Friday, December 31, 2010


I have a moustache now, for the show.

It's a debonair Dali.

He didn't really have the long, fantastical one until he was a bit older.

It's weird having a moustache.

I look like that guy who lives next door who used to do porn films in the 70s.

It takes a lot of maintenance.

But it looks good when I'm in costume.

I keep reminding myself, it could be worse...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gruesome, Sexy On-Stage Injuries

I've noticed that whenever an actor is injured during a performance of Spiderman: Turn off the Dark, ticket sales go thru the roof!

This was inevitable, of course.

Injuries are THRILLING!

And injured performers are SEXY! 

Just look at the vintage picture above of Steve Norman, lead singer of 80s super-group Spandau Ballet, nursing a busted knee after a tragic tumble onstage involving leg warmers, Jennifer Beal, and a random puddle of DEP.

I rest my case.

I know this much is true: he even makes his mullet look good.

This new development has been a LONG time coming.

At last theatre can offer something that reality TV cannot: uncut, non-edited, real-time dismemberment.

Finally, producers can cash in on a totally new theatrical form:


Buy a ticket:

Someone might actually DIE!

What could be more exciting than that?

And God knows: actors will do just about ANYTHING for a job.

So the threat of death or serious injury isn't really a deterrent for us.

You do NOT want to know what I would do for a job, for a role.

I need my health weeks, especially if I have a broken spinal cord.

We've all seen All About Eve.

That was a documentary, as far as I'm concerned.

I would kill someone just for a free breakfast buffet at Denny's.

In that spirit of reckless abandon that is SO zeitgeisty right now, we are already preparing death-defying stunts for our upcoming production of Hysteria.

At every performance of Hysteria, I guarantee you: someone will be seriously hurt.

At the very least, Stacy Fischer will hit me in the kneecap with a ball peen hammer at some point during the curtain call.

Richard Snee and I have also prepared an elaborate series of "Jack Ass"-esque stunts:

Skateboarding down the Central Square Theatre lobby stairs. 

Bungee jumping from the light booth (that's at least 15 feet, people!)

Robert Bonotto will self-inflict a paper cut to any part of his body.  You choose which one!

Johnny Knoxville, eat your heart out.

You bought a TICKET, dammit:

Seeing actors in excruciating pain is your RIGHT!

There will also be a special segment during intermission where I will eat anything for a dollar!

And I do mean anything...

So make sure to bring some interesting stuff!!

See you at the show!!!!!!

(Note: Statements and promises made in this post are NOT true and in NO way reflect the views of HamBone Management.)

Monday, December 27, 2010


I just read Maureen Dowd today, as I couldn't get to it yesterday.

And she was writing about my favorite performer of all time: Patty Smith.

Smith's memoirs, Just Kids, won a National Book Award recently.

I've seen Patty Smith perform twice.

Both times were amazing.

The second time I saw her was at the Paradise, and it was a total accident.

I was actually walking down Comm. Ave, fully intending to see the Nora Theatre's production of Sarah Kane's Crave at BPT.

And I walked past the Paradise, and there's a huge line, and I looked up, and it was for Patty Smith, and I didn't even know she was in town, and I couldn't believe it, and I suddenly knew that I needed to see that concert, even though the sign over my head clearly said it was SOLD OUT.

So I started at the beginning of the line of ticket holders waiting to get in, and walked sheepishly past, staring at them benignly until one guy said: "Hey, you need a ticket?"

And he gave me his extra ticket.  For free. 

It was meant to be.

So, I never got to see Crave, which bums me out, as I LOVE Sarah Kane (not sure if "love" is the right word...)

I would LOVE to see ANY of Kane's plays done here. (I think the Nora is the only professional theatre to tackle her in Boston - or even the region -  until the Gamm Theatre in Providence recently did Psychosis 4.48

And if anyone wanted to cast me in one, I would SO be all over that rapey, eye-sucking shit.

I read Cleansed recently and couldn't sleep for 2 days.

Anyway, back to Patty:

The Paradise is already the size of your Nana's attic, so you're going to be close to the performer no matter what. 

But I was somehow right in front of the stage.

And the moment Patty Smith came into the room, you could not take your EYES off of her.

She is the most mesmerizing, generous, magical performer I've ever seen. 

Dowd actually said that she "radiates magic", which is true.

I remember she did a cover of "Sea of Love". 

She also sang "Tomorrow" from the musical "Annie".

I love her quote: "Contradiction is often the clearest way to truth".

She shoots this energy and positivity out of every pore in her body. 

You can actually see it, like a Tesla coil.

