Saturday, December 30, 2006

Redneck Reels

My favorite movie is CASABLANCA.

There as so many reasons why...

I've always been in love with the '40's...

...the music, the clothes, the men who drink gin, smoke unfiltered cigarettes and keep their body hair un-manscaped...

...and quite frankly, if you don't understand the incredible depth of love Bogart has when he puts Ingrid Bergman on that plane to Lisbon, letting go of his one true love - - at least physically letting her go, but finally allowing her into his heart by realizing "We'll always have Paris," - - if you don't understand that, then we shouldn't even schedule a first date over coffee at Caribou, because our ideas of love are extremely different.

Yeah, I know... "Difficult Bitch - Party of One for All Eternity? Your table is now available."

Even so, I love CASABLANCA. I also deeply love CITIZEN KANE, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (the real one... the FIRST one... not the remake with Denzel... ), and DOUBLE INDEMNITY (thank you, Mike for introducing me to that one).

I say this so that you won't completely discount my praise for really great Redneck Movies.

Damn you! I knew it. You're already giggling at me.

Not all Redneck Movies are ERNEST GOES TO CAMP.

"Know what I mean, Vern?"

Listen, if you haven't seen SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT, you have truly not lived.

As proof, I offer this scene where Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason) takes a break from his "high speed pursuit" The Bandit (Burt Reynolds) to grab a quick meal in a "Choke and Puke" (Redneck term for a truck stop diner). However, he's never seen The Bandit. He's only talked to The Bandit on his CB radio (I friggin' love the 70's!), so he doesn't know that the man he's talking to in the diner with the bedroom eyes and hot - as - fuck 70's mustache IS The Bandit.

See? Didn't think a Redneck Movie would have a plot that convoluted, did you?

And here's your movie trivia for the day: That scene wasn't in the original screenplay. Jackie Gleason suggested it. He also improvised nearly all of his lines in the film.

Put that in your REMAINS OF THE DAY lunchbox and lick it!

But on Christmas night earlier this week, my father introduced me to my new favorite redneck movie...


Ya'll, this movie is some serious funny. Check out this scene so that you will A) fall in love with the movie and B) truly understand the modern Southern Gothic oeuvre...

As I believe Billy Bob Thornton said - - and this applies to TALLADEGA NIGHTS as well...

"In the North, people think SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT is a movie. In the South, it's a documentary."

Friday, December 29, 2006

Hot & Spicy... Just Like Annelle

Calm down, this is not going to be a posting about STEEL MAGNOLIAS - - that was just the first thing that popped in my head when I thought about the word "spicy."

Damn, that's frighteningly faggy, isn't it? The more you read about me, the more its like peeling back layer after layer of an onion and it just gets gayer and gayer and gayer...

Anyway, my friend Ruth Bonnet sent me an email because a friend of her's...

(I know it's confusing, but catch the fuck up, bitch)

...a friend of her's is working for a new company and his job is coming up with crazy names for hot sauces. Ruth asked me and a few other people to help her come up with some names.

Oddly enough, all of the people she asked are gay men. Well, maybe that's not so odd...

I came up with a few names for her. My choices reflect my recent visit back home to Tennessee...


...and they also reflect my sexual orientation...


Then, to quote Blair Warner from THE FACTS OF LIFE, "I had another one of my brilliant ideas!" and decided I would ask you, the 4 people who read this blog, to join us in this ridiculous task. Yes, it's another...

ARE YOU THERE, BLOG? CONTEST: Help me come up with names for hot sauces. I'll pick the top 3 names (rated on the level of hilarity, the clever use of the English language and extreme shock value) and those 3 lucky readers will each receive an ARE YOU THERE BLOG? IT'S ME, STEPHEN t-shirt...

...when, if ever, I have some made...

And to help spark your creativity, here's a picture of The Cajun Hot Sauce Queen.

What this bitch had to do to GET that title, I haven't the slightest idea...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tender Tennesee Christmas, My Ass!

Ok, maybe that title is a wee bit harsh, but my brother Jeff and I are now in the middle of an epic battle similar to Cain vs. Abel, Rocky Balboa vs. Clubber Lang and of course Joan Crawford vs. Christina...

How similar? Well, notice the striking resemblance between the picture above from MOMMIE DEAREST and this picture that Philip took of my brother and me after Jeff ran the Chicago Marathon last year...

Frightening, huh?

Also frightening because I look like the bastard child of Yul Brenner and that bitch from THE MATRIX....

What did Jeff and I fight about? I won't go through all the sordid details - - I'm sure you want to hear about my family crises about as much as I want to see the video of someone's child being born... I always want to say, "Don't show me the birth, show me the conception." - - but I'm sure I'll rant about it later on here. Two brothers fighting is fun but two FAG brothers fighting, now that's an episode of DYNASTY!

