Wednesday, October 31, 2007

ripped from the headlines

Yesterday's edition, but still:

Chris Bond, Republican from Missouri (which is my home state, also the stomping grounds of our man John Ashcroft who against all odds turned out to be one of the saner of the New Crazies) was trying to defend the indefensible yesterday.

We all know we don't torture, but when we do torture, (which we don't) we don't call it torture and of course we don't torture in the first place, but sometimes there are good reasons to torture. Not that we'd ever do such a thing.

The new word is "coercion".

Talking about the information we've gained from not torturing people, Chris Bond, weak and bland as James is strong, is quoted as saying,

"Coercion has opened the dialogue."

And I was always told you were supposed to open with a joke.

And one of the great all-time obits ran yesterday, online anyway:

Khun Sa, Drug King, Dies at 73

Come on. Drug King? How cool is that? Imagine if they had to sum up your whole life and they came up with Drug King. I am the King of All Drugs! Bow before me Psylocibin! Kneel, you Narcotics and Opiates! Pledge to me, all ye Green and Leafy Herbs!

Fucking Drug King. And he dies at 73, making him Good King Drug King. And if I could get people to start calling me something like Khun Sa, I would answer without a smile.

"Is Khun Sa coming?"

"Yeah, Khun's coming, he's running a little late, but he'll be here."

"Khun! How you doing, man? This is Jim, Jim this is my friend Khun, he's that Drug King I was telling you about..."

So long, Khun, and may the heavens be empty of Feds. Guy was probably some kind of homicidal lunatic, but he scored a great obit.

More on business tomorrow, good things are popping with the League and the EIF project.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

how do you drive this thing?

Good first step was achieved last night on the long journey of actually establishing the League of Independent Theater. We have a Steering Committee. So far, this esteemed group of, in my estimation, esteemed people, includes:

Me, of course. World-class equestrian and raconteur.
Paul Bargetto, AD of East Village Commedia and bomb-thrower from way back.
John Pinckard, hot-shot young producer type, winner of that big new hot-shot young producer award.
Martin Denton, He Who Knows All, publisher, editor, man behind New York Theater Experience, Inc.
Paul Adams, AD of Emerging Artists Theatre.
Erez Ziv, Hero of East 4th Street, man who runs Horse Trade Theater, twice voted Most Likely to Become and Already Actually is a Rabbi.
Michael Gardner, one of the geniuses behind The Brick and an old Theatorium Alumni.
Abby Marcus of Vampire Cowboy Theater, by day General Manager of the Dramatists Guild, by night an actual Vampire Cowboy, smartest person in any room I've ever sat in.
Steve Kovacs, Hero of the Fringe, First Class. Awarded numerous combat stars during the Battle of El Bohio, 2000, Carrier of the Soldered Screwdriver.
Jennifer Conley Darling, whom I'm going to start calling "Dahlling!" until she tells me to stop, runs Terra Nova Collective.

Christ, I hope I'm not forgetting anyone.

This group is still forming, so if you're reading this and thinking you should be on the list, do tell. Not a lot of glory in this one, this is a working group with a hard deadline. Goals include: write by-laws, statement of purpose, determine membership categories and secure nonprofit status, all this and more by the end of the year.

Time to dance.

Monday, October 29, 2007

sox win

I married into Red Sox Nation. Nancy grew up in Greenfield, MA, wilds of the Berkshires and her father is a stone Boston fanatic. By birth I'm a Cardinals fan, but it was good to see the boys sweep the Rockies last night. I'm just imagining someone from London trying to decipher all that.

Glorious weekend up near New Paltz at Sheila and Norma's place, perfect fall weather, smoked pork by the plateful, hi-larity abounding. Smoked pork. Deserves its own sentence.

Sheila is a brilliant actress, performer and writer and as all who know her know, also a confirmed pyromaniac. If it can be burned, Sheila has probably burned it. So when we go up to their little place by the river up there in the woods, we let it burn, baby. They have a big fire pit out in the side yard and it gets very tribal. Saturday night the women all sensibly went to bed around 11:00, leaving me and a lonely bottle of single malt to guard the fire. Sat there and stared into those flames for an hour, alone, darkness all around me. Anyone watching would have thought "Time to call the authorities. Do it now while he's still planning the rampage. Quickly now. Call the police." But I was wishing no harm or foul, I was getting down to the bottom of a few things. How much did we lose when we stopped staring into fires all night? Seriously. Settles the mind in a very distinct and beautiful way.

