Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Make an old man wish for younger days.

American-Statesman, Feb. 21, 2014

This winter has been like an actual winter, with snow and freezing temperatures. Often I have been reminded of my childhood, when freezing temperatures combined with an oil embargo created gas shortages and a large number of school closings.

The Blizzard of 1977 (dwarfed by the Blizzard of 1978) presented a remarkable opportunity to developed an extensive education in popular music, listening to WGCL pretty much around the clock. My own children have learned a lot about Minecraft.

What has been disheartening is listening to all of my Gen-X contemporaries whining and moaning about all the snow days the kids have gotten, espousing how they walked to school just fine when they were kids and it was -11° outside.

First, it's not true. They cancelled school for us when it was below freezing, a lot. Second, you all sound like grouchy old people, don't do that. 

Temperature: 12°
Climate: snowy
Distance: 1.75 miles

Ten runs in both January and February, 2014. Not bad, considering.

1977 Playlist
Dust In The Wind - Kansas 
I Want You To Want Me - Cheap Trick
Brick House - The Commodores
No Compassion - Talking Heads
Stayin' Alive - The Bee Gees 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I don't have to run around.

Yes, we are no longer subzero. And yet, the change in temperature, rising above freezing, has caused you typical, boring, unhappy sinus pressure and pain. Running yesterday would have been nice, but napping was much preferred. Ditto this afternoon, and so I run at night.

Temperature: 32°
Pavement: Just don't talk to me.
Distance: 3.4 miles

This weekend I saw two plays which I enjoyed very much (The Aliens at Dobama and The Importance of Waiting for the Eagle by Robert Hawkes at CPT) and there was also much chat on my part all day Friday with those I spent time with about where my head is, currently, regarding the state of Cleveland theater.

That night I had a dream I was attending a show produced by a certain theater company in town where absolutely nothing happened. At the outset were we shown our seats, which were like airline seats, cramped and uncomfortable. We were handed pens and one of the performers whispered something in our ear and told us to write it down but had provided no paper. I wrote on my jeans, the person next to me took of their fleece and wrote on that.

After that I was escorted to a corner, and nothing else happened. No one did anything. It was dark, but at least I was not alone. I will admit it was reminiscent of their recent work.

Later that evening (in the dream) I went to see a performance by Cleveland Play House which was being held in an office, but I was late and they wouldn't let me in. You can interpret that one any way you choose.

1967 Playlist
Blindman - Big Brother and the Holding Company
(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher- Jackie Wilson
All Tomorrow's Parties - The Velvet Underground
Some Kind of Wonderful - Soul Brothers Six
Magical Mystery Tour * - The Beatles
Cold Sweat Pts. 1 & 2 - James Brown
Pleasant Valley Sunday * - The Monkees

1967 ~ The year The Monkees produced better singles than The Beatles.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Give me some of that.

Last night we were in Oberlin. Somewhere between four to six inches of snow came down while were performing, my drive back to the East Side took ninety tense minutes. My inferior extensor retinaculum, which has been troubling me since Christmas, was in a state of perpetual flexion for the entire hour and a half, and that was extremely irritating.

This morning I hoped to sleep in a little, but the phone calls started pouring in from actor-teachers by 5:30 and I needed to make a dozen or so phone calls and keep an eye on the school closing list. Then I spent a half hour digging out the truck for a 1 PM performance in University Circle.

So I was tired. Then I walked out into the world and the sun was shining and the snow and ice were melting and like a lot of people, I got quite a second wind.

Running. Yes. In shorts, too. How do you like me at present?

Temperature: 37°
Climate: slushy
Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 174.5 lbs.

1997 Playlist
Walking On The Sun - Smashmouth
One Angry Dawrf and 200 Solemn Faces - Ben Folds Five
Snake Hips - The Future Sound
Fat Ass Joint - Cujo
Atom Bomb (Atomix 1) - Fluke
Da Funk - Daft Punk
Winter Ceremony (Howie B Left Foot Mix) - Sacred Spirit

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Another drink and I'm ready for action.


In February, 2007 I began winter running. Three months after I ran my first marathon, and I hadn't run once in December or January. I was deeply unhappy for a variety of reasons and tired of sitting still. I ran eleven times that February, in large part due to the Year Playlists. Something to wrap my head around, something to play with.

Several of those dates included temps below twenty degrees, but I ran the complete 3.25 mile circuit. Now, I cannot deal with the sidewalks clogged with ice. I have been running the streets in my neighborhood, which are largely clear and free of much traffic.

