Monday, November 30, 2009

And lo, the Monday after the feast.

Well, here we sit on Monday November 30th....

The trip to Omaha was pretty uneventful. I got to see Ken, and take in his show Christmas in New England. We spent time with the Byrd family, and all was pretty well.

I still have yet to see my order from Amazon, but apparently a replacement is on the way. That's at least settled, though I am still not happy with the amount of time I could've been enjoying the movie and CD that is now past...I know it's all very silly, I really do, but these two items were things I was really looking forward to immersing myself in, and the wait has been really difficult.

So, for all of you out there who've been thinking it...You're right, I am ridiculous, but I have ever right in the world to be ridiculous, thank you very much.

The lack of success in my auditions is still weighing on me. Totally hypocritical, based on the philosophies I have espoused on this blog, but God damn...This last one hit me hard. I'm not quite sure how to process it, yet. Sure, I know, rationally, that there will be other opportunities, and I knew that this was an audition for a tight-knit ensemble. So, the ultimate resolution should not be such a downer, or a surprise.

But it is.

But we soldier on, right?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Comic Day from Hell 11.25.2009

Huge week, and I won't be able to pick it up until next Wednesday, most likely.


Frankly, I am in a really poor mood today, and I really don't have much of anything to say about these books. I'll buy them, I'll read them.

Blackest Night #5 (of 8)

Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert
Variant cover by Rodolfo Migliari
Sketch variant cover by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert

Detective Comics #859

Written by Greg Rucka
Art by JH Williams III
Co-feature art by Cully Hamner
Cover by JH Williams III
Variant cover by Jock

Gotham City Sirens #6

Written by Paul Dini
Art and cover by Guillem March

Green Lantern #48

Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy
Variant cover by Rags Morales

Justice League: Cry for Justice #5 (of 7)

Written by James Robinson
Art and cover by Mauro Cascioli

Justice League of America #39

Written by James Robinson
Art and cover by Mark Bagley

Superman: Secret Origin #3 (of 6)

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank and Jon Sibal
Covers by Gary Frank

Ultimate comics Avengers #4

COVER BY: Carlos Pacheco
WRITER: Mark Millar
PENCILS: Carlos Pacheco
INKS: Dexter Vines
COLORED BY: Justin Ponsor
LETTERED BY: VC - Cory Petit

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I think I've found my flow...

It's happening.

Dreary week...

So, my weekend was hardly "relaxing." It was packed full of commitments and tasks to be checked off.

Saturday from 9-2, I had a callback. It was a long day of auditioning. Compounded by the fact that I really wanted this show and this role. I've had a pretty long "dry-spell" audition-wise, at least for me. (Side note - I am 100% aware that I have been VERY lucky here in Chicago, and really have no room to complain about a 6-9 month period wherein I was not getting cast.) So, I went into this callback very much wanting to perform well.

Not the best way to approach an audition, as I've said in other blogs.

I still very much feel that you have to be able to let each audition go, pretty much immediately after you walk out, and accept a "what will be, will be," attitude. It's the only way to keep sane and stop torturing yourself over "failures" in the audition room. That being said, we're all human, and there's always "those shows," that you feel more than others. Shows that you, flat out, just want to have a shot at.

Well, this show on was one of those shows for me.

I still am in the dark. Waiting. I've worked with this director before, and he's always been quite good about letting me know, "sorry, next time," if need be. Still, it's hard. I'm almost to the point where I can say, "if it was yes, I'd have heard."

But not yet. I'm still holding some hope.

After the audition, we had a lovely meal at Wishbone, and then off to the Auditorium Theatre for the John Fogerty show. Great show, high energy, and, by God, that man's voice is better preserved than any singer I can think of. He still sounds EXACTLY like the records. He also has the most amazing hair,, Ronald Regan black hair. The man has to be sixty-five, at least, I wonder if his preserved voice and hair are connected?

I do have to say, I'm certain I'm spoiled by Springsteen, but an "evening with" show that only runs 1:45 seems a little slight. On a certain level I understand it, because those CCR tunes, well, none of them is over 3 minutes long, but...I dunno. He played nothing off Blue Moon Swamp or Revival, which is a damn shame. You could easily mine another 3o minutes out of those two excellent albums. Other than that I was extremely happy with the setlist;



Fogerty seemed in very good spirits and really seemed to be having a great time with the crowd. I did wish we could've been a little closer in, but don't you always? The band was fantastic, especially fiddle/guitar/bongo/mandolin player Jason Mowery. Just a fantastic time, I would totally see him again.

Sunday consisted of a whole day at Stage Left. Rehearsal for a reading in the AM, then back for rehearsal for our winter show Here Where It's Safe by M.E.H. Lewis, and directed by Scott Bishop. I've agreed to assistant direct the show, so I'm excited about that. Ought to be fun to have some hand in my company's only full production this year.

