Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Matrix: Resolutions

(I resolve to be a badass in 2011.)

I'm really excited about resolutions this year. The last few years I've written long lists of things I want to get done and then cross them off the list as I pursue 'em. It's worked well and I'll continue to do it. But I wanted to share a few of the stranger/sillier ones from this year.

1. Grow my hair longer than I've ever had it in my life! This is going to be interesting. I haven't cut my hair since... August, I think. I must have cut it right before the Fringe run of my show, which was also right before Lin's wedding, and I had planned to get it cut in October before my birthday and the marathon, but I never did. And not it's grown in A LOT from what it was. So I think I'll just let it keep going. It's a pain in the ass to maintain, I don't know how ladies with long hair do it. On days I don't put a lot of effort into, I very quickly look sorta homeless. So I will have to make it priority in 2011. The longest I've ever had it was almost chin-length in my freshman year of college. Which was a loooong time ago. Let's see how far I take this before I chop it off again. Tom Brady will show me the way.

2. No cookies. No soda. I love cookies. I love soda. But they are not good for me, and once I start in with them I have no resistance and they are all I want to eat. They are out of the diet as of January 1st. Nobody who knows me thinks I can hold out on cookies for very long, but I need to get back into fighting shape. I've gotten a little soft this holiday season. Bye, cookies. It's not you. It's me. Well, actually it's you.

3. Take the physical challenge. I need a new athletic goal. I've not quite determined what it will be. But I'm determined to determine it. I've done the ING NYC Marathon 3 years in a row now, and I've applied for a 4th go-round, but if I don't get in, I'll need a new challenge. I've already been skydiving. Maybe bungee jumping? I'm sort of terrified of that. Maybe I'll do that... Tennis lessons? Hmm... I'm looking for something.

4. Write Paris blogs. I went to Paris six months ago and I took lots of notes about my trip and I planned to write it all down like I did with Rome, but I had all these other things to write. But starting this January. January I will write the Paris blogs!

5. Be Nice. I'm enjoying my (early!) 30's and while I ain't a kid no more, nevertheless I've felt myself experiencing some life growing pains as of late. It's made me grouchier and moodier in my daily interactions than I'd regularly care to be, so I plan to put some extra effort into returning to more Owen-like state of civility in the coming winter months. It never hurts to remember to be nice.

There are more, of course, but this is a good sampler. Here's wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to everyone out there on the interwebs. Let's go after what we want with renewed vigor starting this January! Dreams come true, bitches. Oh, thank heaven. It's 2011!

2010: A Year In Review

(525,600 minutes. That's how you measure it. Also, in love.)

And so 2010 comes to a close. What a year it's been. Here's a quick look back.

Remember the 2010 Vancouver Olympics? Sure you do! That was THIS YEAR! I know, it doesn't seem like it, but it was. There were a lot of great stories that came out of the Olympics. Shawn White, Apollo Anton Ohno, Lindsey Vonn and Evan Lysacek I'm looking at you, but not only at you. So many great champions, and it was also really great to hear the Canadian National Anthem sung so many times in victory by the proud host country. OOOO CAAAANADAAAAA!!!!!

This year I saw a lot of movies. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was my favorite movie of the year, but almost nobody saw it but me. Netflix it, y'all. You're missing out. Toy Story 3 made grown ups cry on its way to becoming the top grossing movie of the year. Everyone became very focused on spinning tops in Inception. 3-D movies were all the rage. Dragons were trained. Island's were shuttered. Titans clashed. Disney called Rapunzel "Tangled" so people would go see it, and it paid off. Sex and The City 2 was universally hated. And in the end, we learned the kids were indeed all right.

"The Bed Intruder Song" Youtube video took a news story about an almost rape, and made lemonade out of some really nasty lemons. Cee Lo Green gave the world one of the most amazing songs ever written which I spent many a day dancing in and out work listening to on my ipod. The Glee Cast dominated the charts by singing songs that were already dominating the charts. They also did a fun live concert tour. Lady Gaga wore meat dresses and made long-form music videos and went from someone I really wanted to punch in the face to someone who was kinda totally awesome. Bieber Fever exploded. Miley Cyrus imploded. LiLo went about as crazy as you can go without actually dying.

Roughly 37 million Hollywood icons actually died. Betty White lived it up like no one else. Simon Cowell left Am.Idol. Mia Michaels returned to an All-Star Season of SYTYCD. I broke up with Project Runway for good. Lil Russell lost back-to-back seasons of Survivor. The first All-Female team won at The Amazing Race. Lots of people (but not me) watched Jersey Shore and Teen Mom. Lost came to a mythologically frustrating, but emotionally satisfying conclusion. After months of drama Jennifer Grey finally vanquished Bristol Palin to the mirroball trophy on DWTS in an emotionally satisfying conclusion. True Blood focused on Vampires. Twilight: Eclipse focused on werewolves. The Walking Dead focused on zombies. Tiger Woods focused on apologizing for having 18,000 mistresses. The original Law & Order was inexplicably canceled right before it became the longest-running prime time drama in history. Jay Leno stole back The Tonight Show from Conan O'Brien when Jay's horrible new show tanked. Team Coco was born, Conan went on live tour and then got a new show on TBS. I'm with Coco.

It Gets Better became a national movement to help Gay Teens survive bullying and discrimination. Don't Ask Don't Tell was repealed. The 9/11 First Responders Bill finally passed Congress. Health Care reform finally passed on Congress. Prop 8 was overturned in California but is still extended indefinitely awaiting appeal. There are still roughly 83 wars going on across the world and none of them are going well. We continue to pray for our troops in harm's way and hope they can come home soon. Mid-term elections gave the House of Representatives to the Republicans but less than half the country is aware of it. Witchypoo Christine O'Donnell lost her Senate bid. So did Crazypants Sharron Angle. Michele Bachmann remained at large and was actually named to the House Intelligence Committee (!!!). Wikileaks had a field day declassifying all sorts of documents. There was a lot Tea Party anger, right wing fear-mongering, left wing hand wringing, a huge trumped up fight over building a cultural center a few blocks away from Ground Zero and a very nice rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear organized by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held in our Nation's Capital.

The world faced horrible natural disasters with the earthquakes in Haiti, the volcano eruptions in Iceland and the Gulf Oil spill that raged on and on. This is just to name a few. The Chilean miners were trapped ungerground and eventually, amazingly rescued. To close the year out, some big ol' storms dropped non-stop rain in California and dumped multiple feet of snow across the Eastern Coastline right at the end of the year creating quite a mess for everybody who was traveling for the holidays.

This year we also learned about vuvuzelas, met Paul the Octopus and cheered for Spain's World Cup win. At least I did. Also good for Sports in Spain? RAFAEL NADAL. Our Hero fought his way back to the No. 1 ranking, winning the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open along the way to complete his career Grand Slam. I still can't believe I was at Roland Garros for the French Open Final. I went to Paris! Yay! Also the Saints won the Super Bowl, The SF Giants won the World Series, The Lakers won the NBA Finals, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, and did I mention how well Rafa did this year??? I love him so much. But credit where credit is due, Roger Federer won the Aussie Open to begin the year and the Tour Finals to end it. Roger and Rafa also made this amazing video which still makes me smile whenever I watch it.
So that was the year at large. When I personally look back at 2010, I will remember it as being one of the most artistically satisfying years of my life so far. I started things out with a Die Vampire, Die! Workshop run by Susan Blackwell. It put me in a great creative mindset going forward. I sent my play into the Fringe Festival through Mind The Art Entertainment, got to do some singing on stage, took some improv classes where I met a great girl, had The Timing of A Day get accepted into Fringe and then we were off and running from like April to September. Putting up my first show in New York was a grueling, exciting, informative, scary and wonderful experience. I feel so lucky for the friendships that were made during the production and the existing ones that were strengthened through the process. The outpouring of support from people was so so soooo appreciated. To create something and have it put up on stage was a dream I always had for myself, but one I'd increasingly felt would not happen. But now has! And the show did really well for itself. And the experience brought into focus for me for what I want to continue to pursue in 2011. Since the end of Fringe, the production team has been working really hard to bring the show back and we look forward to making that a reality in 2011. I've also taken the last couple months to write three 10-minute plays and another full length one, on top of my blogging and, you know, work. So I'm keeping the creative inspiration going and continuing to write. Also I found time to see 30 performances by friends this year, plus 16 Broadway Shows and NYC Ballets. Looking back over the playbills and tickets stubs, everybody did a lot of great work this year. Super Inspiring!

