Thursday, July 31, 2008

fourteen hour days

Sometimes it starts feeling like work.

Due to some actor's schedules I'm rehearsing evenings, which I haven't done in awhile.

Kicks your ass around 8:30, I'm here to tell you.

I've been getting up early lately, that old man syndrome of leaping out of bed with the sunrise, shaking your fist at the world and shouting in a creaky old quavery voice:

"I'm still alive, you bastards! Another day!"

And there's plenty of Clancy Productions bidness to get done (we're selling T-shirts now) and prepping for Overlord in Edinburgh and I'm writing like a bastard, but just about when I'm ready to settle on the couch with the wife and the Bunny and enjoy some fine televised programming, it's time to go to work.

Rehearsals are going swimmingly.

It's an underwater ballet, did I mention that? Very radical.

No, so far we're rolling. Really, really great script and an excellent cast.

Enjoying the hell out of it. That part that I can stay awake for.

Busy day today. Meetings and then a check-up with Dr. Bessey, he of the magic hands.

We'll get a professional take on how Spitfire's healing.

I think she's doing swimmingly.

Twelve laps a day, to be exact.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Looks like the Bad Times are back.

Gov. Paterson is talking about massive deficits ahead for New York and Mayor Mike is just saying, "Yup.".

Cut service, cut spending, cut city jobs and then those who can will just cut out to the Hamptons, leaving the rest of us to scratch and claw and dance our way through it.

It's the early seventies all over again, without the music, which was the only good thing about the early seventies.

Nationally, we're looking at a criminal and seemingly deranged or at least divorced from reality President, we're stuck in a war we can't win militarily and gas prices are sky-rocketing.

Globally, everyone's mad at us but still wants to buy our jeans and watch our movies.

Taking a universal view, it's all still just a bunch of carbon and hydrogen and stardust.

And here in Rat City, we're all going broke.

It's simple enough. If the Wall Street moneyboys don't get their insanely fat bonuses, the waitress doesn't get her fat tip. The limo driver doesn't take the drive and the call-girl doesn't get the call.

Well, the call-girl still gets the call, of course.

Some things are recession-proof. The call-girl's going to be fine.

So, send money, I guess.

Fringe in Edinburgh opens on Friday, officially Sunday, but actually Friday.

Our own Fringe here in town starts next Friday, the 8th.

Godspeed to all. For those about to Fringe, we salute you.

Going to be fun to see both this year.

I'm going to put on some P-Funk and see if I can fit into those elephant bell-bottoms.

Retro, baby.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

working for a living

Stepped back onto the factory floor last night with the first read-through of Brian Parks' The Invitation.

Excellent script, phenomenal cast, great early design thoughts.

Spent a lot of the time just laughing our asses off, always a good sign.

The weird thing on this job is that we have to stop for a week right in the middle of rehearsal to brush up Overlord and fly to Edinburgh and present it for the International Festival. And three-quarters of The Invitation cast is in Overlord, so we work like mad on The Invitation, get it humming, drop it, pick up Overlord, do that for a week, drop Overlord and swing back into The Invitation towards the end of August. Can't afford to miss a beat, the timing is all too tight. Invitation opens first week of September.

We've all done harder things together, but this is a new move, have to keep my eyes on the dance floor.

Keep on getting membership application for the League of Independent Theater, thanks all. Check it out at for info, background and membership application.

Damn Ann wins again with One for My Baby (And One More for the Road). No one loses, thank god, you are all Children of Buddha Nature, I suppose. Rose not-so-subtly mocks me and Ann and Ken for being her elders and growing slightly soft in the old brain-mush region.

You see what happens when you let your guard down with these kids? They're savages, just savages.

In my day, why, the youth showed the proper respect for .skdklf..ssssssssssmvvvvvvvs.svmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

Sorry, must have dozed off there.

Monday, July 28, 2008

thank you, mr. thundercloud

Big storm yesterday blew away the choking heat that held the town all week. I was just up on the roof and you can actually breathe out there.

Summers in Rat City, the smell of baking garbage, the homicidal rage that gently slips over you, the knowledge that you are well and truly damned already, may as well just start plea-bargaining and drop the innocent act...

Deep weirdness out in Stroudsburg, PA. Saw a man wearing his pants higher up on his waist than I have ever seen.

