Friday, May 30, 2008

tonight, tonight

Won't be just any night.

We're rumbling with the Jets and Tony and me are running away...


That's not it.

Tonight, 9:30 at the fabulous People's Improv Theater, the PIT itself, 154 W. 29th Street, 2nd Floor, the multi-talented Matt Oberg (he of the mean streets of Westchester)speaks an hour and five minutes of entirely memorized words in front of whoever shows up. It's The Event, the first public showing of this strange, strange new theater work/thing that I wrote down and asked Matt to learn.

Big fun.

Looks like they're going to do a production of Fatboy on the island of Malta. I was excited until Steve Kovacs told me that the currency in Malta is falcon talons, beaks and feathers. No actual money. Just falcon parts.

Can anyone break a beak?

Thank you.

Dave Calvitto (the dago limey), and his date Katherine (the British teacher from Michigan) forced me to stay up until 2:00 AM last night, pouring whiskey down my throat and insisting that I tell them my deep opinions and cherished beliefs about everything in this here world.

Bad companions. My mother warned me. Just can't trust those wop Brits.

Come to the show tonight or I'll know, finally, that you don't really love me or the American theater or my mother. Or your mother.

We're going to stomp those Jets, man.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

true stories

One of the all-time best headlines in today's Times:

Monkeys Control a Robot Arm With Their Thoughts


You can switch the nouns around, have some Word Fun,

Robots Control Monkey Arms With Their Thoughts

Monkeys Control Robot's Thoughts With Their Arms

Et cetera.

True story, great news for amputees, but what a great headline.

Big showdown with NYU last night at the Community Board 2 meeting. Much calmer than the way we do it at CB3, still some good shouting and tense officials going through the indignity and embarrassment of actually facing their critics.

Officials hate actually, physically listening to their critics. You can just feel it in the room, they stare at the floor and look at you in half-wonder, half-contempt, thinking,

"Who are you people? Don't you know I'm in charge? Jesus, go back to the sixties."

I gave them a solid proposal: Give LIT or Manhattan Theater Source or a consortium of West Village theaters a 99 year lease, dollar a year, at the Provincetown Playhouse to program the space 33% of the time. They're claiming the place is fully programmed, which is patently false and kind of a funny thing to insist on.

Their own numbers have them doing stage work and maintenance 24% of the time, "other" 12% of the time and closed 7% of the time.

That's 43% of the total time available.

And if you're mopping the stage 24% of the time, you're doing something wrong, folks.

Good run-through of The Event yesterday, working it again this afternoon. Come by the PIT tomorrow night, 9:30 and watch Matt Oberg do what he do.

Big farewell shindig for Steve Kovacs tonight. Steve is heading to Hong Kong next week to make his fortune, like many a free-lancer before him.

Hong Kong.

The Future.

Busy day ahead, lots of maintenance and house-keeping. Staying mindful of the daily tasks, polishing the silver and whatnot.

Monkeys actually typed this whole post with the loving thoughts of armed robots.

The Future!

Come on.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

old days, long night

Met up with Alan Freeman last night, a man I haven't seen in about twenty years.

Alan is a director and teacher out at Occidental College in L.A.

Spitfire and I did rep work out there back in the late 80s.

Translatations, Midsummer, Peter Pan, oh yeah.

Did it all.

Today's a mad run, The Event, couple of meetings and tonight the Provincetown Playhouse public meeting.



You won the big Tuesday MMMQ, honey.

You get two pieces of pig candy from Ann, some Hershey love from Eureka Candy out in Missouri, a beauty tip from Spitfire McGee and a complimentary hour of acting/directing/designing advice from Myself, the big Obie-winner boy.

Not bad for guessing all of the above.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

weekday workday

All right you wage-slaves and day-runners, let's strap on the harness and get behind the mule out there.

Yesterday was free for some, today is the Man's day.

Those cars never seem to stop coming.
Keep those fine limousines humming.

Beautiful Memorial Day picnic/croquet championship match out in the Poconos courtesy of the Cooks. McGee and I crashed at one of the best Best Westerns of our respective careers, out there in Matamoras, PA.


Some kind of Mexican settlement in the Pennsyvlanian foot hills?

Don't know, but that's what the signs say.

Everything is focused towards Friday night, May 30, when young Matthew Oberg steps into the ring at the PIT armed only with his memorized words and attempts to scale The Event. Will he blanch? Tremble and drench the room in flop-sweat, mouth dry as the Gobi, head empty as a dried gourd, staring out at those who were once his friends?

Or will he kick that bastard through the goal-posts, laughing easily as he trots off the field?

Don't know.

Lots of words. One man.

Be there and you will see.

We're holding the MMMQ on Tuesday this week, it should all work out by leap year.

