Write It Like You Stole It

Continuing in the fine tradition of Apple Computer and Microsoft, I’m saw something developed by someone else that I liked, and am stealing it for my own financial gain.

OK, so maybe that’s a little overdramatic. But I have to admit that my pal Tony (better known as Tony the Child Drunkard) started doing this first.

What is “this” you ask? It’s a journal type thing that’s updated periodically. I’ve got more than 300 people I exchange email with (if you ever email and don’t get an immediate reply, that might be why), so I’m a little bit ahead of Tony in that department. But I can’t compete with his cheezy 70’s-ishness, so we’ll just call it even.

Kibbles & Bits & Bits & Bits….

First, I am one of the newest members of the Vanguard Theatre Ensemble, a fine establishment which has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years. 1992, actually. They have won many Tony Awards; but Tony is a Child Drunkard so we can’t put much stock in that. I like the Vanguard because the ensemble idea of theatre is one that really appeals to me. So many question marks are removed when you know who you’re dealing with all the time.

I just had a cool audition for the Los Angeles Classical Theatre Lab. Ever since I saw a production of Under Milkwood (a Dylan Thomas play) they did earlier at the Hudson this year I’ve been anxious to be a part of this group. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life, and it was a freaking workshop! I don’t know if I got in… I’ll let you know next week.

An exciting theatrical producing/acting project is moving forward. Some of you already know about it. For those of you who don’t let’s just say “an ax is not a toy”. Just be sure to leave an evening open in Feb./March of ’98. Have your people call my people. We’ll do lunch. Dahling!

I’m still recovering from a lovely housewarming party thrown by Wendy and Sarah, who happen to be renting the last cool house in Los Angeles County costing less than $4.6 million (where is Larry Parker when you need him, anyway?).


I just returned from Seattle, Washington. My brother and his family live there. I spent a great week recovering from recent events and also got to see one of America’s greatest cities.

I saw the world premiere of a new show called Tongue of a Bird at the Intiman Theatre. I hope this show makes its way down to Southern California, because it’s a wonderful story, and this production has some amazing visuals. The story centers around a female pilot who is hired to search for a missing girl in the wilderness.

If you’ve never been to the Seattle Center, it’s something not to miss if you’re ever in the Northwest. It was the site of the 1962 World’s Fair, and now it’s a major arts mecca. It’s home to:

Intiman Theatre
Seattle Repertory (2 theatres)
Seattle Children’s Theatre (2 theatres)
Opera House (home of Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet)
Group Theatre

Plus tons of exhibits, museums, and the cool International Fountain. It’s got to be 100 yards in diameter, and you can walk down into the center of it while it’s operating (yes, you get extremely wet if you do this).

I also visited the headquaters of Microsoft. Briefly. Also took the Boeing tour and got to see 747’s under construction. It’s unbelieveable how they can take 6 million random parts and turn it into an 800,000 pound steel bird in only 4 months. Boeing now has more than 200,000 employees worldwide. They build these jumbo jets inside the world’s largest building (by volume). It’s so large that all of Disneyland (including the parking lot) would easily fit inside it.

Howard and I also toured the Air & Space Museum up there. They have an actual Air Force One aircraft on display (a retired Boeing 707) that was used by Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan. The interior was amazing. I also enjoyed seeing an SR-71 Blackbird, an Apollo space capsule, and sitting in an F-18 Hornet.

I also sampled the cuisine at Pike Place, as well as checking out a giant troll that lives under a bridge in Fremont and a 17-ton brass sculpture of Lenin (the Russian, not the Beatle) that was transplanted from Czechoslovakia around 1990.

Kumi Yamashita

I have to close my first entry by sharing a new artist I recently discovered. Her name is Kumi Yamashita, and I saw an exhibition of her work at the Seattle Art Museum. Perhaps it’s just all the stuff I’ve been going through lately, but I feel a special affinity for her work.


This piece is untitled. It was created in 1997 and the medium is wood, light, and cast shadows.

Yamashita wants us to question all our expectations, so she starts by pulling the rug out from beneath predictable relationships between solids and their shadows. For example, she throws a raking light on a scattering of carved wooden objects affixed to a wall, and the cast shadow is not a jumble of lines and curves but a human body. What we see is so much more complex that what we thought we could predict.

Her artwork is, in part, a response to the teasing she endured in high school in Indiana, where she was the only non-caucasian. She believes that people are like the shadow profile on the wall; knowing the elements that compose them is not enough to enable us to explain or understand them.

Ugliness resides in stereotyping and rigidity. Beauty resides in change. Shadows are beautiful in their mutability. Of the image above, Yamashita said, “She’s not stopping… she is walking away from permanency. As she leaves the bocks, she’s falling apart. But the shadow is not her physical body, it’s what’s inside of her.”

According to Vicki Halper at the Seattle Art Museum, the notion of the truthfulness of shadows is the basis of a story (“the invention of painting”) by the ancient Roman historian Pliny the Elder, who wrote of a young woman who traced on the wall the shadow cast by her departing lover’s head. Many believed that the appearance and personality of the person casting the shadow was truly reflected in the shadow silhouette.

This ombremanie, or “shadow mania”, captivated Europe in the 18th century and was the frequent subject of art from that period.

Until next time…


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