They make this thing happen that I'm in.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Is it really that time again? Walking around, head down, hating the T-shirt you've got on, believing wholeheartedly in your own ugliness, Smiths lyrics STILL tumbling out of your lips, sometimes not quietly. I mean it's a joke, right? Please tell me you're joking.
I didn't think so.
Or walking around, head up, SCOWLING. I mean really scowling. At everybody. The lady walking to the gym with her tennis racket. The guy buying a book. The two girls walking towards you in their sunglasses. Everyone's a goner. Everyone's dead. No one's got a chance.
And this is the life you said you wanted, or implied that you wanted. Where everything's a try at nothing, and loneliness is just part of your weekly pay. Loneliness is just fucking bred into it, man. When will that finally dawn on you? When will that sink in?
I mean, do you really WANT companionship, you miserable bastard who sweats at parties??? (see: last night.) Be better about it. You're old enough. Get tough about it. This is it.
You will live your life as you will undoubtedly die, alone.
Huh. Doesn't have the same pop in the second person.
Let's try the third.
"He went to bed thinking of her, ironed his shirts before bed thinking of her, the woman in his life, his new best friend. Amazing how big a difference it made. The effects of his time without a woman’s hand in his daily movements were now glaring, ugly, and more than a little scary. He’d spent the latter half of the previous twelve months like some hideous stereotype of a guy with a grudge. Disliking women, or almost. Really starting to think—to himself even, not just while mouthing off—that women were untrustworthy and generally incompatible with straight males. It was something he had been dying to tell his therapist, but kept forgetting to bring up. He wanted to discuss this new instinct he seemed to be fighting to sneer at attractive women, to facially say, “Fuck you.” Sometimes he actually lost that fight. The sneer came out, or started to. Sometimes he felt his lip curling up Elvis-style while in a crush of people, unable to hide his disgust any longer, sometimes just at the people walking downtown who had the audacity to appear content or excited about something, but especially at potential mates. Some days, at the sight of a beautiful girl, he felt his upper lip tugging his whole body up and to the left. He needed his therapist’s reassurance on the subject, that he was not turning into that asshole, that he was not on the verge of becoming one of those brutes whose philosophy he had been desperate to show womankind he would always reject. Girl-hating was the ultimate failure, and one that he had to avoid, because he’d already hit all the others. The last four years had undone his optimism and all of his cleaner instincts. He had begun to seethe and spout poison. He was now a walking stereotype, a Biff Loman who had lost confidence in his every talent and faith in all human gentleness and went around spilling bile in cafés and corner shops. But he kept forgetting to ask her. He and his therapist spent the bulk of the session talking about his career moves, then his mother, and then his therapist’s personal life.
Then Anna replaced the need to ask. Now, with her, everything about the city, everything in the increasingly dank attic that was his humanity, was a survivable trial. He was almost not miserable. Best of all, he saw her five day of the week. He would see her tomorrow, in fact. He would walk right over to her desk and she would smile at him without his having to do anything. She’d light up like she’d just gotten an email from him saying, “How soon can you pack? We’re going to sail around the world on my friend’s boat.” And this image of her face, this unmistakable feeling of being loved by the perfect woman, this wonderful older woman, kept him bent over the ironing board, ignoring the kink in his back, flattening that same striped dress shirt he had washed and pressed about a thousand times that summer and which had permanent sweat stains set in by constant ironing. And after receiving that smile of hers, he knew the go ahead to flirt with her was guaranteed, and that there was no fear of saying the wrong thing. And she would flirt back, reliably and honorably, and God what a thing that was for a man. He’d forgotten how essential to living it was – how it got everything working, muscles moving, ideas flowing, the right amount of ego expanding in just the right direction, and keeps memories just where they’re supposed to be, somewhere in the back lane of the brain. They don’t predict the future nearly as much as they once did, thank the great good fucking Lord."
Friday, August 15, 2008
"Maria/Stuart" stars me and five ladies, and is about to have its world premiere at the Woolly Mammoth Theater in Washington DC.
Woolly Mammoth Theater Company
It is a real nutcase of a play, one I am honored to be in. I play Stuart, an up and coming comic book artist trying to juggle some seriously heavy family secrets and a few German ghosts.
Heavy hitters involved whose names you should know: Acclaimed playwright Jason Grote, New York's superstar director Pam MacKinnon, and a spectacular DC cast that slipped me in at the last minute. Their names are online somewhere, I'm sure.
