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Musing #41: Why It’s a Great Time for TWELVE ANGRY [MEN] in NYC, and What It Means to Me (Part I)

Musing #41: Why It’s a Great Time for TWELVE ANGRY [MEN] in NYC, and What It Means to Me (Part I)

Jan 30, 2015

Juror #8: Are you his executioner? Juror #3: I’m one of ’em! TWELVE ANGRY MEN [1957] *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   * Welcome to the first SSS&C of 2015! And welcome, WLBPA.org (along with our esteemed Director, Jennette Cronk), to the capital of the world. That’s right, this publication is now based in Manhattan! Big-time. Bad-ass. [NOTE: I am not making an elitist New Yorker judgment call above, despite being 100% an unabashed elitist, judgmental New Yorker. I am quoting NYC.gov, which has a link that is literally titled, “New York City Is the Capital of the World.” Hilarious.] And now, dearest readers, let’s talk civic duty… *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   * I make a point of refraining from (much) political commentary online, despite my real-life loud-and-proud elitist New Yorker leftist inclinations. I’ve already got far enough people who (absurdly) dislike me over my 75%-distaste for the medium of musical theater/re. Moreover, I was raised in the largely-conservative American south and still have many friends there…with whom I respectfully disagree. (We can do that in this country.) No reason for me to fully “go there” publicly, as it were. [At least, that is, not until my (educated) opinion has any real influence. ;)] Ne me lancez pas sur le massacre atroce à Paris. Parlez librement pour toujours, CHARLIE HEBDO! Liberté, égalité, fraternité!!! [TRANSLATION: Do not get me started on the atrocious massacre in Paris. Speak freely forever, CHARLIE WEEKLY! Liberty, equality, fraternity!!! (The French got that from us. And we got it with their help.)] That said, you’ve probably noticed — unless you’ve been living under a virtual rock; in which case, particularly if you’re an American citizen, shame on you — that the 21st-century United States is still mired (from the New York islands, to the Redwood Forest, with a very deliberate pit stop in Ferguson, MO) in the self-same fundamental racial issues debated by the Second Continental Congress that “birthed” this still-great (Yes, says I.) nation in 1776. In New York City, specifically, the Eric Garner/our-police-force-hates-our-mayor-and-that’s-dysfunctional-and-scary-whatever-your-politics /grand jury situation — terrible though it may be — shines a much-needed light on the imperative of the average citizen in a democracy to heed...

Musing #40: Self-Inflicted Mishap and Misplaced Care (or, Resting Bitch Face)

Musing #40: Self-Inflicted Mishap and Misplaced Care (or, Resting Bitch Face)

Dec 26, 2014

“Yeah, we’ve met before.” Oh, how I dread those words. Every morning for the last four-and-a-half years, I have awakened to (involuntarily) asking myself the same, awful question: “Whom did you piss off yesterday?” It’s (utterly self-inflicted) torture. Forget what catalyzed that shit in the summer of 2010. The point is that I’m an other-than-morning person on the best of days, partly because I don’t drink coffee. But beginning every recent day consumed by fear of my own already-executed, however-inadvertent behavior? It’s a wonder that I get up at all. And the ghastliest part of this daily waking inventory of interpersonal mishap? It doesn’t reflect paranoia. The worry is warranted. It’s a fact that I’m perpetually pissing people off…without meaning to. And it’s a further fact that it all hurts me far more than it does any of those off whom I piss. (Take comfort, all ye inadvertently-pissed-off people!) Because my biggest problem (in this realm) is caring too much about the wrong people, and failing to recognize the right ones. But, at least, I know it. There’s a chick in Brooklyn who has, for nearly a decade, referred to yours-truly as Resting Bitch Face. Needless to say, I am no fan of this girl. She’s decidedly not among those about whom I wrongly care. Neither is she among the so-called right ones. She can kiss my Resting Bitch Ass. But the derivation of the “RBF” sobriquet is sadly demonstrative of the personal foible in question, so here it is… As I’ve written in this space so many times before: I deplore my own face, and my contact lenses are for performance. Almost exclusively. I find contacts to be very uncomfortable. And, frankly, I can’t open my (in too many senses) myopic, chronically-late eyes enough in the morning to put them in anyway. I wear glasses, which is to say that I do so now. For many, many years, I summarily and absurdly refused to wear even glasses, despite being blind as a proverbial bat. Why? Because all is comfort and vanity. (Duh. Not saying that’s good. Just saying it’s true.) Now, what does a self-conscious, own-face-hating, vainly-bat-blind chick look like at social gatherings?...

