Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What's been up?

So what’s been up? Well, the obvious answer is: I’ve been busy.

-I finished the play about racing. You know, the play itself was so-so. The cast was pretty freaking fantastic, talent-wise. So a mediocre script was propped up by 9 good actors, in my opinion. And it was fun. I laughed a lot. I played cards a lot. But for the most part, I sat around in the back of the theatre reading. Paid to read. I think maybe I’ve been going about this acting thing wrong all these years. Instead of shooting for the longwinded/ look-at-me parts, I should have been shooting for the parts where the guy comes on stage, drops off a glass of wine to the main characters and then leaves. Then they sit in the back for two hours. That’s the life.

-I put in my notice at work. Yep, I’m getting out of the office world in favor of doing theatre as my regular gig. Now, truth be told, my new gig is educational theatre, which in the artistic world is probably just above being a mime or doing a Six Flags stunt show. But you know what? I’ve been in a crappy cubicle for the last 10 years. So talking to broccoli about how many nutrients it has can’t be any worse than what I’ve been doing. I’m nervous and excited and am hoping for the best. There are a couple of things I’d probably change if I had my druthers but hey, nothing is perfect. So new material for Hayder may be harder to come by.

-Directing a show. That’s a nice change of pace. I think I’d be more nervous about it if I had had time to be nervous. But I didn’t. I pretty much leapt into it after the racing show. When I was a kid, my pal Charlie had all the coolest toys. GI JOE. Transformers. He-Man. That giant Godzilla and the Shogun Warriors. And a swimming pool. All the stuff I didn’t have. Anyway, that’s what directing these guys is like. I’m getting to play with all their toys. All the toys I don’t have. It’s fun when you look at it like that. But I’m trying to be conscious of letting them play with their toys too. And, if I were being honest with myself, I’d tell you I’m not an optimist. But I’m very optimistic about this show. I think you’ll like it. It’s called Fingertips and it starts at Dad’s Garage on July 10th.

-Won an award for Mojo the other night. That was cool. It seemed kind of unfair because everyone in that show was so good and the set was so good and the costumes and lighting were soooo freaking good. So it was pretty easy to come in and just do the thing. But it’s nice to be recognized. Nice to sit around with friends and drink. I’ve had a nice 3 year run for getting the best actor award for shows at Dad’s. I think next year I won’t be so lucky because I have nothing on the horizon with them, acting-wise. But this looks like it will be a good year anyway. Lots of good stuff in the works.

What about you? How are you?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bachelor Party

It's been awhile but daddy still loves you.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lord I love this

And that boxer is Paulie Malinaggi, The Magic Man. If you remember me telling a story about a guy who got a hair weave before he fought and they ended up cutting it during the fight, that's him!

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Hellish, hellish audition

Well, I think the opportunity has been missed so I think I’m safe to talk about this now.

I auditioned for Second City on Wednesday. I didn’t get a callback and that’s OK. However, and this is the way I’m trying to look at things these days, it was a hilarious experience.

I think they just opened the doors and let whoever wanted to audition in. I think that’s how things are marketed now: interest will be drummed up by letting a bunch of people audition and let all those people create buzz based on their own excitement. And ineptitude.

Anywho, I loved this audition. It wasn’t a good one for me, per se, but it was a great character study.

First, you walk into the main room and there’s a bunch of folks standing around, waiting to go in. There’s the normal posturing and nervousness. I’m fine with that. That’s pretty much any audition for anything. Then they call you into the room. It’s like a dance rehearsal room, mirrors on the wall, no windows, and a table with Second City folks and Alliance people. They politely nod while they sift through headshots and resumes and try to match you with your shot. I should add that the invitation into the room involved the intern standing at the door with it open and standing there looking at everyone like they’re assholes, which we kind of were. Anyway, him giving us attitude for not knowing that standing at the door meant we’re supposed to come in set the tone. We were not welcome. They were tired and tired of looking at people.

