Archive for February, 2010

Sanctuary From Pains

It came as a great shock to me to learn that one of the supporting actors of one of my favorite shows growing up had gone missing.  Today, after a week long search, his body was found.  Joshua Andrew Koenig played Richard “Boner” Stabone the best friend of Mike Seever (played by Kirk Cameron) on Growing Pains.

I’m not sure if I did not know the actor’s name or just did not make the connection, but I just learned Monday that Andrew was the son of Walter Koenig who played Ensign Pavel Chekov on the original Star Trek television series.  Andrew also has another tie to Trekdom.  He played the role of  Tumak on the Deep Space NineSanctuary.”

May He watch over the family of this young man in their time of remorse.

How To Get To Carnegie Hall

While at work today, the boss informed me of a spectacular trip her brother and nephew (a seventh grade theatre buff) were recently part of.  Her brother is the principal of a high school whose choir just took a trip to the Big Apple.  Not only did the group perform at Carnegie Hall (that in itself would be a dream come true) but they saw no less than 3 Broadway Musicals! (Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, and the current smash revival of West Side Story).  When I was in the BGSU Men’s Chorus, the biennial Spring Break tour to New York City afforded us the chance to see one… and MAYBE two shows while living out of the Lakefront Tour buses.  I must admit to being a wee bit jealous.  Not only do I find it hard to imagine that they were able to see that many shows in 1-2 days, but how did they perform and still have time to sleep?  Not that many of them got much sleep.  I know from experience.  I asked if I could go back to his school next year.  I could age myself about 20 years less, right?!  That must have been a lot of cheese and sausage sold to take a trip of that magnitude!

The boss remarked that it only took me an hour to come up with West Side because she could not and it was my mission to come up with the title of a popular, CURRENT show.  So I started rattling off the current musicals on the boards: Wicked, Shrek, Mary Poppins, Rock of Ages, Billy Elliot, Hairspray, Mamma Mia!>  When none of these worked,  I thought… she said CURRENT, but…

Jamiah: West Side Story?!

Di: THAT”S IT!

J: But you said current.  West Side Story is indeed on revival but it is hardly current.

Di: Go back to work!

That’s gratitude!  Next time, I’ll let her sweat it out a little more.  HA!

Give Me What I Want And I’ll Go Away

If memory serves, Stephen King’s Storm of the Century was a mini-series in the late 90s.  It definitely was not a theatrical release since I watched the 2hr15min first part tonight.  I have seen many of King’s other movies and this one definitely ranks VERY high.  Maybe it’s because Mr. King actually had a hand in the production or perhaps it’s because everything about the movie is so compelling.  For a televised production, I thought the editing was very well done.  It is usually much easier to pick out where commercials would be inserted but it just flowed.

I caught the blink or you miss cameo by the writer and a reference to at least one of his other works.  I caught the Superman homage and chuckled when Tim Daly uttered it.  For those of you who don’t know, Daly was the voice of the animated Man of Steel from 1996-2000.  But Colm Feore who plays the creepy, enigmatic, brilliant baddie, Andre Linoge made me think of another equally brilliant villain: Dr. Hannibal Lechter.  But tell me, what was it he was whispering throughout especially when the sound of the storm was raging?  I don’t think it was “I’m a Little Teapot.”

I can’t wait to watch part 2 to find out just what exactly Linoge is.  Signs are given throughout that he might be a leftover from ‘Salem’s Lot but I think he maybe something even more sinister.

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Oh Lord, It’s Hard To Be Humble

Not really, because I am so NOT PERFECT in any (rather long every) way.  I see by the old stat count that I have reached a total of 666 posts (I’ll get off that with this one).  The title… a friend recently posed an interesting question.  Does acting make you more humble when it comes to things concerning the human condition: like ego?  I like to think that I’m not a very ego-centered person, but does that in itself make me egocentric.

In my humble opinion to be successful in any role, you must first know who the character is beyond what you are given in the script.  Where does he come from?  What makes the person who he is?  What was his life like before he takes his first step onto the stage?  This is ultimately as important for the person who has a one-line (or no-line) cameo as it is for the actor playing the 300+ line lead role.

Of course, understanding does not always mean you must empathize with the character.  That would be totally insane!  I could never be a mean, curmudgeonly miser but I sure had a ball playing one on stage.  And as much as I humbly hate to admit it,  I could never be a sexist, Liswathistani visitor covering for news new owner America country.

