100 Hughes Hall
100 Hughes Hall
I got up at 8:30am. It’s 1:40am now. We’re getting up in the morning at meeting at 9am at Cracker Barrel. Awesome.
So … let’s see I’ll talk about what I liked first.
I just re-read Sovereignty by Rolin Jones, his ten-minute from last year. It’s 6.5 pages and he accomplishes more in that space than a lot of plays spend 120 pages to not accomplish.
If you’re just joining us, you can go here for complete coverage of last year’s Humana, as well as a great intro to the whole phenomena and my experience with it over the last decade.
On to now … I’m at Day’s Espresso Shop, and the coffee is reeeeaaallllllllly fucking good. So smoothe. I’ve got a little booth to myself, the WIFI is strong, I’ve got my iPod Shuffle, and there are outlets seemingly everywhere. So, I’m very, very happy. It’s 9:33am. The perfect time to let out all my thoughts about last night.
Wow, they’re playing my favorite Peter, Paul, and Mary album here. That totally fuckin rules.
Oh my god, this is my favorite. I didn’t originally find this in the internet, I watched it on DVD. But I’m so glad it’s on YouTube now!
This show, Isabella’s Room, has affected me much more in the long run than in the immediate sense. I found a trailer for it today. Cool.
da da kamera‘s “A Beautiful View” is not a great play. It’s an okay play, a spirited two-hander about a couple of non-lesbian women who sleep together anyway. It’s light enough, with a enough iventive moments to keep me mostly awake, and the actors definitely make it worth the proce of admission, but the play is more than slightly marred by the completely absurd fact that both characters get eaten by a bear 30 seconds before the end. I think that’s all I have to say about that.
No, I’m wrong, one more thing. The play would work better as a series of sketches on “Kids in the Hall”, “The State”, or “Mr. Show”.
Well, we’ve had a great 1.5 days in NYC so far.
Thursday night, we squeeeezed into Mike’s (Acacia’s brother) car. The trunk was alrady full, so we had me in the front seat with Acacia’s smaller suitcase and Dave in the back with my suitcase and his, then poured Acacia into the tiny space between Dave and the Suitcases. Good times. Then we took 45 minutes to get out of the parking lot, during which Dave and Acacia experienced agony unlike anything felt before. I was hurtin too, but not by comparison.
We were gonna go to John’s for pizza that night, but they were closed by the time we got to the city. (Keep in mind that the 100 feet we traveled in line to pay out of the lot took three times longer than the trip to Dave’s hotel. We dropped Dave off and ate at the Astoria Diner in – get this – Astoria. Hmmm.
Then sleeping on the biggest air-mattress I’ve ever seen.
Just by the way, how hard is it to make a good comic book movie? I have a rant to go with this, but let me just say, “Fuck those guys!” Superman sucked. Not because it was horrible, but because it was so much less than it should have been. You’ve gotta get it right. There’s no “okay” or “not bad” for me. You nail it, or fuck off.
I think this is my first experience typing on a bus. Certainly the first time I’ve used my Powerbook on public transportation. We just passed exit 220 in Indiana. My ETA in Chicago is about 2 hours away.
I gotta say, I’m diggin the bus so far, at least the Megabus. Well, it was late this morning, whch was no good and worrisome, but now that I’m on it – wow. It’s so easy. It’s even a lot easier than being a passenger with one of my friends driving. In that case, you’re still worried about the driver, making sure (s)he’s doing okay. You make a lot of conversation, try to stay active and make the most of the time with your buddy. No worries about that here. Just sit back, zone-out, read, iPod, whatever. No obligations. You do what you like and time passes you by. I read 30 pages in The Intuitionist and then slept the rest of the way to Indy. It took no more effort than driving to Dublin. Easy, quick. We even skipped the rest stop on the way to Indy to make up for the bus being late. It was great.
Also, when you’re in a car your contact with the road itself is farily intimate. You feel every bump, every nook and cranny. Even if you’re not driving, you’re pretty aware of traffic, passing lanes, annoying drivers. Driving conditions. Now, I’m not saying the road isn’t still bumpy. I’m feeling it even moreso than last time becuase I’m way in the back of the bus. But, it doesn’t take any concentration on my part to ride. I’m way above the road, it’s just a rolling room as far as I’m concerned.
My one complaint is that these seats aren’t too comfortable. My back is killing me. But, it’d be just as bad if I were in our car and I wouldn’t be so otherwise accomodated. So … a worth-while trade-off, almost.
Right, so … I’m Chicago this weekend mainly for the Hip Hop Theatre Festival. I’m very, very excited. Incidentally, I’ll be covering the festival events in details elsewhere. So, you can read about that at the HHTHQ if you like.
I’m seen two of these performers (Will Power, Bamuthi) before, and have been really, really impressed with their work. Will Power’s doing an excerpt from the show I’ve seen, and Bamuthi’s doing a piece of something new. Those exceprts are tonight, along with a performance by Danny Hoch, who’s pretty much the founder of the Hip-Hop Theatre movement (if it is a movement). I’m not sure what he’ll be doing, but I’m excited.
Tomorrow night is the Rubberbandance group, and some local Hip Hop Theatre companies performing. I guess it’s more excerpts. Cool. I know very little about any of the performers. I need to try to read more online or in the Chicago papers, to get some context.
Saturday is the night for Hop Fu. Hop Fu is a pair of DJs who will mix and scratch music together with the soundtrack of (what I assume will be) a kung-fu film, live on stage. They’ve gotten rave reviews for their past shows. Interestingly enough, though it’s definitely some kind of performance, and definitely hip hop, I’m curious to see if it’ll be something I can really consider theatre. Hmmmmmm ….
