Archive for the ‘ Theatre ’ Category

Basement Studio

      1. Drywall - Supergood

 

Ever since Miles moved into the room formerly known as my music room, I have been pushing forward on a plan to build a soundproof studio in the basement. It has taken me about 18 months of very slow progress to construct a floor and walls and I am currently in the drywall phase. With great thanks to Land Bandmates Seth and Erik, I transported 24 sheets of 5/8″ drywall (probably 2000 lbs) to my front porch (full sheets won’t fit down the basement stairs), where it has been cut and attached to the wood and metal staggered stud Roxul-insulated frame. I still have a lot of work to do, but it is taking shape and I am really looking forward to moving in!

I have imposed a deadline of December 15, which marks my 40th Earth revolution of our sun.  That’s 51 days from now, and finishing the project completely seems ambitious given my construction rate to this point, but a functional space may be possible and would immediately fulfill a lifetime dream of mine.

December 15 is also the date of Supergood Reality: 40!, an audio-visual spectacular at ShapeShifter Lab. I will be celebrating four decades with spontaneous musical compositions and videos mixed from my personal collection with discussions throughout. It is a story about me but an ode to you.  Be there and surprise me.

Doing What I Love To Do

      1. Grownup

 

These Summer weekends are extraordinarily delightful! Friday night was a rare mommy & daddy date night, seeing a musical we have been anticipating for years, Anais Mitchell’s “Hadestown”, which delivered a powerful and haunting score to accompany the myth of Orpheus’ journey to the Underworld to save his love, Eurydice. Amazing performances and universal themes always make great art.

Saturday morning we headed out to Bellport for some high-quality R&R with family and friends. Farm strolling, pool swimming, sailing, beaching, BBQ, and civil discussions about politics and futurism are all excellent ways to while away my weekends and I look forward to more of that over the next three months!

Labor Day

What a Summer for this guy! I currently sit in one of my favorite spots in the known universe: Eventide Cabin on Mt. Desert Island. Acadia is a personal paradise and spending time here with my wife, child and parents is very high on my who/what/where triangulation rankings.

I have been consistently scoring very well this Summer, packed with fantastic weekends around the Northeast: The Land, Bellport, Osterville, Vermont, Maine, and even a few in Brooklyn; Ivy and I rolled all over town on my bike and explored beaches and amusement parks (Coney Island!), swimming pools and water playgrounds (Sunset Park! Brooklyn Bridge Park!), sports events (Cyclones! NYCFC! US Open!), concerts (Prospect Park!) and celebrated her birthday with a backyard BBQ bash. I have enjoyed freedom from work over the past three months and have spent it with my daughter as well as I could. She may not remember our adventures, but I had so many experiences with her that I will never forget! Alaina and I spent every weekend together, which never happened when she worked in theater, and we had two incredible theater date nights, seeing Cymbeline in Central Park and Hamilton on Broadway, the latter of which set a new gold standard for me; simply the most exciting theatrical experience of my life. I also played a round on the best golf course I have ever seen at Fishers Island and are at my new favorite restaurant, The Honey Paw in Portland, established by my awesomely talented brother. 

And now I sit overlooking Frenchman’s Bay in one of my most tranquil moments of the Summer (Ivy is napping!) and reminiscing on time passed and time ahead: Labor Day weekend is always bittersweet as my return to labor is imminent. I have great work to go back to, but I will definitely miss my freedom and days of Ivy. We’re on to Fall!
  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

             

Here’s Hoover

Sometimes I do things now that remind me of how different life was before Ivy. Last night, Alaina and I did something incredibly rare that we did frequently until 16 months ago. Seeing a show together involves many more calculations now but occasionally we make it happen. We hired a baby sitter and went to see Les Freres Corbusier’s new production, “Here’s Hoover!” at the Abrons Art Center. It was a blast: Herbert Hoover’s Comeback Special as a rock star dead set on re-telling his legacy and escaping the pack of below average presidents. It is fun and ridiculous with a sweet soundtrack and free beer last night! Our 4-hour escape even included 2 bonus stops at bars before and after, and some time to enjoy each other and chat without distractions.

Our lives are infinitely richer now than they were 16 months ago, but we have made sacrifices. It’s nice to know that it’s still there when we need it.

Summer Swing

And then it was Summer! Hot and sunny with a two-day-a-week work schedule, the shift is quick and extreme and I am thoroughly enjoying it. One of my favorite aspects of the city at this time is the wealth of free outdoor cultural events. Concerts in Prospect Park have been supremely fun, with Amadou and Mariam, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Os Mutantes and Javelin providing the early season entertainment in my backyard. The venue is perfect and free events promote attendance, so bringing a group of friends to see a show by a band few have heard is easy; everyone has a good time at these events and the community thrives. Among other great offerings, I am particularly looking forward to Philip Glass’ Dracula this weekend, The Devil Makes Three and Trampled By Turtles for some hot bluegrass and electronic wizard and audience organizer Dan Deacon later this Summer.

Perhaps the greatest cultural gem in the city is Shakespeare in the Park. Free, outdoor theater is such a rarity and the Public Theater’s commitment to the concept is unparallelled. I would happily wait in line all day for tickets, but having a wife with connections is even better, so we avoid the lines and arrive at showtime! The Comedy of Errors is classic mistaken-identity slapstick and this production was stylized as a Swing-era, upstate New York gangster spoof. The language, as always, is deft and clever and the actors are absolutely brilliant as they bring the text to life. It rained a bit as we watched, but it only added to the magic… I can’t wait to see what Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson team Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman have cooked up for Love’s Labor Lost, A New Musical!