I'm insanely busy at Season of Concern and SEUSSICAL rehearsals, but here are a few of quick holiday tid bits:

First up, I have two new Wanda quotes!

Wanda is my mother and yes, its a stand-up comic cliche to say, "Oh, those wacky parents of mine!" but my mother is truly in a class all her own.

On this trip, I recorded the following:

- As she was describing to me how to keep my new Gap jacket crisp and clean, she said, "Get you some of that Clorox 2 - - for Coloreds." Is this the bleach that Michael Jackson has been soaking in all this time?!?!? That queerbait...

- I'm not sure what we were talking about but mama used the phrase, "Puttin' on the dog," and I asked her where that came from and she bluntly replied, "Right outta my mouth."

Ok, in retrospect these are not belly laugh-ers, but one of the reasons I love her is that there is no filter from her brain to her mouth and because of that, brilliant things are brought to life.

I love her for that and for the killer dvd's she bought me!!!


Who needs a kiss from a handsome man on New Year's Eve? I've got William Powell and Myrna Loy by the handfull!!! Solving murders carrying cocktails, decked out in the finest of evening clothes and always accompanied by the cutest dog known to man, Asta. If that's not a gay man's fantasy, I'm not sure what is!!!

No... you're right... that's not every gay man's fantasy... Brandon Routh is every gay man's fantasy...

Which is why mama gave me SUPERMAN RETURNS - - the mega, ultimate, whammo, collector-ific, Comes - With - A - Crappy - Book - About - Supes dvd and I can't wait to watch it and study Brandon's package in extreme close-up slow motion.

Speaking of his package... yum...

And my brother (yes, the bitch I'm having a fight with) got me the first season of REMINGTON STEELE on dvd.

Yes, I was THAT GUY in the 80's. (FYI: "THAT GUY" in this instance means that REMINGTON STEELE fans were only slightly less Geek-Tarded than a guy with a 7th level Cleric in a DUNGEONS & DRAGONS campaign)

If my participation in Drama Class and Show Choir didn't give my parents all the information they needed about me, the large poster of Pierce Brosnan in a tux with his shirt unbuttoned definitely announced my sexual preference to any and all who entered my room.

But my favorite dvd was one that my mother worked with my cousin Rhonda to make. Its a simple slideshow of different pictures of me, my brother and my mom from my birth all the way to the vacation the three of us took in Hilton Head, SC last September.

We all sat on the couch and watched it, listening to the music my mother chose to accompany the dvd slideshow . The first is an older county song called THANK GOD FOR KIDS - - I think recorded by The Oak Ridge Boys - - and the second was Dolly Parton's I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU. It sounds like the cheesiest thing I could ever describe, but I cried while I held my mother's hand, watching those pictures flash by on the screen.

To me, that's a gift. Not the dvd, but that moment with my mom. That's mine forever and I am so happy for that little moment. There aren't many of those in a lifetime.

Here's one of the pictures from that dvd.

This is me (the one on the left with the sandy blond hair and the "Too - Fabulous - To - Even - Barely - Pass - For - Straight" Smile) and my brother (the slightly Corky from LIFE GOES ON kid on the right eating God only knows what) sitting on a very old Santa's lap.

This is obviously a classy photography studio - - check out the picture numbers seemingly strapped to my brother's knee.

Damn! Santa has friggin' big hands, though. This might be where I got my fascination for men in red velvet and black leather...

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas from the Family

This is the song that my father plays every year at Christmas. Since I am at his home on his computer, its only fitting that this be my posting...

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

"Some Day Soon We All Will Be Together..."

If you're not familiar with the original lyrics to HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS, take a moment to listen to the perfect singer conveying the perfect message for this year's holiday season.

When we are experiencing pain and loss, its sometimes overwhelming to even think about celebrating the season. This song's original lyric is not about putting on a happy face, but rather just trying to have a "little" Christmas, and to think ahead to that time when all of our friends, relatives and loved ones who have passed on will all be around us.

I imagine that to be just like the ending of LONGTIME COMPANION - - everyone we love from all the years of our life running onto a beautiful beach and creating a never-ending party on a warm summer day overflowing with joy and beach balls and love and laughter.

I really look forward to that day... seeing my Grandmother and Grandfather... Lemmie... my Aunt Cythina... Uncle Betty and Aunt Marshall... my college friend Mark who died from AIDS complications well before his 25th birthday will hug me and yell "Oh my Hell!" just like I remember...

Until then, as the song says, we'll have to muddle through some how.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Wishing you peace and much love.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Jimmy Olsen Returns!