Sunday we took a forced march into New Paltz and fell into one of those effortless quip-fests that can occur when naturally funny people relax and start laughing. Highlights include the concept of a "front-heiney" (can't go into that here), snakes on bicycles and Norma and Sheila's tandem monkey walk. Oh man. Two good people who know how to live.

Anyway, to work. Lots of writing due this week, god help me. Meeting tomorrow with Elena to talk about the Overlord project, phone meeting with Susan out at St. Annes. Have to find a big space, ideally a proscenium theater, to work on this thing for two weeks in January/February. Any ideas, please do tell. We've got some money, but I'm really looking for a place we can use for free. Imagine that.

Also, check out Zack Mannheimer's latest post, it's a good read, questioning the idea of a meaningful"community" of New York theater artists. He's at

Friday, October 26, 2007


Held a very exciting and productive nascent League of Independent Theater meeting last night. Goal is to recruit a Steering Committee to birth this beast. So gratifying to sit in a room with people smarter than yourself in so many areas and have them all nodding their heads at the same time. Feels like a good idea whose time has come. Many questions and statements and whatnots to come, I'll be looking for everybody's reaction. Watch this space as they say in the advertising bidness.

Other highlights of the week:

Jude and Ben from Grid Iron theatre are in town from Scotland, had a drink with them last night. Well, several. Known these guys for years, they won the big Carol Tambor Award a few years back, they're in town scouting for an outside location for their children's thing that New Victory is bringing over next fall. Tribal kin from another kingdom. Sitting in a bar bitching and laughing about the exact same things, knowing the ending of each other's stories as soon as we hear the set-up.

Great meeting with Audrey and Eric of Bouffon Glass Menagerie. They're thinking about Edinburgh next year, I'm pitching them to help out with the Overlord development. Need me some clowns and a good clown wrangler.

Nancy and I went out to Long Island City to see Robert Pritchard's new space, the Queensbridge Theater. Robert ran Surf Reality for years, he was a veteran when I doped onto the scene. Great to see him having a second or third act. Space is massive and Robert's business parter bought it. Oh yes. Six story warehouse in LIC, owned by the man. They are talking massive cash to make it state-of-the-art, shooting to open in the spring. From the L.E.S. to the L.I.C., Pritchard remains a pioneer, right out there ahead of the curve.

Figured out the White Stripes' Icky Thump. Start on track 6, Prickly Thorn but Sweetly Worn and you can rock right through to the end. If you have a low tolerance for faux Celtic soul nonsense, then start on track 8, Little Cream Soda. Either way, 8-13 are worth the cost of the album. Little Cream Soda, Rag and Bone, I'm Slowly Turning into You and the killer closer Effect and Cause are as good as anything these guys have done. Nancy listened to the beginning of the album a few times and said it sounded derivative. I thought, well, sure. But it's derivative of Zeppelin and AC/DC, so that's like being derivative of God. Am I spelling derivative right? Looks weird.

That's me. Hope everyone's well.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Jim Croce lives!

Singing in the shower last week (I shower every week whether I need to or not), I discovered that if I drop down into my bass register and keep breathing, I'm one of the most outstanding male vocalists of all time. I'm talking stirring, soul-lifting change-your-life kind of singing. I was doing Crash Test Dummies "Superman Song" and almost made the cat cry.

Nancy and my sisters bought me a guitar for my birthday a few years back. I learned a few chords and then put it in a corner. It's still there.

So my plan is to pick that guitar back up, keep singing low and hit the Grammys around 2012.

In other news:

Black Watch is in town, absolutely worth your time and money. Saw it in Edinburgh last year and thought, "I've got to raise my game." Really beautiful stuff.

Kinderspiel closes this weekend at Under Saint Marks. Run your ass over there.

Meeting tonight with a small braintrust to jumpstart this League of Independent Theater I've been mumbling about. It's a small braintrust, not a small brain trust, if you see what I mean. Heh heh. Small brain trust. Will let you know what comes out of that.

Meantime, I'm going to work on my scales.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

it came from the vault

Something called Two Beliefs. Big essay I never finished writing.

There are two beliefs, two visions of where and who we are.