And I grew up in Missouri.

Interview today with The List, sort of Edinburgh's TimeOut New York. Had a nice little piece in TimeOut New York last week. TimeOut New York is sort of New York's The List.

Working on a mobius sentence up there.

First rehearsal for The Invitation tonight. Getting my notes together, reading the play again, getting out the beret and the megaphone, seeing if those riding pants still fit.

I direct old-school.

And speaking of all that in the past, anyone remember Johnny Carson?

He ruled the night when I was but a boy and this morning's MMMQ concerns his last televised appearance.

When Carson bowed out it actually meant something to the country, or at least it meant something to me. It was like a landmark announcing it was going to tear itself down. His last guest was the divine Ms. M, Bette Midler, and she sang to him and broke him up, the camera cutting back and forth between her sad smile and his tears.

What was the last song sung on the Johnny Carson show?

1. Bye, Bye, Blackbird

2. One for my Baby (And One More for the Road)

3. Wind Beneath My Wings

4. With a Little Help from my Friends


5. Itsy-Bitsy Teeny-Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini?

Winners get the satisfaction of knowing that only the righteous win, losers are doomed to roam in cyclical existence driven by deep-seated habitual tendencies.

So, the stakes are kind of high this week.

Friday, July 25, 2008

back on the rowdy road

We're loading up Car 220 and making a Poconos run this morning.

Flee Rat City, get back to the land, talk to the simple, honest people of Pennsylvania.

The thieving, whorish, simple, honest people.

Americans, one and all.

Labor Party lost big up in Scotland yesterday.

No clotted cream for Gordon Brown today.

Great production meeting for The Invitation last night at the Old Town Bar.

That's going to be a great show and it's going to be good to get back into the production rhythm, regular rehearsal, building up an ensemble, listening to a new play being born.

I love working on world premieres, it's about all I do so sometimes I forget how exciting it is.

No road map, no history, no preconceived understanding of what the thing is.

Just like real life.

We're off, getting the high-sign from McGee.

Safe weekend to all and if I see you out in the Poconos, watch your step.

We're loaded for bear up there in the mountains.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

diner meetings

Had two of them, back-to-back, yesterday.

Met up with Del, Curtiss and Nan at The Lyric on 3rd Avenue just below 23rd and then braved the crosstown six o'clock traffic to meet Shay and Leonard at the fabled Westway over on 9th and 43rd.

Nothing makes you feel like more of a New Yorker than riding that booth meeting, nodding all serious-like while spooning up your rice pudding.

Everything is rolling today. Polishing up episode two of The Postmen, some light housework and Museum maintenance, meeting for The Invitation tonight.

Out of Rat City tomorrow for a night or two. Pocono Madness.

Join LIT. Buy American. Vote your conscience.

I'm reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

That's some surprisingly practical shit.

And if you want to have your own eyebrows raise right off your forehead, read the Comments down under the "big work" post.

Gets all steamy.

Thanks, ladies.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

LIT goes live

It must be real, we've got a website.

The Ladies International Tanning Night Yakuza.

That's not right.

Legendary Italian Transvestites Need You.


The League of Independent Theater. Yes.

Great meeting last night, thanks to the undergroundzero festival for the space.

Some great ideas, wonderful energy. It's all about membership now, go online, download the application and join up.

I read a great book back in my schooldays when I almost completed a Sociology minor, The Logic of Collective Action. Spells out the logic of not behaving selfishly, how working together or even for someone else's interest boomerangs back and serves the individual.

That's what it's about.

Boomerang, baby.

I'm a writing machine today. Go into rehearsal next week for The Invitation, need to get my head clear.

Everyone should go online to and join the League of International Tumbling Naked Yogis.

That's not right.

League of Independent Theater. The "ny" is just New York, I guess.

Makes sense.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

big work

They've got two cement mixers and what I count to be about thirty guys across the street working on the old Theatorium site.

Two enormous crane-like machines I've never seen before hover over the whole operation. They're hooked up to the cement-mixing trucks and they're sucking up the wet cement and then shooting it down through these massive tubes that the workmen direct down into the foundation.

It's like something out of The Matrix over there.

Loud as hell, too. Woke us up this morning.

