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Friday, February 24, 2006


man, oh man...

about 4 years after the great career crash of '95 i found myself lucky enough to live, rent free for over a year, at a friend's house. our deal was that i'd walk his crazy dogs and oversee work that was being done at his house.

i learned there that contractors sucked and never showed up and never did what they said they were going to do and the work would be shoddy and overpriced.

i think that may be the case if you live in a huge house in the hollywood hills... they smell "movie money" and fuck you over.

we totally lucked out with our "guy", chris, who has come in on time with all the stuff we wanted done to the house. plus, it looks awesome and we are thrilled. it's amazing what some paint will do to a place. paint, removing wallpaper, lighting... you know... all the stuff we do in the west in the 21st century.

they put the hardwood floors in downstairs yesterday and they are absolutely perfect and beautiful. man, oh man.

we are thrilled.

who's gonna pay for this fucking thing?!?!

Saturday, February 18, 2006


the one difficulty i've been having with the show is the choreographer. he is an old timer who has done quite a bit of real hardcore choreography... broadway and shit... and was recommended by a couple of people in the cast.

i figured i could choreograph the shoe, but thought a choreographer who understood what we were doing could do it more quickly and efficiently than i could. my main concern, really, in doing free theater is not to waste ANYONE'S time. so, if a choreographer could teach a step or a sequence in 5 minutes where it would take me 10, then let's get us a choreographer. (i don't think i've ever typed choreographer this many times. 7 more and i'm a homo)

i went to his house a couple of weeks ago and pitched the shoe to him. played him the songs, and walked him through my ideas about how the songs should look, with the full knowledge that we must let professionals do what they do and to stand back and let 'em do it.

from talking to him then, i realized that he supremely didn't understand the shoe and was going to go for it like a real show.

okay... that'll work... that may be even better. then there will be no jack black wink. it will be full on musical comedy choreography.

i was utterly wrong. he alienated the cast... was yelling at them... was frustrated at the lack of time that he had.. i get the lack of time thing but one can use it as a feature and not a bug..

today we had a very simple song. and i wanted it simple and told him the bullet points of what i wanted to see.


he told me all the reasons my ideas wouldn't work and how it had to be visually interesting. so i said, "well, you're the choreographer, and if you think you can make that happen today, then go for it..."

i couldn't watch. he was so mean to everyone. just completely mean and condescending (that means "talk down to"). i stood in for one of the actors who had to be there late and couldn't take it and had an understudy stand in instead.

i confabbed with the producer and stage mgr. and told them to give him an hour. i went to starbucks and got cookies and sweets for everyone. i got back a 1/2 hour later and sat outside the rehassle space listening to him yell at them.

the stage mgr came out nearly in tears. "either he goes or i go".

So. i went in and watched what he'd done.

no focus. no ideas. nothing but complicated choreography imposed upon people who don't dance. they were all soo frustrated.

when we are thrust in to situations we can either deal with the situation or leave immediately. trying to impose our will or how "things should be" will never work. that's what he was doing. he was choreographing a professional show that had 10 weeks, a bunch of dancers and time for him to be self-indulgent.

we don't have that. when i say you have 2 hours to choreograph a 3 minute song that involves no dancing and just moving people around the stage, that's what you have. you can't make it different. you can yell at the actors and me, but that's the gig.

i told him, honestly, that the thing i hate most is wasting peoples time and that i had wasted his and, in turn had wasted the actors' time and that it wasn't going to work out. he gave me the list of why i was never going to get what i wanted and i just sat and listened and said "then i need to learn that and fail on my own with this process. what i'm most concerned with is that i've upset you and wasted your time. you don't need this. you don't need to be frustrated and all you are going to get is more frustrated because you don't have the tools you need to see what you want. those tools consist mainly of time and dancers. we don't have either of them and i'm sorry that i wasn't more clear about that from the start." he said "so that's it, i'm done, then?" i just nodded sadly. "I can't apologize enough to you, sir." i said. totally meaning it. he was in a shitty position but we had to move on.

so. he split. getting the last word of "i don't want my name associated with this... thing..."

don't worry.

