I'd rather have had Dengue Fever
I'm at work, doing, per usual, fuck all. Joe calls. Ms. Hedwig requires our services in a production meeting. I inform him of my limited availability that evening. I'm going to see Saturday Night Fever.
An awkward pause. Joe: 'WHY?!'
Because, quite simply, it was free. And we all know that I am constitutionally incapable of turning down the free.
Joe snickers at me in barely veiled contempt. I suddenly realize I have said, out loud, in work, that I was going to see Saturday Night Fever. I terminate the conversation. Later that evening, as I reluctantly abandon the pleasurable company of the Making Strange posse to head to the show, Cian says, 'Enjoy!' I say, with a smile, 'I'm sure I won't.'
Little did I know.
It begins. Tony shows up and strikes his I'm-a-little-erect-teapot pose. The crowd goes wild. I had forgotten that a Gaiety audience treats everything in that theater as a panto. This does not bode well.
The cast assembles onstage. I count a Bebe Neuwirth lookalike with less net charisma than the original has in her fabulous little finger; an assortment of indistinguishable blondes desperately broadcasting their sexpotness; a deranged, unwashed simulacrum of Lionel Richie on crystal meth; and a chorus of vigorous, athletic males who have been directed to demonstrate their manliness by frantically thrusting their pelvii at phantom horny babes. They all maw and yap a panoply of bad Noo Yawk accents ranging in timbre from marble-mouthed Bwooklyn to vaguely Swedish.
The set is of the stuff-on-platforms-with-wheels variety, with the barest minimum of props attached to give the illusion of many locations, rapidly visited. I'm sure some designer somewhere thought it was minimalist and striking and boldly theatrical, but instead the effect is anemic and cheap. Ditto for the sad painted cyc that I believe is intended to indicate a bustling Brooklyn street but looks somewhere between the Old West and Blaine, Missouri.
During one set change, some techie bangs the setpiece of Tony's bedroom into the steel scaffolding while dragging it offstage. There is a tense moment while they swivel it back and forth to renegotiate the exit. The actors stranded on the platform pretend it's not happening. It is the most amusing moment of the show.
The dance numbers are wild and flashy with women being flung about and offering crotch-flashing splits in mid-air. More pelvic thrusting from the men. I don't remember the movie being so obscenely soft-porny, but, then I also don't remember tender moments and major life events being crammed into three lines of wooden, stilted dialogue to huge comedic result. The effect is somewhat like The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), only without, you know, talent. The humor is unintentional.
Neither humorous, talented, nor even comprehensible was one particular character, and there's really no easy way to say this so I'll just have to come right out with it: the token black female. Yes, in a show about New York City, they had one, count 'em, one African-American couple, and one, ONE, Latino couple. Naturally for a show incapable of depth and subtlety, each minority couple were relegated to dance in what the choreographer must have thought was the style of their ethnic origin: the Latino couple in a strangely desexed, generic variant of salsa, its inherent smoldering swiveling robbed of its power by the trashy bumps and grinds of the Pelvic Patrol, and the African-American couple in... I don't know what to call it, but it made me cringe. I suspect that there is no way to adequately describe its vile offensiveness without getting really offensive myself. The guy of the pair was actually a really charming dancer with lots of impressive high kicks and smooth grooves, despite being saddled with a four-foot Afro wig and stuck in the background the whole time. The woman, on the other hand, seemed to try to compensate for her lack of dancing skills with sheer wanton energy and 'LOOK AT ME!' faces, no matter what else was going on around her; her 'character' seemed uncomfortably, inappropriately obsessed with the Lionel Richie greaseball and spent most of the time waving and giggling at him in the manner of a young girl in her first dance recital spotting her parents in the audience. With a shapeless shock of fried hair and smears of white eyeshadow that seemed to extend even higher than the brow line, let's just say that the overall effect was seriously pre-Civil War. At the interval, my neighbor will ask me, 'Why did they have to make the black couple only dance with each other?' My response will be, 'Why did they make her act like something out of Amos and Andy?' I genuinely cannot understand why anyone, even the least competent or sensitive director, would direct anyone to behave in this manner. What year is this?!
I guess at some point, even professional face-pullers have to take a break from their frenzied attempts to destroy theatre, so a listless watercolor of a bridge on a wrinkled backdrop is dragged across the back for what they doggedly indicated was a wildly romantic scene. As if the fact that a West End show is using set pieces not even worthy of Waiting for Guffman was not insulting enough to one's intelligence, the sad painting does not even represent any actual New York bridge (let alone the Brooklyn Bridge that Tony is constantly romanticizing); rather, it's some generic Golden-Gate-cum-Metropolis yawning grey arc. Guilty of such bombastic, reckless stereotyping and crimes against basic human decency as they were, I am actually surprised that they did not include some background scrawl of the Twin Towers to complete their fetishization of not only Dusty, Brownish '70s Nostalgic New York and by extension that old gray mare, The American Dream (may it rest in peace), but also of relentless, pathological phallic thrusting.