Tonight, 7:30 at Manhattan Children's Theater, 52 White Street between Church and Broadway we talk all things LIT.

That's the League of Independent Theater, and while we may not have the cranes or the cement mixers, we're going to get some work done.

The purposes for which the corporation is formed are:

(1) To promote the artistic and economic interests of theater professionals
working in New York City in theaters of up to 99 seats;

(2) To organize and protect its members to ensure that independent theater is economically viable for all of its practitioners; and

(3) To advocate on behalf of the decades-old tradition of off-off Broadway theater to ensure that it remains, and grows, as a thriving artistic and economic sector in New York City.

Pretty straight-forward.

Come tonight, share your ideas and concerns, get involved.

The Lampshade Queen dances even from her sick-bed, showing us all moves we've only read about. Yeah, Joe Walsh used the ellipses bravely (or maybe he was just high and didn't realize what he was doing) on his 1978 classic But Seriously, Folks... If you remember the album art you'll remember how strange it all was, Joe underwater with a big snorkel mask, bubbles rising to the surface.

Different days.

Ann wins a snorkel mask, if she wants one, or a prize of equal or lesser value.

Colin wins eleven bonus points, to be redeemed for a prize of lesser or greater value.

And Rosie wins the opportunity to design any and all Clancy Productions for her brilliant Brazilian memory/novella. Prize includes the right to attend endless production meetings, work in the heat of the Rat City summer for very little pay and have your work reviewed by Martin Denton.

Well played, all.

Monday, July 21, 2008

slow week

Always a mistake to say that, but sitting here on a Monday morning my calendar is almost empty.


That's my favorite word up above, can never remember how to spell it.

Missing an "h" somewhere, I think.

Great week-end watching Matt say The Event downtown, thanks all who showed.

There's life in that thing, we'll get it back up.

Going to see Dr. Gehrman in an hour for a check-up, just routine, annual physical kind of thing.

I'm sure I'm in great shape.

Second mistake of the post.

I'm on a roll.

Huge superstition hovers over going to see the doctor. They are our Priests of Science, after all.

They are the Bringers of the Bad News and the Healers of the Sick.

Gehrman is this funny little Russian guy, always 45 minutes behind, bullied by his receptionist, a short, slouching, bearded, sardonic Jewish refugee type guy. You feel the compulsion to ask him how he's doing, like you're the doctor and he's a guy having a bad day.

Seeing Caroline Patterson for lunch. Young actress who helped us out with The Event. An hour at Odessa should straighten her out.

Get out of the business, kid. It'll only break your heart. More coffee over here, please.

Everyone should come down to 52 White Street tomorrow at 7:30 and speak about the League of Independent Theater. Had some good meetings over the weekend, it's coming together nicely.

And I think tickets are one sale for FringeNYC. Used to be involved in that, if memory serves.

Found a Joe Walsh CD in a stack of Cinderella and Jennifer Lopez bargain bin bound releases on Sunday and thus was given our Monday Morning Music Quiz.

Joe's L.A. guitar god classic, Life's Been Good, closes out which 1978 album:

1. Stop Me If You've Heard This Before

2. I'm Just Getting Started

3. Is This Microphone On?

4. But Seriously, Folks...

or, for Rose,

5. Captain Geechy's Shrimp Shack Shooters Sing Songs of Love and Idolatry, featuring the Hambone Trio and Wild "Joe" McPherson

Take a guess, winners get the good stuff, losers still get some shrimp.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

REMINDER League of Independent Theater town meeting

Breaking my self-imposed weekends-off policy here at the Museum for this reminder/news flash:

The League of Independent Theater, off-off Broadway's new advocacy group, is holding a town meeting on Tuesday, July 22nd at 7:30 at The Manhattan Children's Theater, 52 White Street, between Broadway and Church, right across the street from The Flea.

Thanks to the undergroundzero festival for hosting us.

Come and talk with me and Abby Marcus, the League's Managing Director, and other League board members and concerned and invested colleagues.

LIT is a membership organization, responsible to it's members, so we're looking to hear what our members are interested in doing, solving, changing, etc.

You can become a charter member, get a discount on the membership fee and help move this thing forward.

7:30, Tuesday night.

See you there.

