Monday, August 31, 2009

A Strong Car, a Strong Blog, Those Devil Winds

A Clarification, a cause for celebration and a shout out to the Devil’s Taint

To my baker’s dozens of readers:

1) The blog is not going anywhere. Though I did have a blog entry that was entitled:
You Ever Feel Blogged Out? I should have clarified: it was just a momentary loss of ideas. The blog keeps blogging.

2) The car was fixed today in New Jersey at a gas station near you. (Actually, near my sister.) Lovely work. Alternator. We knew that’s what it was going to be. And it was. And now, it’s fixed. Put some air in the tires, too. The car is rolling. Some people hate a car breakdown. I took it as a clue to sleep ten hours.

Okay, let’s get onto the real stuff here. Frigging Los Angeles is a burning mess. First of all, in my self protective way (I have allergies, man!)—I am so glad I am not there. But second of all—all my amazing friends are! And many of them have children. And, well, there are millions of people living in Los Angeles and it just sucks for them all. Is it constant wet towels at the door jams? Is it air conditioning, air conditioning, air conditioning (which simply makes the earth grow hotter—but I have my machine blowing night and day, too)?

Fire season in Los Angeles is annual, we all know it. My memory is that at some point, when you simply cannot take it any longer, when the table in the yard has a layer of gray ash all over it, your head is pounding and everything seems impermanent and highly flammable, the air shifts, whisping in from the ocean and then it rains a little. A relief.

Mud Slide Season is just a few months away. Get out your waders.

I love nature. I do.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dead California car in a NJ Gas Station

Thursday, August 27, 2009

You Ever Feel Blogged Out?

Are blogs tyrranical?

Do things take their course? It’s really about aging, isn’t it? You have this idea that you are going to be young forever, that your excitement for what you are doing RIGHT NOW will never wane…and the day comes along and you start a blog.

One night, like tonight, you sit down and you have absolutely nothing to say. Oh sure, I started a blog about Reagan’s trickle down bullshit and how I was quite infuriated even when it all began. That blog ended up very short. I had nothing to add.

When I was in junior high, I dated. Yes, it’s true. Girls. And they were all so lovely. And I thought, “When I get older, I am still going to like these girls. I’m never going to like older girls. I won’t change.”

But you change. Monstrously.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Screaming Baby Birds

Go see Megan Karlen's show at The Ansonia Pharmacy. The main painting in the center is called "When You Don't Know What You're Want, You End Up Looking Like An Egg"

Go to the store and buy stuff. Sixth Avenue and Tenth Street. Northeast Corner. Day and Night. It's so wonderful.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Post Review Review

I am feeling so sad about the review I posted last night about The Bacchae for two reasons.

1) People work so hard to do things. And as Tony Randall once said to me, “No one sets out to make a piece of shit.”


2) Vanity: I don’t like to come off as a nasty guy bandying aspersions.

So, I applaud all efforts. And even though things didn’t turn out well, I support those who really give it a try.

Let’s hope they really gave it a try.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ye Gods!

I saw The Bacchae tonight at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. It was beautiful outside. Autumn will arrive. You can feel it.

No shortage of raccoons running around.

The play: Dionysus wants to establish his identity in Thebes so he arrives as a mortal and a whole mountain of women (the Chorus) fall in ecstasy. The powerful royal leader, Pantheus (his cousin), will have none of it. He jails Dinonysus and is quickly repaid by Dinonysus’ escape, followed by succumbing to cross dressing to infiltrate the women’s camp and sort of falling in love with Dionysus, followed by being torn apart into pieces by his own mother who was rendered mad.

Look, I don’t like Greek plays. Though the plays of Euripides, Sophocles and Aeschylus were the precursors to all modern drama, I actually feel like those plays were merely the first precursors to organized drama. Little human primates were running around making believe, telling stories, forever. These Greek plays feel very formalized to me as if, “It’s time we formalize all this fooling around. We’re a serious society now.” Agitprop for the Gods? Cautionary tales to keep people in line, in fear, down? Maybe the only way a democracy can work?

Things do arise. Societies mature, somehow.

I am amazed how Dionysus, unlike Jesus, was so intent on being recognized as the son of God that he made no qualms about inciting mayhem and bloody death. Makes me believe that there were a lot of crazy people running around in days of Greek yore claiming they were Gods. Adds to my theory that Jesus was most likely schizophrenic.

Now, to the production. As my hilarious opera singer step-niece has called certain undesirable performing opportunities---but referring to opera singing, naturally—this was a whole lot of park and bark. So many monologues. So much action not seen or heard.