There is the belief that frankly, it’s over. The age of achievement and adventure and progress and magic and creation and power is over and done and we’re left to dust things off and try not to knock them over. We are at best custodians in the Museum of Culture, an empty and rarely visited reliquary. The clearest contemporary example of this belief is the Actors Studio, where hundreds of talented, smart, ambitious young performers stream every year and are taught a more extreme and explicit practice of ancestor worship than was ever dreamed possible in the ancient East. “These are the immortals”, the students are taught, “and how sad for you that you did not walk among them.” Class dismissed.

This belief is part and parcel of the larger, defeatist and juvenile nonsense one hears about the End of History. We are living at the End of History, we are told. This is exactly the same as an old wizened man proclaiming the End of Sex. Yes, the reply runs, for you. The rest of us, however, still plan on getting laid.

Yes, a phase is over, but, remember, text-based realistic narrative is a relatively recent and extremely provincial definition of theater. The relative exhaustion of this genre and the audience’s evident desire for something else is an enormous opportunity, not a reason for despair.

The bemoaning and funeral orations of the great producers of the past are not a contemporary phenomenon. It’s an immemorial, cyclical exercise of our profession as well as our country. Most of my generation don’t remember Sam Shubert, Max Webber, Lew Fields or any of the immortals from eighty years ago. When the rowdies and riverboat gamblers and roughriders of the past are gone, it’s an American tradition to mourn those carefree, devil-may-care iconoclasts and pronounce the current age as one of humdrum homogeneity and creeping corporatization. But those hurried and sentimental historians among us need only to read their history books again to see that the next chapter always brings a new pack of irregulars lining up on the horizon, slouching and ambling into town.

As far as new media, the talkies were supposed to kill theater. Television was supposed to kill theater. Video games, DVDs, chat rooms, whatever new Frankenstein is coming towards us, it’s supposed to kill theater too. The truth is, theater is just like a plague and only the plague can kill the plague. Theater only kills itself. Yes, our numbers have dwindled since the beginning of the last century, as have the number of horse-drawn carriages, but we’re still around. And I think the relative decline and disrepute of our profession has more to do with the lack of imagination and energy on our part than the glamour and ubiquity of our supposed competition.

Then there is the belief that is so outlandish and childish that it takes a great act of will to even begin to stutter it out in public, the belief that is actually, of course, the truth, a truth so evident and manifest that it takes an even greater act of will to deny. This is the belief that we are the geniuses, that life is creating itself right now, this moment, that we are swimming in an ocean of creation.

For those museum guards and curators among you, those whose greatest ambition is to imitate and be placed among the Immortals of time past, please do the rest of us a favor and shut the fuck up and go home.

It is hard enough to maintain one’s faith and vision in this country, in this time, but when one’s own colleagues and ostensible peers have already secretly given up the fight and have nothing to offer but empty armories and paper support, it is all one can do to gather the strength to bring pen to paper and scribble out a suicide note. So please, please, ye of little faith, leave.

Go and get jobs in marketing. Go and get jobs in sales. You are bright, you are imaginative, you are personable. Get the hell out of the way and go find your fortune. You don’t really like the theater anyway, honestly, you stumbled or drifted into it, recognized that you were smarter and more ambitious than most and a career began to appear around you without much effort or thought on your part. Imagine what you can do in a field you actually care about. Imagine how much happier you will be. Go to new media, the Internet, real estate, something for gods sake, just please get the hell off of the stage and out of our theatres.

Now for those of you that have read the following and despite all your best efforts, despite all the clear-eyed calculation you can bring to the question, there is still a flicker, still an undeniable tug towards the idea of a life spent in the theatre, a life mind you, not another few years, not until something else comes up, but a life, if there is still the dimmest sense of a calling towards the difficult, dangerous, dirty, doomed and damned theatre, then I’m sorry and overjoyed to tell you that you’re stuck. You are infected with Artaud’s plague. You must find a way to honor your whorish bride. You must track your own individual journey across the tightrope swaying ahead. I can’t help you. Your teachers can’t help you. Your friends and all your books can’t help you. It’s up to you. The future is up to you.

We change the world. Every day, with every gesture, word, breath and thought. There is no one else to change it. We change it into a place of acceptance and resignation and apathy and disquiet and resentment and mutual hostility or we change it into a place of courage, strength, risk and love. With every action. With every thought. With every word.

