Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Everyday People

Opening Night! There is nothing more exciting in the theatre world than an opening night and I'm happy to say TONIGHT is the opening of the world premiere of my play Everyday People.

The play deals with bullying in schools on every level, beginning with elementary school kids up through high school. And of course, it touches upon the issue of cyber bullying which is running rampant.

Not to sound too pessimistic, but I'm afraid bullying is never going to go away.  But I do think that if parents and teachers can pass on the message of kindness and tolerance, there may be a slowing down of the horridness we've been seeing lately.  Kids have bullied other kids since the beginning of time...I'm sure little Neanderthal children were slamming other Neanderthal children into cave walls.  But with the onslaught of technology, the ramifications of bullying via social networks and text messaging are profound.  And the results will never go away.  As Aaron Sorkin so succinctly wrote in the film "The Social Network," the Internet is written in ink. You can never erase it once it's out there.

I am hoping Everyday People will bring even more awareness to an already topical issue and hoping this type of behavior will no longer be tolerated.  I love theatre.  It educates.  It entertains.  It illuminates and inspires.  Happy Opening Night everybody!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Paying It Forward...

Holy Guacamole, Batman!  I was alerted this morning that one of my newest followers,  Thom Brown, who writes the blog To Gyre and Gambol, bestowed the Kreativ Blogger award upon me.  It was bestowed upon him as well, and he, in turn, is paying it forward and spreading the honor to other bloggers that he likes. I'm so flattered.

But with reward, comes responsibility.  So I have to pass the same Kreativ Blogger award along to ten bloggers that I deem worthy, and then  I have to reveal ten things about myself that most folks might not know.

10 things?  Really?  GULP...

Well, first things first.  Let me say how much I absolutely love to blog.  And I have met some extraordinary people in the blogging world.  It's amazing the friendships that have been created here in cyberspace.  The following 10 blogs are ones I totally dig. I would love to get to read them more often, but sometimes time is the enemy and I can't get there as often as I'd like. 

In the meantime, I share the following blogs with you as I bestow upon my creative colleagues, the Kreativ Blogger Award.  Don't forget to pay it forward friends!  Here's my list:

1.  Bonnie Joy Bardos writes Bohemian Artist: Painting & Thought.  Bonnie was one of the first bloggers I met and she is the epitome of an artist.  Her paintings are spectacular. I love her Bohemian ways. She, like her middle name, is a Joy!  Check her out.

2. Absolutely Kate is absolutely a riot.  Her blog, At the Bijou, is one of the most innovative and unique blogs I've ever visited.  And Kate is a hoot.  She features lots and lots of writers...all kinds, but mostly, if you like film noir, you'll like At the Bijou.

3. If you want someplace to rest your weary head, and feel a moment of peace, please visit Healing Morning.  Beautifully written by the talented Dawn Sievers.  You will feel renewed.

4.  A ukulele player who also deals antiques.  This is one innovative blog that I love stopping by from time to time. Lots of fun to check out the Beatnheart.

5.  I know Thom Brown already bestowed this award to my blogging buddy Savira, but frankly her blog Living, Laughing Breathing! is so wonderful, she deserves the double-prize! This blog is an oasis in a desert, that's for sure!

6.  I met Erin Cole as she was just publishing her first novel Grave Echos: A Kate Waters Mystery. She's an incredible writer and a wonderful and generous woman.  Please read everything you can get your hands on at Erin Cole Writes.

7.  Sometimes as I peruse the blogging world, I find a blog that makes me chuckle.  That in itself is noteworthy.  A Moose Walked into a Bar makes me chuckle.  Check it out and have your own chuckle.

8.  Jonathan Aller paints fruit.  It's really amazing.  They look real and they make me hungry.  Do yourself a favor and have a look at Alla Prima studies by Jonathan Aller.

