Friday, August 18, 2017

Sieg fail, Bannon

You racist piece of shit.

Flashback Friday: Giant Fiberglass Underpants Edition

The plaza outside Tribune Tower in Chicago used to (and maybe still does?) have a rotating display of massively giant sculptures of stuff. One summer it was the figures from American Gothic, which made sense since the painting hangs in the Chicago Art Institute. And in 2011 it was Marilyn Monroe coquettishly letting her white halter dress blow up over a subway grate in The Seven Year Itch, which made sense since that movie had exactly nothing to do with Chicago. The sculpture was artistically unremarkable -- as are most giant sculptures rendered in fiberglass, to be fair -- and its cantilevered billowing skirt ended up serving the unintended but more useful purpose of sheltering lost tourists and people waiting for the 147 bus during sudden rainstorms.
Plus, no matter where you stood within sight of the statue you couldn't avoid seeing Marilyn's GIANT FIBERGLASS UNDERPANTS. Which I, being a paragon of maturity, of course respectfully refrained from photographing and posting on social media or my blog.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

FAKE NEWS!

They're making it look like his ship isn't sinking.

I hate to drag. I mean brag ...


Legs and lists

1. Leg day.
2. Ouch.
3. Also: 20 minutes on the elliptical.
4. Also: alarmingly large puddles of sweat.
5. I found this shirt on the bottom of the pile this morning.
6. It's unflatteringly tight around my tummy.
7. Which is probably why it was on the bottom.
8. I used to run through the gayborhoods of Chicago in a Speedo every December.
9. I also used to own a red Speedo that fit over my hips.
10. Leg day. Also: 20 minutes on the elliptical.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

So this just happened

It seems I've been cast as one of the Guvnors in One Man, Two Guvnors, leaving the roles of One Man and The Other Guvnor of course in the hands of two other dudes. 

I've never played someone who was in the title of the show before. Probably because Evita's Brother and Smudge the Socially Awkward Plaid wouldn't fit on the marquee. Plus I haven't done a non-musical in more than two years. If I remember correctly, all you need to do in a regular play is just say a lot of words and occasionally point at stuff. So this should be easy. 

But I'm stoked beyond belief over this opportunity and this role and this show and this director and this CAST. And I'm going to keep my tap shoes backstage during every show just in case. Because I'm liable to burst into song at a moment's notice anyway. And some habits are hard to break.

Too far? Not far enough?

What if he doesn't even use white golf tees? Gosh, I hope I haven't confused him or made him look silly.

Thank you all!

When your head's just not in the game at the gym ...

Redirect your energies toward poking an illiterate circus bear with a tweet stick.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

SUP?

I'm having new headshots taken a week from today and I'm growing my scruff back so we can try some manly shots and then I'll quickly shave and we can try some more shots with me covered in bloody razor nicks. Then I'll have to face the profound life decision of which international modeling contract to sign.

Also: I'm perfecting my international model pout.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sucking at history: It's not just for reality TV failures anymore!

PIECE. OF. SHIT.

We all knew your "additional remarks" were nothing but bullshit that you were cornered into saying only because you got called out for the initial meaningless piece-of-shit nothing you vomited up when you finally bothered addressing the nation this weekend.

We knew your "additional remarks" were bullshit that was written for you the second you said "egregious," a word you neither know nor understand but you ironically ARE in everything you think and say and do.

And now you're trying -- and failing, as always -- to turn your grotesque, arrogant, meaningless failure into victimhood. Which is tacit -- another word you're too arrogantly stupid to know -- admission that you didn't mean a word you said.

Die already. Painfully. Violently. Humiliatingly. Just die. You owe us.

One audition, two scenes

I just auditioned for my first non-musical in over two years. Which means I couldn't rely on my mad tapping skillz or ironically croon a girl song (which is ironic, see, because I'm a boy) as a theatrical device to give the illusion that I'm creative and resourceful and positively visionary and therefore an indispensable artistic asset to any final casting decision.

No. I just had to act -- the one stage-play-craft thing I'm least confident about -- tonight. In a British accent, no less. And -- unlike a month ago when I auditioned for Grease and my ONE JOB was to use the Midwestern American accent I've had FOR 49 YEARS but NOOOOO! I suddenly out of nowhere started talking in a freaking SOUTHERN ACCENT that WOULD NOT GO AWAY -- tonight I stayed as British as I could ever hope to sound for the entire audition, no doubt in part because of the seven British lines I just had -- including "wanker"! giggle giggle -- in Billy Elliot.

So now all that's left to do is madly obsess over every word I stumbled on and every probably catastrophic artistic auditiony choice I made tonight until there's a callback or a cast list posted on Wednesday. Y'all.

Low-hanging fruit

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I'm still not used to being The Old Guy

I usually have an innate ability to know when my gym is completely empty so I pretty much always work out alone. But I just survived a self-esteem slaughterhouse of a workout surrounded by six 20something guys who were not only all insanely muscular but they all knew each other and all talked to each other and completely ignored the old guy who was slowly being transported back to The Land of Crippling High School Insecurities.

