In the hilarious opening number of "Bukowsical!" running at Sacred Fools, we are informed, "there's a little Bukowski in all of you too." That sounds about right. Actor Steven Memel, playing, why, Steven Memel, welcomes us to "the Sacred Angel Fist Circle of Note Gang Theatre Company's final backer's audition," and take-no-prisoners pandemonium ensues.
That is the intention. Although Spencer Green and Gary Stockdale's witty late-night goof certainly riffs on the scabrous poet, what they, director-choreographer Dean Cameron and the players really skewer are fringe festival musicals and, by default, the Broadway conventions that various outstanding entries in the field have fruitfully satirized.
Thus, Buk (David Lawrence) finds himself the bemused center of a series of delirious numbers that follow key scenes of Bukowskiana in winking, Busby Berkeley-on-acid fashion. Highlights include "Chaser of My Heart," a duet between our hero and his True Love (Fleur Phillips), the randy "Road Song" and a "Hollywood Trio" for Barbet Schroeder (Michael Lanahan), Sean Penn (Ian R. Gould) and Mickey Rourke (Matthew Garland). The cast is completed by Kathi Copeland and Christina Byron, with Byron's Sweet Lady Booze get-up one of costume designer Ruth Silveira's brightest ideas.
Everyone's gonzo abandon and the eclectic bounce of Stockdale's music and his and Green's lyrics almost disguise that "Bukowsical!" is not yet a full-fledged show. To achieve the rank of such predecessors as "Urinetown" and "Blake ... da Musical!" the dualistic concept of backer's audition against improbable subject, and the score's response to same, needs fleshing out. Yet it's still an uproarious romp.
"Bukowsical!" Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, Hollywood. 11 p.m. Fridays. May 26. No shows April 7, May 5. Ends May 26. Adult audiences. $10. (310) 281-8337 or www.SacredFools.org. Running time: 1 hour.
the thoroughbred is restless and ready to speed out of the gate.
there is this odd tradition with actors where they have a mediocre final dress. i've done it. everyone does it and it seems so stupid and wrong and counterintuitive and yet... we do it.
since i am a skeptic and an atheist, i've gotten rid of those horrible superstitions like not saying "good luck" or "macbeth". i'll talk about auditions (yet there's still that nagging feeling that talking about them jinxes them and that's why i don't work as much as i'd like to... horrid...) and whistle in the theater. and yet, there is something deep inside which makes me suck the ass of a dying pig at final dress.
not to say that the cast sucked the ass of a dying pig last night. no. the show they did last night could be performed and garned great reaction and reviews it just wasn't at the level they can do. i have a separate crush on each and every member of the cast for various things they do. They're so good and blah blah blah... insert proud director paragraph here "*".
We have some critics coming tonight. It's good. Tonight's show will be responsible for us running longer, moving to a diff't night, etc. because of the caliber of critics coming. I like that. Truly. This way, it's a bit binary (i think i'm using the word incorrectly); if it goes well tonight, we run longer, if it doesn't, we close at our scheduled time and all is well either way.
I'm just happy i made it this far.
A couple of nights ago I felt the "slash and burn" part of me boiling inside. It's that weird shit I learned from my mom that allows me to not finish something because I hurt everyone and walk away from the thing I love. It makes me want to rip people open, tell them everything that's wrong with them, walk out the door and never return. I used to do it a lot. Jessie's helped me to unlearn it because it is behavior that is most definitely learned. I think that if I ever direct another show, I will alert the production team to this weird part of me. Well... this *other* weird part of me.
So... I managed to not blow up and scream for no reason other than to regain control and attention. I managed to sit back and give the show back to them... i mean, fuck, it's their show. The happier they are, the better it is, and the better I look. Everyone wins!
John Mitchell, watergate conspirator and producer of Bukowsical said some really nice things to me. Mainly: when producing, he always looks to the director to learn two things to do and two things not to do the next time he gets involved in something. John said that he was bummed because he didn't find the two things not to do.
