Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hi, Aunt Carole!

Aunt Carole- My dad told me you wanted me to write to you in this blog and I couldn't be happier to oblige. Thank you for my 4th of July e-card. It was awesome. Sorry I've been so out of touch. I love you dearly. I heard you had a fun trip to see Matt in Vegas. And that you're a terrible backseat driver. That was shocking to hear. Not you! Timid and shy Aunt Carole? I couldn't believe it. Now my dad's going to be mad at me for saying that. But I don't care! This family has too many secrets! We're like the goddamn Corleones!

Oh, hi Dad! How are you? I am fine.
I haven't been doing much, really. Just working. And thinking. What I'm trying to say is that I have nothing to tell you or show you really, per se. Nothing exciting, that is. But why does it have to be exciting all the time? Isn't life just made up of a series of small moments? As Charles Eames once said, "The details are not details, they make the design." Can you tell I'm bullshitting to fill space?

All right, here are my details:
I went to the grocery store and there was a lady carrying this cake over to the bakery section...

Hold the mayo.
Can you believe it? A HAMBURGER CAKE! I actually stopped her and said in a kind of too loud voice, "Are you kidding me with that hamburger cake?" Then I saw her give the security guard an eye signal, so I took this picture and headed for the frozen food aisle. I like walking down that aisle the best. It's always so cold and orderly and well lit. I have a secret dream of one day roller skating up and down the aisles of a supermarket after hours. Get to know me, Dad. 

It is true that I find great comfort and solace in the communal atmosphere of my local food merchant. But I think you'd really appreciate where I shop in Chicago because it's a grocery store conveniently located in...The Playboy Building!

Built on the backs of disempowered women!
That's right, Hugh Hefner's vast empire has their central headquarters right across the street from where I live. It's not really as exciting as you'd hope. The lobby is usually filled with a lot of old men in motorized wheelchairs. I'm not kidding. I think Hef puts up his elderly friends and business associates at a discounted price. They seem bitter, maybe because there's no grotto. 

Umm, what else...
On fourth of July weekend, Danny Ceballos drove in from Wisconsin and hung out with me for the day. We went to the Art Institute of Chicago. It's quite beautiful. Here are some of my favorite pieces of art...

Posture, young lady!
From this painting, I gathered that it's always been hard for smart girls. She's like, "Will you stop objectifying me? I'm trying to read Dante." And the painter is like, "Let's see some ankle!" 

I thought this one was rather extraordinary...

Who doesn't love a bunch of nuns with candles?
This painting is called A Pardon in Brittany by Gaston LaTouche. Danny said his name means "touch my belly" in French. We had a good, quiet laugh over that one. It looks way better in person, obviously. Kinda like someone punched holes in the canvas and put a light bulb behind it, but classier. Frencher.

Here's Danny sketching his favorite painting which I didn't get the name of...

It's not a purse, it's a tote bag.
This was in the Toulouse Lautrec area, but it was by one of his contemporaries. Danny is sketching the lady second from the left. He really liked the fact that she was eating sardines with gloves on. I thought it made her look the fool. 

And here's the biggie...

Go ahead! Stare at it, you lemmings!
It's the legendary Seurat painting, A Sunday Afternoon. The official title is longer, but I don't feel like writing the whole thing. To be honest, I wasn't that into it. I'm not saying it's not impressive or that it doesn't deserve to be flocked to, but the crowd was about six rows deep and some people were getting their picture taken in front of it. I guess so they could take it home and say, "Here's the proof that I looked at this famous painting- a picture of me squatting in front of it, throwing gang signs." The docents had to yell for people not to use flash photography every 30 seconds or so. I walked through this mob scene and then immediately went back over to my nuns with candles painting and did some deep breathing.  

Speaking of art and paintings and things I like, I asked my friend Amy to paint that old picture of me and Laura wearing those Halloween masks you and mom used in 1973. That's what I'm using for my EP cover (EPs are records with less than the regular amount of songs on them.) It turned out to look like this...

This was what childhood was like for me.
Pretty awesome, huh?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

See Ya Later, June.

Oh, this summer is rushing by so fast, Dad! It feels like only yesterday I saw my first Jenny Craig commercial threatening the arrival of bikini season. Now I have to figure out which fur coat I want to take out of cedar storage! This crazy life!

Now let's do some introductory Chicago photo essaying, shall we... ese? (That's how Mexicans say "dude." And it's a play on words. I love a homonym! You of all people should know that.)

