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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

not much ado about pretty much nothing

I had a thoroughly silly weekend, which is appropriate as I am a silly person who does not deserve to be in the company of serious people, or to do serious things.

Thursday night I stopped by a karaoke bar where some of the Big Mac cast (why would I still want to hang out with them?) were hanging out and I stunned them all with my rendition of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”. It really wasn’t as funny as they all seemed to think it was, (I think I sang Madonna songs at virtually every party I ever attended at my friend Sam Raue’s apartment, and that was a lot of them, parties, I mean) but I’m happy to please.

Then Saturday night I attended a pseudo “prom” that was being thrown by several acquaintances, mostly from work but also a few from college. We dressed up and drank a lot and so forth. There were many beautiful girls there and I danced with some of them, though I didn’t make out with any. Because I’m a eunuch. But that’s okay, because again, rocking eighties songs made me jump around like a CGI enhanced martial artist. When they played “Dancing With Myself” and “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and when they played “Sweet Child O’ Mine” oh dear God when they played “Sweet Child O’ Mine”…

I saw my friend Tim there whom I hadn’t seen in a long time. He flies airplanes. I hope he takes me up in one sometime.

You should have been there, Twinters, you like it when people are dressed up and stuff…

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


It has been suggested in some quarters that I didn’t get a lot of people to the Absolute Big Mac Show in part because I didn’t promote it sufficiently. I think I blogged for two months about being tired and cranky, but I guess that doesn’t quite count as promotion.

It’s a solid point though, so I should now spend more time furiously promoting what I’m doing all summer:

Hopefully not much at all.

Because “tired and cranky” is not the hip emotional state to be in.

I will however, return to writing things, because writing things is a way of cheating death or something. I’m writing a short play that I’m going to submit to a Chicago theatre group called “Dark Knight Theatrical” something or other. They did a festival of short plays last year that I acted in, now I want to write something for it. They want to put on plays that are DARK and SCARY! I don’t usually write things that are DARK and SCARY but hopefully what I’m writing somewhat fits the bill. It’s got gruesome murders and supernatural whatnots. What more will they need? Anyway it hasn’t been accepted yet but I see no lawful impediment why it shouldn’t be. I think the show will be on June 25 (it’s designed to be a quickie kind of thing) I think they put on at least half a dozen excerpts for plays then the audience gets to vote on the top three which will get to earn full productions. Therefore supporters in attendance are a must. June 25, if you love me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Susanne Grampe

What's even harder than performing an entire Shakespeare play onstage (which is where they're meant to be done) is performing an entire Shakespeare play in your living room, and motherfuckers offer your roommate a pool table when you really don't want a pool table in your apartment because they're symbols of corruption. Especially Antony and Cleopatra, which is a really long play and they're both unsympathetic and you want them both to die, although it's all made worth it by this exchange:

Fulvia is dead.
Fulvia is dead.

as well as some top of the line eunuch jokes that only Will could have written. Other parts of this enterprise are two of my best friends, Tom Schorsch and Molly Fitzgibbon. Tom 'n' Molly are a couple (and became so while working on my play Lysistrata 3000 together) They are a wonderful, though ocasionally off puttingly happy couple, and having them in my living room is cool although I would rather be, I don't know, talking to them than reading plays, not that there's anything wrong with reading plays. I like them and all...I'm just burnt out. I was hanging out with Tom 'n' Molly the other night (in a non-play reading context) and they both said that when they Google their names, my blog always comes up, which makes me happy. We were also hanging out with Molly's temporary roommate, who is a beautiful German girl named Susanne Grampe. And it occurred to me that Susanne was the only person present whom I hadn't mentioned on the blog. So I should mention her. Because I've always felt that beautiful German girls should be celebrated in song, or on the Web. So I'll try to type her name as often as possible for the rest of the entry. Susanne Grampe. There's nothing more to say really. Susanne Grampe.

Monday, May 23, 2005

You know who's funny? Other than me?

The always brilliant Rik Reppe is particularly brilliant in a funny, as opposed to a poigniant, America defining way today.

