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. :)