So we go in (3 guys, 3 girls) and we do a couple of quick warm-ups. Zip-zap-zop. Connecting with your scene partners by saying ‘hello’ and other phrases, really basic stuff. But some of the folks were already thrown by this. Bad sign number 2.

Then we have to line up and say one thing about ourselves. And bytheway, it can’t be related to theatre or performance. One lady said she was also a singer and song writer and writer. Um, OK, that’s sort of not related. The girl beside me said that her cat was just killed by her neighbor’s dog. She also added that she ‘didn’t have anything else about herself that wasn’t related to theatre.’ This is sad on many levels. One, her cat died. That sucks. I loves the animals and feel great empathy for them. Two, she had NOTHING in her life besides that cat that wasn’t related to theatre! That dog single-handedly removed her anchor to the outside world. She’s now spiralling into a theatrical oblivion with no connection to the rest of the world. Like The Flash when he was lost in time. Please, girl, find a hobby or a love interest or a TV show or a person in prison to become pen-pals with. Because theatre and performance are cool but you can’t show a life on stage if you have no life that doesn’t involve the stage. Get it?

Next we did short scenes. I should let you know, I’m not awesome at improv. I’m passable. I can be in a scene with a good person and do allright. I can be in a scene with a bad person and keep my head above water or sink horribly. That’s about it. I’m a B- improviser who probably didn’t deserve to be there. So first off they say two person short scenes. This means no involvement from a third or fourth person. So in the first scene, one lady immediately joins the scene, thus making it a three person scene. Bad omen numero 3. I liked this choice because I got to watch the people at the table makes faces. They were hilariously shocked. I’d be willing to bet they saw a graphic battle of bad improve that whole week, but I’d like to think we were a little better than the worst.

For my VERY FIRST SCENE, I got paired with the singer-song writer-writer. I decided to drink a cup of imaginary coffee. I make a slurpy noise to show I’m drinking. I hold my fingers in a way one holds a mug handle. I’m not Marcel Marceau but I get by. Anyway, she walks up, points at my hand and says, ‘what’s that?’ Now we’re experiencing a Pandora’s Box of bad omens. And so it went. She asked me what I was doing and what I was looking at until the scene mercifully ended. Singer? Maybe. Song-writer? Possibly. Writer? Doubtfully. Improviser? Unquestionably not. One of her scenes, she asked the dead cat girl to give her report on Barrack Obama and proceeded t just ask her questions about Barrack. Woo, that’s some good-bad improv.

Let’s just say the rest of the audition went about the same. One woman opened the scene by
yelling at me, “NO! NO! NO! NO!” and pretty much kept that motif through the rest of the scene. I hadn’t even done anything but hold a mimed gun (when I’m scared, I start scenes with mimed items, and these people scared me to no end). I don’t even think she saw the mimed gun. She just started screaming at me. And one point, she took the mime gun then gave it back to me and screamed No! Oh yeah, and one scene she just wanted to dance. I tried to start a convo with her but she just wanted to dance. So we danced.

There were two guys in my group who knew each other. They had chemistry and experience together. I didn’t share that chemistry with them but I thought they did pretty well together. My last scene was with one of them but he and I couldn’t get on the same page. We were supposed to be backstage at an opera house. When I saw him, I got excited and asked for his autograph to which he said, “Why, because I’m the guy who designed this building?” He might have felt pimped because I tried to make him into an opera singer and he didn’t want to do that. I dunno. Things had pretty much tanked for me anyway.

Still, a couple of ladies I know made it to callbacks, and that’s cool. And my friend Jo-Jo reminded me that it’s cool to audition for Second City if nothing else. And now I have this keen story about being stuck in the third level of Dante’s Inferno, which is being stuck in a room with no windows and watching bad improv and being forced to perform it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

New Year's Resolutions- Late edition

With April almost gone and May right around the corner, I can see a clear pattern emerging for the year. I didn’t make New Year’s resolutions this year due to how depressing how I accomplished none of the previous year’s resos. With this in mind, I think of New Year’s resolutions I should have made for this year and how on track I would be to accomplish them.