Faith sir, we were carousing 'til the second cock

The Absolute Big Mac Show has ended, and ended well. A lot was memorable about it, including a visit from the Chicago Police when one of our cast members was running around in costume with his big sticks, and a neighbor apparently reported a crazy Asian teenager running around with a gun. As it turned out, it was a crazy Asian teenager with a stick. This makes the second consecutive play of mine to draw the attention of the constabulary, as someone called the cops on us during Hamlet, because of the noise we made when Laertes was leading his mob to the palace gates (“Yeah, we got a report of someone trying to take over Denmark…”)

I don’t know, the end of a show always makes me feel like there should be more to say, but there isn’t. There probably is, but I don’t know what it is right now. It was really, really good, I'll say that.

When I got home from the final cast party at around 2AM, I shaved off my goatee in a somewhat drunken state. As a result I mutilated my chin worse than I usually do. So as always I look much younger, but battle scarred beyond my years.

The most important thing this weekend of course, was seeing the Revenge of the Sith. Boy did they ever get their revenge. Wow. My God, that was a good movie, like every Star Wars movie. I am one of the few defenders of the first two prequels, they were both quite good, though this one was just…gut wrenching. Anakin’s transformation was just perfect. Supposedly you go in knowing the story, but really, you don’t. I mean the way they pulled it off, showing how it happened, it just adds a completely new dimension to the whole saga and, well I’m very happy. Having acted in Shakespearean tragedy for six months put me in a unique mood to watch his downfall (not that either Shakespeare or Star Wars are ever far from my thoughts) but Anakin’s seduction by the Dark Side was so much like Big Mac’s. Both men convince themselves that they can commit just a little bit of evil, that they can accomplish what they need to accomplish and be done with it but they find out that it doesn’t work like that. Macbeth thinks “this blow might be the be all and the end all here, but here upon this bank and shoal of time” but as the little green man said “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.” Yoda said that twenty five years ago, but now we get to see what he was talking about. Friends have said to me that the original movies were so good that they don’t really see the point of doing the backstory (other than giving Mr. Lucas some more big paydays) and I have to admit that even though I liked the first two, I was hard pressed to answer that question. Not anymore.

I’m complete now. I’ve seen Episode III, which I’ve been waiting to do pretty much all my life. When I got home from the movie, rest assured that I was on the Internet within minutes looking at Star Wars related things. This was very late at night, and I was going to bed. And I saw that some idiot somewhere had posted a story on the Internet Movie Database about how in 1933 a little girl had been murdered (by a “homicidal murderer” no less) and that to appease her angry ghost you had to re-post the message (what advantage a girl murdered in 1933 would derive from getting a lot of bandwith on the IMDB was left unclear) If you failed to do this, she would appear on your ceiling and suffocate you, as she was suffocated. Now, I am not a believer in the supernatural, particularly as it is conveyed in stupid Internet posts, but at 3:30 in the morning, (which to be fair probably qualified as “the middle of the night”) a dead girl appearing on my ceiling and murdering me was a fairly chilling notion. Not so chilling that I actually logged on and reposted the message, but chilling enough that I thought about other ways to escape my impending fate such as reminding myself of how dead sexy I am, and how I would probably be successful in seducing her into not killing me. And if that doesn’t work, I thought, I’ve seen Episode III…

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


That’s what my head’s been doing lately. I had a busy weekend, which is bleeding into a busy week. I’m trying to figure out some purpose to my life that doesn’t involve doing things. Indeed, I’m going to see if I can find meaning in not doing anything. I used to not do anything and I rather liked it…

Saturday night I saw Twinters in the flesh, that was cool as it had been a while. She, like Kurt, is not seeing the Big Mac Show. I certainly understand when most people can’t make it to see something I’m doing, but Twinters and the TuohyBuoy! Those are my biggest fans, yo! I’m losing the base. After leaving Twinters on Saturday, I decided to get in touch with a friend I haven’t talked to in even longer, the legendary Thomas Beach, one of my best friends from high school, whom I last saw about six months ago. At that time, he was about to embark for Nigeria in order to make a movie about it. Not enough movies are made about Nigeria, but it’s a pretty dangerous place in comparison to say, Winnetka, where he grew up, or even LA where he lives now. So the last thing he said to me and two of our other friends from high school was “Just in case anything happens while I’m over there, thanks for the memories.” We told him he was welcome for the memories. Typically, he didn’t call me or anyone else I still talk to when he got back, apparently in March, but it was nice to confirm that he was not in fact, dead. He admits himself to be a tool, and I’m not one to disagree.

