January 05, 2005

To all the new readers ...

... who appear to have gotten to me because of this, I wanted to say - hey there, what's up, nice to see ya, welcome.

Also wanted to post a couple of my own personal favorites, in terms of posts. Whatever. I'm not shy. A lot of these have nothing whatsoever to do with literature, and are more in the personal-essay realm. They're not sound bytes, they're lengthy personal stories. If you're into that kind of stuff, feel free to click around below. (Oh, and I opened up the comments to all these old posts ... so if you feel like talking back, feel free.)

1. An Ode to a Very Special Teacher

2. There was already something a little off about that morning ...

3. The recount and the doppelganger

4. Fairy on the prairie

5. Federalist # 10

6. The Marianne Dashwood Problem

7. An Eyeball and a Dozen Roses

8. A small story about the ridiculousness of my persona. Or: "Don't even TRY, CHiPs!"

9. Three similar stories about the art of film acting

10. A Halloween Photo Album

11. My humiliation at the hands of The Rock

12. Bombs I have been in (Popskull?? This one should bring back some horrific memories.)

13. My bitch-slap of Naomi Wolf

And, for all you obsessives out there, here are some of mine:

Obsession # 1 Cary Grant

Obsession # 2 Humphrey Bogart

Obsession # 3 The Founding Fathers

Posted by sheila


I wanted to say - hey there, what's up, nice to see ya, welcome....

..Sheila, you forgot to add..

"..and... VOTE!! DAMN YOU, VOTE!!!"

Posted by: peteb at January 5, 2005 09:31 AM

Er .... I purposefully didn't ask for a vote, because I was addressing the NEW readers. Who may or may not vote for me, cause they don't know who the heck I am.

Posted by: red at January 5, 2005 09:35 AM

That's no excuse for not voting for you, Sheila :)

Posted by: peteb at January 5, 2005 09:38 AM

Uh oh...we all know that whenever someone opens up comments on old posts, psychotic 14-year-old Orlando Bloom fangirls are bound to show up eventually. ;-)

Posted by: Dave J at January 5, 2005 09:48 AM

Dave J -

Oh how right you are. I will never ever ever open up comments on my old posts about Kurt Cobain, and Frances Bean Cobain. The lunatics that got to me because of that were ... OUT. OF. CONTROL.

Posted by: red at January 5, 2005 09:49 AM

I thought you were never even going to spell out their names, for fear of being found on Google.

Posted by: Dave J at January 5, 2005 10:22 AM

The "bombs I have been in" is my favorite one. "Excuse me! Excuse me!"

Posted by: Emily at January 5, 2005 10:55 AM

Emily - hahahaha

That poor man. Just trying to get out of the theatre. hahaha

Posted by: red at January 5, 2005 11:02 AM

Poor man! What about you guys? Trying to stay focused in the middle of that? Jeez.

Posted by: Emily at January 5, 2005 11:20 AM

Really, though - the play was so bad I sympathized with the guy, and wanted to break out of character and turn and say to him, "Dude, I totally agree with you, and I am so sorry. uhm ... can I leave WITH YOU???"

Posted by: red at January 5, 2005 11:25 AM

I had a lot of friends in the theater department at school and had to sit through hoards of truly awful plays (the worst kind of play: the kind where the author thinks they are being deep, interesting, mysterious, or any combination of the three by writing something that makes absolutely no frigging sense whatsoever). There's no excuse to be that rude, no matter how bad the show sucks.

Posted by: Emily at January 5, 2005 12:36 PM

I have never walked out of a play - too sensitive to the fact that those are REAL PEOPLE up there - but I have definitely guffawed out loud at moments when the play was demanding I be solemn, or serious, or weepy.

MJF - if you're reading this, do you remember the HORROR of being in the audience at Soda Pop?

The scary thing was that the play was done in such a tiny theatre, the actors could SEE us laughing at them. So we desperately tried to hold it in, but that of course made it much MUCH worse. We KNEW some of the actors, too. The whole thing was a disaster.

Posted by: red at January 5, 2005 12:46 PM

One of my roommates in college was in this one suck-fest that was the kind of play I mentioned above - totally stupid and pointless and made no sense (fuck you, David Lynch, for inspiring an entire generation of writers to foist this crap on us). The actor she was playing opposite was a complete ham. HUGE ham, but you could tell he thought he was being Lawrence Olivier or something. I was with a couple of friends and her boyfriend when we went to see it. We were pinching each other to keep from cracking up out loud.

