Mental Flotsam, Mental Jetsam

Because the only thing that beats going crazy is going crazy with somebody else

Friday, January 28, 2005

Break A Leg, Ladies!

Ah, opening night. Is there anything quite like it? Hmm... Wait, that was a rhetorical question.

Two of my favorite people are in the same show, The Man Who Came To Dinner, being done by the Arlington Players. Leta, who I've known for... must be close to a year now; and Beth, my girlfriend, are both in this popular comedy. I'm getting tickets to see it tonight. Rock on.

Sadly, I know next to nothing about the script. I know that Nathan Lane did a famous production of it; and that I almost ended up being drafted to play my girlfriend's on-stage brother, but other than that; the show is going to be a complete surprise. Surprises can be good.

They've worked very hard (and late) on this show, plus this will actually be the first time I've seen Leta in action. Break a leg, ladies. I can't wait to see the show.

Mmmmm... New DVD...

I love me some Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. It’s a fantastic flick that harks back to the original Superman cartoons and the serial movies that kids could spend all Saturday afternoon in a dark theater enjoying. It came out on DVD this week.

Now, I’ve been pretty good about watching my spending, in efforts to save money for the completion of Tuxxer. Nevertheless, when I found out Sky Captain was hitting shelves, I knew I had to make it mine…

Earlier this week, there was a poetry slam (competitively read poetry) in Rockville at Barnes & Noble. It’s a monthly event called Poet-A-Tete. Cute, huh? I’ve been going to this event for more than two years, whenever I’ve had the fourth Tuesday night of the month free (rehearsals have barred this happening more often than not). They really enjoy my material there, and I love the chance to get up and holler indoors.

As a competition, there are prizes; namely gift certificates to the bookstore. I have one word for you: Sweet. For reasons I don’t understand, it costs more to buy something from the store than it does to order it from the website online. Shipping included.

Long story short (too late), I was able to satisfy both my craving to own Sky Captain, and my sense of thrift. Hooray for sweet, sweet compromise…

Thursday, January 27, 2005

First Read-Through

Last night, we had our first read-through of The Mystery of Irma Vep. The Director, the Producer, and other members of the Elden Street Company were there. Everyone seems intent on making the show as good as it can be, which is fine with me!

My Monday night acting class will not be a problem, as the Director has agreed not to hold rehearsals on those nights. If I've done my math correctly, the class will end just in time for the "Hell Week" of tech rehearsals, all the way through to opening night. Sweet serendipity...

A word about my co-star, Nano. The man is as pumped as I am about doing this show. I'm warning you now, this thing is going to be madcap. It's going to be a bit zany. Certainly harried at moments. But it will most definitely be fun.

There were at least half a dozen incidents last night where all assembled just broke down laughing. The script is on the far side of ridiculous, poking fun at Poe, Shakespeare, Victorian melodrama, legendary monsters, and of course, itself. I cannot wait.

There will be a ton of memorization to get through, which is pretty obvious in a two-man show. The other big worry I have at this moment is my ability (or lack there of) to keep a straight face. I don’t know how Chris Parnell does it. In the history of Saturday Night Live, he is the one cast member to never break character. I’m determined to figure it out, and I have one or two ideas on that tack, but nothing to share at the moment.

The other thing I’ll have to watch is how I use my voice. Sustained falsetto (yep, I play a woman or two) is one of the worst things for the voice, so I’ll be taking lots of Vitamin C, drinking tea, and gargling saltwater if necessary. I don’t know how gargling saltwater benefits the cords, but if it helps me from sounding too much like Harvey Fierstein, than I’ll do it.

People hear that I live in MD and drive to Herndon, VA to rehearse, and the reactions are pretty uniform. “You must be crazy/ a glutton for punishment / stark raving bughouse!” I can’t help but shrug. I like the show. The Elden Street Players have a great reputation. I get the chance to play four different people at once, something I’ve wanted to try ever since seeing the likes of Eddie Murphy and Jim Carrey do it in their movies. What can I say? I’m psyched.

