Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2019

Archive for the tag “Acting”

The Name Is Bond…

I TURN ON THE TV AND THERE IT IS. I open my Facebook and there it is again. I’m almost afraid to open the garage door lest it is hiding there waiting to spring. Everywhere it is: “Who will be the new James Bond?”

If my sources are reliable, as they most always are – Daniel Craig has that job already. There is a new “Bond Movie” opening momentarily with Craig and he is contracted to do at least one more. That sounds like job security to me.

According to the latest publicity-driven hype that I’ve seen the speculation whirlpool is centered around these four actors to replace Daniel Craig.

Bond Elba

Bond Damien Lewis Bond Tom Hiddleston Bond Michael Fassbinder

Idris Elba, Damian Lewis, Michael Fassbender, and Tom Hiddleston

I am familiar with Idris Elba from the Brit Cop and Robber series, “Luther.” He’d be good as Bond. The other three dudes – No. For one big reason – they all look like a bunch of wimps who would need Idris Elba to help them keep their lunch money from being stolen at school.

I want a Bond who has a “lived-in” face, not someone who looks like he’s shooting the film between modeling assignments for the Sears Catalog. I don’t want a Bond who is constantly worrying if the camera is getting his best side.

Daniel Craig has a face that looks like it has been around the block a few times and it was in a rough neighborhood.

Sean Connery had that face and, like it or not, every actor since then has been held up in comparison to him. Few have come off well in that contest.

I know that this is just my opinion – but I’m right. Daniel Craig is the best Bond since Connery in my opinion – and again, I’m right.

Some people want a suave and sophisticated Bond who looks good in a tuxedo. After that, they don’t care. In that case I suggest they take that fantasy to the nearest tuxedo rental store and leer at the mannequins.

I’m not suggesting that Idris Elba is the only possibility out there to assume the role of 007 when the time comes. I’m sure that there are a hundred decent actors walking around who could do the job superbly without looking like a refugee from the advertising inserts in the Sunday newspaper. But of the four being touted by the Image Machine all over the place today, I would vote for Elba. He is a good looking guy, but when he looks at you, you know that you’ve been looked at. The other three look at you wondering if you’re an agent with a modeling gig for them.

Of course, it comes to mind that there is one man they are overlooking. One man who could do the job of making Bond come alive like no one since Sean Connery. One man whose presence would leap off the screen and slap you in the face if you looked away. One man who has thrilled audiences, chilled audiences, willed audiences to cry, willed them to laugh and willed them to tip their waitresses. One man who could take his Walther PPK and dispatch the bad guys without spilling his cocktail.

(Cue the Music.)

“Make mine Metamucil – shaken, not stirred. The name is Bond. James Bond.”

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It could happen.

It’s Too Early For Anything But Puppies

hurricaneAS I GET UP THIS MORNING and turn on the TV all I see is hurricanes and candidates. There’s not much difference when you get down to it – a lot of hot air passing through, and people getting soaked. The hurricane blows down homes and the candidates blow down people’s dreams with nonsensical promises for things they can never deliver.

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Ready When You Are, C.B.

 IT SEEMS TO BE A TRADITION in our houMarvin the Martiansehold that we go to the movies only once a year. We didn’t plan it that way. We are either busy, otherwise engaged or not interested in spending eight bucks to watch a remake of a film that should never have been made in the first place.

We went to the movies last week.
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Downwind Of Upstage Is No Place To Be

FB_IMG_1441895951206THERE IS A GOOD REASON my wife, the lovely and unfailingly perceptive, Dawn, calls my trips to St. Arbucks, along with, “The Usual Suspects,” my “Play Group.” I admit that there are some days when the maturity level drops below Pre-School closing in on Pre-Natal.

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Everything Looks Different Today

lover come back

IT WAS AFTER 3:30 AM when I finally crawled under the covers. The game was over – after more than five hours. I didn’t watch it all, of course. I slept from the seventh inning up until the bottom of the fourteenth – a nice nap. Did I miss much? Not really. The Giants lost, I was sleepy and it was almost time for the sun to peek above the eastern horizon. Dang.

My internal alarm clock usually wakes me up at 7 AM, but I knew that today it wasn’t going to work.

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But Wait! There’s More!

infomercialI WAS SITTING AT THE KITCHEN TABLE the other morning, minding my own business and eating some grapes, when I turned on the TV and came in halfway through an Infomercial.

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Is Tarzan A Methodist?

20150715_101444AS YOU HAVE FIGURED OUT BY NOW, if you have been reading this blog for more than a week, I am a guy whose roots are firmly in the ground of live theater. My education and training and forty years of stage work have made me into a theater geek of sorts. And I’m fine with that.

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I Can Smell Them

theater in the roundA FEW DAYS AGO I got into a discussion with an acquaintance about what it is like doing a play in “The Round.”

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Randall The Candle

candleIN 1997 THERE WAS AN EPISODE of “Law And Order” (An American Cops and Robbers TV show set in New York City) that had a character, an arsonist, who went by the moniker of “Randall the Candle.”