And for us in the theater, with every play. So, what are you changing the world into?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I am not Ronald Reagan

I've realized the phrase "Nancy and I" keeps cropping up in my writing and speech. Can't help but think of that evil old cocksucker and his terrifying undead spouse.

"Well, Nancy and I are glad you've joined us in our complete and knowing contempt for the poor. With your help, we can wreck this economy and get things back to the feudal system. Thank you my fellow rich white people. Ahh... Americans. My fellow Americans."

So, for the record, I'm not Dutch.

Missed the NYTR party last night at PS 122, but only because I miss everything. Bet it was a hoot. Those crazy kids.

Narrowed down the big Edinburgh International Festival Award project to two possibilities.

They are:

Captain Overlord’s Folly or The Fool’s Revenge (working title)

What begins as a Shavian well-made play of ideas is disrupted by the appearance, infiltration and eventual full-frontal assault of a gang of bouffou clowns. Having driven the actors from the stage, the clowns (or fools) attempt to stage the play from the beginning, only to be infiltrated and defeated by a posse of post-dramatic theater academics. A live-action history lesson of 20th century theater theory, Overlord is at the same time a funny, spooky and disturbing event, forcing an audience to question the both the reality of the stage and the artifice of everyday life.


Clancy’s Woyzeck (working title)
Woyzeck is a god-obsessed, paranoid-schizophrenic murderer. Kills his wife Maria, and then joins the Army. Goes to Iraq. He is severely disturbed, but only episodically, so during combat, (which brings on his attacks), his condition is not noticed. Everyone’s crazy and if you’re alive at the end of it, no questions asked. Woyzeck hooks up with Andy, a brilliant soldier. Andy and Woyzeck go to FOB Mercury where they meet the Expert and enter the world of torture. Woyzeck finds he’s good at this, but likes both sides. He volunteers for experiments with the Expert. Expert tortures Woyzeck. Woyzeck kills Andy, nurse (played by actress playing Maria) and Expert, drops an IED in the tent to end it all, survives, comes home a hero. Last scene, he’s among us:

Finding some guys who’ve been through what I went through. We get together. We’re all pretty much doing the same thing nowadays. It’s good to be home.”

Play will feature live water-boarding, stress positioning, nudity, etc. As in Buchner’s Woyzeck, the lines between reality and hallucination will be blurred with an ensemble cast shifting constantly between characters and performance styles. Strong lighting and sound design will also keep the “reality” of the “world” of the play in constant flux.

Use of documentary war footage spliced with expressionistic images of scripted scenes on large screen stretching across entire back wall will also keep the hallucinatory environment active. Examples of this are footage from Falluja blending into Maria being stabbed blending into Hussein’s execution blending into company doing jumping jacks, etc.

I don’t anticipate using any of Buchner’s original language, play will be “inspired” by Buchner, much as Fatboy was “inspired” by Jarry’s Ubu Roi.

Both would be very challenging and a lot of fun. More jazzed by Overlord right now, it's crazier. Doing Woyzeck is something every director wants to do, it's the director's version of the actor's Hamlet, but it's a little safer. We're going to try to develop both this year, madly looking for partners, resources, residencies, etc.

So, Nancy and I would appreciate your support. Tear down this wall. The bombing begins in five minutes. Remember that moronic mediocrity? I thought he had a lock on worst all-time President until this raging, swaggering idiot entered the field.

Monday, October 22, 2007

home cooking

Nancy and I have been working out of the house since we left the Present Company back in 2001. Takes discipline, what with the TV sitting right there the whole time, but when it works it's glorious. Sitting here in the sundrenched living room, Beethoven blaring, typing this. At work. You can make deals, respond to emails, take important phone calls, all that while wearing sweatpants and a ripped T-shirt. I'm completely naked right now. Not really, but I could be and that's the beauty of the set-up. We made some loose rules early on and when we stick to them, we get a lot done.

