Sunday, October 30, 2005

Happy Halloween from The Lantern Fishworks

(a scene from The Lantern Fishworks Players' production of "The Revenge of Democracy"; here Cheney and DeLay are confronted by the Will of the People.)

Capt. Fork Lives!

If there had been a "Most Obscure Costume" category at Saturday Night's 4 th Annual Halloween Party, psaur would have surely walked away with the prize. Captain Fork, he portrayed, in tribute to the late Mugsy, of "The Uncle Floyd Show," who died the other day after a long bout with cancer. Mugsy, and the Floyd show, was a staple in Paul's and my grade school TV viewing days. Mugsy's many characters and offscreen antics sent us into fits of laughter back then, and still will today.

I'm sad to see that Mugsy's gone, but not surprised to see him live on!

Snap it, Pal!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Steal This Blog

Thursday night. Blogging at 8:50. That means there's nothing on TV. (Christ, did my TV hear that!?!)

"Survivor?" I'm not trying to be fashionably iconoclastic in my dismissal of that show (just as I'm not trying to be flippant in my declaration of dismissiveness). It's a drag. That show. Of course, I watch "Law & Order" 4 times a night. Every night. All three franchises (four at one point). I don't get tired of it. Even though I don't feel like watching "Criminal Intent" tonight. And so I'm blogging. Perhaps to be followed by flogging. Of a sort.

Here's something I wrote for the local paper when Vincent D'Onofrio was filming out here in Oregon. I wrote it a couple of years ago.

You can tell because I had a girlfriend at the time.

I'm still playing that "I'm from New York" card.

Looking for D’Onofrio

I found D’Onofrio, first, not knowing he was missing, or even existed to miss, in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” as Pvt. Leonard 'Gomer Pyle' Lawrence. His brilliant turn as the verbally abused, unbalanced, overweight recruit brought him critical acclaim, if not instant fame. “That was him?” I’ve been asked. The questioner is almost shocked as his own sense of recognition sets in. “Oh, yeah…”

The pivotal latrine scene so wracked my nerves that to this day I’ve been unable to give the film a second viewing. My hands had to be pried from the armrests by two burly movie ushers, one who threatened to rain blows on my skull with his flashlight if I would not relax my grip. (Audiences at future showings were forewarned to sit on their hands during the cardinal scene.)

Vincent D’Onofrio is best-known these days for his work as Detective Robert Goren, on “Law & Order’s” third franchise series, “Criminal Intent” (Sundays, 9pm, NBC), but he’s perhaps more popular (though less recognizable) as Edgar, the big bug, in “Men in Black.” Alas Edgar, like Joe Frazier, proved no match against the formidable skills of Mr. Will Smith.

“Thumbsucker,” filming now in our quaint coffee-fueled hamlet, features D’Onofrio as the father of the title character, played by Lou Taylor Pucci. The film also features Keanu Reeves, Tilda Swinton, Vince Vaughn and a local 12-year old actor, Chase Offerle.

I don’t know much about D’Onofrio. Though a huge film fan, I rarely follow the lives of the actors. I stop short of birthdates and birthplaces, having a strange attraction to regions in all areas of life. D’Onofrio, therefore, was born in 1959 in Brooklyn, NY, ten years before I took my place here one borough over in Queens, NY. Beyond that I am only familiar with his career. My interest in the actor (and any actor, writer, musician, etc. for that matter) typically ends there: with the artist’s work. So, I’m not really “looking” for D’Onofrio. I’ve never been interested in meeting a celebrity anymore than I’m interested in meeting a non-celebrity, which, as many an acquaintance will tell you, pales in comparison to my interest in meeting my pillow, face to case, after a double-shot of “Law & Order.”

What would I say anyway? “You were great in ‘Steal This Movie.’ What was it like working with blah blah blah…?” What more could I say than, “Hey, I’m a big fan.” Everyone, I would suppose, appreciates a little praise and recognition, even those who shy away from praise and recognition.

So why would I even write an article about a celebrity coming to town? Not the money – I get paid less for this article than a non-speaking crowd-scene extra. An actor, or the character he plays, can become a temporary part of your daily life. I watch “Law & Order” (all three incarnations) six or seven days a week, often two or three times a night. So my conversations are peppered with “L&O” references. Both my brother and sister-in-law do a mean Det. Goren as well – the halting speech, the hand gestures that begin at the shoulders. And often I’ll stop mid-bite and helplessly feel the stuffing of a spinach ravioli fall from my mouth as I pause again to consider the lithesome Jill Hennessey, late of the original “Law & Order” series.

And what of D’Onofrio’s appeal? My partner-in-crime-drama, a new yet ravenous convert to “L&O”, and aware of D’Onofrio exclusively as the husky and eccentrically intuitive Det. Goren, swoons over the “bad boy” aura of his performance, a designation settling beyond stereotype. What the media often refers to as “an unlikely sex symbol” emerges from his portrayal of the psyche-tinkering detective whose eyes see all while always seemingly looking inward, the stare elusive until utilized as accusatory intimidator.

She rolls her own eyes at my wordy exposition: “He’s hot – don’t be so complicated.”

D’Onofrio’s being in town, is perhaps akin to kin, distant, not even blood, passing through town. Or maybe it is even that certain connection people feel for natives of their own land. Here’s a fella who wouldn’t look at me quizzically when I announce I’m having a buttered roll for breakfast, nor comment on my pronunciation of words such as “cawffee” and “dawg.”

“Looking for D’Onofrio” becomes a metaphor for finding a once-prominent aspect of my character that has begun to fade with time. As I move through these years as an Oregonian, I shed the costumes and even perhaps the mannerisms of the New Yorker. I start to lose myself in the role, fearing the future not for what it delivers but for what it leaves behind.

My partner-in-crime-drama rolls her eyes yet again at my rambling pontifications: “Just say you’re afraid you’ll lose your accent – don’t be so complicated.”

Ah, whaddas she know? Let’s endis here. I gotta get my dawg some cawffee.

See -- "dawg", "cawffee." Yeah, I did that bit.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Ohio Beer Truck at October Wedding

Yeh. The whole friggin' thing was fulla beeh. I dunno howda right beer come outtada right tap. It was magic or somethin'. I wished I had a beer truck made a' magic. Wid a lid'l yella bucket. And a plastic cheh. I hada stein dat I filled wid beeh. Buncha times. Dere was spaghetti and cake. And a buggy. Yeh, dat was good too. Congrats, bride and goon!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Meet My New Favorite Author

I just got back from Ohio where I attended (as Best Man, no less) my best friend's wedding, where he married a girl originally from that region (being a country setting 45 minutes from the Akron/Canton airport, though I know not in what direction). I took the opportunity on most of the six flights we took to and fro to read some J.P. Donleavy, an author whose books I've owned for years, yet had never read. (I am notorious for collecting books and putting them on my bookshelf where they remain untouched, unless I get a jones to alphabetize.)

He feckin' brilliant, and I was delighted at the following passage (as only I would be):

"My hard eye is suspicious of the disreputable and reputable alike. This is the behaviour of a New Yorker, which I am. But I am shy and thrive on people being nice to me and with friends I am found to be open, honest, warm, to the point of sheer insanity at times."

That's from the short story "Whither Wigwams." I love discovering authors, especially those whose books have always been in front of me. Now I see I have three more of his novels I can read. I'm full of the same excitement I feel anticipating what episode of Futurama the Cartoon Network is showing tonight. If they're showing any...

It shouldn't be surprising I'm still drinking that pinot noir from Canby.

I Might Be Drunk If...

...I'm laughing at the Jeff Foxworthy stand up act playing in the background. That's the danger of letting Comedy Central run without monitoring: lots of good stuff followed by lots of bad stuff. Still, I'm more afraid that it's not the wine (St. Josef's Pinot Noir), that it's just me. He's a whiter shade of Cosby. Christ, I'm about 10 years too late to be discussing Foxworthy. I think he was real big when I was living in Calabash, NC back in the mid-nineties.

Let me listen a bit...ha, ha, ha, shit, he's right!

He's goddamed right!