Saturday, March 24, 2007

I'm back!

More to follow.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Please note that I have converted this blog to the new beta version. What does this mean for you, the discerning reader? I'm not quite sure yet, but one thing I know it means is that I have post labels now--look over to the left, and you will see all posts organized into a few handy categories. Want to indulge in the sybaritic pleasure of reading all my sermons at once? Just click "sermons." Want to bathe your cones and rods in photographic glory? Click "pictures." And so on.

Just another sign of how much I love each and every one of you.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

My Life--The Early Years

By the time you read this, it will be October 27th--my birthday. Yes, 39 years ago, I was brought into this world. Given that this is a blog and all, I thought that I would present for posterity the record of my tumultuous life so far, accompanied by pictiographic evidence, so none may doubt the veracity of my tale. Today, I'll cover the early years of my life (the late 60s and the 70s)--Saturday and Sunday will see my Middle (80s and early 90s) and Late (mid 90s to the present) years exposed for your edification. Please be warned that every word you are about to read is the unvarnished truth, as troubling as that may be for you to believe.

The Early Years: Prodigy and Peril

October 27th, 1967. In a small hospital in Chicago, I am born.
While I may look innocent enough, these are actually the eyes of a cold-blooded killer. Within mere hours of my birth, I kill two innocent wildfowl who somehow wandered into the pediatric unit. These birds were brought home from the hospital with me--my first trophies.
Slaughtering confused game birds, however, was not to be my calling. Filled with world-weary ennui,
I soon (once I could walk, that is) embarked on a wild cross-country adventure, taking jobs wherever I could find them. I worked as a farmer,
a fisherman,
big game hunter,
merchant marine,
crusading superhero,

and pro caddy.
This picaresque adventure, however, came to a crashing halt when I was informed that I could not be a cowboy.
Angry at the world, I lashed out at authority, eventually landing in prison.
While I was living and loving my way across America, however, my parents brought my sister Claudine into the world. The instant I broke out of the joint, I made my way back to Chicago to see her. I found a kindred spirit.

Family had brought me home--I decided to quell the wanderlust in my soul and stay put for a while. I soon found that a new career awaited me: fashion icon.

While I lived the jet-set life, winging from New York to Milan and back again, my folks were hard at work. My brother, Ken, was born in 1972. Again, I found a kindred spirit.
The three T. children proved to be a unstoppable force, storming the pop music world with a string of number one hits.
We also found time to pursue our other hobbies.
In short, while the late 60s and 70s were a tumultuous time for me, I moved through them with the aplomb and respect for others that have defined my character to this day.
Through it all, I never forgot my friends.
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More Alton Brown! And Knives!

I posted my tribute to Alton Brown a while ago, but here is some YouTube goodness for you....

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Today's Sermon--The Neo-futurists

(I'll have you know that I started this entry on Sunday, but circumstances prevented me from posting till now--however, I still consider it a valid Sermon Sunday post. So there.)
As you know, not every sermon I share with you concerns some awful pet peeve I want to rant about--I like to inspire as well as admonish. Today I'd like to give voice to a paean to the Neo-futurists.

Today (Sunday), I took a group of my Intro to Theatre students to the Neo-futurarium to see Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. I am very pleased to report that they were flabbergasted and amazed by the show. I've been going to TMLMTBGB for over ten years now, and I never (well, hardly ever) hesitate to send my students to it because I always know that they will have an experience unlike any they have had before. Most of them made a point of telling me that they are going again, and that they are going to take along their boyfriend/girlfriend/best friend/parent.

I like theatre best when it does things that movies can't do. Face it--movies do realism better than theatre can. They have bigger budgets. They have glam stars. The best way for live theatre to compete is to give audiences an experience that they can't have at the movies. It should take advantage of the contact, spontenaity, and intimacy possible with actors that are right there in front of you! TMLMTBGB does this with a vengeance. Last night (Sunday), my students were involved in the show, brought right up on stage and made part of the action.

Every visit to the Neo-futurarium brings new experience, new laughs, new poignant moments--new good stuff, in other words, that I could not have gotten from seeing the latest Hollywood "blockbuster." Don't get me wrong, I love movies. But I love theatre more, because of the immediacy and power that it has that, for me, dwarfs what any cinematic (or televisual, for that matter) experience could.

