Posts

The things you get to say on stage

Image
The things you get to say on stage can be fun for purely personal reasons, outside the context of the play.  I did a reading earlier this week of a ten-minute play called The Charitable Heart by Tony Barone . It is a reworking of The Gift of the Magi. I played a guy, Jim who must learn the lesson about love from the older guy who had seen it all before.  Jim has lost his job and is going broke. He laments he will not be able to take his wife, Louise on a vacation this year, like last year when they went to Mount Airy Lodge in the Poconos. When I was growing up back east, we got WOR channel 9 on cable out of New Jersey. They played this commercial where they would sing “beautiful Mount Airy Lodge” in a memorable manner. As I recall, the three syllables of “beautiful” were sung on the same low note, then “mount” lilted upward ever so slightly but it still didn’t prepare you for the way they went up high and full-blast on “airy” and then trailed off back down to the “lodge.” It was fun an

Dune

Image
I kept thinking about reverence throughout the movie.   People just don’t have reverence for things anymore (if they ever did.) People have opinions and values but those are all self-centered, in important ways. If you revere something, that implies an obligation to it. People revere their religious faith and that impels them to act in certain ways. They willfully, happily agree to take on duties. It implies actions consistent with the thing revered.   In Dune you will see factions and groups who revere different things. There noble Duke Leto of the House of Atreides reveres his family, both ancestors and expected descendants and therefore he takes certain actions consistent with that. It’s not that he’s good, necessarily, but he is drawn to act the way he does in service of the things he holds important.   The Fremen, the people of the planet Arrakis, revere the planet itself and act accordingly.   Then there is Baron Harkonnen, who reveres nothing. This is the contrast in the movie.

Squid Game thoughts – NO SPOILERS

Image
Something that spoiled the experience somewhat is the casual attitude of some of the characters, especially the main character, Gi-hun. In between the games, he interacts with other players almost like they are actually playing real children’s games for no stakes, instead of playing for their lives. Before many of the games, his demeanor seems to veer far toward, hey, let’s all go out and have fun. More than once he pleads to the guards that one of the other players is in some kind of medical distress, as if they would care. I am not talking about his extreme kindness to many of the other players. To me, these are his best moments. They reveal who he really is, especially his interactions with the old man. But many of the in-between-games scenes seem so dissonant. Like, do these people not understand the stakes? Have they not been here the whole time? The husband and wife team were especially puzzling. I want to make this a flaw and ask how the creators of the show could miss this. But

It's a sports blog now: Home Run

Image
Honestly, it’s not rational at all, and maybe a little bit pathetic, but sports moments can mean so much. I moved to western Washington for good in 1989 but was never really a Mariners fan. I maintained my loyalty to the Pittsburgh Pirates, and I was busy with other things. Also, the Mariners were terrible, and it seemed like a fool’s errand to invest anything into an awful team, especially after having endured a decade of futility and heartbreak from the Pirates. In 1995 when the Mariners went on a crazy run and made it into the playoffs, I was sickened by all the fair-weather fans and their complete misunderstanding of the game of baseball. At the time, one of the Seahawks (I think it was their punter) denounced them all as “frontrunners.” I remember he said something like “every city has them.” I did not join the fan frenzy either. I’m not proud of that teenager-like, oppositional-defiant stance, but it was what it was. Then in 2000, for whatever reason, I decided to try to get into

It's a restaurant review blog now: Shelter

Image
Yesterday, a welcome invitation from a friend had me drag myself out of my apartment to meet her at Shelter, a new (-ish, I guess) restaurant at Green Lake. It was wonderful catching up, talking about life, and all the other things that come with being in-person and out on the town. Just this week, I read complaints online lamenting the use of QR codes, as Shelter does, in place of menus. I sympathized because it’s nice to browse and even to hold a menu in your hands, like when it’s got metal covers or is made of bamboo or something. But forget that. The QR code is great. You just scan it into your phone. There is no craning your neck looking for your server, joking with your mates. “Did they quit in the middle of their shift?!” or any of that. You just order, pay, and the server brings it. Like magic. Same thing if you want another drink, you just punch it into your phone and voila. When you’re done, there’s no bring-the-bill, sign-the-bill, bring-back-the-credit-card tango. You jus

What's not to like

Image
I have been eating a lot of brie lately. I don’t really like it. I do things like this this a lot. I still don’t know whether I like mushrooms. But I will intentionally order pizza with mushrooms and sometimes put mushrooms in my spaghetti sauce when I make it. I draw that line at, like, beef stroganoff or risotto with mushrooms because that’s just too many mushrooms. Coffee doesn’t, most of the time, taste actually good. Beer? Not good. Tequila? Not good. Roasted jalapenos? Actively painful. And yet. What is this about? In a philosophy class, if I recall correctly, we were having one of those abstract discussions of pleasure and pain. I raised my hand and sparked a discussion of how humans are the only animal (maybe?) that intentionally seeks out things that are painful to it. We eat, as I said, hot peppers, defeating eons of pepper evolution that were supposed to make them anathema to any animal foolish enough to chomp it. We sit in hot tubs and saunas in temperatures that ought to m

Clowning

Image
I can’t stop thinking about a conversation I had backstage this past Monday night while we were in places for Dears in Headlights , one of Dacha Theatre’s current summer shows, featuring clowning and other physical theatre. I was talking with another actor about how people never feel like they are in a place to experience pure joy, and other people never know if they have permission to bust through that and give it to them. I remember a few years ago, I was at a community event, a parade in the Chinatown/International District. A clown, or a person in a clown onesie and a colorful wig maybe, gave a balloon to a little child, maybe three or four years old. The kid’s face lit up. You know the look. When you see a kid looking like that, it’s like you want to die in that moment – in a good way, because it’s so perfect, and life can never get any better than that. The poet Rumi would say the world is too full.  During the pre-show, while the audience is waiting for the show to start, I come