Thursday, January 31, 2008

January 31. 1979

Today was very mediocre. School was school. French was fun. I’m in a pretty just overall frustrated sick of people taking advantage of me mood. I did loads and loads of homework. I can’t believe how much I did. Goodnight.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Why Doesn't Anyone Believe Me?

Giuiliani was running for Vice President all along.

He saw Cheney’s unchecked power and has been, “Gimme some of that good shit,” from the get-go.

He never tried, really. He wants the #2 position.

The fascist really did decrease crime in New York City. And he made it safe for The Lion King and Banana Republic. He is awful. But, I think he has a better sense of humor than Cheney. Plus, he’ll do drag when called upon.

No matter. It is impossible to believe that a Republican ticket could take the white house. Even if the Los Angeles Times prints the ugliest, most unflattering pictures of Hillary Clinton since the beginning of papyrus.

I hate The LA Times. I must cancel, ASAP.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gratefully Clean

The strange thing about being a playwright is by the time a play gets into production, your life has moved forward---often by many years.

My play, A Good Smoke, opens on February 22. It is based on events that happened more than eight years ago. It also deals with addiction, mostly cigarettes, but also pills, pot and booze.

While directing this play, I found myself getting sucked in. I started to smoke things. Cigarettes even. And then very quickly, like Bugs Bunny with the huge hammer who stops himself just before he takes a wack at the nose of a bomb, I screamed, “What Am I Doing?” And quickly, I put the hammer down.

All is forgiven, of course. I can’t beat myself up for any of this. And I am grateful that my backslide to eight years ago only lasted a few days. However, I must be cautious and I must stay in present life even if past life is playing out right in front of me. A story, a play, a painting, an etching, is formed at the time it is formed. Then, it needs to be there on its own. It doesn’t need you any longer.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

Theatre Tribe Diatribe

So much of my blogging energy today has been involved with this guy who, in the greatest sense, wants actors to become like organic vegetables: Grown locally, consumed within a five mile radius.

There is so much going on here. What’s his agenda? Why such narrow focus? A blog that pushes just one point is a bit odd to me. It’s like Republicans---if you stay forever on message, you will perish. Things are huge and changing. Of course. Look at Seventeenth Century France and Twentieth Century Paramus. So be the reed.

Today’s Theatre

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lack of Newspaper

I have not had the time to read the newspaper for almost two months. Finally, yesterday and today, I did have a chance to glance.

Heath Ledger is DEAD?

The Stock Market has FALLEN APART?

And that awful weasel, GWB, is still the, GASP, leader of the Free World?
(Free World? Free to whom?)

It is interesting what one can fill one’s head with. I’ve had an enormous TO DO list since October—I am not complaining. I wanted my list to get large. I am grateful. But the list has trumped the reading.

However, I do miss the world discussion since I’ve been out of the loop. (And for the record, I think I just have to get the New York Times to replace my current fish wrap. The LA Times gets sillier by the second.)

However, being out of the loop can give one the space to trust gut feelings on various subjects. By just feeling the hive vibe of America and catching the snippets as they occasionally catch your eye, you can come to conclusions that are not so analytical. Sometimes, those are the best conclusions you can draw.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Now Playing

READING, at the Famously Enjoyable


I will be reading It Must Be So Hard for You
From my Memoir Open Trench

Also reading on the same night--
Domestic Violins
written by My Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner
Adam Waring

Thursday, January 24 @ 8PM
Comedy Central Stage @ The Hudson Theatre
6539 Santa Monica Boulevard
Call For Reservations

Sit ‘N Spin

One Night Only Free Reservations are very necessary

Monday, January 21, 2008

Goodybe Aunt Rose

My Great Aunt Rose Died today.
She was 91 or 92, depending on which birth certificate you decided was the right one.

She had a mob boyfriend. His name was Frank Amore. He never left his wife. He died when he was sixty. Back in the 1950's.

Aunt Rose was feisty and loved to watch television. She was fancy, sported a mock Park Avenue accent even though she lived in subsidized housing. She has amazing pictures of herself wearing furs and gloves that Frank bought for her.

She went into the hospital a week before Christmas. A bit cancer ridden.

She had no children. My cousins put her in a nursing home a few days ago. She was so pissed off. She said she never wanted to be in a nursing home. When my cousins called her to say that they would set up her cataract surgery, she said, "Don't bother. I'm done. Bye Bye."

A few hours later, she died.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Illegal in Four States

He can lay his gay body down on four corners of four states and what is the only thing he can count on? That he can't marry his partner of fourteen years in any of them. There should really be a monument.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

In It: A Good Smoke

What goes on goes on.

