Saturday, July 15, 2006

I should have known it was coming...

Sitting there in the cinema for the first night's showing of Brokeback Mountian, we /all/ knew it was coming. As sure as Summer follows Spring and day follows night, it would arrive. And we were right. Not long after, you could rent Bareback Mountain. Or Bareback Mountain.
We needn't go into detail. The Wikipedia article is dandy because it treats something so awful with such sincerity. Glitter For Brains did a delightful comparison of the first porno with the actual film here. (You may have to scroll down a bit, but it's worth it).
What none of us expected was that these wouldn't be enough: now, you can watch Bi-Back Mountain! I have no idea what to say to that one.

Having sat through that, here's something almost worth a giggle:

This one guy insisted on seeing Brokeback the night it came out, so we humped down to the Village (where else?) for an evening show. The cinema was packed with not just every homo in the city, but his boyfriend and best girl friend as well. We all crammed in early to get good seats and watched the commercials that flashed on the screen before the previews.
"Beware of Brain Disease!" cried the screen in its best 1950s/Red Scare voice. "It killed Joanthan Larson, and it was COMPLETELY DETECTABLE!" Jonathan Larson* wrote Rent.

At this point, I should mention that my date and I had just been to our favourite little restaurant downtown called Tea and Sympathy. Wine was consumed.

"Well," I said, thinking it to be in a subtle whisper, "if it killed off Larsen, how bad can it be?"
It was not a whisper.

The entire auditorium -- 300 or 400 people -- went deadly silent. I knew I was going to die. My date had mysteriously disappeared. The tension increased and I came to know how riots started.
Then, without warning, the film began, sans previews. The audience, too busy anticipating the imminent cowboy sex, forgot me. And I made it though one more day.

Friday, July 07, 2006

For them such as are interested...

I've done up a rather nice Flikr site. Not only does it have a wider selection of pictures from Henry V, but also has all the pictures worth looking at from my vacation in Vermont, as promised. There are even a few other random pictures culled from the computer hard drive. They're all


In case you're curious, the random photos are: where I work (the Time Warner building in mid-town Manhattan), my place (in the sun), across the street (in a big snow), the Bronx Zoo tigers and Sebastian, the Hound of Rock.

I've had the past two days in a row off, which is virtually unheard of. How have I spent it? Creating he above-mentioned Flikr site, trying unsuccessfully to turn a nice little paper on William Davenant's life into a better Wikipedia article, and a nerdy run downtown to the Strand, Forbidden Planet, the Virgin Megastore and Jim Hanley's Universe. This netted me a New Mermaids copy of Kyd's Spanish Tragedy from the Strand and The Resurrection Casket and this month's copy of Doctor Who Magazine from Jim Hanley's Universe. You see where my priorities lie.

The last two were in lieu of the hardback version of Target's novelization of Inferno that was on sale for $20 and worth about twice as much: Que sera, sera. I had seen it a week ago, but decided I'd only dish out that much cast if it were there today, when it would become clear I was destined for it. As I'm not, I'll revel in the fact I own pristine copies of The Dying Days, Lungbarrow and Cold Fusion. Don't worry: if none of the past paragraph is intelligible to you, it merely means you have a life and can't be arsed with the minutiae of Doctor Who fandom. Good on you.
Nevetheless, the seasan finale of the new Doctor Who is tomorrow night, when Rose Tyler is to die, in and amongst the fan-wanking spree of combined Cybermen/Dalek alliance. I can't lie: it's got me harder than Ayor's Team Training,* if only for knowing that Russell T Davies has had then same idea as me floating around in his head since 1985 or so.

In other news, when some guy and I went to go see the film Superman Returns (or, Can Someone Named B. J. Routh Be Anything Other Than Corn-Fed Iowa Porn-Star Goodness?), there was a trailor (trailer? I'm never sure about such things) for a film called Flyboys.

I was lucky enough last year to take a Theatre and War class with Erika Munk, a writer for the Village Voice, a professor and Yale and editor of Theater whose done (and edited) really top-notch work on war and its representation. It was Awful, and it's worth noting that positive representations of it are rare as hen's teeth -- with reason. I was disturbed to see the preview for the film (to be fair, perhaps not the entire film) to be gung-ho for the War. There is nothing in World War One to be romanticized or celebrated. I can't help feeling this film desecrates the deaths of the millions of soldiers who died.

