Oh, Death…

Julie early 20sMy friend Brendan is featured in just about every story I’ve told in public. So many wacky adventures we’ve had together.

I just got the news that his mom, who I always considered kind of a second, cooler mother to me, died on Thursday. I’m so glad that I was able to see her just a couple of weeks ago in Seattle. She was a shadow of her former self, but still projected her enthusiasm and contagious sense of humor, at least for the short time she let me stay.

I always thought that I wanted to be the kind of parent she was: funny, easy-going, invested in what her kid was doing, but sort of hands-off too, respecting his independence and decisions. She was a very different parent than anyone else I knew. She had a big impact on my teenage years, encouraging my wild and creative side. I’ll miss her a lot.

Brendan is remarkable with his memory of dates. This is a snippet of what he wrote about her today: Continue reading

Good at Life?

Enchanted Rock December 2014

My 11-yo son said to me the other afternoon, “Why are you so good at life?”

I was like “What? What does that even mean?”

He was like “I don’t know. You’re just really good at life.”

I’m pretty sure I was making mac & cheese and talking about car repairs at the time.

Now, here I am at four in the morning, wrestling with anxiety and sleeplessness, thinking If only he knew…

Still, I’ll take it when I can.

Thanks, buddy old pal. You inspire me.

So I Have This Idea…

lice cartoon

Every year ScriptWorks has a 48-hour Fling where playwrights get together and write 10-minute plays based on three ingredients.

It’s a popular event and brings in a nice group of people from the theater community, either to write or be a part of the readings on Sunday (we all get together to read through all the plays after the deadline has been reached).  I’ve been doing it pretty consistently the last 12 or 13 years (which is absurd because I’m obviously not that old).

Anyway, I really appreciate the creative, communal and communicative aspects of this event. I have this thing about connections. I kind of dig them.

After helping to put on a couple of community-inclusive events (Squid, Peacock), I thought it could be rewarding to work with another theater group, one that also thrives on the inclusivity of under-represented groups.

(side note: I think I may have found the next animal to focus on for a future benefit; I drive by this place every day on my way to work). Huh? Anyone? Anyone?

I reached out to the executive director of a group in town that has performers who they categorize as having “special needs” and asked if she’d be interested in a 48-hour writing exercise where we write pieces that could be performed by their troupe.

I love this idea. There’s so much potential to learn and grow. There are more and more calls to write plays for specific audiences, and I think that writers in general are hesitant to write for performers who don’t fit into predictable slots. Probably mostly out of a fear of the unknown.

Plus there’s just a certain political sensitivity out there. What does “special needs” even mean? Is it people with disabilities? People who are differently-abled? Can we have a frank discussion about this please?

I would love to get a group of open-minded writers together to work with a group of ambitious performers who don’t necessarily have a lot of opportunities to act.

I get a bit choked up when I think about this stuff for some reason. I really want to do it.

I’m thinking maybe an event in August or September. Watch this space…

Soccer Thoughts


My son’s soccer team won a stunning victory against one of the areas’s top teams a few weeks ago to make the state championships for his age division.

Last weekend he went to the tournament against teams from all over the state, and they lost all three games they played.

The matches were tense, and close, and sometimes pretty brutal. His team was ahead or tied for long stretches of each game.

Of course the kids were disappointed. We all were. But my biggest takeaway was how well they all handled the losses and how graceful they were in defeat, despite the intensity and emotions that came out during play.

In some cases, the boys were more graceful than the parents who continued to blame the refs for bad calls well after the final whistle had blown.

The team’s coach (pictured sharing a private moment with my kid during the awards ceremony) is moving to Seattle this month for a great new job opportunity, and he’ll be missed. He’s been tough with the kids when he needed to be, but always fair too. A team from my son’s South Austin club has never made it this far before.

Anyway, just a sentimental parental moment to say that I’m really proud of these guys, and that I love watching them grow up and mature along the way. Great dudes.

Out of Ink: One More Weekend

Chronicle OOI reviewI just happened to see this review of the 19th annual Out of Ink production in the Chronicle today.

Not that it’s interesting or important or anything, but I did get a nice little blurb about my piece, The Apes:

…That sparked some imaginative approaches to dramatic situations, such as Max Langert’s cosmic view of human history in “The Apes,” wherein Earth, the moon, and Mars are portrayed as people talking to and dancing around one another, and Earth’s inhabitants are represented by one “ape” who evolves in minutes from grunting caveman to Marc Antony to Trump. Eventually, Earth succumbs to a fever and a spacesuit-helmeted future leader goes chasing after Mars.

Cool, yeah, groovy.

I have to say, this is one of the pieces I’ve been proudest of at Out of Ink; it feels structurally powerful with a good political message. More of this kind of stuff, please!

Oh yeah, updating my works page now. How’d you let me forget that???

But yeah, no biggie, whatevs, who cares…

UPDATE: We just got some photos sent around from the dress rehearsal. I like the composition in this one. Matrex as Mars in wide orbit, Amy as Luna in a tighter orbit, Gina as earth, and David in back prepping for his next ape-related role (note Trump wig on end of branch).The Apes action shot

Quick Peacock Recap (say that 3 times fast…)

Jules peacock photoHey, the show went great!

Not sure the total number of people, but we ended up with 52 tickets sold online, and then maybe a dozen or so folks came in to pay at the door.  I ballparked 60-65 in the audience at some point, so I guess that sounds about right.


With ticket sales and donations and jellybean guesses (for the gift basket) we ended up with $1100 to give to The SAFE Alliance. Very happy with that, and the SAFE folks seemed psyched too.