This holiday season has been intense - - Friday and Saturday night performances of UGLY BABY, rehearsals every other night for SEUSSICAL, and long days at Season of Concern - - but I am loving it.

I really needed to be back on stage. Rehearsing and performing in Philip's play have restored my faith in my talent. After my last relationship, so many things went away - - friends, gigs, even places where I used to hang out became hard for me to visit. I sort of went away from myself. My confidence hit an all-time low... and seeing as how I've always been a bit lacking in confidence, that's saying something.

And it affects your ability to perform.

People sitting in an audience can sense when someone is afraid or unsure of themselves. I've always marvelled at the fact that most (if not all) actors are shy people with little or no self-esteem, yet the power that comes of an audience's energy drives actors to stand in the middle of an empty space with a huge, bright light exposing their flaws and their vulnerabilites and ask to be judged by others...

Actors even ask politely... "Judge me, please. Please, judge me. I would love judgement from you - - a person who thought that DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR was a documentary. Please, criticize me. Hit me with your best shot."

Non-Theatre People, or as a former boss of mine used to call them "Civilians," usually have much more confidence and self-esteem than actors do, and yet Civilians would never dream of standing in front of a large group of people to act or sing or dance. Hell, they wouldn't even stand in front of two people and say, "Our soup today is Split Pea." You see, Civilians have a ton of self-confidence to handle the criticism of an audience, but they logically decline the unnecessary judgement that comes with performing.

Its as if the non-theatre people of the world are all Superman...

... They look great (even in lycra), their hair never fizzes up (or falls out), they can heat up dinner with their eyes, crush a piece of coal into a diamond and if they fuck anything up, they just fly around the earth counter-clockwise, reverse time and make right what was once wrong (I wonder if we could reverse time to a time when Margot Kidder wasn't batshit crazy? It's just a thought)...

And the actors of the world are all Jimmy Olsen...

...A little geeky, wearing a bow tie every place they go (including the gym), they work for a grumpy boss who sends them on thankless assignments to take pictures with a camera that was state-of-the-art when Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated and they are vulnerable to anything and everything from plastic sporks to the edge of a piece of paper (One Paper Cut + Mild Picante Sauce = Ouchy!).

Yet, when Superman and Jimmy Olsen are asked to save Lois Lane by going to an old warehouse that everyone knows is a trap which will lead to a battle against Lex Luthor, Solomon Grundy, Bizarro Superman, Parasite and even that fucking Mister Mxyzptlk - - for some reason...

Jimmy Olsen - - the one who isn't faster than a speeding bullet and who is only slightly more powerful than a Playskool locomotive says...

"I'll save Lois, Superman. You go help rescue Mrs. Nussbaum's cat from that 3 foot tree."

Yeah, yeah... I'm way far up my own DC Comics asshole and I'm sure you don't want to follow me up there, but I'm just trying to say that, for the most part, the people who are the least likely to be able to accept criticism are, for some strange reason, the people most likely to willingly place themselves in front of people who will criticize them.

See, when I was a kid, no one ever remembered my name. I was the shy one in my family. Let's put it this way...

My Father, Jim: Voted Wittiest
ule High School, Class of '65

My Mother, Wanda: Voted Wittiest
Rule High School, Class of '66

My Younger Brother, Jeff: Voted Wittiest
Powell High School, Class of '89

Yours Truly, Stephen: Voted Most Studious
Powell High School,
Class of '88

Most Studious?!?!? What the fuck did that make me in high school? Screech? Anthony Michael Hall in any movie from the 80's?!?!?

My father was the most shocked by my High School Superlative. When I told him, he said...

"Most Studious? You never bring home a damn book!"

Who? Me?

Smart enough to move through public school without studying a whole Hell of a lot?: Absolutely!

Sexy enough or funny enough or cute enough or ANYTHING enough to be noticed beyond the daily, "Out of my way, faggot!" in the hallway?: Not at all.

A few years ago, my brother, my father and stepmother, Donna were visiting Chicago...

Note that Donna is also known as "She From Who All Evil Flows."

Donna was Bette Davis' inspiration for her final motion picture - - the must-be-seen-to-be-believed epic talkie, WICKED STEPMOTHER.

I think Bette had Donna's look down just right, don't you?

Anyway, the four of us went to dinner with some friends of mine. My brother was seated at one end of the table and my father at the other. All night, the two of them held court with hilarious stories, incredible jokes and their natural charm - - unending charm.

I didn't say more than, "Could you pass the bread basket, please" for hours.

After awhile, I looked at my friend Jennifer across the table and said...

"Now, do you understand why I'm an actor?"

On stage, I'm funny. In the theatre, people (at least a few people) know who I am. My art gives me the attention that I craved as a kid. Not that my parents didn't give me attention - - they gave me attention and love and cared for me in the most incredible ways - - but I was always the one in the background when I was with them.

