Sunday, December 31, 2006

He May Be Dead

But so are we. Soulless. Without conscience. With 3000 Americans dead in Iraq. And George W. Bush has no difficulty sleeping at night.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Rising Again

For those of you who may have seen my distressing post of earlier today (which I've jettisoned), rest assured I am fine. Life goes on, and one deals with it.

I apologize for sharing my self-pity with the world or, at least, that little part of it that pauses here every now and then. I really hate doing that - the pity thing, I mean - at least when I catch myself doing it.

Thank you for your concern; but if there's anything I've learned in the life I've led, it's that I can take it like a man.

In more ways than one.

Friday, December 29, 2006

I'm Sittin' Here Bored

So I took a quiz.

Your Vocabulary Score: A

Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.
How's Your Vocabulary?

Okay, cool.

I also took the "Penis Name Generator" - several times, I have several names and nicknames. But I refuse to post the kind of results that gave me names like "Little Juan", "Prince Charming", "Squirmin' Herman, the One-Eyed German", or "Meat and Potatoes". And wtf is it with "Bavarian Beef"? Ain't that a stew?

Still, nothing's going on. I took another one.

Your Stripper Song Is

Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard

"Love is like a bomb, baby, c'mon get it on
Livin' like a lover with a radar phone
Lookin' like a tramp, like a video vamp
Demolition woman, can I be your man?"

Break out the baby oil, you rock it old school.


And another one.

Your Lucky Underwear is Orange

You have an intense personality and crave extreme emotional experiences. And your lucky orange underwear will help you take it to a whole new level.

Adventure and danger don't phase you - in fact you enjoy dicey situations. You're the first to take a risk, and the first to get the payoff.

And while your risks sometimes result in great rewards, they also sometimes result in devastating failures.

If you want to have intense moments without always risking all you have, put on your orange underpants. They'll help you experience life with rich emotions, no matter what you're doing.

I don't think so.

Back to bed.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Morning Quote to Start the Day

Four or so years ago, I heard the comedian Jackie Mason mock George W. Bush's slender rhetorical powers. "He stumbles, he stutters, he mispronounces. He goes arghh, he goes ahhh; he twists himself up in words; it's hopeless. Unlike Bill Clinton, who speaks with never a pause, never a miscue, never a hitch of any kind. You know, when you come to think of it, it's a hell of a lot easier to speak well when you don't believe a word you're saying."

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

First, You Start Forgetting Little Things

I stopped into Salon d'Malta after lunch today to set up an appointment to have my hair and beard trimmed. Everyone there was suddenly solicitous of me, so happy to see me up and about and seeming to be so well. They had all heard about my unfortunate ruckus of last week.

"Oh? Really?"

"Yes. That terrible fight. Thank God, you're okay."

And I'm thinking, What fight?

My mind is racing back through it's virtual calendar but can't find any jotting along the lines of "...awesome fight today...kicked some righteous ass!" I even think back over the last weeks of blog postings and can't recall any mention of self-defense.

But these people are serious and concerned. It seems my well-being has been the talk of the whole neighborhood for the past week or so; and I didn't know squat about it at all.

As soon as I left, I got on the mobile to Bob.

"Did I have a fight with anyone this past week?"

"You've been ugly to me."

"Fuck you. I'm talking about a fight, like getting punched or something."

"You're the one who tells the world I don't notice your tattoos or nipple piercings, why should I notice a black eye or a bloody nose?"

"No, really, was I in a fight and can't remember?"

"You're serious? No, you weren't in a fight."

"Well, everybody at d'Malta's thinks I was. I should have told them I won."

"They might believe you'd been in a fight, but they'd never buy that."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Doin' What Comes Natur'lly

Sometimes we are called upon to stand up for what is right in the world. This usually results in pain or punishment. But righteousness demands justice.
Brian Bruggeman caused a stink at the Lincoln County Jail [in North Platte, Nebraska] earlier this month and will now have to answer for it in court. Another inmate, Jesse Dorris, alleges that Bruggeman's flatulence, passed in close proximity to Dorris, sparked a Dec. 14 fight between the two at the jail. ...

The two began scuffling, County Attorney Jeff Meyer said Tuesday, because Dorris was fed up with Bruggeman's flatulence.

Jail fights are common, Meyer said, but the cause of this one was rather uncommon. ...

Sheriff Jerome Kramer said the incident was a result of overcrowding. The jail was built in 1933 and has a capacity of 23 inmates, according to 2006 standards, Kramer said. As many as 65 inmates have been lodged at the jail in recent days, he said.

"You just can't get a reprieve from one another," Kramer said. "When you've got a guy causing problems passing gas, there's no way to get away from the smell.

A man's got to do what a man's got to do.

A Devastating Headline

I guess Bush has shown bin Laden and Al Quaeda and the rest of the world what American balls and gall can do. Yippy-ti-yay,

Oh, and, yes, he's shown us as well.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Impolitic Things to Say

To a principal actor in a play: "Were you in that? I don't remember you."

Model to a photographer: "When I saw how old I looked in that portrait you did of me - without bothering to do any retouching - I decided to try some new products."

Photographer to said model: "But I did retouch that portrait."

To a theatrical director: "The thing that bothered me was that the actors just seemed to take over the play."

Actor to a producer sitting with the director who had offered said actor a role which said actor had declined: "I'm Rico. I would love to act in your company."

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve Eve

The night before Christmas Eve brought us the Latrine's annual Christmas show. Bob decided we should go. Bob decided he would take photographs. I've been up all night making them presentable. Let's relive the festivities.

The show got off to a rousing opening number, an upbeat Christmas carol. I can't remember which one. This cast is so remarkable at impersonation. Not one of them is male.

