Friday, March 02, 2007

Coulda shoulda woulda

Last night at the City Walk sucked. Dead, made $25 in two hours and called it a night. It was cold and lonely. I was supposed to play poker at Joey's house after work, but that petered out.

So I spent some time downloading the demo version of Final Draft (a screen writing program), and playing with that some. It's a different way to write that's for sure. Makes you think more in terms of a 3 dimensional story. Where the shot is coming from? What are the scenes, transitions and action? I thought it might be interesting to define my magic act in the same terms. Look at each trick as a scene and see how it all comes together in the end. Because. . . what's a story without an ending? Who said my act? I heard that.

Just got off the phone with Bill Goodwin, were gonna get together for a few hours this evening before I work the City Walk and he mans his post as the Castle Librarian. Bills got a great sense of where a trick is heading, I'll have to pick his brain a bit and see what he thinks of dissecting a trick from a story perspective. Not a story trick mind you (however, it could be) but, just any trick. Where does it go, is there a good ending. How did it make you feel.

At some point I'd love to take some classes that might help me in my quest. Time and money, those are the killers. Here's a class I'd like to take but it's on the weekend. I can't see blowing off the only two days that I make good money to do this. Oh well, it sounds interesting.


WRITING COMEDY with Steve Kaplan
March 2, 2007
"I best, funniest sketches thanks, in no small part, to the lessons I learned from Steve Kaplan's comedy classes. Steve breaks the fine art of comedy down...that helps the unfunny become funny, and the funny become funnier."
David Fury, Emmy-Winning Writer/Producer for 24, Lost, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and more!

Los Angeles * March 24-25, 2007

Only $199!

For almost 15 years, Steve Kaplan has been the industry's most sought-after expert on comedy writing and production. In addition to having taught at UCLA, NYU, Yale and other top universities, Steve Kaplan created the HBO Workspace, the HBO New Writers Program and was co-founder and Artistic Director of Manhattan's Punch Line Theatre.

In addition to teaching his class, Kaplan has served as a consultant to such companies as Dreamworks, Disney, HBO and others.

From the industry's top stars like Jack Black, Nathan Lane, Emmy-winning writers Steve Skrovan (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) and David Fury (“24,” “Lost”), Nia Vardalos (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) and others, to first time comedy writers, producers, directors and performers, Kaplan has worked with and coached the best. His Writing Comedy seminar offers proven and practical methods and principles that help you understand comedy from the inside out: Why is something funny? How do you write funny? How do you make your characters funny? How do you structure a comedy story? How do you think funny so it translates from idea to page to screen?

Whether you're writing a comedy screenplay, working on sitcom script or directing a comedy, Steve Kaplan's Writing Comedy is a must for any serious professional. Find out why the top writers, producers and directors from ABC, Disney, Dreamworks, NBC, Touchstone Television and others attend his famed class.

Registration is limited to only 50 participants.

Ideal for: Screenwriters, TV writers, novelists, fiction writers, short story writers and more.

Porno Mentalism

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Other things on my mind

I've been talking to my first ex-wife Cricket about Buster lately. Things not so good there with bizarre family issues mounting into anger on her and her family's end. Buster has been living at Cricket's mom's house, feeding her whole family the "poor me" riff, and portraying Cricket and me as the worst parents in history. Evidently they're buying it and trying to get temporary custody of him. Cricket will fight it to a point, but we all know, in the end; Buster will have to start making grown up decisions very soon about his future. He will be 17 next month and he's not been in school since moving there. He won't talk to me on the phone and I worry about him. I worry about where his head is at. When he left here, he agreed to see someone to help him work through some of this stuff. To this date, he has not.

I wish he would talk to me.

On a lighter note I did talk to Hope and Liam on Sunday. They sounded good, full of life and youthful energy. Hope had all sorts of questions about Polly. For Christmas Polly had knitted Max, Hope & Liam winter hats with pom poms in the top, ear covers and tie strings. Sounds like the kids liked them.

I think about my kids all the time, however; I have stopped the self loathing. Things are what they are, I have a lot to offer as a parent; maybe someday I'll get to show them. In the desire to move on and end the fight, I put down my sword turned around and walked away. She got everything she wanted. Total control of the kids granting me supervised visitations for only at few hours at her discretion and only after a hair follicle test and a graft of my left testical . They live in Washington State, I live here. . . and no. . of course she wouldn't let them visit me for any amount of time. I'd put three plane tickets on my credit card in a minute to have them for spring break.

