Friday, December 18, 2009

I Got Nothin'

I have nothing to say.

That pretty much covers it.

I'm sitting here at Barnes and Noble in Peabody (MA), where they're not supposed to serve Godiva Hot Chocolate but they do anyway, hoping to get myself into a writing mood so I can get back to the play I'm writing with Cindy Williams and Eddie Mekka in mind. But nothing's coming. I finished a draft of Act One yesterday, and it doesn't stink. Problem is, when Act One is over, there are only a couple of options: go back and keep fixing Act One, or move on to create Act Two. Fixing is easy. Creating a new Act Two is not. So I have Cindy's character at home on New Year's Eve. She's just asked one of her neighbors to kill her before midnight. And that's the end of Act One. Something will come to me. Maybe not here, maybe not today, but sometime.

I hope.

I got nothin'.

I look at the magazine racks and see famous people staring at me.

Taylor Swift. Where have I seen her? Saturday Night Live. I didn't know who she was then and I barely know who she is now. On this magazine cover (what magazine?), she seems to be paired with another Taylor, this time a guy, from I think the TWILIGHT movies. Where have I seen him? Saturday Night Live. Didn't know who he was then get the idea. I don't know his last name. I sneak over and thumb through the magazine. Every time he is mentioned, he is referred to only as "Taylor." This means he is so famous, that everybody knows him by his first name!

But what if you're referring to Taylor Swift?

No wonder they're hooked up on this magazine cover. Poor kids. They're so rich and famous they have to be placed side by side on a magazine cover so they won't be mistaken for each other.

Alec Baldwin. Now, I've seen him lots of places, but mainly on...Saturday Night Live, where he is one of the best guest hosts. This would be a good place for an Alec Baldwin family phone call joke, but I've done that already in an earlier blog.

Tiger. On Golf Digest. Standing behind a superimposed photo of Obama. Something about 10 tips Tiger can give the president. Seems Tiger is a couple of presidents late on this one. The guy just before Bush II may have been able to learn something from the Tig Man.

Miley Cyrus. All I know about her is I have her father's one hit on my iPod because it's helpful to run to it. Especially at the beginning of a run. Really gets me going. Miley herself, I wouldn't recognize a tune by her on the radio. Sorry. And she's kinda hidden on the magazine under the two Taylors. Miley's fifteen minutes may be down to two or three.

Perhaps I should stop looking at the magazine rack and try to write that second act.

Wait! Rihanna on the cover of GQ! I don't know who she is, but she absolutely belongs on the cover of GQ. Way to go, Rihanna!

Oh, yes, I did see her on SNL as well, didn't I?

She is wearing far, far less on the cover of GQ.

Way to go, Rihanna!

Now, that second act...

Hold on...

Reese and Jake have split. What a shame.

Tiger and Jessica are linked.

Linked, get it?

Robert Pattison and Jaycee Dugard are among People's Most Intriguing People of the Year.

WDF are they?

He's one of those damn vampires, isn't he?

Jennifer Aniston says, "You just have to love your life!"

Well, why is she telling me that NOW? Damn!

So many magazines, so many celebrities, so little time.

Wait, if you pick up People Magazine with Jennifer Aniston upright, then open the magazine, everything else is upside down!

That means something...I know it does.

It means I'd better get back to that second act.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Normally, you'd have to drag me kicking and screaming to a movie entitled PRECIOUS. A film produced by Oprah and Tyler Perry, no less. Nothing against these giants of entertainment but...I'm not first in line for their projects, let's face it.

But I trust Roger Ebert. And Roger Ebert gave the film four stars. And I hadn't been to the movies in a while. And neither THE HURT LOCKER nor UP IN THE AIR had opened in the Boston area, was either PRECIOUS or the Nick Cage BAD LIEUTENANT sequel or remake or whatever it is, which Roger also recommended. LIEUTENANT started at 5:25, PRECIOUS at 4:10. Didn't feel like eating at 8. So I went to see PRECIOUS.

