Monday, July 28, 2008

on, wisconsin!

or...reasons to (not) be proud of your home state.

1. debra bartoshevich
is not only from wisconsin, but from my hometown of waterford. the 41-year-old nurse and mom of two told the milwaukee journal sentinel that after hillary clinton dropped out of the presidential race, she decided she would vote for sen. john mccain, not sen. barack obama. that's all well and good, except that dear old debra was a pledged democratic delegate.

2. keith walendowski just wanted to mow his stupid lawn on friday. that's all. just mow the damn stupid lawn. and maybe have a few beers before lunch. but then something terrible happened: the damn mower wouldn't start. just would not start. so he shot it. shot the mower with a gun. which might have been fine, if he hadn't used a sawed-off shotgun.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

to be, or...not?

mccain campaign, 7/24: obama needs to stop acting like he's already the president.
"The McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee have been hitting hard on the theme that on his trip Mr. Obama has cast himself as not just as the presumptive Democratic nominee, but the presumptive president three months too early." -- NYT Michael Falcone
mccain campaign, 7/25: obama needs to start acting like he's already the president:
"The most solemn duty of a commander in chief is to fulfill his responsibility to the men and women who serve this country in uniform. Barack Obama ... broke that commitment, instead flitting from one European capital to the next." -- retired Lt. Col. Joe Reypya, speaking on behalf of the McCain campaign.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


while barack obama was giving an historic speech at the tiergarten in berlin today, john mccain was basically mocking him by having lunch in a german restaurant in columbus, ohio. from the associated press:
McCain told reporters that he'd loved to give a speech in Germany. "But I'd much prefer to do it as president of the United States rather than as a candidate for president."
i've eaten at schmidt's restaurant and sausage haus, the restaurant mccain visited today. it's delicious and...filling. had he asked, i'd have recommended that after dinner, grampa pay a visit to the fudge haus, owned by tim dick. tim's a great guy, and if you love fudge as much as i do, he'll shove a piece in your mouth right as you walk in the door.

did i mention that barack obama gave a speech today?

who'll stop the rain?

so, okay.

nothing against the new star of broadway's legally blonde (cast via an mtv reality show, legions of fans were standing clear down the block to get her autograph last night, in the pouring rain.) nothing against the stars of the current broadway revival of grease. and i'm certainly not saying i could do any better (although i do think i'd make a fierce elle woods.)

but the key word in both of those sentences is broadway. lately, in certain instances, you could replace broadway with college theatre and you wouldn't be far off. here's a fun quote i found on wikipedia:
"Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world."
the highest level in the english-speaking world. wtf.

well, you know what? legally blonde is selling like nobody's business. and so are the t-shirts. i've made more dough-re-me in the last three weeks schlepping t-shirts and little stuffed chihuahuas in fuzzy pink purses than ever before. that mtv reality show has put money in my own pocket.

but at what cost? at what, dare i say, artistic cost.

that is not to say there isn't amazing stuff happening in broadway theaters every night. there is. lots of it has been brought in from chicago, sure. but some of it is new york based.

i have plenty of uber-talented friends who actually appear in shows nightly on the great white way. even after seven years, mamma mia has yet to bring in a "star" (although don't hold your breath or you'll miss the movie's amanda seyfried as sophie. nothing official, but just watch.) and of course, there's south pacific, there's lupone in gypsy, there's in the heights and passing...oops. no more passing strange.

and listen. i think even legally blonde has it's place. much of it is great fun, and performed with great precision and joy by real pros.

but mix that in with...the rest. and those midwesterners coming to see the theatre's "best and the brightest" might be better off buying a ticket to the malt house theater in burlington, wisconsin to see the neighborhood letter carrier in the music man.

at least they won't have to stand in line in the rain to get an autograph.

