Friday, July 31, 2009

Rain Delay

Rain this morning, lots of rain. Great excuse not to run.

Had to stay late at work last night to complete FY2009 final reports, due today. That's my job. So I called off out final rehearsal at Ali's to get it right before heading home for a celebratory beer (yes, and shut up.) Today is "guest artist" day at arts camp, which can make things more dizzying, not less, depending on the visitors. I will try to take it easy on the pizza.

Tonight I need to hide away somewhere and nail-gun lines into my head. I have made minor changes in the script, but they are minor. Mostly, I have become increasingly aware of bits when my ID is screaming GET ON WITH IT! and WHO GIVES A?!

I cut those out.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Hansen takes one-man show to NYC by way of CPT
by Michael Gill, Cleveland Scene

The last time Cleveland playwright and actor David Hansen took a one-man show to the New York Fringe Festival in 2004, it was with his autobiographical tale about the stillbirth of his son, I Hate This.

Several people suggested at the time — much to Hansen's irritation — that he consider a more uplifting sequel about his daughter. Eventually he did, and that's what he's taking back to the Big Apple for Fringe Fest 2009. The new play — And Then You Die: How I Ran a Marathon in 26.2 Years — takes up an ecosystem of subject matter having to do with middle age, fatherhood and mortality. He's booked for five performances in four days, starting August 19, at the Robert Moss Theatre. To get it in shape for the Fringe Fest stage, he's doing a trial run at Cleveland Public Theatre's Parish Hall this weekend. Alison Garrigan directs. (more)

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Mad Dash (162 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 66º
Weather: cool & humid
Weight: 154.5 lbs.

Almost stayed in bed this morning. Lying there, thinking, "hey, this is good, I could stay here." Only it wasn't, my head kept running around. Camp. Reports. Lines for the show. I got up, again, glad I did. This is not always so, sometimes my head tells me it is a mistake, I need more rest. Maybe tomorrow. A Friday sleep-in. Something I can look forward to.

Kelly and Ali have given me Friday night off so they can turn the Parish Hall into ... well, into a theater instead of a parish hall. I could have wept. I could have done a dance. It was an honor I thought not of. That's just the time I need to get everything straight in my head.

Running at 5 AM (or 5:20, whenever I truly get out) has become like Groundhog's Day. Sprinklers on Compton. That little Jewish walker-lady (she's a walker, she doesn't have "a walker") who I wave to headed up Taylor. The couple from two doors down, holding hands, holding thermoses, heading for the bus to the Clinic. It's all in the timing. This is why I love running in the summer.

Good morning!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Pusher (142 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 73º
Weather: warm & very humid
Weight: 154.5 lbs.

Oy. It's over seventy degrees before sunrise. I am finding it challenging to deal with this schedule. I can say it was worse yesterday when I did not get a run in. I slept an extra hour and felt woozy and sluggish. I may be hot and sweaty right now, but I am alert and ready for anything.

What I cannot do for the rest of the week is drink any alcohol, at all. It's too humid and I have been having trace migraine symptoms. My head swells, my sinuses feel stuffed, and I just lose all integrity (I mean physical integrity, I am still a good guy.)

Rehearsal last night went all right, we did the first 11 pages, tonight we do the next 11 and I am less certain about those. There have been a few minor changes, but they are enough to mess me up. We were discussing what we should hand out at the FringeTEASERS promo on Sat. 8/15. We left it last night at wrist bands or tube socks but this morning I have only one thing on my mind ... water bottles.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I want to go home ...

You lucky Americans! The best television program of the past ten years is now available on Region 1 DVDs!

Maybe you caught the American version of Life On Mars, doesn't matter, forget it. Unlike the US version of, say The Office you can file LOM-US with the much longer list of weak adaptations of British programs.

(We should make a list of what those are. But I don't have time.)

Why the fascination with LOM? Well, first off, it's a great cop show. Maybe some of the crimes are easy to solve, but the ride is exciting, gritty, surprising, suspenseful, hilarious, and moving.

On that last note, that was what really distinguished the original from the knock-off. Sam Tyler UK is a seriously troubled man, constantly aware that something is terribly wrong with him and powerless to change it. That, and he has some unresolved personal issues that stretch back into this childhood - in 1973 - which make where he is a place by turns melancholy, vibrant and harrowing. And hilarious.

Sam Tyler, though I grew to enjoy him (for the five episodes I watched) was too sunny, cheerful, not at all disturbed by where he found himself, it was just another case to crack!

