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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Equisite Lonliness

We are on Mackinac Island. I'm blogging from an internet cafe next to the French Outpost. I ran the whole island this morning (saw an eagle sitting on a rock out in the water), 8 miles in about 70 minutes (the exquisite lonliness of the long-distance runner). Feeling good. It's sunny, cool, but incredibly beautiful. Lake Michigan is an impressive body of water, we tracked up the eastern coast on U.S. Highway 31 yesterday, 6 hours on the road, we covered over 500 miles of pavement. Here the lake looks pristine, deep, calm; a dark blue, almost violet/purple, plum-like color.

Michigan is an interesting territory (massive trees looming). Yesterday we started with the Gerald Ford shrine in Grand Haven (upper middle class, Protestant), but by the time we got to Traverse City we saw signs for Kerry/Edwards, plus my favorite: 'Support our Troops, Vote Bush Out.' Traverse City seems to be a little more diverse, a little more middle-class, 'back-packers and hikers.' A working-class, Union City.

The closer we got to Mackinac, there began to appear a little French flavor, towns like Charlevoix and Mackinac itself. This must have been where the French Trappers had an influence. You begin to realize that America is a large country with little pockets of influence, class, and ethnicity everywhere. From the 'Burghers' in South Holland to the French in the Upper Penisula.

So today, we can chill out, look for a good restuarant, explore the town. Our room is nice and comfortable, (we're staying at the Bayview Bed and Breakfast, run by a group of Jamaicans who make the trip every summer). Good to find a little ethnic 'color' in the mix. Otherwise the island is a little too 'whitebread.' Carla and I make an odd couple, don't quite fit the profile. We have a sort of Bohemian way about us. It definitely seems to set us apart here. Living in the shadow of Chicago gives us a completely different perspective and I think it shows. We wear our 'uniqueness' like a badge of honor.

Monday, August 30, 2004

'I'm a Ford Not a Lincoln' -- G. Ford, 1976

Well suprise, suprise. We are in Michigan, on the east side of Lake Michigan, staying at the Lakeshore Bed and Breakfast. It is quiet, beautiful, with big brooding trees looming over us. The real strange thing: this place is a Shrine to Gerald Ford. The room has pictures and statues of the man, the towels are red, white and blue, the Presidential seal is on the napkins, the pillows are embroidered with his signature. It seems the couple that owns this place worked on his failed campaign in 1976. Is this an episode of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm?'

Carla and I came in late last night, we blasted in from the road: rock and roll, sun roof open, windows down, the freedom of a roadtrip. It's like we landed here from another planet. I have my 'Bush Evil Doer' pin on my hat, Carla has her Kerry/Edwards button. We are definitely fish out of water. In my book, Gerald Ford is memorable for only two things: he pardoned Tricky Dick, and he inspired Chevy Chase to frequently trip and fall.

Anyway, very funny, in a strange kind of way.

Sipping coffee this morning, there's a chill in the air, we have a fire going, keeping us warm and toasty. First day of vacation. We plan on taking a walk on the beach, then the long trip up to Mackinaw Island. Is there a bed and breakfast somewhere in this state dedicated to Bill Clinton? I know there the coffee would be stronger, the views would be more spectacular, and the sex would be even better.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Performing for the Trees

Yesterday at Bucktown Arts Fair. What a werid, strange day. We performed outside in the center of the park. Just as we began, a rock band on one side of the park began their raucous set, and a drumming circle started at the other. We were totally drowned out. Manny, Carla and I plowed on anyway. Our audience couldn't hear us and they scattered like little pidgeons before a shotgun blast. The audience voted with their feet, they left us to perform for the trees.

In an odd turn, this was all very validating. We did a tight, well-rehearsed show for no-one. Afterwards we were paid $150 (we gave half to Manny) plus we each received a beverage and food coupon. Not bad for 20 minutes of work. Manny was ecstatic. Black Forest was on the bill alongside Trapdoor Theater and Red Moon Theater, not bad company, for our little marginal outfit.