There were plenty other personal highlights: another NYC marathon run, my delightful trip to Paris, my cameo in LMM's viral wedding video and lots more. For all the good things, there were a lot of painful times too, and the thought that keeps popping up in my head is that challenging times and painful experiences should not be allowed to prevent us from seeing the many blessings around us or experiencing the joy that can still be had. I take from 2010 a sense of accomplishment and an awareness that there is so much more work to be done.

Bring it, 2011!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Today's Snow Day is Brought to You By Snowmaggedon aka Snowpocalypse (or maybe Santa God)

(Hooray!)
"It's a Marshmallow World in the winter, when the snow comes to cover the ground. It's a time for play. It's a whipped cream day. I wait for it the whole year 'round." - Brenda Lee

It's a Snow Day y'all. I'm so excited. I don't know the last time I had a real snow day. I've already watched The Dark Crystal (my personal Snow Day movie), had a nice warm cup of mint chocolate cocoa and now - before my first nap of the day - I'm streaming some Into the Woods on Netflix. Then when I wake up, I have several home projects to work on and Christmas toys to play with. SO EXCITING!

I was bummed to have to go back to work today on the Monday after Christmas this year, and it's like Santa God heard my holiday prayers, and dumped a foot and a half of snow on the City (along with 60 mph gusting winds) to shut down the subway and shut everyone inside. My Day-After-Christmas Wish was not intended to ruin anyone's travel plans, and for those of you stuck in the City or stuck out of the City, I sincerely hope you are able to get on your way soon. In the meantime, go outside and make a snow angel or go sledding, or have a snowball fight if that suits your liking. If you're like me, stay wrapped up cozy indoors and cherish these quiet hours with some favorite movies. This winter, it's a Marshmallow World!

Xmas 2010: The Year of Barbie's Dream Town House

(One picture for posterity of the Town House in its fully glory before all the pieces go missing.)

Merry Xmas, Y'all. I hope everyone had a good holiday weekend. Mine was very nice. I went into it with "Blue Christmas" stuck in my head and came back to my apartment from seeing my family with "Home For The Holidays" on permanent rotation instead. That's a good sign that thinks went well. It was a marathon of playing with the nieces and nephew, and all the gifts I gave them went over well. It was quite the feat carrying all the presents all out there on the LIRR, as I had bought them in waves and didn't factor in the difficulty of carrying them all at once. Luckily they were just bulky and not really heavy. The Muppet WhatNots were a big hit. I have to start brainstorming what can top them next year. It will take me all year to think of something.

(Merry Xmas from the Muppet WhatNots!)

The biggest gift for the girls this year, in both importance and physical size, was Barbie's Dream Town House. When assembled, it's over three feet tall, three stories tall and has five fully furnished rooms. They key words there are: when assembled. The Dream Town House came with a Nightmare amount of parts and instructions that made no sense. I'm not saying they were hard to follow, but literally made no sense. It would go "Step 1. Install the elevator" and then show you a picture of the installed elevator. We were hoping they would provide a little more guidance than that, considering how there was this whole pulley system involved. Maybe they'd show us HOW to install it. Also, the many pillars that hold up each story of the house are not interchangeable. Each one is shaped slightly differently so you have to really look at them all, and not just jam them in, or it won't fit right. Then there are pages of decals to stick on the inside and outside so it looks pretty. And then there are a million tiny accessories for each room. A full set of plates and utensils for the kitchen, picture frames and a remote control for the living room, and hangers for the wardrobe and a full bed set for the bedroom. My favorite mini-accessories go with the bathroom though, the highlight is the toothbrush that is roughly the size of half a staple. You could easily mistake it for a pink nail clipping. But Barbie believes in good dental hygiene! A toothbrush is essential.

Despite its initial "tons of assembly required" drawback, the Town House is pretty cool. Things make noise and light up and it's all pretty fancy. I've always really liked playhouses. My sisters had one that my grandfather built that was pretty great. I had a small yellow Fisher Price one that my sister and I played with for hours on end, and I also had The Annie Mansion Playset:

(Now selling at $500 on Amazon. Dang.)

And The Annie Flying Limousine:
(the Limousine only flew when you chucked it like a football, but those toys were built to last and it survived many flights.)

I really like toy houses, but my imagination tended to go to a dark place as a child (who'm I kidding? it still does) so bad things always happened inside them. My sister and I would always play "Burglar" in the Fisher Price house, where robbers would try to break into the house while the Little People were asleep. And the Annie Mansion was haunted by Poltergeist (Annie and Poltergeist being two iconic 80's movies, and all) and Grandpa's Dollhouse also had an eerie other-worldiness about it, ghosts and aliens were lurking everywhere. Here's hoping the Barbie Town House can face less harrowing times, and if not, I hope it brings my nieces the same countless hours of enjoyment and imaginative play I got from playhouses when I was there age.

...And maybe I'll put one on my own Christmas List again next year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Support Citymeals-on-Wheels

('Tis the season!)

Hey Y'all. Just an important Christmas Time Charity shout out. As I was preparing to go out and do some last minute shopping, I saw a report on good ol' NY1 this morning that Citymeals-on-Wheels is WAY below their normal donation levels for the holiday season. Citymeals-on-Wheels raises private funds to ensure no home bound elderly New Yorker will ever go a day without food or human company. Last year, contributors helped bring over 2 million nutritious meals to 16,232 home bound elderly in every borough of New York City. In addition, over 1,500 volunteers collectively spent 62,000 hours visiting and delivering meals to those seniors in need.

I just made a donation online, and it's really easy. It's only 6 bucks and change to provide a warm meal and some company to a person in need. I know times are tight, but please consider making a donation. One hundred percent of all public donations go to the preparation and delivery of meals.

If you want to find out more information about the organization or make a donation, go to http://www.citymeals.org

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Survivor: Winners Round Up

(Class photo. The dude on the left won this time. Spoiler Alert!)

In honor of Survivor's 21st season finale, Dalton Ross at EW ranked the 19 previous winners of the 20 previous seasons based on how well they performed in their respective seasons, to reveal the most triumphant winner. I didn't agree with the rankings, partly because I thought it was a flawed system. I'll explain why in my own rankings below, now including tonight's winner, ranked 20-1.

20. Vecepia Towery - Marquesas. A season so boring I gave up on it way early. No rooting interest in her. I'm sure she's a lovely person, but this is considered (by those who actually watched it) to be one of the worst Survivor season's the show has to offer.

19. Earle Cole - Fiji. Again, I never got into the season. Didn't care who won. Although I did like that someone was named Dreamz. But I lost interest after only a few episodes.

18. Natalie White - Samoa. She basically just stayed out of Russell's super aggressive way on her way to picking up the million dollar check. Worked for me, 'cause Russell played too hard and annoyed me. But it didn't take much effort to look like a better option than Russell, so she doesn't stick out to me as a great winner.

17. Amber Brkich - All-Stars. Rob did all the dirty work. The jury just couldn't deal with handing him the title. Rob's loss was more of an injustice than Natalie's, but at least Amber was a partner in crime.

16. Chris Daughetry - Vanuatu. I really didn't like this season and also didn't watch the whole thing. Chris's win had more to do with the women turning on each other and the jury not being able to support the last person standing on their own alliance, than anything Chris really did. Maybe I don't give him enough credit though. Eh.

15. Brian Heidik - Thailand. Another season I didn't really like. Brian's win was fine, but was nothing compared to his soft core work in Virgins of Sherwood Forest. Mad skills, yo!

14. Bob Crowley - Gabon. Nothing wrong with Bob. He just never made a really strong impression on me. I don't think people considered him a threat to win at their own expense.

13. Jenna Morasca - Amazon. She too just never made a strong impression on me as a competitor on the show. She's got a cool attitude though. Nothing personal against her.

12. Aras Baskauskas - Panama: Exile Island. I actually liked his season. Cirie was the best contestant in terms of character, but at least Aras won over Danielle. That would've been crazy if he lost to her.

