Quick Note

I actually updated the music page! Whoop!


“I hear you are a man of good…..taste?”

Movies page has been updated!

I feel like I should qualify something. Since I’m an actor, I tend to look at movies from an acting perspective. I can critique direction in the sense of artistic choices, and as an artist I can talk visual elements. However, I actually don’t know a whole lot about cameras themselves or things of that nature. If I love an edit, it’s all about the timing as opposed to the actual art of editing. So that’s my bias. I’m going to critique movies from an acting perspective generally, with some direction, artistic choice, and social relevance in between. And certainly I would be remiss if I didn’t plop a Big Ol’ Personal Preference down.

I just watched Zodiac and I talk about it on my movies page. But Jake G. provides a nice example of my personal preference. I can take or leave him. This may only be the second movie I’ve seen with him. The other movie was Donnie Darko. Visually, I appreciate Donnie Darko and the storyline is quirky and weird and dark and all those things I typically like…except….
The disfunctional suburban family dynamic. HEeeard it. Just not my thing. I’m not suburban. My family’s not particularly disfunctional…particularly. And if I ever talked like that at the kitchen table… Seriously, it just makes me uncomfortable. So, while I appreciate American Beauty (and I do…down to Thomas NEwman’s score) Movies like Life as a House, Donnie Darko, etc. leave me cold. So there’s another bias.
But disfunction at the personal level? BRING IT ON. I love it. I am quirky and weird and I love seeing other versions of it onscreen.

I’m just trying to establish the little ledge I occupy when I’m thinking and writing about movies.

This evening, I re-rented Coppola’s Dracula for a couple reasons. 1. Gary Oldman kick…blah blah blah 2. The first time I watched it was in eighth grade. At the time, I was on a very long and drawn on Keanu Reeves kick, which…while misguided, introduced me to some movies I actually really love including Much Ado About Nothing, My Own Private Idaho and yes, even Bill and Ted’s (don’t worry…HUGE press of cheeseball button, but I love it nonetheless). My hormonal crushes on actors have introduced me to many many films I otherwise may not have seen and so I don’t feel too ashamed telling you about them. Anyhoo, Keanu (bless his heart) sucks in Dracula. Even in 8th grade I was like clutching my collar and uttering “eeeeee….yikes.” But I was home alone and my Dad left me with 15 bucks to order a pizza (MMMM a delightful cheese pizza all for me) and rent Dracula so I was happy anyway. And I love Winona Ryder and NOW I love Gary Oldman…which is why I’m rewatching it tonight. I want to know if my eighth grade impressions are at all similar to now after I’ve been acting for awhile and have…good god…15 years experience tacked onto my life.
My eighth grade impressions were as follows (I remember this really well):
1. Bright green mist? As a special effect? What is this 1952? Didn’t you direct the Godfather? (I’ve always been a little movie snobby…a little…don’t get me wrong. I love Encino Man)
2. Oh Winona Ryder. Why can’t I look like you and be in the movies you are in?
3. Oh my god those brides of Dracula are TERRIFYING!
4. Mina is a really cool name.
5. He licked a razor. Oh my god he LICKED A RAZOR!!!!!
6. The pizza has arrived! Pause button.
7. Oh Keanu, you’re so hot. You’re also so bad at acting.
8. I think I might be Transylvanian.

Now, I don’t always think Keanu Reeves is awful. I really don’t. I actually enjoy him in Little Buddha. His aloofness and exoticisism really works.

So tonight it is cheese pizza, blankies and Dracula. I’m trying to recreate it a little..although who knows what happened to my Daffy Duck pj’s? (The said You’re Disssssspicable…I loved them.) And Marco’s pizza of NW OHio will have to be substituted with Home Run Inn. And beers because I think we can all agree I’m not in 8th grade anymore. Hmmm…maybe not beers. But something in the controlled substance area!

Nothin’ but Right

We really like to qualify each other, don’t we? I suppose I’m generally talking about theatre here, but I think it applies generally.

For example, when reading a play, the first few pages usually mark the First Production. But it wasn’t really the first production, was it? It was the first Professional production, except it wasn’t the first professional production, it was the first UNION production.

Aside from what that means…what does that actually mean? Well, it could mean that a group of people got together who work for a theatre that is under an Equity contract decided to get the rights to a script and hold auditions for actors who either are already members of a union, or are willing to become members of a union. And then they put on the show and so it became history, written in program form at the beginning of the published play. Certainly there are myriad variations this story could have, but generally speaking, that’s the gist.

So then if my friends and I, or even people I don’t know got together and did this same play BEFORE it was published or produced by a union company, what did we do? As far as posterity is concerned on a larger level…nothing? I don’t think so.