We wandered over to Tracy's jewelry booth. I ended up in a very animated political discussion with David, Tracy's husband. You cannot find two people (David and I) that are more diametrically opposed on absolutely every issue. We see differents worlds, we rely on different facts. It is amazing how fundamentally we differ on everything. Again, it was very validating. I was able to get it all off my chest; how the world has gone so dangerously off the tracks under the 'Evil Bush Doer' and his right-wing Junta.

Today we meet with two actors who are competing to replace George in 'Henry Goodbar.' Then Carla and I are off to Michigan (Grand Haven, then Mackinaw Island) for a little vacation. Hope to find internet connections along the way. Blogging is a must.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

A One Time Affair

My DSL line is still out, I checked with ComCast, and they said they are doing 'upgrades' in my area. So again, I am coming to the web via my laptop with a 'pirate' wireless connection. Everything is slower, it's like I'm running with weights attached to my ankles. What's really strange, my network card is blinking green, but the connection monitor tells me that I'm 'not linked' so I should not be be writing this entry. I am living on 'borrowed time,' against my own technology. As I said, very strange.

Today we have morning rehearsal, then a performance at the Bucktown Arts Fair. This will be a 'one off' performance. Bucktown is a 'family event' so we must modify some of the language, also, since we will be outside in the middle of the Fair, we have worked out a more visual representation of the piece. Manny and I do a 'Mariachi' guitar showdown, trading lines, strumming guitars. Another time, another place.

This will be a one-time experiment, and then we move on. And so, what else is a life?

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Salt March

This morning I was reading a web-log about Iraq. Al Sistani will be making a march to the Shrine in Najaf in a bid for peace, and there was a mention of Ghandi's 'salt march' in India; Ghandi was protesting a British-imposed tax on salt.

A little 'brown man' in a robe, helped bring down an empire. It seems to me that the 'greatest' among us, have been the 'humble outsiders,' men and women of peace and non-violence. Ghandi, Mandela, Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu, Steven Biko, Henry David Thoreau, Dorothy Day, the Dali Lama.

Many of them were shunned, many of them suffered, many of them gained power by suffering. Humility and suffering: a source of power. Also, each had a 'faith' in some higher calling or power. Beyond materialism, beyond political, or military power. They all called upon the 'higher' self.

Sistani is a 'black-robed' Ayatollah, not exactly a popular figure in the West, but if he speaks for peace, in some fundamental way, he speaks for all of us.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Beyond Success

So what is worthwhile? How do you define success? These questions have been part of a long-running conversation I have had with my father over many, many, years. We briefly revisited the dialogue yesterday. I have struggled mightily to redefine these terms for myself. In Psychic Energy terms, 'success' is a 'perfect picture' which needs to be 'blown.' Perfect pictures are ideals or visions that are imposed on us, by society, by family, by our own hopes and dreams. We can live without perfect pictures, in fact, these pictures blind us to the ever-expanding now. To see clearly, to live in 'clarity,' one must constantly examine the pictures we carry, and destroy those that do not work for us.

As that great rock and roll poet, Jimi Hendrix once said, 'I'm the one who has to die, when it's my time to die.' There is tremendous freedom in being able to re-define the world, moment by moment, brick by brick. We create the world we choose to live in. The responsibility is ours. We do not have to accept the judgements of others. We do not have to accept the perfect pictures of others, or even those we call our own. We can accept that as 'human beings,' perfection is an illusion.

We live in a world of dichotomies: rich/poor, happy/sad, empty/fulfilled, success/failure. We can be crucified on the cross of each of these dichotomies, or we can dismantle the crosses, and create new uses for the wood. Tom Waits: "Come down off the cross, we can use the wood... come on up to the house."

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The Sky is Crying

Rain is coming down hard. A light bulb has popped, so I sit in the dark, typing into my computer; words, sentences tumble out into the blog-sphere. I slept well last night, but I'm a little sore and creaky this morning.

