Saturday, February 28, 2009

the caruso method

Finally! The news all actors have been waiting for:

The David Caruso Method revealed!!!

In the form of a flow-chart from Cracked.

Don't forget to growl menacingly.

Friday, February 27, 2009

zen and the art of being wrong



So on my daily Zen calendar today (yes, yes, I realize it's trite to think you can gain spiritual or philosophical guidance from a freaking calendar, but still...) I came across this:

We would rather be ruined than changed,
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.
--W.H. Auden

Wow. My first thought was that, yes, we all have illusions we would rather cling to than face certain realities. I guess that's just one of the blessings/curses of having these damn big brains.

My second thought, because i have slowly been easing my way back into political reading/watching despite the toxicity of it all, was: Hello, Republicans! Here's a good example from kos. Their site won't let me copy and paste the weekly approval rating poll they have there, but Obama's approval rating is 71% favorable, 25 unfavorable. Congressional Republicans: 17% favorable, 68% unfavorable.

Keep up the good work, guys! We can't wait to see a Palin/Jindal ticket for 2012!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

passive-aggressive < aggressive-aggressive


Stop me if you've heard this one before (via fark). A Colorado Springs woman goes into a store, where the store owner has a sign up warning patrons: "Sorry, we are not a daycare center. Please control your children."

So the woman has a mature, level-headed discussion of why she finds the sign offensive.

Just kidding. The woman proceeds to throw stuff around the store until the owner tasers her in order to get her to calm down, resulting in charges against both of them.

Of course, it's incredibly surprising that such ridiculous, immature behavior would occur in Da Springs, the home of all those loverly fundamentalists who believe in a giant man in the sky who chooses which football team is going to win, hates gays, and thinks you're dirty if you touch your weenis.

The weenis he gave you, no less.



And, please, oh, please keep popping out babies so that you can teach them how to behave in a society of human beings. You're lovely people. Thank you.

the law


See, here’s what your answer should be anytime someone uses the old ‘what are you afraid of, if you’ve done nothing wrong’ argument, when it comes to security and police: cops are humans. They are humans who make mistakes, often deadly ones. And, I will even go so far as to say that, as a very general rule, the type of person who goes into law enforcement is someone who is by nature unimaginative, narrow-minded, and prone to think within certain linear terms that have already been laid out for him.

Yes, there are cool cops. I’m sure there are brilliant thinkers out there who happen to be in law enforcement. But generally speaking, these people are the least evolved of us, the dim gatekeepers of the Black and White, without nuance, without gray areas, without imagination. They are the monkeys who are well-equipped to prevent our own violent monkey nature from boiling over, or to stop it when it does erupt. But frankly they are not good for much more than that.

And here’s the problem: to this type of thinker, Black and White is all he knows, or can know. To him, because he is the law, that which he does is justified, much like the famous Nixon argument: “I’m saying if the president does it, then it’s not illegal.”

So here we have a trio of Atlanta police officers, on their way to prison for killing a 92-year-old woman. The scary part is they had a no-knock warrant--albeit obtained illegally, but then, one must wonder how many illegally obtained warrants we never hear about. When the woman heard the officers knocking down her door,

‘A terrified Johnston, thinking she was victimized by a home invasion, fired a warning shot through the door. Narcotics officers responded with a hail of gunfire, killing her.’

The officers went on to plant marijuana in the home in order to make it appear as if they had justification (um, how?) in slaying this woman in cold blood.

The story goes on to tell the sad tale of these poor officers feeling pressured:

‘The FBI also found performance quotas of nine arrests and two search warrants a month expected of officers, McKenney said. Officers who failed to meet their quotas risked being transferred, he said. This helped explain, Carnes said, why Smith, Junnier and Tesler — devoted family men and who gave selflessly to the communities — began cutting corners through lies. “The pressures brought to bear” by the quotas had an impact on Smith, Junnier and Tesler, as well as other officers, Carnes said.’

Aw. Poor guys. Devoted family men who lied, planted evidence, and murdered a 92-year-old woman.

And with the ongoing erosion of our fourth amendment rights, don't expect this sort of thing to go away anytime soon. Here's what's really bugging me, though: if one of these cops hadn't broken down and admitted to the feds what happened--in exchange for a lighter sentence--this might never have come to light. We might have read about 'Elderly Woman Killed in Drug Raid,' and simply bought the story the cops offered up. If you or I or my neighbor has their door kicked in tomorrow, and the cops give us their explanation of what the person was doing wrong, how many of us even think for a second? How many of us just go, 'Oh. Drugs, huh?' and move on without a second thought?

Stories like this make you wonder how many people have died or gone to prison based on nothing more than some cop's tiny penis and his need to impress his boss.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

music, yeah, purty music

nice technique, dude.

Hey all--

Just a reminder that i have a couple of musical gigs coming up:
Tonight at Lucky Joe's, 25 Old Town Square in the Fort, 9:30-?. No cover and they have $2.50 you-call-its all night, so come down and have some frugal fun.

