Monday, November 19, 2012

Quote of the Day

I stole this from Larry Harbison's email signature.  I think it's great.

"It requires a certain largeness of spirit to give generous appreciation to large achievements. A society with a crabbed spirit and a cynical urge to discount and devalue will find that one day, when it needs to draw upon the reservoirs of excellence, the reservoirs have run dry." George F. Will

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Friend Scott Covered Ayn Rand with a Post-It that Said Tennessee Williams, and I Still Couldn't Finish It

I'll  admit it. I'm at a bit of a disadvantage in the whole Ayn Rand discussion.  I have never ever ever made it through any of her books.  And I've tried.  But fifty pages of that gasping earnest humorless prose hitting you on the side of the head over and over like a metal folding chair.. I mean, life is short, you know?

So I love this quote from President Obama in Rolling Stone:

“Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we'd pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we're only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we're considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that's a pretty narrow vision. It's not one that, I think, describes what's best in America. Unfortunately, it does seem as if sometimes that vision of a "you're on your own" society has consumed a big chunk of the Republican Party.”--Barack Obama, ROLLING STONE interview.

Hell yeah.  I was reading Herman Hesse at that age.  Because I was sensitive as shit. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Zack Calhoon's People You Should Know

Zack Calhoon has posted a series of e-interviews on CONEY with myself, Amy Staats, Tracey Gilbert and Boo Killebrew on Visible Soul.  Take a look.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Step Right Up

Tickets are available now for CONEY!

Here we are on the New Ohio site.  

Here's the press release with the cast.

Here's my interview for

And here is a link to strange and disturbing stuffed animals, courtesy of my friend Brian.  I have no idea how he finds this stuff.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Quote of the Day

DOMIN: What sort of worker do you think is the best from a practical point of view?
HELENA: Perhaps the one who is the most honest and hardworking.
DOMIN: No; the one that is the cheapest.
                                                                           --- from R.U.R by Karel Capek

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

You Can Now Have "A Number on the Roman Calendar"

Well, it's out.  My short play, "A Number on the Roman Calendar" is now out in the Best American Short Plays 2010-2011.  You can own it and it can be a part of your life.  Many thanks to Carter, Sarah, Jonna, Jimmy and Thomas.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I met Arch Brown in 2002, in Los Angeles.  He had flown me there to accept an award from his foundation for my play, "Candy & Dorothy."  Arch was in poor health then, but he was raunchy, grouchy, funny and generous.  (He told me I could order room service since the foundation was paying my expenses out there, but "don't go crazy with it!," he barked.) He gave me a grant for the play, gave me a socko intro at the LAMDA Awards in LA,  later gave a production grant for the play when we produced it in New York in 2006, and then produced the play himself in Palm Springs a few years later. He came to New York to visit a few years ago, and I had lunch with him and some friends.  He was irascible and hilarious and full of plans for his theater and his work.  That was the last time I saw him.

Arch had come from the first post-Stonewall generation, and supporting gay and lesbian artists and writers was his passion and his joy. 

He passed away - peacefully, I hope, without pain, I hope - on Labor Day in Palm Springs. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

An Interview with the Author

My friend Anthony Cardno inteviewed me for his blog, about the making of MOTHRA IS WAITING,  and the upcoming CONEY.

Friday, July 27, 2012

CONEY Coyote

I started working on this play several years ago.  (The indispensable Adam Szymkowicz did an interview with me three years ago, and I was talking about this play then.) I worked on it at Marshall University two summers ago and developed it a bit more.  And the guys at Blue Coyote and I had talked and talked on it, and I dragged my feet and whined "it's not ready" whenever they said the scary "production" word.  (That's my default. Nothing's ever ready.)

But they booked a theater for October and here we go.  Rewrites will be wrestled from my cold, recalcitrant grip and actors will have at it.  There are a shitload of characters and it all takes place at Coney Island.  (Except for the emergency room scene, I'm still working on that one.)

We're raising money for the production, and you can give at Indiegogo.   I know, I'm hitting you up for money a lot these days.  But I don't do it often, so I'm not going to apologize.

Hope to see you there.

UPDATE!  The press release went out.  You can give it a gander at Broadway World.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

And We Will Climb on Top of His Furry Head. His Big Funny Furry Head.

We're going to do it.  


Several years ago, Kevin Newbury optioned a short film version of my play, MOTHRA IS WAITING. (Kevin directed - and really dramaturged - CANDY & DOROTHY.   Also, THE EUMENIDES.)