11. Tina Wesson - Australian Outback. An awesome lady, but she had a bit of luck in Colby being a gentleman and taking her to the final with him where she beat him. He shouldn't have done that.

10. Judson "Fabio" Birza - Nicaragua. I actually thought this last season was uneven, especially toward the middle, but ultimately it was satisfying. It was like watching a game of poker where most of the players are beginners. There isn't a lot of strategy at first or a real understanding of the game, but it makes the outcome less predictable because people make unconventional choices that sometimes pay off. I really didn't know how the last couple votes would go. But Fabio won immunity when he needed it at the end, and he had one of the best personalities this season, so good on him for taking it.

9. Ethan Zohn - Africa. I don't really remember the season in Africa, but I generally like when nice guy's finish first. And it's obvious that Ethan's a nice guy. So I'm putting him here at #9.

8. Todd Herzog - China. Todd was super smart, but he benefited right at the end when partner-in-crime Amanda totally unraveled in front of the jury at the end. She made it easy for him.

7. J.T. Thomas - Tocantins. All the contestants loved J.T. on his season. People were okay with losing to him even as they were still competing against him! He was strong and had a good read on everyone and walked away with the unanimous vote in his favor. They were buying what he was selling.

6. Danni Boatwright - A total scrapper. Was on the outside of a huge alliance and fought her way through to the final winning the last immunity challenge and then a 6-1 jury decision.

5. Tom Westman - Palau. This was an amazing season for the complete decimation of one tribe that meant there was no real merge. Tom was the dominant player on the dominant tribe throughout the season and though it wasn't a surprise that he won, it was certainly well-earned.

4. Yul Kwon - Cook Islands. Yul rocked. He was incredibly smart and strong and I think the best credit to his win was that he beat out the incredibly strong and well-liked Ozzy who came in second. This was one decision that actually could've gone either way and it would've been a fair outcome. But my vote would've gone to Yul and I'm glad he came out on top.

3. Parvati Shallow - Fans vs. Favorites. Parvati is an amazing player who obviously loves the game, knows how to play well and has made better every season she's participated in for her involvement. She came out on top in her second of three appearances, again helped by partner-in-crime Amanda who again unraveled in front of the Jury at the last tribal council. Still it wasn't just luck that got Parvati to the final twice. It was joyous game play that's just a cut above what almost anyone else can do.

2. Richard Hatch - Borneo. Richard is the original winner who showed everybody how it was done. He was the villain, but convinced the jury he deserved their respect and their votes for the way he outplayed them. And they agreed with him! Several contestants have tried that same approach with the jury since then and it has not gone as well. Still, that first win is a classic and Richard had to do it with no one else's play book to go on. Gotta tip your hat to him.

1. Sandra Diaz-Twine. Pearl Islands & Heroes vs. Villains. Listen, this bitch won twice. She's the reason there are only 20 people on this list instead of 21. That's why I think Dalton's system is flawed. It diminishes Sandra's two wins in two separate seasons. Hatch played twice, but he didn't win twice. Parvati played three times but only one once. Plus one of her losses was to Sandra. So I'm not really open to debating the merits of her putting her at the top of my list. Both her seasons were memorable. She wasn't good at individual immunity challenges, but she didn't let people push her around. She managed to argue her way around people voting her ass out, and when she got to face the jury, she convinced them she was the most worthy contestant left in the game. TWICE! Outwit, Outplay and Outlast. She's 2-0. When someone else goes undefeated in multiple seasons, you can come talk to me about how they're better winners than Sandra. Until then, Sandra is the Queen of Survivor.

Next season we get treated to Redemption Island. It seems like a better twist on the Outcast tribe from Cook Islands. At least everyone playing KNOWS about the twist from the beginning so they have to factor it in to their voting. We'll see how it works in practice, but it could be fun. It will give us a new element to watch and should increase the amount of challenges we see per episode.

DADT Repealed! An Updated Look at the Oppress-O-Meter

So yesterday was a little weird. Don't Ask Don't Tell, the much derided military policy banning gays from serving openly in the U.S. Armed Forces, was repealed by the Senate. Hooray! Soon it will be off the books forever. This is an amazing development, as it seemed like a dead issue only a few days ago. To briefly recap, the legislation ending the ban on gays had previously been included in a larger Pentagon policy bill, and Republicans refused to let the whole bill go forward, like they've refused every bill to go forward, because they'd rather point to how the country is falling apart under Obama than work to improve things. Or if you want to be charitable, because they thought dealing with taxes and spending was so important they couldn't deal with anything first, even if it was ready to be brought forward. Repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell had its Republican backers, but they refused to join in cutting off a filibuster against the larger Pentagon bill. So all looked lost.

Then, in an odd twist, occasional throwers-of-the-monkey-wrench Senators Joe Lieberman (Independent "Democrat") and Senator Susan Collins of Maine ("Moderate" Republican), had Dem leaders in the House of Reps pass a measure earlier in this week that was a stand alone repeal of the ban. So outgoing House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Rep. Patrick Murphy (aka Congressman Awesome) did and it passed the House. Then Lieberman and Collins introduced the same bill in the Senate, and when it came up for cloture they had the 60 votes to end the filibuster and then it passed the Senate. It's a huge huge step in the right direction for equal rights and it's really exciting. It's a fulfilled promise by President Obama to have the ban repealed through legislation, and it's a career accomplishment for Patrick "Congressman Awesome" Murphy, a veteran of the Iraq War who worked tirelessly to see this bill get through the House (he actually got it through twice. Bravo.) Murphy lost his re-election bid this November, but it must be hugely satisfying to him that he got the job done on his watch. It's hugely satisfying to me.

You may ask, "If this is so satisfying, O, why are you not super happy?" Well, it goes like this: Even though the Senate did the right thing on this issue they are still acting like total douche bags on several other issues. And in one instance where the Senate actually got things right, The House then decided to go nutso.

We'll begin with the Senate, a body where the minority party has decided we no longer need to do any business by a simple majority. Any motion that does not have a super majority of 60 will get filibustered. This means even though the majority would vote to pass things. it's not allowed to get that far.

This is the case for the DREAM Act, that would create a pathway to citizenship for some illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children and who then went on and completed additional requirements including attending college or serving in the military for at least two years, and passing criminal background checks. Only 55 Senators voted for it, so it doesn't go any further.

This is ALSO the case with the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act, which failed to advance past a procedural vote in the Senate on Dec. 9th, on the grounds that Republicans didn't like how it was paid for and again because they refused to allow votes on anything until taxes were addressed. Not allowing this vote before the end of the year is just disgusting. Republican Senators invoke 9/11 all the time, but they don't want to help the ailing first responders? They dump billions and billions into foreign wars but get nitpicky about money when it comes to aiding sick heroes? It infuriates me. Hopefully, renewed pressure from Jon Stewart and other members of the media, the Senate Republicans will be embarrassed into allowing an up or down vote.

Beyond that, there is also START, the Nuclear Arms Treaty with Russia, which Republicans in the Senate may also try to scuttle for bizarre logic. They claim the treaty would limit development of U.S. offensive and defensive missile systems, despite everyone telling them that's not the case. They also aren't keen on cutting atomic weapons and don't like Obama's goal of eliminating all nukes. The START treaty would commit Russia and the United States to cut deployed strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 for each side within seven years. 1,550 nuclear weapons aren't enough to blow up the entire planet? We have 1,551 strategic targets to aim at?

President Obama, along with our military leaders and a horde of Republicans who were former administration officials, have been arguing that it's crucial to have the new treaty so inspections of Russia's nuclear facilities can resume. The old START treaty expired a year ago. And even though nine Republicans voted with Democrats to at least allow debate on the treaty, it's hardly a lock that all of them will vote to support its passage, which needs 67 votes to pass the Senate since it's a treaty. So that may or may not happen. Scary.

And if all THAT wasn't enough, the House decided to lose its collective mind and killed the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2010. The bill would have recognized child marriage as a human rights violation, and developed comprehensive strategies to prevent those marriages around the world. The legislation had strong bipartisan support in the Senate, but was voted down in the House by Republicans who said the bill is too costly and could lead to increased abortions??? The bill had nothing to do with abortions. It's an argument with no basis in reality. But when has that stopped them from using that kind or argument before?

