Just back from a fantastic lunch with Nunally at the Hominy Grill, the fantastic restaurant her husband is the chef of. This will go down as my favorite meal in Charleston, I suspect--my crab was fantastic, and the okra and tomato soup just rocked. even better was the conversation: lots of Spoleto dissection, Wal-Mart encroachment and the complex boundaries between public and private places. I also learned that if you ask for your iced tea half and half you get it half sweetened, which makes it totally drinkable.
Saw Russian Doll and Tiny Ninja Theater's Hamlet last night as part of the more underground Piccolo Spoleto ("Little Spoleto") festival, and that's the end of our showgoing--we saw five shows, which isn't bad considering how little time we have and how much stress we've been under.
Tonight is our final Spoleto performance. Response here has been very strong--audiences have been wonderful, engaged and, at times, emotional. After Sunday's show a woman thanked me for the work and was in tears, which was awkward for me but I hope I didn't seem offputting--I think it's wonderful when folks respond to the stories.
We've also been getting some great press as well:
“You can’t make up these stories . . . sincerely poignant, side-splitting.”
Charleston Post and Courier
“Great storytelling that makes you laugh and think—who could ask for more?...Daisey eschews intense characterization in favor of good old-fashioned, pure storytelling, and it’s refreshing. It makes his tale the focal point, and it makes his stories more honest and human. That’s American, and it ain’t ugly.”
Charleston City Paper
The City Paper also ran a wonderful preview piece about the show, which you can read here, or check out their review itself.
Found online: a cure for cold sores.
Date: Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Time: 9:05 AM EST
Country of Remedy: Canada
Instructions: I dab some alcohol on my cold sores At the first indication of
a cold sore coming. I use vodka, because that is what I have. It dries it up
quickly. Maybe it gets them drunk and they die of alcohol poisoning. Cold
sores are cause by the Herpes Simplex virus. If you kill the virus, you get
rid of the problem forever. Doctors don't have a way of
killing a virus. If you can find a practioner using Royal Rife's Beam Ray
machine. This is a frequency generator that was developed in the 1920's or
30's to fight cancer. It did it so well that the powers that be confiscated
his equipment and shut him down, because they did not want the competition.
There are several versions on the market now. Hulda Regehr Clark uses one
for her cancer treatments. This kills the viruses, bacteria and fungus.
After I used this treatment from our local herbalist, 5 years ago, I have
not had another cold sore.
Headed off to shows all evening--should be good stuff.
Much great theater is happening here at Spoleto--we saw Mabou Mines DollHouse yesterday, which was absolutely marvelous. There's a minor controversy stirring over self-censorship in the piece; I don't know the whole story, but it's making the rounds of the parties and that can only be good for their ticket sales.
We've opened. Two performances down, two to go, and the show has been going very well here--the audiences are warm and responsive, and full--so far, every show has been sold out, though last night a number of folks didn't show and we were able to let in the wait list, which is very nice. I'm really excited to bring the piece back to Seattle now--it's really tightening down and finding its legs.
And now, the erotic work of Mark Chamberlain:
Here's even more, until your eyes bleed. I have a matinee today, followed by lots of performances--no blogging until much later.
From Don Giovanni
Opening Day. We have nothing on the docket except getting ready for the show this evening, which is a relief, I must say--yesterday we had a five hour tech, media appearances and a 3+ hour opera, which was gorgeous and extraordinarily environmental, but by the end we passed out like stones. Today will be spent focusing on the outline, reloading the show and getting focused for tonight--word is we have a full house, which is always a wonderful way to begin.
This is a repost from the Spoleto Buzz Blog about the production of Don Giovanni;
The opera itself was awesome. It’s very, very cool. Nmon Ford, who’s cut and has just a beautiful body, plays Don Giovanni. At one point he comes out while the supporting cast is frolicking in the water, and as he’s trying to seduce one of the women in the water, he completely takes his clothes off except for like a g-string. And the other people in the opera have on white cotton bloomers, so when they get wet you can pretty much see right through them. At one point, this guy whose wife is in love with Don Giovanni opens up a trunk full of polaroid pictures, hundreds of them, like proof that Don Giavanni’s a womanizer, and he shows her the pictures and then he just throws them all over the place. As intermission I picked up a couple of them and I saw they were rea photos of nudes, like girls on girl, guys on girls, that sort of thing. They were kind of blurry, but you could still tell what was going on. So as were were walking out, this guy comes out and he’s screaming about ‘pornography,’ about how they get these young actors who need the work and put them in thse ‘pornographic roles.’ He was just ranting and raving in the lobby, then he got on his cellphone, and he started very loudly about calling the police and chief Greenberg. He was going to write a letter or get in touch with the police and Spoleto. And this guy wasn’t old or anything — 50-ish, maybe even late 40s, just some conservative right-wing fool. He didn’t stay for the second half, obviously. So it’s a little racy. But it’s incredible, it really is.
