Do This. Because I Said So.

March 5, 2009

Ah friends. These absences aren’t good for us. It’s not you, it’s me. And Vampire Wars. And car wrecks and illnesses and audits (oh my). Life keeps happening before I get a chance to check in…there’s so much I have to tell you…but today I’m here with a purpose (because I’d actually planned on being here two Fridays ago with a purpose but friends, I can’t drink like I used to. Well…I can, but the aftermath…and then the car wreck and the illness…but I digress). If you live in my region and you are looking for something to do this weekend, go see “Bug” at the Oakland.
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“Why should I?” You might be asking. (Damn! You’ve gotten lippy haven’t you?…) Well friends, not only does “Bug” have blood and guts and craziness and violence? but there’s nudity! LIVE NUDITY! Plus, it’s really really good.
I don’t want to give too much away so I’m cutting and pasting the press release: “Set in a seedy hotel room, this thriller centers on the blossoming relationship between Agnes, a divorced waitress, and Peter, a soft spoken Gulf War drifter. Agnes stays at a hotel in hopes of avoiding her physically abusive ex-husband, Jerry, who was just released from prison. On top of that, there’s a hidden bug infestation problem that has both Agnes and Peter dealing with scathing welts and festering sores. Their fears soon escalate to paranoia, conspiracy theories, and twisted psychological motives.”

Now friends, there was a movie with Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr. but don’t hold that movie against the play because this play is brilliant. Allow me to elaborate. First, When you hear the name Agnes, it doesn’t generally bring a vision of porn star hot to your mind right? Well this Agnes is different. She is way hot and yeah you get to see her nudie parts but all hot nudiness aside? Aggie is the kind of character you can’t forget. The part is played by hot (sometimes naked) Terri Labedz and she is FREAKING STELLAR. She takes Ashley Judd’s cookie cutter performance and makes it so much more complex and fascinating. The whole time she is on stage, she makes this play her bitch.

Now the entire first scene is Terri by herself, so I was a bit dubious about Ron Aulet’s Peter being able to hold his own with her, but friends, he did. He first comes across as a timid puppy but as he and Aggie grow closer, he begins to communicate his studied but growing paranoia in a way that expresses a surprising inner fierceness. And let’s not forget Jerry (played by Oakland favorite Ric Panning), who captures every nuance of the abusive ex. He is deliciously creepy and sociopathic while almost unknowingly revealing an intensity of feeling towards Aggie that makes the audience understand why her non-verbals reflect her ambivalence even as she expresses such firm hatred towards him.

Did I mention my friend Dennick directed the play? I remember during one of our first conversations Dennick described good drama as building the audience tension slowly, while breaking it up with bits of comedy or even normalcy. He talked about how this process will make that big dramatic punch so much more powerful. And that’s what he did with this play friends. He toys with you until the very end. And it’s brilliant.

If you go? Make sure you ooh and ahhh over the set as a great deal of work went into achieving that special brand of cheapness we all come to expect in our low rent motel rooms. Also, keep your eyes open for my all-time favorite disturbing character actor. (who also happens to be my brother!) Jim Canacci offers an admirably unsettling portrayal of Peter’s doctor thus adding to the play’s ongoing mind-game with the audience. Finally, don’t be surprised if you have a bad case of the heebie jeebies soon after intermission. I pretty much found myself scratching for the entire second half of the play.

More press release details:

The show runs tonight (Thursday the 5th) tomorrow and Saturday at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 55 years and over, and $10 for students with valid ID. Group rates are also available for parties of 10 or more.

For reservations, please contact 330-746-0404. For additional information, cast photos, blogs and more, visit oaklandcenter.com. Also check myspace.com/oaklandcenter for special discounts.

Ok friends, I slept for exactly one hour last night so I’m going to try to sneak a nap in before alarms go off. I promise I will be more faithful. I’ve wanted to tell you about my disturbing dreams lately. Watching forensics shows and falling asleep to C-SPAN is starting to take its toll on my psyche (not to mention how alarming it is to wake up to a screaming Parliament. Who knew that Parliament was England’s answer to WWF?)

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Keepin’ It Real Here At The Crseum

January 7, 2009

So I had the realization yesterday that my attempt to get away from random dashes has slowed my blogging way down. And after that, I had the realization that it’s my damn blog! What’s wrong with random dashes anyway? You people don’t need paragraphs to keep you happy right? I didn’t think so. All right then. Let’s just put this whole experiment behind us and move on. No blame no shame.