LOM UK is all wrapped up in a package of 70s fashion and Anglophilia - I got a true education in 70s British guitar rock (who knew The Sweet had more than one hit?)

You will love John Simm as Sam Tyler. You will fear Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt ... and then love him, too. The whole team is fabulous, the style is high, the music amazing.

Buy it, reserve it at the library, put it on your queue.

Trust the Gene Genie!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sit up!

What Might Pengo See at the Fringe?

Bargains & Blood (How To Succeed In Home Shopping!)

Burning Boy Theater Company
Writer: Blair Fell with music by Stuart McMeans
Director: Blair Fell
A trailer park Cinderella becomes a messianic home shopping hostess during a recession. Featuring Bavarian-Crystal-selling dope fiends, philandering TV pitchmen, and the vengeful ex-mistress of the inventor of Hair-in-a-can! With blood on the floor and bargains galore!
2h 0m Local Manhattan, NY Comedy Drama

OMG! Former Cleveland-based actor Tracey Gilbert stars in this production! And she didn't even tell me!

Why so hot for Tracey? Because, even after fifteen years, she still lists her performance as Juliet in Guerrilla Theater Company's Romeo and Juliet in her company bios!

Check out this video for a sample of her work in the production.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Futuritual (171 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 65º
Weather: cool & humid
Weight: 155.5 lbs.

171 bpm works for me. It's a pre-dawn run now, the days getting longer. I know I am at the weight I am supposed to be (I was seriously underweight in January) right now I am trying desperately put it all in the right places.

Doing sit-ups on the driveway with your feet up against car, however, only works when you have a pad under you. I mean, it worked fine yesterday, but this morning, ouch.

Big shouts to Fourth Wall Productions who are providing lights for the Sat. Aug. 1st performance.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Moving through the landscape at a million miles an hour

Thursday, July 26, 1984
Lugo, Galicia, Spain
My Sixteenth Birthday! Scott T. sent me a big, fat letter. I got kisses from the girls and yanks on the ears from everyone. Arden gave me a cigar. That night Mary and her boyfriend Mario take me to his sister's where we talk and drink and eat sausages. Late, late at night (early next morning, really) while M&M kiss their goodnights, I dance pirouettes in the square in front of the Cathedral.

1984 Birthday Playlist
La Colegiala - Gary Low
New Song - Howard Jones
Locomotion - Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Blue Light - David Gilmore
You Take Me Up - The Thompson Twins
Relax - Frankie Goes to Hollywood
In the Name of Love - The Thompson Twins
This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) - Talking Heads

Distance: 4.35 miles
Temperature: 64º
Weather: warm & humid
Weight: 151.5 lbs.

My Life In A Spanish Disco

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Home ... is where I want to be ...

Private note to Erin: Just ran through the Park, everything is in good hands.

I recent reunited (via Facebook, of course) with my voice guru from O.U. We only had him for one year - there was a voice/movement coach my first year who was of the coffee & cigarettes school of warming up. She stepped down right after receiving tenure. Louis Colaianni was brought in as an emergency replacement.

Jesus, he must have been 26 or something, really young. He came to us right after mentoring with Kristin Linklater. He was hardcore, dedicated, taught me a lot of discipline. I would like to say I applied this discipline to my work or my life and maybe in some small way I did. There is a lot of him in me when I am teaching anything, I am serious about that, there are one, two, maybe three people who have inspired me so much that is has changed the way I think or speak, and he is one of those people.

He sent word on an upcoming workshop in New York. Unfortunately for me, it is the weekend I am leaving the Fringe. I strongly suggest anyone in town take it - or get there to do so.

The Joy of Phonetics Workshop

August 22 - August 23, 2009, New York, NY
A two-day workshop

This very popular workshop, featuring "Phonetic Pillows," is accessible to students, professionals and teachers. Louis Colaianni has taught this workshop throughout America and in Europe. Compatible with Linklater Voice Training and other vocal disciplines, many training programs have adopted this innovative approach to phonetics, speech and stage accents.

The workshop invites participants to revitalize their experience of language by: exploring and embodying virtually all of the sounds of the English language, as well as some foreign sounds; exploring the expressive attributes of vowels and consonants; learning exercises and games using Phonetic Pillows; considering alternatives to traditional "standard speech;"learning a phonetic warm up; training the ear to hear subtle phonetic variations; transcribing spoken language into phonetic symbols; learning the nuances of individual accents; and deepening the connection to spoken texts. (more info)

What's On Pengo's iPod?

Miles Fisher - This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)
(Thanks for asking.)

