Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A Body of Work: The Tour

Hello Friends.

On my book tour for Bent But Not Broken, I was lucky to have a reading in Minneapolis sponsored by the incredible literary magazine Rain Taxi. (I urge you to subscribe. It's smart stuff. Cool stuff. The editors, unlike the telephone call to Ukraine, are perfect.)

And now, published in Rain Taxi, is a piece I wrote: A Body of Work: The Tour. If I could write a whole book about my flailing penis, I could certainly write a short piece about the rest of my old body. Have a read!

***


In other enjoyable news: The audiobook of Bent But Not Broken has been recorded, edited, mastered, quality controlled, uploaded and is almost ready for purchase on Amazon and all the other places. It was all sort of exhausting. I mean, I like to talk and I have been spotted acting and singing over the years, but nothing takes as much stamina as reading a book out loud for two days. The trick was to really go word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph. Sounds logical, but you really have to not get ahead of yourself. The result was solid, recorded at Literati Audio. The pic below is not from stock footage, but from the studio where I recorded. It was sleek. These days, they can do anything. Except maybe stop the greedy guys from committing endless crimes-of-the-climate. We shall overcome. Right? Say yes. (The ultimate sin: Greed. It really encompasses all the other ones.)




Happy Holidays Soon!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Happy Zombie Apocalypse, Love, Los Angeles

Dear Friends,

If you are looking for something ghoulish to do this Halloween season, why not read about how Zombies are taking over Los Angeles?

Screenplay by Don Cummings and Bradford Brillowski.
Illustrations by Peter Landau.

Follow us on Instagram @OhtheHorrorLA

OhTheHorrorLA on Instagram

And you can read the whole thing we have so far (Peter has illustrated up to page 30 of the screenplay) from the start in chronological order:

Oh The Horror from the Start


Get going!  Learn how to survive the Zombie Apocalypse. But don't forget how to have a little fun along the way. (Sometimes, a martini in one hand and a baseball bat in the other can really make your night!)

Here's a fetid taste:







Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Let's Keep Small Los Angeles Theaters Going

Let's get right to it! This is an Ask to keep small theaters alive in Los Angeles. I am committed to raising $5000 for Ensemble Studio Theatre Los Angeles. You can simply click This Link and dive right in! But maybe you want to read my spiel/plea below. Please help. $2 would be easy, right?  That's always a choice.

Thank you.  :)




And Now This:

These days, I give a lot of thought to what makes people feel good. I don't believe it's about sitting in front of our screens: scrolling past trolls, feeding on feeds, watching the dirty words fly by on Twitter. We would all be better off putting a parrot-cage-cover over our computers and cell phones. Then walk out the door. Find a person. Anyone really. And just sit there with them to see what comes up. 

This is why I like being a playwright. I can set up a world and then people can come enjoy it. Alive. With each other, with as little technical interference as possible.

As cities get more populated and real estate becomes more scarce, one of the things to get crushed are small performance spaces. But Ensemble Studio Theatre LA (EST/LA), in Atwater Village, has been able to continue to thrive because of our strong development programs, the commitment to our community and because of people like you.

My latest play, The Water Tribe, developed in the Playwrights Unit of EST/LA, is having a full production, co-produced by EST/LA along with VS. Theatre Company, another great, thriving Los Angeles institution. It opens in January and we are in full pre-production for what we hope will be a smashing run.  

Here's a bit about this sad, funny play:

The Water Tribe

Claudia and Johnny are intelligent but without intellectual or social context. They want to get married but they need a tribe to witness their very existence. Claudia is an orphan with a cousin, Sonia, who does nothing to help Claudia secure her future. Johnny is half an orphan, with his mother, Sydelle, doing what she can to be loving. Brian, a former co-worker of Claudia, provides a measure of balance and grounded advice. But when things go wrong with this new tribe, Claudia turns to give Johnny what she thinks he craves: something savage, primitive, and loving. When that fails, well, you'll have to come see what happens to them. Nearly obliterated by their vulnerable circumstances, Claudia and Johnny fight to find connection and home.

Would you be interested in supporting EST/LA in supporting this piece of work? This act of generosity would not only help this particular playwright and this particular production, but also all the other playwrights, actors, directors, designers and magicians EST/LA supports along the way.

Small theaters never have enough seats to translate into enough ticket sales to cover the cost of productions. We are supported by: California Arts Council, Hollywood Foreign Press, California Community Foundation, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and The Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of of Los Angeles. But the slices of these pies do not add up to ever bake a whole cake! (I will mix my dessert metaphors if I have to!) Your donation will help to provide more than fifty percent of the budget to produce this play. And if this campaign succeeds, we hope it will raise a generous surplus--enough to have the long term effect of keeping thriving theaters like EST/LA open and vital and able to produce plays like The Water Tribe.

This Link will bring you to a page to sign up for your commitment.