(btw: the image above is a painting by canadian artist emily strong. see more of her work here.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

i just had a mamma mia stroke

last monday night, i was lucky enough to be invited to a special "family and friends" screening of the new mamma mia movie.

meryl streep was not there.

christine baranski was. "this was the best time i've ever had making a movie," she said. "i'm proud to be able to say, as all of you can, that i've now had the mamma mia experience."

fellow wisconsinite bradley whitford was there (he and baranski are working together in boeing, boeing.) director phyllida lloyd, producer judy cramer, and writer catherine johnson were all there.

more importantly, mike cannon was there.

and anthony cefala. and pearce bunting, and glynn turner, and kristin harris, and denise reynolds, and lori haley fox, and andy parkhurst, and michael grayman, and sophia thomas, and tim booth, and tim ewing, and anne tolpegin, and laura ware, and lisa mandell, and robert mcqueen, and martha banta, and amy jacobs, and devin keudell, and...sweety. and lots of other dear, old friends i know because of mamma mia.

there were hundreds of other people too, filling up two gigantic theaters. current and former mamma mia cast members, creative types, producers, directors, musicians, theater staff.

it was sort of like my first AA meeting, in the basement of de paul hospital in milwaukee, wisconsin. i looked around the room and thought, "i don't know all of you, but i know we all have that thing in common." it was at the same time delightful and completely frightening.

sort of like the movie itself.

now, by frightening, i don't mean bad. just overwhelming. seeing on screen, the scenes and lines and choreography you know so well, is just a little bizarre at times.

personally, i thought meryl streep made a lovely donna (just not as lovely as lauren mufson) julie walters a terrific rosie, and amanda seyfried a great sophie.

reviews seem to be either love it or hate it (if you're a.o. scott from the new york times, love it and hate it) just like the reviews for the stage show: if you're in bakersfield, you're "a giddy good time" and you've got "a rich baritone that fills the hall." if you're in portland, you're "a stunning bore" with "a nasal tenor that inspires no confidence." (note to grumpy MM reviewers: nobody cares how witty you can be. the houses were full every night with people singing and dancing in the aisles. i doubt you get that for your little book on how you got started in musical theater.)

the crowd on monday was raucous, loud, and had a great time. but these were folks who had (and have) a great time doing the show every night, many of whom realize -- there's something very special about the mamma mia experience.

(in rehearsal: the original company of mamma mia tour 2, january '02.)

don't i know you?

interesting when two friends meet...

i went to waterford union high school with blogger jeff ircink (passion=truth) who now lives in l.a. and works as an actor, playwright, and...what else is it you do jeff? jeff's a published playwright (and a good one) who in his spare time fishes, smokes, and has a major man-crush on brett favre. (yes, straight men can have crushes on other straight men without thinking about penis.)

i've worked in milwaukee theater with blogger jonathan west (artsy schmartsy) many, many times, and i actually just saw him in a wonderful production of tally's folly at milwaukee chamber theater. over the years, jon's been an actor, a director, a writer, run a theater company of his own...and i'm sure there's more. these days, he's also a devoted father and spouse.

two days ago, jeff and i had a delightful phone conversation about the recent brett favre "i'm retired -- no i'm not!" debacle, easily summed up in two lines:
tony: it makes that weepy news conference seem like bullshit.
jeff: he changed his mind, it happens all the time.
this morning, i realized these two old friends were already having this conversation...

Monday, July 14, 2008

barry's emmy, part X: send it back

An ominous voicemail from barry in the the last episode, and some sage advice from sal the bartender in this one can lead a responsible person to only one possible solution regarding the stolen emmy...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

barry's emmy fever

episode ten of MY FRIEND BARRY'S EMMY premiers sunday night at midnight. it's epic (nine plus minutes) and i'm pretty proud of it. so now might be a good time to bone up on your BARRY'S EMMY episodes.

maybe you missed music practice with richard. maybe you missed driving around showcase awards. maybe you missed the music video. maybe you're just a glutton for punishment and you wanna watch them all again.'s where you can.

and don't forget to come back sunday at midnight to watch
MY FRIEND BARRY'S EMMY, part X: send it back.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

you are so tyson gay

the man in this picture is a gay. in fact, his whole family is gay.

he is a gay from lexington, kentucky, but he currently lives in fayetteville, arkansas. and we know how gay that is. (please. fay-etteville?) he is so gay his name is even gay. tyson gay. seriously, how gay is that? plus, there's the sign behind him. talk about advertising it.

thankfully, the american family association (you remember them) has a policy on it's "news" website to filter out the word "gay" and replace it with "homosexual" (lest you think there are strange men lurking out there wanting to make your children gleeful, jovial, glad, joyous, happy, cheerful, or sprightly in any way.)

thus, until recently, the american family association referred to this man as:
Tyson Homosexual
in reprinting an associated press story about the gay from lexington, the american family's "news" site included this:
Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.

His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn't count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here's what does matter:
Homosexual qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he's certainly someone to watch in Beijing.

"It means a lot to me," the 25-year-old Homosexual said. "I'm glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me"
there was also this thrilling description of gay's costume, and his performance:
Wearing a royal blue uniform with red and white diagonal stripes across the front, along with matching shoes, all in a tribute to 1936 Olympic star Jesse Owens, Homosexual dominated the competition.

He started well and pulled out to a comfortable lead by the 40-meter mark. This time, he kept pumping those legs all the way through the finish line, extending his lead.

In Saturday's opening heat, Homosexual pulled way up, way too soon, and nearly was caught by the field, before accelerating again and lunging in for fourth place.
they also ran these headlines about him:


a homosexual going around breaking someone's records. sounds like a nasty gay divorce. ("that was MY donna summer - live and more you bitch!")

(hat tip: damien)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

mission accomplished

who do you think should be blamed for the high price of gas?  osama bin laden?  or george w. bush?

Friday, July 4, 2008

not for lack of tryon

it's not a terribly long bike ride, and i've done it before, always stopping just short of my goal. but today i actually biked up to and into ft. tryon park.

rob and i made the eleven mile round trip today along the west side bike path, most of which is lovely and quiet and travels next to the hudson river, but for a short time takes you through what can best be described as the domincan republic picnic. suddenly there are people everywhere. and the smells, oh my god. meat cooking on charcoal grills, being sold from carts, and eventually rotting in dumpsters. tons of music, blaring from car speakers in the parking lot. merengue, hip-hop, salsa, and other loud latin music all competing for your eardrums.

and families. plenty of families.

anyone in my own family would be very uncomfortable along that short stretch of the bike path. i've never felt anything but welcome. in fact, it reminds me a bit of cookouts in my own backyard on loland drive, just outside of waterford, wisconsin. i'd bet we could pull over to any one of these family gatherings and be welcomed like neighbors.

and when we got to ft. tryon i thought, "why did it take me two years to see this?"

the little spec at the bottom of that archway – the little thing on the bike – is rob. (click on the picture twice and you'll get a better look.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

alec baldwin's cannondale

and yes, his ass fits on that seat.

i was going to take a photo of alec trying to figure out how to wrap the chain around that light pole (it was a good, ten minute routine) but then i had a flash of those videos on entertainment tonight or inside edition or something when all you see is the celebrity fist coming at the camera. not so interested in that. especially since i think he's pretty damn funny on 30 rock.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

barry's emmy, part IX: the trouble with sandy

sometimes, when i'm in a pickle and i don't know what to do, i have a little talk with a good friend or two. just discussing the problem out loud is often enough to lead me to a reasonable conclusion. like this situation with sandy the usher. let's be honest: did i actually lie to anyone?

think you've missed an episode of MY FRIEND BARRY'S EMMY, or do you wanna watch it from the beginning? clicking on the BARRY'S EMMY logo in the green sidebar on the right side of the page will always lead you to the series in it's entirety.