CruiseLife means a steady diet of caffeine, alcohol, salt, fat and sugar. Yesterday when doing the dishes I had a sudden need to dump a shot of whiskey into an iced glass of Sprite. There's a word for that, but I don't want to hear it.

Distance: 4.35 miles
Temperature: 69º
Weather: warm & humid
Weight: 155.5 lbs.

I gained two pounds? That's it?

Gotta love that Cleveland Heights humidity. Yep, really missing that Mid-Atlantic breeze this morning. Oh well, maybe again in forty years.

2009 Birthday Playlist
This Must Be The Place - Miles Fisher
F***ing Boyfriend - The Bird & The Bee
This Is How We Do It - Montell Jordan
Sugar - Flo Rida ft. Wynter
Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas
Shot in the Back of the Head - Moby
Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny) - A.R. Rahman ft. Pussycat Dolls
Breathe In - Frou Frou
Don't Stop Believing - The Kids from Glee

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Best laid plans. We disembarked shortly after 9 AM, and we were to drive all day and be snug in our own beds by now. This is all well and good for people with no kids, but as it went it was twelve hours later and we were both road-blind and weary. Time to pull over and risk a roadside retreat. Unlike the decent Comfort Inn in Mercer on our way to NJ, this one is of the Motor Lodge variety and the doorway faintly smells of piss. However, all three of my traveling companions are asleep and I am being dragged down to join them.

Maybe I will have time to reflect upon the feelings that welled up in me this morning as I strode down the 5th Deck "Promenade" (seriously - it's a mall on a boat, without the listing you would have no clue you were at sea) passing hangover people with suitcases ... this trip was a blind spot for me the past, I don't know, two years, but I was deeply looking forward to it. To spend nearly every waking morning concentrating on my children, doing whatever they wanted to do and nothing else. And that's more or less what happened. And now it's over. While that makes me sad there are just too many other responsibilities weighing me down and I just have to sigh, make prints of the 300+ photos I took, and suck it down.

Tomorrow: The Bell House + Penn's Cave

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

All at Sea

Distance: 3.2 miles

Final run on the big boat. I might try to get one in tomrrow, but we disembark early and that would mean having a smelly, sopping kit in my carry-on bag.

Water fountains do funny things in high winds.

Stepped into the exercise room after the run, and I noticed the hot tub in the middle of the room. Do I have time to go sit in a hot tub and watch other people exercise? I wish I had thought of that days ago.

Today is one of mad desperation. It's a full day at sea, but everyone knows they need to spend some part of the day packing - we need to have our suitcases out in the hall by 11 PM. Get that last piece of cheesecake, take one final dip in the pool, get the portraits ordered, drink that big froofy drink, do it, get it, eat it, eat it, eat it.

For my part, I will be fretting about the show. Harris got the postcards to SpinCycle on time, 250 to New York area press organizations, 500 to their list of FringeNYC ticket buyers. I am trying to come up with pithy email responses to questions for a potential story on next week's free Cleveland performance. I had an actor's nightmare about doing the Vitruvian Man scene at the corner of West 14th and Starkweather.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


No run this morning. The girl has a bit of a cold and a side-effect of this is that in addition to a runny nose, she was grinding her teeth non-stop. She's been doing this since her new teeth came in, trying to "find her bite" the dentist says, but not all the time. Not like last last night. We were awake, a lot.

In any unusual circumstance, I try to make myself comfortable, acclimated. Two decks up is the 24-hour coffee & snack cafe. That's where I get coffee after a run and bring it down to the room for the wife and myself. Even though I am not having it there, in the cafe, I eschew using a disposable cup with lid for a plastic cup. That's not just "green" it's because I like it that way, a minor attempt to feel at home and not like I am "on the road." The wife has been fastidious about keeping everything in the place she sorted it in the stateroom, and fascistic about our doing the same (which can be difficult as I haven't yet figured out her logic, so mostly I memorize.)

However, the bathroom is now like a Hobo Jungle, with odd bits of clothing - running kit, bathing suit, underpants, towels, etc. - hanging from every available horizontal space.

Last night grandma sat with the kids while the three sibling couples went out into the Dockyard to look around and have a drink. Not really far enough from the boat to feel like "Bermuda" and besides, it kept raining on and off. All the servers were British. Still, nice company. Had a "shandy" at The Onion & Frog ... we'd spent a good part of the day coming up with new, horrible sounding names for pubs. The Boil & Lance. The Shallot & Phlegm. The Lamprey & Dougnut. The Destestable Bishop.