Ballads ensue. These poor performers (on whose faces is an expression of 'My agent told me I'd be famous') are forced to stand alone, root themselves somewhere onstage and sing plaintively into the middle distance. Then they make to run offstage, seemingly to pursue the object of desire or perhaps throw themselves from a precipice, but at the last minute they CHANGE THEIR MIND! And face some other random point and wail, stock-still, some more. And then they go to run offstage but HA! FOOLED YOU AGAIN! This grows tiresome.
The interval. I fire a desperate salvo, via text messages, to my loved ones that say, simply, 'OH MY GOD'. Nobody responds. I am cold and alone in a cruel world.
The second half starts with the five main boys clambering about on the 'Brooklyn' 'Bridge'. I wish they'd all fall over the edge.
The Lionel Richie wannabe increasingly acts like a ferret in spandex. The audience loves him and his vulgar readjustings of his ostensibly male area. One particularly protracted wiggle and tug brings down the house. I turned to my neighbor. 'I am not applauding a wedgie.'
More ballads, more crotchular obsession, more hoots and hollers from the audience, the Ambiguously Swedish Moaner bleats that 'noooo wuurrrrn keeeeerz' one last time and flings himself from the bridge. I manage to restrain myself from applauding. Amos and Andrea reappear and inspire visions in my head of anonymously sending a copy of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings backstage.
Then it ends. I flee.
To its credit, the dancing was
entertaining, when it wasn't insipid, insulting, or repetitive. However, in a show with no real heart or soul, the only effect of such spectacle is to intimidate the audience into feeling inadequate somehow; it neither inspires nor uplifts the spirit. I left feeling frightened of and sad for this cheap version of male sexuality, and vaguely dissatisfied with my own inability to be an adorable, energetic, 'woo!'ed-at dancer: in short, all I left feeling was the capitalist directive fulfilled. To say this was two hours of my life I'll never get back is the most charitable statement I can offer.
Suppose I accidentally got my shit together.
Would I get a medal? Or a pat on the back and a little feather?
You'll have to fill in the rest because I can't remember it and that's what Google is for and by making you do it my site is therefore interactive. Yeah, that's it.
So apparently I have people who check this blog a lot. And to them, all I can say is BWAH HA HA HA
Ahem, rather: I'm terribly sorry for disappointing you so.
What's my excuse? What's ever
my excuse? That I was busy? So are breeding Brooklyn moms
and they find time to write witty, poignant salvos on the modern condition. That I was traveling? That was true, but only for about two weeks out of the last four months.
No, the excuse is something else entirely. It's not a new phenomenon, but one that I've never quite copped to publicly before. We'll get to that at the end of the all-purpose catch-up list of the goings-on in La Vie en Dublin. Since last we blogged...
1. Mr. Man and I had an excellent visit to New York City where we met up with a glossy posse of fabulous sassy women with big hair and money to burn (aka my mom, aunt, cousin, mom's best friend and her daughter, one of my oldest friends). We were fed steak dinners and barbecue and taken to Broadway shows. And life was good.
Other highlights of the New York visit were seeing Avenue Q
again; going to jazz at a new club overlooking Central Park whose name I dare not write for its corporateness; loading up on new running toys to make the marathon training more pleasant; long runs through Central Park; visiting with Mr. Man's family; meeting the original Yitzhak; general huggy love-ins with old friends; and, of course, Sunday brunch at 7A.
Lowlights include the sad location
in which we visited Mr. Man's parents the first time, but that's another story.
I departed New York on a Sunday evening and arrived Monday morning and went straight into rehearsals that same morning for...
2. The Fringe
. The epic, exhausting Fringe. Doing two shows for the Fringe and preparing for my play workshop and training for the marathon sounded like a good idea once upon a time...nah, I can't even buy my own bullshit on that one. I knew it'd be a tough time, but, not-so-secretly, I love being that busy. Or, to be more specific, I love being employed and doing work I'm into and being active. (I could not be less of any of these things at the moment, but that comes later.) Play the first: Woyzeck
, one of the Rough Magic Seeds II shows, which got some mixed reviews but a stellar 5-star one from the Irish Times, and was nominated for the Spirit of the Fringe Award. Play the second: what else but La Hedwig
, which received 5 stars
from Irish Theatre Magazine online and won the Best Spiegeltent Show award! Technically, I think the award is called the "Most Entertaining Spiegeltent Show" but, whatever, they called us up onstage, I gave a breathless thank-you speech and we boogied on into the night and got some money for it.
I got one day's rest before getting up at the crack o' dawn to get my director from the airport and begin...
3. The workshop for my play, which in the past month I've come to call "What Not To Write." It was like a playwriting Trinny and Susannah came and removed the three really nice outfits I had and then took the rest out back and obliterated them with a flamethrower. As I don't know how to write a play, the first draft with which we were working resembled a teenage girl's journal vomiting. The workshop experience itself, while tremedously humbling, often to the point of despair, was actually really great and was absolutely necessary for me to move forward.