Brian and Wilhelmina, the two most popular bartenders at the Latrine. Wilhelmina is not altogether happy with this situation. Shortly after this shot was taken, Brian collapsed with a knife embedded in his back.

Wilhelmina triumphant.

Meanwhile, Brian or no Brian, the show must go on. Little Rikki Redd strutting her stuff. Can't remember the song.

The legendary - what's-her-name. Oh, Phyllis Denmark, that's it, yeah.

These people were not willingly giving her money. She had something on each and every one of them.

The less said, the better.

Steve, John, and Sean. Steve is the manager of the Latrine. That is why people speak to him, let him near them, and even allow him to touch them.

Steve again, this time with Wilhelmina, who is allowing him to touch her.

Sean, in the background, is catching his breath. That's right, like fish, he gets his oxygen through water; unlike fish, the water is neither pure nor undiluted.

Steve is Wilhelmina's boss. That is why she is hugging him back. Wilhelmina is shameless.

What a card, that Wilhelmina. Having heard how popular Little Dave had become, she gingerly tried another round of elimination, this time with a choke hold. However, she did not reckon on Big Dave, who is Little Dave's protector. He managed to wrench her off Little Dave before any more permanent damage was done.

Little Dave tries to remember how to breathe, having just been released from Wilhelmina's grip. It's in and out, Dave. You remember, in and out. Just like when we all take you to the little play house and play in-and-out with you. That's right, in and out.

Little Dave is about to form words. You can do it, fella.

Alas, all things must end. Mr. Donnie Jay as Jalapeno Tabasco Spice (Be afraid. Be. Very. Afraid.) closes her 2006 edition of the Latrine's Christmas show.

None too soon.

Now can I go home, Bob?

(We missed you, Sperm Magnet.)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

What's a "Sting"?

So I found this test and took it. I was pretty sure I'd come out as somebody like John Raitt or Alfred Drake, but, oh, no. I'm a "Sting".

Now these people have my email address.

Take this test at Tickle

Your inner rock star is Sting!

Oh yeah, the rock star in you is Sting. Sexy, versatile, and enormously successful, you're an introspective soul who channels your life experiences into everything you do. You're fed by a complex stream of intellectual curiosity, altruism, and unparalleled talent. It's no wonder the world never tires of you. You and Sting share a maturity, professionalism, and modesty which make you appear mysterious and wise: with such depth and sincerity at your fingertips, people can't wait to see what you'll create next. Discover your inner Sting.

In life you can make your own decisions or let other people make those decisions for you. Being Above The Influence is about staying true to yourself, and not letting people pressure you into being less than you. So be yourself. Or be something less.
Hmm, come to think of it, I can agree with that.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Fist Me This Christmas

Merry (or whatever) Christmas

These Things Just Fall into My Head like Rain from the Sky

I believe I've just stumbled onto a means to make the revival of Take Me Out work without Dave and Joe.

But it's a secret.

Update, Saturday, December 23, 2006, 6:20 AM:

I just received an email from our Kawabata this morning. He will not be able to return.

My secret of yesterday was that I had thought of moving Duck from the role of Toddy into the role of Shane and replacing Toddy with Frederick who had worked out so well replacing Duck in the reindeer play. But without a Kawabata, I am back to square one - fuck, I am back to contemplating square one.

I cannot see breaking in a new Japanese-speaking actor and a new Toddy Koovitz, plus getting Duck up to speed in a new role, all in only two weeks.

We need to put down this sick old dog, grieve a little, then move on.

I Will Not Comment on This ...

... Even though my teeth hurt, I want to say something smartass so bad.
Children watched in horror as ... Santa Claus collapsed and died [while handing] out presents at a Christmas party on Sunday.

Andrew Robertson was taken ill as the excited youngsters received their gifts. The 82-year-old was taken to a side room and attempts made to revive him, but he was pronounced dead when medics arrived....

"One wee kid said 'how are we going to get our presents next week if Father Christmas is ill?' - they didn't understand what had happened."
"One wee kid". How about "one wee selfish little prick bastard"? I'm sorry. I can't help it. I can't help it.

New Orleans - Love It or Leave It

My cousin Lloyd sent me this. Once again our civic leaders are proving they know what's best for us citizens. It's really not a major thing, but it shows the arrogance of power and how it operates.

French Quarter Citizens and VCPORA
Oppose New City Sanitation Plan for the French Quarter

After meeting with Veronica White, Sanitation Director, to discuss the new city sanitation contract, the organizations have concluded that the plan will not work in the French Quarter for the following reasons:

The French Quarter will have ugly and smelly garbage cans on the sidewalk for seventeen out of twenty-four hours a day. The quaint ambiance of the streetscape will be destroyed.

It will be more difficult and dangerous for tourists to walk in the Quarter with garbage cans lining the sidewalks all night because of the narrow sidewalks and the large numbers of visitors who crowd the small streets.

The city has decided that the entire back streets of the Quarter past St. Ann will be left out of the street cleaning plan so who will clean the dirty sidewalks and the odoriferous refuse left by carriage mules?

Pre-Katrina, residential garbage was picked up twice a day. Under the proposed plan, the twice-a-day residential garbage pick-up service will not be resumed.

Residents without alleys or courtyards will be expected to store garbage cans in their houses; however, the Sanitation Director assures us that dogs will not pee on these cans so the cans will be sanitary to take indoors.

If you live upstairs and have no ground level storage for your garbage can, you must bring it up the stairs to store in your house.

The city has not addressed what will happen to the garbage bags left on the sidewalk by weekend visitors who drop trash bags as they depart.

What will happen when illegal trash bags are piled on a resident sidewalk which they did not generate? Will the city be able to track down the offending party and fine them instead of the resident?

Any small business that generates more trash than a single family household will be required to have private pick-up.