We spent the day in Hamilton. No major shopping spree or historical explorations for us, and one day at the beach was enough for most. We visited the aquarium, that was just right for a six and four year-old. Strange, now I have been to Bermuda. But what is it? Like most touristy places we have been its stacked with shops from somewhere else (in this case, Britain) staffed by people from somewhere else. The aquarium was brighter, lusher, the fish and animals lively and active unlike in certain zoos I could mention.

The most personal interaction we had was in the cab ride back to the Dockyard. I had pointed out the roofs on the bus yesterday, they are all the same, stone terraces, with one cross rivulet running at an angle down every side. Those cross bits distinguish one roof from another. My wife asked the cab driver how they are built, and he excitedly told us they were made from the limestone, whitewashed with lime, and they purify the rainwater, which collects below each house for use. They do not add anything to their water, just purification by limestone.

We are back at sea now, heading home. Thought I would dress up a little for dinner, slacks and a nice shirt. These pants ... are a little snug. Oops.

Monday, July 20, 2009

6 AM is for Runners

Distance: 3.2 miles

Rolled out early this morning. As usual, when an alarm clock is actually set, I don't need it. I got up five minutes before my wake-up call. I had rinsed my running kit and set it out to dry but I was still a bit whiffy, I think I will be showering in it this morning. Just can't pay $10 to have three pieces of nylon washed.

Sunrise over the Mid-Atlantic. Great, whipped piles of cloud whirling into the air, all pink and sherbety. Many fewer people on deck at six in the morning, mostly runners and only a few of us at that. Later, when I checked out the weight room, I found half a dozen spinners, all their machines facing the water. I don't know, it just doesn't make sense, moving inside when there's Paradise on the other side of the glass.

On the other hand ... it was very windy. And my left shin is bothering me, I believe thanks to all of those tight left turns.

We are in dock at King's Wharf, Bermuda. The day was spent in company of my pasty white family at Horseshoe Bay Beach. Clear water, rented sand chairs and umbrellas, tiny scuttling rock crabs, bobbing in the waves with a delighted infant, surprisingly good hot dogs and hamburgers, there was digging in the sand, tons of witty banter, and thickly applied sunscreen. By an hour or so past noon, the girl was baked, and I mean her brain.

Carrying her up the steep hill back to the bus in the mid-day sun she told me, "Dad? I like it better on the boat." And I said, "don't tell you mother, but I do, too."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Flight of the Axiom

Distance: 3.2 miles

Boarding, getting acclimated to CruiseLife, took up a good part of the day yesterday. It is very fun, and remarkably stress-free to be in the bosom of my family this weekend. It was not always so. We are having a lovely time together, we had a great meal last night, some of us took breakfast and lunch together today ... I am spending the lion's share of my time following the kids around, doing whatever it is they want to do. For some of them (okay, the boy) everything is never enough.

Unlike my one previous cruise experience (Honeymoon to Alaska, 1999) it is not this crew's responsibility to shovel food down your throat. But it is easy to overindulge. And the problem is, going for the gold can often mean missing out on something better. Yes, I was tempted to have prime rib last night, but they also featured Aloo Ghobi on the menu and so I took that, and was extremely glad I did.

After dinner and putting the kids down, the wife gave me the opportunity to sit around with my brothers - and Mom! - in a lounge to talk as late as we liked. After striking a distance as far from any lounge performer as any other (how many of them knew "Piano Man"? Or was that the same guy playing it every hour?) he had drinks and talked about movies until eleven before turning in. I instigated turning in, because we were turning our clocks forward ... and I wanted to run.

Haven't run since Tuesday. I wanted to get up at six, but just let myself go until an unconscionable 7.30. That was almost a little late, and I will tell you why. By 7.30, the "Jogging Track" on Deck 12 is already people by a great many walkers. Not, like, mall walkers, not seniors, but people who walk. Who walk and talk. Who walk and talk in pairs, on this narrow, .2 mile track (5 laps = 1 mile.) Every one of my 16 laps, I had to say "excuse me" a couple of times. Bad enough the track is, nu, .2 miles, and that it winds in and out of the deck chairs, but I have to be the noodge on the jogging track actually jogging.

Having said that, it was wonderful. I felt great. The air was ... well, let's face it, it's open Atlantic sea air in utterly gorgeous, cloudless weather.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Split Level

Facebook, we love you!

My wife reconnected just recently with Brian, one of her high school friends, whom she hadn't seen since maybe 1988. One conversation led to another, and as part of our journey to the big boat (which departs from Bayonne) we have spent the night in Brian and his partner Marco's beautiful 70s-era split level ranch house in West Orange, NJ.

