Sunday, September 30, 2018

Liveblogging backstage at My Fair Lady!

As Henry Higgins yammers on and on through all 73 verses of “Why Can’t a Woman Be More Like a Man?” onstage, drunky-boy Jamie takes a selfie backstage with Lady Boxington and Eliza Doolittle herself. Because Jamie travels in fancypants circles.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Jake and his ladies. Coming to a stage near you. Tonight, in fact!


So the trail was *technically* closed this morning, which means we were *probably*, *legally*, *morally*, *common-sensically* not supposed to run on it.

But we were RUNNING! So no dirty rotten coppers could even CATCH US! And we blazed blithely past the ROAD CLOSED sign all cavalier in our law-unabidingness and everything was fine ... until that everything that was moments-ago fine was suddenly covered in mucky, goopy, silty, sticky, and also slippery, splashy, every-other-kind-of-bad-stuff-adjective-that-ends-in-y-y mud. Which we macholy slogged through instead of common-sensoly turning around. Because we ain’t afraid of no mud; we’re MEN. Who just correctly used a SEMICOLON. And we have BAD JUDGMENT. With only ONE E. Because spelling it JUDGEMENT is WRONG AND DUMB AND WRONG SO STOP SPELLING IT THAT WAY, PEOPLE!

Anyway, once we (but not our formerly pretty shoes) survived the Half Mile Of Bad Decisions And Prolonged Regret And There’s No Reason To Turn Back Now Because Our Shoes Are Ruined Anyway, the trail was actually fine. We saw some people walking some totally tummy-rubbable dogs, but encountered no dumbass runners or bikers who were so dumbass that they’d slog through mud when the were clearly told not to. I was technically planning to run 6 miles this morning but was secretly hoping I’d feel up for 7 or 8, but I knew at the 3-mile mark I needed to turn around and head back ... and of course re-traverse all the mucky, goopy, silty, sticky, and also slippery, splashy, every-other-kind-of-bad-stuff-adjective-that-ends-in-y-y mud.

But we did it and my knee hurts only about 1% and I got to hang out with the fucking awesome Rob and not that potty-mouth Scott and even though my awesome-o newish running shoes are caked in mucky, goopy, silty, sticky, and also slippery, splashy, every-other-kind-of-bad-stuff-adjective-that-ends-in-y-y mud, I’m chalking it up as a great morning.

Except my texting thumb is STILL cold and creaky and I swear that’s why I’m writing and posting this three hours after we started running and not because I’ve gotten so slow that I’m mathematically running slower that someone who died in the Middle Ages and is now just dust with maybe a tiny bit of recognizable bone fragments. Because not only would that be a weirdly out of left field, but it would also be somewhere in Medieval England. And that would just be weird.

Having to wear a jacket to run means it’s cold out and summer’s over and the whole world sucks

On the plus side, my hair looks just as coiffed as it did when the curtain opened last night.

I’m off to run six miles without being 100% certain that my knee is totally healed. Or that the trail isn’t still flooded. But again: My hair.

Thursday, September 27, 2018


1. I’ve been kind of smug in my good luck regarding never having run in extreme weather all summer.
2. Well, THAT sure changed this morning.
3. Brrrrrrr.
4. My typing thumb is so cold right now that it’s hard to type with any accuracu.
5. Cheap joke.
6. Anyway.
7. trump is a catastrophic-dumpster-fire piece of shit.
8. Whoops! Where did THAT come from?
9. Anyway.
10. When I bought this Mickey shirt, it hugged my arms and shoulders in manly-man ways.
11. Now it hangs on me like a Mayan burial gown on an immolated corpse.
12. Not that I think the Mayans begowned their dead AFTER they burned them.
13. But I like the imagery and rhythm of line item #11.
14. So I stand by my reporting.
15. Anyway.
16. Deflated showoff muscles and drapey T-shirts are what happens when you stop lifting 3+ times a week and start running 3+ times a week.
17. Poor, poor me.
18. But I have another half marathon looming in five weeks—and I plan to finish this one—so run I must.
19. And shrink I will.
20. Just like this morning.
21. Three miles. 11:32 pace. TINY twinge of knee pain.
22. Not much body-shrinking sweat though.
23. Because it was freezing.
24. Brrrrrrrr.
25. Gratuitous typo jokd.
26. Random mention of running buddies Rob and Scott.
27. I have to pee now.
28. TMI.
29. So you’re getting only 30 line items today.
30. You’re welcome.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Hillary/Horse'sAss debate was two years ago today

