Monday, May 30, 2011

memorial day

Lest we forget the reason for this three-day weekend. 
I absolutely oppose these idiot wars in which we're currently embroiled. But whether you support the war or not, we would all do well to remember that it is very real humans, our fellow Americans (along with Afghanis and Iraqis etc etc.) who are suffering over there--and over here. Lives are ripped apart when someone doesn't come back--and sometimes even when they do. 
Thank a vet today, for they sacrifice more than most of us will ever know.

image via via


Here's my latest review from the Denver Post. Full text follows below.

I've seen several shows at Germinal, and this was the first one with which I was just dumbfounded. As you'll see below, the show is Cocteau's 'Indiscretions,' an absurdist farce. But they chose to use these dialects that sounded like these people were the offspring of Dr. Phil mating with a retarded monkey. And while I suspect that the point was to make the whole thing even more absurdist, it was really off-putting.

I don't know why I get so offended when people employ bad Southern accents and bad Southern stereotypes. As with any stereotype, there is some sliver of truth buried within; I myself make fun of white trash and rednecks all the time.

Maybe it's just because it's such an easy target. People forget that rednecks live in all fifty states; look at Alaska, and all we've learned about that (very very northern) state over the past couple of years. Ignorant, redneck trash abounds; to pin all of it on the South is disingenuous, especially when it appears as though you have no real experience with the South, or with actual southerners, as it does with these people and their accents.

There will surely be those who say I just don't get the absurdism of the piece; I say it is possible to be absurdist without being ridiculous. And despite some genuinely funny moments, this piece is just ridiculous.

Kirsten Deane as Madeleine and Royce Wood as Michael in Germinal Stage-Denver's "Indiscretions." (Courtesy Germinal Stage-Denver)


When French auteur Jean Cocteau first wrote "Les Parents Terribles," later renamed "Indiscretions" for American audiences, he was probably unfamiliar with the term "white trash."

But luckily for director Ed Baierlein and Germinal Stage-Denver, in modern America this is one of the last groups of people it is generally considered safe to ridicule en masse: the lowlife who runs shirtless and drunk from police on countless episodes of "Cops"; the lout confronted by his several baby-mamas on daytime talk shows; the resentful dirtbag who blames the world for his own failings.

In Germinal's production, Cocteau's wonderfully bent family of wackos is portrayed this way, as the quintessential denizens of trash TV.

In their claustrophobic bedroom-cum-living room, which bears more resemblance to the back room of a pawn shop, family matriarch Yvonne (Erica Sarzin-Borrillo) whiles away her overdramatic days and nights, railing about her diabetes and threatening suicide at every turn.

But mostly she dotes on her adult son, Michael (Royce Wood), with whom she shares a bond so intimate that even if we aren't meant to take it as literally incestuous, it is at the very least deeply icky. They frolic on the bed together, laughing and rolling around like children at play once the rest of the family has left the room, smother each other with kisses, and generally conduct themselves as if they were a couple, not mother and son.

But when Michael breaks the news that he has found a girl he wants to marry, all bets are off.

The farcical aspects of the show really get rolling when we discover that Michael's father, George (played by Leroy Leonard), has until recently been sleeping with Michael's bride-to-be, Madeline (Kirsten Deane).

The only semi-reasonable voice in this mess is stoic Aunt Leo, Yvonne's sister (played by Chip Winn Wells). But even her attempts at straightening out the increasingly convoluted machinations of her none-too-bright relatives turns ugly when we learn she has her own agenda.

As Madeline, Kirsten Deane is the epitome of thong-exposing trashiness; she shows us a heart that regrets her philandering, but also a small mind incapable of behaving honestly. Her tension is palpable and genuine as she viciously pops her gum and taps her foot with a jittery mania.

As Yvonne, Sarzin-Borrillo has a sweet zaniness about her that makes you root for the batty old thing despite her misguided motivations. She is a diva gone mad, crammed up in a madhouse of her own making, with a captive audience but no stage upon which to play.

But even though she is the most over-the-top character in the show, Yvonne still somehow seems grounded; she is clearly a loon, yet she's human at the same time.

