Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Dorothy’s husband and other people I am not.

Friday night, Adam and I helped Amy with an assessment of her mediation training. Amy, who is going to law school this fall, has been for some time training to be a conflict mediator, a job that doesn’t require you to solve anybody’s problems so much as accumulate all the information and grievances being spouted by both parties, organize it, and put it all on the table in an orderly manner that allows both parties to look at it and perhaps solve their own problems. Next stop, the Holy Land.

Adam and I were there as role players, neighbors whose dispute Amy was to mediate. In our scenario, we had been neighbors for ten years, and more or less shared a backyard. The root of the argument was that Adam’s teenaged son “Hal” had been playing basketball in a backyard court after school, and that my wife “Dorothy” and I, who liked to sit in the backyard on cool evenings, eat dinner and watch the sun go down, were being disturbed by the noise and profanity of competitive teenagers.

This tension came to a head one day when I lost my patience, walked over, and demanded that Hal and his friends go play somewhere else. Hal called his father out, words were spoken, Adam shoved me to the ground, and the next day, I had slapped him with a battery charge, to which he’d responded with a harassment charge.

Leaving out the rest of the details, we did manage to arrive at a place where we could talk about a solution that didn’t involve lawyers. At the end of it all, I think Adam and I both realized that we weren’t the sorts of men who would ever marry a Dorothy or name our son Hal. Although I rather like the name Hal.

Saturday night, we went to Louie’s on North Avenue, just west of Ashland, where a Karaoke Night was in progress, but before you grab a pencil and paper and write down the name and location, I should tell you that it may have been the single worst time I’ve ever had at a karaoke night, including times when I went but did not sing. The selection [1] was terrible–any karaoke catalog that has more Toby Keith songs than Rolling Stones songs is outright, irredeemably terrible, especially when the Rolling Stones selection doesn’t even include a standard karaoke number like “Satisfaction.” The setup involved standing in the middle of the bar and being surrounded by televisions. The microphones kept cutting out and the music was never loud enough to begin with. And the Kay-Jay didn’t have the good sense to understand that a good karaoke night is about making sure everybody has fun–the first two hours we were there, maybe six different people did all the singing, despite a clear infusion of new entries walking in the door. I understand the merits of a first-come-first-serve system, but those merits are hard to understand when you’ve just watched the same person who sang “Love Shack” with her drunk buddies croak her way miserably through “Sweet Home Alabama” and five other songs when all you want is four minutes with “Are You Gonna Go My Way?”

By the way, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” is only a marginally good karaoke song, as it is about forty percent hard rockin’ instrumental. A good Live Band Karaoke [2] song, perhaps, but it’s tough to just stand there for a 36-measure guitar solo, a space so long you’d swear you could go make a sandwich in the interim.


Sunday, I attended the first meeting for this year’s Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins festival, the 15th such annual event that the Mary-Arrchie Theater has put on. I handed in a proposal for three plays under the banner title Or Lack Thereof: Three Short Plays, which will include the pieces After the Rock Left, The Quarter Past Midnight, and Staring Contest, or The Enemy in Orange. The latter two are cast; the first is being cast tonight, tomorrow night, and Sunday.

I feel strangely toolish mentioning that I’m feeling fantastic right now, because at the same time I feel horrible for a friend of mine, the intrepid Duck, who is going through a heartwrenching breakup with his girlfriend of a year-and-a-half. I know that my own excitement and inner glow is a mutually exclusive thing from my sympathies going out to Duck, but I still feel guilty for even mentioning it.

Yesterday, The Artistic Home sent me an email mentioning that my play Dawn’s Lover was among the finalists for this year’s Cut to the Chase, which runs throughout the summer.

So, after taking stock of my work this summer, I realized that I’m possibly going to have a lot of my writing floating around for people to see:

Or Lack Thereof: Three Short Plays at the Abbie;
In The Eye of Ivan (staged reading) at the Side Studio;
Etch, Becker Stein Going Home, and An earthquake for reluctant lovers, two short stories and a poem, as part of the Living Room Project’s untitled “Storytelling Night” at the Breadline Theatre;
Dawn’s Lover (possibly) at The Artistic Home; and
Staring Contest, or The Enemy in Orange, somewhere in Britain, which my friend Vince is doing with a friend of his.

I’m scary-excited. I’m not sure how else to put that.

[1] I really, really, really want the chance to try out The Hives’ “Hate to Say I Told You So.”

[2] I’m growing increasingly convinced that this is the only way to do Karaoke at all. Everybody sounds good when they have a band rockin’ out behind them.

Current music: MP3 list, Cibo Matto, “Sugar Water”


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This entry was posted on June 9, 2003 by in Life, Music, Theatre, Writing.
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