The Ranting Wren The Wren Forum Banner
The Glorious Wren The Movie Wren The Photo Wren Old Man Wren

Exit ArchiveArchive for the "Acting" Category

Here’s a blast from… er, a time long ago.

In 1991, I got to act in a few sketches for a Bridgewater, Massachusetts cable access show called The Cutting Room Floor, created by Bob Caron and David Almeida. Christian Roman wrote most of the episode. My B.U. friends Catherine, Synneve, Karl, and Seth were in the show as well. I did improv in college and then professionally in Boston with Seth and Chris, and professionally in L.A. with Seth after 1994. Catherine, Karl and I made A Pound of Flesh in 1993, in which Seth had a part. None of us had anything to do with Mr. Belvedere: The Golden Years in 1997.

Enjoy this ridiculous but often rather funny piece of local cable access TV history and read more about it on the official Vimeo page. You can also see the other episodes there.

Watching this now for the first time since 1991, I remember how Chris and I both loved Monty Python. We had re-created a couple of their sketches at the coffee house nights in Claflin Hall. You can see the Monty Python influence in the above, with props and themes that weave through the episode, and segues between skits.

Boy, it’s good to see this again!

UPDATE: David reminded me that a skit we shot was included in episode 2 as well. Here it is! Look for “Sleeping Through the Movies with Philip & Bean” at 13:05. And here’s the Vimeo link, also with interesting tidbits about the episode.

We finished shooting episode 5 of Life from the Inside about a week ago. Which means there are three fun-filled episodes you have not seen!

I know, I know. You’re simply feeble with desire to imbibe more LFTI. You can’t get enough. You know every moment of the first two episode by heart. Well, hang in there, you comedy lush, you. Episode 3 is on the way. Soon. Very soon.

In the meantime, go check out Robb’s blog to see some pictures from the episode 3 shoot. Viewing these photos should make you break out in a cold sweat of anticipation. To start that sweat now, I’ve stolen (yes, officially stolen) one of the pics to post here.

Life from the Inside Episode 3 Surprise

I know you want to know what the hell is going on in that picture, but you won’t. Not yet. But very soon. Yes, very soon.

I myself have only seen moments from episode 3, so I’m just as goosbumpy as you are to see it in its entirety. And imagine: two more episodes are in the can! My God, it’s simply too much to look forward to!

I know, I know… I have not been writing much lately. This can be blamed on several factors:

1. Heavy work on the sitcom. Yes, that’s the first time I’ve linked to it on The Wren Forum. Yes, I intend to add it to my home page. No, I don’t know when.

2. The CCPT benefit, in which I got to play a sneezer, a doctor, and a 19-year-old boy who does not know anything about sex. I am so horribly typecast…

3. Yet another sales meeting, this time with me being more “in charge,” whatever that means.

4. A new boyfriend. Er… man friend. (Thanks for that one, Chuck.) Yes, I’m talkin’ ’bout Fuz, whom some of you have met. He’s great. I have not gushed about him here because I don’t want to jinx anything. I mean, we’re both Piscean actor wannabes. With that pedigree, who can blame me?

So why am I writing today? Well, to provide yet another amusing video for you to watch. Jim Coughlin, with whom I’ve done improv and who was in Food Code, is regarded as one of L.A.’s leading standup comedians. That’s according to a J. D. Powers and Associates poll on the distribution and execution of disaster relief funds in non-hurricane-ready, earthquake-prone southern-Californian states.

See him do a funny bit about feng shui and cockroach birth control. And if you’re following this link far in the future, it will no doubt lead to a page containing more than just one funny snippet for you to enjoy. Or to a 404 page.

While my vinyl kid’s bracelet fashion trend has not taken off quite yet, apparently my sense of shoe fashion is already on its way to becoming legendary. View, if you will, this video still of “Guy,” whom I play in Life from the Inside:

The Shoes Guy Wears

See those nappy shoes, bought for their wackiness and completely clashing sense of both fashion and lack of fashion? Now please witness the following shot of a not-so-happy Sharon Stone:

The Shoes Sharon Stone Wears

Amazing! That I have such power over the fashion sense of others! And since I do wear my Chococat bracelet in Life from the Inside, expect the next paparazzi shots of Mizz Stone to include her wearing some tasty plastic wrist decoration featuring Chi Chai Monchan.

See more pictures of Sharon in Guy’s shoes!

Hello, thundering hoards of readers!

Robb has posted some pictures from the 2nd episode shoot of Life from the Inside. I know, you’re just SEETHING with curiosity, aren’t you? What the hell is this? Why won’t I stop teasing you? Oh, why, why, why?

Hello, friends.