I believe you are going to enjoy The Water Tribe and everything else that we have going on at EST/LA. The workshops, the outreach, the community building, and most importantly, the people. Thanks for reading. Any questions? Please ask. And have a great day.

Sincerely,






Don Cummings



Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Advocate: How Does a Gay Man Deal With A Disfiguring Penis Condition?








Thank you Diane Anderson-Minshall and Brooklyn Social Media.

Listopia

Hello Friends,

If you are a Goodreads member on Amazon, perhaps you would like to help me to help men with their troubles. And for your time, I will give you a gift of Tolstoy at the end of it all.

The internet, in all its open beauty, needs to be organized. So Goodreads has Listopia to organize its many books so if, say, you like cookbooks about meat and fish, there is a list on Listopia called "Best Cookbooks About Meat and Fish" and you can add books to that list for others to choose.

Which leads me to Peyronies disease, gay people and Bent But Not Broken.

If you want to help more men, and the women, men and other gender categories that want to help these men, straight, gay or otherwise, with their Peyronie's disease...or if you just think it's a good idea to get people to read a book about facing the roughness of the occasional curve ball tossed in life, please get Bent But Not Broken on these Goodreads Listopia lists, if you have the time.

The 9 steps:

Get Bent But Not Broken on your Goodreads shelf

1. You need to be a member of Goodreads. (Amazon's literary deep state.) Easy enough. Many people are. If not, you can easily join for free, here: Goodreads Signup.

2. Sign into your Goodreads account.

3. In the Upper toolbar, in "Search Books," type in Bent But Not Broken.

4. When the book comes up, there will be a green button just below it, Want to Read. Click that.

5. Okay, now Bent But Not Broken is on your shelf of books in Goodreads.


Put Bent But Not Broken on these Listopia Lists

6. Click on the first link of the 8 links below. Follow steps 7 & 8 once that link is open. 

7. Click ADD BOOKS TO THIS LIST, upper right.

8. Next to Bent But Not Broken, to the right, click VOTE FOR THIS BOOK.

9. Okay, you quickly finished one. Now repeat steps 6 - 9 for the rest of the links.  (Because you have O.C.D., because the internet controls us all, because this is how you help people these days, God help us all. Oh yes.)

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/23683.Best_Gay_Memoirs?fbclid=IwAR0RdTsM7CW48fi9_xgBiGTVduOtDFiuwx6d7lHg4ljv-_gdcP4jwc6QHcI

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/137747.Best_Books_About_Peyronie_s_Disease?fbclid=IwAR18HRXpDihLYD5K3MFB_s8LwRoaBOuXytdSs0w9h9Qjmv2lqsdD8rCfw9U

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/12513.Best_LGBT_Humor

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/12544.Best_Gay_Romance_with_Abused_Traumatized_Characters

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/3878.Best_Gay_Romance_With_A_Character_s_Who_Has_A_Disability

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/926.Best_LGBTQIA_literature

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/4921.The_Best_Humorous_Gay_Romances

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/5547.Favorite_Gay_Couples



Thanks. You never know whose life you might be changing. I leave you with a story by Leo Tolstoy. I love this story. I hope you will, too. I'm not a believer like end-of-his-days-Leo-Tolstoy, but I believe in this story. It's worth the time.

What Men Live By -- Leo Tolstoy

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Blog Tour, The Teddy Smith Show & The Last Bookstore

Hello friends,

Here we are: A Memoir, A radio interview, some more reviews, and how the World Experiences this kind of thing.

Thank you, Trish Collins, for setting up a Blog Tour for Bent But Not Broken. The reviews are lovely and the experience was enjoyable.

And thank you, Teddy Smith, fellow Suffern High School Alum, for the radio interview on WPAT 930AM Radio that led to this:





The Blog Tour:













Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to read and for being thoughtful about Bent But Not Broken.


July is coming. Here we go:




Happy Summer!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Book Clubs Are Forever


Spoiler alert for those who have not yet read Bent But Not Broken.

Pause.

Leave if you must.

Don't keep reading if you don't want to know what happens to my relationship with Adam.

*
*
*

I end up marrying him.

But I didn't just marry a man, I married his book club. It's called Adam's Book Club, and I believe it has been going on, uninterrupted, for 27 years. I was in it for a while...but I tend to get thrown out of groups.

Of course, I always show up for the Christmas Book Club. I love these friends and have seen some of them right after they have given birth, most of them in ski pants, some of them in hot tubs, all of them drinking wine. Not one of them in rehab.

A few of them make appearances in Bent But Not Broken, so with their permission I am going to show the faces of three of these characters from this group of fine beings that I call, well, best friends.

First of all, here they are, being annoyingly middle-age art directed by me for the album cover of Adam's Book Club in my back yard.


That's Gary, Maggie, Susie, Joe, Mary, Mary, Marcia, Bart and Mark.

(Yeah, yeah, they're all white and were named before Carter took office. They want to diversify but at this point they're too drunk to put out the word.)