– I’m happy to report that we may have successfully retrained the Turnip to sleep through the night. I’m not offering details of our methods publicly but I will say that they are…..legal. Right now, I’m trying to keep him awake until at least 8pm. I feel kind of bad but also kind of tempted to engage in some brainwashing. Nothing evil of course, just a few repetitions of “I like to listen to my Mommy” or “I like to do what Mommy tells me to do.” Maybe flash some pictures of him getting buckled in his car seat smiling as opposed to throwing punches and requiring significant physical restraint. Of course, much like the Sasquatch or the Yedi, there have been few sitings of this particular phenomenon and none captured on film.

– I saw the short overweight obnoxious guy with the large man-boobs from last summer’s soccer clinic tonight at Norm’s dance class. Gentle readers will be happy to hear that I controlled my impulse to kick him in his soft fleshy parts. I would like to pretend I did so because I am a mature adult. In truth, I simply couldn’t bear the idea of an impotent tennis shoe kick when I was so close to so many kids in tap shoes. Had I been wearing tap shoes myself? Id have contused his ass. (Or some part of him anyway).

– I went to the doctor today. The good news is that I lost two pounds since April (I know it’s not much but considering my personal habits, it’s cause to marvel) The bad news is that I may be shrinking. I don’t know how such a thing could happen to a cheese-lover like myself but friends, I am alarmed. Still, Im probably ok with the possibility that the two pounds came off my height.

Ok I have to go “play guys” with the turnip. Long Live the Random Dash!


Recovery

December 8, 2008

So we had the official ugly season kickoff on friday. Because readers have been mentioning how confusing my cast of characters can get and because Im fairly certain folks want to remain anonymous, I won’t name my co-conspirators in ugliness. I will say that furniture was broken, puking happened and confessions were abound. (Note to self: In the future, I will remember that “never have I ever” is simply a drinking game and not a legal proceeding with penalties of perjury on the line if I don’t admit every major felony or sexual peccadillo to the group). Still our hosts lived up to their reputation of throwing the best parties in the tri-state area. It was truly like a “hall of fame game” kick off to the season.

Why do you call it the “ugly season” crse? Friends sometimes ask. Well, that’s a lie. Most of my friends have been victimized by my ugly season enough not to have to ask. Unfortunately. While I am proud to say that I myself did not break furniture (I don’t think) or puke (although I wish I had), it did indeed get ugly. And remained ugly. To the point that Ive eaten little more than handfuls of nuts and candy all weekend long because I barely got out of bed until this morning. (In my defense, I spent most of saturday with my throat almost swollen shut and was convinced I had strep until it got better on its own) And now have a sore back. Which means i am struggling to wipe my ass when I poop. Which is of course…ugly. The bright side of this is that I didn’t poop all weekend long because of above mentioned diet. (Speaking of poop, did I mention my friend has a new blog? It’s called poodiaries and makes me laugh hysterically. You have to scroll down to see the newer stuff. She is struggling with the weebles site.) And since we are being positive, the bright side of the poop wipe struggle is that I got my first shower all weekend too. Ugly? I call this win-win friends!

Anyway, the season will continue this weekend although I hope to blog before then. (Im trying to be a better blogizen friends). But I do have an announcement. If you are in my town and were extremely crushed by the fact that you won’t get to see How The Drag Queen Stole Christmas, they’ve added an extra show!
In fact,to quote Dennick directly, you may want to attend “even if you’ve already seen this year’s show. You NEVER KNOW what’s going to come out of these queens mouths after midnight…or what will go in.” Of course, you need to make reservations so go here for more information.


Live Blog From The Christmas Drag Show Preview

December 5, 2008

Because is there anything that signifies a Crse return to the blogosphere like a live-blog of “How The Drag Queen Stole Christmas” which premieres right here in my home town? I think not friends. I think not. It’s mostly sold out but if you feel real real lucky? Call the reservation line and see if they can set you up.

I admit, I probably entered tonight with a bit of bias. My good friend Dennick wrote and directed the show and because I think he is funny and talented, I knew the show would be top-notch. (This despite hearing of the travails of a tortured director for a few weeks. In true theatrical fashion, Dennick would end his tales with his usual humor “It will be fine, though. It will be like the magic of theater and the magic of Christmas get together and have a baby!”)

Well friends, this is only my second foray into the preview night live-blogging, but lemme just tell ya, the two experiences couldn’t be more different. NOTLD (the halloween show) was a tense silent affair that Dennick warned me direly to be punctual for. When I arrived for that show, the lobby was mostly empty and the atmosphere was quietly eerie.

I arrived tonight to lots of cheerful people running around in lingerie. Lucy is in the midst of it all, making baskets for the event’s chinese auction. Laughter echoes through the old theater and even though the show hasn’t begun yet, the comic timing of this group is already evident….

“Yeah I didn’t even lie to the clerk. I told her they were for me” Says Murad, Brooke’s boyfriend, who is a bearded young man with a football playerish build. Upon seeing Brooke, his face lit up and he showed off his prize “Look honey! I got buy three get one free! Now I have fresh panty-hose for every show!”