I’ll do my best to keep you posted as we progress, without giving away A) the ending, B) too many of the gags, or C) any other excuses for you not to come see the show. It’s going to be wonderful.

You just have to wait for it.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Last night’s callback auditions were tough. The competition was down to me and three other gents of very capable skill. Everyone had strengths to be reckoned with. And the comic timing? We were nearly laughing out of our seats, every time a pair got up to read. Good material, and good guys playing with it.

The show calls for two actors to play eight parts, bouncing all over the place between accents, mannerisms, and costumes. Everyone got up to read with everyone, and it was never the same twice: Falsettos, some intentionally horrible accents, and great physical comedy. (In one improv session, I pretended to deck a guy with a chair. He’s fine now.)

I left the auditions feeling very good. Regardless of the outcome, I got a bit of a workout, and got to flex some comedic muscles at the same time, which is always a great feeling.

Speaking of the outcome: I heard from the Director, I got the part! I’ll be playing Nicodemus, Lady Enid, Alcazar, and another role. I don’t want to give away too much, so you’ll still come see the show. Now you just have to wait two months…

For info on tickets, just go here.

Monday, January 24, 2005

God's Dandruff

It’s snowing again. It’s coming down in big clumpy flakes that, while not sticking to the ground at the moment, have no problem accumulating on every other available surface (like my car).

Just allow me to say… damn. I have audition callbacks tonight in Herndon. I was hoping it wouldn’t be as long a drive as it was this weekend. With the snow coming down in the aforementioned big clumpy flakes, that doesn’t look very likely. We’ll see. We’ll just have to see.

It Hurts... To Gaze Directly At It, Yet I Cannot Look Away


You just have to see it for yourself. It's dated, sure, it's no longer relevant in any way shape or form, but... wow.

Yeah. I know. Just... I got nothin'.

Spreading The Good Word(s)

How does a Blog become popular, I wonder. Word of mouth or keyboard, I imagine. There’s something a bit satisfying about giving a nod in the direction of something good, something you think a friend and fellow reader might enjoy. “Check this out. It’s pretty darn nifty,” I’d say, pointing a friendly hand towards the newest verbal trinket to share.

It’s called Standing Room Only, by a gent named Hugh Elliott. I first came across it this afternoon doing a little surfing at one of my favorite places to pan for nuggets of wisdom; On the subject of love (one of their quotes for the day) I was surprised that in with the quotes of Jane Austen and Ice T; they now included the thoughts of a blogger! Someone eloquent enough to have a book published of his thoughts. I checked out his page. It’s pretty darn sharp. He’s lucid, he’s witty, and just a hint acidic at folks who deserve it a little. I like his style. Take a look, you may like it too.

Or, “Check this out. It’s pretty darn nifty.”

Callbacks! Hooray!!

Good news, people.

The collective four-hour trek to and from Herndon on Saturday to audition for The Mystery of Irma Vep paid off. I made the callbacks! Woohoo!

Callbacks are tonight, when I will be missing my acting class, for the only time I can afford to. When I got to auditions on Saturday, I saw a copy of the rehearsal schedule. My heart sank a little bit when I saw that most of the rehearsals would be on Monday nights. I mentioned my conflicts on my sign-in sheet, and in person to the director. He said that it shouldn’t necessarily be a problem, as his own schedule was a bit hectic from time to time. My heart resurfaced.

The auditions were short but sweet. I got up and read for Nicodemus with a thick Cockney, and then for Lady Enid with a upper crust British with a falsetto. Yep. If I get in this play, it’s back to wearing women’s clothes. Heh. (At least this time I wouldn’t have to run around in high heels.) Then we did a short improv as Burt and Mary Poppins. I wasn’t Mary Poppins.

I’m crossing some fingers. Join me, won’t you? Callbacks are tonight, at a different theatre from the auditions. **Raises a glass** Here’s to finding the place, getting there in time, and just having a blast for the tryouts.

Adios, people. More to follow.