Two days after the end of this adventure I embarked on the most serious run of my...
4. Marathon training. The most serious run of which I speak was 22 miles. It was basically torturous. I'd taken about 11 days between my last long run (18.5 miles, which I did during the run of Woyzeck and was fine) and I only got through the last eight miles by telling myself that this was the hardest part of the whole training; that it all got easier after this; and that the marathon itself would be totally easy. In fact, one online running buddy of mine said it would be "the icing on the cake."
To paraphrase the brilliant and sparkling Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
, this is the shot of the cook in The Hunt for Red October.
To continue my stolen-from-Ted Casablancas-segue theme, in between my last few long runs and all-around race prep (which included eating WHATEVER THE HELL I WANTED TO which was GREAT!) I started spending my days chained to the computer because I was...
5. Making money online. If you listen to Air America Radio
, as I obsessively do as I'm puttering around the shoebox masquerading as a livable space for two rambunctious children-at-heart, you'll have heard the mysterious ads about working from home and "buying and selling" online and never having to work in an office again. Mr. Man and I like to insert "FOR PORN!" (a la Trekkie Monster
) after every ambiguous proclamation of whatever mystery goods you are signing up to sell (FOR PORN!). My particular shady online dealings involve making money with online gambling. It's going pretty well, though not as well as it should be because the feckers have figured out who I am and are sort of banning me from their sister casinos. This limits my options; thus I have had to begin...
6. Paying the damn bills with temp work. For a while I did this with extra work, but it's too sporadic and mind-numbing, and, frankly, demoralizing for this particular NYU-trained actor: for this
I took out enough loans to keep me in debt until I'm 37? Temping, while not as overtly spirit-crushing, is quietly gnawing at my soul. However, keeping my spirits buoyant, to a point, are my memories of...
5. The marathon
! The marathon! It was SO MUCH FUN. And deserves a proper writeup with photos which I cannot provide here but am aiming to finish up later today.
6. And now, two weeks after that, here I am.
My mystery reason for being so under the radar lately is a simple one, but one that I have not been able to be fully honest about, particularly to myself.
Basically...I'm depressed. I'm chronically low-grade bummed out. I'm not exactly sure why, though I can point to certain things in my life here in Dublin that really aren't helping, and it doesn't feel like the crushing, medication-needing depression I've gone through before. But I feel myself shying away from the outside world, even my friends, and this is a slippery slope, one I've slid down time and time again and had to climb back up through pure contrary behavior. When one is depressed, what one interprets as one's "instincts" are not necessarily acting in one's best interests. Don't want to go meet your friends? Tough. That's the depression talking. Go wash your hair.
I have days where it is the height of accomplishment to get dressed and go to the grocery store, and the fact that this is such a mundane part of life for so many people but something about which it requires the better part of a morning for me to even organize my thoughts continues the downward spiral. I'm not writing, and what's worse is that I don't really care that I'm not writing. I don't understand where the days are going, and I find the way my life is structured right now to be untenable.
I know it doesn't help that I've spent my young life thus far dreaming of huge, magical things and great work to be done and that these days when none of my thoughts will stay still long enough for me to align them in order of importance are directly undermining what I want to do with my life. Even the act of basic life maintenance is rubbing me the wrong way: I resent my temp job because I feel like it's getting in the way of my acting stuff here, except there really isn't anything going on right now for it to get in the way of, and I should really be grateful for things that make me shower and put on cute clothes and be active in the world but yet, I am feeling distinctly ungrateful.
I've been laying low about this also because I know it is a desperately unhip thing to be depressed but, let's face it. I am not a hip person. I am not even consciously unhip. I'm just sort of...here. Depression might be interesting when spun ironically, but I don't even have the mental energy to be ironic. As the wonderful Buddhist nun Pema Chodron
says, "Your neurosis is your wisdom" which I interpret as meaning that all you can do is be honest about who you are and what you do. And while I cringe at the thought of this becoming a chronicle about depression, at this point I'd jump for joy at it becoming something about something.
If you want fabulous tales of Dublin, I suggest you go here
a whole lotta nothin'
I've done sort of fuck all for the past week, except cobble together a first draft of my play, which I thought I'd be more overtly joyful about but really all it's done is highlight exactly how much I have to do to make it an actual theatrical text.
Still, I did give myself a little post-mailing-of-the-draft-to-the-director treat by...
going to Blazing Salads and eating yummy tofu pizza.
I AM SUCH A DORK.
I'm also a broke dork, given the impending visit to New York, so I have to delight in little things. Like arguing with Joe on his blog
about the value of Big Brother. For the record: IT HAS NONE. ABSOLUTELY.
After the Fringe
launch party on Monday, I'd wanted to post something called "Things I shouted today" and then I never did because I'm a lazy git. Here were the three things I shouted that day that I found shout-worthy:
In response to a Charity Mugger whom I have passed twice already, RUNNING, trying to make it back and forth from my apartment to the copy shop before it closed so we could have fliers for the Fringe party, who asks me chirpily on the third zoom by, "HI! Can I talk to you for a minute!" I yelled, without breaking stride, "DOES IT LOOK LIKE I CAN TALK RIGHT NOW?!"