But I used it to push myself through a more brutal than normal arm workout. And then I rushed to the safety of my car to photograph the proof of it before my pump deflated.

Getting old can really mess with you sometimes.

I'm going to die alone, aren't I?

I feel a breeze on my neck

I'm standing in a long, unmoving returns line at Walmart. In front of a woman who keeps sneezing on me. I think I'm going to spend 20 awkward minutes trying on underwear in front of my mom next to make my afternoon complete.

Driving Miss Bridget

Look at that adorable-but-starting-to-look-older-and-sometimes-nighttime-drooly-and-graying-so-slightly-that-you-hardly-even-notice-but-still-totally-adorable FACE.
I wish Bridget hadn't photobombed me and ruined my selfie.

Happy Gay Uncles' Day to me

That's OK, niece and nephew who are no longer in the will; I'll post my own celebratory sparkle glitter flower kitty gif. Even though I can't figure out how to make the gif's sparkle feature work like the way I found it on Google as only a tech-savvy younger relative could.

Sigh.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

HOW AWESOME IS THIS DOG?

Also: How kickin' are these shoes, how badass is this tat, how scrapey is this shin, how misaligned are these stripes, how messy is this house, how blurry is this photo?

They're claiming you as their messiah

And now they're expecting you to deliver on the promises they clearly heard you make.

All that hate stands for

You're not even REMOTELY smart enough to extricate yourself from the hate you've worked over a year to create and feed and now watch explode violently in our country and our world. This emasculated shithead attempt -- on a meaningless TWEET -- to urge the nation you pathologically divided to "come together" is as worthless and contemptible and worthy of extermination as you are.

Bluetooth and butt

When you're poking around looking in the bags of stuff that have accumulated by the cat food in the basement and you discover the wireless speaker system you forgot you bought two years ago.

Also: Bridget's butt.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The pup

Look who's already cashed out on the floor next to me, waiting for me to finally put my damn phone down and go to bed.

Good night, everyone!

Typo. Fixed it.

Men of Tortuga!

I'm seeing some play about yelling and murder and who knows probably sex too with my posse of 20-year-olds. Not creepy of me. Not creepy at all.

I hope they don't have to explain anything to me.

Today's moment of pure, ridiculous joy: Liza Minnelli sings "Ring Them Bells"

I don't know why I love this song so much. It's not technically from a show. I've never been a huuuuuuuuuge fan of Liza. In fact, most of her Liza with a Z concert makes me bleed from my nipples. Bob Fosse's choreography to the song -- and to the entire concert -- is clownish, poorly rehearsed and alarmingly sloppy. And oh, dear. That dress.

But "Ring Them Bells" is Kander and Ebb at their collaborative finest: simple melodic lines with enormous hook and impact, broad storytelling through seemingly offhand details, a seamless fusion of pathos and humor, an underscoring of inspired silliness, and a big belty chorus that throws me against the farthest wall in a puddle of goosebumps every time I hear it. I can't find a YouTube video of it with terribly amazing sound, but it doesn't even matter how watery the sound is when you see Liza finally marching downstage flopping her knees and hyperextended elbows between the rows of sloppy clown dancers as she belts to the rafters for the umpteenth time that ya gotta Ring! Them! Bells!

Even in that jailbait babydoll dress.

Mon. Ster.

I accidentally dressed all in green today, including my shaker bottle. My trainer accidentally dressed all in blue. If that's not reason enough for a gym selfie, I don't want to live in this cruel, judgmental world.
Also: She made me do squats. On leg day. Who DOES that? She's a monster.

Flashback Friday: All The Single Ladies Edition

Fun fact: I am not always the paragon of body-image-unattainable hypermasculinity that people know me for. In fact, I once sang a show tune.

And apparently eight years ago, while making my first-ever visit to the best-porch-on-earth Rehoboth beach house of some D.C. friends, I was inspired by the fact that all of us at the house owned black Speedos -- I know! An entire population of gay men who all own black Speedos? What are the odds? -- to teach a group of complete strangers -- who are curiously still all my friends -- a chunk of the "Single Ladies" choreography that we could use as a surprise performance at a pop-music-themed costume party ... all in the space of an afternoon. I convinced these poor men to go group shopping for matching black tank tops and enormous black pumps to replicate the bodysuits and combat heels from the Beyoncé video, and with the help of the magic of YouTube and the trusting patience of a group of guys who I again remind you were pretty much total strangers, we pushed aside the furniture, gamely donned our pumps and collectively put the proverbial ring on it:
Yes, there is extant video. No, I don't care to search around and find it for you.

We had intended to just casually announce at the party that we had a little performance we'd like to give and maybe uh-oh-oh in front of a few happen-to-be-nearby people in a corner, but imagine our surprise -- IMAGINE OUR SURPRISE! -- when we got to the party and discovered a CARPETED RUNWAY leading from the sidewalk to a FREAKING STAGE at the edge of the enormous back patio where probably a hundred pop-music-costumed people were watching expectantly as a Wynonna Judd drag queen emcee introduced each new group of guests to the party.