At the restaurant we went to every Friday night when I was a boy (Mr. Steak on Kingston Pike - - with a name like Mr. Steak, can you believe it was one of the better restaurants in K-Town at the time?), every time we walked in, the hostess would say, "Hi, Jim. Hi, Wanda. Hi there, Jeff. Ummm... I'm sorry, sugar. What's your name again?" Every friggin' Friday night!

Even when I was a teenager and my parents were divorced, I still went unnoticed. I got a gig singing for this radio station special event and the tape they made of me singing was labeled, "Jim's boy."

Now, as a 36 year old man, I would LOVE to find some man who is older than me, named Jim and who would refer to me as his "boy"...

...not my father, you sick fuck! gross...

...a man like THE RIFLEMAN for instance. Now, that was a clean, wholesome tv show - - not like that smutty 7TH HEAVEN.

Yeah, someone calling me "boy" may sound attractive and a little more than hot nowadays, but when I was a kid, I hated that people never remembered my name...

Cause, that sort of meant they never remembered me.

I know that I'll never be famous and that neither bothers me nor has it ever been my goal as an actor or singer. I've always known that I would work a day job and spend my nights in rehearsals or performance. It's what I love. It gives me strength and power.

It's not about getting a laugh or being recognized or getting a good review. Granted, all those things make me feel good, but that's now why I'm up there.

It's that thing - - that indescribable thing that I felt the first time I "let go" on a stage.

It's the fact that when I'm up there, when I "let go"...

...when I stop living in fear...

...when I put faith in myself and my abilities...

...when I open up...

I become invincible.

I become Jimmy Olsen, ripping open his shirt to reveal a red, Kryptonian "S" underneath.

Christmas Wishes

At this time of year...

Some wish for peace...

"A little piece of Iraq... a little piece of Iran..." - Halliburton

Some wish for good will towards men...

"President George W. Bush said he plans to increase the size of the U.S. military because of its worldwide campaign against terrorism." - Associated Press, December 20, 2006

What do I wish for this holiday season? I wish for the same exact thing... well, things... for which Steve Martin wishes...

Its the season of giving and forgiving, folks.

Let's forgive Mr. Martin for THE PINK PANTHER, alright?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More Wisdom from the Bitch Calendar

Believe it or not, I have another quote from the GETTING IN TOUCH WITH YOUR INNER BITCH desk calendar. Jeez, that sounds pathetic, doesn't it? What's next for me? Reading GUIDEPOSTS?

However, this one doesn't come with a contest, although yesterday Mike was very quick to point out the Tallulah Bankhead's last television appearance was on the classic 60's two - 30 - minute - shows - a - week - with - a - campy - cliffhanger - in - the - middle, BATMAN. And Michael knew that Ms. Bankhead played a Bat-Villan - - the evil Black Widow. Its heaven in two episodes.

Ah, BATMAN... a show that provided me with my first crush on a boy who wore speedos with boots.

Yes, I was in love with Burt Ward as Robin the Boy Wonder. Of course, Burt was in syndication - - a heart throb from the 60's that I tried to forget was much older than he looked on tv at 4:30 p.m. right before F-TROOP.

My other crush, Shaun Cassidy, was in no way an anacronym - - he was definitely a 70's TEEN BEAT cover boy.

You can't get much more 70's than sharing top billing with Chewy himself!

Oh, how I loved that magazine... TEEN BEET.
TEEN BEAT, indeed...

Wow, I went from Tallulah Bankhead to Burt Ward to Shaun Cassidy to masterbation a little TOO easily, didn't I?

Well, with Shaun Cassidy AND Leif Garrett on the cover of TEEN BEAT's dirty cousin, TIGER BEAT, its kind of impossible to not get a little excited.


Alright, I'm back.

Today, the GETTING IN TOUCH WITH YOUR INNER BITCH desk calendar gives us this piece of advice:

Today is KAREN WALKER DAY - there will, undoubtedly, be an opportunity to honor
her with a well-timed, "Oh, honey, I would... but I don't want to."

Wow...from masterbation to Karen Walker...

The possibilities for this blog are are endless...

Monday, December 18, 2006

'Nuff Said

Deck the halls with boughs of Rader,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Deck the Halls
from the Christmas Song Generator." method="get">Get your own song :

I like the first one, but this next one...

Christmas is coming,
The Stephen is getting fat,
Please to put a penny
In the old man's hat.

Christmas is Coming
from the Christmas Song Generator.

Get your own song :

Uh... "The Stephen" is NOT getting fat! And who are you calling an "old man?"

Hey, Christmas Song Generator...