Previews begin August 18th.
First two nights are totally Pay What You Can.
Official opening - August 24th.
Runs through September 14th.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Because you can get off at the "Smithsonian" subway stop (sorry, Metro) and walk down Independence Avenue past buildings like this one, the headquarters of the Federal Aviation Administration, and you FEEL like you should say something to the building. Like, "Hey! What's up with all the delays?" or "Your ham and cheese bagels suck!" Stuff like that. It's that powerful. Seeing these buildings, and there are lots of them around, suddenly makes you want to speak to the man in charge. The whole setup brings an individual an enormous sense of power.
Then, you know, you walk past the Capitol building, and you're all kind of, like, at a loss for words, 'cause, like, it looks all amazing and cool and shit, and you just take a photo of yourself waving.
Oh, and the National Gallery of Art is pretty cool too.
Monday, August 4, 2008
I've seen very little of this town since arriving here two weeks ago, but here's why I already hate it: quite simply, because a construction crew armed with jackhammers the size of Civil War statues and drills designed for stimulating seismic waves has stationed itself outside the window of the place where I am temporarily housed on business.
It's right there. Feet from my head, battering at my bad ear with all its might. Every room in the joint.
From 7am to ... let's see it's... 8:30pm now... they've been going. And it's the loudest construction noise I've ever lived next to. Coming from New York City, that's quite a big statement. And I stand by it.
I despise and malign Washington, DC, you capital bastard, and the same goes for this opulent gorgeous apartment I'm stashed in, and whatever urban renewal or busted water main has precipitated the unending shelling of my brain. It is inescapable, and if I know anything about construction jobs, I know that it will still be there tomorrow, and is likely to be there every day for the rest of my stay.
(that's about three weeks.)
Okay, think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts... positive thoughts, The Secret... come on... good vibes...
Okay, got one. I'm here to act in a play. In it I play a beleaguered young artist wrestling with personal demons. Another few weeks of no sleep and I'll have that glazed over, torn down look that will clinch me a Helen Hayes Award.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
This dork in corduroy deserves a beating for posting a picture of himself playing the guitar. He probably got one shortly after this photo was taken - for reasons including but not limited to the quality of his guitar playing.
I remember getting in a fight with my girlfriend on the night this picture was taken. Not a fight, but... a long tense nearly silent walk/subway ride home from the venue pictured above. I was being a miserable bastard because I thought I played poorly.
The venue was called Siberia. Fitting, I suppose. I got more or less sent to Siberia shortly afterwards.
This was almost two years ago.
I think Siberia's gone now, which is also fitting, because so is the girl. I don't know if she too was knocked down to make room for a smoothie shop, or if she still stands. It was that kind of ending.
Actually I saw her about two and a half months ago on the street in midtown. She was walking straight at me, crossing Broadway at 56th. And it wasn't one of those, "Oh hey, there's Allison - wonder what she's up to" types of moments. It was one of those, "Oh lord, there's Allison, where are my pills?" types of moments. It had been that long.
In the brief exchange, during which unusually strong wind gusts blew a trash bag over my shoes, not a lot was said. She was taller than I remembered and had on more makeup than usual. I naturally dreaded to think of where she might be headed. So of course I asked her.
"I'm going to therapy," she said. And in that moment I was pleased.
For her. I was pleased for her, I swear. Because I think therapy is good. I don't do it anymore, of course, because I have a blog.
And yet her answer did little to explain why she was wearing high heels and chorus girl makeup. The dread set in again, later, about what kind of man was in her life, namely whether or not he was her therapist. And when I say later, I kind of mean two and a half months later, as I write this now.
I think sometimes about that night I put on my corduroy jacket and played my songs at Siberia, sandwiched in the lineup between two stand-up comics, though no joke in the world could make me laugh after my performance. Eventually Allison and I made up that evening, after the unduly long trek home, followed by two slices at Vinny Vincenz and my Dee Dee Ramone impression. (That always got her.) I think I had just started therapy. I had urged her to do the same while we were going out, because she didn't like to talk about anything. She finally started going over a year after we broke up, and now we don't talk.
Good thing is, I no longer wonder who she's talking to, and only occasionally do I wonder why she doesn't talk to me. Actually, maybe I do wonder more often than I let on, but I'll just have to write a song on the subject. That's really what I'm here for. I just hope I have the foresight to smile in the next photo I put up here.