So just to recap where we currently stand on the oppress-o-meter:

Gays are (increasingly) okay. But still not quite equal citizens

Below them:

First Responders, who may or may not ever get a dignified response

Below them:

Immigrants, again with a DREAM deferred.

Below them:

Child Brides. So so sad.

We applaud progress when it comes. But one good vote in the face of four potential terrible ones over the course of the week does not work out to a good percentage. Our elected officials need to wake up and and allow votes on bills that protect us and improve our standard of living. These should be no-brainers. We must demand our officials stop with the partisan bullshit and get this stuff done NOW. I'm not asking you to do it, Senate. I'm telling.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Community Recap: 2.11 - Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas

A sympathetic hug and a long scratch of my head to Community, who got completely shut out of the comedy categories of the Golden Globes this year. The nominations were announced this morning, and it's a bummerit was overlooked because this show is effing hilarious. The Christmas Episode was on point. I've watched it several times while doing Christmas-related stuff in my apartment. Here's Neville and Dorcas to talk about. Video games for two straight weeks - that's what Christmas is for!!


Congrats To The Winners of The Amazing Race! (But Mostly Congrats to Me!)

(Sisters are winning the Race for themselves!)

I am very happy to report (several days after the fact, so it's not really breaking news) that the Season 17 winners of The Amazing Race are Nat and Kat. This is exciting because they are the first all female team ever to win The Race! It is also exciting because. I TOTALLY CALLED IT! I feel like my TAR Winner Doppler 4000 Radar Machine is back off the fritz after last year's horrible predictions. Next season is another "All-Stars" edition, which are sometimes hard to predict. The season also may or may not feature half the teams from... this past season? Including the biker couple from this year who basically quit at the end? I dunno, guys... sometimes they shouldn't come back.

Nat and Kat make great Race winners in my book though! They were positive, good-natured, steady people who challenged themselves, didn't complain or attack each other and won several legs along the way, so their ability to pull out the win didn't seem completely random and undeserved in the end. Nicely raced, ladies. Congrats!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

O's Christmas Tree: 2010 Edition

Seasons Greetings all. It has been difficult to write this month, since I've been trying to finish up two short plays for submission, and post-writing actually takes time (it only LOOKS like it was thrown together in under five minutes.) so all writing time has gone to that. But now those are mostly under control, so I can post again. Woohoo!

It's Christmastime! Accordingly I have set up this year's tree. Here's a picture:

Nice, eh? There was very little fuss this year. The biggest drama was figuring out where my tree lot had gone. There's a good one that always sets up shop on my corner. but they had to move a few blocks down this year because the new owner of the property where they used to be decided to be a dick and not let them set up shop there again. Boo-urns to that Scrooge, I say.

Anyway, I walked right up to the lot and saw the tree I wanted. Usually I have to go back and forth between a couple, but this one I knew right away. Helping me decorate is an old friend I found over Thanksgiving weekend.

YES. It's Professor Coldheart!! Old nemesis of the Care Bears. In case you're not up on his situation, there is this:



He is the best. We had a great time decorating the tree together. The newest edition to the tree is my Moulin Rouge windmill that I got in Paris. You can see it has a place of great honor near the Shirt Tales ornament which is the oldest ornament I have on my tree.

I have to go buy some more ornaments. I love getting new editions each year. There's always room on the tree for more!

Tomorrow morning is xmas and birthday shopping for the nieces and nephew in the City. Wish me luck! Happy Holidays!

(Don't mess with the Professor!)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Community Recap: 2.10 - Mixology Certification

("Community is my favorite prime time comedy program.")

Ahh, all season I've been trying to figure out a way to recap my current favorite comedy on TV. Community. The show is extremely funny and creative and pop culture referential, but it's never recapped on EW.com or Televisionwithoutpity. Personally, I have a hard time describing the show to people, or writing about it in a normal way, even though on the surface it's about a group of wacky people who form a study group while attending community college. There are many TV and movie shout outs sprinkled into the dialogue and the visuals in each episode that I know are shout outs, but I'm not always dead certain of their source material. I don't have the time or energy to research them in a meaningful way and it makes it hard to talk about them without sounding stupid.

So in my place of me knowing what I'm talking about I give you Dorcas and Neville (they are themselves a nice little movie shout out) who can give you their opinions on the episode. As coincidence would have it, the first episode I decide to recap this way is the only one I thought wasn't at all funny. Isn't that always the way? Ah well. It's still a great show. I hope you enjoy.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Am I xtranormal?

(Hello, Kitty. Or Bear... Or Piggy? Hello, whatever you are.)

So, just recently I stumbled upon xtranormal - an online movie module that has crazy cartoon characters having conversations in computerized voices. I watched several hilarious and informative ones, my favorites being "The Ben Bernanke" "The Parent Teacher Conference" and perhaps what will be my favorite forever "You Should Be on Broadway." I didn't realize that these were all coming from different people. I didn't know anyone could make one, given the time and inclination to type out the story and set the camera angles. I didn't know there were so many out there! LMM pointed it out to me last week, and I think I have come across a new medium for self-expression that's right up my alley.

I don't know about you, but I often think about things via conversations in my head. If I read about or see something that provokes a reaction, i often work through it in mental conversation. In fact, lots of times I feel like writing posts in conversation form, but I always feel it would be weird to read. I think it might be more fun to watch and listen too.

Which brings me to xtranormal. I have decided to dip my e-pen into this cyber well and craft some videos as part of my blogging. Some will be political, some will just be reviews of shows I watch on TV. I hope you enjoy them. The first one I wrote deals with the Pope's sort of okaying of condoms in Africa. It's a position I applaud, but I don't really understand what it means. I find it confusing. Here two friends try to figure it out for themselves.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Loving Rudolph (For All The Wrong Reasons?)

(Nothing Says "Happy Holidays" like a Bumble and a Dude falling off a cliff!)

My favorite Christmas Holiday Special is Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. They are showing it on TV tonight. I won't be home, but I've got it DVR'ed. Can't miss it. I mean, TECHNICALLY it's still November and we could've waited a little longer into the season, CBS, but we'll take what we can get. I'm assuming they will not be showing the remastered version, and opt instead for the horribly degraded version where the underscoring sounds like it's being played on a playskool record player from 1978 and butchered editing that makes less and less sense as they continue to increase the amount of commercials they cram into the hour-long format. Maybe one day they'll release "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: Extended Edition" on blu-ray, and I can get to see all my favorite songs played out in their entirety. Today is not that day.

It should be no big shocker I like the Rudolph special. Lots of people do. But upon reflection, maybe I liked it for all the wrong reasons. Let's review my favorite parts:

1. Donner being an asshole of a father to Rudolph, and making him cover his nose.
2. The part where Hermey is (rightfully) fired from Santa's Workshop because he doesn't want to make toys, so he can follow his dream of being a gay dentist. Oooh, I hate that snot-nosed Hermey!
3. The super-sad song Clarice sings (There's Always Tomorrow) after Rudolph is nose-bashed by the other reindeer. It's the first song I listen to when it's seasonally okay to listed to Christmas carols each year.
4. The Bumble almost killing everyone throughout the story - but I was always especially delight in Yukon Cornelius's assumed death. And his stupid dogs too!
5. The totally sad opening to the "Island of Misfit Toys" Song. They make it happy at the end, but the beginning is the best. A total precursor to all the damaged toys in the Toy Story movies. And OMG aren't you in love with King Moonracer?
6. Mrs. Claus angrily trying to force feed a Skinny Santa. Eat! Eat!
7. The snow storm that almost takes out Sam the Snowman.
8. The fog that almost makes Santa cancel Christmas and disappoints everybody.
9. The pissed off face Santa makes when Rudolph's nose is blaring away in front of him, before he realizes Rudolph can guide the sleigh.
10. The singing of Holly Jolly Christmas when everyone is happy at the end. (Okay, so there's ONE nice thing I like about the show.)