Sunday, January 23, 2005

Snowy Saturday

It snowed. A lot. Snow everywhere. Good day to stay in and relax, yes? I agree.

It just so happened yesterday that I had an audition in Herndon for The Mystery of Irma Vep. It’s less than 40 miles away, on 270 and 495. I was really psyched about the auditions, so I decided I would go regardless of how much snow there was. It took me two hours to get there, and another two hours back. I was one of four people who showed up for the try-outs. Rock on.

I’ll know tomorrow whether or not I made it to call-backs. I’m keeping some fingers crossed.

I also saw Henry V on Friday night. Between traffic and taking every available wrong turn, I ended up getting there about five minutes late. Razza fragga. I don’t like being late, especially to shows. The good news was that Henry V was at the same theatre as Irma Vep, so I knew where I was going Saturday afternoon.

Incidentally, the show was pretty good.


Friday, January 21, 2005

If I Wanted A Sermon, I'd See My Dad On Sunday


Paul, we get it. I get it. I really do. Enough already. Please. Girl power good. Woman strooong. Can ya stop beating us over the head with it?

Paul Taylor does a webcomic that goes by the name of Wapsi Square. Usually, it's quite good. Very good, in fact. The art is his own, the jokes are good, and if there are no jokes, then the humorous situation gets me to smile. I haven't smiled yet, reading Wapsi Square this year.

Granted; the year is young, but my statement is no less true for it. Taylor has taken the story down a bizarre, frankly depressing tack these past weeks. A spirit that could be the essence of depression and/or suicide has been slithering towards the main character all week, speaking backwards and makin' her cry. Correction; she was crying when the spooky girl showed up. Today, *inspiring music rises* she found her strength to tell the spook where she could stick it. Because, she is a confident, independent person after all! Hooray!

*Shuts music off* If I wanted a freakin' sermon, I'd see my dad on Sunday. He's a minister. It's his job to occasionally sound, well, preachy. I really don't need it in a damn webcomic.

"But Casey," you may think to yourself, "if you don't like it, just don't read it."

I do like it! Ordinarily! It's just over the last month and a half Paul Taylor has decided to turn his strip into a fortune cookie brought to us by the Lifetime channel. Fuck! But today, at last, the storyline appears to be resolved. I really hope it's over already and he can get back to his normal tone of light-heartedness without all the nobility shining brightly out of his characters' every orifice. Enough is enough.

I've met people like some of the characters in the strip, people like the barista who serves the coffee. The type of person to offer you advice when you didn't ask for any, let alone in some little nugget-of-wisdom fashion. That rubs me entirely the wrong way. It also ticks me off to hear people ask someone what they've got to feel stressed or depressed about, like it's a deliberate decision on their part. (Another recent goings-on of the strip.) We all have moods. Some of them are good, some of them are bad. And if it were any of that person's business, I'd have already shared what I was feeling a bit harried over. Some people are optimists, others are pessimists. Don't take away my right to be an asshole!

I'm aware that I sound like a bit of an ass right now. That's fine. I'm comfortable with that. I'm still getting the hang of a good snark. Regardless, it's the topic on the top of my head at the moment.

There you have it.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

It's About FREAKIN' Time

Hooray! Score one big one for the comparatively little guy!

For the last few decades, Stan Lee has been getting the short end of the stick from Marvel. You know who Stan Lee is. He created Spider-Man. And the Incredible Hulk. And the X-Men. And the Avengers. And Daredevil. And the Fantastic Four. And God knows how many other staples of comic-book history we've come to know and love (not so much with the Avengers). Anyway.

For his incredibly valuable work, Stan Lee has received zilch in the way of compensation from the 90's boom in comic-book movies. He deserves a piece of the pie for his brain-children, dammit. I don't care that he was with Marvel and they claimed ownership; that much of a contribution should be recognized. And it hasn't.

Until now. Marvel is finally being forced to pony up a dime on the profits from the Spider-Man movie series, one of the most profitable franchises in history, so far. It's a start. It's a very good start.