The real problems come about because other cast members seem more cartoon than human, especially when they speak in accents akin to what Dr. Phil might sound like if some disgruntled viewer were to cave in half his skull with a hammer. Leroy Leonard as George (pronounced here as Gee-yo-uh-j) especially comes off as a mentally disabled Foghorn Leghorn crossed with Mr. Mackey from "South Park."

And in this case, it is unfortunate that the old axiom "like father, like son" holds true: Royce Wood's Michael employs the same non-dialect.

For anyone from the South, or who has spent time in the South, or who has even spoken with someone from the South, the accents are guaranteed to grate. Even if this is all meant to be part of the absurdity of the piece, it is still insanely distracting and honestly rather pointless.

What, are audiences taken to be so stupid that we won't be capable of understanding the absurdity of these people and this piece without such cartoonish choices being forced on us?

The show has its moments — many of them, in fact — but mostly it's an exercise in looking down one's nose at a paper-thin version of the worst aspects of humanity.

And there simply is no challenge in tearing down a straw man made of such flimsy materials.

"Indiscretions" **1/2 (out of four stars)

Comedy. Presented by Germinal-Stage Denver, 2450 W. 44th Ave. Written by Jean Cocteau; adapted by Jeremy Sams. Directed by Ed Baierlein. Through June 23. 2 hours, 15 minutes . 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 7 p.m. Sundays. $17.75-$21.75. 303-455-7108 or

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Landing chicks Lando-style

Let's face it: not everyone can be smooth with the ladies. Most of us fellows are too nervous to talk to strange women (depending on just how strange they are)--until we get drunk. And then of course we end up drooling and jabbering like idiots until we fall down giggling at their feet.

This is not conducive to getting laid, unless you're hitting on chicks at a group home for the mentally disabled. Which, speaking from experience, is a situation you really, really want to be careful with. 'Nuff said.

Anyhow, could there be any more smoothness of smoothitude than that routinely displayed by the Old Smoothie himself, Lando Calrissian?

No, there could not. The Old Spice Guy wishes he had a tenth of Lando's joie de vivre. The Most Interesting Man in the World is, of course, only interesting in this world; Lando has hit on hoes across many galaxies. He has tapped ass in a trillion star systems. He has banged bitches from Betelgeuse to Bellatrix.

Finally, here is a succinct guide to getting some, Lando-style. Click to embiggen.

Can I get an amen?

Well, shit, pastor, if I'd known those were the kind of worship services you offered, I'd have been in church a long time ago!

Now: I've been sinning a lot lately--and I mean A LOT--so where's the lady with the four-inch tongue?

Friday, May 27, 2011

via via

Here's a handy-dandy list of ways you can help prevent sexual assault! Memorize and be sure to remember these tips when you're out drinking this holiday weekend.

Little Shop opens tonight

Welp, it has been a helluva month (two months? three? seven?) working out the kinks in Little Shop, but tonight's the night we finally see how people like it. It has been wonderful working with Colin Roybal, Deb Flomberg and the entire cast. It is a great, fun group of people and an immensely talented bunch of singer/actors. There are layers and levels and tweaks and twitches in each character that I never would have imagined back when we first started walking through this.

To me, the biggest difference in working on a musical versus a straight play (insert musical theatre/homosexuality joke here) ) ((haha, he said 'insert,' haha)) is that, while there is of course somewhat less depth to the characters in a musical, that doesn't mean it's any easier than doing a Serious Drama.

That is to say, it is true that in order to be effective as an actor--at least for an emotional train wreck like myself--I have to struggle with someone like Dr. Dysart from 'Equus' or Roy Cohn from 'Angels' in order to tease out every nuance of his motivations and the layers of his past. It is a challenge and raw, emotional, exhausting work scraping the veneer off the various internal engines that drive these characters, in order to attempt in some small way to honestly expose the truth of them without being obvious or false about it.

And while musical theatre characters may not have, ahem, quite so much depth to them, I'm finding that the challenge is equally intense, at least for a noob like me.