Fuck you!

Gay Rods, Brinker & Meeting Ms. Coon

It was around this time in the year 2000, that I became close friends with the incredible Ms. Alanda Coon.

I was directing a musical, the 6th and final production of HANS BRINKER for Theatre Building Chicago (I acted in the 2nd annual production and managed to kill all future productions with my direction of the 6th annual... not that it was bad direction... my direction was flawless... but they have never produced the show again, so you do the math... )

Alanda played the ingenue Annie (prounounced "Ah-knee" for some fucking reason... people in Holland, what do THEY know?...), and we were running the big race near the end of the play which was all dancing to make it look like everyone was whisking around the stage ice skating.


We had to stop the race and I told the cast to go back to the beginning of the number and we would start again. As the tech-weary actors trudged back-to-one to start the song again, Alanda, commenting on just how musical-theatre-y the dancing and singing in The Race was, said as only Alanda could...

"Rader, we're a bunch of fuckin' gay rods up here!"

I knew then and there that we would be friends.

By the by, when I did a google image search for "gay rods," this picture to the right is what popped up as number 7 in the search...

God, I love me some google!

Because google also brought me these pictures from a live-action Disney movie from God-only-knows-when of HANS BRINKER (or HANS' SPHINCTER as we liked to call it). Now, tell me is this friggin' movie isn't closer to CHILDREN OF THE CORN than a feel-good Christmas movie!!!

Here's the box cover...

Look at Hans.
He's a scarey lookin' motha-fukkah, don'tcha think?!?!?

Fuck! Aren't you just waiting for him to say...
"My name is Malachi"

Look at him talking to Dr. Boekman.
Is he giving him the old Jedi Mind Trick?
"You will go to my father now."

Aw, Hell no! Check out the girl grabbing Hans' chest.
That's GOTTA be Annie!
That bitch looks even crazier than Hans!

Of course, to prove Alanda's point that Hans Brinker is really packed with a bunch of Gay Rods, I offer you this...

Tab Hunter!!! Hello, Queer? This is Cocksucker. You're Gay!

Check out Tab's triple axle, though. Sonya Henie has NOTHING on Miss Hunter.

Tallulah Quote & Contest

Last Christmas, my brother Jeff gave me a great desk calendar entitled GETTING IN TOUCH WITH YOUR INNER BITCH.

Why that title made him think of me, I haven't the slightest idea...

At any rate, the daily thoughts and quotes I've read over the past year have been wonderful. The one for today is damn near perfect.

"If I had my life to live again, I'd make the same mistakes... only sooner." - Tallulah Bankhead

television show on which Ms. Bankhead made her final public appearance.

Bonus points if you can name the character she played on that television

No cheating by looking it up in Wikipedia!!!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

"Six to Eight Black Men"

The video is random but the reading is a newly christened holiday classic by David Sedaris of his essay entitled "Six to Eight Black Men" from his book DRESS YOUR FAMILY IN CORDUROY AND DENIM. Truly HY-larious!

Consider this a little bit of early Christmas cheer from me to you. :)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Sticks and Stones

First off, why was A CHRISTMAS STORY the 7:00 p..m. feature film Friday night on the TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES channel when Hanukkah began at sundown?

Yeah, yeah... what do I know from Jewish? Well, nothing really but one woman does come to mind...

A few years ago (way more than I would like to admit), I did a fabulous cabaret show with the incomparable Ruth Bonnet. Ruth was THE waitress at Davenport's Piano Bar and Cabaret when it opened. Whenever she would be brought up to the mic to sing, everyone would sing a slight take-off from the old margarine commercial - - "Everything's better with Ruth Bonnet on it!"

If you don't remember peeling the stickers off your Rubix Cube to solve the puzzle, then you probably have no idea what I'm talking about.

Anyway, Ruth was a Chicago transplant from England by way of New York City, had an almost-crew cut hairstyle that was dyed shocking blonde and a comedic sense that cut to the bone and took no prisoners. We met at open mic night at the Gentry on Halsted when I was singing CAN'T HELP LOVIN' THAT MAN OF MINE (Who's a big faggy-assed showtune singer? THIS GUY!) and when I got the lyric "He can come home as late as can be," Ruth - - mind you, I had never seen nor met this woman before - - shouted out, "I'll break his fucking legs!"

Not only did I immediately love this English Rose with Susan Powter's hair, I also stole that line for all future performances of that song. Ruth knows her funny.

Our cabaret show was called STRANGE BEDFELLOWS. I did my Southern fag boy stuff and Ruth did her British Jewish girl stuff. It was a bizarre combo but somehow it worked really well, just like the combo of Rosie and Elizabeth on THE VIEW - - it sounds like a Hot Mess on Toast with a Side of "That Sucks!," but for some reason, it works.