If you disagree, nose around this site, which contains music, film footage and diary material from the war. It's compelling, and fascinating and horrifying. I love the music and audio selections, but even they can be dismaying -- look at this , or this , this. It certainly counters the charms of K-K-K-Katy or Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty or Keep the Home Fires Burning.

In other news, I finished reading Coriolanus today. More of that later.

*Oh honestly, with that name, if you expected this to be a link to anything other than gay porn, you need more help than I can give. Besides, it's /really/ good porn.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Wondering what I've been up to since my last post?

1) I directed a production of Henry V. Here are pictures.

In the interest of fair representation, I need to note the set and lights were designed by Eric Ketchum, costumes by E. A. Burlingame and staging by me. The cast list is here. Questions about cat listing can be posted to me.

Number two? A vacation in Vermont and Montreal. I'll post pictures from that tomorrow.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

K-9 and Co...

Dear Blog:

I thought the worst part of tonight's Doctor Who episode ("School Reunion") was when I had /genuinely/ inappropriate thoughts about David Tennant as the Doctor, with his glasses and assumed role as a teacher. So Hot.

Turns out, I managed to wake up some guy with my generally inappropriate giggling when K-9 appeared, and then proceeded to bawl like a baby when... later events in the episode transpired. But still, it makes me generally doubt our relationship when Sarah Jane Smith returns in a series of Doctor Who and he says "Uhh, yep" instead of dancing a happy dance.

I will end this post saying it was my favourite episode of Doctor Who ever, including "The Pyramids of Mars" (mentioned in tonight's story) and "Genesis of the Daleks" (also mentioned).

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Stop the Dog's Addiction!

So on Saturdays, I work late. I don't get home till close to (or after) midnight. This guy always makes a tasty meal of sausages and peppers I can look forward to, as well as downloading new episodes of Doctor Who.

Within a few minutes of me getting home tonight, we found the dog munching on some verboten substance. I was afraid of prying open the dog's jaws to discover the culprit, as the dog has maimed me before. That guy -- who's suffering from a pulled muscle in his chest -- couldn't.

Soon after, Sebastian gave up his chewing. He'd gotten ahold of a coffee bean out of my jeans cuff and couldn't handle it.

We await the puke.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Quick! Breathe fast!

It's my Spring Break right now, which means I'm getting a quick breather from classes, rehearsal, teaching and work. Well, all but work, anyway.

Henry V is going reasonably well. It's had about as much superfluous drama as you might expect (college theatre is only one step away from high school theatre, after all) but there are quite a few quite nice moments to be had and some of the actors -- the actual, real world, professional actors we have in to fill the ranks -- are a joy to work with. It's the thought of work with people like them again that makes it worth going through, really, although there is some joy to be had watching young actors discovering their own thing. Even if it is a bit malicious, nine times out of ten they discover things like that when they do what I suggest...

Because of the undergraduate desire to skip out on rehearsal, we're about a week off from my ideal. If there were no Spring Break, we'd be absolutely on target, but as it is we'll be missing about a week of time we need. It's funny: despite the fact I'm a trained and (somewhat) experienced director, my producer won't believe me when I say we're behind. Granted, we may just be ready for opening night, but part of directing is a) working with gut feeling and b) being able to realistically judge what's going on with your production. Both of these tell me we won't be where we should be for opening night. We have a week of rehearsals left, but these are all dress/tech rehearsals where the actors get use to costumes/lights/sets/props -- not so much a chance for them to work their acting skills. My job should be done by now; it isn't.
Still and all, I can't completely blame myself for what hasn't been done, and feel like I've given a decent shake with what I have done. And as all people in the theatre know -- and as Philip Henslowe said in the lovely film Shakespeare in Love -- "the magic of the theatre" will prevail. I hope.

