Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New Thing #5: I wrote an incantation

I wrote an incantation.

It's for this script I'm working on, and I don't really want to say anything else about it, not right now, at least, but I've spent the whole day writing, I haven't even left the house, and I was beginning to worry that I wasn't going to do a New Thing today, and then I wrote this incantation and I realized, well, gosh durnit, I've never written an incantation before just now, so I'm gonna let that count for today's New Thing.

Oh, also, this morning I finished reading Jill Soloway's book Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants. It's very funny, especially the poop chapter. (If you read the book, and you agree with everything she says in the poop chapter, then you and I are, like, soul siblings, and we should talk. Just remember that after you've read it. I'm very open about my bowel movements and I think you should be too.) Jill wrote some of my favorite episodes of Six Feet Under, and she and her sister created this show called The Real Live Brady Bunch that ran for a really long time at the Geffen Playhouse way back when it was the Westwood Playhouse. I was obsessed with The Real Live Brady Bunch. I saw it twelve times. Seriously. I've seen a lot of theater in my life, but I don't think I've ever seen a play (that I wasn't somehow involved with) twelve times. I saw (the brilliant, amazing, jaw-smackingly good) Imperialists at the Club Cave Canum at the Evidence Room seven times, so I think that might be a close second, but The Real Live Brady Bunch definitely wins with twelve viewings. The whole theater was set up like it was a living room with lots of couches and they performed a different episode of the Brady Bunch every week, verbatim from the script, but really raunchy. I was in eighth grade (14 years old) when the show was in Westwood, and I became obsessed with it, begging and pleading for every adult I knew to, 1.) buy me tickets, and 2.) drive me to the show in LA. (I was living in Newport Beach at the time, an hour away, and I didn't have a driver's license yet, though I had already learned to drive, when I was twelve. But that's another story.) I remember they used to play Don McLean's "American Pie" as part of the pre-show music before every performance. I already knew Don McLean because, a year earlier, when I had to do an oral report on Vincent Van Gogh (I forget what class it was for), I brought in my boombox and played McLean's song "Starry Starry Night" to end my report with a big finish. The teacher cried silently at her desk while she listened to the song, and all of the other students in the class sat there bored out of their minds and annoyed that I was making them listen to this sappy 70's song--and not just a snippet, no, I made them listen to the entire three and a half minutes of it--but I got an A on the report so I didn't care what the other kids thought. In the end, the only thing I learned from doing that oral report was that Don McLean could get you an A, so when I heard his song "American Pie" at the Westwood Playhouse, I was already prone to like it. But I didn't just like it like it, I loved it, because everyone in the audience would sing along to the song, and that feeling of being-in-the-same-place-with-hundreds-of-people-singing-a-pop-song...that's one of my favorite feelings. It really is. Like, when I went to see the Scissor Sisters at the Wiltern, before the show, over the loudspeakers, they played Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," and everyone at the Wiltern, hundreds of people, everybody--we all sang along. But we didn't just sing it, we emoted it at the top of our lungs. Singing along to "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey at the top of my lungs with hundreds of people, that was almost better than the concert itself, and the concert was pretty fucking great.

If James Lipton ever asked me: "What's your favorite sound?" I would tell him, "hundreds of people singing a pop song at the top of their lungs."

When Theatre of NOTE did the first workshop of my play Yellow Flesh / Alabaster Rose, I wanted to create a moment like that, so the play ended with an epilogue where one of the characters, Little B, who thinks she's Bjork, breaks the fourth wall and asks everyone in the audience to open up their programs and take out the insert, and inside everyone found the lyrics to the song "It's Oh So Quiet," and then Little B asked the audience to sing the song along with her. We only had three workshop performances, and I realized that Little B breaking the fourth wall didn't really work as the end of my play, so I ended up cutting that moment, but of any theatrical moment that I've created, listening to the packed house at NOTE singing "It's Oh So Quiet" along with Little B...that's definitely one of my favorites.

Anyway, I've so digressed, but I think the point I was trying to make at the beginning of this was that Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants is a very funny book and it made me want to be a Jewess and talk about poop and I recommend it.

And I wrote an incantation today. Boo-yah.


communicatrix said...


(a) I saw Brady Bunch live at the Annoyance, in Chicago. When I was 30. So I'm a little pissed off at you right now.

(b) I did not know you were such a fan of Imperialists! Why did you not ask me for an autograph?! I totally would have, like, signed your ass-cheek or something.

(c) Jill Soloway kicks double-secret-probation ass, as does her sister. But as the preeminent blogger with Crohn's, I am the Queen of Poop. I wrote the book on poop. No, literally--I have a little spiral notebook chronicling my intake and output (with descriptors) for two years. So talk to me not of poop until you've REALLY read the book on poop.