I won't describe in more detail what the Neo-futurists do because their website does a much better job than I could. Just know that, if you haven't been yet, you need to go. If you are out of town, I will more than likely drag you bodily to a show at the first opportunity when you do come into town. You might, like David and Carrie, be dragged onstage by the actors and made into spectacle (in David and Carrie's case, you might have to make out between each short play.) You will also see something you have never seen before.

Moral: I love the Neo-futurists--you should too.

Further deponent sayeth not. Go forth and sin no more.

Postscript: You can be part of the Neo-futurist experience even if you aren't in Chicago! Greg Allen, the Founding Director (he came up with the idea for TMLMTBGB) is writing a new play for their "prime-time" season called You Asked For It! He is surveying people to find out what they most (or least) want to see in a play, then writing the script based on the responses. I've already taken the survey--you should too! Go here to let Greg know what you, the finicky potential audience member, wants to see.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

All the Great Books--Look, pictures!

As promised, here are some pictures from my production of All the Great Books. This first picture is from the Don Quixote section of the play--Phil, in the foreground, is translating (badly) the dramatized version performed in the original Spanish.

Here, Jason and Phil attack the Cyclopes, in the Odyssey section of the play.

Look out--Huck Finn coming through!

The Trojan Horse sneaks toward its destiny.

From The Iliad and The Odyssey to Ulysses by James Joyce, as Coach Shay, Phil, and Jason expertly express this 20th century masterpiece.

Look out--it is the Battle of Borodino from War and Peace! No magnanimity to the enemy!

This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, but I spent half an hour writing in actual text from War and Peace on this prop book--all for something that was open all of five seconds to the audience. Why?--because it was a book, of course! The only regret I have is that I didn't write in text from further on in the book in the cut-out section (which hid a copy of the Spark Notes for War and Peace) .

Hope you enjoy these shots--I had a lot of fun with this show, mainly because I had three great actors and a great production staff (and stage manager!)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Today's Sermon--Three Coins in a Fountain

I'd like to speak today on one of my pet peeves--the habit Americans have of throwing coins in fountains, wells.... Hell, any still body of water short of a puddle in the street is likely to have been infested with hundreds of idly tossed coins. Malls, plazas, hotels, hospitals, parks, lobbies, train stations, airports, palazzos, winter gardens, libraries, colleges, museums--it doesn't matter the context, if there is a man-made body of water in it, some moron will throw a coin into it.

Case in point--the Egypt exhibit at the Field Museum features a small mock-up of the Nile, used to educate viewers on the role the Nile played in Egyptian culture and farming habits. It is clearly not a fountain or wishing well. Nonetheless, it usually sports a thick bed of American coins, nestled among the faux-papyrus and stuffed waterfowl. This monetary refuse does not add to the ambiance.

Why do people do this? When I've asked I've received answers such as "It goes to charity, doesn't it?" (How would you know?) "The {fill in the name of the location victimized here} takes them as a donation, I think..." (I have to believe that a lot of places pay more money to clean this crap up than they get from the pennies you've just flung from your meaty, sweaty hand into that fountain.) It seems to be some gut-level instinctual response, much like the post-mortem jerking of a frog's leg. I know Americans hate change, but does it really need to go to this level? If you were at Trevi Fountain trying to ensure your return to Rome, I could understand it, but who needs to ensure that they will return to Oak Brook Mall?

Moral: Please people, keep your damn coins in your damn pocket.

Further, deponent sayeth not. Go forth and sin no more.

My USA--a pre-sermon warm-up

I came across this neat website that allows you to post a map of the U.S. states you have visited. While I'm sadly deficient in the Northeast and South, this still isn't bad coverage. The only states listed here that I haven't driven to or through are Texas, North Carolina and Alaska, by the way, so this isn't just a map of airport connections I've made.

create your own personalized map of the USA

Friday, October 13, 2006

Look, a picture! (double shot)

Twice the production shot fun today--this time a shot from last year's production of Dinner With Friends--the only scene where all four characters appear. Trust me--they aren't always this happy.

Look, a picture! (Shakespearean edition)

Here is a shot from my production of The Tempest from year before last. This was one of my favorite moments from the play, as Antonio, Alonso, and Sebastian are confronted by the spirits led by Ariel and Prospero.