In honor of the vague patriotic feeling washing around the nation these last few days, today's quiz examines the work of Mojo Nixon, in particular his signature take on Woody Guthrie's anthem, This Land is Your Land.

Mojo describes his own private paradise in the middle of Woody's vision: Mojo World.

Which of the below would you expect to find in Mojo World?

1. Liquor stores open 24 hours a day, every day

2. Drive-in movie theaters

3. Every Saturday night a tribute to a great American hero, Evel Knievel Saturday Night

4. All of the above and so much more

Make your money today, but remember it's actually summer out there. Get a hot dog or buy a glass of lemonade from a kid or just cut out from work a little early today.

It's summertime, man.

Friday, May 23, 2008

long weekend

That should be the title of my first book of memoirs.

Remember the album cover of the Beach Boys Endless Summer?

I used to stare at that artwork when I was a little kid and without any Tantric training whatsoever inwardly meditate on the phrase.

Endless Summer endless summer endless summer...

What a beautiful concept. Summer back then meant one thing:

No School.

Always loved learning things, just instinctively hated the mandatory nature of School. Having to be there so early in the morning, sitting there all day, bells ringing at you, telling you where to go next.

That magic moment of 3:00 PM on the last day when they would have to release you for three months and we'd all stream out of the building, smiling and near-giddy, free to run through the St. Louis streets and lose ourselves in the hot, green St. Louis summer nights.

Goddamn, it was almost like being alive.

Me and the Kid are staying close this weekend, nothing to do but Mike Daisy's panel on Saturday night.

Reading of Mr. Culp's The 13 Hallucinations of Julio Rivera went like a barn-burning bastard last night at New York Theater Workshop. Still needs a trim or a good pruning, I think, but it's a beautiful thing. We'll have to figure out what's next with it. Might be a good Labyrinth show.

Full day today, morning meeting with Elena up in FringeLand, rehearsal with Matt down at Barrow Street, a sit-down with Big Bob Lyons at Soho Think Tank and then a drink with Omar Sangare to end the day.

Omar's a guy we met during the first Fringe Festival, 12 years ago. He's a great actor and director, teaching up at Williams College now, and he's a black Polish guy.

Born and raised in Poland, black as a hot cup of coffee. Polish mom married an African guy and along comes Omar.

Hanging with him twelve years ago on the Lower East Side was a very funny and revealing experience for me. I'd watch people watch Omar walking across the room and you could see them just unconsciously thinking, "Who's this black guy?" And then he'd open his mouth and there'd be this thick Polish accent and the Old World, Eastern European formality and behavior and people's eyes would go wide, trying to figure out who was standing in front of them.

Have to look beyond the skin, sometimes, much as we're trained around here not to.

Enjoy the weekend, eat nine or ten hot dogs for me and if it's warm where you are then stand in the sunlight for a little too long, eyes closed, face turned up, smiling.

Endless summers to all.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Internet down this morning and just home for about an hour between rehearsals. Ran most of The Event this morning with Matt. He's so good. Now off to NYTW for The 13 Hallucinations of Julio Rivera. Come tonight, 7 PM, 81 E. 4th Street, 3rd Floor.


That's it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

the writing life

Been thinking a lot about the writer's life, since Fatboy keeps getting productions and the only real money I've made recently has been commissions from the EIF and the Belfast Festival.

Nabakov recommends the "much abused ivory tower" as the best place to write from, but points out that "...before building oneself an ivory tower one must take the unavoidable trouble of killing quite a few elephants."

Now that boy was genius.

Overlord is pretty much done, I think, after five drafts. Gathering notes and scribbling down ideas for the next big one, my re-write of Woyzeck. And I've pretty much got the outline and half the jokes for The Zen Masters of the Midwest, a young man's journey through Ohio after dropping out of Oberlin College, meeting janitors and auto mechanics and postal workers, all of whom are secretly Buddhist monks, living the dharma and dealing the karma out in the Heartland.

Whacking away at screenplays with Boyhood Friend and writing partner Dave Weems.

And this here electronic daily diary/news flash/confession/love letter, this blog is a way of whetting the knife every morning, sharpening the blade like a morning meditation. Even if it's 300 words, it's words from the mind to the fingers to the world.

So thanks for reading.

Writing is a lot of fun when it's done.

Sort of a strange, self-imposed burden and gut-check when you're doing it, especially if you don't really know what you're doing or writing about when you start.

But when it's done and polished and you leave it for awhile and go on to something else and then someone talks to you about a thing you wrote years ago and says something nice about it, well, that's just an amazingly good feeling.

You feel like you left a signpost pointing towards something useful or important or just funny and then someone wandering the road years later noticed it and looked in the same direction you did when you were walking the road and maybe saw the same thing.

