Monthly Archives: April 2004

k is for komedy

4/19/04

Okay, so here’s the deal: my play, one of seven one-acts currently running in Santa Monica at the Edgemar Theater, has a line that we have always loved, but the audience doesn’t get it.

Here’s the dialogue between Carla, and her son 12-year-old son Stu:

CARLA: Stu, what’s that you keep writing in your notebook?

STU (handing it to her): It’s a list of things I didn’t know.

CARLA (reading): “Origami is not Chinese food. ‘To lactate’ does not mean ‘to vanquish’.”

STU: Yeah, that sucked. I wrote in a history paper that at the Battle of Orleans, Joan of Arc lactated the French Army.

…and it would not surprise any of my faithful blog readers to know this was a true story from my own childhood. The dialogue looks good on the page, but it’s confusing theatergoers. There’s just too many references

doin’ all right, gettin’ good grades

4/18/04

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the rarest of all pictures: me with both of my parents! (at the Edgemar Theater on Saturday night)

The fact is this: no matter how awful the lead-up might be, when it comes to theater, most productions manage to nail the dismount on opening weekend. I was genuinely scared of what might transpire, having experienced the tech rehearsals for our project, but now I can say it with impunity

curtain up

4/16/04

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We opened tonight to a preview crowd, and I have to say, I underestimated how exciting these things really are. It reminded me of all the best parts of high school, when we put on “Camelot” and strange new talents were discovered among our quieter friends.

I’ve just returned from a couple of tequila shots, a jack & coke, and the remnants of a Goldschlager (horff) with a bunch of the other actors, so I’m not going to be typing much longer, but I am truly happy to be surrounded by talented people. As you age, you begin to realize those moments are more rare than you think. Simply put, most people can’t do their jobs. When you meet somebody who can, you must embrace them and sing their praises to the heavens.

I am thankful for Salem’s steaks, Ann’s poetry, Tessa’s writing, Lindsay’s producing, Sean’s acting

(voiceover) That was one crazy summer.

4/15/04

It is 2:57am, and I just finished reading fifteen TV pilot scripts that will be shown on the major networks in the near future. My brain has turned into milk-logged Wheat Chex. But I can tell you the following things:

1. Dysfunctional families sure are dysfunctional.

2. Everybody always thinks somebody is gay.

3. Dad knows best except that he never does.

4. You just don’t get it, do you?

5. Everyone in the world is formerly rich and needs a desk job.

6. The football captain has a dark, sensitive side you’ll never understand.

7. Why am I always jumping to conclusions?

8. That wasn’t my blood

latter-day fixin’s!

4/13/04

I’d like to interrupt your usual blog broadcasting for a tidbit of culture many of you might have missed: yes, I’m talking about Mormon Jello Dessert.

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While my family did not become actual Mormons, the rest of my 735 cousins did, and every few weeks we decide to experience the culture shock of leaving Hollywood and venturing into the San Gabriel Valley for a dose of Latter-Day Saints. My own relationship with the church is fraught with many contradictions and inner turmoil, but my family is terrific, and we always have a great time.

The meals, however, always teeter on the edge of bizarre, and nothing typifies this more than Mormon Jello Dessert. I was probably 15 before I noticed that this concoction was being served at every function. The dish is an ever-changing amalgamation of dark-colored jello that is land-mined with deeply incongruous fruit: you should not be surprised to find carrot cubes stuck in the gelatin, like trilobite fossils hung forever in rock. You might come across the thorny skin of a pineapple, the shaving of watermelon rind, or even globs of maraschino cherries. It’s not far from the jello dish the grandmother brings in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” you know, the one with Tender Vittles Cat Food in it.

The pan is refrigerated, and then topped off with a three-inch viscous layer of Dream Whip (powdered milk from the apocalycloset recommended). I warned Tessa about the dish before we got there, but she actually took a big helping and finished the whole thing! I began wondering who this chick “my wife” really was.

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Although Republican by nature, Mormons are also strict survivalists, which made them a perfect audience for the Prius. They took turns driving, and the whole family was deeply impressed. For a group of people who keep two years’ worth of food stored in their homes, a car that gets 60 mpg would be perfect for the End Times. If Jesus ever shows up and all the gas pumps are rendered useless in the Rapture, at least we know the Prius will be the last car running.

redemption and redefinition

4/12/04

Have I ever told you how bad life was, circa 1997-2000, in the Beachwood house in Los Angeles? In one of my first blog entries ever, way back in 2001, I was still so post-traumatic about the place that I said some things I shouldn’t have said (but I like the writing, so it remains in the archives). What that entry fails to radiate is that I was just as much a shitbag as everyone else.