On Sunday I attended a Leahy family event, which is unusual given how I feel about many Leahys, but many of them are okay, and this was for my great uncle Moe, who was celebrating his fiftieth anniversary as a priest. Mostly the day was notable because I attended mass, which is always an intriguing, if slightly awkward experience for me. I was raised kind of semi-Catholic, that is, my parents didn’t go to Church and in my father’s case at least, actively railed against the Church, but they sent me to Catholic school anyway. So I have twenty two years of mass attendance under my belt, nowhere near regular, but enough so that I kind of know, you know, the gist of the liturgy. But that’s it. I mean, the Catholic liturgy is full of signals for the faithful to do and say things on cue and I know most of them, but when it comes to the Apostle’s Creed, I always have the experience of standing up with dozens of other people reciting the exact same thing, while I’m only able to recite every other word. We believe in one God, mumble, mumble, Jesus, mumble, mumble, born of the Virgin Mary, mumble, mumble-cified under PONTIUS PILATE! I know that bit. Then there’s Communion. I more or less know how to line up for the bread and wine but some twenty years after doing it for the first time, I remain completely and utterly baffled by what you’re supposed to do afterwards. You’re supposed to go back to your seat but there are all these multiple, snaking lines of people and you go the opposite way but you’re supposed to wind up in the same plave and you inevitably wind up stepping on sweet natured, highly devoted old people. I guess if God loves you, you figure it out, and I’m clearly very unloved.

The Big Mac show had a weekend I’d have to call pretty great. The understudy performances on Thursday and Friday gave the show a strange new energy that everyone loved, and it also gave the usual leads a renewed energy themselves on Saturday and Sunday. So pretty great. The best part of the show for me, has always been not what Shakespeare wrote (although that’s obviously pretty good) but getting to run around in blue armor with kali sticks going “YYYYYAAAAAAAHHHHHH!” with the other guys during the testosterone driven “let’s go kill Macbeth” scenes. There’s one scene in particular where I get to lead the charge, on Sunday my enthusiasm was sadly premature, as I started going “YYYYYAAAAAAAHHHHHH!” half a line before the requisite heroic speech was over, which led to me kind of standing awkwardly frozen onstage for a few seconds, and then one of those classic “run out of the theater and burst out laughing for several minutes in the parking lot” moments that was a much needed reminder of why I do this.

Despite my need to go to sleep for approximately fifty years, I’ve found myself agreeing to play Don John in Much Ado About Nothing and seventeen people in Antony and Cleopatra for the recordings of those plays my roommate is producing as part of a high school tutorial project. Again, actors in my living room. Cool and strange. And tiring. But not entirely unprofitable. Someone left a quarter on my couch. It’s part of my laundry fund now! HAHAHHA. I’m pure evil.

Another thing my roommate has done recently is review Stardust, a play based on Neil Gaiman’s novel, after which her website was freaking linked to by Neil’s! This marks the second time in a year Neil has referenced her in some way. Billions of people go their entire lives without being referenced by Neil Gaiman in any way. I have no words, my voice is in my links.

Why am I still typing? I need to stop doing things altogether.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

don't be left out in the cold

I've recently learned that the Absolute Big Mac show will close May 22, it will not be extended. So if you want to be "in the know" you need to come then, or you will forever take your place with the ranks of the Losers. And let me tell you that's a thoroughly unpleasant place to be.

I mean, from what I've heard.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

water from the sky!

