Thursday, February 28, 2008

My apologies....

I just sat down and overheard a businesswoman on her cell phone telling someone on the other end that "I'm going to do whatever I can to get local, regional, and international coverage and if that offends you I'M SORRY!"

I knew she was a businesswoman because of her terse tone of voice and because of such business keywords as "coverage" and "whatever."

What struck me was the "I'm Sorry." I thought to myself, "She's not really sorry at all."

Apologizing is very hard. I'm not the best at it myself. But many times I have recognized the importance of putting my own pride on the line to say full out "I'm sorry. I was wrong."

So often we want to say "I'm sorry, but!" or the accusatory "I'm sorry that you feel this way." Those are false apologies. Ellen DeGeneres does a bit about that in one of her stand-up routines. The eye-rolling "SO-rry" that people pull out when someone was offended cuz they can't take a stupid joke.

Looking at the way our "politic news" people in this country offend different groups on a daily basis, maybe we should take stock and really consider the humbling effects of taking the time to truly apologies to those we hurt.

And if you disagree....SO-rry!

Monday, February 25, 2008


What else is this blog other than a cheap plug, right?

Here's some reviews that will probably persuade none of you to come see the show. But in case they might....

The LA TIMES lists us as Recommended! saying, "it's difficult to bemoan such a criminally satisfying escapist treat," and calls the cast "expert; fine-tuned; priceless; appealing; hilarious; and scene-stealing." (gee they must write for the oscars.)

VARIETY writes that "[DeeDee] Rescher and [Tom] Shelton handle the broadest comedy assignments with variety and panache, while young lovers Ryback and [Traci] Crouch transcend cliche to achieve some poignancy as their dilemmas deepen."

And then the OC WEEKLY said, "...not to imply the play doesn't work—just not as effectively as it wants to...But don't blame this production...The six-person cast is uniformly excellent"

So there you are.

Time to unplug.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hello Gorgeous!

There's no denying it. I love the Oscars. It doesn't matter how lame the host is or how many akward moments there are. I will always love them.

I especially love the Oscars when they get it right.

And of course by "right" I mean what I consider to be right. Which is sometimes wrong.

But I think overall it was a fair night.

After this writer's strike though...why were the intros still so poorly written? And on top of that poorly spoken? These people look like they're going to crap their pants. Why does every award introduction have to begin with "Since the beginning of time..." or just one-word sentences like "Courage. Dedication. Commitment. Botox. These are the makings of this year's Best Actress Nominees...." Come on people. Let's get up there and say something normal.

Poor John Stewart. I don't think he's going to get asked back again. I love him. He's funny and in my book he can do no wrong. But all things considered, he was lame this year.

The Cohen brothers aside it was quite a year for the Europeans, particularly the French. The oscars seem more and more dominated by the Europeans. I can't quite tell if this is a good or bad thing. Or why.

Anyway. Until next year....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Fruits of Boredom

Clearly I'm bored.
I have just "Revamped" the look of this blog.
To be honest, I'm not sure it was ever "vamped" in the first place.

But instead of preparing for what it is I'm really supposed to be doing today, I've decided to procrastinate and change my blog.
The other version was too dark, don't you think?
This one might be too bright.
Oh, Goldilocks where are you when I need you??

Having blogged about not being good about taking pictures, I've attempted to make a change about that and take more pictures in my life. (Wow...something good HAS come of this blog!)

So here are some "backstage" "behind the scenes" "in the dressing room" shots from the show.


(not really, I just thought it'd be cool to write that.)

(l-r) Tom Shelton, Brendan "What Show Are We Doing Tonight?" Ford

BT's "I'm Ready for Atonement 2!" Look

DeeDee Rescher shows me some loving.

The Cast on Opening Night, post-Hello Dolly descent down Spiral Staircase
(l-r) Kirsten Potter, Brendan Ford, Tom Shelton, DeeDee Rescher, BT, Traci Crouch

Monday, February 18, 2008

My New Buddy

I haven't met him yet. But he's cute, cuddly, and finally no longer looks like a small fuzzy pile of poop.