Of course he could be lying because I am also having a bit of a crisis in confidence about my ability to actually direct... so he could have been "producing" and taking care of the madness inside of me.... but, i think I'll just go ahead and believe what he says. It's easier that way.
So... opening night. We will get the heavy critic lifting out of the way and then have fun. I have some changes I want to make for next week and I have to remember to make sure everyone stays a bit more upstage than they have been. The lighting plot we've inherited from Claire Z. (heard it's great... must go!) is stylized. It is completely opposite of what we need for a musical. A bit problematic.
They also have to be loud. They had the band (gary & bassist/drummer) for the first time and as inspiring and cool as that is to sing with, it is also necessary for them to belt. belt like an abusive dad, people.
The house... filled with boxes. Overwhelming. I want chris and the crew back to unpack and unload everything. I think that means I just want the excitement of being unfinished becauase having something finished is, for me, a letdown.
i booked some sort of part in a national miller lite commercial. not sure what i'll be doing. i'm shooting it tomorrow. peter farrelly is the director.
he owes me this gig after hiring jeff daniels instead of me for dumb y dumber. i coulda used that million bucks. hmmm..
i'm stretched way to thin. and today was one of those relentless days that happen every few years. a bit overwhelming and annoying as there are days which i am completely bored and having one of the 7 things i did today to do would be nice.
1. drive to vernon ca? for wardrobe for the gig. wait around for a long time. 2. talk to attorney about bukowsical lawsuit possibilities. 3. another commercial audition. 4. commercial callback for something i'll never be cast in. ever. 5. finally roll into skilljam at 3pm to code 25 promo email and a landing page which is a big deal because it's actually *on* the site and there's some backend stuff and it makes me more valuable and less fireable but the fact that i roll in at 3pm instead of my usual 10 (thought i'd be in by 11 today) is not so cool. at all. 6. talk briefly to my wife who is back from her pro directing gig which may or may not be a secret so i won't talk about it here. 7. bukowsical rehassle. we have two more. it's in really good shape. it's at that point where it could open but i feel like a failure and like everyone hates me because i'm sure they think it could be so much better but i just suck so it's not as good as it could be and it's good in spite of me. real crappy headgames i play on myself and i believe every director does right before a shoe opens. either that or it's true. i really have a perfect cast. they are superhuman. this parody thing is so difficult and they are right on that line and it's an amazing thing to see.
except for the number i staged wrong. well i have time tomorrow to go in and fix it.
8. aaron is sick and in the hospital. so after rehassle, spencer and i went and got his keys from him so his van wouldn't get towed away. he didn't look well. at. all. he is in a boatload of pain and they don't know what's wrong with him. that's not cool. it seems to be one of the byproducts of great western medicine. the more we know, the more we know when it's *not* something. it used to be "bad humors" or "an evil spirit living in your heart" and treatment was easy. bleeding. it's a bit more complicated.
here's everything you need to know. i do not want to ever go to a fucking hospital. that's all. no hospital. it just means tubes and needles and cutting and pain. it's not a fun place.
i need to bathe. i have to get up at 6 or something stupid.
tivo sent me another box. this tv thing is fucking ridiculous.
hmmm... maybe that's what the show will be called.
buk's widow has contacted gary, the composer, and we're trying to get her in contact with john, the producer, so everything gets smoothed out.
the reality is that since he's a public figure, we can do whatever we want, but we sure don't want to piss anyone off. especially buk's widow. perhaps we'll just call the show "Dukowsical!"
in other news: the shoe is killing. the cast is perfect. we are on the right track for opening next friday. it is really exciting. man.
it began as a joke in email. and now... it's a real shoe. holy shit.