And it's strange, because I rarely listen to her recorded music (it's just not the same).

But live, she is unbelievable

Rickie Lee Jones is a close second for me.

And I love Laura Nyro in the same way, thanks to Tommy, even though I never got a chance to see her live.

You can tell she is that kind of performer.

And yeah, I love Deborah Harry too.  But that is TOTALLY different and guilty.

But what was really strange is that Dowd quotes, of all people, Salvador Dali in describing Smith.

He apparently said she was a "Gothic crow".

And birds, particularly black ones, are what frighten the character Jessica so much in Hysteria.

"A chick who looks like a crow" is how Sam Shepard describes Cavale - the character based on and performed by Smith from his play Cowboy Mouth.

And Shepard is sometimes called the "American surrealist". 

Which goes back to Dali. 

Who was trying to "drag up the monstrous from the safety of our dreams" and "commit to the canvas".

Which goes back to Freud.

And of course, Smith was famously the roommate of Robert Mapplethorpe, who is ALSO on my mind lately, as his work is part of the Hide/Seek exhibit being vilified by Republicans.

And I wouldn't have seen Patty Smith perform if I hadn't been going to see a show at the Nora,

who is now producing Hysteria,

a play about dreams and Dali,

who called Patty Smith a gothic crow,

written about by Maureen Dowd,

who has intense, Dali-like eyes herself.

So theres' this weird, interconnected thingy going on right now...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Interview with a Virgin

Here's a hilarious holiday video of my funny friend Jan Davidson playing the Virgin Mary interviewing a potential nanny for the Baby Jesus, produced by my pal Julie Perkins.  This was part of a holiday show that Jan, Rick Park, Julie and I did a few years ago called "Spiked Eggnog".  So Much Fun!!!

So good to see it on film, with LIVE animals no less!  Enjoy and Happy Holidays!!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


As I'm sure you've heard by now, The National Portrait Gallery ceded to pressure from Christian fundamentalists to censor Hide/Seek, the first exhibition in the U.S. "to examine questions of sexual difference and dissidence in the sweeping context of canonical American art".

In other words, the whole thing was just TOO GAY, dammit!

Never mind that the exhibit was PRIVATELY FUNDED and cost the taxpayer NOTHING. 

And that it was being foisted on NO ONE.

Minor details, really.

The offending piece was apparently a 4-minute video entitled "Fire in my Belly" by artist David Wojnarowicz that depicted, among other things, a crucified Jesus statue with ants on it. 

It was supposed to represent the suffering of AIDS victims in the 1980's (the artist died in 1992 from complications with the disease).

It was pulled from the exhibit by the Smithsonian without even an eye blink at the first murmur of Republican discontent.  (Eric Cantor and John Boehner leading the charge, who else?)

I can't really say if "Fire in my Belly" was offensive, since someone else DID THAT FOR ME. 

Thank GOD I don't have to worry my pretty little head about THAT!

But it didn't really sound offensive to me.

It sounded like a piece of art.

Today, artist AA Bronson sent a letter to the museum requesting that his painting Felix, June 5th, 1994, be withdrawn from the exhibit in solidarity with Wojnarowicz.

Bronson's piece depicts his lover in bed, hours after dying to complications from AIDS. 

It's truly a haunting, beautiful and heart-breaking image.

And all this reminds me that the Republicans who are trying to censor and silence this artwork are the same Republicans that stood by and allowed an entire generation of gay men perish while they twiddled their thumbs in the 1980s.

Meanwhile, it's always truly inspiring to hear the conservative reaction to all this.

Here's an actual quote from the blog "The New Moderate":

"I ...lament the fragmentation of our society into a myriad of angry victim subcultures. Granted, the members of these subcultures often have much to be angry about, but here’s a little-known secret: so do most of us who don’t belong to those subcultures. Get over it, I want to tell them. Life is hard for nearly everyone, heterosexual white Christian males included."

You know, I couldn't agree more!

I personally would LOVE to hear the harrowing, untold stories of how unfairly heterosexual white Christian males are treated in this country.

Your voices have been silenced long enough, my brothers!  Don't be afraid!  Speak out!

It's about time some brave, straight guy told us gays to shut the fuck up! 

Gee, I've never heard THAT before.

It's like I'm in the High School locker room all over again!  Good times.

Actually, when Tommy and I went to DC a year ago, we visited the Smithsonian Museum of American History, and it was like gay people didn't even exist in America. 


For real. 

There were exhibits about every race and creed and gender and color imaginable.

But no gays. 

It was eerie.

