Thursday, August 26, 2004

Ted Koppel is a Waffle

One of my all time favorites:


Sorry I haven't updated in a while. This is what I seem to do with blogs... Start up a new one, post for a few weeks and then let it run fallow. Will try to do better.

Lots of good stuff coming up for Nosedive. We just confirmed our dates for the upcoming fundraiser. It's going to be Saturday, Spetember 25th at the Emerging Artists Theatre on 42nd Street. Details are over at the Nosedive site; more will be added shortly.

Speaking of the Nosedive site, we had a little DNS crises there last weekend. Took a couple of days to resolve, but in the process I was able to move it off of Jeremy's machine and on to a professional server. Jeremy's been a huge supporter of Nosedive for years now, allowing us to host our website for free off of Torgo, his in-house server. If you're not familiar with Jeremy's work, he's an excellent cartoonist operating out of the heart of the Granite State. He's been writing his File series for nearly 15 years now. Check out his homepage here (yes, that is me in the upper left hand corner with the squinty eyes) and his new Union Leader published strip, "Leave, Freeze or Die" here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Boundaries and Limitations

I want to write a little bit about two recent blog entries written by my fellow Nosedivians, Patrick and James.
 
I think that an actor, like any artist, needs to be able to make their work a reflection of themselves. Any truly creative instinct will come from a place inside of you, from the bedrock of beliefs and desires that make you who you are. To dismiss an actor as a hack because they choose not to use certain words or do certain things in a performance is dismissive of their individuality and free will.
 
Now, the places you will find artistic inspiration tend to be toward the boundaries of what you are comfortable with. An actor who is passive and unwilling to stretch themselves into new types of roles will end up giving a boring performance. But, there are many different ways to work outside of your comfort range, and I don’t think it is necessary to break every taboo in your work. Breaking taboos can lead to revelatory moments, but when it is done for purely for the sake of crossing a line, it becomes sophomoric. In my mind, an actor can legitimately choose to not do certain things on stage (profanity, blasphemy, nudity) and still be considered to be an artist. Moreover, if you completely cede you will to a playwright or director, your performance will become less artistic, because it will no longer come from you. The danger comes when an actor refuses to cross ANY line they have set for themselves. This will lead to comfortable drivel.
 
Basically, I’m saying that it is completely legitimate to have a personal line that you will not cross in a performance, so long as you are actively searching out other ways of pushing your boundaries. If we did not have these boundaries, everybody’s worldview would take on the same shape, which would be incredibly boring.
 
On the other hand:
 
If as an actor there are things you will not do, that’s fine. But for God’s sake, make this clear in the audition process. DO NOT accept a role in something that you feel you will need to substantially change in order to perform. This is a recipe resentment and bitterness between you and the writer/director. I always try to make clear upfront what a show entails for the actors. A lot of the work Nosedive does is laced with profanity; when I’m cutting sides for a cold-reading audition I always try to pick scenes that are representative of the extreme elements of a show, in order to show the prospective actors what we are shooting for.
 
When we produced Ruins (a show with a great deal of nudity and sex in it) we laid our goals and expectations for what the performance would require out on the table, talking in specifics about how much nudity each of the roles required. Several actors who auditioned were uncomfortable with the requirements, and chose to take themselves out of the running. I have an enormous amount of respect for these people; as a young actor in NYC, you want more than anything else to be working. To turn down a show based on your personal beliefs is a very hard thing to do. But I tell you, by being upfront about it in auditions, they saved me so much hassle and grief down the road, and I am grateful to them for that.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

i can't even find the words...

Seymour Hersh claims that the US government has videotapes of boys being sodomized at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in front of their mothers.

I pray that this is not true.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Nosedive Updates

If you haven’t been to the Nosedive website recently, you should check it out. We have a ton of new updates posted, including:

* The first entry of Lil Jimmy’s new column, Jamespeak. This will be a regularly updated feature on the site, with James sharing his thoughts on theatre in general, and Nosedive in particular.

* Production photos from Mayonnaise Sandwiches, as well as behind the scenes pics (look for Beneath the Mayonnaise at the bottom of the Photo Gallery)

* My portfolio page, featuring photos and information on excellent productions of Cabin Fever, Woyzeck and many others.

* Recently discovered photos of the Ruins cast in their natural environment (i.e. McGee’s Pub; check the House of Nosedive link at the bottom of
the Photo Gallery)

Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

They Really Like Us!

Found out last night that Nosedive just won an Off-Off Broadway Review Award for Mayonnaise Sandwiches. Awaited Visit won one of these a couple of years ago; we had a great time at the ceremony and look forward to going again this year.

Critical accolades haven’t always been on strong suit, so this is really gratifying. I know that awards like these don’t mean that much, but it is a great feeling to be recognized, especially after pouring our efforts into the company for the last (nearly) 5 years.

Will post more details as we get em...

Monday, May 24, 2004

All Tongue, All The Time

When I was in Junior High I came across this strip and was so tickled by it I tore it out of the Bloom County collection and pinned it up on my wall. Ran across it this morning and thought I would share...



Now I just need to scan that Doonesbury "Impossible Dream" strip that was hanging next to it...

Little Plastic Tombstone

Had the first reading of the next Nosedive play yesterday. This one is called The Dying Goldfish, and it deals with illness in the family (specifically the effects on a stroke that an older uncle has had) and the ways that language and intellect play an importnat role in relationships. I'm very excited about it -- It seems to be a very tight play about specific characters and issues, something that hasn't always been true with our productions in the past. Hada great time hearing it out loud.