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Game of Outlander

game-of-thronesoutlander_banner

I HAVE TO ADMIT that my wife and I have been watching both the never-ending saga of “Game of Thrones” and the ongoing dramatization of “Outlander.” My head is spinning in confusion.

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This Is Not Going To End Well

house-of-cards

MY WIFE AND I have been doing some binge-watching. We started with Doctor Who, then moved on to other series – some better than others. Currently we are wrapped up in House Of Cards on Netflix. Without actually looking it up I would guess that this series has about six million episodes. We have just entered Season Three.

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The Five People I Almost Killed

Sedaka

FOLLOWING UP ON PREVIOUS SATURDAYS I have decided to post another piece from my catalog.

This was written as a performance piece to be done in front of a live audience.

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I think it is important to stress that in the title of this piece I say “almost killed,” and not “killed.” To the best of my knowledge I have never actually killed anyone. I just tend to come close. Sometimes very close and I’ve done so five times – so far. The five nearly “dearly departed” have all shared one characteristic: they are, or to a large degree were, famous. Let me explain.

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Happy Birthday !

Shemp Howard

WHILE YOU ARE PROBABLY READING THIS on Friday I am writing it on Wednesday. I try to keep a couple of days ahead just in case I get tied up, figuratively or literally, and can’t prepare anything. One never knows. But – to the point.

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Life Is Like An Open Mic Night

Microphone on fire

A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO another blogger I follow had a posting about getting up on stage at a stand-up comedy Open Mic. He wrote about using it as a laboratory to try out new material on an audience that, on most nights, isn’t too critical.

I’ve been onstage at more Open Mics than I care to recall. I am proud to say that I survived them all, although there were a few close calls. That can happen whether you are there merely as a performer or as the MC – and can’t run away until the end of the evening.

Going onstage at an Open Mic, for comedians who have some experience, is a place to try out new material without having a club owner mad at you. If they have to pay you and you “Bite it” they get really angry. If you do it on an Open Mic night they don’t even listen. A Perfect Scenario.

While it serves as a lab for some comedians it is a matter of life and death for others. Some people come to Open Mic Night because they have dreams of being the next (fill in the blank). Some come there because they lost a bet, and some others show up strictly because they have stopped taking their medication. How they will do has nothing to do with in which category they fall. This helps to explain why backstage at a comedy club is a cross between a novena to St. Jude and a scene from “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” I’ve been backstage where some people are vomiting out of fear while others are in the corner muttering to themselves and punching the wall.

I knew one comedian, who shall remain nameless because they are still performing, who had such stage fright that, before going on, would drink several large Coca-Colas spiked with six or seven packets of sugar. Talk about your sugar buzz!

There were a number of nights when I would be the MC and have to decide who went onstage and when, and to maintain discipline among the troops. It was often like trying to herd cats. Newcomers went on early or very late and comedians who were there working out would get the Primetime spots before the crowd was too drunk to notice the difference.

Another part of the MC’s job was to establish the ground rules for the audience as well as the performers. I would explain to the assembled revelers that they would, “…see careers beginning, careers flourishing, and careers ending – sometimes all within the span of five minutes.” For the comedians I had to explain that they would get a certain amount of time and no more. Break that rule and I would turn off the microphone and banish them to Hades.

Most clubs had a no-heckling rule for two reasons.

First – nobody is there to listen to some drunken idiot act a fool, and

Second – you heckle the wrong person and they will either verbally destroy you in front of your friends or, in a few cases, follow you out of the club and ‘go postal’ on you in the parking lot. That warning was usually enough, although some clubs had hired bouncers who could and would physically remove idiots when the MC gave them a nod. Hiring Samoan guys as bouncers usually kept things in order. For some reason they grow ‘em big in Samoa. Big, as in, “Sweet Jesus, where does a person that big buy clothes?”

Perhaps on another day I will blog about “heckler stoppers” – what can be said from the stage to verbally shred the drunken fools in the house who don’t want to obey the rules. Hint: female drunks are the worst.

Despite all of this I urge you to go out to an Open Mic Night at a club near you. It can be a fun and memorable evening, and you might get the chance to tell your friends, “I remember seeing him/her when they were just starting out. I knew they would be big someday.”

Open Mic Night is like a box of chocolates.

You might end up fat and with zits.

(Rimshot!)

When Sylvie Sang

Microphone LargeThis story was created as a performance piece. I presented it a number of times over the years.

It is longer than my usual posts.  

I hope you enjoy it.

 

WHEN SYLVIE SANG the men at the bar would stop and turn on their stools to listen.  The bartender would dry his hands, move to the end of the bar and light up a cigarette.  The waitresses would huddle by the wall and hug their trays.  And the drunken man who cried softly to himself in the corner by the door would lift his eyes and rub his hands together underneath an invisible spigot.

When Sylvie sang, the room was locked in glass and still – as still as a new widow hearing that first long silence. 

In the spotlight the smoke was frozen.

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