Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Switch Hitter

senator arlen specter of pennsylvania has become a democrat!

the moderate republican announced today that he was leaving the grand ole party to caucus with the dems and run as a democrat next year in his pennsylvania senate race.

assuming al franken wraps up the ongoing senate battle in minnesota, specter's defection would give the blue party a 60-member, filibuster-proof majority in the senate.

i'm sure much of this decision comes from specter's internal polling which shows him in a rather unfavorable position with most conservatives. his support of obama's stimulus alone could cost him his seat.

in a news conference today, specter said:
I know I'm disappointing many of my colleagues. The disappointment runs in both directions....I'm putting principle at the top of the list.
specter added "the decision has been reached as i have traveled the state in the last several months. specifically, i got my home poll results last friday...and consulted with my campaign managers and had a long discussion."

i think in an ever-bluing new england, he saw the writing on the wall and wants to do all he can to reach his sixth term.

his statement reads:
Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right."

Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.
welcome to the party, arlen.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

On the Boards

well, i'm trying to focus this blog a bit more on theatre as of late... the blog title would insinuate that it should involve more theatre musings. and i've been hitting up the theatre a lot more lately. i've decided it's shameful how little theatre i see since i want to make a life in that arena. and there's so much theatre in houston. i want to try and see AT LEAST one play a month. i've actually been seeing much more than that.... i'll try to take these in order.

rabbit hole by david lindsay-abaire
i have great respect for this play and i thought it was incredibly powerful in its simplicity. simple plot. simple language. linear construction. deep, conflicted characters. everything i think i strive for when i write.

the play focuses on a couple dealing with the loss of their four year old son. "dogs chase squirrels. boys chase dogs." it's really about how different people grieve in different ways and how a simple phrase can bring back a memory that causes sadness or anger. it's about finding or attempting to assign blame when it's truly an accident. you blame yourself. you blame the driver.

stages repertory theatre really put on a top-notch production here. and the play quietly makes its way to a quiet conclusion. a fitting one: the couple still trying to cope but giving hints that they will move on. it's a quiet conclusion one without a big dramatic blow out. it's what i want for my play. so this play gave me comfort in what i've created with stop, traveler.

and - it won the pulitzer.

the only down-side....? i submitted a piece to the FOO (festival or originals) about a couple dealing with the loss of their 16 year old son. it hits on a lot of the same themes and i'm afraid people will think i stole the idea. oh well.

five flights by adam bock
a curious play... more interested in language and the absurdity of organized religion than much else. this was put on by unhinged productions which is a local theatre group that is committed to putting on plays that deal with gay themes. they are a group i want to submit to but i've been less-than impressed by the majority of their past productions.

but this was a fine piece of theatre... better actors (save for one laughably bad dolt) and a better theatre space..... the play focuses on three siblings who have to decide what to do with an aviary built by their late father that he built to house the soul of his wife that died years earlier. birds as vessels for the human soul in a constant theme and one character even wants to turn the aviary into a church (the church of the 5th day - the day god created birds). two of the siblings are seen... ed (gay) and adele (possibly gay). the other brother we never meet... but his rigid and anal wife is there and tells us all we need to know.

the themes were really interesting and i liked the simplistic staging. again - something i want for my piece. so i may look into this partnership a bit more. but the play was good.... not great... but there are moments of poetry and real intimate realizations.

mr. bock could be someone to look out for in the future.

in the bar of a tokyo hotel by tennessee williams
how could i pass up an opportunity to see tennessee williams in a black box production?

this is a seldom-produced williams play that came late in his career. 1969, i believe. it is also very personal.... and somewhat uncomfortable to watch.

depending on who you ask will depend on how they see the plot. mark and miriam are a married couple staying at a tokyo hotel. miriam likes to drink away the day and flirt with almost any man - but in particular, the japanese barman. mark is a painter clearly suffering a mental collapse. he is developing a new form of art... and actually thinks he is the first to discover color.

one person may say this is the two parts of mr. williams. the conflicted, insane artist and the alcoholic letch.

someone else may say tennessee has constructed a portrait of mr. and mrs. jackson pollack.

i tend to lean towards the former. although i believe this production decided to bring out more of the latter. it's a really interesting little play. a long one act drawn into a two act for this production. there is some great use of language in this piece. most of the crowd i saw it with seemed lost, confused and joked about the oddness of the play. i found it rather compelling. and placing it in a black box theatre made it very intimate. i'm in love with intimate theatres.

the lead actress and the barman were the standouts... although - it's odd to see the stereotyping of the japanese barman. i found the other two men a bit weak... in particular the actor who played mark....who seemed too incoherent and lost from the beginning... it gave him no place to go.

i found the original review of the first production in the times. it seems to hit everything pretty well. plus - it's just a funny, snarky read.

wallflower by deborah stein
this was a world premiere at stages repertory theatre. i was really excited to see this.... a revolution is started by a simple youtube posting. the girl (she's 16, i believe) is then holed up in an apartment when the authorities begin looking for her. her sister and her lover become her only companions and her link to news of the outside.

