Monday, August 31, 2009

Fall

Must do final reports on the Fringe run, make connections, correspondence, etc. I was waiting until the Fringe was officially over to take care of these things, and I am still settling into the routine here, even after a week. It has been one crazy summer.

And it is over. There will be more warn days, sure, but come on. The block party my wife has been organizing came off last night like a big, successful block party-like thing. People who share the same street and have never spoken to each other were line dancing to The Cupid Shuffle in front of my house.

Then just as abruptly, the clouds burst open (today, not yesterday, last night was perfect for a street party) the temperature dropped and the miniature golf we had planned needed to be shelved. Bam. Autumn.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008 I had knee surgery. That was a very trying time, very emotional. I worried I would never run again. You wouldn't know it these days, I run all the time. No complaints, no worries. I do not know what will break down next. I felt so old then, incapacity makes me feel old. Performing at the Fringe made me feel young. It's all about action, I imagine.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Glidepath (133 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 56º
Weather: cool
Weight: 157.5 lbs.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Inarticulate


Ah ... the skunks of Euclid Heights Blvd.

The differing shapes of my body. How do I lose weight, when I lose weight? Not just through exercise, as they tell us in the media these days (as if we didn't already know this) but through diet. A good diet. And a smaller diet, a more compact diet, made up of better things.

Of course, I do not eat a good diet. When I was in New York for ten days, I must have had several hamburgers and at least one hot dog. I ate better on the cruise.

Jesus. I ate WAY better on the cruise.

Last fall, I had knee surgery. Recovering from that involved an hour of exercise every morning. While I was in New York, I was schlepping palettes of water around, I can still feel that in my shoulders and in my chest.

Impending fall. The glory of winter. I am looking forward to the cooler days, and the cooler runs.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Body Language (163 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 64º
Weather: cool & humid
Weight: 154 lbs.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I feel numb

BLOGROLLING: the nytheatre i
What they have to say about me, talking about them.

Headphones fragged my last day in New York. First my camera, then my headphones. You know which is more important. Those headphones lasted, I believe, more than two years. Not bad considering the kind of wear they receive. And sweat. Wear and sweat.

I ran most day I was in NYC - thanks to Harris. Some days I would not have gone, except he was, that was major encouragement. And then there was the walking. I had not run since last Saturday, and I can tell. Yes, I have gotten scant sleep - but I had less in New York. I survived summer camp this year by getting up at 5 AM. To run.

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 66º
Weather: cool ... and humid
Weight: 155 lbs.

My 2009 Summer
Halo (159 bpm) - Beyoncé
Superstition - Stevie Wonder
Holiday Road - Lindsey Buckingham
Floaties (163 bpm) - Mark Storen
96,000 - In the Heights soundtrack
I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
Can't Get You Outta My Head - Kylie Minogue
This Must Be the Place - Miles Fisher

Let's see if that makes me feel any better.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Everywhere I'm looking now I'm surrounded by your embrace

Home.

An uneventful drive home, which is nice. I have more to say about this year's Fringe, which in many ways was my favorite to date. But for now I need to connect with Toni, settle in and go to sleep. Tomorrow, the great work begins ... again.

Closing


Following yesterday morning's run, I walked all the way back downtown for the final performance. I feel as though, in the past few days, I have gotten worse at standing up for myself and not better. A guy at a juice bar misunderstood me and made me a juice instead of smoothie ... and I let him. Then something in this juice seriously disagreed with me and I began to have ... digestion problems. Like, a half-hour before the show. It's not a show I want to do with the sh*ts.

I'm sorry, what is the show anyone wants to do with the sh*ts? Maybe Jean Genet's The Sh*ts. In any case, once the performance started, in spite of my exhaustion, dehydration, and physical distress, everything went according to plan. There were 14 people in the audience, not that I expect any different on a Saturday at 2 PM, and the response was as warm this day as for any other performance.

In general, more than in general, by large, the audiences were engaged and interested, and they laughed. It was enjoyable presenting this show.

My first partner from GLTF, Mariah came into town to catch the show, and she and her husband Bruce and I went to get me a plate of pasta after the show. It has been years and years since I have had the chance to catch up with her.

Then I found out my camera is dead. Sigh. The pictures I have taken are fine, but it won't take any new ones. Hmn.

And so I was on my own to decide how to spend this last night in New York before heading home today. The plan was to cram as many shows into one evening as possible, but I was demoralized by the first one I saw. More an AEA workshop production than anything else, I was stunned by the amount of people who attended this one-act, which included polished acting, clever dialogue, the potential for conflict, or horror, or revelation, but instead just ended abruptly at 50 minutes. I only attended this show because I knew it was short and it fit into the schedule, by the description I was not expecting much. But I did get caught up in the story so it was even more distressing when it ended with not a bang but with that whisshing sound that came out of the air mattress as I put it away this morning.

So instead of seeing another show, I needed company so I called Kelly and she watched me eat a burger (A REALLY GOOD BURGER) at the Tavern on Jane (hey - check out the first photo on the website, that is exactly where we sat!) Mariah told me she was going to see a show today, one written by an old colleague, PEACE WARRIORS. A bit of kitchen sink, the tangled lives of progressive, academic Jews.

By then it was past midnight, and in spite of my better judgement, I decided to say farewell to Kelly and Sam and make my way to FringeCENTRAL. It was "international night" and Owen and Mark both said they would be there, and so they were. I got to say a proper good-bye to a number of people - I was charmed that Charlie gave me a shout-out from the stage during the show, I think they were saluting the people who didn't just come to drink at 11 PM but actually stayed to be engaged in the variety show.

SPEAKING OF WHICH, you may FINALLY enjoy the podcast from last Saturday night's VPR. I have not listened to them yet, but I am assuming you will find Mark Storen performing Stab U in the first half and my performance in the second half ... which for some reason is not yet online. Not that I could use it to promote my show now, anyway.

I felt a definite sense of sadness that I had no reason to hand any of the people I ran into last night postcards for ATYD. In fact, I didn't have any, I made a point of taken the packet of cards I still had - maybe 50 cards - and putting them in the trash. I do not need them. I have some archive copies at home, and I successfully managed to distribute almost 2,500 cards. At four different fringe festivals, I have never divested myself of nearly that number. I did everything one (or one person with a friend) possibly could.

We pack up today, bid a fond farewell to Allison, the Venue Director from God, and then over to Brooklyn for a picnic with Eva Dean before hitting the road. Hopefully we will be home shortly after dark.

Thanks, NY Fringe. That was a good time.

Curtain Up review

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Criticism


AYTD is a work-in-progress. I have changed words here and there since the Fringe began. And I intend the alter it even further. I don't think it needs to be 80 minutes long. During the BIG BOX rehearsal process, I was kicking out long pieces of exposition. After BIG BOX I got the impression that the NY Marathon pieces were too long, they were difficult to say while running, and besides, we got it, Pengo - move on.

I also got the impression that people wanted more of Pengo, of the illustrator, of the relationships - I did not add to those, I cut the running bits so we could get back to them.