I blogged awhile ago about certifications. And I don’t refute the idea of certifications. If I go into cardiac arrest, I’m sure as hell hoping the person with the paddles took a class at some point. But in the arts, we are certification union-status degree loving certificate holding assholes, aren’t we?

Look, it’s fairly evident that the person who takes it upon him or herself to teach armed stage combat should probably, and in some official way, know what he or she is doing. Somebody could get physically hurt. All I’m saying is, do I really need a master’s degree to teach somebody how to be seen and heard onstage. I don’t think so.

Lucky for me, I don’t really want to teach somebody that anyway. I’m pretty content to just do.

What am I trying to say here? Oh! Right. That we are a bunch of stuck up blowhards. That’s it. Myself included.

There are these ongoing Union v Non-Union battles occuring on CHris Jones’ page every day (mostly in the comments section). Union = Quality!

Um. Welll….it can, sure. What it really equals is protection. On some level. It’s a guarantee of payment for the actor. Guarantee of a meal, and guarantee of a cot backstage to tape a nap, I guess. What bothers me is that somehow this backstagey actor protection plan has mormphed into the equivalent of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. We, Actor’s Equity, have decided that YOU, actor, are talented enough to warrant health insurance…


Sure I’m oversimplifying, but c’mon. I’ve seen an Equity show with an actor that Equity-sucked. I’ve seen a non Equity show with actors that rocked.

Why does everything have to be so goddamned official all the time? Yes, I only buy toothpaste that has been recommended by the American Dental Association. Why? I have no idea. It’s what you do, I guess. I go to doctors that have been given the high sign by my insurance company because that means they are cheaper. That’s for damn sure. Do I also realize that the insurance company’s investment in said doctor has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of care given beyond giving me enough care to save said company money? Yes. But what the hell am I supposed to do about it?

Nothing. But, I feel like I am one good brainstorm away from helping the ol’ Non-Equity community.

Why haven’t we tried to start a free clinic?
Why don’t we call bullshit on producers that take advantage of us (I’m talking to tech people, too)?
Why don’t we shout to the heavens and everyone we know when we work with a director that is fantastic?
Why don’t we also shout to the heavens when a director we work with is a douche?

We need a Non-Equity honesty brigade. No dues. No contracts. Just a sense of Right.

Screw the blog and online conversations about “good theatre” or “bad theatre”. It’s fucking subjective. It just IS! There are actors I think blow BLOW. They are terrible. Awful. Untalented, shrivelly little raisins on the stage, and yet I have friends who think they rock. Who cares?

We all deserve some protection. I’ll certify that.

A Suggestion for Netflix then a request having nothing at all to do with the suggestion

So I was looking back through my Netflix ratings…like you do…and I realized that I’m not able to rate movies quite like I want to. For example, I gave About Schmidt 5 stars. I think it is absolutely one of the best movies I have ever seen. I also gave Dave 5 stars. wha?

I mean, I know what I mean by that, but whatever logarithm Netflix uses to suggest movies to me doesn’t. What I mean is I really just enjoyed Dave on a candy corn level. It’s a jammies and popcorn and hair in curlers kind of movie. I just simply like watching it. Does it have flaws? Why yes it does. Do I care? Why, no I don’t, really. Kevin Kline is funny and that’s about all I need.
But yet About Schmidt rated the exact same 5 stars. Except I think About Schmidt is one of the best films ever made. I think it’s flawless. I didn’t just enjoy it on an entertainment level, I enjoyed it on a soulful level. It is fantastic. So how can I reconcile this?

I have a suggestion.

A Cheeseball button. Just a little orange button (perhaps with little orange cartoon crumbs) that you could click when you see a movie that made you laugh and was fun to watch, but you certainly wouldn’t put it on the same shelf as North by Northwest. Wayne’s World. 5 stars. Cheeseball button. Wet Hot American Summer. 5 stars. Cheeseball Button. Night of the Hunter. 5 stars. Flat out. No qualifiers. Although if there were a Robert Mitchum button, I think I might press it…what? who said that?

Except now I’m thinking Dave deserves 4 stars with a cheeseball button. I think I need a better example.

Okay onto my request: If you were an apron, or if you chose to represent yourself in apron form (Men too, please) what features and accesories would you have? What color would you be? Half or full? Smock or BBQ? For looks or use? Both?
For example, I think if my Dad were to have a specially made apron, it would have a holster for a portable phone and for a bottle of Gatorade. It would be dirt colored. And it would look more like a hoodie than an apron…hmmm…maybe not the best example. But you get what I mean.
I’m considering designing a line of aprons with my friends and readers as the names of the designs. Just in the brainstorming process. As I’ve said before, I have a major project list to complete, but I can’t stop the neurons from firing! Not on purpose anyway.

Give me your thoughts!

