Saturday, May 20

How I spend my evenings

I started taking improv classes recently. It's been eons since I have flexed my performance muscles and it feels so frackin' fantastic to get up infront of people again. I remember that one of the reasons I stopped performing was that I spoke too quickly and slurred my words. But it seems that I am getting slower in my old age.

So part of the deal with the classes is that we're supposed to see as much improv as we can. Well, I can see a lot. And I have seen a lot. Tons and tons of improv. What is enjoyable about seeing shows at UCB is that a lot of the erformers are on different teams. You can get to know their personal styles and then watcvh how it fies into different groups. What it does do is make me want to play. Man, do i ever want to play.

So many evenings go like this for me. Head to the Tea Lounge with the computer and the novel and work on editing for a couple of hours. Then I head to UCB and continue editing between shows. Then I come home. Not thrilling, I realize. But it gets me out of the house.

Last night I got to see Lonesome Jack, which was of course fantastic and to short, but that mattered little since I had to get to UCB to see Death By RooRoo. But something occured to me while watching the show. I'm not even sure I want to discuss it as it brings up thorny issues. But I am working realy hard with being honest with myself and others.

Anyway, here's the deal: Why do I find myself attracted to almost every woman I see on stage? Okay, that's a big exaggeration, but there is truth to it. I am absolutely at a point in my life where I cannot be involved with anyone. It is such a firm belief of mine right now that I tend not to respond to anyone. But then I see a someone on stage, in the moment, and it just gets me. Deep in the stomach. Most often it is women who play unusual instruments. Seriously, I have no idea why this is the case. It has happened at UCB a couple of times, but it is less consistent. At UCB, I get turned on (for lack of a better word) when a woman does tha perfect scene, when see is absolutely in the moment and hits just the right tone. And then, when she steps out of the scene, when she steps to the back wall, and I watch that grin, that joy, of what she just created... seriously, I am pretty sure there is nothing hotter.

Now, what bugs me is that this low level/short term infutation is based on nothing but a performance that they are givingthe entire audience. It's not for me, but there is that back part of my brain that reads it as such. Without trying to creep out anyone who might read this, I see that playful glimmer in a certain flutist's eyes as she is singing, and my stomache goes all a flitter as if it were directed at me. I realize that this is the power of perfortmance/fame. I just like to think I am immune to that sort of thing. But, lately...

I suppose that right now it is a safe way for me to feel physicial and emotional attraction without having to get anywhere near the actually having a relationship. Which of course makes me sad. I wish I could just turn that off and just not feel the desire for companionship. But of course I can't.

The only other potential news right now is that I have applied to be in "Project: Improviser." It will be a weekly America's Next Top Model Chief Idol thing at UCB starting in June. 8 performers, each week one will get cut. There will also be web episodes. Very very slim chance I'll get picked, but I sent in my info and my old Survivor Application video and we'll see. I should hear next weekend. send good thoughts my way.

Friday, May 19

Lazy Ramadi

This is just a beautiful sign of the world we live in.

Background if you don't spend as much timew on the internet as I do:
SNL had a video called "Lazy Sunday" that founds its way to the internet and became a huge success. Then some folks did a west coast version called "Lazy Monday," which in turn spawned "Lazy Muncie," with in turn spawn this:

Oh, what a beautiful world.

Wednesday, May 17

The flip side of United 93

To me, this appears exploitive. (requires quicktime)

It looks like Pearl Harbor. But I have never been an Oliver Stone fan.

Monday, May 15

United 93

Watching the movie United 93 in an empty theater at 5pm on a Monday was perhaps the best way to see it. It is movie that you should make up your own mind about, more than any film I've seen in good long while. It is not a movie that you should be comparing notes about, sharing your 'favorite scenes,' talking about which actor you though was great or which was terrible. It's a movie that you need to take into yourself and reflect on your own feelings...both about the movie and the true event on which it is based.