Exemptions for cart use will be given to the handicapped and elderly if they can't get neighbors to share cans or help them get out the trash. The exempted residences will be red-tagged so the garbage men will know who may legally have bags.

Other appeals for exemptions must be made by letter directly to the Sanitation Director who will personally visit and decide whether you qualify. The sanitation director does not consider lack of storage space sufficient reason for an exemption.

The Sanitation Director says that carts are not allowed on the street from 9 am to 4 pm, so if you leave for work before you can get your cart back inside, you will be ticketed.

The city has not explained who will clean up and/or repair cans that celebratory visitors will move, overturn, vomit in, ride, fill with litter and otherwise desecrate while they are left out on the sidewalk overnight.

If your garbage can is lost or stolen, a police report must be filed and sent to the contractor to get a new can free of charge. No directions on what to do for a can while you wait for the replacement.

Neither the Sanitation Director nor the contractor has explained how the workers will get your garbage can over vehicles generally lined bumper to bumper along the street.

The process of moving carts from sidewalk to truck and back is estimated to take much longer than simply throwing the bags into the trucks so noise will increase. Traffic flow which is now at times gridlocked will be further congested.

New regulations require residents in buildings with more than four units must arrange for private garbage pick-up.

The city has not explained why the system that works in Manhattan where special green garbage bags are used will not work in the French Quarter. When the bags in Manhattan are gone the sidewalk is clean and uncluttered where ours will be lined with garbage cans.

You can read the "sanitized" version here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Three Down, One - Maybe Two More - to Go

Early Monday evening, I had trekked over to Cowpokes to pick up the artists' payroll for the final weekend of the reindeer play when, on my way back home, I passed Electric Ladyland. I had recently decided I wanted a hurricane tattoo for my left shoulder. This would complete the tryptich for that arm.

I know I told you earlier that I had a cross all planned for number three; but I had since found a different design for the cross and realized that if I could change my mind about its appearance that easily, it would be better to wait until something came along that not only struck my fancy but really stuck in it. Besides, in the meantime, I had found this really fine hurricane design. I wanted to make an appointment to get this one inked. (Damn, I hope I'm not infringing on a copyright.)

Once inside, I found the alternate floor manager - alternate from Jay, the real floor manager, who truly knows his shit and runs the joint like a business - was busy, so, since I had a little time, I decided to wait till he was free. It was while I was waiting that Skip spotted me and decided to wait on me himself.

Now Skip had done my fleur de Lis; and even though people had claimed to like and admire it, I never had. The line work was sloppy and the colors were muddy; add to that the fact that it had been unusually painful during the process and for more than a week afterwards, well, I didn't relish returning to this artist. I had even told people that if they went to this place, be sure and skip Skip. Take anyone else.

But I am a kind man, given to giving second chances. I am not confrontational. I am even willing to concede, more times than not, that I am probably wrong in my own opinions. I am a first-class pussy wuss. So I found myself making an appointment with Skip for Wednesday afternoon at one.

At which date and time, I arrived, only to be told by Jay who was back at work - yo, Jaydude! - that Skip had just called to say he was caught in traffic and would be there in ten minutes tops. Would I mind waiting?

Yeh, I would, but I said otherwise and sat. And brooded. The first time Skip had slashed and burned my arm, I'd had to wait on him for nearly an hour while he ate his lunch. Why he waited to eat his lunch after arriving at work at one in the afternoon is a question to which I had never received an answer; but it was impolite to even ask, so I had kept my mouth shut.

After those ten minutes had passed, Jay came back to me to explain, "Dude, Skip just called again. He's still stuck in traffic - he comes in from Mississippi, you know. Anyway, he's not sure when he'll get in, but if you want to wait, he'll do you as soon as he gets in."

I guess he noticed some flashing expression on my face, so he went on, "But, hey, man, you got options. You can keep on waiting, of course; or I can refund your deposit; or you can have another artist do the work you came here for. Ramon is in, and he is really good."

Here was my chance.

"Tell me about Ramon."

"I'll do better than that. Come look at his portfolio."

I did. I said, "Fuck, man."

"Aw, I know his work is really dark and shit, but he's a really good artist."

"Oh, that's not what I meant, I like this stuff. Look at his shading, look at his portrait work. This is first class. He's willing to do this symbol on me?"

"Oh, yeah, of course. Where did you want it?"

So I rolled up my sleeve to show him, and his face fell when he saw the fleur de lis; and I saw it fall.

"I know. Skip had mentioned doing some corrective work on that, too."

"Hey, yeah, man. You want that fixed. Ramon can do that for you. You don't want to be unhappy with a design that's gonna be on you for the rest of your life, you know."

"Oh, yeah, I know."

So I found myself in a cubicle with Ramon.

Ramon was quiet and focused. He gripped my arm like it was a piece of clay he was going to carve cuneiforms into. He started with the hurricane symbol; and I watched him do it. This man had practiced drawing circles as a kid. You know the exercise. You draw circles freehand until you get them right. By doing this you develop a dexterity in drawing lines so that you can lay them out with one swoop and not have to scratch them onto your surface with lots of hesitant, tiny attempts. Ramon was an expert at this and he finished the hurricane symbol in no time.

When he was ready to tackle the fleur de lis, he took a pen and corrected more lines than I had noticed. We discussed the coloring I wanted, and I told him I would really prefer it colored over in black. I was no longer hep to the shadings of blue. I wanted it more iconic. He agreed, explaining that new blues might not fully cover the flaws, that the older colors might bleed through once the new work had healed, but that black should work. So we started on the cover-up.

Halfway through, he asked if he could take a break. Could he take a break? Could I? So we stepped outside and chatted for about ten minutes, then returned and finished it up.