I am rehearsing a play that opens February 22. It takes every minute of my free time. This is exciting and it is worth it. I have a cast: Barbara Gruen, Mary McBride, Madelynn Fattibene, Henry Gummer, Blake Anthony and Dennis Delsing…they really are a smart and talented bunch. I am grateful. They work hard. They have ideas. They are enjoyable people.

The play is called A GOOD SMOKE. I wrote a one act version of it years ago. It was commissioned a few years later to become a full length play. The commission fell through. Then, it was shopped around and now it is being produced in a sweet little theatre in the valley. And I am very lucky.

Do come see it. One and all.

The Production Company

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Now Playing

READING, at the Famously Enjoyable


I will be reading It Must Be So Hard for You
From my Memoir Open Trench

Also reading on the same night--
Domestic Violins
written by My Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner
Adam Waring

Thursday, January 24 @ 8PM
Comedy Central Stage @ The Hudson Theatre
6539 Santa Monica Boulevard
Call For Reservations

Sit ‘N Spin

One Night Only Free Reservations are very necessary

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My People

There’s something about my people---sitting around Naples while the garbage piles up.
A strike. A load of filth.

Being an American mutt, I have at times dipped into a section of my being and have felt very connected to the people of Naples (even though my people are from a small hill town that is at least an hour away)…but at times like this, I feel repelled by their mess. But then I boomerang around and accept my DNA.

What I have always liked about having Italian blood is the deep understanding of the eternal source of happiness: to celebrate how beautiful life is because it is so damn awful.

Monday, January 14, 2008

It's a Vagina, Madam, Not a Clown Car

Even though I am in nonstop play rehearsals, design meetings and who-knows-what-else for A Good Smoke and have little time to spare---and even though my computer died and I had to rebuild it---and even though we had a Tufts undergrad living with us this week in the backyard so he could attend his Hollywood “Winternship”—one would think I would have just turned my back on my Blog and let it lie fallow. However, my compulsive nature does not allow it!

Today’s Blog is brought to you courtesy of Anne Etue. It’s an entry from List of the day.
My favorite caption, of course, is It’s a vagina, madam, not a clown car. Click and Scroll .

Future Blog entry ideas are welcome!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Welcome to 2008

Have you begun to date things correctly yet? I am getting close.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


The hushed goal of medicine these days is not really to heal but to prop patients up on drugs until every last per-capita dollar has been squeezed out of the system and our pickled remains are hauled off to a final resting place.

--Printer Bowler, New Yorker 10/22/07

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Thank You and God Bless You

The beauty of You Tube is I can decide when to watch Hillary Clinton’s victory speech in New Hampshire. 2:30AM.

I also watched Obama’s Iowa victory speech.

Hillary does seem more grounded and much more ready to be president. I don’t think she has anything too new…she’s a Clintonian Clinton. What gives me peace is she seems so very smart and sane. Her smile is a bit cartoonish. But after all that campaigning, I would not only be cartoonish, I’d be asleep.

Obama, I don’t know. I feel like he’s acting the part. He’s young enough to be able to still do such a thing. Hillary is old enough to not be able to get away with that. I never know what the hell Obama is talking about. Change? To what? I mean, sure, we all want change. But what specifically does he have in mind? I just don’t know. Besides, he sounded too much like a preacher during his big speech. Forgive me, but I think he was showboating.

Hillary began and ended her victory speech with much humility. With a final signing off, she invoked the Lord, “Thank you and God bless you.” And you know what? She means it. And you know what? 95% of Americans believe in God and I think most of them believe in God the way she does. And isn’t this election all about God? Even for Democrats?

God help us.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Today’s blog entry is brought to you by our friendly host, Don Cummings, AKA Uncle Donald, at

Monday, January 07, 2008

Geek Squad: Merci

My computer was acting strange. It all began about five weeks ago. I kept it together by not doing too much. I even brought the thing to New York for two weeks and got by. I came back to Los Angeles, tried to get an expired Norton off my hard drive. It became more and more impossible. Corruption. Freezing. A non-moving cursor. Restore points would not restore. In effect, my machine was toasty fried.

Usually, I soldier on and figure it out, but it was clear, this was impossible to fix. I zipped over to Best Buy and dropped the thing in the far back corner of The Geek Squad. I think they might even be a franchise within Best Buy. Whatever the structure, I was perfectly taken care of. For $59, they diagnosed my machine in twenty-four hours: Dead Hard Drive. (They do die, you know), and within another twenty-six hours and $270, I had a completely restored computer with a new hard drive inside (more than three times the size of my old one) with XP, Office and QuickBooks installed and updated and by the end of today, I am up and running as if almost nothing happened. And my computer is super zippy.