You may have heard just a tiny bit about “the project.” Which is called Life from the Inside.

Well, good news: Robb has posted some pictures from LFTI, whose second shoot was this past Sunday. Now you can get an idea of what’s going on. Though not much of an idea because, you see, no one wants to spoil the surprise.

The pics are straight from the video capture, so they are anamorphic. As much as I wish I had lost some weight before shooting, I’m eating Milanos as I type this, so the anamorphic is about as thin as I’ll be for a while.

The first shoot for the Tanya/Robb/Kathy project was today, and it was fookin’ awesome. I so want to talk all about it, but I won’t except to say that it was a fookin’ great day. I can not thank them enough for asking me to be a part of it.

I will also offer this picture, a little teaser of what’s in store.

LFTI Episode 1 Olive Spread

It was my privilege and honor to work with those olives, those pimentos, and that fookin’ great label. Robb’s created many fookin’ amazing labels for the project. Okay, so people got a little testy—in a completely jovial and light-hearted way—when I kept holding up the shoot to make sure my olives and pimentos were all in order. But I assure fookin’ everyone that it will have been worth the fookin’ effort.

Thanks again, guys, and congratulations on today. Here’s to all the fookin’ work to come. It’ll all be worth it.

Believe it or not, I have updated my home page. I figured it was time, and the things I had to put up deserved to be there more so than here. I have posted the Los Angeles Times review and picture from last week, the oft-requested links to Shü und Belt shorts, and a revisitation of Food Code.

Click the Wren above to see it all, or use this boring text link.

It seems there was a picture of me in today’s Los Angeles Times, doing the trial scene from Madwoman.

Today was also the day my copy of the Times was stolen.

Ah, life!

As I have mentioned, I’ve been a bit too busy to properly post as of late. Yes, it’s “the plays.” What plays? Well, if you want to come see them, we open this weekend. Then you will know what plays. The info is below. I am in the first two, but not in the kids’ show. However, the kids’ show is right before my shows each week, and it sounds like it should be pretty good. So come out earlier and see it.

THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT (FREE!)
Sunday, July 16, 23, and 30
Saturday, August 5, 12, and 19
2:00pm

THIEVES’ CARNIVAL (FREE!)
Saturday, July 15, 22, 29
Sunday, August 6, 13, 20
2:00pm

Kids’ Show: The Poet Who Wouldn’t Be King (also FREE!)
Saturdays and Sundays, July 15-August 20
12:00noon

All plays at Dr. Paul Carlson Memorial Park for FREE
Park is at Braddock Dr. and Motor Ave., south of Culver Blvd. and east of Overland Ave.
Just south of Sony Pictures Studios
Google Map Link (FREE)

Bring a blanket or some chairs, as well as some food to munch on (though there is a concession stand).

* * * * * *

I used to do work typesetting books for a publisher in Boston. That skill has come in handy quite often. I use it in my current job to make the text in presentations look good. I used it to create the program for the above-mentioned plays. And I used it to typeset both Sven’s novel and, most recently, my college friend Matt’s scholarly book.

I haven’t seen Matt’s book yet, but I decided to look for it on Amazon, and there it was. Then, while typing this, I wanted to see if Sven’s book is still on Amazon, and, lo and behold, it is. The typesetting for Matt’s book had to follow very specific style guidelines, so while I am proud of that work, it’s very, very dull to look at. Sven’s book, on the other hand, I am incredibly proud of. I think I did a bang-up job on the look and style of the typesetting.

Sometimes, tooting your own horn feels awfully nice.

* * * * * *

While doing the Amazon research above, I somehow mistyped “amazon” in my Safari address bar, and up popped this funny site: Wealthy Men. And I don’t mean funny ha-ha so much as funny what-the-hell?

Wealthy Men is a dating site for people who simply must have a significant other who makes over $100,000 a year. The site has a “Wealthy Men Verification System” to make sure the job, income, and pictures of each member are accurate. My first look around the site gave me the impression it was for straight guys and straight chicks with lesbian tendencies.

Yes, truly rich men aren’t gay, but truly rich men love it when truly rich women get it on together. Or something. It all made me want to reach for a Moon Pie. (Rich people don’t eat Moon Pies.)

Well, I could not let caste keep me from exploring this more, so I created a profile, lying that I make $100,000–$500,000 per year. (Why didn’t I lie big and say $2M+ per year? Because I do not think big. That’s why I’m a mere plebe.) Once in, I discovered you can put yourself down as straight, gay, or bi. What’s hilarious (and I don’t mean hilarious guffaw-guffaw so much as hilarious not-at-all) is that you can not do a search by sexual preference. Which, to me, is useless. I already fall for the straight guys as it is. I don’t need a bunch of rich straight guys messing with my head!

