who dat? contest.
this might be very very easy, or very very hard.
(yo stee. i know
actress marianne sägebrecht. the war of the roses. bagdad cafe. lorenz im land der lügner.
first correct answer:
(you guys are getting good)
left column make your birthday wish come true, pretty ladies.
I turned 28 this morning. I think at the actual birthday moment, I was in a cab driven by a sneezing, grapefruit-eating, Marlboro Methol-smoking man with poor depth perception and an unrealistic notion of where the right side of his taxi ended and parked cars began. Happy Birthday!!!
Every time I return to Berkeley, I realize 2 things:
1) I love the Bay Area.
In all seriousness, I feel sorry for people who moved around a lot as a kid, or whose ties to their hometown have been all but erased, because there is something about returning to where you grew up that is extremely centering. I feel at the center of my own world again, rather than at the mercy of the recent drama and turmoil that had become so much of who I am. Every time I return, I feel stronger, problems seem less, I seem more. It seems wholly unnecessary to let myself be tossed about by the rhythms of the business, the crashing tides of others. All morning I've been singing this R.E.M. lyric, "I was central, I had control. I lost my head. I need this. I need this."
I saw my friend's baby. (Going to see the Bay-Bee!) He is 2 months old and chubby and extremely cute. Just like a typical man, it was hard to get his attention as he was transfixed by the Sixers game on TV. Pretty lights and colors are fucking dope when you're 2 months old. Much more interesting than some dude in a leather jacket playing peek-a-boo with his own hand. It's a funny age because the baby is in constant spastic motion - the muscles trying to figure out exactly what they're for, so that he kinda looks like Joe Cocker after a fifth of Beam - all twitchy and wobbly but trying really hard to keep things under control.
I also got to see my trapezist friend who is on break from a three-year tour of Asia and Australia. She'd just flown in from Paris yesterday and was trying to stay awake to re-acclimate herself to the time zone, so she was a bit zombie-ish, kinda like the baby watching hoops, but without the drool. She's one of my oldest, best friends so even though we only had an hour or so, it was good to siddown and talk. She centers me, as well.
But probably the highlight of my weekend was being taken to a production of The Homecoming by Pinter. The company is the Aurora Theatre Company of Berkeley and they play in a tiny tiny space in the Berkeley City Club, which is a beautiful building designed by Julia Morgan, the architect who designed Hearst's San Simeon. (I think I got my facts correct. If not, just pretend I did, kay? Thanks.) Anyhoo, if I had seen this cast, this production, on Broadway, as opposed to a 70-seat theatre in downtown Berkeley, I would not have been disappointed in the slightest. While Pinter is not my favorite, and The Homecoming is not my favorite Pinter: man, this was some good shit. And you're practically sitting on top of the actors, which is a hard circumstance under which to perform, but perform they did. If you live in the Bay Area: Go See This Shit Now. Watch the eldest brother's face twitch as he tries to smile upon seeing his father. Watch Lenny's silent malice when he's trying to read the racing form at the top of the show. Watch the uncle's sad pride when he talks about being called the best driver around by his clients. Just watch.
And I don't want to state the obvious and facile, but there is something pure about this production in this: they're not going to get rich doing this show. They're not going to get "discovered". So in some respects, there is a purity there, in much regional theatre, that simply cannot be matched elsewhere. Particularly in Los Angeles. Theatre in Los Angeles, (and don't fuck with me because I was smack dab in the middle of that world for four long years) is pitiful. Not that there isn't good shit going on, but there is very little done for the love of theatre. Everyone's angling. Everyone's selling themselves. Actors care more if any "industry is here tonight", than how the show is going. I cannot tell you how many times I'd be in my 30 minute warm-up before a show along with one or two others, while everyone else was pouring over the reservation book, or stapling headshots, or just shooting the shit. You know which L.A. Theatre is worth something sometimes: side project done by working TV or film actors. Because of this: they are doing it for the love of theatre. And yes, it is only because they can afford to and don't need a good review in Dramalogue to attract an agent, but there you are. Unfair? Yup. And is there a solution? Nope. As long as theatre is overshadowed by film and TV in cultural importance in L.A., and as long as it stays so mediocre, no one is going to come see it. Unless there's a TV or film star in it. Or your friend is in it/wrote it/directed it. Sucks.
Anyway. Also in Berkeley, I watched a lot of baseball. Did a lot of late-night emailing, showing off my new laptop and its new modem. Petted the dog a lot, who is acting even more pathetic and whiney than usual since he recently slipped a disk in his back. Poor fat-ass beagle.
Oh man, and I saw the Danny Hoch film, Whiteboys. I rented it because I wrote a script recently with a similar vibe. Sounds like sour grapes I know, but: Holy Moly is this a piece of crap. Seriously. If you don't trust me, rent that dookie your damn self. That'll teach ya.
...One thing that drives me nuts is racially targeted advertising. I can remember being a very little kid watching Soul Train or Fat Albert and seeing McDonald's commercials unlike ones I ever saw on "regular" TV. It was always very "jive" and "street" and even then I thought it was bogus and insulting. I find it even more so now. This weekend in Berkeley I saw a bus with an add for the 2000 Census. It said this: "The census is all good, cuz it means money for the neighborhood." Can't you see those ad fuckers patting themselves on the back for coming up with that one?
...One sad note is that my already small family was reduced by one this past week. My cousin died. It was a very sudden and unhappy death. He will be missed.
ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: Took a muscle-relaxer with my morning coffee because I was afraid they were going to go bad. Realized that Sally Jesse Raphael looks disconcertingly like Ed Begley Jr. with glasses. Slept.
We passed upon the stair. We spoke of was and when. Although I wasn't there, he said I was his friend. Which came as some surprise. I spoke into his eyes I thought you died alone. A long long time ago. Oh no, not me. I never lost control. You're face to face. With The Man Who Sold The World. I laughed and shook his hand, and made my way back home. I searched for form and land. For years and years I roamed. I gazed a gazely stare, at all the millions here. We must have died along, a long long time ago. Who knows? Not me. We never lost control. You're face to face. With the Man who Sold the World. ... speaking of which. You're face to face, with a man who sold Foster's Freeze ice cream as a kid. Yup. Isn't that wacky? The "people" love those: What Jobs Did Celebrities Have Before They Made It, things. Don't they?
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