by Chris Alonzo
(Spoilers, so many spoilers, god the spoilers beware shield yourself take cover stop crying you goddamned baby.)
The most useful thing I ever learned from my playwriting mentor (the illustrious Amparo Garcia-Crow) was to imagine the world you’re creating as one that you are privileged to witness. It’s a way of keeping in mind that the people you are creating live far beyond the confines of the scenes you choose to show. This is a whole, actualized world, and the audience only gets to see certain characters interact at certain moments. What we get to see doesn’t alter the story, just our perception of it.
I saw Young Adult last night, and in the twelve hours since I’ve had an hour-long conversation on it, exchanged a few texts with our beloved editor, and read every review and article I can get my hands on. And I’m still not satisfied that I totally know how I feel about it. This intrigues me, and it makes me really like the movie even though I think I hate it. And the thing I keep coming back to is this idea that it succeeds precisely because of what Amparo taught us: framing is everything.
by Bina Kumari
First off, I LOVE MINDY. Yep, there’s no shame in that whatsoever. She’s an amazing role model for minority girls and women alike. And men too. Especially Indian ones. She’s especially important to me because I’m half-Indian (and also half-Japanese but that’s of no true relevance here.) She gives us brown folk hope, you know? Especially us 80s babies, you know, the Kids in America who grew up watching Paul Rudd fall in love with his stepsister in Clueless. She’s just real. And we love that about her.
She’s smart, funny, successful, beautiful, and talks like a valley girl. Plus, she has curves. What’s not to love?
by Chris Alonzo
I’ve lived in Atlanta for three months now, a stretch that has been the loneliest, most painful, most frustrating and ultimately most liberating time of my life. I am still in the thick of it, so this is not about triumph. This is about something else that happened, that is still happening, because I moved by myself to a city where I didn’t know anybody and have spent almost all of my time with the person I hate most in all the world: myself. It has been awful. It has been quite good for me.
I know that I’m not alone in this; I’m an artist surrounded by artists and most of the people who have populated my life are perpetually in varying stages of self-loathing. That’s part of the charm: it’s comforting to be around somebody who has the same defect. Some of my favorite memories are getting to that stage of the night where those confessions start, and assuring each other that it’s going to be OK (and, of course, wishing to God that the people you love could see themselves the miraculous way they appear to you all of the time.) I’ve gone through my cycles, up-to-down, self-destructive to just-plain-bummed-out, and usually made up for it with manic swings to the other side. Party! Let’s keep the party going!
by Bina Kumari
So I didn’t even really want to think about it, and living in Los Angeles, I almost felt like I was getting away without being inundated by the sad media parade. But after I had my cable reconnected after two months, almost immediately after excitedly turning on the TV to the U.S. Open, I felt it.
So whilst I couldn’t bring myself to ask any of my friends to write a 9/11 post, having never wanted to talk about it all that much, I now find myself wanting to try and express the feelings I had that day. I used to sit at parties in New York and be filled with pent-up rage about the circle of theater folk all sharing stories of where they were on September 11th. I don’t know why I was so irritated by it. Maybe it’s because I felt as though they were just a bunch of performance artists doing a circle-jerk of who had the best one-man show bit about 9/11.
by Bina Kumari
Tonight I sat with my soon-to-be sister-in-law making wedding centerpieces as we continued the process of getting to know each other. We both seemed to have a lot to share. We talked about our families, among other topics like tamales and religion. At one point, I found myself in tears as I relayed the following story.
You see, my most recent trip to India was in March of 2010. On that trip, I saw my oldest brother, my Bhai Saab, as I called him. My father’s eldest brother’s son, Indian culture dictates that cousins are considered brothers and sisters. So is the way of traditional extended family in South Asia.
When I was born in a military hospital in New Orleans in 1977, my Bhai Saab, Abhey Singh, helped take great care of me in the world of chaos seemingly surrounding us. He struggled to adapt to American culture as a young man in his early 20s, often working as a welder. And he loved me with all his heart. This much I know.
“If you want to work on your art, work on your life.” ~Anton Chekhov
I’m halfway through the Artist’s Way, more than I’ve ever completed before. I’ve always started it all gung ho, and then flaked about a third of the way through. But I’ve been pretty damn dedicated thus far. I do my morning pages, my artist dates, and most of the exercises, which have all brought up a plethora of feelings and experiences in one way or another. It has been an awakening in a lot of ways. I am allowing myself to try new things, some of them random and silly. I found an origami kit in the kids section of Barnes and Noble and went to town making spirit animals for my coworkers. I’ve started taking random classes at the gym and making an ass out of myself (a whole separate blog post in and of itself). Tonight, I took my first pottery class, which is something I’ve been dying to do for the longest time. I’m allowing myself artist license, and it feels good. I felt married to acting for the longest time- it was what I had pursued for almost half of my life. When it stopped bringing me joy (it’s a shitty industry as anyone will attest to), I felt lost. Confused. Depressed. A walking Cymbalta ad. But as I have begun to explore other areas of artistic fulfillment, I begin to feel a sense of relief. I’m going back to the basics of making art. Some of it’s good, some of it ain’t, but damnit at least I’m creating something.
by Bina Kumari
“We should let The South become its own country, depriving those states of all the finances that are generated by the sensible cities on the coasts, so that The South can no longer fuck up every single positive human movement of America, so that the world can now focus on the real problem of America, which is the embedded racism and sexism and intolerance of The South. These states do not stand for the ideals of America. These states behave like criminals to The Constitution. So let these states no longer be funded by the hard work of the Federal government, which is kept afloat only by the hard working citizens of the coasts. We have worked very hard to integrate you ever since we kicked your motherfucking asses in The Civil War. But you can’t play along. You don’t want to play along. We are not stronger but weaker with you on our backs. It’s time to let you go, The South. You will be happier for a moment, until you realize your entitled point-of-view was based on the finances generated by people you would like to execute.” ~Tommy Smith, in response to the death penalty still being in place
I wanted to take an opportunity to share the comment above from Facebook today. For those not in-the-East-Village-theater-know, Tommy Smith is a wonderful, compassionate, and accomplished playwright, screenwriter, and yes, my friend on Facebook and sometimes even in real life. We met through a mutual friend while living in New York City at an underground theater show that our friend was in, in which he had to emerge from underneath a makeshift curtain wearing some kind of Burger King crown while reciting poetry? Something like that. Anyway, it was weird and neat. I had met that friend performing another experimental piece at the Richard Foreman Ontological Hysteric Series. I loved every crazy second of it. Tommy originally hails from Seattle, and I thought him cute, All-American, and a little oblivious. He would later prove to be much more than meets the eye. He’s actually pretty smart.