Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bitter fruit

Not too impressed with the Pomplamoose cover of Single Ladies. I usually trip on stuff like this - disaffected boy-girls singing atonally. Astrid Gilberto. Tracey Thorn (I take that back, Tracey - you've never been atonal.)

But the way this singer can barely get the word "years" out stretches patience, and the bridge is, let's face it, insulting. "Don't make me sing this part of the song - the lyrics are so bad ..?" Funny with a start the first time you hear it, and then you realize how tedious and repetitive the rest of the recording is. Don't make you sing it? Honey, who asked you to cover Beyoncé anyway except you wanted this to go viral.

These f*cking hipsters.

Now thass more like it.

And News Flash - Cleveland got the 2014 Gay Games! Yay, Cleveland! We're not Detroit! We're not Detroit!

And you know what happens when the Gay Games comes to your town? Everyone turns gay!

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Beats Walking (154 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 54º
Weather: rain
Gear: rain jacket, rain hat, shorts - could have used gloves.

Brisk 6 AM run, the weather ... is hurting me. I love fall, I really do, the kids make every day an adventure - school, soccer, homework, Halloween, just everything. But the cool snap closed my right sinus and last night I was a crippled mess.

I slept from nine until eleven after taking medication, felt much better and then I was up for an hour ... and woke at 3 AM and couldn't get back to sleep. By four I was up and around, cleaning dishes, folding laundry, lulling two children back to sleep, reading Dracula ... the wife did not think a run would be a good idea, but I thought it would be worse not to. I'll be sleepy early, but the air did me massive good. So, I believe, did the rain.

Nice bpm. Really slowed me down enough to miss most of the puddles.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lightning Pains

Distance: 4.25 miles
Weather 69º sunny with big fluffy clouds - gorgeous!

Chunk Style Playlist
Birdhouse In Your Soul - They Might Be Giants
Dry County - The B-52s
The Power - Snap!
She Drives Me Crazy - Fine Young Cannibals
Elephants & Flowers - Prince
Party Machine - Hoodoo Gurus
This Corrosion - The Sisters of Mercy

The things about listening to your record collection from a certain era is ... the songs don't change. Funny. I guess that's the point. "There is no other music."

You know when I was younger, I thought he had a point - that today's music (i.e. in the early 80s) is garbage. I have since come to the conclusion that almost everything on The Big Chill soundtrack is pretty facile, too. That's the thing. The movie is a big, dark joke. A lot of people don't get that joke.

Last week I noticed (minor) deep pain on one side of my back, lower back. The wife said it sounded like a hamstring problem. Right side. I always ache on the right side. Right side lower-back, right side below the shoulder blade.

Yesterday night, it was the outside of my right foot. Up through my right calf and into my right thigh - on the outside. The right side is where my meralgia rests.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Death By Stereo

It's the big uggh today... though not a bad place to have it. Life has afforded little chance to run. Early mornings, late evenings. And worst of all ... I don't want to. Why? Perhaps because the weather has turned. In fact, that may be a big part of it. When it's hot, and I just can't sleep any long at 5 in the morning, well. Let's go!

When it's cool, however, and you were up until 12 midnight folding laundry, drinking bouron and watching Glee on Hulu, and there's a warm body next to yours who also indluges in the snooze bar. Well. Let's not.

Wednesday night, I couldn't sleep, fretting over the CPAC grant, and Friday night I was up late completeing the thing. Waking at five yesterday all I could think was that, before I had the chance to sleep again, I would need to ride through a long day, pack the car and drive four hours to Athens.

But at least then I would be in Athens. And here I am.

The woke woke me long before I chose because he wanted comapny on the front porch. Morning, coffee, front porch, and heavy rain. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Distance: 4.25 miles
Weather 65º and damp


Pefect run by the Hocking. Cool and cloudy and student-free. I don't know where they all were, 4 pm is pretty late to be in bed with a hangover but I was running past Sotuh Green.

I always run past South Green. In my mind, I am always running past South Green.

I feel the slackening as days go by without a run. I see it. In my belly, my thighs, I can feel my butt just drop. I look in the mirror and appear puffy and old. The pants stop fitting properly - and fast.

Everything in its right place.

Chunk Style Playlist
World In My Eyes - Depeche Mode
Pump Up The Volume - M/A/R/R/S
Smooth Criminal - Michael Jackson
Doin Da Butt - Gap Band
Don't Wanna Fall In Love - Jane Child
I Wanna Be a Flintstone - Screaming Blue Messiahs
Higher Ground - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Good Times * - INXS & Jimmy Barnes
House of the Rising Sun - Tracy Chapman
End Of The Line * - Traveling Wilburys

Post-run outdoor shower, last of the season (well, until tomorrow.) Dr. Bronner's, steam whips up, pagan thoughts. Ran into someone from school I hadn't seen inwell, since then. Going on eightteen years. Said he remembered I was quite a player. A Player? Moi? But I spent so much time - my entire life - cultivating a sense of neurotic detachment. I just wanted love and acceptance, it wasn't some kind of hustle, that wasn't me ... was it?