Jesus Freaking Lizard there was huge freaking thunderstorm this morning! It was really loud! I don’t know why this is so noteworthy! I’ve seen many a huge thunderstorm in my days but I guess it’s just been awhile. I like thunderstorms. They are cool and I’ve missed them. I read the classic sci-fi novel "Lord of Light" recently, and there's a great line in there: "The storm never lies, and it always says no! That's an absolutely brilliant line. I don't know what it means.

I’m on the record about the fact that I dislike my roommate Reina, she is a supremely vexing woman and thought so long before I signed a lease with her, which I did purely as a business arrangement. Also, she is a dumb girl and has cooties. Nonetheless, I do find her fun to talk to and I (having never had a roommate before) have discovered that living with someone you really like to talk to is a very good thing but has the disadvantage of distracting you when you have a play to rewrite and things like that.

I shouldn’t blame her, however, I should blame the fact that I got my cable fixed, which now allows me to stay up past midnight watching John Stewart. Oh, how I’ve missed you, old friend. Many testimonials to your genius have been made over the last few years, but my favorite was that of my good old raging racist uncle Gerald: “This is supposed to be funny? He’s just a smartass Jew.” Indeed, sir, indeed.

And CNN! Now I can get the 24 hour coverage I need on the details surrounding murdered children! I guess a couple of young girls were killed in Zion, IL recently. As usual, the hype was that there was some scary, evil predator on the loose. I actually heard some woman say “stranger danger” (one of the most inane and subtly pernicious phrases we’ve ever taught to children) with a straight face. But lo, it turned out, as it does in like 90% of crimes against children, to have been not some anonymous, scary instantly demonizable pervert but a close relative. Family values yo.

When I was fifteen, I went camping in Zion. I slept in a tent with three girls. That was awesome.

I had a chocolate milkshake from the Zephyr, a great ice cream parlor/diner near my apartment the other night. It filled my bloodstream...mmm…milkshake blood…

Monday, May 9, 2005

groggy monday

The Big Mac Show was okay this weekend, not as fun as the last one. Hardly anyone I know has come to see it so it's kind of going through the motions, no expectation of reward at the end or anything. It officially closes May 22 but will probably be extended to May 29.

I thoroughly dislike my job these days. Or at least this day, I shouldn't make such sweeping statements. But the job makes me feel like a cartoon supervillain because they're always shouting about how they're surrounded by incompetent fools, and so am I. I'll never successfully complete my Tuition Assistance Laser Ray if my henchmen continue their idiotic blundering...

Friday, May 6, 2005

self reflection

Brent Rivera, who plays Big Mac in the Big Mac show told me that he's been reading this blog, therefore I don't want to give the impression that Bobby Z is the only reason to see the regular performances of the show, you know, there's also him. And he's great. So's everyone. Especially anyone who might be reading the blog. And really, the understudies are swell too...Man, the Internet has the potential to get you in trouble when people are actually reading it.

For some reason, my entry from early last month, "Lincoln is Squared" doesn't seem to be in the archives anymore. Since I consider it one of the best ever, I'm re-posting it. Please enjoy this late spring rerun:

Lincoln is Squared

I saw Hedwig and the Angry Itch onstage and Sin City in the cinema over the weekend. Both were awesome. Both involved the removal of penises. I want to keep mine.

I assume I’m not the first to inform you that JP2 has died. I have to admit this has not affected me as much as the death of the Blue Beetle. Few people have ever so incarnated their position for me as he did. I think he was in office since I was a year old, and he simply was “the Pope” there is no other. George Bush will never be just “the President” because I’ve known other presidents, Richard M. Daley will never even be “the Mayor” as hard as he tries, but John Paul was the Pope. I don’t mean merely to me because of my age, I mean that I think he really captured the essence of popedom and did the job like it’s supposed to be done.

As always my glancing at mainstream media coverage indicates that the media sees it’s job as to repeat the center-right mush of conventional wisdom over and over again and avoid saying anything meaningful, genuinely insightful or the least bit contradictory at all costs. The Pope “toppling Communism” (with a little help from Ronald Reagan and Sylvester Stallone, never mind all those faceless slavs jumping on tanks) is part of the script, any role he may have played in the protection of pedophiles isn’t. I’ve nothing really against the man, only, he was the representation of the Church, which I’ve had a lifelong ambiguous relationship with. I’m very far from someone who will engage in knee jerk attacks against Catholicism. Rather than love or hate I feel a deep seated ambivalence towards it. I think the Church would be a pretty fantastic institution if it got over some of its troglodyte attitudes towards human sexuality.

