Woods

I went with my family and a friend last night to see Venice Theatre‘s production of Into the Woods. Such a great show. I’m so glad we went.

First, Venice Theatre has such great shows. For a community theatre, in an area littered with community theatre, you might think this smaller-community budget and/or stage might suffer, but you’d be wrong. More theatre only seems to foster better theatre! Here in Florida, at least.

Last night, the summer stock production for high school and college students opened. It was so well done. The sets, costumes, lighting and SOUND! The sound team at Venice is professional and detailed. The baby cries sounded like they came from the stinking fake baby. Woah! Impressed!

The witch. Oh, the witch. She’s probably my favorite character. I am the witch. Every mother is the witch. Wanting to hold onto your child. Willing to go anywhere, do anything: fetch white cows, gold shoes and red capes (or make others go get them) to save your relationship with your child. Misguided as she may be, we can all relate. And Alyssa Pasick portrayed the witch with heart, passion, emotion and a well-trained voice. She was so amazing. I cried during all of her songs. She was moving, compelling and so beautiful. Just absolutely perfect. Hilarious, as well!

The baker’s wife. Hannah Beatt was enchanting. Absolutely adorable, lovely. Loved her. She sang beautifully and she was also moving. Loved her voice.

The mysterious man. Kenneth Glesge. What a great voice! I hadn’t heard this young man sing before and he just blew me away. He played the part (well beyond his years) with maturity and grace. He really understood the character. He nailed the whimsical nature, but also the emotional depth of this smaller role. Well done! So impressed. I would have loved to see you play the Wolf! πŸ˜€ In our production, back in KC, our Mysterious Man doubled in the Wolf role. Quite a stretch! But this guy, last night, could have done it!

I loved most aspects of this well done show. The pacing was just right. All the voices of the main cast were superb! There were a few times I couldn’t hear un-mic’d actors, but that is to be expected. I know the show well enough to not miss the dialogue or song lyrics, it was a minor (just a few seconds) glitch. Every character was so committed to their role, even through minor (super minor) tech issues.

This show was excellent by any standard. Professional, semi-professional, adult vs. high school/college. I loved it! Brava! Bravo! Congrats to the cast and crew of Into the Woods! You deserved your standing ovation on opening night.

So glad we have this gem of a theatre right here in our backyard! So lucky! And they are very kind to their actors and volunteers! Love you, VT!

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poems

so i just submitted poems to a contest. eee! i hope i win. πŸ˜€

here’s the background music my daughter composed and i edited. it plays under my poems. πŸ˜€

thanks for listening.

Radio(active) Disney

First, I’m sorry. I’m about to attack Disney and I understand–for some? That’s like burning the flag.

But what’s the deal with Disney cranking out prostitutes at their whore factory?

Britney Spears. Christina Aguilera. Selena Gomez. Bella Thorne. Miley Cyrus. Lindsay Lohan. Ryan Gosling! (JK)

I shouldn’t say prostitutes. That sounds judgmental. But why, in Walt’s name, do all (or alot) of ex-Disney princesses go from Snow White to Toxic Tinkerbell?

This has bothered me for some time. What happens to these preteen pop stars? Too much pressure? Backlash from some secret Disney purity pact? An attempt to tarnish their goody-two-shoes act? What in the wide world of Disney is happening???

Disney,
Whatever you’re doing, stop! Please. For the sake of Disney and all that is holy, stop.

If you doubt me, all you have to do is Google any of the above names and you’ll see the very un-Disney images that pop up.

Am I too old to understand?

I don’t mean to blaspheme the Mouse, but I just wish Disney was what I thought Walt wanted it to be. We’re both Kansas Citians and we both went bankrupt. I live in Florida now. I grew up on Disney. I thought he was a kind, decent man, always telling a story of hope, purity, nobility and modesty. And I just wonder what he would think about his pop princesses these days.

This is just my opinion!

Tell Me About Chris Churchill

I love interviewing people. I just wish I knew more awesome, famous people. πŸ™‚ But I know at least one and he’s super awesome and almost famous. To me anyway. He’s brilliant, creative, fascinating, funny, talented, accomplished and so, so friendly. Embracing. Welcoming. Decent, kind, inspiring. He’s my friend, Chris Churchill.

He so kindly agreed to let me interview him. He has quite a few things out right now. Book, songs, documentary. Thanks for reading and checking out my friend, Chris. He’s the coolest. Thanks, Man! for letting me probe your brain.


Background about Chris:

I’m an artist of many types of art. Writing, visual art, music, comedy, film-making. But, of course, not many make a living doing these things. So, I give tours and have recently started teaching.
Where did you start performing?

Started performing in high school. School plays, etc. Also tried, here and there, to play in bands. Wrote a lot of stories and little plays. In retrospect, any shiny artistic object, pulled me away from the previous one. I saw a good friend in an improv show in 1992 or ’93. I thought, “That’s really funny. And I’ll bet I could do that.” So, I auditioned for Lighten Up Improvisation Company and got in. This is where I met your husband (Guy Maggio).

How did you get to Chicago? What led you there? Anything you miss about KC?

I miss everything about KC. Home is always home. When I come home, the wind is the right kind of wind. The birds and insects are the right kind. The sky is the right sky. The Chiefs. The Royals. And all the people of course. My whole family is
still there.

I got to Chicago because I met Adam McKay and David Koechner at an improv fest in Austin, TX (I was performing with your husband and others). They were teaching an improv workshop which I took twice when I was there. Once as a participant. The second time, I just sat in the back and watched. I had never had a conversation with a famous person before. And Koechner had this amazing, positive, “you can do it” energy. He told a group of us that if we were serious about this, we had to move to Chicago. Eventually, I did.