I had a dream, where I was in a large room surrounded by people, and I was explaining myself to the group... 'I wanted to make a wad of cash, so I could devote myself to my theater group.' This may have been my original conception, (as per Easy Rider -- 'make the big score, and then you're free') but I have a foot in two camps. One, where I make money, one, where I dream.

I now believe its important to have a day-job that pays the bills. This way the theater group can be purely about the work. Why turn what I love to do, into a job? The job is another role, another realm. The challenge is to not be consumed, not to give it all away.

I have 'detached' myself from my job, so I can plunge myself into The Work. This balance might be the best of two worlds. I'll try that idea on for size today, to see how it works out. Be free NOW and ALWAYS.

Monday, August 23, 2004

As Time Goes By

Time slowed to a crawl this weekend. We accomplished so much in terms of our performance and our rehearsals. The Abbie Fest is probably the best theater event of the year. It was our fifth appearance at the fest, each year has been inspiring, rewarding.

We saw at least 8 or 9 different theater pieces, everything from the sublime to the ridiculous. The energy, creativity, and dedication on display was remarkable. The funniest thing we saw was an 'interview' with Abbie Hoffman, conducted by Sid Siddharta, on the show 'Favorites and Not So Favorites.' It was a one time gem of improvisation.

We topped it all off with dinner last night at 'Rick's,' a French Moroccan cafe on Sheridan. It is a shrine to Casablanca and Humphrey Bogart, run by a Couple from France. It's one my favorite restuarants, we are welcomed as old friends.

We must now find a replacement for George, plus we need to get ready to perform at the Bucktown Art Fest next weekend. Living in at least two alternate universes simultaneously. Let's see, who am I today?

Sunday, August 22, 2004

'Magic is a one time affair'

The regal, silver-haired, street performer I saw in Montreal defined magic as a 'one time affair,' and in a way, we can look at all events in our lives as 'one time affairs,' events that never occur again. 'You can't enter the same river twice.' We are always changing, the river is too.

Our performance at 'Abbie Hoffman' last night was satisfying. It's a real challenge to do a 'roadshow' in a raw space. We had a good audience (40-50 people), one that really listened and responded. Performance is a tremendous act of will -- you put yourself in an extreme situation where you are 'exposed' to an audience that is free, to judge, to reject, to embrace.

The Abbie audience is made up primarily of our peers in the Chicago theater community. Probably the best audience we could possibly imagine. The fest is all about the work, and many of those in the audience know what the work is all about.

'Free Henry Goodbar, Telepath,' another strange, little bastard child, is beginning to emerge. It is a real challenge, and a kick to approach this process as the most important thing we can possibly do. Everyone did justice to the work. Carla and Manny were especially good. Carla is an incredible dynamo, she's a force of nature when she focuses her energies on the task at hand. Manny is over-sized in all ways. A great performer. Liz Gomez was flawless with the lights and sound.

Rich Cotovsky's gem of wisdom: 'If you support someone, somewhere down the line you will find support, what goes around comes around. That's how it works.' Cotovsky is an oddball, a kook, a lone wolf, and one of my greatest sources of inspiration. Yes, I must say...Abbie lives!

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Google Abbie Hoffman

3:00 p.m. Friday afternoon sitting at the foot of the Picasso at the Plaza. There are seven guys, seven oddballs, seven marginal characters, seven lonesters (were we all raised by wolves?). Rich Cotovsky, now Abbie Hoffman, leads the band, megaphone in hand. Two of us carry a banner reading, 'Abbie Hoffman Died for Your Sins,' one of us carries a sign that says, 'What the Hell,' the rest of us hand out flyers announcing three days of 'theatrical entertainment.'

