Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Good Leeching

Lately, a lot of little things have been really getting to me. On their own, these tiny things are nothing I couldn’t normally deal with. Together, they are a force to be reckoned with. I had a revelation tonight that in order for me to focus on what’s actually important in my life and not let these little things continue to affect me, I have to get them out of my system. Vent the cargo hold entirely and hope that bitch of a Xenomorph Queen can’t hold on for long, cause otherwise I might snap.

That means it’s time to purge some poison, kids. Strap in, this might suck. …

Dear Modern English and Every Other 80s Pop Band That’s Sold Out,

I understand you’ve been basically out of work for the past eighteen to twenty-five years. I’m truly sorry for this. I am. But I swear if I have to listen your once-beloved song “Melt With You” accompany one more fast food restaurant selling SOMETHING with lots of cheese, I might have to hunt you down and break your fingers. It was bad enough when I had to listen to you COMPLETELY abandon all sense of decency and musical integrity THE FIRST TIME when Burger King bought that song. Now that Taco Bell has the rights to it only sickens me worse.

STOP RAPING MY CHILDHOOD, YOU SONS OF MOTHERLESS GOATS!!! Or, at least, if you MUST sell out, pick a restaurant that doesn’t peddle horse manure and call it food! They serve “Grade F” beef at Taco Bell, for the love of fuck! “Grade F!!!” Categorized as, “edible!!!” EDIBLE!?! This is okay? For serious?!

Dear the Cock-Eating Douche-Rockets Who Park Their Cars on the Sidewalk Outside Our Shop,

Okay, I know the Pennsylvania State Driving Test requires reading aptitude. I know it does. So explain to me how you can park your gargantuan pickup trucks and your iddle-bitty-widdle penis hotrod cars on the fucking sidewalk and in front of NO LESS than THREE TO FIVE No Parking signs! Are they in French? Are they written in a type of ink that only people who are NOT inbred can read? Is there a required number of teeth for which to comprehend them? I don’t understand. Please explain this to me. How is this okay?

Dear Julie Taymor,

Let me start by saying I loved what you did with Titus Andronicus and The Lion King. It did my heart such wonders to see someone who not only COULD do and serve Art so vividly but also DID so without sacrificing artistic honesty. For those efforts, I applaud you.

But then I watched, Across the Universe and suddenly I feel less & less like clapping; unless the clapping involves only one of my hands and the side of your face. I know how this movie must have looked on paper. Beloved theatre and movie artist and beloved, iconic rock band’s songs together in a story about young, innocent love. What could be sweeter? But something got lost, Julie. I think it was the script. I think it was the plot. I think it was a cast of characters with even one redeemable quality amongst them. I think it was a cohesive link between what was a beautiful concept and an actually terrifyingly god-fucking-awful film.

Don’t mistake me, Julie. I TRIED to like this movie. I wanted to like this movie. So much so that I assumed I would. It never really occurred to me that I wouldn’t. Every fiber in my artistic body screamed at me that I should love and live this film. I tried; great Jebus but I tried. It started as an itch in the back of my head, right around when all the Ivy League kids sang, “With a Little Help From My Friends” while firing golf balls at dorm room windows. A little cliché, I thought, but I let it go. Then the itch became an ache when I realized not only was the main character’s name Jude but his love interest’s was Lucy (… If there’s a way to be more contrived, I would LOVE to hear it, Miss Taymor). But I definitely think it was right around the time Eddie Izzard sang “For the Benefit of Mr. Kite” that I felt my apprehensions solidify into pure hatred.

I HATED this movie, Julie. And I’m floored by that realization. Not only did you, on more than just a few occasions, murder a veritable slew of iconic Beatles songs (some of which I will never be able to hear again without throwing up just a little bit in my mouth) but the whole thing just struck me as so manufactured and (there-by) vacuous that I can’t help but wonder if you didn’t lose interest somewhere along the way. No amount of deep color-saturation & synchronized dancing can save a movie with despicable characters and an empty void where there should be a plot. I mean FUCK, even Bono couldn’t save this film! FUCKING BONO! SINGING “I AM THE WALRUS!” HOW DO YOU LET THAT HAPPEN?!?!

In a way, you’ve only helped us, the small folk, Julie. You were well on your way to becoming an Art Scene GOD; you had all the makings. All it would have taken was for this movie not to have inspired me to put my foot through the television and you would have been sling-shot into eternal stardom. Across the Universe has saved you from the burden of such responsibility. My heart sulks at it, but in a perverted way, I’m happy for you. Welcome to mediocrity, Miss Taymor.

Oh, and on a small side note: Jim Sturgess is NOT Ewan McGregor. He will NEVER be Ewan McGregor. Only by striking deals with the ilk of Mephistopheles will he ever have a SNOWBALL’S CHANCE of attaining Ewan McGregorhood. I know if you squint they do KIND of look alike but don’t mistake the brooding Scottish guy for the brooding English one. I’m sorry you couldn’t afford Mr McGregor but thinly-veiled attempts at fooling us will only insult us. Stick to reinventing other people’s stories.

