Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Now that was a great weekend.

Kudos and more kudos to Scott Morfee and his merry band at Barrow Street Theater for putting the whole thing together and running it so well.  I only got to see the Neo-Futurist's Complete and Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O'Neill, Volume One, but man, that was some good theater.  Funny as hell, had a point, unexpectedly moving and strikingly original.  Most shows are lucky to be one of those things, this one was all four.

And The Piano Store Plays rocked the house, of course.  Those shows are coming back, somehow, somewhere.  Too good to go back in the vault.

So we journey on into 2012.  Big LIT initiative about to be announced, potential game-changer as they say in the political arena.  Watch this space, won't you?

And tonight is the Florida primary coverage.  How happy I am.  I'm waiting for Newt to begin physically attacking Romney and his surrogates.  Just start tackling old Republican stalwarts, wrestling Bob Dole to the ground, shouting "I'm Churchill!  Don't you know I'm Churchill?"

Could be some good T.V.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

you know who you are

Nice words in the paper today.
Get your tickets to the big show this weekend.

You non-ticket-buying bastards.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

a dollar twenty nine

That's all you need to go here and start reading The Piano Store Plays, a collection of shorts I wrote 20 years ago, before Present Company, the loft on W. 45th Street, the Fringe, the internet, penicillin, air travel and the internal combustion engine.

Well, we had penicillin, we just didn't know what it was.  Used to mix it in with our drinks, made them all fizzy.

And then you can memorize every precious word of The Piano Store Plays and go here and for another fifteen bucks you've got a ticket to sit down with other fine people and watch me and Nancy and Kevin Pariseau say those very words out loud, while walking around in front of you.

It's kind of a trip, I know, but it all makes sense if you don't think about it too much.

So that's sixteen dollars and twenty nine cents I'm asking you to lay out, all in.

Not an outrageous request.

And we have to once again give the huge kudos to Martin and Rochelle Denton over at www.nytheatre.com and  www.indietheaternow.com.  These guys continue to figure out what our territory needs and then work to provide it.  And they've been doing it for years.

They're a non-profit, by the way.  Most people don't know that, they assume they're just a great website.  Nope.  They'll gladly accept your donations, if you think what they do is worth anything.  Which you should because it is.

It's all about money today for some reason.  Guess I'm inspired by the Mittbot's tax release.

That's one rich robot.

Weird that he'd claim "extensive humanoid voice recognition and mimicry training sessions" as a business expense, when that seems to be a personal thing, but hell, I'm no E.F. Hutton.  

Monday, January 23, 2012


I was prepping a big thing on Saul Alinsky and why Newt keeps ominously mentioning him as Obama's mysterious Jewish Svengali, but this guy does it better,
so take a look and then go here.

Buy those tickets, kid.  And you can hear Kevin Pariseau,  live and in the flesh say things like:

ACTOR All right.  Good.  Let’s begin.  (An expectant pause)  All right, I’ll start.

(ACTOR thinks, smiles, thinks some more, searching for the play, then leaps to the obvious.)  I live in this room.  It’s not a very big room but it’s where I live.  Others have lived here before me.  Others will live here after I go, providing I don’t burn it down one night which is unlikely as I don’t smoke.  No one smokes in this room.  I have few visitors, not many people come to see me in this room but those few who do don’t smoke.  Not in here.  What they do when they’re not here I couldn’t begin to imagine.  Nor would I want to. 

Now I could tell you more about my visitors or more about me. 

Or I could do both.

I’ll do both but I’ll start with me. 

I came to this room…many years ago.  I wouldn’t say that I was born here but I wouldn’t dispute the fact either.  I would just avoid the subject altogether if I were me which I am so I do. I know this room…intimately.  (ACTOR paces stage) Every square inch of it.  Not that side so much.  I’ve never really gotten a grasp of that side.  This side I know.  The front part of this side.  This area right here.  Right where I am standing now.  I know this area right here probably better than any other person in this room.  I’ve studied it.  I’ve grappled with it.  I’ve met it.  I’ve met it and in that meeting, through that meeting, I’ve grown to know it.

All right.   Good. 

More about me or something about the visitors? 

More about me, I think.  Then the visitors. 

Me’s going well. 

Come on.  Funny stuff.  Fifteen bucks.  Me and Walsh up onstage with Kevin. 

You want to be there.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


It amazes me that I can still be amazed.

I count myself as a pretty hard-core political junkie, clocking a couple of hours a day watching cable news, checking Politico and DailyKos throughout the morning and reading the Times and the Guardian online.