Other than the play -- and it's a bit hard to get past that for me right now -- life is pretty good. I read a lot, or as much as I can. I've been going through a bit of a Sarah Vowell phase. I've read her first two collections, Take the Cannoli and The Partly Cloudy Patriot. I'd be reading her last one, Assasination Vacation, had some guy not loaned it out to some errant associate at his job weeks ago.
If she weren't a girl, I'd probably be madly in love with her. Her take on life is vaguely similar to mine (we have vaguely similar histories) but she has what I think is a very unique and modern voice. I'd be happy for people to say -- and they have -- that she speaks for my generation. Interestingly, the title of her fist books takes the same root as a Gilmore Girls gag.
I plan to spend the next week away from school and reading. Since my last post, I've finished reading all the books mentioned and am now on to:

Good King Henry: another life of Henry V -- emotionally well rendered and very engaging, but lapses into the old mistake of using 'thee's and 'thou's to prove its characters are from a few centuries ago.

The Empire of Glass: a Doctor Who story featuring Shakespeare, Marlowe, Galileo and the Doctor's... vaguely defined relative. Fairly fun, til you realize the plot hinges on a poorly-researched Roanoke colony plot line. Especially galling when you've spent as much time on Roanoke Island as I have... the number of colonists is wrong, it suggests that Marlowe -- Kit Marlowe -- went there with them, and worst of all, that there are cliffs on the Island!
Right, pedantry all and not worth counting, but it does have Marlowe falling for Stephen "Blue Peter" Taylor. As if.

The Messianic Legacy: what with all the excitement about the Da Vinci Code film, why not go back to its (legally determined) source? The sequel to the Holy Blood, Holy Grail book whose first 25 pages provide all the plot of Dan Brown's "book", this work tells you all the secrets the of Super Secret Sectet Society, The Priory of Sion. While parts of it are quite well researched, one of the authors /was/ a writer for Doctor Who. Go fig which bits are fake, but when the blood line of the aliens from Sirius gets metioned, have a care.

Rescripting Shakespeare: Written by a professor at Carolina with no practical theatrical background, this is a book about modern productions of Shakespeare that alter the text from the "standard" texts and the trade-offs directors incur. I'm only on page 12, but there seems to be a lot to be said about this from an actual, practical director.

The Crying of Lot 49: I've felt far too smart of late. I bought this book this week to cure that. I'm only on Chapter Two, but I do want to go 'round saying "I've got a penchant for Pynchon."

In the meantime, I'm playing this ridiculous and frustating game called Kingdom Hearts, the bastard offspring of Walt Disney and Final Fantasy... Any help?

And remember, Series Two of Doctor Who begins tomorrow night with "The New World". Whoot!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Oh yeah. That was me. In a previous life.

Life is busy now, and stressful. I often think I can measure my stress complications with how many books I'm reading. Currently, it's:

Seneca's Oedipus (for class)
George R Stewart's Earth Abides (out of curiousity)
Sarah Vowell's The Partly Cloudy Patriot (cause it's class)
George C Wolfe's The Colored Museum (for the class I teach)

and for Henry V:
1 Henry VI
The Merry Wives of Windsor (for the third time)
and Baldasare Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier

This is more than enough. In addition to this, I'm managing a small fracas about a loose blade in rehearsal, someone stealing my props, and an eighty-year old quitting my show (just how mad can you get at an octogenarian and not do damage to it?).
And on top of that, my dog appears to have a seizure disorder AND the Sci-Fi network can't even edit Doctor Who for shit:

Rose: Why do they keep tryin' to kill me?

The Doctor: Dunno -- we skipped the bit where the Autons try more than once!

I got sufficiently pissed to quit watching Rose... here's hoping they do better with The End of the World...

In looking up something completely different on teh Internets, I found
this article from The Friends of the Heroes.
It's my interview of Richard, the drummer from Belle and Sebastian. I hadn't looked at it in years, but it's well-informed, smart, and fun to read. Sadly, I think it's the previous release of me, back when I had some cool points.
I don't feel like that now. Nice to know I was there, for a bit.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Ain't this nice?

Please to get this for me!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

"Dame Judi put out my eye in a bar-fight!"

