An Orange in the Snow

Jeans, socks, shirt, shirt, sweater, jacket, hat.

Boots.

Lace.

Open door. Trudge. Slip/ catch. Grumble.

What’s that? Over there. Is that a…?

It’s orange. It’s round. It’s an orange on the ground. In the snow?

In the street.

It’s ripe. It’s good. There’s another and another and one more.

What the hell?

Where am I? I’m in Minnesota. It’s 26 degrees and I’m holding a fruit of the womb.

A fruit of the homeland, taken for granted, now held sacred. And close.

Out of place, lost, and freezing to death. It came from a truck, I came from a plane.

We’ve traveled far, together we’re here, missing that southern land that bore us from the sand. So far away. So warm.

An orange in the snow is a frog in a pot on a stove. Comfortably numb, painfully unawares. It must be saved by someone who knows, who cares.

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Cultivating an Audience in the Theatre

To be able to bring true, honest-to-goodness live theatre to people not normally exposed to it is something I feel very strongly about. And I’m specifically talking about targeting younger people. Why? Well, I myself am young and I can tell you that there does not exist a deep rooted culture of theatre.

It’s not a secret that most patrons of theatre are old and rich and (literally) dying off. Our audiences are dying so you see initiatives at almost every theatre worth its salt developing outreach programs to schools and children in general. Whether that’s taking plays to them or inviting them your domain as a field trip. The idea is simply to indoctrinate those impressionable minds in the ways of live entertainment so when they grow up they can be the next generation of patrons. But how can we get this same demographic to come see a play outside of school? To make them think about going to the theatre the same they would about the movies or actually, a music concert (which they do all the time!). Is it price? Yes, that makes sense. How do you make an inherently expensive thing affordable to a teenager? I’m always racking my brain for a solution beyond student discount prices which are still super expensive. Another point, and which I think is the root, is the lack of name recognition. Movies have the advantage of playing everywhere at once so advertising is on a literal global scale, the same with music concerts. But theatre is specific to a city, or a town. A single area code. You can’t have a national commercial on the Super Bowl to plug Noises Off at the Guthrie Theater. I mean, you could, and that would be awesome, but a complete waste of time. Also, even if it could work, nobody outside of theatre as even heard of Noises Off so how do you market that? I want to come up with a system that advertises and promotes plays like movies and TV, directed at teenagers, so they can start seeing the art forms as basically the same thing. Which they are. Basically.

And I really do think it goes beyond just more “advertising”. A billboard isn’t going to cut it, because again, nobody’s going to know the name of the show or the actors in it, as opposed to a billboard of American Sniper with Bradley Cooper.

I think the theatre needs boots on the ground. I think if all the theaters within a defined area, and I mean community, high school, college, and professional mobilized and went into classrooms or parks or town squares and engaged the community in the upcoming season then that would galvanize potential patrons more than a stack of postcards left behind on the counter of a Chipotle. And I also don’t mean “doing a show” for these people- you have to go beyond that. Have games, t-shirt guns, raffles, essentially sell your soul a little bit in order to appease the masses. People are easy to please, just give ’em what they want. And along those lines, be willing to have raucous crowds a la Elizabethan Times. Maybe sell a night where you promote food and alcohol while the show is happening. Promote a night where catcalling and hooting and hissing are all encouraged. The unique thing about theatre is that it’s live, right? So let’s really capitalize on the thing that sets it apart from the pack.

I know, I know, a lot of directors and producers just had a heart attack with the above idea but come on. For one night of cleaning up spilled beer, you could have just opened up the minds of some bros and get them hooked. And bros become lawyers, or doctors, or accountants and lawyers, or doctors, or accountants become donors. Again, people are easing just give ’em what they want, which is usually alcohol. But also, quality.