The reviews I have received here have been extremely helpful. Believe me, I am not just saying that. Some comments I find difficult to take seriously - TONY said (in addition to numerous extremely kind and positive things) "a virtual run through Cleveland goes nowhere." But when nytheatre.com adds "Segments about how he trained for the race, especially his final preparatory run, from his own home on one side of greater Cleveland, to his parents house across town, are similarly fascinating," it is easy to dismiss such comments outright. HOWEVER, I do believe I did not do an adequate job with the Cleveland run on opening night - when TONY was in the audience. And that has changed the way I have done it in subsequent days. That's a lesson, too.

As to the rest of the nytheatre.com review, Martin Denton states very clearly; "What I wanted was to understand why running is so fundamentally important to Hansen. But this show never really gets us to that place." This is extremely important to me, and I take it to heart. Denton's review was very carefully critical, like I was receiving feedback from a member of the Play House Playwrights Unit, or a teacher, or a friend.

What he never does in his review is get clever, add humor for its own sake, write with condescension ... it is as though he cares. And Martin Denton is, by the way, the founder of nytheatre.com. That's who they (he) sent to my show. Time Out New York sent Michael Freidson, the editor-in-chief. Both sites are trying to cover all 201 shows. I am flattered. And I really feel this trip has been worth everything.

Final

Car-Free Streets to 440 Lafayette

Distance: 6.2 miles
Weather: Overcast and HUMID

So we begin, so we conclude. Only this time instead of Beyonce I had Harris with me. That's okay, too.

Coming home I hit up the in-line skate booth for a free AMP. Why do I drink those things? More sweet, spiced coffee, and a big, sweaty slog up and down Park Avenue. Last week it was brighter, sunny, not muggy. Doesn't matter. Great run. Good time.

The Fab Marquee review "David Hansen's story will have you dusting off your sneakers and running to make a change in your life."

Working backward ...

My 7-Day Metrocard expired at midnight. I guess we are about done here.

Took Andrew, his wife Amy, Missy, Gina Gigi and the whole crew to FringeCLUB tonight. Oops. That was awkward. Last week I guess it were only the Fringe faithful who showed up, a pleasant number of people who were up for a great variety show.

Tonight the joint was packed with hipsters aching to line-jump, and double-fist their bracelets for free Tanqueray. I was in line for over a half-hour, and by that time Andrew and Amy needed to be off. Missy hung out thought, and I was a little dismayed at how few people were interested in watching the show, chatting through everyone's performance.

Prior to that I had show #4 - the biggest attended show I have ever had in NYC. 22 people. My grand total now is 67 audience members, which already outdoes my meager 2004 attendance level of 48. That was everyone who saw I HATE THIS in New York.

It was a very good show, though I did have one of my massively amusing malapropisms tonight, where I described how my wife passed a cantaloupe with a boy the size of a head through her vagina. That's her day job. In Thailand.

I finally began seeing people who I did not know in the audiences today, a lot of them tonight (though Brian D. was there, too, thank you!)

Kelly and Sam told me after the earlier gig that they were going to check out Mark Storen at 6.15 so I broke one of my long-standing rules and saw a Fringe show twice (okay, I saw DSG twice, too) because I figured hey, when I am going to be visiting Perth any time soon? I picked a CD, too - so Josh, you are gonna get the full treatment!

I had borscht at Veselka for a snack between shows, talking bidness with someone Lee at home hooked me up with, a U.S. boy named Darren who's now an NYC theater pro.

The first show of the day filled me with big dread, I just didn't know if I had the stamina for a double run today. And yet, it was the best performance of the run, I think. Maybe. It felt good. And there was a lot of Fringey love in the audience as we were joined by Owen - and Michael from the shows DOLLS and ABE LINCOLN. I didn't get to meet him, but I did chat up his dads outside HERE and again before I saw his solo performance yesterday. I guess they dragged him there today, that was very sweet and I hope they all liked the show.

The reason I was so depressed was partially because I had spent so much time walking around downtown in the 90 degree heat, shopping for the kids. I was unhappy with my lunch selection and arrived at 440 feeling drained, spent, miserable, and just damn sleepy. I guess everything turned out all right.

For those who missed it:

TIME OUT NEW YORK review

nytheatre.com review


Critic-O-Meter (not a review - a compendium of other reviews, interesting)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Yep.

Central Park Run
Distance: 3.5 miles
Weather: HUMID

I have two shows today. I got maybe six hours of sleep. I just ran 3.5 miles in deep humidity. I am insane.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In Review

Live blogging from the Swift on 4th Street ...

Running with Harris this morning was a thrill. He asked if I wanted to do a shorter route, or if I wanted to do the northern route, and I was like, hey! I have nothing else to do, hells yes I want the northern route! I have to run, to feel good. Every day. I am addicted. It's a fact.

In the afternoon, Kelly joined me to see Michael Phillis' DOLLS. We'd met Michaels dads outside ALBGDP on Tuesday night, and they told us about him and the fact that he was not only in ABE LINCOLN, but that he had his own solo performance about, well, dolls. There is something about meeting a guy's parents that makes you need to see their work.

And it is a delightful show - he's really good. Very funny, and more than funny. Very talented and a highly enjoyable hour, he really works well with a close, intimate crowd - and I am so glad we got in, it was very well attended.

Speaking of which ... my show had a smaller audience than last night. Thirteen audience members. And I knew pretty much every one of them. I had cousins from Philadelphia who came in, and from New Hampshire. Tracey came from BARGAINS & BLOOD, parents of my children's friends, and even the professional actor son of one of my favorite English teachers from high school. And Eva Dean and maybe one or two people I did not know at all.

And it went much better than last night - much more relaxed, very comfortable with my story. It went very well ... though I am a little daunted. I mean, if everyone I know came tonight ... what hope do I have of complete strangers showing up? And believe me, short of throwing a lot of money at the problem, I have worked so hard to get people to attend. Met a lot of folks, handed out a lot of cards, there is little else I can do.

Afterwards, we went to this bar, where I still sit with the remnants of this evening's party (Harris, Sam & Kelly) and had a big hurrah when the word came in on everyone's smart phones that WE HAVE A REVIEW.
Time Out New York
**** [FOUR STARS] David Hansen’s autobiographical one-man show, about his lifelong obsession with long-distance running, is a simple and tragic yet reaffirming tale, told earnestly and with minimal poetics. There’s no irony, no wacky AV visuals, no Fringe Festy Negro spirituals in space: how refreshing to be touched by something real. Better known as Pengo, Hansen is a Harvey Pekar–like cartoonist (his well-reviewed graphic novel is titled I Hate This), living in Cleveland with his wife and two children; after a family tragedy, he’s inspired to run the New York Marathon. Onstage, he re-creates that race, interweaving it with flashbacks from his youth (fat dad), teens (awkward first kiss), twenties (joblessness) and thirties (obesity, depression). But despite the hardships it details, And Then You Die is no downer: We hear about Hansen’s rebounds, too, and his emotionally—and, at times, physically—naked performance balances the pathos with high energy. According to my watch, the piece clocks in at 75.3 minutes, about 15 minutes longer than its goal time; a virtual run through Cleveland goes nowhere, as do a few when-I-was-young memories. But the heart is always there. At one point, his daughter asks Hansen if he’s going to “win the marathon.” No matter what happened in the race, kid, trust me: Your dad’s a winner.—Michael Freidson, editor-in-chief

Awesome.

