Monday, October 31, 2005

Birthday wrap-up, Halloween and impersonating turkeys

Let's work backward, shall we?

As much as I bitch about how boring it can be to write insurance advertising, there some days I get to say things like, "I spent some time recording a turkey gobble for a Flash e-mail."

Not exactly Mel Blanc material, but it was a helluva lot more fun than writing about the benefits of a fixed annuity.

Tonight, Mrs. Z and I are going to celebrate a fairly low-key Halloween. We're going to watch a couple episodes of the Discovery Channel's A Haunting and perhaps an episode of Xena before getting some rest (and perhaps some recreation).

We're in need of both, as my birthday/Halloween festival provided three straight nights of activity:
  • I did, in fact, hit five bars on my birthday night. What a blast. And how blasted I was. While the evening was short on bar sluts, it was long on her dependable friendship, the unexpected but most welcome appearance of The Former Mr. Midnight Shift and, of course, the companionship of Mrs. Z. I really don't remember that much about the last bar, except that I was in the bathroom when the band gave me a shout-out.
  • Thursday night, the missus and I were treated to dinner at Damon's by my mom. Good food, good times.
  • Friday night was my birthday party with friends. While it didn't turn out to be the deabauched, depraved affair it sometimes can, I was nonetheless a happy drunk by midnight.
  • Saturday, I went to "Ghouls Gone Wild"at the Hilton, having scored tickets earlier in the week. This costume party was considerably more entertaining than many radio-sponsored events I've attaneded. Part of that was due to the band, The Brat Pack, who delivered some totally awesome 80s tunage. (Ummm ... sorry about that.) It also didn't hurt that I scored a free night's accommodations.
  • By Sunday, we were ready to settle down to a Xena marathon crowned by Lucy Lawless in Vampire Bats on CBS. Heterosexual lesbian couple heaven.

So tonight, I'll be dodging the raindrops in the dark just to get a little mellow time at home. Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Love. That. Ouiser.

Just when my birthday was threatening to get down and dumpy, to the rescue came that fiery-headed Mistress of Mercy, MzOuiser.

Not that it was a complete surprise (she was the one who urged me to set up an Amazon Wish List in the first place), but I was nonetheless pleased as punch to find the new Liz Phair CD in my mailbox last night, compliments of Mz O. Read all about the O here.

It is at once a great joy and a great sadness that I only became close with Ouiser as she was moving away. Nevertheless, she’s been a great friend and a blogging inspiration.

So tonight, when I’m boogeying down to celebrate my birthday, my only regret will be that she’s not in attendance to demonstrate #50. Image hosted by


Birthday algebra

If Dr. Zoom gets a free birthday drink at five bars, and the free drinks at two of the bars are as big as three normal size drinks, and Dr. Zoom can con two friends into buying him a drink each, how shit-faced will Dr. Zoom be by the time he sings karaoke at the fifth bar?

Shit-faced enough to earn the Native American name Dances With Barsluts? You betcha.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My last post as a 35-year-old


As of 1:56 a.m., I will have lived on this planet 36 years. And I haven’t even gotten the stupid T-shirt.

Tonight, I celebrate with Kentucky Fried Chicken. Screw you, PETA.

Tomorrow, on the magical day itself, I will celebrate with a meeting with management at which they will tell us that, yes, they are listening to all our concerns. And then, I will drink. Heavily.

One of the charming aspects of downtown Springfield is that there are several fine establishments willing to give residents a free alcoholic beverage on their birthday. Some of these are quite large. More on that tomorrow.

Thursday night, a birthday dinner with Mom at Damon’s: The Place for Ribs.
And Friday night, all hell breaks loose. In other words, it’s a party at The Sykes Pit.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

This ... means ... something

Your Personality Profile

You are dependable, popular, and observant.
Deep and thoughtful, you are prone to moodiness.
In fact, your emotions tend to influence everything you do.

You are unique, creative, and expressive.
You don't mind waving your freak flag every once and a while.
And lucky for you, most people find your weird ways charming!

Oh yeah ... there will be some freak-flagwaving next week.

Many thanks to those who felt my pain yesterday. I zoomed through the grief stages in no time at all. This was owing to several things. More than anything else, knowing that cancelling the trip now would allow us to get on with our lives and have a good Christmas made the loss easy to take. Also, there is the fact that staying in town sets up a bitchin' moviefest on the day after Thanksgiving.

Finally, staying home means the grand, glorious tradition of White Trash Thanksgiving can continue. More on that as the day approaches.