Ruth writes and performs incredible parody songs and in our show, she took Kander and Ebb's I DON'T REMEMBER CHRISTMAS and turned it into hilarious I DON'T REMEMBER PURIM.

After she sang the Purim song one night, I walked to the mic and completely off the cuff said something like, "I don't understand that song. There are no Jews in the Great Smokey Mountains of East Tennessee." The audience gave just the slightest laugh.

Without missing a beat, Ruth shouted from behind me, "Yeah, that's because you killed them all." That got a nice laugh from the audience.

My mouth opened and without processing it I said, "Well, you killed our Lord." The audience screamed with laughter.

After the show, I asked Ruth if I had gone too far with that remark and she said, "No! It got a great laugh. That patter is in the show every night from now on!"

I know its probably rude to bring up that little exchange on Hanukkah, but it describes something that's been bothering me quite a bit lately.

People are getting WAY too touchy in this county when it comes to people making fun of them.

Rosie O'Donnell offends Asians in a quick, unscripted joke about Danny Divito making the news in China after being drunk on THE VIEW by saying the Chinese new reports probably went something like "Ching chong Danny Divito ching chong chichiching chong THE VIEW ching ching chong." She apologized on the air two days later.

In a comedy club, Andy Dick repeats Michael Richards infamous words and offends people and has to offer a public apology.

And for some reason, words in this country are becoming too horrific to speak, to print or even to type. How many times have we seen people refer to it as "The N-Word" after the Michael Richards incident?

Here's the truth about me:

  • I'm a fag. A cocksucker. A pickle kisser. A turd burglar. A rump ranger. A fudge packer.

  • I like musical theatre and taking it in the butt. (Not necessarily in that order)

  • My father once told me to stop "walking like a damn girl" when I was a little boy and I have never gotten that out of my head, but guess what? - - I still kinda walk like a damn girl.

  • I enjoy Original Cast Recordings of Broadway shows, Judy Garland concert recordings, and Warner Brothers classic movies from the 30's and 40's.

  • I watch THE GOLDEN GIRLS on Lifetime Television for Women.

  • I like gay porn movies with titles like ALL THAT JIZZ, BUTT CRACK MOUNTAIN, THE MAN WHO BLEW TOO MUCH, and THE DA VINCI LOAD. These are actual gay porn titles... see? --->

  • As I type this MY FAIR LADY is playing on the TV behind me.

My point is I'm a gay man and all of those things are stereotypes that are 100% true!!!

Making fun of that won't hurt me because its what I am. I'm comfortable with that.

The word FAG can't hurt me. Have I been called a fag by people who want to hurt me? Absolutely. But the people who would never use that word in front of me (Behind my back? Yes, but never in front of me... ), who smile at me, call me their friend and then get disgusted when they see two men kissing are far more upsetting to me than the stupid redneck in a truck who screams "Faggot!" out his window as he drives by me.

Again, show me a gay basher and I'll show you a cocksucker.

Ruth knew that my joke about her people killing my Lord was meant in fun because in my deepest heart, I don't feel any hatred toward Jewish people. Yet, I will admit I have prejudices. I don't like that I have them, but I have them. And the only way for me to deal with them and process them and hopefully rid myself of them completely is by talking about them - - not by denying them.

Or worse still, I will not rid myself of my prejudices by passing them off onto someone else (Andy Dick, Rosie O'Donnell) as being the person who has them and demanding that they apologize.

Lighten up, folks. Laugh at yourselves. And if you get offended by something someone says, then talk about it. It seems like now, all that's happening is the demand of an apology, that apology is then given and then both parties go to their corners in a collective huff. Ruth would agree with me when I say that, yelling and screaming is always less effective than a well placed joke laced with irony.

To prove that, I end with this:

In high school in East Tennessee, there were only 2 Asian people in my graduating class - - one boy was Chinese and one girl was Vietnamese. Her name was Debbie, I believe... if that memory synapse is still firing...

One day in class, Debbie answered a question correctly and this redneck reject from DELIVERANCE sitting beside her said, "Why don't you shut up, you stupid chink." Debbie gave the greatest response in the history of the world as we currently know it. She said...

"I'm not a chink. I'm a gook. If you're gonna insult me, get it right."

See? Educational, clever, humorous and so much better than a "Fuck you, now apologize to me!" don't you think?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

No, Virginia...

You Better Watch Out...

A couple of years ago, my mother was killing some time doing browsing around The Dollar General Store in Seymour, TN near her home. Mama and I LOVE The Dollar General Store.

For you judgemental bitches who think that The Dollar General Store is just for redneck, white trash...