Park Life

Today's Central Park Run
Distance: 5.1 miles
Weather: HUMID

Headed out to the Delacorte the hand postcards to people waiting to see THE BACCHAE. Why wasn't I doing that all week, duh.

Man, there were a lot of trees knocked down the night before, the clean-up in the park is astonishing. Harris took me the northern route, I'd never run up there before. Passed a huge, great looking public pool. That looked really good.

Your SM report


SM here:

Another full day in NYC.

Josh and I went to see POWERHOUSE. Really good. REALLY good. We almost didn't get in because it was close to sold out when we arrived 5 minutes before they started selling the tickets. (Made me jealous, but they did advertise puppets.) Then we saw it. The only bad thing I have to say about it was the music cues were too loud and some of the dialogue was lost. But in the end it didn't matter. Good acting, strong physical work and puppets! Really good puppets. If you are able to see any shows - other than ours - see this one. If you're from Cleveland and need an idea of what this is, think Theater Ninjas.

And speaking of ninjas... the other show we saw was SCATTERED LIVES, which is in the same space we're at. It was fun. Samurai sword play. That's all I need to say. Love it.

Oh. And we opened.

I'm so proud of our little play. Mama's got some tears in her eyes!!! Yes, Dave was nervous. Yes, I had been feeling like I was going to throw up at various points the last few days. But we did it, and I think we did it well. Set-up and break-down went smooth. Slide cues were great. Sam (one of our crew members that could only join us for the first time tonight) threw herself into everything brilliantly. And I only messed up one light cue. And hell if I didn't do too bad with the light design. Dave was good. He was even better when he relaxed. The show works the best when he responds to the audience responding to him.

So here's to 4 more shows!

Opening

Okay. Did that.

Spent the day in relaxation mode - which was a f***ing chore, let me tell you. I went the familiar places. After recovering from a potential migraine, and running with Harris, I took my time cleaning up and went to the Met. I saw my regular playlist of attractions, but that has epanded over the years. I find myself more engaged in the avante garde painters of the early 20th century and with the modern wing than with the Medieval or the Impressionists.

But some places must be visited, if only to say hello. I took my traditional trip to the roof to get the most expensive beer in New York, take in whatever weird installation they have on there and gaze at the tops of buildings and trees. But the 90 degree weather is particularly impressive up there and in spite of my best intentions I am developing an urban farmer's tan.

Lunch was Indian food at Bathesda Terrace and back to the apartment for another nap. Indulgence! Eventually I made my way downtown to print up "People's Choice" ballots for the programs (don't see many other acts including those in their programs) and handing out more bottled water with ATYD labels on them. The crowd seeing SCATTERED LIVES weren't as impressed with them, though Josh and Kelly were impressed by that show.

And my show? Well, I had a show. We had 17 folks in the audience, including Gina, Joanna and Eileen from home, and Mark Storen and his crew, plus critis from Show Business Weekly and Time Out New York - who promise to review every show in the Fringe for the online edition.

I was a little tense at first but nothing to be ashamed of. Kelly says I relaxed 3/4 of the way through, which is better than not at all. I think it has a lot to do with the running scenes ... I get concerned that if I am too loosey-goosey I get sloppy. But I also nail the words. Who can tell?

I hope numbers pick up from there, I can say I am already on track to improve overall attendance over the 2004 run of I HATE THIS, which in spite of everything, received a grand total of 48 audience members. That's total, all five shows.

Two people who said they know members of the company bought tickets at quarter til, went out to get pizza, and were shocked to return and discover that the Fringe really does enforce the NO-LATE SEATING POLICY. I don't know who they were yet, but apparently (unless you are going to see Owen Dara) this rule will be ruthlessly carried out.

So if you are planning to attend - please do not be late!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

migraine WIN!

That was a close one. Last night was late one, again, and the power was out in the apartment. Max is three and gets up early and he is a delightful, lively boy who wakes me up. I have kids, this is not alien to me. But the circumstances are different, I am camping in the living room, it's hot, there is little escape. And I was very, very tired.

Josh called at 7.30 to announce their train finally arrived in Park Slope at 2.30 AM. They would not be joining us for an 8 am run. Seriously? That's a shame. Now excuse me, I think I need to vomit because I have migraine coming on.

Pain relievers, a shot of coffee, a dark room, and more sleep. I woke an hour and a half later later feeling better, with plans in my head to hit the art museum. There was no way, in spite of my desire, to go running on this, opening day.

Only Harris was at that moment heading out. To run. Wait! I joined him.

Distance: 3.4 miles
Temperature: 74º

Central Park. A lot of people out at 9.30 AM, running, biking, walking. Lots of shade, it is humid, to be sure. Huge storm last night, lots of large branches and even whole trees knocked down. Incredible. But it is a bright sunny day, and I got my run in. NOW, I am headed to the museum.

We have been here for only a little over half our stay. And yet, it hasn't happened yet. I feel confident in my success ... in handing out postcards. Now I actually have to perform. Oh. That's right. THAT'S why I am here.

NINA

Spent the late morning dozing, did some housework, took it easy. Left in the mid-afternoon to see Owen Dara's WHITE HORSE: AN IRISH CHILDHOOD.

I can't say why, for sure ... but I hate Irish drama. There were greats, to be sure, but recent efforts all seem to be pale homages to the originals. And they all have a common theme.

Whining. In that accent.

Maybe it's because I'm British. But shoot the fook oop.

I think it was the first time I saw DANCING AT LUGHNASA, and wanted to stab myself. The jigs and reels! The poverty! The beatings! The absent fathers, the incest and the drink, drink, drink!

I am not saying I hate the Irish. I hate the plays. Perhaps plural is too generous, because they all sound the same to me.

Of course, I am sharing all of this racist business because of Owen. We met him at the VPH on Saturday, and I was honestly surprised by his act, I didn't expect stand-up. And I laughed, we all did.

Photo: Owen and I sharing a tender moment last Saturday night.

His story follows some of the familiar line - he does comment on it, and play against it, and sometimes not - but it is the story he tells, and the way he tells it that made it my favorite show I have seen at FringeNYC so far this year. Very charming, very funny, and touching. Someone's story that is well worth the hearing. Even in that accent.

I had arrivied prior to the show with more ATYD labeled bottles of water. People really talk that shit up.

Liz and Harris threw a lovely little dinner party here, their friends and Josh and Kelly came and we had pot roastand there were lots of pregnancy stories (two pregnant ladies inna house) and then J&K & I headed to hand out postcards at the smash hit of the festival - and it only just opened! We met with outgoing audience members of ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S BIG GAY DANCE PARTY, and chatted up our show. And I do not believe, no one else was there passing out cards.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Okay, that's it.

Bed at midnight, up at 6 AM to walk ten blocks to the CBS headquarters for a crowd spot on the EARLY SHOW.

Not exactly prepared, I figured it would not hurt to show up and hand out postcards. I had an ATYD T-shirt on (not washed) which basically made me look like some guy, not an actor. Especially when I had actors from THE DOCTOR AND THE DEVILS in period costumes standing around me, dude from 6 SECONDS IN CHARLACK with his shirt off, and a giant nose from MAY-DECEMBER WITH THE NOSE AND CLAMMY getting a lot of, uh, face time.