I have a really brief pickup rehearsal tonight. Then, the J&H train rolls into its final weekend. Let me take this opportunity to give a shout out to my fellow thespians to the south who open Seussical this weekend. Break legs, kids.


Finally, it's less than a week until you-know-when. Have finished your shopping yet?

Bad paraplegic. Bad!

Image hosted by

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Gloom ... despair ... agony

We have just encountered a major, unexpected expense which will have the immediate upshot of forcing us to cancel our Thanksgiving trip to Minnesota.

I had damn well better clip through K├╝bler-Ross's stages of grief in the next week, or my birthday will be as happy as a horse shooting.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Gettin’ Wiki wit it

And now, I’d like to pimp out a site that probably doesn’t need my help at all. Nonetheless, it has become my go-to online source for information about, I don’t know, EVERYTHING.

I speak of Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia of breathtaking scope, laudable thoroughness and a scholarly level of accuracy. Want to know about the Order of Knight of the British Empire? Check. The political structure of Poland? Check. A compendium of all things “Lost”? Check. A biography of Xena, The Warrior Princess? Check.

Do yourself a favor and bookmark Wikipedia now.

End commercial message.

Monday, October 17, 2005

A glutton for punishment

Jekyll & Hyde opened this weekend with a bang. We had a near-sellout Friday, a sellout Saturday and a more-than-respectable house for our Saturday matinee.

Friday night was particularly electric. While the opening show of a run always features a special energy, the J&H opener had a rock concert dynamic. We attributed this to our observation that, in addition to the normal complement of regular “theatre types,” the audience included about 200 people who had been in a production with at least one member of the J&H cast. There was wild cheering after every musical number, and the curtain call ovation was almost deafening.

Our joy was compounded by a radiant review from the local newspaper. And yet, there was something of a cloud in the Saturday morning afterglow.

(This is where your truly reveals a negative personality trait. If you don’t want to be disillusioned, you may want to click away now.)

I didn’t appear in the review. Each of the four other principals — Jekyll/Hyde, Lucy, Emma and Utterson — received positive mentions (and more than deservedly so). But that’s where the specific shout-outs ended. There was no print love for Sir Danvers. And it bugged me.

Understand this: I generally do a good job of keeping my attention-whoring tendencies at bay. And I generally despise it when local actors are put out by what appears (or doesn’t) in a show’s review. But as Ted Striker so eloquently puts it in Airplane, “I guess the foot’s on the other hand now!”

So, what’s a recovering attention whore to do? Well, in my case, it’s signing on to do a Christmas show: Santa Claus: The Musical. In this holiday show primarily aimed at children, I play an over-the-top villain named Scourge. No … not this one.

Now, appearing in this show breaks three more-or-less solid theater rules I’ve instituted for myself.
1. Never appear in a “kids show” (although I broke this rule last summer by appearing in Honk!).
2. Never appear in a show that runs into Christmas.
3. Never do two shows in a row.

But having read the script, I can tell you playing Scourge will allow me to go completely berserk on stage — a prospect that should strike fear into the hearts of the Springfield theater community but which fills mine with evil glee.

So yes … I’m an evil, horrible person for letting pride mar the J&H experience at even the most trivial level. But instead of exorcising my demon, I will become one onstage.

Wait’ll they get a load of me.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The many faces of Mister Hyde

Image hosted by

Meet Joshua Ratz. Josh is the star of the production of Jekyll & Hyde which I’m in starting tomorrow. Josh is a great singer, a phenomenal actor and possesses a great personal attractiveness. But get this … he can walk, too.

Therefore, he must die.

Josh is the latest in a long string of actors to play the literary world’s most famous split personality, and J&H is the latest in an equally long string of incarnations of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic. I’ve slapdashed together a Top Five list of the most unusual film versions of J&H … just because I’m a listy kind of guy.

#5. Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953)
This was the fourth of six “Abbott and Costello Meet …” movies, and the second to match the comic team with horror legend Boris Karloff. Look for a funny bit at the end with Lou Costello providing a literal answer to the question, “Are You a Man or a Mouse?”

#4 The Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Rock 'n Roll Musical (2003)
An extremely low-profile vanity project by writer and star Alan Bernhoft, it is definitely NOT to be confused with the aforementioned J&H. This has been described as part Rocky Horror Picture Show and two parts The Who’s Tommy. Released in 2003, the movie has an interesting official site, but good luck trying to find a copy of the movie itself. And speaking of things that are hard to find ...