Facebook memories shows that I live-blogged my color commentary as I watched it. I didn't realize Snifflin' Don's "very good people" blather has been an established through line in the fiction of his presidency.

The highlights:

8:24 pm
Hillary's talking in paragraphs. Donald's just yelling the same interruptions over and over. #SniffingDonald #SniffleGate #TrumpTrainWreck

8:35 pm
"Trumped-Up Trickle Down" gets points for alliteration and conceptual clarity, but it's too rhythmically bumpy to catch on. My money's on "Deplorable Don." #SnifflingDonald #SniffleGate #TrumpTrainWreck

8:44 pm
When did #SnifflingDonald suddenly get interested in infrastructure? That's a four-syllable word. And it's nothing he can electroplate with gold and slap his name on in seven-foot letters. #SniffleGate #TrumpTrainWreck

8:48 pm
"Law and Order"! He finally said it. Now I can mark it off on my bingo card. Next up? My money's on "The Generals." #SnifflingDonald #SniffleGate

9:00 pm
UGH. Here we go again. The NRA is "very very good people and they're protecting the Second Amendment." Since when do "very very good people" insist that "a well-regulated militia" means "citizens with assault rifles"? That's bastardizing the Second Amendment, not protecting it. Only an anus-lipped sociopath would confuse "bastardizing" with "protecting."

9:06 pm
Birther bullshit? Still? It was--and continues to be--a meaningless distraction for people too stupid and lazy to understand NATO. But it does have the bonus benefit of being a convenient code for helping sentient people suss out racists. #SnifflingDonald #SniffleGate #TrumpTrainWreck

9:25 pm
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG. #SnifflingDonald just spent 90 seconds yelling like a feral boob monkey about his temperament! And also his temperament! Plus his temperament! #SniffleGate #TrumpTrainWreck

9:36 pm
"She doesn't have the stamina," says the guy hemorrhaging snot like a man with end-stage syphilis. #SnifflingDonald #DeplorableDonald #SniffleGate #TrumpTrainWreck

9:46 pm
#SnifflingDonald postulates that the DNC could have been hacked by "someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds." What does it matter how much the bed weighs? #SniffleGate #TrumpTrainWreck

Look! I made a calendar that says I didn't rape anybody for a whole month in college! (Oops. That was Kavanaugh. I get my rapists mixed up sometimes.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Embarrassing secret:

I’ve been marking awkward tight intervals in vocal music with w’s and 1/2’s since grade-school choir. And it still works for me. And it’s too late to stop now.