Also, my dear friend Matilda is now running the booking for Woody's Woodfired Pizza here in the Fort, 518 West Laurel, and she has booked me to play next Thursday, the 5th of March. I'm not sure of the times, etc, but i do know that another friend from Coops, Mizz Aimee Stillwagon is scheduled to be the guest bartender that evening.

This could be trouble people. If you don't hear from me for a few days afterward, can someone please feed my dogs? :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

daddy party? mommy party?

See, I just love running across stuff like this. We are told every election cycle about the republitards being the ‘Daddy’ party (“Get outta that bathroom! And quit stealing my porn!”)

That would make dems the ‘Mommy’ party (“Oh, did hims fall down, go boom? Have a cookie, sweetie. And an unemployment check.”)

In other words, this theory goes, repubs are better at defense, fiscal responsibility, and rule of law--tough guy stuff--while dems wish to coddle criminals, pat the unemployable on the head, and generally make everyone happy, holding hands and singing Kum-Bay-Yah while pissing away trillions of dollars on forced abortions and medical marijuana for illegal aliens.

A funny thing happened on the way to fiscal responsibility, though. Have a look at this graph, representing national debt as a percent of gross domestic product. (I found this on C&L but it originates, I think, here.)



Gosh, and golly, who are the responsible ones again? The ones who have to step in and make tough, grown-up decisions instead of throwing hissy fits, in order to turn the country’s economy around--for everyone, not just Wall Street greedy dickwads.

Erm, I mean, 'bankers.'

And even more hilarious, if it weren’t so sad, is politicians suddenly finding their sense of fiscal restraint, now that Obama is in charge. Where were these guys when Bush was pissing away our projected 5 trillion dollar surplus? Oh yeah, they were rolling in dough that was being thrown at them from guys like this.

Well, they rediscovered fiscal responsibility. Now if only they could discover shame.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

the art of corpsing

I don't know if you're familiar with the now-defunct HBO show 'Extras,' but if you haven't seen it, you should. It stars Ricky Gervais, the demented brain behind The Office (UK), and features various actors playing themselves, sort of asshole/idiot versions of themselves behind the scenes on fictitious film shoots.

Anyway, this clip is from the extras of 'Extras,' and it came along at a great time. The play we just opened last night (And the Winner Is...) is really funny on its own, but with the goofy, hilarious shite my fellow actors have been doing on stage, I was cracking up right up until wednesday and thursday night of tech week. This clip talks about cracking up inappropriately on set ('corpsing,' in Brit argot) and has clips of Ian MacKellan, Daniel Radcliffe et al, dying horribly in gales of laughter.



check out the show, some bits here.





OH!!! and i almost forgot about this one with clive owen. so cruel, so funny. :)



and my fave of all time: Ian McKellan. "how do i act so well?"

always remember:

Forget that whole 'the family that prays together stays together' thing.

The new hotness: 'The fat-ass couple that rides to Wal-Mart on a Rascal together, stays together.'



via neatorama.

Friday, February 20, 2009

bill hicks on rush limbaugh

And here's a bonus post for you today. I don't know if you've been keeping up with the ridiculousness of the Republitards lately (or as they call them over at the wonderfully witty and snarky blog Stinque, the Conservative/Toddler party), but some of these guys are seriously going round the bend. They do not tolerate losing well. Only through lockstep obedience with a strong Dear Leader who doesn't have to listen to anyone are they able to feel secure and comfortable, and this upstart Obama with his filthy hippie fringe constituency (of, what, 54% of Americans?) is clearly not one of Our People.

Well, they are behaving like children, slightly insane children if you ask me, for instance preferring to block legislation designed to help out their constituents rather than go along with the dems' plan. And at the head of the retard parade sits Mr. Rush Limbaugh, the new titular chieftan of the Republitards. His latest bizarre rant (via C&L) compares democrats to murderers, rapists, and some 'muslim guy' who beheaded his wife.

Always classy, this guy.



At any rate, here is one of my favorite Bill Hicks bits, nailing Limbaugh way back when. It is completely NSFW, and perhaps even NSFA (not safe for anyone. :)

But it's funny as hell. Happy Friday!


elmo awakes, part tres

Hey y'all. Many thanks to you for continuing to check in with me here, despite my slackerdom this past week or two. The show opens tonight (!!!) so between driving to denver and rehearsing and tech week and all, i've been working pretty hard on that, and thus distracted from penning my pithy, invaluable contributions to civilization and the furtherance of humankind. :) By next week all should return to normal(ish) -- well, what passes for normal for me anyway.

In the meantime, here's the next (big) section from 'Crescent City Blues' for you, from the 'Elmo Awakes' chapter. (previous here and here.)

Thanks again for reading, and enjoy! Comments and thoughts and critiques are always welcome.



***
It’s not like Elmo went out of his way to fuck things up; fuck-ups just sort of seemed to... happen around him. They gravitated to him as if he were the King of Fuck-Ups and they his loyal minions. Fuck-ups just wanted to be near their Lord, and bask in His glory. Elmo, being a beneficent sovereign, granted them their wishes as often as possible.