I did get my hands on a FRINGE sign, and the folks from THE DOCTOR ... were kind enough to let me use a marker, so I did my best block lettering to write the URL of this site - which I am sure was entirely illegible.

Standing. On the pavement. For two and a half hours. The people were all nice, but my back hurts. A lot. My show opens tomorrow. I have had less than optimum sleep. I am making an executive order and telling the entire cast of my show (that's me) to stay home, rest, don't talk, and drink lots of fluids.

BTW - Everyone needs to see Jessica Manuel in THE ANTARCTIC CHRONICLES. I will explain why later.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Represent

Entered the Spring Street station last night to head home. Dude with a rhythm guitar and a drum machine struck up Grazin' In The Grass. He got a dollar. Play my song, get a dollar. Cowbell or no cowbell.

Walked past John Oliver on Saturday afternoon. Played it cool, just smiled. Half a block later I said, "Aw, sh*t! I should have given him a postcard!"

This morning Harris and I invited He-Who-Hates-New York to join us for a run in Central Park. I will leave it to Josh as whether he enjoyed it or not.

After, I sat in Washington Square Park, had a hot dog and a Pepsi and ran lines.

Tech was, all things considered, smooth. Tempers were even, communication was good, we got a run in (that was a nice change from previous festivals) and our Venue Director, Allison, is the hands-down shizzyizit.

I had bought a flat of 24 bottles of water at KMART because they were cheap. And then I realized this would be the only time I could see THE APERTURE ... which was at Bank & West Avenue in the FAR West Village. I schlepped them all the way there, gave them ATYD labels and handed them out to happy audience members. Said "hi" to Heather afterwards and met Isaiah. It isa very interesting show and they both do such a good job, there's one more show on Wed. if you can make it.

Then back across town to Dixon Place. I dropped postcards as many places I could on the way, including at Cherry Lane where a show had just let out. Everyone was chatting, there was a big crowd outside the theater, I think there was a lot of press there.

And that was when I noticed ... I feel like I am the only who labors in the old-fashioned fringe-style of handing out cards at other peoples' shows. I don't know what's up with that but I am the only person I see doing that. Maybe I am just in all the odd places at odd times, I dunno.

Onto BARGAINS & BLOOD (HOW TO SUCCEED IN HOME SHOPPING) to see Tracey G. perform for my first time since she left Cleveland, almost 15 years ago. She was tremendous, the whole cast was great fun.

The show falls into John Waters-style theater, trashy people being trashy (and one sweetheart.) So I have seen one of those, a socio-political drama, a singing cabaret and an evil clown show. I am just WAILING on the Fringe theater this time around.

The only thing missing is naked people.

It went so well I almost cried

Really. I almost did. Several times. Considering the nightmare that 2001 was wrangling what felt like 100 teenagers in 100 degree heat and 120% humidity, and the tech hell that was I HATE THIS, I was expecting a fire-y inferno. (The redundancy proves how much I was expecting disaster.) I was sitting up in the booth creating light cues as Dave performed below, gamely acting on, as I went back and forth with lights. And damn if we didn't hit the show at an hour twenty exactly!!!!! YEEEHAAA!!!!!

I still feel like crying a little. But that could be because I'm PMSing on top of everything.

Ok. Now I start crossing the fingers for opening.

Josh and I saw STATE OF UNDRESS tonight with Sabrina. The consensus was "adorable... with titties." It's a burlesque show with a story line. Heart-warming. Titillating. Very pretty women. It cracked me up that all the people in the first 5 rows were men by themselves. Not even a two or three together. Just a bunch of men that all showed up. Funny enough (not really), it was the women who reacted to the stripping the most.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Drunk & Battery


This is the first time in several night I have been in a home, anyone's home, before 1 AM. It is wildly relaxing.

The fact is, yesterday jes' plain whupped me. Harris woke me at 6.30 - the plan was to drop postcards at both the starting and finish lines of the NYC Half Marathon. The gun was to go off at Central Park (two blocks way) at 7 AM. Guess we were going to miss that. And me with only three hours of sleep.

We got to Battery Park for the finish around 8.30, with only a few elite runners having crossed the finish line already. As the finishers began trickling in, we handled to two major entrances to the post-race festivities and handed cards to dazed runners and their confused family members and supporters.

At Fringe events, they know why you are handing them cards. Here, it was like handing them out on the street. In New York. "Who the f*** are you?" Only not quite. No one was rude. Some brightened up when I said, "When I ran the New York City Marathon!" Others gave us the brush off until we said, "New York Fringe Festival!" and then they changed face and said, "Oh, cool!" and took a card.

We must have handed out almost 300 cards - and to a non-traditional audience! Yay alternative marketing exercise!

One guy listened to my pitch, and then had one of his own. "This half marathon sucked!" he confided, and then went on the kvetch about the water stops. Harris had asked me whether it were better to run an entire marathon in perfect, cool weather - or to run 13.1 miles in this humidity. I think they'd all rather have gone the distance.

Some were impressed by the idea of a show like this. Some thought the title was a little inappropriate. Me with the uplifting show titles.

After I headed to Brooklyn for a production meeting with Kelly, Josh and Sabrina at a diner in Park Slope. Sabrina is our Authorized Company Representative and she has been amazing, she is really on top of things, and her communication with the FringeNYC people has been going extremely well. We tech tomorrow and she went over a lot of issues which left me feeling calm and confident about what we have to do tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I was also two night's sleep-deprived, and fading horribly. As Leah was getting ready to leave town for a week and I was already in Brooklyn, she invited me over to hang out while she tidied up and packed, and I got to see her place in Bed-Stuy, and even close my eyes for a little bit.

Heading back to the Village, I decided to see one of my favorite acts from the night before at the VPH, live from Australia, MARK STOREN'S A DRUNKEN CABARET. This man is drop-dead hilarious, and charming and his show is great fun. It is a shame that the bar at the CSV was closed tonight - and I did have enough time to get something from across the street. I do not know if A DRUNKEN CABARET is funnier drunk, but I was willing to learn.

When the podcast for last night's even goes online, you have got to listen to the love song he sings - it went over even better last night than it did at this evening's performance. Because, you know. We were drunk.

So, no. I passed out no cards at Fringe shows today ... but we did a great job this morning, which, like most mornings the past few days, feels like years ago.

As it is every time we come

Stage Manager here.

Every time I come to SM a show in New York, something happens to make me stress the hell out. It doesn't help when you travel with Dave and Josh. When I think of calming presences, it's not them. (I love you, gentlemen, but you're not.)

So after trying to tie-up ends for another show I am stage managing before I go, get my house ready so it isn't infested when I come back, deal with two of my family's dogs dying in a week and having to schedule a production meeting the afternoon I have to go to NY, I'm not in a good place.

Then New Jersey happens. Dave has chronicled that enough. I will not add in my two cents.

But yesterday went well - I think. Dave might beg to differ, but we have gotten a good response from the other artists in the Fringe we've met so far. And going to the events we did yesterday, I have cemented my decision on some of the shows I now have to see.