9.  Lots of short but sweet stories for lovers of fiction at Fiction for Dessert.

10.  Great musings and anecdotes at Things My Mother Taught Me.  Have a look-see.  You'll be glad you did.

So these are the 10 blogs I deem worthy of "Kreativ Blogger Award!"  And as for the 10 things I need to reveal about myself...well, dear readers...that will have to wait for another day.  With all these new blogs, you have a lot of reading to do!  Enjoy!  And remember, when someone does something nice for you--pay it forward!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Play's the Thing...

Currently, I don't have my television hooked up.  I use it strictly for watching DVD's and nothing more.  There are a variety of reasons for this, but namely it's about distraction.  I don't want the distraction of the television.  It's too easy to flit away the hours watching meaningless images on the screen.  I choose not to do's as simple as that. And I'm saving some money as well which is always a good thing!

But occasionally I do miss it so I'll get my fix from watching specific shows on Hulu.  Love Hulu.  Hope it stays free. Anyway, one of the shows I enjoy watching is "Parenthood."  Sometimes I find the show annoying with all the obvious overlapping dialogue and the sanctimonious storylines, but mostly I like it. Mostly.

This week the season two finale aired on Tuesday night, which means the latest episode was available on Hulu on Wednesday.  So this is what happened in a nutshell...I'm not going to try and explain two seasons worth of this show and all the character history, but this is what I want to discuss now--One of the characters, Sarah, is a single mom raising two teens and living with her parents in their beautiful house in Berkley, CA.  She has a drug and alcohol addicted ex-husband (the father of her children, who showed up in several earlier episodes and played by cutie-patootie hippie boy John Corbett).

I'm getting to my point, I promise.  Sarah currently works as a bartender (a noble profession) but is trying to find her path in life.  She stays up all night one night and writes (presumably) a story all about her family. (which is what the TV show is about in the first place.) She takes the story to her daughter's high school English teacher (who she used to have a crush on) and he tells her it's really good writing but it should be a play.  A. PLAY.

Here's where I come in...or rather, here's where the story starts to IRK me. Sarah rewrites the story as a play.  Now it's a play all about her family. writers are supposed to write what we know...but suddenly Sarah seems to know everything there is to know about playwrighting and she knows details about playwrights and suddenly she knows all about the theatre.  And of course her dad knows this quirky theatrical-type director/producer played by Richard Dreyfuss who embodies every stereotype of a quirky theatrical-type complete with ascot, hat and walking stick.

So of course, in this season finale she gets her play read at the illustrious Berkley Rep to a packed crowd and the thing is...the dialogue of the play that we, the "Parenthood" viewing audience are privy to, isn't very good.  It isn't very funny.  It just looks like some mediocre version of the TV show itself.  Which, of course, it is.

All I'm saying is that it wasn't very believable. Up until now, I've been with the show all the way.  But this?  Maybe it hits too close to home.  Maybe it's because I know how hard it is to get a reading anywhere, much less at Berkley Rep.  Maybe it's sour grapes on my part.  Maybe it's because life on television shows is almost always better than the real thing.  Sometimes.  Maybe not. I don't know.  I want a play produced by Berkley Rep.  That's the truth!

So, the show hit a nerve.  And it made me realize, that maybe...just maybe...I'd be better off without television including the shows I watch on Hulu.  And maybe I need to get crackin' on this new play I'm working on (which, by the way, is NOT about my family).  And maybe I'll meet some quirky little man who wears an ascot and walks with a cane and has connections to Berkley Rep or some equally prestigious theatre. 

The Pulitzer Prize Awards were announced on Monday.  I didn't win.  Maybe because I didn't enter.  But maybe it's because I didn't have a worthy submission. 

I gotta go.  I gotta get busy.  I have a play to write.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Everybody has a Story...

I was taking a walk and I found a small cardboard box on the corner of the street filled with somebody's stuff.  The word "FREE" was written in large block letters on all four sides of the box with a red Sharpie.

Inside the box were three psychedelic scarves that were slightly shredded and had cigarette burns throughout. There were four romance novels, yellowed with age, from another time, another place, a different century--the 20th century.  There were two small troll dolls who had seen better days, two pairs of very clean, but not exactly new white socks and a deck of cards from the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas.  I counted the cards.  There were only 50 in the deck. And no Jokers.