I didn't find it all that racy, but I'm a jaded New York artiste. I did love the lighting, which is luscious and the best use of saturated color I've seen in years, and having the opera happen all around us improved the experience of the singing for me--I haven't ever enjoyed opera singing as singing itself, purely for sound and technique, as much as I did last night.
Interesting article from Salon about so-called "invasive species" and Alan Burdick's new book, Out of Eden, contesting that term.
Whew--it's 2am and we're bushed. Just finished a 4 hour tech, followed by a quick dinner and then a three hour notes session. My head is aching from it all.
We walked by the slave markets today on the way to dinner, which have been artfully preserved from Old Charleston. I know it's naive, but I was shocked for a moment all the same.
Note: these are not the markets--these are just some of the interesting sideways houses of Charleston.
Charleston is good so far--we're settled in, and this morning we go check out the theater, followed by a notes session, followed by an evening tech. The festival proper begins tomorrow, so JM and I sat up last night with the Charleston City Paper and the festival guide, plotting our attack on other shows--what we have time to see, what doesn't conflict and how much we can see w/o endangering our own process. Thankfully it's quite a lot.
I must say that Spoleto has put us up in style--almost too much style. We're staying at Charleston Place, the most upscale hotel in town. The accommodations are crazily plush and deluxe, but last night we could find almost nothing within a block or two that wasn't haughty and shut down early...and if we do get room service, it will have to be just once and for good reason, because I'll have to rob a small South American country to pay for it. My favorite menu item: the $150 breakfast for two.
Have to run. The Charleston City Paper also ran a preview piece on THE UGLY AMERICAN, which went well--you can read it here.
We're off to Charleston--read up on the Spoleto Festival here, or at the festival's own site, and we'll see you all on the other side.
Wonderful day for me--quiet, as JM has been over with her family. Tore down the outline and rebuilt it again, and the changes are getting smaller, which is great--that's exactly what should be happening at this point in the process. I think it's really going to be quite a show. We leave Wednesday morning for Charleston and the Spoleto Fetsival, which is a huge deal--I've been told 100 things to do and see in Charleston, and I'm excited to be in a very new place doing new work. Before today I was very nervous, but the sun is shining, my thoughts are clicking and the whole enterprise makes more and more sense--let's hope that holds.
Dan Gross over at slate has a great piece on pension "cram downs"--cases where workers meet all their obligations, but the company still screws the worker--a common theme becoming more common all the time.
Crazy internet post about Revenge of the Sith:
I go to the gym every day. I work 5 days a week. Why does this matter? Because in the last 4 weeks I have not heard anyone cough or clear their throats more than once or twice a day at either place. BUT, at the theater these last two nights, every motherfucker in the world with a cough had to be right next to me. AND, we have the puny little girl sitting next to me that kept bumping into my elbow and kept whisphering "sorry". Well, if my arm was there the last ten times you hit it, it might be there the next time too!! I do not go to a movie to hear people cough. I was so fucking mad that I told the owner, not the manager, the owner that I was fucking furious. I waited 28 years to see this damned thing and I had to smell a dirty theater where buttered popcorn had been allowed to seep into the carpet without ever being cleaned, so you could smell the rotteness. I did not come to hear people cough on the 20th of May. By May the 20th you ought to be fucking over your cold. Allergies make you miserable and make you sneeze, eye ache, sinus pressure. Allergies do not make you cough, so why in the fuck were a 100 people coughing? Not one sneeze with the pollen and mold count at record levels. I fucking hate people. We need another big war to get rid of a few million of these inconsiderate scumbags. I am proud of myself for one thing I d did tonight. I put my foot down. I told two guys to SHUT IT. I was ready to throw down too. STFU IN A FUCKING THEATER. I came to hear the stunning Oscar quality dialogue between Padme and Anakin, not to mention the disingenuous patronizing bullshit coming out of that murdering fiend Obi Wan's mouth. I will say this, no kids anywhere. Not a blessed one. This is a rare instance when kids would have not even mattered with all the coughing and shit. I am pissed off. I get mad as hell at someone I tell them to STFU and they don't do anything. Man I want to get into a good old fashioned head knocker. Too many "me me me" motherfuckers out there that don't give a damn about anyone but themselves that need to be shitting teeth for weeks. Assholes. And don't get me started about going to a ballgame.
