Sunday, May 31, 2009

Le Roi Se Meurt--Exit the King

Okay, full disclosure: The first big acting role I had at Tufts, oh so back in the day, was the king in Ionesco’s, Exit the King.

I also performed it some, in the original French, in French Theatre class.

And, I once had lunch with Ionesco and his wife in a lovely apartment in Paris, in the 1980’s. They were both short and M. Ionesco was still bitter over Hollywood’s rendition of Rhinoceros. Tant pis!

So, I am one of these well-acquainted Ionesco, Exit the King guys.

Listen up: Geoffrey Rush should have cut that dang script the way we cut it in college: lop off about a third of it, get rid of intermission, and let that king go ape shit and die, quick!

It’s a hard play. The same beat is played over and over again. Characters do not develop. And it isn’t even really that absurd---more like a fanciful Death of Ivan Ilyich—A fine book.

It does have much to say about vanity and blindness.

You know, when I had lunch with Ionesco, I had this feeling that he was misunderstood for a reason.

Now, the actors were all splendid. Physical. Staged well enough. All that.

But pushing yourself through the paces---the same paces---over and over again. It has more of a hypnotic effect than a theatrical one.

But that’s just me.

At today’s performance, there was quite a standing ovation.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Good Smoke, June 14, 2009

A Good Smoke at the public Theater



Broadway World

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

California Chicken Judges

Shame on you.

Like African Americans in Newark in the 1960’s, it is time to burn down the buildings.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

As I sometimes do, I took the bus out to New Jersey today to visit my sister. It was for a Memorial Day BBQ. Completely enjoyable. Lots of tasty food. The trees were thick with leaves. The backyard was green. The company was lively and bright. The hostas were full.

But this is what I’m talking about:

At the edge of the town (Cresskill) there is a place where three roads meet to form a triangular green. This serves as a public space that is good for a nativity scene, a Christmas Tree, a big sign congratulating the local team, or in the case of Memorial Day, wreaths of red white and blue plastic carnations to commemorate the war dead.

I went over to the wreaths because at first I thought they were real flowers and I wanted to see them up close.

Once I saw they were fake, I thought, “Well, cool, they can just use the same ones every year. Why not.”

Then, after walking about twenty feet, I thought, “Shit, that’s the best they can do?”

Then, after walking five more feet, I thought, “Isn’t it so FUCKING WEIRD that we are a species that goes to war? That we have a holiday celebrating the fallen? And it’s all so revved up for all to get even more revved up about?”

Cresskill is a pretty Republican town and Republicans take their wars seriously. You have to fight for freedom, or freedom isn’t free, or you better have lots of tanks and bombs if you want to make sure the world stays open to the pillaging of natural resources, or Remember Hitler?—we had to do it.


I feel awful for the dead who died in wars, I guess. I had five uncles in WWII, none of whom were even scratched, never mind killed. I have never really been personally affected by the war dead. I do feel it is a very sad for those who have lost their loved ones in battle.

But there is something weirdly football-game-like about putting ugly plastic red, white and blue carnation wreaths in your town triangle. (A cannon, which one can see in many towns, is also weird and even more disturbingly—year ‘round.)

Those wreaths reeked of some sort of civic-national bravado. To me, they gave the impression of bunting, of nationalism, of pride. If one is to put up a tacky public display, wouldn’t a sculpture of a big tear make more sense?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Why People Buy Things

Is it because one has less sex as one gets older?

So instead of looking around for that physical experience, you look around for a different one, a safer one, a strange sensual relationship with objects?

One wonders.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Step and Fetch It Obama

Dear Separate But Equal, Barak Obama,

Let’s make this very plain. People who are gay are not allowed to see their dying partners in hospitals unless they have all sorts of (very expensive) legal documents. And even then, hospital workers may barricade the door to a loving gay partner.

This is simply ludicrous.

I completely understand that some people are nauseated and loaded with contempt when visualizing the bumping together of gender-identical genitalia. I fucking hate listening to Rap and Hip-Hop (which I hear every day) but there isn’t much I can do about that, now is there!

Listen, buddy---rise up to it. Enough with the caution. Once New York and California accept gay marriage, you must make it federal. Completely equal rights, my friend.