Musing #39: Why make art? Why do anything? (Shower Thought)

Musing #39: Why make art? Why do anything? (Shower Thought)

Nov 28, 2014

NOTE: It has been a Sisyphean task to stay focused on this writing. My heart and soul have spent all day gleefully gallivanting in a galaxy far, far away. That teaser is tremendous. It reduces me to tears, unfailingly. ANYWAY… *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   * Tomorrow, dear readers, I am going to fail. And that’s OK. For tomorrow, dear readers, I’m shooting a very short film (we’re talking, half the length of a one-reel) that I wrote and am both acting in and directing. I have near-complete faith that it will prove an unwatchable turd. But I know for certain that, even in failure, I cannot lose. How’s that? Because even if it sucks, I will have done it. “Man in the Arena,” and all that bully sort of thing. This very short film amounts really to just a scene; one that should theoretically be situated toward the end of a long cinematic journey into the hell of alcoholism. It has a beginning, middle and end, so it does stand alone. But I’ve, nevertheless, been agonizing over the potential “WTF?” factor. “WTF?” you ask. Permit me to explain. Immediately before every one of the last several weeks’ rehearsals, I found myself lost in epic musings whilst showering. Most of these daydreams eventually morphed into paralyzing self-doubt panic attacks. And the worst of those mid-ablution freakouts pertained to the arguable pointlessness of this very short film. LITTLE ME to LATHERED, NAKED SELF: “What the hell are you trying to say with this thing? Nothing original. So why the hell are you saying it?” “That LITTLE ME poses excellent questions. I think I like her.” Fortunately, my co-star helped SELF realize that she always knew how to answer ME. (Yeah, the pronoun manipulation really ceased to work at some point, there. Sorry.) I know not from whence it came, but this itty-bitty baby film gestated in my gut until it finally burst unstoppably forth, John Hurt-style.   “Baby mine, don’t you cry.” This immaculate conception also explains how I ended up with a feature screenplay, having never set out to write anything of the sort. I was a screenwriting virgin and happily expected to...

Musing #38: Happy HalloWEEn! I’m a slave to pee. (Sorry, Dad.)

Musing #38: Happy HalloWEEn! I’m a slave to pee. (Sorry, Dad.)

Oct 31, 2014

Permit me to set aside the artist’s struggle this month, dear readers. I’d like to discuss, instead, a different ilk of my personal strife; one about which I’ve intended to write since at least 2004. This essay pertains to my apparently thimble-sized bladder. That’s right. We’re talkin’ pee! Because it rules my world. Terrifying. What the hell?! My beloved genius/lunatic father hates it when his children use the expression: “I have to pee.” He finds it extremely vulgar. It seems counter-intuitive that a man with a riotous sense of humor about his own career in proctology should be put off by anything remotely excrement-related, but there’s no accounting for taste. Some things just defy explanation. See what I did there? I crack myself up. I don’t know why he homed in on the word “pee,” specifically. “Piss,” “whiz,” “tinkle,” “urinate” — none of these terms offend him. And, having witnessed the toilet training of five younger siblings, I can aver that he never shied away from ordering toddlers to “pee-pee in the potty.” But dare to utter, post-toddlerhood, that you need to “pee” in Dad’s presence, and rest assured…the term “peasant” shall be spat at you. This is the single worst reprimand in Dad’s parental arsenal; one step beyond the universally-dreaded “disappointment.” To a man obsessed with bathing his scions in high culture, there is nothing quite so shameful as peasantry. NOTE: Dad does not concern himself with material possessions. Thus, he does not allude to money when he hurls the peasant insult. You can be well-bred in penury. You can be a plebeian patrician. It’s about an appreciation for education, or a lack thereof. We have Dad’s “working class” hero, John Lennon, to thank for this. ‘Cause we’re all “fucking peasants as far as [Dad] can see-ee.” The peasant who made this misspelled “peasants.” NOTE: The term “pee” offends, whereas “fucking” does not. WTF?! But enough about Dad, for the moment. Because he is wrong on this point. There is nothing vulgar about declaring that one needs to pee…especially when one pees with the maddening frequency that I do. My excessive urination problem is not like that of a pregnant woman. It’s more like that of an old man with a swollen prostate — yet another...