We march down Dearborn, take a left at Wacker, troop down Michigan Av. (gaping shoppers, mall girls, tourists from Iowa, -- 'Mommy, who's Abbie Hoffman?') cut over to the lakefront, past the volleyballers, the girls in bikinis, the bikers, the roller-bladers, the street people. Rich (Abbie) on his megaphone, keeps up a running monologue. He sees a man loading a mattress into a truck, he quips, 'Abbie Hoffman loaded more mattresses, into more trucks, than any other man alive.'

Overhead, fighter jets are doing loop de loops, roaring across the sky, rattling windows, the finest military hardware money can buy, getting ready for the Air and Water show this weekend. I hear Groucho Marx whisper in my ear, 'I would never want to join a club that would have me as a member.' I am here and not here at the same time. I do my part, hand out flyers and put one foot in front of another. Nice day, nice walk.

A lady shouts out to this motley band, "Guys, the sixties are dead.!' Oh well. We get to the theater about 5:30 p.m. I go to Starbucks, get an 'iced venti skim latte,' and a bottle of water. I sit down in a comfy chair and wait for Carla and Manny to join me for the opening ceremonies. The show gets off to a good start, three of the first four pieces are excellent. Up early this morning, rehearsal at Peter Jones, then we unveil 'Henry Goodbar,' tonight. I am one of those 'lone wolves' who can't wait to get up in front of a house full of eyes. What would Abbie say?

Friday, August 20, 2004

Never Mind

Never Mind about that 'zero sum game' of energy in my last post. By end of afternoon yesterday, I crashed out on the futon in my 'office' and snoozed for about an hour and a half. I did a little self-rejuvenating, so to speak.

Last night, Carla and I went to Strawdog, it's kind of a freaky space. Dead center stage points directly at a concrete pillar. The floor is cement, so the acoustics are bad, very echoey, tinny, and the sound system speakers are 'downstage' so, the music hits the ears before the actor's voice.

But it is a new space, a new challenge. They have a nice light board and good sound equipment. Liz didn't make it, so we came up with two light settings, and two sound settings and I took good notes. Hopefully, before we go on, I'll be able to give Liz a quick tutorial.

It's the Abbie Hoffman march this afternoon. I think I'm going. 40 blocks. Might be a kick. Looking forward to the 'opening ceremonies.' Rich Cotovsky conjures up the spirit of Abbie Hoffman. Creative cooperation. Woodstock Nation lives: peace, love, and three days of theatrical madness.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

In the dark this morning. No sun. The light must come from 'inside.'

Tech time this evening. Carla and I will visit Strawdog Theater to get familiar with the light and sound booth, in anticipation of our Abbie Fest perfomance Saturday. Hopefully Liz Gomez (who will actually work the board) will be meeting us. Tech time is set for 11:00 p.m. This is usually well past my bedtime.

Another long day. I swear, the days are getting longer. It seems I have time for everything. Ever since I came back from Montreal, I have been, 'in my space,' the trip seemed to 'ground' me. My meditations have gotten more vivid, more rejuvenating.

It seems the more I do, the more I can do, the more energy I expend, the more energy I am able draw upon. I guess energy is not a 'zero sum game.' Now that's a mystery right there.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Patchy fog this morning. Woke up with that old Police song rattling in my cranium, 'too much information, running round my head, too much information.'

Time has slowed down. My days are long and productive. Juggling business (we inked a 5 year Cook County contract) and Black Forest (completed the soundtrack, perfecting my lines).

As I run on the lakefront, I mutter my lines from 'Henry Goodbar.' Passerbys probably think I'm a madman, not so sure they are wrong. Last two days, I have been extending my run. I have been wearing my 'cheap' New Balance Trail Runners, which I bought for $35 at a sidewalk sale, and they have put my more expensive shoes to shame.

I've been thinking lately of 'game theory,' which posits that all human activity is basically a 'game' where each participant tries to maximize their advantage. This corresponds to concepts in my Psychic Energy work, which talks about how we are 'playing' at various roles. But no game totally encompasses our essence.