It's a good feeling.

Reading tomorrow of Stephen Culp's 13 Hallucinations of Julio Rivera at New York Theater Workshop. Come one, come all.

And if you're stuck in town on Memorial Day weekend, come here me yak and blather after Mike Daisy's How Theater Failed America on Saturday at Barrow Street Theater. Mike's doing a panel thing every Saturday and on the 24th I'm talking with him.

I'll try to overcome my natural shyness and innate sense of propriety.

And circle the date, May 30th. Matt Oberg climbs into the ring and gives the first public performance of The Event at the PIT. Much hilarity and magic tricks for those who stay.

Me and the girls are starting up a radio show, apparently. And a band and a T-shirt and candy company.

Now that's where the money is.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

after the obies

That's when the real fun begins.

Pretty good ceremony, very good party. You can read who won what in the Voice, they had some people live blogging all through it up in the balcony at Webster Hall. Bill Coelius, Matt Oberg, Liz and Greg and I stood behind the blogger whispering our names over and over, spelling them out, trying to get subliminal on them.

Don't think it worked.

Powerful moment of silence imposed by Michael Feingold, remembering the dead. I thought of the women Nancy and I lost this year. None were of the theater, but by god they all supported it.

Today's the first anniversary of Nancy's sister's death.

Unbelievable, still.

Still need to find a kick-ass Hispanic actress, 45-60, for a reading the day after tomorrow. Sometimes I can be quite the moron. All suggestions welcome.

And Ann's drinking white lightining while Lori and Rose fight over who gets the front pig's feet and who gets the backs. (Backs are better, ladies, relatively speaking.)

Fort Worth Hambone Blues is sung by Johnny Gimble, Old Black Mountain Saturday Night is by Joe Maphis, the screwball I threw at you Conversation with a Mule is by the great Arthur Smith and Hot Damn Mama, Come Home Tonight will someday, Gob willing, be recorded by Scrappy Jack and his Irregular Army featuring Eureka Candy on the triangle.

The giveaway was that if you're playing bluegrass you can't cuss.

Mama don't allow that around here.

Monday, May 19, 2008


That's all I'm seeing this morning.

Sunshine. The cat in the window, dreaming of birds.

The Fireball Kid aka Spitfire McGee aka Princess Sweetpea the Incorrigible, over there looking all innocent.

Got some good sleep last night, I guess.

Minds were blown last night at the Ohio Sixth Floor Studio. A bunch of us were shown a video and given a talk about microfinancing in Africa.


With a fifty cent stake a guy built up three businesses. From stealing in the street to running three businesses. Starting with less than it takes to buy a cup of coffee in this town.

No IMF, no fatcat thief taking a cut, money from you to a nun to another woman to him.

I know. Way too good to be true, but I think its real. I'll check it out, let you know.

NYU is furiously back-pedaling on the Provincetown Playhouse. When someone's back-pedaling, that's the best time to give them a little push, as my Daddy always told us back in the holler.

Obies tonight. The usual drinking and lying and clapping for strangers, I imagine.

In honor of my Daddy (who actually grew up out in Queens) our MMMQ has an Appalachian accent to it this morning.

Awhile back the good and generous Amy Shore gave me The Essential Bluegrass Collection, 64 Legendary Performances. 4 Disc set, filled with Lester Flatt and Merle Travis and all of those old redneck crackers, a-fiddling and a-twanging away.

Great stuff.

So which one of the below is not so much a legendary performance as a glass of hogwash, a counterfeit, a hornswaggling load of patootie?

1. Fort Worth Hambone Blues

2. Old Black Mountain Saturday Night

3. Conversation with a Mule

4. Hot Damn Mama, Come Home Tonight

Jug of moonshine for the winner, pigs feet for all those hood-winked.

Friday, May 16, 2008

left my cell phone in a cab

Not the title of a New Country song, sadly, but the sorry, naked truth.

Send your numbers to if you ever wish to speak with me again.

Left my cell phone in a cab in New York City
So I'm calling out to you from my heart...

Had an appointment with Dr. Bessey yesterday, he pronounces everything good and healing well.

Saw Susan Bernfeld's Stretch at The Living Theater on Clinton Street last night, excellent work all around. I've known Susan since back in the early morning of the day, New Georges started right around the same time as Present Company.

Forgot to get a receipt from the driver
And I suppose that is the stupid part...

Probably seeing Kirk Bromley's Me at the Ohio tonight. Just a theater-going madmen these days.

Left my cell phone in a cab in New York City
And with it I have left all memory
Of everybody else's cell phone numbers
If you want to talk, then you should email me

And that was the Modern Cowpokes doing their version of the classic Electronic Range Riders chart-topper, "Left My Cell Phone in a Cab", based on a true story, we're told.