You apparently can't even whistle "Over the Rainbow" at the Smithsonian without some right-wing flunky clubbing you over the head.

I found some of the images from "Hide/Seek" on-line, and pasted them below.

Artwork by David Hockney, Annie Leibowitz, Keith Haring, Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe...

It's beautiful and provocative and completely inoffensive to me. 

But then again, I'm a total fag.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What are the voices saying to you?

A: What are the voices saying to you?   (Pause)  Do you hear me?
B: Yes.
A: (louder) What are the voices saying to you?  
B: I don't hear voices.
A: But you hear my voice?
B: Yes.
A: Interesting.
B: Yes.
A: Yes what?
B: Yes…Doctor.
A: Very good. Answer the following questions truthfully and accurately:  Question #1: Does your boyfriend beat you?
B: Excuse me?
A: Does your boyfriend beat you?
B: I don't have a boyfriend.
A: Does your boyfriend beat you?
B: I don’t remember.
A: You don’t remember?
B: Yes. I mean, No.
A: Amnesia. (louder) Agree or disagree to the following statements: All ducks are yellow.
B: Agree.
A: Yellow is the color of anxiety.
B: Agree.
A: Seeing ducks makes me anxious.
B: Agree.
A: I feel anxious when I think about my father.
B: Agree
A: My father liked to eat okra.
B: Agree.
A: Okra is slimy and snot-like and slithers down my throat, like a lizard.
B: Agree.
A: Lizards are chameleons.
B: Disagree.
A: If bananas are yellow and yellow is the color of anxiety, why don't bananas make you anxious when you eat them?
B: Agree.
A: A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. A Candidate is someone who gets money from the rich and votes from the poor to protect them from each other. After all is said and done, more is said than done.
B: Agree. Agree. Disagree.
A: Agree. That will be all for today.
B: Thank-you.
A: Thank-you, what?
B: Thank-you, Doctor.
A: Thank-you. (A ringing is heard. A. answers the phone, which is really his hand) Hello?
C: (Into another phone/hand) Hello. This is your phone company. I’m calling about your account.
A: Yes?
C: Your bill was $77. 84
A: Yes.
C: It was due on the 17th
A: Oh.
C: Your bill is $77.84.
A: I see.
C: It was due on the 17th.
A: I believe we sent it.
C: $77.84?
A: In the mail.
C: It was due on the 17th.
A: Perhaps it was lost.
C: Today is the 19th.
A: That’s only two days.
C: Your bill…
A: And you’re calling us…
C: Was due…
A: …already?
C: Yes.
A: I’ll have to check my records.
C: Yes.
A: Yes, what?
C: Yes, doctor.
A: Thank-you.
C: Thank-you.
A: Good-bye.
C: Good-bye.
(Hangs up phone. Sound of ringing. C. answers his phone)
C: Hello?
D: Hello. I was monitoring your call.
C: Yes?
D: I’ve been monitoring your progress.
C: Yes?
D: Your work.
C: Yes.
D: For the phone company.
C: Yes?
A: Yes. Answer the following questions truthfully and accurately: Vanilla or Chocolate?
C: Yes.
A: Black or White?
C: Yes.
A: Baltic or Canadian?
C: Yes.
A: Seeded or Plain?
C: Yes.
A: Ridged or Flat?
C: No.
D: I’m afraid we have no choice but to let you go.
C: Let me go?
A: Let me go, what?
B: Doctor.
A: Doctor.
B: Good-bye
A: Good-bye
D: Good-bye
(They hang up their phones. Turn and face each other.)
D: Thank God you’re here. You’re the only one I can turn to. You’re the only friend I have left. You’re all I have in this miserable, lonely world.
E: Someone is paying me to pretend that I’m your friend so you won’t feel alone.
D: That is so nice of you.
E: I’m not supposed to tell you this, but someone has actually paid the audience to be here so that you can feel good about yourself, so that you can feel loved, as if you are the center of the universe.
D: That is so generous of someone.
E: In fact, this is actually a center for brain damaged people, but you don’t think or know that it is and the people who run this center have decided to let you live in your delusion, but I’m not supposed to be telling you any of this.
D: That is so nice of them. It’s so thoughtful.
E: In fact, life itself is just a dream. And when you die, you’re just waking up.
D: I had no idea. Thank you.
E: Thank you, what?
D: Thank-you, Doctor.
B: What media personality would you most like to sleep with?
A: Glenn Beck.
B: Ew, gross, you can’t be serious.
A: I mean, I hate him, but he gets me all (makes gesture of firing guns into the air) triggered up.
B: Do you think you can dole out the requisite amount of pain?
A: I think so.
B: Are you sure this won’t be a case of dueling bottoms, both of you lying on your stomachs with your assholes up in the air?
A: I could imagine giving him a blow-job while he is still in his suit. I know he’s a douche but he is so fuck-able. I think he’s hotter now, more so even than when he was young and a drug addict and a border-line schizophenic. I just want to suck Glenn Beck dry.
B: This is so disturbing. How can you divorce who he is and what he looks like?
A: I don’t. I think the whole thing is sexy which is not to say that I like it.
B: Ride like the wind.
B: Hello.
A: Hello.
B: What are the voices saying to you?
A: What are the voices saying to you?
B: What are the voices saying to you?
A: What are the voices saying to you?
B: True
A: True.
B: Yes.
A: Yes.
B: Agree.
A: Agree.
B: Hello.
A: Hello
B: Good-bye
A: Good-bye.
B: Good-bye what?
A: Good-bye, Doctor.