in some other news, fuck directv. those motherfuckers. i haven't had tv in 25 years. i had a roommate around '89 who paid for cable, so i had tv for about a year, but i haven't really been in touch with the technology of tv. we have a monitor with a dvd/vcr for movies and whatnot, but we've never gotten the evil messages from the outside world.
figured we'd go for it with the new house, especially since tivo sounds perfect. you don't have to scroll through channels to find something... it just records what you want... blah blah.
when i go to the dvr thingy, it becomes apparent that it is definitely *not* tivo. the fuck? i email them saying "your web site returns pages with "tivo" and even has "tivo" in one of the pages' address bar so why are you not sellling me tivo?" the reply was "well, yeah, we used to partner with tivo, but not anymore... our dvr has a lot of the same features as tivo" i called and spoke to someone who was clueless.
i figured they'd want to do the right thing, so i wrote aksing where i should send the unit for return.
Here's their reply: Thank you for writing. I am sorry to hear about your dissatisfaction with your DVR units. If you follow the link that you gave us that page does not even mention TiVo or the TiVo specific features. We do still offer TiVo units, however they are high definition TiVo units. Unfortunately, all sales are final once the equipment is installed. We are unable to have you return them at this point. If you have any further questions about this situation, you are welcome to respond to this letter and we will answer as quickly as we are able. You are also welcome to call our Customer Installation Support team between the hours of 6:05 AM - 1:00 AM Eastern Time (Daily), at 1-888-355-7530. Thank you again for writing and stay tuned to DIRECTV.com for the latest news and information about our services. Sincerely, Christopher A DIRECTV Customer Service
my reply... hey.. maybe i could get a show out of these motherfuckers.
Hi, Christopher A:
No, it doesn't mention tivo, but the address bar mentions tivo. Every search on your site for Tivo brings up those pages.
How is "DIRECTV® DVR WITH TiVo®" not a mention of Tivo?
If you have a page that comes up when I'm searching for Tivo on your site then I expect it is Tivo. There are advertising materials sent to my home mentioning Directv with Tivo. I understand branding and partnering and figured you have some deal with Tivo where your units don't say "tivo" on them.
This is really, really, really wrong of you to do this.
I am going to send the box back to you. You go ahead and keep it. Keep it on your desk. Let it remind you that you have a brand new customer who you mislead. I'm serious. Let it sit there and remind you that you toed the company line and didn't listen to reason. You win.
I am a brand new customer and I already hate your company. I don't believe you're sorry. If you were sorry, you'd take the unit that I have no use for back.
How about at least cancelling my dvr service so I can get tivo? How about that?
Enjoy the paperweight. Think of the $200 you saved DirecTV.
Motherfuckers. Motherfucking motherfuckers. they are on my list of shitheads. right at the top.
and yet the unit you've sold me is not tivo. I want the features that TIVO has not the DirecTV features. I am now STUCK with two units that are worthless to me.
I spoke to a representative who glibly said "well, you can sell those units; you own them".
I don't want to own them because they are not what I bought. I was under the impression that I was getting TIVO. Not some other type of DVR. You mislead me into believing I had ordered TIVo.
Go to directv.com and type in TIVO in the search box. You are taken to a page with a link which says, quite clearly: 100% DIRECTV® DVR WITH TiVo® and: 77% DIRECTV® DVR with TiVo® — Low Monthly Fee
77% DIRECTV HD DVR ...TiVo and the TiVo logo are registered trademarks of TiVo Inc. and are used with permission. DIRECTV hardware, programming and DVR service available separately. To access DIRECTV HD programming, a Triple LNB Multi-Satellite Dish...
76% DIRECTV HD DVR ...TiVo and the TiVo logo are registered trademarks of TiVo Inc. and are used with permission. DIRECTV hardware, programming and DVR service available separately. To access DIRECTV HD programming, a Triple LNB Multi-Satellite Dish...