Well, we’re at the Gary East tollbooth. I’ve eaten up a full-hour typing and playing with the mintue details of the look of this page, which really looks just like every other page I make, except off-white. Anyway …
I see horribly dirty smoke-stacks, a sure sign we’re getting near. Should be just another over hour now, unless the Megabus website listed only Eastern times, in which case we’re only 15 minutes away. As I recall, I think this every time I go to Chicago, as soon as the air looks polluted and we’e in a semi-urban landscape I feel like Chicago must be right around the corner. This area has signage that makes it seems like we’er coming up on downtown. I’m seeing trains all over, trucks parked on every exit ramp, a building that looks just like Worthington Industries. According to a sign we just passed, Chicago is 28 miles away. Wow? Is that to the city-center? I wonder. Maybe we’re going to be early. I wonder if we skipped another rest stop. There was a 30 stop scheduled on the way to Indy, and that’s about a 3 hour drive, so I imagine there must have been one scheduled between Indy and Chicago. We must have skipped it. Awesome.
So … this is getting kind of stream-of-consciousness now, straight from my brain to the keyboard, so I think I’ll spare you and do something else.
When I get off the bus I’ll be at Union Station, which is almost in the loop, I believe, it’s about 8×6 blocks to the Goodman, where Michael (Herring) is working. I guess he’s going to give me a key to his place. I’ll go there and drop-off my bag, maybe change clothes and then meet him for dinner neat the Museum of Contemporary Art, where all the performances are.
I feel a bit of pressure on this weekend. I’ve imagined myself getting off the bus and thinking, “Home.” I wonder if that’ll happen. What if it doesn’t feel like home? What if I suddenly hate Chicago? What if I decide Chicago is just NYC for wimps? What if I miss Central Park? What if there’s nowhere I want to live? What if? What if? What if I change my mind?
I gotta remember, “It’s all gonna be okay.”
I love having a conveniant little 12-inch laptop. It sure makes ass-long bus-rides more tolerable.
I didn’t write yesterday because there was no time and I had no energy. I got up in the morning and went to the Bobtail, a cute ice cream/coffee shop in Mike’s neighborhood, East Lakeview. I sat down and read a bit from Start Making Sense, a really moving speech by Barack Obama that’ll part of will definitely be in Tomorrow is the Question. Then I just did some writing, taking notes and brainstorming about what’s next. I wanna get more into the Hip Hop Theatre thing, support the movement. As Mike put it today, it’s quite possible that hip hop could turn into a revolutionary movement. That’s certainly the direction it’s headed in the rest of the world. I wanna be a part of that. So, I had some ideas, I have some work to do.
Then I went back to Mike’s and we got ready to head downtown for the panel. I will detail the panel extensively elsewhere, but suffice to say, it may end up being life-changing. It was really phenomenal. Open, passionate discussion about changing the world. While the rest of theatre world either ignores each other completely, or expends tons of energy trying identify degrees of censorship, these people are trying to do something that matters. It’s all about making something out of nothing, and that’s my speciality. So … it was great.
Afterwards, I spoke to Jeff Chang, who wrote Can’t Stop Won’t Stop which is, I repeat, ESSENTIAL READING. He was really cool. We talked about what I’ve been up, what Sean’s doing, what we’re doing together. I even gave him a copy of Sean’s DVD. Then, I got geeky and asked him to sign my book. He was really, really cool and friendly. He even told me to get in touch when Sean and I make it to the Bay Area. In my book, he wrote “Matt – Thanks for your support, and your work. Keep rockin, keep writin. J. Chang, MCA, Chicago” Yeah, I’ve totally looked at it like 20 times. It’s great. I love that book so much, and now it’s even more special.
So, then I approached Danny Hoch, who was also very cool. We chatted a little more about what Hip Hop Theatre is (“By, for, about” was his mantra, echoing W.E.B. DuBois) and then I told him about Sean and pushed a DVD off on him. He was very cool about it, and then I was psyched to tell Sean the good news.
I keep thinking about how potent it would be to combine hip hop and ViewPoints. Maybe it’s just a case of me trying to shove my peanut butter and chocolate together, but I really think it could work. There’s a real connection in that they’re both potent methods of creating vital forms. That’s the whole point. I think there’s an essay to be written about how the tenants of the hip-hop aesthetic match-up with Anne’s 7 Needs. Bamuthi sparked it off talking about Ritual, and he’s right on. They’re different rituals, it’s a different kind of participation. That’s one really good example, actually. Call & response is one tenant of the hip-hop aesthetic. That directly address the issue of participation. I believe that there are other tenants that will match-up precisely. Heck, I think magic is in both lists. Wow. When will I have time to write that?
Meanwhile, I have 25 days until my show opens in Cincinnati. Fewer till it “opens” here. Geez. That’s more than a little scary to me. I mean, I know it will be great and all, but it’s a lot of work, not much time, and there’s A LOT I don’t know yet. Maybe I should work on my lines now or something.
Well, here’s a preview of what might be ahead. I asked myself this question, and almost asked it of Danny Hoch. If I had a show about revolution, consumer culture, media cosoladation, celebrity emulation, and shitty jobs, and I quoted Mos Def, Kewil, PE, and Gil Scot-Heron, and used music by people like DJ Shadow – would it be hip-hop theatre? Sure sounds like it.