The work is nice. It's beautiful. It was worth it. And, later that evening, I noticed it had stopped hurting after only a few hours.

So, if anyone is interested, I would still recommend Electric Ladyland. I would further recommend that you still skip Skip, but definitely ask for Ramon. You'd be in good hands.

Wish I'd Thought of That

Driving the highways of Louisiana, you see a lot of roadside memorials. You know, those little handmade crosses marking the site where some once-vibrant person became just another roadkill. Well, wouldn't you know it, someone has found a way to market that particular drivers' guilt. Yes, folks, it's Bob Fuller's Roadside Memorials. Of course, we all hope never to need a service such as this; but it's a comfort to know it's there should the need arise.

Bless you, Bob Fuller.

(Thanks for the tip, Miss Pitts.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What's with All the Poop on Poop?

You just can't get away from all this shit:
Pooping Peasant Popular in Spain

The Virgin Mary. The three kings. A few wayward sheep. These are the figures one expects to find in a traditional Christmas nativity scene. Not a smartly dressed peasant squatting behind a rock with his rear-end exposed.

Yet statuettes of "El Caganer," or the great defecator in the Catalan language, can be found in nativity scenes, and increasingly on the mantelpieces of collectors, throughout Spain's northeastern Catalonia region, where for centuries symbols of defecation have played an important role in Christmas festivities.

During the holiday season, pastry shops around Catalonia sell sweets shaped like feces, and on Christmas Eve Catalan children beat a hollow log, called the tio, packed with holiday gifts, singing a song that urges it to defecate presents out the other end.

These traditions, in the case of the caganer dating back as far as the 17th century, come from an agricultural society where defecation was associated with fertility and health.

While the traditional caganer is a red-capped peasant, more modern renditions have gained popularity in recent years.

What gives?

Take Me Out? Lemme Back In

We conducted our first audition last night for replacement actors. Dismal. Except for Gemayel showing up unexpectedly. We won't be having to replace our Davey Battle, after all. It turns out Gemayel was laying low because he had a job opportunity in Baton Rouge. Well, he interviewed for it yesterday and didn't get it. Oh, happy day.

Still no word on our former Kawabata. Small part, no big deal, right? Wrong. Japanese. Bilingual.

One new actor appeared. He read for Shane Mungitt. Could maybe do it with a lot of work and less resistance to certain givens, like a Southern accent. He felt there were other ways to show the character's stupidity than with a cracker accent. Shane isn't stupid, but he is a cracker.

That one actor was the extent of the number of people who came to read.

Still no Hispanic to play Rodriguez or Martinez, I forget which one. This, in New Orleans, post-K!

I just want to go someplace warm where I can swim in a lake or an ocean.

Oh, wait. I get a new tattoo today. From Skip. Oh, God. At least, he noticed certain flaws in his fleur de lis that he wants to correct - free of charge, of course. Don't know how much of his slash and burn I can take in one sitting, though. Fuck it, take it like a man.

Monday, December 18, 2006

From "The Rude Pundit"

This merits a full republication:

Fucked New Orleans (A Seemingly Endless Series):

You may not forgive the Rude Pundit his cynicism, but he thought Herbert Gettridge's wife was going to die, along with Gettridge. Nearly a year ago, the Rude Pundit met Gettridge on his return to the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans as two other men helped him gut his still-standing home. Gettridge's wife was ill and in Madison, Wisconsin, where they had gone upon evacuating their city because of Hurricane Katrina.

Now, in today's New Orleans Times-Picayune, Gettridge is interviewed as one of the only residents to return to the Lower Ninth. Writes Gwen Filosa, "'A lot of people can't come back,' said Gettridge, a stubborn 83-year-old who has been rebuilding to provide a home for his ailing wife, who yearns for him in Madison, Wis. 'In some cases, some people are better off now than they were before the storm.'" Filosa says that Gettridge's house is one of the few occupied ones in the Lower Ninth now, 16 months after Katrina.

Gettridge is besieged by thieves in the post-apocalyptic landscape that is his neighborhood. They stole his $800 generator that he had chained down. Here's how Gettridge lived after the storm: "For months, Gettridge captured water from ruptured pipes in the area and hauled it back to his property in buckets. Through the swampy heat, he used coolers instead of a refrigerator and cooked with a propane camp stove. Electricity came back only last month, and Gettridge became one of the region's last residents to receive a FEMA trailer. He's still waiting for gas service to be restored."

New Orleans is fucked, you know. In the time since the big storm took down the city like a lion bearing down on a three-legged zebra, yes, much has gotten better in that many people, many of them white, some not, can live an approximation of normality, a pretense of everyday life. But the future, oh, the future of the city is fucked like a drunk sorority girl on a Royal Street balcony at Mardi Gras. Here's how the Times-Picayune describes the current state of the levee system: it "could be likened to a patient who no longer needs life support but remains in intensive care."

Meanwhile, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, with a delicious sense of irony, is going to raze 4500 housing units in the city, making way for private development of the land and far less housing for the poor. It would cost less than a day in Iraq to repair the four largest complexes. Sure, they may have been shitholes, but a shithole to call home is better than no home at all. And it ain't as if the residents were promised fuckin' Valhalla in exchange for the demolition. The poor in New Orleans are like the Indians of old, removed from place to place when it becomes inconvenient to keep them where you put them in the first place.

But, shit, life ain't a whole lot better for the middle class. The wads of fuck running the Road Home Recovery program, a private corporation called ICF Emergency Management Services, were given a three-year contract worth $750 million to run the $8 billion program to get grants of up to $150,000 to homeowners so they can, you know, rebuild their homes. And, well, it's worked like seemingly every other privately-run government program: "Only 82 of the 87,000 homeowners who signed up for the grant program...have gotten final checks." The company's already made $60 million. So, like, that's less than .1% of homeowners and ICF's been paid about 9% of its money.