Here's the sunset over Lakeshore Drive, which runs right along Lake Ontario:

Behold, the haunting beauty of a sodium light at dusk. Ignore the less beautiful lights. 
Ha HA! I tricked you! That's Lake Michigan! You've gotta know your great lakes, Dad. Use the pneumatic aid HOMES if you have to, homes. (That's what street punks call their dear friends. I used to think they were saying, "Holmes" and making a literary reference. Not so.) But seriously, study up if you have to. I don't want you embarrassing yourself at cocktail parties and retirement luncheons. Do you call them luncheons or is that only for when girls eat lunch en masse? Or is that a luncheonette? None of those questions are sincere.

That lake is mere blocks from my apartment! Have I gone down there? No. Do I plan to? Not anytime soon. Why don't I take advantage of the natural resources around me? I don't really know. Maybe it's because my palatial apartment is so much better than some dirty public area filled with people who got ready for bikini season. I don't care. I bet Lake Michigan doesn't have one of these:

Sometimes I rollerblade in here.
Isn't it gorgeous? They tell me it's called a kitchen. Kichen? Kitzen. I don't know how it's pronounced, but apparently poor people make food in them! Isn't that hilarious? Oh, I laugh and laugh when I think about someone chopping something up and putting it into a bowl and turning on that black machine back there and cooking something that they'd eat afterward! Can you even imagine? Anyhow, I mostly use it for coffee and standing. Sometimes I practice monologues from Christopher Durang plays. Yes, I'll get right up on that counter there, if need be. I just follow the muse, Dad. It's not mine to say what's right or wrong in the theater.

Oh, hey- I built this couch:

You can almost smell the Swedish meatballs.
The good people at Ikea went ahead and sent an unassembled couch for me to put together like I was some kind of man woman. I was very angry at first. I mean, I bought it online and had it delivered. I could've sworn that would send the message, "I don't build." But apparently, if you shop at Ikea, you build. So I did. It only took me four hours. It filled me with such pride, I now use the flag of Sweden as my bedroom curtains.

I also have a lovely patio, but there's an incredibly unlovely four story parking structure being built across the street. Here's a taste of what that's like. (Note: This takes place from 7am-7pm, Monday through Saturday):

Welcome to Chicago! Pardon our mess. 
There really is nothing like the sound of relentless jackhammering. I'm sure it's what serial killers hear in their head when they're on the prowl. It's second only to the sound of a dentist drill in pure "I have to get away from this"-ness. Needless to say, Page and I try to plan many out of the apartment building weekend activities. So far we've:
1) shopped and 2) complained bitterly about the jackhammers.

We also went to a baseball game. The seats were pretty good:
Harkens back to the old Rex Hardware days, doesn't it?

The Cubs were playing the Yankees. The Cubs lost by two. Everyone got to drink beer but me. That's all I took away from this entire experience. 

In closing, I'd like to use a new feature of this blog site, the direct youtube connection, to pay homage to your beloved Hollywood hero, Mr. Peter Falk. I can still remember as a child, watching you watching this movie and laughing your ass off. It was worrisome to me at the time that I was being raised by someone with such broad comedic tastes. But in the end, you were right Dad. 
God, I hate saying that! 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hello again. Hello.

Hi Dad!
See? I said I'd do it and I'm doing it! Me and the old blog, together again, relaying anecdotal encapsulations of my experience in a brand new city via this public forum in a charming yet sloppy and inconsistent manner! With pictures! (Not right now. But eventually.) Can you believe it? It's just like the summer of 2010 all over again. But further west. And north. And I'm a little wiser. With longer hair. And I changed the blog background picture, you know, to represent a whole new situation. Although, I don't know what city skyline that's supposed to be. Omaha? I may have to change it again later. Maybe to an outer space picture, so it's not so location specific.

To catch you up, I am one day shy of completing my first week living in Chicago. The Windy City! The Meatropolitan Center of America! Nasal Town! Improvburg! Hotdogopolis! I want to keep going, even though there's no way anyone's enjoying those. I certainly am not.

It's really quite lovely here. Well, my apartment and Harpo Studios are. And the Lake. And Starbucks. What more is there to a town, really? I've seen what I need to see.

So far I have:
-seen 2 lightning storms
-eaten 6 pounds of cheese
-almost gotten killed in a cab
-been yelled at by an old lady in a cab
-started a new job
-gone to Starbuck's 43 times
-wondered what the hell I'm doing with my life 86 times (on the way to and from Starbucks)
-seen some fireworks
-gone without television, the internet or phone service for 5 days

What's happening with that last one is, I'm breaking myself down in order to rebuild myself entirely. Like a Jesuit. Or someone who doesn't plan well or think things through. I forgot that I'd need furniture and services. The first couple of nights in my apartment were basically indoor camping. Sleeping on the floor without a pillow, using my computer screen as a book light. Catching rain water in leaves for drinking. It was rustic as hell.