Friday, July 18, 2008

matt oberg is god

Or, more accurately, Gob.

The boy burned down the house last night at the Manhattan Children's Theater.

We were doing Jack and the Beanstalk and Matt, in the title role of The Beanstalk, was just extraordinary.

It was like, I don't know, there was an actual beanstalk talking and dancing and singing up there.



That word is looking very weird on my screen.

If you've been following along at home, then you know that Matt is doing The Event, a one-man thing I wrote and directed as part of the undergroundzero festival. We were scheduled to perform at Collective: Unconscious, but what with a sewage situation compounded by an unhelpful landlord, the festival has moved to The Flea and the Manhattan Children's Theater, 52 White Street between Broadway and Church.

Two more shows, tonight and Saturday, 7:30. It's only an hour, you bastards. Magic tricks at the end, swear to Gob.

Thanks to all who showed last night and huge thanks to the lovely and long-suffering Caroline Patterson, making her professional New York stage debut as The Unseen Stage Manager, sombrero and all.

See, if you see the show you'd know what the hell that last sentence was all about.


Oh yeah.

Easy summer day today. Lunch with Tom Berger to talk about Equity Fights Aids and the League of Independent Theater. Writing the second episode of The Postmen. Everyone is liking the pilot, so I'm moving on.

Come down tonight and see the show and afterwards we can drink and lie to each other late into the night. Come down even if you're in Winnipeg (Erez) or Arlesly (Scampers) or wherever you may be.

That's why god made airplanes.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

show your love

Need some bodily support tonight, 7:30 down at Manhattan Children's Theater.

Young Matt Oberg climbs back into the ring and does honorable battle with himself and all of the words I made him memorize.

The Event, folks. Funny and true.

52 White Street, tickets at or just show up, we'll get you in.

Playing tomorrow and Saturday as well, sure, but tonight's the night.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

hustling, bustling, etc.

Another full day lies ahead in Rat City.

Morning meeting with the soon-to-be married Abby Marcus. LIT work and bacon. Then back to the Museum to polish the Postmen pilot and figure out what the hell is going on with gmail. Afternoon tech for The Event, opening tomorrow night and then back home.

Busy, but not crazed.

Thinking this morning, for some reason, about the early days of the Fringe. Probably just the time of the year. Eight years ago, July would rush by as Elena and I and an irregular army of volunteers would scramble towards August. Certain disaster and overwhelming odds were our daily companions and the only way to get through it all was to focus on the immediate task.

And a few years before that, back in 1997, I remember running around the neighborhood with my old partner Aaron Beall. Aaron and I would bop in and out of anyone's office, hustling the Festival, selling the Big Idea. We had our dog-and-pony show down cold, making the deals while Elena sat back home in Hell's Kitchen, figuring out how it was all going to actually work.


Used to think I was really good at it and I guess I used to be.

You get a little older and you realize that if you spend all day making deals, you don't have anything but a bunch of deals at the end of the day. You spend a little time making friends, making art, hell, even making out and the nights aren't so cold.

Need a turn-out tomorrow night and through the weekend for The Event.

Tickets and info at

It's funny and deep and there are magic tricks at the end. It's only an hour, you bastards.

And that's my morning hustle.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

calling all cars

Putting out an APB on The Event, this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the undergroundzero festival, all shows at 7:30. Tickets at

Key date is Thursday the 17th. Got some good folks coming who are interested in moving the show, so we need to pack the house with a crowd that will then stream out into the lobby afterwards, all murmuring in unison:

"Damn, that would be a fine Off-Broadway show and I would certainly come back and see it with forty of my friends."

All in unison, in some sort of creepy Stepford audience rhythm.

It's a very fun show, about an hour, with the inimitable Matt Oberg talking the whole time. Magic tricks for those who stay, no lie.

New York Theatre Mike knows his jazz family trees.

Cannonball's brother was indeed Nat, although Art and Scat Bowlingball were both fine guesses. Ann and Scat each get a very small sack o' woe, but they don't have to open them, they can just leave them in the lobby as they file out with the crowd.

Mike gets Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, which sounds like what you're supposed to say when adversity comes up.

I might just have a pilot written up, did some good work on The Postmen yesterday.

And all things LIT are jumping this week, check out Martin's blog on

Congratulations, Mike.