Erik said...

Okay back at you:

(a) All I can say is, if we'd known each other back then, I would have asked you to drive me to the show. I know I would have enjoyed going with you much more than going with Uncle Jack. And I don't think you look a day over 30 NOW, so I think you're lying about being 30 THEN. (Am I out of the doghouse?)

(b) Yes, I was a freak for that show. Loved it. Sat in the front row every time. Got up and danced my groove thing at the end. I still have seven programs in a box somewhere, I'm sure. I would dig one up for you to sign, except I like the idea of an ass-cheek autograph. It's so much more rockstar/groupie. And you were totally a rock star in that; and I was totally a groupie. But a shy groupie, that's why you probably didn't realize I was there so often.

(c) We'll talk.

Gina said...

my darling Erik,
You are so awesome and so funny and help me get through my day:)

Ok, i never thought i was very adventerous, but there are actually a ton of things on your list that i have actually done!

Tap Dancing-i love it! I take a class for fun at Coastline. This will be my 2nd year.

Get advice from Dr. Drew- i pretended i was someone who had a real problem just so i could get on the air and talk to Unwritten Law, who i love. It worked!!

Touched a vagina-yes, it was my own, but that still counts, right?

Worn Platform shoes-sadly it wasn't the 70's, just a poor fashion choice.

Acted in a commercial-it was for bic pens and it was shot at Newport Harbor. I don't know if it ever aired though...

I have also gone wine tasting, pierced a few things, made snow angels, baked a cake, been to Mexico..wait a sec, this isn't about me is it? I should start my own blog "things i've done."

Here are some other things i'd like to help you with:

Getting a fake tan-we can take a ride on the mystic tan train and see how dark we can get in one day

Mani/Pedi-i would love to take you to my nail place for this. You will seriously love it. We can get something waxed while we're there and knock two things off the list at once!

Shave legs-of course i have done this again and again and again. But i would like to suggest that we knock a few things of your list. You can shave my legs (or a calf) and then we can shave yours. Come on, it will be great. It will grow back! Don't be a pussy.

Here are some other things, not sure if you've done them:
*Ride a motorcycle
*Talk on the radio
*Drive a boat
*Go to the top of the eiffel tower
*Go to Disneyland and kick Mickey
*Run for office
*Take Viagra
*Go out in full drag
*rescue an animal from the pound
*work the grill at benihanas
*talk all day in that movie phone voice
*be a contestant on "Project Runway" (either your in or your out!)
*Go to a Lakers game
*Eat McDonalds for 30 days straight and see what happens
*paint your finger nails
*get a tattoo
*write a "dear abby" colomn
*walk backwards all day
*wear a cape and a speedo to the grocery store
*tell someone that has changed your life for the better how thankful you are
*yell instead of talk for one whole day.
*join your friends Lanie and Gina for Coffee more than once
*come to game night (ok, now i'm getting personal)

ok, the list can go on and on, so i will stop for now. I'd love to help you with some of your list items. Love you bitch!

Love, Gina xoxo

Erik said...

Thank you, Gina, I would love your help. And thank you for the additions to the list. Let's see:

I have ridden a motorcycle--my dad used to have one, so that's taken care of.

I have never talked on the radio

I have driven a boat.

I have never gone to the top of the eiffel tower

I have never gone to Disneyland and kicked Mickey

I have never run for office (well, I've never run for public office--I did run for eighth grade president, and lost royally, which is a very long story for another day, but I'm not sure if that counts)

I have never taken Viagra

I have never gone out in full drag

I have never rescued an animal from the pound

I have never worked the grill at benihanas

I have never talked all day in that movie phone voice

I have never been a contestant on "Project Runway" (Though, I gotta say, if I'm gonna be on a reality show, my top two choices are Survivor or Amazing Race)

I have never gone to a Lakers game

I have never eated McDonalds for 30 days straight to see what happens (but I'm not gonna do this because I'm afraid I would die.)

I have painted your finger nails, so we can take this off the list.

I have gotten a tattoo (remind me to show it to you next time we see each other)

I have never writted a "dear abby" colomn

I have never walked backwards all day

I have never worn a cape and a speedo to the grocery store

Tell someone that has changed your life for the better how thankful you are--I have done this with certain people to a certain extent, but this one is a fairly fluid one ('cuz there are many people I haven't had a conversation like this with), so it goes on the list.

I have never yelled instead of talked for one whole day.

Okay, okay, I know, yes, I have never joined my friends Lanie and Gina for Coffee more than once

And yes, I know, I have never come to game night (i will be at the next one)

Lets find a time to shave our legs. Soon.