He pulled on a shirt that had been dangling on the back of a chair and so deemed to be less than filthy. Then he shook out a pair of jeans he pulled from the pile on the floor, just to be sure, before putting them on. In New Orleans, the cockroach was the true Kingfish, the first citizen of New Orleans. The stubborn little beasts had been there for millions of years before humans had settled in the muddy swamp, and they would be there long after we had finally gone away. There was no way to completely eradicate them, especially in a building as ancient and well-used as Mrs. Chambers’ rooming house.

Elmo grabbed his smokes, his empty wallet, and his ring of key cards off the dresser and banged out the door and down the steps two at a time, trying to ignore the throbbing in his head. As he burst through the reinforced-steel front door and hit the sidewalk, he winced at the sharp sun threatening to burn the eyeballs out of his skull, as if a cruel child with a magnifying glass lived far above. Before Elmo had gone three steps he heard a reedy voice call out to him from an upstairs window.

“Elmo? Is that you?” A wobbly, cotton-topped head leaned out of the second-floor window.

“Yes, Mizz Chambers, it’s me.”

“You tell Tre I need some eggs,” she said. “And I’m almost out of milk, too. Where’d that boy run off too?”

“I don’t know, Mizz Chambers, but I’ll tell him,” Elmo said. “You get yourself back to bed now.”

“Oh, and Elmo! The man on the TV said they already beefing up patrols ‘cause of the convention, so you be careful, you hear?” she said. “Don’t you be running your mouth at any of them ParSec goons. They bad news!”

“Aw, come on now, Mizz Chambers!” he said, trying his best to be charming despite the diesel thrum of the hangover pounding his brain to a pulp. “I would never do anything like that! You know me...”

“Yeah, I do, Elmo,” she replied sharply. “That’s why I said. You just keep your mouth shut!”

“You should try that sometime yourself, you old bat,” Elmo said under his breath, still grinning widely.

“What’s that?”

“I said, ‘Okay! See ya later now!’”

He turned the corner and headed toward the St. Phillip Street elevators, not looking to see if the old lady had pulled her head back inside. Mrs. Chambers lived in her second floor apartment and never left. She spent her days shuffling from bed to chair, trying in vain to keep track of her stories on the tube and the various medicines she took for her various afflictions. She didn’t seem to have much luck making sense of either. But depending on the order and frequency with which she grabbed pills from the forest of prescription bottles that was laid out on her TV tray, she went through surprising moments of clarity, and even wisdom. There were days when she was completely addled, and days when she seemed oddly lucid.

In general though, Elmo was fairly certain that the interactions between the dozen or more drugs she took--provided by half a dozen shady doctors who clearly had no concept of what ‘drug interaction’ even meant--had long since left Mizz Chambers’ mind a hallucinatory wasteland. She sometimes called Tre by her dead son’s name, despite the fact that Tre was a muscular black man, and her son, based on the many pictures she kept in her room, had been neither. In the pictures he looked like a rat-faced, chinless kid with scared eyes and a skinny neck, lost in a too-large uniform, about to ship off to Iran.

That look was one Elmo knew too well. He had seen dozens, if not hundreds of kids with the exact same look come and go during his two tours. According to Mizz Chambers, that’s where the kid had died, outside of Tehran. But who could say for sure, with her mind the way it was? For all she knew, he could be living in Thailand with a model for a wife and 18 kids.

When the television failed to provide adequate entertainment for her loosely-hinged mind, she took her imagination out on Tre and Elmo, her longest-standing tenants. Tre especially looked out for the old lady, helping her with groceries and with repairs around the building, which was almost as decrepit as the old woman herself.

But despite the roughness of the accommodations, it had its advantages. For one thing, Tre and Elmo and whatever other tenants drifted through the building paid Mrs. Chambers in cash. She didn’t even have a chip scanner in her building, so she couldn’t collect rent in more conventional ways even if she was inclined to. The entire place was off the data grid, which suited Elmo just fine.

Also, living there was cheap, dirt cheap. The price of a night’s stay at an average hotel in the Quarter section of Upstairs was equal to a month at the Dauphine Street rooming house. Gods help you if it flooded again, but on the other hand, Elmo was not the type who worried much about the future.

Just now, he strode purposefully if a little gingerly down Dauphine. He was already starting to sweat in the August heat despite the shade of Upstairs looming above him, the raised network of shops, restaurants, bars, casinos and hotels that rose above the street like a concrete hamster habitat. It had to be pushing 100 already, even in the shade, and the legendary humidity of New Orleans was out in full, oppressive force.