i had 2 other songs that i needed to walk people through. they were very small number with just a couple of people and very simple duet bullshit. but i now only had an hour and a half.

i 'splained to the cast what had happened. acknowledged that i'd fucked up and wasted their time and offered them cookies and sweets and we dug in and knocked the baby out.

i did what i had originally wanted; my "visually uninteresting" stuff and all.

i have to keep remembering that in this arena, directing is creating the show you want to see. the number looks great. the composer's thrilled with it. the writer is thrilled. most importantly, the cast is happy and excited about the show again.

we're doing this because we want to have fun. especially since this is free.

i almost lost a cast member and a stage manager because of someone i knew in my gut was wrong.

note to me: listen to me. put out fires before they begin. much easier.

still. there's a 70 year old guy out there tonight who feels like shit because he thinks that he got fired by people who don't appreciate his talent.

it is a weird and horrible world sometimes.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

america doesn't give a shit


Two words: I'm busy. Man. I've overextended myself and I kinda sorta like doing that but I think I also do it because it keeps me from doing something really, really well; i have an excuse as to why everything isn't great: "I'm so busy... If I had more time then I could have...."

But, so far, everything is working out fairly well.

We've had a total of 5 Bukowsica! rehassles and I think we have figured out how to make it work. It is, like Love Tapes was, deceptive. It seemed much more simple than it actually is, but I have the great John Mitchell and Becky Harrison on my team holding my hand.

I also have a great script and music and the biggest advantage is that everyone in my cast is perfect. So, if I somehow drop the ball, they will all figure it out and make it work. That is, of course, the worst case scenario.

After a few days where I left skilljam, I'm back. More growing pains, etc., and some miscommunications had me believing I wasn't needed there, but that was far from the case. So, I'm back there doing that email thing I do. It's nice because I can do lots of it from home, so everyone wins. I can get something at the end of the day and work on it at night, so it's ready to go the next day. It's like I'm outsourced, only expensive.

Played an 80's gig last Saturday night at Burbank Bar & Grille. Wore the corey wig, two izod shirts, the members only jacket, the leather pants... the grace... it's such a blast. So freeing and relaxed compared to playing in the thornbirds where I don't want to come off like the moron I am. When doing the 80's stuff, I embrace the dolt in me. My #1 stalker, Shirily, was confused at my choice of movement style on stage. I stomp around like ozzy (without the bladder problems) with a big fake billy zoom grin. It is ridiculous looking. I love it. It's also great practice. I play just about everything with my fingers. So between the upright and the 80's gigs, I could actually improve as a player.

We opened the 2nd set with Bohemian Rhapsody. That got their fucking attention. Oh boy. It is a blast to play Bohemian Rhapsody for a crowd who has no idea that the band they're seeing can pull off Bohemian Rhapsody.

I had a girlfriend who hated that song so much she would cry. I was with her for a while. I dont' know what either of us were thinking. Hmmm...

Russ has been slowly laying more guitar tracks for Thornbirds record #2. We have a massive amount of songs. Enough for a double album. Or long, 15 song record and then maybe release one song a month on the web. Or we'll just be the Boston of the indie world and never get around to finishing it. We've been recording for a couple of years now. So, I'm going to go finish my bass stuff next Tuesday.

The house looks amazing. Chris, our contractor who actually seems competent and good and stays on schedule, and his team have removed the popcorn ceilings, the crappy carpet, the ugly wallpaper and the rotten laminate flooring. They have almost finished painting one room, put primer everywhere else, created a doorway where there hadn't been one and ripped the ugly stuff out of the bathrooms. Peter, the electrician, got in and installed boxes for lighting in each room. There had only been wall switches before. No one understands what people were thinking in the late 70's with that shit. Why did they not want light coming from the top? Why only lamps everywhere? Was it some lamp lobbying group who got some bills passed which made it difficult for home builders to install lights in the ceiling? Hmmm.... CONSPIRACY?

um. no. just a different time.

There was some even uglier discovered in the living room. Chris said he didn't understand how anyone could have such busy and ugly wallpaper in their house. I said that in 25 years, people will look at the stuff we're doing to the house and think we're insane.

