Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I'm not a big fan of succotash (it's the lima beans. blech.) but if you did a CAT scan of my brain right now, sweartogod, you would see succotash.

I'm scattered. And that doesn't cover it.

A few items to mention: we finally saw Milk and we watched the documentary The Life and Times of Harvey Milk the night before. Sean Penn and the cast were able to accurately portray the characters (almost eerily spot on) without being imitative or wooden. Incredible performances. This is an activity that I usually avoid: watching an entire movie knowing that the whole thing ends in tragedy. I am a cinematic wimp. But we went anyway. The movie did what good movies do: it engaged me and drew me to the characters...humanizing even Dan White, who murders Harvey Milk in the end. It made me cry. (Which seems to be this month's theme song.) I hope my family will see the movie. Maybe when I go visit them I can talk them into going. (Not easy. As it involves 1) spending money 2) "wasting" 3 hours 3) sitting still and focusing.) There is power in understanding any political/cultural struggle. The abuse that was considered routine 30 years ago is chilling to watch today. Just like the Prop 8 struggle will be 30 years from now. I hope.

Last night we attended the reading of our dear friend Eric's play, Stop, Traveler at Stages. It was enjoyable and difficult because after the reading there was a critique of sorts with the audience. Led by a dramaturgist. No, seriously, the guy running the thing asked if there was anyone trained in dramaturgy in the audience. It's not a new word (meaning: the craft or the techniques of dramatic composition) but neither is drammock (meaning: an uncooked mixture of meal, usually oatmeal, and cold water) but I wouldn't make the assumption that everyone knew the word–even among foodies, the latter is likely to draw blank stares. Community jargon can be so insular. Remind me of that next time I'm waxing poetic about typefaces.

Eric's play is good. About a third of the criticisms were worth hearing, though not all the suggestions would be worth taking. Being the focus of such a critique is daunting. I am impressed that he voluntarily goes through this process repeatedly. If your craft involves presentation to an audience and you want to hone it, I suppose it is necessary. Other artists can create their sculpture, paintings or stories in solitary style and care far less what the general population thinks than a playwright who needs an audience to complete his work. However, good feedback is valuable for the most hermetically sealed artist. The "good" qualifier is the hard part. There were a couple of wingnuts in the audience (it was a free reading, after all) who were stunning in their idiocy.

1 comment:

StevensVox said...

Mr. E and I did the same thing; we rewatched 'The Life and times of harvey Milk' and them went to see 'Milk'.
I won't even try to describe it, but few movies actually make me feel proud to be a gay man and want to walk the Pride parade in this skinking armpit of Texas during June.
Also Mr. E has bigger balls than I do, because I was just in the crowd and I was stressed out from those idiots.
And on that note I only have one thing to say:
'Your Mama is a one act play!'