And now I know that the Lampshade Queen has a jazz blindspot and that Scat Bowlingball Herself will unerringly go for the goofiest choice as long as it tickles her.

This is how the game of poker is played.

Monday, July 14, 2008

still humming

Like a tuning fork from Saturday's convocation.

Thanks Martin and Rochelle for gathering 160 + independent theater artists and practitioners and thanks Scott Morfee for giving us the Barrow Street Theater to gather in and thanks all of you who made it and all who tried.

Good, focused, positive energy in that room and a very good beginning of a larger conversation.

Martin has posted his remarks on his blog, Some good comments have begun.

We're having a League of Independent Theater town hall gathering on Tuesday the 22nd down at the Manhattan Children's Theater, 52 White Street at 7:30 as part of the undergroundzero festival, so that's the next public forum and chance to get more information on the League and move the League forward.

And me and Spitfire did just fine with Nigromantia.

Learned my lines and everything.

Finishing up Postmen this week, Gob willing, and putting The Event back up on Thursday.

Other than that, the Museum is on a summer schedule: open when we feel like it, closed when the weather is nice.

Wouldn't be a Monday around here without a Monday Morning Music Quiz, so here goes:

Throwing it out to the jazzbo crew this morning.

The great Cannonball Adderley played with his brother, along with Joe Zawinul and other assorted geniuses. Cannonball's brother played the cornet and his name was:

1. Nate

2. Nat

3. Scat

4. Art


5. Bowlingball

Winner gets Mercy, losers get a Sack o' Woe.

Friday, July 11, 2008

see you all tomorrow, right?

2:00 at the Barrow Street Theater for the big Convocation and then 7:30 for Nigromantia.

Big revival hoe-down rally action and then see if Spitfire learned all her lines and what John would look like if he were a miner back in 1849.

Whiskers and such.

Quiet day. Afternoon tech. Morning writing.

Had a meeting with the Armando Perez Community Center folks last night. Good to see the old guard still fighting. That building got sold seven years ago and because of a handful of activists and artists, it's still in play.

Viva Charas.

Viva Armando.

Viva Loisada.

Some people don't know when to quit, and those are the people you want on your side.

I'll see all of you tomorrow and fill you in on the details.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Ann says she wants a free Tibet, but I say ain't nothing in this life free.

Got a feeling this is going to be one of my more random posts, kids, so don't look for the thread because it probably ain't there.

"Ain't" used to be proper speech, back in England, back in the 18th century.

Another example of how there ain't no such thing as correct language.

It's a river and we just ride it.

This has been one of those strange weeks when time slows down and then jumps forward on you. Spent about two days yesterday working on a script, Monday was about a week ago and now all of a sudden it's Thursday and I have to walk out onstage in about 56 hours.

Hope I'll be ready.

Nice time-travel last night at the opening night festivities of the undergroundzero festival over on Franklin Street. Saw all of the old warriors of Collective: Unconscious, Bob and Patrick and Justin et al. Johnny Porkpie was there, wearing my shirt, and Irving kept yelling at me about something. I huddled in a corner with Paul Bargetto and Jennifer Conley Darling for awhile, sipping Scotch and plotting our moves.

Here's another bit of the Acting Book, since I've run plumb out of fresh words this morning:


The artist and the cop have the exact same job description up until the moment of execution.

Study. Observe patterns. Observe, open-eyed and with no pre-suppositions, no prejudices.

Look at it fresh. Again and again.

Stay close to the streets.

Know the changes. Recognize the rhythms so you can notice before anyone else when they change.

The job description is the same. The jobs are anti-thetical.

At the moment, the moment of action, is when the cop and the artist split.

The cop's job is to arrest.

The artist's job is to release.

But other than that, they are the same job. So we, as artists, should keep an eye on those among us who wish to arrest. We should check that impulse and recognize it.
We are not here to capture moments or interrogate the world.

We are here to increase freedom in the world, to loosen bonds and ferry dark thoughts out into the day.

Work towards release.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

advertisements for myself

Saturday the 12th is a big day.

At 2 PM over at the Barrow Street Theater I'll be talking to people for the first time in my official capacity as Executive Director of the League of Independent Theater, as part of New York Theatre Experience's second Independent Theater Convocation. Lots of folks have RSVP'd, come down if you can.

