Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Find the dumbass in this selfie who totally forgot to go to his dentist appointment this morning:

You get only one guess.

Fun fact:

The success of Hello, Dolly! catapulted Carol Channing into an illustrious Broadway career that lasted into the 1970s, culminating in her eponymous one-woman hardscrabble-but-hopeful-dancer docu-sical that won her 17 Tony Awards.
In related news, WE OPEN THIS FRIDAY!

Monday, September 16, 2019


I’m the plaidest Jake in this whole picture.

Quoting yourself in the third person is neither stable nor genius

It's "whom"

There is a moment near the end of The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?--Edward Albee's 2002 play exploring the outer limits of love, fidelity, morality and tolerance--where the emotional crisis at the center of the narrative boils over into such catastrophic levels of heartache and rage and such Greek-tragedy levels of destruction and retribution that the first time I saw it--and the second time and the third time and the fourth time--the audience collectively gasped to the point of almost screaming and then sat rigidly and almost palpably silent until well after the final stage light had extinguished and the last emotionally drained actor had silently moved into position for the company bow.

It's one of my two favorite--if there even exists a favorite-not favorite continuum of cataclysmic emotional destruction--moments in modern theater ... the other being the last three seconds of David Mamet's Oleanna before the stage becomes abruptly, dreadfully dark.

Though he's largely a genre unto himself, it's difficult to pigeonhole Edward Albee as a playwright. He wrote or adapted about 30 works that embodied movements like Theatre of the Absurd and brought popular works of fiction like The Ballad of the Sad Café and Breakfast at Tiffany's to the stage and screen.
My favorite Albee works--Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (embodied in this photo by the incomparable Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor playing the American-experiment patriarch and matriarch George and Martha [whom the script deliciously describes as "large, boisterous woman, 52, looking somewhat younger"]), The Play About the Baby and The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?--all share the format of four characters on stage and one character who may or may not exist offstage. It's an intriguing conceit, and one that keeps bringing me back to these three plays for my own contemplation. In an odd double standard, though, I can't stand reading them; the characters for me seem to be clumsy and dry with no meaningful depth on the page but they grant a glorious latitude for actors to make fascinating choices as they flesh them out.

Today is the third anniversary of Edward Albee's death. I'm not one to be sad when famous people I've never met pass away--and having seen only six of his works (that I can remember) I'm certainly no slavish Albee devotee--but I'm profoundly thankful for the emotional roller coasters he's put me on over the years ... and for the body of work he's left that I can continue to explore in my own way in my own time. I have a couple favorite quotes I'd love to mention here in closing, but they're all potential spoilers. So I'll just lift a glass of bergen to his memory.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

One of us just cut his own hair with a sewing scissors. The other one is too girthy to button his fancy velvet-lapeled vest.

Tech rehearsal is literally bursting with exhaustive joy.

Hello, Tech Rehearsal!

Meriwether—my severely parted old-timey coiffure is named Meriwether—and I have on our Sunday clothes and we’re ready for our 12-hour Hello, Dolly! tech rehearsal. But it’s the last gasping hours of the Victorian Era and even though the Second Industrial Revolution is in full swing, WHAT IN ALL UNHOLY TARNATION IS THIS RECTANGULAR CONTRAPTION IN MY HANDS?

Also: Mega Plaid Tweed will one day make a most excellent band name once “punk” is invented. And “bands.”

Also: Yes, there is a purportedly heterosexual Jake growing out of my shoulder. He will be surgically excised at the tonsorial parlor forthwith.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

I can’t decide if I should be upset because that name totally appropriates my culture or because that plaid totally doesn’t


I’m washing and drying our poultry-themed knickknacks and the top drying towel in our kitchen drawer had a bovine motif and there’s an eagle on that antique green bottle and long story short don’t come over because it’s an absolute zoo here.
Also: There are few things in life more satisfying than rinsing the dust off of plastic flowers with a squirt of soap and the spray nozzle on the sink faucet.

Left to right:

My small, medium and large calf (née knee) compression sleeves are washed and drip-dried in my deluxe-soothing-grey-with-an-ey-like-fancy-Europeans-spell-it-spa-like bathroom and ready for the sweaty onslaught of Hello, Dolly! production week.