Yesterday afternoon we pull off he Interstate for lunch in Clearfield, PA. As a tradition, when we are on a "real" road trip (i.e. not just going to Athens) we will not stop at chain restaurants. So we pressed on past the throng of business conveniently located by the exit, and took the 3-mile excursion into Clearfield proper.

In short order we found a place called Moena, an Italian restaurant with a rather fancy looking dinner menu but a great, varied lunch menu.

Almost instantly, however, my wife began feeling like we knew this place and swiftly realized we had enjoyed New Year's Even dinner here to ring in 1999 with a couple we were staying at a B&B in State College with for a weekend. Bizarre. Could have stopped one exit before or after and entirely missed that.

Good God, weight gain is going to be an issue.

Friday, July 17, 2009


2009 FringeNYC Program Guide

How bizarre. Just like five years ago, a major part of my preparation for the NY Fringe is taking a vacation. This is one is a little special, my folks are having their 50th wedding anniversary (it was in May, ackshodry) and my brothers, their wives and kids are all taking a big boat for Bermuda.

And why not? The promo is in place, Kelly (SM) & Sabrina (ACR) are tag-teaming the technical elements of the production, Josh has completed the new trailer and designed and published the postcard (which I am schlepping to NYC to drop before we disembark) and I have a paperback murder mystery. Time to put my feet up. And take laps around the deck of a really large boat.

Comfort Inn in Mercer, PA. Wow. No wonder Trent is so bitter.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Trailer

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Cold Sweat (152 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 62º
Weather: cool & humid
Weight: 153.5 lbs.

Cool and sweaty run. Not sure how I would make it through these two weeks without them, but it is challenging. Missed the sprinkler up on Compton that usually hits me in the chest.

Monday, July 13, 2009


The Other Shows at Our Venue!

VENUE #6: The Robert Moss Theater

38 Witnessed Her Death, I Witnessed Her Love: The Lonely Secret of Mary Ann Zielonko

Be the Dog
Dances in Funny
Dominizuelan Presents: People in the City
Face the Music…and Dance!
Long Walk Home, A
Scattered Lives
Some Editing and Some Theme Music
Tell It To Me Slowly
Ukrainian Eggs: Tales of Tragedy and Allegory

That's a lot of shows in one venue. A lot of dance!

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Take It In Stride (131 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 62º
Weather: cool & humid
Weight: 154.5 lbs.

Josh sent me this link about Vibram FiveFingers. Oh yay, the Crocs of 2009. Butt-ugly frog-feet, my wife tried on her mom's pair last weekend and just loved them. The review says running in them is "like running barefoot, except without the mincing Ow-ow-ow! moments." And it suggests running barefoot may be result in fewer injuries (other than lacerating flesh wounds.) So who knows, maybe.

Wired - the bible for who I want to be, and never will. And that's what a magazine is for.

The girl had friends over Saturday, they had hula hoops and wanted to show off the moves. For my part, I found the jump rope. My jump rope. The jump rope I got in college which has been kicking around for twenty years and ended up in the kids' room. I showed off my jump roping moves.

Lesson number one: Jumping rope is like riding a bicycle. Or juggling. You never forget.

Lesson number two: Jumping ropes feels very, very bad for your knees.

Friday, July 10, 2009


What Might Pengo See at the Fringe?


Intangible Collective
Writer: Anthony Fascious Martinez
Director: Shidan Majidi
A one man Hip Hop musical about growing up in the Bronx and discovering manhood in the absence of a father in prison. Described as "Bold, daring, and fearless…truly innovative,” by HBO Def Poetry’s Producer, Kamilah Forbes.
1h 15m Local Bronx, New York FringeHIGH Musical
Staycation: In Someone Else's Shoes My NYC Story

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Fuse (161 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 62º
Weather: cool & humid
Weight: 154.5 lbs.

Slow crawl to consciousness, but I made it. Four runs in five weekdays. I will take it easy over the weekend - that is counter-intuitive, but there is just too much to do - interim reports, rooms to be painted, a script to be rebooted ...

The girl ran into our room in the middle of the night, I mean ran. She had a nightmare. Joining us in bed used to be no big deal, only her teeth are coming in all cock-eyed (trip to the orthodontist next week, you know we had that in the budget) and she is seriously trying to find her bite while she sleeps. Hence - grinding. Major, awful, hellish grinding. I didn't sleep the last two hours. But I got up. I had to. I am on my feet at this arts camp all day, and I need to start from 60.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Cool summer

Hottest. Shakespeare photo. Ever.

