Monday, November 30, 2009

the curse of Cassandra

It's never easy being Cassandra

What I said in July 2008:
The US government will have to do two things to fix the coming world-wide economic crisis - create a jobs program, as it did during the Great Depression, and put a cap on the interest rates charged by credit card companies.

What Paul Krugman said today:
Meanwhile, the federal government could provide jobs by ... providing jobs. It’s time for at least a small-scale version of the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration, one that would offer relatively low-paying (but much better than nothing) public-service employment.

Not that I'm accusing Krugman of not listening to me - my understanding of economics is hugely influenced by him in the first place. No - Krugman is a Cassandra too, although as a NYTimes columnist and a Nobel Prize winner, he is occasionally listened to - and I wish he had made a point of talking about jobs programs sooner.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Another interview with an NYCPlaywrights member in the can - this clip includes Mary doing scenes from my work-in-progress PALMYRA NJ.

Friday, November 27, 2009

le fee verte

The French surely did love their absinthe.

Oliver Acton, not so much...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Frenchy-French Thanksgiving - try again

As I blogged last year, I celebrate Thanksgiving at Capsoutos Freres - I've been doing it since 1998. This is only the 10th year though, because

a. in 2005 my ex-boyfriend wanted to try One If By Land - he loved the unctuous waitstaff there. I was not impressed. And we were broken up by Thanksgiving 2006 so it was back to CF pour moi.

b. last year my daughter was sick

Assuming there will be no sick incidents today, I hope to be enjoying French turkey and pumpkin souffle in about 5 hours from now - and something really yummy from their always excellent wine list.


And now some traditional French Thanksgiving punk music from Plastic Betrand

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

All your Christmas Carol are belong to us

Suddenly, it seems, Gerald Charles Dickens is everywhere, cashing in on his family name and lineage to plague all the other less well-descended performers of one-man Christmas Carols.

I just received an email from Theater 1010 today which touts their sponsorship of GC Dickens doing his thang in early December. And the people who run 1010 know a very good (I begrudgingly admit) local Christmas Carol actor whom they've even worked with before on other projects.

You just gotta know how to pick the right ancestors I guess.

my new play idea

There is a certain independent filmmaker I know (no you've never heard of him) whose work absolutely cries out for parody. I will write a play about it soon. In my play the guy has a fetish for bob haircuts and he makes sure that almost all the women who he somehow manages to convince to act in his sci-fi Starwars ripoff films wear bob wigs. Also, the movie will have a couple of robot hunters - one male, the other female land on a planet where all the women are compelled to dress like hoes, so the female robot hunter has to dress like one too - with a bob haircut wig. Throw in some truly bad, cliched, mind-bogglingly slow-moving dialog and... genius! This should be the funniest play I could ever hope to write.

Oh yeah, and maddeningly irritating, repetitive techno music.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Every day I write the book

Great song...

Don't tell me you don't know what love is
When you're old enough to know better
When you find strange hands in your sweater
When your dreamboat turns out to be a footnote
I'm a man with a mission in two or three editions

And I'm giving you a longing look
Everyday, everyday, everyday I write the book

Chapter One we didn't really get along
Chapter Two I think I fell in love with you
You said you'd stand by me in the middle of Chapter Three
But you were up to your old tricks in Chapters Four, Five and Six


The way you walk
The way you talk, and try to kiss me, and laugh
In four or five paragraphs
All your compliments and your cutting remarks
Are captured here in my quotation marks


Don't tell me you don't know the difference
Between a lover and a fighter
With my pen and my electric typewriter
Even in a perfect world where everyone was equal
I'd still own the film rights and be working on the sequel

Forced Empathy Gets 'Em

Another clip from CHRISTMAS BLESSING

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas Blessing video clip

You do NOT want to mess with the New York Christmas Fairy, f***tard!

One of the advantage of doing a non-Equity show - you get to videotape.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Christmas Blessing opens tonight

My 10-minute play CHRISTMAS BLESSING opens tonight. It was fun, but alot of work for a 2-show run. Ah well, the trials of off-off Broadway.

I gothed up Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" for the New York Christmas Fairy's entrance. Listen here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What I did for love

Above is a clip from my play GOOD WOMEN OF MORNINGSIDE, which was part of Sunday's NYCPlaywrights Autumn Reading Fundraiser. I thought this reading went very well.

This play is inspired by a true story, but altered to change the facts. In my play, two mean girls - well, actually fully grown women - create a Facebook page to mock a college student who loves her cat - loves him too much in the opinion of the mean women.

