Thursday, March 30, 2006

How About a Lovely Cerise?

Oh, Sun-Times, how I love thee! While the Tribune, quite possibly feverish with today's appearance of spring, festooned its homepage with a--yep--pink headline declaring the important pigmentary news, the S-T, ever-leery of things posh, pretentious and North-Side, posted a decidedly curt communique. The last line is priceless.

CTA thinks pink for new train line

March 30, 2006
BY MONIFA THOMAS Transportation Reporter

The CTA today chose pink as the color of its new elevated route, a rerouted
line that will run from the 54th-Cermak branch of the Blue Line to the
The winning color was chosen based on more than 500 essays submitted by
Chicago area students.

The line was approved for a 180 day trial, scheduled to start June 25th.

The line uses the old Paulina connector to run trains between Blue Line and
Green Line tracks.

The CTA has not decided exactly what shade of pink the line will be.

I wonder if the new line’s moniker will maybe appease all those disgruntled Brokeback Mountain supporters?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Let He Who's Never Broken Cast the First Plastic Tomato

When a plastic tomato went astray during her Broadway debut, the
Oscar-winning movie actress broke character and laughed. It wasn't an issue to
the fans who waited outside for autographs after seeing her Tuesday in "Three
Days of Rain.""

I thought it was fabulous, Julia Roberts incredible ... Oh my God, she was
incredible," gushed David Gordon from Orange County, California. "So, yeah, it
was good, overall. The writing was awesome, everything was great, it was just a
well put together production."

The New York Daily News reported that her opening lines on Tuesday were drowned out by enthusiastic applause from the preview audience. But the real test of her nerve came in the middle of Act 2 when the prop tomato got out of hand.

"The plastic veggie landed on the floor, bounced and echoed like a table tennis ball -- a blooper that left Roberts briefly in stitches," the paper said. "She briefly broke character and couldn't help flashing her trademark toothy grin."

I'm not posting this to bitch about Julia Roberts' taking a role (and sizeable--and well-publicized, I'm sure--pay cut) in a Broadway production of what I would submit is Richard Greenberg's best play (Violet Hour...meh). Good for her. Let her trod the boards, experience first-night flop sweat, the tedious mid-run trough, the thousand natural shocks of two-hours' traffic on stage.
I just think it's funny that she had a moment where she clearly forgot she was on a theatrical stage, not a cinematic set and, conveniently enough for the first week of previews, echoed that iconic whoop she lets rip during what is certainly the number-one slumber party and girls-night movie of 1990-95, Pretty Woman.

Loud enough for it to reverberate on the Reuters wire within eighteen hours.

And muffle all that "awesome writing."

Monday, March 27, 2006

Comedy Is Not Pretty

I think Steve Martin said it on one of those seminal albums from the Seventies, long before he grinned and shucked his way through Roxanne, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and, God help us, Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (shouldn't that have just been 24?)

I'm thinking a lot about comedy lately--and I force myself to think about it when I'm thinking about all that other stuff I shouldn't be thinking about.

I see you ugly, Steve, and raise you. Comedy is smack. Comedy is Harry Jones, Aunt Hazel, Big Harry. And when it works, when it kills, it's China White--when laughter envelops you--no, buoys you--pure as an infant's first bathwater.

That's why I think about it a lot. That's why I am sorta scared of it--as I might be of a harder drug, say your heavy stuff over a dabble in weed. Chekhov, Pinter, Shakespeare, Kushner: I've lived in their words crafted with pain and euphoria. I know what to expect from the Canon, the shifts and turns of the text are as exactingly carved as a World Cup ski course. But comedy...comedy's dangerous. Specious. Unalloyed. Precise and pregnant. Underrehearsed and overexhilarating.


That's why I want it, why its disciples are legion, sycophantic, why they spend years riding the escalators at Pipers Alley, cursing at the 22 bus on Clark night after night, crowding late-night sets and improv jams and comedy fight clubs and Thisfests and Thatfests.

That's why I want to work so hard at it, to tie off the arm, the pinprick of open that vein, yield to the draught of laughter, the adrenaline thrust, the communistic rapture.

...Or maybe I've been reading too much Nelson Algren.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

March Madness: Really Satisfies

"We are not satisfied," Davis said. "We have tapeworms in our bellies. We still want to eat."

Now I wish I'd stitched up a new Big Dance gown out of old curtains and bedsheets and dried flowers for a different Cinderella.

March always serves to remind: You Just Never Know.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Help Me in Saying It, to Understand It.

Somewhere there is an ancient enmity between our daily life and the great work.
- Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, March 06, 2006