So I think I've built up an immunity to the distortions, innuendos and outright lies that pass for political speech in this campaign season.  Most of it rolls off in a cynical sheen, you shrug and mutter "Well, of course, he has to say that, that's where the votes are... "

And then Newt Gingrich opens his mouth.

And the Pillsbury Doughboy from Hell begins to pontificate and sneer and lecture.

What is still angering me, the thing that I can't dismiss or defuse or let pass is his mulish, mean-spirited contention that poor (black) kids should do the work of school janitors.

This is no longer just another idea in the long line of inane, incoherent thoughts that stream unbidden from Newt's ever-working pie-hole.  This ain't mining on the moon.  At the last debate, the rotund ex-Speaker doubled down on this insidious, ignorant idea, claiming that he couldn't understand why some found his suggestion objectionable.

Let me see if I can illuminate you there, Newt.

The core of steaming contempt that this idea springs from, you see, is that poor (black) people don't have a "work ethic" and giving these kids a job in the school cafeteria will awaken their inner Bill Gates and their lives will blossom and transform and in one generation we won't have all of these goddamned poor (black) people sucking the Great Teat of Government dry.

"Not having a work ethic" is rich white guy code for "lazy, stupid and semi-criminal", by the way.  I'm not rich, but I do have an old copy of the codebook here, so you can trust me on this one.  Just like "inner-city youth" means one of those scary black kids and "states rights" means Klansmen, Welcome!

Sorry.  I'll try to stick to the point.

The point, which is glaringly, painfully obvious to anyone who has ever actually been a part of the workforce, the bottom part, where work is manual and hourly, is that no one works harder than the poor.

Newt.  Lean in and listen, you bloated, bleating fool:

No one works harder than the poor.

I remember those school janitors.  And you know what I remember most?  They were always working.  Wheeling trash cans around and mopping floors.  I can't remember a single instance of one of those guys leaning back and cackling evilly at the thought of the massive pension he was going to enjoy.

And here's the other thing, Newton:

In St. Louis, where I grew up, most of those janitors were older black men.  And we can all take the leap here together and assume that their lives were, statistically, harder than the lives of their white counterparts.  These were guys who were born in the thirties, right?  These were guys who were grown men when the Civil Rights Act was passed.  So, institutionally and actually, the road they walked down had a few more obstacles than mine or Newt's or Mitt's or Rick's or Ron's.

But they had a union, thank god, and maybe their work was hard and dirty and there wasn't a lot of joy or sense of great achievement in their weekly grind, but the money was solid and steady and you could raise a family off it.

And so, the snide suggestion that you could fire one of these guys and replace him with a couple of thirteen year olds at half the cost is so, so wrong on so, so many levels that I'm beginning to stutter here in my head.

And not just the suggestion that you could do it, but the larger thought process that you should, that it would be a good thing, a brilliant idea, get the kids working and further weaken that damned union.

This tells me, clearly and once again, that beneath so much of the "pro-business", "right-to-work", "individualistic" horseshit that we all nod along with is a barely disguised contempt and distaste for the poor (black) people that all of us hard-working, ambitious (white) people have to deal with in this country.

And I'm sorry to have to keep beating this drum, but my good Republican friends, you have to start to deal with this.  Look at your guys.  Mitt's church didn't consider black people fully human until about thirty years ago.  Ron doesn't believe in the Civil Rights Act or that a store-owner has to serve people of color.  Rick Perry has a family ranch with a rather colorful local name.

You always wade into a swamp when you talk about racism in this country.  I don't know what goes on in the hearts of these guys.  But I know what comes out of their mouths.  And it's racist.  It supports and sustains the status quo of racial inequality that others are trying to dismantle.  That's objective, if uncomfortable, fact.

We have so much work to do.  All of us.  And, like the janitors of my youth, the work we're looking at is dirty and back-breaking and a lot of it won't even be noticed by the kids running around us.  But we're doing it for those kids.  Our job is to leave them a cleaner, safer place to grow up in.  We have to scrub away the ugly, angry filth that other generations scrawled on the walls of our public corridors and tote away the stinking, festering piles of trash and hate we carelessly let grow in our midst.  And like all manual, actual labor, that job will never be done.

But we'll get up tomorrow and do it again.  And again.   Because somebody has to do it.

And if I have to watch one more privileged, out-of-touch politician sneer at our effort and question the purpose of the work...