MOTHRA IS WAITING tells the story of two aging showgirls, one giant moth and a very long night in Bridgeport, CT.   It's a comedy.  

We're going to shoot it in New Hampshire next month.

We are aiming to raise $30,000 to finance the film.  Instead of going the Kickstarter route, we decided to go through Fractured Atlas, an organization that offers non-profit fiscal sponsorship.   

Thus, any donation is fully tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.  Every little bit helps, even $25.

The Facebook page for the project is here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ryan Taylor, the Washington Rogues and the Cap Fringe

An interview in the Washington Post with Ryan S. Taylor, the great guy who directed "Busted Jesus Comix" in DC a few years ago. 

"In some ways, the inception of Washington Rogues took place in New York when artistic director Ryan Taylor went to see the weirdest performance he could find — “Busted Jesus Comix,” performed in a six-floor walk-up — after taking in such big-name shows as “The Lion King” and Baz Luhrmann’s “La Boheme” (“which was awful,” Taylor recalls)."

For the record, the old Abingdon space at Dyre and 42nd was a fifth floor walk up.  The building is gone now.  But I definitely remember from the summer of '03 - five flights. Five.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dreams of T. Hickman

"I was dreamin' Hickey come in de door, crackin' one of dem drummer's jokes, wavin' a big bankroll and we was all goin' be drunk for two weeks. Wake up and no luck." - Joe in O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I Saw Bill Cunningham at a Party Last Night

So, last night I was at the chashama gala for work. Anita Durst is one of our board members, and a pretty spectacular lady. It was a big event on West 43rd with lots of food and beautiful people.  And Bill Cunningham was there, taking pictures.  Now please understand I know nothing about fashion (surprise!) and am not really interested in it, even a little bit. But I saw the Cunningham documentary on recommendation from friends and loved it. This old guy hits all these Manhattan parties, snaps pics and puts them in the NY Times.  It was fascinating to watch him move through the room - absolute focus of purpose, finding the right shot, not a wasted move, nothing getting past him.  It was like watching a good ball player, an athlete in their prime, or even a top notch Broadway song and dance person - complete and total focus on the job at hand.  A man incapable of being distracted  from what he's doing.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Wedding Gift of Pirate Granny

OK, here it is.  The final project for ALT.  It's one night, at Symphony Space, June 25 7 PM.  Here's the deets:

"ALT’s annual Opera in Eden concert returns to the Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space for one night only on Monday, June 25th, 2012 at 7:00 PM. This evening of work written by Resident Artists from ALT’s Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP) will feature four new one-act operas by librettists Magda Bogin, Stephanie Fleischmann, David Johnston, and Kate Light; and composers Jeremy Howard Beck, Alla Borzova, Theo Popov and Jeffrey Dennis Smith." 

I've written the libretto for THE WEDDING GIFT OF PIRATE GRANNY, with music by Alla Borzova.  There are pirates in it.  There's also a ghost. 

Get yer tickets here

Last Things in NJ

Tonight, a reading of "Last Things," which has been in the drawer for a few years. I'm excited to hear it again.  It's out in South Orange, New Jersey with my friend Marni Raab's group, Midtown Direct Rep. It'll be a whole lot of actors I haven't seen before, so this should be fun.

Marni also tells me there are cookies. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Quote of the Day

“I have fun with ideas; I play with them, I’m not a serious person, and I don’t like serious people. I don’t see myself as a philosopher. That’s awfully boring.My goal is to entertain myself and others.”  Ray Bradbury, in today's NY Times obit. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Will Read My Own Play in the Middle of the Night

Coming up. I am taking part in Urban Librarians Unite's Annual Read In. What does this mean? It means my friend Ingrid talks me into crazy shit. We are reading - around 12:15 AM - the Chinatown library scene from "Candy & Dorothy." Ingrid loves this scene because she is a librarian and this somehow reminds her of her life. So she'll be reading Tamara, her cute-as-a-button boyfriend Tim Conley will read Candy, and I will read Dorothy Day. Yes, I will read the role of the 80 year old almost-a-saint Dorothy Day.

 Stop laughing. I'm a good actor.

Urban Librarians Unite promotes and supports libraries.  The Annual 24 Hr Read In is to protest city budget cuts and to showcase and highlight libraries' importance.  And if you're like me, you believe strong libraries are about the only thing standing between us and the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

If you'd like to attend - and WHY WOULDN'T YOU - come to the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza on June 9 - er- actually June 10, 12:30 AM. Don't ask me how to get there because I really have no idea. Here's a link.

