concrete trenches
sometimes more feet than shoes.

Monday, May 31, 2004  

Lilacs and weeds

Spent yesterday afternoon lounging in Central Park, eating a picnic lunch and smoking a little happy treat. Nobody in New York cares if you smoke a little weed in the Park. Nor do they care if you are drinking beer, or have an open bottle of champagne in your rowboat. We ate and smoked, and then read monologues to each other out of a classical monologue collection. We're such dorks. Best day ever.

| posted by christopher | 11:03 AM

Friday, May 28, 2004  

Summer itinerary

This summer hasn't even begun, really, and already it's bursting with travel plans. First up, there's the wedding of BG's college roommate. This is my second wedding among The Cult Friends, and should be lots of fun. I'm planning on taking an extra couple of days away from work to visit with other people in the Evil West I haven't seen in a while. Also, I will be packing my clubs to play a round of golf.

The following week BG and I are skipping down to The Deep South for a family reunion. My sister got it into her head that it would be a good thing for all the siblings to get together for a weekend. I have been hoping for a summer job to preclude my presence. Alas, no such luck.

I am excited for BG to meet my parents, but being around all that sibling energy makes me profoundly uncomfortable. My place in the family dynamic is a far cry from where I am now as a person. Also, I am a little embarrassed by my Mother. How is BG going to react to her racism, subtle and not so, and her fundamental Catholicism? And what happens if Mom brings up politics? For someone as uninformed (and proudly so, it seems) as she, she has very strong opinions on what a good job Bush is doing, and how well the "War on Terrorism" is going. Plus, the parents have gone on the Atkins diet, and while they have collectively lost over 100 pounds, they have given up beer. What am I going to do without beer!?

| posted by christopher | 1:14 PM

Thursday, May 27, 2004  

Overheard at reception

"You gots to ax me to use my pen. You put it back. PUT IT BACK! You don't touch NOTHIN' on this desk! You don't touch NOTHIN' on this desk!!"

| posted by christopher | 4:42 PM

Tuesday, May 25, 2004  

Law and Order
or, how to be a goodie goodie

A few weeks ago, the Best Girl and I were in Brooklyn, very early in the morning. We got in the cab and said Queens. The driver told us he did not want to go to Queens, it was late. "Are you refusing to take me where I want to go?" I asked.

"Please, my shift ends in an hour and I live in Brooklyn."

"So you're refusing my fare?" I repeated while I pulled out my cell.

"Have pity on me," seriously, her asked for pity.

I dialed 311 and he started to drive away with us in the cab, but did not turn on the meter. He said he'd take us to where we could get another cab. BG and I were pissed at this point; who wants to argue with their cabbie ad 4am? BG told him to pull over, and opened her door, "I'm getting out of this cab whether you pull over or not!" He pulled over, we got out and the cabbie rolled on. I got through to the 311 line.

The hearing was this morning. The Taxi and Limousine Commission is on the 8th floor, and when the elevator door opens the first thing you see is a giant TLC on the wall. Walking into the lobby, decorated in grey carpet and panel fabric chic, I saw a room full of people who looked like cabbies. The receptionist took my letter and motioned me to another room, where I was the only occupant.

Ten minutes after my arrival I was called by a bailiff (or at least a guy with a badge) and escorted to the judge's chamber, along with the cabbie and his lawyer. He brought a lawyer.

The judge was about 117 years old and had two giant hairs poking out from his nose. I was sworn in and gave my statement (see above), speaking clearly and loudly for the tape recorder. Then the cabbie's lawyer questioned me. His first question was "Were you coming from a bar?" followed by "How much had you have to drink?"

Then the cabbie gave his statement. Here's the thing. The guy lied. Completely and utterly lied. We were drunk. We chatted him up. We wanted to get out of the cab for no reason. We stiffed him $3.10. The cabbie handed the judge his trip sheet, which was his evidence of his picking us up, planning to go to Queens, and dropping us off a few blocks away. The judge looked at it and said "For the record, I've never seen a trip sheet so neatly done up before." I liked him, hirsute nostrils and all.

The lawyer eventually said his client would be willing to plead to something like "acting rudely." Refusing a fare is a fairly serious offense, and can lead to suspension of a hack license. Rudeness is a fine and two points on the driver's license. The judge asked me if that was OK. I'm not out to ruin anyone's life, and he did start to drive, even though he never turned on his meter, so I said yes. I wanted to say "Yes, even though he's a lying liar who lies!" but left it at a simple yes.

The judge turned to the cabbie. "You are very lucky, sir, because I would have found you guilty."

| posted by christopher | 8:06 PM

Monday, May 24, 2004  

Jack LaLanne

Something has clicked in me, and it requires that I run. I've never been much of a runner. When I played soccer in my youth, I was always the last to finish my laps. Sprinting I was fine, but extended jogging, not my forte. Perhaps it was the undiagnosed asthma.

As I became an adult, I would occasionally go for the jog, and would end up in pain of some kind or another. Mostly joints. I am a big-ish guy. Tall and broad. I assumed that the stress of all that mass hitting the pavement over and over was the cause of the pain, and have always fancied aerobic activity that involves wheels or beds.

For the last two weeks, however, running has been all I want to do. It's been sporadic, but I've been out jogging up a storm. The hotter the weather, the more I want to go sweat in it. It's also been more or less painless, except for the sore muscles wondering ehat the hell is going on and why they can't be sinking into the couch, where they belong.

Perhaps it's my advancing years, perhaps it was doing that showcase with guys on either side of my birthday with spectacularly fit physics, perhaps it's the upcoming Midwest Theatre Gig or career worries, but I want to get in shape. And not just "Oh, he looks nice," because frankly I'm already there with a couple of extra pounds. I want to be damn fine. I want to be able to take my shirt off onstage and have it be a serious costume choice. I want to be able to tuck my tee shirt into my jeans without worrying. I want to be fit and LOOK it.

If only it didn't make my ass hurt so much at the end of the day.

| posted by christopher | 12:45 AM

Sunday, May 23, 2004  

For money I will

I'm one step closer to being a telemarketer. The company called me back yesterday, impressed by my "theatre and marketing background, and my obvious phone skills." Hmm, fooled them. I'm going in for an interview on Tuesday, and we'll see. I still do not know what the wage is, or if I am constitutionally capable of being a telemarketer. I sometimes have a tough time asking someone to move over on the train, let alone if they want to buy a subscription to the Symphony.

| posted by christopher | 4:29 PM

Friday, May 21, 2004  

If you thought serving burgers was bad

I have about 10 weeks or so before I go to my Midewest Theatre Gig. The summers are slow at the Bar. I am having a little trouble making the ends meet. So it's time for a second job.

I don't know if I can take on another food service job. Doubles every day. On my feet for twelve plus hours. No, there must be another solution. And there is, but dear god it makes me feel dirty.

I have submitted my resume to a telemarketing company.

It's not as low as it could be: they solicit arts patrons to buy season subscriptions to theatre, symphonies, etc., and the calls aren't totally cold. But still, to be the guy who calls during dinner, feeling the cold emnity from the other end of the line. Hearing "No" over and over again.

This is not my beautiful life.

| posted by christopher | 11:26 AM

Wednesday, May 19, 2004  

Not wheezing, but drowning

Boy: I should be over this stupid cold by now. Maybe I should go to the doctor.

Girl: You don't need to go to the doctor.

Boy: But I feel like crap. I'm coughing all night long.

Girl: You don't need to go to the doctor.

(ten hours later)

Girl: I feel like crap. I felt better, but I slept and now I feel like crap.

Boy: Yup. That's sounds like my entire week.

Girl: Yeah, maybe you should go to the doctor.

Boy: Yeah, maybe I should. I'll call and see if they have time when I get off work

Girl: I have all day off tomorrow. I could go in anytime.

Boy: Not the tune you were singing to me this morning.

Girl: Nope. Will you draw me a bath and call my Mom?

Boy: Only if ask me in a slighty more pathetic way.

Girl: (tremulously) Will you (cough) call my Mom?`

| posted by christopher | 11:13 PM

Monday, May 17, 2004  

Exit, stage left

Show closed. Theatre threw us a tiny party in the lobby while the cast of the next on-book extravaganza took over the theatre. Several margaritas later I said goodbye to my favorite three, with promises of a party later and thoughts of drinking dates future.

High points: met good people, got to see someone miss her entrance by at least 30 seconds (about ten years in stage time), lots of backstage chocolate.

Low points: lingering cold turned to almost lost voice, newly replaced bonding on front tooth came out before a show while eating soup.

| posted by christopher | 9:07 AM

Saturday, May 15, 2004  

Grand Central, 10:30 pm

Usually I try to get into the car that will put me right in front of the stairs at my stop. This is part skill, part luck, as the conductors vary their stopping points by as much as ten feet; the difference between the top of the stairs and between the two stairwells. I am not the only rider with this penchant, and the middle cars are usually packed, even at night.

Tonight I was tired from two shows, and thought it would be nice to go into the front car, where there is always a seat. Well, because of a deadly combo plate of the Broadway line trains not running into Queens and not many 7 trains, the front car was full. No sitting for Sly. Fine, I have David Byrne on the iPod and a magazine. Even standing I figure I'll be ok.

It took a little time for me to realize that the car was full of a bunch of teenagers. They were comparing Lazer Park score cards and wearing rosary beads around their necks. A youth group, maybe? Teens, when bunched in a group, and especially on subway cars, do not talk to one another. Oh, no. They SCREAM AT ONE ANOTHER, HIGH PITCHED AND FOUL MOUTHED (even a youth group; "Fuck you" sounds so much better coupled with a crucifix). David Byrne was a no show in my ear buds. Teens also have little sense of other people, especially if you are over 22. You are invisible. Pushing, shoving, swearing. I don't want to be on this train.

When we get out from under the East River, the kids crowded in front of the door (because that's where you stand, right in front of the door) start bobbing and weaving, looking outside. I thought maybe Kobe Bryant was waiting on the platform. The doors open and seven arms shoot out, palms up, to catch the enormous raindrops falling from the sky. Lightning, thunder, and a very wet walk home.

Even now flashes of lightning are reflecting off my laptop (unplugged and Airported). My hair's still wet, but I've a glass of wine and a bed calling my name.

| posted by christopher | 11:20 PM  

... gone tomorrow

I met three of my cast mates for dinner before the show last night. We sashayed around the East Village, having Mexican food and going into thrift shops and buying coffee. Eleven dollars for a burrito I can see, but four dollars for a fucking Diet Coke?

We chatted as we walked along St. Mark's Place, mostly separated into sexes like a junior high dance. J. and I were checked out by some nice young gay man. More fun for him than for me, but it's nice to be given the slow once over.

It's so refreshing to do a show where everyone in the cast is good people. It is especially nice to become fast friends with a couple of them, meeting socially and generally having a good time. I know that these people will become another set of nice actors I meet on line in the early morning, hug, chat with, and then don't see again for a few months. The friendships formed during a show are often lovely and impermanent. But we're having fun today.

| posted by christopher | 12:27 PM

Friday, May 14, 2004  

Let's not hide it now that they know

"The world will see how a free system, a democratic system, functions and operates transparently, with no cover-up" - Donald Rumsfeld.


Another interesting part of this bed time story is how there are more pictures, but the military doesn't think they should be released. You know, for the protection of the accused. The Secretary said he'd LOVE to released them, and get it out of the way, but some lawyers in the administration don't think it's a good idea. Damn lawyers. Also, isn't that what Ms. Rice said about testifying? I'd love to, but I can't.

I'm sure this isn't going to get any better...

| posted by christopher | 8:40 AM

Wednesday, May 12, 2004  

Hot and hard

I put the air conditioner in the bedroom yesterday. Ever try to sleep with a Lear jet idling in your window?

BG has fears about what happens in ten years, or five years, if this whole acting thing doesn't work out. The numbers are against us, any of us, making it in the biz. She doesn't not want to be standing in the EPA line in the early AM, wondering how twenty bucks is going to buy a weeks worth of groceries, and will the temp agency call with work this week or not, and can does the free clinic have any openings this week.

Nor do I.

I want to be able to reassure her, but everything I say comes out wrong. Or doesn't come out at all. We approach some things so differently, it is hard to realign the brain cells to fit her needs.

| posted by christopher | 11:16 AM

Monday, May 10, 2004  

Theatre Geek

It may not be earth shattering, but for someone who maintains an ever updated list of people to thank during his acceptance speech, this is important news.

| posted by christopher | 9:44 AM

Saturday, May 08, 2004  

Swallowing pins and needles

One of my castmates, a very funny guy with Broadway credits, has been sick lately. It started with an allergy type feeling and then moved into his chest with a rattling cough and a voice that would be the envy of James Earl Jones. He's beginning to feel better now. I'm beginning to feel worse.

It started two days ago, during Thursday night's show. A little tickle in the throat. Yesterday I woke up with some pain. A little post-nasal drip irritating the chords. My voice (thankfully) is hardly affected. Makes the singing a little more work, but it still sounds fine. This morning, after a Popsicle, night time cold medicine, a little icy-cold gin insurance, and eight hours sleep, I feel as if someone poured Drano down my pie hole. Thick, nasty gobs of phlegm are being endlessly produced and the inside of my throat is fire engine red. Yet my voice, as far as I can tell without belting showtunes and waking up my sleeping girl, remains unaffected.

The funny guy last night brought donuts to the theatre, as a thank you for people being so nice to him while he was sick. Another cast member asked if he got lucky. See, the tradition is if you bring donuts to the theatre you are announcing to the cast that you got some sweet lovin' the night before.

"I should be so lucky," he replied.

"I dunno," I said, while making my Throat Coat tea, "you've certainly fucked me."

| posted by christopher | 9:44 AM

Thursday, May 06, 2004  

Such a superstitious lot

Who was the first person to go belly up on opening night? Who was the first person, in his first song, to lose his place, lose his lyric, and get the shit-eyes? Who actually needs me to answer that question?

Perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned it in semi-public like this. Thank you, Fate, for pinching my ass like that.

| posted by christopher | 5:09 PM

Tuesday, May 04, 2004  

To tell the truth

I have a friend. We knew each other back in the Evil West, where we were in a couple of shows together. We hung out quite a bit, shared many a glass of wine, kveched, got together to play music, and generally enjoyed each other's company. My friend went off to the Big City before I, and has a fancy graduate school education.

Here's the thing, my friend is not all that good. In the right project my friend is fine, but range is a problem. My friend is ambitious. My friend is dedicated. My friend isn't nearly as good as many I know. I am always very supportive of my friend. I encourage my friend to audition, to get out there, to take more vocal coaching, to just go and do it.

Am I really being kind to my friend?

Sometimes the Best Girl asks for my support and encouragement (as I do her) and I am happy to give it, because I think she is fabulous and talented. It has nothing to do with my level of affection for her. I thought she was great before she was my girlfriend. I believe that I am objective about such things; there are people whom I loath but acknowledge their talent. But with my friend, it is my level of affection that makes me continue to be supportive. Acting is all my friend has ever wanted to do, and all my friend has pursued for the last ten years or so. My friend is very attractive, so there will be jobs out there. It's just that I feel a little guilty perpetuating a white lie.

| posted by christopher | 9:49 AM

Monday, May 03, 2004  


The expression an actor gets when they forget a line. The lights kind of go out, and the pupils are directed inward, perhaps to some interior projection of the script. If you've ever been onstage, you've seen shit eyes.

Come to my show tomorrow night, and you'll see a whole stage full 'em.

| posted by christopher | 11:33 PM

Saturday, May 01, 2004  

Just what kind of shabby outfit is this?

Hey, it's spring in New York, and I'm in a play, so posting has been less than regular. Both of you will just have to deal.

I signed my contract Friday for my Great Midwestern Theatre Adventure. I am simultaneously very excited and leaving skids. Big role. Biggest I've done, I dare say, since college. And that doesn't count, because I didn't know anything back then.

Also on the skid-making: current show. We open Tuesday, and have yet to run the damn thing. Some scenes we've done once in the last week. Oh. my. god. We work through the show step by step tomorrow, dress it Monday, and put it in front of people (theoretically casting agents and Clive Barnes) Tuesday. You know that dream where you're plopped in front of an audience in a play where you know nothing about what's going on? or you're giving a big PowerPoint(tm) presentation about something you know nothing about? This is just like that, except I don't get to wake up.

Fun group of people though, including the powers that be. Details of them to follow, but as a tiny tidbit I leave you with: the producer gave all the ladies of the cast tiny origami sculptures today because it's May Day, and he isn't even gay.

| posted by christopher | 9:32 PM
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