Later that night, in response to Joe leaving the Fringe party early because he was sick:
"It's God's punishment for mixing 18-year-old Jameson with Diet Coke!" (No, I am not over that yet, and I won't be until Joe gives me the abused bottle so I can provide it with the loving appreciation it deserves.)
And then, later at the party, to a bunch of misguided dancers trying to make sense of a terrible dance remix of "My Baby Just Cares for Me", this (aided by the free beer):
"YOU DO NOT CONGA TO NINA SIMONE! YOU DO NOT CONGA TO NINA SIMONE!"
They ignored me. Or couldn't hear me over the butchered Nina.
BREAKING NEWS: Ireland enters the 21st century; Mr. Unpronounceable O Cuiv cries salty tears in a pub in An Daingean
Ye ancient Celtic gods! The changes this place is going through! First the IRA finally realizes both violence and balaclavas are dumb and passe, and now...Is Ireland next to allow gay unions
I certainly friggin' hope so, because it's about time certain friends of mine here got to be here legally with their life partners.
looky thar, mama! I done made it onto teh internets!
Finally, the feckers at OverheardinDublin.com post one of my stories
's about time. And it's not even one of the funnier ones I sent in. Those two are as follows:
1) Erin, directrix extraordinaire of la Hedwig
, told me this one during rehearsal one day. Her first time in Ireland, she was somewhere in the country, staying with a family for a few days, and she wondered aloud one afternoon about whether or not tanning beds were popular or easy to find in Ireland. The mistress of the house, a gravel-voiced chain-smoking Proper Irish Mam, told Erin to wait right there; she came back with a tube of self-tan, slathered some on Erin's arm, and rasped, 'Wait a few hours, you'll be tan.' Erin said thanks. Mam, in reply:
*takes drag off cigarette* 'I just saved you from cancer.' *exhales smoke in her face*
Irish medicine at its finest.
2) Last month, on day two of the shoot for Vittoria's short film (on day one I got stripped naked, painted white, and ran around amidst fake smoke in a pigtailed fuzzy red wig in Vittoria's mother's dungeon [long story]), we were in a laneway just behind Christchurch, and attracting a lot of local characters since we were again painted white with crazy red wigs (though, thankfully, we were clothed). Most were just down and out, mouthy, blotchy, lumpy, off-their-heads types who all thought they possessed delightful, sparkling wit in commenting on how weird we looked, but then towards the end we attracted two little boys, probably about 8 years old, who immediately started trying to direct the film as though it were a porno. 'You start humping her! You take all your clothes off!' etc. The one non-Matthew Barney-esque character was a nun, in full nunly regalia, so we thought we could get the kids to quit being dirty by convincing them she was a real nun. They weren't exactly buying it. They were having far too much fun trying to get us to have sex with each other.
We ran into a problem with one shot--the nun had to run straight towards the camera and fill up the whole frame with her black costume so the director could use the shot to cut to something else, but her gleaming white crucifix kept getting in the way. One of the boys suggested that she use the bible she was carrying to cover the crucifix and it ended up working great. The boy then exclaimed, 'See?! Deh Boible CAN be useful!'
The nun cracked up laughing and that ruined any illusion that she was the genuine article. But we let the kids stay anyway.
I was touched by His Noodly Appendage
Yum yum. Today is delightfully sacrilicious!On trees, mountains, midgets, global warming and pirates.
(inspired by the pacifier)
and just when I get fans, too.
My valiant attempts to impose a deadline on myself for the first draft of my gestating play have kept me away from posting, because every time I have an actual writing project to focus on the mere thought of writing anything else fills me with paranoid dread, as though I needed to conserve my energy and time and any semblance of talent I might have for this Very Special Work. The flip side of this is that when working on one project is the only thing I think about, I lose my goddamn mind because I'm housebound all day with only the internets for company and seven hours rocket by and I don't write anything and I get bored and lonely and become convinced there's nothing good in this city, ever, under any circumstances, and I'll never be happy and I'll never finish writing and I'll never do anything ever.
Also, I'm broke again, which is just depressing de facto.
Oh to have stories of Magic Eye mishaps and peeing lesbians
to write about
! Oh to be fabulously witty like Mimi Smartypants
who makes anything seem interesting and quirky! Oh to FINISH MY FREAKING FIRST DRAFT ALREADY!
I'm better today. So much so that I would like to openly rant to Joe Roch, burgeoning blogger extraordinaire, for his egregious, blasphemous insult to those who appreciate fine whiskey everywhere:
Joe mentions on his blog (it's at the Magic Eye/lesbian link above) that he spent most of Saturday night pounding back some 18-year-old Jameson, which, for the uninitiated, is basically liquid gold. It smells like autumn and home and smoky nights and warmth. It's like drinking a fine wine: there are so many layers and flavors that it makes regular Jameson, which I will happily drink straight on any given day, taste like lighter fluid and pain.