Aside from all that, it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Guess rich people don’t know how to write engaging profiles, either.

* * * * * *

While I was not a huge fan of Superman Returns, I was very pleased that they used the John Williams themes from the 1978 movie. I have been listening to that original soundtrack, enjoying how complicated but accessible but clever but awesome it is. Sadly, the CD I have was released back in the day when record companies were so cheap (glad to see that’s improved so much, guys!), that formerly double-record soundtrack albums, once brought to CD, were slashed down to fit on a single disc. For years, I never bought the Empire Strikes Back soundtrack on CD because it was missing a lot of music that I used to have on my album. That error was remedied a long time ago (and multiple times, I might add).

The soundtrack for Superman was always the same way. I put off buying the CD version for years because it had been cut way back. Finally, I broke down and bought it so I could at least listen to some of it.

Amazon to the rescue again! Yes, it seems a two-disc CD of the full soundtrack came out a while ago. The slightly flat, tape-hiss-laden version I’ve been listening to on my iPod is out of date; thankfully, the new one has been re-mastered and contains more music than even my double-album set from ’78. Hooray!

I am not going to buy it on Amazon, though. It’s $44. Gulp. I’ll wait ’til I get more credit at Amoeba. Amoeba to the rescue again!

* * * * * *

I really have to go to the bathroom. Thankfully, that will end this useless post.

* * * * * *

Yes, I’m back. And no, I haven’t gone to the bathroom yet. This was simply too odd to not include. It is both funny ha-ha and funny strange:

There are more of these on YouTube, but I haven’t watched any more yet. I simply had to put this up ASAP so I could go to the bathroom.


Okay, and this one, which is very fun…


Okay, here’s one (very self-serving) pic from Antigone, which went up this week. One more week left! Now I wish it were a three-week run.

I am so tired, though a good tired, since rehearsals for Antigone are going well. But I can not respond to John right now! I promise to do so tomorrow.

Now, I am dreading going to sleep (see last night’s post). What wonders await me in the California Bitch Fantasmagoria?

gorillaz demon daysA couple nights ago, I had a strange dream/nightmare where I was trapped in a large building. It was one of those weird dream combination locations: a hotel, a cruise ship, a large store, who can tell for sure? The “story” of the dream was vague as well, but a post-apocalyptic theme was certainly in evidence, where you never knew if you were going to run into good friends (Sven was there for a while) or something less than welcome (zombies just outside the door!). Of course, whatever I was trying to do or accomplish in the dream was always just vaguely impossible to do.

I can usually figure out where the images in my dreams come from, and this time, I had to blame Gorillaz. I had just spent that night watching their videos online and doing a bit of exploring at their post-apocalyptic-feeling homepage. Most of the elements from my dream came directly from there, though I know for certain, in that dream-like way, that the unseen zombies were not “Clint Eastwood” gorillas.

Gorillaz, if you are unaware, is a virtual group, a commentary on the fakeness of modern music. Think of any of those fabricated boy bands, and there you go. The creators of Gorillaz thought, well, if you’re going to go through all the trouble to create something artificially, why not go all the way? Why have any real people in the band at all? The end product is a band made up of cartoon characters. Not your “Josie and the Pussycats” or “Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels” kind of cartoon band, but something more along the lines of Akira meets Miyazaki.

Gorillaz was revealed to me as, sadly, most things are these days: through Apple. An iPod ad used a catchy riff from Gorillaz’s new single. (Aside: How does one go about properly punctuating a rap-inspired misspelling of the possessive?) Exploring the iTunes Music Store, downloading “Feel Good Inc.,” and viewing the video for said single, I was hooked immediately.

Now I own their first album and the just-released follow-up, “Demon Days.” The first album is fine, but “Demon Days” is infesting. The songs are dark in tone, but incredibly catchy and layered, and there’s something more playful about the Gorillaz darkness than, say, Radiohead darkness. The cartoon band members may be grungy and dark, too, but, hey, they’re cartoons. They are approachable bohemian low-lifes.

Yesterday, I decided to not listen to “Demon Days.” I didn’t want to get tired of it, and other fun stuff like Radio Paradise and the new iTunes with built-in podcasting was just waiting to be played with. But it turned out to be a dark day. A perfect storm—or, perahps more accurately, a slightly-flawed storm—consisting of job ennui, relationship vacancy, sexual inactivity, self-criticism, laziness, and frustrating tidbits of everyday annoyance flung me into a dour and unpleasant mood. My humor, which normally remains intact during such bouts, was 85% disabled, though I was able to use the remaining 15% to good effect during a business lunch.