Screens embedded in the concrete underbelly of Upstairs scrambled for a moment as they sensed him pass, trying in vain to read his non-existent All-In-One chip. Since they couldn’t tailor their messages to his particular shopping habits based on information on a chip, the screens instead ran generic messages, adding to the cacophony inside his skull.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw two bikini-clad starlets peering down at him from the screens. They had to be in their forties or even fifties by now, but they appeared to be around 20--impossibly thin and smooth-skinned, despite having lived the starlet lifestyle for a couple of decades, not to mention popping out a half-dozen moronic, redneck, miniature billionaires between them. They reclined on lounge chairs by a pool, chatting about their umpteenth comeback tour.

“Wow, Britney, you’re looking great! Ready for our tour?”

“Sure am! All thanks to our sponsor, Novus Skin Solutions.”

“Hey Britney, don’t tell anyone, but I’m one of their best customers!”

“Me too, Jessica! Their nano products make my skin so smooth and young-looking!”

“And with each dose you buy, you have a chance to win a trip to Hawaii! How does that sound...Unidentified Passerby?” said Jessica, her blank, empty cow eyes fixing on Elmo as he passed.

Elmo ignored the entreaties and strode on. He felt slightly ill as the undigested portion of last night’s booze sloshed around in his stomach in time with his footsteps. The smells of life on Garden Level weren’t helping either. Some open doorways belched out cooking smells; others exuded fetid, graveyard odors from the dark spaces within. Disheveled rent-girls and boys leaned out of doorways to scope him as he went by. Hollow-eyed children played in the street, using whatever toys the street provided. Clusters of old women sat in mossy-looking lawn chairs and smoked, staring off in the distance, chatting idly about the old days.

Many, but not all of the buildings had been gutted, stripped of everything from copper pipes to bathroom fixtures to cabinet doors and even tile. Squatters spilled out onto the street, passing the time sipping beers and bullshitting. The more industrious people sewed up old clothing or worked at repairing ancient, abandoned televisions and appliances.



And carved out within some of the less-damaged buildings there were a fair number of bars and informal kitchens. They served no-frills food and drink on mismatched plates and in cracked glasses, all in the shadow of the opulence that hung above them. To a casual observer, these informal establishments might have seemed more to be community hangouts than actual businesses, as it was rare to see money exchange hands. That’s not to say that everything was suddenly free; there was an elaborate barter system unofficially in place, with arcane rules and unspoken signals that a stranger might spend years trying to unravel.

Here was Maria’s, with a hand-written sign hanging out front, advertising “Spagheti and Fine Dinning” with undue optimism. From inside the dark, tiny room, Elmo could just make out Maria waving to him as he passed.

“Hey Elmo! You going to work, dawlin’?”

“Yep, sure am, Maria,” he called out. “We’ll see if I still got a job when I get there.”

“Well, you come on back and get you some spaghetti if you fired, you hear? You looking too thin,” she said. “I fatten you up and get you married off to some woman take care of you!”

“Thanks, Maria,” he said. “We’ll see.”

As he passed a pack of urchins sitting on the curb rolling cigarettes, one of them called out.

“Elmo!” said the boy, as he fell in step alongside Elmo.

Abraham was no more than ten or eleven, a deeply tanned white kid with filthy dreads and piercing ice-blue eyes. He and his dad had carved out a home of sorts in the corner of a former cafĂ©. They shared the space with three or four other families, forming a commune of sorts, each contributing something to the group’s well-being.

“What’s up, Abraham?”

“Nothing man,” the kid said. “But, say, lend me a dollar, bro. I got a deal cookin’ and I’m a little short. I pay you back.”

“You know there’s no such thing as cash anymore, kid. Government says so.”

The boy snorted and looked up at Elmo with disdain.

“Shee-it. Government say a lot of things, man,” the boy said. “Come on, Elmo, gimme a dollar. If I cut this deal, I can make a lot more than that.”

“No can do, bud,” Elmo said, barely looking up as he continued walking. “I might not even have a job anymore.”

“Then you can get in on this with me!” the kid enthused. “A buddy of mine says they need people to sell drinks and shit at the convention. Well, outside it, you know? We just each gotta come up with ten bucks to buy our way in.”

“Your buddy is charging you ten bucks to sell drinks to people at the convention?”

“Well...nooo...not exactly,” the kid said, suddenly finding a spot in the middle distance fascinating beyond belief.

“What, then?”

“Weeelll, this guy I know wants a bunch of us kids to go down there, like we selling drinks and hats and tourist shit. But then we gonna roll a couple of these convention fucks and split the money.”

“Your dad know about this?”

“Nooo...”

Abraham’s dad, a hippie who called himself Ravenwise, peddled various nostrums of an extra-legal nature that were always in high demand by the fast-paced 21st century lifestyle. He was not a fan of the Party or government in general. But he would almost certainly not approve of his son falling in with a gang looking to beat people up who employed not only private security guards, but who also had the added protection of ParSec on full alert for the convention.

“You know those people are all rich Party assholes, right, Abraham?”

“Yeah, exactly! Why shouldn’t we make some money off of them?”

“Sure. Okay. But they’re going to have a shit-ton of security down there,” Elmo said. “Ain’t no way your little friends and one guy are going to win that fight.”

