Friday, January 29, 2010

salinger dead

Boy, when you're dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody.
The Catcher in the Rye

Please god let there be a big trunk in the study stuffed with manuscripts and someone with the sense to go against a dead man's wishes.

He had to have been writing all these years.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

stirring words on a sinking ship

Watched the President last night. Another beautiful speech.

And yeah, he's lost traction on health care and yeah, he sounds silly when he puts on the populist jargon and yeah, the proposed spending freeze is both bad politics and policy and yeah, he could end DADT tomorrow if he really wanted to, but all the same I can't lie.

I still love the guy.

Ask yourself, is there anyone else out there you'd rather have sitting behind the Desk?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

KC love

The Event just played three nights out in Kansas City. Sounds like they nailed it.

This is Christopher Guerin at, Kansas City's Online Performance Journal:

The Event, by John Clancy, directed by Hughston Walkinshaw, and performed masterfully last Sunday evening by John Robert ("Bob") Paisley at the Kansas City Metropolitan Ensemble Theater (MET), was a brief glimpse behind the wizard's curtain in search of the answer to the question: "What is theater?" Truth be told, it also revealed a lot about the question: "What is life?"

I took its brevity as an implied challenge to answer with an equally brief critical analysis, for if The Event proves anything, it is this - while words matter, more of them doesn't necessarily carry greater meaning than fewer of them. Now, I have never been a fan of "stars" or "thumbs" (up or down) or other artifice when it comes to such an analysis, but if I were so inclined, I would use all of them for The Event. It was a remarkable, witty, irreverent and poignant introspection.

Readers who have attended other MET performances already know that this cutting-edge theatre carves out, on a shoestring, a formidable place in the Kansas City arts community and with The Event, Bob Paisley has single-handedly proven this again. Armed with the barest of stages - prop-less for about two-thirds of the performance, and only a chair thereafter - Paisley drew in the audience (the "strangers," as they are referred to throughout the monologue) from the first line, and he held them rapt to the last. The famous stage director, Peter Brook, had a powerfully austere vision of "theater" that seems to speak directly to what Bob Paisley was able to demonstrate so eloquently: "... take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him - and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged."

And thus The Event so engages the "strangers," asking them to consider the significance (or lack) of the power of words and the paradoxes those words, in that context, imply. In that mindset, consider this: All you, the reader, are doing at this very moment is reading my words about the words that were spoken by Mr. Paisley, whose words were, in turn, merely words that were written down - prior to mine, and prior to Paisley speaking them - by someone else (Mr. Clancy). What import do such words have? What gravity do they impose on the people - the "strangers" - around them? What consequence do they have outside the walls of the theater in which they are spoken? Much like life itself, The Event provides no answers - and therein, arguably, lies the magic that is theatre. We see theater - and life - all around us, but cogently verbalizing their essences remains forever elusive.

I came away from The Event with one line, in particular, haunting me: "A man, armed with memorized words, can only do so much." Though phrased as a statement, it begs analysis more as a rhetorical question. So - how valid a statement-question is that, really? For if it is true that the pen, as artistic lore suggests, is mightier than the sword, imagine how much more powerful those penned words can be when life is breathed into them by an actor.

Sunday evening, Bob Paisley breathed life into John Clancy's penned words. He carried no sword - but for that hour, he quite possibly may have been the most powerful man on earth ...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

pay me

A really thoughtful and comprehensive summary of Outrageous Fortune is over on Matt Freeman's blog, Here's a taste:

Our view of the value of creators in the US is upside down. We value distribution and middle-management over creation. We pay the gatekeepers; we pay the decision makers; we pay the marketers. But we shrug at the naivety of creative artists who want to make a living. The very people who produce the fuel that many institutions run on are paid less than the people who write grants on their behalf.

This is not to belittle the hard and wonderful work done by development staff and marketing staff and literary staff. It's just a reminder that we must rethink how artists are compensated.

Also, my LIT compadre and fellow officer Paul Bargetto is guest blogging on the NYITA site and he argues the same case, check it out at

Ann and Mickle score big and collect the bonus points, too.

Monday, January 25, 2010

tour dates

The Event is heading overseas, dates below, MMMQ (MAMQ) at end of post.

Feb 11 Thurs Axis Arts Centre, Crewe
April 14 Weds Linenhall Arts Centre, Co. Mayo
April 15 Thurs An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny, Eire
April 16 Fri Hawk's Well, Sligo, Eire
April 17 Sat Down Civic Arts Centre, Down Patrick
April 20 Tues The Cochrane Theatre, London
April 21 Weds The Cochrane Theatre, London
April 22 Thurs The Cochrane Theatre, London
April 23 Fri The Cochrane Theatre, London
April 24 Sat The Cochrane Theatre, London
April 25 Sun The Cochrane Theatre, London
April 30 Fri Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot
May 4 Tues Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
May 5 Weds Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
May 6 Thurs Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
May 7 Fri Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
May 8 Sat Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

Now, down to serious business.