So obvs. I have issues since I spend most of the hour-long show wishing failure and death upon the lead characters, and victory for the Bumble. I still count myself as being Team Rudolph, however. Maybe I don't always get the Christmas Special I want, but I get the Christmas special I need.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

10 Things I'm Currently Thankful For

So what's going on right now that makes Owen thankful? A quick run down:

1) The love and support of family & friends. Natch. Without their love, support and encouragement there would have been no artistic successes this year. Of that there is absolutely no doubt. Plus life in general would've been a total lonely ass bummer without them. I sing the Golden Girls theme song at the top of my lungs to each and every person who stood by me this past year. Truly, thank you.

2) Jennifer Grey wins Dancing With The Stars. I am in love with Jennifer Grey. She of course starred in three essential 80's movies: Ferris Bueller, Dirty Dancing and my personal fav - Red Dawn!! How could she not hold a special place in my heart? I don't usually watch Dancing With the Stars, I've only seen a handful of episodes across its (staggering to believe) eleven seasons. This fall I tuned in fairly regularly, just for Ms. Grey. ! It's weird to think of her as being a 50 year old mom, having a new nose, and having the rest of her body being so close to breaking down on her throughout the season. She was, as the judges deemed her ,"The Chosen One" this season. Grey needed to hang around despite the injuries in order to beat Tea Party favorite Bristol Palin. Jennifer was the Buffy to Bristol's Angelus. If we, as a society, went into the Holiday Season with Gretchen winning Project Runway and Bristol winning DWTS, we might as well have packed up all the tinsel and garland and given up hope for a Merry Christmas until 2011. Instead, we can celebrate that, for the second time on our lifetimes, Baby was not put in a corner. A star who can actually dance has possession of that mirrorball trophy.

3) The Knicks being a .500 team. Only a few more games in the win column and I can start watching them again. I can only watch the Knicks when they are winning because I get very... intense about it. Like, Rafa levels of intense. I KNOW. It's really THAT bad. Because they have sucked so bad since before I even graduated college, I have not been able to watch the Knicks in roughly 10 years. I have high(er) hopes for them in 2011.

4) Tom Brady's hair. It's long and it's crazy. It sticks out under his helmet in a weird way. And yet I kinda want to grow mine to look like his. I've decided I'm not going to cut my hair until The Timing of a day reopens in the end of March. That gives me 4 more months to see how long it can get. I haven't cut it since late August, and frankly I still have a long way to go for Brady-length locks. But his hair will continue to show me the way. (I'm also thankful the Pats are 9-2 so far this season. Go Pats!)

5) Winter Wipeout. ABC announced that Wipeout would be coming back in January for 8 episodes. Hoo.Ray. I need some people falling off bizarro wintery obstacles to cleanse my mental palette once a week. I'm really looking forward to this.

6) Muppet Christmas Songs. Now that Thanksgiving is here, I can listen to Christmas music as often as I want and feel like it's actually season appropriate. I particularly enjoy the Muppet Christmas songs: The John Denver album, Muppet Christmas Carol, A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Special. There's so much goodness there. If you're in a particularly sad mood "When Love Is Gone" will push you over the edge to a full on fetal position bawlfest. Sometimes you need those during the holiday season. At least I do.

7) The longevity of The Social Network in theaters. I really wanted to see The Social Network, but for whatever reason I didn't go see it when it came out, like, several months ago. But it's still playing in New York! So I'm going to see it tomorrow morning.* Seems like one I should check out before Awards Season really kicks in. Also on the viewing schedule for this weekend? The King's Speech! Woohoo!

* - I did see it. I liked it. Dug the screenplay and most of the performances. But to me, it was also highly misogynistic, to the point where it took me out of the story. The only women who are around extremely nerdy men are either total whores or pyschos? Bah. Still a good movie, but it won't be my fave of the year.

8) My play coming back next year! The Timing of a Day did very well this fall. We won the Overall Excellence in Ensemble Award from FringeNYC, were named one of "The 20 Best of Fest" by NYCFringeGuide.com and the show was cited as Outstanding New Play for the 2010 Summer Festival Season by Talkin' Broadway. Really, things couldn't have gone much better! Now I'm happy to announce that The Timing of a Day, will be coming back for a three-week run in the spring of 2011. We'll be at Center Stage, NY (48 W. 21st St, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10010). We'll run from Mar. 30-April 17. I'm very excited for it. It makes getting through these cold, dark winter months that much easier knowing the play is coming back. Same cast and design team. Cannot wait to play with everyone again.

9) Cee Lo's F--k You. DUDE. "Bed Intruder Song" was definitely the song of the summer for me, but the song of this fall for me was definitely "F--k You." This song is joyously appropriate at all times of the day. It comes in handy when you're crammed into a rush hour subway car, when you're coming into work in the morning, or even just when you're out grocery shopping. It makes everything better. The Glee version, featuring Gwyneth Paltrow and some cleaned up lyrics is also an exuberant little rendition worth a listen.

10) Rafael Nadal. Obviously, we have saved the best for last. So I'm a little obsessed with him. So what?? The dude's the best. And don't I deserve the best? I do. Rafa came back from an injury-plagued 2009 to reclaim his #1 ranking in 2010, winning three majors along the way, including the US Open giving him the career Grand Slam. His attitude and his determination are so inspiring. His skill is awesome. Vamos Rafa!

There are many other things I'm thankful for, but we'll leave it here for now. I have now eaten my way through all my thanksgiving leftovers for breakfast and lunch today and will have to look elsewhere for dinner options. Right now I have to go and try to burn off some of the thousands and thousands of calories I've consumed in the last two days. I guess that means I should presently be most thankful for my gym membership.

Monday, November 22, 2010

ATP World Tour Finals: Rafa finally wins a set - and then a match!

(Purple Shirt, Yellow-Orange Bandana and Wrist bands, Grey Shorts. Rafa never met a color combo he didn't like.)

It's been a while since I last posted about Our Hero, Rafael Nadal. There hasn't been a ton of tennis news. But now we've finally made it to the ATP World Tour Finals, the end of year tournament featuring the Top 8 men's players on Tour. The first part of the tourney is 2 groups of 4 playing against each other Round Robin style. Then the top 2 from each group play against each other in a single elimination semifinal, and those winners go on to the final.

Rafa had a terrible tournament here last year. He went 0-3 in round robin play. He didn't even win a set. Poor, Rafa. He was having a rough time physically last year. Obviously he's doing better this year, having won 3 Grand Slams in a row. Still, this is a tough tourney for Nadal. It's an indoor court and it's very fast which doesn't play well to Rafa's game. Plus, you know, it's November. And the season started way back in JANUARY. And Nadal has been winning and winning this year. So he's kinda tired. But you know, he's number one in the world, so he's there and ready to play! Having not won a set or a match, he can't really get any worse!

And lo and behold, things have already gotten better. Nadal rallied back from a set down to beat Andy Roddick 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 today. It's a very good sign that Rafa could get over a shaky start to fight back against tough serving Roddick and get the win. That will be great for his confidence. I would love for Rafa to win the ATP Finals, but he still has a tough road ahead of him. Up next is Djokovic and that should be a very hard fought match as well. Vamos Rafa!

Also, I should take a moment to congratulate Rafa on winning the ATP Tour’s Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the first time in his career. The award is voted on by tour players. Roger Federer had won the last six years in a row. Quite a nice honor. Congrats, Rafa!


Added Bonus: Here's a little promo reel for Rafa at the tour finals. It's hilarious when his head starts bouncing around in front of the starry sky. LOL

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baby, You Give Good Art: Theater Edition - Part II


I want to give a shout out to my buddy Justin Anselmi and the production of Michael Puzzo's "The Dirty Talk" he is currently starring in with Eric M Johnston at The Barrow Group. The Dirty Talk tells the story of two strangers stranded in a hunting cabin in NJ during a ferocious storm. The audience gradually finds out these men are there under very different circumstances but during their day together, they explore what defines being a man, the value of emotional intimacy, the kind of lies we tell each other and those we tell ourselves.

I saw it this weekend and thought it was an incredibly well-acted piece of theater that complemented a thoughtful and engaging script. Highly recommended! I thought it was great. The play runs just over an hour. It has it's final weekend of shows coming up. Check it out!