Enjoy the week-end.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

give me the kids

Spent the day romping around the Poconos, most of the afternoon spent in the staid and historic township of Milford, PA.

Found the best used book store I've ever seen, a tiny little wooden building right on the main drag with over 20,000 books. Little rooms just keep opening up to little rooms, all lined with books. Another cool feature: an enormous white poodle that kind of follows you around the place while pretending not to.

The thing about the Poconos is that it's only 63 miles from the Holland Tunnel out on 80. You fight your way to the tunnel, right through the teeth of Chinatown, Rat City at it's most lawless, despairing at the Plight of Urban Man, drone through the tunnel, negotiate Newark, hit the open highway for about 45 minutes, take an exit and you're in Mayberry R.F.D. having a cup of coffee with Anj and Barney.

It's a trip. The coffee I bought at the Dunkin Donuts in Jersey City, five minutes from Chinatown, was still warm when we hit Milford.

Best thing about the day was seeing Curtiss I'Cook's home and his kids. And him, sure, but mostly his home and his kids.

Curtiss was the first actor I hired in New York, back in 1992 for my play Charmer at the 29th Street Repertory Theater. We produced some of his stuff at Present Company when we were up on 45th Street, he writes and directs as well. Probably my oldest friend in New York and one of my first great collaborators, one of those people you can just nod along with and drop into shorthand. Implicit artistic trust.

When he auditioned for Charmer he had his son, Curtiss, Jr. in a stroller out in the lobby of the theater, so I've watched that boy grow up along with his little sisters Isis and Kimani. Curtiss, Jr. and Isis were practically raised in my office, many was the night Daddy was rehearsing or onstage and I'd have these two cute little peanuts in blankets on the floor by my desk, giggling and pretending to be asleep.

Curtiss married the beautiful Angelique a few years back and they had, wait for it, twins, four years ago. I was with Curtiss the day he found out and I swear it was like watching a man get hit by a 2x4, all day long, over and over. He was ready for another kid, but two?

Twins, man. Twins. It's twins, John. Twins. That's two of them. Twins.

Because Curtiss makes his money in show biz and we all know how ridiculous that last statement is.

But he's making it and the twins, Jade and Harlem, are growing up in paradise. The place is on 3 acres, has four bedrooms, was built maybe two years ago and is just heaven. Nan and I didn't want to leave and Jade and Harlem sure didn't want us to go until we had personally and thoroughly examined every toy in the house.

Now about the kids, Jade and Harlem.

They're four years old, very bright and hilarious and I want them.

Got to have them.

Tried to smuggle them out last night while Curtiss was dealing with Isis, age 15, didn't work, played it off like it was a big joke.

Need those kids.

So, if you read about some wild shit out in Pennsylvania, kidnapping or whatnot, and my name is involved, well, you know...

I'll just say cuteness is a very powerful thing and those little peapods are cute. Two of them, come on.

Nowadays I'm probably going to jail just for posting this.

Ah, well.

Back to the Rat City grind, rehearsing and writing and whipping up agendas for meetings. Seeing something at the Living Theater tonight, I think, going to try to get to the Ohio tomorrow night for Bromley's big show.

Not a bad life, but I've seen Heaven and it's right outside of Milford, 63 miles away.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

road trip

Me and McGee are heading out Pennsylvania-ways in about half an hour.

Open road, White Stripes blaring, back in the USSA, by Gob.

No real plan, just drive.

Only real plan there is, I suppose.

Bob Rauschenberg, fearless American artist, died yesterday at 82 down in Florida.

He once said,

Screwing things up is a virtue. Being correct is never the point.

Ah, god. If only more annointed geniuses said things like that.

Excellent diner meeting with Eric Sanders yesterday. Great young writer, but more importantly, stone-crazy kid who is scary-smart and nods along with all of my crazy shit, in fact, anticipates the idea and improves upon it. We're talking about reviving the Public Works Project we had back at Present Company in the mid-90s, strange, semi-scripted public performances happening on the subway and wherever lines form. Two strands of this:

Subliminal theater, things you see and hear while you're hurrying through Rat City, things designed for the slow double-take,

What the fuck...?

And big crazy musical numbers that suddenly burst out, huge over-the-top production numbers so we're all suddenly in a major motion picture, singing along.

So much fun.

And we've got our first album figured out, see comments below.

Scrappy Jack's East Village Traveling All-Stars would like to rock, Rock, ROCK! your tiny little world.

Ann's on graphics, Rose has got the video and Lori has T-shirts and candy.

It will probably all boil down to the candy, as so many things do in the end.

Still not entirely clear if any of us have any musical ability, but we'll fix that in post-production.

