of scenes in celebration of their abilities.

Both of my friends are so very talented and both gave really stellar performances. Their roles suited them both well and I was very happy about the whole thing. It's nice to sit in the audience and know that your two friends are the two most talented people on the stage. I love being able to just be proud of them from my seat in the back row. I feel so privileged to know them and be a part of their lives.

Anyway, if you're free next Monday night and you love Justin and Elizabeth--or if you think they're crap and want to be proved wrong--head on over to 2511 Wilshire.

We should all go see our friends' work. It's a back-scratching, love-your-neighbor kind of thing.

18 June 2006

Adventures in Tallahassee

My brother and I flew out of LAX at 7:10a on Thursday morning and arrived without event in Memphis, TN, heading from there to Tallahassee's little regional airport in one of those aircraft they call puddle jumpers (i.e. the noisiest fricking airplane you ever sat in.) Michael made me laugh the whole way there, as tired as we were. He decided that our cabin attendant looked exactly like a pterodactyl on the flight (and he was absolutely right), so he started making pterodactyl squawking noises in addition to this sound that was supposed to resemble her flapping her enormous leathery wings. He carried on like this for the 90 minutes of the flight, making me laugh the entire time. I swear, this shit never got old. I could barely contain myself. We were both pretty hungry by this time and had started to get a little slap-happy. We invented images of the pterodactyl hatching and emerging from her shell, snatching fish from the sea, and being killed by dinosaurs larger than she. It was hilarious.

We got to TLH without much trouble. I had my rental car waiting, and we headed to the hotel. I, of course, got lost. California is so much easier to navigate. The signs in Florida (and in Virginia, too) lead to nowhere. It's impossible not to get lost your first time there. The signs don't mean a damn thing and none of the streets have names. They're all called FL-131 or FL-93 or FL-199. It's out of control.
Our hotel was a total hole in the ground: disgusting, really, but it was just outside of the campus, so it ended up being very convenient for me. I was able to walk all over the campus and look at everything. Most of the buildings (even the theatre) were unlocked and open and I walked right in to all of them, just checking it out. The campus is unbelievable. There must be a hundred and fifty buildings, each and every one of which is made out of red brick. It's absolutely gorgeous. Mike and I also went over to the football stadium after we ate some barbecue (I regrettably ordered fried corn) and it was open too! We walked out into the arena and checked it out. It must be the biggest football stadium I've ever seen. Here are a few pics from the internet. Mike took some with his camera, but I don't have them yet...

I mean, look at the thing. It's massive. It's also surrounded by all of these different atheltic fields: soccer, baseball, practice football fields. It's crazy.

The weather is shockingly bad. Although, I must admit I started to get used to it after a day or two. It's hot like palm desert but the humidity is such that it feels like a scarf of warm water is wrapped around you at all times. As though someone were walking behind you and spraying you with water as you walk around. And there's no wind until late in the evening, like 9:00 or so, and that was just a paltry breeze, really. The good thing is that everyone, and I mean everyone has air conditioning. You walk into McDonald's and there's air conditioning. Every building, every restaurant, every room that can be cooled is cooled.

I signed a contract for my house at like 1:00p on Friday after looking at, like, six or so developments. It's not built yet. It's part of a new subdivision in Tallahassee called... oh, something or other... and it's beautiful. It's a lot of money and of course I'm terrified, but it'll be big enough that I can have a roommate again and be able to make my payment lower. The area around the school is not very nice, I have to admit. And it's the South: another thing that I find really scary. I'm going to be out there in the South all by myself with a new house and no friends. But being scared doesn't really help me much, so I'm not going to bother too much about it. I wil try to recognize my fears and own them and then push past them. This is what I'm doing and this is where I'm going and I am going to succeed.

We came back yesterday at around 8:00p. Mike and I spent, like, eleven hours in airports. At one point we couldn't get into Memphis because of weather and the pilot landed us in Jackson, MS for about an hour without letting us deplane. Then, once we got into Memphis we were stuck there for another two hours waiting to get home. It was a nightmare.

But I'm here now and happy to be back in Pasadena. I will miss it here so much I cannot even tell you. Being in Tallahassee for two days made me miss its stores and restaurants and culture like mad. I know I will miss my friends a lot, but spending as much time as I do alone, I think I will miss being able to be by myself in a city like this more than anything else.


Okay. I have stuff to do. Impossibly, I almost have my cast for my R&J project and there is much to be done.

17 June 2006

He's Baaaack.

I have returned a full day ahead of schedule. A long update and tales of my adventures in FL to come soon.

