YA (didn’t get the) gig; soon, and REALLY soon

Since wrapping A Flea in Her Ear in November, I’ve been working on getting a new job in the valley, one that would better fund my move to LA. I interviewed for the Young Adult Associate position at my branch, and presented 10 events in two brochures:

(WordPress thumbnails look like shit – okay, I don’t know how to use them – so just click on em already.)

(library scavenger hunt example: “Fifty points for a picture of the Oscar statue in the building; an additional 100 points for a picture with a team member holding the statue.”)

I interviewed well– actually, I was told later that I wowed them with my events, my outreach plans, and my book talk (Mr. Pigman). It took them almost three weeks to decide and ultimately went with someone with more experience. (And, unfortunately, I’m not allowed to say more. But just know I have reason to be proud.)

This whole process was new for me. And it all started with my father’s advice: to be able to walk away from it knowing I gave it everything. (Do all dads have that ability– to say something corny but not come off that way, or is it just mine?) Preparing for it not only required more networking than I had done before, but also brainstorming with friends and other folks in the industry (?), and just remaining positive. I was sure I had it, but since finding out I didn’t, I haven’t spent a second in regret. Instead, it taught me a lot about preparing for an interview (amazing, I’ve had more than a dozen jobs, and this was the first interview I’ve ever sweat), and really, that I need to be more active to get what I want.

As obvious as this may seem, it hasn’t always been for me. And you know what? That’s okay. (Who am talking to??)

I finally got my headshots taken care of, courtesy of my friend, the talented Tawni Fiamengo. Why “finally” is a matter of debate, depending if you ask her or me. But hey, they’re done, and I have a few places lined up to send them to. And we had fun:

Actually, we had a lot of fun:

(Look how fucking slimming that sweater is! And those cords are so… black! And the floor looks marvelous!)

I was given a part in a production of Golf: the Musical, to be performed the first two weekends in Banning. (I will post ticket info soon.) This is kind of an interesting experience (or maybe I just expect it to be?): I have less than a month with the material; I’ll be rehearsing in Palm Desert, one on one with the director, and I won’t meet the remaining cast until a week before the show; I don’t… like golf; and I haven’t been in a musical since high school – how is my voice outside of the shower? Or now that I smoke? And I haven’t been singing regularly now that my car is dead.  What’s surprising is I’m really excited to do it – it’s work.

 Auditions for COD’s Pride and Prejudice are in one week. Time to dust off Dr. Astrov’s opening monologue…


Writing, printed work, &c.

I’m working with another actor, Matt Chute, on some skits for an upcoming showcase that he is organizing at College of the Desert. In our first meeting I proposed a few ideas, and they got a few laughs, but the one he suggested started writing itself when we sat down with it. Things are a little slow right now, since Matt lost his phone, but we should be getting back into the swing of things soon.

In the meantime, one of the ideas I had – a one act about a couple dividing up one another’s body parts as they move out of their apartment – came back to me and I started outlining it. It looks pretty good so far. There are some body parts that are associated with memories (the pelvic area should be fun), some that are just worth exchanging (“I had to pay for most of the deposit, so… I want your arm,” etc), and there’s a box in the middle of the stage full of memories that each tries to keep. The play obviously draws from my breakups (some where I lived with her, some where I didn’t), but I’m doing my best not to make it so biased. After all, I certainly have had some asshole moments in my relationships. I want the play not only to exorcise some of the issues I have/had from breakups, the differences between just a breakup and having to actually leave someone, but also the moments that were not my best.

As usual, I have a number of poems bouncing around, but I haven’t visited them since completing “strays.” “strays” is a good example of my process: I had that opening image, of a parking lot (really, a town) full of stray cats, so I jotted it down; but it wasn’t until I had something to actually write about that it was used, and I finished it in one moment. It was just what I needed, both as a writer and as an individual. A year or two ago, I would be beating the poem out regardless. Now I’m more comfortable with letting it come to me. But I do wish I had these complete thoughts and incomplete poems better organized, and I think I’ll do that today.

Also, “The Late Greats” was published in a COD zine, The Common Good Press. I’m still waiting for my copy, and it’s not available online, but I got to read a scanned copy. It’s just a zine, but it’s nice to see my work printed.

Planned blogs:
A list of self-aware songs
An opinion on the state of hip hop for the last 15 years
Top 25 LA Albums
Top 25 Album Openers
Top 25 Album Closers

Palm Springs International Playwrights’ Festival

(My brother found this. The Bill Evans deck stands out.)

Two weeks ago I auditioned for the Palm Springs International Playwrights’ Festival. After spending the previous week searching for an audition piece through plays I own and plays I’ve never heard of, I was lamenting to a patron – one I often talk movies and Jewish culture with (yep) – that I couldn’t find a monologue after he’d asked me, “What’s new?” He beamed and told me about a play he was in 30 odd years ago, Moonchildren, and that its closing monologue might interest me. With little time left to prep for the audition, I asked him for his copy – which turned out to be his acting copy, full of notes and grime, when he was in the L.A. debut in the mid-70s. I photocopied the closing monologue, chopped it up a bit, and read the play in one sitting.

The play is incredible. It’s set in the late-60s, with eight college students shacking up in a strange yet workable arrangement of friendship, disgust, love, lust, and of course, “No, I haven’t touched your fucking hamburgers.” The play opens blacked-out, with the students – trickling in – waiting to catch the cat (that may or may not exist) give birth. This scene sets up that there’s something wrong with Bob, and most of his housemates are sure its the draft notice that he received recently. (The only thing Dick is sure about is that Bob is probably responsible for some 40 or so frozen hamburgers of his that he ate without putting them on the common stock.) The play covers a school year, with the winter break dividing the play in two. It’s a great play and I’d love to see it staged.

As for the actual monologue: it was my best audition yet. In the last year I’ve realized that it’s not about line memorization as it is about telling the story. That seems so obvious now, but “learning the lines” was how I was taught (and I bet the common way it’s taught). I learned it from Brian Raffi when we were working on Our Town, but it’s similar to how my father told me to tell jokes: just make it yours. And I made the Moonchildren monologue mine.

I was cast in a reading for Like Mother Like Hell, which, by title alone, sounds great. It’s a comedy so I’m looking forward to that change. I was glad to just be cast in anything for the festival, but just searching for it online didn’t return much, so maybe it won’t have the exposure as I had originally thought. But that’s okay; I’m just looking forward to working.

The festival is in late January and I will be posting dates, location, etc. soon – if anything, to advertise for the damn thing.