Upcoming Spring (-ish) Events

Austin Bat CaveA few little things:

  • Monday, March 12th: Meeting with Out of Ink director Ellie McBride to talk about my goofy piece on presidential brains and how we’re gonna cast it (UPDATE: went well, a few tweaks to make, gonna be silly and fun, I hope)
  • Tuesday, March 13th: Telling a story about cell phones, theater and illness at Home Slice Pizza for Austin Bat Cave (UPDATE: went well, yay; blurry photo below*)
  • Sunday, April 22nd: Maybe telling a story at another Nettie & Walter event like this one back in August, 2016 (waiting for confirmation)
  • Thursday, April 26th – Saturday, May 5th: Out of Ink plays at Hyde Park Theatre (six performances)
  • Sunday, April 29th: A ScriptWorks salon reading of EVERYTHING’S GOING TO BE OKAY at Hyde Park Theatre (open to the public)
  • Saturday, June 2nd: ScriptWorks’ 20th Anniversary celebration/party at Ground Floor Theatre (will be involved in some way; details to come here too)
  • Thursday, June 28th: Scheduled to retell the cell phone-in-a-theater story for Testify

I guess that’s it.

Oh, also, looks like we’re narrowing in on a date for that benefit show, likely the first or second week of November. Getting the shell of some plan together for that.

Thanks, blog thing!

(you may be dismissed)

*from Tuesday night’s Bat Cave show**:

Austin Bat Cave snippet






**maybe time to retire that green shirt, huh?

Men with no Brains

Man without Brain

I’m working on two short plays this month, and each involves a dude without a brain. I’m sure there’s nothing symbolic in that at all.

The first is a piece I’m trying to get ready for next Wednesday’s Playwright Slam at Hyde Park Theatre. It’s about a fractured family whose patriarch has had his brain replaced by an Alexa-like device. All the other characters are women, and generally speaking, they seem to like this newer, more succinct version of him better than the previous one.

The other is called THE ALTAR OF RONNIE, and I’m happy to say that it was chosen for production at this year’s Out of Ink, also at HPT. I’m working with Ellie McBride as my director again (she and I go way back now), and I like her because she’s blunt and to the point about what does and doesn’t work (“Get rid of this Max fluff, you’re obviously just trying to fill space”).

That piece is a silly, broad comedy, basically about a young couple that steals an ex-president’s brain to try and make some extra cash (as you do).

Anyway, happy to do my part this month to remove brains from men. Maybe I’ll remove my own next.


Industrial Wonderland

I-35 interchange

I-35 interchange

I had to drop my car off to get the heater fixed the other day, and I ended up walking several miles home afterwards, mostly along highways, under overpasses and crossing industrial roads.

This morning I walked back out there to pick up a rental car in the same area and took Industrial Boulevard south of Ben White.

I had sort of an awesome time.

I love walking through neighborhoods and areas I’ve never seen, and something about all the metal stores and barbed wire and large trucks and spongy grass and cracked pavement made it feel like I was discovering a new planet.

At the end of the walk this morning, a couple of hundred yards from the rental car place, I discovered a new brewery I’d never heard of before. I’m going to make a plan to check it out.

Anyway, there were only a couple of times I felt vulnerable out there, glancing over my shoulder at someone watching from a doorway or dodging a truck that got a little too close to the curb. The rest of the time I found it refreshing and invigorating, especially in the 40-degree drizzle. I kind of want to make a habit of it.

a handsome property along South Congress

a handsome property along South Congress

Kind of.

Goal-Like Things for the Year Ahead

Robert SmithI don’t know why I’m doing this, but I am. To get it down. So I have some kind of focus or something.

Things I’d like to get done before the year ends:

  • Write a new draft of that book-like thing, and see if I can convince anyone to look at it*
  • Submit queries to some agents about the above thing (like maybe 20 queries before year’s end)
  • Get in touch with Jonathan Coulton and see what he thinks about touring with these guys
  • Put on this benefit show in the fall (with those same guys above and maybe Isabella and Her Dinosaur; what about the Bitter Poet?) on behalf of Vela
  • Have a reading for Everything’s Going to be Okay and decide if it’s worth putting on somewhere (like maybe at CPT)
  • Run this race with Tom
  • Travel somewhere with my dad for a week or two
  • Focus on my two favorite people as much as I can, especially during these occasionally bumpy times
  • Plan a bike trip to Scotland and the Edinburgh Fringe, maybe for 2019?
  • See a Major League Soccer game or two
  • Stay gainfully employed
  • Visit a college campus or two
  • Try not to be a jerk
  • Collaborate on that old piece about Robert Smith with Jessica for FronteraFest (assuming she’s still up for it)
  • Keep trying to figure out why I am the way I am and why I do the things I do**

**That last one may be the most important, I don’t know. But I can’t focus on it ALL the time. Plus it’d be sorta narcissistic, so just keep it simmering

* If you happen to read this, and happen to be interested in reading a chapter or two here or there, please get in touch with me and I’ll gladly and gently send you a small file (and maybe buy you a cup of coffee)

The Biggest Producer Credit I’ll Ever Get

Producer creditHad the great pleasure of working with these guys at FronteraFest this year. They probably wouldn’t have done the show if I hadn’t nagged them (politely and repeatedly) and encouraged them to give it a shot.