Jonathan Groff was sweet, but in no way came off as an angry Greek-God-come-to-earth to me. He was more Disney rock star. But I hear, through others, that he is the nicest guy on earth and that everyone loves him. Nice.

Joanne Akalaitis, former artistic director of the Public Theater, founder of Mabou Mines, ex-wife of Philip Glass, directed this thing in some sort of compact of reconciliation with her past from her being fired from The Public Theater. She is abstract and performancy. Things arise from a visual, “Wouldn’t this look cool?” temperament. This is one of my least favorite styles of direction. She turned everything, including laughter and anger, into staged gestures so that, really, nothing was experienced in any way that could be called human. The audience was being kind (or Emperor’s New Clothes-ish sheep-like) not to guffaw at the grotesque responses of the actors on the big, gorgeous set (with silver choral risers in an upward swing).

The music by Philip Glass was very 1956 Hollywood creepy. It was fine, but it felt and sounded like a commission.

Are you turned off yet?

Don’t be, if you like Greek plays, singing choristers, orange outfits, the cute-nice Jonathan Groff, a crack in the stage that goes a bit on fire, raccoons, the feeling that you should take your plays like medicine.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Who Am I to Review the Oceans?

Friends, the Atlantic Ocean, down here at the Southern Tip of New Jersey (Cape May) is warm, clearish and pushes up some very serious waves. Not quite tubes.

The Pacific scenery is more dramatic, sure. But The Alaska Current keeps it cold.

The Atlantic, she’s a flat warm drink.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Let's Talk Right Wing

I have a best friend from childhood that I respect and love—and sometimes, she votes Republican. GASP! It’s true.

Look…I am a Democrat in full force. But I am middle aged and I am moderate. So I can listen to the other side. I understand.

My point? I love personal responsibility. I am SO INTO personal responsibility. And I can even forgive the Republicans for their black and white thinking because I agree with self discipline and hard work. Shit, I even think in black and white terms sometimes: “She’s bad, She’s good. Clams, yes. Scallops, no.”

So, I get the whole specific TAKING A LOOK at the individual and putting it all on the individual’s shoulder thing and being really sharp and clear.

But friends---I think a little collective caring is so COOL AND JOYFUL. Just do it. It rises above all that. It takes the edge off. It makes life better.

It simply does.

Peace and Love and prosperity,


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Say Goodbye to Hollywood

From the roof of our house. Then, a Red Eye to Queens.

Click the Pic to get the Larger View.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Taking Stock

Okay---Now hear this. My stock is back to its original investment. First of all, I don’t even want to say I have stock. But I do. Because I was born in this country, I do this thing that other Americans do---I have an IRA and I buy stocks. Blech. But what else can you do? Boats? Real Estate? Ponies?

So---I have stock. And it has returned. And---jobs will return, too.

Then, we’ll take a trip to Paris. Sometimes, when you need a shift, it is good to take a trip to Paris. You can have a cigarette, drink some chocolat or plain ol’ tea. You can go to the Pompidou. You can take a long walk through the Sixth and remember when it was mostly booksellers. You can remember books. You can have an omelet.

Money frees you up so you can get in touch with your pleasure again. Balancing it, always.

The stocks are back.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Gold, The Pineapple, The Golden Pineapple

Friends, thank you so much for your support. Truth is, we won the Golden Pineapple! The excitement was huge. How often do you get a piece of spray painted plastic fruit?

About 30 plays. We got the most votes. You know--competitions are disgusting, until you win one.

It was a bit of a surprise because it was all about getting audience there. And so many other plays had such big audiences. But we won anyway.


My cast was fabulous. The Cringe Festival was completely enjoyable. The community aspect was light, fun and subversive.

ADDED BONUS: David Youse won the first runner up Jack Lemon award for playing the role of John, the nasty.

The Pineapple--I now have something new to toss on top of the memorabilia pile. And it won't break.

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Carla Barnett, David Youse, Me and Flip Laffoon.

Long live Piss Play!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Piss Play: Closing Night


Written and Directed by Don Cummings
With David Youse, Carla Barnett & Flip Laffoon


Friends---We are up for the Golden Pineapple. Come see Piss Play. If you can. One Last Performance.