Oh, and even if you get the money, after waiting for months, chances are you're gonna be fucked by ICF and the Road Home: "Melanie Ehrlich, a founder of the New Orleans advocacy group Citizens' Road Home Action Team, said she has seen 15 yellow final award letters and found errors in 11 of them."

Back in the Lower Ninth, Emelda Skidmore, another elderly returnee, awaits her Road Home money. And Mayor Ray Nagin has said that market forces and private investment will power the recovery in New Orleans. But the Lower Ninth will probably be the last place to come back because it awaits "citizen investment."

When Do We Eat?

For the full menu, click here.

But where are the guinea pigs?

'Scuse Me?

This just in from ABC News:
It begins as a liquid.

When it comes into contact with the surfaces it is designed to protect, it congeals to form a thin, protective layer of solid gel.

And when its targeted intruder is present, it instantly changes back into a liquid, simultaneously delivering a lethal dose of antiviral chemicals.

It sounds like science fiction, but researchers at the University of Utah are working to bring this new type of "molecular condom" into reality. ...

What makes this microbicide different is that it is activated by the very substance that potentially carried the HIV virus — semen. ...

Sounds exciting, right? But, wait, there's more.
Women using the gel would apply it to the vaginal area before sex.

Once exposed to the higher temperature of vaginal tissues, the polymer-based gel would solidify, forming a protective barrier that would coat vulnerable tissues.

In the presence of semen, which is less acidic than the normal conditions inside the vagina, the solid gel would melt, delivering a burst of anti-HIV chemicals. ...

Women, they say. Um, have they forgotten something or somebody - like the fabled 10% of the other half of the human race? Or are we to read between the lines and, uh, put it where the sun don't shine?

No matter. It will be a long time coming. Why?
... A lack of interest on the part of pharmaceutical companies is also slowing the development of microbicides. ...
Oh, well, maybe this is just more ado about nothing.

Bitchin' in the Morning

The reindeer are gone. They went out in a glorious spray of tinsel last evening. Bob had videotaped Saturday's performance; and together (never a good idea) on Sunday, we managed to make eight DVD copies for the cast. Before the show, I wished them well, told them how wonderful they all had been, and how much I loved them and hoped never to lose touch with them. Shortly after the show had ended, they all had flown the coop; and there was peace on earth.

Today I can rest. My time is my own.

Well, kind of. I have to prepare for tomorrow's auditions to replace the MIA actors for the revival of Take Me Out coming up in three-and -a-half weeks(!). I think I should be salaried.

I don't know if this whole thing is going to work.

But, in the recent words of Pisser, "You ... love bitching."

I gotta watch that.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Duck? Duck Who?

Last night was Frederick's fiery baptism as Comet. I had offered him a safety net in the form of index cards with certain cues written down for those transitional passages that had proven difficult to manage. Comet is making a presentation, after all, and public speakers always used index cards - they did, at least, until the rise of PowerPoint, that tool of the devil.

When he arrived to make one last run-through of his monologue, he took me aside and explained that he didn't want to use my crutch. He was relaxed and focused, and he knew he could make his way through the scene. So he did a few exercises and found a calm center, and we ran it. He stumbled a few times, but pulled himself out each time. He had his script and would review it before his entrance. He is, after all, the fifth reindeer. He would have time for more study before going on.

Then it was time; and he walked onstage, confident in his sad, saggy slacks, dingy white shirt with the "wife-beater" showing though, and limp and faded red-striped tie. He stopped, slicked down his hair, and said to the audience, "Saint Nicholas saved my life."

They laughed. They fell in pity-love with him. They totally got the setup and raucously went with it to its conclusion.

And Frederick never missed a beat. A few lines, yes, but it never showed. A pro.

Afterwards, our producer, Timm Holt (how I quiver at the name), threw a cast party for us all in his apartment above the complex housing both the Marigny Theatre and Cowpokes.

(Note to Timm: Never bring actors into your home. They'll eat everything you have in the pantry then pee in the potted plants. They've never been domesticated. But I suppose you must know this by now, this morning.)

By the time of the party, though, I was very tired and could only last a short time. I soon made my good-nights and toddled off home, to Bobby, and to and sleep.

Auditions for the replacement actors in Take Me Out are on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I have work to do to get ready for that.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Just a Bug

Since Wednesday and until a few hours ago, I have had a burning sensation in the pit of my stomach. Naturally I assumed this was the first indication of some awesome, flaming, bleeding ulcer brought about by the enormous stresses in my personal life lately.

"What can be stressing you out?" you ask. How much time you got?

First, there's the play. We're approaching the closing weekend and I should be basking in all the goodwill and great reviews. But, no. Comet flew the range, and the remaining members of the herd are resisting the new buck I'm trying to introduce. The interesting thing is that this new Comet has a biting interpretation of the part that is fascinating to watch. He comes out dressed like a Mormon missionary (can't figure out where I got that idea from) burning with the true convert's zealous self-righteousness. The people in the audience become the members of his Narc Anon group, and I'm hoping merriment will ensue. I know I can count on New Orleans spectators figuring out this scenario.

Next, there was the problem of the videotaping of the play. You see, Take Me Out was videotaped, but the artisan involved has declared it a mess and you don't want to see it, anyway, so forget about it and get on with your empty lives. And there didn't seem to be anyone around who could or would tape this one. So on Wednesday, Bob took off for parts unknown to find a Circuit City in which he could buy a camcorder. He returned home a few hours later with: My. Christmas. Present. As long as I pay for half of it. I didn't want one of those things for Christmas. I don't take videos. Although, God knows, I'll have plenty of opportunities to do it for other people now that they know we have one.