Rules and Code of Ethics for Working at Home

1. TV stays off except for CNN or New York 1, except for lunchtime when you can put on any stupid thing you want.
2. I get to play the stereo but shouldn't put on anything that really annoys Nancy and it shouldn't be too loud. (This is a very loose one, one we've never talked about, but I know what's good for me.)
3. I can smoke in the house but have to be standing by the window and I shouldn't abuse this privilege or be smoking in the first place because those things will kill me eventually. (Much like the previous rule.)
4. Nan works in the bedroom, I work in the livingroom. Not really a rule, just a fact to keep in mind. Separate work areas are highly recommended.
5. Work stops at or around 6:00 PM. This is important because the worst thing about working at home is that you're never home from work. Having a cut-off time is key, we also don't work during the weekends.
6. Each of us is responsible for cleaning up and organizing our respective work areas. I work at the dining room table, so I have to make neat little piles of all my shit at the end of the day. I'm not so good at this. Nan works in the bedroom, so the bed itself becomes a worktable sometimes, papers spread out across it, etc. She's very good at cleaning up, because if she didn't we couldn't get into bed at night.
7. No drinking until the 6:00 PM bell, unless you're really feeling fed up with it all or a whole bunch of money comes in the mail and it's time to celebrate.

Works for us. Will probably get an office again some day if we can afford it, for now enjoy the perks of being naked and blasting Beethoven.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

random post, sadness

Trying to keep my promise to myself, bi-weekly posting, not going to happen this week.

On Sunday, October 14th, my grandmother, Margaret Mary Clancy, woke up and had some breakfast, went back to sleep and didn't wake up again. A blessed, easy end after 94 years but deeply sad for all of us still here. My father and his brothers and sister are hit the hardest, of course, you only get one Mom, but their husbands and wives and the grandchildren and their husbands and wives and really everyone who knew my Grandma feels it. She was a Titan, truly. We won't see her like again. We have the wake today and the funeral tomorrow. Been a rough 2007.

Some random notes:

1. Found this in my notebook, trying to describe the theater we try to make:

"Raising the question of a society's values is different than questioning the society's values. This is the tightrope a responsible artist walks." Deep as hell or gibberish?

2. Bought a hundred dollars worth of music on Monday, a late birthday present to myself.

New Springsteen, great if you like Springsteen, he's back with the E Street Band, amazing sound.

Stevie Wonder's greatest hits since I realized we didn't have any Stevie Wonder in the house which is a shame and a crime. Remember "You Haven't Done Nothing"? Put that on and listen to the outrage. He was so good when he was mad and then he committed the ultimate pop-out with "I Just Called to Say I'm a Big Pussy".

Church It Up, Nancy's selection, a bunch of gospel from the church of Bishop Sherman Scott Howard. Pretty good except when they get all contemporary. I used to have a tape of the Swan Silvertones and the Blind Boys of Alabama, old gospel and man, the hair on your arms would stand up when they started getting into it. That old Baptist god had a beat.

New White Stripes, not able to get into it yet, tried it twice. Might be one of those albums you have to let sit for a few months and then try again.

Something called the Great American Songbook, Bing Crosby and Perry Como and all those old white guys crooning. Haven't even taken the plastic off of that one.

And then the best: Neil Diamond Forever. Three CDs, Stones, Moods and Touching You, Touching Me. Imagine someone putting out an album today called Touching You, Touching Me. Any music purist out there snickering at Neil, I challenge you to put on Holly Holy or Crunchy Granola Suite, turn that shit up loud and if you don't start rocking, well then go quietly fuck yourself while listening to your Radiohead. Or as Neil would say, "Good Lordy".

That's my post. Lots of interesting stuff going on with the big EIF project and something else that I'm writing, a strange one-man thing that's either going to be really great or total horseshit, one of those things. More next week.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

our ancestors speak

I have breakfast at the Odessa diner with my buddy Norman Marshall every couple of months and always leave laughing and enlightened. Norman used to run the No Smoking Playhouse back in the 80s, he's the guy that turned the former police horse stable into a theater, most people know it as the place Primary Stages used to work out of. Anyway, Norman is no ancestor, but he's an elder and he has more stories and wisdom and bad jokes than any one I know. We were arguing about something last week and he just said,

"Read the preface to Thornton Wilder's Three Plays."

And then he wouldn't talk about it anymore, changed the subject, insulted my clothing, something, I don't remember.