“Naw, man! This dude big, Elmo, I’m telling you--”

“He’s probably planning to sell you and your buddies to some rich perv the second he gets you down there, kid. Don’t be a sucker. The rich have been hustling a lot longer than you and me. For generations. They’re better at it, and they’re meaner, too, especially when it come to their money.”

“Shee-it! I can outsmart those suitentie motherfuckers...I’m fast like lightning!”

Despite Abraham’s bravado, Elmo could see he had put a crack in the kid’s confidence.

“All right, Abraham,” Elmo said. “Tell your dad I said ‘hi,’ you hear?”

“He high, all right,” the boy said. “That motherfucker ALWAYS high!”

“Yeah, hey, speaking of--is he around?” Elmo realized he could use a little chemical assistance if he was going to attempt to salvage his job under the duress of this mighty hangover.

“Nope,” the kid replied. “He took the pirogue down the swamps, to check on his weed and shit. What you want? Some Cloud-9? Weed? Speed? Smack? Crack?”

“Kid, if you had a couple of bennies I would sing your praises to Jah forevermore.”

“Sure, man,” Abraham said, suddenly looking cagey. “Ten bucks.”

“For two? Bullshit! You little pirate!”

“Sorry, man. Pops say I gotta start earning my owns now, so--”

“I’ll see you later, Abraham.”

“All right, wait, wait,” Abraham fished around in his pocket, then held out his fist. “Just give me five, then.”

“That’s more like it.” Elmo dug a grubby fiver out of his jeans pocket and handed it over, holding out his other hand beneath the boy’s closed fist.

“Thanks, man. There you go!” Abraham let drop a single dirty white tablet into Elmo’s hand, as he simultaneously peeled off and ran back the way he had come.

“Hey! This is just one, you little shit!” Elmo called out, taking a half-hearted step to chase the boy.

“Never said how many you’d get for fiiiiiive! Ha hahaha!” the boy cried out as he ran. “See ya later, Ellmoooooo!”

Elmo sighed, shrugged, and popped the grubby pill, hoping that despite the kid’s mercenary ways, he had actually sold him speed--albeit at an outrageous price--and not a laxative or something more nefarious.

Elmo marched on, approaching the gray concrete and glass tube of the Upstairs entrance. It was like an inverted middle finger poked down into the ground. It was an act of war, a passive assertion that whatever remained below was without value, fodder to be crushed beneath the mighty thrust of progress.
###


Monday, February 16, 2009

go buffs!



Ah, my alma mater. There's always someone there doing something S-M-R-T to make us all proud.



As if playing beer pong wasn't fun enough, this guy decided that firing a shotgun into the floor of the house where he was playing would liven things up a bit.

Your future, America. Go Buffs!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

white trash, from the old country

Okay, so we've all experienced some form of prejudicial behavior when it comes to those pompous, frail little creatures we call The English, right? They love to look down on our common, tacky ways, our speech (do they even speak ENGLISH? I can't even tell what the hell they're even SAYING half the time through those god-awful teeth...) and etc.

exhibit A for Arsehole


They like to claim that everything good about western civilization was invented by them (forgetting conveniently that before the Romans colonized their sodden, nasty little island, they were running around in fur skins, sacrificing humans to make the sun come back out, and beating on each other with clubs).

Well, we have finally found some proof. While it has long been commonly understood that White Trash was invented by us Yanks, today's Daily Mail proves the English were there first.

Certainly everyone by now has heard about the 13-year-old who fathered a child with his 15-year-old girlfriend. Well, now it turns out that she may have been sleeping with at least two other guys who may be the kid's father.

Welcome to south Georgia, y'all!!!

Now the grandparents are fighting over who should get to make money off of this delightfully fucked up family situation.

Oh, and the icing on this delicious cake of trashiness? here's the 13-year-old kid's mom.

dear god, woman, use some moisturizer


this is his MOM. NOT HIS GRANDMOTHER. HIS 43-YEAR-OLD MOM.

Holy crap.

Anyhow, next time some doughy little British fruit opens his horrific maw to expose you to his lack of dental work and snotty attitude, just remind him who invented slutty, dirtbag white trash.

Just think of it: without the English, we wouldn't have Jerry Springer, Dateline, or perhaps even Rock of Love.

Thank you, England. Now piss off, ya gobshite.

another 'nuther 'nuther piece...

this is from a chapter without a name, really. the title of the document is 'busy machines,' and so that might end up being what it is called. happy sunday!



The machines were busy today. The candidate smiled, watching them from his window, way up high, high in the hotel. They scrambled around on the plaza outside, on the ground. On the ground, they were, and far away from him. They were mindless creatures, intent on their own busy business, on their hopeless tasks. They were far, far below him. He could barely see them, but he liked watching anyway. He watched as they erected colorful tents and hung banners that flapped proudly in the breeze. Others built tiny rows of benches that rose up one past the other, forming a sort of bowl. These faced yet another group of tiny machines that constructed a platform hung with posters and banners and all manner of flapping paper and cloth festooned with red, white and blue. Some of them hung pictures of a man looking proudly off into the middle distance.