The aggravating thing about Bob and his electronic purchases is that I have to read the manuals to learn how to operate them so I can then teach him how to use them. He's been recording my rehearsals with the new Comet for the past two nights. That means, as my actor is struggling to remember twenty minutes of monologue, Bob is interrupting with, "What do these lights mean ... How fast should I zoom in ... How do you know for sure, really, if it's on ... How far does he go from left to right?"

So, yeah, the ulcer thing seemed the only logical option for what was ailing me. Until a little while ago when I was granted a lovely, cleansing poop (say what you will about Metamucil, it's today's Hadacol for us mature folk, the elixir for a blessedly regular life). Things are looking up.

Now, if I can only keep Bob from finding out about tonight's cast party.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

R I P, Peter Boyle

Peter Boyle died Tuesday. He was a substantial character actor blessed with a substantial career. But he will always be the Creature from Young Frankenstein to me. When Gene Wilder revealed him to the public in that remarkable scene of bad taste, and Mr. Boyle broke into "Puttin' on the Ritz," he became for a few delirious moments one of the great song-and-dance men of the silver screen. That performance touched something in my cortex or cerebellum or whatever it is up there in my head that left me helpless in his presence. We chunky lumpenproletariat will be eternally grateful.

The Other Critic from Ambush Mag Says:

Michael Jackson, Mark Foley, Mel Gibson, Fatty Arbuckle and...Santa Claus?

First seen in the O.J. era of 1994, Jeff Goode’s The Eight Reindeer Monologues reminds us that as long as there are celebrities and people in power, there will always be headline scandals unmasking their dirty deeds.

The Eight Reindeer Monologues is just that--a series of soliloquies, one sleigh-puller at a time, each of which, in Rashomon-like fashion, reveals a bit more about the “situation” that St. Nick has gotten himself into.

Jolly ol’ guy who “knows when you’ve been sleeping and knows when you’re awake”? From Goode’s perspective, parents should be a little more circumspect as to why this fat geezer would be aware of their children’s sleeping habits. And don’t get any of the reindeer started on Mrs. Claus or “Claws” as she’s known around the North Pole. Sexual harassment, bestiality, worker exploitation, alcoholism--it’s all there and more.

Goode creates eight distinct types for his antlered brood. Thus, Dasher (TJ Toups) is the butch one, Cupid (Jason George) the openly gay one, Blitzen (Taryn Vinet) the feminist, Comet (Duck Tennet) the reformed stoner, and Vixen (Lisa Davis), well, her name says it all.

Goode’s rangifers offer deadpan zingers (“Why are we treated like livestock?”) as well as some stinging social commentary (“You hope for your son to grow up to be president, your daughter to be pres- er, the wife of the president.”). The monologues occasionally go on a bit too long yet, thanks to Goode’s sharp characterizations, I’ll never think of this octet as just a bunch of interchangeable hoofed bell-jinglers again.

Director Glenn Meche brought out each reindeer’s individual personality and guided his cast to give emotionally honest and, in some cases, very funny performances. If the acting was sometimes a bit rough around the edges, that’s the difference between accomplished amateurs which these performers certainly are (and the emphasis goes on “accomplished”) and such pros as you’d find in a NYC Equity production.

Stand-outs included George as the bitchy, dry (a teensy too dry for me) Cupid who was sassy and even somewhat touching, and Mandi Turner who, having been the most memorable of UNO’s dancers at Lughnasa, was Dancer with a “D” here, the reindeer most focused on her career and who, mercifully, was able to avoid Santa’s lecherous advances. Defending Mr. Claus for helping him to overcome his multiple addictions, Tennet made a wonderfully over-the-top Comet.

The Eight Reindeer Monologues' post-modern take on Christmas ultimately leaves one a bit saddened. But since it is arguably the best production yet seen at the Marigny Theatre, 8RM gave us all something to smile about for the holidays. Ho-Ho-Ho!
- Brian Sands, Ambush Magazine
Not bad.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Duck Has Flown

Duck left us yesterday to travel to California where he'll to meet his lady friend Stacy's family. Duck, of course, played Comet in The Eight: Reindeer Monologues. I bid a fond farewell to our great clown and wish him a speedy return.

Into his role steps Frederick Mead, who is emphatically not a clown and has a radically different concept of the same role. It will be fascinating to watch the reactions of the other seven deer to what Frederick will unveil this Friday night.

A Preliminary Review

... Or, "Why They Call It a First Draft," dummy. This is from one of the Ambush Mag critics:
Dawlin', I thought The 8 Reindeer Monos was a very important black comedy worthy of seeing not only for it's witty and memorable script, but because the performers presented us with a tour de force of fine acting. It was one of the most successful shows of the To Do Productions' season to date ['Scuse me, I hate to be the one to bring this up, but this is not a production of To Do, but rather the Marigny Theatre]. And the backdrop and set in general was visually lovely. An all-around fine piece of theatrical delight.

Mo' later.

Best to you and the cast and especially that cute l'il Chris whose ****** I'd love to **** ** for a while. Give him a hug from moi. Tee hee, titter titter.

Patrick S. III

Monday, December 11, 2006

And Magic Happened

Yesterday's matinee had a medium-sized house consisting of people prepared to participate in a play. Anchored by a party of eight women who had reserved seats on the first two rows, our crowd was active, not somnambulant, aware of every facial expression and vocal inflection of each member of the cast, and they responded with palpable affection.

My actors lapped it up like sweet, thick, warm cream and relaxed into that cushion of support to give their best performance to date. They were astonishing, in the moment and spontaneous. They felt such contentment when they were done, yet they could never know how well they had performed. This is one of the bittersweet ironies of theater, immediacy of each moment followed by an inevitable effervescent evaporation as those moments pass into the past.

