Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fondue You

"Chillin’ by the fire while we eatin’ fondue
I don’t know about me but I know about you."

I've just discovered these inspiring immortal words from Justin Bieber.

(off his new single "Boyfriend")

Clearly channelling Baudelaire here,
via Samuel Beckett,
via the Brady Bunch.

How can someone so young be so wise?

He is by a fire, yet he remains "chillin".  

How is that even fucking POSSIBLE!? 

My mind is officially blown.

And you know, there are SO many words that rhyme with "you":

Blue, Zoo, Do, Crew, Mu-mu, Poo, Nancy Drew, Boo Hoo, Benjamin Netanyahu...

To name a few.

But leave it to the Biebs to NEVER take the easy way out. 

I remember the last time I had fondue. 

I was with my friend Kathryn in New York City, back in 1997. 

It was a Goat Cheese fondue. 

Now I'm old. 

And dairy just

Kathryn wore dark sunglasses while in-doors.  

She's probably the most glamorous person I know, or ever will know.

Because she really works at it.

Glamour isn't all fun and games, you know. 

Glamorous people suffer and suffer. 

In silence. 

Tragic, beautiful silence.

I was so moved by this song. 

It really awakened a part of me I didn't even know existed.

I called Justin up: "We need to talk RIGHT NOW, Mister!"  I said to him.

Justin was in Glasgow - who knows why? - but he dropped everything and flew out to meet me.

"How did you know?"  I asked him, when he finally trudged threw my door like a sullen sheepdog.
"How did you know all about me?  My life?   How afraid I am of death and loneliness and that weird skin at your elbow that gets dry sometimes?"

"I dunno, lol", he shrugged.

Sometimes, I feel like The Beibs can read me like a recipe for onion dip.

Can this really be the dawn of a New Age?

Is this the true meaning of art: not just a way to kill time, but ACTUAL people reaching out to each other across oceans of indifference and mind-numbing social media? 

Not knowing their own self, really. 

Yet seeing that person across the table SO clearly, so fully.

The cheese dripping off their over-sized crouton like so many hopes and dreams.

I waited for Justin to answer me. 

But he was silent.

I looked into his eyes. 

And I saw my tiny reflection in them, peering back.

God, I look fantastic!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Actors Shakespeare Project - Annual Gala

I wanted to spread the word about ASP's annual gala! 

This year, there will be a pre-event champagne reception with director Tina Packer who will be sharing some thoughts about Troilus & Cressida

The full event begins at 7PM with fabulous performances from the ASP Company and some youth from ASP programs, dancing through the night, a "Shakespeare Journeys" silent auction, great food, and as always, flowing wine and beer. There's a dance contest this year, and cool cubbies where people can pay $40, stow their stuff and then find a fantastic (really fantastic) prize inside.

The auction includes handmade artisan globes, a trip to St. John, a photography session with the amazing Liz Linder and much more. 

All the info is below.  I hope you can join us!

Regional Theaters

I'm a bit late getting this out there, but I wanted to share a link to an excellent article that Charles McNulty wrote for the LA Times back in Feburary about Non-profit regional theatres and their increased focus on commercial projects. 

It's really a must read, if you haven't read it yet.

Here's the link:,0,7909313.story

Midway Mess 2

I received this email below regarding Midway Studios, I think because I was on a previous list as a potential resident at some point. 

I'm not sure what happened, but it sounds - from the message - that Ops-Core might be out of the space completely now.  They are clearly trying to figure out what to do with the vacant space , and are looking for recommendations in the formation of a panel to help do that.  I hope that it will remail a theatre space, of course.  I'm not sure who I would recommend to be a part of such a the panel, but thought I would put the info/description out there.

Here's the message:


Thank you for your continued involvement in fulfilling the Midway Studios mission and the ongoing viability of the building and its program.

We are seeking names for consideration for an advisory group to recommend the use and layout of the Midway Studios first floor and lower level area to ensure long-term economic sustainability of the space. This advisory group will be made up of nine individuals that will work with BRA staff, the Kuehn Estate and local elected officials.