He's the newest addition to the Family (which contains 2 children and 6...count 'em 6! labrador retrievers. 5 chocolates, 1 yellow.). The sole survivor of a litter of 3 (sad, right? Nature sucks!)

And his name is Buddy.
Look at him vogue!

Wild Things

I just watched my screener of Sean Penn's Into the Wild last night. I say "screener" because I'm in the "biz" and it helps makes me feel special and important.

Also, given my TODAY-show-induced health food kick, I was intrested in the "Into The Wild" Diet that must surely be sweeping the nation - you know, squirrel, moose, starvation, poisonous berries. Nothing'll emaciate you quicker than a good bowl of poisonous berries.

I thought it was a fascinating story and very engaging as far as "epic movies" go. I thought that McCandless (played by the, if nothing else, appropriately cast Emile Hirsch) was presented with a very neutral point-of-view. It's tempting, I think, to portray characters who, following their hearts, shun society and run away to live off the land as heroic or exemplary of the lives we all wish we could lead, if only we had the time and the naivetee. But Penn doesn't take that approach. McCandless sticks to his principles for better or for worse, even while the entire rest of the cast tries to persuade him otherwise. And sometimes you disagree with them, and sometimes you don't.

Do I want to live in an abandoned bus in the middle of Fairbanks Alaska? Sometimes, yes. But then I get a text message about a really funny website online and it makes me giddy. Happiness Only Real When Shared (By millions of Random Anonymous People.)

Here's the rub.
The film is getting a lot of attention because of the songs written by Peral Jam-er Eddie Vedder, who also co-wrote the score, both of which recieved Golden Globe nods, the former winning.
These songs are great. Very pleasant. Probably lyrically appropriate (if I had the time to listen to the lyrics, which usually are not the focus during a film.) But special? Golden-Globe-worthy?
I wouldn't care so much if also in the Best Score Category was fellow rock-musician turned movie-composer, the Radiohead-ed Jonny Greenwood, who's score to There Will Be Blood is appropriately Blood-curdling.

Apparently Mr. Oscar has snubbed them both.
Ah, well. Michael Clayton, you're next.
6 days and counting.

Sugar is Sweet, But Not My Coffee

I was watching the TODAY show today - (Coincidence? You decide!) - and there was a segment about Howard Dinowitz. Howard Dinowitz used to weigh 388 pounds and looked like this. Now he weighs 170 and looks like this.

Now, I do not weigh 388 pounds. I don't, in fact, even weigh 170 pounds. But like most normal people, I tend to think I can stand to shed a few pounds. Particulary that "around the belly layer of fat" that glows bright red in those weight-loss pill commercials. Thankfully, mine has not reached the glowing stage.....yet.

Howard apparently used to gorge on tons of fatty foods during his after-work commute. Instead, Today Show Fitness Guru Joy Bauer suggested chewing on sugar-free gum in the car.

"I chew gum in the car," I thought to myself, as though I were providing the Voice-Over for my own thoguht process a la The Wonder Years, "and I'll be damned if it's not sugarfree!"

It was Dinowitz's assertion that in order to take control of our weight we must take control of our habits - bad or otherwise. So here I am, sitting down at Panera Bread in Laguna Hills to work on the internet (they don't give us any at our apartments), and I stop to think about what I normally put in my coffee - two packets of sugar and a good deal of milk/cream/or half-and-half. I decide to take control of this habit and instead of sugar, I bravely put in two packets of Splenda.

Look, I was one of those kids who ate sugar cubes. I love me some sugar and I have never trusted sugar substitues, mostly because, unlike sugar, you cannot lick your finger, stick it in a pile of sugar-substitute, lick it, and walk away fully satisfied. It cannot be done!

So here I was, putting Splenda in my coffee. And does it taste like processed, diet-coke flavored coffee? Yes. Do I feel better about myself for taking control of my habit and choosing something with less caloric effect on my body? I'm not sure.

Frankly, I just feel like the TODAY show has just micromanaged my life, and I'm slightly angry, but mostly embarassed.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Can't We All Just Get Along? (Part Two)

This is the more serious part.