The forecast says that we will rise above thirty degrees, and for several days, beginning Monday.

I can wait. I know how to wait.

Temperature: 18°
Climate: sunny & frigid
Distance: 1.75 miles

2007 Playlist
Friday Night - Lily Allen
Who Knew - Pink
I Created Disco - Calvin Harris
Everybody Knows You Cried Last Night - The Fratelis

Friday, February 14, 2014

It feels like love, and it's all that we've got.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Tired. That's it, just ... tired. After this evening we will have completed our first full week of touring. Tomorrow is a day off, though I will be taking the boy to an 8:00 AM soccer game. But there will be naps and a general opportunity for sitting, thinking, talking, playing games and reading.
I am at that stage in a book where I am on a tear to reach the end. It is one of my favorite places to be.
Temperature: 27°
Pavement: snow snowy snow
Distance: 2.65 miles
Weight: 174 lbs.

Thank you to my wife, who encouraged me to get out into the snow. Happy Valentine's Day, sweetheart. You are amazing. I love you.

1987 Playlist
The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death - The Housemartins
Can't Hardly Wait - The Replacements
Like The Weather - 10,000 Maniacs
Big Time (Extended Version) - Peter Gabriel
Heartbreak Beat - The Psychedelic Furs
You're My Drug - The Dukes of Stratosphear

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Are you in or are you out?

Like, long-distance running! Cross-country running!

Unlike absolutely everyone my age, I did not see Grease when it was released in theaters, and I scorned it when it played on a continuous loop on cable. This is a shame for two reasons. One, as I eventually learned, Grease is awesome. Two, Sid Caesar would have convinced me to go out for track.

Temperature: 12°
Pavement: dry streets, anyway.
Distance: 2.65 miles
Weight: 175 lbs.

Keep moving. This too shall pass.

2002 Playlist
Losing My Edge - LCD Soundsystem
A Better Future - David Bowie
Let Go - Frou Frou
Banquet - Bloc Party
People Power - Cornershop

Did I say 1982 was the greatest year in the history of music? I meant 2002.

Ha ha! Winter runners are assholes!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

No time to worry 'cause we're on the road again.

The tour opened last night to a great house at The Alcazar. I have to say, this is the lightest, easiest to manage load-out I have had since the Chekhov tour which features four pieces of furniture and a curtain.

Tonight we will be at Lorain County Community College in the Stocker Arts Center, Studio Theatre at 7:30 PM. Free and open to the public, please join us.

Seven Ages on Sound of Applause, 2/11/2014
(we begin around the 45 minute mark)

Last night I wrote:
A peaceful late night, at home. Children abed and wife as well. Leftover soup, with crackers and cheese, visiting friends on Facebook. To bed, next to loving wife, who snores intermittently. Reading now, applying hemp lotion to hard, cracked fingertips. Silent, but for the shifting of cats, and her breath. 11:35 PM. Quiet, peaceful. Then rest.
Temperature: 12°
Pavement: slippery
Distance: 1.75 miles
Weight: 175 lbs.

In spite of how warm I feel by the end of these sub-freezing runs, I keep them short. No reason to risk injury nor illness. This is a shame because 1982 was the greatest year in the history of recorded music.

1982 Playlist
Sirius - The Alan Parson Project
Hold Back The Rain (Remix) - Duran Duran
Jukebox (Don't Put Another Dime) - The Flirts
The Boys Are Back - Bus Boys

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Get on the good foot.

SEVEN AGES opens tonight at The Alcazar, 8 PM.

Okay? So. I did it. I started The Cleveland Cleveland Marathon Facebook page. It's not a real race, it is an attempt to create a 26.2 mile route within the city limits of Cleveland that would be enjoyable to run. I do not expect a groundswell of support, no one likes a curmudgeon (seriously, they don't.)

But I have a half-dozen or fewer followers -- five, including myself -- and it is no doubt up to me to start the ball rolling by plotting a route. Like I have time for that, but maybe this weekend. It will probably be point-to-point, you can do that, you know. New York isn't a loop, either.

Maybe Edgewater to Shaker Square, how would that work? A puzzle to be solved.

Temperature: 12°
Climate: little snowflakes
Distance: 1.75 miles
Weight:175 lbs.