Elvis Costello is surely one of the finest songsmiths of the last fifty years. But which bit of genius didn't he write?

Bonus points for knowing who did.

1. Alison

2. Radio, Radio

3. Oliver's Army

4. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love and Understanding

Friday, January 22, 2010

crucial difference

"...corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their “personhood” often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established."
Justice John Paul Stevens, dissenting opinion, Citizens United v Federal Election Commission


For the love of gob, who can argue with a straight face that "corporate speech" needs protecting?


That would be the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

Quis custodiet custodias? as the old-timers used to mumble.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

if you're in Kansas City

next week, here's a guaranteed good time:

The Event will be performed at 8 p.m. Sunday-Tuesday, Jan. 24-26 at the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, 3604 Main St.

Call 816-569-3226 or go to

Rocking the Midwest, just like the old days.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

they're sledding in hell

Holy Christ in a crock pot.

Senator Scott Brown.

I'm just...

I mean...

Senator Scott Brown?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

the old man grumbles

Finally getting around to reading Outrageous Fortune, the TDF report on the plight of the American playwright.

Lots of depressing statistics and anonymous kvetching, not much breaking news so far.

Here's the terrible truth, kids, from the mouth of old Scrappy hisself:

If you're going to stay in the American theater and make it your life's work, you are going to be poor. No vacation poor. No savings account poor. No dentist poor. No health care poor. Seriously poor.

That's the road. I know of no shortcut, no detour.

It's a wonderful road and you meet phenomenal people walking along it, but you need to know that at the end of each day you'll be making your bed out under the stars.

And being poor at 46 is a lot different than being poor at 28.

I can't imagine what it's going to be like at 66, but if I'm still around I imagine I'll still be walking that road.

Unless, of course Pablo and Ann come by in the El Dorado and give me a lift.

Monday, January 18, 2010

mlk, d and d, mmmq

This is happening tonight:


Saint Marks' 25th Annual King Dinner
Monday January 18th, 2010 7:00 pm. Parrish Hall
131 East Tenth Street Tenth and Second Ave...use the 11th street entrance.

This year the program for our 25th Martin Luther King ..I Have A Dream Remembrance program, we will pay tribute to Lynne Stewart. Preist-in Charge Winnie Varghese, Pastor Micheal Releyea, and Vestry Warden Cynthia Copeland as representatives of the Saint Marks Community are pleased to urge the community-at-large to come out and support Lynne who is a beloved member of our congregation.
The event will feature Norman Marshall, the Rev Paul Chandler, Joy Kelly, actress, members of the Saint Marks Choir and musical ensemble and actor Earl Gianquinto.
Hosted by Music Director Jeannine Otis, the event will explore the connection to Dr. King's writing from the
Birmingham Prison.
It promises to be a soul-filled uplifting evening. Food will be coordinated by Annette Hendrikse, Saint Marks vestry member and well-known lower eastside chef. Guests are encourage to bring special dishes.

Took part in the Devoted and Disgruntled gathering this weekend. Left feeling less Despondent and Deranged, so something stuck.

And here's a big can of corn right over the plate since I'm feeling pressed for time today:

What does Pablo Picasso drive when he's eyeballing the young ladies and not being called an asshole?

1. Mustang

2. Coupe de Ville

3. Mercury

4. Eldorado

I'm just praying that my anonymous robot pal answers this one.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

never turn your back

Sometimes a director will ask you to do it, usually an actor will make the move first.

It's an argument or a debate and the other player has a long (or what feels to you like a long) monologue.

You step away, turn your back and slowly shake your head, sometimes even softly vocalizing, grunting your amazement at the outlandishness of the words you are forced to hear. This "listening" shtick lasts, miraculously, exactly until you have lines to say, at which point you spin around and attack.

Just think back to any actual argument you've ever had, an argument that mattered to you, an argument that wasn't scripted.

You never turn your back on your opponent.

What you do is the opposite.

You lean in, you lock eyes, you watch the words come out of their mouth.

So why not do that onstage?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

scrappy gets soppy

I was reminded last night, shivering in a lobby in midtown waiting to go into a show, how many good people there are in my life.

Thank you Laura and Sheila and Norma and Martin and Rik. And Dave.

Good friends, man. Cherish them. Nothing can warm you up faster on a cold night.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


The indefatigable Innovative Theatre Foundation has released their latest demographic study of the Off-Off and independent world. Interesting stuff.

You can read the whole thing at, but it's of note that we're mostly young, college educated white women.

For a good overview of the report, check out Leonard Jacobs at

Monday, January 11, 2010


Looks like 2010 got started without us here at the Museum.

Travel, family and general indolence were all factors, but now we resume our established duties.

Aretha and T. T. harmonize only in my mind, sorry, Rosie.