There were some other assorted items in the box.  A weathered coin purse, a stapler (with no staples) 3 or 4 pens and a Hello Kitty eraser.  I stared at the box for quite awhile.  Longer than I should have.  I didn't want anything that was inside, but I couldn't help thinking about who left all that stuff there. 

Once upon a time, that stuff was new.  Once upon a time someone had wanted those items...perhaps even coveted them.  Now, these things were discarded...thrown willy-nilly into a plain box and left out for anyone to take and do with these things as they pleased.

Every item in that box had a story behind it.  Perhaps not a riveting story, but a story nonetheless.  People are their stuff.  Even if you're a minimalist, it certainly tells a story about who you are.  You don't want any stuff.  How come?  What's that about? I sometimes wish I could be a minimalist...but, alas, I like stuff too much.

Stuff is important.  I have certainly done my share of throwing out my stuff--selling it, giving it away, tossing it out, and once or twice leaving it behind, abandoned on a city street, not unlike this current box.  I would like to think I am more than the sum of my stuff...but the truth is, I mourn things I no longer have every day.  It's just who I am. I hope someone out there is enjoying my old stuff as much as I did.

I left the box behind.  Kept walking.  On the return trip the box was gone.  Did someone take it?  Did the owner have second thoughts and retrieve his or her beloved items?  Those troll dolls definitely needed a home.  I can't help but wonder.  It's my nature to wonder. 

Every piece of stuff we see every day, well, they all have their own story, don't they? What about your stuff?  What tales could it tell? Would you be willing to leave it all behind? Hmmm...I wonder...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Little R&R to Soothe the Soul...

Photos by Damian Arvetis

Yup...that's me in the upper left corner of the above photo--looking out the window of the Old Wheeler Hotel and enjoying the incredibly fresh air out
on the Oregon Coast.  The wonderful photographer of this picture whisked me away for an amazing, much-needed romantic getaway to a town called Wheeler on Nehalem Bay.  For two and a half days I was able to turn off my cell phone, shut down my computer and escape into the magical world of ocean and forest.  The Oregon Coast is amazing.  I'm so used to the beaches of Southern California and it's nothing at all like that.  It reminded me much more of the beaches of Cape Cod.  A mixture of woods and sky, trees and ocean.  I loved it.

The Old Wheeler hotel is quaint and charming filled with antiques and old-world elegance.  The proprietors treated us like old friends and the room we stayed in was quite luxurious, complete with a stunning view of the bay,  and a large and inviting Jacuzzi tub to soothe our aching muscles from  all that hiking......Ahhhhh......NICE! Here are some photos of the beautiful sitting room at the hotel.

The view from our room

We went on a really long hike in Oswald West State Park. The beauty there was breathtaking. Here are more astonishing photos of our trip from the very talented Mr. Arvetis:

 It was muddy, but totally WORTH IT!

Happy girl on the Oregon Coast!

In addition to our spending some quality time in Nature, we also enjoyed the quaint town of Wheeler itself, as well as the neighboring towns of Manzanita and Nehalem, where antique shops are plentiful as well as the town's colorful characters. 

The trip was so enjoyable and I had such a wonderful and relaxing time it was hard to return to the realities of life.  We were only gone a short time, but we were a world away and it felt like the trip lasted much longer than it actually did.  We ate very well and breakfast being one of my favorite meals of the day, I'm including this photo of my fabulous meal at the Big Wave Cafe.

On the way home, we stopped at the Tillamook Dairy for delicious cheese samples and the most incredible ice cream I have ever tasted.  If you get the opportunity to sample any Tillamook it!  Their cheese, ice cream and yogurt are bursting with flavor and they didn't even pay me to say that.  It's truly remarkable.  If you live on the West Coast, look for it in your local grocery store.  Sooooo delish!

I hope you enjoyed the photos of my mini vacation.  Now, I'm back to business as usual...but the Coast is calling and I know we will be going out there again soon.  I cannot wait!