a third thing…

there have been one or two evenings recently where doing the play felt like we were some surreal version of the carol burnett show…we broke each other up in moments but not to the point where things fell apart…i like that this play can go there CONSCIOUSLY and then come back…the play should be like elastic not stone…it seems like everyone is really starting to get comfy with exploring the parameters of this piece…like where to push and pull and when…

((I hear De’Adre playing with the notes of the Church Lady’s monologue from night to night just like a jazz musician would…she takes a fresh solo in every show…she’s a shape shifter…she doesn’t become the Church Lady – she IS the Church Lady…and it gets so real sometimes I gotta just look away…))

but back to the subject of the collective…we aren’t yet the Lakers of the 80’s or some psychic jazz combo or a couple that’s been dancing together for 40 years…but it is utterly clear to me that that is exactly where we are heading…we are on our way to becoming One…all our talk about merging the “rock show” and the “play” is really happening…not just conceptually but in actuality…not just in theory but in practice…we’re turning into a third thing…and if it sounds like i’m excited about it, i am…i’m not even bragging about it – as i have very little to do with it…it’s an utterly collective phenomenon which would be totally impossible to achieve without the right people involved…Annie Dorsen designed the path and the right people are walking down it…and every time we take that road we see new things along the way to play with…

lately i’ve been really into taking the audience out of the “play reality” more and more…not just reminding them of what day it is but making more references to band members as well as people in the audience and stage crew…basically, doing exactly what i’d do at one of my night club shows: reminding the audience that what they are watching is alive. I’m doing this because I feel the need more and more to conjure that night club comfort zone…I’m perhaps getting a bit homesick for it…

last time i looked at the clock it was two hours ago…i hate when that happens…and it only happens when i’m on a computer…of all the things i need to buy i can never get excited about buying a new computer…it’s such a time killer…

we’re in the middle of a five show weekend…so i guess i should sleep…until we meet again, visualize a one hour version of passing strange for high schoolers…of course the sex and the drugs may make it impossible for the play to get staged for kids…i mean god knows they never hear references to sex and drugs anywhere else in their lives…


My entire “art god” collection
Could fit inside a midget’s change purse.
But Robert Altman’s got a suite in there.

His whole punk rock approach…The American artist forever blessed and doomed
To be in conflict with narrow minded powers that be…the beauty of his filmic chaos…
the poetry of his curious camera…always searching…
It never “showed” as much as it “looked” for things…and we just followed along…

Me and a lot of other people have always thought that one of life’s great ironies was that so called “avant garde” art (frinstince the kind that fucked with linear narrative) was actually a lot more like real life than the mainstream art that passed for “realistic.” Is this then why “avant” stuff is ultimately off putting to the masses: because, in the words of Eliot’s bird “human kind cannot bear very much reality” ? I think so.

A performance piece in which someone sits for a half hour reading a magazine might seem quite “odd” to the average person…and yet who has not done this very thing in actual life countless times? Yet everyone loves a film about a man with x-ray vision who can fly and who has a large New York city apartment. Indeed, human kind cannot bear very much reality. Surely no one made films that looked more like reality felt than Altman.

I was really into auteurs
From Italy and France
When I happened upon
‘3 Women’ by chance
I was tripping at the time
And I loved its freaky feel
Then I watched it when I was straight
And it was even more surreal

because monday to me in such a right way came…

If a simile to me
In the right way came
At late afternoon
In a nine car train
I’d give it my seat
And let it try to explain
What today was “like.”

I could’ve hung until Tuesday
In that Haight St. café
Playing musical chairs
With my cherished off day

And if I’m lost in thought
On a nine car train
Headed Richmond way
And I’m not on my game
And I miss my stop
I only have Rumsfeld’s demise
And my tired eyes to blame

Cuz I’m kind of in a daze
And I’ll never be the same
Because Monday to me
In such a right way came


I make pictures with dirt and sand and rocks
and wax and stacks of branches.
I see myself more as nature’s Co-conspirator than an artist.

I’m into math. And what do you do?

I make songs up out of the blue

What kind?

The kind you listen to

Very funny

Or say one day I’m thinking of
The way you wear that hat.

I like math.

I’d scribble some notes
And in a minute or two
I’d sing you a song about that.

So do it.


Like math.


After Watching Mommie Dearest

Dear Ms. Dunaway
I viewed you with the sound down
You served such a mean beat down
Even the gangsters had to bow down

Kabuki Joan Crawford
Estranged from her gourd
At Chez Domingo’s WE the Academy
Please accept our award

And allow me to say, Ms. Faye,
When you squatted down low
And went straight sumo
You got ‘ta pimpin’ that role
Like it was a ho

(it was as if Bonnie had kept going after putting Clyde in a rest home)

Then air-body at the party sang
“Stop! Look!
Listen to your heart
Hear what it’s saying”