Came across this Issac Bashevis Singer quote, in response to his first visit to Coney Island: "one day all people will realize there is not a single idea that can really be called true -- that everything is a game: nationalism, internationalism, religion, atheism, spiritualism, materialism, even suicide."

Even suicide. Now there's a loser's game. Singer doesn't judge, he doesn't say this is good, or bad, it is what it is...nothing more, nothing less.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

What kind of 'glasses' should I wear? The kind that only see 'the past'? The kind that only see 'the future'? The kind that only see 'the now'?

Each pair of glasses, is also a set of blinders. What do I see, or instead, what do I choose to see? Krishnamurti: no dogma, except, be here, now. The now is where I can 'act.' Step by step, in the moment; no time for regret, guilt, doubt, fear.

It's the easiest thing in the world: to let it all go, 'to every season, turn, turn, turn.' A certain peace has descended upon me. The days seem to be 'elongating.' It's amazing what a good rest will bring. The day rolls out ahead of me, I simply put one foot in front of another.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Yesterday seemed like a week; Rehearsal, Abbie Hoffman Barbecue, Radio Interview.

We made great progress in rehearsal, George still lagged, but he came around, and the first five scenes are rounding into shape.

The Barbecue was held on a rooftop deck at Mary Archie. Carla, Peter Jones and I, (Peter had a hamburger, Carla and I sipped water) stayed for an hour or so, and we chatted with some of the other theater groups. Rich Cotovsky played the master of ceremonies, he is funny, an inspiration. I really appreciate the way he approaches theater work: a simple, no bullshit, purity. We picked up our 'artist passes' for the fest next weekend, and scheduled tech time for Thursday.

The Radio Interview, was strange, oddly satisfying. Did we do justice to the language of the play over the radio waves? Carla and I recited monologues from 'Henry Goodbar' in a cramped studio with big fat microphones just inches from our lips. Our words were sent out into the ether. Did we connect with anyone? Who's listening to WZRD late on a Sunday night?

Got home late, up at the crack of dawn. Hoping to crash out early tonight.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

To bed late (a dinner party at the neighbors), up early (the day was calling me), feeling a little brittle this morning.

The radio tells me, 'the goal of life is to play.'

George has turned out to be a great diappointment. He is obviously already on to 'other things' and he is stumbling through the text. He has not come to rehearsal prepared, and he is a drag on the whole group (everyone else is dedicated, professional). Hopefully, we can bring him along today, get through 'Abbie' next week, and then cut him loose.

Big day today: last major rehearsal before 'Abbie,' from 10-2, then on to Mary Archie for the annual Abbie Barbecue, then later this evening a radio interview on WZRD to promote our appearance at the Bucktown Art Fest.

I'll have to catch up on sleep later.

My new theatrical inspiration: the two street performers I saw in Old Montreal; a sword swallower, a magician. The essense of performance, people fully engaged, a few props, the energy needed to make people stop and notice. The willingness to 'risk it.' Neil Young tells me, 'Don't be Denied.'

Saturday, August 14, 2004

The play's the thing. The last two rehearsals (today, tomorrow) before Abbie Hoffman Fest next weekend at Strawdog Theater.

I have been compiling the new soundtrack. It's quite an eclectic collection: Roger Miller, Neil Young, The Sex Pistols, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Mamas & Papas, The Stones, Vladimir Horowitz.

'Moonlight Sonata' vs. 'God Save the Queen.'

The selections are meant to reflect and illuminate the text.

Yesterday, George, unleashed a bombshell. He wants out of the production. George has decided that he wants to attend Massage School. He needs to study for an entry test, scheduled in September, and he will need to focus his energies.

'Abbie Hoffman' will be George's last performance, probably the last ever for Black Forest. You're either 'on the boat' or you are off. We need to scramble to find a replacement. On one level, I am relieved, George has been lagging, struggling physically, and I don't think he is willing to 'risk it' to take his performance to the next level.