All right. Spitfire is looking at me, pointedly. Got to gather the CDs, shower and find my sunglasses.

The passenger has duties and responsibilities as well.

So long, Bob, and thanks for all the art.

We're lighting out for the territories.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

community theater

Wild Community Board 3 meeting last night.

Chinatown got organized and showed up with signs, lining the hall and bursting into call and response all night until their choreographed walk-out. Got a little heavy a few times with the cops wading in and telling everyone to sit down, the protesters shouting, the folks "in charge" walking away and standing in the corner.

The whole issue is the re-zoning of the neighborhood, which is pretty much a done deal, and it looks to me like CB3 and everyone else took the best bad deal available. Most of the new buildings are capped at 8 stories, on some of the wider streets they can go up to twelve. One thing to remember is that right now there is no cap whatsoever, they can build up to 23 stories, as they have.

Problem with the plan is that it doesn't include low-income housing or community or cultural centers. It kind of pretends to, but it's just a power-grab.

We don't need "incentives" for affordable housing, we need guarantees. And we don't need "affordable" housing, whatever that's supposed to mean, we need low-income housing if we're going to preserve the integrity, character and the actual residents of the Lower East Side.

The Lower East Side is made up of working-class people (or low-income people), artists and radicals. Always has been. These people need to be included in any kind of massive re-zoning plan. We're talking about 111 blocks.

Not a typo. One hundred and eleven blocks.

Great night, though. Watching it, I wrote down this:

The face of power confronted with the people's protest is always the same, doesn't matter if it's white, black or Asian:

Tight smile, eyes shifting in growing panic, looking to the back of the room for the cops.

The use of language betrays and clarifies the respective positions:

The people chant rhythmically, shout, laugh and are inexhaustible.

The Power stutters, makes weak jokes, grows hoarse and then slips into techno-speak and statistics.

The cops talk only in physically followable commands "Sit down or we will eject you." "Sit down." "Come with me."

Lots of fun, kind of sad at the end.

But that's what I call community theater.

The answer to yesterday's MMMQ is Rock of Ages, full line-up of the disc:

Black Crowes, Hard to Handle
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sweet Home Alabama
Styx, Come Sail Away
Rush, Tom Sawyer
Rod Stewart, Maggie May
Steppenwolf, Born to Be Wild
Sublime, What I Got
38 Special, Hold on Loosely
Whitesnake (?) Here I Go Again
Kiss, Rock and Roll All Nite

No one got the answer right, so I'm rescinding all of Ann's previous winnings.

That seems fair to me. And if anyone's got a problem with that, I'll have them ejected from the meeting.

Officer? Officer?

Tonys were just announced.

I've been overlooked again.


Monday, May 12, 2008

stormy monday

All the hatches are battened down and we're in our oilskins this morning, riding out a rough sea.

The good ship Apartment Six C is not completely water-tight, the hallway ceiling is our vulnerable point, so we're watching it close.

Windy like a bastard out there, too.

No reason to leave the ship until this evening for a Community Board meeting about the re-zoning of the Lower East Side (there are plans to turn it into a giant mall/Disney theme park "Boho Village") so I'm going to hunker down right here at the desk and let the winds blow and crack their mighty cheeks.

Great weekend. Finally saw Ethan Coen's Almost an Evening over at 45 Bleecker Street. Almost everyone dismissed it, benignly, as fluff, but I loved it. Nancy and I know half the cast so that goes a long way, but man alive, people forget that comedy is a hard thing to pull off and I laughed consistently yesterday and a few times I even startled the people around me with my whoops and shouts.

Del Pentecost always makes me laugh but I hadn't seen Joey Slotnick on stage for, oh, eighteen years, so that was a real treat. And Johanna Day and Mary McCann and Jordan Lage and Tim Hoppper and J.R. Horne are all up there reminding everyone of the depth and strength of the New York acting pool. All perfect.

But the kick, of course, is watching F. Murray Abraham and Mark Linn-Baker go at it in the last piece, The Debate. Watching Abraham as Jehova (beard, long white robe) call us all a bunch of dipshits and telling us they're called Commandments and not "Useful Fucking Suggestions" is something I'll carry and smile about for a long time.

The whole thing is well put together, as usual, by the attractive and versatile Neil Pepe.

Yesterday morning, shopping for household supplies (whiskey, hardtack, etc.) I came across a bin of CDs at the Home Basics store on Clinton Street. All marked down to 2.99. That's a penny less than three dollars, I calculated on the fly, so I bought one. It's a compilation of rock and roll classics, put out by Best Buy, the appliance and electronics store. All over the CD case it says, "For Promotional Use Only- Not for Resale", so three bucks is a bargain, right?