I also spent some time going over a script, and writing a short, quick directing proposal for it, for another company. That's in for their consideration, so we shall see. That would be, primarily, a summer project.

Shane is still on a burner, somewhere...waiting.

The week starts with me insanely frustrated with Amazon. My Them Crooked Vultures CD and Star Trek Blu-Ray have still not arrived.

Sloooooow Burrrrrn....


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Comic Day 11.18.2009

Middling week, I guess I'd have to call it. Excited to see Flash: Rebirth get rolling again.

Dr. Horrible (One-Shot)

Writer: Zack Whedon
Penciller: Joelle Jones
Colorist: Dan Jackson
Cover Artist: Kristian Donaldson

OK, how cool is that? And, remember....the hammer is his penis.

Batman: Streets of Gotham #6

Written by Chris Yost
Co-feature written by Marc Andreyko
Art by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs
Co-feature art by Jeremy Haunn
Cover by Dustin Nguyen

Total truth...this story has done absolutely nothing for me. Dini is the draw here, can't wait until he's back.

The Brave and the Bold #29

Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Art and cover by Jesus Saiz

You had me at "Brother Power The Geek." I really hope Straczynski doesn't screw this up, because some of those bizarre DC Comics 60's/70's creations need some love. How about "Prez" next?

The Flash; Rebirth #5 (of 6)

Written by Geoff Johns
Art and covers by Ethan Van Sciver

Ok, excited to get back into this, but, that being said, the delays on this title have only pointed out that it's kind of irrelevant. This does not feel like a Flash story that "needed" to be told, especially not as a premium-priced special-event mini-series. It's a GOOD flash story, don't get me wrong, this could EASILY have been the first arc in a new Flash ongoing, and I'd have been very happy. It was clearly modled on the Green Lantern: Rebirth series, with the same creative team, even, but that level of retcon was not needed. Barry Allen was back as Flash, Grant Morrison took care of that in Final Crisis. We didn't really need any more.

The Stand: Soul Surviviors #2 (of 5)

COVER BY: Lee Bermejo
WRITER: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
PENCILS: Mike Perkins
INKS: Mike Perkins
COLORED BY: Laura Martin
LETTERED BY: VC - Rus Wooton

So, the Marvel adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand continues. You either love this story, or don't. I do. I think it's the best thing King's ever done. The best thing I can say about this series, or set of series, as it were, is that they are getting the story right.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Back fromt he weekend, and I touch greatness.

So, saw Springsteen on Sunday. For the first time, got close enough to touch him.

Twice right before this moment, during "Hungry Heart"...I helped catch him when the crowd surf began, and moments before that I touched his foot. Then at the end of the show, during "Higher and Higher," I got a good arm/back pat, and a fist bump from Soozie Tyrell (fiddle). CByrd got a good, solid pat on the back, and a nice bit of "Boss sweat."

I was sticking my hand up there, valiantly, praying that he would just take my hand for a second. Justa moment when he might acknowledge me for a second. Alas, I didn't get lucky. There was a very nice couple on the other side of the rail from us (we made it into the pit, again - three for three - lucky us! They were on the regular GA side), who got a kiss on the hand, and was wiping away tears after. I gave her a big thumbs up, she was so happy.

The show itself turned out to be quite powerful. I've been on record as being a bit disappointed that the album-in-full that evening was to be Born to Run, simply because I'd already seen that at the United Center in Chicago in Spetember. That being's quite different being in the pit, compared to the rafters.

Oh, and lady in the 100 level on the stage right side, with the "Jungleland" request sign...I just....**shakes head** ....When they say they're playing the "whole album," that means all the songs on that album. Just FYI.

Born to Run, as a whole, was, of course, amazing, but we also got a ton of rarities in the request section. Seeing "Living Proof" come off the shelf, for a man in the pit who'd had his fist son 2 weeks prior, was worth everything. Especailly when the band simply did not know it, being from that "other band" period of the early 90's. I truly hope that this might encourage Bruce to revisit some of theose Human Touch and Lucky Town tracks...there's some fantastic songs in there.

I can't say I ever really wanted to hear "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town," and was a little annoyed by all the signs for it. I'm with Bruce, it's "too early," but he played it anyway, and it was fun. Another one I can check off the "seen it live" list. The Christmas tree sign he brought up during the song was downright impressive. Five feet tall with battery-operated lights.

"Jole Blon," "Loose Ends," and, my favorite Bruce song ever, "Growin' Up," were all amazing. The show was so high-energy after Born to Run wrapped up, it was kinda hard to keep up. My throat still hurts today from screaming and singing along. There was all sorts of fun on display, several jokes about where we were, in refrence to his faux pas in Michigan...

"Hello Ohio! Aw, I'm just fucking with ya!"

"Don't worry, I'm on my meds tonight!"

