I got some shit to say. And I'm lazy.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

That Weird Chill

Granted. As in taken for.

I don't know why, but for the love of god, that's how I feel these last few weeks. My resolution to myself, this last New Year's, was not to quit smoking or eating chocolate, or (ha ha yea right) not drink so much, but to quit being a martyr. I needed that. I have realized the older I've gotten that I have a chip on my shoulder that comes from some super duper sub conscious place, and it manifests itself at the strangest times and makes me very sensitive and resentful towards people. I have almost no control over it, and I have tried very hard to work at it, because when I feel slighted or, taken for granted, or passed over, or whatever, I know that the offender in question has very little idea what kind of damage they may have done. Maybe it's our profession, maybe it's a certain amount of resentment against my family, maybe it's my dreams having to come to terms with my reality or the general creeping sense I get sometimes that my body is failing me. Who knows? And I had really kept it in check lately, even being fully aware of my over developed chip and making myself realize I was being an hypersensitive knob polisher and to just GROW UP. But a bunch of out-of-my-control-ca-ca-poops-McGee-shite has happened lately, and I was thrown off my proverbial self help track. Also, I should lay down those mix tape rules.

Incidentally, has anyone ever noticed that most of my blog post titles are taken directly from songs? Free mix CD to anyone who can name the singer whose album is entitled 'That Weird Chill.'

As all four of you who read this intermittantly updated piece of internet drivel know, I just closed a show here. It was written byhim and starred this guy and me. By all accounts, I feel as though it was some of my best work. It was more or less about the Terri Schiavo case, and also dealt with the insurmountable task of dealing with the loss of one's beloved. I was super proud of the acting by me and Vic, and I think Ken's script had so much to offer the cast, that I really relished the challenge. Everyone else involved was top notch, and as a creative endeavor, it was by far one of the most rewarding. The only problem? No one fucking saw it.

Now I know how this thing goes, this business of show, and when I say no one saw it, I am not discounting any of my dear dear friends from work, or my flatmate or my old ATL buddies orA and K. I mean the royal 'nobody saw it', as in the public at large. The Times, shock, surprise, bailed on their review, the PR guy crapped the bed on doing his job, and the fact remains that no one's going to take a chance on Long Island City. Funny how people love to come out and eat and drink and frolic by the water there, but no one's gonna plunk down 15 big to check out experimental theatre. I guess the reason is if it's not in Manhattan, it's not somehow valid as a viable creative entity. What if I was to tell you that the first workshop of LEGALLY BLONDE was held at the theatre the show I did was at. Would that be something you might be interested in? Yea, me neither.

I don't really know quite where I was headed with all the above, except to more or less say that, as I follow all the other theatre folks' blogs that sometimes talk about this or that slight, perceived or real, by the critics or world at large, I just felt the need to throw my 2 cents in. As an actor, I am continually at the mercy of literally dozens of outside forces beyond my control to get work. For a long time I had a hard time saying that I even was an actor, because where I come from, that seems so fucking foolish and petty, and for lack of a better word, 'gay',(editor's note: Not meant to imply or disparage anyone's sexual orientation, but, rather intone a certain amount of cheesiness on the offender's part. I.E., 'Dude, you're drinking a Coors Light? That is so fucking gay.')
that I was almost embarrassed, just because of a fear of how people would perceive me. But not anymore. South Texas machoness be damned, I love what I do. I love the people I'm surrounded by, I love the camraderie, the struggle, the blood, sweat and tears of it all. I am constantly in awe of people like Adam, Kristen, Sheila, Grote, Daisey and the like, for the beautiful worlds they create time and again. Performers like Schreck, Dizzia, Vic, David Brooks, Susan, Gibson, etc., and directors and producers like FW, Willis, Clubbed Thumb, 13P, Soho Rep, and on and on make me feel like there's a whole lot of something out there, and I'm proud to somehow be a part of it. I guess I am just a big ole' dorky record geek when it comes to seeing people's work. And I shouldn't ever expect others to be the same. Chip? Get off of my shoulder. Thanks.

To surmise, I think what I'm trying to say is that sometimes I think I care too much. About the work, about the people I work with. I'm loyal, sometimes to a fault, much like this hombre, and while you totally love it when he steps up and kills the way overhyped Dallas Mavericks with seven(!) 3 pointers in a row, he can get tiresome when he gets ejected for having your back when a fan attacks you. And for firing off a gun at a strip club. Not that I have done either. But I'm just saying.

And now, a moment of silence.....

I have resisted writing about this for some time, because ineveitably, when the subject turns to Vonnegut, it turns to my Poppa Dukes. My father and I have a strained relationship at best, but I will forever be grateful that he, like so many other young men who survived the horrors of war and then went out into the world, had a fan boy's enthusiasm for the humanitarism and gallows humor of olde man Vonnegut. I had the opportunity once to meet Vonnegut, at where else the MoMA, back in '02 at the Gerhard Richter preview. I was working it, he was enjoying it, just to clear up any misconception that he and I traversed the same slippery social networks. He was walking out of the preview with his wife, the lovely Jill Krementz, and he told me to smile. I had been dealing with crazy party crashers and the usual insufferables that come along with any MoMA function,and I desperately wanted to go home. Here was this old coot, disshelved and shambling along with his beautiful lady in tow, and he took the time to talk to me. I blanched, recovered quickly, and told him how much his books had meant to my Daddy, and in turn me. I even told him how my father had gone to see him speak at Trinity University in San Anotnio a few years back.('97, I think.)

He then stopped, turned back and said,

'What's his name?'

"Vic," I said.

'You got any paper?',he asked.

" I do."

I grabbed some reciept paper from the counter I was standing at.

'And a pen.'

Yep, I had that to.

He then proceeded to draw a caricature of himself, represented above, signed, 'To Vic.' He then handed it to me, linked arms with Jill, and shambled off into the street, the air still charged with one of the most exciting moments of my life.
It was only later I realized he had never asked my name, nor had I attempted to shake his hand.

I had that sketch framed and gave it to my old man sometime later. It hangs prominently in his workshop and he loves to talk about it to anyone who will listen. He was the first person I called when I found out Vonnegut had died. It was our bond, like some Dad's pass on a love of a certain team to their sons, or a love of The Beatles. My father gave me Kurt Vonnegut. The last month, as I'm sure many others are doing, I have been furiously re-reading all his books, and even some of the one's I'd never read. Vonngeut represents many things to many people, but for me, it will always be his universal kindness and sense of the absurd that rests so deep within my collective unconscious whenever I think of him. He was ours, all of ours, Cantankerous Old Coot of a Grandpa, forever smoking and complaining about that goddamned Bush and Petroleum and the Great Big Greedy machine that is this country. He would also slip you a ten spot when you weren't looking and tell you a dirty joke, and be sure to give you a hug goodbye. You know, just like gramps.
Thank you Kurt Vonnegut, and thank you Daddy. We all thank you.

I wanted to post a track from this little gem of an album I discovered recently, but for some reason, it's encrypted and I can't get the fucker to load. It's from a record called 'Nashville' by Josh Rouse and I can't recommend it enough. So instead I will close this with a great little cover by a fellow Austinite and full time Dulli acolyte, Mr. Jeff Klein. It's a fitting end to this blog post, ramblers. Things will get better me thinks. Look for me on the season finale of Law & Order, original recipe. Now about those mix tape rules....

Blog Song of The Day.mp3


Blogger Maxwell said...

I have 1972, I should check out Nashville.

I'm really sorry I missed your show. I know, I'm not representative of the entire public. I'd also tell you I haven't seen any theater or movies if it were to make you feel better.

10:56 AM


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