I do wish I could see Twelfth Night, I hear it is good. Nice cast. Fun. First time I saw Shakespeare at the Delacourt was in 1992 (I waited in line all day in 1990 to see Denzel play Richard III, but then it was rained out) to see Elizabeth McGovern in As You Like It. Doesn't matter who is playing Rosalind, I hate that play.

Still and all, Jonathan Goff being torn apart by harpies? I am there!

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Pocket Rocket (141 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 57º
Weather: cool & humid
Weight: 153.5 lbs.

What a cool ... cool summer. Not complaining, we have not had the air conditioner going since last September.

When our first child died, we adopted an Asian small-clawed otter at the Cle Met Zoo. The next year we were invited to Zoo Parents' Night. The zoo was open late on the second Wednesday of July and those who had adopted animals were invited for viewing at duck. There were (usually terrible) live bands, docents with animals or dead parts of animals, it was laid back, cool, uncrowded, and extremely pleasant.

Sometime in the past few years it has turned into Zoo Friends Night, which is just stupid. I have no idea what their guest list is like, but from all appearances anyone can get in. The place is packed, and instead of that being just like an ordinary Saturday, we are all arriving - and leaving - at the same time. It took a half-hour to get up 25th Street, and an hour to leave the parking lot.

I am all for free admission. And we will keep adopting the otters. But they need to stop advertising this evening as something special.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Happy surprise yesterday, out of the blue an old high school friend told me he had donated the URL So, thank you, Dennis B.!

What Might Pengo See at the Fringe?

Take two - now with video! Just pretend they are talking about

Some Editing and Some Theme Music
Jean Ann Douglass
Director: Jean Ann Douglass
With diaries replaced by tell-all YouTube channels, three people discover themselves in an increasingly complicated web of narcissistic self-marketing. If only we could control our lives the way we control our online presence.
1h 15m Local Brooklyn, NY Multi-Media Comedy
Staycation: Working Vacation My NYC Story

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Jackhammer (180 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 60º
Weather: cool & humid
Weight: 155 lbs.

Why is a cool summer's morning in Cleveland so much hotter than a warm summer's day in Athens?

And why, Pengo, are you running every day? Because. As of Tuesday, July 7, 2009 - I can.

Monday, July 06, 2009

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Summer


I got a lot on my plate right now. For real. Not least of which is spearheading a summer arts camp for 50 9-13 year-olds (say what?) using only Scotch tape, 6 tongue depressors and my wits. But my wits are sharper these days than they have been for a couple years.

For real.

However, they are great kids - at least half of them were in the same camp with me last year - our staff is excellent and we have some fabulous ideas planned.

I leave town in a little under two weeks, so this is my plan for the next nine working days.

Monday - Friday
5:00 Rise & Run
7:00 Gather necessary materials for camp
7:30 Depart for camp
8:30 Arrive at camp
9:00 Camp
2:00 End of camp day, meet with instructors
2:30 Head to office
3:00 Write grants
5:00 This week: Head home, be Dad.
Next week: Head to Ali's, rehearse
10:00 Clean house, plan for tomorrow
11:30 Read
12:00 Sleep

"Being Dad" should include painting the kids' playroom, keeping the yard tame, reading books, and laundry. It's summer! I should be able to do everything!

If I can keep my head above water for nine (working) days, I get to go to Bermuda.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Countermeasures (151 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 61º
Weather: cool & humid
Weight: 158 lbs.

I do not drink enough water. End of story.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

pathetic and sad.

Good thing we went to the Athens fireworks, which were on Friday night. Last night it was rainy, rainy, rainy and we did not care to leave the homestead. Grilling was successful. So was drinking, and I am surprised that I went down at 1 AM (!!!) to wake up at 8 AM, clear-headed and ready to play Candyland and Chutes and Ladders with the girl.

Today we go home. Tomorrow, we resume the fear.

Distance: 4.25 miles
Temperature: 67º
Weather: cool & damp

What to do when you are 26 going on 27, losing your hair, you are the middle of a divorce (proper legal term for our situation and much more accurate: disillusion) saddled with mortgage payments and a job serving at Pizzaria Uno?

Make a mix tape!

pathetic and sad (1995)
sour times - portishead
the sweetest taboo - sade
waiting for that day - george michael
in between days - the cure
losing my religion - r.e.m.
snowman * - xtc
consider this - filter
policy of truth - depeche mode
good - better than ezra
secret world - peter gabriel

(yeah that's right)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

really pathetic.

