Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hail to the Chief!

History was indeed made the other night, as we elected the first African American to the White house. A historic moment indeed, and one that I must admit made me feel proud to be American. In the midst of all the many troubles we're encountering as a nation, to see such a man who came from humble beginnings make it to the highest office in the land is indeed an inspiration. It makes one think that perhaps those things my folks told me as a child are true, and that anything IS possible after all.

I'll admit that Obama wasn't my first choice, and that I've been critical of some of his positions (personally and politically) but he got my vote, and he now has my full support. I really hope (there's that word again!) that we can rally as a country and put some of our bitterness on hold. We need to regain the spirit of unity and togetherness, that unfortunately only seems to come when we're in peril. Perhaps instead of a crisis, a positive moment might inspire that unity, and we can again remember that despite our differences, we're in this thing together.

Wow- I actually feel patriotic...go figure!

So here's to President Obama and his family. May they bask in the glow of his exciting victory, and truly enjoy the moment.

THEN- get to work and deliver on all that promise that we see in you!

Any thoughts?

ps- On a much lighter note, if you get the chance come out and see DANCING WITH DANI this weekend at the DAC. It's been a tremendously long, hard tech week and we're all ready for a good, energetic theatre crowd! Also, check out this weeks ACE for a tremendously written article on yours truly and the show. Thanks Kim!!!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Is this REALLY the best we can do???

While I agree that this is a VERY important election (we're mired down in a seemingly endless war, there's unrest world-wide, and oh by the way...the economy???) and I'm firm in regards to which candidate I'll support...I have to ask; is this REALLY the best we have???? These two? Really?
My mother, a life long conservative, called me this morning and ASKED ME WHO SHE SHOULD VOTE FOR! Yes, Ma is getting a older, but her wits are all there. She's really bamboozled on this one, and referred to the candidate of her party of choice as "a clown". As for my own choice, during the primaries he was a DISTANT third on my list. Not much to get excited about, I'm afraid.
The best that both these men can be accused of is "poor judgement". Where do I start? How bout with VP selection. In this corner, Senator Obama- agent of CHANGE. Gonna take the country by storm- no more "business as usual" in Washington. So who's my VP choice? Do I break further new ground by going with the woman who ran a hard fought campaign against me and can bring her 18 million supporters to the table?? Nope- say hello to Smokin Joe Biden- WASHINGTON INSIDER and CAREER POLITICIAN!!! So much for "change"...

AND in THIS corner- John McCain selects...Romney? Jindel? Huckabee? Hell, even Rudy G????
Nope- Gosh darnitt I'm gonna select the Gov of Alaska- a woman who barely sees eye to eye with me on anything, is embroiled in a NUMBER of political and personal scandals, and - oh by the way...doesn't appear to be very SMART!!! (Oh well, worked for W all these years, right?)

Hooooo boy! It's enough to make one want to vote for Ralph Nader again...almost.

What say you?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cool Hand Luke

WESTPORT, Conn. - Paul Newman, the Academy-Award winning superstar who personified cool as the anti-hero of such films as "Hud," "Cool Hand Luke" and "The Color of Money" — and as an activist, race car driver and popcorn impresario — has died. He was 83.
Newman died Friday after a long battle with cancer at his farmhouse near Westport, publicist Jeff Sanderson said. He was surrounded by his family and close friends.
In May, Newman had dropped plans to direct a fall production of "Of Mice and Men," citing unspecified health issues.
I knew this was coming, and it still hits me very hard. Newman was truly one of the first guys (along with Redford) who made me want to be an actor. Those two brilliant, and pivotal (in my life, anyway) films, BUTCH CASSIDY and THE STING made such a strong impression on me at such a young age. As much as I dug Redford's macho image, it was Newman's cool, low key persona and very realistic, genuine portrayals that really helped to shape my impression of what acting, as it's finest, is all about. Over the years, I became aware of his older performances (HUD, THE HUSTLER, THE LONG HOT SUMMER,COOL HAND LUKE, and his brilliant turn as Brick in CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF) and in later years came to truly enjoy the work he did in his twilight. (NOBODY'S FOOL and ROAD TO PERDITION, especially). I was genuinely in awe of his presence onscreen, and also of the man he was off screen. A remarkably long Hollywood marriage, founding the NEWMAN'S OWN company, his opposition to the Vietnam war and his civil rights activism, not to mention that the man drove a race car well into his 70's!
There just aren't many great ones like Newman. He's truly one of the last of a dying breed. That's unfortunate, but I feel genuinely blessed to have come up in a time with his fine example of how to practice the craft of acting. He will be missed...for a long time to come.
RIP Butch...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"Autumn leaves"

