Tuesday, February 19, 2008

buenos noches, jefe

Fidel Castro, (after that embarassing Havana airport bathroom stall incident involving Senator Craig), is retiring. Says he wants to spend more time with his family. His brother Raul could not be reached for comment.

As some wise man once said about religion, "Important if true".

It's just that Fidel is the Wyle E. Coyote of dictators. He's going to retire, sit on the beach for a week and come back and take over again. I don't care if he's dying, neither will he, the man likes the Big Chair.

Thank you all for the comments below on the Overlord reading. So helpful when friends can honestly tell you what worked and what didn't. Never been able to figure out why that's so hard for people on both ends.

Saw Alyson Pou's A Slight Headache at Bowery Poetry Club last night. Really fun and it was Old Home Week with Robert Pritchard, Tania Kirkman, Jackie Battenfield, Sam the Dumb, Dumb Bunny and others hanging out.

Overlord reading got me thinking about a simple but vital thing the League of Independent Theater can do. Here's the argument:

One of the reasons that theater doesn't function well in the marketplace nowadays is that its so economically inefficient in how it's made.

There's no way to speed up or streamline the process.

You need a lot of people in one room at the same time for awhile before you can start selling it. And as we all know, its mostly just theory and guesswork until you actually have some outsiders in the room watching it. Previews are where you learn if the ship floats, if the plane flys, if the gag is going to work.

It's no different from the 19th century or the 15th century or the 1st century. How we make it hasn't changed at all.

Down here in my parish, out there in Long Island City, over the river in Brooklyn, you don't get no stinking previews. The first time you show it to an audience, its opening night and, if you're lucky, the critics are there. Think about it. The critics are there, judging your sweating ass, the first preview.

Before you know how it works.

So whatever we do with this Code Reform issue, we have to make it standard policy in the Off-Off Independent world that you get a week of previews before the press comes in. Because that's just common sense. Again, think of the strangenesss and economic inefficiency of our business.

A painter can invite another painter into her studio. The two people can spend five minutes together and the first painter can get an informed reaction about her work. A novelist can send another novelist his long-ass novel, the second novelist can read it, send it back with notes. Right? But in our business, you have to come down at a specific time to a specific place and sit in the room with me and my gang while we jump around in front of you in order to get an approximation of what I'm trying to do. And if its just a rehearsal, then you're actually not seeing the real thing, not like reading a guy's novel or seeing someone's painting. Because the real thing only happens when there are strangers in the room, sitting in the dark, watching.

So we need previews.

Answer to yesterday's quiz is number 3, O Lord, Give Me Your Blood. Might be an actual gospel song, but I made it up anyway. I know the other three are real.

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