76% Questions About DIRECTV DVR
76% DIRECTV® DVR with TiVo® — Find & Record Easily
76% DIRECTV® DVR with TiVo® — Never Miss Your Shows
76% DIRECTV® DVR with TiVo® — Better Than Your VCR
75% Why Get DIRECTV® DVR with TiVo®
All of this must lead one to believe that yoru DirecTV units are Tivo units and have all the nifty features which Tivo has...
and yet... you don't. you can't create wishlists.
It is not Tivo. Yet you advertise TIVO.
I want you to take my two units back. I'm already over a barrel, again, and have now ordered TIVO. Real tivo. Not your "tivo" with the quotes. But a Tivo which has the Tivo interface and the ability to create wish lists.
You have decieved me.
Do the right thing. Please. Do the right thing and take my units back.
I have, in addition to the DirecTV "Tivo" which is basically a hard disk with some sort of recording capabilities, another DirecTV box which I do not have any use for since you can't let a guy buy TIVO when he's ordering your service.
How about you do the right thing. Give me a call. xxx xxx xxxx. I will be available after 10:30 am PST.
We'll get to the bottom of this. You'll do the right thing and your day will be that much better.
We (meaning they) did two run throughs Monday night. The first one was sorta scattered and weird and after we got all focused and whatnot, it was really stirring and wonderful.
We could open at any point now.
The fun really starts now. (Except for that pesky tech thing... yech). Everyone in the cast is so perfect and good and they all bring stuff to each rehassle which makes it fun for me to be a director. I get to do a lot of picking and choosing instead of having to come up with everything.
Cast good actors. It's the key, peeps.
Going to do the David Lawrence shoe tonight. I've been on his program several times and it's always fun. He's now officially Bukowski as Lou was injured in a motorcycle accident and we want Buk to be emotionally damaged, not physically. "Why is he wearing a cast? Did he have a broken arm all the time?" So David is, as usual, jumping in full force and having everyone involved down to be on his radio shoe.
We are all moved in, except for one small table and a dolly, both of which are back at the Burbank place and I would rather stay home.
We got the heater issue sorted out and we now have a brand new heating unit which is now giving us much neetded heat. So, i'd rather stay home and waste the rest of my short life and watch tv.
oh, the other news, of the shitty kind, is that we've been cancelled in Malaysia. They *say* because of gov't permit problems but i think it's really because they're not selling tickets and can just fuck us over because there was never a contract.
It could be gov't problems, after all, it's a heavily censored country and we did have to change the title and deal with some possible censoring of my relentless digs at allah.
You know, the allah who sucks my cock? The imaginary friend to the muslim people. That one. The one with the bomb in his turban.
The man most responsible for driving the final nail in the head of changing my politics from hippy dippy lefty dumbass actor democrat to clear thinking freedom loving Libertarian, Harry Browne, has died.
He'd been ill for quite a while and had lost the use of his legs and wasn't looking well on his net broadcasts so it seemed inevitable. It's beyond a shame.
But, you know, the man changed a lot of lives and a whole bunch of minds.
I saw him speak a couple of times when he was running for president in 2000 and one of the great moments of my life was when he introduced me at the 2004 Libertarian National Convention when I spoke about my Security Edition cards there.
He ruled. That's all. He was just a great man.
Here's the really stunning thing. People who know that I would care that he died forward email and leave phone messages.
Listen to me you fuckers: Do NOT leave a phone message or forward an email when someone dies. It is rude. "Hi, someone you cared about is dead. Talk to you later!" or "Here's an email I thought might interest you..."
When Peggy Feury died, 5 motherfuckers had left phone messages about it. There is a race to be the first to bear bad news and it was never more apparent then. Fortunately ( you know what I mean) I had heard about Peggy before I had to listen to these assholes gleefuly inform me that an important person in my life had died.
If you forward an email or leave a phone message about someone dying then you are a cunt. Plain and simple. It is nearly unforgiveable.
Anyway... here is a great piece he wrote. If you're not hip to what Libertarian is all about, this is a good starting place: