Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tea at Huntington Library

My new friend, Jason, had never been to the Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, so I took a break from my regular boring existence got me some Vitamin D!

Secret Agent Girl
Secret Agent Girl

After ringing the giant Japanese bell with his car keys, Jason later told me "The inside of a bell that makes it ring is a CLAPPER."

He's so smart! Can't wait to have on my team on game night :) SSSHhhh

Happy Kids
Happy Kids

On our walk through the gardens after our tea date...

I love this picture -- I haven't been so cheery in a long time!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Looks like we made it!

I was so proud the other day, driving to a babysitting gig in Glendale when I heard on the news there was a robbery or assault that just happened in Los Angeles (no, that's not the thing I'm proud of).

The criminal was described as Hispanic or FILIPINO -- and I had to yelp: "We've made it! We're not just Asians or brown -- we're 'Filipinos'! And when described on a police blotter, people actually know what that looks like! WOO HOO!"

(They probably recognized us from the dancing-prisoners-doing-Thriller video.)

Sick, I know, but you celebrate what you can.

Oh a brighter note, WHO KNEW the Mark Wahlberg-Jennifer Aniston movie Rock Star could actually come true? A Filipino guy -- from the PHILIPPINES no less -- named Arnel Pineda is now the lead singer for JOURNEY. And he got "discovered" on YouTube!


When it was time for JOURNEY to look for a new lead singer, the Internet came to their rescue. Guitarist Neal Schon wanted someone new to the music business, so he turned to YouTube. After finding Arnel singing "Faithfully", he knew he had found the perfect frontman.

"I was frustrated about not having a singer," explains guitarist Neal Schon, "so I went on YouTube for a couple of days and just sat on it for hours. I was starting to think I was never going to find anybody. But then I found THE ZOO and I watched a bunch of different video clips that they had posted. After watching the videos over and over again, I had to walk away from the computer and let what I heard sink in because it sounded too good to be true. I thought, 'he can't be that good.' But he is that good, he's the real deal and so tremendously talented. Arnel doesn't sound synthetic and he's not emulating anyone. I tried to get a hold of him through YouTube and I finally heard from him that night, but it took some convincing to get him to believe that it really was me and not an imposter."

Arnel Pineda picks up the story: "My friend Noel picked up the message on YouTube and told me it was from Neal. I thought it was a hoax so I ignored it. Noel said, 'what if it really was Neal and he wanted to offer you the chance of a lifetime?' So I e-mailed Neal back and the rest is history."
How cool... we're way past being "Karaoke Kings" now -- I think he sounds terrific! Good luck, Arnel!

Journey - Don't Stop Believing (The Zoo)

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(Hat Tip to 8Asians and Prince G. @ Bamboo Nation)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Long Train Runnin'

When I was in high school in 3rd period Rock Band, for some reason our teacher, Mr. Pinto, wanted to do this Doobie Brothers song. But he didn't have any guys that could sing that high -- so he had me, an alto "rocking it out."

ROCKING IT OUT?! HA! I'm a musical theatre Old School R&B Earth, Wind and Fire chick, what did I know about ROCK? What was I even doing in the class anyway, except that we did a lot of Commodores and disco too (hahaha).

And here are the first words:

Down around the corner
A half a mile from here
You see them old trains runnin'
And you watch them disappear
Without love
Where would you be now
Without love
You know I saw Miss Lucy
Down along the tracks
She lost her home and her family
And she won't be comin' back
Without love
Where would you be now
Without love

WTF? Lucy WHO? I had no idea what the heck I was singing about, and I'd never been on a train except for BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).

But all that's changed... as I just got back from a quick 24-hour day in San Diego to see my niece's piano/vocal recital (YAY KIRA!). And I took the train, good old AMTRAK, from Burbank to Solana Beach. May I just say: PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS?! You know, because I spend so much time in my apartment and alone, I just like to get out to a mall or a bookstore to be around humanity... alone in a crowd is good sometimes.

But TRAIN IDIOTS are not the same kind of people as mall rats or bookstore lurkers!

I find a perfect seat on the coast side of the train, ready to stare at the beautiful cloud-ridden sun set onto the ocean... and the woman behind me is playing some TV show on her laptop AT FULL BLAST. Before I settle in I ask her if she could turn it down and she says, "Then I won't be able to hear it." "You don't have headsets?" "No." "I'll move then" and I did. IDIOT! How can you think that's all right that you blast your f*cking show for the whole car to have to listen and watch? There oughta be a law.

Then at one of my last stops a lady walks in with a cute little two-year-old on her shoulders in pink onesy and a slightly hacked-up bob haircut, then proceeds to nick the girl's head on the luggage rack above when she tries to take her off her shoulders. Ouch. But this doesn't make the girl cry... this girl wants DADDY. Which I guess is her word for CANDY. Because Mama kept YELLING at her saying, "No! No way are you getting any more candy! NO WAY! Tomorrow!" Which makes Little Girl yelp even more, and me cringe... please, I've only got two more stops, don't make me get up and move -- or smack your ass.

Little Girl wasn't having it and kept screaming for DADDY -- so to make her shut up, Mama Idiot smacks her on the bottom hard twice: "No candy!" Which of course give her desired effect -- more howling. To which Mama explains to the entire car, "It's way past her bedtime -- and she's only two and she wants EVERYTHING." Explains everything right? Idiot. Two seconds later Mama gives her the DADDY anyway, with the proviso that "That's all you get tonight or else." Baby hushes up, Mama looks for some kind of audience validation -- and finding none, gets on the cell phone so we can ALL hear about her weekend hell.

I got my luggage and stood downstairs for my stop. How come nincompoops like that get to have kids but I don't?!?!?!

Actually, I do have to correct myself... I told my brother at the recital intermission that Someone Upstairs must've been looking out for the children of the world because if I had had them, I would've worked them to their musical bone -- much worse than Father Osmond or Joe Jackson... so, hm... guess it all works out, huh?

And as I walked to my car at the Burbank train station, I did think I got payback for my mean streak coming out on the train to Solana Beach the day before. I was on a crowded, Friday afternoon commuter and I was sitting in a window seat. I had already planned on getting a little snack in the cafe car (my big adventure for the week) when an older "granola-type" lady sat next to me. I "profiled" her right away: vegetarian, cat-lover and never touched hair-dye Birkenstock-wearing gal. Nice enough, smiled, read the paper.

Uh-oh. I wanted a hot dog something fierce, but I knew the cafe car would be too crowded to eat in there so I'd have to bring it back and probably disgust her to death with all the meat by-products that so deliciously make up my wonderful microwaved hot dog doused in mustard and relish.

But I didn't care! Well, I sort of didn't... the whole 10 minutes in line I kept trying to make it okay to just get potato chips for my salt fix... but finally I told myself to F*CK IT! I'm a grown woman and I can eat what I want wherever I want and it's not against the law to eat pork/beef hot dogs in trains otherwise they wouldn't sell them, right? And if she doesn't like it, she can find some other place to sit -- or stand -- or just suck it up. Wow, I'm a big girl on campus, now aren't I?

One bite, and it took her about two-and-a-half seconds to move across the aisle -- she was lucky enough that a seat opened up. And that made my hot dog taste lousy.

Who's the idiot now?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Cain and Abel" Redux

Closing night curtain call

I admit it: I will NEVER get tired of doing this show. EVER, EVER, EVER. Of course, I miss the two songs we cut -- but if you and your organization are looking to do a short (20 minutes for the complete version) and fun take on this Biblical story with great songs and guaranteed laughs -- you just contact me, you hear?

In the meantime, here are some photos Myrna took of closing night. If it looks like we're outside -- we are! Our "backstage" waiting area was actually out in the frickin' parking lot... ugh! As someone dear on our team said about our fab group -- it's like we had taken THOROUGHBREDS to a dog and pony show... (I'm still really perturbed at what happened there, but don't want to speak to it yet...) so I'll just hold my tongue and celebrate "all the good bits"!