Puddin' it out there

1. I live in a condo development named Crystal Estates, but one of our streets is named after a pudding.
2. Pudding was, is and will always be a funny word.
3. Pudding.
4. It’s also scrumptious.
5. Which, of course, is also a funny word.
6. Scrumptious.
7. Scrumptious, scrumptious, scrumptious.
8. Even though it’s probably made with ground-up horse hooves.
9. Horsehooves sounds like the last name of a wealthy Edwardian family dynasty.
10. Scrumptious Pudding sounds like a low-rent drag name.
11. Like when you want to hire a drag queen for your toddler’s birthday party but you only have eleven dollars.
12. But you could definitely serve your child’s young guests pudding.
13. Because it’s affordable.
14. And—lest we forget—scrumptious.
15. And it would help tie everything together thematically when Scrumptious Pudding shows up in her Walgreens rouge and Butterick shift.
16. Like when you get matching Barbie-knockoff plates and balloons at Party City.
17. What would they name Knockoff Barbie?
18. Barlie? Barvy? Blarbie? Barcie?
19. Someone should look into this.
20. Certainly not Horsehooves, that’s for sure.
21. So I ran my three miles with nary a problem this morning.
22. Nary.
23. Nary Horsehooves.
24. Nary von Horsehooves IV.
25. Esq.
26. (note to self: check into trademarking this name for Blarvie’s rich, questionably heterosexual boyfriend)
27. Anyway.
28. Nothing hurts.
29. I also don’t seem to have a terrible loss of endurance wrought by my hiatus.
30. Wrought.
31. Crystal Wrought.
32. (note to self: name for Brarpie’s preternaturally perky younger sister?)
33. (nah)
34. Wrought Na?
35. (Varmie’s nonspecifically pan-Asian sidekick?)
36. (possibry)
37. Anyway.
38. Again.
39. It was—and still is, if you’re on the fence about a morning run—beyond-perfect running weather.
40. So this morning’s run was quite enjoyable.
41. I haven’t checked my pace yet though.
42. Please hold ...
47. It’s still downloading from my watch to my app ...
52. 11:45.
53. Pretty much on par with what I’d expected.
54. Still not the 8:36 pace from my 8K personal best a decade-plus ago.
55. But still.
56. While running with Rob and Scott is always a pleasure, I do not mind running alone at all.
57. Aside from the fact that I’m stuck with nothing to keep myself occupied but the dark, disturbing thoughts in my head.
58. Like if it’s too late to get the Brarphne name trademarked.
59. See?
60. Dark.
61. Disturbing.
62. *shudder*
63. I took my post-run selfie by this street sign because it has two names.
64. Just like Rob and Scott have two names.
65. *taps head to show I’m a quick, clever thinker*
66. Tiffany sounds like the hoppiness sounds a rabbit might make as it scampers through a grassy meadow.
67. If you’re high.
68. Scott always scampers ahead of us after we exhaust our morning pleasantries on our runs.
69. So Tiffany is Scott’s aptly named stand-in in this post-run selfie.
70. Yorkshire—aside from being a scrumptious pudding—sounds like a three-legged basset hound with two of those legs on a skateboard loping determinedly but futilely toward the finish line in a cartoon race that’s accompanied by an unrehearsed orchestra.
71. If you’re super-high.
72. I’m actually the one who Yorkshires in our running group.
73. Like this: YORKshire YORKshire YORKshire ...
74. But Rob usually stays with me for a few miles before he Barknies ahead, so by the transitive powers of Yorkshirity, Yorkshire is his stand-in in this post-run selfie.
75. Oh, dear.
76. Autocorrect has already learned and white-listed the YORKshire capitalization.
77. This will greatly undermine my authority and gravitas in future pudding posts.
78. To review:
79. Pudding.
80. Scrumptious.
81. Harpie.
82. (R)
83. Not-gay Nary von Horsehooves IV, Esq.
84. Crystal Wrought.
85. Nah.
86. Wrought Na.
87. Possibry.
88. 11:45.
89. Crystal Scott.
90. No homo.
91. Yorkshire Rob.
92. No skateboard.
93. YORKshire YORKshire YORKshire.
94. Marcia Marcia Marcia.
95. But different.
100. 100!

I am squatting rather indecorously in my driveway as I type this in preparation for my second three-mile run in three weeks

That’s why the curvy venty thingie behind me seems so far above my head. Or I’m just not wearing my 4 1/4" Balenciaga stilettos. WHICH IS IT?
Fun fact: The muscles on the insides of your legs—the very ones I’m stretching as I awkwardly type this—that pull your legs toward your body are collectively called adductors. The muscles on the outsides of your legs that pull them away from your body are collectively called abductors. ADDuctors ADD your legs to your body; ABductors ABDUCT your legs from your body.

There. Now that’s something you know. You can also infer—though I’m really not in any way implying this—that my running posse isn’t able to join me today so I have nobody holding me accountable to start my three-mile run, which technically started 54 minutes ago.

Let me tell you about that time I sat and watched paint dry ...