Posted by: Emily at January 5, 2005 12:55 PM


Oh God, I have been there. It is most definitely the bad actor who thinks he is Lawrence Olivier that is the most laughter-producing ...

I will never forget, in all my born days, a guy like that in a Shakespeare class in college ... and he did a death scene ... which, I swear to God, we all watched in stunned silence ... it was so over-the-top and cliched Shakespeare ... and when he was done dying, literally the entire room AND the professor burst out laughing.

It was involuntary laughter. The ENTIRE room guffawed.

Occasionally, I still see him in my mind's eye - staggering about - "dying" - and I STILL laugh.

Posted by: red at January 5, 2005 12:58 PM

I've never understood why so many actors over-do death scenes. I know they can be hard, but when you think about it, 99% of the people in the world just die. I mean, they just DIE. How many people make grand speeches about their troubles and travails? You'd think they'd be more focused on survival, if anything else.

Posted by: Emily at January 5, 2005 01:07 PM

Well, to compound the matter even more - many of Shakespeare's death scenes either do have a long speech just before death - or some line like: "OH! I AM SLAIN!" which - if you don't do it well, will just end up being HILARIOUS.

Also, too, though - since none of us alive have actually experienced death - it's difficult to "get it right". We can only imagine what it's like. Unlike other experiences actors have to recreate (grief, or breaking a leg, or burning their hand) - for the most part, we've all experienced stuff like that. Death? None of us.

Probably not too many people die while making grand speeches - but a lot of Shakespearean characters do, and it's a struggle to make that shite seem REAL.

member that scene in Tootsie when Dustin Hoffman refused to cross the stage, during his own death scene? "But ... if I'm dying ... how can I walk across the room?" heh heh heh

The director is finally like: 'JUST CROSS THE FUCKING STAGE"

Posted by: red at January 5, 2005 01:11 PM

"...many of Shakespeare's death scenes either do have a long speech just before death - or some line like: "OH! I AM SLAIN!" which - if you don't do it well, will just end up being HILARIOUS."

I think Mercutio's death in Romeo and Juliet is Shakespeare deliberately parodying this, so it's both serious and funny at the same time. Yet I can certainly see how those sort of things can wind up being UNINTENTIONALLY funny when done wrong.

Posted by: Dave J at January 5, 2005 02:09 PM

Yes, Dave. I know. It is a deliberate parody and there are many other examples in Shakespeare's plays.

Strangely enough, though, I have only seen Mercutio's death played straight. I've been in that play, and I've seen it 100 times, and most usually it is played straight.

The point here, though, is that it is nearly impossible to play the "O I am slain" scenes, and have it come out right, unless the entire production around you ALSO has juuuuust the right tone. A delicate business. Parody is one of the most difficult things to portray onstage, especially in Shakespeare. Many of the things which would have been common knowledge to the audiences in Shakespeare's day are no longer common knowledge. Parody only works if you know what it is, exactly, you are parodying. AND the audience knows it, too. It's all well and good to KNOW what Shakespeare is up to, but these are plays - they have to work in the here and now.

And then of course there is the example of how difficult it is to die just after you make a long eloquent monologue.

"Before I catch my last breath ... let me ramble on in iambic pentameter..."

Posted by: red at January 5, 2005 02:21 PM

I'm not criticizing Shakespeare, Dave J, by the way. Just pointing out the difficulties inherent in playing all that stuff. When you see someone do it well, or when you see someone play that stuff and make it look effortless - that's a matter of talent, obviously, and YEARS of mastering the language, the meter, etc.

Posted by: red at January 5, 2005 02:23 PM

Soda Pop!!!!! Oh my God!!! Rememeber the one girl was brilliant ...now she's on Mad TV...She rose above! As we all hope to do when we are in a stinker...i was in a play called The Planets(based on a wonderfully quirky novel) the last line of the review was..."Tip for Theatre companies: When you have a show as bad as this one; the only honorable thing to do...is CLOSE it." For real.-MJF

Posted by: Alex at January 6, 2005 05:08 PM