Feel free to click on each picture for a little more commentary. Enjoy! :)

Headshots in the lobby
Headshots in the lobby

The Writers
The Writers

The TEAM -- w/ Myrna and Kellen, less Michele :(

Stephen Van Dorn as CAIN
Stephen Van Dorn as CAIN

John David Wallis as ABEL
John David Wallis as ABEL

Rachel Payne as TRUDY
Rachel Payne as TRUDY

Kelly Lester as EVE
Kelly Lester as EVE

Adam LeBow as GOD
Adam LeBow as GOD

Me in a Abel-and-Cain sandwich
Me in an Abel-and-Cain sandwich

My favorite Mark Twain quote

"If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."

I used to love this because I would forget who I would tell what to, especially if I'd get into "storytelling" mode and depending on who the "audience" was. LOL So now I know if I just keep the FACTS straight (which I have a hard time remembering in the first place anyway, the DRAMA of any story always sounds better)... maybe I'd actually be telling the truth in there somewhere...

After all, this quote is filed in The Quotations Page under HONESTY.

And I remember in high school when I realized that I had a penchant for little baby white lies... depending who my audience was, and what I story I had to tell! I realized this when I found myself even fibbing when people asked me what time it was and I'd say something five minutes off -- JUST BECAUSE. That's weird, isn't it? A control thing maybe? A habit I picked up from my mom? The time part, that is, not the lying -- she's a TERRIBLE liar. If she hates something... well, she won't lie to make you feel better, that's for sure, and there's no padding anything either... bad thing... it takes a lot to get her excited about ANYTHING. The one thing in a blue moon that DOES makes her silly happy -- well, I've discovered as adult that THOSE days are WORTH it, because they're so genuine...

But I digress.

Mom would NEVER tell me what the REAL time was because she knew I would always wait for the last minute to wake up, to get up and MOVE. If we were going to be late for something: "C'mon, it's 9:30, we have to go!" but it's really only 9:00. If it's too late for me doing something at night (it's 11:15 pm) she'll say, "C'mon, it's midnight already, go to bed!"


In any case, I'm loving that quotes I love area falling into my lap -- ones I actually live my life by. I'm not usually a big quote collector... but when I real one passes by, I'll make sure I post it.

By the way, the TRUTH right now is I'm the most broke I've ever been EVER in my life, but other that the little stresses that having no money brings (!), I'm very happy right now! I'm doing a lot of creative work (can't wait to share... soon!!!), I'm cleaning out a lot of old shit in my life and gettin' ready for a Pluto squaring my natal moon starting in February for a frickin' year -- which means "death and destruction for the purpose of rebirth, especially in all things lunar like the home and mother issues"! The only way around this time is THROUGH it... so as Daddy says, "I'm holding on to my ears" and looking forward to what on the other side of this!

And lastly, I know have to tell the truth now, because as I get older... I only remember that which I've written down as the truth. YIKES! Does that happen to you too?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Taxicab Confessions

"If something doesn't turn me on, then it just makes me laugh. How can I go wrong?"

Somehow that statement told to a cab driver by a late-to-the-game dominatrix struck me as a terrific -- and familiar -- life philosophy. I need to remember that these days! My life looks easy going but the continuous STRESS is under the surface but running as hot and deep as magma in a volcano...

Breathe, girl, breathe...

My sleep is completely backwards again -- and while I hate it, I still feel pretty powerless to work on it... that's what happens when you miss a few of your hynotherapist sessions I guess.

Yesterday I did a lot of "checking off" of chores on my list before my monthly writing class (that I'm really behind on...) and put my head down for a few minutes before getting ready... and woke up and hour-and-a-half into class. OH SHIT. I guess I just didn't want to face up to the fact that I'm just BEHIND ON EVERYTHING -- and of course, missing class just makes me more behind and feeling guilty to boot. UGH.

How can one possibly passive-aggressive with MYSELF?

I at least hooked up my piano/computer gizmo and am pushing myself to finish a "rush" song for a collaborator of mine. We talked about in July... but KABOOM, now there's a chance someone can sing it for a Christmas cabaret and we need the demo SATURDAY. Good god!

Fortunately it only took me about an hour to get a decent intro the other night while I waited for him to show up at school... but now I'm a bit stuck, you know, that Perfectionist trait in me and all. But I'm trying to push through that and just get FRICKIN' PROLIFIC. There are more songs where that came from, right?

But the outline for the musical is coming SLOW. Act I feels good -- rough but good. Act II? Oh god... how is this thing gonna END? Is it EVER going to end? Am I ever going to get everything I need to say in this musical on paper, ever? Shit. I just gotta remember I need to say what I need to say NOW. There are more PLAYS where that came from too...

It's 7:49 a.m and I can't decide whether to keep working or lie down... no keep working, I'm not that tired. I can't stand lying in bed wiaitng to fall asleep... I guess I subconsciously LIKE to pass out at the computer...?


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Year of the Filipino

It's been awhile since I've written a "substantial" blog sometimes I wonder if I'm even capable of doing it anymore! Or maybe life has been so rich lately I don't want to stop to record it for fear of this wild ride disappearing... Well, que sera sera...

So many things:
* Got to meet four of the five Filipino actors of The Romance of Magno Rubio: Bernardo Bernardo, Ramon de Ocampo, Jojo Gonzalez and Paolo Montalban (yes, THAT Paolo) and Arthur Acuna was terrifc too. More later.

* This weekend our mini-musical Cain and Abel: The Naked Truth had a three-day run at Actoberfest with John David Wallis and Rachel Payne reprising their roles as Abel and Trudy; Stephen Van Dorn as Cain, Kelly Lester as Eve and Adam LeBow as God. Michele Spears came back to direct and Myrna Emata was the music director. This is a whole post in itself -- the performances were top-notch, the team was great! That's all I'll say for now and will have photos to share soon.

But what inspires the title of this post?

I'm in the middle of breaking out an outline for my next musical, Sailors and Nurses. First of all, I'm so grateful to have two fabulous lyricists to collaborate with -- ANMT-trained and YES, FILIPINAS! Thank you for signing on Allison Johnson and Maureen Borillo... it's gonna be a TRIP... if the bookwriter can get her proverbial sh*t together. Oh wait, that's me!

My classmate, Terri, asked me how it was going -- and I all I could say was "I'm crying a lot. I can't stop crying."

But don't fell sorry for me... I've finally figured out this is my process! It's what happened when I wrote Carabao Bookends and Light Filipino Brown -- and it's when I know I'm telling the truth and writing of my heart. [As I've told many people: I'm like Dorothy Parker:

"I hate writing, I like having written"

-- because a story has to be told. So I wallow in the process, as messy and inconsistent as it is...]


And today, Stephen, the new fellow who played (our third!) Cain so wonderfully this weekend, found out how crazy I am about these songs that are OPM = Original Pilipino Music, like Ikaw. We're backstage this weekend waiting for their curtain call and he starts singing this song, Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang, in pure, beautiful Tagalog... a song his co-star, Carol Banawa (a famous TV star/singer in the Philippines) taught him while they were in a biblical extravaganza of a musical in Singapore called Judah Ben-Hur.

Oh dear. Talk about completely melting. More watery eyeballs. And to hear this fabulous voiced white boy sing it... good grief, I'm on another planet.


We find out last night we didn't make the finals... it's a long, long night. But I woke up: and there's a beautiful serenade of Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang on my voicemail from my new friend Stephen, singing the duet with his friend, Mel.

Now I'm just a bowl of jelly. I've never received a song that way before, EVER. And of course, it's just opening up more and more STUFF for me to write about...

Thank you, Stephen. You don't know how magical that was. Sailors and Nurses will be all the more truthful because of that gesture, you have no idea.

Here's a YouTube duet version of it and an English translation -- yeah, you better believe I'm gonna learn this one!


Why only now...
Why only is it now that my heart needs?
It now has found out...

I wish that I'd found out
That you would come into my life
Then I would have waited


You were supposed to have been the one for me to hug
Your hand always for me to hold instead of hers


Why only now....
Is it that you arrive in my life
I'm forcing to open my closed heart
You are the only one for me
Even though I want to forget you
I want to know...why is is now that you arrive in my life?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Orquesta Juvenil Simón Bolivar

Myrna sent this clip to me -- wow! Not only do I LOVE anything "West Side Story" -- the fact that there are so many TALENTED kids making such terrific music together and having fun... it really reminded me so much of high school band! Four years of that with your bestest friends -- and when you're ON...


Parents -- get your kids in playing with a group! (IMHO, there are too many soloists and piano players who have NO CLUE how to keep up a tempo because they don't have to play with anyone else...) Not only will they learn how to respect authority, learn to play together for the highest good... they will develop life long friends and have an appreciation for ensemble music like no other.

Needless to say, I cried like a baby watching this.

And here's the whole WWS Dance Suite with the kids in concert black:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Kids say the darndest things...

Do we have to evaporate?

My dear "sorta" cousin, Mark sent this note about what his daughter, Jacqui, said "in reference to the Harris Fire (San Diego area) as we packed our valuables and prepared to evacuate. I think we'd all like to EVAPORATE once in awhile..."

You go, Girl.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The HELLO LOVE Experiment

This is who we are... and what we do. And there's a tour you can donate to too...

(BTW, tell me you love this, as I cut this piece together :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Pug Bowling!

Couldn't resist... make sure you stay for the "follow-up" at the end. :)

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I've had a little more than a half bottle of white wine on an empty stomach at a friend's house who is going to play Macbeth in in a show this fall -- how cool is that, how many people actually can say they know a Macbeth/Hamlet?!) and it's the first time I'm blogging "under the influence." I wish I had enough money/time/gas/sobriety to go to the Thai restaurant that Prince G. was talking about here -- but fortunately for the CHP and the Burbank P.D., I'm safely at home and can only do damage as I type. Man, I'm hungry!

Life has been really full this weekend -- event/appt after event/appt -- so much so, I've actually been SLEEPY and overwhelmed. I wish the wonderful hypnotherapist I've been seeing could only know the success he's/we've made in this (sleep) regard!

Just bulleting because I feel like I'm gonna LOSE it -- and the Scott Baio show comes on in 50 minutes:

* Saw "The Bourne Ultimatum" last night with Jeffrey at the Arclight -- we had dinner there too. I LOVE THAT THEATRE -- you get assigned seats so there's no line-waiting, and though there are previews (YAY!), there are no COMMERICALS.

* I also LOVE that movie. For all the fab car chases and fighting... it was all worth it. The "Ultimatum" only stands there as INTENSE as the "choice" of "Sophie's Choice" -- the quiet core of the film. SO F*CKING WORTH IT -- go spend that $$ NOW on Matt Damon -- I mean it: N.O.W.!

* I also LOVE that theatre because -- well that was the first time I'd been there at a 7:50 show on a Saturday night -- and I was so comfortable because Kathy Griffin's gays were there! HAHHA Actually, what I told Jeffrey was it felt so comfortable... it really was the hotspot to see a film... and if I was a straight man... well, it would take a very comfortable-with-himself straight man to hang out there! So many wonderful gay men there... was so... COMFORTABLE! I keep going back to the word "comfortable." It really is THE PLACE to see a film.

* Why the hell is it spelled "theatre" as opposed to "theatER" What's the difference and the correct usage? I just want to be "correct" about it... because I really have no idea, and I think I better figure it out if I'm gonna be workin' in it.

* Was the "audition monitor" for the Perfomance workshop at ANMT Saturday -- wow, how fun is that to hear people auditioning on THIS side of the table. (Okay, so I was looking to get a head start on the talent coming through... SSH!)

* I babysat today and it was a big YOUTUBE adventure with my charge. She's really loving "A Whole New World" from Aladdin, so we watched the recording of it with Lea Salonga and Brad Kane over and over. (Someday I'll write a whole entry about Lea... she's one of those BALINGKINITAN (slender/pretty) girls that I've ALWAYS been jealous of growing up... and the fact that she's a soprano just about tops it for me... anyway, another day, another blog post.

But here's the video:

One story about "A Whole New World" -- when it first came out I showed the song from the video to a friend of mine who had a five-year-old and three-year-old and had been married for about six or seven years. She was in town from Holland -- and as soon as it was over said:

"Do you REALLY think it's like that? All love and adventure?! It's not like that. Marriage isn't like that at all."

I've never forgotten that... but I'll also never stop hoping it is.

Oops... timer's on. Time for Scott Baio on VH1!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Pastrami -- I Curse You!

Never again! Slap me if I do this again...

My stomach is so upset... lately I've been thanking the heavens for TUMS... and like I've completely lost the skill of feeding myself healthily. YIKES.

It's Stress, DefCon 4.5... ugh.

It's good that food is not MY COMFORT anymore -- but hey, I'm ready to let go of it being TORTURE. Goodbye!

And if anyone's up at wants to play -- geez Louise -- CALL ME!!!

Early Morning at Sitton's

It's 4;27 am and I'm just back from a couple of hours by myself at Sitton's NoHo Diner -- an almost regular hangout after classes at ANMT with the girls, but tonight I had to get the f*ck out of the house... and Harry's in Burbank just isn't cuttin' it anymore. Can't deal with truck drivers, cops and no Ricardo...

So I bring the notebook and go into the backroom -- the waitresses now are asking where my friends are -- tonight, it's just me and the hundreds of 8x10s of old movie stars on the wall staring at me in the face. Much more atmosphere than Harry's... tonight, the very loud table of three next to me has just come back from a club.

Chelsea apparently has kissed her first girl tonight and she's cussing up a storm and a bit freaked out, especially since she thinks "the kissee" was Lindsay Lohan's ex-girlfriend. HUH? And Dave and J, his girlfriend, are teasing her so much she decides to get a STEAK with her eggs, to prove "I'm not into tuna -- I want MEAT." HAHAHA!

Dave, who's a bit older, asks me if I'm offended by their talk -- and I can only laugh because Chelsea is one good swearer -- got quite a knack for it, and she reminds me of myself...

Only at Sitton's! Very exciting. Last time we were singing "Always and Forever" with three young black kids singing their guts out; before that, Hillary and I ran into people listening to us and asked us about doing book for a composer who HAS no book for his musical...

The waitresses now know me and I feel taken care of -- I think I've found a home away from home in the middle of the night. Thank goodness.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


While we're on the subject of Filipinos -- here's my favorite Tagalog song (granted I don't know many!). I heard sung as a duet at my brother and sister-in-law's housewarming party... didn't know what it was about, but I cried like a baby. OPM -- Original Pilipino Music -- well, those composers sure know how to write a ballad, doesn't matter WHAT language it's in.

It's sung here by superstar Regine Velasquez.

"Ikaw" means "You." And dammit if I won't have that sung at MY wedding...

Filipino Name Generator

If you get to know any Filipino closely, you will eventually get to know his or her REAL name -- something really crazy and funky because -- Filipinos are just like that.

Now that I've started to outline my next play, I've got a zillion Filipinos, young and old, to name and nickname. How fortunate I've found this generator!

My Pinoy Name is

Aileen Rosamaria Starshine Magbitang.
Take The Filipino Name Generator today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.

So what's YOUR Filipino name?

(BTW, I like the name I gave MYSELF better than anything else ;)

I'm legit -- I'm on YouTube!

Well... my NAME is anyhow. Enjoy!

Cain and Abel: The Naked Truth

Book by Myrna Emata
Music by Madley Katarungan
Lyrics by Kellen Blair
(Songs are sung in order)

"New Eden" (Amy Reiss, John David Wallis)

"Every Time You Fall" (Leighton Grampp, John David Wallis)

"One Button at a Time" (Rachel Payne, John David Wallis)

"See the Light" (Brent Schindele, Rachel Payne)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

"Zanna, Don't!"

I saw this last night with AJ -- what a fun show!

And of course, that's Brent Schindele there, the football player, second from the left.

Zanna, Don't!

Welcome to Heartsville, U.S.A. -- where gay is good, chess is cooler than football, and the Army has a strict "Don't ask, don't tell" policy for heterosexuals. Here at Heartsville High, Zanna, the school's magical matchmaker is busy keeping everyone in town happily, homosexually paired up ... until all hell breaks loose when quarterback Steve falls in love with overachiever, Kate. Can a straight boy and straight girl find happiness in this topsy-turvy world?

It's a sweet and funny show with an energetic and talented cast in an intimate little theater -- go see it if you have a chance (closes in September). For more info: West Coast Ensemble.

Zanna, Don't!We waited afterwards to say hello and congrats to Brent, then AJ and I got a bite at Fred 62 on Vermont (their Mac Daddy Cheese Balls are AMAZING). Just as we were leaving, a familiar shock of spiked hair went by and I couldn't help myself but call out:


He turned, and yes, it was Danny Calvert, who had just played Zanna (center in photo) that night! He was there with another cast member, Dan Pacheco ("Mike", who's giving Brent a smooch above) -- we introduced ourselves (friends of Brent and composers from the Academy of New Musical Theatre -- hey, we have a rep!) and congratulated them on a great job... lots of smiles all around!

As AJ and I were walking out, I told her that one of my friends always laughs at me because she thought it was odd that here (and especially when I lived in NY) I always see someone I know when I go to these things -- public events -- and it happened at the theatre tonight, and then at the restaurant.

My secret? I look UP. Most people don't look up! Plus I like to tell myself that I'll see someone I know, so maybe it's part self-fulfilling prophecy too. In any case -- it's fun!

Fab night, go see "Zanna, Don't!"

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Who said it wasn't in our BLOOD?

Filipinos as the ultimate entertainers -- who thought of this, anyway? What, is this their exercise time? Did they pay the prisoners, what US$2.00/day to do this, or were they having so much fun and were to "ashamed" to know to ask for it? Well anyway, does it matter? We love a camera, don't we?

And usually I think Filipino trannies are the most beautiful in the world -- here... um, not so much.


Monday, July 23, 2007


sjThis is Star Jones now. I'm shocked. Apparently she's ready to "spill" about how she did it. I'll still never trust her.

Personal DNA

Haven't done a quiz in a long time -- how fun! I LOVE that I'm scored as a "CREATOR" :) Mouse over the different colored boxes to how I scored on certain things -- good to know I scored really low on "masculinity"!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

In Praise of Actors

It's an unbelievable process to have your material interpreted by actors. Musicals don't exist on paper... they have to be brought to life by folks as talented as these "Red Team" actors are!

I'm so grateful we had such a great group... damn, the life of an actor is really difficult, yet they're so willing to share of themselves like this... Thanks forever, guys!

(All photos by Myrna Emata)

John David Wallis, Amy Reiss, Leighton Grampp, Rachel Payne, Christopher Carothers
Second Assessment (May 12, 2007): John David Wallis, Amy Reiss, Leighton Grampp, Rachel Payne and Christopher Carothers (our original Cain).

Amy Reiss, Rachel Payne, Leighton Grampp, Brent Schindele
Rehearsal (June 13, 2007): Amy Reiss, Leighton Grampp, Rachel Payne and Brent Schindele in In the Nick of Time by Hillary Rollins, Tara Redepenning and Darin Goulet.

Cain and Abel:  The Naked Truth -- with Rachel Payne (Trudy), Amy Reiss (Eve), John David Wallis (Abel) and Brent Schindele (our new Cain).
Cain and Abel: The Naked Truth with Rachel Payne (Trudy), Amy Reiss (Eve), John David Wallis (Abel) and Brent Schindele (our new Cain) doing "New Eden."

John David Wallis (Abel) and Leighton Grampp (God).
John David Wallis (Abel) and Leighton Grampp (God) in "Every Time You Fall."

Rachel Payne (Trudy) looks on as Brent Schindele (Cain) sings See the Light
Rachel Payne (Trudy) looks on as Brent Schindele (Cain) sings See the Light.
Rachel Payne (Trudy) looks on as Brent Schindele (Cain) sings "See the Light."

Leighton Grampp Leighton Grampp

Brent Schindele Brent Schindele

Amy Reiss Amy Reiss

John David Wallis John David Wallis

Rachel Payne Rachel Payne

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Scott Baio is 45 and Single

VH1 is debuting a reality show tomorrow night called:

Scott Baio is 45 and Single

You can click on the link above and watch the whole show.

Scott BaioWow. I used to adore THIS Scott Baio... used to cut class at Oxy so I could take the bus from Eagle Rock to Hollywood's Paramount Studios to wait ouside on a Friday to get into dress rehearsals and tapings of "Happy Days." Pathetic, huh? Well, part of my reason of going to Los Angeles to college -- so I could go to these damn tapings! (There's more neurotic/fan stuff I did -- we don't need to go there!)

I was at least right about Los Angeles -- except for two years in NYC, I've never left. And the day I actually worked on the Paramount lot -- oh, that was a private Happy Day. :)

But this show -- he's sarcastic and afraid and funny and nervous of commitment -- and shit, it's the same frickin' life I'm leading, 47 and single. Same issues too (watch it because I can't describe it). How the hell did he/I/we end up like this?!?!?!?!? What the fuck went wrong here?

I'm gonna be watching him and his life coach "Dark Alley" ("Doc Allie") really close -- I've gotta learn something too, right? Especially since I'm not seeing good old Norm the Hearing Challenged Therapist for awhile... yikes.

Good luck, Scott. Really.

Edited 7/18 to add: The V-Spot video extras are fabulous!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

"You're Nothing Without Me"

It's amazing when you live in a big town like Los Angeles what you can do for absolutely NOTHING. And mind you, lately, that's exactly what my budget has been: absolutely ZIP, ZERO, NADA, ZILCH.

Yet, in wonderful downtown Burbank, I went to a FREE big band concert outside in the evening in front of the AMC Plaza -- a cool group called the Royal Crown Revue that played big band, swing and blues (7-9 pm) and had a big dance floor in the front... I can't tell you how happy it made me... just cheery! Old people, kids, swing dancers dressed up, non-dancers learning how to do it (there's a free dance class an hour before by Francisco and Stacey too, but I missed it this time). Unfortunately now I have a class on Thursday nights, but if you get a chance to wander on over, have an Cold Stone Ice Cream or Ben and Jerry's... it's Thursdays until the end of August, from 6-7 (dance lesson), 7-9 pm (live band, different ones each week) at Palm/San Fernando.

Karen Benjamin and Alan ChapmanSaturday night at the California Plaza downtown, I went to a FREE concert of my favorite cabaret duo (and Oxy-ites), Karen Benjamin and Alan Chapman, with special guest, the fab and expressive bassist Jennifer Leitham. There's a mini-amphitheater there, surrounded by beautiful waterworks, and Myrna happened to be working that until 6:00 pm that evening a block away -- talk about blowing my mind. A full show, outside in the beautiful evening -- my favorite piece was a merging of two Irving Berlin songs, "Sayonara" and "What'll I Do." It was so clean and clear... the tears bypassed the heart and fell straight out of my eyes. Geez, that was good! And I haven't even really said "Goodbye" to anyone, sorry, not true (sort of, yes, I'm being cagey)... or was it just such a universal feeling delivered straight up that got me? Delicious.

(What else was fun -- I ran into a fellow Oxy classmate that I used sing with in Glee Club, Amy Fogerson, who sings with the LA Master Chorale... how cool was that, since we haven't seen each other for 25 years? Yikes. And BTW, Jeffrey, Karen wishes you well and says you should call her for those lessons!!!)

Then of course, my favorite past time lately: YouTube!

Kellen and Madley

My poor collaborators -- when we were in driving on our way to Palm Springs for our writing weekend (and yes, that's Kellen filming me/us at the timeshare for the ANMT documentary... more on that later!), Kellen had made a CD for us that had the kind of feel for what we were trying to write -- and here was this cool-ass song from "City of Angels" called "You're Nothing Without Me."

OMG, I fell in love with it! Probably because it's big band, that always reminds me of high school jazz band. It's a writer, Stine (in browns), singing with/to/about a character he wrote, Stone (in black and white -- get it?!) -- and how they're nothing without each other! So clever, happy, syncopated... and I made poor Myrna play it over and over again in the car! Couldn't stop snapping my fingers!