Couldn’t have done it without a lot of willing and positive help form everyone involved (especially Jenn and Marla who did early legwork to make sure things looked great and ran well). Thanks, guys!!

So… there you go.

I’ve already had a few conversations about what event to do next, and the enthusiasm about the event in general has made all the work and organization worth it.

Great experience. Hooray!

So what’s next?


Okay, see you! (and may have some more thoughts later…)

Oh, here are three more shots from the show (your humble host, the perplexing Posse and the dancing ducks).Max alone PPDuck Duck Goose

Approaching 50

48 ticketsNo, this isn’t some philosophical musing on getting older. It’s about tickets! Woohoo!

I remember thinking that if someone could just assure me that we’d get 50 people, I’d feel totally fine.

Almost there.

(though in other news, one performer is sick and can’t make it now; adjusting…)

Hittin’ the Mark: 35

35 ticketsBoom. 35. Now my kids will deem the event respectable.

Me too.

Possibly not without coincidence, my mother’s favorite age for someone to be was 35. Why? Young enough to retain a youthful vigor, old enough to have experience and wisdom. (or that’s how I interpreted her take on things)

(I remember she made this remark when I was playing her a track from Peter Gabriel’s So album. It’s got him on the cover…

Peter Gabriel at 35She thought he looked “good” and asked how old he was. “35,” I said. “The best age,” she said. “The best age…”)

You’re welcome for that anecdote.


pulling hair out

Not gonna lie, I’ve been banging my head against the wall a bit today trying to wrap up what I hope is one last logistical hurdle to Sunday’s show.

The city requires two different kinds of insurance when you put on public events at its parks: General insurance and Auto insurance.

I’m good on the General, but the Auto is tricky. It’s been hard to figure out what we need to cover.

This is the best sentence I can find about why it’s necessary:

In cases where a catastrophic injury occurs to a passenger or pedestrian when a volunteer driver is using her own car, the damages may exceed the driver’s personal auto insurance limits. In that case, the nonprofit is vulnerable if it is named in a lawsuit resulting from the accident.

In this case, I guess I am considered the nonprofit, so that if someone gets injured by a car, I could potentially get sued. It’s a stretch, and I’m still trying to get to a resolution with the city and with my insurance agent. I don’t really officially have any *volunteers* either, so it seems so excessive.

We’ve got one last day (Friday) to get it done.


In other quick update news:

1) This listing appeared in the Chronicle today:

AusChron listing on April 20

It’s nice but if I ever do this again, it might be time to get a real website for this theater/production thing. The paper links to the city’s website which will have zero helpful information. Blech.

2) My kids and I decided that in order for the show to be considered a “relative success” we’d need at least 35 people to come. Here’s where we are in terms of tickets now:

Peacock sales on April 20 2017

Sooooooo close. Just gotta get over that hump. And trying to remember where we were during Squid at this point. Anyway, it’s no longer potentially humiliating or too embarrassing, so I’m feeling good about that.

Lastly, here’s a list of things I want to get done before the show:

  • Finalize insurance with city (duh)
  • Get a bunch of change for tickets and raffle sales
  • Make up some tickets for the jelly bean guessing game (if I can)
  • Finish writing thank-you notes to everyone
  • Make programs (yoikes, keep it simple)
  • Figure out what to do with all the temporary tattoos (give away at door? sure!)
  • Email ticket-holders that they might want to bring cushions or something
  • Make friends with Ruben, my city contact, on Sunday, get on good side
  • Get non-alcoholic drinks to sell at the event (water, soda, Topo)
  • Work out some deal with Casa de Glaze about desserts and giveaway
  • Have a drink special at The Beer Plant before the show (seriously, make time for this at like 4pm)

Psshhhh, some of that stuff is sooooo easy.

All right, get some sleep, dude.



chair pileHit the first snag of the week today when the caretaker at Mayfield Park called to tell me that the 45 chairs (and 8 tables) they have on hand can’t leave the cottage.

The chairs are too nice, apparently, and the city doesn’t want them to get dirty outside.

A few phone calls to chair rental places around town informed me that fees to rent chairs on Sunday and have them picked up after-hours (the show ends at 8pm) can add HUNDREDS of dollars to the rental fee.


Luckily I’m now getting this communal outpouring of support where people are offering to bring or lend chairs, and I THINK we’ll have enough to make it work. Yes!

A big thanks to Tim and Julie in particular who keep lending me their 14 folding chairs every year or so when I have a need. They’re great. And their chairs are once again stacked in my carport.

Now that this little headache seems to be cleared up, here’s the current lineup for Sunday (as sent to the participants):

  • Intro
    • Jelly bean guessing game
    • Gift basket full of awesome stuff
    • Delicious desserts from Case de Glaze
    • Come to The Beer Plant after the show; it’ll be great
  • Jomo & The Possum Posse play a song & then get in terrible argument with host
    • I may recruit a few of the actors to help with a quick sketch here in walking off with the band
  • Luna Tart plays 2-3 songs
  • Kate tells her Peacock story
  • Tristan’s play PLEASERS (with BrianNhailaKeelyCasey & David)
  • Rita’s poem THE SUBTERRANEAN (with Johanna making a splashy entrance)
  • Luna Tart plays 2-3 songs
  • Max’s play DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE (with SuzanneMartha Hannah)
  • Jomo & The Possum Posse play a closing set

Okay, we’ll see how this all works out.

Oh, and erm… I still haven’t heard back from the city about the insurance policy I got. Will try to get confirmation of that tomorrow.

Over and out!