A) You're correct
B) You don't understand that you can find FABULOUS kitsch there... like baseball caps that say "Got Jesus?" on them. I own one of those. Its flawless.
C) To quote Ms. Dolly Parton, "Get outta my closet if your own's full of trash!"

At any rate, it was this time of year, a week or so before Christmas, and my mother saw this cute little 3 year-old girl with her mean-looking 5 or 6 year-old brother in the toy aisle.

In my mind, this is what the little boy looked like:

The little girl was looking at a doll and said, "Wow. That's pretty!" and her brother said, "That's ugly. You're stupid!"

This little exhange repeated itself a couple of times. Everything the little girl looked at and commented on, her brother would not only tell her how ugly it was but how dumb she was for even thinking it was pretty in the first place.

The parents for these two were nowhere in sight and my mama had about had enough, so she walked over to them and said, "Little boy, if you don't start being nice to your sister, Santa Claus isn't going to bring you any toys this Christmas."

The little boy looked up at my mother and said, very plainly but to the point:

"Lady, I don't give a fuck about the fat man."

Put that in your KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS and smoke it.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Baby

Happy Birthday to my friend Mike!

This day is for you!

Enjoy it!

Celebrate it!

Grab it by the balls!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Is That Your URINE or My URINE?

Since I first posted about the big URINETOWN brouhaha (Plagiarism & Plagiarism 2: Electric Boogaloo), Chris Jones wrote a great article in the Trib about the scan-dahl, there was another article in about it and a couple of people left comments for me basically defending the Chicago production for its originality.

I have a lot to talk about.

First off, I will admit that I did not see the production. My ex-boyfriend was in it and as he apparently says to people when asked why we don't associate anymore, "we don't bring out the best in each other." If only he had been that rational, honest, sane and sober IN the relationship, perhaps I could attend a production when he is a member of the cast. Since he was not, I don't.

So, me having not seen the production at The Mercury Theatre will surely make those who think that the Broadway director and designers are simply trying to "get money" from the poor, innocent Chicago artists involved shout at me and say "You don't have a dog in this fight," but actually I do.

To me, this is a debate that needs to happen. The work of a director and a design team is crucial to the success or failure of a new work and those artists should be fairly compensated for their work in future productions. Period.

Everyone says to me that direction and design elements are "gray areas" and I just don't see it. I always bring up UGLY BABY as an example. In the first act of our production, all four actors walk out in a line, turn to the audience and are seated in four chairs upstage, flipping through magazines as if we're in a hospital waiting room. This element of the show is nowhere to be found in Philiip Dawkins' script. Also, the baby that Jaya's character brings out is a shown-to-the-audience sock monkey. That is not specified in the script either. Our director Eric Reda brought these elements to our production.

So, if our show becomes so successful that other theatres around the country choose to produce it and they include those elements, Eric should be compensated for the use of those elements.

As Chris Jones' discusses, the Chicago URINETOWN was set "in the same midcentury period as the Broadway production" but that detail is not mentioned in the script. Jones goes on to say that "you could argue that URINETOWN demands to be set in that era." And then Tom Mullen, the producing director of the Chicago production, chimes in with, "What was I going to do? Set it on the moon?"

No, Mr. Sarcasm McSmartyPants, but you could have easily set it in another time period - - or at least not one so extremely similar to the Broadway production. Being "original" doesn't mean that it has to go from Kurt Weill to SPACE:1999. It means original.

Its taking MY FAIR LADY and doing it with only 9 actors and two pianos. Its doing a film of CHICAGO and honoring the past productions by Bob Fosse and Ann Reinking, but framing the movie so that all of the musical numbers are fantasies inside the mind of Roxie Hart. Its being first and foremost an artist - -
not a Xerox machine.

All this talk about "the art suffering" or "the industry suffering" from this lawsuit is ridiculous to me. If this case DOES change everything and suddenly regional theatres have to pay the directors and the designers as well as the writer and composer and lyricist when they want to take a Broadway show and put 90% of the original production onto their stage, then perhaps they will choose NOT to do those Broadway shows. Perhaps it will push them to look for artists in their own city who have new plays and new musicals and absolutely NO venue to bring them to life.

Yes, there are theatres that specialize in new work, but if all of these major regional houses were driven by the Mighty Dollar to seek out and nurture young playwrights and young composers, I believe our industry would come into a period of growth and artisitic achievement that
we haven't seen in the theatre in this country in decades.

And as for the cast member from the Chicago production who commented on this blog and decided to remain anonymous after saying my "
statements are false and unfair" and also saying that:

"...your attack clearly means to me as an actor that I copied everything as well which is bull shit and a mean statement on your fellow Chicago acting company"

First of all, "bullshit" is one word, not two. See? Like this..

