Category Archives: other

This Blog Post Will Make You Understand Why Amanda Palmer Is The Worst

I’ve established a bit of a reputation for myself as a Professional Amanda Palmer basher, ever since I wrote an angry little parody poem in response to her “Poem for Dhzokhar” which ended up exploding onto BuzzFeed and The Guardian UK. I was never particularly fond of her, even before that — some of her music is fine, sure, but her Neutral Milk Hotel Jukebox Musical left a very sour taste in my mouth1, and her production of Cabaret at the American Repertory Theatre was the single worst (not to mention most masturbatory) professional theatre production I have ever experienced — but it wasn’t until recently that I really started seething at the mention of her continued existence on our shared plane of reality. That might sound a little extreme — she hasn’t, you know, killed anyone or anything — but the cognitive dissonance between the message that Amanda Palmer conveys and the things that she actually does fills me with such vehement anger, that I feel the need to articulate the ongoing problem that she continues to present.

I’m choosing to write about this now is because I’ve had a number of people bring my attention to her latest blog post about Justin Bieber’s arrest, all saying that they awaited my snarky response to it. And while sure, I could do that (hell, maybe I still will), I thought it would be better for me to take the Amanda Palmer approach and express my feelings in a rambling blogpost which I can then in turn proclaim to be “art” and thereby diminish any and all criticisms of my own shortcomings by blowing a raspberry at my detractors and say “IT’S JUST ART YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND I’M JUST TRYING TO EXPRESS MYSELF AND THAT IS BEAUTIFUL.”

Continue reading This Blog Post Will Make You Understand Why Amanda Palmer Is The Worst

Upcoming Stuff & Events & Things (Nov. ’13)

Hello, website! Long time, no update! I swear that one of these days I am going to actually train myself to just make brief updates here as they happen, instead of these info dumps.

ANYWAY. I’ve got some stuff going on, because of course I do. It goes like this:

  • Saturday, December 7, I’ll be returning to MORTIFIED and performing some hilariously terrible songs that I wrote when I was 16. The performance will take place at Space 538 in Portland, ME; tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Do I know anyone in Maine that I can even embarrass myself in front of? I don’t know, but I can tell you that it is definitely worth it to go to Maine to laugh at my terrible, terrible songs.
  • I’ve also got 2 new short plays in the 4th Annual Boston One Minute Play Festival, January 4-6 at Boston Playwrights Theatre. They’ll be directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian and Meghan Mueller, which I’m sure makes my sister proud in some way.

Meanwhile, in addition to my normal duties at Five By Five Hundred, I have a review of Eric Smith‘s new book The Geek’s Guide To Dating on Tor.com, and some coverage of SpeakEasy Stage Company‘s world premiere production of Make Up Your Mind, a brand new play by Kurt Vonnegut even though he’s dead.

And then, ya know, the youge (like, the slang/shortened word for “usual,” but spelled phonetically? Is that right?): Workin’, writin’, so on and so forth. Tonight at the Huntington we start performances for The Cocktail Hour by A.R. Gurney, which is directed by Maria Aitken, a favorite of ours at the theatre. Here’s a little video I made for that:

I also wrote some fun stuff about ghost stories at the theatre on the Huntington’s blog which is still worth reading even though it’s after Halloween, as well as two pieces of flash fiction in this “Quantum Shorts” competition that you can go read and vote for so I can win some monies: I Kill Dead People and Not Dead Yet (which was the basis for my story in Grayhaven Comics’ Fifth Dimension anthology).

Wow that’s a whole lot of dead stuff. In that case, I should end this on a happy note, which is that Maurissa Tancharoen both listened to and enjoyed my song “I’ll Fight A Whedon For You”; unfortunately, her husband Jed was less than impressed.

So now I’ve pissed one Whedon and armwrestled another, which only leaves Zak for me still to cross. But overall I think that means that I’ve successfully become a Whedonverse villain?

Holy crap, I’ll be 28 in 2 weeks.

Huntington Updates

We’ve got one week left of The Jungle Book (now officially our highest-grossing show of all time), and previews began tonight for The Power of Duff, a new play by Stephen Belber (and featuring, among others, Jennifer Westfeldt, writer of Kissing Jessica Stein and wife of Jon Hamm). Here’s a little video I put together about it:

Here’s another brief video I made for our Annual Fund ask, which hopefully gives a glimpse of the size and scope of our productions (and makes clear that even when shows are selling well, we still need money because, well, theatre this good don’t come cheap, y’know?)

I’m also trying to up my blogging quotient for the company — because hey, I enjoy writing sometimes, believe it or not — and here’s one of my latest posts, about our new young donor program “The Hunt.”

Oh, and One More Thing…

Who’s got two months and totally has picture (along with the rest of his talented Clarion 2013 cohort) in this month’s issue of Locus Magazine, like some sort of real-life science fiction/fantasy author? THIS GUY.