We had a "production meeting" today with Sabrina. I feel prepared for tomorrow's tech. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed just in case. I need everything to go smoothly.

Hearts of Marketing


Considering the state in which we pulled into the city, yesterday was a pretty full, successful day. After running to the space and back Harris, Max and I walked - on Park Avenue - almost the entire way back up the avenue, more leisurely this time, with a stroller. Just another couple out for a walk with their three year-old. We met Liz for lunch and I headed out for FringeTEASERS.

Josh & Kelly phoned to say they, and the event's MC, were having great difficulty finding the space, it was tucked into a playground/b-ball court betwixt 6th Ave and Greenwich. By the time I got there I got to meet said MC Eva Dean and helped her and her assistant schlep a great, big fiberglass ball up the street.

The event itself was great fun, we got to see short pieces from a number of shows I would like to create the opportunity to see. However, it did seem as though we were only performing for each other, Fringe performers only.

Some acts did their piece and headed out, we chose to stay and see all the performances - which led Eva to ask me to fill in for someone who had not arrived. I had the distinct feeling the assembled were thinking, "oh no not him again" but then again, they were all seated in the sun under 80 degree heat. I kept using a microphone that didn't actually work. I felt kind of wonky and unsure. No surprise there.

Leah caught up with us and the four of us had Chinese before heading to the CSV Cultural and Educational Center to see EGG FARM. A two-man, evil clown show (complete with bowlers) EF is about some post-apocalyptic time when humanity's only hope is gene-splicing themselves to the last-living chicken. Very Fringy! Lots of songs and great movement pieces. And I know evil clown shows.

Josh hung around to watch THE DOCTOR AND THE DEVILS while Leah showed me around the Bowery until it was time for the VARIETY POWER HOUR. It was a little weird at first, the guy at the door (I think he worked for Tanqueray, not for the Fringe, I can't be sure) was confused when we and some drag queens arrived at 10.30. The show didn't start until eleven. But we'd been asked to arrive early. And the MC couldn't be found. Eventually he let us in anyway, and Leah and I tried to discuss how I was going to possibly be funny in an interview session, if the need arose.

Unfortunately, we both got bogged down in a deep, introspective treatise about my show and what it means. Interesting. Meaningful. Not funny.

When the doors opened - still no MC, apparently - we were told we could move to the lunge one flight down, which is where the free gin was, and sandwiches. Folks started arriving, networking, passing out postcards, having a good time. I still didn't understand where the act was going to be - or how they were going to record it for a podcast.

Then they announced the show was about the begin - downstairs. Another downstairs! A sub-basement! Cool!

The show was great fun. I am, I hate to admit this, not much of a late-night person anymore. And I had gotten scant rest the night before, and run six miles, and blah blah blah, I hoped I would hold out. I was delighted to find it was a real high-intensity and hilarious evening.

The regular MC, Charlie, was held up on a train for an hour. His surrogates made an excellent substitute while he was away ... the show was not just a selection of five minute performances, but brief interviews promoting the shows, and some energetic, semi-improvised party games for which, as they say, you had to be there. (Seen at right: Bollywood Dance Number.)

I went last, which was nerve-rattling as I was under the impression that of all the pieces mine was the lowest-keyest and least outrageous ... well, except for the urination and implied bestiality. I am interested to hear how the podcast turns out, I felt like every interview question they asked I said "I dunno," first, and then they restated the question so I had the chance to think of something clever.

Which was very nice, when you think about it.

Spring St. Station, 6 Train, in bed by 2.30 am. I (Heart) NY.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

This must be the place

Car-Free Streets to 440 Lafayette

Yes, yes I did. That was awesome (and thank you, B.) I mostly kept to my music and kept right (cyclists on the left) making my way downtown, down Park Avenue, skyscrapers on either side.

You call it shadow. I call it shade.

Oh, the urban lifestyle. I wanted to take my cellphone, and thought I would need to hold it. Harris says, "you've got a pocket." No, I don't. He points to the iPod strap I have been using for the past five years. It didn't just hold a cellphone, it held it tight.

Oh. Yes. I see. Hey!

Free water, even free iced coffee, that hit the spot during the last five blocks. I dropped postcards at the Robert Moss - did I say it was up the street from the Public? Sorry, it's right across the street from the Public. So you know.

Walked a little to take calls from the wife, the kids. Leah rang, she'll meet us at FringeTEASERS - which by the way I will be performing at at 3:20 PM in the playground at PS 41 between W. 11th and Greenwich at Charles. You should join me.

FringeNYC 09 Playlist
Halo - Beyonce
Pon de Replay - Rhianna
No Pause - Girl Talk
The Power - Snap!
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight - The Postal Service
American Boy (Soulseekerz Club Remix) - Estelle
Don't Cha (Ralphie's Hot Freak Radio Mix) - The Pussycat Dolls
Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas
This Must Be The Place - Miles Fisher
Dry County - The B-52s
Wannabe - Spice Girls
Daft Punk Is Playing at My House - LCD Soundsystem

Distance: 6.2 miles
Temperature: 75º
Weather: hot!

I should do that again next Saturday.

Arrival


When Kelly surprised me with the news that she had a production meeting that started at 1 PM yesterday, I flipped out. I flipped out then. I was unpleasant. I was petulant. It was irritable. And then I was resigned.

When we were stuck on the Jersey side in the parking lot of a closed gas station at 12:30 am because the Lincoln Tunnel was closed (after waiting in traffic for an hour to even get close) with a throbbing empty tank light, on the phone with my wife to triangulate where we were and how exactly to get to the GWB, I was and calm and breathing easily. Because I knew this would happen.

I need to call Kelly and Josh and see when they finally got to Park Slope at Josh's brother's house. I was lucky, I just needed to navigate NYC city streets to Harris & Liz's place, and then I got to get out. I did head the wrong way down a one-way street, but if you are going to do that, 2 AM really is the best time.

There was an air mattress waiting for me, and a very friendly cat. It was distressing that I could not fall asleep right away.

But we are here. I have a street theater thing at 2 PM. I need a bagel.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Love's Not For Me

Looking backward ... looking forward.

Compared to the festivities of the 2001 Fringe, returning in 2004 was a bit of a lonely soul-journey.

It was an exciting summer, to be sure. Earlier that season we had opened the first outside-of-NYC run of Kirk Wood Bromley's The American Revolution, and the night we departed for the Fringe was the official unveiling of Spencer Tunick's photo in Cleveland. And there was an election brewing, the less said about, the better.

I was mentally prepared ... this time I would not have a dozen excitable teenagers with me. Just Brian. Okay, Brian and Kelly and Harris, but mostly Brian. Any illusion I had about this being a triumphant artistic and financial success were quickly dashed when our professional-grade CD player was stolen from out of my car.

The first full day out, Brian and I got organized, visited FringeCENTRAL, and then he went his separate way. As though he were some kind of autonomous being who did rely upon the company of others. I do not comprehend this (no doubt why I am addicted to facebook.)

I am alone. I have no spouse, no small child with me. Where will I go? Who will I be? What will I eat?

The performances went well, though it was marginally attended. I can't blame the venue, which was located in the sticks (8th Avenue? Are you kidding me, why not perform it in the river?) but maybe instead the subject matter. A notice in the NY Times came and went, and still we attracted maybe a dozen people a show.