So I go home and get that same copy of Wilder's plays we all have, the Bantam Library collection of Our Town, The Skin of Our Teeth and The Matchmaker and I read the preface, which I don't remember every doing before. If you have it, turn off your computer and go read the thing, if not, allow me to scribe, and note how things never change:

"Toward the end of the twenties I began to lose pleasure in going to the theatre. I ceased to believe in the stories I saw presented there. When I did go it was to admire some secondary aspect of the play, the work of a great actor or director or designer. Yet at the same time the conviction was growing in me that the theatre was the greatest of all arts. I felt that something had gone wrong with it in my time and that it was fulfilling only a small part of its potentialities...This dissatisfaction worried me. I was not ready to condemn myself as blase and overfastidious, for I knew that I was still capable of belief. I believed every word of Ulysses and of Proust and of The Magic Mountain, as I did hundreds of plays when I read them. It was on the stage that imaginative narration became false. Finally my dissatisfaction passed into resentment. I began to feel that the theatre was not only inadequate, it was evasive; it did not wish to draw upon its deeper potentialities. I found the word for it: it aimed to be soothing. The tragic had no heat; the comic had no bite; the social criticism failed to indict us with responsibility. I began to search for the point where the theater had run off the track, where it had chosen- and been permitted- to become a minor art and an inconsequential diversion."

I skipped a big part and it goes on for another four pages, but can you feel the heat? And you can just replace "twenties" with sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties and it could be any one of us talking.

Thornton (I call him Thornton because we're pals) blames the whole thing on the box set as it turns out, which is a little like blaming a hood ornament for the depletion of the ozone layer if you ask me, but there you go.

Our ancestors speak to us every day, they're available every moment, we just have to pick up those books. So stay in school, stay off drugs, and if you see something for gods sake say something.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

get out your torches

Been asked by Zack Mannheimer and Matt Wells, two young firebrands ready to storm the castle, to sit on the board of the newly-hatched National Independent Theatre Community. This is the first tangible result of Zack's summer road odyssey. He left the wilds of Brooklyn and, armed only with his quick wit and a good map, Kerouacked his way through this great land of ours. Met some tribal brothers along the way, you can check it all out on:

Planning a big sitdown in January with a group of people making interesting theater in interesting towns, Nashville, Reno, Tulsa, Des Moines.

These same Big Ideas blow up every couple of years, I know, but Zack has a history of actually getting things done.

Very weird to be at the Elders Council when I turned 44 two days ago. Is that old? (I hear the faithful choir in my mind chanting "No!") Can still remember being 28 and yeah, I guess if someone told me then that they were 44 I would have thought "Grandpa Jones.".

Anyway, me and Zack and Matt and a bunch of other people are going to change the world, one small theater at a time. Will keep you apprised of all developments.

Monday, October 08, 2007

quick tour of the palace

Just got back from a meeting with Joe Melillo at BAM. Latest in a series of pitch meetings, trying to get some institutional support for the EIF project. Institutional support meaning time, space and money. BAM, of course, does no developmental work at all, they present, but thought I'd put a bug in his ear about the project anyway. Couldn't be a nicer guy and actually had some great practical advice, places to call, people to get ahold of, etc. But of course, all my quasi-Marxist ass is thinking the whole time is:

"This has to be the nicest office of anyone working in the arts I have ever seen."

Totally laid out, leather couch and nice leather chairs and all of that. The effect of the office is compounded by the journey to the office, you come into that huge marble lobby and you check in with a security guard and get a little pass and then you wait for someone to come down and get you. There's a sculpture in the lobby right now and it's made up of hundreds of old records, old vinyl LPs, like from the 30s, some sort of melted together and they're all rising up to form a frozen wave. Pretty cool. Called, wait for it, Sound Wave. And I'm thinking:

"How much did that cost? Those are some old records."

And then Joe's assistant comes down and you go up in the elevator and she's got a key card that unlocks this huge gate and you walk down another big hall and then you're in the reception area outside Joe's kick-ass office and, if you're like me, you're thinking:

"Goddamn. Am I in a theater or an investment house?"

And if you're really like me, you don't even know what an investment house is.

My obvious point is that for those of us who learned how to make our art in the funding wasteland of the 90s, that much cash makes us nervous and a bit disoriented. And if you let it, it makes you angry. You can go childish angry:

"Look at all this fucking money, I never had any fucking money, why did they get all this fucking money, fuckers."

Or righteous angry:

"The money spent on this furniture would fund two dance companies for four months."

