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10:28 am - Tue 4/08/03
Just Your Average Cranky, Bitter, Middle-Aged Fart

Just Your Average Cranky, Bitter, Middle-Aged Fart
A couple weeks back, there was a review of Cesar & Ruben in Backstage West

(Cesar & Ruben was the Ed Begley Jr show I auditioned for, and didn't get).

The review was not favorable.

It was not a pan of the production--the actors and musicians did a very good job--but of the show itself; The reviewer referred to the work as "hagiography".

That's a word I rarely get to use in casual conversation, but it means, according to the second definition in my American Heritage dictionary, "A worshipful or idealizing biography" (The first definition--and the only definition in my Random House dictionary--is, literally, "writing about saints"). In other words, the work fails as drama because Mr Begley paints Chavez as a saint, and watching a saint be a saint for two hours doesn't make for very compelling theatre.

The last time I read a Backstage review of a show I'd auditioned for, I'd wanted it to be a pan and was very disappointed when it wasn't (It was a review for The Belonging, a show I'd auditioned for, and was actually cast in, before I got fired for what the director deemed my "unprofessional attitude"). I'd wanted the show to be raked over the coals, but the review was glowing, so crazily over-the-top positive that I wondered if the female reviewer hadn't been won over by the swarthy good looks of the writer/director/lead (Having read the show, I'd thought it was, at best, "okay". Though to be fair, I was very happy with my own role).

But with Cesar & Ruben, the circumstances were different. For one thing, Mr Begley had been perfectly pleasant to me all along the way--Unlike Joe "Theater Dog" Acosta--so there was no resentment of him or his project.

And for another thing, unlike The Belonging, where I had a substantial role that could have very much affected how the play was received--and I was hoping my not being in the show would affect the play as a whole--the part I was auditioning for in Cesar & Ruben was so inconsequential that my being in or out of the show would have made little to no difference in how the production turned out.

So I didn't do a "happy dance" when I read the Cesar & Ruben review. On the contrary, I actually felt kind of sorry for Mr Begley; It has to be tough, to invest years of your life in writing, producing, and directing a show, only to have a reviewer shoot down your efforts in a single word--"hagiography".


Well, cashing out my 401K worked out just about like I thought it might in my darker imaginings--Temporary relief, then a quick return to the same old financial stress, with the additional stress of now having no retirement savings.



I called Chris S. recently.

George of the Jungle is going to be released "direct-to-video" in October.

Like the last couple times I've called him--and I always call him. He never feels the need to call me--He seemed pretty downhearted. Nothing had happened since George, I guess the money's running low, and I think he was hoping, in spite of himself, that George would be released in theaters (And even the fact that it was "pushed back" on video until October, when he'd been told it would be out in March, seemed a little depressing to him).

But he does have a new girlfriend, so being Chris S. is not all bad.

Her name is Marjean Holder. She's a very attractive African-American actress that he met while shooting George (She's also on Beastmaster, the syndicated tv show, which I've seen in passing. It's pretty bad, but hey--she's working).

I continue to feel disappointed that Chris and I aren't really close out here. And I kind of "get" why we aren't--Or I think I do, anyway--but that doesn't mean I don't feel a little sad about it (Cue a single teardrop, sliding down one stubbled cheek...)


Well, in spite of any and all reservations, I continued to follow through on the "Reading by 9" volunteer thing, and yesterday was going to be my very first day at Los Feliz Elementary, reading for Miss Mercado's first grade class.

I got to the school...and the class I was assigned to was going away on a field trip.

No one had told me.

After jumping through a number of hoops, after waiting for weeks for final word on if I'd be accepted into the program--More on that in a moment--after three calls and two visits to the school, after overcoming my fear of whatever-it-was-I-was-afraid-of, it was pretty discouraging to have geared up for this experience and have nothing happen.

In and of itself, it wasn't that big a deal, really, but it ties in to a frustration that's fairly new to me, but that I've felt a lot out here; Basically, nothing here seems to work right. From the corporate entity I work for, to theatre (At least as I've experienced it so far), to the apartment building I live in, to any one of a dozen different things in my day-to-day life, and now to my dealings with this volunteer program and the school I've been assigned to, I am dogged by frustration over how poorly things seem to run, on a pretty consistent basis.

And I think part of the frustration, and disappointment as well, comes from feeling like I'd be moving to a faster, slicker beat out here. I didn't realize it, but I'd assumed things would somehow actually be sharper in LA, and my experience so far has been that they're really not. Far from it.

(Running out of time here. Chatting with Lauren, and naptime approaches...)

I don't really know what people make of me here in Diaryland. You may already think of me as a "whiner", a "chronic complainer"--I'm hoping you don't, but I can't really help it if you do at this point--but the honest-to-God truth of the matter is that I don't complain in here nearly as much as I feel like complaining.

("I'm tired". "I'm bored". "I'm lonely". "I'm horny". "I'm poor". "My knees hurt". "I'm not acting". Etc and so forth, ad infinitum.)

There are probably a variety of reasons for--and don't laugh at this--my relative stoicism--I don't think it does much good to complain, I've run of things to say about a lot of my complaints because I've "lived with them" so long, I don't want to "wear my readers out", etc--but I think the main reason is that I'm very afraid I'm becoming "Cranky, Bitter, Middle-Aged Guy".

That's the biggest reason I don't play up all my "The World Is Going To Hell In A Handbasket" feelings--and I'm having them a lot lately--because then I find myself thinking "Isn't this the the tune of cranky old farts since time immemorial?". And I manage to both bore and depress myself at the same time.

But pretending I don't feel the way I do about things, omitting those things from Diaryland, doesn't mean I don't feel that way. And the point in here, if there is a point, is to be as honest as I can manage. Otherwise, this isn't a "diary" or a "journal" or "blog" or whatever-you-want-to-call it.

It's just a press release.


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