Black Forest is definitely 'evolving' and I guess this means we will leave some behind. I believe George has taken great strides forward, and maybe his work with the group has helped him to 'change his life,' and pursue massage therapy. Maybe 'therapist' will end up being George's finest performance.

Anyway, can't stop the train now, I'm sure we'll find someone to fill George's shoes. Wonder what other suprises are on the horizon?

Friday, August 13, 2004

What's important? To find some 'authenticity' in life, to find passion, to be able to let it all go at a moments notice?

There's this endless 'cycle.' Up, down, up again, down again: this is the wheel. As Dylan reminds us, 'this wheel's on fire.'

I'm back to my familiar world. Dealing with contracts, lawyers. Last week, we signed a contract, now our lawyer wants to 'walk back the cat,' undo what we have done. I think it's a fool's game.

Black Forest: key rehearsals set for this weekend. Abbie Hoffman next week. I'm working on the soundtrack, Carla's finalizing costumes. I've memorized my lines, still working on physicality, vocal range.

Strange, it is the play: acting, imagining, creating this little mirage, that leads me to my authenticity, my passion. Imagine a world where everything has meaning, everything reflects back a diamond consciousness.

'And when I was a boy...everything was right.'

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Back home feels good. Quite a trip, Montreal offers some of the best of city living: a vibrant, diverse, human culture.

The only negative: from the city to the airport, too many cars, too much pavement.

It seems we believe technology will save us; at the same time our advanced technology is choking us, seperating us from nature, drowning us in the culture of machines.

The cab ride from O'Hare to home: ugly streets, strip malls, endless suburban sprawl. Bland, parking-lot, ugliness, everywhere.

The City of Big Shoulders and Flabby Bellies. The Midwest grows them big, bland, slow-moving --- kind of like the bloated cows that become juicy burgers on over-loaded plates.

Of course, Chicago is too big, too diverse, to be one thing. The beauty of a 'city' is the incredible energy of millions of people: every shape, every size, every race, creed, color spilling into the streets like some frenetic 24 hour carnival (see especially New York City).

I bought a t-shirt in a little shop in Old Montreal. My new credo: 'Life is... to eat, to sleep, to skate.' Of course, for me to skate is a metaphor, as per Jethro Tull: 'skating away, on the thin ice, of a new day.'

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Hello old friend. My blog has become my conscience.

I love Montreal. It may be a different story in the winter, but, August in Montreal, is exquisite.

I've had my fill of this damn conference. I made a good connection or two. Good riddance.

The joy has been Old Montreal. I had a great dinner at 'Ghandi' last night. Indian food with a touch of French Canadian class.

I have been captivated by the women of Montreal. Beautiful, petite, French Canadiens, who have this uncanny ability to see through or past me. They are expert at being seen, but not seeing. There have been times, I thought, I was finally invisible, one of my goals ever since I was young.

So what is this compulsion to act, to be onstage, to perform for an audience? Oh well, chalk it up to the contradiction of a life.

Flight out tonight at 6:00 p.m. In the meantime, I will 'drift with the stream.' One more time, I will wander the cobblestone streets, see how my fellow human beings are amusing themselves.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

A new man today. The hard edginess, from lack of sleep, is gone. Slept a solid nine hours. Bright, alive, refreshed.

A tale of two worlds...

1. The conference is basically a 'mindfuck.' Robert Gates, former CIA Director, kicked it off with a speech laying out the future in America Terror Central. The assumption is that more devastating attacks are coming, they are inevitable, unavoidable. The 'terrorists' are dedicated, mad, evil. No discussion of underlying motives. The impression is that no policy changes are necessary, we must fight these crazies, and be prepared to deal with the inevitable destruction. No one is asking why 'they' hate us. No one is asking how we can change the world to dissipate the hate. The response is complete, hard-edged, fear. Fortress America: what do we give up to fight the terror?

