Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Oh, Grow-up and Laugh!

I sometimes wish I could be as cool as my friend Tony, who watches many different news programs ("cool?" you ask) including the ones that FOX calls news programs, but are really people yelling about how much they hate liberals.

Alas, I don't watch those shows. I get most of my news from antiquated sources: the LA Times, NPR, sometimes (I'm aware of the liberal nature of all these news sources, and no I don't have a problem with that.)

The news is often hard to bear. There's a lot of scary stuff out there. We're in a quagmire of a war in Iraq, we're in a quagmire of an economy, we're in a quagmire of a democratic primary. So often to get my news with a dose of laughter, I turn to Jon Stewart.

I've been made fun of for this, I know. I get why. It's a comedy show. I understand. But in the midst of being funny it is also extremely informative and, especially given recent interviews and events surrounding the show (Jon on Crossfire, Jon interviewing McCain in 2006, etc.) its easy to see how Stewart is not afraid to push hard questions, talk about interesting and important topics, and also be frank about his own feelings. And then, when that gets too uncomfortable, tell a joke. Cracking jokes when the news gets uncomfortable - that's what I want Jon Stewart to do.

Not our president.

Thank god for people in the media who will talk to us like adults.

A Life Examined

Hello Blogosphere friends. Yes, that's right, I'm talking to all 3 of you.

Life has been crazy lately.
I finished a job out of town.
During which time I had to look for a new place to live.
During which time I also had to drive all over L.A. going to a myriad of auditions.
During which time I actually booked a job.
During which time I actually went to the wrong location and had to forfeit a job I very easily could have booked.

It can't be said I lead an uneventful life.
It's scary, it's insane, and then on the flip side it's incredibly rewarding and challenging and educational.

Someone recently said to me, "I could never be an actor. I really admire you guys."
And then the apparition disappeared.

No seriously, someone told me that. I looked at her like she was crazy. But then I thought about it a bit. As hard as my life gets (and anyone else's is just as hard if not harder) when everything works out and I get to be doing what I love to be doing, it's a very magical, lucky, and sweet event - I'm describing the situation here, not my acting ability...which is also magical and sweet, but anyway -

So I guess there is something admirable in that.
Unless I end up homeless in two weeks.
Then it's just crappy.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Haiku 1

After calling friends
who never answer their phones,
I drive home lonely.

Passing it On...

I've been behind on my own blogging.
But my friend Tony hasn't.

check this out.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

From One Brett to Another

When I was 9 years old, I was in a play production of WINNIE THE POOH, in which I played Christopher Robin. My colleague Bill Tyson played Winnie in a big Pooh suit, and I owned a picutre of the two of us on stage in costume.

My dad, who is a football coach at Pewaukee High School, had a friend who worked with the Green Bay Packers at the time. I don't even remember what he did. But it was 1993, and just the year before, the Pack had secured a young quarterback, with whom I shared a first name.

I was never a true follower of football, but my dad knew that this kid was going to be a star (something, he always thought and still thinks about me). So, he asked his friend for a favor. He asked for an autographed picture of Favre for his son. In exchange, he gave him a picture of me with a man in a big Bear suit, on which, in third-grader handwriting, was scribbled, "From one Brett to another - all the way to the superbowl."

I don't know if this is true or not...but my dad's friend swore that Favre kept that picture on his locker for the entirety of that season.

We'll miss ya, Brett.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Big Meal for Thought

One of my New Year's resolutions was to become more politically conscious, and I'm proud to say I feel as though I have.

I came across some SNL-related back and forth about Hillary and Obama which got me thinking about a bunch of things.

Obama preaches a message of hope and change. The 'change' element reminds me of a children's piece I co-wrote in which a political party campaigns for a non-specific "change". I wonder if there isn't a democratic nation in the world in which a new candidate obliquely promoting change wouldn't be able to gather plenty of support. "Change", it seems, always has the conotation of "embetterment," and that's something that most people want. Obviously any of the candidates, if elected, would bring some degree of change.

But what Obama wants to change is not just what is being done, but also how it is being done. The system is flawed and though Sen. Clinton (and maybe even McCain) would doubtless do good for this country, she would do it within and by means of a flawed system of politics, one that I agree must change.

Obama's professional history reminds me a bit of my dad's personal history.

Growing up, whenever I did something bad or disrespectful, my dad would say "I never did that when I was a kid." After a while, I began doubting that he ever could have been such a golden child. So I asked my grandma, who confirmed his stories. "No," she told me, "your dad was pretty much a good kid." Well, I was stuck. I was held to the same impeccable standard at which my father lived his life, which was impossible, yes, but overall encouraging. Had my father been more slack as a child, I too would probably have not felt guilty about doing worse things. And the fact is, my father is still the honorable, respectful "golden child" he was in his youth. Generally, good people remain good people. Generally.

This is why I buy into Obama's rhetoric about the war in Iraq, about the way he runs a clean campaign, and why I don't buy those who say, "Sure, but once he gets into office, it'll just be politics as usual." It has never been politics as usual with him, so why should it ever be?

Finally, I hate to make this analogy (recovering Catholic as I am) but it occured to me today that religious conservatives might get something out of this argument (assuming, quite generously, of course, that religious conservatives are logical and intelligent people...) -- either that or they'll think this blasphemy:

There was another prominent, young figure who sought to change the system - who preached a message of hope, peace, and prosperity for the poorest among us. He was an outsider, a hippy, but also a popular "rockstar" of his day. And the system he fought against crucified him because of it. The same type of system that is now being run by his supposed "followers."

Anyway. Food for thought.

[Title of Post]

My good friend Alex Brightman is a self-proclaimed “title snob” (actual title paraphrased). Being in the world of Theatre – often of the Musical persuasion - he encounters things like programs and original Broadway cast recordings. In these instances, it is the job of the title to give the listener an expectation. Often a song-title will be clever or witty…but usually only if those songs are called “Clever” or “Witty.”
A title wants to give some information, but leave enough mystery so that an audience member wants to hear more.

The same goes for any title-bearing works: books, movies, plays, businessmen. If I hear “Guy Who Organizes All the Companies Assets in Places Other Than the United States and Canada,” that’s neither clever nor witty, and you’ve given me too much information. But if I heard “Global Operations Director”, I want to know more. Okay, so the analogy doesn’t really work.

Here’s why I care.
There’s a movie coming out based on a book about Anne Boleyn and her sister.
“But wait,” you think to yourself, “I watch The Tudors on Showtime…I don’t remember Anne Boleyn having a sister!”
But she did. In fact, you could think of it this way: Anne was one Boleyn girl, and her sister was “The Other Boleyn Girl.” But you would be unimaginative. You would also be the author of the book “The Other Boleyn Girl”, upon which the movie, “The Other Boleyn Girl,” is based.

It makes the main character sound like the way most people probably think of Mary Boleyn, as that historical figure that no one really cares to remember, cuz she’s not really that important anyway. But this is your TITLE figure! Maybe if it was The REAL Boleyn Girl, or The FIRST Boleyn girl, then I’m intrigued. I want to know more.

But no. She’s just…you know…the other one.

Apparently the critics agree.