Well, damned if Summer isn't over already! And where the heck did it go? I tell ya...there's nothing quite like a couple of kids to make the old life clock speed up! (and if one more a-hole says to me "Then you shouldn't have had kids!" I'm gonna explode! I work damned hard as a Father, and if I want to vent a bit to the with it!!!!) There- that felt better...

Anyhoo- Fall is, and always has been, my favorite time of year. The colors changing, a slight chill in the night air, we can all start wearing long pants again, and, oh yeah FOOTBALL!!!
There's something about a crisp Autumn night that stirs up many an old memory inside of me. It makes me feel alive.

And of course, with the school year cranking back up, Fall means BUSY BUSY! Lots going on in the salt mines of late. I'm most pleased with the cast of our Fall production of DANCING WITH DANI (by yours truly- let the "self serving" remarks begin!) Actually, I've always been proud of this script, and I just felt that now was the time to mount a full production. I have a tremendously talented cast and a GREAT designer (who's a former student, no less) ...not to mention that I'm working with my old buddy Mikey again, so let the magic begin! I think all who see this piece will be very pleased with what we come up with...and don't sleep on us just cause we're only a "two year institution". I have some of the finest young (and not so young) talent in this city in my casting pool. So come November, check us out!

In the meantime, lots of other cool productions to see. CONSTANT STAR @ AGL (which some of my students have been raving about) and DON'T DRESS FOR DINNER @ Studio are both in thier 2nd week, and UK opens up a trio of student written one acts this weekend. Plus, AGl's PILLOWMAN is on the way (with Leif R.-a fellow faculty member and frequent actor in our productions ) and MACBETH @ Woodford County ( with one of my acting students in the cast! WE'RE EVERYWHERE, BABY!!!!) coming in October.

So, as Paul Stanley might scream, "lick it up!" There's some good stuff to be seen out there.

If you can pull yourself away from all the great football, that is! (TITANS ARE 2 and 0, BABY!!!!! FIRST PLACE IN THE AFC SOUTH!!! WHO-HOOOO!!!!!)

So tell me, what's your favorite season of the year, and why???
And let's have some more responses folks! I ain't doing this for my health!!!


Friday, August 29, 2008

"It was always summer and the future called"

Greetings, all! So- a rousing Democratic convention, complete with a HUGE rock show like ending! (I get the feeling that Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were watching last night saying
" Must EVERYONE crib our stuff???") and now today, MORE big news with Sarah Palin's selection for McCain's VP. So any way you slice it, some history is gonna be made! Pretty cool times we're living in, huh?

At any rate, I've been working like a Trojan today trying to get my life caught up to where it needs to be. As I was in my office listening to some "you tube" (yes, I mainly just listen- like a big free jukebox!) I came across a few songs that gave me pause. Songs that in a sense, feel like the story of my life.

I was on a bit of a MEATLOAF jag (anyone who's known me for any length of time knows of my love for the big fella!) at first. Meatloaf is interesting, and it's no secret why I love him. He's big, bombastic, theatrical, etc...but really it's all Steinman's songs that make him what he is. Jim Steinman's songs are melodramatic (and a tad cliched from time to time)...they sort of hit you in the face like a big open wound, just daring you to look away. BUT- when he's on, the man is on. One song in particular, OBJECTS IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR hits me very close to the bone.
Yes, it's a crappy title, and it has one of the goofiest choruses in creation, but in between is an incredibly theatrical and powerful tale, and one that I relate to all to well.
Watch for yourself

It's also a damned fine little video, in a Michael Bay kinda way:)

Then, there's this gem:

Don't ask me exactly why, but this song is the story of my life... I think sometimes you don't choose art, it chooses you. Author Nick Hornby writing about Springsteen's THUNDER ROAD said, "It's a process something like falling in love. You don't necessarily choose the best person, or the wisest, or the most beautiful; there's something else going on." He goes on in this essay to talk of how different he is from the characters in the song, and yet the connection to the piece was so strong, he still felt it was still "about him".