And of course, good old YouTube has a sweet high school version of it -- pretty good for my money, even though they did tame down the lyric of "Your broads in bed are bored" (!) Though I do love the line: "Your pen is no match for my sword"! And the enthusiasm from the crowd -- isn't that just the best?!

You are some gumshoe
You just don't think well
Get this, dumb gumshoe,
You come from my inkwell

Is your mouth lonely
With one foot in there
Stone, your brain only
Holds thoughts I put in there

Just what you are I'll spell out
You are a novel pain
One speck of lint that fell out
The last time that I picked my brain

You are so jealous
Of my track record
Tolstoy, do tell us
Your feeble hack record

Your weak knees brand you
Soft and unstable
One small threat and you
Fold like a card table

You drool at my adventures
Your broads in bed are bored
Go home and soak your dentures
Your pen is no match for my sword

You're nothing without me
A "no one" who'd go undefined
You wouldn't exist
You'd never be missed

I tell you you're out of my mind

A show off, a blowhard
You're equal parts hot air and gall
And no one would doubt me
Without me you're nothing at all

You're in my plot
I'm still your creator
I call each shot
I'm your private dictator

You are so thick, you
Eat, breathe, sleep fiction
I'm your meal ticket
Knee-deep in cheap fiction

You gloating ignoramus
You haven't any shame

Hey, I'm a famous Seamus
And most people don't know your name

You're nothing without me
Without me you'd just disappear
Right into thin air
And no one would care
Or notice you ever were there

A puppet, an upstart
A loser who's destined to fall
I'm everything you always wanted to be
Let's deal with the issue:
You wish you were me
You're nothing without me
Without me you're nothing ...

(To prove his dominance over STONE, STINE resumes typing,
reactivating MUNOZ, who steps back into the light)

(Spoken, to STONE)
Let's go!

Manny, wait!

I said, keep my name out of your mouth!

(MUNOZ punches STONE hard, in the stomach, sending STONE to his knees.
STONE stares at STINE, a character betrayed)

You bastard!

(STINE, ignoring him, types four letters)

(Types three more letters)
(And the LIGHTS do just that, on MUNOZ and STONE. Then:)

(Sings, triumphantly)
You're nothing without me
Without me you're nothing at all.

Happy Days!

Monday, July 09, 2007


FYI, that's a fun song from the musical "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"! (In high school I got to play Lucy :)

My cousin sent me these photos from the opening night party at PF Changs:

'Cain and Abel:  The Naked Truth' writers
The writers of "Cain and Abel: The Naked Truth" -- Myrna Emata (book), Kellen Blair (lyrics), Madley Katarungan (music).

How tall/How short?
Kellen's 6'1"... we're not. Kellen's 23... we're not that either.


(Edited 7/17 to add these second night photos)

'Cain and Abel:  The Naked Truth' writers - 2nd night show

'Cain and Abel:  The Naked Truth' writers - 2nd night show

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Christmas in July

In summer theatre at Oxy, one of the parties we always had was a Christmas in July party. It was fun to do, when the evenings were a beautiful 75 degrees...

It came to mind tonight, as it's warm, and I had dinner with a dear friend of 20 years... and I found a "Christmas in July" XM music station on After ten minutes, I heard my favorite version of my second favorite Christmas song:

"Have Yourself a Merry Christmas" by Jermaine Jackson and the Jackson Five. Wow! Shot out of the past. Short of that, I found this video from Ally McBeal -- which is always how I feel, every single Christmas SAVE ONE (my boyfriend at the time actually came up to meet my family).

Funny, I was just telling another friend the Christmas ritual for number of years -- no matter where I was, I would be get home to Newark and my family would try get it together to go to Midnight Mass together. Over the years, it would be hard, because people were coming from different places, grandkids would be sleeping, old people didn't want to stay awake, and other of us didn't want to have to sit and wait an hour to get a seat in the small church.

But back when it was a regular thing, I remember I'd just come from New York, December 1986, after my first six months there working on a TV show. And I was in CRUSH... Big Time. With my boss (who was almost exactly one year older than me):

This guy, when he had long and curly, Adrian Grenier (his alter ego) hair. :)

I just remember that THAT hour before mass was different. We were listening to some Christmas music played by the organist, and I was loving the smell of church incense... but I was also daydreaming of the new life I'd created in Manhattan (I saw my first snow!). The show I was on had just been cancelled so I even had a new job... and I never knew when I'd ever seen David Frankel (or our boss, Norman Steinberg) again... but I was optimistic about life.

And at one point I just turned to my mom and said, "Mom, where do you think I'll be this time next year?"

Without hesitation, she said, "Right here, sitting with me."

At the moment, I was greatly comforted by that thought, but I also remember praying for there to be a SOMEONE ELSE there too... Hey there -- knock, knock, knock.

(No answer. Yet.)

My favorite Christmas song? "Merry Christmas, Darling" by the Carpenters. Of course... of course. :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Too Much in Love to Care"

Don't ask me if I'm in love, because that's not the point of this one. Well, sorta. That's another post for another day.

I'm doing some work on the computer right now and I'm losing it over this song from Sunset Blvd, a show I saw at the now non-existent Shubert Theater. I hated it... but the music has gotten to me.

Especially as I'm wondering what kind of frickin' show I'm working on next year... believe me, I'm worried about it. My outlining class begins in two days and I'm antsy to jump in again... doing the show and gave me a wonderful taste. I want the whole meal now!

People are teaming up, talking about stories, ideas, etc... and I'm hanging out there with some ideas I want to generate myself, so I'm waiting on getting collaborators... AARGHHHHHH! Be Thursday already!

In any case... I'm liking this song.

And hey, I just found an Australian documentary on Hugh Jackman playing Joe Gillis on would've loved to have seen him do this song (he talks/sings/rehearses it at 6:24 -- he was pretty young and perfect for it...


When I was a kid, I played on this street
I always loved illusion
I thought make-believe was truer than life
But now it's all confusion
Please, can you tell me what's happening?
I just don't know anymore
If this is real, how should I feel?
What should I look for?

If you were smart, you would keep on walking
Out of my life as fast as you can
I'm not the one you should pin your hopes on
You're falling for the wrong kind of man
This is crazy! You know we should call it a day
Sound advice, great advice
Let's throw it away

I can't control all the things I'm feeling
I haven't got a prayer
If I'm a fool, well
I'm too much in love to care

I knew where I was, I'd given up hope
Made friends with disillusion
No one in my life, but I look at you
And now it's all confusion

Please, can you tell me what's happening?
I just don't know anymore
If this is real, how should I feel?
What should I look for?

I thought I had everything I needed
My life was set, my dreams were in place
My heart could see way into the future
All of that goes when I see your face

I should hate you
There I was, the world in my hand
Can one kiss, kiss away
Everything I planned?

I can't control all the things I'm feeling
I'm floating in mid-air
I know it's wrong, but,
I'm too much in love to care

I thought I had everything I needed
My life was set, my dreams were in place
My heart could see way into the future
All of that goes when I see your face
This is crazy! You know we should call it a day

Sound advice

Great advice

Let's throw it away...
I can't control all the things I'm feeling
We're floating in mid-air
If we are fools, well,
We're too much in love to care
If we are fools, well,
We're too much in love to care!

Edited 7/8/07 to add video of Hugh doing Gaston in Beauty and the Beast... wish I coulda seen that!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

All Done!

I wish I had a camera to take pictures of the beautiful flowers I got Lu, Mer and Heidi/Andrew... I feel blessed to have these much love in my house.

It's over. WHEW! Even MORE people there tonight, they were overflowing... and the casts were GREAT! So weird to have an opening and closing next to each other...

Jeff Marx said after the Tony awards he wrote a 12-page detailed account of his night so he'd never forget it -- and so he could share it.