The great thing about Stan Lee is that for the last forty years or so (probably longer), he's been busting his hump for Marvel, with nothing to show for his efforts in the way of a percentage. And he's been a good sport about it, for the most part. I've seen interviews with him before now, footage on the Spider-Man DVD's and whatnot. He had every right to fume and be bitter, muttering under his breath about the sazza-fraggin' MAN keepin' him down, but he always appeared to be in good spirits about the whole thing. That's a little thing we call class.

Congratulations, Stan. You've earned it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


I have an apology to make! In my fervor to congratulate Andrea for her WATCH nomination, I failed to notice that Maura Stadem was also nominated! That's wonderful news, Maura. I'm sorry I overlooked it, and I'm very proud of you. Thank you, Leta, for bringing it to my attention. Rock on.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Congratulations, Andrea!

The Nominations for this year's WATCH (Washington Area Theatre Community Honors) awards have been posted! Proof has been nominated in two categories. Or should I say, one category, and the lead actress in Proof was nominated for another. Andrea, my co-star, has been nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play, with the show itself picking up a nom for outstanding play of the year. Sha-Zam!!!

Way to go, Andrea. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you. **Waves little flag**

Well... not continuously, obviously. I mean, that would really cramp after like, five minutes. But you get what I'm saying. Right? About the fingers- yeah. Uh, right. **Puts down flag, grabs bottle of water. Takes sip.** Hmm. **Looks at little flag.** Where the hell did I get this thing? Oh. Right. A metaphor. Got it. ANYWAY.

Congratulations again on the nomination, Andrea. I'm rootin' for ya. And to my co-stars; Nick, Maura, our director Norm, we rock vicariously. Ha-Ha.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Laughing In The Theatre.... Heavens Forfend

As a friend recently pointed out, laughing in a theatre can be a less-than-wise move. I’m not talking about laughing during a comedy. I’m talking about getting a fit of the giggles during a drama, during a completely inappropriate moment to titter and squeak. It happens.

Unfortunately, it can also happen when you’re onstage. It’s just as bad, if not worse.

What’s this? Is Casey winding into a theatre anecdote? Why, I think he is!

I was working with Theatre IV, a touring children’s show, throughout Virginia. Hands down, one of the best experiences I’ve had as an actor. (Getting a steady paycheck out of acting didn’t hurt too badly either.) We were doing The True Story of Pocahontas, and it was a pretty serious show. I played John Smith, and it was a lot of work. In one of the first scenes, Pocahontas brings John before her poppa, Chief Powhatan. Smith’s life is in danger and smooth negotiating is required. I have this problem where I smile in uncomfortable situations, and being put on my knees to get my head cut off is a mite uncomfy.

Got it under control for the most part.

Then there was that one school. We did the show three times that day, twice at the same school. First time went fine, for 2nd through 5th grades. They paid attention, they behaved, a good time was had by all. Then we did the show for Preschoolers through 1st grade. Surprisingly, the attention span of the average 4 year old? Not so long. Kids were tweeting, whistling like birds, stuff like that.

We lost it.

There were five of us in the cast, and this was the only time in the show that we were all on stage at the same time. One by one, all five of us just lost it. We got the giggles, in a one-time horror story of uncontrollable laughter. All five of us had turned around, our backs to the audiences, trying to regain composure. It took a bit for us to get it back in hand. Armand, my co-star, who had justifiably complained a few times that I smiled at the wrong times, had tears streaming down his face, he was laughing so hard. We were just gone.

It wasn’t right. It wasn’t exactly professional. There was nothing all that funny about the play or the situation; and for the life of us, we couldn’t stop laughing for a full minute. It was beautiful.

It happens, Leta. It happens.

Friday, January 14, 2005

What The Deuce?

Alright. I don’t know how many of you frequent the homes of certain webcomics. One that has become a must-visit in the last few months, Wapsi Square by Paul Taylor, has taken a turn for the different. I can’t say it has gotten weird, since WS was already a little weird. One of the characters is the Aztec god of alcohol, for cryin’ out loud.

Anyway. Since just before New Year’s (December 23rd to be exact), the tone of the comic has gotten more serious, and even a little preachy. Characters are being given chicken-soup-for-the-soul nuggets of wisdom from their resident coffee chick, which I find annoying, frankly. The main character, Monica, is afraid she’s going crazy, due to seeing some things in the last few months that defy a logical explanation. (See above re: alcohol-god.) It’s all a bit too much of a downer for a comic strip that usually, to quote a well-spoken gent, brings the funny.

Not to say that a comic strip can’t be serious. For Better Or For Worse is a classic, and it’s dealt with some very serious, timely issues in a respectful way. FBOFW is also based on reality, though. Wapsi Square has always been a little on the left of normality, with a healthy dose of goofy comedy thrown in. (Like her pet dog getting hit in the head with a Frisbee. Classic.) Point is, lately it’s changed its tone in what I think might be an attempt on the writer’s part to make the comic more… relevant, for lack of a better word.

It’s freaking depressing. I think Scott Kurtz put it best...

Later, all. Have a good one.

A Little Spring Cleaning

There’s a desk in my bedroom that hasn’t been so much a desk for the past few (okay, several) months, as it’s been a depository for unwanted papers, bills, and so on. Well, yesterday, taking a day off for feeling crummy in general, I looked at that desk and thought to myself, what the crap?

Having absolutely nothing better to do, I went to work on that thing with all the zeal needed for such an undertaking. I filled two trash-bags with old papers, letters, newspaper clippings, old phone bills, statements; you name it, it was on my desk. I also came across a memento or two that I did not want to get rid of, so I made sure they found a safe place to roost. Then, with my desk relatively spotless (except for the dust), I realized I could actually make a little office for myself. The basement living room has been host to my laptop, printer, etc. for far too long, so into my bedroom they went. The desk now has my computer on it, as well as some action figures, printer paper, and disks/files I need to keep Tuxxer organized. The printer is right next to it, on top of my bookshelf.

One change… begat many. To make room for the printer, I had to clear off the top of the bookshelf, which was host to numerous publications I doubted I’d ever read again. The books were off to the hospital thrift store and the magazines went into the trash. To make room for the computer and so forth on the desk, I had to move my alarm clock. That went on top of my dresser. To make room for the alarm clock, I had to sweep away old check receipts, loose change (went into a ceramic cup that was a Christmas present, I think), a CD case I haven’t touched in months now that my CD’s are in one of those big booklets in the car… you get the idea. Point is, my room is now in the process of actually getting neater. Truly, this is a dark time…

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Writer's Block


Every once in a while, it hits. One of the most reviled, feared obstacles to being a writer... And there's nothing to do about it. It just comes in and sits on your head, like a 24-hour virus (If only it could last a predictable amount of time; say, 24 hours.), and like the quicksand to your Artax it is, you're screwed. Struggle, you get nothin'. Accept it and remain passive, still nothin'.

I'm aware of the small irony of writing about writer's block. I could spew thoughts all day. What I was trying to do was write a sketch or two for the comedy troupe I belong to. I even have a premise to go on, but when I stare at that hungry white screen, the words just. Won't. Come.

I've been fairly lucky. It doesn't hit me all that often. Still, blocked I am and blocked I shall remain for however long it decides to stay. Curses.

**Twiddles thumbs**



The Tourist Commission May Have Some 'Splaining To Do

I'm not making this up: A diabetic man on vacation in Costa Rica felt a swelling in one of his feet. He was suffering from an ulcer. He visited the local hospital (or should I say "Loco Hospital"? Oh, my sides!!) and mentioned the pain. He overheard the word 'amputate' and was quickly given a strong sedative. He woke up to find that the doctors had not only cut off his leg, but they had in fact amputated the wrong leg. They then had to sever his remaining leg as well. The man has since gotten blood poisoning, and has required nearly two dozen operations since. Wouldn't an aspirin have done the job to get the swelling down, rather than severing the entire appendage? I don't know. I'm not a doctor. Perhaps the surgeons wanted to scare the ulcerous foot first. Who can say.

I can see why the operation could have gone less than perfectly, what with the doctors having to operate while still wearing their straight jackets. So please. If you're considering a vacation to Costa Rica... think it through. If you do go, you may never tap dance again...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Go Read This Book.

I realized that one thing I set out to do and have neglected for too long: a good book review. So, here goes.

Lovers of a good mystery and in particular those of Sherlock Holmes, get yourselves to the book store or library of your choice with all deliberate speed. The Beekeeper's Apprentice, by Laurie R. King, is what you'll be looking for. A sequel (or pastiche, for the fancy high-falootin' among you) to the Arthur Conan Doyle canon, and a damn good one at that, King has successfully captured the spirit of Baker Street's most notorious detective.

The main protagonist of the tale is a young Mary Russell, a teen-aged orphan with a mind and maturity well ahead of her years. She meets Holmes by accident on an afternoon walk, and she immediately impresses him with her observational abilities. A friendship is hatched, and the story develops from there. Sherlock hones (sorry) her skills until she is nearly his equal. To further her detective prowess along, he invites her to join him on light cases, as he is generally in retirement. (Holmes is in his mid-sixties by this point.)

Light cases quickly develop into something far worse, as clues present themselves that someone is behind more than one seemingly-isolated incident. Someone trying to pick up the reigns that Professor Moriarty left behind...

The book pays enormous attention to detail, describing everything that Mary experiences. It is a thick read, to be sure. Slow goings at some points, but thoroughly enjoyable. King has enjoyed success with a continuing series, which I have kept up with. Over the series, Russell develops from the student to become Holmes' full partner, and the series takes them to a wide number of exotic locales. I'm still waiting on book number seven, The Game, to reach paperback.

Holmes-Purists may not want to pick up the series. That's up to them. I couldn't put TBA down, or any of its successors. Granted, I'm not the greatest fan of the original Doyle works. Something about them seems impenetrable. But Laurie King's works have been a wonderful read, and if it's the sort of book you like, than by all means go pick it up for yourself.

You won't be disappointed.

Yay! Acting Class!

I started a new Working Actor's Workshop tonight. It was interesting, for a lot of reasons.

For starters, I haven't taken an acting class since college. I know that actors are supposed to keep on honing their craft and stuff. At the same time, for the last few years, I thought "I'm trained. I've got the degree, I don't need any more classes. Or at least, I don't want any more." And I didn't. And I haven't. Until now.

The subject of the class is getting to work on things that we find are weaknesses. Achilles' heels. We started with material we were comfortable, and turned it on its head. I started with a monologue from Proof. The teacher had us make deliberate choices that frankly, made me uncomfortable. Turning the character on his head, making it a completely different character. It still worked, in a weird way. It took some doing. But it worked.

I'm looking forward to the next class. This is going to be an interesting challenge...

Monday, January 10, 2005

Resolution and a Retraction

Due to whatever it was, Verizon didn't receive the payment I made last Thursday. I was without my phone for the entire workday, which made me feel a little bit isolated, but that's another kettle of fish.

Anyway. The good gentleman J. Brock at the Verizon store very patiently saw to it that everything was resolved. There's a Bank of America only steps from the Verizon shop, where I procured a printout that proved I had made the payment. A relatively short time later, I was back in business. Thanks, J. Brock.

Now: I could just have easily held my breath until this whole thing blew over. Wiser men than I know the merits of waiting a frickin' day before they make untoward comments. I'm not one of those guys. I feel no shame whatsoever in making pissy remarks and then later retracting them, when justified. :)

What can I say, I'm fickle.

Sazza Fraggin... (Expletive Deleted) Verizon...

I'm not all that crazy about bills. Call it 21st century irresponsible little me. But I DO pay them. An amount was wired on the 6th from my bank of choice to Verizon Wireless. Online banking is supposed to be all convenient and whatnot. Fast, easy, etc. I sent it on the 6th. Also known as four days ago.

They shut off my service today. I'll grant, there's a weekend entrenched in those four days. But COME ON! I tried to make a call this morning about the possibility of some Voice-Over work, but did I connect on the call? No. I got re-connected with Verizon, where they wouldn't accept my correct zip code (?!). I was also informed that each interruption of theirs would be 'assessed' (a nicer word than charged) to the tune of $15. I've tried straightening it out four or five times, each time they wouldn't accept my zip code.

Now. I've also been in contact with my Bank this morning, and they confirmed that the amount was sent through on Friday. It took them 24 hours to process it from my account to the Verizon people. They also confirmed that in all likelihood, Verizon would have it registered some time this afternoon.

Is that fair? The money hasn't been mine since last week, but they can take their time to acknowledge it, which could end up costing me more money? I'm going to give them another call this afternoon. Yes, yes I am. I'm going to give them a few hours to register that the money was paid LAST WEEK, at which time if my service hasn't been re-established, and any 'interruption assessment' is stripped from my bill, I will be rather upset.

Squeaky wheel gets the grease, and what not.

There's that line again: I don't get angry at the bills I have to pay.

Okay. So yes I do get angry at the bills. But only when the bills bite back. Sons of bi*****.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

A Thought on the Gifts We Carry

We all have gifts. None of us are bereft of some talent, some special idiosyncratic skill that sets us apart. Everyone. It doesn’t matter if it is in regards to something practical, something useful, or something simply ethereal. Artists.

Art, as it’s been said, isn’t easy. I personally have never understood much of paint and canvas, but I know what art is. Art is anything created for the deliberate intent of evoking a reaction. It’s that simple.

Enter the Dork Element: I’m a huge fan of Highlander. Currently enjoying the 5th season, I made my way to an episode starring Lord Byron as an Immortal, a creative genius doing his thing for centuries. Given the plying of charcoal filtered whiskey, thoughts flow a little easier. Or at least, more well-lubricated. Regardless: there’s a scene of Byron in his element, reciting his poetry for an audience that hangs on his every word. And he thrives on it.

How many of us, how many of our gifts allow us to perform it in front of others? People with gifted hands don’t necessarily build furniture before an audience. Some virtuosos only play piano beautifully for themselves. Some of us just get lucky. I’m an actor. I’m also a writer. I express my thoughts, and I express scripted words, I perform. And I do it for a shitload of reasons. I do it for myself. I do it for the audience. I do it for the indescribable rush of feeling eyes keeping their gaze on me. I do it to vent whatever emotional baggage is pent up at the moment. I do it to flush out insignificant thoughts to make way for better ones.

I do it because I have to.

I’ve wandered off topic. The reason for writing this particular piece is because I had a moment tonight. I’m a wordsmith. But to a much greater degree I’m a storyteller. I had an audience of dear friends, and I shared a story or three with them about my favorite storyline. That of Tuxxer. Please understand, making this story a published reality is one of my greatest priorities. I’ve been working on it for so long, I have years’ worth of material, if it were measured in twelve 22-page increments a year. Years’ worth.

It’s interesting. Performers can go to their audiences to feed them, and both parties can end up… hungry for more. The author/speaker/actor wants more time to divulge and express, and the reader/listener/viewer wants more material to indulge in. I like it.

This isn’t the first time I’ve danced on the qwerty under the influence. Still. I don’t drive a car or flirt in this mood, so I think I’m doing alright. Rock on.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Back in the Trough

Tonight is the first night of rehearsals for The Comedy Pigs I have been to in quite some time. Yes, we had off for Christmas and New Year's, but before that I was involved in Proof and had no time to go to the improv group's practices. I like doing the Comedy Pig thing. It's fun. It's an opportunity to show off a bit (Improv is one of my best strengths).

They also do some sketches and singing, which is fun. I just don't know about something. When I joined the group, it was with the understanding that I could take a hiatus if a play came up that I wanted to focus on. That was Proof. Once it really got under way, I fell out of Frederick entirely. Now I'm ready to go back, but I wonder for how long? There are auditions in January and February I want to go to. If I make either of those shows, I'm right back where I was three months ago. Is that fair to the team? I don't know.

The other side, of course, is sticking strictly with the Pigs. (Great group, but the name could use work.) I was super-enthusiastic about joining the team in the first place because of my Chicago aspirations; namely to be a member of Second City some day. Learning the ropes when and where I can is integral to that.

It's the 'dog with two bones' scenario. The pooch stares at his reflection in a lake, with a bone in his mouth. The bone in the reflection looks pretty good, better than the one in his mouth. So, he drops his own to get at the one in his reflection, only to lose both. I don't want to be that guy- er, dog.

Meh. Any thoughts, people?

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Thanks, Granddad.

Hooray for the way things work out sometimes.

As a writer (among other things), having a printer that actually works is vital. I don't really have an office at home; I have a laptop, a coffee table, and an end table on which rested the recently defunct P.O.S. printer that was old, dirty, and finally, dead. This thing wasn't a top of the liner to begin with, but most of the time it still worked. Up until about a month ago.

I forget what I was trying to print out, likely a copy of my résumé in the continuing search for new employment. Instead of a list of my accomplishments, I get random spewy data that I can make neither heads nor tails of. Long live the printer, the printer is dead.

This was on the advent (bwa ha ha) of the Christmas season, and so I reluctantly asked my Dad if he could start looking around for cheap printers. I was planning to do the same. Not two weeks later, my Granddad's own scanner went kaput. His son, my uncle, convinced him to get a new printer/scanner that was one in both. Which left him with a relatively new (less than two years old) printer to dispose of.

Well. I picked it up from my Granddad last week, and despite a few hitches (making a second trip for the power cable, downloading needed software), it works like a charm. I printed out a copy of the different colored versions of the test page for Tuxxer, and the printer (an HP Deskjet 5550, discontinued line) handled the colors like a dream.

Granddad even threw in extra ink cartridges.

I know I like to complain. There are some good examples of my complaining prowess on this page, further down the line. But I ain't complainin'. Right now, I'm just thankful.

Thanks, Granddad. I owe you one.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Another Step.

Progress is a beautiful thing. Tuxxer continues to inch towards reality in ink and paper. I’m at the coloring stage, and am in the process of screening colorists. I’ve heard back from three so far. One has an extensive portfolio already, and declined to do one of the 12 pages to audition for the job. (I’ve seen his work, he did an issue of G.I. Joe.) Another has promised to have his demo page to me by Monday, and the third has already sent me his sheet.

It looks wonderful. I’m hesitant to post it on the web, as it might be a potential conflict to getting it published later on (no problem walking on eggshells there), but trust me when I say it looks great. The most satisfying part of all of it... it’s happening. It’s really happening.

I have no delusions about this being a hit, or even published. But I’m getting to the point where I can print it out and hold it in my hands, as finished pages of an actual comic book. Even if it’s only for me.

When I was in college, I wrote a novel. A Buffy novel (confirming, if it hadn’t already been managed, my everlasting Dork status), to be precise. I spent over a year putting it together, penning an original villain, writing flashbacks, placing the story in the timeline of the show where it could do the least damage. I was and remain a great fan of the show. The day I wrote “The End” was one of the coolest of my sophomore year. I made my submission to Pocket Books, by the book (fa fa fa) and in respect to all their rules and regulations. 20 months later, I got a letter (including the chapter of my manuscript) saying they weren’t interested.

It’s strange, but I was still high on cloud nine. The context of the rejection letter proved that they must have read it, pondered it, even if only to turn it down. I didn’t even mind that I couldn’t submit it anywhere else (the price of writing something for a franchise). I’d tackled it and finished it.

That’s part of the reason I’m campaigning for Tuxxer. It’s original as I can make it. It’s detailed, it’s interesting (according to the people that have read it), and it’s mine. Literally. If it doesn’t fly at one comic label, I can try it anywhere else I please. Regardless of whether or not it ever gets published, it’ll be finished. And that’s all the reason I need.