Friday, September 21, 2018

I Believe Christine Blasey-Ford

In high school, I had a good friend invite me to come babysit with her. Unbeknownst to me, she had also invited two older boys. I knew these guys (small town) but we weren't on a first name basis. Before long, my friend went into another room with one of them, leaving me alone with the other guy. Sitting far apart, he and I made uncomfortable small talk within earshot of what was clearly wildly enjoyable sex. My free-spirited friend was sexually active, but I was not and had no plans to be quite yet, but there was a palpable feeling that this guy was expecting sex too.

That was 32 years ago. I can still tell you everything about the old house, how far back from the road it was, the way the room was decorated, how it smelled, the sounds I heard, the vintage top I was wearing, the plaid shirt he was wearing, his scuffed sneakers. And I can also tell you about the phone call I made to my mom to say COME AND GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE.

To be clear, this guy did not touch me. Then my dad quickly came to get me, no questions asked. I was safe. Even so...the situation was still fraught, because I had not asked, nor expected, to be in it, and during a time like that, senses are heightened and details are cast into memory.

32 years later I know exactly who that boy was. I can still see his face, his shirt, his sneakers, and I can still see the Frisbee he was holding and spinning idly as we sat there. It was blue and white.

I got out of the situation, but I remember every detail.

Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford barely made it out of the situation. If you don't think she remembers, then you really just don't get it at all. Like, at all.∎

Sunday, August 26, 2018

You Guys, Neil Simon Died

My drama club did the female Odd Couple in college. My role was, as always, backstage, as I have zero talent. I was drama club co-chair and stage-managed most shows. Even though my crew and I had no "on stage" parts, we did get applause during it...may I boast...? I loved this so much.

I love dressing a show. Opening act, Olive Madison's apartment is a right proper mess...garbage everywhere, you can't see the table top for all the fast food containers, newspapers etc. In our theatre in college, we had no curtain to bring down, so the changeover from Olive Madison's apartment pre- to post- Florence Unger moving in, it needed to be fast, and it had to not take the audience out of the mood. They'll be watching the set change, sans curtain. We couldn't be bumbling in like a bunch of dorks.

Here's what I came up with: Each prop, each "mess," though it looked like a big ol' random pile of stuff, was a prop of a single piece. For example a blanket that was strewn over the couch had actually a bunch of "garbage" items sewn/glued to it. The mess was the illusion, as the whole area could be picked up as one piece. Each table top had a covering, cereal boxes and various other detritus sewn/glued to it. Take hold and walk off with Olive's whole mess, leaving a neat, shiny Florence table with a tasteful bowl of fruit. A rug rolled up and with it, poof! There went the entire floor full of crumpled papers, soda cans and underwear. The whole set went like that. Swap an "overflowing" trash can with its exact twin that's empty, etc.

Silently we walked on, took one or two props in hand, and walked off. And there were five of us so we did this in a planned-out choreography, each crossing in from left/right and exiting the other side quietly and quickly. We'd run it so many times during tech week that it was really a ballet.

Because the house lights would be up during this set change, me and my crew dressing in black had nothing to do with the usual reason for stage hands to dress in black...we are fully visible. Normally the set change is meant not to be noticed or seen, but not this time. You guys, it was so cool. A second after the last crew member made the final change, the audience exploded in applause. For the set change! Rightly so! I was SO PROUD. That final crew member was Andrea Beatty, who smoothlt entered stage left with a big, full-leaf fake plant, took the dead stick out of the pot, inserted the "live" plant, and exited stage right...the house lights dimmed the moment her heel disappeared backstage, and then big applause. For the set change.

I'd never seen that happen before. No YOU cried, shut up.

I loved that show. So fun. Thank you, and rest in peace, Neil Simon.

Prolific playwright Neil Simon has died at the age of 91.
(© David Gordon)

Saturday, August 25, 2018


Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip was a solid show. It was on during a dark period in my life when every TV show that I loved was getting canceled. I made a list at the time, it's probably in the old blog archives. Studio 60 was Aaron Sorkin's first project post-West Wing, so it had a lot of the Aaron Sorkin players, and the overall look of the show (cameras, lights, titles) was very West Wing. Studio 60 was funny and smart. So of course it got canceled because what's wrong with people.


Harriet: I got a laugh at the table read when I asked for the butter in the dinner sketch. I didn't get it at the dress. What did I do wrong?
Matt: You asked for the laugh.

Harriet: What did I do at the table read?

Matt: You asked for the butter.