Archive for November, 2010

Heir Apparent

November 8, 2010

This sad little lizard told me that he was a Brontosaurus on his mother’s side. I did not laugh; people who boast of ancestry often have little else to sustain them.  Humoring them costs nothing and adds to happiness in a world in which happiness is in short supply.
–Robert Heinlein
*

I don’t make a big deal of it, but apparently there’s a fair chance that I’m descended from Swedish royalty.

Back when I didn’t care about my heritage too much, other than the basic “what country are we from?**”, my mom was in the midst of trying to trace our roots.  I vaguely remember her telling this story from what she learned from relatives.  When I did start becoming a bit more interested, mom had already passed away.  I questioned my sister, who was sort of into the heritage stuff, but her memory was fuzzy.  My brother seemed surprised by the story.  So this all needs to be taken a bit tongue-in-cheek.  Seems that as my mom traced back on her mom’s side of the family (the Swedish side), she kept hearing the same story from direct relatives.  Digging further, she heard it repeated by distant relatives, with the story basically intact from what she’d already learned.

The story goes that there was one of my great-to-the-something (fourth? fifth?) grandfathers was actually raised in an orphanage.

The catch was that my grandfather was visited quite regularly.  Every couple of weeks, a royal carriage would come around and one of the King’s daughters…a Princess!!…would come in and spend time with my grandfather.

The rumor had it that the (unmarried) Princess had a liaison with one of the royal court and, as sometimes happens in such affairs, she became preggers***.

my family is a saucy one

Being unmarried, but for religious or medical reasons unwilling to terminate the pregnancy, the child was brought to term and born into – – – nothingness.

Back then (still?), children of royalty born out of wedlock were assumed not to exist.  Given how randy and lascivious many royalty were … are?…, you can’t go around affirming and recognizing every apparent heir to the throne.  Only those issue of approved and blessed marriages may ascend to the royal court.

So, the child was placed into an orphanage, with sufficient funds to ensure he was properly taken care of as long as needed.

But, the Princess was awash in maternal instincts for her ‘lost’ child and made it a point to visit over an extended time.

True?  No way to tell for sure.  A good story, nonetheless.

So, yeah…I may be royalty

…but bastard royalty!

…and damn proud of it.

I’ll be soliciting ideas on how to reclaim my rightful throne…

relatives? maybe...but they're sitting on MY throne

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*had to chuckle.  I thought I was being clever using this quote.  But, not remembering the whole thing, googled it only to find that about 73 other people with blogs talking about genealogy use it as well.  You’ll notice it didn’t stop me a bit.

**me?  The biggies are 49% Scottish, 24% German, and 24% Swedish, with a smattering of other stuff thrown in there for the rest.

***yes, I do realize that royalty don’t become “preggers”… that’s for redneck high school girls.  Royalty become “with child” or “enceinte” or some other pompous, overbearing phrase for “knocked up”.  I just felt like using “preggers”.


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The Reviews

November 4, 2010

Community theater actors thrive on reviews.  We wallow in self indulgent preening when we get a good review.  We despair in chest pounding, wailing fits of anger when we get a poor review.

Our show?  Great stuff.  Reviewed in three papers, we got consistently positive critiques of our performances.  All recommended folks go see our show.

A couple of the better comments? – – –

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One thing I know from my theater experience is that it’s not enough to simply act like the character, but one must become the character, thinking and feeling as they would. This cast was incredibly convincing. They truly became the characters.

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There is no question that Broadway could learn a great deal from community theater, especially GnuKid’s Theater Group.  Gifted local theater removes the special effects and production numbers and replaces that hyped aspect with highly personal acting, in this case, perfect zaniness.

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There is one local theater critic who rarely gives out rave reviews…yet he willingly and glowingly gave us just such a review.  Rumor has it that he has a penchant for young, cute actor boys (of legal age, mind you).  Given that one of our actors came out on stage dressed in Indian head dress, breech cloth in front, and in back… well… and a jock strap… just may have had something to do with such a positive reviews.  Oh, and his attending a second time (which he NEVER does for other shows).  For some reason, he sat on the aisle where the young man departs the stage.  Hmmm…

the motley crew...with indian boy up front

We were, of course, thrilled.  It’s very likely that one of the reasons we had near sold out houses for the run of the show was because of the reviews.

The leads got glowing reviews that reveled in their acting and comedic brilliance.  The other supporting actors got great reviews.  The chorus – – to me the true stars of the show wonderfully playing multiple roles each – – were called out for praise by all the critics.

And it’s reviews like that, coupled with big audiences who laugh honestly, loud, and long, that makes it seem – –  not just worthwhile – – but magic.

Me?

Not glowing, but pretty good in my book.

I got a “…flawless accent and perfect comedic timing.” (which, actually, is pretty damn good).

I also got a “…suitably crazy…”.

And finally, a “…loony, yet authoritative…”.

I shared the latter with Daughter Person who commented, “Hmm, that perfectly describes your parenting style as well.”

<sigh>

Yep, she’s my kid.

<big, cheesy grin>

The Director

November 2, 2010

Our director for “The Producers”, C,  is well known in the local theater community.  While not old enough to be considered an “icon” or “pillar” of the community, he is well on his way to becoming so.  A very caring friend and hard worker.

And, yeah, he’s openly gay.

Again, that’s not really important, except for a couple stories that came out of the rehearsals for the show.