“Don’t blog about my underpants outfit, Im very insecure!” Says Buff during the soundcheck (She actually looks like a slutty little red riding hood without the hood. Its very hot and Christmasy all at once)
“Get your own bitch” Says Maxine Factor (oh yes she is back friends. And strutting around all hot in her lingerie.) (My new friend Danielle just observed that she is either talking about lipstick, wigs, or pantyhose) “You are a damn racist” we hear Maxine yell from the dressing room a few seconds later.
“It’s ok Rochelle, don’t hate……” she breaks into a chant “Don’t hate….reciprocate” Says Brooke/Sarah Palin.
“Oh my God, I think Sarah Palin just went ghetto” says Danielle’s husband Adam.

I had assumed the preview (although not formally announced) would begin at 8. It is now 947pm and the pre-show music is on. Dennick just came out to welcome us and said he would see us after the show. “Unless you just run out in the middle because it’s too awkward to face me afterward” he joked.
We laughed. A pause. Adam mutters to Danielle “Oh great now we have to stay for the whole thing or he’s gonna think we hate it”. I should mention that Adam and Danielle are my preview buddies as Ive coincidentally managed to sit near them at two other performances and we’ve now bonded. They are like a young attractive version of Statler and Waldorf from the muppets.

The show begins with a hilariously nasty monologue from Sarah Palin. Like most Christmas shows, the opening number is a chorus line of scantily clad women and drag queens singing “lady marmalade”. Starlett O’Hara then takes over the stage with a torch song solo.
“My husband may never want to have sex again” Danielle leans forward and whispers.

Maxine has better legs than I do. It’s kind of intimidating. Lucy credits her support hose. I really don’t care if she is lying. The story unfolds. It’s a sad story. Starlett is a lost soul. With a missing conjoined twin.
You know how when your friends do something and you really want it to be good but you are terrified it won’t be? Well happily this is not one of those times. This is fricking hilarious. It’s a musical drag queen christmas carol…. Friends, the cameos. The one-liners. The continuous scatalogical/gallows/purely nasty humor….(think way bluer than Lenny Bruce).

I want to tell you everything but at the same time, I don’t want to ruin the show for anyone (as it’s just much funnier in person). What I will say is this. This show is what people mean when they talk about the magic of live theater. The cast has a chemistry that is palpable and inviting. The writing is brilliant and the comic timing is genius. But it was more than that. Without revealing details, there are two ensemble musical numbers near the end of the show. In both cases, I became teary as I looked at the faces of these characters and stopped seeing the actors. (Ok this is totally corny I know) Every single one of them seemed to be glowing. It truly was like Dennick’s magical baby. It pretty much defies description altogether, in fact, but it’s what we look for in all of our plays and shows and movies. It’s our chance to touch magic, even if it’s only for a little while.

Friends, I promise Im going to be better about blogging. I really did feel inspired by tonight so Im hoping it means the start of a new creative phase. To keep you coming back, I promise you pictures of Maxine Factor in lingerie when I go see the final performance of the show on the 13th. Until then, remember…the ugly season has officially begun.


The Crsees

November 14, 2008

Wow, where did the week go? I posted one lousy time this week. On a positive note, Ive got a whole new set of crsees to award this week. And look at this fabulous red carpet. Plunging necklines. Bad haircuts. “Hey George Segal is that your mother? ohhhh sorry….how long have you been married?” (my all time FAVORITE JOAN RIVERS MOMENT). On to the crsees.

The most awkward conversational moment of the week: MEEEEE!!! (is anyone surprised?) Me: How is your grandma doing? Client: Um she died yesterday.

Worst restaurant experience: Lazy eyed limping server with attitude who refused to make contact with either eye. Dude, Im good at the lazy eye-eye contact problem. You weren’t even trying. Plus my french fries were not only cold? They were old and cold. The potatoes had reformed into clumps and if I touch them and they are cold to the touch? That means they are below room temperature and I don’t even want to contemplate how they got below room temperature.

Biggest happy surprise: Phone call from same principal (dare I say we have a back to back winner?) who caused such anxiety last week telling me how pleased she was that everything had worked out.

Most disturbing realization about placement of my “bitching” services (“bitching” in the “I am her bitch” sense as opposed to “the act of bitching”: (another back to back winner!) Shakes! Apparently we are upping the ante to phone messages about gun safety situations. Your world scares me Shakes. Please hold me.

Best statement about this incident: Madame Fabu- “Come on in and sit down! Now tell me all about [jimmy] and guns!”

Best anniversary card: From Moe: Moe’s shared my marital adventure since day one. It’s been a much better trip with you on board baby.
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Finally—LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD- If I had the where withall Id present you with a montage of the past 14 years. Maybe we will plan that for next year. (Drum roll please) GILL-SMOKE!!!! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY HONEY!!!! Id do it all over again.