If it seems like I’ve just been subtly bashing the sensibilities of average people, I have, BUT I also do give people tons of credit when it comes to quality. It’s something Hollywood is slowly starting to realize- that you can have smart blockbusters like Inception or Interstellar that actually do better than mindless popcorn fare like Transformers. So let’s not think that in order to attract teenagers we have to do “teenager” shows. Sure, throw them in there, but I think we would be surprised by how well they would respond to just good shows, no matter the demographic. Classics, yeah, but there are A TON of new plays that speak to living in the 21st Century. Do those plays. Get a reputation as THAT theatre company. The place where teens go for dates on Saturday nights, because let me tell you, guys are always looking for “the perfect date” so offer an alternative to mini-golf. They will take their dates to the theatre if it’s a.) affordable and b.) something cool. Once again, people are easy, just give ’em what they want, which is usually a dark place to make out in (or hold hands if that guy is as awkward as me on my first date…)

Have I covered everything on that front? Let me think… for now, yeah. I would just love to see a system of theatre people hitting the streets in an organized way and getting people fucking excited. And maybe that already happens in a place like the Twin Cities, I have been in Minnesota less than a year, but where I come from- Central Florida- that is not a thing.

I just… I just want everyone to know what I know- that theatre is the most real and indispensable art form out there. That when done well, it is the closest thing we have to magic on this planet. People shape shift into others’ and whole worlds are conjured before our very eyes, often in seconds. Tell me that kind of shit doesn’t appeal to the younger generations.

“…the artist is always crucial. Could we have had the Bible without writers? Without painters who could imagine what Jesus looked like?”- Arthur Miller, Resurrection Blues

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The Movies of 2015

MAY 

A Good Lie

Miss Congeniality

APRIL (5) 

Wall Sstreet: Money Never Sleeps (2011

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Back to the Future Part III (1990)

Back to the Future Part II (1989)

Back to the Future (1985)

MARCH (3)

Zulu (1964)

Stalag 17 (1953)

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

FEBRUARY (8)

War Horse (2011)

American Sniper (2014)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

The Imitation Game (2014)

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

The Theory of Everything (2014)

Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

JANUARY (11)

Braveheart (1995)

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

East of Eden (1955)

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Joyeux Noel (2005)

War Horse (2011)

The World’s End (2013)

Hot Fuzz (2007)

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Flyboys (2006)

Batman Returns (1992)

ACTORS: Michael J. Fox and Co. (3) Simon Pegg and Co. (3) Michael Cain (2) Benedict Cumberbatch (2) James Dean (2) Michael Keaton (2) Edward Norton (2)

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Rest In Peace: A Monologue

Four summers ago I went to a Rays game and met you in the gift shop. You were just there, amidst all the others, not really doing anything except catching my eye. And I loved you. I loved the way you managed to both keep me warm and cool. I loved our travels. The first was our trip to Tennessee and I remember it was the first time you had ever seen snow! On top of a mountain, no less- That was a time you kept me warm. Another was on our road trip to New York and remember we stopped in D.C. for a day and I was just pouring sweat all over you, it was so fucking hot? I’m sorry about that, but hey, that was a time you kept me cool. Yeah. From the swamps back home to the… rivers of Minnesota. Where I lost you. Where I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye because in the frenzy, I wasn’t thinking about you. But I did try to find you, hoping you would pop up like a cork, the way our kayak did. But no… you were a hat. You don’t float.

Rest in peace, hat, and I’ll find comfort in knowing you went down on just another adventure.

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I want to be happy.