Outreach tour begins [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

1972 Playlist
Get On The Good Foot - James Brown
I'm So Free - Lou Reed
(No More) Mr. Nice Guys - Sparks
I Wanna Be With You - The Raspberries

Saturday, February 08, 2014

This really hurts.

In case you are wondering, I expressed my dissatisfaction with the changes in the course of the CLE Marathon to them via email. I was more polite than I have been on this blog, but no less terse. Here is their response:
The decision about the course has to do with the conflicts on the east side such as the Asian Festival, Case Western graduation, and lack of support from the community. It is very difficult to have to change the course, creates a ton more work on our part, but the decision was based on feedback from the City, runners and the other events mentioned above on the same day.
Of course. Because the only part of the East Side of town worth running through is down MLK. I do not know which "community" they lacked support from, as the previous route did not travel through any communities, only past office buildings and warehouses (closed Sunday.)

People live on the East Side of Cleveland, but they are different from those who actually run the race. I get it. We all get it. Running is a bourgeois, elite hobby for suburban dingbats.

Temperature: 19°
Pavement: crusty, lumpy, awful
Distance: 3.7 miles
Weight:174 lbs.

Long nights, arriving home around eleven. Late dinner, alone. Reading a few pages, and then sleep. Rehearsals are surprisingly physical, mornings I feel sore and exhausted. Five or six hours of sleep. Not enough. Certainly no time for running.

There are many plays to be seen around town ... but this is my night off, time to spend with the kids and my wife, because there has been little of that for the past couple of weeks. We will dine on a huge Greek salad and watch the games.

1992 Playlist
Rock In This Pocket (Song Of David) - Suzanne Vega
Blood Makes Noise - Suzanne Vega
Tennessee - Arrested Development
House of Love - East 17
High - The Cure
The Statue Got Me High - They Might Be Giants
Hypnotist of Ladies - They Might Be Giants
Hit - The Sugarcubes
Push Th' Little Daisies - Ween
Sexy M.F. - Prince

Last week, it would appear, everyone just gave up. After Wednesday's mammoth snowfall, no one shoveled down Mayfield. Running it was like jogging down a rockpile. Now that it's all just ice, I will probably avoid running until at least this Wednesday, when the thaw begins and we all drown.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Go! Go! Go! Go!

By Merrill Markoe, NYTimes 1/18/2014

I have to thank Mo for pointing out this piece in the Times which describes exactly the success I have been enjoying for the past several months. Humorist Merrill Markoe's experience involve being involuntarily bed-ridden, and I am grateful not to have made my discovery in that way. 

"I had a vague idea for a play that I had tried to begin many times at 3 in the afternoon ..."

She was bored to tears, lying in bed at 6 in the morning, day after day, unable to walk, and chose to write, and discovered to her surprise that she wrote -- a lot. So have I, since November. It took about a month of dedicated practice (many, many thanks to my loving wife who brings me coffee every morning, apparently Ms. Markoe doesn't have that) before I moved from writing jibberish to composing dialogue.

Okay, "composing" may be a little florid. But writing is happening. I am half-awake, and yet when I return to what I have created, I am satisfied with what I read.

"Words come pouring out easily while my head still feels as if it is full of ground fog, wrapped in flannel and gauze, and surrounded by a hive of humming, velvety sleep bees."

The piece I am currently working on is so personal, I couldn't get it out if I were wide awake and fed. And it may be terrible, and never see the light of day ... but I have been thinking of writing it since 2010. Not kidding. Four years, thinking of writing something, without putting down a word.
Then it all came tumbling out and I have asked two actors to read the complete first draft out loud on Thursday. I resume the children's play I began at the end of last year. And there are stories buffered waiting for release.

Temperature: 30°
Pavement: Snow snowy snow - and slush!
Distance: 3.7 miles
Weight: 176.5 lbs.

More snow, and it will remain cold this week for little hope the sidewalks will clear, but it was all worth it to lift up my chin and look at the neighborhood, which was complete stunning. Thank you for that.

Also, that was a very satisfying run, and lifting up my knees to make the least splash through the sludgy puddles was exhilarating, and not exhausting in the least. Thank you for that, too.

2012 Playlist
Youth Without Youth - Metric
Die Young - Ke$ha
Drive By - Train
Starships - Nicki Minaj
Wide Awake - Katy Perry
I Love It - Icona Pop ft. Charlie XCX
Somebody That I Used To Know (Sweet Dreams) - Gotye vs. Beyoncé
Paddling Out - Miike Snow
Scream & Shout - ft. Britney Spears