For example:

Speaking of insane... colin suggested that each of us have one wall be an accent color in our offices. I saw Jessie's purple wall today. It looks completely boss.

I have a nifty blue going on my wall and I'm also going to put up a big wallsized thing of the earth from the moon. Or a big horkin map. Jessie suggested that I put that on the wall people can't see when they look at the room from the hallway.


Victor and I will be leaving to go to Malaysia to do Spamscamscam in a little over a month. I think we've gotten them all the stuff they need. I have to find a long video cable which will work with my media controller and a projector. That will make things easier and I will relax about the trip as it's really my only worry. The Garnder & Wife folks seem beyond competent. They should be, they produce travelling shows a few times a year at their theater.

Packing. Jessie has done most of the packing so far. My free time before last Saturday has been filled with learning 80's songs for the gig, so I didn't do any packing. I started some tonight.

I really dislike it. A whole bunch of dislike. Next time: Staff. Or, the Sheriff's will just take everything because we'll be losing the house.

I did a cool demo spot for Bud Light. I sure hope they keep my voice and don't give the gig to Owen Wilson when it's all animated. That would suck, it's also probably what they're gonna do... but... if they don't.. i will be able to afford staff to pack my stuff.

so that's my life right now. coding during the day, bukowsical rehassles at night, record and send v.o. auditions to agents after i get home.

i also finally got all of our services at the house scheduled. Plus, we're getting television. It seems that I have most likely read my last book.

I'm also the heaviest I have ever been. I must be close to 180. Not good. My face is puffy and doughy.

I keep repeating: May. May. May. 2006 begins in May.

Oh yeah... Julie Mullen and I got nominated by the l.a. weakly for best comedy performances for Love Tapes. Jessie got nominated for best comedy direction (and the the director for gorey stories, the show she asst. directed, got best comedy direction, too. Plus Banks y Penn got nominated for best script. Two days after that, I got a call aksing if I was interested in auditioning for a really cool play at a really cool theater. That is the kind of spontaneous publicity I need to get ahead, people!!!! I got that goin' for me.

Which is nice.

Speaking of acting. I auditioned for The West Wing. Finally. How long has that thing been on? First time. Like with ER, it's one of those shows where they will run out of actors. Unlike the one for Close To Home, I actually enjoyed the process. I made it about the work and not about the audition and I'd forgotten about that. You just sorta kinda "act" like you've been hired to do one take of part of a scene for an audience who can't be figured out. So it was nice. I did the best I could. And when one does that at an audition, getting the part is gravy.

Of course there was no gravy, but I didn't leave wanting everyone to die.

The only discouraging thing is that Lawrence O'Donnell Jr. is the showrunner on WW and created Mr. Sterling. I consider him a good friend and knowing him didn't help me get the gig on the show. So, perhaps I was frighteningly bad.

Ahhh... insecurity... so sweet!!!

speaking of crappy: the 17" iMac is, according to the tech, "A Doorstop". Cool. Those apple computers! They're so good and reliable!! The 15" was out of commission for nearly two weeks. I got so frustrated with it when it wasn't turning on, that I slammed it into the wall. Can you say "Completely fuck yourself out of your security deposit within two weeks of moving?"

I knew that you could.

Jessie is out of town for a few days working with Penn & Teller. Keep me in the manner I am accustomed to.

This novel has been brought to you by Carpal Tunnel & Associates.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

leslie hope

somehow, this got deleted... as did another post talking about how great the bukowsica! cast/auditions went.

many years ago, i did a movie called men at work. leslie hope was in it.

i haven't seen her in a long time. i mean... i guess since the
screening back a million years ago.

imagine my surprise when i see her standing on the corner of my street
as i'm driving home. i'm at a stop light and i see her. i wave. "you
were in men at work".

no response. she looks straight ahead.

"hey. leslie. i haven't seen you in... we were in a movie togeth..."

then i realized. oh. she's famous. i'm not sure what she's done
lately, but she was great on 24.

to her, i was a nut yelling at the famous lady instead of the guy who
was happy to see someone he knew long ago.

so now, if i ever see her again i will just yell. "leslie hope. you
cut off all your hair. it was the best thing about you. fuck you."