Case in point: the second week I moved in, I put up a basketball court on the back patio, about 20 feet from the bedroom of Xander Berkeley, one of the most respected working actors around. When I was depressed, which was about 17 hours a day, I used to go back there and shoot foul shots until I worked Xander into a furious froth, and then the two of us would scream at each other across the fence.

I was still in some sort of narcissistic haze, convinced that my woes were epic and had to be sated by hitting 37 foul shots in a row (my record) or else I’d surely sink into the ground. Conversely, Xander had paid good money for his house and was suddenly beset with seven crazy, post-grad morons living next door, and he wasn’t terribly thrilled. After he and I reached a compromise early on, I spent the next two years trying in vain to keep my housemates from screeching outside after 4am.

Okay, so flash forward to late 2000. I’ve escaped from Los Angeles, and the first week I’m in New York, I write a 24 Hour Play that is brilliantly performed by my brother Sean, fellow Beachwood refugee Seth, and a fabulous young woman named Sarah Lively. We all get along so well that Sarah joins Sean and Seth again for an evening of 3 one-acts called “Wine, Women and Song.” Sarah then reads the Pink House script, loves it, and we plan a reading.

Suddenly, Fox flies her to Los Angeles, where she gives one of the greatest auditions ever, and lands the role of Nina on the hit show “24.” On the pilot episode, she meets

sugar high sugar high sugar high

4/11/04

I’ve never quite understood Easter as a holiday. I know Jesus resurrected himself somehow, but as a kid, I always wondered why he waited two days. Lazarus was a “resurrection” in the good old-fashioned sense in that he once was dead, now he was alive. Jesus died, but when he “came back to life,” let’s face it: he wasn’t exactly the same anymore. In Mormon iconography, he’s always shown as floating around and generally looking creepy. And he didn’t stay long, making me wonder what the point was.

The pagan Easter stuff is great, of course, and as I’ve shown in full color, we always have a good time. But Easter at the home of Walt Boyle? That’s true bacchanalia. I’ve known Walt since I was a scared teenage freshman at Carolina, and since then, he has been the provider of more good times than the decades should allow. When you entered his house in the Hollywood Hills, he actually had an Easter Bunny topiary:

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Fifty people showed up for this get-together, so it was a festive blast of margaritas and Marshmallow Peeps

put a fine point on it

4/9/04

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The Voyager space modules sent out in the 1970s included a phonograph with human voices, pictures of various cultures, a DNA double-helix, and all sorts of obvious clues for aliens that happen to stumble upon the spacecraft. I, too, am going to clear up a few things around here for any future beings stumbling upon this blog.

My name is Ian. My middle name is Richard, which is also my Dad’s name. My mom is Linda, and my brothers are Kent, Steve, Sean, and my sister is Michelle. I am 36 years old.

I am married to Tessa, who is 34. We have no children yet, but we’re talking about thinking about changing that. Tessa is really fantastic. We met when she was 18 and I was 20, although we didn’t start dating until she was 31 and I was 33. We have a dog, Chopin, who is 14 and crochety.

We live in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York. We also have a little place upstate with a barn. The barn has a basketball court. I grow pumpkins and Tessa grows annuals and perennials. We like to fill the house up with fast-talking liberals, and the place has become a think tank for rowdy progressives. I like peeing outside.

We make a living as writers and journalists. I wrote a couple of non-fiction books that were modest hits, but that was a long time ago. Tessa made a movie about her dad that was on the short list for the documentary Oscar

I’m a Little Light in the Skechers

4/8/04

Peter Rukavina wrote to me because he saw a scathing critique of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” in the New York Daily Press, calling the show’s hosts “‘Sambo’ gays.” Now, I think they used the wrong black literary metaphor – Sambo is actually an old Indian story that is not particularly racist, but is definitely bizarre. There used to be a chain of pancake restaurants in the Midwest called Sambo’s, but that was back in the mid-70s, when you could actually have a menu with a picture of a black kid with huge red lips eating “one hundred and sixty-nine pancakes.”

No, I think the Daily Press meant to call the Queer Eye cast was a bunch of “Uncle Tom Gays,” meaning they were obsequiously “being faggoty” for the highest corporate dollar, whoring out their swishiness for a world that otherwise wouldn’t accept them. They are the Amos, Amos, Amos, Amos and Andy of modern gay television.

I hadn’t thought about it before, and I’m not sure if I agree: seems to me that the last laugh is always on the audience, and any bit of Gay that slips into the atmosphere is good for homosexuals in general. If you start watching “Queer Eye,” and that makes you buy leather shirts at Bang Bang on 8th Avenue, well, then, you’re probably less likely to vote for the Defense of Marriage Act.

It is true, however, that we live in that liminal time when gays are not accepted, but their culture is celebrated