2. Old Montreal is beautiful. Old world. Narrow, cobblestone, streets, beautiful, graceful, refined, dazzling, young French Canadien women everywhere. I walked the streets of Old Montreal for hours, soaking up the atmosphere. Street theater: a sword swallower, a magican ('the definition of magic: a one time affair'), the life of the paving stones. This is what a city should be: good food, good shops, people out in the cafes, the restaurants, the street itself entertainment.

The Stereotype: the Americans are fat, ugly, loud, bringing with them their obnoxious culture of money and fear. The French Canadiens: beautiful, refined, cultured, happy, carefree, unaware of the dark underbelly of capital.

Could it be the stereotype is 'correct?' If I must choose, I choose a life of joy, not fear; life, not death. Terror, war, fear, are not inevitable. Open your eyes. The world is a beautiful place to live.

Perfect , August, blue sky over Old Montreal, hundreds of little white birds dancing in the air.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Everything is different this morning. Different bed, different city.

The flight to Montreal was smooth. Listened to Sigur Ros and Donny Darko and meditated the whole way.

Wish I spoke French. It is amazing to find a little French enclave in North America. Hope to see more of the city later today. Here for a 'homeland security' conference. Boy, do I feel like a fish out of water.

Sitting in a little cafe, sipping a latte, using their internet computer. The conference starts later this morning. Did not sleep so good. Woke up just about every hour. So, a little toasty this morning. Hope to put in a full day, grab a good meal, and get a good long sleep.

When it comes down to it, the simple pleasures seem to be the most essential.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Rehearsal today, then a flight to Montreal tonight.

Yesterday's rehearsal was very productive. Carla has brought a new intensity to her direction, especially with the 'physicality' of the actors which will help with the 'difficult' text.

George brought Krista along him to rehearsal yesterday. She is to be our new lighting/sound tech/stage manager. This should help immensely. She seems smart, commited, young and eager. The circle continues to strengthen.

It is amazing what a focused group of people can accomplish. The reward of doing your small part in the context of a larger reality. This is the stuff of dreams and visions.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Yesterday: played hooky, Huck Finn in a Sonata. A perfect day.

Empty, relaxed. Blue sky, big golden sun. After a run on the lake front (water, perfect blue, glass-like) I took a long meandering road trip to the Old Homestead. Listened to Bruce Springsteen's masterpiece, 'The Rising,' at top volume; sun-roof open, windows rolled down, warm August day wrapped around me like a glove. Rock and roll!

Pulled up to the Big Red House. Maple trees, lush and green, like old friends. Said 'hello' to mother, father, sister, niece, the family dog, the little chirping birds, the fish in the pond, the little acrobatic squirrels.

Everyone seemed happy to be alive on an August day. We talked of world events, we talked of the ordinary day to day. Family bonds run deep. Blood of my blood.

I had a 'little plate' with the family: soup, salad, a bananna. Then said my 'goodbyes' -- back on the road.

Took North Avenue all the way to Wicker Park. A vibrant street scene. Visited my brother's new art studio in the Flat Iron Building in Wicker Park. He's got a great little place, in the heart of the Chicago Art Scene. Classic old building, wood floors, high ceilings, perfect. His paintings: beautiful, strange, brooding.

Chatted with two cool dudes: Walter Fydryck and Jeff Foley. Great artists, mentors, unique old hipsters.

Carla and I dined at the Silver Cloud Bar and Grill. Linguini marinara -- highly recommended. Wicker Park is the Soho of Chicago.

Cool ride home, dark shimmering Chicago streets, alive, dazzling. Arrived home -- no doubts, no regrets: a very good day indeed.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Not exactly 'dog days.' A cool front has moved in. Good sleeping weather. Not sure if I've fallen into a rut, or am on the verge of a 'breakthrough.'

Busy day ahead. Sitting down to 'close the deal' with the other party. This is when visions collide. Could be a significant step forward, a step back, or, no step at all.

Inspiration and enlightenment, seem so far away. I am left with myself. Unsettled, unsure. What is a life?