Of course you have to find a way to play a character during your spoken parts, remembering your lines and characterization, just like in a straight play. But you also have to remember song lyrics, listen for musical cues, go off the band even when you're not quite on the same page as them--not to mention singing on key--and remember and execute movement (I dare not call what I'm doing 'dancing' for fear of causing actual dancers to rise up en masse and burn me at the barre in a fit of--no doubt graceful--rage).

Essentially you have to spin plates, juggle, recite the Gettysburg Address and do a little Rockettes dance number all at once, while staying ever-so-intense--yet casual--about the whole thing.

Our Divas: Kansas, Chachi and Celia, spinning plates, juggling and looking fabulous all at once.

So I admit it: I have a much greater respect for musical theatre actors than I did going into this thing. The two types of theatre, while posing different challenges, are, to me, equally difficult.

Looking forward to playing for an audience tonight. Hope you can make it! Info follows.

May 27 through June 18
Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30
At The Bug Theatre 3654 Navajo Street
Free Parking

Tickets: $15 for Adults or $12 for Students/Seniors! 720-984-0781

Monday, May 23, 2011

simpsons rapture


Then there's this gem from Urbaniak, the awesome blog of James Urbaniak, voice of Rusty Venture on The Venture Brothers.

This is a shot of doomsday cult leader Robert Fitzpatrick, a real-life Homer Simpson-esque doomsayer checking his watch when the promised rapture didn't occur at the appointed hour.

Well, we know it wasn't a daylight savings time thing, as the rapture didn't occur at 7 pm either. Maybe Fitzpatrick forgot to carry a one or something.

mrs. mia wallace


Thursday, May 19, 2011

that sounds like a lot more fun

This group has the right idea. Far from fearing the Rapture (which is imminent) they suggest that we all celebrate our coming freedom from right-wing hardcore Christian crazies by...well, by coming.

Not only are they saying what should have been obvious to all of us sinners who will no doubt be left behind--namely that

After the Rapture, America is going to be awesome! Universal health-care, gay marriage, easy access to birth control, a progressive tax code and strong environmental regulations...
but also that preparing for such a momentous event we should have a bit of a party. Why not?

So join the Pre-Rapture Orgy (location: the streets of America, baby). Let's give those who will be spirited away up to heaven something to look at on their way up.

Sign up now--slots are still available! :D

Here is an image of The Rapture. It looks pretty safe from here. Kinda cute, actually. I guess all those souls live inside the bottle now.

This is a picture of a rapture flying, according to a web search. Silly interwebz--of course that's not a rapture.

This is a rapture.

Here's a picture of the American political landscape before the Rapture.

Here's the American political landscape after the Rapture.

where'd everybody go?

When the Rapture comes, I think I'll be looting.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

feel the rainbow

Feel the rainbow, Newt. 

This is footage of Newt Gingrich and his (third) wife Callista at a 'pro-family' (read: anti-gay) gathering for the Minnesota Family Council, a group pushing for a gay marriage ban. While the couple signs books, an activist dumped a Cheez-It box full of glitter on them, telling them to 'Feel the rainbow! Stop the hate!'

I love how these people talk about strengthening families and protecting marriage, yet they pay a celebri-douche like the twice-divorced Gingrich to be a spokesperson. He's the class act who pressed his first wife for divorce while she was recovering from surgery.  He also reportedly said about her that '...she wasn't young or pretty enough to be the president's wife.' And he proposed to his second wife Marianne before he'd even asked the first one for a divorce.

Family values indeed. Maybe the glitter will open the man's eyes to how horrible and utterly unfabulous he truly is.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I've been seeing a lot of shows lately, but I have to say Hedwig and the Angry Inch at The Avenue Theater was beyond phenomenal. Nick Sugar embodies the East German trans- (or is it non-?) gendered singer. He owns the role in a way that makes other actors jealous, alternately thrashing and lashing out in anger, feeling sorry for himself, using self-deprecating humor and picking on the hapless Yitzhak (played by Amanda Earls) and, of course, drinking heavily.

Nick and Amanda each brought a beautiful energy to the show and their characters, bringing audience members to tears on more than one occasion. Go check out this show soon, because it's doubtful that they will bring it back a third time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

these kids today

At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man, I have to point out what is becoming a more and more obvious truth: as a broad, general trend, kids are getting stupider.