The man in the pictures was the candidate, though in his current condition he wouldn’t have been able to recognize himself, even if he had been closer.

He wasn’t sure what they were doing down there, but the little machines made him smile nonetheless. They were so earnest and sweet and full of energetic comings and goings. He wanted so badly to help them, to raise them up, to make them see. Such busy little machines. Such hopeful, blind creatures. When he remembered the many times he had seen them up close, their smiling moon faces and blank adoration, all blending into one mass of machine-crowd--waving their little festive flags, hooting and howling, calling out to him--it made him feel warm inside, protective. The happy machine-crowds were almost enough to make him forget the other ones, the bad machines. For there were also hateful, cold machines that used to hurt him--and maybe still did sometimes. He suspected, but he couldn’t remember. He started to think other thoughts about those ones, the bad ones. Darker, less forgiving thoughts…

Then…soon, as it always did, a warm, gauzy veil descended between his mind and what he had been thinking about. A comforting peace oozed through him as though he had honey for blood. He was elsewhere. And nowhere at the same time. He idly watched the cruel summer light sparkling off the fat river below. He had no idea how blistering hot the sun was; to him it just looked pretty, hypnotizing. That was out there, and he was in here, where it was cool and comfortable.

And so that was what he knew.

He liked watching the big boats grind their slow way down the shimmering, deep-green water, like plump insects plodding along on legs too tiny to be seen beneath their bulk. They were machines too, the boats, good machines, solid machines that went out and did what they were supposed to do. They were lumbering, optimistic machines, straightforward as a golden retriever. They didn’t doubt or question or scheme, they didn’t say one thing and then do another. They simply trudged along their way, downriver or up, and dropped off their load and picked up another one, before heading off to do the same thing again. They didn’t smile to your face and then turn around and whisper secret orders and false stories behind you. You never had to worry about them stabbing you in the back. Those boats…

And then, that thought also slipped easily, too easily down the sinkhole of the candidate’s mind. He felt a fleeting moment of loss, a sadness at something missed, something stolen, and for a moment he felt a red blossoming, a hot feeling like his head was in a molten vise--but then it too dissipated, and was gone. He smiled and blinked wide-eyed at the spectacle outside his window, at the busy, busy world of machines that trundled past on the tiny river and the sidewalks next to it, far below.

The candidate stood naked on the burgundy carpet of the hotel room looking out over the edge of the city. He scratched himself absently and squished the carpet between his toes, heedless of his nudity, as unashamed as an infant. It just didn’t matter to him one way or the other. He had been standing there for two hours or more. Soon the machines would come to prepare him, and he would wear clothes. And that would be fine, too. Neither state mattered to him one bit. He smiled the smile of an idiot or madman, but he was neither, not really.

Not really, and not quite.

He was a tall, solid man of fifty-some years, the small paunch at his middle and tracery of salt among the dark pepper of his neat hair the only indications he had reached middle age. His upper arms and thighs showed cords of muscle yet, betraying the football player he had been in college, despite a life since that had been too soft. The skin of his fine-boned face was mostly smooth, punctuated with piercing, bright blue eyes that were for the moment devoid of anything more complicated than a simple delight at the images that danced on the plaza below him. He had an aquiline jaw and cheekbone structure, the sharp chin of WASP genes--just delicate enough to be almost pretty, just hard enough to still be firmly masculine.

It was the kind of face that middle-aged women in dying marriages found irresistible.

Just now, his face was completely free of worry, smooth as a shark’s skin, simple as blood.

Friday, February 13, 2009

review -- Modern Muse's 'As You Like It'

Here's a review I wrote for the Post that just came out today. These guys are some talented actors, but the directors attempted to tell this story with a cast of only 6 people playing all the roles, and it just didn't quite work out.

Here's the lede, which i like :)

'For art to have value, an element of risk is crucial. And theater especially embodies risk, perhaps more than any other art form. Writers have editors, film actors get endless takes, and painters can literally cover their mistakes. But on stage, every performance has a life of its own, subject to a thousand factors that can alter the final result.'



The other strange choice they made was to set the play in rural Appalachia. Which is fine; I've seen some Shakespeare productions (and been in some, too) that were set in unexpected places and times. But good God, I'm sorry but i just can't listen to the Bard's words spoken like it's Bo and Luke Duke having a conversation with Boss Hawg. To wit:

'But even with the understanding that wigs, accents and body language must shift in order for audiences to get that the actors are playing someone else now, it's all so over-the-top that it's distracting. The accents are a straight-up Yankee interpretation of Southern trailer trash. And even if someone somewhere really does speak that way, and even if Appalachian dialect is the closest extant example we have of Elizabethan speech, it's nonetheless horrifying to hear Shakespeare masticated through a "Deliverance" style of parlance.'

Well, read the whole review, and maybe even see the show--there are some good performances in it, and if you don't mind the accents, there are some very funny and silly moments built in too. The dialect might not bother some people like it did me. Here's what Juliet Wittman of Westword thought.

Peace,
k

Thursday, February 12, 2009

another 'nuther piece...


...of my sci-fi story. This chapter I think is called "Elmo Awakes." Read the first part here.

I’ve got to figure out how to change the alarm settings on that damn thing, Elmo thought. But the news feed didn’t matter anymore--the sounds of rough laughter and two pairs of feet banging down the staircase pounded the final nail into the coffin of Elmo’s sleep. He slid upward into the sludgy pain of yet another hangover, as familiar as slipping on a poison mask, one that was molded perfectly to his face. He squeezed his eyes shut, curled up tighter and groaned a little.

Until someone pounded on his door.

“Elmo! Wake up, man! You late again!”

His bloodshot eyes flew open, filled with an instant rage. Fucking Tre.

Elmo leapt naked from the sour, twisted sheets, tripping on his way out of the tangle and banging his knee on the floor. Cursing, he half-crawled, half-limped to the flimsy boarding-house door like some kind of wounded crab-thing and flung it open in time to see Tre’s bouncing dreadlocks disappear past the landing below, a giggling girl in tow.

“You’d better run, motherfucker!” Elmo croaked before sinking into paroxysms of wet coughing. He groped his way to the wobbly banister and held on for dear life as the coughing consumed him. Once he gathered himself he peered over the edge to see Tre and a grinning, disheveled blond girl peering up at him from two floors down.

“Damn, Elmo, you about to be the most unemployed-ed white man ever in the history of New New Orleans if you don’t move yo’ ass,” Tre said. “Don’t forget I got you that job, boy! And put on some damn clothes! What’s wrong with you?”

The girl giggled and looked up at him frankly.

“Ain’t nothing wrong with me! Come on back up here and I’ll show you,” Elmo growled. Then he blinked and noticed that what little sun slanted in through the filthy skylight above was nearly vertical. “Hey, what time is it?”

“It’s 11:35: do you know where yo’ job is?” Tre shouted as he and the girl crashed their way laughing through the front door and out onto the street.

“Shit,” said Elmo, blinking.

He stepped back into his room, grabbed a cigarette from a crumpled pack and gingerly made his way toward the bathroom at the end of the hall. The burst of adrenaline he had exerted in chasing after Tre was not customary at this stage of his usual hangover program, and it wasn’t sitting well. His head felt like a melon, a big rotting melon. It felt like you could punch your fingers through the soft skin of it and poke around at the putrid brain matter inside, if you should find yourself wanting to do that for some reason.

Elmo lit his cigarette as he peed no-handed with a reasonable measure of accuracy. Not that accuracy mattered at all in the disgusting rooming house bathroom. When he was done he soaked his head in cold water in the sink. As he splashed the tepid, discolored water across the stubble on his face it occurred to him that it nearly matched the length of the stubble on his head.

I should probably shave sometime, he thought.

On the other hand, why shave if he was most likely about to be fired yet again? No need to impress his soon-to-be ex-boss, especially when he was already two hours late.

He sighed heavily, exuding used bourbon fumes. Here we go again, he thought.

The grizzled mug that blinked back at him was 33, but today it looked like it was leaning more toward middle age. He didn’t live his life any differently than he used to when he was 23 -- the only difference now was that hangovers felt significantly worse. More than ten years worse.

He ducked his head in the water and then shook it off as if he were a dog, spattering the filthy sink and mirror. Then he inserted his now-wet cigarette back into his face and dragged soggily on the damp filter before he gave up and flung it into the toilet. He sighed again and headed back toward his room to get dressed. He had to at least try to salvage his job at The Prodigal Sun, even if it was hopeless. It was a shithole restaurant on the lowest levels of Upstairs, just another corporate cardboard cutout, but they paid under the table and he needed the money. This would likely be the third job he had gone through in as many months, given that he was an hour late.

That, plus the fact that he had yet to make it to work on time since he’d been employed there.

It’s not like Elmo went out of his way to fuck things up; fuck-ups just sort of seemed to... happen around him. They gravitated to him as if he were the King of Fuck-Ups and they his loyal minions. Fuck-ups just wanted to be near their Lord, and bask in His glory. Elmo, being a beneficent sovereign, granted them their wishes as often as possible.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

And The Winner Is...

yes, that's my balding scalp. shut up.

Hey, y'all. Here's the (main) reason i've been slacking on posting here. been rehearsing for my next play which opens next weekend. Info follows below. Call me or email if you want tix--i have a few cheap ones left ($15 if you buy directly from me as opposed to $22 at the door) and you can pick any night you want to go.

It looks like opening night (friday the 20th) is close to sold out, but we have seats available on that saturday and sunday afternoon.

