Thursday, May 24, 2018

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO BUT KEEP ON KEEPING ON?

Sometimes of late, I hit a bit of a wall. Things seem bleak out there. People are sad. Some projects only go so far. Shows close. Jobs end.

Such is life.

Whenever I hit that wall- and I've hit it several times in my life and no doubt will hit it several more times before I check out- I let myself feel blue for a moment, then press on.

Too much in this world that is amazing, fun, different, numinous, and magic.

For instance, I finally got the final cut of my short film Strong Tea. Here it is:

STRONG TEA

I have been meaning to finish that sucker forever. And finally did. And you know what? It wasn't really that hard to do. Seems like the first step is always the hardest.

I also finally put together some footage Lisa and I took up at Rocky Mountain National Park and made a short about searching for Sasquatch. Here it is:

MAY THE SQUATCH BE WITH YOU

And to top it off, I was in a short film made by one of my students, the super talented Ellie Griffin. I play a guy who has gone off the deep end. Here it is:

LOVE IS PATIENT, LOVE IS MINE

Sure, it's a short entry, and most of it is video clips.

That's the way it goes sometimes.


Thursday, May 3, 2018

THANKS SHIA- NOW I'M GONNA MAKE AN EVEN BETTER TITLE

Well, I finally have something to be mad at Shia LeBeouf about. Not his weirdness or acting or whatever it is that so many people seem to have issues with him about. No. I am pissed because he has a new movie, some sort of autobiography, and it's title is "Honey Boy".

Why does that annoy me? Well, I'll tell you.

As most of you know, I am a writer. Kind of obvious, I suppose, since I am writing a blog. But then again, many folks write blogs who I wouldn't really call writers. But that's just me being snooty and a tangent. Apologies.

Back to the thing. I have been working on a script, a pilot for a really weird series about a rust belt town haunted by assholes. Originally I was going to call it "The Wastelands". And while that is a great title, and also a fine poem by T.S. Eliot, it doesn't exactly scream "Watch me! I'm fun! I'm exciting! I am the perfect thing to pop on Netflix and spend hours on the couch absorbing while munching on pizza." So I went back into it, and hit upon "Honeyboy", which is the name of one of the central characters, is kind of unique, evocative, and all the things that can make for a good title.

And then I read online about this damn movie. (click HERE to read article)

Wasn't he retired or something? I thought he had some sort of breakdown and was living in the Himalayas. But no, the fucker has to go and get a movie together with my title.

Well, thanks a lot, Mister LeBeouf! Thank you very fucking much.

Actually, it's cool. I think this will just force me to come up with an even cooler title. One that grabs people and doesn't let go. Makes them think "Holy Shit! I must see this! Now! I'll order Hulu if I have to, just let me see it!"

And they should. It is a cool idea, a cool script, and one hundred percent me. Weird, funny, at times prescient.

In other news, there is a Kickstarter campaign going for a documentary about FringeNYC. The film is helmed by Francis Kuzler and Jeffifer Larkin, both super talented and awesome. I would not be where I am if not for the Fringe. Seriously. It is why I met my wife, how I got my start as a playwright, how I first got published. My plays Last Call, Muse of Fire, Some Unfortunate Hour, and April's Fool all had their first productions there. And now they are making a movie about it. Not my life, stupid. The New York International Fringe Festival.  For more info, go HERE.

Last but not least. I teach playwriting here in Denver at the DCPA. Summer class is Thursday nights. If you have ever wanted to write a play, have a play you want to work on, or are a full flung playwright looking for a workshop, this class is for you. Go HERE for more info.

That's three HEREs in one posting.

Good things come in threes.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

KEEP ON, KEEP ON, KEEP ON DANCING ON THROUGH THE NIGHT

That's a lyric from a song the Brady Kids sang. From the later years, when shit got weird and cousin Oliver showed up and for some reason all the men and boys in Brady Bunch Land got perms. You know, when they took trips to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon and Greg got his groovy pad in the attic. The world had grown wiser, hipper, and far more accepting of adventurous style. I don't know why that song popped into my head as I sat down to the computer, but it did. So there it is, and that's all there is to it. And folks, we do need very much, to keep on rocking on through the night. There is just way to much sorrow and anger and lost souls on the highway of life for us to wallow in self pity, despair, or grief.



Life is for living.

I was thinking today- I know, a rare activity, but there I was, thinking. And I realized that the seven so-called sins are really just a waste of time. Too much to do. Write poetry. Dance strangely in public. Go to the movies. Kiss and hug and make love. Listen to Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack.



Yes, I think our current President is nuts, and needs to go. But we have to keep living, to remember what it is that makes life worthwhile, worth struggling for, worth living.

If I thought it would help to freak out, I would. But so far, in my long strange trip, I have not found that to be the case. So I am doing my best to see the light, the dark, and everything in between. I invite you all to do the same.