Indeed--let's not get you started about those ballgames.
What a day we're having.
Paris and her sandwich.
Bad form--I've gone almost an entire week without updates. We've been in Seattle all week, rehearsing ourselves to near-exhaustion at ACT, getting ready for Spoleto. The story is really coalescing now, and we've made tons of progress--the folks at ACT have been a dream to work with, even when we make bizarre requests for audiences during the rehearsal period (which we need because of how we work) they've been incredibly warm, supportive and quick to step up to the plate.
Went to the opening of the Seattle International Film Festival last night, where we caught up with friends who ran the event. They did a great job--it was festive, open and had wonderful, 15' tall projections of Gojira destroying Tokyo, which were only outranked by the massive black velvet portraits of naked women. Tasteful? I don't know. But kickass? Definitely.
Also, on my walk down memory lane--saw the late, lamented Speakeasy's burned-out shell last Friday night, and snapped this photo--
Hard to believe its been four years since the fire--it's like a whole other lifetime ago.
Today I'll be incommunicado all day--building a new outline for TUA, then running the entire show this evening. Whee!
An interview with the creators of Oregon Trail. Remember Oregon Trail?
MIKE HAS DIED OF DYSENTARY.
JEAN-MICHELE HAS A BROKEN LEG.
YOU LOST 25 POUNDS OF DRY GOODS IN THE FLOOD.
Blogs and Monopoly finally collide.
Yesterday, and the day before that,
the cows ate grass.
Tomorrow, and the next, and every day after that,
the cows will eat grass.
They'll eat until they can't stand up,
and even then, collapsed upon the earth in their last hours,
if they can reach it with their mouths, they'll eat grass.
They'll eat until they've eaten it all, until there are only
a few stray blades
halfway buried under boulders--then
they'll nudge aside the boulders
with their large and knowing lips,
and eat that grass, too.
Only the smallest calves, today,
the ones no bigger than dogs, are lying down.
They gaze out onto the landscape like dreamers:
the sky marbled with fatty clouds;
the cherry trees beginning to leaf;
the first few poppies, unfurling their cadmium banners;
the fences making some things possible, and others difficult;
the shadows falling from, and following, each thing;
and the world seems so strange, so common and wondrous
at once, that the calves ask the cows eating grass,
Is this all there is?
And the answer comes back from mouths full of grass:
This is all there is.
Cafe Ladro, at the base of the bizarre Tower Apartments.
Friday. I have a run of TUA today at 11am, so I'm up early for this timezone, trying to finish loading all the changes Jean-Michele and I worked out since Monday's run. I'm feeling swollen with words, which is often how I feel at this stage--its like a pregnancy of the mind. Yesterday we got settled here at ACT--everyone's been really wonderful here on the ground, and we're slipping quickly back into life on the road.
Tonight we're going to see Matt Smith's latest solo show, My Boat To Bainbridge. Matt is an monologuist like myself, and I've really enjoyed knowing him over the years--his show My Last Year WIth The Nuns is a wonderful piece of work I saw in 2001 and I still think about regularly. I'm really looking forward to that.
Tomorrow there's more theater--Josh Knisely's show Hypnagogia, which just received a great review from the Seattle PI. I've seen Josh's pieces develop over a couple of years, and I'm really happy to get to see a collection of them woven together...from him cooking cake on his bald head with an Easy Bake Oven to Thomas Edison, Pornographer. Great stuff all around.
Finally, immediately following the show we're taking in Flaming Box of Stuff's annual benefit, XTL: Xtreme Theater League, where professional wrestling meets performance in a big, drunk, sloppy way. I'm really looking forward to this most of all--I'll be doing the national anthem. Details for that highbrow event are here.
It's sunny out. Seattle can be fickle, but when the sun shines you appreciate it like hell.
Retaining wall collapse on the Henry Hudson Parkway.
Taken in the shadow of the Camlin.
So far, so good--we're set up, dog is OK and everything is running smoothly on the ground here...the only problem is time and energy--i feel like I've been hit by a bus, I'm so tired. Hoping to catch up on my sleep this evening before it all gets out of hand.
Good night New York--we'll see you on the flip side!
An ad for AIDS prevention from France:
Now that I have your attention...