Where: The Barrow Group
312 W. 36th Street, Floor 3
New York, NY 10018

Dates:
Friday November 19th - 9:30 PM
Saturday November - 20th - 4:00 PM & 6:30 PM
Sunday November 21st - 4:00 PM & 6:30 PM
Tickets: $20

Friday, November 12, 2010

Baby You Give Good Art: Theater Edition, Part I

I want to take a minute to give a shout out to my friend Michael I. Walker's new play, LETTER FROM ALGERIA, that is being put up by Ground UP Productions at the June Havoc Theater, 312 W. 36th St. NYC. This world premiere production is directed by Adam Fitzgerald and stars Rufus Collins, Amanda Jane Cooper, Patrick Murney and JD Taylor.

The play centers on three young Americans who meet while studying abroad in Belgium. They strike up a friendship with a wealthy older gentleman, who gives them access to the luxurious ex-pat lifestyle of their dreams. Each character has secrets he or she is desperate to conceal while reinventing themselves abroad. As these secrets are revealed, the relationships between the four become increasingly strained and the tense atmosphere building throughout the play erupts in a shocking finale.

I'm very happy for Michael. Hooray for playwrights! This play is definitely worth checking out. Letter from Algeria is running now through November 20, 2010. Performances are Tuesday - Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets $20 (instead of $25) with code "face" at
https://www.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/732335/prm/face or (212) 352-3101
. Go see it!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wolves They Bore

Two nights ago, I had this dream where I was in this swimming pool with an orca whale and I stabbed it with a spear until it died. Don't look at me like that. It's kill or be killed when it comes to Orcas.

(Richard Harris and Charlotte Rampling know what I'm talking about.)

Then we had a memorial service for the whale where I sang "The Song of Purple Summer" from Spring Awakening in the whale's memory. Upon waking up, I couldn't figure out why I thought it was appropriate to sing at the funeral for a whale I just killed. Where did I get off doing that? Oh, dream-self. You've got some balls on you.

Now in waking reality, ever since I had that dream, I've had "The Song of Purple Summer" stuck in my head. The thing with that song is that I make up all sorts of fake lyrics to it, because even if I'm listening to it on my ipod, all the extended vowels sounds trip me up. The words themselves are not that complicated, it's just that sometimes my brain thinks some vowels just belong to certain words. I'll give you a separate example. A while back I had to sing this song where the lyric was "fire is art, the wind your paintbrush." Poetic and simple enough. but the "a" in paintbrush was so drawn out, that half way through "paaaaaaint bruuuush!" my brain would disengage and sing the word it felt like - in this case, "paaaaaaavement!" Yup, "the wind, your pavement." That doesn't even make sense as poetry. I sang this made up line at every rehearsal. Luckily I stayed focused enough in performance to get it done right. But this "sing whatever the sounds make me think of" scenario has become more of a problem as I've gotten older. What will happen when I'm truly old? I see myself wrinkled and hunched over a music stand spitting at some young writer, "I'll sing the words I fucking FEEL like singing! Thank you very much, Mr. Lyricist!"

But back to Purple Summer. So there's this dramatic moment in all the choruses that's supposed to go:

and mares with neigh
with stallions that they mate
foals they've booooorn!

Without fail, I sing it thusly:

and mares with lay
with stallions that they mate
WOLVES THEY'VE BOOOOOORN!

Yup. Wolves they've born. How can horses bare wolves? They can't. It makes no sense. It's not a conscious decision on my part to sing this nonsense lyric. I am aware heading into the chorus that I sing it wrong every time. But in my head, it gets to that part of the song and I just mentally picture horses sitting in the grass with wolf cubs running circles around them. There's something about the O-L-S when my mouth is forming the word that my brain says "oh, that's wolves! he's trying to say wolves!" You'd think the first letter being "F" that it would take the lead and shape the word, but it doesn't. A curious thing the mind.

Wind turning into pavement. Horses bearing wolf cubs. Maybe that truly is the wonder of Purple Summer. Or maybe I'm just losing my mind.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Baby You Give Good Art: Short Films Edition, Part III

(Woman on the verge of an effing smackdown!)

Here's one more for you. This one comes from my friend Bridget Palardy who worked on a film with me last spring. Her latest directorial work has her sister Kat kicking ass in the lead role. I love it. I hope you enjoy it too! As they describe it, Take Out is "a short film about good service, bad jokes and a waitress pushed to her limits." It's also a lovely revenge fantasy. Bravo!

Baby You Give Good Art: Short Films Edition, Part II

(Time to shoot some Nazis! YES.)

Hey there again. A few posts ago I mentioned the short film BFF Amanda Kay Schill was in. "Rendezvous" was part of the MCCC 5 day film festival, and was the Winner of Best Director for Rob Coccogna and Best Production Design. I think the film looks so well put together and all done all in just 5 days! They are currently looking to expand the film to feature length. Check it out. Congrats to all!

Baby You Give Good Art: Short Films Edition, Part I

So now that the marathon is out of the way and I have a couple minutes, I can go back to highlighting some recent works by friends - easily accessible on the Internet! First up let me give a shout out to Alex Horwitz, writer/director of the super awesome Alice Jacobs is Dead. He was editor on a new short film that Terry Gilliam made for NASCAR, "The Legend of Hallowdega." If you like NASCAR, Gilliam, ghosts or Alex Horwitz, then this is the film for you. Great work, Alex!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Run Owen Run! The 2010 ING New York City Marathon (Part III - Dream Warriors)

(Me on Saturday evening outside the finish line, practicing my finishing pose. My actual cross of the line today was much more subdued.)

Thanks to everyone who sent such supportive messages and stood out in the cold to cheer me on today. My official time was 3:52:21. It was a smidge slower than last year, by like a minute, but that's mostly because when I knew for certain I'd be under 4 hours, I slowed down to enjoy the end of the race and try and find my cheering sections that I knew would be hanging out around miles 23 and 25. I missed both of them, but I don't regret the attempt to find them or the slower finish. :) I totally booked it through the first half of the course, and it's nice to know I keep chipping away at that 1/2 marathon time.

It was really a lovely day for a marathon. The weather was cool, the sky was clear and the wind wasn't strong. Shout out to my coworker Cathy who had a friend at Poland Spring who hooked both of us up with VIP bus and tent passes and VIP baggage check. It's like the difference between flying coach and first class, peeps. On the course, all us runners enjoyed had an amazingly vocal and supportive crowd throughout the entire race. It's such a special event. You've gotta see for yourself. I strongly encourage those who are considering running for the first time to go ahead and enter the lottery and see what happens. I went from not really running at all to training for the marathon my first year, and it worked out to be one of the best things i could've done for myself.

As is tradition, I am posting my marathon playlist below, as it is what carries me along the way on my journey across the boroughs of this fair city. I almost had to run without it, as I turned in my bag to the UPS trucks (they take them from the start area in Staten Island to the finish area in Central Park) with my ipod still inside. Luckily the volunteer at the truck took pity on me and fished the bag out again. I would've been lost without my tunes. (Note: I actually came in during I'm So that Guy, but the rest of the songs played as I staggered off to get my medal and then further staggered off to pick up my bag and then stagger out of the park.)