But I can't write right now. I went to tonight's cast party, talked a lot, got intimidated a little, then couldn't stand being in my own skin, snuck out and talked to a friend from long ago who'd come tonight but had also been the very first reading of my very first play in its very first incarnation (there were four people listening and he was one of them). So he knew me "when" and he could speak specifics tonight, as well as SMACK. He calmed me down as I was parked somewhere in Sherman Oaks/Van Nuys... enough so I think I can lie down tonight and pretend to rest.

Actually, I got a little "emotional" seeing two actors walk off with each other tonight at the party... and I got an idea for show... so I'm going to jot some stuff down right now...

NOTE TO SELF: Why is it when I feel "emotions" -- I feel like the only relief or duty is to write/tell about it. Maybe I'm artist. Or maybe I just can't HANDLE all that drama... and I have to put in a show, in actors' mouths, to relieve myself of the pain...


Okay... more later.

Congrats, Me!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

One Show Down, One More to Go...

I'm very, very proud.

And then life gets normal again?

What IS normal anyway?

And I got a beautiful haircut.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Going Out of My Head

Last night I fell asleep (1) at the computer and then (2) in my living room chair, sitting up.

I'm feeling a bit loose in the old noggin' lately... I'm having a hard time relaxing, I hate lying down...

UGH. So I'm going out to play instead. Isn't 12:36 AM the magic hour anyway?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Health, Wealth, Love and Self-Expression

I can't even remember where I learned about that "four-square of life" -- was it Religious Science so many moons ago? In any case, I do remember that it's a way to check if your life is in balance. And what I figured out right now is that one box, the SELF-EXPRESSION one is full! Rich and so incredibly satisfying... this musical theater business is.

And guess what? That only shows you how incredibly OUT OF BALANCE all the other frickin' boxes are. All three of them...

I went back to my therapist after a few weeks off, and we'll have another few weeks off because of vacations, etc. We are also changing our time because I can't stand driving across LA for an 11AM appointment when I'm keeping these weird hours. But I did "reamed" this last time.

He said, "You know, I think it's time we really talk about what you came here for."

I curled up into a big ball on the couch.

"You're pretty much running your life the way you want it now, which is great and I have no judgments at all about it -- everything seems okay to you, and this musical theater actually makes you really happy. But you're not talking about what actually brought you here in the first place last year."


"I think you really want a relationship."

UGH. First thing I wanted to do is lash out: "No WAY! And I don't feel like to talking to YOU about it." But I'm no idiot... that was my first reactive and defensive thought. Next, it all came dripping out:

I cannot BEAR coming home to this lonely house anymore. It's not enough to just "long" for absolutely inappropriate and unavailable actors/muses. Or daydream about the great stories I'll tell through my music and plays... I'M ALREADY DOING THAT.

I want something real... A REAL RELATIONSHIP with someone who actually wants to be with ME... and that means I have to deal with the loathing of...

UGH, I can't even talk about it anymore. Barbra Streisand/Kristin Chenoweth's song "Nobody's Heart (Belongs to Me)" says it...

Nobody's heart belongs to me,
Heigh-ho! Who cares?
Nobody writes his songs to me,
No one belongs to me,
That's the least of my cares.

I may be sad at times,
And disinclined to play.
But it's not bad at time,
To go your own sweet way.

Nobody's arms belong to me,
No arms feel strong to me,
I admire the moon.
As a moon, just a moon.
Nobody's heart belongs to me today.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

New Cain

Brent SchindeleIt's been two weeks since we delivered our final draft and lots of things have happened since then... I'll catch up with it all later. (Going to a Tony Awards party and still debating whether or not I should slave over a hot stove and fry some lumpia...)

Went to my first rehearsal with and am so pleased to have met our new Cain, Brent Schindele. How did we luck out to get ANOTHER fantastic singer/actor -- the gods must be with us.

He's a whole different energy than Christopher Carothers, which didn't take long to get used to at all. But it does show me how DIFFERENT a role can be depending on the performer. I don't know if we would've written it any different if we'd seen Brent first -- he's quite the energetic one and very funny... Christopher was more "sensitive" and has a sweet quality to his singing -- but sadly, Christopher also never got a fully-realized script to work from.

Michele SpearsAnyhoo, I'm quite pleased -- more than pleased -- with how the whole show is going. Michele Spears, our director is TERRIFIC, and gets that our play can handle all the "BIGNESS" (yes, it's that broad of a play... who knew?).

I was given a Christmas present last night of seeing the show "Wicked" again in Hollywood -- right after this fab rehearsal -- mind you, and I was in HEAVEN. I told Lu that I've never been so happy in my life -- I'VE FINALLY FOUND SOMETHING I LOVE, UNEQUIVOCALLY! It's such a relief -- and yes, such bliss.

I am so looking forward to this next week and sharing it with my friends and family... and I'm already brewing about my next project (after the recital, of course!). Brew, brew...

P.S. I'm not gonna fry lumpia -- I'll bring purple (ube) ice cream instead. Trying to stay stress-free!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Closing Night Party

The Red Team had its final reading last night. As we had Triple Mousse Cake from Porto's for Kellen's birthday, someone mentioned it felt like a closing night party!

Each of the three mini-musicals had done absolutely wonders the last 10 days after the Second Assessment -- and we all had very tight, lovely shows! "The Liar" went first and was an impressive 21 minutes so they (we all) have two days to make 6 minutes of cuts. It's so wonderful to "get" that show now -- it's really clear and sweet and I actually like the main character, "Melvin."

"In the Nick of Time" (formerly "Mamarama") came in at an amazing 16 minutes -- amazing because after the First Assessment it came in at 31! They basically cut their show in half, and ended up with such an original, fast-moving -- and ultimately very touching show! The last song, Nickety Nick, really moved me in its simplicity and lyric... it came at the perfect time in the show and was set up beautifully... I'm still so impressed with this show! Hillary, the lyricist, could not believe it was possible to cut it when it was 22 minutes, but her collaborators, married couple Darin and Tara, have been writing and producing children's musicals for years now, and they did a fine job of making a super-tight, edgy show.

Our show -- I never had so much fun! I, like Kellen, was worried that what we thought was funny to us was ONLY funny to us -- working so hard on something you don't know if you're perspective works correctly. Fortunately, Elise and Scott, who played all five parts, picked up the "timbre" of script right away. They played it for the comedy -- quick, madcap, melodrama -- that it was, as after two or three speeches into the first scene, I closed my book, relaxed and enjoyed the show.

Okay, that was an understatement -- IT WAS A HOOT and I was laughing my guts out! YAY! The show was out of our hands and into the hands of professionals -- and it's funny!!! I was knee-slapping at the very end... and fortunately, not just because we wrote it, but because it was a success.

We came in at a surprising 19:58 -- five minutes of cuts tonight and we're done.

Whew. It was a great Closing Night Party. Now we go into a different phase -- production. And as a writer -- well, we're basically consultants now. That's okay.

As Maureen says in her blog, gotta start thinking about next year.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Final Draft Assessment (for TIME)

Kellen BlairThe directors of the Academy will be singing/reading the Red Team's final draft tonight for time (we have to be at 15 minutes - last night we timed at 22-23 ourselves) -- holy shit, I AM EXHAUSTED. [But at least all the copies are made, we'll be there on time, and we have one last chance to make our final changes before script is locked this Thursday (May 24)].

WOW -- Not a lot of sleep, completely obsessed about this show and everything it entails -- from getting tickets, to writing every night, to getting gas money to go out to Santa Monica, to being fed all the time by our wonderful host, Myrna, to show night guests, to what the hell am I wearing, to Actors Nightmare dreams, to wondering if our new Cain will be able to sing a high Bb well, and wondering what the old Cain is... no, that's stopping right now.

And what May 23rd means: NO MORE LA-LA LAND FOR ME NOW. Time to grow up.

pspringsTomorrow is our lyricist Kellen's birthday -- he shares it with Ilia, and May 23rd has always been a big marker for me too. So it's completely appropros that I'm priviledged to meet and work with such a wunderkind as Kellen -- oh yes, did I mention that's he's brilliant, clever, kind, and incredibly funny? Life is good -- talk about a breath of fresh air.