On the morning of my second day, I realized I didn't have towels yet. And that realization came as I was rinsing the conditioner from my hair. Of course I made sure I had plenty of conditioner. I'm a creative, dad. My mind doesn't work like you commoners. I'm all up in here (gesturing to brain) all the time, making art and thinking about my hair. And because of that, I was forced to dry myself with the dishtowel you gave me for Christmas with all the birds on it. Thank you for that, by the way. It's quite absorbent.

Anyway, I'm at work now, so I better go. Oprah sees all.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Goodbye, New York

That's it. It's over. Done.
The show has wrapped. Post-production is in the process of wrapping. My plane ticket says I get to leave in a few days, although we'll see what the snow has to say about it.
It's bittersweet. It went by fast and slow. It was fun and dumb, easy and hard, this and that. I don't know. I'm sure some sincere feelings will surface in about three months. Right now, I just want to wear normal shoes and drive a car. Oh my god am I going to drive my car when I get home! Wherever I want. Maybe for no reason.
I made this!
Honestly, it's been quite an experience. And I have enjoyed this extremely ridiculous weather. There was one day I came out of the subway and it was 10 degrees. My whole walk to work, I was laughing and kind of crying. Not sad crying, just uncontrollable teary eyes crying. And I was also swearing in a moderately loud voice. But I mean, I've never been in cold like that. It was really bracing- kind of like walking around in a large glass of chilled Listerine. How do you not swear in those conditions? The answer is you can't not.

This is what a blizzard looks like.
On Wednesday, there was a blizzard. We were stranded outside the drag club where we'd been playing bingo. (Go with it, dad. It's New York.) Luckily, Page's apartment was 3 blocks away, so 6 of us had an impromptu slumber party. It was very fun.

On our way to get supplies during the blizzard. That hippie was like, stuck, man.

On our way home from getting supplies. A snowball fight in the middle of 56th street was inevitable.
I don't have much else to report. It's really winding down for me here. 
Except, this morning, I walked out of my apartment and was met with this sight...

Recycling, Hell's Kitchen style.
I guess piles of snow are good places to dump your old technology. If a cop caught you, you can say it's an art project. 

You're going to really have to strain your eyes to see this. 
And this is my favorite mural in my neighborhood. Not that there was a lot of competition. It's by the french cartoonist Sempe and it's very sweet. I always meant to get a closer shot of it, but I never did. I thought I had so much time! And watch, the next time I come here, it'll have peeled off completely. Oh, life!

So, I guess that's it. I think this blogging thing went moderately well, all things considered. Sure, it fell apart at the end, but I hear that's how it usually goes with blogs. Very common trajectory, I'm told. 
All in all, I liked it. Perhaps we'll get to do it again sometime. 

I'll call you when I get back to Burbank. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Garbage, Mice and Snow

 Dad! It's been a month to the day since my last post. Partly because of my incessant laziness, partly because I heard a rumor that blogging is out for 2011. I guess the new thing now is long-form hand-written correspondence. But you know what? I'm going to blog anyway because I know how deeply you care for it. 

Here's some of that snow I was telling you about, shot from my office window...

 Isn't it so pretty? I like the contrast of the urban landscape in the background, the way it makes the snow look even more natural and lovely. We've all seen snow fall in Tahoe. Big deal. It looks like it should snow there. But snow falling between two 10-story pre-war brick buildings? Come on! That's, like, a miracle of nature or something. Apparently, I'm the only one in this city who feels this way. Everyone else is like, "Bring on the salt." That's sad to me.

Did we talk about how I went to see A Little Night Music starring your girlfriend Bernadette Peters?

The people love her.
She was her usual amazing self, really fascinating to watch and wonderful to listen to. The play is kind of dull, though. That Sondheim really loves a refrain. And the other actors were doing a weird speaking thing that sounded very staccato and odd, like they were trying out Welsh accents just for fun. It was irritating at first, then it started to make me sleepy. Then it inspired me to mentally list all the mistakes I've made in my life that have kept me from becoming a Broadway star. All in all, I can't say it wasn't a full experience, but it was definitely painful. Regrets, I've had a few...