This is a horrendously contentious country, loaded with prejudice, bullies and guns. Too bad. Don’t be so afraid. Stop trying to be liked by all. Strap on your demi-black sack and face the inevitable and get on it. And stop hiding behind your religion. There is nothing in religion that condemns this.

Don’t make me come to D.C. and kiss you.

Took NJ Transit to Suffern

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Suffern: A Mobile Phone Camera Travelogue

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Suffern is Conveniently Located

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Where My Grandmother (Nanny) had her last Birthday Meal

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A Few Old Ones Still Stand

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In the 70s a Slice was 35 cents

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Formerly, The Suffern Hotel

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Suffern's Very Own Flat Iron Building

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The New York State Throughway Roars through Town

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What's a Town Without Linoleum?

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Mock Tudor Soup

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Banged Mark A's Head Against This Bank in a Fight. He Stopped Bothering Me After That

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Used to Fantasize About Being on the Marquis

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Home of the Mighty Wurlitzer: New to Me

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I Really Don't Know What Goes on in Here

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Sacred Heart: Got Confirmed, Left Catholicism Right Here

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Went to Washington Avenue Elementary School: 1 Year, Sixth Grade

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The Presbyterians had the Pretty Church

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This Narrow Street Had No Name. We called it ONE WAY

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Good Old Suffern House with a Roof Leak

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The Town Cobbler's Home

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My Brother's House

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The Pool

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The Tracks Back to New York

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Four Day Blog Week

Since mankind has been doing too much for too long, a natural recession has taken place.

However, what is a recession but a fiscal representation of the necessary action: Get rid of the bloat and focus on the meat.

So, starting today, we will be moving to the four day blog week. I know, I know, how will you live without my five posts each week?

To survive with only FOUR? That’s a twenty percent decrease. HAVE I GONE MAD?

No…but comes a time when a man gets busy and the blog has to be a little less and the other work has to be a little more.

An adjustment.

We’ll all just take a deep breath…and adjust.


Friday, May 15, 2009

All Nighter


I had a big emailing project to do and during the day, I cannot get anything done…emails and phones and things…work out…eat. It just takes over.

I’ve always been a late night person, but tonight took the cake.

Hitting the hay at 6:30 AM.

How did I do it? CAFFEINE! It so works. Three cups of Typhoo tea…honestly, I could walk to Montauk right now.

Lucky (or Unlucky) me---I am very affected by drugs. I take a swig of Nyquil, I’m out for eleven hours. I drink three cups of tea, I can stay up for twenty-four.

The one area where this is very positive is in avoiding alcoholism. I never got used to alcohol, still get pretty tanked on two glasses of wine, so I have been spared becoming an alcoholic and I am a notoriously cheap date.

But friends…staying up all night is fun. The dawn dawns. The birds chirp. It has been peaceful all night long with no interruptions and now---I get to sleep until at least noon.

I highly recommend it. Makes you feel like a kid again. And then, you can just relax the next day because you got all that stuff done.

I could see how you could really write a novel this way…in like three months.

I wonder if you would hit a wall?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bird Orgy

Like locusts they are!

Pigeons are fucking everywhere you turn.

Lucky for me, I can open my bathroom window and toss water on the pigeons that are trying to start a family under my air conditioner in the main room.

I wouldn’t mind them so much, if they weren’t so loud!

All the guttural mating. And the fluttering of the wings.

And the girl, she wants it! Bad! She sits below the A/C on the windowsill, hunkering down, shaking her tail feathers (I finally know what that really means).

And Mr. Pigeon is all puffed up, making his noise.


As if the busses and the kids on their skateboards aren’t enough outside my window four stories below…now I have to listen to this bird fucking?

I just keep tossing water at them. It’s my form of avian birth control.

Probably, the stress of this water boarding is going to kill these damn birds. I bet they need to mate or they get sick with the backed up sperm and useless egg.

But I don’t care. We certainly don’t need any more pigeons in Queens!

A few days ago, there was a seagull flying around. I kind of liked that. Then, I thought, “Must be a load of garbage nearby.”

Birds… they really are filthy. I say…stay in the trees and away from my appliance.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

No Longer Waiting for Godot

I have never seen a production of Waiting for Godot before tonight. I have read the play many times. When I was a junior in college, studying in Paris, Oliver Platt was starring in Waiting for Godot at my college, Tufts University, which I obviously missed. I missed the Lincoln Center production with Steve Martin and Robin Williams (thank goodness). There was a production at Harvard in the 80’s. I was nearby. I missed that one, too. I simply never saw Waiting for Godot before tonight.