"Kitty's Back" was amazing, but, if you ask me, went on a little long.

During "Dancing in the Dark," the usual dance partner request signs went up...but one caught Bruce's eye...asking for a dance with Little Steven Van Zant. Stevie begged off, but Bruce was leaving no chance to embarass the band unturned...and what followed was a pretty painful example of Stevie's lack of dancing skill. He didn't really dance WITH her, more like kind of in the same area...LOL. I've never seen a more horrifying "mashed potato" in my life. Love ya, Little Steven!

"Higher and Higher" was a tremendous way to wrap up the show and gave a real spotlight to backup singers Cindy Mizelle and Curtis King.

The show ran about three hours fifteen, which, I think, makes it the longest Springsteen show for myself, personally. Bruce was on fire, and I thing the impending end of the tour (4 to go), and break from the E-Streeters for, I'm betting, a year at least, was driving him to send this tour off on a powerful note, and he did it.

Cadillac Ranch
Hungry Heart
Working on a Dream
Thunder Road
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out (with Curt Ramm on trumpet)
Born to Run
She's the One
Meeting Across the River (with Curt Ramm)
Darlington County
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town
Loose Ends
Jole Blon
Growin' Up
Into the Fire
The Rising
No Surrender
* * *
Living Proof
Kitty's Back (with Curt Ramm)
American Land (with Curt Ramm)

Dancing in the Dark
Rosalita (with Curt Ramm)
Higher and Higher (with Curt Ramm)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday's been rough.

This has been a dark day for me. Honestly, it's been a string of dark days. The sun is setting earlier, and it sucks to look out the window at 4:30 to...night. I've also been out of the house a lot. Lots of evening commitments. So, tonight is the only night this week I can go home and relax. Tomorrow I have a rehearsal for a reading, Saturday, said reading goes up, and immediately after I go to another rehearsal. Sunday, of course brings another shot of the Boss' love...

I has so hoped that the weather would hold for Sunday. We have General Admission tickets, so a lot of waiting in line is on the menu. That's, of course the day when showers are in the forecast. So, we shall see. It could've been a LOT worse, I suppose, I mean it is mid-November, we could be knee-deep in snow.

Plus, I HATE having a big coat if I'm on the floor at a show. So, I try to dress as lightly as possible. Bad news at the Metallica show last January, when I ended up quite sick after. There's a joy in being able to take public transport to concerts easily, but you also miss that ability to just jump in the car to warm up, y'know?

So, anyway...I don't know what's eating at me. I'm just kind of in a "sick of it all" funk. the sort of thing that comes and it goes, I guess. I feel like playing the guitar tonight, but, with it being my only night home, I feel bad just retreating into the office.

I do feel like I've got a sound in my head now that I can really run with. It's definitely hard rock, metal even, but a little muddy, not as sharp-edged. In preparation of the Them Crooked Vultures release, I've been listening to a lot of Kyuss, and I think it's rubbing off on me. "Stoner Metal" was the term, I guess.

My friend Tom B. introduced me to Kyuss a few years ago. He put a song or two on a disk with the Probot album. I thought that song, "50 Million Year Trip (Downside Up)," was pretty damn cool, but didn't really click with the band until I heard "Demon Cleaner" on the Metallica: Guitar Hero video game. (So I guess there is something to be said for those games introducing new music to people.)

So,'s a dark Thursday.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hey, hey, new comic day!! 11.11.2009

So, here I am trying to get back on schedule with this here blog...

This week is pretty heavy for DC, but no Marvel books. I'll call it a "medium" week, if for nothing else than the fact that all but one of the books is in the $2.99 price point.

Here we go...

Batman #693

Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea
Cover by Tony Daniel

Here's my problem with Tony Daniel. He's a solid, workmanlike, not particularly interesting writer. When so many writers working on the Bat-books are pushing boundaries and taking chances, he feels a bit...stuck in the mud. When Morrison is over in Batman and Robin writing AMAZING stuff, well....

Batman and Robin #6

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Philip Tan and Jonathan Glapion
Cover by Frank Quitely
Variant cover by Philip Tan

Speaking of which. This book is so good, so much fun. I love Morrison's work on Dick and Damian, and their evolving partnership. It's so different from the way Bruce worked with any of the Robins. It's really the best example of how this "Batman Reborn" arc can really be fun. Morrison has thrown off all the details, resetting with Dick Grayson's personality, but left the core values of Batman intact. It's allowed him to play liberally with that Silver Age (that Morrison loves so much), lighter Batman personality, and not violate all the work that has been done on making Bruce Wayne so iconic.

Batman/Doc Savage Special #1

Written by Brian Azzarello
Art by Phil Noto
Sketchbook material and variant cover by Rags Morales
Cover by JG Jones

Ah, DC takes another stab at the pulp heroes. I love Dac Savage and The Shadow, and I'll always take a shot at new incarnations of them. Azzarello is hit-or-miss for me, but I have a gut feeling he's the right guy for this. We shall see.