Monday, September 24, 2018

I replaced this rheostat two months ago and just now noticed that it’s backlit when the light is off

And we all know that indirect lighting is the cornerstone of an evolved society.

It's National Punctuation Day!

Since I have no punctuation platters, I'm celebrating by posting a picture of our grammar plate in the hopes that it will be a catalyst for launching a National Grammar Plate Day. In the mean time, here's a friendly Punctuation Day reminder from me to you: You are issued a mere 25 exclamation points each diacritical year. That's two per month plus a birthday wildcard. Use your exclamation points judiciously. Once they're gone, you are rendered exclamation-pointless until the beginning of the next diacritical year. If you get convicted of exclamation abuse in that time, you'll serve a very long sentence.


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Well, THAT was a first

My lovely and delightful stage wife Lady Boxington and I were totally rocking the gorgeous Embassy Ball waltz at the top of Act II during today's nearly-sold-out My Fair Lady matinee just as we always do in our preternaturally eloquent grace, when out of the blueand thankfully way in the backwe discovered that we both had feet ... then we tangled them ... then we tottered slightly off balance ... then we tottered precariously off balance ... and then we went WHAM! on the floor (see actual illustration below) in full go-big-or-go-home WHAMMING complete with flying jewelry, WHAMMING noises, inelegant grunts, looks of terrified shock, catastrophic lack of dignity, fiery humiliation, earnest assurances that we were both OK, quick-as-humiliatedly-possible standing-upping andwe hopeseamless re-integration into the choreography just in time for my favorite swingy-army part ... all literally in a matter of eight measures.
We both continue to insist that we're fine, aside from the massive subdural hematoma on my I-can-still-dance-with-all-the-grace-and-assurance-I-had-when-I-was-25 delusional ego.

And we got this commemorative actual illustration of our fall for our scrapbooks that I found by googling "people falling over." So we're choosing to chalk this up as a win.

Mic check from the other side of the stage!

I checked and there’s still nobody here named Mic. But you can see the edge of Higgins’ staircase wagon hiding in the stage left vestibule. And if Higginswagon McVestibule isn’t the coolest name in the entire musical theater canon then my name isn’t Mic.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

So how does this work?

Do I pick one from each column or do I get to mix and match any three like on the Denny's value menu? Or is this one of those brain teasers where I have to re-organize the list so the first letter of every line spells a common phrase or a popular song title? Or maybe I have to clear the board--which automatically disqualifies me because I refuse to be yoga pants as a matter of principle. They should really pass out leaflets with the rules spelled out clearly or nobody's going to play ... which means nobody will ever win Eternal Damnation.


I’m wearing my new shirt with two people having a knife fight on the sleeve!


Imma be catnip to the ladies ALL. DAY. LONG.

Just between you, me and this lamppost ...

1. The good news is my knee didn’t hurt.
2. Well, MOSTLY didn’t hurt.
3. But I found myself still in the habit of favoring it as I ran.
4. Which is a good way to get hurt.
6. I just accidentally typed 6 instead of 5.
7. But I’m too lazy to go back and fix it.
7. So I fixed it this way instead.
8. MATH!
9. So ... three miles ...
10. It was pretty rough.
11. And I mean rough as in it felt like I’ve never run a step in my life.
12. I wanted to stop the whole time.
13. Especially—ESPECIALLY!—at my two-mile wall.
14. Because I have a two-mile wall.
15. Most runners have a 20-mile wall.
16. I have that as well.
17. But nobody—NOBODY!—has a two-mile wall.
18. At least I’m pretty.
19. Right?
20. RIGHT?
21. Thankfully, Rob got up in the early darkness (dark earliness?) and ran with me.
22. I haven’t seen him since the NewBo half marathon almost three weeks ago.
23. So it was nice to catch up on all our disparate theater adventures.
24. Plus it was a great distraction from all those damn walls.
25. Scott selfishly did NOT join us.
26. Because of his kids, he said.
27. His kids whom I HAVE NEVER SEEN.
28. So I have my suspicions about this friendship.
29. We replaced him with this lamp post in our selfie.
30. Because he lights up our lives.
31. He gives us hope.
32. To carry on.
33. He lights up our days.
34. And fills our nights.
35. With.
37. Song.
38. It can’t be wrong.
39. When it feels so right.
40. ‘Cause he ...
42. He lights.
43. Up.
44. Our.
45. Lives.