Great CD. Sweet Home Alabama, Maggie May, Born to Be Wild, Styx doing Come Sail Away, even has the concert version of Kiss singing Rock and Roll All Nite. Spelled "Nite", that's right.

So, using your intuitive and/or psychic powers only, today's MMMQ asks,

Is the straight-faced title of this fine compact disc:

1. Monsters of Rock

2. Rock of Ages

3. Rock, Rock, Rock!

4. Essential Rock and Roll


5. Damn, That's Some Good Stuff, But Whitesnake, Really?

Stay dry if you're in town today and watch those gusts.

Friday, May 09, 2008

rainy day woman #443

Another cool wet day here in the great metropolis of Rat City. Spring has sprung a leak, apparently, and the rainwater falls from the sky.

Good to have a roof and four walls. Must remember to thank Gob and his boy Jebus for the immediate things.

All about re-writes and editing today. Cut, prune and polish. Go back down in the diving bell and see what's beneath the surface of some of this crazy shit I wrote nine months ago and see if I can't fix it up so it makes sense to anyone wandering in off the street and watching it.

Nan got suited up in the Garment of Pressure yesterday. It's, how do I say this...?

It's kind of cute.

White, short-sleeved (no sleeve on the right-hand side), zips up the front.

Kind of sporty.

I wouldn't want to wear it 23 hours a day until next spring, but hey, it beats the Teapot Splint by a mile.

Hilarious meeting/meal/drinking session with Elena K. Holy and Kevin and Nate and Spitfire herself last night.

The real reward for staying alive, it seems these days, is talking with old friends about the insane things you have jointly lived through. Nate had pictures from his wedding, fourteen years ago, showing an impossibly young and smooth-faced John Clancy standing next to a beautiful and smiling Nancy Walsh.

She has, seriously, barely changed.

I turned into the Crypt-Keeper somewhere around 1997.


Enjoy the weekend, go see The Accidental Patriot or Me or something at P.S. 122 or The Brick or somewhere for god's sake.

It's springtime in Rat City and the rain is falling down.

Get out there and splash in a puddle

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Walsh gets her pressure garment today.

It's a wetsuit/superhero costume type thing you wear, custom-made around each individual burn site, designed to hold the skin tight, increase circulation and help with eventual coloration return. You're supposed to wear it 23 hours a day for at least a year.

23 hours a day for at least a year.


It's like a superhero costume because you wear it under your clothes, it's skin-tight and it can withstand bullets and any gravitational force. Not 100% certain about that last part, but I'm pretty sure it's true.

I was Super Meeting Man yesterday, mastering agendas and faster than a speeding bullet point. Great lunch meeting with Magda Aboulfadl and David Diamond from Community Board 5.

Magda, besides having one of the world's all-time best names (just say it out loud to yourself three times, it also has magical properties) is an old gymnast crony of my little sister Mern from the halcyon days of the St. Louis 70s.

Didn't know there were gymnast cronies, did you? O yes. They stand around flipping backwards and balancing on things, wise-cracking and staring people down. A tough bunch and very flexible.

And David Diamond is just like the sutra he's named after, calm, lovely and full of good ideas. I pitched the old Liberty Theater museum/beer garden/performance complex/ scheme at him and it looks like we're going to take over the world, the two of us, one performance space at a time.

He's probably reading this now, so I'll just say that he had the tuna on toast, I had the tuna no toast and Magda had the biggest Greek salad I have ever personally seen, it was obscene the way she just kept eating that big salad, and I'll leave it at that.

Crazy big salad, ordered by a gymnast crony, sitting next to me while I'm trying to conduct my business.

I'm just going to move on, if that's all right with everyone.

Enormous salad, man.

Then we had the big Free Night of Theater planning session. Circle the date, October 16th and get ready to...ahhh... see a free night of theater. Or something.

Still working out the details on that one.

Pretty open day today, just the pressure garment business, so I'm going to try to hole up and get some writing done. Working on the Acting textbook, a screenplay with my writing partner Weems and I still have to fix the ending of Captain Overlord.

Nice cool rainy day outside. Good day to lay low and get some work done.

Go see The Accidental Patriot. Go now. Not a thing you want to miss. Also heard that Me down at the Ohio is pretty great.

Cuteness on one, Rose.



Wednesday, May 07, 2008

obama wins, clinton fills out application

Friends, Romans, countrymen.

Lend me ten bucks. Come on.

Or send it to Senator Clinton's campaign and she can start paying down her debt. To herself, if what I'm reading is right. Seems she's deep in the hole to her own campaign and after last night, the money ain't going to come gushing in.

A great night in the "big" state of North Carolina and a fascinating night in Indiana, where they're still counting the ballots. Russert, Matthews, Brokaw and all of them looked like kids who got to stay up late to watch a monster movie, just grinning at each other and trading inside jokes.

