Thursday, May 29, 2003

Time for another dump of the brain buffer. Please enjoy today's fresh crop of mind pellets...

Some quite unwelcome news to start: it looks as if the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, and therefore my buddy Sarge, will have their stay in Iraq extended for a while. Scuttlebutt had them coming home in time for Independence Day, but now I'd guess we'll be lucky to see them before the end of the summer. Obviously this is somewhat speculative, and things could change. Nonetheless, it's not the kind of thing the soldiers and their loved ones wanted to hear.

Thanks to the sharp eyes and quick posting of one of my fellow MetaFilter participants, I found out that comedian Eddie Izzard is undertaking a US tour this autumn. I was alerted to this just a few hours before tickets went on sale yesterday, and because of the early warning was able to score first row tickets for his DC performance on Monday, October 27th. I've been dying to see the guy live ever since I stumbled upon him about four years ago. He's easily one of the funniest people doing stand-up today. Should be a good time.

Had a lovely dinner with long-time friends of the HoC Jen and Dan at That's Amore! in Rockville the other night. While enjoying our meal, two young kids (presumably brother and sister) treated the three of us, and the rest of the patrons, to a little dancing. Circulating throughout the main dining room, they started with a sort of modified Bunny Hop, moved onto a Conga, then went freestyle. Far from being obtrusive or annoying, it was a pleasure to see two siblings having simple fun with each other, and getting along so well.

Wondering about my mother's response to yesterday's "Moms and Proms" post? Allow me to quote:
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. I can't stop laughing! I called Dad and while I was dialing I read it again and started laughing out loud ... needless to say I laughed right in your Dad's ear!
See, I told you she'd laugh. Mom's cool that way.

I forget where I got this, but I've been meaning to pass it on for over a week now. Flak Magazine has a great piece on the excesses of the wildly influential, overtly and overly snarky Television Without Pity.

I do know where this came from: digging around after following a Morning News link. Two of my favorite things, puns and beer, are mirthfully joined to make a brew only a musical theater type like me could love: Coal Porter
Posted @ 5:42 PM

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

With June almost upon us (though you'd never know it by the weather), there have been a plethora of ads on the radio for the two major gift-giving occasions of the month, Father's Day and graduations. These two events are often lumped together under the sing-songy heading of "Dads and Grads."

If I were a father (and I eventually hope to be one), I'd be pretty pissed off that my recognition day had to share billing with the amorphous time period of graduation season. Parents as a group don't get nearly enough recognition, but of the two, dads are the ones who get the shorter shrift. This is just one more sorry example of that trend. You certainly don't hear anybody diluting the whole Mother's Day thing.

That is, until now. Rather than try to put the proverbial toothpaste back into the tube, I'll go the easier route and simply squeeze the damn thing a little harder. There's another similarly sprawling, youth-oriented activity that can be marketed in conjunction with the maternal unit celebration, something that happens every year and on which tons of cash is spent. Frankly, I'm a little shocked no one has thought of this before...

Henceforth, special event purchase ads for the month of May should be announced by retailers with the tagline "Moms and Proms."

This should in no way be misconstrued as an attack on motherhood. I'm just trying to even the playing field a little for the guys. Heck, my own mother will probably read this shortly and get a good laugh out of it. Right, Mom?


I love you, Mom.
Posted @ 7:11 AM

Sunday, May 25, 2003

The last few days have been filled with the things I'm not doing. Here's a short list:
  • updating this here blog
  • seeing The Matrix Reloaded
  • enjoying typical late spring Washington weather (low 80's, blue skies, less than monsoon-strength rains)
  • rehearsing for or performing in a show
So, what have I been doing? Not a whole hairy heck of a lot. I'm trying to enjoy the fact that work is the only thing in my life on which I must spend energy and attention. Recovering, both physically and emotionally, from Music Man is still my main activity. So much work, so many demands on the body and mind, and so very much fun can really take it out of a guy.

Speaking of Music Man, I finally got the chance to watch the Disney production that aired on ABC back in February. After hearing everyone I know pan the thing for the last three months, I was prepared for a train wreck. I'd even been making jokes about it, sight unseen. Whenever I got a compliment about my take on Harold Hill, I'd quip that I was going to send Matthew Broderick a thank you note for lowering everyone's expectations for my performance.

But now that I've seen their production, I have to say that I really, really liked it. It doesn't compare to the original with Robert Preston and Shirley Jones, but it shouldn't have to. That was a film made when Hollywood musicals were still a staple; big and bold was the way to go. This was a work for television, a smaller medium which allows for more subtlety, and was made for an audience that, for the most part, hasn't grown up on musicals.

Broderick's Hill was a quiet salesman, the kind who draws you in with a whisper rather than bowling you over with a shout. I found that take refreshing, and perfectly suited to the tone of the movie as a whole, which had a very intimate feel. Kristin Chenoweth was wonderful as Marian, making the transition from insular "old maid" to open, loving, and empowered woman with equal parts charm, grace, and strength. Victor Garber took a very straight-forward approach to Mayor Shinn that was a tad overpowering at times, but ultimately worked quite well and brought the role a depth that was a welcome contrast to Paul Ford's outrageous, amusing bluster.

Okay, that should be it about Music Man, in any form, from me for a while.

Well, one more thing: a shout out to my homies Bill and Sean, who were such a blast to work with in Music Man and have recently been cast as Harold and Winthrop in another production of the show opening in July. Way to go, guys! I can't wait to see you up there; I know you're going to blow me away.