At the International Cringefest ‘09

August 8 (Sat)


The Producers’ Club
358 W. 44 St.
New York City 10036

25 bucks general admission
$15 for students
$50 for Gala night with the “Stars” (Mink Stole & More) July 24

The Arts Council must pick one lucky recipient to win the big funding prize! Who will it be? This farce of urinary proportions sends up the ridiculous nature of arts funding and who actually gets the cash. Run by two self-involved nuts that put three applicants through the paces for the booty, only one hopeful has the courage to steel his nerve and give what is greatly desired: The streaming shame of what it means to be "less than" in society. This nasty farce, with its heart in its kidneys, is sure to tickle even the most politically correct.



John Waters superstar MINK STOLE is the latest celeb summoned to be crowned with an Honorary Golden Pineapple on Friday, July 24, at International CringeFest '09. Often cast as the foil for Divine in such cult classics as Hairspray, Female Trouble and Pink Flamingos, she also appeared with Kathleen Turner in Serial Mom. She joins an illustrious quartet of awardees at CringeFest: Virginia P. Louloudes, Executive Director of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/ New York, legendary talk show host Joe Franklin, Village Voice celebrity columnist Michael Musto, and Warhol star Taylor Mead. The ceremony is part of the Rags 'n Riches benefit for the dedicated outreach work of NY Artists Unlimited, the company that created the five-year-old festival. In '07, the honoree was legendary director Tom O'Horgan (Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar) and in '08, stage-screen-small screen star Marilyn Sokol, cabaret superstar Sidney Myer, and Warhol muse/ visual artist Ultra Violet. Benefit tickets are $50, including 4 plays, awards ceremony, and party in the Grand Theatre at the Producers' Club--

358 West 44 Street.

The benefit theme evokes the struggle of the artist, especially in an economic downturn, and all the plays that evening are razor-sharp theatre-oriented comedies: A Dark & Stormy Night (producer tortures writer 'for his own good'), The Poorly-Written Play Festival (lambasts whilst demonstrating bad playwriting), Worst. Play. Ever. (live radio drama with a maniacal twist),and Piss Play Is about Minorities, So It's Really Important (just how far will one go for funding?). The last is written & directed by Don Cummings, who enjoyed an industry reading in June of another of his plays "A Good Smoke" at the Public Theater with Meryl Streep, Henry Wolfe Gummer & Grace Gummer (Meryl's children), and Debra Monk, directed by Pam MacKinnon.

Rags 'n Riches also includes a silent auction, currently on the Internet and continuing through the party in the Producers' Club Lounge after the Pineapple awards. Some of the more intriguing offerings are: "Coffee with… Ginger!" (luminous actress-nightclub singerTina Louise, best known as Ginger the movie star on "Gilligan's Island"), "Coffee with… legendary actor-writer-director Austin Pendleton," "Coffee with… Richard Pryor Jr." (actor-singer and, yes, son of Richard/ brother of Rain), "Coffee with… Broadway producer Pat Addiss," and more. Further bidding will be for an Ipod touch donated & inscribed by Yoko Ono, 3 movie posters donated & signed by John Waters, signed NYC Ballet soloist toeshoes, designer clothes by Teri Jon, Shin Choi, Twisted Heart, Velvet; dance packages, restaurant certificates, family outings, hotel stays, Broadway/ Off-Broadway tickets, original artwork, autographed photos & books, and more. To get on the auction mailing list:

The International CringeFest, playing July 20-August 9, is subtitled bad plays, bad musicals, bad films, but these are REALLY GOOD & HILARIOUS works that are irreverent, politically incorrect, naughty, and utterly zany. Don't we all need that these days?! This year introduces some wild special events beyond the regular insanity: late-night Saturday shows, including a naked holy ghost and a mysterious little contraption called the Li'l Red Ridin' Hood… AND Unholy Sunday Film Matinees at $15 with popcorn and talk-backs: Taylor Mead & legendary filmmaker Anton Perich on July 26, and Miss Sammy, a Floridian female impersonator, on August 9. Festival entre actes include regulars: musician-comedian Huck DeMilo, sound effects comedian Zero Boy, plus surprise guests. Audiences vote every night for winners of the Golden Pineapple, Silver Tomato, & Bronze Banana, plus Jack Lemons for the actors. For one ticket, you see 4-5 works arranged in theme evenings:

IS THAT A SPEAR IN YOUR POCKET? (Dir. Tony Spinosa) July 20, July 25, July 30, August 4
RANK ROID RITE, Samurai Proctologist by Zurbon Gish
BHIBHATSYA: Disgusting Beyond Words by Norman Bert
THE HISTORY OF HATE (entre acte by Jean Hart)
THE SCOTTISH PLAY sponsored by… by Kurt Kleinmann

CHILDREN & (OTHER) SHARP OBJECTS (Dir. Kenny Wade Marshall) July 21, July 26, July 31, August 5
PLAYTHINGS by Rob Taylor
THE CLOSET by Aoise Stratford

DAMES AT SEA July 22, July 27, August 1, August 6
TERROR OF COCKROACH BEACH (short film by Albert Pergande)
A NEW BEGINNING by Josh McIlvain, dir. Robyne Parrish
WHEN BIMBOS ATTACK by Jean Hart, dir. Kenny Howard
THE BLUE LAGOON: A Musical by Jonathan Padget, dir. Kenny Howard

SEX ENCOUNTERS OF THE ABSURD KIND (Dir. Tom Amici) July 23, July 28, August 2, August 7
BOOTY BANDITS by Kesa Maya Soul
SWAMP HO by David C. Hayes

YOUR MONEY OR YOUR ART July 24, July 29, August 3, August 8
A DARK & STORMY NIGHT by Michael Wilmot (Dir. Robyne Parrish)
THE POORLY-WRITTEN PLAY FESTIVAL by Carolyn Gage (Dir. Robyne Parrish)
WORST. PLAY. EVER. by Sam Wallin (Dir. Robyne Parrish)

GO GENITAL INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT Late-night Saturdays, July 25, August 1, August 8, at 10:30 pm
GRAMPA HITLER & THE LI'L RED RIDIN' HOOD (MUSICAL) by Leroi B. Di Milo (Dir. Robyne Parrish)
DRAGNESS OF GOD & THE NAKED HOLY GHOST (yes, naked!) by Michael Wanzie (Dir. Kenny Howard)

UNHOLY SUNDAY FILM MATINEE July 26, Aug. 2, Aug. 9, at 2 pm ($15 w/ bag of popcorn & talk-backs with filmmakers & stars)
SHUT UP, APOLLO!by Apollo Braun aka Doron Braunshtein
CANDY & DADDYby Anton Perich (with Warhol filmstars Candy Darling & Taylor Mead) (talk-back with Taylor Mead & filmmaker Anton Perich on July 26)
DEATH & TAXESby Joseph Sorrentino(film noir)
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF MISS SAMMYby Michael Wanzie & Jason Piecarski (talk-back with Miss Sammy & the filmmakers Aug. 9)

NY Artists Unlimited is a 26 year old nonprofit organization that provides theatre and art to under-served audiences. The company is supported in part by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Nancy Quinn Fund, Puffin Foundation, Dramatists Guild Fund, corporate and individual contributors. These festivals, in their own wacky way, support the mission to serve the community and to reopen the company's homebase, Downeast Arts Center in the East Village. The movers 'n shakers behind this insanity are: Melba LaRose, Artistic Director; Court Sweeting, Technical Director, and playwright Jean Hart of the Honorary Golden Pineapple Committee; plus myriad interns and volunteers that make the whole thing happen.

Tickets $25 full admission; $15 students with ID; $15 film matinees (w/ popcorn & talk-backs). Reservations are strongly recommended. For more information or reservations by mail, call 212-242-6036 or visit For online ticketing: Grand Theatre at the Producers Club, 358 W. 44 St., betw. Eighth/Ninth Aves., July 20-August 9, M-Sat. @ 8, Sun. @ 2 (films) & 7, late show Saturday @ 10:30. Each theme runs 1¾ to 2 hours in toto, including intermission.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Taking a Chance

With no blog idea in mind, I simply opened up blogger and started typing.

This naturally lends itself to random listing:

1) We are moving to New York for a good chunk. Rented out the LA house for a year. Going to spend more time on the east coast. But then, you know, who knows. I do like the city.

2) The humidity of New York City is ridiculous. This is the biggest adjustment.

3) Physical therapists are fabulous creatures.

4) I like artichokes.

5) And cheese. Even cheap cheese.

6) I am glad I learned how to type.

7) Facebook is questionable. I'd rather sit in the town square in Weimar and talk to an old lady. But I am grateful for the huge hooking up.

8) I fear garlic.

9) I need a dog.

10) This filthy earth. I don't believe in sterilization, but I do. But then, you can't figure out how to administer it, so you can't do it. So, I don't know. I have to release control. I'll be dead before the poles are rain forests.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

We Will Not Be Undersold! Insider's Price Now Available


If you have any potential audience that is having trouble with the ticket price, you can now offer them an Insider price of $20. Just tell them to call the office and use code INSIDER or they can state that at the box office if they don't already have tickets.





Come share the Piss.