Joe has just informed me that he drank most of the bottle of this sweet, magical nectar of the gods by mixing it with Diet Coke. DIET FUCKING COKE AND 18-YEAR-OLD JAMESON?! AND THEN! He informs me that he then got so drunk on it that he threw it all up!
I reappropriate Ferris Bueller: 'A man with priorities so far out of whack doesn't deserve such a fine whiskey.'
Joe, you're one of my closest friends, you're a badass rockstar genius for what you did with Hedwig, I love you to bits, but this is unacceptable. Whiskey Protective Services might need topay your apartment a visit and liberate what remains of this precious creature, as well as its 12-year-old sibling, and send them to a home full of whiskey-loving people who appreciate their talents and thus prevent them from being subjected to further abuse at the hands of a misguided malcontent.
Diet fucking Coke. Feh.
All these and more from the Greece adventure can be found on my photostream at Flickr! I think you can reach it by clicking this photo. Let's find out.
(An unsolicited review)
Sigh. Pan Pan. You come so close, and yet remain so very far.
Their new show, One--Healing With Theatre
, looked so very promising. 100 actors! 100 rooms! 100 audience members! Wacky concept with pristine red-lipped deranged nurses! A 14-hour film to accompany it! A boho concept-art extravaganza, right? I repeat: sigh.
Despite the fact that the list of the hundred actors revealed the presence of a few people involved that I would rather eat glass than see, let alone have a one-on-one personal theatrical experience with, I went in with high hopes. I am all for the eradication of the proscenium arch, and I loves me some site-specific theatre. And then, I entered the building and caught the very, very particular stench of unwonted self-importance.
First off, there was a 'bookshop.' This consisted of maybe 50-something copies of the same book laid out end-to-end on a waist-high shelf that wrapped around three walls of the room. This book was also entitled One--Healing With Theatre
and I immediately thought, Ooh, spiff. Symbiosis. More concept. Swell. And myself and Companion in Snark start idly flipping through to find...full-page, vaguely artistic portraity things of the actors involved, accompanied by text that, in the particular actor's own words, details their reasons for becoming an actor. This is all the book had. 100 of them. I found myself compelled to flip through the whole book and was only saved from further horrified apoplexy by the doors to the 'theatre' opening. 'WHO WOULD BUY THIS BOOK?!' I sort-of whispered to CiS. There were a few interesting stories in there, mostly of people going through extreme circumstances like being stabbed or losing an eye, but, really, everything was just a variation on 'I liked the attention/I needed escape/I don't know, I always just felt like it/Daddy drank.'
And then came the 'show' itself. Between half-watching the noisy documentary playing on the walls, which as far as I could tell was the selfsame actors sitting around talking about fuck all of interest, and being patronized by the spooky Stephen King nurses, I started to get really pissed off. At least, when the glassy-eyed freaks wandered over with the bowl of numbers, I drew someone whom I vaguely knew, yet didn't mind seeing. Had I gotten one of the Unnameables, I would have either begged CiS to switch with me, or simply left right then. But, no, I allowed myself to be frogmarched to cubicle 48, identical to the other 99, resembling an office cubicle in size but a therapist's office in setup. Immediately: damn. I was hoping each room would be different. Instead, I sit on a barely cushioned plywood plinth and listen to a guy--surprise!--talk about why he became an actor, and perform a short monologue from a Billy Roche play, and then he makes me do some 'light therapy' with a magenta lamp and some music for a few minutes, and then I get paraded out to meet the rest of the actors.
Upon encountering CiS in the holding tank (the actors actually got whisked off behind some mysterious curtain), we immediately fled to the bar, which we were told in the same patient, patronizing tones of the 'nursing' staff, would be open in a few minutes. At this point, CiS, who had a headache from his light and was seriously nonplussed by his control-freaky actress who wouldn't let him respond back (as he put it, 'I don't respond well to people who tell me to "RELAX!"'), said, 'Why don't we just go masturbate in the corner and charge people fifteen euro to watch it!' I was like, 'Why don't we just LEAVE.' Because I had had fucking well enough and I really did not want to see the people I didn't want to see. But no--then there's an epic curtain call with all 100 wankers, while, I'm not kidding, 'There's No Business Like Show Business' blared, and a film showing the pristine, placid 'nurses' leaping about the waiting room was projected onto one wall. (CiS and I FLED.)
Okay, ew. Because first of all,
NOTHING IS MORE BORING THAN ACTORS TALKING ABOUT WHY THEY BECAME ACTORS. NOTHING. You know how you answer the question of why you became an actor? YOU ACT. You perform. YOU DO YOUR FUCKING JOB.