As a reward, they gave me a producer credit for the show. I asked Jomo to make the font size with my name smaller but he said “we’ll need somebody to blame” if things go south.

When they went up last Friday, they played well but the timing felt a bit off and the audience seemed oddly subdued. We talked about how it was a useful first step into the theater world for them, coming to grips with the fact that they might not move on.

Then we got the call. They made Best of Week on Saturday (which had a much better audience feel and comfort level) and then Best of Fest, scheduled to close out the whole festival next Saturday night.


I should have asked for an even bigger font size.

Reading INTO THE WILD with my Son

Into the Wild busHIM: This book is stupid.
ME: Why?
HIM: Because the main character basically just kills himself in a stupid way, and we’re supposed to care.
ME: He doesn’t kill himself.
HIM: He might as well. He goes into a dangerous situation with limited supplies with a high probability of death, and then he dies. That’s stupid.
ME: But isn’t it interesting to think about WHY he does that?
HIM: No.
ME: But what would make someone from a privileged background give it all up, go on an adventure, and see if he can survive in the wilderness.
HIM: I don’t care.
ME: It’s interesting to me.
HIM: …
ME: Maybe it’ll mean more to you later.
HIM: …
ME: A lot of people are very affected by this story.
HIM: …

Anyway, we’re not done yet, but it’s good to get his take. Maybe he’s got a point…

When Your Dad Reads Your Diary


Funny story. I got home from work yesterday and found my dad knee-deep in my private journal, which I’d accidentally left out in the living room.

I’d been writing in it recently and just neglected to put it away, and so there he was, casually and deliberately leafing through the pages.

He seemed a bit sheepish when I entered but said he’d just happened to see it there, opened it, and found it pretty compelling.

“2012 was a rough year for you,” he said, gesturing at the early pages.

Yep, I guess so.

Anyway, I post this now mostly because once I got past the initial shock and embarrassment of his reading my private thoughts, I decided I’d be fine answering his questions about what he’d read and having him look at the rest of the bits he hadn’t seen yet (after I scanned them to ensure he wasn’t part of the plot). And somehow having him know everything (well, most everything) that goes through my head when I write intimate and conflicted thoughts was sort of a relief.

Continue reading

And Here We Go…

Tech rehearsal shotAll right, it’s happening! Tomorrow (Wednesday) night. Our Tech over the weekend went well, the actors seem to have everything down, and I can’t think of anything else I can do on my end to be any better prepared.

The weather is icy and gloomy, and there’s a somber overtone to the week, but the show must and will go on.

As of this writing there still seem to be tickets left for Wednesday, though Thursday is sold out and Tuesday and Friday are close to selling out.

We go on in the last spot tomorrow, which is always my favorite place in the order to go. Taking some preliminary deep breaths.

And this is how we Pong…

UPDATE: It’s Friday now, and before the decision is made tonight about whether we get to go on again this weekend, just want to say that the show on Wednesday went really well. We had a couple of small glitches (normal for a first performance) but it was really well-received and got a lot of really nice reactions. My kids said it was awesome, and even my dad gave me a strong thumbs-up. So… it’s been a great experience and a fun time, no matter what.

One interesting thing to me is learning just how many people had never heard of, or weren’t aware of, Pong as a game. A number of people along the way have said they didn’t know what Pong was, but enjoyed the performance anyway. I figured it was so iconic it was just something everyone had in their DNA. Maybe it’s just us nerds.

UPDATE #2: Hey, we made it to Best of Week! Got to go on last again on Saturday after a number of strong pieces. Our performance was smoother and cleaner this time and/but the audience reaction felt very subdued to me. Weird how that happens. I got the sense that a number of people just didn’t really know what was happening up there.

So… we’ll find out in a little less than three weeks if we make Best of Fest. I’m not feeling super optimistic about our chances, given the quiet reaction on Saturday. I’m putting all the props away and will happily bring them out again if things go our way. (and again, no matter what, it was a good and odd time with a great cast)

(and I can’t believe I don’t have any ideas for next year yet; what is going on???)

Three Upcoming Fringe Shows

FronteraFest signThe season is upon us. This year there are three shows I have at least a bit of involvement with…

‘Nuff said, you know what to do.

This is a piece about a woman emerging from a long depression by my friend Marla. She asked me to direct it, and we’ve been collaborating on some edits, some images, some framing, and some tennis-related analogies. Looking forward to seeing how this one turns out!

This is a great band and a great bunch of guys. I sorta politely shoved ‘em into this festival, thought it might be just the kind of thing for them and for the audience. My involvement is mostly just occasional back-and-forth emails about logistics and stuff.

Excited to relax and enjoy this one too.

Tickets and info available right over HERE.

Come on out! Stay warm-ish!

In Praise of Rail Trails

Santa Fe Rail Trail

Santa Fe Rail Trail

I went running on the Santa Fe Rail Trail earlier this week, and I have to say that these trails that run alongside (or on paved-over) railroad tracks are just fantastic. When I’m running in a new city that has one, I’m able to find my way, see parts of the place I might not see otherwise, and measure the distance easily.

I’ve now run on these trails in Massachusetts, Washington, New Mexico and California (that I remember). They seem a great way to take advantage of space and introduce travelers to new parts of town.

That is all.