I am now at the point at which I am ready to take on even more challenging parts.  To be able to take on roles that really challenge me to step out of my zone and look at other elements of the human condition.  Just as Abigail Breslin is now bringing her take of Helen Keller to the Broadway stage in The Miracle Worker.  Plus… still have fun doing it!  The moment it is no longer fun is when I stop and I don’t see that happening any too soon.

I think during my years as an amateur actor, I have come to see (not necessarily understand) more elements of the human condition than I had before.  At least enough to want to continue to do so.

Head Games Before The Unknown Hits

I have heard all kinds of forecasts for the next day or so.  I will let Nature take her course and live with what we are given.  This afternoon, Megan and I had made plans to see Shutter Island.  The first I had come into knowledge of the movie was the trailer during the Super Bowl.  I thought it looked awesome… even if Leonardo Dicrapcaprio was the star.  I think the movie about the boat sinking turned me off of his acting talent.

I will give only the vaguest of outlines for those of you wishing to see the psychological thriller.  Leo plays Teddy Daniels, a veteran U.S. Marshall, who along with his young partner, investigate the escape of a patient at a high security “mental institution for the  criminally insane.”

What follows is a great mind game… I really like those types of movies!  We both thought it was very good.  Although definitely not for the 6-8 young children who were with their adult companions.  I am pleased to say that the only time I noticed them was one who started crying 5 minutes after the show began.  Thankfully, one of the adults was quick to take the child out of the theatre.  Of course after the 2.5 hour movie (didn’t notice the length really), we were greeted by nacho and popcorn remains in our path.

On the return trip, snow had begun falling and when we arrived on Union Street, we found fire engines and a police car along the opposite side of the street.  After dropping my companion at her place, I took another route home and was passed by 2 more emergency vehicles.  Hopefully nothing serious.

Here is the trailer for Shutter Island:

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Spotlight On…. Montages

In attempts to keep the length down to a reasonable amount (showing clips of the 10 films nominated for best picture would seem like it would go on longer than the typical 3-4 hour event), there have been a few strategies put in place for the Academy Awards.  First of all, the nominees for best song will not be performed live by the artists.  Instead, audiences will be treated to (drumroll, please)… yet another in an array of MONTAGES.  A short piece from each of each song will be presented throughout the evening with scenes from their respective movie.  I don’t even recall the nominations for best song nor score so, as a viewer, it may be for the best.  However, how about the songwriters of the nominated pieces?

Another attempt to limit the time is a change in the acceptance speeches.  Each nominee is being asked to provide two speeches: one signifying what winning the award means to them.  The second is the traditional laundry list of thank you notes which will be actually delivered back stage shown later via internet.  I guess there will be no way that someone can forget to thank Fido plus cut down on the emotional impact that may not be as important to the average at home viewer (especially as the evening/early morning wears on).

So… what do you think about the two changes to the gala event?  Should the Best Original Song nominees be allowed their moment in the spotlight?  Should the winners be given stipulations on when and what to say?  Or is it just the show’s producers way of getting all the Best Picture nominees in there?  I’d add a poll but I think there are too many possible responses so I’ll let the comments speak for themselves.

They’re Having A Baby

Ok, ok… so the gang of Dun (OK< OK< Sabre) Scranton Branch are a fictitious bunch, but there is an actual Scranton, PA so who are we to say that the company does not exist.  We even drove within proximity to the town last spring.  Anyway, two of the characters on the show are expecting and to satisfy my no Office blahs, I came across Jim and Pam’s Baby Blog.  Here, you can read about hilarious sympathy pains, weird food cravings, and possible baby names (guess who has voiced his opinion multiple times… even suggesting both male and female variants).  There are also multiple links to other historic events, including the wedding of the lovebirds.

The Next Karate Kid After The Last Next Karate Kid

Yep, you guessed it… ANOTHER REMAKE that does not need remade.  Why, oh why can’t people be ORIGINAL!?!?  I did enjoy the first two Karate Kid movies… they went downhill after that.  I wonder if Hilary Swank holds her turn as The Next Karate Kid in high regard.

I guess there are changes in the plot line: Work causes a single mother to move to China with her young son; in his new home, the boy embraces kung fu, taught to him by a master.  Well.. single mother forced to move, kid embraces martial arts taught by a master.  The fact that the master is changed to  Chinese and not Japanese changes little.  The fact that the stage goes to the Orient in the first movie instead of the sequel… well, maybe we will be saved from a sequel.

