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!