For awhile Friday afternoon, there were conflicting reports among my coworkers as to whether the Pope had in fact, died already. The uncertainty created a sort of “Schrodinger’s Pope” scenario, during which I wondered what would happen if the Pope were shoved in a drawer with a radioactive isotope.

Moving week went well, thanks in large part to the extraordinary help provided by the great Molly Fitzgibbon. And my dad, but he’s always taken for granted. The apartment is bounteous and I like it. The first night in a new place often feels like you’re a guest in someone else’s home, in this case moreso because of its size. After a while I got used to the idea that this swinging pad was mine. Then my roommate arrived and started making the place her own, which is a good thing because I’m sure I wouldn’t know what to do with it. One of my favorite things about moving is that it's a chance to put different pieces of the city that I already know, but in an isolated sort of way, together in my head. Not sure if that makes sense but basically, I have an intimate picture of say, Clark and Foster in my head, same for Lawrence and Western, but walking from the former corner to the latter, puts the city together for me in a way that I never have before. And that's cool.

Many merry days would seem to be ahead except that we apparently have an Adversary, in the form of a crotchety old neighbor. At about midnight on Saturday, I had a couple of mates, Rob and Henry, over, along with my roommate Reina, the four of us were having a grand old time when the elderly man banged on the door to complain of noise. Four people talking. On a Saturday night. If that’s too noisy, I anticipate the future will be rife with trouble. This was bad enough but on Sunday night at 10:48, he returned to make the same complaint, this time it was just me and Reina. This is not to be tolerated.

I assumed I was moving into a youthful neighborhood but I should have known the Man would send his evil agents to keep tabs on me to prevent my brilliant, witty conversations with my friends from becoming a threat to His precious System. If I should die in the fight to be free, where the fighting is hardest, there will I be…

Activision has only one scene to go…I hope it comes tonight…

Thursday, May 5, 2005

can't escape

A little bit more about Shakespeare. My roommate is producing and directing audio recordings of Antony and Cleopatra and Much Ado About Nothing as what I gather is some sort of tutorial exercise for a high school academic competition. Anyway, she held callbacks in our apartment on Tuesday night. And my living room was filled with actors, some of whom I knew and others whom I didn’t. It was a bit surreal but very exciting. I always had hopes the apartment would become a performance arts hotspot.

Folks have requested the info on the Big Mac Show’s performances, here it is:

Absolute Big Mac Show
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8
Sundays at 7
Breadline Theatre
1801 W. Berenice
$10 on Thursdays and Sundays with “Proof of industry” E.G. headshot, resume

I think the Thursday and Friday of the third weekend might be a bad time to come because the understudies will be performing those nights. No disrespect to them, who are all great, especially the excellent Kelly Hoogenaker, who will play Lady Macbeth those nights (and has recently become a reader of the page so obviously I shouldn’t be dissing the readership) but you’ll miss the notorious Bobby Z as Macduff and you don’t want to do that.

Just came back from my weekly “Power Lunch” downtown with my high school/college mates, Marc, Eamon and Rob. Always invigorating but it never makes me enthusiastic to come back to the office. It was actually the second power lunch of the week as yesterday, Eamon couldn’t make it and was coincidentally (because he happened to be in the Executive Antechamber of the Jimmy John’s) replaced by Fighting Fritz Wilson, the insurance industry’s most fearsome young defense attorney. High powered young executives like us are always on the go, adapting to the changing needs of our clients and such, so the substitution flowed perfectly.