See: "Cultivate." Poor me. Charlie Brown. Introspective. So sexy. Player.

Sorry, my mind is everywhere today. Everywhere and nowhere ... there's a dog here, there's always a dog here, usually more than one. I get serious sinus pain, leads to migraines. I have been fighting this all day. The run helped, big time. And it put me into this place of self-examination ... I mean, it usually does, Jesus, just hit the "Athens" label at the bottom of this entry.

I began smoking (if you do not count the sasfrass leaves we dried and crumbled into rolling papers in fifth grade - that put off real ciagrettes for five years) when I was fifteen. One cigarette a day, on average, for three years. When I left for college, that increased to five a day (on average) until I was almost 33. I was never a chain smoker, but I know there were pack a day periods in school, when I was cartooning.

But let's say, to low-ball it, that's over 30,000 cigarettes. How many days did that strip from my life? If I do not develop some kind of tobacco-related cancer, how much strain did that put on my system, how many days lost? My grandfather lived to be 94. Do I get that? 80 years? 70? Does my running make any difference? Do I get to put days back onto the calendar that I destroyed by inhaling smoke?

There's a more poetic way to put that, I am sure there is. On our way out of town last month, Eva invited Kelly and I for brunch at her place in Brooklyn. We talked about many things, including this play. I made mention of the nytheatre review, where Denton says he does not get why I am running, it's not clear. I mentioned the cigarette thing. Eva thought I should put that in, that that might od the trick.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Yes, it has taken a week to get another run in. And it has been depressing, or at least it would have been if I had two moments to rub together to be depressed about it.

All summer, I ran. Every day, or at least every other day. I ran to stay alert, confident, positive, healthy, to keep myself firm, taut, to hold headaches at bay, to feel my blood running, to stay alive.

The Saturday morning plan was to rise early. I'd run, she'd write, then I'd write and she would do yoga. But I had longed for rest and I woke with a headache - the weekly Saturday morning headache. I had been struggling to get eight hours the past few nights, which was impossible. Up at 5.00, out by 6.30 - how to get to bed by 9.30? Impossible.

I hit the snooze bar once or twice and then just gave up, I was hating myself. Waste of a weekend morning. Complete waste. The entire weekend was going to be a race to keep up. Nothing would be accomplished, just a lot of running in place.

Last night my wife reminded me of my "tweet" on Friday. Pengo exhales. I just negotiated a summer arts camp, a fringe festival, a block party, and an extended rehearsal period.

The joints do not ache. The knees are good. The head does not ache (not much, not usually.) I am not having a heart attach any time soon. I have support, love, a job I love, ideas for the future. A home, smart kids, a spouse who reminds me of what I have accomplished, and not what I haven't.


Last night I wrote new scene, or rather, completed an old one. I haven't written anything new in what feels like ages. And this morning ... I went out for a run.

Welcome fall!

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Velociraptor (181 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 67º
Weather: light rain, light wind ... and humid
Weight: 158.5 lbs.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


No show, no race. Why am I running?

Harris' Restorative Elixir

1 quart water
1/4 tsp potassium based salt substitute
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Paintshaker (176 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 71º
Weather: humid
Weight: 158.5 lbs.

176 bpm? I sneer at your 176 bpm.

MASSIVE PROPS to Karl on his Half-Marathon, and Harris on his Four Miler! Let's all get out and run today!

Yay, manic depression!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The best of times

Thanks for all the supportive comments about today's appearance on AROUND NOON. Those of you who missed it can still podcast or stream it from their site.

I misunderstood the run-down of the show, and thought I would be returning to the mic following the performance - as a result, I failed to mention the supporting voices by name. They are actor-teachers from Great Lakes Theater Festival, and had featured appearances in this order:

Nathan Ramos, Annie Hickey, Steve West, Tim Keo and Carrie Williams.

As we did with the radio drama for I HATE THIS, I thought additional voices would provide more context to the reading than just doing it all myself. That doesn't mean it wasn't confusing, but hey, it was live, an experiment, and hopefully fun to listen to. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

The broadcast is worth it for the performances of Joe McBride alone. Heidi Klum has your number, friend.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Techstasy (136 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 65º
Weather: humid
Weight: 158.5 lbs.

