Allegations

Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Louis CK.

All stand accused. Are they all guilty?

For Harvey and Bill, let’s check the Magic 8 Ball–all signs point to yes. For Louis CK, I just don’t know. I really like his truthful, real-life comedy. I hope it’s not true. I would have to stop watching his stuff if it is. But it’s not for me to say in any case. That’s somebody else’s job.

What I do know, not all accused are guilty.


In the early 2000s, my husband and I served on a community theatre board. We were involved in day-to-day operations and acting in shows. We directed, performed, coordinated, sold tickets, designed, painted, printed, anything that needed doing we did. And loved it, mostly.

Our board was a tight-knit group of friends. Every show was just a pretense to hang out, laugh and sing some songs. I would linger long into the night with these people after rehearsal/performance. Talk big about the world, dream big about the future. It was a golden time.

Then the whole thing started to slide off into the ocean. Tremors were rumbling regarding allegations of sexual harassment.

The director of the summer musical was an older man in his 40s. A bachelor. He was a kind man with clear ideas. He was a bit arrogant, but friendly. He was the music and creative director of the show. A large task, but he was more than capable. He actually came to our home, had dinner. I cooked meatloaf. We got to know him. I’m glad.

Late into rehearsals, we had a costume parade 1-2 weeks before opening night. In community theatre, costuming was always a last-minute detail. Usually, each actor must provide the bulk (or lack thereof) of their costume, coordinating with the costumer and other actors to pull of a cohesive theme.

The show was not necessarily risque, but that summer Moulin Rouge had just come out and all the teenage girls in our production aspired to be the best dance hall vixen. Their costume choices reflected that mentality.

During one of our costume parades, the three girls in one of the lead ensembles came out in sparkly, festive, revealing costumes. Everyone reacted. Mostly appropriate reactions. Our director blushed, looked down at the floor and said with a shit-eating grin, “I’m not going to say ANYTHING!” Most everyone laughed.

That’s it.

That night or the next night, I’m standing in a parking lot, in an impromptu board meeting, talking about sexual harassment.

I tried to defend the director. These conversations went on for several weeks. I felt sympathy for the girl making accusations, but knew, for sure, nothing happened.

Should he have kept his mouth shut?
YES

Should he have said, “You look nice.” or “I approve.”
YES

Should he be black-balled and strung up?
Hell to the NO.

It was an awkward fumble. It was not sexual harassment, in my opinion. I was there. My husband was there. We saw it all and witnessed the alleged harassment. Nothing happened.

The loudest torch-carrying villager was a woman who was not even present during the incident. She bullied me for defending the director.

I relay all this, not to excuse the director’s faux pas. Not to excuse Weinstein, Cosby or Louis CK. To illustrate, sometimes there are witch hunts. Sometimes, the accused is just mildly stupid, awkward or mentally disabled, but not guilty. Sometimes, well, all the time, we need to withhold judgment and hear all the facts, first! Especially, if it’s up to you to decide what happens to the alleged creep. Let’s not crucify all men for what a few assholes did.


But. If it is true (and it looks like there’s mounting evidence), why did everyone sweep it under the rug? It’s disgusting!

And Harvey, if you did all this? Karma’s a bitch. That you molested for years. Time to pay.

Guy Maggio (Kacey Moe) said, “He may have been rich and powerful. Now, he’s just rich. But not for long.”

I agree. Taking this man’s power and money and reducing him to just an average toad is a well-deserved punishment. Should he do jail time? Would someone without his power and influence do jail time?

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Tell Me About Chris Churchill

I love interviewing people. I just wish I knew more awesome, famous people. 🙂 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 “Abraham 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 “Tell 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. ❤

Smokin’

Martha_Busybody
I started in a different role, so I was dressed as the femme fatale secretary. Ah, to be 25 again. I ended up in the starring role as Lily Piper. So fun!

This is me. At 25. I had just met my husband and we were starring in a college production of Busybody together. It was a brilliant time. No wonder he liked me. 😉
This is a face for the stage and screen! lol

And here’s my hubby. I think he was 28 or 29. We’re so lucky.

Guy_Busybody
Harry Baxter, Detective-Busybody at Longview College 1998