This is a positive end to a sad tale. However, it was only positive because I had everything backed up, almost to the day. Friends, back up your boxes. I had an iMac that actually melted four years ago, and now this. About every four years, with heavy computer use, something will happen. Back up, back up, back up. You must.

Computers are like cell phones. Completely disposable. Keep your data safe. That’s all I’m saying.

Friday, January 04, 2008


Sometimes your cat gets run over by a car. It happens.

Today, Adam, my Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner, looked at me squarely in the eye and with an adult tone said, “It’s supposed to rain for four days, I’m going up on the roof to clean out the gutters.”

I did not argue. Each year, Adam does this job. It’s really more about checking them than cleaning them, but no matter what, you have to get up that ladder. When Adam opened the side gate in order to move the green can (that’s the garbage can for plant material only) our ancient cat, Oliver, ran out. This happens. Frequently. But usually, he just runs toward the house next door or down the sidewalk a bit, playing a game of “Catch me if you can,” and he is always caught.

However, on occasion, when he’s either been cooped up too long (which he has been lately) or if he feels just plain old crazy, he’ll dart across the street to an imagined freedom. Today, he darted and a car ran right over him. A Toyota.

Adam started screaming and crying. He called me outside. He said he saw the car run right over him and he was certain that Oliver was dead. Of course, the cat sprinted and was nowhere to be found. Our neighbor, Mike, helped us to look for him. The neighborhood pastor asked us what was going on and we told him and he said, “He ran away, that’s good. It means he’s still alive.”

A stranger stopped his car and asked what was going on, too, and we told him and he said the same thing. I became optimistic.

Adam, Mike and I searched people’s yards. We assumed he’d be in one of them across the street. Mike found him and called to us. His booming voice scared the cat and he zipped under the house through a bungalow vent hole. I heard him under there, meowing, quite upset. Adam ran for tuna and came back and coaxed him out. We all agreed, it looked like one of his back legs was broken but that he looked kind of okay. We jumped in my 1992 Geo Prizm ambulance (147,000 miles) and we rushed to the Vet. Emergency style.

Our regular Vet has been spending time with her father since he is dying, so there has been a parade of temp-Vets in the office. Today’s was a lovely woman with one arm. She was also missing, it appeared, most of her shoulder. She was a cool headed woman with a fine face and warm, dark hair. And pretty. I have a feeling her arm situation was a birth problem. Or was it bitten off by a tiger?

Apparently, when a cat gets hit by a car, the Vet worries about three things: Lung lesions, a ruptured bladder and of course, broken bones. You would also worry about internal bleeding, however, our cat showed no signs of that and also, no signs of shock. She took him to the back to run tests. Adam and I went to the Bob’s Big Boy on Wilshire (very retro, I ate a waffle, quite tasty) and then returned. Besides being a little shaken and perhaps a little bruised, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the cat, at all.

She gave him a shot of fluid to help stabilize his blood pressure so there would be no chance he would go into shock. She gave him pain medication. She gave us more for later. She told us the X-rays all looked good. He appeared to be fine. Complete relief.

An amazing pussykins!

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

New York: The Short Reviews

The Plays:

Our entertainment began with Is He Dead?, a long lost Mark Twain play. It starts off kind of pokey and eventually tilts into an elaborate French farce. Completely enjoyable. Beautiful sets. Not that well developed. Acting is truly phenomenal. In fact, there is so much good acting on the stage these days, one should just avoid filmed matter at every turn.

Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer has a silly plot that centers on a man playing cards against the devil for his soul. Why anyone would write this at this point in our cultural evolution is beyond me. However, the cast is so strong, so completely realized, I am glad I saw it. And you know how the Irish can be, so lyrical and funny and sad all at once. Worth it at half the price.

August: Osage County was a slog. Again, fantastic acting. But the incest and the pedophilia and the suicide and the drug withdrawal all in one play? Really? Whatever for? Steppenwolf can sure put on a show.

The Movies:

Tim Burton’s idea of Sweeney Todd was ghastly. It was kabuki. It was poorly sung. It made me long for a time machine so I could travel back twenty-seven years to watch the original.

Charlie Wilson’s War was smart, fun, extremely well acted, even if Julia Robert’s accent did not hold up, and quite a piece of propaganda for the “Can Do Spirit of a Democrat from Texas” who fought this war to save the children, even though it was funded by those who simply wanted the downfall of communism. I think this movie was made in order to show the voting American public that Democrats are not afraid to fight a just war. It ends portentously, with a wagging finger toward a job unfinished. And our good friend, Michael Spellman, is in it. Worth seeing, for sure.

The City:

New York City is quite enjoyable. There is much to eat and drink and at the end of the day a subway or a cab will whisk you home. What a set up!