Last night was a roaring success--great thanks to everyone who came out for the show. It was a fantastic way to bring this monologue back up to speed, and despite its epic length I wouldn't have traded it for the world; it was marvelous to unfurl the story and let the energy of the room pick it up and inform it, let it grow out to its fullest possible extent. And so fun afterwards, to see people and chat at the Grassroots--I'll miss our regular sojourns until it's time to start anew, when we're back in the city.
A History of Modern Poetry
The idea was to have a voice of your own,
distinctive, sounding like nobody else's
The result was that everybody sounded alike
The new idea was to get rid of ideas
and substitute images especially the image
of a rock so everyone wrote a poem
with the image of a rock in it capped with snow
or unadorned this was in the early 1970s
a few years before Pet Rocks were a Christmas craze
showing that poetry was ahead of its time as usual
and poetry had moved on
the new idea was to make language the subject
because language was an interference pattern
there was no such thing as unmediated discourse
and the result was that everybody sounded alike
Lovely essay by Annie over at Maud Newton's blog about what all the kids are writing today:
If I have to read another story of the slow, quiet dissolution of a dysfunctional relationship of two live-in lovers in their late-twenties -- punctuated by seemingly-banal-but-metaphorically-laden conversations with shopclerks -- as manifested by how they use too much conditioner in the shower or walk hesitantly through a wintry landscape in uncomfortable sweaters, or find themselves suddenly screaming about the asparagus, I'll commit an act of truly heinous violence. It's like Polanski's "Revulsion", without the beautiful women, murder, psychosis, plot or depth.
Also, wonderful words from Todd Levin on Revenge of the Sith:
Does the American movie-going public have the same memory dysfunction as a housecat? Because Lucas has already been applying the full press, and staying on point with carefully released statements like, "this is a much darker, moodier film" and "this is the one we've all been waiting for" and "there is convincing evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction-based programs." George Lucas would have us believe Episode III: Baby, I'm Sorry is better than Episodes I and II. OK. Cool. That's a convincing argument, I suppose, but here are a few other things that are better than Episodes I and II:
* stepping in cat vomit while wearing dress socks
* finding a toe in your cobb salad
* getting punched in the heart by skinheads
Oddly disturbing sand-sculptures to the contrary, I'm very nervous and excited about tonight--it's the last ASAF at P.S.122, and we're gearing up for a long summer of touring THE UGLY AMERICAN to different theaters and festivals around the country. The weather outside our door this morning is brisk and delightful, and I'm anxious to shake the dust from my shoes and get all this business going on.
For them's that know, tonight's show is at 7:30pm, and this will be the last monologue in NYC until the fall at least, so come on down.
Build a hungry bat.
An email received by Jean-Michele this afternoon from an email list she signed up for, ostensibly to stay informed of what's going on with other dog owners in the city. Unbeknownst to her, it is actually an activist group!
Subject: MILLION PUG MARCH!
Your Organizer, Roberta Bayley, sent the following message to
the members of The New York City Pug Meetup Group:
Pugs will march to support Animal Rescue and Pug Rescue.
Pugs will march to protest the proposed closing of famed pug
rock club CBGBs on the Bowery!
Pugs support our troops but want to bring them home! Pugs say:
bring home the troops!
Pugs will gather at the Washington Square arch at the north
side of the park at NOON. Pugs will march around the fountain
until they are bored.
Pugs stand for CHOICE!
All dogs are welcome to join our march!
Pugs do not discrimate! (Cats are another story.)
PUGS are power!
Pug power rules!
Gabba gabba hey!
Sidney & Roberta
I'll be on Day to Day today with a commentary on Jennifer Wilbanks and other runaway brides I have known (here's the exact page), and Jean-Michele's has a profile of author Ayun Halliday in the New York Sun today, which I can't link to because the NYS has a web-policy from the Dark Ages. If I get it scanned in from hard copy soon I'll put a link up instead, and then the Sun can come and get me because I'm a media pirate--arrrr!
Julie Muz & 100 of her burlesque clones!
Boris Vallejo, I think you need to be working for the Vatican!
Nature waits for no man.
My Saturday night was spent at the lovely home of Sheila Callaghan, seen here creating her soon to be patented "Bowl Of Mojitos":
It was a lovely evening, with some fantastic games and so much laughter that my sides hurt all Sunday. I'm also indebted to Deron for taking this picture, as I still haven't recovered by jacket, my camera or my dignity from that evening.