the use of technology was very interesting in this play... the idea of a youtube video starting a revolution seems very prescient. of course, the revolution quickly takes a violent turn....a turn unwelcomed by milena (the poster) but just the ticket for her lover.

there are odd moments of misogyny in the play which is particularly strange considering a woman wrote the piece. i can only assume she intends for us to see the lover in this way.

ultimately, however, what we see on stage does not seem nearly as interesting as what we hear about taking place outside.

stein struggles to fill just under 90 minutes with the three stuck in the apartment... and i think the idea would be better served if she had opened the action up to the outside.

who are these followers? how does milena react when actually faced with her revolution and not just hearing about it?

a disappointment.... and i've heard that the majority of audiences have felt the same way.

all the pretty little horses by nancy geyer
this was the second play in the wordsmyth reading series. what i heard from individuals the most was the dichotomy of the two audiences between my play and this one. there was about a 30 year difference in the median age. it was crazy.

but a very nice turn out and just as odd a talkback.

i found the play about a lonely woman who is taken prisoner in her remote farm house by a younger, overtly religious man who may or may not have killed his mother somewhat intriguing.

my friend told me it reminded her of a lesser "good country people" by flannery o'connor and i went home and reread the short story and she's right. similar but different... but definitely the same feel of the warped, southern gothic.

i felt there was too little push back from the woman when the man barges into her home. and i say "barges in" but he's almost let in (or so it felt). and you immediately know where the story is taking you.... they will fuck and they will profess love... but ultimately, of course, they part.

i recommend the o'connor story much more. i forgot how much i enjoy reading ole flannery. i'm sure i had read "good country people" before but i didn't remember it... the description and characterization of joy is really something special. interesting that she's so hard and, really, dislikable going into the story... and then this horrible thing happens to her.

of course, o'connor's greatest talent is combining the southern gothic with the darkly, humorous.

next weekend
my friend steven and i see the seven year itch next weekend. i'll be sure to include some thoughts.

now go out and see some theatre...


Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Final Curtain Call for Bea

long before women and gay men around the world started asking each other "which sex and the city character are you?" - they were asking "which golden girl are you?"

the answers were always clear for me: miranda and dorothy.

and today we lost dorothy.

yes, the great bea arthur passed away from cancer today at the age of 86.

she will be best known for her stints as maude and dorothy but long before her days on television she was a diva on broadway. she originated the role of vera charles in the musical mame. she was the original yente the matchmaker in fiddler on the roof.

a few years ago i was fortunate enough to see ms. arthur on broadway in her one woman show: just between friends.

i had already seen elaine stritch's one woman show on that trip and thought we might be better served seeing another show... but my friend james was insistent and since i dragged him to stritchie's show (of which he followed little, i think), i owed him.

he found us tickets on the third row.... center.

it was an amazing show. hilarious. sardonic. classic bea.

she started the show with a simple phrase: "i'd like to talk to you about lamb..." then she quickly rambled into a story/recipe before stopping suddenly and asking: "you are interested, aren't you?"

and of course we were.

we hung on her every word. laughed at every joke. loved every song. it was one of the highlights of the trip... listening to bea sing "the man in the moon is a lady" from mame. or "what can you get a nudist for her birthday?" asking "tell me on the level...can i send her a muff?"

or explaining that angela lansbury has "a mouth like a longshoreman."

i adored bea arthur. she was the type of quick-witted, strong, independent woman i love.

i'm sitting here listening to my cd of her one woman show (yes, i'm the type of fag that collects cast recordings and the like) and i'm a bit melancholy knowing this talented actress has left us.

she will be missed....

but i thought she deserved one last chance to take a bow at curtain.

farewell, bea.


Thursday, April 23, 2009


where have i been? what has happened to me....?

have i been held captive by spitzle the clown the past couple of months?

all these questions and more shall be answered soon.


i've been neglectful. and i apologize. i'm debating a press tour à la eliot spitzer, but my agent is a bit of a flake. and if he can't get me the cover of newsweek, well, what's the point?

it'll work itself out.

see you soon.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Night Critters? Seriously...?!?

so last night i was startled out of my sleep at about 12:30am by either the terrorists upstairs or a large rat trying to get into my closet via a crawl space. either way.... i was certain it was the latter and had to get up, throw on some clothes and shoes (it ain't bitin' my feet!) and arm myself...

this included a large blanket, big box and a long broom.

i attempt to locate the rodent. i poke around in the closet with the broom. it does not appear.....

i shove everything that's on the floor in my closet tightly against the tiny door that leads into the crawl space. i then place an old suitcase in front of the door to block the space between said door and floor.

i was then left to stare at my closet for some time before i decided i should at least read until i heard my night visitor again....

i think i last looked at my clock and it was around 3am...maybe later.

i slept with a light on... broom and box next to my bed... and woke up about once an hour until 6:30 this morning... when i was pretty much up for the workday.

i'm tired.

and i'm still not sure if it was the construction of the dirty bomb upstairs or an unwelcome nighttime guest that ended my restful night.

these are my "girly" moments.... when i wish i had a big, butch partner to go into the closet and search out the offender.

damn my inability to open up... it's cost me a rat-catcher boyfriend.

at least i finished my book.