An important idea that came out of the Power Lunch institution recently followed the realization that neither Marc, Eamon, Rob or myself have ever fired a gun. We’ve been too sheltered by our comfortable, white, middle class, “blue state” lifestyles and the time has come to change that, because we want to Shoot Some Stuff. Most importantly, we want to be prepared for the possibility of a zombie attack, which will require the firing of shotguns. When zombies attack, we’re not going to be able to stop them by firing regular guns. We need shotguns. And people who know how to fire them. How likely is it that Americans will soon be attacked by zombies? In my judgement, *any* possibility is too much. I feel we should use the same reasoning towards potential zombie attacks that the Bush administration used towards the possibility that Iraqi nuclear weapons were going to vaporize the Eastern Seaboard. It may not be an “imminent threat” but it is a “grave and gathering” danger, and we cannot afford not to act. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why my friends and I will be arming ourselves with shotguns soon. So you can rest easier about the zombies.

Today is apparently Cinco De Mayo. I love Cinco De Mayo, Marc and I have longstanding plans going back just about ten years to create an animated special about children exploring the True Meaning of Cinco De Mayo. It helps that we’re not exactly clear on what that true meaning is, and please don’t try to tell me! I want to keep my quest for its meaning pure. My friend Twinters says some receptionist at her office (named Hoffman) complains about the office having a Cinco De Mayo party and thinks they should give equal time to Oktoberfest. I’ve always found white people whining when minorities get to celebrate things pretty damn obnoxious. “When ruling the world just isn’t enough…” I remember hearing white people (not even my uncle Gerald) complain about kids getting MLK Day off from school (I think I was the kid in question at the time) and we didn’t get, like, St. Patrick’s Day off. To me, thinking of Martin Luther King’s birthday as some sort of “black” holiday comparable to an ethnic feast day rather spectacularly misses the whole point of, well, Martin Luther King but I started thinking about it more and more today. The respective accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr. and Saint Patrick aren’t really that different. I mean, MLK chased all the snakes out of Birmingham, Alabama didn’t he?

Think about it.

Don’t actually.

Monday, May 2, 2005

A little Will and a lot of Douglas

The Big Mac show opened this weekend. As tired of the show as I’ve sometimes gotten, I had a rousing good time performing it. I think the mental health sick day I took from work on Tuesday helped. Friday night was particularly great, followed as it was by the posh wine and cheese gala the company hosted. For fifty bucks a ticket. I always wanted to do Les Mis…

Saturday night I went to a midnight showing of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy movie. I’ve been a huge Douglas Adams fan since late childhood, as were my two companions and we were all fairly pleased. It was a strange beast in many ways. Adams himself always said each incarnation of his mythos was complete different from all the others, which is fine with me, as it made the movie wonderfully familiar and also very new. Can’t imagine what a non-fan would make of it though. The single funniest bit, which is not from the books, was probably Ford whacking the terrified Vogons with a towel as they cried “Run! He has a towel!” yet the towel significance is never explained anywhere in the movie. Visually the movie was great, I loved the fact that Henson creatures got in on the action. And Warwick Davis! It’s like the ‘80s! Which I mean in a very good way. The casting was also great, Martin Freeman, Bil Nighy and Alan Rickman were all perfect, and not coincidentally British. The Americans were just fine too, although Zooey Deschaniel probably transcended “just fine”. The 40 year old virgin demographic might not like the conventional, happy love story between Arthur and Trillian but I did, it’s what I always *wanted* to happen in the books. Whenever people talk about having had crushes on fictional characters rendered only in prose, Trillian has always been at the top of my list. Adams supposedly wanted the happy love story, and I’m glad it was there. Okay, the line “The only important question is: is she the one, and the answer is yes, it’s not bloody 42” made me cringe a bit, but somehow it made me smile too.

One of my friends complained that they did a too typically Hollywood “arc” of character development for Arthur, where he Learns to Take Risks and Be His Own Man or something like that, which is probably accurate but Freeman is so damn charming I didn’t care much.

I could go on, I really could, but I probably won’t. You know what I really want though? For Douglas Adams to be alive. That would be awesome. I wonder if he’s writing another book in the Afterlife. He was a very strident atheist who violently disdained the idea of an Afterlife. If there turns out to be one, I imagine he would say something really hilarious about it.

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