My gastrocnemius strain won’t stand a chance.

I took this a couple nights ago and forgot to post it

Please pretend it’s a photo of tonight’s full moon so I don’t have to go back outside and take more pictures.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Wandelprobe (noun)

1. A choreographed rehearsal that merges orchestra, vocals and sometimes body microphones for the first time in the production of a musical; 2. A vaguely naughty-sounding German word that though it may initially seem like it, it doesn't really lend itself to clever sexual innuendo and don't even think you're going to come up with the elusive and brilliantly definitive "probe" joke because millions of very talented and clever and profoundly disturbed actors and singers before you have exhausted every last possibility a thousand times over; 3. THE COOLEST REHEARSAL OF EVERY SHOW OF YOUR LIFE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE; 4. I'm wearing my fake-lifeguard shirt today to make all the bikini models hurl themselves prostrate at my sandy, well-tanned feet; 5. That has nothing to do with Wandelprobe but I didn't have any other place to fit it in today.

"Dead end" makes the sign confusing

His full name is Charles Entertainment Cheese

There. Now that's a thing you know.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

This season's fashion keyword: LAYERING

I bought a small compression sleeve.

I bought a medium compression sleeve.

I bought a large compression sleeve.

I didn’t know which would fit.

So I put all of them on.


Calfway there and livin' on a prayer

Walgreens rudely doesn’t have calf-compression sleeves so I had to improvise and buy a knee one. But I’m not certified on knee-to-calf conversion measurements so I bought one that’s way too big. But I layered one of those stick-on heating pads (which was designed for backs, so again: more blind-guessing conversions) underneath and I’m just hoping for the best.
Also: My ankle looks weirdly puffy.

Also: I have no idea why I’m in possession of two mismatched wastebaskets at work, but it makes me feel richer than Midas so don’t tell anyone.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

18 years ago this morning ...

I ran a little late and got caught in the rush-hour crowds that prevented me from getting a seat on my EL train. But as I stood there—a relatively new Chicagoan—I was still in awe of the fact that I actually lived in Chicago and rode a train to work and I reveled in the fact that I was one of THEM: my fellow Chicagoans packed in the train car with me, commuting to (or from) our jobs as waiters, insurance brokers, construction workers, actuaries, janitors, bankers, personal trainers, writers and every other career and purpose in our big, always-moving city.

When I finally arrived at work and got off the elevator, I saw everyone in my office crowded around the TVs in our glass-walled conference room. My first thought was that my colleagues would see I was late. But after joining them and watching the towers burn and fall, seeing the gaping wound in the Pentagon, learning of the disappearance of an entire airplane and its passengers in a fiery pit, I was struck by the fact that my underground commute that morning with my fellow train riders—a microcosm of the city, if not the country—was our last collective moment of innocence before we had access to any news and we suddenly had to face the sickening, horrifying, misanthropic enormity wrought by other human beings on a scale none of us could have imagined.

18 years ago today I never felt closer to colleagues, friends, family members and even strangers as we worked to understand the hatred and comprehend the savagery of perhaps the ugliest tragedy in our lifetimes.

18 years ago today we lost a certainty in our collective safety but we gained a powerful strength in our ability to care for and protect and even love each other when we needed to ... and even when we didn't.

18 years ago today, our world changed immeasurably. Our hearts broke irreparably. Our determination grew mightily. Our humanity spread defiantly. Time may erode the intensity of our initial united magnanimity, but we will never forget.

September (2009); Gerhard Richter

Like Picasso, Matisse, Pollock and a host of iconic 20th century painters, Gerhard Richter has developed a signature visual vocabulary of sometimes photorealistic images obscured to varying degrees in scrapes, blurs, flecks, and pulls of wet and dry paint. Evoking at once powerful movement and misty tranquility, his works require a commitment of effort and time to absorb. His September (2009) utilizes this technique to stunning effect. Two silvery twin towers, the tops of which disappear into monumental clouds of opaque browns and blacks, stand defiantly against horizontal winds of scrapes and streaks and blurs. The painting captures a moment of enormity with grace and respect and breathtaking radiance.