Senator Clinton gave two speeches at the same time, which was weird but somehow appropriate. She started and ended with her standard victory dance, but in the limo on the way to the place someone scribbled something and she spliced the new pages right in there.

"We are going full-steam ahead to the White House! And when we get there we'll support the Democratic nominee! O god, what happened? Thank you, Indiana! Does anyone have Barack's cell phone number? I just need to...ask him about something. Thank you Bill and Chelsea! Especially Chelsea! I am proud to be running for the Vice-President, no, sorry, for the President of Indiana! And Pennsylvania, don't forget Pennsylvania! I won that one, too! O god! What the...what the hell happened? Bill?"

This might, Gob have mercy, be close to being over. Math is a strict traffic cop and it's telling the Clinton campaign bus to pull over.

But hey, you never know what's going to happen next in show biz.

Meeting today with folks at Community Board 5, up where the Liberty Theater waits. Great meeting last night with Andrew Berman and the good people of the Greenwich Village Historical Preservation Society. And then this afternoon we meet with TCG about a big city-wide free night of theater next fall.

For a man who hates meetings, I'm becoming a conference room pro these days.

Turns out Carly Simon wrote You're So Vain for about eight different people. See the comments to the post below for the details, but I had no idea she slept around that much. The seventies were a crazy time, but still...

Eelwax Jesus for Vice-President is my vote.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

showdown part 23

Senator "Blue Collar" Clinton and the Mighty O take to the mats one more time, throwing elbows and trash-talking through North Carolina and Indiana today.

I'm a dedicated Obama man, but I've said over and over that if Clinton wins it, I'll do all I can to help keep Johnny Mac away from the Big Desk. But, Jesus, folks, can't anyone talk to Herself and get her to ratchet it down about forty points?

Where do you get the balls to call someone elitist when you lived in the White House for eight years? She had her own pastry chef for god's sake.

Obama scraps his way up from the dirt, gets into Harvard, decides to dedicate his life to public service and has to explain that he's not some big pansy sipping white wine with bomb-throwers.

Sure, he's dumb enough to run for President which is like welding a sign to your ass saying "Kick me and keep on kicking", but Holy Christ at a caucus, sometimes it just gets Alice in Wonderland out there.

Working on The Event today with young Matt Oberg, we're going to put it up for a night at The P.I.T. at the end of the month and then again at the Underground Zero Festival in July.

And finally meeting up with Andrew Berman over at the Greenwich Village Historical Preservation Society. Strategy session about the NYU/Provincetown Playhouse situation and other real estate matters.

Property and money, folks, that's the LIT mantra for me this week.

We have two correct answers to yesterday's MMMQ. Never happened before in the annals of the Museum, I went all the way back into the archives to check, up all night sifting through the parchment. Once, in 1937, there was no correct answer to the question supplied by a Christoper J. Hopkins:

How many four cylinder bagels in a traditional Bavarian pope-alike festival?

But never have we had two.

The first correct answer is, of course, the factual, objectively verifiable one, James Taylor. James and Carly dated and then they broke up and then she wrote that song.

Which is yet another reason you should never date and then break up with a singer/songwriter.

Like a Rolling Stone, anyone?

But Rose Howard supplied what the judges have determined to be another correct answer, Eelwax Jesus. In the ideal world (which is where we all actually live, despite a great deal of evidence to the contrary) the answer to the question "which 70s singer/songwriter did Carly Simon write the light-rock classic You're So Vain about?" is clearly Eelwax Jesus.

Eelwax Jesus, the judges realized at some point in their deliberations last night, is the correct answer to most questions one can pose.

Capitol of Arkansas?

Eelwax Jesus.

Twenty-third President of the United States?

Eelwax Jesus.

Square root of 13?

Yep. Eelwax Jesus.

The detail that Rose had to write-in her correct answer is just further proof of the veracity of her claim.

So, there you go. Cookies all around.

Monday, May 05, 2008

berkshire morning

I write to you from the quiet meadows of Greenfield, MA, land of the Boy Captive and the ancestral home of Nancy "Spitfire" Walsh, the erstwhile Fireball Kid. We drove up here to see Nan's folks on Saturday, will wend our way back down to Rat City sometime this afternoon, Gob willing.

Birds are winging out there, sun is shining, hard-working Yankees are working hard in their Yankee way, munching on Pepperidge Farm cookies and...whittling things.

And doing other Yankee-like activities.

WTFC didn't do too much damage yesterday with his big Off meets Off-Off article in the Times. In fact, we can use a lot of it, so thanks, Chuck.

Feels like he's trying, anyway.