That’s me in the center, with the Red Sox shirt and sunglasses. No, not that guy with the sunglasses, that’s Will Kaufman (though you should probably know him, too, because the dude writes the weirdest fucking stories that will absolutely break your heart and blow your mind and he’s kind of brilliant and hilarious and also I love him dearly). I’m the handsome one next to him.

*This month’s issue of Locus also includes features on two of my incredible Clarion mentors, Nalo Hopkinson & Cory Doctorow, as if my handsome mug weren’t reason enough to check it out.

SO MANY THINGS HAPPENING IN THE THEATRE AHHHHHHHH

Man, life was so calm and easygoing for that first month after I got back from Clarion. What the hell happened?

Oh yeah. The Jungle Bookour new world premiere musical adaptation of the Disney animated film, directed and adapted by the incredible Mary Zimmerman. We’ve just extended the show a second time, so it now closes on October 20 (but tickets are going fast, so get ’em while you can!). It’s been a pretty crazy time at work, but luckily, all in a good way, with lots of special promotional events for the show that have kept me pretty busy. But here’s a little glimpse at a few of the things I’ve been doing for it:

Our “audience testimonial” video, with some B-Roll from the production, and interviews with real audience members who cannot stop raving about the show (so you don’t just have to take my word for it).

We also took the cast of the show to Fenway Park, where they performed the National Anthem before the Red Sox totally obliterated the Stankees. Here’s their actual performance…

…and here’s a fun little overview of their entire (did I mention they had soundcheck at 10am for a 1pm game, plus a two-show day starting with a 2pm matinee performance? Yeahhhh it was kinda nutes)

On top of that, I’ve been doing some video editing work for Project: Project’s upcoming production How May I Connect You (Or, Scenes in The Key of D:/)a really cool devised theatre piece full of hilarious sketches about communication and human interaction in a digital era. That show goes up this coming weekend only, Sept. 26-29, at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, so see while you still can!

(oh, and plus, my girlfriend just directed this incredible production of Nina Raines’ Tribes at SpeakEasy Stage Company, which is getting absolute stellar reviews, so you should go see that as well. It runs through Oct. 12.)

 

 

Hey! You! Playwright! Go make theatre in Alaska! #NewPlay #2amt

This past May, I had the pleasure of workshopping my play True Believers at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska. “Where the hell is Valdez?” you ask, and all I can really tell you is that I had to take a 45 minute flight on a little puddlejumper plane from Anchorage to Valdez, and that there was totally a US Marshall on my 18-person flight, escorting a criminal in handcuffs, which was pretty badass. Fortunately, I did not end up on LOST, and instead had a fantastic week full of theatre and wonderful people in a remarkably beautiful setting.

I bring this up now because the conference is currently accepting submissions for next summer, and if you’re a playwright, it’s an opportunity that you absolutely should not skip. I was hesitant myself at first — the conference does offer a stipend for out-of-state writers, but it doesn’t cover the full cost of your airfare, and, well, Alaska’s kinda far away. But I was talked into it by my friend and colleague Meron Langsner, who said that it was one of his favorite programs in the country, and was a more educational experience for him than grad school. I thought that was a pretty bold claim, but I listened to him, and while I can’t compare it to the graduate degree that I don’t have, I can say with confidence that it was absolutely worthwhile in the development of my specific, and my personal and professional development, and that I cannot wait to go back.

You see, when people talk about a love for “theatre,” they’re talking about a very wide range of skills and tastes. You got your children’s theatre, your community theatre groups, your scrappy college / fringe groups, local professional theatre groups, your regional theatre powerhouses, and of course, your Broadway / West End scene. Within this, you’ve also got animosity between the groups — the fringe companies who hate on the LORT theatres with money, the LORT theatres that scoff at the unprofessionalism of community theatre, the community theatre types whose egos far outweigh their budgets, your annoying aunt & uncle who think that Broadway is the only legitimate / viable form of theatre, etc. I don’t have to explain this all — and I probably shouldn’t, because it probably makes me sound like an asshole — but if you’re involved in theatre, you know what I mean. There’s an air of pretension around every level, to a certain degree (I should know, because I have excellent taste in everything).

But what makes the Last Frontier Theatre Conference so remarkable, at least to me, is that all of these groups are represented, and all of them are treated with the exact same level of respect. Playwrights get one three-hour rehearsal for their readings, and the actors are probably performing in 15 readings throughout the week, and regardless of whether it’s your first script ever, or your 30th production and you’ve recently completed a residency at the Public Theatre, everyone is treated the same. You also end up meeting people from all over the world, with varying levels of theatre experience, but they all share the same passions, and some of them might give you some ideas or insights or opinions that you’ve never even heard before.