And about five hours later we premiere Nigromantia: A Slight Return at the Undergroundzero Festival down at the soon-to-be-shuttered Collective Unconscious. If you want to see me onstage and with what passes for a beard, then that's the time and place to do it. We're playing again on Sunday, July 13, but you want to be there for the first night.

Tickets and info at


Also, the T-shirts are online. We cut a deal with our pals at FringeNYC to provide some merch for the festival and the participants and we're selling our own stuff as well. should be the link.

I saw Matt Oberg balance a chair on his chin momentarily last night. It was pretty cool.

Then I drank much whiskey with Zack Calhoun and Susan Ferrara. Don't know how many "r"s Susan has in her name, so I'm going with the standard three.

Rehearsing today, a little writing, and then the big opening night party for the festival tonight.

One could mistake my weeks for work if one wasn't paying close attention.

I try to never make that mistake.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

the future and the past

Found out yesterday where I'll be on Election Day this year, Gob willing.

Performing in a pub in Belfast.

Life stays weird.

And got a call from 1986 yesterday afternoon.

Dallas Alice Ferguson Boyd, my college sweet-heart was in town, hanging out in Soho with her teen-aged kids. We sat at Cafe Miro on lower Broadway for an hour as if twenty years had been a day. She's a big yoga mogul out in Portland, Oregon now, professionally blissed out, which seems like a good life from this perch.

Memorizing lines today and then paying a professional clown to teach Matt Oberg how to balance a chair on his chin this evening.

Strange sentence, all true.

And Damn Ann wins any triple-decker sandwich she wants, courtesy of the Museum, for knowing her godfathers. Yes, Steve Miller learned to play the guitar at the feet of the master, Les Paul, in the by-gone days of the 50s out in the suburban sprawl of East Texas.

Now I've got to fly like an eagle to the gym.

Monday, July 07, 2008


Forgot to mention that two of America's greatest clowns died over the weekend, Bozo and Jesse.

R.I.P. Larry Harmon and may you finally meet your Maker, Senator.

back to the salt mine

It's another Monday morning outside my window after four straight days of weekend.

Glad to be back in the harness, truthfully. Needed the break, but I like to be busy and there are a lot of good things to do.

Spent the 4th (and the 5th and some of the 6th) up with Sheila and Norma at the Wallkill Ranch. I burned up most of Sheila's firewood for the year the first night, just couldn't let the fire die. Peter Michael Marino was there as well, at one point giving us all a sneak-peek at Children of the Corn, The Musical!

Very fucking funny.

Yesterday Walsh and I saw WALL-E.

You know how I love to babble on about things?

I have no words. Please go see this movie. Please bring a young person.

This week will be all about learning our lines for Nigromantia and prepping for the big Second Indie Theater Convocation on Saturday. And writing the pilot for Postmen. It's a pretty light week, so we should be fine.

MMMQ is about heritage and the passing of the torch.

Little Steve Miller grew up down in Texas where he went to school with Royce (Boz) Scaggs and first picked up a guitar. Steve's father was an amateur recording engineer and on the first disc of the Box Set there's a recording of five-year old Stevie singing and then getting some advice and praise from his godfather.

Steve Miller's godfather was:

1. Buddy Holly

2. Les Paul

3. T-Bone Walker

4. Vito Corleone

Winner gets some good stuff, losers get called Maurice.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

getting off the grid

Me and Spitfire are dropping low for a few days.

Has nothing to do with that recent crime spree, I swear.

Stupid surveillance camera.

Some good response to the Subway Make-out scheme, thanks all. We'll put that together late July, probably. In a week, Nancy and I have to get onstage and the week after that we need to polish up The Event, so it's going to start jumping around here.

About 232 years ago a bunch of people sat down in the July heat of Philadelphia and cooked up this country.

Well done, boys.

I'm going to be out there this week-end being as American as the law allows, which is a pretty open road. Cocktails, cigarettes, probably some explosives will be involved and don't get me started on my summer attire or the strange, wispy, salt-and-pepper whiskers beginning to obscure my crooked grin.

Fish got to swim, right?