Dear the Very I-Tralian Barber Across the Street From My Theatre,

You have GOT to be one of the creepiest men I have EVER seen living on this planet. I don’t know how you do it. It’s almost a work of art on it’s own. Seriously. The level of Creep to which you’ve attained is nigh-unfathomable to us lesser mortals. I’m almost saying, “Well done!” Not to judge BUT gold chains worn with the pencil-thin mustache only serve to creep us out all the further.

You frighten us, Mr Barber. I’m certain one day we’ll read about the crop of coeds you’ve buried in your backyard but until that day, please keep away from me and my own. You’re seriously creeping us out. Please. Seriously. PLEASE.

Dear My Artistic Director, Edward Keith Baker,

Stop casting yourself in productions. Stop picking shows for a season purely so you can cast yourself. Stop directing every other show you can’t act in yourself. Stop trying to find ways to put yourself in every aspect of just about every show I have to put up on your stage AND stop paying yourself on top of it all. I get one paycheck. Anna, my master carpenter AND your sound technician, gets one paycheck. Stefi, my painter AND your props artisan, gets one paycheck. I can’t even list all the fucking hats Scotty wears in the span of one production and he only gets one paycheck. That’s the way it works. If you MUST perform in a show (and I’m not necessarily saying you shouldn’t EVER act, I’m just saying not constantly, goddammit), or feel the pulsating urge to direct or compose a show, do so – but waive the fucking fee. EVERY OTHER ARTISTIC DIRECTOR ON THE PLANET DOES EXACTLY THAT. Or if they don’t, they’re as unethical and dishonest as you are.

I suppose I might feel differently about your practices if I felt you were a talented actor and director. As it happens, I don’t really. Maybe you were twenty years ago. Yes, you must have been. I find it impossible to believe you’ve risen to where you are today JUST by sleeping with Susan. Somewhere in there, they MUST be a talented bone. But please do not mistake good diction for good acting. I’m glad Douglas and Moira have been given a chance to perform on this stage again, but Copenhagen is just an excuse for you to prance about the stage vocally masturbating for the all the world to see. And frankly Keith, it’s revolting. Every actor I see you block looks forced or contrived and every word that comes out of your mouth on stage sounds over-enunciated and unnatural.

Maybe you’re unclear on the concept of Artistic Director. I understand, many things here at BRT seem to be VERY unclear to a lot of people. Hopefully, this will help. Your job isn’t to take away work for other actors and directors and composers and musical directors and singers in a sad attempt to uplift your failing and deflated ego. Your job is to go out and FIND those people and convince them that BRT is the place they should be brilliant at next. Find plays that are interesting to people other than yourself. Of course we should keep favorite actors and musicals; that’s as much a part of a local theatre as anything. And neither am I saying necessarily to cast from out of town. But stop hiring the same six people all the time and give some of the new kids in town a chance. Take a fucking chance and stop living under the same artistic rock. It’s not only getting stale but it’s getting more and more transparent. Someday soon, someone braver than I am’s going to stand up and shout out, “Mr Baker’s got no clothes on!” and you’ll quickly find yourself just where you’ve put yourself: In the spotlight with nothing and no one to protect you except your deflated ego and your over-enunciated words.

Fuck Keith, we could be so much more. Stop creating in fear. It’s sickening. You know “what I want to be?” Not shit.

Dear Zelda,

Kitten, you must come to accept that if I haven’t left you for good sometime over the past four and a half years, I’m not going to now. When I get up in the morning and leave the house, rest assured that I WILL RETURN TO YOU. Please stop yelling at me when I first walk in the door. Please? Why is it that you can be sitting BETWEEN two girls who want nothing more than to laude attention and petting upon you in droves, and yet the first thing you feel you must do when I come home at night is LEAVE those same girls to come out and cry at me??? Riddle me that, Kitten?!

Huh, I do actually feel a lot better now. Thanks for that. I realize that some of the above is harsh. Shit, some of it’s downright cruel in places. But this is my blog, fuckdammit, and here my opinion rules. There was a time when I wouldn’t even think about putting some of these thoughts into words for fear someone who shouldn’t know them suddenly would but my first season here has done an amazing thing to me: It irrevocably broke my spirit but then, almost simultaneously, left it stripped of all its fear. “I [sit] before you now, truthfully unafraid. Why? Because I believe something you do not? No! I [sit] here without fear because I remember. I remember that for onehundredyeeeaaaaarrrs …” Ah, nevermind. Look, the phoenix from the ashes has not only risen but it is DAMN tired of putting up with bullshit. I learned a lesson whilst on Tour what seems like eons ago to call people on their douche-baggery that I’ve lost sight of in recent years. Strangely enough, the longer I stay here, the less filter I care to keep in place. Geez, I hope that doesn’t make me bitter and jaded …

That’s word.

Good night. And good luck.