Inevitably, after lunch, I pulled “Demon Days” out of the cedar chest it had been relegated to for only half a day.

I thought that perhaps the album and the associated grim imagery of the animated videos was helping to cap my unapproachable mood. Music can deeply affect. It was therefore my decision to listen to something that was perkier, something I knew well and could sing along to, when I finally left work and hit the 134 in my Civic. I chose “Afternoons in Utopia” by Alphaville. Yes, I like Alphaville. Your taunts will not hurt me, as I have wholeheartedly embraced this flaw in my musical taste. Alphaville’s idea of a sad and moving song is something like “Lassie Come Home,” which, considering my state of mind on the 405 once it got jammed at Sunset, was a ray of bright sunshine.

Last night was my first real rehearsal for the play I’m in, Antigone. It has been a year and a half since I last did any acting. Proof of my currently shiftless demeanor resides in my choice to audition for Antigone instead of the two comedies that go up right before and right after the Greek drama. Antigone runs for only two weekends instead of the three for the other shows, and the less my summer is interrupted, the better. This indolence, however, is offset—perhaps even cancelled out—by my choosing the Greek drama because I wanted an acting challenge. I can do comedy blindfolded, but true drama? Classic, hard-to-get-to drama? Wordy, expository drama? The only demonstration of the limit of my talents can come if I do something like this that scares the crap out of me.

Alphaville allowed me to sing in the car, in traffic, Culver City-bound, but the strangest thing happened once I got to rehearsal. “Demon Days” kept leaking into (and out of) my head. Vocally, I was thumping the beats from “Kids with Guns” for others to hear. But I was not brooding or unhappy or even cognizant of the mood I was supposed to be in. I was happy and humming.

Most of the night was spent learning dance moves for the opening of the play. The moves are primal and not meant to be precise. It was so much fun, my sense of humor returned 100%. During breaks in learning the dance, I got to start working with John, the fellow cast member with whom I will be battling to mutual death using six-foot wooden poles. There is nothing not to like about swinging and striking with a blunt weapon in the name of fun. The clack of the poles colliding was fantastic.

Dancing and moving and fighting with sticks. All the time, Gorillaz rhythms and refrains thumping through my head.

“Demon Days” was not making me feel down. I was down about the things in my life I have been wanting to change and have not had the guts to change yet. I was down because I’ve been feeling alone, falling for guys who are too wrapped up in their own worlds to show me any concern. I was down because I could care less about most of my “work” work. I was down because this is not what I thought I’d be.

I allow all these things have more weight than they deserve.

The balance of the “must” and the “want” were—still are—off. When I am not being creative, I feel it. When I remain staid and stagnant, doing only what I am “supposed” to do, I can feel a pressure, slight but intense, infesting me. I can feel zombies just outside the door, trying to get in. When I do not rebel, when I do not speak out, when I do not make waves, when I do not make others take notice, when I do not MAKE, I am not being me.

I went to bed last night listening to “Demon Days” in my headphones. I listened not to the darkness of the songs, but to how they are crafted. The sounds and words and artistry that were all involved in making the album feel so rich. The music absorbed into me until I fell asleep somewhere in the middle of track number 7, “El Mañana.” I don’t remember my dreams at all.

After a day of stress and drama that sapped every once of my spirit and energy, I had to go and audition for a Greek tragedy. “Oh, good,” I thought. “I can use this morbid mood of mine to really nail these scenes.”

Unfortunately, yet fortunately, when I got to the audition, there were friends there with whom I ended up chatting and joking, and my foul mood was dissipated. Or at least masked. When I finally got to read my monologue and do my scenes, I was not in the dour state of mind I was anticipating.

My last scene, Messenger #1, was abysmal. I read like crap and lost my focus entirely. But no matter. Without the audition, I would have been trapped at home in a black mood. Better to have an evening out with actors, who are so good at distraction. And if I screwed up enough to not get cast, then my summer would be entirely free.

This is another Ken play, so when I got into work today, we chatted. Inconceivably, he’s casting me in the Messenger role. Huh.

I think he cast me for that role partly because I don’t comfortably fit into any of the other roles, but mostly because it is going to be a challenge. He’ll get his kicks seeing me work my ass off. The Messenger is the guy that delivers the bad news to everyone throughout the play. I mean, you know those Greek tragedies: everything happens off screen and then you hear about it from… a messenger. I’m going to have to be emotional, and I think Ken is gonna want me to cry.

Oh, no. Cry! On stage! I’m scared, but you know what? It’s exciting. I’ve never done drama before. I can not wait to see if I am up for it, or if I need to stick to comedy for the rest of my life.