We are asking for nominations from local civic and cultural groups including but not limited to Fort Point Arts Community, Fort Point Cultural Coalition, and Midway Residents Association. Nominees should include individuals with experience in programming, curation, or management of cultural institutions including theater and gallery space. Nominees should also include those with experience in commercial real estate including leasing and retail financing.

Please submit your recommendations to Richard McGuinness ( no later than April 6th.

Thank you

Kairos Shen

Chief Planner

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Andersen Project

I just saw The Andersen Project at Emerson: a dazzling, beautiful, funny, thoughtful theatre piece for one actor written and directed by theatre visionary Robert Lapage. 

I've been a fan of Lapage ever since I saw his other solo piece Far Side of the Moon at the ART maybe 5 or so years back: a very moving, poetic examination of two very different twin brothers coping with their mother's death/suicide. 

I've also been lucky enough to see his film The Image Mill in Quebec City (from a boat in the harbor, no less!).  The Image Mill celebrated the 400 year anniversary of Quebec City, and was projected onto these enormous Grain silos (I think that's what they were) that lined the Harbor.  I just read somewhere that it was the largest projection in history.  It was unbelievable.  I also saw his Damnation of Faust at the Paris Opera, with a Faust that dropped thru many trap doors to wind up in Hell with a red, naked chorus.  Fabulous.

The Andersen Project also follows two distinct personalities: a Montreal librettist in Paris, working on a children's opera based on a tale by Hans Christen Andersen, "The Dryad" and his producer, a fast talking Parisian with a penchant for peep shows.

Ugly Duckling author Hans Christain Andersen makes an appearance as well, as well as a mysterious Moroccan graffiti artist, an invisible dog, a dress form in a hoop skirt and the Dryad herself: a fabled nymph trapped inside a chestnut tree who longs to see Paris and mingle with mankind.

All roles are portrayed by the astounding Yves Jacques (who also played the two brothers in Far Side of the Moon).  No use describing it, you just must go and see it!

Banned in Boston

So, I am deep into a fun writing project right now: creating SNL-type comedy scripts for the annual charity event Banned in Boston.  It's a real challenge, as the performers are mostly non-actors, performing with no rehearsal and with scripts in hand.  So it must be funny, light, satrical, quick and VERY actor friendly.  And, of course, focused on Boston themes.  It's all for a very worthy, wonderful cause. 

All the info is below, so please spread the word, and I hope you can make it!

Here's the press release:

Banned in Boston is the only annual fundraiser for Urban Improv ( Our mission is to promote positive youth development as a catalyst for violence prevention and social change. Urban Improv strategically uses improvisational theater to provide young people with a realistic and compelling forum to engage in self-exploration, practice self-expression and critical decision-making. The methodology taps participants’ creativity to address issues such as violence, bullying and cyber bullying, homophobia, ostracism, racism, and peer pressure.

Over the past 20 years, Urban Improv has built a reputation as one of the most innovative and effective violence prevention programs in New England. Grounded in best practice research, Urban Improv helps urban youth develop skills of positive problem solving, conflict resolution, cooperation, and leadership. We call it “A Rehearsal for Life.”

Banned in Boston is a lively evening of satire and fun. We write the show (are we nuts?) in the Saturday Night Live type format. Some of our “cast members” over the past 20 years: Senators Kerry, Brown, and Simpson; Governor and Mrs. Patrick; Harvard Presidents Faust, Bok and Summers; MIT President Susan Hockfield, actress Anna Deavere Smith, Aerosmith’s Tom Hamilton, the “Car Talk” guys, and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.) Many of these folks were in the show last year, and will be back with us in April, including Governor and Mrs. Patrick. This year’s revue is being written by award winning playwright and actor John Kuntz. We hear he has a birthday surprise or two in store!

The evening is a hoot and so vitally important to supporting Urban Improv and the critically important work we do with the children of inner city Boston.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ma Rainey and Trayvon Martin

I saw the final preview of "Ma Rainey" last week. 