It's not a great film. It may not even be a good film. It is gritty and it pushes all kinds of buttons about abuse and poverty's really what you expect it to be.

But then, there's Mo'Nique.

Not a big fan of the solo-named actors. I mean, look at Cher. Good actress. Won an Oscar. But, all these years later, she's still a punch-line, and I think a main reason for that is her single name. Okay, quick, everybody--let's holler out Madonna's movie hits:

Cricket. Cricket.

Okay, maybe EVITA wasn't too bad.

But you get my point.

Anyway, back to Mo'Nique. I don't know much about her. I know she's done some TV acting, some stand-up, some TV hosting. Pretty much thrived in the "celebrity" category. I mean--the name. It's the name. What else could she be but a celebrity?

Well, I'm here to tell you this woman is an actor.

Over the years, I've been an avid moviegoer (not so much this year, but...) and, maybe, five or six times in the past twenty years or so I've come out of a movie blown away by a performance. Robert Duvall in TENDER MERCIES. John Voight in COMING HOME. Emily Watson in BREAKING THE WAVES. Cate Blanchette in NOTES ON A SCANDAL.

Mo'Nique (fix your name, girl!) delivers that kind of performance as the mother of Clareece "Precious" Jones in PRECIOUS. Gabourey Sidibe is terrific in the title role, and she will be nominated for everything. But the heart and soul of this picture is Mo'Nique. As the film progressed, I was impressed with her work, but, truth be told, it appeared to be a one-note performance, which I was blaming on the writer and the director. However, as the film concludes, she is given a scene where she has to try to explain the abominable things she has done to her daughter, and while her abominations are waaaaay beyond forgiveness, Mo'Nique somehow manages (with the help of the writer and director, of course) to bring the viewer into her world, not really to accept it, or even to understand it--but to know it. It is a harrowing, magnificent scene.

And this actress nails it.

Except for maybe the Duvall performance, which is subtle perfection from first frame to last, what distinguishes the other three performances mentioned above is the bravery which the actors must have to bring the characters honestly to the screen. Mo'Nique's performance in PRECIOUS is brave to the nth degree. It is brutally honest and shattering. She has revealed that she was molested by a family member as a child, so what she brings to the screen, she brings with a backstory.

If there is any justice out there, the Best Supporting Oscar must be hers. Duvall and Voight won for their performances. Watson and Blanchette did not. So I'm two for two.

For the record, her name is Monique Imes. I'd go with that.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Voice Recognition Software

I am making this blog entry utilizing my new voice recognition software. Because I am new at this, I find that I sound very much like a robot at this point. However, this program is amazingly accurate.

It is relatively expensive, but at this time of the year, especially in a year when I had two plays produced for long runs in professional theaters, I have to find things to write off. If I don't, I'll be paying the IRS. So, if it's a matter of paying a few bucks to Apple for some new software or paying the IRS, I pick Apple.

Get it? I pick... Apple.

Okay, now it seems that every time I try to write something in a new application, all I do is tell the new application that I'm trying out my new voice recognition software.

So that's what you blog readers -- all one of you -- is/are getting today.

It must be very unsettling for my landlord downstairs. She never hears me talk to anybody. Even when I'm on the telephone I don't talk as loudly as I'm talking now. It's entirely possible she will make me pay more rent for this other person I seem to be talking to at all times now.

I think the best use of this new voice recognition software is going to be my transcribing the written material I found from my mother and from other relatives regarding family history. I have been bemoaning the fact that I don't know that much about my family, but the fact of the matter is my mother and other relatives have actually written things down that I can dig up and record for the family.

So that's what I'm going to do.

This program is amazingly accurate. I said that already.

By the way, side note to my one blog reader at this point -- I plan to tell more friends that I am writing this blog, and I plan to do this when I send out my annual end of the year letter. Problem is, my annual end of the year letter usually comes out sometime in the spring.

I'll see if I can get this done any sooner this year.

Robot signing off.