Monday, August 31, 2015

Bali Low

There was a murder case a year ago in Bali, involving 3 vacationers from Chicago: a mom, a daughter, and the daughter's boyfriend. The two younger people have been convicted of killing the older person.

Their defense was that the homicide just happened, an argument gone wrong, a body stuffed in a trunk, and so on. But the prosecutors seemed to think the killing had been planned.

And now American authorities have released a Facebook message, from the daughter to her boyfriend, from month's before the actual killing:

“Can you not tell people i asked you to kill my mom.”

Beware of the naughty daughter
who don't do what she oughter
and rather than keeping calm
moves to murder her mom.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Small Pet Advisory

We've had some coyote sightings in the hood.

Authorities seem to be planning on letting them be.

The advisory letter from neighborhood association was probably intended to be reassuring, but included this tidbit:

"Coyotes may mistake small, unattended pets as prey..."

Mistake? Really? Is there an approved list of prey somewhere?

I'd have to say
that its proper prey
is whatever a coyote can defeat
and eat.


Doomsayers have their appeal,
but mostly their threats are not real.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Once More

We've got one more performance of our show in New York, tomorrow night. I'm flying out Friday morning, and returning Saturday morning. Then that's it for this run. I'm already feeling the sorrow.

Flying back and forth to New York has been strangely familiar for me. I lived there decades ago, and I fell into the sense of being a native readily enough, even though, really, I'm not.

Being a New Yorker is like
riding a bike.

It comes back to you
as deja vu.

More Reviews Are In

We had a nice long "Happy Face" review from Kristin Hardwick at Hi! Drama, which went into the actors' performances in some detail.

'Ms. Vitale's [Darlene] is ambitious in a charming way and Mr. Corbett's Alan perfectly complements [Darlene] with his warm smile and sincere attitude. The chemistry of Ms. Nehme and Mr. Mervin portraying the divorced couple works! Ms. Nehme's portrayal of the Irish "divorcee" is a nice balance of whimsy and sincerity and her constant "calling people out on the truth" adds to the depth of their stories in both a comical and genuine way.'

I also found a very negative review, which I will quote in its entirety:

"Almost as soon as the lights went up, I knew I wanted to walk out. About ten minutes later, I did. Dreams do come true."

I'm actually a bit puzzled by the snarky last line, because it sounds like a Disney reference, but my play doesn't have any Disney angle. I almost wonder if he was actually at a different play which runs in the same theater, which does have a Disney angle. Anyway, regardless of which show he glimpsed, I'm glad he got out after just ten minutes.

Life is short.
If you don't like a play,
escape and enjoy
the rest of your day!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sweet Tweet from the Irish Consulate

Someone from the Irish Consulate of New York came to see our play the other night, and tweeted:

"Great production @FringeNYC 'O'Brien and O'Brian'! Loved the accents guys! "It's because we don't have beavers in Ireland?!" Gold! Go see it"

I'm inordinately pleased. I've got 2 characters from Ireland in the play. They may verge on the comically outlandish at times, but they were drawn with great affection. I have a sentimental attachment to the people of that land, mostly because my great grandfather, for whom I am named, and who I remember fondly, was an emigrant from that Emerald Isle.

Our director, Robert Belchere, going into this production, was particularly focused on making the accents authentic. Well, Rob, I guess that was a good call if we were able to get some appreciation from the Irish Consulate! And nice going, MacKenzie Nehme and Juliana Forsberg-Lary, with your lovely brogues!

They're actually doing 2 different Irish accents, because there are many, and because the 2 characters, although old friends, actually are from different backgrounds - they met in boarding school.

No accents can beguile
like those from the Emerald Isle.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Hard Day's Night by Vickie Vodrie

Despite my busyness here in the City of Busy, I managed to see another of the FringeNYC shows, namely Hard Day's Night, by Vickie Vodrie of Kansas City.

Her show is playing in the same venue as my show, but never on the same day.

Beatles fans among you will recognize the title of her play as the title of a Beatles song, album, and movie. But this isn't a play about the Beatles, except incidentally. It's a coming-of-age story, about a girl in a truly kooky family, a girl who takes some big steps into womanhood.

How kooky is the family? Well, the set is their living room, and their living room is overflowing with Disney figurines and memorabilia. Kookier yet, the living room is also overflowing with loving labeled shoeboxes containing the cremated remains of their former cats and dogs, a.k.a., their "fur babies".

Our heroine, Kelly, seems to be plunging deeper into social isolation, as she decides to communicate with her family only by singing snippets of Beatles songs. I was beginning to worry that she would be forever lost from the world of the sane, moving herself into permanent Misfitville.

But a sensitive (albeit flawed) man reaches out to her. The experience gives her a real glimpse of what life can hold, and the play ends on a hopeful note.

The writing just zips along,
making humorous use of song.
See it! You can't go wrong.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The City Never Sleeps

The cars outside are honking like a flock of Canada geese, apparently with no fear of being fined by the police. 

Pic Marsha Took

Excuse me while I trouble you,
with a pic of the big G.W.:

NY Theater Now Review

We got a great review of our FringeNYC production of O'Brien & O'Brian from Nita Congress at NYTheater Now:

'Enright’s dialogue is breezy and crisp, filled with non sequitors and snappy comebacks (example: “You remember what Martha Stewart went to jail for? Lying to the government.” “And I felt so much safer when she was locked up.” And “Maybe you should specialize in divorce. I hear it’s steady business.” And “Don’t thrown your life away on a gender that won’t make you happy.”) The play and its characters are friendly and good-natured.'