#3 Docteur Jekyll et les femmes (1981)
Wow. Where to start? This production was directed by Walerian Borowczyk, director of several “Emmanuelle” movies. The Prurient Pole also helmed a series of really weird art house horror-erotica films, of which this is one. Hyde’s sexual nature is front-and-center here, with a disturbing amount of attention given to his monstrous, 35-centimeter “organ.” Go ahead … Google a metric conversion page. I’ll wait.

#2 Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971)
The sensually macabre is also on display in this import. The twist here is that a mild, near-asexual Jekyll is transformed into a feral, libidinous woman (played by Bond Girl Martine Bestwick, of From Russia With Love). Its sexuality was pretty blatant for the time, as was its female-empowerment(?) storyline.

#1 Jekyll and Hyde... Together Again (1982)
Ah, the early 80s. A time when casual sex and rampant drug use was not only common, but fashionable. What better way to celebrate the two than with a horror twist on another 80s staple: the sex comedy. Here, Dr. Jekyll’s secret formula takes the form of a white powder (hmm hmm hmm HMMM!) that unleashes a wacky party animal. Hilarity ensues.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Must-see TV

Click the link above to see an advertisement for the "must-see musical rollercoaster of passion and murder."

Monday, October 10, 2005

Welcome to Hell Week

This week’s entries are bound to be a bit dominated by things theatrical, as the production of Jekyll & Hyde I’m in opens Friday. If you don’t like it, you might want to visit his site for a week or so. Nothing artsy-fartsy there, I assure you.

Now, back to J&H. There are some weird bits of personal trivia happening here.

1. First of all, even though I have a substantial amount of stage time in the show, I don’t have one prop. Not one. This is a relief when you consider …
2. I have never had the number of insane costume changes I have in this show. And they all involve going from one formal outfit to another. Let’s just say that when the dorector starts his notes after a rehearsal saying, “There are only a few people with really quick changes,” and the first person he names is a paraplegic, you’d better be praying hard to sweet St. Genesius. Thankfully, I have her as a dresser.
3. I have my first onstage duet in this show, which is a little weird, considering I have played a musical lead before. However, Julian Marsh and Peggy Sawyer never sing together in 42nd Street.
4. This marks the second time I’m playing someone’s father in a show. This time, sadly, I’m not being aged to play the role, which is just ridiculous. I’m not 50, I don’t feel 50, and I sure as hell don’t look 50. Midlife crisis, here I come. Thankfully, I have a drinking holiday built in about two weeks from now. Unfortunately, the holiday is another statement on my getting older. (Have you finished your shopping yet?)
5. This isn’t so much trivia as an observation: there’s something profoundly visceral and unnerving about seeing a death on stage. We’ve all more or less become desensitized to watching murder on screen, but put a murder in a theatre roughly 15 feet from the first row (and J&H has seven, count ‘em, seven!), and you have a different experience entirely. I can’t wait to see the audience’s faces.

More from tech week, otherwise known as Hell Week, as it progresses …

Thursday, October 06, 2005

St. Genesius be praised

According to the original Jekyll & Hyde rehearsal schedule, Starting yesterday, we were to have had nine straight scheduled run-throughs before it opened next Friday. That would have had us running the show 12 times in 12 days. Madness.

Miraculously, our Friday and Saturday rehearsals have been canceled. We’ll be able to breathe after tonight.

And now for something completely different.

Ten Things I Think

1. I think for all the jokes about his intelligence, George W. made two extremely shrewd Supreme Court nominations. However, given their obscurity, I halfway expected my phone to ring Sunday night.
2. I think I’m looking forward to the family’s Thanksgiving trip to Minneapolis more than any trip I’ve taken in many years.
3. I think Lindsey Lohan should just take the bus.
4. I think that tuxedos with tails are a bad idea for men in wheelchairs.
5. think I may have to get Fiona Apple’s new CD before I get the latest Liz Phair offering, even though Liz is one of my celebrity crushes.
6. I think a White Sox/Cardinals World Series would actually get me interested. (Sorry, Frecklehead.)
7. I think we’re alone now.
8. I think this is one of the deepest and most unsettling things I’ve read in a while.
9. I think nothing beats the satisfaction derived from drinking the perfectly crafted Bloody Mary.
10. I think I love you. So what am I so afraid of?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Still more shamless self-serving self-promotion

A dear friend e-mailed me today: "Excuse me, but why isn't your Amazon Wish List not linked from your blog???"

Well, first of all, I didn't have an Amazon Wish List. I just couldn't picture enough people in my circle of friends who would have the inclination to shop for me online.

But I've fixed that, and just in time for my BIRTHDAAAAAAAAY! People of Earth, you have exactly three shopping weeks left. You can click on the link above, or just click here.