Tuesday, September 30, 2008

trying new things

There's a Mexican restaurant between the train and my apartment. I walk by it all the time. 2.5 years I've lived in this neighborhood, never eaten there. Looks like a shit hole from the outside. Why would I eat in a shit hole? Tonight I'm coming home from work on the train. Starving. Have a taste for Mexican food. I think: wellll. Let's do it. Let's try something new. I go into the shit hole Mexican dive and order the "Three T Dinner" -- Taco/Torta/Tamale. From the inside, the place looks like a health code violation waiting to happen. I'm a loony in the asylum: I have been committed (to buy dinner here). I bring it home. I feel like a spent too much money, but it's a decent amount of food. I give all three T's a try. Heyyy. You know what? ... it wasn't good. Not at all. I'm never trying anything new ever again.

Animation free association: the first thing I thought of watching the video for "Maybe Sparrow" (below) was Really Rosie. I had the record and watched the movie quite a few times. I still remember every single word to the alphabet song "Alligators All Around"; can't remember a thing from high school calculus, but remember the lyrics to that goddamn song. My favorite song was the morbid ditty "The Ballad of Chicken Soup," the story of a kid who swallows a chicken bone and dies.

I like the New Pornographers, but if I had to choose between seeing NP or Neko Case solo, I'd choose Neko solo. "Maybe Sparrow" is a gorgeous song and video. Love the animation.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I dig this video for The New Pornographers' "Challengers." It's like Pleasantville meets an old photograph on the wall of an abandoned farmhouse meets the "imagination banquet" scene in the movie Hook. You know what I'm talking about? God help you if you do. ("Rufio!!!")

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Had a nice opening weekend with Ten Cent Night. After a rocky final preview performance on Thursday -- technical malfunctions and the aforementioned broken chair -- opening night(s) went well. I ceased being useful in previews, writing-wise; my only function: I was the person who tuned the guitar that's used in the show. I won't be around next weekend to do that, so I'll hand off my tuner to somebody. I've been chillin' today, watching my fantasy football StatTracker. I need Donovan McNabb and the Philly Defense to do well; unfortunately, they're playing the Bears so I'm in pain. I'm battling my sister's team, the Lo-Panimals (a name inspired by the movie Big Trouble in Little China). To quote Amanda on the smack talk board: "Sister vs. sister. This is better than a Greek tragedy, mostly b/c there's money involved."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Was this the part of the production process where the very important metal folding chair is supposed to break the night before opening?

It was? Sweet. Mission accomplished.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

not that I want to make a habit of posting my bad reviews, but...

Dennis Brown at the Riverfront Times didn't like Killing Women:

"Here we go again with yet another wail about women in the workplace. It seems that it's a man's world out there, and female hit men (even the term is chauvinistic) just can't crash that glass ceiling. If your heart bleeds at the plight of a working mother who has to miss her daughter's grade-school Career Day because she had to kill someone instead, this is the black comedy for you. Marisa Wegrzyn's Killing Women makes many mistakes — but none so severe as to have opened the same weekend as The Lieutenant of Inishmore. In terms of manner and character, there are many parallels between the two scripts. None favor this one, which by contrast comes off as lethargic."
Let's forget a moment that he thinks I'm a whiny baby for writing about gender disparity in the workplace. Oh, yeah, and also forget a moment that he dismisses the audience for who this topic is relevant. Let's talk about important stuff: The play gets slammed for opening the same weekend as The Lieutenant of Inishmore? Are you fucking kidding me?

Anyway, I felt compelled to air this one given the theatrosphere hub-bub a few weeks back sparked by Theresa Rebeck's article in the Guardian.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

an open letter to the smoke detector in my apartment

I changed your battery in April -- on April Fools Day, in fact. What a fool I am for thinking that would settle our differences: you, thinking things are on fire when they are clearly not on fire; me, not wishing to poop the bed when you decide to go off -- for no reason -- at 4 in the morning.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt: Maybe you want me to hone my ninja instinct when your shrill, devil's screech yanks me from precious, R.E.M. sleep. Maybe you want me to poke you with a broom handle in a desperate, misguided effort to get me to clean my apartment. Does your smoke sensor need to be cleaned? Is there a fundamental mix-up in your wiring? Are you a remedial smoke detector in need of a poorly funded educational program?

How come you only go off for 3 seconds? It's plenty enough time to scare the bajeezus out of me. I won't hear from you in weeks -- sometimes months. I think, hey, it fixed itself.


I hate you. I can't live without you. I don't want to die in a horrible fire. That would hurt bad. I know you work as an ACTUAL smoke detector. Like that time I scorched a steak in a grill pan and you wanted everybody in my apartment building to know what a terrible cook I am. Thanks.

There's no rhyme or reason to your bullshit. The only way I can reach you is by standing on the arms of a chair which I will fall off of resulting in my tragic death. You'd like that, wouldn't you.

Monday, September 22, 2008

ten cent previews

Three previews down, one to go. Small cuts have been made in the preview process, but the biggest change of all is that by the time the play opens on Friday/Saturday, Ten Cent Night will have gone from being a two act play to being a three act play.

Jiggawhat? You want to make a long play even longer? Are you stupid?

Trust us! We're professionals!

No, I didn't write an additional act in the past week. While watching the play with an audience, the three act structure was making a lot of sense dramatically. It's also great for people like me who have small bladders and drank too much beer before the show.

Instead of two really long acts (with Act 2 being longer than Act 1 -- which can be problematic), we're doing this:

Act 1 (scenes 1 - 6) - 55 min
Act 2 (scenes 7 - 9) - 45 min
Act 3 (scene 10) - 35 min

I am hopeful that this turns out to be a good idea. It involves no extra work for the actors. It just requires some additional cueing from the light and sound designers, and for the stage manager to run the new cues. But Chicago Dramatists has rehearsal days built into the preview process so changes like this can be accommodated. Anyway, things are going well and everybody's feeling ready open this dang thing on Friday.

Heart's "Crazy On You", which is an awesome song, was originally going to be the end of show/curtain call music. It didn't quite fit. It would have been the only identifiable piece of pop music in the show, and it didn't feel right. The song is kinda menacing? ... sexy-menacing? It's totally hot, but the end of the play is a little more gentle. So "Crazy On You" hit the cutting room floor. But here's an amazing live performance of that song. I want to BE Nancy Wilson in 1976.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

not that I'm in any hurry to get to my dayjob

But I just spent an hour underground in the Chicago Ave Blue Line station.

Is it Beer O'Clock yet? Somebody please tell me it's Beer O'Clock.

It's not?

It's only 10:00 a.m.?

I'm gonna sit in my grey cube and rock back and forth like a big autistic child for the next 7 hours until Beer O'Clock.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

There was a campfire story I heard at summer camp about a girl and her new doll. It goes like this: The girl placed this doll on a chair at the opposite side of her bedroom and went to sleep. The girl woke up a few hours later and the doll was no longer on the chair. It was on the floor. Strange, she thought, and went back to sleep. The girl woke up an hour later and the doll had moved a few feet closer to the bed. Strange, she thought, and went back to sleep. Another hour later, and the doll was now next to her bed. Strange, she thought, and went back to sleep. The girl didn't wake up again. The doll killed her in her sleep.

Scared. Me. Shitless.

Fucking summer camp. Worse than all the violent television, video games, and movies combined.

This video reminded me of that story. (it's not scary. it just reminded me of that story)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

it's not delivery. it's DiGiorno. all over the kitchen floor

You ever do something so clumsy that the only reaction you can have is to slack-jaw stare at the carnage until drool string-drips from your bottom lip?

I'm here to make you feel better about yourself.

Hey! Let's do the math!:

vodka & lemonade + cutting a pizza too close to the edge of the counter with blasé regard for physics = guess I'm ordering Thai food now
If it hadn't landed face-down, I would have eaten it off the floor.

Fuck you, gravity. You owe me $7.99.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

On the Gchat:

Annie: if you're bored at work, enjoy this: http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1829614

(Marisa is bored at work and watches video)

me: Oh wow. That's so awesomely bad

Annie: some of the lyrics are questionable
"he touched me down inside"

me: I won't get that song out of my head for the rest of the day

Annie: i know. i'm sorry
i'll be humming it too

me: I might have to stab my hand with a pen to distract myself with pain

Annie: :-) just remember that jesus is your friend

me: He'll love me if I stab myself

Annie: it would be for Him

Sunday, September 07, 2008

rewrites, part... uh... 4?

Swear da gaaaahd. I've thought I was done with "Ten Cent Night" rewrites, like, 4 times before this, but tonight is IT. I'm done! (Unless I'm not). Stuff keeps coming up in rehearsal, which is what happens in rehearsal. Tech is next weekend. What? Already? To quote The Wire's Clay Davis: sheeeeeeeeit.

How bout dem Bears? But seriously, people, let's not get too excited. This all might be socks and underwear on Christmas morning. I'm taking Captain Neckbeard and Thug Urlacher week by week. However, my fantasy football team, the Smoking Babies, had a decent week 1 with Donovan McNabb throwing rockets and I may ramp up my smack talk.

night bike

Tonight was my first time riding my bicycle through the streets of Chicago at night. I had my required headlamp and flashing tail light so cars would see me before they ran me over. I made it home safely. Hooray.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Monday, September 01, 2008

labor day

Playing a Labor Day game of Bags with my sister Carly out in Suburbia. My parents have an official, plastic Baggo set, which the Baggo company calls The Most Exciting Backyard Game Ever! I doubt that. I have played more exciting games of backyard water balloon tag with head injuries and crying. Neither one of us had played Bags before. I see people play sidewalk Bags on homemade boards all the time in Wrigleyville before Cubs games. It's the perfect pre-game game because you can play it and never have to set down your beer. Though I did almost spill my beer, and I think you get points for spilling someone else's beer. Here's the obligatory Toonces the Driving Cat photo.

This week, on CSI: Wilmette