Red Robin #6

Written by Christopher Yost
Art by Marcus To
Cover by Marcus To and Ray McCarthy

This is already at issue #6? Holy Cow. I have to say, this series kicked into overdrive last issue. Tim teaming with Ra's Al Guhl against some sort of odd South American Spider-Assassin guild? This book is kicking butt, but I fear most people already jumped off the boat.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sometimes you get tired...

And decide to take a day off the blog.

Then you turn around and the day has become a week. What the hell happened?

I really couldn't tell you, in all honesty. I just found myself without much burning desire to share anything. There was things to share...New comic Wednesday came and went...

Here's what I got without comment:

Jonah Hex #49

Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art and cover by Cristiano Cucina

Captain America: Reborn #4

COVER BY: Joe Kubert
WRITER: Ed Brubaker
PENCILS: Butch Guice & Bryan Hitch

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #4

WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
INKS: David Lafuente Garcia
COLORED BY: Justin Ponsor
LETTERED BY: VC - Cory Petit

Light week. really light, and more Marvel than DC, for once.

Got to work on some music over the weekend, and for the first time in a long while, I got invigorated by it. I finished a track and was very happy with how it all turned out. It's part of a new project, a new concept and way of going about this music thing. I'm trying to not worry about how people will take it, and just write stuff I like.

That's a simple enough idea, y'know, but I have friends who are truly talented musicians. People who are creative and can pretty much see right through my bullshit and, frankly, cut me to the quick with criticism. I am a limited musician. I'm not going to be doing long free-form jazz work. It's not in me. I'm not a technical monster n the guitar, I'm not going to be doing insanely fast, complicated runs up and down the neck.

I like rhythm. I like to hear the drums and bass and guitar play off each other. To hear the instruments lock in time and weave together. The unfortunate thing is, without a live drummer, that's hard to do. It's also hard to do without everyone playing at once...

Hard to do when you're just one guy. LOL!

So, in a way, I'm trying to remove myself from the songs I'm playing with now. There's a concept in play, and it's really about me embracing the fact that, at the core, this is all a joke. That's not to say that I don't try to do as good a job as I can, or that I feel I can just suck. It means...I'm a nearing-middle-age-guy with a limited ability to record in a multi-track enviroment, and I'm using that to be creative in my own way. I'm not going to take music by storm, or even be heard by anyone outside of my friends.

(Although, that's the worst group to hand a CD, that you know is not great, to.)

I wrote a blog a while back in which my opinion was that this digital revolution really wasn't making music, or any art form "better." That, in fact, having all these people like me who were releasing material just because they could, and not because they deserved to, was watering the whole art form down. So, here I sit, with a pretty strong opinion that I'm not doing anything but being selfish and stroking my ego.

Of course, as I've also said...being egotistical is pretty close to the heart of being an artist.

God, I don't know. This whole music thing, it tears me up every time I work on it, if for no other reason but that I cannot seem to record what's in my head. I certainly can't sing what's in my head, and!


Hey! positive news...The entire Them Crooked Vultures CD can be heard over at YouTube:

Them Crooked Vultures

Just put it on auto-play, and you're off. So awesome!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday's thing...

Let's see....

I was off the grid for most of the weekend, and Friday, due to a surgical procedure for CByrd. All is well, and we're doing pretty well on the recovery.

**knocking on wood**

Yesterday, well, was a bit busy at work. So, I didn't make the 5-10 minutes to bang out a blog. No big deal, I know nobody's hanging on the edge of their seat for them.

My back picked yesterday to go on strike again. I'm stiff as all hell, and just wish to God I could pop the damn thing. It's something that comes and goes with me, I'll have "episodes" once or twice a year, with a few days of discomfort. Sometimes not too bad, sometimes worse. Guess it comes with the years, and the mileage. LOL!

Tonight is the Stage Left Gala/Roast of Kevin Heckman. I know a fun time will be had by all, Stage Left is a good group of people, and worthy of your support. Yeah, I know, asking me to become a part of the Ensemble is a lapse on their part, but don't judge them harshly. ;)

Anyway...Otherwise, I'm tired from the weekend, and wrapping up Plans 1-8 From Outer Space. I was happy to do the show, but, man...late-night shows kick my ass. Sean H did a fantastic job writing and directing, and I love that cast. We all had a great time, I think, and they are all superior people. Superior performers, too.

I did manage to get all the tracking done on a new song this weekend. It even worked with the lyrics I had written. (I was amazed, that hardly ever works out.) I probably need to re-track the guitar solo, and then do the vocals, then I can really dig into the other "in progress" track. I've got no theatre work coming up for a while, except for some readings and things like that. I hope I can put my back into the music for a while and get something done. It's been too long.