UPDATE:  This was so much fun.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

Federico Tenorio of Digital World Solutions Found My Blackberry on Saturday Night

I lost my Blackberry on Saturday night and was in utter despair. Sunday morning my friend Dave texted me that he was running late to the ALT libretto reading at Opera America, and Federico Tenorio, President and CEO of Digital World Solutions, Inc on West 29th Street called him back and said he had the Blackberry. He was across the street from Opera America. I went over to thank him and offered him some money for it, and he just shrugged and smiled. Here is the website for Digital World Solutions on West 29th Street. (There's another one overseas, with a slightly different domain name.) The guy who runs it is honest.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Another Freshly Brewed, with History

An upcoming ALT event, this one on Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at Opera America, with composer Anthony Davis. Since I'm feeling blog-lazy today in the midst of all my other projects, I'm simply copying and pasting parts of the press release! I'm a lazy lazy man. Ah, screw it, I have to finish this libretto and my taxes.

"American Lyric Theater (ALT) is pleased to announce that composer Anthony Davis will host the next event in the company's FRESHLY BREWED concert and master class series on Sunday, February 26th, 2012, at 1:00 PM.

The FRESHLY BREWED series was designed to give the public a chance to see inside the Composer Librettist Development Program studio. ALT's flagship program, the Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP) is the only full time mentorship initiative for emerging operatic writers in the United States. Anthony Davis, internationally acclaimed composer of the operas X, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MALCOLM X, TANIA, AMISTAD, and WAKONDA'S DREAM, is a guest faculty member and artist mentor for the CLDP.

Davis is known around the globe for his exciting works that draw from the lives of historical figures. This month's FRESHLY BREWED event will be the culmination of his winter residency at ALT, during which composers and librettists in the CLDP have been exploring the challenges of dramatizing history for the opera stage. Guest singers from the country's leading opera houses join us for a program of newly written scenes based on real-life figures, including Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense during Vietnam under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson; Henry Morton Stanley, the famous British explorer of Africa; (HEY THERE EVERYONE THIS ONE IS MINE, LOVE DAVID) Helen Suzman, the lone woman in South Africa’s parliament for 36 years, and a tireless dissenter against apartheid; and Salvador Allende, President of Chile from 1970-1973, and the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America.

American Lyric Theater Resident Artists to be featured include composers Alla Borzova, Jeremy Beck, Theo Popov, Jorge Sosa, and Jeffrey Smith; and librettists Magda Bogin, Kate Light, Stephanie Fleischmann, David Johnston, and Laura Sosa."

"Tickets, which include a light brunch, are available for $20 through Smarttix. Advance purchase is required. Due to limited seating capacity at OPERA America, tickets are strictly limited and will not be sold on the day of the event. OPERA America is located at 330 Seventh Avenue (between 28th and 29th)."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Quote of the Day from Joseph Mitchell

Somebody runs a Joseph Mitchell Facebook page, and periodically posts one of his wonderful, understated, pitch-perfect quotes.

“I believe the most interesting human beings, so far as talk is concerned, are anthropologists, farmers, prostitutes, psychiatrists, and an occasional bartender. The best talk is artless, the talk of people trying to reassure or comfort themselves, women in the sun, grouped around baby carriages, talking about their weeks in the hospital or the way meat has gone up, or men in the saloons, talking to combat the loneliness everyone feels.” From his collection of short pieces, My Ears Are Bent

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Peter Bellamy Portraits

Several years ago, Time Out NY had a feature on playwrights, and they sent a guy to my apartment to take a picture of me. At the time, my life was in a total uproar and when I met Peter at my door, I was wearing a hoodie and I don't think I'd shaved. He quietly said, "Do you want to change into something else? A lot of people are going to read this." I hustled off to put on something a little nicer.

We chatted and he did all those professional photographer things to put a subject at ease; talking about himself, drawing me into a conversation about something completely unrelated. (I don't like having my picture taken and it usually shows.)

He did take a very nice pic, though - one of my favorites of myself - and now it's up on his website. Definitely cool people on it; Andrea Lepcio, who I worked with at America-in-Play, Lynn Nottage, John Clancy, and David Ives with an excerpt from one of my favorite blues-killers, "Variations on the Death of Trotsky."