January 23, 2013
Speaking of characters who everyone gets wrong…
It’s always made me a little sad how few people appreciate that Danny Zuko is a great big poetry nerd. Specifically, that he’s a huge fan of e.e. cummings…but that, for instance (as far as we know), his English teacher never seemed to notice this, or harness it into keeping him more engaged with his academics.
Don’t believe me?
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January 13, 2013
September 17, 2012
I both enjoy and pride myself on my good memory. It’s very good, very vivid, and very detailed. To the extent that it often freaks other people out.
So, as my roommate and I were doing a little fall cleaning on this lovely afternoon before class for her and work for me, I am a little confused to find a harmonica of which I have no memory.
It was in my nightstand. It has been for several years. I have never and cannot play it, though I did try to teach myself briefly. I almost tossed it right into the thrift store donation bag without a thought, before I noticed that it’s labeled “[My Full Name]–ASM,” in my handwriting, in pencil on the bottom of the box.
It is a Bluesband Hohner International, in the key of C.
So this was a harmonica involved with a show, and one that I assistant stage managed. Which should narrow things down considerably; I can count on one hand the productions I’ve ASM’d. Either it was given to me for the opening or closing of a show, or, I’m starting to vaguely suspect, it was mine to begin with (but why?) and I loaned it as a rehearsal prop to a production.
But still no solid recollection of which of my shows even involved harmonicas…to the extent that I would’ve been given one, or loaned one to the show. Possibly one was in a show briefly but was cut early in rehearsal, explaining my negligible memory of it.
I’m going through old props lists now….
August 2, 2012
June 8, 2012
“You take all your interests and all your preoccupations and you kind of fill up a bucket. And the stuff that runs off, over the top, is a song, or is a novel.” -Josh Ritter
“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” -Ray Bradbury
Two men whose writing has meant the world to me.
Josh had just better plan on sticking around a while longer….
May 2, 2012
I was on my way to an event in Times Square last week when I smelled…what in my childhood memory is the smell of driving through southern Kansas….
The only thing weirder than walking past oil pumps in Times Square?…was watching the number of people who walked right past them without even blinking.
December 23, 2011
While I gather my wits for a more substantial post, please enjoy this edition of “Headlines that should be from the Onion, but are not.”
“Despite careful calculations, the world does not end.” –New York Times, 5/21/11
“City strewn with perverts.” –AMNY, 6/15/11 (I know the situation isn’t funny, but the imagery is.)
“Girls Meet Bieber in Meeting Brokered by President Obama.” –gawker.com, 6/27/11
“China admits officials cannot levitate.” –New York Times, 6/30/11
“Cowboy monks quit the cattle business.” –New York Times, 8/14/11
“Bisexual men do exist, study finds.” –New York Times, 8/21/11
“Why do college students love getting wasted?” –Salon.com, 8/29/11
“Do we really need a national weather service?” –foxnews.com, 8/27/11 (i.e., the weekend of Hurricane Irene, which swiped the entire east coast of the United States from the Carolinas to Massachusetts and Vermont. Yeah.)
“White House Says No Evidence of Extra-Terrestrials.” –AP, 11/7/11
“Rick Perry fails to remember what agency he’d get rid of in GOP debates.” –cbsnews.com, 11/9/11
“Starbucks toilet mutiny exposes reliance.” –New York Times, 11/22/11
December 7, 2011
November 9, 2011
Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?
We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.
-George R. R. Martin, author
I feel much the same way as GRRM about fantasy—that it connects us to a deep internal knowledge and history of our own psyches, and recalls something huge and eternal in us. Epic fantasy, when I was in middle and high school, assured me that there was so much more worth living for than my schools and community were trying to tell me.
But I’m not sure about his dim view of reality…as opposed to the disposable and shallow nature of much of what is sold to us as “reality,” and told we have to accept as the scope of our adult lives.
May I suggest, that if strip malls, plastic and plywood define your reality, and you don’t like it…you’re doing reality wrong.
Because reality is all that stuff, George, but reality is also—
The whistle and rumbling murmur of an early-morning train.
Reality is the first pale green shoots of peppermint pushing up through the dirt in March.
Reality is the guy who plays Simon and Garfunkel’s “El Condor Pasa” on Peruvian pan pipes in the Times Square subway station.
Reality is the stunning silence of a great blue heron taking flight.
Reality is the old Hispanic men in my neighborhood who sit outside in the summertime, playing an eternal sidewalk game of dominos with their boomboxes turned up loud.
Reality is sunset over the Hudson River.
Reality is moonlight, starlight, candle light, lantern light.
Reality is creaky old bookstores, and the thrill of reading a forbidden book hidden between the shelves.
Reality is the feel of sand as soft as cake flour under your feet.
Reality is the smell of wood smoke on the first cold night of fall.
Reality is stained glass, dark coffee, red wine, rosewood incense. The brush of a fat cat around your ankles, the way evening light moves over the Brooklyn Bridge and tops of the sycamore trees, rooftop Fourth of July parties with the sky on fire around you, waking up on a foggy morning in the Catskill mountains, the sound of the concertmaster tuning an orchestra, tiny cemeteries behind old churches, hidden waterfalls, thunder in a snowstorm, the way deer’s eyes shine in the dark in a flashlight beam.
Nurture magic, wonder, and beauty wherever they occur in your life. They are real—far more real than strip malls, suburban office parks, and Disneyland—whatever anyone tells you.