The natural sedatives released through the act of running are a powerful addiction. I mean, exhausting yourself is its own form of sedation, but that's not what I am talking about, I can be exhausted and anxious. I am referring to endorphins, or whatever they are which make it possible for me to get through my day with an easy, focused mind.

Thursday night, and yesterday morning, I was miserable. There is simply too much going on for me to be conifdent and comfortable. How can I relax, here in the most relaxing of places, when I have less than a month to find all the necessary pieces for the Aug. 1 performance, there are postcards to be printed and shipped for the fringe, summer arts camp begins on Monday, and there is a constant parade of final reports and grant proposals due from now until, well ... there are always grant proposals and final reports due.

I went running, and it all slowed down. My mind was settled. I could be happy, thoughtful, chatty, pleasant, and buy a new pair of jeans at Goodwill.

This morning is simply gorgeous. Coffee and toast, on the porch, cool but sunny, kids on the swing, shooting pool in the garage, the girl took a sunshower with grandma. I have a small pain in my head. I try to think slowly, to relax. It won't happen, not easily. This is our second full day - we don't have to leave until tomorrow, but it feels like Sunday afternoon now, I am not here, I am then and I am wasting this glorious opportunity.

The wife and MP are off seeing great-grandma, who keeps falling down these days. When they return I have been promised a run.

Is it physical exercise, or the act of running itself? The act of running, in spite of the repetition (out to the rec center, water and pee, then back the same way) creates the feeling of progress. I am moving towards something. Or running away from it. That feels good, too.

Distance: 4.25 miles
Temperature: 73º
Weather: humid & overcast. Herons on the Hocking.

Before too much time had gone by, I was already making plans for a second tape of songs that made me miserable (to be entitled "more pathetic") but I set that aside. Life was very busy at the time, or at least it felt that way. Rehearsals until 11 two nights a week, performances until 12:30 am two nights a week (that doesn't count drinking) leaving three nights a week to be with my new wife, three nights to make up for all the absent nights. That takes work, too.

It wasn't until the following spring, when I was on the verge of an actual mental breakdown that I put together another mix, this one swinging from contemporary songs to those from my adolscence ... or about adolescence. Most of them have a either a seriously dark, sexual tone to them (violent in cases) or just a deep, childish melancholy.

I have to remind myself that I put together this collection BEFORE I started a long-distance relationship with the person I am married to now. But it became my personal soundtrack for that time. Crazy.

(Again, this is not the complete tape - these are just songs I picked out from it that are more or less good to run to.)

really pathetic (1994)
closer to god - nine inch nails
the upstairs room - the cure
so. central rain - r.e.m.
down in it (shred) - nine inch nails
angst in my pants * - sparks
the night before * - the beatles
spin the bottle * - the juliana hatfield three
save a prayer - duran duran
closer - nine inch nails

(OMG! It's KLOHZ-er, not KLOH-ser!)

Celebrate your independence, y'all!

Friday, July 03, 2009


Reading biographies of great artists is always a humbling experience. It can fill me with jealous rage, of course (I'm a genius, too - those accolades are rightfully MINE!) but mostly I am just fascinated to learn where a person learned what they learned to become who they were and why the public did - or did not - respond to their work.

Especially with the biographies of graphic artists, it is so valuable to learn what they learned, who they emulated, what their inspirations were - what the mold was, exactly, that they broke. And also to appreciate how so much of great artistic success springs from not talent alone, but the nexus of talent and history.

Charles Schulz reimagined the comic strip, using a modern, simple line juxtaposed with deep, emotional sadness. Putting the words of adults into the mouths of children. Knowing, unpretentious, stylish, self-aware. And he became the most successful - by any reasonable account - comic strip artist in history.

But he could not have done that in 2009. He had to start in 1950, and not a day later. Where would such a piece of daily art make such a wide-reaching impact today? He was in thousands of newspapers a day, great many of which no longer exist, with more folding every day. You can become a well-known comic artist today, but without the daily habit of reading the same newspaper, millions of people will never become attached to the same storyline for so long. Not in the funnies, not on TV, not in film, not in novels, nowhere.

Like so many my age and those older than myself, I read PEANUTS a lot. We had so many collections of his strips, and there were the other books, the toys, the TV specials. And like so many my age in particular, as the strip moved into the 80s and 90s (and I moved into my teens and twenties) I stopped reading it. It just seemed too sweet and uncomplicated. And no longer funny.