Noble to Home

Crappy morning, very difficult to sleep last night, my sinuses plugged up, woke with the origins of a migraine which are still within me - I have a nail in my right eye and a queasy feeling in my stomach - though running cleared my head greatly, I am hoping this is an upward progression ... it is going to be a long, full day. I have work, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards and then a rehearsal of my wife's play for the benefit this weekend.

It's our local Father's Walk to School Day, so at 6 AM I drove to my girl's school, parked, ran home (the long way) and will shortly walk her to school before driving to work. The best of times.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

OPEN AIR on "Around Noon"

Listen LIVE tomorrow, Wednesday, September 9 from 12 noon - 1PM (ET) to Around Noon on WCPN 90.3 FM for an interview with me and a short segment from And Then You Die.

... or drop by and watch it in person at the IdeaCenter at Euclid and E. 14th Street downtown. I have pressed a few GLTF actor-teachers into service (thank you - Annie, Carrie, Nathan, Steve and Tim!) in an attempt to make it a bit more radio-interesting. Listen in and see how we do.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Voyager (146 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 70º
Weather: muggy
Weight: 158.5 lbs.

In spite of my protestations of perfect physical shape, I have been distressed by certain complaints the past several days. Why am I still? Why do my legs hurt when I walk? Why are my feet all kinds of achy?

These are normal feelings. I am 41. Hell, I had these complaints twenty years ago. Ha - remember in the winter of 1992, your first educational theater gig, when the pain in your knees was SO BAD you actually used a cane some days? Now THAT'S a wimp!

But having run a five miler the other day, I was reminded of the aches I had last spring, contemplating an NYC marathon attempt. Could I run the five or six miles daily to make another try? No idea. Not then. Not today.

A former co-worker was in the office the other day, volunteering time. Susan. Great to see her. She's think of running a Half Cleveland next May, and I said she should keep me in mind, I may join her. And maybe I will. Why not?

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Future Trophy Wife

Yesterday, the sixth day in a row of rehearsal. Exhausted, there is always something to do at night, and preparation in the morning. We started early, the actor-teachers and I, heading to our usual place for fight call - and expanded fight call this morning, as we would be learning how to execute a basic sword fighting workshop for the R&J and MACBETH residencies.

Our “usual place” is at Chester & 18th Street, on the CSU campus, a simple, landcsaped lawn next to a parking garage and the urban affairs building, where Billie Lawless’s notorious sculpture THE POLITICIAN: A TOY was relocated earlier this year. Wheels constantly turning, mouth moving open and closed, groaning metal on a large, pencil-shaped axle, the sun shining, the lawn bouncy and soft ...

What an awesome place to be! In the middle of Cleveland! I took a look around as all four teams switching fighting partners, and thought, this is a good place to be!

Rehearsal let out a little early, I joined my wife and the kids at a wedding reception at Gordon Square. And then ... well, was I joing to check out the revival of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH at the Hi-Fi that night at 10? Marian offered to drive, you know.

Photo:Hedwig in 2001.

HEDWIG was dynamite at CPT in 2001. It was epic, Dennis had put together and tight band (how could he otherwise) Ali was Yitzhak, and the woman herself came in the form of diminutive, wide-faced Dan Folino at the beginning of his career - age 23.

I love that play, we had both been fans since we saw the movie in August that year, the stage show was even better - I mean, as a stage show its better, I am not going to make a comparison between Mitchell and Folino. In spite of its comedy, camp, acidic tone, Hedwing’s tale of hope and disappointment, of love and loss and discovery, this search to love yourself - combined with an amazing collection of really excellent songs - it is a tremendous undertaking.

In the wrong hands, however, I am sure this show could be an unlistenable disaster, hateful and mean and useless. The original CPT company made it look effortless.

A huge success, it was revived the following holiday season ... where it was not, I understand, a huge success. Repetition can sometimes go that way. And in spite of constant comparisons, HEDWIG is not ROCKY HORROR. It isn’t dumb enough. Take it as a compliment, there are no moments in ROCKY HORROR where you want to cry in sympathy, overwhelmed by tremendous beauty and passion.

I was worried about this new production, really. I had no doubt it would be executed as well as the original, but would I ... care? It’s been a long time. It’s like THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL - that was great in 1994. I am no longer in that place.

The differences were immediate. We are no longer in the cavernous, historic Gordon Square Theatre, we are in a club, a bar, really, with a stage. The “set” is hidden. There are projections, and surprise “hydraulics” at the end (sorry - spoiler alert) but it is a rock show in its natural setting. And it makes a startling difference.

