Letters to Holly

Friday, July 18

But What I Really Want to Do ...

The script meeting last night included some real progress. We have a list of more than 50 potential plays, and we whittled that down to about 20. This followed debate about the plays we just read. We have to choose 6 shows. The theatre will produce nine total including a musical, Christmas show, and a debut play, all of which we don't choose. No we're trying to decide the formula for the season. We have one hard drama, A Trip to Bountiful, and because we have a director lined up for this show already, it's in. That leaves five slots for comedies, mysteries, farces, and a category we made last night, a light drama.

After reading The Rainmaker and Crimes of the Heart, I argued that we need to offer a drama that counters the traditional theatre perception of dark, depressing shows. Audiences won't flock to a three-hour bout of dismay. But both of the dramas I read this week are more than comedies with depth. They are dramas, and that genre is more than sad endings. I made such an argument for Rainmaker that I was asked if I wanted to direct it. Actually, I don't I'd rather act in it. But I won't turn down the chance. And I said yes. It's nothing binding. In fact, I said later that I should assist in directing before I helm a show with this company. They don't know me well enough to give me the reins. The actors have no reason to listen to me or trust my notions. I have to pay dues and thread roots. But, still, the path to directing was laid last night. I would like to tackle Inherit the Wind and I suggested in June how it could be done with a reduced cast and set). If the script committee considers it again next year, maybe I'll get that chance.

I was given one new script last night; everyone else is reading plays I've already graded. We should finalize the season in two weeks. We'll have to take into account the commercial appeal of the plays, our ability to cast and produce them, and the type of season they would create as a whole. It's been fun, but I'll be glad to end this.

Moving Picture of the Day
In front of most showings of Dark Knight will run this trailer for Watchmen, the adaptation of the most significant comic in the past 30 years. It's the Moby-Dick of comics. In comics history, there are Superman' descendants. Spider-Man's descendants, and Watchmen's. They establish their specific eras. Watchmen wasn't the first dark comic by a long shot, but it heralded a new depth to comics. Arguably, nothing has lived up to it since its mid-'80s debut.

The trailer looks good and suggests the film will cling close to the comic. I like what I see so far.

Thursday, July 17

A Very Long Argument About Satire

I'll spare the blow-by-blow. Suffice to say Your Sister didn't think it was funny, and we threw down on comedy, intention vs. reception, satire vs. propaganda, and media commentary.

I don't think I'm an odd duck for listening to conservative radio. It amuses me. I laugh at it. Not with. At. Your Sis can't stomach it; she's repulsed by the image of the fringe zealous audiences. She's unable to mock the hosts. Me, I live for it. We agree that nothing deflates the earnest diatribe like laughter. And I truly find the crap singing from my radio rib-tickling. The local preacher who uses his daily Prayer Time show to rant about communists and environmentalists? Hysterical. Limbaugh continuing to claim that the Bush Administration failed because of a shadow government of ex-Soviets employed by the Clintons? A hoot. Michael Savage claiming Iranians set the California fires just a year after he said Al Qaeda did the same? This is better than primetime sitcoms.

Your Sis screams with rage. I scream with laughter. We're wired differently. But we went to bed after a truce, and that's all that matters.

I've read my 34th script, and I'm desperate to pick up a novel. Suddenly there are piles of books I'd rather read. There's a new Chuck Palahniuk out there. Somewhere. Lost in the wildnerness.

Picture of the Day
Still dying to see the new Batman film.

Tuesday, July 15

A Very Quick Lesson in Satire

This is funny:

This is why:
It gives light to the bigoted paranoia on the fringe right. It exposes the hollow rabble-rousing of the talk-show hosts desperate to create scandal. It deflates the simmering fears of those influenced by either.

Anyone who pretends to be outraged is either trying to get on TV or stands revealed as a muckraker. All those people who still harp on Barack's middle name? This is for them. All those people who claim they don't get the joke? Idiots and liars.

The magazine struck a nerve and plastered the conversation on their cover. Audiences have to confront what they profess. This is what good print journalism does.

+ + +

I ran some more and may have hit my limit on sun intake. My nose is all ouchy. How did you manage in Swaziland?

Monday, July 14

Drinking Like a Radio

Your Sis came to Asheville with me Friday, but she didn't test-drive a scooter. She's on the waiting list for the safety-course at a community college, and she's disheartened about the potential time before she becomes a student. This isn't a midlife crisis; this is her annual summer project that hit a speed bump. She hoped to drive to work on her new scooter when the school opens next month. We drove to a parkway restaurant next to a hotel. This hotel was the scene of some memorable college drama for me in the winter of '92, and it amuses Your Sis to no end.

We hit the farmer's market on Saturday to make veggie kabobs for that night's teacher party. Again, we grilled. We've become master grillers of late. The party was good -- not too much shop talk and the mood was much more relaxed than during semesters. I also drank an entire bottle of Syrah, but I was assured I wasn't an ugly drunk. I never am. I'm a polite drunk. A charming drunk even.

Your Sis did school work over the weekend, and we took turns working on our tans for the August vacation. We watched the first Hellboy movie last night to prepare her for the sequel. I didn't like it when I first saw it -- it veers hard away from the comic's dark tone -- but time and old age has helped me grow to enjoy it.

Picture of the Day
I found this kids book in Malaprops. It's hysterical, and the author has a few other books out, including one where zoo animals pester a girl for supplies to make a getaway car. We don't need kids to buy these books. But, I have to admit and I urge you to say nothing to no one, I'm warming to the idea of being a parent.

I also found a comic book that details the creation of an episode of This American Life, and it may be my favorite comic book ever. It's a smidgen outdated. It predates podcasts, and the advice on getting on amateur radio is almost quaint now. Then again, I used to make fake radio broadcasts in my bedroom as a kid. I had tapes and tapes of my radio station.