None of these people went to Sac State.
What else do I have to tell you? Well, when I finally returned to this apartment after our extended holiday visit, a sad sight awaited me. 

Wait, I know CPR!
A little dead mouse in my bedroom doorway. I was so sad, mostly because I knew it meant the cockroaches were on their way. But then, about 3 nights later, a big fat mouse went strolling through the kitchen as I watched TV and I realized the dead one was probably the fat mouse's baby. She's obviously been doing some emotional eating to cope with her loss. So, the good news is, of all the things I have to worry about right now, a vermin shortage in NYC is not one of them. You can imagine my relief.

I took a video of the garbage that has piled up on the street since the blizzard of '10 that shut this city down. (NOTE: I've already posted it and the mouse picture on facebook and had long and hilarious discussions with my friends about them, but since you refuse to participate in that type of social networking, I am forced to repeat myself here like some kind of blogging Sondheim. Also, it seems mice, snow and garbage are the only things I've been paying attention to these days, so unless I start cutting and pasting news stories from AOL, this'll have to do.) 
{ADD'TL NOTE: Unfortunately, the machine won't load the video, so I'll just show you a picture of what it looks like from the internet.}

The pile in my neighborhood looked just like that when I first saw it and it's only 1/3 shorter today. If it snows again tomorrow, the children will be able to sled down it. I guess that's not totally horrible. Wasn't San Francisco built on garbage? Or was that just propaganda made up by Willie Brown and his hat? 

All right. Clearly, if I'm making Willie Brown references, I've run out of things to say. It's time for me to go out into this city and discover something new and not filthy.

I've been told a group of us are going to Little Italy for dinner tonight. Surely, I will have plenty to tell you after that. I hear they have the best garbage down there- salami rinds and old pizza crusts and mustache clippings... oh, just you wait! 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In Five... Four... Three... Two...

Dad, I will be posting in full very soon. 
It's just that things have been busy and this website wasn't loading my videos correctly and my internet connection in my apartment is spotty at best. I have nine more excuses, which you can read on my new Excuses blog, starting in May.
In the meantime, here's a video I took from my seat in the control room during rehearsal. 
i really enjoy this ee cummings typesetting style that I didn't choose (and can't seem to change)

Monday, November 15, 2010

This 'n That

I think it's time to change the name of this blog to something more indicative of it's random, sporadic nature. It's less "word for word" in the classical Kilgariff sense and more "blah blah blah" with pictures. I just want you to know I realize I've stopped reporting on my day to day and now I'm just trying to string my iphone photos together with some kind of logical narrative. It's the hackiest kind of blogging and it will not stand. I'm onto me, big time.

It's just that my life of late has been boiled down to work, pizza and the bi-weekly New York night life moment. Let's see if I can dig out a nugget of interest for my people. Auntie Ping, this one's for you:

Can you smell the fame?
OK, here's me writing at Jerry's desk. I can't remember why, but I had to leave the writer's room that day to write by myself. There was no internet service in my office, so Tom said I could use the office he shares with Jerry. Of course, I sat at Jerry's desk because I am a rebel and an upstart, then figured I should take a picture of such an epic moment. Just so you know, there is not one personal item in or around this desk. Even that tangerine is mine. There's a good chance he's never even sat there.
But still, I know how people love celebrity desks, so I thought I'd share. 

This is a traveling see-thru antique truck. Talk about class.
So, remember my friend Lisa Leingang? She was the manager at The Improv in SF back in the day? Red head? Now she lives in NYC and she's going to have a baby in December. Aren't you fascinated by what the connection could possibly be between Lisa and this picture? THERE IS NONE!!! I was walking to her baby shower and I passed this screened-in flatbed truck full of antiques and lo and behold, there's the lion drinking fountain from Fairyland!

This is a picture from Children's Fairyland, Oakland CA. Trust me on this. 
So this became one of those bittersweet moments where I was so excited to see the lion fountain, but then I realized I was alone in a strange city where no one really knew me. I mean, I could've run into a bodega and quickly explained the magical happenstance to the cashier, but that's not really my style. I just decided to take a picture before the see-thru antique truck drove away with one of my earliest childhood memories. (I know it's not the exact same one, but it's symbolic, goddammit.)

Focus on the left side of the screen.
And finally- this picture was taken as I passed the front of Bergdorf-Goodman in a cab at night. Do you see the fashion atrocity being presented as a choice for winter wear?! Red pants! Where am I right now, Paris France? 
All right, this post has been as disappointing for me as it has for you. But I promise, my shame will be the catalyst for my improvement. That's how I did it in high school!