Now, there are of course many, many exceptions to this rule. I have met many surprisingly smart kids. But you have to admit they are becoming more and more rare.

Racism...or taxonomy. But whatever. You won't need to know that to run the fryolater at BK.

Case in point: here's a site that's been making the rounds lately: shit my students write. (via) A few of the posts are really clever things kids wrote; most of them are depressingly moronic. Here's a couple examples:

'The potato literally encouraged the Irish to overbreed.'

Never listen to potatoes, you silly Irish gits. Especially when they are being encouraging.

'The rebel and onion armies showed grose negligence by having many of their battles right inside national parks, like Gettysburg.'

Those bastard onion armies.Ruining our parks.

And my favorite thus far:

'Macbeth couldn’t have loved Lady Macbeth because he was crazy and too busy hallucinating witches and stuff. Also, crazy people can’t do it without going crazy midway through.'

See, that explains a lot.

Monday, May 9, 2011


My 'Equus' peeps will remember this brand. But I bet y'all didn't know it was the 'Finest for '50!.'


i don't wanna grow up


Here's to never reaching adulthood.

Tom Waits - I Don'T Wanna Grow Up by didjie

And I never realized that one of my favorite filmmakers, Jim Jarmusch directed this whackadoo little vid with his buddy Tom Waits. They had previously worked together on 1986's 'Down By Law.'

Gotta love the lunatics.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

mother's day

Mother’s Day always brings up weird feelings, I’m sure for everyone. On one hand, it is so obviously and blatantly yet another guilt-ridden attempt to separate people from their money that even non-cynics must feel manipulated.

On the other hand, we all could probably stand to be a bit more grateful to the person who brought us into the world.

Many of you may know my own mother died unexpectedly five years ago. She was tremendously healthy for her age; she was vegan, and she taught yoga to seniors, the people she called ‘her old folks,’ (tellingly not including herself in that category). She had tons of friends and was amazingly active, probably more active and zipping from place to place and activity to activity than most people my age.

But something went wrong (we think) with an additional medication she was prescribed for an ongoing heart murmur issue, and she just died in her sleep while taking a nap one afternoon.

None of us, I don’t think, thought she was anywhere near to this point when it happened. It really came out of the blue. You never met a woman her age more bustling and chattering and full of life and energy. I honestly half-expected her to outlive me.

Another thing many of you might know about me is that I am a smart-ass.

Yes, it’s true, don’t deny it. And I have something of an anti-authority streak. I probably have my mother to blame for that too, as she was definitely a control-freak’s control-freak. She would out-OCD the OCD, when it came to trying to control every detail of the world around her. I could imagine her going to a support group meeting for OCD people and ending up arranging them alphabetically or by height or weight or something.

She was meta-OCD, if you will.

(SIDEBAR: One of the strangest insights of my life came a couple years after she was gone, when, while fretting over a girl who just_wouldn’t_call I realized that I carry the DNA of that control-freak. I realized that, oh shit, I AM my mother on some level. I never ever ever knew that before, when she was alive, and I still probably wouldn’t know it today were it not for her untimely passing.)

I struggled against her even from early childhood. And with puberty came the certainty that I must have been secretly adopted because there was no way this stupid woman with her stupid, annoying, pushy bossiness could possibly be a blood relative to someone as insightful and brilliant as I was at age 14. (How is it possible I’ve gotten so much more uncertain and ignorant over the years?)

After falling off the map completely with my family for about six years (I dropped out of sight quite deliberately in New Orleans, and later LA, not deigning to contact them that entire time, nor did they know where or how I was) I finally got back in touch with them following a particularly nasty and lonely drug and alcohol-addled New Years’ Eve in LA.

And I was grateful I did. Not only in terms of my mom’s gratitude just to hear that I was alive, but for my own well-being and growth too. The weight of all those years of loneliness and being without family really was much heavier than I allowed myself to think it was. I envisioned myself as a stoic wanderer-philosopher, a strong, brave loner who doesn’t need anyone--and in many ways I was and still am that, if, hopefully, with a bit more humility and insight into my own shortcomings.