Looking at the cast list, I was shocked to see Jaden Smith (son of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith) at the top of the list.  I then looked at the creative geniuses behind the endeavor.  Imagine my astonishement when I saw both of the Smiths listed as two of the FIVE PRODUCERS?!  Really… do we need 5 producers to make a remake of a 25 year old movie?  Oh… and if you have been wondering what has happened to the long-forgotten (at least by me) Jackie Chan look no further.

So, lets see if Hollywood can bring us any good movies for the summer.

A Voice From The Past

Usually when an unfamiliar caller pops up on the caller ID, I let the machine pick it up.  Unless of course, the caller redials then curiosity rears its evil head..  Tonight, a friend I have not seen in four years phoned me.  Mandie (I swore it was with no -e) and I worked together at Wal-Mart and along with Karen, were inseparable.  I even confided in Mandie about my attraction to our other compadre… but, alas.  And she even shared the same last name of the most attractive employee at Dunder-Mifflin (now Sabre) Scranton Branch.

Apparently since I left WM about 3 years ago (she left before that… even before the transition to Supercenter), Mandie has been asking about me from time to time (don’t get any ideas… she is attached and we were never more than really good friends).  Former co-workers have told me she has been in and said… “Where is Jamiah?”  She does have my home phone number.  Tonight, she phoned and we talked for like 2 hours catching up.  Her four boys are no longer the little ones I remember.  Her oldest is now 14!? The youngest, Ashton, whom I remember seeing a day after he was born is now 4!  She also works with Squirmy! Small world!

Even smaller world… she lives in an apartment above a pizza shop very close to the Quarterline Cafe where He Crossed That Line just wrapped.  So… we made plans to get together and have a movie night soon along with her four boys.

A TaLi Lo Production

So ends yet another wonderful, memorable experience.  TaLi Lo is a new non-profit production company in its infancy started by a true theatre lover with the help of her two sisters.  I think this is just great.  She plans to have stage extravaganzas periodically at the Quarterline Cafe.  A portion of each ticket sale will go to a group of her choosing that is near to her heart.  Two dollars from each ticket for He Crossed That Line is going to the county hospital’s cardiac wing.

As for the show itself, it was a delightful murder-mystery full of suspense, suspicion, and improvisation fun!  The victim, Joe Coffee (the evening’s Elvis tribute artist) has been murdered.  FBI Agent Herman Clueso (no relation) is called in on his first case after finishing 97th out of 103rd in his graduating class.

The Suspects:

  • Miss Honey Dew… the 19 year-old widow of the 40 year old victim.  Funny how she has no clue who the King of Rock and Roll is.
  • Mrs. Lola Finkelmeyer… married to golf pro, Lester (Less for short,  “Less is apparently more”).  It seems that old Tiger Woods has been hitting 18 hoes (err. holes).  A close school friend of the victim.
  • Lacy Loveless… pregnant school mate of Joe and Lola.  But all is not as it seems.
  • Boobsie McGee another classmate of Lacy, Joe, and Lola.  Seems to have very close ties to Lacy.
  • Guido Zuckerstein… the owner of the restaurant where the murder took place.  An Italian-Jew… mother Italian, father Jewish (“eh, This is a America”).  Possible ties to organized crime and to Honey Dew.
  • Brittawney Rockefeller Dinglesmoocher… yet another schoolmate of Joe, Lola, Lacy, and Boobsie.  Apparently, a decendant of the Rockefeller clan.

Agent Clueso’s (and the audience’s) mission… to piece together the clues and determine whodunit and why.  The clues come at a terrific pace while the characters and audience enjoy a sumptuous buffet until all the clues are announced and Clueso (in his ultimate wisdom, after just completing his training as an FBI agent after 5 attempts.  He had a little trouble in weapons class!) announces who he believes the murderer is.   Unfortunately, he misses is by “that much” and the real murder reveals him/herself only to be thwarted by the genius who is Clueso, Herman Clueso.

I had an absolute delightful time in my first improv show!  Although, we were given the basic outline of the event, everything else was unscripted so you never knew what was going to happen.  The culprit was not announced to the actor playing the role (and only to that actor) until just before the doors were unlocked each night.  Thank you everyone in the cast, to producer, director Lisa (not that Lisa), and all the audience members who joined in the fun.

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