14 June 2006

Trip Away

OK guys. I'm off to Florida for a couple of days to house-hunt. I'll be back on Sunday, although my brother swears we're gonna find an earlier flight and come back a day ahead of schedule. Anyway, if you need me or fee like sending me love, you can always call me.

13 June 2006

New Project

I have a new project on the horizon that I can't really talk about too much, but about which I'm starting to get a little excited. It involves Romeo & Juliet, oddly enough, and my uncle Fried. I don't usually allow myself to be enticed by my uncle's (or my father's) schemes as they are usually totally crackpot. But he seems genuinely excited about this and I think it's going to be fun. It will mean that I'm quitting my job earlier than I thought, but c'est la vie.

11 June 2006

Where on Earth Have I Been?

I'm on another planet right now. I feel really overwhelmed and confused and frustrated with myself. I'm reading a really good book right now, and that's helping, but mostly I'm feeling... I don't even know, really.

In news unrelated to my own restlessness/haplessness, I went to a memorial service for my aunt this weekend in San Diego. It was very nice and, I thought, very respectful and moving. Public occasions for grief (and celebration) are handled more than stoically by most members of my family. It's interesting and odd when I compare it to the way that other people—other whole families—behave. My family is the stoic one. I don't even particularly notice it (being myself a stoic on these occasions) except that it looks odd next to all of the other emotional families.

Any thoughts, Angie? Good luck on your finals.

Tonight I did laundry and watched Sudden Fear, a Joan Crawford movie from the early 1950's. I was bored and I don't think I really like Joan Crawford. I'm not sure if this is solidarity with Bette Davis or what, but she bugs me.

Oh, and I went and caught Elliot Goldenthal's new opera Grendel at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion this morning and was very glad I did. I would have been so pissed at myself if I'd missed it. I didn't care so much for the melodies in it, but the score was lovely and the production, book, direction, and all the performances were absolutely astounding. I could talk about it for hours. My friend and I talked about it all through intermission and all the way back from the show until when she dropped me off. Julie Taymor is an absolute genius and I am totally humbled by the abilities of Denyce Graves.

Ok. That was all over the map.
Send me positive thoughts or text messages.
Love to all

08 June 2006

No Shit or How Do They Know This Shit?

Today you could find yourself doing a lot of daydreaming, Aaron. You have a vivid imagination, and it's easy for you to get caught up in visual fantasies. You might be playing back a scene from a movie in your head. Or you could be imagining spending a special moment with your romantic partner. Although you might be in the mood to play today, do your best to focus on your work!

You will get extremely frustrated with people who are slacking on the job while you are working extra hard. Their lazy, careless attitude is really starting to get on your nerves. This is not healthy. Focus on yourself and don't worry about others.

Today's aspect at play will make you feel powerful and in control. The choices you make about your own body represent this personal power and control, so if you've been making good choices, you will feel superb! It's also a wonderful time to begin taking seriously the health practices that you may have been participating in only halfway. What you give to yourself in terms of time will radiate as love energy throughout your entire being.

06 June 2006

The Show

So the show went like a dream. I had no idea it would go so well, that my actress would be so on top of her game... that the jokes would actually land on the audience. I've been working on the show for four months, so I tend to lose perspective on such things. The faculty loved the show and everyone who came liked it too. (Thanks for the support, Tito. I appreciate it. XO.) Anyway, there is one more performance (this Thursday), so if you have a mind to come, please do. It's free.

03 June 2006


A part of what is so brilliant about Naomi Wallace's impossibly clever One Flea Spare is her ability to describe sensation so physically. Her poetry seems to exist and take being right inside my hand as a hear it, as though I can clutch at her language. I don't have the play at my house right now, but there is a passage that goes something like this: The bird had a song like a long spoon and we drank from it like jam. And the song put a butterfly in our mouths and it fluttered its wings and made us laugh.

You get the idea. Lately I have been feeling something physically in myself that I haven't normally felt. I'm thinking about it today because I started a new book called The Gilda Stories. It speaks to me about sensation in ways I am not used to pondering, but in ways that make sense to me, as though they were things I learned a very long time ago, like history reaching out and finding me and reminding me of something I should never have forgotten.

I feel hungry. That's where this was headed. What I mean is that hunger doesn't manifest itself to me as a dull knowledge or reminder any more. Instead, it is a physical ache, something I need in a way that I'm not used to needing. I don't specifically mean dissatisfaction or impatience (although I feel those all to frequently), I mean that I've begun to feel need as a physical sensation and my need has become insistent and powerful. It speaks to me as though it were separate from me.

Does anyone else know what I am talking about?