But in the end, and maybe this is just age starting to talk through me, you accept that the big arts institutions are always going to be golden palaces, just like the Vatican is always going to be the Vatican, and if it pisses you off, then you're better off going out and finding some other place to pray.

Joe was aces, but my god, its a gilded cage.

Friday, October 05, 2007

something in the water?

I've seen three shows this week and they were all good. This, to me, is the cultural equivalent of winning the lottery three times in a row. I go to the theater with such reluctance and dread, I'm like a ten year old going to church on Sunday morning, just waiting for the boredom to club me to death, praying only that it will all soon be over. But no, brethren and cistern, I bring you glad tidings of great joy:

Misanthrope at NYTW, an easy call, but first time I've seen this guy's stuff. Out of town for his Hedda Gabler, just plain lazy and missed anything else he's done. Honestly, the video shtick didn't work for me, but it never does. The constant projected image of an actor's face begins to rob the actor of his charisma for me, some very simple voodoo that happens every time. And for the most part, I had no idea what Moliere was trying to say from moment to moment. But man alive, the performances were stellar, the food and garbage blitzkrieg is so beautifully over the top and the overall design so smart and simple, I'd go back. That good.

Wednesday I saw East River Commedia's The Magnificent Cuckold at the Connelly. This closes this weekend, so run don't walk. I've know the director, Paul Bargetto, for about a year, (he's one of the key League of Independent Theater rabble-rousers) but never seen his work. And you know how scary that can be, seeing something for the first time by someone you like. What if they suck? What are you going to say? Are you going to like them less?

Well, no fear. Paul knows exactly what he's doing and he does it exceptionally well. This is a three act, old-school farce and it goes on all goddamned night and I was rivetted. Every element, brilliant design, great, great performances, especially the lead, Troy Lavallee and a funny, disturbing and finally tragic script. Just topnotch, world class stuff. And this kid Troy, you watch him and you keep thinking "This guy is going to be so, so big in about two years, I can't believe I'm sitting here watching him." Mesmerizing.

And then last night I saw Stolen Chair's Kinderspiel at Under Saint Marks and my trifecta was complete. These are the guys Nancy and I do some consulting with, so I'm always hoping they do well. Once again, they showed me what a company can achieve when it commits to the disicipline and sacrifice of the laboratory process. Kinderspiel has all of this company's burgeoning trademarks: exquisite, surprising language, fluid, meticulous direction and mesmerizing and courageous performances from an outstanding ensemble. It is a pleasure to watch this young company grow in strength and confidence.

So something's going on. I know it's not me, I'm as bitter and burnt and cranky as ever. Is the invalid struggling back to consciousness?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

my bad

Kinderspiel, the latest from Stolen Chair, plays Under St. Marks, not the Red Room. I've fired the intern (she was stealing, anyway) and made all of the appropriate apologies. We strive for excellence here at the Dime Museum and our motto, stolen from benchtours, a great company in Scotland, remains:

"Mistakes will be made. Others will be blamed."

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

what are you doing looking at this blog?

It's been decades since I posted. You're either a hardcore Clancy fan, my dad, or a first-timer. Welcome whomsoever you be.
Going to try to at least do a bi-weekly post this season, lots going on. Last year was mostly teaching, which paid many a bill but wore my ass down. Gained a lot of respect for those who stand in front of a classroom everyday and still manage to get other things done.
So, two things of note:

1. We won a big award over in Scotland this August. The inaugural Edinburgh International Festival Award, which they created as a way to give a company that's been banging away on the Fringe for years a little bridge towards the Big Art Circuit. We got 5,000 pounds, (which at the current exchange rate is just under fourteen million dollars) to develop a new piece to be shown in a workshop form at next year's International Festival. If they like it, they'll think about commissioning it for the main stage at the Festival in 2009. As Robert Shaw in the Sting would say, "Ya follah?" Means we have a shot at moving from postcards to bus stop posters. We're all very excited, but at the same time we're thinking, "Shit. We've got 11 months to come up with the Big Idea." Think we've decided what we want to do, but I'll save that for later posts. Gives me something to write about.

2. Stolen Chair is opening their new show Kinderspiel at the Red Room on Thursday. Everyone should see it. I'm seeing it Thursday. Full disclosure: we consult with them and part of our job is to increase their audience and industry profile, but we only consult with quality acts. Keeps us clean.

So those are two things. I'll call you tomorrow, Dad.