Saturday, March 27, 2010
Susan-Lori parks and the Public have presented a moving and ephemeral portrait of America that has to be experienced. Using a combination of broad and subtle strokes, this three-hander takes the audience on a journey patrolling the borders of our perceptions about good, evil and every shade between. Buddy played beautifully by Amari Cheatom is the quintessential prodigal son whose checkered past has been redeemed by a Bronze Star winning stint in the service of his country. His skeptical US Border Patrol Officer of a father named Vet, played by the awesome John Doman, is about to receive an award of his own for intercepting a shipment of illegal Cannabis-sativa from Mexico. Between the two estranged men stands Grace who passionately loves them both. Grace, played as a down-to-earth, scared feminine step-mother and wife by Elizabeth Marvel, collects “evidence of good things” in a scrap book, augmenting them with her own thoughts and meditations about what good is like the Magic Castle in Disney World. Staged in the intimate environs of the Public, 90 minuets of un-interrupted, surreal family drama unfold. This is not a laugh fest, but a gut wrenching portrayal of what is good, decent, decadent and evil about what we are as a nation and a family. Deftly directed by James Macdonald with an alive set by Eugene Lee and Projection/Video design by Jeff Sugg, we enjoyed a thought-provoking evening.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
The Luck Strike was when I met this woman 10 years ago and we embarked on an Odyssey through the Academy which culminated Friday March 12th, 2010 at approximately noon with her committee of distinguished professors congratulating her on a successful dissertation defense. What did that mean to a lay person like me? One thing : PARTY!
So we went bowling with a group of friends who braved a deluge and subway delays to meet with us on the far West Side of Manhattan to bowl, shoot pool and enjoy the swanky vibe of Lucky Strike Lanes. The service, for the most part, was great except for when lane 21 kept breaking down, but our wait staff was attentive, so thanks to Tatiania, Jessica, our waiter whose name escapes me because I never had to call him he was always there, and our event coordinator Laura Leon. Thanks to all our friends, to Chet, Routh, Ken, David, Tommy, Dale, Babs, Rod, Lee, Scott, Jill, Kelly, and Bill for coming out to say: Happy Birthday Doctor Mobley!
Sunday, March 7, 2010
THERE IS SO MUCH TO REPORT I AM JUST BURSTING AT THE SEAMS!
Last night we went to see Karen Finley in her latest First Lady incarnation. The venue certainly was an added challenge to her already alternative material in that it was just so main stream as to almost be distracting. Add to that the fact it is the place where my wife and I met and fell in love way back 10 eons ago when she was a bar tender/aspiring actress and I was an aspiring actor/construction worker. Proprietor of the Westbank Cafe, Steve Olsen graced our table with a visit; he remembered "Jay," as she was known back then, very fondly.
Also in the audience ingenue Rachel Weitz of "The Constant Gardener" film fame among others. Her entourage left after only five minutes of the performance piece, perhaps because they had sold-out tickets to "A Lie of the Mind" directed by Ethan Hawke across the street at Theater Row. Or perhaps Finley wasn't exactly what they expected. (Back to Ethan Hawke in a second.)
Finley's final performance of "The Jackie Look" was at times ridiculous and at others torturous as she not only opened mass wounds, but prodded and explored them using a barrage of multi-media, poetry, and primal scream therapy. Finley does an interesting impersonation of the icon, not the woman, and iconography is at the core of her thesis on Jackie O. I am not the scholar my wife is about to officially become, I only know that when Finley goes into her deeply maternal and sacred-feminine "You Know...You! NO!!" I was reduced to a puddle of man-goo. I heard people in the audience audibly try to console her. Jennifer commented that the piece doesn't sound "finished yet". I know what she means, but is anything a performance artist ever does "finished"?
On our way out of the Westbank, Jen spotted Steve and wanted to thank him for the complimentary Risotto balls he sent over to our table, which were fantastic by the way, along with the Stinky's of Brooklyn cheese plate we had. I found my self in the vestibule of the famed celebrity hang-out with none other than Ethan Hawke himself scratching his head under a blue and white ball cap. We exchanged pleasantries, may be it was intermission of the Sam Shepard play he directed, I recounted for him a moment 10 years earlier when we encountered on another on the street in Greenwich Village. He graciously shook my hand and allowed me to introduce myself. "I'm Mark Ransom," I said. "I'm Ethan Hawke," he said, as I presumptuously gushed "I know who you are," and now I think hey, wait a second, what did I say? Because I really don't know who he is. I only know the icon, which is what Finley was pointing out all night. But the one thing he said that makes me feel like we had a human exchange to day was "Until we meet again..." a positive and generous thing to say to a stranger such as myself, let there be no mistake, I am, people, strange.
Stars are lining up for us. By this time next week, Jennifer-Scott Mobley, my friend, my lover, my wife, will have been through her third exam, her dissertation defense and, if all goes well her panel of esteemed scholars will confer upon her the title: Doctor of Philosophy. When that happens...I think I will burst, into tears, into laughter, into the next chapter of our lives that has us publishing and performing. We are ready for our close-ups. So I want to spread this glorious energy into the world in an effort to counter the effects of earthquakes and war. Until we meet again...stay tuned! Hi to Paul Rebhan, whose recovery from Cancer is an inspiration to me, and urges me ever to fulfill my potential.