By that point, however, the family had joined me and we had a proper NY weekend, taking in the children's zoo and the numerous kids' parks. I will miss them a great deal this summer. God, the girl was tiny, and so happy to be there, or anywhere.

The big show that year was Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead. Still have a soft spot for that show, the Fringe production was amazing. I love being in a packed audience of people who all feel like they are engaged in something truly special.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Always Arriving (153 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 65º
Weather: cool & humid
Weight: 153.5 lbs.

This is it, we leave today. Admittedly later than I had hoped but not everyone can take a day off work. Speaking of which, I have taken six days from my vacation time. Time I might otherwise be spending with the family in Maine or something, instead they are all for me, for this endeavor. I am trying not to feel selfish about that.

I will attempt to log daily updates here, I will TWEET as often as seems like there is something to twit about, I don't want to get too obnoxious about that.

There are at least a few people I know attending each performance, and that's nice. I should warn them I take all my clothes off.

Let's get this party started.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Honestly

Knee flared up a little yesterday, decided to sleep in.

This is the route I will (perhaps, I hope) be taking on Saturday morning. Only 3.1 miles from Harris' place to the performance space! Not that I need to be at the performance space at, say, 10 AM on Saturday, but it's, you know ... kinda cool. The idea of it.

Today TIME OUT NEW YORK put up their Time Out New York's Fringe Binge 2009 page on their site. Guess who is featured!

No, sorry, no, not me. Big, gay 16th President, come on, get with the program. I really want to see that show, too, but I am not sure if I am going to get in on my Fringe discount, there's just too much hype.

I am thrilled, however, that reviews are finding their way onto these pages dedicated to individual productions, the support means a great deal, and who knows, maybe people reads those things.

Last day at work today, tomorrow at noon Josh, Kelly and I depart for points East.



I (Heart) Calvin Harris!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Contact

I saw two houses in my neighborhood receive daily papers this morning.

Why doesn't anybody read anymore?

Lots of last-minute back-and-forth about technical issues. There are about a dozen shows being performed over three weekends at the Robert Moss Theatre. A number of us needs projectors and screens. Who has a projector? Who has a screen? Can we borrow your screen? Can we borrow your screen without paying you $500 in advance for a replacement bulb? Will our projector be in the way of your projector? How long will it take to knock up the screen?

All of this information travels to and from the different productions through a single source and no one is allowed to contact the actual managers of the venue - ever.

That last makes perfect sense, of course, if all of this mis-communication were threading through my front office, I'd never let you use my space again, either.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Inferno Express (175 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 67º
Weather: cool & humid
Weight: 156 lbs.

I have run out of things to say. I want to get to New York.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party


The Onion: Body fluids and jazz hands: 5 shows to see at the Fringe Festival

So that's how it is ... all Big Gay Lincoln, all the time. I know which show we're all going to be handing out postcards in front of.

THE FINAL PUSH!

Dozens of kind souls have helped cover promotional and administrative costs to send AND THEN YOU DIE to the New York Fringe. But we still have outstanding printing costs, travel expenses and rental items to cover.

We leave for NYC in three days! Please push that donation button!

Thank you.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Regenerator (143 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 71º
Weather: muggy
Weight: 156 lbs.

And speaking of John Hughes ...

Back in 2001 Dobama Theatre sent the Night Kitchen production of Angst:84 to the NY Fringe. My wife wrote that to be produced in late 2000. My, what a different era that was.

We'd spent a decadent weekend in NYC in August of that year when Harris mentioned "the Fringe" was going on that weekend (then in its fourth year) and we said, "what is that?"

I saw three shows, one of them hilarious - The Complete Lost Works of Samuel Beckett as Found in an Envelope (Partially Burned) in a Dustbin in Paris Labeled: "Never to Be Performed. Never. Ever. Ever! Or I'll Sue! I'll Sue from the Grave!!!" - and two of them really, really awful - the where's-the-clowns-at Frankenclown, and another piece that I will not mention by name.

The un-nameless piece (which I am not naming because unlike the non-clowny Frankenclown, it was a solo piece with four actors - solo because the main guy wrote, directed and performed in it, it was obviously a labor of great love and I don't want to poop on it here) falls into a category of solo productions (really, it felt like a solo piece, only with a couple other people on stage ... there were a lot of monologues by the main character) which I call the touching-coming-out-story-with-terrible-music play.

There were no songs in this play, either, but there was a deeply tedious recitation of the "balcony scene" from Romeo & Juliet, which is only slightly worse. So it's a solo piece for four actors with music in the form of Shakespeare, but it felt like one of those other plays.

I digress.

We had a great weekend, I learned about disco sushi, we actually closed a Manhattan bar and I learned how to illegally download music. It was the turn of the century. It was the best of times, full-stop.

The original run of Angst:84 had played out in Cleveland and the application to the Fringe was in the mail before the sky fell, the boy died, and we wondered how the hell we were going to enjoy anything ever again. The acceptance came into the mail in the spring, shortly after we returned from Athens and there was a decision to make. We'd go.

My reaction and hers were very different. I wanted to forget everything, to be a kid again. The show was cast with more than a dozen people under the age of 20, it wasn't going to be just a production, it was going to be like camp. There was a fund-raiser scheduled in the old Dobama space, an eighties dance night and I made an idiot of myself on the dance floor. My wife hid in the green room.

My role in the Fringe run itself was small. I was running sound, in the steamy-hot, 90 degree booth of the former Present Company space with Kelly. Everyone tech'ed in their underwear.

I spent the week running around the Lower East Side, checking out as many productions as possible. I think I saw maybe sixteen, it was incredible. A number of them were solo pieces, one in particular, Chosen (monkey-monkey-monkey-monkey) stuck with me, because it was very, very funny but also clearly drawn - it was an inspiration. At first I thought, I can't do that. Then I realized, I could do that, or something like that, and tell my own story.

Odd thing, in grief, surrounded by teenagers. In a way, that was a good thing. A reaffirmation of all that is fun, playful, superficially dramatic, sexy, almost innocent (but not quite.) But then again, you can't talk to them about what's troubling you, only what's troubling them. Stillbirth? No, not really. Sorry, pass.

Our Fringe trip to NYC was a month before 9/11. Elliott really wanted to see the Twin Towers but I passed on that excursion, another time. I came back to New York in October, three weeks after the event. I had just been there. But it was somewhere else.

(More photos here ...)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Video Trek Results

The 20-mile run part of the play is pretty significant and I had this idea to try and film it on my bike way back last fall when we were first producing this thing. The weekend I wanted to do it back then, I discovered that I did not have the right kind of video camera for this bouncy, jarring ride, and so my plans were dashed. But I really wanted to try and make it work, and so with a borrowed Mini-DV camera and the help of my two lovely assistants, Kelly and Marian, I attempted to film the run today. I have a new-found respect for Pengo after biking his 20-mile trek from Cleve. Hts. to Lakewood. Granted, when he did it, it was in the fall, without 90+ degree heat and Atlanta-level humidity, but still... that's a long trip!