It feels good to write these words and not get bummed out. I think that's growth. I have a great life! Polly and I are going on a year at the end of this month. I feel really good inside.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.


olam haba, originally uploaded by nice+smooth ultramedia.

Tea Party

Swing Dancing in Burbank

My desire to swing dance, starts a strange series of events that ends with a phone call from Chris Kenner and a hangover.

I don't know how to explain it, so I won't. All I can say is that I had a super time at Joe's All American Bar & Grill in Burbank, Tuesday night. I went after hearing that they they have a bit of a dance scene with live music. Sounded good as I've been wanting to do some dancing. It's always hard for me to go to a new place and ask women I don't know to put up with my lousy dancing. After a few drinks, I asked a woman named Trish to dance. It wasn't so bad. I talked to a fellow named Paul and asked for some advice. He said he was flattered, but he looked pretty good out there.

Dancing is great. Two people close together, in sync with each other. The man gets to be the man and lead. She will go where I lead. I must do this with confidence and stay on the beat. Both women I danced with, were much better dancers than me. Big surprise there. Good women dancers always seem to pick up my slack. If I'm off the beat after the turn, they some how make that half second disappear.

The band was done by midnight. The DJ played on and Trish gave me a little Cha Cha Cha lesson. I'm looking forward to going back next week and doing it again.

The best thing about finding this cool place to dance with a big dance floor and good music is. . . it's only 4 miles away! IN LA, how nice is that?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Pic du Jour • Master Payne at the Venice Carnival

Busker in Venice

Quote du Jour

“Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.”

- Bill Cosby


Spent the morning cleaning, dusting, sweeping, smoking and feeling good about life. It's been another beautiful day. A bit chilly, but not so much that I couldn't air out the house with the doors and windows open. Cleaning up always feels good. It's nice to be in a clean house.

After dusting the Victrola and applying a nice coat of Murphy's Oil Soap, I decided, what the fuck. . . why not fire up the old boy and give it a listen. I wonder if the phrase "Crank it up" came from the Victrola? I don't know, but that's what I did. I cranked up the handle on the side, put in a new needle and listened to the distinctive sound of recorded music being played on a non electric record player. To make it louder, you just open the doors under the turn table.

I've also been working in the garage. Starting to unpack a bunch of boxes that just got stuck in the back of the garage. Trying to go into clutter reduction mode, I wonder if it's not time to relinquish my coveted cigar box collection. I mean really. . . how many empty cigar boxes does one man need? I used to think about doing decoupage on them, but never got around to it.

I was the lucky one of the kids who ended up with some family heirlooms. The Victrola belonged to my great grandfather Charley Frank. It sat untouched in my Uncle Jimmy's garage in Boston for 40 years! The tall mirrored chair, umbrella stand and hat rack was from my Aunt Marion's home and the bedroom set and china cabinet belonged to my grandmother Florence Frank. It's nice to feel surrounded with some family history. The desk that I'm working on right now, was the vanity (part of the aforementioned bedroom set). One of my fathers interests is genealogy and he's tried to give me a connection to our family's past.

This is a picture of Charey (Shaiya Graubart) Frank. On board are his sons, George (3yrs) and Arthur (my grandfather 2yrs). This picture was taken in 1909, 3 years after the Victrola was manufactured.

Click pics to enlarge.

Nice stoogie. . . A man after my own heart

Thirty minutes and $43.00 later

I left the house at 10:17PM. Lit my cigar and stuck in my earphones. Wasn't sure where I was going, just started to walk. Walked towards the movie theater, thought I might see if there were any 10:30 flicks that I wanted to see. There were a couple of movies, but instead, I decided to enjoy the brisk evening air and walk. I walked at a good pace, all the way to Charlie O's. Here was the club, a little over a mile from the house. The sign outside say "Live Jazz Nightly". I've been wanting to check it out since I moved here. I thought it might be an interesting place to work, maybe during the band breaks.

On the door was a flyer that said "Big Band Night $20 Cover". I had come this far, so I went in, bellied up to the bar and ordered a drink. The Bill Holeman Band was playing, all 17 pieces filled the air in this small club with music of era gone by. I sat at a table in the back of the room and took out my cards. Sipping my drink and shuffling my cards. . . my mind was at ease. Another cocktail saw the end of the bands set. I guess I should have gotten there earlier.

Scene from Swingers