Once I wake up a little, I might write something more interesting, but until then…

So I just realized that my ratings scale (for books, movies, and music) is something I’ve only interpreted for myself. So here’s a Key for you:

1 kitty out five= HISS
2 kitties out of five = Growl
3 kitties out of five = purr
4 kitties out of five = Meow
5 kitties out of five = REEEOWWWW

I had a dream about someone I used to crush on a long long time ago, and I woke up thinking, “Really, subconsious? That’s a little below the belt, no?” I mean what am I supposed to get out of a dream like that?!? Here’s someone who was never interested in you…remember that? That sucked. Well, have a good day! I mean for cryin’ out loud. Self-imposed blows to the ego do not a good Wednesday make.

THEN I get to work and the little store in the lobby was closed and I’d been dreaming of buying a Power-C and some pop tarts the whole way into downtown. Thwarted.

So that’s low blow to ego, no pop tarts, I read a book I didn’t mean to (see my books page for more details), and I think the strap on my heels is going to break. In the big picture, of course, these are minor inconveniences, but in that they’ve all occurred before 8:24 am, I’m a little put out.

So mark your calendars for June 14 and 15. That’s when Theatre Building Chicago’s Mini-Musicals will be performed. I think it will be fun. We got the final drafts last night. Saturday we’re on our feet. I don’t know about the writers, but I sure as hell have learned a lot about the creation of a musical. I also learned a new word:
prosody  /ˈprɒsədi/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [pros-uh-dee] Show IPA
–noun 1. the science or study of poetic meters and versification.
2. a particular or distinctive system of metrics and versification: Milton’s prosody.
3. Linguistics. the stress and intonation patterns of an utterance.

Oh you’re very welcome.

Praise we raise to thee in song, as the decades rooolllll

“From thy hallowed halls we traveled,
Strong in heart and soul.
Paulding High
Our Alma Mater, days of old and days to be,
Weaves the story of our glory now and ever more.”

Well, this is about the coolest dress I’ve ever seen:

Back from Ohio! It was an incredibly high energy weekend. So much fun. My little Sis graduated making her the fourth Paulding High School graduate in our immediate family. With honors, might I add. Eve, that is. Ellen, too. Not me. Althoughhhh…I do think the cut off has been lowered…a bit.

I absolutely adore my family immediate and extended, and any chance to spend time with them outside in nice May weather with amazing food and hilarious stories is one of my favorite things to do. I even drag the cats along and that is the crazy truth.

Plus graduation cake, as made by my fantastically talented cousin Molly, is pretty much the best breakfast ever.

We are sailing towards Summer here at a Rhinestone World…i.e. my brain. Basically three weeks left of rehearsals and Spring. I’ll post more info on performances of TBC’s Mini Musicals when it is available.

I finally finished knitting the beast of an afghan I’ve been bellering about for months. I just need to stitch it up. It takes about 30 minutes to an hour to stitch up a panel, so at that rate, I should have it finished around my 42nd birthday.

Next up on the project front: a vintage wrap that I am ever so excited about that was also due around Christmas, and then an apron for a boy (like a BBQ one…this will be a new endeavor) followed by a bridal apron or two (I am soooo pumped about this). Then it’s a tree skirt made out of green velvet, which I’m planning on giving as a September birthday gift. Now, I may knit at the pace of a tortoise in slo-mo, but I sew like the wind. So my sewing machine will be whirring and steaming soon.

I suppose that’s all on the update front. I was back in my old high school on Sunday and it was…nostalgic. In a way. It was also just, I don’t know. They’ve made so many additions and improvements, it’s just a small area that still looks like high school to me. But it was also pretty neat in that I graduated in 1999 and my sis graduated in 2009. Our middle sis graduated in 2005. So we spanned the decade with high school. And now, no more Kohart girls at Paulding High School. It’s time to take over the world.

Little Bitty Pissant Country Place

Well the movies page has been updated! Whoop! I have a lot to do today, so this will be short.

Headed to Ohio this weekend! I made a playlist that will include Will saying, “What in the hell is this?!” But…I also slipped in songs he likes so it will go:

Wuthering Heights Kate Bush
Evenflow Pearl Jam
Marie Laveau Dr. John
Belleville Rendevous (Will LOVES this song)
In the Colosseum Tom Waits (My new “Ooohhh if I could do a burlesque routine song…”)
Go go Gadget Flow Lupe Fiasco
Lousiana Woman, Mississippi Man (He will love this….as soon as he stops rhyming heart with fart)
Via Con Mi (Good driving song)
I’ll throw in some Indigo Girls, he’ll groan. I’ll tease him with I’ll Spy theme song, and then smack him with Yellow-Haired Girl (bluegrass), and then he’ll say alright, we’re listening to Okkerville River and I’ll read my book and talk to the cats.

Oh, and of course, we’ll listen to “Ohio” by Over the Rhine. THat’s a great song, Buckeye or no.