But hang on, we're getting to the characters in BENT.

But just before we do, here are a few more of these funsters having fun during the book club.





And now, as promised, I bring you: Hogan, who often appears in Bent But Not Broken as the affable sidekick, the good friend, the guy in San Francisco where the "BIG FIGHT" happened, and of course, he is so much more than that.

Let's hear it for:

BART as HOGAN



I always liked the name Hogan. It's really a last name from my childhood. Seemed like the perfect character name for Bart, the intrepid, the easy-going, the guy with all the newest gadgets, the one you always want along for any occasion. Bart-Hogan, thanks for being in my life and in my memoir (and for the great idea of wearing name tags)!

Next, I bring you: Russell. Russell only has one line in Bent But Not Broken, but it's an important one. Russell, while we were all rock climbing (well, they were all rock climbing, I tried one short climb, started fitfully sobbing out of fear and got the hell out of those carabiners as fast as possible) --so while they were all rock climbing, and I was swearing I would never try it again, Russell remarks on how well Adam and I are suited to each other because of our ways with words.

Let's thank him for his gimlet ear and let's give a big hand for:

JOE as RUSSELL


Before we get to insulted Midge (my mistake, awful) let's hear it for Susie, an early bonus here, who simply was not in the book. She had a name tag, a Sharpie, some time and some wit. 

Enjoy this one:

SUSIE, NOT in MY BOOK


And lastly there is Midge. There is a short scene in Bent But Not Broken when I make a very off color joke and Midge, well, I really blew it. I was young. I was always pushing things beyond their limit. I went too far. But we made up. And I believe I might be the father of one of her abortions. (Oh Shit! I went too far again!)  Okay, I am not the father of anything. But I did once do a flip off the diving board of her pool and I landed flat on my back and in physical therapy for nine months. So, if not her, her real estate certainly got back at me.

Let's give her the biggest respect of all because she deserves it:

MAGGIE as MIDGE


Because of my wretched mouth, or maybe it was just coincidence, my long-suffering husband and I were never invited to Maggie's and Gary's ski house in Whistler. So here she is, rubbing it in, reading my book in that very house. I love when history turns into humor.

MAGGIE reads BENT in WHISTLER, where I am NOT WELCOME (yet)



The fun thing about white privilege is Always having to say you're sorry!

**

I highly recommend you join a book club as soon as possible. If you have a time machine, why not go back and start one during an earlier era, perhaps the First Gulf War. Some books that came out in 1990:

Jurassic Park, by Michael Chrichton  (The cover designed by the very same man who designed my cover: Chip Kidd)

The Bourne Ultimatum, by Robert Ludlum (I never went on even one date with Matt Damon)

Rabbit at Rest, by John Updike  (Of course, I thought this thing was written in 1954)

Get Shorty, by Elmore Leonard  (I loved the movie Living Out Loud with Danny DeVito & Holly Hunter)

and 

Shrek!, by William Steig (Let's all go clean our ears)

**


And lastly, friends, speaking of books, clubs and what you can do to save literature on the planet, please buy my book if you have not, and please go to Amazon and Good Reads and give me the best review you can cough up. Sales are brisk, but no one minds an occasional gale of affirmation to push up the ranking. Oof. There. I asked for it. And though I don't need new shoes right now, I will eventually.

My favorite books ever that pop into my head without much thought?:

Anna Karenina

To the Lighthouse

On the Road


Happy Reading!

And thank-you Adam's Book Club for being such a big part of my life, Adam's life, and the backbone of the Southern California reading-eating-and-drinking scene.

--Don




























Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Book Soup: All the Ingredients You Need


Thank you, Book Soup, for hosting our event: TMI: Brutal Honesty, Embarrassing Transgressions and Why We Do This.

Vanessa McGrady read from her brilliant memoir, Rock Needs River, A Memoir About a Very Open Adoption.

Royal Young hosted!  Thank you Royal. You need to read his fantastic memoir, Fame Shark.

And there I was, too, with Bent But Not Broken.

With an intro by Book Soup's very own Sarah Bofenkamp!

You can order all our books from Book Soup.

Lots of curious citizens packed themselves in for a great night. We helped each other by reading characters within the stories. We answered questions. And our good friends up the street, Brent and Tim, hosted a party for us afterward. Thank you, guys!

That ends my book tour for the spring. But there's more coming. July 18 at 7:30PM at The Last Bookstore, Sit 'N Spin goes downtown: Summer Session: Books With Benefits.

I will be reading from Bent But Not Broken, along with with Maggie Rowe's Sin Bravely: A Memoir of Spiritual Disobedience, and Jacob Tobia's Sissy: A-Coming-of-Gender-Story, with music by Henry Wolfe.        

Buy tickets, because that's how this one is going to go!
(The ticket also gets you your choice of a book.)

Stay sexy and healthy,

Don


Book Soup