Monday, May 7, 2007
Sunday, May 6, 2007
I have this amazing access to a stage in New York City and I am looking for ideas to place upon this space. The stage is a long stretch of pavement along the East River on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. In this space there are people enjoying views, walking dogs, going on first dates and doing other after-work-activities that take them way out of the present moment. I looking to wake them and myself up and would love your help to do so.
So here is the assignment: post any performance piece you would like me to attempt in this beautiful space. I have a partner who is willing to do anything with me -he is 6'9" with red hair and if you can think of specific things for him to do I'm sure he'll be into. Use his height to your advantage. For example we are planing on doing a piece which involve high volume lip-sinking in masks while my partner dances in a fish costume around me. We'll do anything we think is meaningful in its own right.
Once we receive your idea, I'll respond back just to have a dialog with you and then be off to the space to perform. I want to have a dialog so that it's a collaboration with my readers instead of just someone telling me what to do. There could be pictures or video tapes of all these performances if you want but I'm more into the written word so I'd prefer to just post some words on the experience.
So let me know what you think and send your idea - the weather is exciting and I'm warm inside with a bug of doing things.
Monday, April 30, 2007
It’s been a while since I've written. Sorry to be so long out of the loop but I’ve been up to some exciting journeys. A few weeks ago I took a flight out to Chicago to see playwright Kevin Kilroy's new play The Silence of Malachi Ritscher and was blown away by Kilroy's ability to evoked emotion and guide the audience into the shoes of a political activist slowly going crazy.
I was told the story of Malachi Ritscher once by Kevin when he came to visit me in New York a few months ago, but by the time I made it to the play I had forgotten most of the story except the fact that Malachi had set himself on fire last November on the side of a highway in Chicago as a protest to the war in Iraq and surprisingly, it never made the news. The story Kevin chose to take on was already so loaded. A story like Malachi's says so much just by Malachi's actions alone – so how do you make such an intense story into an hour and a half play and most immortally how do you tackle an ending everyone knows is coming?
Kilroy’s play did something only a fine tuned hyper sensitive play write can achieve. He pulled the audience into the characters and made them walk around in someone else shoes. Kevin also used his mastery of the art of language and syntactic techniques to show the physiological brake of a man so bogged down by the guilt of daily life and the hundreds of tinny hands – underpaid and overworked – who wrapped the Hershey Kisses his wife put in the candy dish on valentine’s day. There wasn’t a moment I wasn’t engaged in how the story was forming, what the characters emotional connection was, the outstanding acting or the multi leaved language that played with my mind in such a pleasing way.
This project was a huge undertaking for Kevin – recreating the life of a man he didn’t know, whose life and death one could only read about in underground newspapers or blogs – but when the play ended and the saxophonist screeched from corner stage like a screaming man and the lights flickered and cut out – I wasn’t ready to give up my seat in the tinny theater and detach my connection from characters I had invested in for 90 minutes.
In my opinion, Kilroy's major achievement with The Silence of Malachi Ritscher was his ability to use experimental language and techniques to recreate the life a man he never new. I was strongly reminded of Michael Ondaatje's "The Collected Works of Billy the Kid".
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
I went to Portland Maine for the first time ever to visit my good friend Jefferson Navicky and do a reading with my other good friend Ben Hersey. Portland was beautiful and got 15 inches of snow the night before I got there.
Ben and I both did some performance pieces. Ben is this amazing juggler of human emotion, comedy and contortionism. He did these monologues that incorporated the voice of his mothers ex-boyfriend who was slowly becoming mentally ill and leaving very long voicemail messages on his mother’s cell phone a few years back. Ben listened and transcribed most of the messages and now does these mind bending performances incorporating this guys voice. On top of it, he does things like eat garlic and doughnuts at a table, blinds him self with a desk lamp and caries an old air conditioner over his shoulder. It knocks me out every time I see Ben perform. I get a special look at his work because I get to tare his brain apart before and after. The way Ben choices props is utterly amazing. He drove up to Maine in an old Honda Accord filled with a huge mirror, a fold up table, an old air conditioner and about five CD players and tape recorders. When he arrived, Jefferson and I met him at a coffee shop; we asked him if he needed to get any supplies before the performance. He said he needed garlic, but a doughnut would do. How does someone’s mind work like that? How does one become so confident?
Something else that amazes me about Ben and his props is that he brought this gigantic mirror all the way from Northampton just to use it for about thirty seconds. At one point in his monologues he took the mirror and pressed up against one side of his head and then pressed a lighted desk lamp to the other. The effect was amazing - I caught it on camera and it was so bright it blinded the camera making Ben’s head – that was caught in the middle – look like a big beaming ball of fire. After under a minute, Ben put the mirror down and that was it for the mirror for the rest of the show. The prop served its purpose and was set aside – all that work for thirty seconds.
Later I asked Ben about the old air conditioner he used during the piece, carrying it over his shoulder and walking around the audience with it. I figured it has some kind of narrative tactic he used, like that his stepfather fixed air conditioners or something - but Ben just told me he was always intrigued by air conditioners as objects, their mass and shape - that was, that was all he said and I've never been so satisfied with an answer in my life.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
A few months a go I was on the E train going from Penn Station to 51st and Lexington when I was instantly struck by an over powering fear that something terrible was going to happen. I wasn't exactly sure what it was but I don't think I've been that scared in my life.
I fight my mind constantly. It is my biggest enemy. And even now at twenty-nine years old I can’t talk my way out of being scared of the subways - getting trapped in it and not being able to get out. I also recently discovered that I'm deathly afraid of air planes and traveling out of the country; this coming from someone who has flown over one hundred times and traveled all over Asia at age twenty-two. So what is it that brings us to this boiling point? Is it our make-up? Our creative minds that won’t turn off? Or is there a reality to it all?
This is what I am trying to figure out and want to dedicate this blog site too. I am mapping my mind everyday, twice a day, sitting and meditating, becoming present and then searching in the past for where it all began - where in my childhood I became so scared of EVERYTHING. But somehow, this has to do with my writing, my creativity and my performance pieces.
This is not a blog solely about anxiety and mental health, this is a space for discussion on how the mind works - what it creates and how that somehow emanates into the world. I am hoping to attract readers, get comments, announce amazing things going on in my community and spread my community as far as it will go. I hope everyone will feel comfortable posting on my blog and will tell me about how they create, think, deal, whatever.
I am starting off with this post, in this manner because I am hoping to set the stage here – being as honest as I can. I hope all those whom add and comment on this blog are willing to bring everything to the surface, share their art, writing, experiments and psychedelic selves.
Sweet taste and love,