Seriously. SERIOUSLY.

Word spread instantly that my new beheeled and bespeedoed friends and I actually had an act to perform, and without even letting these guys have a moment to be nervous or offer up our own music, a random guest's iPhone was plugged into the sound system, the song was started from his iTunes library -- I know! How on earth did we manage to find a gay man with "Single Ladies" cued up on his iPhone at a moment's notice? -- and we all put our hands up, up in the club and started uh-oh-ohing to wild cheers ... until the iPhone playing our music suddenly got a call and the music abruptly stopped and we were left standing there mid-uh-oh-oh blinking blankly into the crowd until the iPhone owner could turn off the ringer and start the song again from the beginning and we could fully embrace our second chance to freaking ROCK OUR RED-CARPET RUNWAY ENTRANCE.

And that, my friends, is how you put gloss on your lips and a man on your hips and make an entrance-making show to an entire beach town of strangers that you have a sensitive side to your paragon of body-image-unattainable hypermasculinity. And uh-oh-oh you can't be mad at me.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

#Sad

Today's moment of pure, ridiculous joy: Liz Callaway sings Meadowlark

Golden-voiced (she can sing as sweet as a Disney princess and she can belt like a diva) Liz Callaway (who sang the theme song to The Nanny with her sister, Ann Hampton Callaway, who also wrote it) has made a signature of "Meadowlark," an oft-overlooked story song (from the musical The Baker's Wife) written by Stephen Schwartz (who also wrote Godspell, Pippin, Working, Children of Eden and Wicked, among others) in a masterful fusion of narrative, metaphor, emotional arc and melody. I've listened to it non-stop since I got to work this morning and discovered that a friend of mine had posted it on Facebook as his moment of pure, ridiculous joy. 

I recommend you listen to it at least three times: once to immerse yourself in the gorgeous, heartbreaking story, once to drink in Liz Callaway's breathtaking, shimmery voice and storytelling, and once to listen to the sumptuously layered orchestration -- especially the hearty, powerful lower brass in the last chorus. 

I guarantee you repeated shivers. And smiles. And pure, ridiculous joy.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

#FireAndFury!















My summers with Rodin

Washington, D.C., is so overflowing with American history that there's a monument to something or someone on practically every corner. The Smithsonian museums are so overflowing with history and culture and gift shops and art that some of it literally spills outside into the sunshine. And part of my annual summer pilgrimage to visit some D.C. friends and road-trip to their Rehoboth beach house is my visit to the sunken sculpture garden behind the relentlessly round Hirshhorn Museum, which houses what most people probably see as the oddest examples of Modern art. 

The sculpture garden sits more than a story below street level so it masks all the ambient street noise, but it positively hums with beauty and magic and some of the most delightful -- and delightfully odd -- art that waits there resolutely to nourish any soul. If you're in D.C. and want to visit my little sanctuary, enter from the Mall side and go immediately to your left -- the corner there is populated with the rough-hewn glories of August Rodin, including what is perhaps my favorite sculpture of all time: his mighty Burghers of Calais, which depicts six men walking to their martyrdom to save their city during the Hundred Years' War. The men are overcome with terror and anguish and resignation and peace all at once, and Rodin has sculpted their figures so masterfully that you see and understand their every emotion from your every angle. The piece is enormous in size and exaggerated in scale and almost primitive in its rendering, all of which invite you to approach it with your own perspectives, examine it with your own curiosities and appreciate it with your own conclusions. It's everyone's sculpture -- casts of it stand in museums and university campuses all over Europe and the United States, including a single figure from the piece who stands at the entrance of the University of Iowa's Boyd Law Building -- and it's my sculpture to admire and fear and share and visit summer after summer, year after year.

Born to higher things

Barbara Cook, the breathtakingly full-range operatic Broadway singer best known for her 1957 career-launching role of Marian the librarian in The Music Man, has died at 89. I had the thrill of seeing her only once, in the 2010 Broadway revue Sondheim on Sondheim where she was clearly still at the top of her game in a haunting pairing of "Losing my Mind" and "Not a Day Goes By" duet with Vanessa Williams. She first landed on my radar on the original 1956 Broadway cast recording of Candide, where she masterfully conquered Leonard Bernstein's vocally gymnastic and deliciously contrapuntal "Glitter and Be Gay." In this tour-de-force comic aria, Ms. Cook, as the presumed-dead CunĂ©gonde who finds herself imprisoned in a Parisian palace and makes peace with her lot in life by not-at-all-reluctantly bedecking herself in jewels, introduced what has now become a coloratura holy grail of vocal dexterity that blends throaty pathos, wicked arpeggios and what she famously catalogued as "four E-flats over high C, six D-flats, 16 B-flats and 21 high C’s." It's always sad when a brilliant artist dies, but Barbara Cook left us a stunning legacy of music that's both technically perfect and gorgeously emotional. 

Please give yourself a moment to enjoy her definitive "Glitter and Be Gay" in her memory.