Vintage Theatre presents

And the Winner Is…

A regional premiere comedy by the author of Tuesday’s with Morrie
Written by Mitch Albom
Directed by Craig A. Bond

(Denver, CO) - Vintage Theatre opens Mitch Albom’s “And the Winner Is…” on Friday, February 20 and plays Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m. through March 22, at Vintage Theatre, 2119 E 17th Ave in Denver. Tickets are $22 at the door, $17 in advance and available by calling 303-839-1361 or online at www.vintagetheatre.com. Industry Night is Tuesday, March 3 @ 7:30 p.m. and all tickets are $11

This is the story of Tyler Johnes, a self-obsessed movie star, who is finally nominated for an Oscar, then dies the night before the awards. Outraged at his bad luck and determined to know if he wins (even though he’s dead), he bargains with a heavenly gatekeeper to return to earth for the big night. Along the way, he drags his agent, his acting rival, his bombshell girlfriend and his ex-wife into the journey, in a wildly twisting tale of Hollywood and the afterlife.


The cast, under the direction of Craig A. Bond, includes Kurt Brighton (Tyler), David Harms (Kyle), Hannah Marie Hines (Serenity), Missy Moore (Sheri), Luke Terry (Teddy) and Andy Anderson as Seamus.

Mitch Albom's first contributions to the stage came when he co-authored the theatrical translation of his book "Tuesdays with Morrie" with noted playwright Jeffrey Hatcher. Actor Jeff Daniels came to see the play one night and asked Albom if he would consider penning an original work for Daniels' theater, The Purple Rose, in Chelsea, Michigan. Since then, Albom has written two more plays, both launched at the Purple Rose, that have seen numerous productions around the country.

Vintage Theatre presents

“And the Winner Is…”

Dead Oscar Nominee Returns to Earth!

A regional premiere comedy by the author of Tuesday’s with Morrie

February 20 – March 22
Industry Night Tuesday, March 3 @ 7:30 p.m. tickets $11

Fri\Sat at 7:30 p.m. \ Sun at 2:30 p.m.
Vintage Theatre, 2119 E 17th Ave in Denver.
Tickets are $22 at the door, $17 in advance

303-839-1361 or online at vintagetheatre.com

Friday, February 6, 2009

another piece...

...of the sci-fi story i'm working on right now.
This is from a chapter titled "Elmo Awakes."



Sleep fled. The muzzy warmth that had been cradling Elmo’s brain like a gentle child holding a baby bunny rabbit receded. In its place a new sensation began to emerge: the child had stuffed the bunny into a garbage disposal.

“And in other news, the Kylie Westerberg case still has police baffled.”

Elmo squeezed his eyes shut and willed the voice to be silent.

“The Bradenton, Florida 17-year-old went missing nearly two weeks ago, during a trip to Key West with friends and family. Witnesses say Kylie was arguing earlier that night with her boyfriend, Max Edlund, heir to the Novus fortune. And while police have questioned Edlund repeatedly, they have yet to announce any arrests.”

The insanely chirpy voice tried to attenuate itself down to a more somber affect, but largely failed. Years of training as a morning news anchor had left the woman with the emotional range of a kindergarten teacher on amphetamines.

His eyes glued shut, his skull showing the first signs of a vicious, pounding pain that had yet to fully reveal itself, Elmo silently prayed for death, or barring that, for the news feed to shut itself off.

His prayers went unanswered.

“Police spokesmen have told us they are also questioning Josh Renfro, another friend of Kylie’s who was seen with her the night of her disappearance.”

The boyfriend did it, Elmo thought, as he jammed a pillow over his head. The boyfriend always did it. Or else the other guy she was fucking. Or both of them. Mystery solved. Now shut up and let me go back to sleep.

“Police have executed a search warrant on the girl’s hotel room, but have not released their findings from that search.

“‘Ah, at this time we, ah, have no new information to give you. We would just request that if anyone can shed new light on this case that they would come forward. Otherwise, please just let us do our jobs so we can find Kylie and get her home.’”

I’ve got to figure out how to change the alarm settings on that damn thing, Elmo thought.
***

Tell me if you wanna hear more, and thanks as always for reading,
kjb

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

...and yer penguin mama, too

self-obsessed dick.

Okay, this has to be one of my new favorite blogs, titled Fuck You Penguin, a blog where the author tells "...Cute Animals What's What."

Instead of posting cutesy-wutesy pictures of iddle-biddle kitty kats, this person posts really funny broadsides against animals trying to get away with being so goddamn cute. Here's taste of one of my favorite posts, "Snow Leopards: Majestic, Rare, Dickish:"

Oh, no, don't turn around, Snow Leopard. I'll just talk to your giant ass tail. What's the deal with that thing, anyway? Do you lift weights with it? What exactly do you need a tail the size of a large boa constrictor for? Are you cleaning out chimneys?

Anyway. Very funny stuff. Fucking meerkats who want to direct, especially.

best...robbery...ever


So a guy walks into a 7-11 with a bat'leth, a back ski mask, and the munchies....

From the Post:

A man wielding a "Star Trek Klingon type sword" robbed two Colorado Springs convenience stores early this morning, police said.

I, for one, welcome our new Klingon overlords, and plan to prepare them offerings of frozen burritos and slim jims.