First the things that matter less. It is well made, well written and well performed. No one performance stands out, because no one character is given prominence. There is no fancy writing, no fancy lighting, no fancy editing. And that is how it should be. It takes you through the events of that morning and ends where it should with minimal exposition. It is both unflinching and heavy handed. As far as I can tell it has no agenda besides presenting the story as well as it can. A story that we will never no the real truth of.

Stories are important. Bed time stories, fictional stories, stories of our past, stories of history. September 11th gave each of us on particular story to tell: where you were. No event since the sixties shootings of Kennedy, Kennedy and King has the same weight of being able to crystallize a single moment in so many minds. Telling stories of that day is a right of passage particularly for New Yorkers. I don't mean this to lessen anyone else's stories, but New York was especially affected by 9/11. These stories are important. They help us remember such a pivotal event, and event that is so shaping the world right now. There is the before-and-after feeling of that day. Right now think about how the world has changed. Think about not your daily life, but EVERYTHING. It is the fulcrum on which the next decade, perhaps century will be balanced on.

That's why United 93 is an important movie and why now was the time to make it. We need to remember that moment of realization that everything had changed. And, if anything, that what this movie is about. Many have said it is about heroes. Perhaps for some, but for me it is about desperation. It is about that singular moment in time when you suddenly realize that nothing will be the same again. It is about that sudden shift from one reality to the next. It is about the airtraffic controllers and administrators suddenly faced with a world that made no sense, information that made no sense. It is about not having a plan for something seemingly inconceivable and attempting the parse it into a plan of action. It is particularly about the passengers and crew on United Flight 93 being faced with certain death and no time and doing something. They didn't have the luxury of absorbing the images from CNN or Fox News. This movies is about that moment. It's not about choices. It's about the lack of choices.

There of course has been much talk that to even make this movie is exploitation, that it is too soon, that it is the filmmakers trying to make money off tragedy.


Let's first consider a studio head or a producer being presented with this movie. Do you honestly think that any of them would say, "Hey, sounds like a summer block buster!"?

Secondly, people have become so jaded by Hollywood, any movie, that they forget that film can be Art (yes, capital 'A'). The vast vast majority of films are entertainment. From the Mission Impossible 3s to the artiest of art films, they are still, on some level, entertainment.

United 93 is not entertainment. It is Art. It is an attempt to capture a moment of time that defies journalism. Yes, it is not the real event. It is an interpretation of those events, as is all history, as is all art. But it is important (but not Important) because this is the story of how our world became to be. And, like all great Art, if you allow it to penetrate you, it will bring up emotions from your depth. It will make your remember and reflect.

Should you see it? I can't say. It will not be for everyone right now. Everyone needs to come to it when they are ready. If you have any reservations about bringing those emotions back up, don't see it. Don't see it because someone tells you that it is 'great.' You need top approach a film like this on your own accord,on your own terms. And it has flaws. (There is one European character, perhaps German, that is given a role, that while it fits into the scheme of possible reactions to the hijacking, is still disappointing. Why the one non-American passenger, not counting the hijackers? If I ever get director/writer Peter Greengrass in a locked room, I have some harsh questions for him.) All I can say is that it is the one movie I had no desire to pick apart. Those that know me know I love to pick things apart, so that is saying a lot.

One final note: I spend way too much time on the internet. I have watched the Loose Change video. I can play conspiracy with the best of them. I know the theories that supposedly no plain crash in that Pennsylvania field. That all the events of 9/11 were manufactured. That flight 93 was created to make martyred heroes for that day. My response?

Fuck you. Yes, that's right. Fuck. You. I'm far left liberal who believes in questioning the every story and 'truth' you are presented with. Yes, question everything. Think hard about the event of that day. Think about all of the people, at all levels that it touched. Occam's razor.

Philp K. Dick: What a frackin' genius

I was re-reading some Philip K. Dick short stories in anticipation of the upcoming A Scanner Darkly movie and amused by the story Autofac. Written in 1955, it tells the tale of automated factories that, when faced with the possibility of being destroyed, shot tiny microscopic robots to build more factories.

1955. Dangers of nanotech.