Uptown producer-types and all other assorted industry need to come down to Suffolk Street this week and catch a ride on Jon Stancato and the Stolen Chairs' latest roller-coaster, The Accidental Patriot. Saw it on Friday night. If you like sword-fights, full-on swash-buckling, brilliant and incisive political commentary, balls-to-the wall young American acting, lean, spare language that can suddenly swoop into a Great Speech and then button back down to a punchline, all kept popping and humming by a great young director, well, you need to see this show.

If you don't like any of the above, what the hell are you doing reading this blog?

I ask you, sir.

If you're down Norfolk-ways, you have another couple of weekends to catch a production of Fatboy done by the 40th Street Stage folks. Nancy and I may drive down and catch it this week-end or next.

Inspired by the softness and gentle breezes of this Berkshire dawn, the MMMQ harkens back to an earlier and more innocent time. Going to be an Oldies round again, Rose, sorry about that.

Carly Simon's light-rock classic You're So Vain was allegedly written about her fellow 70s singer-songwriter and ex-beau. Was the man who probably thought the song was about him:

1. James Taylor

2. Jim Croce

3. Harry Chapin

4. Neil Diamond


5. Lyle Lovett?

Take a stab, prize today is a box of Pepperidge Farm cookies, unless we finish them on the drive home, in which case the prize is something roughly equivalent to the value of a box of Pepperidge Farm cookies.

Go Celtics.

Friday, May 02, 2008

crazy people

Watched I Am Legend last night on Movies on Demand, or Movies on Humble Request as Nancy and I call it, since the movie only comes on and stays on about 20% of the time.

Time Warner Cable must be run by the same people who run the Knickerbocker Station post office and the the New York Knicks as well, for that matter.

Always love me some Will Smith and also love to see post-apocalyptic Rat City.

Escape from New York? Right?


So Will's doing his Hero Thing and all the World's Zombies are just out there trying to eat him.

And I'm thinking,

Yep. That's what it feels like sometimes.

Most of the crazy people out there don't even know that they're crazy. They think it's somehow normal to be this scared, this selfish, this tired.

They think it's somehow mature and responsible to behave without any sense of history
or hope.

NYU is planning on tearing down the Provincetown Playhouse. Where Eugene O'Neill worked. That's like the Sorbonne tearing down Picasso's studio.


Senator Clinton is still in the race. Her people are talking about "electability" and the electoral map and anything else they can come up with besides the hard numbers of delegates and the popular vote and the dwindling number of days before November rolls around and we get one shot, one day, to begin to stop the bleeding.

The Idiot's popularity rating plummets to an historic low, but there are still 26-29%of the poll respondents saying that they approve of the job he's doing.

That's like white mice approving the work of the python in the cage.

Absofuckinglutely crazy.

Uptown they're furiously polishing dogshit, pouring more money into cracked and badly built vessels, selling the tourists like mad. Downtown they're doping around with "experiments" that were first conducted fifty years ago, going broke chasing someone else's dream.

Nancy did the taxes yesterday.


And yet, for some reason, we've decided to stay in the theater biz for another year.


So me and Will and the rest of the strong-jawed Good Guys keep working on the serum, on the vaccine, but I tell you what, if we don't find something soon,

We are going to go crazy.

This is Zombie-Killer one-niner-zero, out.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

may day

Sending up a flare this morning, as I do every year on this day.

May Day. May Day. Coordinates lost. No horizon. May Day...

Brutal couple of months, what with the missus bursting into flames and all.

May Day...

It's a beautiful day and I've no reason not to expect more of the same, more sunshine and beautiful days, but just the same, Life has shown itself to be a tricky bastard and a fast-moving son-of-a-bitch as well.

So let's all hold on to whatever and whoever is close by and see if we can't get through the rapids ahead.

I'm thinking of Curt Dempster this morning.

God bless, Curt. Hope there's more funding up in Heaven than there is down here and that all of the dead playwrights are signed up for your celestial Marathon.

And of course I'm thinking of Jane Walsh, my beloved sister-in-law, Nancy's sister, the only person I've ever known who maybe loved Nancy more than I do, my true great friend, Jane. It's been almost a year since we've seen her in the flesh, since we said good-bye to her in that Albany hospital room.

Nancy says she talked to Jane right before the first surgery last month, and Laura Coyle, Nan's old college room-mate, had a very vivid "dream" conversation with Jane right around the same time, so I imagine she's hanging around somewhere.

Would be nice just to see her again, though.


May Day.

We're all going to be all right. If you get a second today, stand outside and let the sun hit your face. Sometimes that's all that matters. It's not cold, it's not dark and you're not alone. It's spring and green things are growing and summertime is coming.

It's a long ways to the Fall and Winter is just some distant rumor.

It's May Day.

Find a pole and dance around it.

All right.

Cheered myself up, there, how about that?