With great pleasure, I must announce that this is a wonderful production and well worth seeing and if you are near New York, you should see it.

This play is so monstrously sad. It is funny, in its way. (The woman next to me, all dark curls, would laugh at something particularly strange and dark and turn toward me for approval of her experience. I have never liked that.)

You had to be Irish and depressed to write this play. It is so deeply lyrical and so densely filled with pessimism. It has this oddly light touch with a survivalist instinct marked by intimacy and the floppy inability to get it together to find enough strong rope to hang oneself.

Bill Irwin as Vladimir was a bit too light on his toes for me. Very clownish in that he walked and elbowed around very angular and loose, I would have liked to have seen him more authoritative. Nathan Lane, ever a crowd pleaser, could have been more of a sad idiot instead of a borscht ham. These attributes, heady boss and bumbling fool, are right on the page. Why not play them? Stage stars will play their tricks. Their tricks did fit, though, so the spirit of the play remained completely intact. I say, then, this play must be so good…because all you have to do is bring your humanity to it and it works.

John Goodman as Pozzo was perfectly overbearing, huge and pathetic. And John Glover as Lucky delivered the insane, repetitive “thinking” monologue that is the true heart of this piece in such a way, you just want to go out into the streets screaming over your wretched humanity.

The set is all gray Joshua Tree Moonscape. Having lived in California for years, I liked that the whole thing felt very America West.

Human souls, unprotected, waiting for a savior, with questionable memories, needing each other but desiring to be alone and to die, repeating the same thing day after day, with nothing but their own pain and games to distract and amuse themselves….this is quite the crux of the modern era. It howls. It howls. It sticks to you.

I am Anti Anti-Trust

Look, my mobile phone, internet service, online stuff, all of it, is working so well now that I am a total slave to AT&T like in the old days.

Why can’t we just leave it alone? Isn’t my life fragmented enough?

It’s all AT&T all the time and I have no complaints. In fact, I love them. Their customer service works. I don’t feel totally gauged.

If my awesome liberal friends in Washington want to do something liberal with the monster corporations---WHY NOT JUST TURN THEM INTO UTILITIES??? Highly regulated, government watched utilities. If you are a very successful corporation, the price you pay for your big monopoly is you become utilitzed!

This breaking things up, in a weird way, is actually a right wing thing. It’s all about competition. The endless addiction to competition. Is anyone besides me sick of fighting?

I never have to fight with AT&T. Okay---I bet some of you hate AT&T. I am sure there are horror stories. As for me, I have none. I am pleased. I pay that bill online and the links always work and my phone always works, in Europe, too. Satellites, yay!

This political swinging—right, left, left, right---I understand it is the natural way of things. I say swing on, BUT KEEP THE THINGS THAT WORK!

Let AT&T be monstrous. Focus on something much more important my liberal friends: MAKE THIS HEALTHCARE THING WORK. I have allergies.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Sun Also Sets

This is the view from my window in Queens. A room with a view is essential. When I lived in New York during my tender twenties, I always looked skyward or headed into the park to spend time with trees.

One of the greatest things about Queens, in addition to its reputation as being unhip, is the flat expanse. Perhaps it is because I have lived in Los Angeles for so many years, but I like a good sprawl loaded with plants.

Every evening, if I am lucky enough to be home, I sit in front of my window and watch the sunset over Manhattan. I look across five miles of trees that obscure most of the man made things. Then, there is the foggy rise of the vapor off the East River and after that, Gotham in all its sharpness.

I love Manhattan. What a marketplace. And furthermore, it has Central Park.

But what I cannot get over is how much my small apartment feels like a cabin in the sky because of all this light and these trees and the sunset.

I am a radical sunset chaser. At dinner parties, I beg people to come outside with me when the sun is setting. (I also love the early morning light, but I am so rarely awake for it.)

Living on the fourth, fifth or sixth floors of a building is clearly the way to go. You want branches.

And a view is so important. You can just sit there and think...

I did lift one of the screens and it fell down four stories. I went down and retrieved it.

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