Enjoy, I'll check back in on Monday.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

public works

Here's a thing I'm cooking up with Eric Sanders:

THE PUBLIC WORKS PROJECT, an organization dedicated to creating 'moments' and images at certain times and intervals throughout the city. Our first project is called "Subway Make-Out," and we are seeking couples who are interested in participating in this multiple, simultaneous subway make-out session. We are planning to do this on a late July morning or afternoon; we will rehearse for a few hours in the days beforehand. More info is below. Feel free to pass this on to friends, and we hope you can join us in making New York City a little less real.

You are sitting on a semi-crowded train, before or after work. Either way, you're tired, sluggish; weary about the day you're headed towards or coming from. And then you look up briefly and notice an attractive young couple standing above you, chatting it up, smiling at each other, flirting. They're acting like this is the first time they've ever met; he's nervous, she's shy. They're making silly jokes. He's putting his hands in his pockets and smoothing his tie when he laughs. She's running her hands through the back of her hair. You look away, think nothing of it. God, work is going to suck today, you think; or, God, TV is going to suck tonight and Bravo's only playing re-runs, plus I'm out of dog food and RiffRaff is hungry. Shit. you think to yourself. This is how we get lost in our thoughts—this is how the city swallows us up. And then something brings you back, onto the subway car, into the present again: The couple above you has started to kiss, just like that; his arms are around her back, he's dipping her ever so slightly, their legs are touching, and they're embracing like it's WWII and he's just returned home. Is anyone else seeing this? you wonder, looking around the train. And then the strangest thing: Another couple, at the far door, is doing the same thing, wrapped in each others' arms like they're the same person, and then another couple on the far end of the train, and then another, and then another… What the fuck? Is this possible? you ask yourself. Summer makes people crazy, after all. But not this crazy. Does it? The couples—6 of them, 8 of them, 10 of them—are all kissing now, all oblivious to each other, oblivious to the outside world. They are in their world and you are in yours, except now you are a little bit in theirs. You look around the train and a few other seated people have noticed it too—their eyes meet yours, wondering, How could this be real? And then the train stops and the doors open and, just like that, all the couples exit, holding hands. In unison. No applause, no curtain, just another morning or night in the city. Except now it's somehow not so lonely. Your eyes meet those of the person seated across from you—and, yes, you both actually crack a quick smile.

Are you a real-life couple or are you and a partner interested in joining us? We will be premiering "Subway Make-Out" in the sexy heat of July. E-mail Director John Clancy at with your interest and we will be in touch soon regarding scheduling.


John Clancy and Eric Sanders

Sounds like fun, right?

I also had an idea yesterday for the Simultaneous I-Pod Dance. A bunch of people hit the same song at the same moment on their I-Pod and start dancing, precisely and intricately, on the subway platform.

Just trying to keep it interesting.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tom Paine lives

Holy god, I'm reading Rights of Man and I'm ready to run out and shoot a King.

Picked it up awhile a go for a couple of bucks at a Barnes and Noble, one of those books that B&N reprints for cheap as part of their "Barnes and Noble Library of Essential Reading" aka "Stuff in the Public Domain We Can Print Up For Nothing and Sell to You" series.

How's this?

"When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am the friend of its happiness; when these things can be said, then may that country boast its constitution and government."

Clear-sighted, passionate and the lover of a good phrase, Tom was. I believe he coined the term "The United States of America".

That one stuck.

I think he was also the only guy, with the exception maybe of Lafayette, who was present at both Revolutions, the American and the French.

And he died unheralded. Stayed radical and after awhile his old friends, who were by that time running the government, stepped away from him.

Tone that shit down, Tom. You're right, but come on. We've got a government to run here.

And Tom was saying stuff like:

"Toleration is not the opposite of Intolerance but is the counterfeit of it."


"A vast mass of mankind are degradedly thrown into the background of the human picture, to bring forward with greater glare, the puppet-show of state and aristocracy."

All his old buddies in their powdered wigs staring silently at the floor, avoiding each other's eyes, wishing they had walked into another tavern.

Stay wild, Tom.

Damn Ann was close with her MMMQ guess, but the correct spelling of the Tantric release-breath joy-inducing wail contained in The Bangles Walk Like an Egyptian is:



Say it a few times, you'll see I'm right.

Now let's go burn down the Bastille.