Monday, September 30, 2019

There is an ENDLESSLY amusing hashtag thread on Twitter right now ...


I still can't decide if I should be appalled or amused--or somehow a combination of both--that Stable Genius actually said "my crimes." That puerile man-boy is too stupid to wipe his own ass.

Do we pose ourselves artistically and look adorable atop the piano when there ISN’T a ratty old book ruining the composition for a photo?

No. We wait for a ratty old book to ruin the composition for any potential photos and THEN pose ourselves artistically and look adorable atop the piano.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Another weekend of Hello, Dolly! performances is over

If you’re on the fence about seeing us because of potential OSHA hygiene violations, be known that Theatre Cedar Rapids is so hardcore method that the Harmonia Gardens waiters have to wash our hands in the dressing room before we report to work on the stage. YOU CAN REST ASSURED THAT WE WILL NEVER GET SHOW-TUNEY ACTOR GERMS ON YOUR PLASTIC FOOD OR HOT-GLUED CHAMPAGNE FLUTES.


Last week we cleared a mountain of crap off this garage shelf:

Today I cleared a mountain of wine off the garage floor:
And I cleaned out the garage refrigerator. And poured out an entire forgotten 12-pack of carbonationless Sprite that expired in 2016. And scrubbed the weird yellowish liquid that perpetually weeps down the garage walls and no the drywall isn’t peeing and we aren’t aliens or witches so don’t even think any of that or I’ll put a hex on you.

Also: It’s a delicate balance to scrub the grime off the garage-door opener without repeatedly opening and closing the garage door. It’s like Jenga. Or Jengarage. Or Garenga.

Saturday, September 28, 2019


This shirt seemed like a versatile, suitable-for-all-occasions chemise when I found it for $5 on an Old Navy tumble table way back when Old Navy was relevant and people actually said “tumble table.”

Now I find it slightly problematic for places like work and public locations in general ... so instead I’m wearing it backstage at a wholesome musical cast with legions of corruptible kids who see me as a plausible role model.


Also: Don’t judge my floofy, savagely untamed hair here; I was freshly showered and rolling my leg injuries as I took this selfie and I hadn’t yet styled my coiffure for our wholesome musical cast with legions of corruptible kids who see me as a plausible role model. SO DON’T BLAME ME WHEN THEY GROW UP TO BE DAMN COMMIE SOCIALIST HIPPIES.


Getting all the waiters together for a photo on the Hello, Dolly! Harmonia Gardens staircase has to happen at intermission when the staircase is assembled and we’re all in our waiter uniforms at the same time

But the “getting all the waiters together” part is insanely complicated given the fact that all the other waiters (but not me!) are distracted LSD-vaping kittens chasing hallucinatory laser dots all over the theater (allegedly) and impossible to get all in one place at one time if there isn’t a downbeat involved.


Unfortunately, the stage curtain prevented our photographer from backing up far enough to get the actual staircase in the photo and the intermission lighting left the back rows in increasingly gradient shadows.


Maybe I’ll try tonight to get everyone lined up for a shot from one side of the staircase Ă  la the Brady Bunch kids (HINT! HINT!). Or maybe I’ll vape LSD with everyone (allegedly) and demonstrate my super-kitten powers at finally catching the elusive red dot instead.

Note to future historians: The second-to-top row of waiters here is standing on the staircase’s official Jake StepTM. We left an engraved bronze plaque on it to mark the location and commemorate the dedication. Please see that our estate keeps it burnished and respectfully lit in perpetuity.

Friday, September 27, 2019

My Hello, Dolly! costumes are pre-set deep in the underbelly of the Iowa Theater Building

They're so deep that we gradually lose melanin from lack of sun exposure and get altitude sickness and nosebleeds every time we ascend (slowly, so as not to get the bends) and emerge back on the stage.
Anywho, each set of costumes is organized in order of how I put them on:

shirt > tie (if applicable) > pants (always applicable) > vest (ditto) > coat (usually applicable) > joyful smile (by contractual obligation)

And then in order of Act I songs:

It Takes a Woman (in earthy, workaday blues) > Put On Your Sunday Clothes (in MEGA AWESOME PINK SEERSUCKER) > Dancing (in a geometric explosion of Vermeer blues) > Before The Parade Passes By (you’ll just have to come see that costume now, won’t you?)

On a nearby concrete plateau that echoes with the trickles of a sub-sub-sub-terranean cistern: assorted hats and bottles of Gatorade.



Where to start?

1. What's the fucking point of this whole rage tweet?
2. There is no hyphen used or implied anywhere in this entire alphabet soup.
3. What the hell is "Liddle" supposed to mean?
4. Is it supposed to be some kind of colloquial abbreviation for "little"?
5. Are you trying to make "Little" happen as your attempt to create yet another puerile, wannabe-demeaning nickname for someone whose superior intelligence you resent?
6. Note to trump and trump supporters: "Colloquial" means "not formal or literary."
7. Note to trump and trump supporters: "Puerile" means "childish or trivial."
8. See: trump
9. See also: trump supporters
10. The standard abbreviation for "little" is "li'l."
11. With an APOSTROPHE.
14. People who graduated reasonably sober from third grade know that you put an apostrophe where letters have been removed in an abbreviation.
16. Don't get me started on why "little" isn't abbreviated as "li'l'."
17. "Liddle" is just substituting d's for t's and doesn't require an apostrophe.
18. And it's actually almost beneath your limited intellectual capacities.
19. Which have no bottom.
20. So never mind.
21. Instead of those non-essential apostrophes, however, "Liddle" does require a marriage to a cousin.
22. And griddled possum at the wedding reception.
23. Or maybe grittled.
28. Clearly not.
29. You don't even understand rudimentary punctuation.
30. Note to trump and trump supporters: "Rudimentary" means "limited to basic principles" or "an immature, undeveloped form."
31. And I'm sure the irony is completely lost on you.
32. Because it's not even hyphenated.