There. No more about Music Man for the foreseeable future. I swear.
Posted @ 11:21 AM

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Part two (part one is here) in an occasional series: Fortune's Erik Torkells ventures into the heart of darkness that is Carrot Top, determined to expose him as evil incarnate. He comes away with the earth-shaking conclusion that the hyper-annoying prop comic isn't such a horrible guy after all.

Not knowing Torkells or his work, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on this. However, I'm equally open to the possibility that Carrot Top sucked his soul out and the journalist is now nothing more than an empty husk, shilling for his demonic master.
(link via TV Tattle)
Posted @ 2:28 PM

Saturday, May 17, 2003

I'm going to go ahead and jump on what I'm sure will be a big blogging bandwagon by linking to this New York Times story, "Dating a Blogger, Reading All About It" (free registration required, or try this Excite repackage of the same article).

The story looks at a question I've wrestled with mightily since I started this little cowtown blog almost two years ago: how much of my personal life is really mine to share? Almost anything I have to say about my days and nights also says something about the people around me. In most cases, I will err on the side of caution and omit any details which might identify others, or I'll ask permission before putting so much as a first name up. In one or two cases, I've even gone back and reworded posts so as to obscure details about a friend I had mentioned, after realizing I might be giving away too much info.

This caution is even more pronounced regarding romantic relationships. If you scan my archives, you could come away with the impression that I have no love life whatsoever. Other than often stating that I'm single, and a few oblique references to ex-girlfriends and having once been married, you'll find nary a word about my dating or mating habits.

At first, this was an editorial decision I instituted out of respect for any hypothetical partners I may or may not have. But as my time online as gone on, I've become convinced of the rightness of keeping my mouth shut on this subject. It's simply an extension of how I act in my day-to-day life. I might speak openly to a friend about a woman I care for, but I wouldn't, for example, brag to my poker buddies about some beautiful babe I'd bagged the night before. A gentleman doesn't do that sort of thing.

If I were ever to marry again, I think stories of wedded bliss would probably find their way onto this site. But only if the missus signed a release in the pre-nup allowing me to do so.

So, for once it would seem I'm ahead of the curve when compared to the rest of the blogosphere. While other bloggers were learning the perils of flapping their gums about where their lips had been the hard way, my discretion and I were avoiding that pitfall entirely and having a much easier time of it.

Of course, you could simply assume I haven't got a love life, and this whole post is nothing more than an elaborate smokescreen to make the world think I do. You're free to hold that view. I'm not confirming or denying anything. The ambiguity of it all gives me a certain mystique, don't you think?
Posted @ 12:48 PM

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Inexplicably, the Cubs are still in first place in the NL Central, despite my dire predictions otherwise. I know it's only a matter of time before they stumble yet again, but for now I'm enjoying the ride.

There's a song by the late Steve Goodman that perfectly reflects this feeling of inevitable failure which inflicts the Wrigley Field faithful. It's called "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request." I've loved this tune for over twenty years, but until I looked up the lyrics recently, I didn't realize that I had heard it in its radio premiere back in 1981, on the old Roy Leonard show on WGN.

Look at the lyrics and you'll understand what it is to be a Cubs fan.
Posted @ 12:52 PM

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Music Man is now official closed. The streets of River City, Iowa, have disappeared from McLean, Virginia. Harold Hill has checked out of the River City Hotel, and Miss Marian has pulled down her "Piano Lessons" sign.

The week after a show closes is always a roller coaster for me. I'm thrilled to have free time again, to be able to attend to all the little details of life that seem to fall by the wayside until the final curtain drops. On the other hand, I miss my friends in the cast and crew. Some I'll undoubtedly get together with soon, but not soon enough. Some I'll work with again in the months and years to follow. Others I may never see again. Such is the nature of this hobby.

For now, I'm just taking it easy. I took a long, hot bath last night, enjoying a book I got from one of my fellow cast members while I soaked. Today after work I'll get the oil changed in my car (I'm only about three hundred miles overdue for that) and buy a few groceries, since there's virtually nothing to eat at home.

I've got a couple of great things to post, but I'm going to hold off on those until I'm more fully recovered from the end of the play. For now, I'm doing my best to enjoy the simple routines of work, commuting, home life, and sleep.
Posted @ 10:56 AM

Friday, May 09, 2003

Hey there, closing weekend Music Man audience members! Hope you enjoyed the show, and thanks for stopping by.

Opening weekend folks were directed to my theater résumé. Last weekend, I ushered folks to my picture gallery. For you, the closing weekend guests, I have a peek at the backstage doings from the show. Here's a pic of me obsessing over whether or not I've got all my props set:

Did I preset the marshmallows?

(Thanks to Christine for the picture!)
Posted @ 4:40 PM

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

A couple of pieces of great entertainment news today:
Posted @ 3:30 PM

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

"...perhaps Carrot Top is presiding over some sort of massive meta-ironist performance piece."

Slate's Rob Walker gives an excellent analysis of Carrot Top's AT&T ads.
(link via MetaFilter)
Posted @ 11:51 AM

While skimming an Excite story about President Bush's recent trip to Arkansas just now, it seemed as if the President urgently wanted me to look to my left. The need was so pressing that Mr. Bush enlisted the help of a clip art model just to make sure I got the message:

Jack! Look to your left!

Looking to my left, I can't figure out what it is the President and Clip Art Guy are so insistently calling to my attention. Can you?

Anyone who can discern what they're trying to point out should send me an e-mail immediately. After all, this could be a matter of national security.
Posted @ 9:20 AM

Friday, May 02, 2003

Another weekend, another three days of Music Man magic! Thanks to all of you who found your way here from my program bio.

You've seen me as a con man, now check me out as an even less savory rogue: pics from the 2001 MTA production of The Fantasticks are right here.
Posted @ 4:22 PM


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