It’s my first run ...

1. since my knee blowout at the NewBo half marathon almost three weeks ago
2. without wearing sunglasses
3. in a shirt off of which I haven’t cut the sleeves
4. pretending to care if I end sentences with prepositions
5. sporting my new haircut
6. at

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Flashback Wednesday: Sheer, Abject Terror Edition

"Rappel down the side of a 31-story building," I said. "It'll be fun," I said. "Plus it'll give me an interesting story to tell everyone," I said.

"Just lean back off the roof and hold onto these alarmingly tiny ropes that we guarantee won't snap and send you plummeting to your death," they said. "Look around and enjoy the view that very few people get to see," they said. "Keep yourself horizontal to the building," they said.


"I've taken the training and paid the money and I'm not giving up now," I said. "I won't look down at the pavement where I could easily splat and die in abject terror," I said. "I won't look down at the pavement where I could easily splat and die in abject terror," I said. "I won't look down at the pavement where I could easily splat and die in abject terror," I said.

"Here I go, shakes and terror and all," I said.

"Holy shit I hate this I hate this I hate this eyes on the ropes squeeze your hands hard don't look down don't look down to hell with looking around at the view I hate this I hate this I hate this is it over yet," I said.

"Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee," I said.

Yes, I literally made the noise "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" all the way down the building.



Yes, I really said "I NEED ALCOHOL" because I was still shaking in my legs and tummy and though I've barely had any alcohol in my life and I had no idea what an entire drink would do to me, I WANTED SOME DAMN ALCOHOL.

"I'll have a Tom Collins," I said to the waiter. Because someone recommended it and it sounded interesting.

I drank my Tom Collins, still shaking in my legs and tummy. And it was GOOD.

The end.


Today be Talk Like a Pirate Day! For realz, Matey.

A pirate walks into a bar. The bartender says "Do you know you have a steering wheel coming out of your crotch?" The pirate says "Aaaarrrrrgh! It's drivin’ me nuts!"

Monday, September 17, 2018

Don't say that ... 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 epitomized 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), 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 have no depth on the page but they grant a glorious latitude for actors to make fascinating choices as they flesh them out.

I'm a day late in this tribute, but yesterday was the second 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 and on my own time. I have a couple favorite quotes I'd love to mention here, but they're all potential spoilers. So I'll just lift a glass of bergen to his memory.

After surviving an invasion by a foreign royal lineage, beheading the Groom of the Stool (it’s a legit title! look it up!), tooting the court jester’s horn and making a gratuitous dictatorship pun,

I have hereby abandoned the royal wee, abdicated the porcelain throne and rejoined the peasantry in the Commonwealth of Arby’s.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

All Liquids Day!

(I’m capitalizing it now because it’s fast-tracked to be designated a national holiday and I don’t want to have to search through my archives to update this post.)

I’m more than happy to spend the day consuming nothing but not-alarming-when-it-comes-back-out-red liquids, but it would be immeasurably easier if the hospital’s instructions didn’t make things on its do-not-eat list sound so deliciously tempting:

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Mrs. Higgins to my Lord Boxington, the assistant director to my unlearned Fuddy Meers lines, the mother of two dear friends I’ve known since high school ... Cherryl always makes my theater life loverlier just by showing up

And we get to attend a horse race AND a swanky, waltzy ball together in My Fair Lady. Plus my hair part is again award-winningly on point in our selfie here. It’s been a wonderful night.

Live blogging again from backstage at My Fair Lady Act II Scene mcmlxxiv!

I’ve known these dear ladies since before you—or even we—were born. Because THAT is the magic of good theater lighting. We’ve been through rich and poor together, happy times and sad ... all depending on whatever the show we’re all doing says about us. We’re currently in Edwardian England, which is DEFINITELY before we were born. Well, allegedly. And it’s just loverly.