-Smirk more. I find myself smirking a lot. I blame Harrison Ford in BladeRunner’s special edition that I just picked up. Nobody looks more satisfied after a good smirk than Harry Ford. Plus I’ve had a lot of smirk-worthy moments over the last few months. I may have to switch sides that I smirk on so the right side of my face doesn’t get too built up.

-Eat more unsatisfying foods. I can’t seem to win with my comfort foods lately, and believe me, my comfort foods aren’t really that special. KFC and Pizza Hut top the list and both of them have just been terrible. What gives??? Usually fast food gives me a weird sense of shame, but now it’s giving shame and disappointment. Colonel and um, whatever Pizza hut’s guy is, get back in the game! I need comfort food and a bit of shame and you’re falling short.
-Have more mysterious ailments. I can’t seem to turn my head lately without pulling a muscle in my head, neck or back. Suddenly, I’m fragile.

-Almost get hit by lightening. Was 20 feet away from a telephone pole that got hit yesterday. It was like that scene from The Natural. And it scared the shit out of me. And it made my left arm feel tingly.

-Grow a crazy beard. Usually before my beard can get too crazy, someone tells me to cut it. However, no one is telling me to cut it so I’m growing a crazy beard. I wanted to get a haircut (and have the theatre pay for it) so I’ve just let my hair go and my beard go, but so far, everyone seems fine with it. Is it only a matter of time before the wilderness calls me? Is it only a matter of time before I start sleeping with bears? Um, I mean the animal, not burly gay men.

-Watch an ironically depressing movie. Done. Mission accomplished. Superheroes: We work for tips. Anyone catch that one? It’s about people in Hollywood who want to be famous so they dress up as superheroes in front of Man’s Chinese Theatre and take pictures with people. I guess it was supposed to be very nudge-nudge, wink-wink, but instead it just struck me as incredibly sad. The folks in it have the “I want to be famous at ANY cost” bug (that weird spacey creepiness of reality show people) and are slightly (or more than slightly) delusional about it. The positives I got out of it were my love for the crazy Batman guy who has more holes and gaps in his life than Crisis on Infinite Earths and also that now, when I see a camera somewhere, I act like I’m going to ‘get discovered’, even if it’s a camera at the bank or someone taking a picture of a building.

-Lose all respect for the Miss America contest. Not that I ever respected it, really. And not that that blonde haired box of rock’s comments on gay marriage did it either. It was the fact that that waste of space Perez Hilton was one of the judges. How exactly is he qualified for that? What has he ever done but leach onto famous people? I’d have more respect for him if he dressed up as a superhero in Hollywood.

-Learn to love Battlestar Gallactica and Heroes. Got the first seasons of both of those. Battlestar, after years of people telling me I’d love it, and so I do. A cool balance of real and fantasy. As for Heroes (another show people have told me to watch for years now), well, I’m trying. It’s not quite clicking but I’m only two episodes in, and I’m guessing it’s one of those shows that takes a bit to find its legs.

-Write more, sleep less. For better or worse, this would have been a great resolution. I always seem to write a lot when I’m tired. And there seems to be no shortage of stuff I need to write. On the upside, my play Spoon got picked up and will be performed in 2010, so that’s a good thing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Fool's Day 2

This is dedicated to my coworkers, who are very serious about their April Fool's pranks.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

You CAN go home again, you'll just need a map

Had to go to a funeral this weekend. Never a comfortable thing. Oddly, the funeral was in my old stomping grounds of Warner Robins, where I lived the first 8 or so years of my life. A couple of funny observations:

-I still remember my way around the town. We got lost. I took a wrong turn. It was at night so most of the places were closed. My wife spotted a closed store and said, “Roses. I wonder what that place is.” Well it turns out I knew exactly what Roses was. I used to get Star Wars action figures there when I was a kid. And it was still there. I said, “If there’s a Krispy Kreme up here on the right and a movie theatre on the left, we’re in Macon and need to turn around.” Turns out they were still there and we were in Macon. Not bad for not having been in that area in 25 years or so.