The Morning After

November 5, 2008

So Im starting to think I might lean towards the pessimistic. I mean last night was amazing. For the first time in a long time, it really felt like we finally had something to be proud of as a nation. I mean this is history people. History! It’s so exciting to be part of that history.

Still, I woke up this morning to pumpkin seeds scattered all over my floor Norm standing over me telling me the dog had somehow managed to get on top the stove and drag last night’s chicken down and it was all over the floor. And that’s when I saw the pumpkin seeds. We are officially tardy for the first time this year. My data for a report makes absolutely no sense and I have no idea how to explain this “anomaly” to the psychologist. At all. Ive gotten fret calls from moms. I have two solid days of facing yuckiness. No three. I forgot Im meeting a new person on friday. Here is all that I want to know friends. Where’s my Change? All I can say is gasoline better be free out there. And “Yes you can” clean my house please.

How’s that for reframing in the positive? Ok well how about this? In an unprecedented landslide, Maxine Factor swept the Crseum. With a 64% to 36% lead. (Im sorry Sy, your vote didn’t make a whole percentage point. Maybe next time.) She is more than thrilled and Im sure she will have some fantastic words of acceptance today. (Although she did text me yesterday to tell me she was completely upset not to see her name on the tv. She doesn’t blame you of course). Stay tuned for more Maxine Factor in the future.


Election Day Recap

November 4, 2008

During a discussion with my blogging soul sistah Lucy yesterday, we both confessed that, despite pressure from earnest democratic friends, we were waiting til election day “proper” to cast our vote. We both agreed that half the point of election day is to collect as much free stuff as possible before you vote. I won’t speak for her on this next part, but I also base any last minute voting decisions on who gives me the nicest stuff in the parking lot. Well…let me amend that. I also pay attention to who is nice to my children and who seems a little crappy in general.

So lemme just tell ya friends. Votes were won and lost in that parking lot this morning. I’ll just sum the whole voting experience up in dash form for your reading ease:

– The weather was fantastic here in Crseumtown this morning and I pulled right in to several little clusters of people waiting to give me free stuff. (Now the key friends is to make eye contact when you are walking in.) (Sound intimidating? It’s easier than you think. Just visualize yourself dealing with carnies when you are at the fair and do the exact opposite of what you’d do there). I wiped down my boys and prettied them up for the big strut through.

– Within seconds, we were swarmed by kind folks bearing pencils, mints, PENS (you almost never get pens friends, I was pretty stoked on that one) and note pads. We were all quite delighted and walked towards the door.

– At that point, a man-a VERY stupid man-a man who apparently did not want my vote today-stared at me blankly when I said “good morning”. He clutched his little bag of candy selfishly and PROUDLY BEARING THE CANDIDATE’S NAME, did not offer us any. Ummm guess what buddy? I had no pony in the race your guy was in? And now I do. Congratulations, my friend. Your candy greed made me decide to vote for freaking SATAN if he was running against you. And Im calling all my friends and telling them to vote against you too. Dick.

– So bitterly, we went inside where I was quickly reminded of my self-promise to volunteer at my local polling place so my neighbors would have at least one sane and pleasant person to deal with when they went to vote. Needless to say, anyone else in my precinct who made that self-vow didn’t follow through with it either. Not only was there no bake sale (idiots) but the nasty cross eyed shrew seemed to be waiting for someone to be one number off in terms of their precinct assignment. Lady seriously. The numbers are like 52, 70 and 71. I guessed 51. Did you really need to engage in a shaming speech? It gave me great pleasure to cut you off.

– And so I walked right up friends. Walked. Right. Up. Four pollsters were waiting and initially seemed eager to have company. They tripped over themselves sharing about how busy it was in the morning. Now friends, does it not seem to be the next logical question then to continue to the dialog to ask what number voter am i? Friends, you would have thought I asked them to rig the polls for me personally. Apparently, this required my team of four to add two numbers together. Two double digit numbers together. The sum of which was 128. Yeah. Lazy. Stupid. Bastards.

– Anyway, we voted without incident and yadayada the president whatever. My most important vote was of course, against greedy candy hoarder candidate. I proudly walked my children back to the car, smiled at the kind gift givers and smirked at the candy creep.

In conclusion friends, I think I modeled true democracy in action for my children today. I made sure they knew that election day gives us a good chance to reflect on what it means to be an American. I am so grateful that throughout our country’s history, people have given up so much just so on this particular day, I can teach a greedy candy guy a valuable lesson. I love this country.

PS: I updated my splinter blog (see link on sidebar) if anyone is interested.

Oh and don’t forget to watch the video in the post below and also vote as often as you can today!