But I am here to tell you, there is a loneliness so terrible no one can bear it, not without losing his mind.

I remember my mom telling me that during my six-year absence she once brought a jacket of mine to a Teacher she knew to ask if he could see anything regarding my condition or whereabouts. (She followed a strain of Buddhism in which certain people are deemed to be Teachers, people who have lived past lives and have particular insight. I know, I know.)

He told her that I was angry (go figure, right? The disappeared child is angry...)

But he also told her that I was loved, and that I had love in me, and that even if I was far away, I would be all right.

Now, to me, that last part seems a little more daring of a prediction than your typical fortune-teller. For what it’s worth.

Another thing he told her was that he believed that people are not necessarily born into the family to which they belong. He believed that part of our journey on earth is to seek out our true families, wherever and whomever they might be.

So maybe she did learn some letting-go over the years.

Maybe I did too.

At any rate I am grateful to her that I am the person I am. There is nobody on this earth with whom I would trade my brain or my heart or my soul, and I owe a great deal of what I am to her. If I could say anything to my mom today, it would be that I am very sorry for all the pain I caused her. And that despite all our problems, all my problems, I always loved her.

I would say, Thank you, mom.

So. Ahem. Something in my eye. Here’s this Iron & Wine song, ‘Upward Over the Mountain.’ I tried to find a decent live version but eventually gave up and settled on this one.

“So may the sunrise bring hope where it once was forgotten / Sons are like birds, flying always over the mountain...”

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


This takes me back. Not only in terms of the iconic shout from 'Streetcar,' but also to New Orleans, where weird is the new normal.

Here's the capper to a celebration of all things Tennessee Williams in his adopted hometown of New Orleans, in which contestants perform a (sometimes tongue-in-cheek) rendition of Brando's famous shout. Never mind the pretentious woman narrating the event (who the fuck says 'ah-ngst' or 'a-fick-cionado'?) But do stay for the goofy (and talented, in some cases) shouters. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

bring out the simps

These are amazing and hilarious and mind-bending all at once. Someone named Jesse Jordan who runs a blog called coffee and cookies has put up several more of these drawings of well-known Simpsons characters doing some nasty Tarantino-esque activities.

Oh my.

Now, I don't know about this. LuAnn as Mia Wallace? My perpetual Uma-boner just wilted a little.

Of course it would have to be Milhouse playing the hapless Marvin. Christ, their names even sound similar.

via all over the place right now, but prolly via via one of these. Go to Jesse's blog for many more.

No word on whether Matt Groening's lawyers are lining up a series of cease and desist letters. FYI: did you know that the blue-haired lawyer with the nasally New York accent seen below was loosely based on Roy Cohn?

The more you know...


This is guaranteed to make you smile. If not for the music and her ability to play three rather complicated instruments at once, then at least you will smile at her playful smile at the end.

And the way she turns off the camera like a boss.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

the lady with all the answers

Here's my latest review for the Denver Post on "The Lady With All the Answers," playing at the Arvada Center.

Alex Ryer as Ann Landers. Via the Denver Post.

I suffered doubts because I wasn't sure if I was being too harsh simply because it isn't really a show for me. The show is set in 1975 and she gives lots of advice to lovelorn married people of that era, going back as far as her beginning as a columnist in 1955. The concerns of aging suburbanites in fading marriages are not exactly my wheelhouse.

But as I reflected on it, I think I'm right in that there just isn't a lot of substance to the play, certainly not a lot of dramatic tension. Even for older folks who are more in tune with the Ann Landers oeuvre, with her whole midwestern, matronly vibe, it had to feel somehow unsatisfying to walk out of there after nearly two hours consisting of small tidbits of emotion, slathered over with huge dollops of filler.

At any rate. Here's the piece in full or go here if you'd prefer to leave a nasty comment on the Post site. :) And if you read this, thanks to whoever followed up the original commenter on my 'Howl' piece with a comment for that angry gentleman. :D


Writers have long been fascinated with writing stories about the writer’s life.

For some reason.