But those moments ... in those moments ... magic had happened.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Old Enough to Know Better

It's only a few minutes to curtain, and people keep coming, I thought to myself last night. Little did I suspect how that thought would later reverberate. We held the show for thirteen additional minutes before finally going up to a nearly full house.

I took my usual spot in the rear of the theater, SRO for me. That way I can move around and watch the stage - and the audience - from different angles. Yesterday evening, however, my usual spot turned out be the ideal spot from which to watch two members of the audience put on a show we would have been busted for had we put it on the boards.

They were two of a foursome of middle-aged, prosperous-looking folks. They could not have been married to each other because married people of their generation would never have behaved the way they were about to, and she was certainly not a trophy wife. Trophy wives are not aged between 45 and 62. Trophy wives don't color their hair platinum to cover the gray. Neither do they wear rabbit.

Early on, the gentleman - let's call him "Buck" - took up his position standing behind his lady friend, a position that afforded him the opportunity to wrap his beefy arms around her in order to cup her bosoms in his diamond-ring-fingered hams. He was not here to sit and watch a play. He had obviously been molded by Saturday afternoons in the balcony of the local Roxy where the height of passion consisted of heavy petting in what passed for darkness.

She, for her part - let's call her Maisie - was able to reach up and run her fingers through his moussed up, salt-and-pepper rug. Later I would be able to watch their tongues in silhouetted light from the stage slither in and out between parted lips, making promises of other things to come.

They kept this up throughout the first four monologues. Then, during intermission, they began their negotiations with the other two. Maisie wanted to leave. Buck had promised her a room at the Ritz Carlton. The lady of the other couple wanted to stay to see the remainder of the play. (Why?) Maisie was adamant. She was ready. She made Buck promise to get them all a room with two double beds. She was drunk. And really ready. So they left to get a cab.

The play resumed. People began to come and go. Theater to a New Orleans audience is akin to watching television in your den in your boxy boxers. When it's time to get a snack or another drink, you go. If you need to pee or poop, you go. That's life among the indigenous population here.

My lighting man mentioned that the two people who would normally be watching the door had left for the evening. I decided I would take my place there to prevent doors slamming as our patrons left to fulfill their needs before returning to catch up on what they had missed.

By the time our fifth monologue had begun, I became aware of low moans and mutterings coming from outside. I carefully cracked open the door, to discover Buck and Maisie - doing it.

They were in the brightly-lit foyer of the Marigny Theatre - doing it. Buck had Maisie pinned against the outer doors, her legs akimbo, arms scratching at the woodwork. Buck was nailing the broad out here while, in the theater, little Dancer was waxing nostalgic over the long-lost reindeer ballet.

How did he convince the bitch he had her at the Ritz?

I said, "Excuse me..'scuse me?"


"You can't be doing this here. You need to get a room."

"We're waiting for a cab."

So she didn't need the Ritz. So much for pretentious glamor.

"You're not going to know if a cab is here," I said.

"Just give us a minute."

"You've had a lot of those. You need to leave."

"Well, call us a cab."

"No, go into the bar. They'll call a cab for you. Go. Now."

And wonder of wonders, they pulled apart and did what I said. I had not needed to get a bucket of cold water to pour over them like my mother had done to Pepper and Consuela, the neighborhood Chihuahuas, thirty-odd years ago.

What the fuck of a fuck was going on here? When I made my return to community theater, I never dreamed I'd be signing on to be a pig-slop cop.

The other couple remained until the end, then visited the bar and joined in the country-and-western line dancing being held in the bar. They turned out to be quite charming. I'm sure they had a lovely evening later at the Ritz. Buck and Maisie would have been long gone into oblivion by then.

Later still, while cleaning the theater, we found a used tube of lotion on the floor. A purse-sized tube of Jergens.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

A Letter to the Editor

Needless to say, Lisa was pissed when she arrived at the theater last night. This morning, I have written a letter to the editor of the Times Picayune. At least, they could have mentioned her name.
I would like to thank D. C. for his kind words concerning “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues,” currently running at the Marigny Theatre. However, may I take this opportunity to mention that, although he cited seven of the eight actors by name, he inadvertently failed to mention that Lisa Davis plays the part of Vixen? Ms. Davis is a beautiful, dynamic, and courageous actor who has appeared in many other roles in different venues throughout New Orleans and Jefferson Parish. She, along with her talented co-players, deserves recognition for a job well done.
Let's see if they have the decency to print that.

Friday, December 8, 2006

You Like Us, You Really Like Us

The Times Picayune released its review of The Eight: Reindeer Monologues this morning. This is what passes for a good notice from the major newspaper in this forsaken city:
"The Eight: Reindeer Monologues" is the best theater I've seen at the Marigny Theatre in some time. Written by Jeff Goode, who specializes in offbeat holiday comedies, ... it's a serio-comic "Rashomon" at the North Pole, where the reindeer weigh in on the shocking accusation that Santa may been sexually harassing them. ...

The actors are quite good. Taryn Vinet is the outraged feminist Blitzen, who says Santa treated Vixen "like a piece of venison." [In fact, she does not say that about Santa and Vixen. She says it in a different context about herself.] The poised and smirking Jason George plays Cupid ... who sighs, "Oh, how Santa loves that whip!" Chris Schlumbrecht is Prancer, who calls himself "Hollywood" ever since the "Prancer" movie came out. Duck Tennet is the jittery, spaced-out Comet, who says Santa saved his life with his rehabilitation work with "troubled deer."