You know why my day is better than yours?

Never mind that it’s off-brand. And that I have a bit of a cold. Those pesky details just ruin my narrative.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

I gave another $25 to Pete Buttigieg today. 🙂

Fun fact:

Hello, Dolly! was originally called Hello, Guy Just Over Dolly's Right Shoulder Who's Smiling Handsomely If I Do Say So Myself But Unfortunately Cut Off At The Edge Of This Photo! But Dolly got that crown of feathers and suddenly the show was all about HER.

Find the old guy who can't jump as high as all those kids


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Good night!

Shirts I have found while excavating:

• Social Climbers team T-shirt for the BEST-NAMED *EVER* Hustle up the Hancock stair-climbing team
• (motto: We like it on top)
• AIDS Marathon team tank top that I personalized with GO JAKE GO
• (Putting GO JAKE GO on the front of your marathon shirt is like giving a handy script to 26.2 miles of people who are ready and willing to cheer you on at the tops of their lungs)
• The back of the T-shirt I wore for my first marathon
• (Putting MY FIRST MARATHON on the back of your first marathon shirt guarantees 26.2 miles of back slaps and atta-boys from every runner who passes you)
• The GO JAKE GO T-shirt I wore for many subsequent Chicago Marathons
• The GO JAKE GO T-shirt I wore for the New York Marathon
• (New Yorkers always wear black)
• (Because they’re all artists and tortured intellectuals who snap when they hear poetry)
• My Pigman Triathlon T-shirt
• (The pig head used to glow in the dark)
• My Forever Plaid T-shirt
• (That’s me on the bottom)
• (Notice it doesn’t say GO JAKE GO)
• (Because the character I played was named Smudge)
• (But that’s the only reason)

Hello, corner of unambiguous gay stereotypes!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Vocabulary quiz

My cute little hexagonal-column knickknack pedestals arrived today and I organized them in artful clusters on my knickknack shelf and then carefully displayed my carefully curated running and theater and Disney knickknacks on them and how many times can I say knickknacks in one sentence?


My cute little hexagonal-column objets d’art pedestals arrived today and I organized them in artful clusters on my objets d’art shelf and then carefully displayed my carefully curated running and theater and Disney objets d’art on them and how many times can I say objets d’art in one sentence?

Crap we’ve found in old boxes:

A little hand loom for making hot pads and stuff with a photo of two sailors exchanging hand-loomed purses under the BIG LIE WORD “straits”

It’s official!

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.


Monday, September 23, 2019

Good night!

Monday errands

1. When I make a friendly, chatty Jake JokeTM to you, Mr. Menards Return Desk Guy, in the course of our business transaction, it is customary that you actually NOT look at me as though I had just punched my arm down your throat, grabbed your vestigial tail and yanked you inside out. The Bare Minimum Of Customer Service Handbook CLEARLY AND UNAMBIGUOUSLY STATES that you owe me a wan smile of acknowledgement.

2. Dear extremely handsome guy behind the Menards paint counter: In your obstinate refusal to make eye contact with ANY customers, you missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have me ask you to show me your caulk.

3. I got a haircut that is both au courant and Hello, Dolly! period-appropriate.
4. If you’re missing your pastel ear plugs, they’re by the cart return in the west-side Menards parking lot.

Happy first day!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Another show finished. Another audience delighted. Another standing ovation savored.

I had a voice lesson scheduled for right after today’s matinee, which somehow seemed like a brilliant idea a month ago when I scheduled everything. But my voice teacher and I just very wisely realized it was, in fact, a terrible idea. So I went right home, coincidentally as the 91.7 fm classical station played the “Goin’ Home” themes from AntonĂ­n Dvořák’s New World Symphony. Which was coincidentally written in Iowa. And which was also coincidentally written in 1893, which is roughly the time in which Hello, Dolly! takes place. Which is all pretty cool.

Thank you, five! Even though we’re all TENS.

Mind the gap

When the contractor you hired to rebuild your bathroom from the studs out after a completely disgusting sewer backup all but destroyed your basement five years ago got his certification out of a gumball machine and the baseboards soon warp away from the walls like a trump from reality and now you have to tape the walls and hope your leftover white painters’ caulk matches the baseboard paint and that you have enough to fill the gaping chasms but the cement-griege wall color you picked still awesomely makes the bathroom look like a European Zen spa so at least there’s that.

Goodnight, Jakey

When you turn down two invitations to post-performance get-togethers because you’re exhausted and in dire need to sleep but you grab an ice-cold sparkling water when you get home and turn on your Roku YouTube channel just to unwind for a few minutes and then you get sucked into a vortex of Vox education videos and Dancing Through My Broadway RĂ©sumĂ© profiles and now it’s freaking 4:00 am and WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH MY SENSE OF GOOD JUDGEMENT but through it all your show hair has stayed faithfully on point.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Here are the final gasping "Waiters' Gallop" jumps from our truly stunning production of Hello, Dolly!

I'm the fourth from the left, but the first to suffer a major cardiac event before curtain call because I'm more than twice as old as all the other waiters. (Delusional, party of one!)

I'm really proud to be a part of this gorgeous show. We open tonight--and my time jumping up and down on this earth is clearly limited, so get your tickets at before it's too late.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

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!"

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

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.