The reviewer does suggest that our intermission is too long, or perhaps unnecessary - that it breaks up the fun. It's an interesting question. Without intermission, the play runs about 80 minutes. Most people can comfortably sit that long without needing to stretch their legs. So that argues against having an intermission. On the other hand, the play's 2 acts take place on 2 different days, and on the 2nd day the characters are returning from a court hearing, so one is naturally tempted to do a costume change to outfits that are dressier.

But I'm grateful for the great review,
so right now what I'm going to do
is offer my contrition
for that lengthy intermission!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Full Stop

In local news, in federal court:

"The former chief executive of a red-light camera company changed her plea to guilty on Thursday in a scheme that funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to secure $124 million in city of Chicago contracts."

She gave the green light
to behavior that wasn't right.

Wipe Out

If you have an email server,
and you need to wipe it clean,
don't take a dampened dishcloth
to the case of the machine.

I think a random splatter,
made up of zero and one,
written over and over,
is what will get the job done.

And then, just to be careful,
douse it in gasoline
and drop a match upon it
so your data's never seen.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

2 of 5

Here are people in line for our performance today at 4:30 in the afternoon. We had a nice crowd, which pleased me greatly, since I'd had nightmares that we'd have 3 people or something!

Show 2 of 5
Did not take a dive. 

A Plea To Air Traffic Control

Air traffic control,
tomorrow I roll,
to New York and then,
Chicago again.

Please, please, let's
manage the jets
so that when I roam,
I do end up home.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Chicago Gangs on Facebook

Felonious bands
enhancing their brands:

"They aren't using the Internet as much to recruit members or to organize illegal activities as to mostly post or watch often violent videos intended to tout their gang or an individual member, the study found."

Facebook is the most popular site according to this Chicago Tribune article.

Now, on the face of it (ahem), it's not a good idea to post videos of your own felonious activities online, where they can be scooped up by the police and used to convict you. But, then again, these are not people given to caution.

In the future, all life will take place on the net.
For police, that may be the best news yet!

Friday, August 14, 2015

We Opened

We opened in NYC. I sat in the back, the better to gauge the audience's attention. They were quiet when they weren't laughing. Quiet is good! It means they want to know what happens next. 

So much for our opening show. 
Only four to go. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

High Comedy

When a giraffe
Begins to laugh
Does it start in his head
Or his belly instead?

After 2 Nights in New York

Glad to be in my own bed,
My pillow under my head. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

At Midday

Tech rehearsal at Fringe NYC,
Which looked good to me:

Monday, August 10, 2015

Change of Plan

I've decided to change my flight. 
Due to a flash flood warning,
I'm flying into New York tonight
instead of tomorrow morning. 

Sunday, August 09, 2015

AKA Bishop's Lace

Queen Anne's Lace, also known as Wild Carrot.
Took a pic and thought I'd share it.

Theater side note: when my play, Wild Flowers, started, we used some fake yellow flowers as the wildflowers that make an appearance in the show. But by the end of the run, the actors had switched to picking some of these fresh for each performance.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Fire Sprinklers

When they first came out they were all ugly. Nowadays, they cleverly don't come out until they're needed - when there's a fire - when you are guaranteed to not care about their looks:

See? You order one like this, and you set it up in a dropped office ceiling, and from below it looks like this:

Such a lovely shiny cover
for a spray-and-soak device.
It doubles as a mirror -
with no increase in price!

Wednesday, August 05, 2015


In the city by the bay,
urine may ruin your day:

​"Concerns about San Francisco's decaying light poles were ignited Monday night after one corroded by urine toppled onto a car, narrowly missing the driver."

Your driving experience may be less than placid,
when your light poles are soaked in uric acid.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

So Called Targeted

I'm amused. Sites I visit are presenting me with ads for FringeNYC. No doubt this is occurring because I have done some searches on the festival or have visited the festival website.

But, you know, I've got a show at the festival! I don't need to be advertised to! As a matter of fact, I've paid to advertise my show a bit.

So, if you want to advertise something, be aware that "targeting" isn't always as targeted as you'd like.

Probably you've had the experience of buying something on the net - and then continuing to get ads for it. For rarely purchased items, this doesn't make much sense. Presumably the advertisers don't know your demand has already been supplied.

So, seriously, Fringe NYC,
don't advertise to me.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Life with Labradors

"If you hold your food low, your food will soon go."

Book Club - The Ride Home

After discussing Paradise Lost,
We drove down a street where the wind had tossed
Tree trunks and limbs along our path,
And it looked very much like signs of wrath. 

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Reality Show

Some people think Trump should be disregarded as a reality show performer. But I am haunted by the lines from a Sting song: 

"You could say I'd lost my belief in our politicians
They all seemed like game show hosts to me. "

A lot of our press is devoted to treating the presidency as a reality show. It's often remarked on that journalists like to treat political campaigns as if they were horse races, personality contests, searching the footage for moments of drama to feature for the camera.

And so I don't think that the fact he's a fast talking camera hog is really the reason to dump
The Trump.