Self-editing is overrated. Or is it?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

No wonder people take time off…

I work all the goddam time. It’s the nature of the job. I’m always on the road, and I’m always somewhere working. I don’t really get days off very often. Days when I’m not in a theatre somewhere frequently ends up being a day where I work twice as hard to prepare for the next time I’m in the theatre. There is no down time, and frankly, if I started having some, I wouldn’t know what to do with it.

That said, miraculously I have some time off. It’s kind of cool, actually. I’ve been like seeing friends. Hanging out at home. Enjoying myself. It’s been extremely disconcerting, but I’m getting used to it. I now see why people do not work 7 days a week. It’s so that you can have some fun every now and again. Who knew?

The last couple of days have been very interesting, so I figured I’d share what I’ve been doing with this time. If you don’t like it, I’m sure there’s a post with a wacky news item for you in the not too distant future.

SO! Here’s what I’ve been doing for the last 48 hours or so:

- My good friend Heath Corson came over and showed me his short film called Hooked that he co-wrote with Richie Keen (who also directed and stars in the film.) The film is fantastic, terrific cast, great sense of style and very, very funny. The movie features some amazing cameos from Jeff Garlin, Rebecca Romijn, Zach Braff, David Alan Grier and Fred Savage. They’ve just found out that the film will be featured in the HBO Comedy Festival in Aspen, CO from Mar 8-12th, which is a big deal for them. If you’re gonna be out for that festival, definitely make sure you check this film out in the short film competition. Jeff Garlin is way too funny for his own good and don’t even get me started on the guy who does the voice of Steven Spielberg.

- I hardly ever get to see theatre that I’m not working on myself, for two reasons. One is I’m usually busy, and the other is I’d rather get out of the theatre for the day if I can! That said, due to various convoluted reasons, I’m actually seeing quite a few high-profile shows over the next few weeks, and so I’ll try to let you know what I think when I see them. The first thing that I saw was called The Two And Only which is currently in its pre-Broadway tryout in Los Angeles, before it starts performances at The Helen Hayes Theatre in NYC on March 21. The show stars Jay Johnson, who you may remember as the ventriloquist Chuck (along with his dummy Bob) from the fantastic 70’s TV sitcom SOAP.

This show is a combination of Johnson’s ventriloquist act, as well as the history of ventriloquism, and his own personal history of how he became a ventriloquist. The first thing to say about this show is that there is no doubt that Jay Johnson is definitely the greatest ventriloquist working today. He’s incredibly sharp and funny, and his physical control (not to mention his breath control! The guys stomach muscles do not move when he talks for the dummy – it’s unbelievable to see!) is astonishing. If this were just his nightclub act, it would be one heck of a show. But it isn’t. Remember when I said he’s the greatest ventriloquist working today? That’s like saying he’s the greatest alpaca llama breeder working today. He’s definitely the best, but it’s a skill that just isn’t that popular anymore. The show operates under the assumption that by helping to educate the audience about ventriloquism, then they will understand the struggles that ventriloquists go through.

But….it just doesn’t hold your interest like it should, and honestly, the ventriloquism is so good, that you kinda just start feeling like you’re marking time until you get to the next routine. The script just isn’t as captivating as the act, and, as a result, you just want the act. But then the act is just an act and not a play, and then you might as well be seeing this in a Las Vegas showroom type of setting. You see where I’m going here? It just ain’t enough of a show for me. That said, if you have the chance to see the show, you should, if only to see Johnson at work on stage. He is a true master of his craft, and it’s really, really impressive. The show plays in Los Angeles until Feb 19, and then onto NYC from there.

- Tonight, I went to see a fantastic double-bill in Long Beach of The Average White Band and Tower Of Power, two bands who have laying down some incredible soul music for over 30 years. The venue is this brand new place in Long Beach called The Vault 350, and I have to say I thought it was very nice. Well-run place, sounded good, it was full but not crazy, definitely no complaints from me.