As a young adult, with a mortgage and a job and a daily paper I read them again, and I learned to appreciate them again. He stayed in the same place, but I had moved. Twice. In the late 90s, when I had no children in my house, there were a large number of PEANUTS strips clipped from the paper and taped to my fridge. Comic strips never motivate me to clip them and put them on my fridge anymore.

I understand there was a bit of controversy when this book came out, that Schulz family members were disappointed that Michaelis presented their patriarch as a less-than-perfect man. But it's hardly a hatchet-job. It makes sense. Happy men rarely make history. Or art.

Distance: 4.25 miles
Temperature: 69º
Weather: cool & overcast, down by the river - PERFECT

pathetic  [puh-THET-ik]

–adjective 1. causing or evoking pity, sympathetic sadness, sorrow, etc.; pitiful; pitiable: a pathetic letter; a pathetic sight.
2. affecting or moving the feelings.
3. pertaining to or caused by the feelings.
4. miserably or contemptibly inadequate: In return for our investment we get a pathetic three percent interest.

Among our crowd, "pathetic" was the worst epithet we could wing. I am sure the first time I read the word it was in Peanuts, or heard it in the Charlie Brown Christmas special. When we said it, it was tinged with contempt - the way Rik on The Young Ones would say it, really nailing each syllable. It was a term reserved not for merely pitiable people, but people who were pitiable because they thought themselves great.

Someone who strives for great things and fails is not pathetic. Someone who likes to give the impression they strive for great things, but don't, they are pathetic.

I quite often feel pathetic.

Back in the day when we made mix tapes (oh my god, the sheer amount of TIME men of my generation spent crafting mix tapes) I created an (unintentional) three year project which I affectionately called The Pathetic Trilogy. In 1993, shortly after staring my first theater company and starting my first marriage, I was feeling ... less than satisfied. That sounds wrong, what I mean is, I was unsure. Unhappy. Anxious. I felt pathetic.

I decided to make a mix tape for myself that contained every song that a) I really really liked that b) made me feel worthless and small. And as I was preparing for this weekend in Athens, site of so many of my crimes, literal and figurative, and as I have been feeling a little unsure these past two days (nothing to be concerned about, oh no) I thought I would put together an edit of those tapes, at least the music with some kind of beat, for running to.

These are songs from that first tape. Their content should surprise no one.

pathetic (1993)
digging in the dirt * - peter gabriel
sanctified - nine inch nails
m - the cure
like the weather - 10,000 maniacs
hard day - george michael
what have i done to deserve this? - pet shop boys ft. dusty springfield
the mayor of simpleton - xtc
bring on the night - the police

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

How I Ran 5 Marathons in 4 Days!

What Might Pengo See at the Fringe?

Abraham Lincoln's Big, Gay Dance Party
BlueRare Productions, San Francisco Playhouse, PlayGround
Writer: Aaron Loeb
Director: Chris Smith
Romance! Murder! Dancing! Honest Abe's hometown puts a teacher on trial for asking "Was Lincoln gay?" in this new comedy of political "values". See the events through the eyes of the prosecution, defense or big city reporter. You decide the order.
2h 15m National San Franciso, CA Comedy Drama
Staycation: Summer Camp(y) Ride the Rollercoaster of Love

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Cruse Control (175 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 60º
Weather: cool & wet
Weight: 155 lbs.

They gave us our performance schedules the other day - with a caveat not to PRINT them on any marketing materials. I don't think the Internet counts, so I am going ahead and announcing ...

AND THEN YOU DIE (How I Ran a Marathon in 26.2 Years)
FringeNYC Performance Schedule!

VENUE #6: The Robert Moss Theater
440 Studios, 440 Lafayette St., 3rd Floor
(between Astor Place/ East 4th St.)

N, R, W to 8th St.
6 to Astor Place

WED 8/19 @ 8:45-10:05
THUR 8/20 @ 6:45-8:05
FRI 8/21 @ 2:45-4:05
FRI 8/21 @ 9:00-10:20
SAT 8/22 @ 2:00-3:20

That's right kids - five performances in four days! Kind of exciting, really. And scary. But really, really exciting. AWESOME SPACE! In our last excursion, I was in that legendary "clown car" of a space (thanks, Sepesy) way out West (8th Avenue!) a former walk-down apartment with 40 seats and a dinky stage that would have made this production impossible.

The Robert Moss looks amazing, with a new floor, 68 seats and it's just a tremendous location. This space and schedule are tentative, as anyone who needs their schedule changed will throw everyone else's into flux, so I am really hoping nothing goes wrong.