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C Story #1:

C is amazing at set design and construction.  He’s won many local awards (it was not so jokingly suggested at the last awards ceremony that it would have been easier to count the number of his sets that did NOT win an award).  For this show, he again put his heart into it and designed a great set.  Great sets often require great effort to build.  Thus the need, in community theater anyway, for the cast to pitch in and help.  Well, he wasn’t getting the support he expected and, not wanting to fail, spent long and late hours doing it mostly himself.  Finally, he’d had enough and called a cast meeting, garnering the support of his choreographer, A, to help share his message of concern.

After an impassioned speech by C, wherein he worked himself to tears bemoaning the likelihood of the set not being finished in time, he had to turn over the verbal spanking to A.  A continued with anger at the lack of support.  It was beginning to get real uncomfortable.  Yeah, the cast was not supporting as they should, but we are volunteers and don’t like getting yelled at.    A was working into a frenzy – – –

A:  “I mean, c’mon guys.  This set will not build itself!  It’s not like there’s some magic set fairy that comes in every night!”

A glances over at C.  Their eyes locked.  And immediately the angry mood was broken.  Both of them smiled and, C, raised his hand slowly and said,

C:  “Well, yeah, there IS a set fairy.”

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C Story #2:

After a late rehearsal, one of the actors came back to the green room (where the actors hang out when not on stage) and announced that he had to go, but that C had a flat tire and was looking for help.

Looking to curry do a favor and not in a hurry to leave (hell, there’s only work to look forward to the next morning), I wandered up front to find an seemingly unconcerned C yakking with one of the theater staff members.  After confirming that he did indeed have a flat tire, I offered to change his tire (not a euphemism).  In hindsight?  I should’ve just asked if he had a AAA card and suggested he call them to do the job.  But, he is a caring friend, so I thought, “What the hell.”

We wandered out to the car in a darkened parking lot.  While we…okay, I—C just showed me where stuff was… were getting the spare and jack out, another cast member, B (who happens to be gay as well), came wandering out to go home.  I asked B if he could help by bringing his car around to shine the headlights on the proceedings, which he gladly did.

And then I began the process of changing out the tire, while B and C stood there yakking about the play and community theater and whatever…

B made the revelation and asked,

B:  “Quiz!  You come across three men changing a tire.  One is actually changing the tire and two are standing around watching and talking.  Which one is the straight man?”

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Story #3:

After B’s revelation and pop quiz, the talk came around to C’s infatuation with certain young, male cast members, especially J.  I mentioned in a prior post that a couple of the cast members were undeclared as to their orientation.  Curiosity got the better of me and I had to ask.

GnuKid:  “So, is J gay?  I’m just not sure.”

C:  “God, I hope so.”

GunKid:  “How about Z?”

C:  “Oh, hell no.”

GnuKid:  “How are you so sure about that?”

C:  “Well, his cock tasted straight when I blew him.”

…[blink]… [blink]… [blink]… [blink]…

C [breaking out into boisterous laughter]:  “Damn, I’ve been waiting for such a long time to use that joke.  And it worked!”

Hmmm, I never did get the answer to my question.  And, that’s okay.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

More show stories to come…

My Unmisspent Youth

November 1, 2010

We interrupt the normally scheduled recounting of my frolics on stage doing “The Producers” in order to recapture another summer event . . .We will return to our normally scheduled theater blogging next time.

I may have mentioned before on these pages that I led a very vanilla and unremarkable youth and early adult life.  I was the good kid.  Didn’t get in trouble.  Didn’t even do stuff that should have gotten me in trouble.

As I enter this phase of my life, I’ve wanted to not only explore new and fun things, but recapture some of those things I should have done when younger.

One of those is the purchase of a motorcycle.

My cousin had a dirt bike that I was allowed to ride a few times in the fields behind his house.  It was great fun…until it got stolen.

My sister-in-law bought a big bike (I honestly don’t remember what, but it was 750cc-ish) and, on a visit back when I was around 19 years old, was allowed to take it out for a morning wander through the plains of Montana.  Again, great fun and freedom.

But, between a limited budget (having this silly penchant for wanting to learn to fly) and life just rolling on, I never indulged in actually getting my own bike.  Oh, that and my ex- and I would’ve likely had an all out brouhaha over my decision (which, in retrospect, would likely have been very good for my psyche and led me down a different life path).

So, now, it is my turn to play.  This spring, along with Dear Friend, I took a motorcycle safety class.  The end result of this class was that passing it counted as passing the state driving test.  Yeeha!!  And, it stoked a fire to actually get a bike to ride.

Commiserating with friends and colleagues, plus having to roll back expectations in order to fit it into my budget, I settled on a 2000 Honda Shadow 750cc.  She’s beautiful.

tucked away safely in the garage

After a few hours practice over the course of a week, done behind the Lowe’s shopping plaza near my place, I was ready to hit the road.

Ex.  Hil.  Er.  Ation!!!

But the big thrill came on my third ride out on the roads when I became recognized as being “In The Club”.  Motorcycle riders will, on passing another motorcyclist going in the opposite direction, remove their left hand from the handlebars and flash a wave… outstretched hand or a clenched fist or (in my case) a peace sign (a good summary found here).  All are acknowledgment that we are a small, unique group (albeit most MUCH more experienced and worthy than I).

So, on a back road, when oncoming motorcyclist initiated this salute to me, I was luckily stable enough (mentally, emotionally, gravimetrically) to return my own salute.

…and I laughed out loud in my helmet, grinning like a fool…

James Dean… Marlon Brando… Peter Fonda… GnuKid!!

the gnu wild bunch