Saturday, August 21, 2010

That's Gonna Leave a Bruise

So as I was reading Kelly Nestruck in the Globe and Mail this morning I followed the links and ended up an hour later shaking my head. Thanks Kelly.

  The link is this: So much drama!

  Really, go, follow, be astounded and lose an hour of your life.

So a couple of thoughts. One great comment asked why this exchange would get national and international coverage but nary a word in the local papers. Just one of those crazy things I guess.

But this does give me the perfect opportunity to trot out a spectacularly new personal theory of mine. One that, alas, has no basis in scientific fact but one that I am positive about.

Like the deadly and dangerous effects of landfill gas or marsh gas I posit that modern society has left such a huge amount of rotting hubris laying about that as it decays it exudes clouds of low hanging stupid gas. When a usually rational person walks through a cloud of this gas they are instantly afflicted with Stupid Gas Syndrome that causes them to open their mouths {or write a comment, blog post etc} in the classic Ready, Fire, Aim manner.

The only way to actually redeem oneself in such a situation is to go someplace quiet, take deep cleansing breaths of fresh air, admit that you were stupid, apologize and move on.

Alas for many that never seems to happen.

P.S. Kelly closes his article with this. "In the meantime, Haslam’s delivered a lesson to all thin-skinned artists out there: Don’t Google yourself."

Back in the day that was called an "ego search" I have done a few of those myself albeit only when well fortified with suitable alcoholic beverages. Kelly has good advice. Just don't do it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Abby Lincoln 1930-2010

Here is the obit from the New York Times

I don't care what they say about her Marilyn dress this is still my favourite album cover.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Quickies

Social Media and the Arts: A must read article from the Globe and Mail. I think I will come back to this one in a few days

Michael Kaiser's Arts in Crisis Tour 

Rada cuts Alexander Technique classes and the crew is not happy

And finally.....the ummm joys of forced audience participation humiliation: Warning: You will be humiliated

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Silver Ticket Award

On June 28, 2010 I was honoured by receiving the Silver Ticket Award For an Outstanding Contribution to the Stage. I wanted to write about this earlier but I wanted to include the speech that I made but as I did not know beforehand that I was actually getting this award the speech was ex tempore and I wanted to make a transcript so that I could include it here. I have deleted the various pauses and ummms but here is what I said.

“You know I’m going to use this. 

 Thanks Marlene. I didn’t know and I didn’t have a speech.

35 years ago, almost to the month, I walked onto the stage at the Shaw Festival and said my first words as a professional actor. And on that stage were Teddy Atienza, Mary Savidge and Domini Blythe. I was playing the requisite slave in Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra. I was fresh out of theatre school and the only person who was wearing less clothes on the stage than me was Domini Blythe. For a young man fresh out of the Ryerson Theatre School walking on stage to see Domini Blythe in a skirt and a necklace was like heaven.

Last year in the last performance that I played….oh the very first words I said at the Shaw Festival was..The Romans are in the courtyard.
Last year in Birdland’s production of the remount of the Last Days of Judas Iscariot I played Pontius Pilate and my first words were… Your Honor I have a 2 o’clock tee time. Can I go now?

And so I went from slave to Roman in 35 years.

It’s been an interesting 35 years. You know, you can’t sharpen a knife with cotton batton. And you can’t get rigorous artistic ideas without a really strong intellectual and artistic challenge. You need granite to sharpen and so tonight, for this award, I would like to thank not only the people who have been dear friends and supporters and artistic collaborators but I would like to thank all those who don’t like me. 
Who have fought…I don’t know if David Ferry is in the house. David and I, were years ago, almost came to blows over dinner one night. And I respect him to this day as a man of great intellectual vigour.
And to all those people I have not agreed with or who have not agreed with me, who have challenged and we fought and we struggled and everything we have done is to make this a better community, to make this a better art. To make theatre something that is powerful and living and necessary.

Because without art we have no soul and without a soul we have nothing.

And so I welcome this award and I thank everybody for this award because I want to keep going to theatre. I want to keep seeing those intellectual ideas. I want to keep seeing those artistic challenges. To not only challenge me but to challenge everybody else.

Thank you so very much."