Second of all, please, Dublin theatre, please quit glorifying actors for doing things other than their job. The Dublin Theatre Scene, such as it is in the, ahem, 'upper echelons' (of money thrown at it, not necessarily TALENT or ARTISTRY), is generally about hanging out in the pub far more than it is about craft, and it is a rare and beautiful thing to encounter an actor who is unafraid to take their personal development as an artist seriously. It's just a stupid fucking THING about Ireland, that there's this reluctance to actually try to better yourself, because you get slagged for it. Fucking sick of it. Knock it off already. Also equally rare and beautiful is to find someone who is unafraid to love, to BELIEVE in stories, who genuinely honors and, dare I say, worships the transformative, transcendent powers of theatre. This is why I actually liked my Actor Man, because he did, in fact, get that. Still, though, the whole enterprise wasn't about going for that, because if it was, it wouldn't have been all these people talking AT you and shining lights in your eyes and calling it 'healing.' It would have been participatory, revelatory, individualized and dynamic; perhaps it would have resembled some sort of actual therapy (which theatre is for many people, in its way, anyway). Being someone who is not only interested in making theatre but in healing in and of itself--both being a healer and working on the things I myself need healed--I would have appreciated damn near anything other than these insultingly half-formulated vacant concepts of healing. It is an abuse of the term, not to mention blatant misrepresentation and false advertising, to call what I experienced Thursday night healing. What I experienced was another state-funded opportunity for the very tiny community of actors in Dublin to congratulate themselves once again on their abject specialness, and then go to the pub.
All in all, it was some of the most pretentious garbage I have ever spent money and hours of my life upon, and I went to NYU, so I know pretentious.
And to finish: This
gets Arts Council funding? Fuckers. Just you wait.
how I spent my weekend, in chronological order
1. Valiantly maintained, begrudgingly and with twinging complains from various joints and muscles, the Dublin Marathon
2. Ate a delicious 1st anniversary brunch lovingly prepared by Man O' Mine. Lovingly prepared by Man O' Mine in his robe. Rowr. I made mimosas with Spanish cava acquired on our infamous absinthe-fueled romp through Barcelona in November to celebrate MO''s 30th birthday. Brunch is not proper brunch without boozy drinks of some kind.
3. Stood alarmed on a crowded Luas into town as an old man (seated) berated a small child (also seated) for not giving up his seat for 'aulder people who need it more than he does.' There was no one near us who was clearly in need of a seat. The child silently got up and climbed into his sister's lap. Yer man then said to me, 'There's a seat here for you.' !!! I mumbled some sort of flustered surprise and gingerly sat down, openly cringing. Too much effort had already been exerted for my (unwilling, offended) benefit, and, besides. I didn't want him giving out to me next! And I assumed the kid was his grandchild because of the rough way he was speaking to him (does that logic hold anywhere other than Dublin?) and maybe he was just teaching him some kind of public-etiquette lesson. But then, when we got to Stephen's Green, The Taskmaster said to the little lad, very formally, 'Thank you very much for giving up your seat.' I threw a high-pitched 'Yes, thank you!' over my shoulder and squirmed my way out of there. Was it because I was wearing heels? Did I appear woozy or fragile in any way? It was only one mimosa.
4. Had a good callback for a play I really wanted to be in but now I'm not sure because of other things I want to do and now I'm running around in circles in my head agh agh agh but still, it was a nice audition, even if it was punctuated loudly by sounds of the Pride Parade priding its proud way down Dame Street. (Earlier that morning, I'd heard a traffic report telling people what streets to avoid because of the 'Gay Parade.' It's not the GAY parade, it's the PRIDE parade. Every parade is a little bit gay.)
5. Invented a new drink with MO'!
Into a cocktail shaker put the following:
*A few glugs of concentrated elderflower syrup (suco di sambuco)
*The same number of glugs plus one of absinthe
*Four ice cubes
Shake. Then add enough cava or other bubbly wine to fill the shaker up two-thirds of the way. Gently stir. Strain into black martini glasses. Drink SLOWLY*.
*This was our first mistake of the evening**.
**Actually, my first mistake of the evening was allowing him to feed me absinthe again.
It looks like something out of Harry Potter, tastes like pure sin, and hits you like a lightning bolt from a forceful yet mischievous god. After much musing, we settled on a name.
6. Forsook the dinner plans of a tasteful, romantic assortment of tapas and sangria at the new Havana
on Georges Street and instead wandered into Mario's down the street for cheap carby sustenance because we were too drunk to deal with both going into town AND going to the play later. We actually cannot remember a single thing we talked about over dinner. Though I do remember telling myself, 'They've seen worse! It's Dublin!'
7. Barely made it to the play since every taxi in town was circling Croke Park waiting for U2 concertgoers to stumble out early. In our post-dinner, still-drunk-but-no-longer-deranged frenzy, we flirted with trying to cancel the (VERY EXPENSIVE) tickets and I made keypad-mashing attempts to call Ticketmaster but the directory assistance cogs couldn't give me a number to deal with a live human person, so we took our chances, and, OH, was it worth it. The glorious Footsbarn
and their pan-Shakespearean romp Perchance to Dream
made me blissfully happy to be seeing live, genre-crossing, experimental ensemble-based theatre, and I cannot remember the last time I saw this or actually took delight in a big production I have seen in Dublin.