Musing #37: Thirty-Five in Los Angeles (or, Parked in a Red Zone)

Musing #37: Thirty-Five in Los Angeles (or, Parked in a Red Zone)

Sep 26, 2014

On the ninth of this month, I turned 35. (I was, obviously, in Los Angeles.) On the thirteenth of this month, from Manhattan Island one year ago, I used this bully bloggish pulpit to comment that my 34th birthday had been “a 2×4 to the [f]ace.” I did not say so at the time, but the fact is that what bothered me most about 34 was its horrifying proximity to 35. In the entertainment business, 34 is the outside of the money-making envelope for most women. The target demographic for advertising is 18 to 34. Salaries for A-list female actors begin to recede once the dreaded 35 threshold is crossed. Plenty choose to lie about that particular rite of passage. (Cough…Rachel McAdams…cough, cough.) And yours truly certainly ain’t A-list! I wrote then about how unacceptable my life was to me at 34. What I was really upset with was graduating unsuccessfully into the next demographic. My week in Los Angeles (during which I crossed that dreaded threshold) had as much to do with business as pleasure. And it was certainly extremely interesting. But I can’t talk about/have no interest in sharing most of it with y’all, love you though I do. What I can say is this: Los Angeles was an emotional, psychological and physiological Tilt-a-Whirl. Don’t get me wrong. The trip was not bad. It was just…a lot. Of life experience. And Murphy’s law. It left with me shitloads to ponder. But it was also a series of personal disasters that are not classified, just hilarious….At least, now. They were decidedly unfunny in situ. And so, for your amusement, dearest readers, below is a timeline of my LA-related tsuris: *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   * Thursday, September 4th Late Afternoon: Wandered aimlessly around downtown NYC, theoretically shopping for sandals, silently dreading my imminent vacation. 5:30PM: Left near-dead iPhone5S in cab on way home from wandering. Knew immediately. Have no land line. Roommate out of town. Freaked the fuck out. Used G-chat to contact a sister, who texted my LA host and wisely suggested purchasing a burner phone. 6:30PM: Ran home from Delancey Street with burner phone. Full-scale panic attack. Called...

Musing #36: Broadway, Hollywood, the Genie and My Lifetime’s 1968

Musing #36: Broadway, Hollywood, the Genie and My Lifetime’s 1968

Aug 29, 2014

Welcome, dearest readers, to Part IIB of Musing #34: Yo, Broadway! Stop with the Hollywood. Mere weeks after I posted Part I, this aspect of it was rendered painful to read: WORK OF ART YEAR OF      FILM/SHOW APPROVAL? WHY OR WHY NOT Aladdin 1992 2014 NO BELONGS ON ICE, NOT ON STAGE! And there is only one Genie.                                                                        There’s nothing left that hasn’t been said/written/Tweeted about Robin Williams. But I’ve found myself utterly incapable of completing the long-promised apologia of the chart that alludes to him ever since the loss of him. Thus, I’m opting to explain that incapacity instead. It’s my column, and I’ll switch if I want to. I’m a wizard of snark and fundamentally a very angry person (arguably, irrationally so). Therefore, trust me when I say it’s hardcore that I’ve reached the extent to which I can spew venom at the unimportant (at least, for now, in a public forum). I promise I won’t neuter my narrative voice going forward, those of you who dig the bite. (Love you guys!) I’m just temporarily squelching the urge to hurl it at innocent strangers who make others happy, in deference to a stage and screen genius who made everyone but himself happy. I’m a student of history, and I’ve thought of 9/11 as my generation’s Pearl Harbor since the moment the South Tower fell at my feet; long before I had any idea what was actually going on. It just felt like Pearl Harbor (for which I was, obviously, not around) in the moment. And I can’t help but feel that 2014 is my generation’s 1968 (for which I was also, obviously, not around). Everything is so bleak and violent. It’s more than one ghastly morning on the American coast (not that it was ever exclusively that). It’s infinite, worldwide strife…with a nightmarish epicenter in the center of America. And it just seems unreasonably petty to be bitching right now about that which brings people joy…even if I find it to be unpardonably lame. I do prefer, emphatically, when the arc of dramatic adaptation flows...

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