Now of course these songs aren't "about" Nick and me, but that's the beauty of Art. It makes us feel a little less...alone in the world. That someone out there understands us...feels us...knows our pain, our struggles, our joy. It's a pretty cool thing if you ask me.

So it that vein, hit me with some songs that tell the "story of your life". And feel free to add the youtube link, if one exists.

Monday, August 18, 2008

"Heavy decibels are playing on my guitar..."

Well, the trip down memory lane was a good one! This weekend, Fletch, Dave, Patty and I dusted off the old INTENT CITY machine and played a set at the Boro for their 20th annual BOROSTOCK show.
It was rusty in places, and I blew my voice out after the third song and sounded like a cross between Tom Waits and Phil Anselmo for the later portion of the show, but I gotta tell you folks...we ROCKED THE F****N' HOUSE!!!!
Sure we were older, grayer and a step slower, but I was amazed at how easy it all came together. And, oh by the way, did I mention that we only had TWO HOURS of rehearsal? We got LOTS of comments about how people couldn't believe we hadn't played in 15 years and we only had that short amount of rehearsal time.
The crowd was good sized, loud and very appreciative (and quite understanding about my vocal woes.) My undergraduate Theatre mentor was there and she told me afterward that I sounded fine, but that if I was one of her students NOW and I ragged my voice out that way, she'd kick my ass! There were also lots of old faces from the past. My buddy Lonesome Cowboy Bill and his pal Mark (who was up from Birmingham), our friend Helen who drove in from Jackson just for the show, my old buddy Neal who used to play in a band with me in the mid 80's...and tons more! It was a beautiful experience. And you know what it taught me? That despite what the cynics say, sometimes you CAN go home again! (the coolest moment of the night was when Patty, the bass player who's the only one of us still actively gigging, leaned over to me after we started the first song and said "Welcome back!" What a great moment!) And that I really wanna do it again!!!! How will that manifest itself? Who knows. Maybe we'll get together every six months and play a show, or maybe we'll record some. Hell, if that doesn't work out maybe I'll find some folks around here who wanna play. But I really feel that it's something my life has been missing. And now that I no longer harbour any illusions of doing this as a full time occupation, the pressure's off and I can just have fun. (I'm thinking Rick probably gets this better than most!) Of course my plate is ridiculously full, and between work, kids and all that goes with it, I may never get the opportunity to play like that again, but I am truly grateful for the privilege to have shared the stage with these men one more time. It was, as they say...a gas, gas, gas!!!
So here's to the men of INTENT CITY. Hope to see you again down the road boys. And please, as Lars (the guitarist from LAUGHING STORM DOGS) said after our set "Don't wait 15 years to do this again!"
...cause then we'll REALLY be old!
2 million points for the song reference. And as soon as we get the youtube links active, I'll post those.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Backstage smoke is risin'..."

Well, the reunion is almost here and me and the fellas are stoked! It's gonna be a real, by the seat of our pants affair, as we're only gonna get to rehearse once before we play, but as Dave (our lead guitarist) says "What we lack in talent, we'll make up for with enthusiasm and volume!"
True that, big fella!

I'll be posting a post mortem of the show early next week, then it's on to Auditions and other such Theatre and work related activities, and the rock and roll lifestyle will be laid to rest once more. What's been coolest about this thus far is reconnecting with the guys. Fletch and I have stayed close over the years, but I haven't seen Dave and Patty since before I was married, so this will be a nice event all the way around. Adult time, with two kiddies, is at a premium anyhow, and time with old friends is almost non-existent, so this is a treat. The older I get, the more I start to value not only my old friends in Tennessee and Mississippi (and spread out all across the nation) but my newer friends here in the Bluegrass as well. If George Bailey's book inscription is correct, then I am a rich man indeed!

BTW- Take a gander at the new poll. AND- for those voting in the "other" category, give me a title in a post so we can see "where your head at!"

Peace out, and LET'S ROCK!!!