I want to be happy. I want to travel and explore. I want to go to Glacier, Yosemite, and Yellowstone. I want to live in a cabin with no electricity and read and write. I want to write a novel. I want to write more plays. I want to read more plays. I want to read more novels and philosophy. I want to learn about other cultures around the world. I want to wear more hats. I want to work at a bookstore. I want to see more outdoor baseball games. I want to live on my own. I want a clean house. I want to eat healthy. I want balance and harmony in my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual worlds. I want to go to church more and not be pressured to volunteer, just appreciated for showing up. I want to go back to the Smoky Mountains and get in touch with my roots. I want to go to Europe and get in touch with my roots. I want to stay with Little David in England. I want to stay with family in Spain. I want to visit the battlefields of my forefathers in France and Germany and pay my respects. I want my family around. I want to do Mary’s Wedding. I want to visit the Moscow Art Theatre to see where it all began. I want to be more forthcoming. I want to stand up more for what I believe. I want to be able to voice my opinions intelligently and not worry about people on Facebook getting offended. Silence is wrong. I want to make great art that speaks to my generation. I want to do Waiting for Lefty. I want to do Inherit the Wind. I want to Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. I want to learn from the best. I want a dog. I want to travel with just my dog. I want to remember that there is always more money. I want to eat more oranges because they remind me of home. I want to cook more. I want an apple tree. I want to grow a garden. I want to grow tomatoes and collard greens. I want to be respected. I want to respect others. I want to forgive. I want to get used to the cold. I want to go ice fishing. I want to build an igloo. I want to sleep in an igloo. I want to ride a train. I want to walk more. I want to know the different kinds of birds. I want to know the different kinds of trees. I want to memorize a few good jokes. I want to be able to quote Shakespeare. I want to get less drunk in social situations. I want to worry less about things I cannot change. I want a new haircut. I want to grow a beard. I want a leather aviator hat. I want whiter teeth. I want a lot of things that are only possible if I truly put my mind to it. I believe we are our greatest vessels for change and I want to embrace that. I want to run with that. I want, when the winter gets long and lonely, to be able to look back at this list and invigorate myself to cross something off. I want to remember that I am only twenty-three and there is still a lot of life to live. I want to believe that. I know it can all go in the blink of an eye, so this becomes all the more paramount. Achieve it all, but not so fast that you can’t appreciate it. I want to be happy.

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Halloween Flick Picks, 2014

I love watching movies, but if there is one time of year when I really cram in the hours it’s October. For the past three years now I have maintained this list and it’s very interesting to see which films I watch for the first time (Scream, American Psycho, The Frighteners) and how many times I revisit old favorites (all the Frankenstein movies, An American Werewolf in London, The Evil Dead series).

I will say, I had hoped to get more Universal classics in but alas, rarely do they play on TV and I do not own them on dvd… yet. It has been too long since I have seen Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein! However, I did get to enjoy Young Frankenstein for the first time in years. And because TV is the main conduit of viewing, I have to give credit to AMC and the “Fear Fest” they play every year. Hence, the numerous Stephen King adaptions as well as all the slasher flicks. Gotta love the awful Halloween sequels… or do you? I don’t know, I wish I had caught the first one instead of Halloween III a million times….

Who knows what next year will bring? I sure hope it brings John Carpenter’s The Thing and Abbott and Costello and definitely the original Carrie over the remake (twice…)

Frankenstein (1931)

American Psycho (2000)

The Wolf Man (1941)

Young Frankenstein (1974)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

The Frighteners (1996)

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Cujo (1983)

Misery (1990)

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)

Carrie (2013)

Scream 4 (2011)

The Evil Dead (1981)

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

All those and then the classic Goosebump episodes of “The Haunted Mask” and “A Night in Terror Tower” (1995) as well as parts of Halloween II (1980), Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

1980s (7) 1940s (3) 1990s (3) 2010s (2) 1930s (1) 1970s (1)  2000s (1) 

*So some more fun facts: It appears as if the 1980s is once again the winner but by a larger margin than normal. Usually the ’30s and ’40s give the decade of the slasher flicks a run for its money and there is way more disparity between the decades this year. Very spread out, very even. Also, far less science fiction in years past… hmm, I feel this could change any given year.

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You’re What’s Wrong with the World: A Monologue

No, I’m not mad that you dumped me and left me for someone else. That shit happens every day to everyday people. What pisses me the hell off is the realization that the trust and love I held sacred for over three years was wasted on a superficial person with no desire to really live. How many times did I urge you to move out of your parent’s house and you said you can’t afford to. Fuck that, my brother ekes out a living in Brooklyn as a foodrunner. You live in Orlando with a salaried position and health insurance. It’s because you’re scared. Which is OK! Just admit it to yourself.  It’s OK to not know, I sure as hell don’t, but own up to it and don’t mask it with expensive clothes and fake tans. That kind of self-deception reads like bullshit painted on a wall. Like if Picasso actually used a bulls shit to paint Guernica. It stinks. And you don’t even get that reference, do you? I am so glad it ended as ugly as it did because now I know the world is full of mendacity (lying and liers) and I accept it. But I’ll be damned if I let it affect me. So be gone. Good riddance to you and your willful ignorance. Oh, and the tan? The clothes? In the long run shit gives you cancer and nobody cares.

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