Really great production.  Fellow ASP company member Jason Bowen plays the lead, and is PHENOMENAL!  It's so great to see a young Boston actor in a leading role at the Huntington, very excited for him! 

Wonderful cast all around, and great to see Will and Tommy together again.

Hopefully - someday - the stories of terrible racism Wilson narrates through his characters will just be a painful memory from our history. 

But then, last Sunday, I open the Times and read Charles Blow's column and the horrifying story of Trayvon Martin: a 17-year-old black child gunned down in Florida for no reason, and his killer is still walking free.  And I feel like I'm listening to one of Wilson's characters, all over again.

I've pasted a link below that you can go to and sign, all the info is below.  And if you haven't heard the details of this case, go ahead and Google it, it's pretty disturbing and shocking.

Here's the link below.  I hope you'll sign it.  I did.  And please spread the word about this!

Subject: Attorney General Holder: See That Justice is Done
On February 26, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he walked to a family member's home from a convenience store where he had just bought some candy. He was only 17 years old.
Trayvon's killer, George Zimmerman (the community's self appointed "neighborhood watch leader"), admitted to police that he shot Trayvon in the chest. Zimmerman, who is white, called the police to report a suspicious person when he saw Travyon, a young black teen, walking from the store. In Zimmerman's words, Trayvon was suspicious because he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and walking in the rain.
Here are the words of Trayvon's mom about what happened next: "When Zimmerman reported Trayvon to the police, they told him not to confront him. But he did anyway. All I know about what happened next is that my 17 year-old son, who was completely unarmed, was shot and killed.
It's been nearly two weeks and the Sanford Police have refused to arrest George Zimmerman. In their public statements, they even go so far as to stand up for the killer - saying he's "a college grad" who took a class in criminal justice."
Please join me in asking Attorney General Eric Holder to ensure that Trayvon's family gets justice. Please sign this petition to ask AG Holder to order an investigation into the blatant and violent violation of the civil rights of a 17 year old boy.
That's why I signed a petition to Attorney General Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States, which says:
"Attorney General Holder, please order the Department of Justice to investigate the senseless murder of Trayvon Martin, and the blatant violation of his civil rights."
Will you sign this petition? Click here:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Midway Mess

I had been wondering what became of Midway Studios, the theatre space where ASP and Boston Conservatory performed a number of shows. 

But the sad loss of the space as a performance venue is only the first part of the story. 

The space was leased out to a company called "Ops-Core", which produces military helmets, and the theatre was apparently turned into a factory of sorts.  This seems like an odd way to utilize a shared living/working space with artists.  I can almost hear the "Odd Couple" theme playing in the background.

But the real interesting story - for me - is the email that the owner of Ops-Core, David Rogers, sent to the artist residents of Midway, who were concerned about the expanded presence of his company in a space designated as a theatre space, as well as the fumes that accompanied their work (which, at one point, forced residents to evacuate the building).  Here it is:

   "The neighborhood “posers’’ are merely . . . drama queens who use art as an excuse to justify and rationalize their pathetic existence while mooching from others to sustain a living.  The majority of the people we are protecting are under 20 years old and have signed up for military service to earn money for college. They are not living off their parents, trust funds, welfare, or mooching off the American taxpayer like many of the residents of this building.’’


So, this guy clearly has NO respect for artists, and no IDEA about what they do/how they make a living. 

That such a person would be ensconced in a space created for a community of artists is pretty frightening.  The irony is that if anyone could benefit from being exposed to art (which, for one thing, can make you more empathic) it would seem to be David Rogers himself.

It also struck me how noble he made his work seem, as if his manufacturing of helmets is a charitable endeavor, rather than a FOR PROFIT enterprise.  That's great that he sees the worth of his work.  But he's making lots of money off those helmets, I would imagine.  So his smug argument about selflessly protecting the young people is a bit hollow, to say the least. 

At a community meeting, artists demanded an apology from Rogers.  He did not offer one.  That's too bad, because it seems to me they deserve one.