Knowing writers, it’s likely that the day a hominid first put a piece of charcoal to the wall of his cave and scratched out the very first rudimentary letters, he was jotting down ideas for a screenplay about his quirky experiences as a writer.

Of course, if one assumes a writer is actually performing the activity by which he has named himself with any kind of regularity, that life might not be terribly dramatic.

Enter “The Lady With All the Answers,” a play about Eppie Lederer, better known as advice columnist Ann Landers. Performed at the Arvada Center by Alex Ryer with a Midwestern, homey charm, Landers welcomes us into her apartment on a night in 1975 as she is attempting to write the most difficult column of her life--perhaps not the most potentially action-packed scenario around which to build a play.

But the column promises to be a doozy: in it she must announce to her readers that, after two decades of advising married couples to stick it out no matter what, her own divorce from her husband of 36 years is imminent.

As a writer, naturally the first thing she does is procrastinate, nibbling chocolates, taking informal surveys of the audience, playing records, and sharing some of her favorite letters as she prepares them for an upcoming book.

Unsurprisingly, it is these letters that make up the bulk of the show, as they are the entire reason for us--or her, for that matter--to be here at all. A few of the other activities and asides in which she indulges seem a little forced, a little too obviously filler to stretch this thing out to a full-length play instead of the one-act to which it could easily have been condensed.

Regardless, this Ann Landers does indeed have all the answers. Given all her perfectly-crafted responses to letter-writers as well as the bon mots she tells us she delivered in person to the famous and powerful people she knew, one wonders if writing this particular column might have been the first time this woman ever encountered self-doubt.

But there is no denying Lederer had verve, as well as a cheerful strain of chutzpah. According to David Rambo’s script, when it came to dealing with those who stood in her way, she wouldn’t so much stare them down as she would wear them down with her relentless ebullience.

For instance, as far back as 1967 she cajoled President Johnson into allowing her to visit the troops in Vietnam, and went on to personally place 2,500 phone calls to relatives and loved ones on behalf of soldiers laid up in the hospital. She championed the rights of homosexuals long before it was remotely popular to do so, and she spearheaded a letter-writing campaign to get the National Cancer Act passed.

Of course Landers’ heyday was a time when people did things like read newspapers and even write letters on actual paper, so there is a demographic toward which the show is undoubtedly aimed. But regardless of one’s age, the stories are often genuinely moving--not only the ones about her troubled letter-writers but also her personal stories.

Nonetheless, as sweet as some of the anecdotes are, and as charmingly as Ryer wears Landers’ bouffant and pantsuits, there just isn’t much there there. The play isn’t so much a play as it is an excuse to string together some of Landers’ best letters and her pithy responses to them.

And while Ryer does a fine job of spraying the audience with the firehose of Landers’ inexorable enthusiasm as well as sharing her more heartfelt moments, Rambo’s script gives her very little to work with.

Perhaps, like people who find that life changes based on glib advice from a stranger often don’t last, audiences may ultimately find that the show rings a bit hollow.

a great babysitter

...And he's a helluva chef too!
via reddit.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

stop teen pregnancy

Now this seems like a sensible young lady, wise beyond her years.

Unlike this sadly close-minded young lass.

yes and yes.

Misanthropes unite!


On second thought, get the hell away from me.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

you know what i say to that?

I say, 'Honey badger don't give a shit.'

I bite the head off the snakes of opposition, I devour the bee larvae of resistance, I shred the mice of the small-minded and stupid.

I am crazy, nasty-ass honey badger, bitch. Hear me motherfucking roar.

Monday, May 2, 2011

good lord

This is from one of my favorite episodes of Extras. Watch it. Watch it now.

steve jobs' wet dream

Yes, Mac people, you are in fact now the Empire. You are no longer rebel scum.

And you're also pod people. 

And sort of culty. 

But I mean that in a Jim Jones kind of way, not in a David Koresh kind of way. You're Kool-Aid drinkers, not fireball self-immolaters.

a solution

Hell, we could solve the energy crisis with this too. Just load up a bunch of zombies on a hamster wheel, and boom.

via. created by this guy--very funny stuff.