-Byron, which is the area I spent the majority of my time, looked completely different on the outside but was exactly the same on the inside. Something is off about that area. I mean that in a great way. That area is off like I’m off. I stopped by a Target to get some sinus meds and everyone in that place was not quite right. This culminated into this obese young boy with thick glasses walking up to me and saying, “Hello, sir” and that was it. These are my people. My weird, the hills have eyes-like people.

-I got lost several times while I was there. I brought no instructions other than some hastily scribbled stuff on the back of a daily calendar page. So stuck in the middle of nowhere (central Georgia is sort of a geographical anomaly like that, in that you’re always in the middle of nowhere) and unable to find a gas station to ask directions, I saw a little bar called “Friends” with nothing else around it. It was packed. I told my wife to stay in the car and lock the doors and wait while I went inside. This incident echoed a similar time in Ireland where we got lost and I stopped at a bar for directions.

Anywho, I went to the bar and asked the bartender for directions back to the interstate. She said, “It’s too loud in here,” because it was karaoke night, “let’s go outside and I’ll tell you.” Now I thought the bar was one of those ones where the bar area is lower than the seats around the bar. So I waited for her to step up from behind the bar but she never did. She was exactly that height. Probably about four feet tall. And dressed as a catholic school girl. Reminded me of the Britney Spear’s “Hit me baby one more time” video if the vertical hold on your TV was screwed up. Anyway, she got me back on the interstate. For a tiny person, she was very pretty.

-While driving through Macon, I drove past a bar called 8 Ballerz. 8 Ballerz featured airbrushed pictures of Eazy-E, Snoop Dogg and Too Short out in front of it. It was pretty shocking. All I could manage to think was “Why Too Short?”

-Ritz soda. I’ve never seen it anywhere else but Byron. I used to drink a Ritz soda (they come in all sorts of flavors) that was Pina Colada all the time. It had little floaty bits of coconut (maybe) in it. It was SUPER sweet. Anyway, stopped off at a convenience store (I’ll tell you a story about that store next) and they still carried it! I couldn’t bring myself to have one again, though. It is a creepy looking drink, all murky with bits floating in it.

-Stopped off at the last convenience store I went to when I lived in Warner Robins (which sold Pina Colada soda). I was 8 or 9 the last time I was there. All of our stuff loaded into my grandparent’s farm truck, I was very upset to leave Georgia for Florida. My mom said I could get a comic book from this store while we were fueling up with gas. I loved Iron Man so I grabbed the latest issue of it. It was set during Christmas and Tony Stark (alias Iron Man) was a horrible alcoholic and spent the whole issue pretty much staggering around the town. It was DEPRESSING. Iron Man wasn’t even in the damn thing. And that’s what I read on the way to Florida at 9 years old.

Well I checked to see if they still sold comic books but they didn’t. They did sell Big, Black and Beautiful, though. If only my mom had bought me that way back when. What a different trip that might have been for me.

-A shout-out to my mate Daniel who has moved on from this mortal coil. He was my wife’s cousin. A really cool cat; very animated and excited and intense in the best possible way. He loved writing and music and landscaping and movies. I really liked talking to Daniel at AC’s family gatherings. He was just jazzed about everything he was into and was a freaking whirlwind. He always wanted to talk to me about making films and screenplays he was writing. Met a bunch of his friends this weekend and they were all such nice dudes. Very befitting of a guy who had a lot of soul, sometimes a troubled soul, but always a good soul. He loved intensely and was loved intensely. RIP.