So, my biggest concern right now is directing a production of Henry V at La Chasseur college. Somehow (black magic, I think) the Theatre Dept there picked it up as one of their main stage shows for this semester. Which puts me at the head of a show with a budget of -- well, I oughtn't to reveal the exact budget, but it's along the lines of a reasonably-priced economy car.
We did a workshop version of it last Decemeber in a rehearsal space (imagine the theatrical version of the rough draft of an English paper). I'm very excited, really. We've got some really wonderful actors and many more students who are willing to work hard, but it's all a bit... exacting?
We've had a number of actors drop out (read "Run screaming for the hills..."), but I can just maintain the belief that they're lazy bastards unfit for doing the work of the Bard. The rest I have a lot of faith in* and have seen them do some fine work.
Right now, we're in a bit of a dire strait finding enough actors to tote the load... The cast hovers at 26 or so, but I feel like I need another five or six to be comfortable. I feel a great deal of pride in my support staff: I couldn't imagine a more capable or supportive producer; my assitant director may just prove better than me; my PSM is a freshman with better skills than I've seen in many professional stage managers. My lead actors, too, are three shades of faboo: Henry is incredibly smart and so dedicated; one of the three leads is a beautiful girl from the Bahamas who will floor eveyone when she realises what she can do; the rest of the cast is equally exciting...
I need to sit down with my Canadian friend with the knack for 20th Cent drama to straighten out the funky ideas in my mind that may well be aired here.

Scotland's For Me!

In other news, Friday was the Belle and Sebastian concert! It wasn keen because it was a Belle and Sebastian concert featuring their new album The Life Pursuit. (I almost typed in DCW...). It was not keen because it was the first concert in years I didn't see with Laura Llew. I'm just getting over the bruises she put in my arms when they played "Slow Graffiti" in Durham and it'll be some time before I won't look for Indiana Marple at a B&S show.
Although to be fair, I did almost start a fist fight and was accused of feeling up a drunk straight girl. No easy feat, considering my hands were in my pockets...
As regards TLP, "Suki in the Graveyard" may be their best song in ages!

Now please forgive me, I've got to catch up on the poorly-planned Intro to Theatre class I TA for...

Monday, February 27, 2006


So the past few days have been a bit fraught, and I haven't quite gotten around to watching the second half of The Quatermass Experiment. (I intend to do so shortly after finishing this...) In the meantime, though, I have discovered this:

David Tennant is just a bit more popular than I thought...

I can't say I'm quite surprised. What is it about him? Merely the fact he's the new Doctor Who? I don't think so -- if anything that would make me think twice about him. The last even remotely fanciable Doctor was Peter Davison in 1980 when I was only 2 or 3. And he was so blandly Tristan Farnon in space that no-one but a coked-out Sanda Dickinson ever gave him much of a thought. My working theory is that he's terribly /accessible/. In theory, anyway. If you went to a really good party, he wouldn't be the hottest guy there. But he would be the hottest one you could reasonably expect to go home with. Because you could think "I'm in there", he becomes much hotter than, say, an Eastern European porn star or a social-climbing film star cum rent boy (though who can split the difference?).
And well, the accent is pretty desirable. If a recent DWM is to be believed, the question "Am I wearing a wee beastie?" is one of the most oddly desireable lines in recent history.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hello. I'm back.

I decided to start blogging again. I've had the idea running around in my head since about Christmas, but it's only tonight that I got up the gumption to do it. So here I am.
I got lost today. Surprisingly, it was the first time in months. I left work today (I work in the Time-Warer building on Columbus Circle) and decided to go down to the Drama Book Shop. I'd had a particularly rough day at work and decided that the Arden Shakespeare edition of King Henry VIII would make it better. The Drama Book Shop has a decent collection of the Arden editions, so off I went on the B train.
Now, I took the B train for two reasons. One, there's a stop at Columbus Circle. Two, I'd never actually taken the B train and assumed it stopped (along with the 1 train and the A and C trains, which also stop at Columbus Circle) at Time Square. It doesn't.
It does stop at Bryant Park. I figured I'd better get off the train after it past 7th Avenue and 47-50 St. Fortunately, one of the exits out of Bryant Park station is on 40th Street, or god only knows where I'd be now. After walking two blocks in the wrong direction -- I /know/ the whole grid system by now, but being dyslexic, my idea of left/right/east/west can be a bit dodgy -- I turned around and finally found the shop and purchased my bardolic (ain't that a great word?) joy.
Luckily, I knew my N line a bit better and was off home.
I'm off to finish watching the BBC's new Quatermass Experiment, which I downloaded last night. Accordingly, I imagine I'll have something interesting to say about David Tennat tomorrow night. Man, blogger has changed a lot since I last used it.
Till then -- Obey the Basset!