Well.  I'll probably just shut up and keep mopping.

You can't blame a hungry dog for barking.


Monday, January 16, 2012

telegram from the past, still unread

Desperate men do desperate deeds. It is not they who are irrational but those who expect injustice eternally to be endured. I am convinced that a single dramatic massive proof of concern that touches the needs of all the oppressed will ease resentments and heal enough angry wounds to permit constructive attitudes to emerge. 

I regret that my expression may be sharp but I believe literally that the life of our nation is at stake: here at home. Measures to preserve it need be boldly and swiftly applied before the process of social disintegration engulfs the world of society.

Mr. President, this is an emergency state as surely as was the recent crisis in the railroads of our nation. Unless Congress can be motivated to act immediately upon some creative and massive program to end unemployment, we face the possible spread of this tragic destruction of life and property. I urge you to use the power of your office to establish justice in our land by enacting and implementing legislation of reason and vision in the Congress.

That's Martin Luther King, Jr writing to Lyndon Johnson, July 25, 1967 .


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

the mittbot rolls

It might just be time for the boys and girls in the Republican party to stop throwing spitballs and hand grenades at each other and file quietly on to the back of the Cyborg Express.

Because that robot is rolling.

And I've got to say, he's getting good.  His speech last night, (except for one weird, grating glitch that we'll get to below) was polished, persuasive and a pitch-perfect general election argument against the president.  It was mostly authentic stump-speech gibberish, of course, but it had some power and the coordination between the words and the facial expressions was practically human.  Why the technicians chose to broadcast the phrase "politics of envy", however, is a mystery.

Politics of envy?  Questioning the practices of Bain Capital, and by implication other vulture, that is to say, venture capital firms is the result of envy?

Let me tell you, when you're walking down the street and you get jumped by a bunch of guys and they rough you up and walk away with all of your money, laughing, that burning feeling in your chest is not envy.  Rage, sure.  Helplessness and a sense that what just happened wasn't fair or right, yeah.

But you rarely envy someone for being colder or more ruthless than you. 

So we waltz into the mud-wrestling pit that is South Carolina, everyone still in, everyone still swinging and shouting and posturing and pointing fingers.  If anything is true this time around, it's that anything and I mean anything can happen.   Hell, Huntsman is a possibility and that only happened yesterday afternoon.

And then there's the mystery of Ron Paul.  What is he doing, actually doing out there?  Just advancing his ideas?  Building a genuine bid for a third party candidacy?  He's crazy like a loon but smart enough to know that he can't ever win a Republican nomination.  If anyone who's got his ear is reading this, I've got one suggestion: wardrobe.  Everything he says and does is perfect, it's a compelling and nuanced performance, but the suit doesn't do anything, just makes him blend in with everyone else.  I'd like to see him come out from here on out in an old ratty bathrobe and house slippers.  Nothing else.  And maybe let his hair go a little crazy, sticking up in back like he just woke up from a three hour nap on the sofa.  And at the end of every speech, rather than shouting about liberty in that chicken-scratch yelp of his, have a large Dominican woman in a uniform take his arm firmly and say, "All right, now its time for your medication, Papi." and lead him away.

I just think that might pull the whole package together.

On to South Carolina, where Perry waits and the Gingrich ground team flexes its muscle.

Oh, and you want to go here and get your tickets.

I'm not letting up.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

step right up

So many thing to buy.

The text of the play in which I committed an actual federal crime onstage is now available for you to buy and read and cherish and memorize, thanks to the indomitable Dentons.

Go here and tell me you don't have a 1.29 for a little slice of vintage downtown hoo-ha.

And speaking of the hoo-ha, this is the place to secure your seat at the first public performance in almost twenty years of The Piano Store Plays: Anyone, Falling Out and Solo for Spoon and Birdcage.  These three shorts stand as some kind of wild blueprint for everything we've done since; it was a bit freaky when we took them from the vault and read them out loud last month, the pages yellowed and curling, ancient clumps of White-Out still clinging to the parchment.

Tonight's New Hampshire, so I'll be glued to MSNBC until the wee hours, but I'll be back tomorrow making sure you buy the above.

Hustling, baby. 

It's all about the hustle in 2012.

Monday, January 09, 2012

calling all those loyal and true

Go here and then come back.

As you know, home games for Clancy Productions are rare and few these days, so don't miss this.

What we need you to do is buy a ticket for yourself and then think of a good friend or twenty who has not experienced the wonder of Walsh onstage or the pure, freaky rush of Scrappy Jack undiluted and bring everyone down to the Barrow Street Theater at the end of the month.