Second, I have no idea what you mean by "fellow Chicago acting company." Do you mean my "fellow Chicago actors?" Or is there some big "Chicago Acting Company" that I, as a Chicago actor, don't know about and need to join? How much are the dues? Do they serve cheese at the meetings?

Third, if you're going to call it an "attack" and say that my words are "bullshit" (sp) and "mean," then at least give me your first name. If you're a guy and single, maybe we should date. One rousing debate like this and the make-up sex would be INCREDIBLE!

Fourth and finally, I know several people who were in that production and (other than my ex-boyfriend) this is by no means an attack on them or their work. I believe you when you say that you worked very hard to make what you did different from the Broadway production. But let's face it - - actors do not have control over the full asthetic of a producution. They are told where to stand, what to wear, what to say and how to say it. Try all you want as an actor to change it up, but it is the director and designers who create the full picture of what an audience sees.

And that's why, when I saw URINETOWN Chicago perform RUN FREEDOM, RUN at the Jeff Awards, it bothered me. I watched that number performed on the Tony Awards by the Broadway company years ago and I've seen the videotape of it over and over again at Sidetrack. The Chicago version of that song was nearly, if not completely identical to the Broadway original.

In my opinion, if I wanted to see the original again, I'd much rather watch it on tape at Sidetrack with slushy in my hand than see it copied live and in person.

There is so much to say about this issue and that's the point - - this needs to be talked about and discussed and debated. Talking about this will not harm artists, it will push them forward into the next new thing.

To borrow a few lines from a few different places in Sondheim's SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE:

"Now, its just more and more about less and less."

"Give us more to see."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Gospel According to Leia

For several years now, Southern straight women and gay men have identified with Dolly Parton's famous line from the film version of STEEL MAGNOLIAS:

'Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion."

I am happy to report that my idol, soon-to-be best friend and future double-date partner Carrie Fisher (She knows nothing of my plans to secure all her attention. Say nothing. Act casual.) has updated this thought for the new century.

She says that her one-woman show, WISHFUL DRINKING, now playing at the Geffen Playhouse is filled with funny stories that are all framed by one central idea:

“If my life wasn’t funny, it would just be true, and that’s unacceptable.”


The Tragic Result of 10 Years of RENT

Does anybody know the perfect way to feel better about yourself after reading a critic's negative review of you, your performance or your body hair?

And remember, I've already taken him to task in my last entry. But your initial impulse was correct - - Cyber Bitch Slapping said critic on your blog may be petty and full of negative energy, but it definitely FEELS GREAT!

But after that, the second-perfect way to feel better yourself after a critic tells you to shave what little hair you can actually grown on your body or be judged in print as ill prepared for the responsibilities of playing a Jewish socialite mother....

(I never really read Uta Hagen's book AN ACTOR PREPARES... Is there a chapter about armpit shaving in there?) to laugh at what some other critic is saying about someone ELSE in your profession!

The lovely Brooke emailed me a quote from the ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY's review of the revival of LES MISERABLE currently playing on Broadway and folks, when its not about you, nasty reviews are FUN!!!

I'll give you the highlights of Whitney Pastorek's review - - the best of the bitchiest lines, if you will:
"(T)he grandeur of Les Miz past is nowhere to be found, leaving what now feels a bit like the musical equivalent of a Taco Bell Express." - Whitney Pastorek

"(S)everal performers are not quite up to their roles — in Daphne Rubin-Vega's Fantine, we at last discover the unholy combination of Carol Channing and a latter-day Whitney Houston..." - Whitney Pastorek

Even though her Broadway splash in RENT was only 10 years ago, check out these pics from the Opening Night party of LES MISERABLE of Daphne Rubin-Studdard... err... -Vega... Rubin-VEGA!

"No, I can't stand next to this guy.
I look like ass compared to this queer bait."

"Damn it! I thought for sure this toothy prick would make me look like Beyonce! I still look like a Latina Courtney Love. And these cheap-ass new tits keep moving toward my armpits. What the fuck!?!

"Wait. Hey, old dude. Yeah, you. Lean in here.
Ah... finally... fuckin' perfect.

If I stand beside the Crypt Keeper, I'll look 25 again.
This is the picture I want in Playbill, asshole!"

As we say in the South, Miss Daphne looks like she's been rode hard and put up wet. I can't see it from these pictures, so maybe she still has "the best ass below 14th Street," which is good cause the straight-on Missionary Position ain't gonna work for Over-Done Daphne. Doggie-Style with both parties facing the same direction is the only way anybody is gonna Light Her Candle these days.

And even then, make sure there are no mirrors in the room!!

Are you SURE she's not playing Madame Thenardier?!?!?