Alone. Even a life filled with others, alone.

On one shoulder -- Satre (paraphrased) : 'hell is the other.' On another shoulder -- Lennon: 'all you need is love.' I am the living contradiction.

'The Life you save may be your own.' And must I save it for a rainy day?

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Stormy night, stormy day.

Yesterday was the perfect storm. I have become the 'contrarian' at the little entreprenurial company where I work. I almost always come down on the side of our 'Customers.' This puts me in conflict with the management team.

There is something tribal about the way people band together to disparage the other, the outsider. I usually try to see the validity of the 'other side.' This leads to friction, or outright hostility, from members of 'my team.'

All my 'successes' have come from being able to get two sides to the table: to talk, to listen, to compromise. I usually have to 'work' both sides of the equation.

I am criticized for being soft, for wanting to be liked, for wanting everyone to get along. I believe these are my strengths. I come to a 'deal' assuming that all parties are 'good intentioned.'

I try to come from a place of 'humility.' This is perceived as 'weak,' or 'not loyal.' I guess maybe I'm not loyal. Or I'm loyal to something else. So, I am not comfortable in the group, I'm always looking beyond the group to another reality. I am alone, but of course, I'm not the only one who is alone.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Little moments finally add up to something, but in the process, these moments seem unimportant, invisible, insubstantial.

So, another day goes by. I meditate, I write, I run on the lakefront. I choose to be positive, to move the conversation forward.

I must honor every small step forward (even if it feels like a step back), the slow but steady progress, the strange evolution, all the little victories, yes, even the tiny defeats.

So what's important? To see the world with open eyes, open heart and mind. To propel myself into the world, without looking back. To meditate, to find the calm center of clarity, to acknowledge a progression, yes, finally, to love.

To laugh, at myself, at the beauty and uncertainty of the world. To live, fully, completely; to understand that this moment, and this one too, is sacred, holy. 'Instant Karma' is simple, plain, mundane, so easy to misunderstand, so easy to pass by without a second look.

Monday, August 02, 2004

The 'FireSign Theater,' had an album entitled, 'We're all Bozos on this Bus,' and another, 'Everything You Know is Wrong.'

There is something wise, something absurd, something disquieting to be found in these 'insights.' They have been with me ever since I encountered them in the seventies.

Yesterday was one of those days where the 'absurdity' of my existence, rose up and slapped me in the face. Nothing seemed to 'flow,' everything came hard and halting.

In the 'Goodbar' rehearsal, we made solid progress, breaking down scenes, making up 'bits,' bringing physicality to the words. It all sounded so foreign and clunky. What was I thinking? When I wrote the piece, it all made 'sense' to me, I was bringing all these disparate thoughts and ideas together, with the certainty that if I saw a connection, there was a connection. Hearing it yesterday made me wonder if anything connects.

This has happened to me before, in fact, it happens with just about every production. I start out enthused, certain; then everything breaks down, then slowly, piece by piece, we re-build. It becomes something.

Can't take it too seriously. Must remember, I live the 'Life of a Clown.' I wear a rubber nose and floppy shoes at all times. Plus, what I thought I knew, may not be what I know. You know?

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Up early, bright, alive.

Energy: where does it come from? Where does it go?

Must one 'feel bad,' to understand 'feeling good?'

Black Forest rules. Yesterday's rehearsal was very productive. A solid group dynamic is emerging. Play-acting is serious work. My two favorite activities: writing and acting.

'Free Henry Goodbar, Telepath,' is beginning to emerge. It is a 'monster.' I have jam-packed it with many confusing images. It reflects my jumbled-up view of the world. I seem to be most comfortable in a 'post modern' frame of mind, where nothing is what it seems, everything has another meaning, another resonance.

If I am to be true to my 'vision,' I must be open to many tangents, many ideas, competing and exploding each other. Kind of an exhausting way of seeing the world. Must be why I am always looking for the 'calm center of clarity.'

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