And sure, I saw some plays that were truly amazing, and others that were less so. But by leveling the field for the week, so to speak, it really brought everyone together, and reminded us all of why we love this artform in the first place. I’ll be the first to admit that I get annoyed with some people when they use the act of creation of itself to justify shitty work, but the Last Frontier Theatre Conference reminded me how to appreciate that initial creative impulse. Everyone was treated as a professional, a celebrity, simply because they were willing to put themselves out there and express themselves in some theatrical form. In a way, it harkened back to my DIY days playing punk rock hall shows, where it didn’t matter how good or bad you were; all that matter was that you picked up a guitar and you wrote some damn songs and you got in front of a crowd and you played and played and played until your throat went raw and your fingers started bleeding on the pickguard and for those 30 minutes you were still a fucking rockstar and that was all that mattered in the world. (Except this time we didn’t have to worry about shotgunning PBRs behind the dumpster before the cops show up because everyone is a fully functioning adult)

Also? Alaska is gorgeous, even if it did take me a week to realize that staying out the bar for another hour or two after sundown meant that it was 3am. 

So if you’ve got a play you’re working on, send it in. I promise you will not regret it.

Oh, and tell Dawson that I miss him dearly.

Now On Sale – “In A Single Bound: Superheroes For Greater Boston…And Beyond!”

Covers-12-150-small(wow I can’t believe I totally forgot to post about this back in April) (yes I realize I’ve been neglecting this site) (I could have sworn I posted about this when it happened…)

I recently published another comic book story, this one with Boston Comics Roundtable / Ninth Art Press and featuring artwork by my friend Jim Gallagher. Our story is part of an anthology series about Boston-centric superheroes, and what’s even cooler is that our superhero “Louie the Lone Dervish” (inspired by Louie With The Tricycle, a popular homeless guy around these parts) is featured right there on the cover on the anthology as well. Not bad for a story about a crazy superhobo on a refurbished three-wheeler!

The comic was originally set to have its debut at Boston Comic-Con back in April, but, well, that kind of got postponed because, you know, all kinds of craziness. So it’s now available online following the re-scheduled Boston Comic-Con from last weekend. You can pick up a copy of “In A Single Bound” #2 over at the Ninth Art Press website, a scant $6 for 36 glorious black-and-white pages done entirely by Boston-based writers & artists.

UPDATE: this blog post managed to make the rounds today, thanks to the magical powers of the Internet, and I was interviewed by Boston Magazine about it. You know, ’cause I’m awesome n’shizz. Check out the interview over on their website!

Toni Tone Tony

So this one time, I won a Tony Award.

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(damn I look good in a tux)

Okay well technically my entire company won a Tony Award, but still, I fall under that category. Which means that I am now officially a Tony Award-winning playwright! I just, you know, didn’t win the Tony Award for playwriting; I won it for, uh, well, I guess, Web & New Media Management. WHATEVER YO I GOT A TONY.

Anyway, it was awesome. I’ve recapped the experience over on the Huntington’s blog, as well as on the Boston Herald website, so you can read about it in detail on one of those sites. But mostly I just wanted to brag for a moment. So excuse me while I go brush my shoulders off.

Oh Whoops Sorry Website Didn’t See You There

So the last few months have been a little crazy, from my True Believers reading in New York through our million-dollar fundraiser gala at the Huntington and our receiving the regional Tony Award and OH YEAH horrible attacks on Boston and in my response to Amanda Palmer’s narcissistic response to that event getting picked up on BuzzFeed and my latest comic book getting published with my story on the cover and also writing/recording some music for the world premiere of John King’s From Denmark With Love and then occasionally sleeping and then now I’m in Alaska for the Last Frontier Theatre Conference and another workshop reading of True Believers and then we have our production of Rapture, Blister, Burn starting previews at the Huntington this Friday and then it’s Alumni Weekend at Emerson plus I have a wedding to attend that I still need to write some things for and then there’s the Tony Awards themselves where I plan on armwrestling Alec Baldwin and so basically I’m sorry that I’ve been neglecting this website but I really really swear that I will try to be better about it going forward so that I’m not either back-dating blogposts en masse to pretend that I’m sharing everything in a timely manner or giving off the impression to all 3 of my loyal readers that my constant doing of things has come to a grinding halt or that I am dead or somehow disappeared or maybe that The Doctor has come and stolen me away in his TARDIS and I know this is getting pretty ramble-y right now but I’m kind of enjoying seeing how much I can vomit from my brain without stopping or using any commas but I should probably get back to the theatre conference because holy crap a bald eagle just flew past my window so I’m gonna go okay bye.

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“…And We Go Ahhhhhhh / Like a Raisin in The Sun /…. “

(…that’s how the song goes, right?)

Coming up next at the Huntington, Liesl Tommy is returning to direct the classic A Raisin In The Sun, a play which I probably don’t need to tell you anything about because you’ve already read it. But here’s a video I made of our Artistic Director Peter DuBois talking about what makes this production special (including a mention of Bevin’s next project, the Boston premiere of last year’s Tony Award winner Clybourne Park for SpeakEasy Stage).

A Raisin In The Sun plays March 8 – April 7, 2013 at the Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre, and Clybourne Park runs March 1 – 30, 2013 at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA.