I write plays and audio drama, make puppets, clean up messes, take in strays, eat and drink and curse too much, and laugh too loudly. jarnsaxarising.com.
- Follows you
"You're nuts! N-V-T-S, nuts!" 9/9 '19
Vince and I were driving home on Kelly Drive. He was driving, I was catching up on email on my phone.
ME: Hey honey, John Hodgman has a new podcast.
ME: he's recapping and discussing "I, Claudius."
VINCE: Surprise, surprise.
ME: Guess what it's called.
VINCE: (stops breathing)
ME: "I, Podibus."
VINCE: (Long sigh)
ME: Guess how it's spelled.
VINCE: GET OUT.
I was thinking about all the people who have played The Stage Manager in Our Town. Fred Gwynne, Henry Fonda, Paul Newman, that gangly, folksy archetype. Then I thought, yeah, like James Comey.
Holy shit. What if we’re all extras in an Our Towniverse, a Thornton Wilderness, and the Stage Manager is James Comey?
I thought, this is a thought for Brett Heller. He said, “can we go back and look at a single day in our lives? Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”
If we’re living in the Thornton Wilderness, I guess I have to start liking Hello, Dolly.
We're Visible! 8/21 '19
Apple changed the way it categorizes its podcasts. Instead of audio fiction/audio drama being buried in "personal journals" or "performing arts," it now has a category, Fiction. It even has subcategories: Fiction>Drama, Fiction>Sci-Fi or Fiction> Comedy.
WELL, LOOKIE HERE:
At 5:53 pm on August 21, 2019, Jarnsaxa Rising is 58 out of 60 on the Fiction>Drama chart for Apple Podcasts.
I know it's highly subjective, but after not being visible among my peers for so long, this is flippin' HUGE.
Here's another thing that's cuckoo-bananas. Last week we were the #3 podcast in Fiction in South Korea.
Untitled 6/28 '19
Today I'm editing a review of a microphone made specifically for podcasters. My supervisor wrote the article. The mic is called the Podcaster, and it's made by Rode. He opened the article with, "At our office, we have more Rodes than the Roman Empire."
In the summary paragraph, I added, "It's a colossus among the podcasting-tool hegemony."
I contain multitudes 5/7 '19
Found while purging & packing: excerpt from a comedy sketch I wrote during the summer of 2014. Probably NSFW.
Last night I had the pleasure of seeing the lovely and talented Jenn Rice Abrevaya, starring (IMO) in Mamma Mia! Jenn, of course, was brilliant, and despite my cynicism about jukebox musicals, I was emotionally recharged by the show. All it needed was More Jenn.
I’d expected that MM would continue the traditions of Scandinavian theatre by refuting the themes of Ibsen, that life is a depressing mystery. It seemed clear that MM would posit the mysterious feminine not only in the sun, so distant and rare in Ibsen’s work, but also firmly entrenched in the prison of patriarchal sanction, yet without the pistols or an orphanage to burn down, via the machinery of Swedish disco music. I was wrong and right at the same time.
Sophie, the alleged protagonist of MM, desires to become the doll of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. She seeks approval from a father before giving her virginity to a Wall Street wunderkind. In short, she is willfully the golden fatted calf bought and sold. Her mother, Donna (perhaps a Madonna?) is the 1970s sexual-revolution feminist and Circe, trapped on a Greek island, spinning magical experiences for her guests. Like Hedda Gabler, she claims not to need a man for success, but she wants one (as Hedda desired Eilert), for joy, and one for financial stability (as Hedda needed Jørgen). Sophie challenges her mother, saying that she wants to start her life “right,” with a “white wedding” and knowing who is the man responsible for her.
The book writer for Mamma Mia!, playwright Catherine Johnson, eventually came to her fucking senses at some point while trying to shoehorn in the ABBA hit, “Knowing Me, Knowing You.” At this point, Sophie’s groom and one of the candidates for Daddy tell her that marriage isn’t everything. Though Mom has been saying this all along, because the men in her life finally say it, Sophie listens, and starts thinking about marriage seriously. Much like how Nora and Hedda are forced to behave by Krogstad and Judge Brack respectively, Sophie and Donna continue towards the wedding. Finally, Sophie drops her desire to marry and to find out who her father is, just as Donna chooses to marry and accept financial support from her former lovers.