I'm going to be beating this drum until we're turning people away, so just go ahead and do it now.

I'll tell you this and this is true:  these are deep from the vault, the first few things we ever put up in public in Rat City, back when we were really crazy and knew so much more than we do now.

Going to be a treat.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

behold, a child is born

Back in 1965, a little bundle of bad-assedness and beauty came into this rough and tumble world.

A daughter of the Berkshires, she grew up tall and pretty and decided to spend her life upon the wicked stage.  I met her in Dallas, Texas (of all the strange places) about twenty-five years ago and just can't stop loving her still.

If it ain't love it's witchcraft, 'cause that girl casts a spell.

So all hail the Birthday Queen, Nancy Eileen Walsh.  Let their be shrimp on every plate, clam dip in abundance, drink a Bloody Mary or a glass of fine Malbec, raise your voice and thank the gods and gobs above for we are blessed to have her in our lives and in our hearts today and always.

Happy birthday, Looie!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

cyborg in the cornfield

Skip to my Lou.

Yes, friends, the Mittbot 2012 squeezed past that frothy mixture of lubricant and fecal... sorry, squeezed past former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum last night and won the Iowa Caucus.

Watching the candidate's speak last night, a couple of things stood out.

Ron Paul, who came in a solid third, is starting to scare me a little bit.  He keeps harping on how we have to obey the Constitution and "go back to the Constitution" and "follow the Constitution", which sounds fine until you remember that according to that sacred document Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey together only equal one and a fifth people.

Some things need editing, Congressman.

Gingrich, both babyish and stern, wandered lost and freely though his own mind, as he does, seemingly unaware that his mouth is broadcasting every errant thought.  He babbled about his father's military service, Santorum's volunteers and Romney's callousness until his native political sense, that bare-knuckled brawler within, broke through and recognized the next move, calling out a last-minute tag-team alliance with Santorum.  Together they can pin the robot to the mat and Newt will at least live to fight another round.

Bachmann read from what looked and sounded like a hostage note, eyes down, while the people behind her stared everywhere but at her or the camera, and then Perry got up there and read at length from a note given to him by a young Texan lover, sorry, volunteer named Colt or Colton or some goddamned thing.  After about a minute it seemed that Rick was trying to prove to the crowd that he could read, only to end the speech by showing he was the only one who could read the writing on the wall and saying he was headed back to Texas to "reassess" his candidacy. 

So long, Rick and thanks for the laughs.

Romney's just getting weirder with his whole quoting and analyzing the Star Spangled Banner bit, but what the hell, he has to say something besides

"For God's sake, I'm the only credible candidate out here.  Vote for me already!" 

Also, a note to his programmers:  I know you're going for sincerity with the clenched jaw and squinty eyes, but it reads more like dental or rectal pain or some horrible combination of the two. 

And then there's the former Senator from Pennsylvania, that frothy mixture of  lubricant and, sorry, Santorum.

He talked about his immigrant grandfather, who fled Mussolini and Fascism, ending up in the coalmines of Pennsyvlania, dead in a coffin at 72 with a young and wide-eyed Rick staring wonderingly at his enormous, stone-cold hands. 

The point, I suppose, is that Obama is Mussolini and Santorum knows a thing or two about working-class Americans.  The only problem there is that Mr. Santorum, Sr. was a coal-miner who depended upon the union and every FDR-inspired scrap of legislation to ensure the bare minimum of a decent life.  Being the Italian gentleman that I assume he was, he probably would have had too much dignity to spit in his grandson's face, but you can bet your ass he'd quietly disown anyone in the family who held Ronald Reagan up as a hero.

And so we head to New Hampshire where Huntsman waits, Mittbot dominates and Bachmann applies for a part-time job at Walgreen's.

Or something.

This thing just keeps getting stranger.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

edinburgh survival guide

Mark Fisher's Big Book on All Things Fringe is available.

 Check it out here.

He did an exhaustive interview with Ms. McGee and myself, in which we told all fools to abandon hope upon entering the Edinburgh city limits, but then how to have yourself a hell of a good time.

Colder than any previously known weather today and it's only going to get colder tonight.

If you don't hear from me for awhile, assume I'm frozen, fingers stuck to the keyboard, one paragraph away from completing my masterwork, eyes wild and unmoving, fixed upon that perfect ending.

Cold, man.  Seriously.