B: Good-bye.

(Note:  I found this among some old writings/scraps/ideas, etc.  I don't remember what I wrote it for or why.  But I like it.  It would be fun to perform it as a one-person piece, playing all the roles.  It's interesting to me especially right now, with all the focus on Freud and mental illness and anxiety and dreams and the unconscious, etc...)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Playing for Real

We've started rehearsals for Hysteria.

Really cool, complicated, funny, dark play.

It's "complex", as Freud would say.

It's a four person cast:
Stacey Fisher as Jessica
Robert Bonotto as Dr. Yahuda
Richard Snee as Freud
and myself as Salvador Dali.

Playing a character who is based on a real person is a little different from building a character from scratch: there's actual documentation, histories, books, videos, etc, at your disposal.

We just watched the YouTube video of Salvador on "What's my Line?" in rehearsal last night.


It's part mimic and part invention. 

Trying to really capture both the person in the play and the person from history.

Meanwhile, Tommy has started rehearsing a one-person show in which he plays architect, thinker and geodesic dome fan, Buckminster Fuller.

So the house is a little crazy right now.

All this prompted me to take a quick, totally self-indulgent inventory of the "real" people I've played in the past:

Nathan Leopold (with his special buddy, Richard Loeb), thrill-killer super mensch from Never the Sinner: The Leopold and Loeb Story at the Lyric StageJohn Logan, who wrote the recent Rothko smash Red, was the author.  This was a lot of creepy, sexy fun.  Bill Mootos, my good friend, played Loeb.

Werner Heisenberg, brilliant scientist, Nils Bohr's best pal  and "uncertainty principle" wonder boy, from Copenhagen.  This was one of the most difficult plays I've ever been in, hand's down: it's an incredible amount of text, and it's all psychics, spoken by the people who CAME UP with the theories.  It was also my ART debut.  And I was sharing the stage with Will and Karen, two of my favorite actors of all time.   At one point, Heisenberg's son was in the audience.

So, no pressure. 

I actually developed a rash, in my mouth, during the rehearsal process - purely thru stress. 

I had to keep reminding myself that I didn't need to understand all of the scientific principles: I just needed to ACT like I understood them.

Albert Einstein, from Picasso at the Lapin Agile.  The only play I ever did at the Merrimack, back in 2000 (the play is set in 1899, the dawn of the previous century, so there were a lot of productions back in 1999).  Really great cast: Ken Baltin, Bob Walsh, and Andrea Walker (who also played Loeb's girlfriend in Never the Sinner).  Tommy played this part in a early production of the play at the ART, with Bill Camp as Picasso.

David Sedaris, The Santaland Diaries (the play version of his real-life memoirs as an elf named Crumpet in Macy's - which he reportedly can't stand, even though it's one of the most-produced plays in the country).  This is the only play I've done three times.  It's SO much fun!  I couldn't stop laughing when I first read it.  But I purposely avoided listening to Sedaris tell the story himself (it's a NPR staple).  I still have never heard him do it.

Rush Limbaugh, Rush Limbaugh in Night School: this was a tough one, as I can't stand Rush Limbaugh.  But I think the distance gave me some perspective.  
I watched a video of his bile for research, and listened to his radio show. 
But I think it made a difference.
The play really tried to humanize Limbaugh, which (to me anyway) was a daunting task.
This was a one-person show at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre, back in 1997 I think, and I played 30 other characters along with Rush (including, if I remember correctly, Cokie Roberts).  It's all about Rush taking Spanish lessons at the New School in order to attract Latino listeners, and falling in love with a feminist in his class.