Donna chooses the path of patriarchy, from which Ibsen warned early feminists away. Sophie and her young buck shoulder backpacks to travel the world, engaging in the poetic mystery that Eilert and Oswald embraced, leading to their deaths.
Ibsen was one of the first dramatists to perfect the art of realism in theatre. His descendant in Scandinavian Drama would do well to reject it, choosing Neo-Absurdism, rather than send women a message of kowtowing to the patriarchy via glitter and sequins. Donna preserves her tavern, and gets someone to fix the roof, though Nora abandons her house. The conflict between Ibsen’s feminism and producer Judy Craymer’s post-feminism was best illustrated by this production’s version of “The Winner Takes It All.” Actress (can’t remember) belted this torch song with power, dignity and skill that could blow the roof off of the venue. However, the microphone system strapped to her face gave her voice an electromagnetic hum, barely discernible, yet devastatingly annoying to human ears. The power of women still burns in Scandinavian theatre; sadly, Western audiences must put a ring on it and tame it, in order to sanctify it.
IN ALL SERIOUSNESS, the singing and dancing were great, performances were solid, the script made me have to think, “If I roll my eyes any harder, I’m going to get a headache.” Obviously, the answer is that I have to write a musical for Jenn to star in.
In other news:
If I pet Mo Magee as much as she wants, her fur gets so slicked down that she looks like Bastet.
Piano, day 174 2/21 '19
Greensleeves again, this time with more confidence.
I tried to make a video of me playing Romance from A Little Night Music, but between the tripod not cooperating and me not being really ready with that piece yet, all I made was myself angry.
Day 163 of piano practice 2/10 '19
I’ll be honest. The practicing for 30 minutes a day or 3.5 hours per week thing is not 100% accurate. We were out of town for a bit. Since “30 minutes a day or 3.5 hrs/week” and “16 units of information” does not equal predictable results, I’m finding it harder to explain what the results are. It feels like problem solved or puzzle cracking, but it barely feels like music.
Anyway, here’s Wonderwall. Plenty of mistakes. You can also hear Sassy playing in the background.
A result I can guarantee with 100% accuracy is that no matter how well you can play a piece, as soon as the camera is on, you will make mistakes.
The good news is that I can now move on to learning about sharps & flats, which means the work will sound less boring. Yay for leveling up!
EDITED TO ADD: this is the next piece I have to work on, which I believe is standard issue for every high school marching band in America.
All I can think of is the episode of Strangers With Candy when Gerri is in the school jazz band, as a scat singer.
EDITED TO ADD AGAIN: I got Half Time Band and Greensleeves in a pen. Not captured, but in a pen. I think another day of muscle memory practice will do it.
My (current) nemesis 2/1 '19
I practiced for an hour & seven minutes today, according to my stopwatch.
Worked on G pentascales and stuff that seemed boring and pedantic, then moved over to this innocent-seeming li’l ditty.
After about 40 minutes or so or practicing, my left hand can do the left hand part perfectly, my right hand can do the right hand part perfectly, but as soon as I start the metronome and try to sync up the bass clef and the treble clef, a giant concrete wall forms between all the right-hand-left-hand stuff in my brain, and I’m sitting there paralyzed, holding down two notes, while the metronome goes tick... tick... tick...
It’s not fear. It’s just like my brain can’t do it. It’s pat your head & rub your tummy stuff. I managed to pound my way through it, and measures 3-4 and 7-8 are passable, but 1-2 and 5-6 have given me a headache and a hand ache. I even went back and did the G pentascale exercises to try and make it easier.
At 67 minutes, I made a mistake that sounded familiar, and started picking it out, or something similar.
After this, it’s Turkey In The Straw, a theme by Mozart in G major (your guess is as good as mine), and then...SHARPS & FLATS! Finally I can get some variety in here.
I just realized that as of today, this has been a five month experiment.