The LA Times today reports that 14-year-old Brandon McInerney is being charged as an adult in a premeditated hate crime against 15-year-old classmate Lawrence King in Ventura County.

McInerney shot King in the head this past Tuesday allegedly because King had recently "started to wear makeup and jewelry and had proclaimed himself gay."

On the news last night, the Defending attorney, Brian Vogel, was trying to appeal the court's decision to try McInerney as an adult. He had turned 14 (the legal cut-off age) only three weeks ago. "If this crime had happened three weeks ago," Vogel maintains, "this case would be in juvenile court."

Well, sure. Okay. Legally, yes. I guess if you want to look at it that way it almost makes McInerney's crime not the fact that he killed a boy, but rather that he killed a boy three weeks too late.

But this boy killed someone on purpose. Regardless of the fact of WHY (because really does it even matter why?). Why should our punishment of premeditated killing differ from old person to young person? The same terrible logic is at work - someone felt that he had the power to decide whether another human should live or die at his descretion. That's just not okay!

I'm glad the Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Maeve Fox has decided to try him as an adult, and I'm glad they've acted so swiftly in the prosecution of McInerney for both murder and a hate crime. This type of bad choice cannot be let go with a smack on the wrist. We have to be a society that says, "No. This is wrong, and no matter who you are you will be punished to the full extent of the law."

'Cause maybe somewhere, somehow, some other 14 year old kid who doesn't like his gay classmate will see that and say, "Maybe it's better if we just try to get along instead."

Can't We All Just Get Along? (Part One)

According to CNN (and everyone else) Clinton has upped the Obama-bashing, reportedly going after his failure to take on special interests, his failure to deliver on his promises, and his failure to...well, fail. I'm slightly struck by the irony of her accusations saying "Speeches don't put food on the table. Speeches don't fill up your tank. Speeches ain't nothin' but hoes and tricks" - all while giving a speech.

Poor Hillary. This smacks of utter desperation. And Obama's spokesman, Bill Burton, is right: this is "exactly what everyone else in America is tired of." CNN doesn't believe that, though. Their video clip is entitled "Watch Clinton Attack Obama" - as though I'm going to click on it and see the two of them go at it in the savannahs of Africa.

I like the Clintons. But Hillary always seemed poised to pounce...something behind the smile, I guess. It sort of reminded me of when Bush and Kerry debated and Kerry was stoic and calm (afterall he's made of stone...) and Bush kept pacing like at any moment he was going to leap over his podium and punch Kerry in the face.

Thankfully, Obama seems able to keep it classy, which is one of the things I've always enjoyed about him. Why can't she do the same? Is it really so hard? Maybe I'm asking too much. After all, I'm the guy who cried at the end of Ratatouille.*

*Okay, in my defense, I was sleep-deprived on a plane leaving Paris, so it brought back some really wonderful memories, and come on! that monologue at the end delivered by Peter O'Toole is absolutely beautiful!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Intellectual Love

This is something I meant to blog about earlier in the week, but being as I am in previews for Red Herring, I wasn't able to get aroud to it until now. Of course, today is Valentine's Day so I feel as though I should blog about that. But I don't want to.

I guess a compromise would be to blog about the first thing as though it were my Valentine. Here goes.

Dear Los Angeles Times Opinion/Book Review Section,

I love you. You are probably my favorite section of the paper. So cleverly designed to stir my thoughts and inform me of the opinions of others. When I feel all turned upside down, all it means is I've reached the end of one section and the beginning of another.

Last Sunday, you were particularly good. In your Book Review section, you reviewed The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby, which discusses how today's American culture appears anti-intellectual. In it, she mentioned how the post-war era of self-betterment, secularization, and devotion to the high arts has gone the way of the dodo. We are now in the midst of an age of religious zealotry, low-brow entertainment, and utter complacency.