We got off to a bit of a rocky start, with some technical difficulties. The camera kept moving back and forth a lot on the handlebars, and I was not sure how to fix the mount to keep it stationary, especially given the varying road conditions. We stopped on Monticello for about 15 minutes while Marian and I tried different things to fix it. I was afraid for a while that we might have to abort, but then I realized what I had to do to make the mount secure and we were back on the road.

The first leg was really nice. We got to Murray Hill and Marian said, "This hill terrifies me!" But we made it down safely, and all the way around University Circle to the beginning of MLK. We had a brief check-in with Kelly, and then it was on to the lake. The ride down MLK was beautiful - I shall have to do it again some time. We hit the lake and got on the bike/running trail, and all was fine until the trail joined Marginal Road. Then, on the same plane as the water and with no buildings to protect us, the wind picked up and it got really hard going. Plus it seemed to be a on a very slight upgrade. We stopped briefly to drink around CPP, then kept on going. The first tape was about 3/4 gone and I wanted to make the Rock Hall before it ran out.

Nearing Burke Lakefront Airport, we could see that something was going on at the stadium. People were parking in all the municipal and military lots and walking up to East 9th, wearing Browns gear. Turns out today was Browns Family Day. So there was a lot of foot traffic to deal with. In the final video this will only last for a few seconds but it might be weird. I did a quick tape change and we hit the next part of the trail. West 3rd Street was the first real uphill battle and we were already pretty tired, but we made it to Superior without too much trouble.

Having biked over the Detroit-Superior Bridge many times this summer on my way to and from work, it seems to me that going west over the bridge is steeper than going east. Or maybe I'm just more tired in the evening. Anyway, I was expecting a tough ride over the bridge, and we did not hit the traffic lights in an effective manner, so we were stopped just before hitting the bridge. Marian managed to make it over under her own power, but I'm ashamed to say I had to get off and walk about halfway up. After the bridge we stopped to check in with Kelly at the parking lot at Detroit and West 25th. We were both feeling pretty spent and Marian thought she might hurl after the effort of the bridge, so Kelly offered to go get us some more hydration while we rested.

After a 10 or so minute rest, during which Kelly called to ask us what we would like from the limited selection at the convenience store from where she was calling, we decided to push on and meet her on the road. We got back out onto Detroit, and around the Harp tavern Kelly caught up with us and gave us some bottled drinks. We decided to meet her again at the top of Edgewater Park.

Heading out again, Detroit was pretty flat and we made good time. We turned down West 65th and hit the underpass. Edgewater Park was another lovely part of the ride and it was nice to get some shade again. We rounded the beach and hit the hill, and sad to say, we both had to leg it this time. No uphill riding after 14 miles of biking for us. At the top we met Kelly, had a brief rest and then pushed on for the final 5 miles. We were both pretty spent at this point but we could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I have to say, for a "Premier Neighborhood", West Cleveland's sidewalks on Lake Avenue are pretty awful. There was more bouncing and jarring and shocking on this leg than during any other part of the ride. Eventually we moved off the sidewalk and into the street just to save our spines and the camera. I was counting off the miles on my odometer and hoping we could make it to the end before another tape or battery change, but fate conspired against me. About 3 miles from the end we had to stop to change tapes, and then 10 minutes later the battery died. Good thing I brought a spare. With fresh supplies we gamely pushed to the end of Lake Ave, then up to Clifton and down to Pengo's parents' house. Kelly was parked across the street and she turned around and picked us up. We were both pretty dead and after showers and lunch, I came home and took a long, sweaty, uncomfortable nap.

I don't even know how good the video will look. It may not be usable at all. Compressing 2 hours of video into 5 or 6 minutes will be difficult, but at the very least I got a great workout!

Promotion

The key to a successful Fringe show is (here it comes) buzz. Which is to say, people are talking about your show. Not necessarily in a good way, a bad way could be good way, better to be talked about than not, if you follow me. I do find the idea of everyone talking about your show, but they are all saying, "Don't see this show, it's really difficult to sit through and a waste of your time" as defending the no such thing as bad publicity trope, but some truly believe this to be the case.

I digress.

You can't create buzz by buying advertising. Well, I mean, you can, you just can't be caught doing it. No one wants to be told something is cool, they want to discover it themselves, through other people they think are cool, who tell them this is so. Or read about it first, perhaps in a major publication, on NPR or on the Internet.

I have no advertising budget to speak of. I used a service to distribute press releases to media outlets, and postcards to likely FringeNYC ticket buyers. Other than that, I will use whatever least-expensive path I can to getting the word out, hopefully a good word. Waiting until the show opens is too late to create "buzz" (wait, do they still say "buzz" I was using that term in 2003 and then it was very old) because I have five performances in four consecutive days. I need to let people know I am there, very fast. Like, now. Fringe starts in a week, my show in 12 days.

Bad news! ATYD did not make the cut for the half-dozen shows mentioned briefly in the sidebar in this week's Sunday Times. Rats. Not surprising, it was a six out of 200 shot. Those profiled admittedly stand out from the crowd, and in some cases featured artists familiar to the writer of the article. What did I expect?

Good news! I will hit the ground running (hahahahaha) when I arrive in NYC, participating in an outdoor event on Saturday, 8/15 called FringeTEASERS (at the PS41 Playground at Greenwich and Charles Street) where productions put on five minutes from their show al fresco and hand out surprises to what we hope will be a crowd.

Also, I just got word that I will be a guest at the FringeCLUB VARIETY POWER HOUR that night at 11 PM. Not only do I get to do a short bit, and be interviewed for the live studio audience, it will be recorded and featured on the VPH Podcast.

In addition, I (or willing surrogates) will no doubt visit those shows profiled in NYT to hand out postcards to the departing audience. Also, Harris make an excellent suggestion - the ING NYC Half-Marathon is Saturday. I need to roll out early and hand out cards to participants and loved ones.

Anyone will other good ideas are strongly encouraged to make them. Really. I mean, now.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Chasing the Horizon (135 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 80º
Weather: hot!
Weight: 157.5 lbs.

It appears we will be having some summer weather after all. I headed out with the remnants of last night's dinner party settled into that space just above my left eye. Every step, every time my foot touched the pavement, it throbbed.

For a while. I thought about the show, about New York, about the arts camp, about work, about the birthday party this afternoon. And it faded. It went awake. There is a ghost of it now, to which I must say a tearless good-bye.

Take that ... head.

Video Trek



Josh (with Marian riding shotgun and Kelly driving behind as support) has just set out from our house in Cleveland Heights to trace my twenty mile run from here to my folks place in Lakewood. He has a camera strapped to the handlebars, he wants to use to video in the show in New York.

I am glad he asked if he could use our sunscreen. The trip shouldn't take much more than an hour and a half or so. I envy them, it's a beautiful day for a ride.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Street Life

2009 Car-Free Summer Streets
For three Saturdays in August, New York City will have a 6.9 mile car-free path leading from the Brooklyn Bridge in Lower Manhattan to the East 72nd Street entrance of Central Park. The street closures will occur from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on three consecutive Saturdays in August, the 8th, 15th and 22nd. The streets to be closed are Centre Street, Lafayette Street, 4th Avenue and Park Avenue.

Oh SNAP! I am going to run from Harris' apartment on 68th Street all the way to my FringeTEASERS performance a week from today! IN THE STREET!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Can I borrow your underpants for ten minutes?

John Hughes Playlist
Holiday Road - Lindsey Buckingham (Nation Lampoon's Vacation, 1983)
If You Leave - Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (Pretty In Pink, 1986)
Pretty In Pink - Psychadelic Furs (Pretty In Pink, 1986)
(Don't You) Forget About Me - Simple Minds (The Breakfast Club, 1985)
Weird Science - Oingo Boingo (Weird Science, 1985)
Young Guns (Go For It!) - Wham! (Sixteen Candles, 1984)
If You Were Here - The Thompson Twins (Sixteen Candles, 1984)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 59º
Weather: just cool
Weight: 156 lbs.

There was a time Judd Nelson was considered sexy.

And here's your Friday morning wake-up call ...



"Don't be a goof, Carl."

Thursday, August 06, 2009

It's gonne be a lovely day for you and me just wait and see

Full moon. Morning star. Cloudless sky. Hot disco.

Two more days of summer arts camp. I will miss some of these kids. There's a few who attended the entire camp - but aren't available for the final presentation tomorrow. So this week has been kind of a bummer for them, we put them in the show but they know they won't be part of the celebration. And this week has been one of less fun, more work. So it's a drag for them.

Passed a beefy guy, looked formerly athletic, huffing up a side-street. He kept stopping. I think he's trying to resume health. Hope I see him again, and that his lungs have improved.

It truly has been a cool summer.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Track Stars (145 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 57º
Weather: cool & humid
Weight: 156.5 lbs.

And now a word from our stage manager ...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

So, since the design team and I have been included in this blog, and we are gearing up again, AND we haven't really done anything since waaaaaay before we did the Big [Box], I thought it might be time for all you lucky people to hear from me - the lovely and talented stage manager. I know, I know. I've neglected you, my fans. I apologize from the bottom of my god box. (That's not a euphemism! That's my tool! Wait....)

Yes, I accept all thanks that Mr. Solo gives out. Hell if we didn't earn those. I would also like to thank Nick (oh my goodness, you get, like, 50 hours free babysitting now), Josh, and Ali for making my life almost bearable in an otherwise close to hellish 24 hours. Willy, Jeremy, Beth: thankyouthankyouthankyou.

Yes. It was rough and we made adjustments on the fly. But, the performance went well. Only one light blew out and the audience loved it. And the big screen did work very well. (I wanted to tell him that from the start, but I knew he wouldn't listen - these artist types are soooo sensitive!)

It was good to get this out of the way - I mean, accomplished. I feel much more prepared to go to NY and have 3 hours to tech now. 24 is going to seem like a luxury! So, I leave all of you, my loving fans, to dream of the madcap adventures that I will get into. Get your decoder rings ready!

Loge Life

Yesterday I hit the alarm and thought, "Are you kidding me?" So I reset it for 6:00 and two seconds later the alarm went off at 6:00 and I thought, "Are you f***ing kidding me?"

Not running in the morning this week is leaving me feeling unhappy and ill. Had a headache most of the day, how much of that had to do with the wrangling of fifty 9-12 year-olds at arts camp, I dunno.

We have two more days until the final presentation. I will be in NYC in 9 days for the Fringe.

And then my summer is over. I think I can say without fear of doubt that the reason it has been going so fast is because, well, I have been having fun.

Are y'all hitting the nytheatrecast from nytheatre.com? They have been featuring shows from FringeNYC09 the past few weeks, if you are a podcasting-funperson, you should check them out.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Round the Bend (155 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 67º
Weather: cool & humid
Weight: 157 lbs.

Eeuughh ... had one of those sick feelings in my stomach as I walked the last half a block, that really, really hungry feeling, which is odd, I don't usually get those. It is especially weird considering how much we had to eat last night at the game, not an obscene amount, but it was all very rich and caloric. Maybe that's why.

Our company were guests in a suite at the ballpark. That was a real treat. The boy sat on his mother's lap for pretty much the entire game, watching the game. Even though we were losing. The girl wanted to color pictures of princesses back in the loge. The feminist in me fairly reels.

Things I wish to accomplish this weekend after arts camp is over: Mow the lawn. Pull weeds. Paint the playroom. Peace in the Middle East. I think I can pull off two of these.

Happy birthday, Dad!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Review


Wow! Thank you for all the positive reviews on theatermania.com! It is going to be quite a challenge attracting attention to the show in NYC, but things like this really do help.

What might Pengo See at the Fringe?

The Boxer

Bootstraps Comedy Theater
Writer: Matt Lyle
Director: Matt Lyle
Choreographer: Nancy Schaeffer
Depression Era. A bumbling Boxer. A lass dressed like a lad. THE BOXER is a unique silent film on-stage in the style of Chaplin and Keaton comedies. Live music, Love and Laughter gang up in this roundhouse hit from Texas.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Projection

A happy improvisation, we discovered it was impossible to rig the projector for Saturday night without making the image enormous ... so we decided the hell with it, and Ali, Josh & Kelly hung a gigantic screen of sheets on the back wall of the Parish Hall. Often the image was projected onto me.

And it was really freaking cool.


Struggling up the Queensboro Bridge.


The Legend of Marathon


Twenty Miles.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Velocity Angels (172 BPM)

The mixes I am currently listening to were released when the 2006 Marathon was over, and I was taking a break from running. So I haven't heard a lot of them. This one was particularly, inspiring, soothing ... and fast!

One side-effect of re-rehearsing this production in a week, rather than a few months, is that my calves are very sore today.

On an entirely different note ... dude needs some new jock straps.you

Got five more days of summer arts camp to go. We stage a final presentation on Friday. Wish me luck!

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 60º
Weather: cool & humid
Weight: 154.5 lbs.



... mmmmmmaybe ...

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Final Dress

Hey - it's August.

I have always depended upon the kindness of strangers. But why am I consistently astonished at the kindness of friends?

Nick Koesters (who is always the best guy in the room) spent far too much of his valuable time last night turning the Parish Hall into a room where you can see. That's not mentioning the time-and-again hard work of Ali, Kelly and Josh, nailing down the technical elements so I could go off and wander around Cleveland heights muttering lines to myself.

Fourth Wall Production provided technical materials, as did Great Lakes Theater Festival and Theater Ninjas. No doubt there are other organizations and individuals I have not mentioned here, but will remember to before tonight, at curtain or in the program.

Also, Cat turned in new cartoons yesterday morning (EARLY yesterday morning) to round out Pengo's CV. We have a 90s era front page for The Free Times, but no cartoons of the fictional strip ANGST. That has been amended. Enjoy!

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Everybody Skip (132 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 65º
Weather: cool & humid
Weight: 154.5 lbs.

Difficult run this morning. A little warmer, a little more humid after sunrise ... and then there was the sun. Got more sleep than I have in more than a week last night, but I am weary with worry. My walk last night was extremely helpful. Refreshing. And relaxing. And fun.

We tech at noon. The performing space at the Parish Hall is a little claustrophobic compared to that in the Levin. It will be like watching me in a box. I think I can have some fun, though, scurrying around in that little cage.

You should come see it.