The pictures are from our Palm Springs working (and mostly moving) weekend -- check out our working setup! Myrna was behind the camera most of the time -- avoiding get her pic taken!

Sunday, May 13, 2007


We found out today at the assessment that we may lose our Cain -- Christopher Carothers -- to another job. We're devastated, and I can barely contain myself. Do all writers/producers go through this disappointment when shit happens in the middle of a project? Because it's unbearable.

I did get to hear "See the Light" sung by him though. What an absolute joy.

Edited to add:

I've journaled, I've sent emails, I've shed many a... well, I've had my pouty day already. As heartbreaking as it all still is, we're meeting tonight to fix our show.

Edited even later to add:

I got the .mp3 of yesterday's assessment and his performance. The arrangement wasn't complete, some melodies have changed... but there it is. I will at least have this crazy .mp3 of the way it's supposed to be sung. Thanks, Christopher.

And our meeting tonight -- what a strong outline we have now! Very proud of my team.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

"See the Light"

Coming into rehearsal tonight by myself, I ran into the tail end of the Performers Workshop last-day-of-class party and saw my man, Sylvin, who sang my song at the cabaret a few months back.

What a joy to see him! He kissed and hugged me and we were all smiles and at the moment it seemed like we were each the President of The Mutual Appreciation Society! I adore the man... and the fact that he's sung the role of Lt. Cable in South Pacific -- well, that's pretty dreamy, dontcha think?

Not that I want that same reaction exactly (MAUREEN and JEFFREY G!), I swear.

BTW, here's the last big number we're working on (power ballad time!) called "See the Light." The lyrics are so darn funny (Kellen, aka Genius Boy) but I'll just give you the music for right now. It still makes me a bit goose-bumpy because of the fellow who inspired it (I'll never tell -- not here anyway)... this only the first two "A" sections.

Hope you like it.

"See the Light"

Edited to add: Okay, okay, I'll be honest with myself. These ballad-y type of things remind me that YES, someday I DO want to be in love and be loved by the appropriate guy. There. I said it. Someday.

"Phobias and Fetishes"

First of all, here's the poster/info for the show(s). Don't let the spider or the foot scare you -- just CLICK ON PHOTO to read!

Wow, what a wild week it's been.

My collaborators and I went to Palm Springs to stay at Myrna's timeshare -- but she could only get into on Sunday. So we got there Saturday night, stayed in a hotel with our desktop PC, electronic keyboard and midi set-up, printer, one lap top, one roll-up piano, two beds and a lot of snacks. Then after what we jokingly call "sleeping together and snoring together" (of course the snoring was just ME), we checked out, had lunch, then finally got to the beautiful timeshare (that IMHO had way too many kids at it).

We set up all our gear again, as Myrna says: "At least we get to look outside AT the pool." At one point I felt like I was in college again: we were all in the same room, but working on all our separate chores. Kellen was on the couch on his laptop with the lyrics, Myrna was on the PC fixing the book, and I was sitting at the coffee table with a pair of headsets on and the roll-up piano trying to use a miserable motif all the composers had to use. (Gb-Ab-Bb-E-Db-G -- yikes!) But it was cool to work like that... at any time we could ask our collaborator a question and not call a meeting or a email or dial them up. Just holler. :)

[In any case, I highly recommend going off somewhere with your collaborators early in the process. No distractions, and there's nothing like a shared obsession to bond writing partners together like this! Although we all get away from each other if we needed it (especially Kellen had to get away from us yakkety girls), it was a great experience. I will almost demand it next time I start up another musical (ooh, did I just say that?!?)...]

Then we had to leave at 1:00 pm, no matter what, for the two-hour drive back to LA. Kellen drove, Myrna and he yakked, I snored some more. Then we hauled all that stuff back upstairs, Kell left because he had to work in the a.m. Myrna and I worked more until about 5:00 when we both napped, and then I drove her downtown to work at 7:00 am.

And we still had to get our 12 copies of the script/music in by 10:30 pm that night! Yikes! Our goal was to have a full, complete script with all the music (no lyrics standing alone), even if the songs themselves weren't completely realized (accompaniment done) but at least there would be a melody. So we reached that goal. But it nearly killed us -- all 94 pages worth -- and nearly gave Kellen a heart attack. Poor guy! And he had to film us (as he did the whole weekend) for the darn documentary -- I dropped Myrna off and he shot video of her running into the ANMT door at 10:21 pm. UGH. If we didn't get it in, we would have lost this whole next rehearsal period and had to wait for our final draft assessment... that would have been terrible.

I know we're going to be long for Saturday's assessment -- unfortunate too, because Kell and I weren't able to read the book before we got published. Drat. Oh well, next assessment. And then I made some dumb mistakes in not changing some dialogue and lyrics in the score... oh, the formatting tedious is so sometimes, I just want scream.

Oh wait, I did that -- scream. A lot. And swore a lot too and got pretty dang testy (at myself). Hopefully you won't see my bleeped-out ass all over that docu, but who knows...


In any case, last night we went to the first rehearsal we (the writers) were allowed to go to... and some songs were a joy to hear being sung. My favorite new one is "See the Light" that's still not finished (we'll be hear a lot of melody being plunked out on Saturday)...

Today I was feeling a bit melancholy as I knew it was time to let our "baby" go live in the actors. Which is great -- as I've said before, I'm tired of hearing myself hum this stuff. It so strange, we were sitting there, and I THINK they knew we were the "Naked Truth" writers... but we were barely acknowledged as such by them. That was really weird! I'm not used to that... when I'm in production, I want to say hello to everyone and know who the hell everyone is there and what they do and thank them for it. But it wasn't the case last night and it felt awkward not to be even the slightest noticed.

I can't say I didn't try though... except for one actress who slipped away before I could say hello, I did connect with all them for a moment. But I don't know if they know that I'm the composer and Myrna's the book writer. Because one girl asked me all the book questions, and Myrna was pointing out a few "key signature" mistakes to the music director... hey, two Filipino women yakking about different things, who's to know which "M" does music and which "M" does book.

In any case, I'll keep smiling and saying hello. Maybe at the end they'll notice that our work for them was good. I hope so.

BTW, I forgot how much energy it takes to be in production... and I find it's just as crazy when I'm on this side of it -- the writing side. I sleep and dream this 15-minute musical -- music/dialogue/lyrics run through me all day and night... and it's exhausting. And even though we've not reached our peak yet (we still have one more final draft) or gone into final rehearsals -- I'm already sad about it all ending. This collaboration process has been one of the biggest learning processes of my life... and I can't believe this particular one, with my main man, Kellen, and our "Keys Emata"... I can't believe it's gonna be over soon.


I will say it's been great yakking with my friends about coming to the show(s). I'm so proud of our little work, and so many folks are coming to see it. I'm not used to the idea yet that they're going to spend $25 a ticket to see anything I did... but I'm sure I'll get used to it! Jeff Marx is a big draw (the co-creator of the Tony award-winning "Avenue Q" -- he's a very funny and humble guy!) -- and although most of my friends and family don't know him or the show (yet!), they certainly know what a "Tony award-winner" is!

And then there's this documentary. Oh boy. It's following the young lyricist, Kellen -- and since I'm on his team, me and my Big Self (are in it a lot). Unfortunately, Little/Slim Self has not been seen for awhile, so I'm just going to have to eat it on this particular show (excuse the analogy!)....
In any case, if you're planning to come, do buy your tickets quickly as it always sells out and next week all kinds of PR is going out.

Oh, just got a bit of the nerves again!...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

"Mama's Mantra"

We had our first assessment this past weekend, after hearing our actors sing and read ... what a joy to hear something you've created out of your head actually manifest and be interpreted through professionals!

