Thursday, June 19, 2008

Maybe it takes a life like Bukowski's to not end up sounding like a prick?

Lately I've found myself in the habit of creative production. This is excellent to a point. Very little of what I do pays money (capering like a spastic who found and managed to assemble a Scooby Doo pirate ghost costume pays money, as does having my blood pressure taken, but not much else) or takes THAT much time per day, so I have to fill my time with dozens of tiny projects before it fills up enough that I can claim I'm working. My actor's life is like a solid object - apparently coherent from without, but if examined closely enough, consisting mostly of empty space. Just for tonight, my darling, just for this blog post, let's forget all about that vacuous nothingness, occupied by biking, riding the train, drinking, sleeping, World of Warcraft, and my girlfriend, and let it just be you and I. Doing a basic rundown of my daily activities. Just once.

Please note: my defining my girlfriend as an empty space is an insult that borders on the Shakespearean.

So, those things are maybe most of my life. In terms of the actual particle-waves which bound and determine the limits of my Sitch, however - the answers I give when asked what I'm doing - they are composed of:
1. I'm an understudy at Navy Pier. So far this has consisted of a very lucrative rehearsal process, followed by ten hours of work total over the month of June. My job is engaging children in games which are in some way pirate-themed. I play three characters - the smart one, the huge dumb one, and the handsome one. Typecasting is not an issue at Navy Pier unless the costume is small. This job pays the most per hour, so it's my answer when people ask what I'm doing and what they mean is how I'm eating.

2. I just got a job writing for a comedy web site. I'm the co-writer and -anchor for a humorous weekly newscast. We have one episode up on the site ( with another due to arrive within 24 hours.
My friend, who I will call "Me&," has worked for this place for a while now. If that weren't the case, I would be expecting every morning to arrive for a shoot only to find the place a vacant lot, with a sign reading "Artists are Suckers" scrawled over an eviction notice. They pay me, which is absurd. Admittedly, they haven't payed me yet.

(a brief nod to an old established joke - isn't is great when something like this happens?
"'Scuse me, but oI'm lookin' fer DFT Studios, oI am. 'Ave you 'eard of that? oI was hoired there yestiddy! They was 'unna pay me t' wroit on-loin comedy, they was!"
"DFT Studios? Why, young sir, you couldn't know about them! DFT Studios burned down... thirty YEARS ago...")

3. I'm starting a new improv group! It's called "Very Special Episode," and the idea is that every show we will recreate the classic joy of the concussed sitcom dream sequence.

4. Oh yeah, the blood pressure thing - I got a job doing "standardized patient work" at Northwestern medical school. If you're familiar with the Seinfeld episode in which Kramer and his dwarf friend... well anyway, either you've seen it or you haven't. I thought I would be faking trauma or illness, but instead my first session consisted ONLY of having my blood pressure taken by terrified med students. Oh, it was endearing watching ruddy Damien stutter and drip as he repeatedly put the cuff on inside out and tried to inflate it, only to watch it tear itself off over... and over. And as you watch, you repeat to yourself the SP Code: "I am not giving him the little suggestion he needs to pass because it is important that he be evaluated fairly. I am not not giving him the little suggestion he needs because very soon he will make more money
in four minutes than I will ever make in all my years on this Earth and this is my last, petty chance to lord power over someone far more gifted and driven than I."

5. Improv classes and internships at the "i"O theatre! The fact that they spell their name "iO" tells you all "u" need "2" "no!"
Seriously though, I'm getting pretty "off" that particular institution. They just slapped another class in between me and graduation, taking the total amount of time required to complete all the sessions from 1 year to 1 year 2 months. I would complain, but no one ever pretended they weren't a money-making institution dedicated to squeezing the maximum possible amount of cash from those stupid enpough to swallow their path-to success pablum. Registration is tomorrow. I don't know what I'll do, really.

6. Another improv group called "Mixtape." I auditioned for it. I like the gal in charge, but because of Durango (which closed and was a great experience, thanks for asking, fuck-os) I've had to miss the first three rehearsals. First one is tonight. Hope it doesn't really suck! Because that would be a shame! If I were obligated to play for an indeterminate amount of time in lame ways with lame people! Shit!

7. I'm making plans to move to Montana in two and a half months. From mid-Septenmer to mid-December, I am dedicated to the Montana Shakespeare Company. They tour schools presenting an abbreviated version of a classic Shakespeare play (in my case Much Ado About Nothing) and teaching classes to the kiddies in the afternoon. 5 shows a week, back in Bozeman for the weekends. Sounds fucking awesome. I'll miss Chicago - though not as much as I will miss fall, as it snows on the Bozeman slopes even as we speak - but it's a dynamite opportunity, really spiffy and zowie, I'm rarin' to go. Once I finish the above five items and find someone to live where I live.

And may I say, where I live is all dressed up in her finest tramperies these days? The sun is shining in Chicago. It's beautiful today, it was beautiful the past two days, and the most likely complaint on the horizon is "it's cloudy" or "it's too hot." Thank you, inclination of the Earth on its axis relative to the Sun. Thank you.

an Austin grateful