8. Came home and had the most astonishingly decadent ice cream in existence: Green and Black's Chocolate Mint. It still lurks in the freezer, taunting me, because one cannot possibly consume more than two spoonfuls in a single sitting.
9. Crashed early because MO' had to go to Brussels early in the morning. Boo.
10. Sent MO' off at 4:30 AM. At least it was starting to get light outside. Yay Irish summers!
11. Awoke to find a text on my phone warning of imminent houseguests for two days, but with good reason: they were coming to Dublin for the U2 concert and had gotten extra tickets and were now giving me one. And life is good.
12. Spent the rest of the day being stripped near-naked and painted white in a trial run for next weekend's short film. This, however, happened in an old castle keep in Wicklow (the newest part of the house was finished in 1649, and it has an actual dungeon!) and the director's delightful mother made us a gorgeous roast chicken and potato lunch. I repeat, and life is good.
Finally got teh internets hooked up in the apartment.
Only took four and a half months. (Ireland.)
's nice to be back.
To start with, I mock some terrible 'writing' from Ranelagh's very own Podunk Shitrag Weekly,Southside People
, since it glorifies that knee-jerk not-my-fault Irishness that sets my teeth on edge:
While many pensioners engage in some form of leisure activity to remain healthy, there can be few who can match Paddy Craddock's efforts to remain spry.
However, it all could have been so different had Ireland's social welfare system benefited the working man. Before taking up athletics, Paddy had been a talented footballer but was forced to abandon it.
'I gave the whole lot up as you got nothing if you got injured,' he explains.
'In those days I was working hard [at flooring] and you were working early mornings. You could be anywhere from Wexford to Drogheda. That's how I didn't achieve what I could have and then I ended up with seven children,' he says.
I'm sorry, what? First of all, 'had Ireland's social welfare system benefited the working man'? ?! Where do I start with this? Is he complaining that Ireland's social welfare system doesn't benefit the working class?
Because that's just wrong. Does he gripe because Ireland's social welfare system doesn't benefit the working
man? Cupcake, that's what jobs are for.
The one that really irks me is 'and then I ended up with seven children.' Whose fault is that, exactly? Did that just happen
Another fun Irishism I saw today:
* A sign in Trinity Library advising people to be quiet, because "people are trying to study." They're not ACTUALLY studying, they're just trying. Displeased Yoda would be.
And today's prepared excuse for the charity muggers
"No, I'm sick." (To be pronounced, "Doe, I'b sig." Which is emphatically not a lie!)
after seven months...
Never mind all the cool shit that happened to me all summer, that I worked at the Democratic National Convention (will post accounts of that as I find them), that I was part of an amazing theatre festival (will post links to the reviews), that I've been back and forth and back and forth between America and Ireland since all that (got a hot job on TV). But, now, the fight for where to live is revving up, again, with lots of new issues to consider (being in love, that Bush will be in office for four more years), and it's time to bring it all into the open.
things that turn me off from America, part one of many
Stuff like this
. Unchecked hysterical bullshit masked as educational material to foster preparedness.
As they say in my other home: bollocks.
oh yes. now it starts.
Zippy new computer arrived by surprise today, courtesy of the Mandalay Bay high-limit blackjack tables. (Mwah ha ha.) Which means PROPER posting, finally... and also that I really do have to buckle down on the dissertation. Let's just ignore that for a bit, as I'm preparing to go to Boston in three days for the Democratic National Convention and I have so much to do for it I can't see straight. Continual posting to come from there, because I'm all tricked out with Verizon wireless. Oh yes.
until further notice, please assume my reaction to everything is, "what the fucking fuck?!" thank you.
This, here: http://atrios.blogspot.com/ (posting from a Mac, which won't let me hyperlink.) Second or third item down: Saddam returns to power, just under a different name.
Actually, consider the whole of Atrios bogarted for the day. Truly scary things going on. Check also http://www.thismodernworld.com for more on the election mishegoss.
And all I hear about on the news is Martha! Martha! Martha!
new fantastic online toy!
! Go! And try to find my speech in the new submissions! It's called "may god bless our mass murder." Vote for me! What are you still doing here?! GO!
the perpetually evolving list of hits and misses
Things I missed:
The Daily Show
The Village Voice
The L train
Decent iced coffee
Things I didn't know I missed:
sticky summer heat (I'm not being sarcastic. It feels like New York.)
American forthrightness and the ability to look you in the eye and ask for something directly
Things I didn't miss:
The constant, unrelenting onslaught of advertising and its resulting erosion of my soul
Having a new species of insect greet me every time I walk into my kitchen
American "news" "media"
Things I didn't know I didn't miss:
Seeing people I went to college with on Entertainment Weekly's "Must List"
And in its own completely mind-bogglingly appalling category:
Low-carb dog food
. (Scroll down a bit.)
A 4th of July present to ourselves: exactly 200 days to a Bush-free white house
Blatantly stolen from ThisModernWorld.com:
Great thinkers address freedom of speech
"I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies another this right makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it."