The Average White Band sounded great, still the funkiest Scottish people ever. (Yes, for those of you who don’t know, The Average White Band are not only the funkiest white guys out there, there the funkiest white guys out there from Glasgow. Not bad, eh?) They ran through their hits at a pretty good pace, only one saxophone player, so it wasn’t quite the sound you remembered from the record, but, still and all, a solid performance. The greatest part of the night was when the band finished their set, and headed offstage so that they would be called back on for an encore. You know, the typical drill. Only we happen to be standing next to the one guy in the world who is somehow unfamiliar with this practice, and could not believe that AWB did not play their biggest hit (and theme to every all-skate from 1976-1983) ”Pick Up The Pieces”.


I turn around and say “Dude, calm down. It’s gonna happen. They’re not gonna leave here without playing it.”


Needless to say, AWB shows back up 30 seconds later and plays it. Our man breathes a huge sigh of relief. What the hell? Do they not do encores in Long Beach?

So then Tower Of Power comes on and I’m telling you, people, they wiped up the floor with this place. When we last saw TOP back in early 2003, it was at their private concert at a tiny club in NYC to promote their CD “In The Oakland Zone” that was about to come out. Tower Of Power had finally done what fans had begged them to do for years: stop trying to ”update” their sound, bring in some new blood to make the band come alive again, and go back to what they do best; namely, straightforward funky soul music with stellar horn arrangements and musicianship. They had just brought in new lead singer Larry Braggs, and while he was great at the sneak preview show, he was clearly still finding his way in the band. When we talked to the guys in the band afterwards, they were excited at the prospects of what lay ahead for them, but they were reluctant to refer to this as a renaissance for the band…..yet. Only time would tell, they said. They were right.

Tonight was 3 years later, and all those new guys have now had time to integrate into the band, and man, it showed. With TOP alumnus Mic Gillette sitting in with the horns, it was a section of 6 this evening, and lemme tell ya, they were hot. The regular guys were there in force as always: Garibaldi, Rocco, Emilio, and the Funky Doctor. But the entire band displayed a new sense of confidence that I had not seen before. They were bad-ass, and they knew it. They literally came on and tore the place up. Larry Braggs was on fire. It was like he was testifying right there for all of us, and the band ripped through its extensive catalog like they were all 21 years old. Yes, they still dance like goofballs, and do the synchronized moves. But the funk was in full force and my eyes musta bugged out of my head at least 2 dozen times at how surprising the band was all evening. We’re 38 years into the career of this band, and this is the best they have ever sounded. When they come to your town, you must go see them. That’s an order.

- Last one. So, Scotty Iseri, associate designer extraordinaire, calls me from Chicago to ask if he can borrow my theremin for yet another onstage foley gig that he has gotten. Absolutely, I say, it’s in my place in Chicago, just head over and grab it. He calls back to say he can’t find the power cord for it anywhere. Do I know where it is? Uhhhhh…..

I tell him that I believe it should be with a crate of cables that I have there. Just look by the cable and you should find it. Hours later, I receive this email from him:

Couldn’t find the power cable. I might make another stab at it later in the week but i got tired.

For the record: Saying "Go into lindsay's room and look for cable" led me to the following comparisons, of which i couldn't tell what was funniest:

it's like saying...

-go to the ocean and look by the wet.
-go to Afghanistan and look around by the muslims.
-go to the john edward seminar and look by the fucked up family.

By the way, if you have not yet experienced all that is Scotty Iseri, then you have no idea how incomplete your life is. You must go here immediately. That's an order, too.

Look by the wet muslim family that’s fucked up. It’s right there!


Blogger lgolanty said...

Ever think about maybe writing a few books? Man Linds, give you some time off and a pen (eh, keyboard...the electronic age is so awkward for expression) and you just go! It's great, don't stop, this helps me forget my dayjob a bit more.

SPEAKING of time off - Feb 9th through 13th. R U and Jamie in town? Lemme know.

XOXOX, Lauren

1/25/2006 7:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hooked is now online, too - at Trailer & all..

2/07/2006 10:12 PM


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