Friday, April 13, 2018

FUN HOME AT FAC


Fun Home, currently running at the FAC in Colorado Springs, is a funny, compelling, brilliant, and much-needed show that everyone should go see. Why? Well, first off, because it's a great production, a tony winning musical with a genius script, fascinating characters, a perfect cast, excellent direction, and fantastic music performed excellently. It's a sad but uplifting story of family, love, and desire. Secondly, we need more love in this world. And Understanding. And peace would be awesome as well. I think the way we find those things is by listening to each other, to finding the beauty and magic that goes with being a human being, no matter how different one human being is from another. And if you go to this show, I think you will find all those things, and more.



I don't want to make it sound like this is a show you should see because it's "good for you". It's a solid piece of theatre, entertaining, diverting, and fun. Yes, I do think it will also feed your soul, but don't let the fact that it is important sociologically scare you away. This is a whip smart, funny, engrossing family story that everyone can relate to on one level or another.

The story centers on Alison, who narrates the play from the present, an tells us of her life growing up in rural Pennsylvania in a funeral home run by her father, a strong, interesting, demanding man who has a problem: he is deeply in the closet. We see Alison at three different ages in the play: there is ten year old Alison, who is funny and smart, young enough to play airplane with her father, make up commercials for the funeral home with her brothers, and enjoy The Partridge Family on tv but also old enough to know life is becoming quite complicated; there is also college age Alison, coming to terms with the realization that she is a lesbian and entering her first fully realized relationship; and the grown up Alison who is working on a memoir and leading us through her memories. The ten year old Alison lives in very tense household. Her mother is in manic, tragic denial of her husband's not-so-hidden desire to be with other men. Her father, unable to fully realize himself, can be quite demanding on the rest of the family. It would be strange enough to live in a functioning funeral home, but to have so much tension between her mother and father is just insane. And, of course, a situation rife with drama perfect for the stage. College age Alison has come to realize she is gay, and has her first encounter with a woman, which grows into a full fledged romance. She also comes out to her parents, which leads to some of the of the most amazing moments in this show. I don't want to give too much away of the plot, but suffice to say things go from complicated to tragic to transcendent. (for more of the plot itself, you can go HERE)

The cast is uniformly excellent. As Alison's father Bruce, Patrick Oliver Jones is a revelation: he makes Bruce alternately tragic and comic, mystic and mercurial, and always magnetic. His voice is unbelievable, and his presence undeniable. As Alison's mother Helen, Megan Van De Hay is exquisite, portraying woman living in a world that is not quite what she thought it would be or hoped for, sadly in denial and trying desperately to maintain some form of dignity in a messed up situation. She is as complex a character as Bruce, and Ms. Van De Hay delivers a powerful performance. All three of the Alison's are amazing. As Small Alison, Kelly Tanberg is electric- she portrays a kid who is going on an extreme emotional roller coaster with aplomb. As medium Alison, Jessica Kahkoska is a joy to watch- full of excitement and curiosity. Her song "Changing My Major", is a stand out; and as Alison, Allison Mickelson is outstanding, going through the entire, agonizing experience of a person trying to reconcile herself to her past with equal parts compassion and comedy. The three Alison's are seamless, connected to each other on all levels and perfectly bouncing from one age to the other. As Alison's college lover Joan, Mackenzie Beyer is lovely, kind, and awesome. It is easy to see why Alison falls for her. Atticus Baker and Gabe Levy, as Alison's brothers Christian and John, are both outstanding, giving us two more lost souls in this dysfunctional home who are trying their best to enjoy their childhood. And as multiple objects of Bruce's attention, Parker Fowler rounds out this amazing cast. Each and every character he portrays is specific and unforgettable. This is such a strong cast, so talented, so full of life and empathy and humor. Truly one of the strongest ensembles I have seen on stage in years.



As for the direction and choregraphy by Nathan Halvorson, it is (as I have come to expect from this overly talented artist) exquisite. Always moving the story forward, finding the humor and tragedy in each moment. The shows feels like a memory, intense, connected to your bones, and evocative of so many emotions. Each character is given dignity, mystery, and love. And each song is a journey, a dream, and thrilling. Music director Stephanie McGuffin gets stunning performances out of each actor and each member of the orchestra. The sets and costumes by Lex Liang, are perfect- adding to the tone, theme, and mood in subtle but effective design. And the lighting, by Holly Anne Rawls, is beautiful.

I left the show moved, crying, happy, sad, and full of wonder. The play brings to mind ones own family, ones own memories of mistakes, miscommunications, and loves. I highly recommend it for anyone who has a family, a heart, and a soul.

NEVERLAND STAY WITH ME

Long ago and far away in a kingdom by the sea, I was a pirate in the service of Captain James Hook. It was glorious. I had many tattoos, a h...