The RED Team has three musicals, and all three went up -- happy to say we came in the closest to time (15 minutes), but of course, we didn't have all our songs done either. I unfortunately goofed with our lead, Cain -- I didn't think he was as much a tenor as he was, so I'm just hiking up his music up a third or a fourth. He'd auditioned with "Joanna" from Sweeney Todd (lovely tenor!) but did The Beast from Beauty and the Beast too (strong, strong baritone as well!), so I didn't even pay attention to range. My mistake. Such a gorgeous voice -- I gotta take advantage of it! Take a gander here:

Christopher singing "The Christmas Song"

I love me a man that sings! (Yes, Maureen, I KNOW he's married, that's not the point, the boy's got a voice! :)


After the actors left and commented on their roles (same five actors in all three shows), we proceeded with our two-hour/per show assessments. Not such a bad experience for us -- there were a lot of clarity issues re: story, but only for the better, and pretty good about the music and lyrics.

Did I ever mention the title of our show?

"Cain and Abel: The Naked Truth"

We've met about our restructuring, and "Mama's Mantra," the lullaby I tortured myself with earlier, has been cut. :( I teasingly tell our lyricist that that's the LAST TIME I ever write a piece before I get a lyric because it's too easy for them to "disappear"!

But it's true -- it slows the show down (which is comedy DEATH) and doesn't really pay off. Oh well. Hopefully I'll use it again somewhere, sometime.

Hope you like it.

"Mama's Mantra"

Friday, April 13, 2007

What a nightmare!

I've spent all night researching and listening to lullabies so I could be go off and be intuitive and write 16 bars (or rather 32 -- AABA format). I even talked to Mom about her singing... she was just "too busy" to sing to me:

"Besides, honey, you were a good baby. I gave you milk and you were happy. And if I was asleep, you'd play quietly in your crib as long as you could see that I was there."

Even though she couldn't remember her own mother singing and especially her never having time to rock any of us (except the youngest who was a bit sickly and uncomfortable), it was cool to talk about this. I don't feel like she plowed me with milk to shut me up (my original excuse for growing up fat -- which is a lie anyway since I was a skinny kid!), but she actually had a nice memory of back then. That's not usually her strong point, Mom is a no-nonsense, let's get work the done kind of gal. (But I also know why too: she was always disobeying her own mother so she could go out and play! hehehe Hence, the music to Pilya...)

In any case, I'm having a hard time starting this damn thing and have a terrible headache and case of cabin fever. So I'm buying batteries for my roll-up piano, bringing some headphones and going to the park or the library.

I just need to have something on paper for my collaborators TODAY or I'm in deep scheduling poop.

Oh, and by the way, the very last thing Mom said is she does remember her mom humming/mumbling or singing something to her little brother to get him to sleep, but it wasn't anything that had words or a tune she could remember.

Wow, validation... isn't that cool?!


Hi Heidi and Viv,

I'm writing you two because you were in class when I wrote "Lily" -- the piece that I still hum to Kate at bedtime?

Well, I'm working on a lullaby for the mini-musical tonight and look what I read in wikipedia:

Asia has its own versions of the lullaby as well. In Tamil (a language of southern India), a lullaby is called a thaalattu (thal means "tongue"). A melodious sound is created by frequent movement of the tongue at the beginning of the song, hence the name.

But most notably is the use of the oyayi in the Philippines, also called huluna in Batangas. In fact, the use of a song in putting a baby to sleep is so popular that almost every mother in the province is said to have composed at least one lullaby for her child.

So I don't know if I should be mad or assume my mom had one and just forgot? I know when she had her first grandchild she could only come up with church hymms in English... but she was always singing to get the baby to sleep... so maybe I'm not so "left out" after all...

I feel very comforted for some reason, and wanted to share.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I went to the diner to get my birthday wishes :) tonight... and he's not there. Fired they said.

I'm bummed.

I've emailed him and hope he emails back, but he's not done that yet... so he's probably gone forever, unless I run into him at the laundrymat or Albertson's.

Oh well. It was nice while it lasted.

Adios, Ricardo. :(

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Happy Belated Birthday to me!

birhtday(BTW, aren't those are cool candles -- look at the color-coordinated glow! They're from The Glow Company in the UK.)

My my, I really have work on this "time" thing -- I'm even late for my own birthday!

It went to bed pretty late but had to get up to see my shrink... man, I hate that, it really screws with my (albeit weird) sleep. I barely made it back without falling sleep somewhere in Hollywood, but took a delicious nap in the afternoon.

[Oh, the best birthday present: after four drafts of our outline for the mini-musical and oodles of hours in meetings in person, on the phone and emails, we got greenlit this morning to move on to the rough draft. YAY! That was also delicious.]

By the time I woke up, my collaborator, bookwriter Myrna, did a down and dirty rough draft of the book, and she and lyricist, Kellen, took me out to an Indian dinner. YUM!

We got back to Kellen's house at 11:30, shot a little footage for the documentary then spotted our songs til 4:00 am... we're pretty much on schedule now and I managed to get a little nauseous because we started talking about the music... my area. The thought of all that responsibility made me a bit crazy, until Myrna assured me we'd all be in all of it together. Thank goodness she and Kellen are so even-keeled and respectful... I'm a bit "wowed" at how well we're working together.

Anyhoo, more on that process later... just wanted to share what this year's birthday was like so I don't forget. Funny thing about birthdays... they're really "just another day" -- and yet they're so, so special, no matter who I spend it with or what I do. I guess it's the one day I get to celebrate ME without any guilt! LOL

Friday, March 30, 2007

This is what 80 looks like!

Mom's birthday

It was a wild success -- talk about leaving them wanting more! Ran out of appetizers. (Filipinos don't understand the concept and stuff their plates -- I didn't find out until very late that I couldn't get them french-passed). Ran out of cake. (The hat was mango/mango filling, the jewelry box was mocha/macapuno filling and the hatbox was chocolate/chocolate mousse filling -- and everyone wanted more than one piece!) The fashion show with my mom's clothes over 50 years was a smash... and people just hung out and hung out!

Mom looks great, doesn't she?

It's almost been a week and I'm just now getting back to "normal." I learned a lot this time around... for what I envisioned and what I actually executed... oh, I gotta stop it beating myself up for what it wasn't... thing is, I get my perfectionism from my mother...

Oh heck: It was lovely!!!


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Guadalajara Sun

Guadalajara So I just came back from the diner... and yakked all night with Ricardo (from Guadalajara, which is where this "sun" is from)...

Read hands. Had fun! Exhausted because of stuff to do for Mom's party, but envigorated from the reading... felt like I was back in my own skin again, finally. Gotta do that more often!

Hasta luego--

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Cinderella, and a Guitar Gently Weeping

It must be that full moon again.

Went to the Pisces full moon meditation tonight and ended up going out to Hollywood and eating outside on picnic benches with Maria at a tasty (and packed) Mexican food stand, El Gran, on Santa Monica and Vermont... wow, cheap and delicious! How fun was that.

But Pisces being Pisces... fluid, dreamy, nebulous, vast... I had to come home to do some composing for the next assignment. Looking for music in a ballroom setting (1700-1800s or so), and ended up at YouTube watching the Cinderella of my childhood and her Prince, Stuart Damon.

Wow, could not stop crying... I love this song... and whatever it is that it brings up in me...

A quick aside -- almost 20 years ago I was at a "meeting" of sorts and ended up sitting next to an older Stuart Damon... and we had to hold hands for a few minutes... and I remember thinking to myself, "My God, I'm holding hands with fucking PRINCE CHARMING!" hehehe How did he get away from me?! -- or rather, where is he now?!?!?

Of course, without realizing it, my idea of a "Prince" was formed by seeing this version of Cinderella and Mr. Damon. But I can't let go of Paolo Montalban either (I wrote about him ad infinitum already) but of course, I have to put his version here also.

I never ever believed a Prince -- or a love -- could be Filipino. Until I saw that.


Or maybe it's just that I love that song... AHA AHA Rodgers and Hammerstein! And I do love those tenors.


Lastly, today... here's a gift my brother, Mike, shared with me. George Harrison being channeled by ukelele virtuoso, Jake Shimabukuro.

Tonight the guitar, ukelele and I -- we all weep.

Edited: 3/5 to include:

To bring it all together and talking about PRINCES, check out the PRINCE lick at the end... it's a tribute on VH1 to George Harrison with Tom Petty and others, and even George's son (his doppelganger!) is on stage too (can't miss him). PRINCE KICKS ASS!