And then you pulled out that hanger
And we knew you wasn’t playin’


frankly, mr. franklin…

it’s such an honor and a blessing to have someone as spellbindingly talented as colman domingo bringing our character mr. franklin to life. and to those of you who have sent emails asking: mr. franklin is not based on one person. yes, i’ve known more than a few gay choir directors who were openly closeted and had interests beyond the hood. But franklin is really a composite of all those people who ever used the power of language to describe worlds beyond…the people who essentially sang private arias to you about the beauty and mystery of life…travel guides for your soul…being with these people was like sitting next to a movie trailer for your future… if only you could muster the courage to buy the ticket … and he’s also a composite of all the people who handed you things that changed your life…books, records…the people who handed you things that were gonna blow your mind…and the people who stuck around to help you pick up the pieces…the people who, after you got back to their place after the club and all the noise, would sit you down at 2:30am and play you david ackles for the first time…i’m talking about those 2am kinda people…(holler if you hear me…but not too loud, you might wake somebody up)…those quiet moments of sharing and discovery…records just SOUND different in the wee small hours…like notes being passed…anyway, franklin is the cat who took you to your first french movie…and he is the withdrawn girl who sat in the back of the class who you had a crush on who told you that nine stories was just as important as catcher in the rye and then never talked to you again…franklin is the first one you could tell out loud all the jokes you’d been laughing at all by yourself for your entire life…

i once had a hippy teacher in 9th grade who was supposed to teach us Geography but at the end of the first week he asked the class “How many people would like to learn about the geography of the mind?” The following Monday 25 inner city kids were sitting in the dark looking at a slide show of drawings made by schizophrenics while listening to Pink Floyd’s Meddle. We were SO into it and we’d never been that energized by a teacher before. He taught us about Freud and after a few weeks we were all able to deconstruct advertisements and make jokes about the real meaning of kicking a football through the goal post…he put the bad kid in the middle of the circle and made him fall..it sounds like hippy shit but until you’ve seen a kid who wouldn’t think twice about stabbing someone suddenly crying in front of a whole classroom after he finally mustered up the courage to fall you haven’t really lived…and then the school authorities found out and told Mr. Franklin he had to teach the boring kind of geography.

I still don’t know where Ohio really is.

tour van wheels go ’round and ’round

it hit me last night that taking this show on the road would make ultimate dramaturgical sense…going literally “up and down from town to town” as the narrator sings would add the ultimate layer of of rock and roll realness to this tapestry…and as theater folk also know a thing or two about the road as well, it just seems like the right thing to do…

the other kind of blog…

my daughter has been in town for the past week…i havent paid much attention to this blog cuz she and i have been doing a live blog…thats when you bump into us on shattuck and we tell you whats up…its been a wonderful whirlwind week…she digs the bay area just as much as i do…she got to check out the play from the control booth tonight (thanks Cyd!)…i hope to return to this here spot with fotos of this and that so stay tuned…thursday and friday shows were really jamming…tonight (friday) was especially intense…and we had a really great hang at Downtown afterwards with the cast, crew and some super-friends and supporters of the show who were absolutely cool. there are alot of things that make me proud of my daughter but one of my favorite little things is her ability to hang with adults. i used to hang out with my dad and his friends as well…i didn’t get all their jokes…but that never stopped me from laughing…

constantly sunshine…

sunday night…took bibi to see jake rodriguez (composer, performer, PS sound designer and all around genius dude) and an amazing drummer (his name escapes me sorry dude you were great – i’d pay to hear you wash dishes) and what a beautiful set of music it was…large chunks of sonic matter hurled in every direction like medicine balls that never got the memo about gravity…music like a large stack of pancakes yer mom would make for you if she were 80 feet tall and starring in a science fiction movie…eat this son, it’s good for you…music you think you don’t wanna meet in a dark alley until you realize it likes you… and then you become friends…and then it turns into an ex-girlfriend with christopher lee eyes and fangs…and then it’s turns back into music again…but it never lets you off the hook…

rodewald, bibi and i doing the monday offday thing like astronauts on a mission…but rain and muir woods don’t mix… even on offdays… so we’ll go in a few days once the clouds go away…we took bibi to city lights books today…her first visit…i remember the first time i walked in there…too bad vesuvios doesn’t let kids in even with parent…what are they scared of? losing liquor license i guess…understandable…in berlin such problems don’t exist…saw bibi’s godfather jeff merchant play at brainwash later that evening – good show – that song of his that goes “call yourself shadowy in the low light” is the best song anyones ever written…it goes so well with the rain…for the last 2 days i’d been thinking about a forgotten song of mine that i wrote about the bay area…couldn’t remember much of it…not even the title…then tonight at dinner on polk st bibi says to me “that song ‘my damn butterfly’ popped up on my ipod and I’d never heard it so i had to listen to it over and over…” and i thought how weird – that’s the very song i’d been trying to remember…just weird…here i am years after that song was written running around berkeley and oakland and that old song goes “and oakland and berkeley are fine when the sun wants to shine” and we’re talking about that song as the rain comes down like god pissing on polk st…


loosey goosey sunday…two shows…both great fun…happening crowds…whoever said sunday crowds were sleepy must have been asleep…

nice performing with my daughter in the house…the only critic in the world that matters…she digs the show… so we’ve done something wright

and while we’re on the subject of actual things lemme get my blab on regarding the issue of autobiography…

what you saw up there on stage was not by any means a depiction of things as they actually happened to me personally. it’s possible to make autobiography without getting bogged down by actual details…but you knew that, right?

in future posts i’ll explore this whole “fibbing in order to tell the truth” approach to autobiographical fiction. i’ll also write about where the characters came from…but for now just know that…

the charger on my ibook is broken so i can’t write anymore tonight…yet another case for duct tape…