These people

You should hear them all sing. No really. YOU SHOULD COME TO OUR SHOW AND HEAR THEM ALL SING. The talent in this show is humbling. And the people in this show are delightful. And I’m being all sappy because I’ve had two Diet Cokes so my guard is down and I’m so embarrassed that I let you all see me this way so I’m going to stop typing now so I don’t embarrass myself any further I could have danced all night on the street where you live wait why am I stringing together random song titles from My Fair Lady oh right it’s because I’m IN My Fair Lady and I’m in it with these lovely people plus a lot more lovely people so GET YOUR BLOOMIN’ TICKETS AND COME SEE US, PEOPLE I think I need another Diet Coke.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Oh, nothing

Just not-fiber-eating at our My Fair Lady opening-night party with the Lady to my Lord Boxington after our STANDING OVATION.

How’s YOUR night?

Live! Backstage at My Fair Lady!

Henry and Liza are fighting onstage as we speak. Soon they’ll be singing about fighting. Then they’ll fight about singing about fighting. Then I CAN’T TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THAT. Get your bloomin’ asses to Theatre Cedar Rapids and find out!

Just a little bit! Just a little bit! Just a little bit of our cast backstage at opening-night intermission!

I worry that we’re creating unhealthy body-image issues here for both women and men, but I can’t think that right now because I got a show to do!

Also: Super-cute Snoopy rainbow shirt!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

When you’re trying to take a respectable selfie in the solemnity of an empty theater and you get terrifyingly photobombed by a man named Pickering which sounds like pickled herring which is a creepy coincidence because in the first show you did with him HE WAS A BIG RED CRAB

Our My Fair Lady shirts are here!

And they’re laid out in regiments of resplendent ruby rosé at our dressing mirrors. Which is by far NOT the gayest thing I’ve written today.
Also: My post-Edwardian hair part is so on point that it’s almost rude. Because it’s not polite to point. Not even at the gay guy who says resplendent ruby rosé.

I’m in a total work stoppage until I’m done stanching a sudden-onset massive-hemorrhage bloody nose

Or epistaxis, as the googles just told me.

Thankfully, it isn’t affecting my selfie thumb.

And so it begins:

The Fiber Finals. The Pulp Probation. The White-Bread Warm-Up. The Mushy-Foods Marathon. The Deliciousness Death March. The Canned-Food Commencement. The Plain-Jell-O Purgatory. The Soft-Bananas Smackdown. The Hearty-Foods Hunger Games. The Pudding Punishment. The Corn-Flakes Correction. The Wet-Noodles Weariness. The Plain-Crackers Plague. The Clear-Broth Commencement. The Full-Grain Forfeiture. THE COLONOSCOPY COUNTDOWN.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

My Fair Lady costume pre-sets (L-R):

(in mirror) mega-cool roustabout-scalawag pants for Jamie the loyal Alfred P. Doolittle henchman and occasional street-quartet singer, in earthy shades of red; (on hangers) all-occasion tuxedo shirt, in crisp white; the formal uniform of Henry Higgins’ noble valet, in various shades of black and gray; Lord Boxington’s Ascot Gavotte morning-coat ensemble, in various totally-not-valet-colors-to-avoid-confusion-during-a-dark-costume-change shades of gray and black; Embassy Ball tuxedo, in the same shades of black and gray as everything else when you’re doing yet another frantically rushed costume change in the dark; a bunch of extra just-in-case hangers, in various whites and blacks AND THE RADIANT COLOR OF WOOD; Lord Boxington Ascot Gavotte felt top had, in fiery ruby-woo red.

#ArtThrob: September

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.

17 years ago today

17 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.

17 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.

17 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.

17 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.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Hello, 1980s glasses frames with old prescriptions in them that I just found while I was (don’t ask why) looking for all my old Speedos

And no, that isn’t my sister’s 1980s senior photo behind my head as I pose next to my own 1980s senior photo to provide historical context for my 1980s glasses frames. It’s just a weird shadow.