You Can't Take No For An Answer - Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem
Empire State Of Mind - Jay-Z Ft. Alicia Keys
Go for It - Saved By The Soundtrack
Final Fantasy IV - Main Theme
Happy Birthday Darling - Bright Lights, Big City (Studio Cast)
Vertigo (Single Version) - U2
One Minute - Kelly Clarkson
Bombs Away - Paris Texas
Breakthrough - Hope 7
I Do Not Hook Up - Kelly Clarkson
The Goonies R Good Enough - Cyndi Lauper
Zip A Dee Do Dah - Dance Dance Revolution
Fake Your Way to the Top - Dreamgirls Movie Soundtrack
I'm Not That Guy - Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
You Don't Know Me (feat. Regina Spektor) - Ben Folds
BTW - Write Back - Andrea Burns
Twilight Zone – Dance Dance Revolution
Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
Any Way You Want It / Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' - Glee Cast
Cheer Up, Boys (your make-up is running) - Foo Fighters
The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In - Hair, OBC
Mickey Mouse March - Dance Dance Revolution
A Weekend in the Country - A Little Night Music
Halo / Walking On Sunshine - Glee Cast
The Water Song - Julia Meinwald
Superboy and the Invisible Girl - Next To Normal
Barrel of a Gun - Guster
Music Is The Victim - Scissor Sisters
Chim Chim Cher-ee - Dance Dance Revolution
It Gets Better - Broadway Sings For The Trevor Project
Oh My - Mellowdrone
Rock Star - Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Rent - Rent Broadway Soundtrack
Don't Rain On My Parade - Glee Cast
Don't Waste Your Time Kelly Clarkson
The Great Compromise - Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Die Vampire, Die! - Title of Show
Blinded (When I See You) - Third Eye Blind
It's A Small World (Bows) - Les Freres Corbusier
Motorcycle Drive By - Third Eye Blind
Hair - Gavin Creel, Will Swenson & Tribe
Can You Picture That? - Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem
Buffy Theme - Nerf Herder
Populism, Yea Yea - Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Run (I'm a Natural Disaster) - Gnarls Barkley
Homecoming - American Idiot Soundtrack
bleeding love - leona lewis
U & Ur Hand - Pink
River Deep, Mountain High - Glee Cast
Touch Natasha Bedingfield
Girlfriend - Avril Lavigne
F--- You - Cee Lo Green
How Far We've Come - Matchbox Twenty
Looking At the World from the Bottom of a Well - Mike Doughty
Take My Temperature - Kaiser Chiefs
Where Are Those People Who Did Hair - Runaways
If I Can't Have You - Kelly Clarkson
Pounding - Doves
Bastian's Happy Flight - NeverEnding Story
Who Knew - P!nk
I'm Black / Ain't Got No - Hair
Gone - Kelly Clarkson
Carnaval Del Barrio - In The Heights
Goodnight Goodnight - Hot Hot Heat
Last Of The American Girls/She's A Rebel - American Idiot Soundtrack
Bad Romance (Album Version) - Lady GaGa
Saved by the Bell Theme - Michael Damian
I Got Life - Gavin Creel & Tribe
Sex On Fire - Kings Of Leon
I'm So That Guy - Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Macho Duck - Dance Dance Revolution
So What (Main Version) - P!nk
The Simpsons Theme (From "The Simpsons Movie") - Green Day
My Life Would Suck Without You - Kelly Clarkson
Don't Stop Me Now - Queen

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Baby, You Give Good Art: Trailers Edition

It occurs to me that friends have mine lately have been in overdrive creating some really great creative opportunities for themselves and that I should be giving them shout outs on the blog because lots of their stuff is internet accessible for the masses and you should know how awesome and talented they are and how much I love them. I don't love them for their talent though. They also happen to be attractive, which I superficially value above all else. So "Baby, You Give Good Art" is a new month long series highlighting some nice artistic efforts you might want to check out as your are endlessly surfing those interwebs.

First up, I'll give you a set of trailers just to whet your appetite for things to come. Trailer #1 features the work of BFF Schillers in Rendezvous - Produced by Digital Reality Films, as part of the MCCC Five Day Film Competition. The film will go up on the interwebs once the Festival is concluded. Great work, lady! Can't wait to see the whole thing!



Up next is a trailer for a short film starring my good buddy Ryland Shelton called "Good Morning." This indie will start making it's way to a town near you very soon. So if you like attending awesome festivals and supporting the indie films therein, keep your eye out for this one. Until then, you can catch some adorable pillow talk here.



Aren't they beautiful like I said? I could look at these kids all day. Congrats to both of them on their work. There's so much more goodness coming. Watch this space!

My Words & The Stage, Together Again in "The Hotel Plays"

I'm excited to announce that a short play I wrote, "More Than A Memory" will be given a staged reading next week at the Abingdon Theater! I was just at rehearsal on Tuesday, and I'm really excited about the cast and the director. I think they're gonna take it someplace really great, and in such a short rehearsal window! You should come check it out if you are in the city:

The Hotel Plays

16 playwrights + 31 actors + 7 directors + 2 nights = 12 new plays and 4 new monologues

Twelve playwrights take on the challenge to write a 10-minute play, four playwrights to write a 2-minute monologue, all inspired by the set from Abingdon’s current production of The Nanjing Race.

Playwrights, directors and actors are donating their talent to present these staged readings as a benefit for Abingdon’s New Play Development Program.

$10 suggested donation at the door. Call 212-868-2055 for further information.

SERIES A

Tuesday, November 9, 2010
6:30pm & 8:30pm

Playwrights:
Jonathan Alexandratos | James Armstrong | Nathalie Bates | Stephanie Keys | Owen Panettieri | Raymond A. Schaub | William Shuman | Frank Tangredi

Directors:
Catherine Siracusa | Amanda Joshi | Kate Powers | Bara Swain

Featuring:
Kim Allen* | Georgina Bates | Gail Merzer Behrens* | Dave Brown | Sheila Burkert* | Susanna A. Guzm├ín* | Michael Hardart* | Walker Hare | Brian Linden* | JoAnn Mariano* | Patti Mariano* | Sean Mellott | Liam Mitchell Paige O’Malley | Jennifer Rubins*

* Member of Actors' Equity Association

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Project Done-way (that pun was as awesome as the Season Finale)

(STOP MAKING SENSE. The panel is split between coherent thought and insanity and you might not be too surprised to find out at which side captures the day.)

Ugh, alright. Let's get this over with. Project Runway - I actually really enjoyed this season for the most part. I've said before I thought it was cast better than it had been in a long time. Things seems to be on track at the beginning. But then... the judging seemed to be totally crazy, the eliminations became just as bizarre the critiques, the 1-day challenges that produce less than ambitious designs were plentiful, and the usually composed Tim Gunn was using every new-media format available to call the production team out on their endless bullshit. His FB videos were astonishingly awesome, until one tirade after the "Jackie O.(MFG)" challenge, where he started naming the names connected to the offscreen fuck-up's, got the videos shut down for good. Tim was busy with the book tour and I think he also just got tired of talking about the season once Fashion week happened and he knew Gretchen was the winner. The damage was done though. We knew something was rotten in Parsons. Still there some good times to be had, mostly surrounding the solidification of Team Mondo.

So Mondo vs. Gretchen. There really was no contest, but the show insists there was, so let's dig in. Both there collections were fine, but come on! I wasn't even rooting against Gretchen. I found her high opinion of herself and her colorful commentary on everyone else's work kinda fascinating in a "what the eff makes you so special?" exasperated sorta way. And as the season went on, I understood more where her mental drama was coming from as it was revealed she was in debt and was not the upper class lady she so desperately wanted to be, and therefore tried to compensate for this shame by acting like the Queen of Sheba. Cool, I get it. And the judges really loved her designs in the beginning. But as the season wore on, she fell apart. Her clothes suffered. Her designs suffered. She had nothing left in the tank creatively by mid-season. In her last critique before the finale, she said as much. She was sick of the challenges! She wanted to go home already and make her damn collection and then come back and win just like she deserved to! But where was the output to back up the talk? It really wasn't there.

Then you have Mondo, who started out socially awkward and uncomfortable on the show, but then gained confidence as the season went on. He won three challenges in a row toward the end and could've easily won a fourth because his designs were WAY beyond what any of the others were doing. Not only that but he drew an amazing amount of love and goodwill from the viewing audience for (1) how he disclosed his HIV status, (2) his ability to see the goodness in Michael C. when everyone else teamed up with Nasty Poison Ivy to bully him for no real reason, and (3) his own far out there yet endearing personal style. Mondo was clearly the hero of the season, but his design skills were exemplary and should've made him the winner. Given who his competition was, this seemed like the only acceptable outcome over a MONTH ago. We were all just sitting through the last couple challenges waiting for the happy moment when he'd be crowned the winner. That's how head and shoulders above everyone else he was. He had no real competition.