With so much free time and beautiful weather, all I want in my life is outdoor relaxation and “The Land” is one of the greatest spots on Earth to enjoy it. With woods and a pond and a recently added enormous vegetable garden, it is Eden. While our annual Land Party is on hiatus this year for the imminent arrival of our child, we were still able to enjoy it last week by ourselves. I did not leave the grounds for five days and spent most of my hours lying in the meadow, swimming in the pond or eating fresh food from the garden. I actually did work some of the time, assisting in the construction of a storage shed, but mostly I was in full chill-out mode. My quiet personal time may be coming to an end soon but I am incredibly excited about the impending child-rearing adventure and look forward to sharing the beauty of Summer in the City with my family!

Here Lies Love

I am pretty sure my wife is the greatest stage manager in the history of stage management. Every show she works on is amazing and everyone she works with loves working with her. I am always impressed by her dedication to the process and I always enjoy the product. Her latest, Here Lies Love, is probably her best work yet!

An Imelda Marcos-inspired dance party with music by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim and directed by Alex Timbers stretches the boundaries of theater; the audience stands while platforms shift and spin around, with actors dancing tight choreography and singing beautiful melodies over funky beats and lights blasting on a backdrop of video projections real and imagined. It is complete sensory saturation, but with a story and a point. Filipino politics are dirty and ruthless but a beauty queen can paint a veneer over the ugliness. As an audience member, it’s hard to judge her when you’re having a good time. It is only in the end, with a final descent into authoritarian dictatorship and perspective on the people’s revolution in a reflective epilogue, that we realize how easily love and power can lead anyone’s morality astray.

Summmmmer

Summer always arrives hot and heavy. My work schedule declines (to 3 1/2 days a week) but my social schedule explodes to the point where I have even less free time! This summer’s weekends are booked solid with great adventures and the next two months are bursting with potential goodness…

June 11 brought a great start to Summer ’12 with the arrival of my nephew, Lincoln Eustace Taylor! Andrew and Rachel instantly became amazing parents dedicated to offering their child the best life he could dream of… Lincoln was born into battle; within 24 hours was having an MRI and he is scheduled for brain surgery in his first month. It has been a difficult emotional journey for everyone, but I feel good about him and believe that this experience will make us all stronger. This is how a great hero is made!

And in the midst of this chaos, Andrew has built his first restaurant! Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine opens tomorrow and is poised to become a beautiful and amazing addition to the already wonderful dining scene there. Alaina and I are headed north tomorrow for the grand delicious unveiling…

Last weekend was another birth, of sorts, as Alaina’s latest stage-managed production completed a workshop run of “Here Lies Love”, a new musical by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, at Mass MoCA. I was in North Adams, MA for three days and got to enjoy some beautiful hikes in the region (including a couple of backcountry ski trails on Mt. Greylock that I hope to return to in powdery delight) and experienced the show for the first time. It is a truly amazing piece of theater about former Filipino First Lady Imelda Marcos. The Audience stands in a central pit while the action takes place on four-foot tall moving platforms swirling around them. The music throbs, the lights blare, the projections flash and the actors dance with a personally riveting and morally ambiguous story that makes for great entertainment.

Lincoln

Thunderbolt!

Big Bend, Thunderbolt

Sol Lewitt at Mass MoCA

Book of Mormon

I love a spectacle and Book of Mormon delivers. Broadway is all about over-the-top song and dance and this show pays homage to the medium while simultaneously mocking its culture. The ridiculousness of of our obsession with entertainment is one micro-target of this show, and Broadway/Orlando worship is akin to religious worship here, with Mormonism serving as the kebab of this perfectly executed skewering. In a way, bashing this religion is too easy; it seems obvious that it was completely invented by a mortal man with a keen sense of drama who hooked his followers with a tale that makes little realistic sense but possesses plenty of sci-fi/action/mystery to hold an audience. In other words, everything we theatre-goers seek in our entertainment; we are hungry for a good story and whether we devote our entire lives or just a few hours to it, the purpose is always the same as we search for an escape from and the meaning for our own existence.

Shakespeare In The Park

The man could write. His works are still the standard by which all theatre is judged. Every play is epic; a dense thicket involving love, betrayal, violence and wisdom. The characters are the grandest ideals or darkest corners of our own psyche and play out macrocosms of the subtle moral conflicts we engage daily. Every word he writes carries ten more words’ worth of meaning and twist the plot dizzyingly. It is great literature and scintillating theatre.

Alaina is hooked up at Central Park’s Delacourt Theatre, which means we don’t have to queue up beforehand for the always free tickets. Last night was Measure For Measure and it was great. Outdoor Theatre is always more exciting because of all the variables; inside, every aspect of the experience can be tightly controlled, but when you let nature play a role, she will. Bats, birds and airplanes buzz overhead while the wind breathes through the trees in the background as the sun sets and the lighting evolves, focusing the drama on stage in front of our mind’s eye.

Sleep No More

I am still baffled by what I witnessed last night and have been thinking about it constantly since I left the performance; it takes place inside the abandoned McKittrick hotel in Chelsea and audience members are free to explore four floors of exquisitely decorated rooms, each one an art installation of bizarre bric-a-brac that conjures an eerie mystique. Performers move through the spaces and interact with one another and audience members, all of whom are instructed to wear uniform white masks concealing identities and reactions. The piece is based on Macbeth and while the scenes allude to the events of Shakespeare’s play, they are given a very contemporary treatment. There are no words spoken, but the body language is powerful; it is the most interesting modern dance I have ever seen. Because so much is happening at all times, it is impossible to see the entire production, making me always wonder what I was missing… but I know that what I did see was stimulating, evocative and unique and continues to haunt me as the ghosts haunted Macbeth.