Other than that, had a pretty quiet weekend. Saw Kill Bill V.2 (liked it, but wasn't swept away) on Saturday. Mostly just loafed around and slept otherwise, although I got a fair amount of exercise in. It looks like the Vegas beauty pageant thing won't be happening this time (I was asked to be considered for a judge slot for National America Miss... cheesy, but it meant a free trip to Vegas, so I was kind of excited). They still may sub me in if they lose a judge at the last minute though, so we'll see...

Man, I'm having a tired, brag-ass kind of Monday. Ah well, it's halfway over already.

Friday, May 21, 2004

This Makes Froggeh VERY Happy...

This is official, off of douglasadams.com. Mos Def as Ford is just about the coolest damn thing I can possibly think of...

-----------------------------------------------------

After what seems like seven and a half million years, the film adaptation of Hitchhiker's is finally underway.

Anything published here is at the request of the production team or Douglas's family and friends, who claim it's far easier than mailing you all individually. So, while rumour and speculation are bound to abound elsewhere, this is the only official source for information.

Cast

Arthur ... Martin Freeman
Ford ... Mos Def
Humma Kavula ... John Malkovich
Marvin ... Warwick Davis
Mr. Prosser ... Steve Pemberton
Questular ... Anna Chancellor
Slartibartfast ... Bill Nighy
Trillian ... Zooey Deschanel
Zaphod ... Sam Rockwell

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Exercise

I few months ago my girlfriend got all health-motivated and picked up an exercise bike off of eBay from a family in Staten Island. Actually, she got two; the first one was a horrible contraption that my parents brought down from NH for us. It was kind of like a rowing machine, except the handlebar was connected to the seat in a very strange way so that when you pulled it toward you, the seat raised about a foot and a half a tilted forward so you're almost standing. Basically, think of a self-powered merry-go-round. Anyway, it ended up giving you about the same workout as chin ups... not something that I'd do for any length of time.

So, since that didn't seem to work, she picked up a recumbent exercise bike from the Staten Island family. Recumbent basically means that your center of gravity is behind your feet; you end up leaning back as you pedal. As I'm generally a lethargic guy in between shows, I thought it would be good to start using the thing. Surprisingly, I've been able to keep at it, biking 5-10 miles a day in the comfort of my living room. I just make sure I do it first thing when I get home from work, before I get settled down for the evening. And I tie it to something I like: Good television dramas.

I have a soft spot for a really well written tv drama. I’m talking about Six Feet Under, West Wing, Oz and (to a certain) extent Sopranos. So I just throw in a DVD, and bike away for an episode. There’s something very surreal about working up a sweat while watching the sweaty inmates of Oz work each other over, but hey, it’s probably the most sustained exercise I’ve gotten in years.

‘Course now when I shower afterwards, I’m very careful with the soap.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Meet Ferdinand

Ferdinand is a mean-ass bastard of a horse. He is secretly plotting to kill you and all those that you love. Check out those eyes... shiiiiifty.

Seriously, don't turn your back on this guy. He will eat you.


Ferdinand's Link

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Debris

I think today is going to be a strange one. First off, Piddy's free drinks must have gotten the best of him... he didn't show up to work today. Smoke breaks with Piddy are just about the only structure my work days have lately, and when he doesn't make it in my schedule starts sliding around.

Secondly, the office is doing some sort of massive spring cleaning tonight and I need to clean off all the surfaces on my desk and walls. I have a tendency towards messiness; my desk is covered by piles of papers, cds, boxes and general detritus. Got to shove it all into a crate before I go home tonight. Of course, I could do all the cleaning now and get it out of the way, but that somehow doesn't seem likely. I am one hell of a procrastinator.

Yustin came over last night and we hung out a bit. Tried to set up Katie Clark, my beloved hookah, but the seal ring seems to be broken, so we never quite got it going. Watched the Lewis Black special again (funny, funny shit) as he hadn't seen it. Also played the Outkast double album for Yooie. I definitely prefer Speakerboxx to The Love Below, as the latter has too many crappy tracks in between the good ones, but like pretty much every double album there's one good disc of material between the two halves. I don't know why artists can't figure out that a double album almost invariably means they need to do some selective editing. Except, of course, The Wall, which actually manages to earn it's scope.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Dirty Old Man

On Saturday James and I met up with an old director of ours. He lives out in Portland now and was in town for the weekend... He took us out to brunch and then to a matinee of a new Off-Broadway play called Bug. (Actually, it was a great show, but I think that's another post.) Had a few drinks with James and Steve at Fat Black Pussycat afterwards. Very good to see Steve... need to remember to send him a Mayo tape.

The L train was out, so I walked quite a bit... don't know how far exactly, but it was a couple hours of walking between getting to Manhattan and getting home. Plus, I'd biked 5 miles Saturay morning on the stationary bike while watching some first season Oz that morning. James came over to my place later that evening to watch the Lewis Black special. Then stayed up til 4am drinking, smoking and talking with Jimmy.

Sunday, on the other hand, was a big ass lazy day. By lazy, I mean I didn't even bother wearing clothes for most of it. A bit of cleaning, a bit of playstation (finished off Prince of Persia), a bit of reading (still working on McTeague). Relaxing, if not very productive.

Packages

I love waiting for a package to arrive. When you know that something is coming to you... a great feeling. It doesn't really matter what is IN the package; I just enjoy the anticipation of checking the mail.

Right now the package I'm waiting for is a bunch of stuff I ordered from my theatre company's merchandise page. Coffee mug, a shirt, a book... nothing essential. Certainly nothing I couldn't live without. And after I get the package, its importance will be diminished immediately. Because I have coffee mugs (and books and shirts) and as nice as the new ones are, they won't really add anything to my life. But, oh, I love the waiting.