In real life the story is even stranger - I blogged about it back in June but it bears repeating it's so peculiar. What actually happened is this: I was unrequitedly in love with an actor and we had a vicious falling out and he stopped communicating with me. I was devastated and even though I despised this person for what I had learned about him, I also still loved him. Which I am not happy about in the least, but it's the truth. I'm sure other people have been in the same situation - hearts do not listen to reason. And one of the ways that I dealt with this confusing tangled-up anguish was to write sonnets and post them to this blog - they are still here.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Jane Eyre - Twilight connection

Edward: Our romantic hero's name was inspired by 'Edward Fairfax Rochester' from classic Charlotte Bronte novel Jane Eyre.
found here

Monday, November 16, 2009

Master class

One of the nice things about running NYCPlaywrights (for a list of lousy things feel free to write in) is that I get freebies like a master class at the Cherry Lane Theater with Tina Howe, which I attended tonight. Although it wasn't really a class so much as Tina Howe sitting around talking about her career. Which wasn't too bad, she had some pretty entertaining anecdotes, like the time Dianne Wiest was almost burned alive in Howe's play THE ART OF DINING when a flaming special effect for the crepes suzette exploded.

She complained that critics like her "white glove" plays better than her "bare hand" plays, but that's probably because much of her work is autobiographical, and her life has been all white gloves - she comes from an upper-class New England family and when she was in her 20s her father gave her the choice of going to graduate school or touring Europe with Jane Alexander. We should all be given such choices when we are in our 20s.

She also said that the ten-minute play is a legitimate art form. She said it about four times, so she must really believe it. She also said that lots of plays performed in the Louisville short play festival are commissions - so there's not much chance of a non-famous playwright getting their work in. Things like this are good to know, if not actually surprising. So I did learn general playwright stuff. And besides, I didn't feel like going to Europe.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

alrighty then...

Well that's better....

I paused for a moment

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

falling readership?

Geez, if nobody's going to read my story I don't know why I should bother writing it...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trying to throw your arms around the world...


Six o'clock in the morning
You're the last to hear the warning
You've been trying to throw your arms
Around the world
You've been falling off the sidewalk
Your lips move but you can't talk
Tryin' to throw your arms around the world

Sunrise like a nosebleed
Your head hurts and you can't breathe
You been tryin' to throw you arms around the world
How far you gonna go
Before you lose your way back home
You've been trying to throw your arms
Around the world

Yeah, I dreamed that I saw Dali
With a supermarket trolley
He was trying to throw his arms around a girl
He took an open top beetle
Through the eye of a needle
He was tryin' to throw his arms around the world

I'm gonna run to you, run to you, run to you
Woman be still
I'm gonna run to you, run to you, run to you
Oh, Woman I will

(And you just gotta, you just gotta make your faith...see...)

Nothin' much to say I guess
Just the same as all the rest
Been trying to throw your arms around the world
And a woman needs a man
Like a fish needs a bicycle
When you're tryin' to throw your arms around the world

I'm gonna run to you, run to you, run to you
Woman be still
I'm gonna run to you, run to you, run to you
Woman I will


This song wins the award for "Best use of the feminist motto 'a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle' in a song"

This is not Betsy's motto, alas.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

It cannot be said often enough: Jon Stewart is a genius

He deserves an Emmy for this piece of political-satirical theater. I totally lost it at: "I'm a cuckoo bird! I'm a big cuckoo bird! I eat my own tie!"

Watch and see:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The 11/3 Project
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Times of Harvey Milk - NOW

You can watch The Times of Harvey Milk online for free now!

This is a great great movie.

Nick Fondulis IS Jayden Michael Tyler

Wow, Nick does crazy really well, as can be seen by his appearance on 30 Rock. Nick IS Jayden Michael Tyler!

Brian Williams was also very funny!

It's amusing to see Tina Fey holding Nick's headshot - I almost didn't audition Nick for my HUCK FINN because I didn't really like his headshot... but at the last minute I was like, well, what the heck - there's a slot on the audition schedule.

And then he blew away the competition - and I was rooting for another guy for Huck.

Now Nick's famous - all of a sudden people are Googling his name and ending up on the NYCPlaywrights web site. Using search terms such as "jayden michael tyler" and "30 Rock Fondulis" and "Nick Fondulis gay."

You can see for yourself here:
Who played Jayden Michael Tyler tonight on "30 Rock"?

Liz and Pete have, after a TSA-slapfight-filled search, finally picked their chosen new cast member, a squeaky-faced young man with three names, Jayden Michael Tyler... The audition occurs and it seems clear that Jayden is the he has great references including Martin Scorsese, Christopher Walken, and Gilbert Gottfried. It turns out though that he's actually a complete psychopath who used his incredible impersonation skills to fake those references.