But then heading into these final two episodes, I started to get nervous. Not because Mondo was faltering, and Gretchen was getting a second wind, but simply because I didn't trust the show to reach a logical conclusion. I figured P.Runway would be too in love with the idea of having "shocking" twist to be seen as unpredictable. I discussed my concerns with Sassy, who felt similarly. I could see how the show wouldn't be content with an obvious ending devoid of suspense. I could picture them sitting around a long table in a cramped conf room brainstorming. Couldn't the show have TWO winners if everyone already loved Mondo, and somebody else had the actual title? Wouldn't that get people talking in outrage? Wouldn't people be more invested if Mondo lost than if he won? The answers to all those questions is "yes." But that doesn't it make it any less ridiculous. So if you wanted me to talk about you, P.Runway, you succeeded in the short term, but this is the last time. We're through. I'm fed up with your bullshit.

And the straw that put the nail in the final broken coffin for me was the judge's final runway deliberation where Michael and Nina just went crazy. Those two made NO SENSE. I couldn't believe the animosity coming from Michael Kors toward Mondo's collection, and the support he got from Nina for Gretchen's collection. They hated his polka dot dress that much? They were that insulted that he wouldn't listen to them and chuck it from the collection, that they refused him the title? Even when Heidi and (random finale guest judge) Jessica Simpson both insisted they loved the dress, Nina practically spat at Heidi that she was a liar. This is coming from Nina, who audibly gasped in pleasure at Mondo's work back in the design-your-own-textiles challenge with his extremely high-waisted hiv-positive pants? Kors nastily challenged Heidi to actually go put on the dress. Then Jessica Simps mentions that Gretchen's clothes are all loose and Kors snaps at her "HELLO?? READ A MAGAZINE!" WTF? Somebody is off their meds.

(I think this is the moment where Heidi realizes from the insane shit coming out of Kors' mouth that she just can't win with Nina and Michael so adamantly against her. She kept her composure, but she sure wasn't happy.)

And then to make it even more bizarro, Heidi and Jessica Simps keep making salient arguments for why the season winner should be Mondo, and Michael and Nina go off the wall in their campaign for Gretchen, contradicting all their former critiques. Their battle back and forth would actually be compelling if both sides made sense. But they don't. I'm just gonna lift a paragraph from Laura Bennet's blog now because she sums it up perfectly.

"It’s like Nina woke up one day and took back everything she had said to Mondo all season — or all designers of all seasons. “Gretchen has no color, and we want color; no, we mean color was yesterday.” “That’s so mumsy, and we want youthful; no, it’s too youthful. Youthful is yesterday.” “That’s clothing, not fashion. This show is about fashion. Who wears fashion? It should be commercial! Fashion is so yesterday.” Mondo = Seth Aaron = what was happening yesterday. (By the way, Nina, way to support your choice just six months ago of Seth Aaron as the next great fashion designer.)"

Isn't that spot on? THAT'S what the real problem is. Taste can be subjective, but if you are a fashion professional, your argument for what you like and dislike still should be consistent with what you've been telling the designers (and the audience for that matter) what you've been looking for all along - for 8 seasons! Kudos to Heidi for sticking up for Mondo as long as she did. But it was a lost cause. As is, perhaps, the show in general.

In closing, I'll restate that I don't dislike Gretchen, because I know Anti-Gretchen sentiment is very strong. I don't feel negatively toward her for winning, nor for her superior attitude throughout the season. It doesn't even really bother me in this instance that the "season villain" won, like it bothered me with Irina a couple seasons ago. I wish Gretchen success in life, just like Mondo. Just like everybody! Everybody should live a happy successful life (well, if karma decides to kick Ivy in the ass, so be it) The show however, has lost any sense of internal logic and artistic relevance. It's one thing when you have a season where there are no super-strong stand out personalities or fashion points of view. Then you have to try to spin gold from straw. But this year the show had the chance to embrace a designer with an excitement around him the likes of which P.Runway hasn't seen since Christian Siriano in Season 4. The fact that they couldn't see that and capitalize on it, is bizarre. Let's face it, the show just cannot get its act together. And 8 seasons in, the panel is cranky and bored. Tim Gunn is at his wit's end. The producers don't know how to design effective challenges that encourage creativity. Even in a 90-minute format, they don't know how to incorporate AN ENTIRE ADDITIONAL SEASON-LONG CONTEST FOR THE WINNING MODEL into the frame of the show. Most egregiously, however, they don't know how to pick a winner. I'm not going through this again in Season 9. To borrow from some of the classic runway critiques, the show has made me question its taste level, it bores me, it gives me nothing I haven't seen before and doesn't leave me interested in seeing more. I'm sorry, Runway. That means you're out. Kiss, kiss. Auf wiedersehen.

(You had me at "HELLO? READ A MAGAZINE!!" Unfortunately, you lost me there too.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Birthday of Champions: The Baskin-Robbins Year

(It's a cake of legend. The mint chocolate cake by Gracie. A cake worthy of the Birthday of Champions.)

"Birthday of Champions!
BIRTHday of CHAMPions!
NOOO time for LOOOOSERS!
It's Birthday of Champions... of the world!"

- Birthday of Champions, sung to the melody of "We are the Champions" my annual birthday anthem.

Today I turned 31. I'm cool with it. I actually like the #31. It's prime. It's a number connected to Halloween and New Year's Eve. I like to think of it as my Baskin-Robbins birthday, for BR's famous 31 flavors of ice cream. It really ain't so bad at all.

30 was a good year for me. I had my first play produced, went on a solo adventure in Paris, ran my second marathon, was in a very meaningful relationship, and as corny as it might sound, really learned a lot about myself. If 31 brings the kind of opportunities that 30 presented, I'll be a happy guy. Through it all, I felt an immense amount of love and support from my friends and family. I value that above it all.

I've got new goals for the next year, and I had some fun wishes in my heart and mind when I blew out my birthday candle. Here's hoping I can make 'em come true. :)

RIP, Paul The Octopus!

(gone but not forgotten.)

It is with a heavy heart that I bring to you news of the death of Paul the Octopus. Paul, you'll remember, was the Octopus gifted with future sight, correctly predicting 8 for 8 match ups in this year's World Cup tournament, mostly following his home country Germany until they were eliminated, and then accurately predicting Spain's title win. Well, Paul passed away last night in his aquarium at the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre. He was almost three years old and cause of death is assumed to be old age. No foul play is suspected.

Let us be clear: those Germans killed Paul. They hated him after he predicted Germany's loss and then even more when he saw Spain's fated win. He already had received death threats from the Argentinians and the Iranians but he should've been safe from them. No, his enemies were much closer to home. The Germans couldn't just let Paul go off and live the rest of his life as a hero in a Spanish aquarium. Oh, no. They held on to him until the world's attention was elsewhere and then they murdered him for abandoning the German football team. I don't have proof, but I know it in my heart to be true. RIP, Paul. Thank you for supporting Spain!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Owen's 2010 ING NYC Marathon Run for Lauren's First and Goal!

So in less than 2 weeks, I'll be running the 2010 ING NYC Marathon! This will be my 3rd year in a row! It will be my ninth official Road Runners race this year and my fifth 13+ mile race of the year as well. No wonder my legs are always tired.

(This is me finishing up my last race a couple weeks ago. That was such a good day. If Marathon Day is like that day, I'll be in great shape!)

I'm very excited about this year's race, because this time I get to run in support of Lauren´s First and Goal, a 501(c)3 charitable organization started in 2004 by my cousin Marianne Loose and her husband John Loose in honor of my cousin Lauren, a 13-year-old pediatric brain tumor survivor. The Loose family started the foundation as a way to help other families who are battling childhood cancer. And they all happen to rock.

(Ms. Lauren, looking lovely.)

Since its inception, LFG has raised more than $1 million toward its mission to provide financial support for brain tumor research and cancer services, to offer financial and emotional support to families living with pediatric cancer, and to increase awareness of the disease. These goals are made possible through the funding gained through LFG Football Camp and charitable contributions.

I'm so thrilled to be raising money for this organization and I hope you can contribute to my fundraising efforts!

Please support me by donating to the cause at this link.

http://www.crowdrise.com/owensnycmarathonforl/fundraiser/runowenrun

When you get to my page (which features a picture of my headshot since that's the only pic I had that didn't horribly stretch and distort the uploaded image), just click the big orange DONATE button. It's for a great cause and I will definitely appreciate your support!

You can also join my facebook group "Run Owen Run! Rock that 2010 ING NYC Marathon! Part III - Dream Warriors!" to cheer me on. It's a long group title, because it's a long race.