Instead of being separted by the apron of a massive stage, Hedwig is right in front of you. I had encoruaged some new actor-teachers who had attended not to sit in the back - but to sit in front of me - in the first row! A great deal of the jokes were delivered right to them, or Hedwig’s asides based on audience reaction were delivered to them. They got sweat on a lot, too. I was worried they might get beer split on them, but so what if they did?

Intimacy ... from the first moment, when the band walked on it was different. Ali restaged this version and she gets a great deal of the benefit from the new setting. as the largely non-verbal Yitzhak, she doesn’t need to make faces as grandly as she did in the big theater, she has the opportunity to be subtle. They both do, with each other. The aggression which was so obvious in the first version is so much more realistically painful here.

And Dan himself, now 31 ... he has admitted he didn’t really understand a lot of Hedwig’s journey first time out. At 23? You kidding? No surprise there. He told me it was all due to Lester Shane’s direction that he was able to fake it back then as well as he did. But he gets it now, I was astonished. Apart from what I might call the mature connection to the story he has now, I was fascinated by the transformation his Tommy Gnosis has taken. I mean, WICKED LITTLE TOWN is my favorite song in the show (undercut in the film by the weird lip-synch Michael Pitt does of Steven Trask’s vocals) but eight years ago it was all high-gloss, which may have been intentional. Hedwig does make it clear what she thinks of Gnosis’ style and abilities.

But then, that’s her take. Maybe he is deep and talented, and this where we get to understand that. And maybe they are the same person. And maybe that’s another reason to dig so deep for that song.

You have four more weekends. If you are within a two hundred mile radius, you have the rare opportunity to experience not only a legendary theaterical performance - but one that has actually improved with time.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Lifter (156 BPM)

Distance: 6.15 miles

Spending the night at Mom & Dad's. Running Lakewood. Saw a 12 year-old girl on a bike sporting a black T-shirt reading FUTURE TROPHY WIFE.

Hands up, who thinks that's funny?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Number Five

Show Business Weekly review

I had five reviewers for the FringeNYC run, and four reviews ... until today. I was hoping it would not be a downer, a kick-on-the-way-out review. It's not. It's good! Just what I needed this week.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Radiant Dark (166 BPM)

Distance: 3.25 miles
Temperature: 71º
Weather: warm. luke warm. tepid.
Weight: 153 lbs.

Jesus! Running at night just makes me INSANE. The other night - I don't know if you could tell from the entry - I was a little looped. Running through the dark, after dusk, through town, few people on the streets, listening to white-noise techno, it's like I am a small man trapped inside the head of a relentless jogger, peering through his eyes, not mine, jostling around, screaming forward, not stopping, heart racing, throat burning, thoughts flying non-stop to everywhere.

Tonight was like that, too. Time for mommy and me to drink pure bourbon and watch GREEN WING.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


FringeNYC Announces Excellence Awards

Congratulations, people! It was a tremendous festival, I only wish I could have caught more of these shows.

Must get new Calvin Harris disc. Maybe. Not crazy about what I have heard, but come on. It's Calvin Harris.

Big thought the other night. My scalp. I asked my wife if she was aware of her scalp, if it plays a big part in her life, and she had to admit that no, it does not. But mine does, I have my hands on it a lot. It is like a part of my body, as much as the back of my neck, my shoulders or the small of my back. It is bare, exposed. It becomes tense, it can be very sensitive. Often it can require a massage, and I am so happy when it does.

I have a naked scalp and you do not. I pity you.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Epinephrine (Repurposed) (173 BPM)

Distance: 5.15 miles
Temperature: 61º
Weather: cool ... and perfect
Weight: 156 lbs.

Crazy. Cool and dark. A nighttime run. That's what time of year it is, and welcome back. I couldn't only go 3 miles - even though my tank feels empty, which is not for lack of food, but energy. I am exhausted, work keeps me at it, but it is so challenging (actor-teacher word!) to sit all day and direct and coach others, especially after so many weeks - months, really - of being on my feet all day long, moving, acting, talking, working it.

It is cool and dark. Sixty degrees. My mind was racing - DeOreo asked me to do a guest spot of AROUND NOON next Wednesday, to debrief on the Fringe. Sure, why not. He also wants seven or eight minutes from the show, and I am trying to think of what to do which will entertain.

I will conclude where I began. A year ago I did a gig in the DARK ROOM, and shared the run across Cleveland. This I also performed last New Year's Eve. It goes over well. Clevelanders love it.

But wait, this is radio! Can I include additional voices? I mean, having my high school teacher's voice pop in will sound odd, confusing (it is during the actual performance, too) so why not have someone else play him? Or my wife?

Hmm. Hmnn. Running and thinking, running and thinking.