Then, lovely as you are, in your Opinion section you had an article about Nancy Pelosi turning the House cafeteria "green" - that is with free-range, healthy food instead of the calorie-infested processed crap we Americans really want. In this idyllic eaterie there are even numerous recycling stations on the perimeter, which are promptly ignored. Charlotte Allen, the opinionator here, laments this turn for the Democrats becoming the "party of the elite and the trendy." Trendy? Saving the environment? Bettering one's self? Hmm...sounds like the work of the intellectuals. And Ms. Allen might do herself some good by turning the Opinion section upside down and reading the book review.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Last Two

I'm a little confused about the attention the movie JUNO is getting. I saw it. It was entertaining. Falls nicely in that "off-beat comedy" section of the video store in my mind.

Did it bother anyone else that all the characters talk the same? With some quirky zinger at the end of their lines. Ms. Diablo Cody, I feel like we've already met. Fo shizz.

Here's what bugs.
I'm reading this week's issue of Entertainment Weekly, which features a very not 16-year-old Ellen Page (admittedly adorable in the film, but again...very NOT 16.) on the cover. I'm excited about the article. I wanted to like this film a lot. And I want it to do well. Despite my thoughts about the amateur-ish writing style. Really, I do! Pinky swear!

And then this.
Helmer Jason Reitman has the gall to "note wryly that he had to travel all the way to Canada (where both Page and [Michael] Cera were born) to find the last unspoiled young actors left on earth."


All of the Planet Earth.

For all purposes, the known universe. Page and Cera. The last two.

So, yeah. Broad-sweeping statements aside, that's a dumbass thing to say Mr. Reitman. And I wish very much that you and I could meet. Perhaps we could get together with some of my friends as well. I'd hate to have you think Ellen and Michael were some kind of dying breed.

Now that I have that off my chest, let me just say that someone should give Michael Cera an oscar. Thank you.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


For my birthday last year, my friend Kelsey gave me a travel journal. At the time I hadn't planned any trip just yet. I promised myself that if I booked a certain job I would travel to Europe.

For the next three months, before I found out about the job, I experienced an intense case of Wanderlust (such a wonderful word.) I would plan imaginary trips and itineraries and go through all the steps of booking a flight except for that last one.

And then, in time, I booked the job and then the flight.

I've always considered myself a "burrower." That is to say that when I go to a place I tend to like to settle down and make it my own. My roommate has always been more of a traveler than me. But once you catch a bout of Wanderlust it seems to be chronic. And its truly a magical sensation. You begin to realize the enormity of the Earth, the seemingly infinite possibilities, and the idea of having a real adventure. Or I did, anyway.

And now, as I sit in a rehearsal room in Laguna Beach, I'm coming down with another bad case of Wanderlust. And I've just (nearly) booked a flight to Sydney, Ecuador, Italy, and Japan.


Picture This!

I'm a terrible picture taker.

Not to say that I take bad pictures. I just always forget to take them period.

So other than what others have given me, I have very few records of friends, significant others, pets, family, etc. I've never even bought a digital camera. I'm using one given to me by my roommate cuz it was "out of date."

I went to Europe and took about twenty pictures of buildings. And then my camera battery died after three days in Paris.

So five days later, when I moved on to London, I finally bought a disposal camera (so happy to find they still exist...I wasn't sure if they did.) and proceeded to take like ten more pictures. Of buildings.

So I'm happy that someone decided to document a cast bonding night of Red Herring.

And for posterity's sake, I'm posting some here.


"Food!" (l-r) Traci Crouch, Becky Something-or-Other, Tom Shelton, Kirsten Potter, Vernon Willet, BT

Traci, Kirsten, BT, Brendan Ford, Becky, Vernon

"Brendan Rocks Out"

"BT poses so as to suggest that he, too, is rocking out"

"Girls!" Traci, DeeDee Rescher, Kirsten, unseen bottle of booze being reached for by Kirsten.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


The donut bit has been cut.

Er...well, simplified.


A word on my friend Ben Taylor.

I thought to myself as I drove home yesterday that Ben is mentioned once or twice in Alan Bennett's diaries, which (more incidentally than not) puts him among the likes of Maggie Smith, Alec Guinness, and Peter Cook.

Primarily a director of music videos, Ben happened to be working on (what?) something at the National when Nick Hytner brought him on to do video scene changes for The History Boys. Subsequently, Ben has filmed those changes for every National Theatre-produced production of THB since, including ours in LA.