What’s the best thing about following your love of and talent in music? Improv?

The best thing is that you can go to a place on your heart that needs massaging, when it needs massaging and massage it. Flood yourself with serotonin when you need it. The finished product has never really gotten me too far. The process makes me happy, though.

What inspired you to come up with β€œAbraham Lincoln: The College Years”? What is just improv or something you thought about?
When I was recovering from a psych issue I’d had a few years ago, I finally got to the point where I could artistically express myself again and it helped me get back to “normal”. At this point, I just made up the worst ideas for television pilot episodes and wrote 12 of them. For fun. Because I was crazy.
Later, I decided to have staged readings at Second City for four of them. Well, obviously, they’d need theme songs. So, I made up these silly theme songs and recorded them. Originally, I thought I’d just play them at the live show but, since I already had an audiobook on Mint 400 Records, I asked them if they’d put out my “Doomed Pilots” soundtrack. As far as the Lincoln song goes, I started with the lyrics, searched within the lyrics for the rhythm and recorded that. I added the simplest of bass-lines so that when I sang the lyrics I’d be on key. Or at least I’d know where the key was. Then, from within that framework, I improvised the recording or the rest. The guitars, the backing vocals were improvised because I don’t like planning too much when I’m in creation mode. I think it worked out. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever recorded.
How did the project β€œTell Me About My Mother” start? (check out the video here)

My siblings and I constantly find ourselves telling these old family stories over and over again about how crazy our mom was/is. After I’d had an internship at a video company and had begun to make more of my own independent stuff, my sister Deb said, “This should be your next project.” And she was right. It turned out really well. It’s been getting a lot of emotional responses from people.

I’m sure it was difficult reliving the past, was it healing or just messy?

It was definitely healing. My mom needed validation for a lot of what she went through. It was nice to hear my dad’s side. Even though some might say he doesn’t come off smelling like a rose in this movie. And my siblings, as usual, served as comic relief when necessary. Some of these stories are pretty intense.

Do you think that your past/childhood set you up for how you live your life now in terms of music, improv, life goals, career choice, or creativity in general? Do you think it propelled you? Or do you think it was a detriment?

My childhood gave me both the artistic tools for survival as well as the need to use those tools to keep my sanity (most of the time). The problem and the solution are wrapped up in the same thing. My upbringing was alternately exciting and fun and sad and lonely. In terms of being able to make any money, it’s never really happened for long stretches. That is probably just a case of not having the right backing, connections, luck and also, let’s face it, I’m not making mainstream anything. I don’t know how to do that because I don’t feel the same way most people do.

What are you working on now or hope to be hearing about in the near future? What’s coming up for you?

Always working on something. Thinking about raising money so I can edit the rest of the story of me and my family and release the whole thing on DVD. Mixing an album for the label. Writing for an online magazine called Literate Ape. Teaching one college course and still giving tours of Chicago.

Thanks, Chris! You’re amazing. ❀

Gonna Wreck It!

I used to be an acting coach. We would put on classroom sketches to show what we had learned in class that semester for the parents. For our showcase, we picked Wreck-It Ralph and used themes from the show to connect acting, Christianity and Wreck-It Ralph. Here’s our opening intro music composed by my daughter, PenPrin, with video game sounds and my husband doing the voice of Wreck-It Ralph. Thanks, Kacey Moe. You should do radio or something. πŸ˜‰

You know, Ralph sacrificed himself at the end for his friends. Just like Jesus. He was definitely a Christ-like figure at the end. We love you, Ralph. Can’t wait for the sequel!

Enjoy! Let me know your thoughts. Lilli loves composing music. She uses Noteflight. She has a whole bunch of songs.

Oh! And I edited this all together using Audacity. πŸ˜€

Love Words

I’m in love with your words.
They seduce me with sounds like:
grace
mercy
comfort
unconditional love.

I’m in love with your face.
It draws me with lines like:
chin
lips
cheek
eyes.

I’m in love with your hands.
They play me with strength like:
pluck
stroke
feather
hold.

I’m in love with your heart-and-mind.
It’s a mystery to unlock like:
LIFE.

 

Writing

Good writing is a new lover
With which you want to be,
Telling her all about
Your incredible fantasy.

Writing won’t wait.
You can’t be gone long.
Your story will up and leave you
For another writer’s song.

Write every day.
Make mad, passionate choices.
Listen to the Muse’s gift
Of many different voices.

Set them all down.
What does her chorus tell?
Sink your teeth into the flesh
Of the Muse’s pulsing well.

She swirls and floats. She stretches out.
She pounds the keys with sound.
She catches you with ragged breath,
And now your words are down.

So satisfying.

STP

I grew up on Stone Temple Pilots and when Scott Weiland died a few years ago, it made me sad. He, obviously, had a troubled life and couldn’t conquer addiction. I loved their music and he had a great voice. I had an idea for a tribute poem; it may be trite, but it sums up my 20s with titles and lyrics from STP.


Creep along the interstate
Love song plays when I show up late

And I feel it–empty inside
This sour girl is Lonesome’s bride

Though my scarred-up heart still remains
Days of the week in tight-gripped reins

And so I know, and so it goes
Plush is the place where shallow grows

The dogs do find me, Smell on the street
Make my way to collapse at your feet

And as I lay my troubled head
Vasoline on plain, white bread

RIP S.