Here's Nick doing a monologue I wrote just for my STRESS AND THE CITY show (to get around Equity restrictions - they won't let you record the rehearsals or the show.) The character Nick plays here is based on my ex-boyfriend - clearly Nick portrays crazy guys well!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Go Marsha Norman

Not There Yet
What will it take to achieve equality for women in the theatre?
By Marsha Norman

Discussing the status of women in the theatre feels a little like debating global warming. I mean, why are we still having this discussion? According to a report issued seven years ago by the New York State Council on the Arts, 83 percent of produced plays are written by men—a statistic that, by all indications, remains unchanged. Nobody doubts that the North Pole is melting, either—we see it on the news. These are both looming disasters produced by lazy behavior that nobody bothered to stop. End of discussion. What we have to do in both cases is commit to change before it is too late.

But, you ask, why is it a disaster that women writers are wildly underrepresented on the American stage? Actually, it's awful all over the arts world for women. My painter pals tell me that at one big museum in New York City, the new acquisitions by men are on the walls, while the new work by women is all in crates in the basement. Only in the orchestra world are the gender numbers equal, and that's because they started holding blind auditions a few years ago.

The U.S. Department of Labor considers any profession with less than 25 percent female employment, like being a machinist or firefighter, to be "untraditional" for women. Using the 2008 numbers, that makes playwriting, directing, set design, lighting design, sound design, choreography, composing and lyric writing all untraditional occupations for women. That's a disaster if you're a woman writer, or even if you just think of yourself as a fair person. We have a fairness problem, and we have to fix it now. If it goes on like this, women will either quit writing plays, all start using pseudonyms, or move to musicals and TV, where the bias against women's work is not so pervasive.

In the late '70s, when I came of age as a playwright—along with Beth Henley, Wendy Wasserstein, Tina Howe, Paula Vogel and Ntozake Shange—we thought the revolution would be over by now. We thought we were changing things, that regional theatres and New York institutional theatres would soon be presenting seasons filled with plays by women. But that did not happen.

More at Theatre Communications Group

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Ayn Rand Christmas

Wow, suddenly there is all this interest in Ayn Rand - like this New Yorker article about her, inspired by the two new biographies about her.

My play CHRISTMAS BLESSING is turning out to be very trendy with all the references to the queen of the Objectivists.

The image here is the post stamp honoring Ayn Rand, and as the New Yorker observes:
Of all Americans who have appeared on the nation's postage stamps, Ayn Rand is probably the only one to have thought that the United States government has no business delivering mail. In her central pronouncement of political belief - the character John Galt's radio address, which begins on page 1,000 of Rand's 1957 novel, "Atlas Shrugged" - allowance is made for the state to run an army, a police force, and courts, but that's it.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Hammer of the Witches

I've been doing some research for my Darlington story and found that the Malleus Maleficarum - aka "Hammer of the Witches" is available online.

It's rather slow and tedious reading, considering the subject matter - there's some freaky stuff in it. And the requisite misogyny:
But because in these times this perfidy is more often found in women than in men, as we learn by actual experience, if anyone is curious as to the reason, we may add to what has already been said the following: that since they are feebler both in mind and body, it is not surprising that they should come more under the spell of witchcraft.

For as regards intellect, or the understanding of spiritual things, they seem to be of a different nature from men; a fact which is vouched for by the logic of the authorities, backed by various examples from the Scriptures. Terence says: Women are intellectually like children. And Lactantius (Institutiones, III): No woman understood philosophy except Temeste. And Proverbs xi, as it were describing a woman, says: As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.

But the natural reason is that she is more carnal than a man, as is clear from her many carnal abominations. And it should be noted that there was a defect in the formation of the first woman, since she was formed from a bent rib, that is, a rib of the breast, which is bent as it were in a contrary direction to a man. And since through this defect she is an imperfect animal, she always deceives. For Cato says: When a woman weeps she weaves snares. And again: When a woman weeps, she labours to deceive a man. And this is shown by Samson's wife, who coaxed him to tell her the riddle he had propounded to the Philistines, and told them the answer, and so deceived him.

And it is clear in the case of the first woman that she had little faith; for when the serpent asked why they did not eat of every tree in Paradise, she answered: Of every tree, etc. - lest perchance we die. Thereby she showed that she doubted, and had little in the word of God. And all this is indicated by the etymology of the word; for Femina comes from Fe and Minus, since she is ever weaker to hold and preserve the faith.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

if it's Autumn...

It must be time for the NYCPlaywrights Autumn Fundraiser...