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