Originally from Yorkshire/Australia/Somewhere else, i think...Ben is quite the character. A pub kinda guy, with a vocabulary and a way for words that would make an English professor swoon. And then on top of that, the sweetest, most put together film director you'll ever meet.

Check out his work.

It's "wicked, wicked."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Fat Tuesday

I'm always interested when certain seemingly-polarized dates coincide. Like a couple years ago when Christmas landed on the first day of Channukah (or was it the last day?).

Today is both Super Tuesday and Mardi Gras - primary elections and excessive indulgence; democracy and capitalism.

I voted today, and I am proud to say it. Politics are funny. People are often so shy about discussing it because we get touchy about our decisions. People evangelize for their candidates the same way others do for their religions. I suppose we all want to be right in case doomsday hits and we're stuck with this guy (or gal) for a while. So much for seperation of church and state.

I heard something on NPR today that worried me. A feature on the low sales of political books attributed past inflation of sales to George Bush saying whether you were for or against the man, it was worth reading about politics. Now that he's on his way out, the reporter called him essentially "an irrelevance."

I've thought about this before. Something that I would not like to see happen is that when Bush leaves office, he goes the way of other ex-Presidents - they slip away, become loveable old peacemakers, and are basically forgiven all their sins.

This doesn't seem entirely fair, though. Bush and his administration have really screwed things up for this country. Someone needs to hold him accountable. Why should we suddenly be okay with him once he's no longer ruining the place? I'm not sure forget and forgive is the best policy here. He should be punished.

Do we still banish people? That seems a fitting fate. Yes. Banishment.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Passing it on

This past November and December I had the distinct pleasure and honor of performing in Alan Bennett's The History Boys at the Ahmanson Theatre in LA. Immediately after I took a trip to London (my thoughts about the city worth their own post). On Christmas Eve, after I hiked around Parliament Hill in the Northwest part of London, I walked down into the town of Hamstead and bought Bennett's most recent memoir Untold Stories. Paul Miller, the director of HB, had played excerpts of Bennett reading his diary entries from the book. It had subsequently been recommended to me by friends of the author, no less.

I fancy myself a reader, well-read even. I've enjoyed a lot of books, but rarely have I found a connection in a singular author. Anyone who knows me knows how much I like Carl Sagan and his writings and ideas. This is chiefly because, I think, he writes like an uncle - warmly, intelligently, and with that spark of mischief and imagination that keeps you wanting more.

But Bennett...

In reading his book, I've met someone who is flawed the same way I am flawed. And yet rises above it through his art. Intelligent, witty, and yet awkard and unsure - the memoir is a wonderful self-protrait of someone saying, "I don't know quite what I did...but here it is."

A line from the History Boys finds itself in many places throughout this book, having its genesis, I believe, in a speech about painting oddly enough. It has never rang more true to me.

"The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours."

Saturday, February 2, 2008

It's a Helluva Web!

I'm very interested in this new webisode phenomenon. It's a point of contention with the current writer's strike, and well it should be. I've auditioned for a few of these types of shows with no guarantee of pay or anything since there's no current SAG agreement; and yet webisodes are clearly the wave of the future.

On shows like The Office, Arrested Development , or Slings and Arrows, etc. we see professionals imitating amateurs. I always prefer this to actual amateur work. Its funny watching professionals pretend to be amateurs; its generally disappointing watching the reverse.

Production quality means a lot in my book. Shows like Quarterlife or Clark and Michael score high in this department. But cleverness also bodes well, such as on Funny or Die.

A new webisode that premiered this past thursday features a lot of promise in all these categories.

The Battery's Down (as in..."the bronx is up and...")is a humorous look at a young (gay?) actor in New York making his way through career and life. However self-promoting it may be, it has a lot of charm and also shows off some great new talent in musical theatre songwriting (Theme by Pasek and Paul; first episode song "This Is Your Life" by my collaborator Ryan Scott Oliver and Kirsten Guenther.)

Lots of points for creativity. Love the bit about the clown. Random, yet committed.

Its not a perfect show, but, as I said, promising.

Now if only I can get in touch with the producers...