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 “Show Business”

“Luke, I Am Your Ad Man”


death starSometimes it is the confluence of two separate, and seemingly unrelated,things or events that produce the most interesting results.

The two things that I am talking about today are the upcoming release of another Star Wars movie and me reading last Sunday’s Terre Haute (That’s French for, “May the Force be with you at Walmart”) newspaper.

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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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The Struggle To Tell A Story

writers-blockEVERY DAY I HEAR SOME WRITER GRUMBLING ABOUT “WRITER’S BLOCK.”  I’ve never had that and I find it hard to fathom. Not know what to write next? That has never been a problem.

I’ve asked a number of writers to explain it to me and they have trouble coming up with an answer that doesn’t go in circles, ending up with a shrug.

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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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S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y

BayCityRollers-kiltsONE OF THE USUAL SUSPECTS asked me what I was planning to do this weekend. Before I could answer another of the bunch started singing, not very well, a fractured rendition of the old number by The Bay City Rollers: “Saturday Night.”

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I’ll Have An Espionage Latte, Please

droneTHINGS ARE GETTING JUST TOO WEIRD, even for me, and I have a pretty high threshold for weird. After all, I lived in San Francisco for 25 years – the Ground Zero for Weird.

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It’s Gonna Be A Busy Week

Squirrel DancerI JUST LOOKED AT MY CALENDAR for next week.

Monday: Car into the Toyota Dealer for 5k mile check/oil change.

Tuesday: Dr. Appt. 3 month BP check-in. Blood draw.

Wednesday: Nutritionist. Explain why weight loss ain’t there.

Thursday: Try to be creative. Pull hair out.

Friday: See Thursday. Shop for inexpensive hairpiece.

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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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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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In The End…

your storyMY WIFE, THE LOVELY AND INSPIRING  Dawn, and I have been doing a lot of “Binge Watching” lately. We have viewed our way through the entire “Breaking Bad” series, “House of Cards,” “White Collar,” “True Detective,” and a few others.

It may be entertaining, but it’s not a way to encounter much worth thinking about later.

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Ya Gotta Love It

itchy-bear-gifSOME DAYS I SEE SOMETHING in the news that stops me cold in my tracks. Such was the following headline I saw in the NY Daily News.

“Minnie Mouse, Hello Kitty costumed characters brawl in Times Square…”

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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!)

OK, So I’m Not A Poet

 

 

I’VE BEEN CREATING STORIES since I was a kid. I remember writing a cowboys and Indians epic and showing it to my teacher, Sister Mary Something-or-Other. She was not impressed.

When I got to high school I signed up for all of the creative writing and journalism classes I could. My teachers told me that I could really spin a yarn, but…

No matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I studied The Greats, no matter how much I practiced – I just couldn’t write poetry worth a damn.

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Fly, My Dove! Fly!

magician

 

EVERY PERFORMER HOPES to “kill ‘em” while on stage, but it is inevitable that some nights they will “die.” EVERY performer dies at some time. Those that say they have never died onstage, are liars. This is about a particularly lethal night onstage.  Let me explain.

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