Mandi Turner as Dancer is an airhead ballerina with a touch of "A Chorus Line" ("I need this job!") Dasher, played by T.J. Toups, has never been the same since he smacked into a skyscraper. Edward Carter's serio-comic turn as Rudolph's father tells of a damaged son Santa may have loved too much. Vixen turns out to be an S&M pin-up girl in skimpy black leather and torn black net stockings who doesn't want to be "The Wench Who Stole Christmas" but feels she must reveal all. ...

... (T)he nicely varied cast has fun with their rolls. ...
Notice, he fails to mention the actor playing Vixen. That would be Lisa Davis (tough name). He rounds off this rave by posting the wrong Sunday matinee time. I admit I'm a bit worried about this review. A pan from this clown generally guarantees full houses for the succeeding performances. I don't know what a favorable review will do.

I sound pissed, don't I? I am pissed. My actors deserve better than to have their names mentioned with no regard given to the work they did.

But then this is the same man who roundly panned and condemned our production of Take Me Out when the producers first announced their intention of putting it on - before it even had been cast or rehearsed. What a dismissive closeted little queen.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

To the Traveler

The untold want, by life and land ne'er granted,
Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
So you leave our winter for two weeks of summer,
Trading one hemisphere for another,
To track a portion of the Amazon and live a different life among a different people.

Still young and filled with fearless curiosity,
You know no cause for pause nor tinge of doubt.
You leap.

Careless, carefree youth still fills you.
No room in you for the measured-treaded caution of the old.
Within you, none of their fears of unspeakable chimeras
Obscured behind indigenous rocks or foliage on the outskirts of the landscape.

You leap.

Will there be time there while you are there
To ascend some Peruvian peak
to regard the Pacific?

Tonight I Saw

I saw a man give a sweatshirt he was wearing to another man who only had a tee-shirt on.

It was 46 degrees outside.

Public Pooter

Flatulence Forces Plane to Land

Plane Forced to Land After Passenger Passes Gas, Lights Match to Cover Scent

The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It is considered polite to light a match after passing gas. Not while on a plane.

An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing Monday morning after a passenger lit a match to disguise the scent of flatulence, authorities said.

The Dallas-bound flight was diverted to Nashville after several passengers reported smelling burning sulfur from the matches, said Lynne Lowrance, spokeswoman for the Nashville International Airport Authority. All 99 passengers and five crew members were taken off and screened while the plane was searched and luggage was screened.

The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal a "body odor," Lowrance said. She had an unspecified medical condition, authorities said.

"It's humorous in a way but you feel sorry for the individual, as well," she said. "It's unusual that someone would go to those measures to cover it up."

The flight took off again, but the woman was not allowed back on the plane. The woman, who was not identified, was not charged in the incident.

So much for public pooting. Are there no freedoms left?

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Maudlin Post Number 1

I'm listening to Emmylou Harris singing Nobody's Darling but Mine with The Chieftains. Is there any other voice in the world that can break your heart like hers?

Not when it's backed by Gaelic instruments and a Gaelic sensibility.

Somebody get me a hanky. No, make it a face cloth.

In Honor of My Eight Reindeer

You Are Dasher

You're an independent minded reindeer who never plays by the rules.

Why You're Naughty: That little coup you tried to stage against Santa last year

Why You're Nice: You secretly give naughty children presents.

Thanks to Six for finding this. (Never thought I'd say that.)

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Oh, God

Somebody in Bombay is reading my orgy post right now in real time.

To Justin, Weeping Tonight

It may never get better
But we can become stronger
Heal hard

Saturday, December 2, 2006

A Genuine Must-Read

This is just in from the Washington Post:

Bush has taken this disdain for law even further [than Richard Nixon]. He has sought to strip people accused of crimes of rights that date as far back as the Magna Carta in Anglo-American jurisprudence: trial by impartial jury, access to lawyers and knowledge of evidence against them. In dozens of statements when signing legislation, he has asserted the right to ignore the parts of laws with which he disagrees. His administration has adopted policies regarding the treatment of prisoners of war that have disgraced the nation and alienated virtually the entire world. Usually, during wartime, the Supreme Court has refrained from passing judgment on presidential actions related to national defense. The court's unprecedented rebukes of Bush's policies on detainees indicate how far the administration has strayed from the rule of law. ...

Um, just when did they begin to come to their senses?

Public Pooper

I am deeply offended by the nature of this photo and the fact that it is being posted on the Internet. I had previously considered this person to be an individual of moral rectitude in full possession of intractable standards of public decency. No more! Have you no shame, sir, have you no sense of propriety?

Have you no recollection that it was I who was supposed to be taking these pictures?!

A Beautiful Flight

They may have been nervous for Thursday's preview (though you'd never have known it), but they came into their own last night. They were at ease and in control and having fun.

When it was over, this cast invited me to party with them. I managed forty minutes. The young are different than you and me.

Friday, December 1, 2006


I know most of you only stop here for the convenient link to the Tugboat Captain blog, but to those of you who normally don't (because you know what he's really like), please put aside those perfectly justified personal feelings and take a look at this.

Reindeer Soar

The preview last night of The Eight: Reindeer Monologues went well. The audience was with it from start to finish, although there was one drunken heckler in the first row who insisted on dialoguing with the actors; but they handled it like pros, simply incorporating his inanities into the flow of the piece.

After the rehearsal performance, several audience members suggested we incorporate an intermission, which I thought was a brilliant idea. It solves the problem of the play's darkness and malevolence by giving the audience a breathing space to recoup. We're going to incorporate it into tonight's opening.

Now we have a show.

The cast in order of appearance: T J Toups (Dasher), Jason George (Cupid), Chris Schlumbrecht (Hollywood/Prancer), Taryn Vinet (Blitzen), Duck Tennant (Comet), Mandi Turner (Dancer), Ted Carter (Donner), and Lisa Davis (Vixen).
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...