-- Thomas Paine, 1783
"Free speech exercised both individually and through a free press, is a necessity in any country where people are themselves free."
-- Theodore Roosevelt, 1918
"The truth is found when men are free to pursue it."
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936
"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
-- George Orwell, 1945
"Any time we deny any citizen the full exercise of his constitutional rights, we are weakening our own claim to them."
-- Dwight David Eisenhower, 1963
"What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant."
-- Robert F. Kennedy, 1964
"Go fuck yourself."
-- Dick Cheney, 2004
The whole world's against us, Silent Bob, I swear.
The weekly voter registration
event, planned for every Thursday at Waterstone's on Dawson Street, may be a no-go after this week. The confused and alarmed management begrudgingly allowed us to hide in a corner in the politics section before kicking us out an hour later, saying they'd been on the phone to the 'head office' (? do such places actually exist or are they figments of corporatia perpetrated by people who really can't be arsed to do their actual job?) who couldn't allow any political events in the shop, even though, technically, we were going in as an apartisan entity, allowing people to register for any party they want. We just happen to be organized under the auspices of the Democratic party, which, under the more bizarro aspects of McCain-Feingold
, restricts us from even campaigning for Kerry, because we are not allowed to promote or disparage any federal candidate. (No link provided to Kerry campaign, because as co-secretary of Dems Abroad Ireland, I suspect I could get reprimanded by the international chair for doing so. I'm not kidding. Might even have to edit this post, or my links list...or just keep this under the radar from them.) We can gather at pubs and go 'Yay Democrats.' And that's about it.
But the finer points of discussion were lost on the beleaguered Waterstone's staffers, as they were at the Irish Anti-War concert
held here last weekend. The chair and I were greeted with sneers, snickers, and fights picked with us--and that was just by the organizers of the event, who considered it a 'bombshell' that minions of the Democratic Party would show up at an anti-war event, 'considering the history of the US involvement in foreign affairs starting with Clinton' etc, etc.
Look, lads: we're all on the same team. Knock it off already. I know the two parties are more similar than not; I know mainstream American politics are more about politics than actual issues; I'm not terribly enthused about how the primaries went, and my heart will always beat for Dean. I know all of this and I endure, because a)Democrats living abroad are a highly liberal bunch (we referred to as 'the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party'), b)we have to work with what we've been given, and c)we're the only ones registering American citizens to vote here. The system is so convoluted and obscure that people don't even know THAT they can vote, let alone how to go about doing so. Even if they're not here on a work visa, even if they never registered to vote in the States, even if they're behind on their taxes (and, um, have no intention of paying them). AND, even if they're US Citizens who've never actually lived in the US, and there are quite a few of them in Ireland--they are still guaranteed the constitutional right to vote in the election. The links on the right under 'expatica' etc. have all the info on how to get started on this process.
The thing that irks me about all of this is the flagrant agenda of those people automatically rising to anger when we present ourselves as part of a mainstream American political party. I'm of the belief that agendas are agendas, and each have the potential to involve the same tactics, whatever team you're on, and I'm not interested in buying and selling an agenda, I'm interested in actual understanding of the forces involved and working to get the destructive ones out of power. There's a difference. It's why I can't really read BuzzFlash
more than a few times a month because the tone is alarmingly similar to those whose methods we are fundamentally opposed to. People aren't even listening
on our end. We can't just blindly adhere to anything
. We must continue to question and deepen our understanding of the issues, because our most effective tactics in this fight are not our ability to parrot the rhetoric and tactics of those in power--we have knowledge of the sophistication of the arguments, and it is from that
that our strength of character, and compassion comes, NOT spouting catchphrases and soundbites, even if they're the, well, the 'right' ones.
(And then I wake up and remember that I have to live in the world, and work within the system. So, yes, we do have to be political and media-friendly and know how to communicate a world of information in nine words or less, BUT...I find it hard to do so without slipping into a nasty tone, which, as a general principle, I try to move beyond. I wrote an epic rant about this about a year and a half ago, which I think still exists somewhere. Can't find it yet. Working on it.)
in related news...
Cead mile big two fingers:
Bush was here, and now he's gone. 18 whole hours. Very useful, I'm sure. Full rundown here.
I didn't get to any rallies or the protests because, well, in addition to being a little sick of the thinly veiled personal hostility I'm getting from people here, I'll be on a plane in three days and I didn't really feel like putting myself in any situations that might compromise my ability to get back to New York, such as being in jail. I'm saving up all my insurrection for the UnConvention. Turns out we're going up mere blocks from MSG
. Yeehaw! Who knows a good lawyer?
I've lived here a year and still the only thing I can say in Irish is 'Is aoibhinn liom mo ciocha'
But dare I? No. Only as a party trick.
Was delighted to see Irish-language issues
highlighted on MetaFilter
today. Why? I don't know. It's not a pressing issue for me specifically, but it is representative of the debate of Irish identity currently raging, passive-aggressively, via things like the citizenship referendum
The whole case plus more discussion here
, at Crooked Timber.