home sweet home…

its a perfect circle: the same small stage that Heidi and I called home before PS
ends up being the same small stage that the entire cast/band of PS feels equally at home:
joe papp’s pub.
even the name makes sense: it’s a theater guy’s rock club.
this never occurred to me until now
but of course PS would get its start at a theater guy’s club.
where else?
and while the stage never felt smaller with 80 of us up there last sunday
it made perfect sense:
the spirit of this play comes from the intimate club experience.
the broadway stage is more BIG ROCK SHOW because its
more people and louder
but the old thrust theaters back at berk rep and the public
were actually more club-like in their intimacy.
That said,
Everybody said the show would “lose something”
when it transferred to the proscenium.
But i think it actually gained something.
It wasn’t wrong, just different.
Big Rock is fun too.
But nothing beats the club.
If only because you never have to remind people
That we’re all in this room together.
/s

what about making records?

so a few people have responded to my post by asking why i didn’t mention
making our records as being artistic challenges.
(or was that artistically challenged?)
anyway, i guess i didn’t include making records because that’s just simple fun.
like playing touch football
or sitting around talking shit with yer friends.
i mean when do you ever get to just sit around and see what
it sounds like to send a broken drum machine through a vintage phase shifter?…
all in the name of
(insert spinal tap accent)
MAKING AN ALBUM, MAN!!!???
and it’s usually air conditioned.
always dark…
and you get to order lotsa tasty but bad for you but tasty food.
its amazing how many times within a two week period
you can eat “in & out burger” and still love it.
i can’t wait to get into a studio again.
i’ve met so many cool musicians in the last three years
the next TNP record will be a circus of joy.
/s

and so…

…on to the next challenge…

ps notice

Friends,
Passing Strange is closing on sunday july 20th.
that would be 10 days from now.
so act accordingly.

you can read the below in your spare time.

this broadway chapter has been a compelling addition
to the continuing stew and heidi saga.
Our story has always been about accepting challenges.

It started in LA where our biggest challenge was making
every single show The Negro Problem did at Spaceland or 14 Below completely different from the last.

Later on the challenge was taking our weird little curio of a band into the big rock leaugue
by opening for people like Arthur Lee, Counting Crows and Blondie in America and Europe
and seeing if what worked in sweaty little rock clubs would work on the big stage.

Next came Lincoln Center. I think the big challenge during that phase of our career was stopping ourselves from vomiting as we passed all the pro-war idiots while on route from LA to New York. But playing Lincoln Center was big for us. I mean, it’s Lincoln Center, yenno?

Next came Joe’s Pub. Joe’s Pub was a challenge because in that club for the first time we felt like the lyrics were making as big an impact as the music. Even the between song banter became as much a part of the show as the music and lyrics. And that connection between the between song banter and the music and lyrics is what led us to the place next door to Joe’s, The Public Theater.

The challenge the Public posed was simple: write a musical… even though me and Heidi had never done that before.
They put us in a room with Annie and I brought in stacks of paper and we started. Our relationship with the Public heralded what i would call the beginning of the Real Big Challenges period.

After the Public, the Sundance Institute began to play a huge role in our lives and continues to do so. The Theater, Screenwriters and Director’s Lab at Sundance were simply the most beautiful artistic boot camps anyone could ever be lucky enough to experience. The challenges were unreal and intoxicating. Sundance turned me into a writer, period. Without them Passing strange would not exist.

Then came the business of actually DOING theater. So we had great runs at Berkeley Repertory Theater and The Public Theater of New York. The challenges of doing an actual run of an 8 show a week play were…hmmm, well let’s just say that our experiences at Berkeley Rep (where Heidi and I officially broke up as a couple but not as a creative team) and at the Public Theater (where I almost lost my mind) were experiences we are still unable to fully process because those experiences were folded into the broadway experience without much time to reflect.

Which brings us to now. Again, 8 shows a week. But this time on The Great White Way which is quite a different way than Berkeley or the Public Theater. Exactly how they are different from each other I’ll explain some other time.

But heres the point of this ramble: this Broadway challenge, this chapter now coming to an end, while I accepted it a little hesitantly I’ll admit, is one I would not trade for anything. We accepted it and met it on our own terms. There is no artistic accomplishment in my life that I am more proud of than Passing Strange. Heidi and Annie would say the same. We brought a piece of work to Broadway that
I know gave certain people a kind of hope that maybe there could be more to Broadway than shiny buttons, an uplifting first act closer, and a happy ending (Actually, Spike has provided the happy ending as far as I’m concerned). Anyway, I would like to thank our producers for having the balls to put this crazy play onstage.

I learned a thousand or so things about all aspects of my craft, and life, from being up here.
But the most important thing I learned, for the purposes of understanding how I feel right now,
is that I am NOT a Broadway baby. I was born to do many things but I was not born to be here.
So I am indeed going to be happy to have my life back. Heidi and I have many projects that require our
attention and we are excited and eager to get to them. And I want to spend real time with my loved ones, both
here and in Berlin where I live. And I want to book a gig at some really out of the way dive in some deep, dark
corner of New York Town and make a hellishly melodic, soulful noise all night long.
/stew